In Full Effect For The Fall: This Beat Is… @Poptronik ! Volume Two

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THIS BEAT IS… POPTRONIK! VOLUME TWO (Various Artists)

In April 2012, upon release of Volume One of This Beat Is… Poptronik!, I got so excited about the amazing songs within that I said it reinvented and created a template for dance compilations to come.  True to that, Raj Rudolph of EQ Music Blog has once again put together (and this time released independently) an extremely entertaining selection of electronica, Europop, and danceable pop/rock that beckons immediate response.

I was only familiar with six of the songs within which all saw previous release.

  • It’s quite a coup for a song by the abundantly talented FrankMusik to be included – even more special when it’s my favourite from his Between album, “Map”, which got to #1 on my chart.
  • Also we have recent charters Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés (both of whom Raj manages) with their grower of a cover of “Silent Morning”, and Adam Tyler’s sinewy “Fade Into The Light”.
  • Even Mr. Cherry Cherry Boom Boom himself joins in with his Billboard Dance Club Play hit “One and Only” in the bouncy Dave Aude remix.

Of the songs I didn’t know, I have some new faves and others to earmark for multiple listens:

  • You know the name Jennifer Paige, the American singer responsible for the Top 5 1998 hit “Crush” and a dance club hit the next year, “Always You”.  A few years back she formed a band with singer/songwriter/producer Coury Palermo called The Fury.  They have since renamed themselves Paige & Palermo and their song “Belong”, a midtempo pop/dance number, is one of the key attractions on Poptronik!
  • LA singer Kaden James just toppled Pet Shop Boys from #1 on my chart with “Black Light”.  Another song from the same songwriting team is included here, the propulsive and thought-provoking “Fuel For The Machine”.
  • Italy’s Osvaldo Supino just arrived on my chart with “Ma Radio”, and from the same folks we have some lovely and quietly bold danceable pop in the form of “I Have A Name”.
  • “Super DJ” by Smith & Thell, “Cut The Cord” by Aron Scott featuring Glorious Inc., and the titular “This Beat Is Poptronik” by Marc Lime & K. Bastian featuring Little Neve White (up top) could all score in dance clubs because of outstanding vocals and irresistible choruses.
  • A comp that includes songs by Carmen Electra and ex-Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta??  Save any prospective shudders, these are terrific, sexy choices to inject into the mix with “I Like It Loud” and “Again” (below) respectively.  Very pleasantly surprised at these!
  • Dutch singer Tao Hypah brought the unforgettable “Celeb” to the Volume One party last year, and this year “Night To Remember” helps crank it up.
  • Fans of Dangerous Muse may wish to check out their submission called “I Can’t Help It” among a lot of other really strong songs.
  • Finally, one song that is a ‘sleeper’ that I find particularly noteworthy in a sunny California highway cruising kind of way (even before you watch the video) is “I  Remember” by Nick Pes.  Breezy, wistful dance pop as we head into Autumn.

All in all, 24 songs to keep your summer parties going well into … beyond!  You can’t go wrong with This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume Two.  To throw back to those good ol’ disco days, it just makes you want more, more, more, so just dance, dance, dance 🙂  Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that!! 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #411 – August 12/13

My new Top 10 song listing has had such a major overhaul in the last two weeks that leaves some rising songs temporarily stranded below the Top 10.

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  • The Top 3 songs remain the same by a considerable margin.  Would I have ever imagined a Pet Shop Boys holding at #1 in 2013 (with “Vocal”) for a fourth appearance (eighth week)?  Get the entire Electric album, it’s excellent.
  • No longer a teen as of this past week, Swedish sensation Anton Ewald hangs at #2 again with “Begging”, while Dan Black & Kelis cannot break through the roadblock with “Hearts” to advance beyond #3.
  • It happened back in June, and it’s happened again.  The highest debut on the chart bows at #4.  The song that did just that 10 weeks ago – “Vocal” by Pet Shop Boys!  This bodes very well for L.A. singer Kaden, as my long wait to have “Black Light” officially on release ended, as I wrote about last week, leaving the song that I heard and loved many months ago to arrive at #4 (particularly the Stormby remix below).  PSB and Anton Ewald, your competition has arrived.  Kaden will also appear with new music on Volume 2 of the dance compilation This Beat Is…Poptronik!
  • After premiering at a smashing #8 two weeks ago, “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés can only climb to #5, but should continue to move forward.  This is one cover version that has received more positive reaction from people for whom I’ve played it than any other in recent memory.
  • Even though Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” slips to #7 because of this fierce competition, don’t overlook the fact that it might climb back up… just saying.
  • Kylie Minogue’s “Skirt” continues to make its presence known even if the rest of the world isn’t falling head over heels for it outside of dance clubs.  It’s the fastest riser, again, vaulting 19-8.
  • On the eve of some brand new music in the form of new song “Concrete”, as well as a recent cover of Zedd’s “Clarity”, L.A. singer Adam Tyler climbs up to #9 with his dance delight “Fade Into The Light”.   Like Kaden, Adam appears on Volume 2 of This Beat Is…Poptronik!
  • After performing a free show this weekend in New York City, Andy Suzuki & The Method will soon announce a tour.  Their gritty song “Dirty Floors” moves to #10 on the chart (listen below).

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :) 

Though songs like “Black Light”, “As Long As You Love Me”, and “Skirt” are charging into the Top 10, there are some mighty fine songs waiting to get there…

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  • We have the story of the two point rise happening on this chart.  Participating in this event are songs by Lawson, Killian Wells (& Kristinia DeBarge, FrankMusik, Kim Smith, Travis Garland (songs 12-16 respectively), Amelia’s Fault with Color Theory at #18, Sam Dickinson at #20, and Eric Saade (whose new album Forgive Me is coming soon) at #22.  Slow and steady keeps the pace!  Both FrankMusik and Killian Wells also have songs on Volume 2 of This Beat Is…Poptronik! making it four performers on what will be a crazy collection of contemporary dance pop and europop!  The stylishly futuristic Liam Curry album cover is above.
  • In-between this activity, we have our second debut, “Take Back The Night” by Justin Timberlake (above) at #17 (while “Let The Groove Get In” slips to #19), from the upcoming Part II of The 20/20 Experience.  To me this song is better than any song within Part I.  Its roots appear to be based in Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album, and the results are more than just slick, they are exquisite.  
  • Lorde’s “Royals” advances only four places to #21, but should gain more in the coming weeks.  The song will be on everyone’s tongue by the end of the summer and she will advance to play bigger gigs – her show at the small venue The Hoxton in Toronto sold out quickly, among others.
  • Third of five debuts belongs to Canadian quartet Neverest, with their tough new single “Rewind” at #23, which I wrote about a while back.  Watch for what looks like an intense video coming soon!  Listen above.
  • After my chronicle of the recent success of French electro-meister Monsieur Adi, it’s appropriate that his pairing with A*M*E arrives on the chart.  “What’s Going On”, essentially a rework of Soul II Soul’s 1989 hit “Back To Life”, debuts at #28.
  • I haven’t written about her before, and I’m a bit behind on this one, considering there has already been a subsequent single, but there’s no time like the present to help turn you on to British singer Natalia Kills with “Problem”, from her upcoming album Trouble, at #29.  It’s the Kat Krazy remix that gives this one the boost for me 🙂

 

BILLCS Top 30 #410 – July 29, 2013

If you’re a new reader, the BILLCS Top 30 is my personal chart of faves, and this marks the 410th edition since January 1998.  And since September 2009, I’ve been writing these bi-weekly wanderings though my new’n’notables 🙂

  • First off, and first 🙂 Pet Shop Boys currently rule my iPod Touch!  Electric is very likely my favourite long-player of the year so far, and current single “Vocal” captures the top of my chart for a third bi-weekly appearance, showing no immediate signs of relenting…
  • This is leaving “Begging” by Swedish teen star Anton Ewald, in second place.  And that’s not unfortunate when it’s next to Pet Shop Boys.  “Begging” is from Anton’s EP called A.
  • #3 and #4 follow each other into the Top 5.  I’m looking forward to remixes of Dan Black & Kelis’ “Hearts”, as well as full albums from each (watch the intriguing video below).  And Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” seems to have stirred up a whole lotta fun around the world as sex rules the pop charts more predominately since possibly 1973 (which will be another separate blog post).

  • There’s not a whole lot happening in the first minute and a half of “I Think I Love You”, a rework of a song by Dwele courtesy of Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni at #6.  But for what it lacks in lyrical substance it totally makes up for with club atmosphere and a most propulsive, seductive bassline.
  • I’m still grooving to “Let The Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake (below) at #7 from the first part of The 20/20 Experience.  “Take Back The Night” should arrive in this space in two weeks.
  • It’s been one of my most read blog posts these past few months, but it’s quite apparent that Ryan Adamés’ deeply warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” (video at the top of this page – the song is a free download if you ‘like’ Ryan’s Facebook page) is turning heads and getting in some ears.  It’s a stunner and a chart topper contender that bows at #8, while Ryan’s collaboration with Parralox on “Silent Morning” holds steady at #5.  Two concurrent times in my Top 10 for a new performer is a rarity!
  • Two songs from FrankMusik’s Between album continue to rise up the chart while the singer has been on a deserved vacation, after which he now plans to release Between and the acoustic Between Us as a double album in the Fall, preceded by new material due imminently.  “Chasing Shadows” inches up to #10, while “Life (Is My Revenge)” moves to #15.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

  • Two great indie acts are closing in on the Top 10.  It’s taken a while but “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler is at #11, and he is no stranger to the Top 10 with past songs like “Friction”, “I Won’t Let You Go”, and “Music Freak”.  But NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method are still fairly fresh new blood, and “Dirty Floors” from Born Out Of Mischief jumps to #12.
  • Lawson’s “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) became their most recent UK Top 10 hit, which I’m hoping will lead to its North American release while the band tours here.  It climbs to #14.
  • More indie newcomers to the chart are Killian Wells (featuring Kristinia DeBarge) on the bright and very shiny “Remix My Love” at #16 (above), and Kim Smith, whose “Shooting Star” from debut electropop album Nova soars to #17.
  • Travis Garland’s “Homewrecker” looks to break hearts as the song climbs 24-18 from the free downloadable EP Fashionably Late II, while Kylie Minogue has the fastest riser on the chart with “Skirt” (below) tantalizing dance floors world wide.  It jumps 26-19.
  • Playing it cool in the summer months is studio project Amelia’s Fault featuring Dave Gahan-influenced singer Color Theory with “Colder” at #20.

  • Two more debuts by newcomers grace the chart.  Sam Dickinson’s album The Stories That Occurred is one of the finest sung albums you will hear this year, which will take you to another place within the pop/R&B/soul realm.  His latest single “Learn To Wait” storms the chart at #22

  • New Zealand singer Lorde sneaks under your skin before you know it with “Royals” looking to be a rather conveniently titled pop song that regardless of the birth of Prince George looks to be a hit anyway.  It arrives at #25.

BILLCS Top 30 #409 – July 15/13

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Pardon me while my comments about Electric by Pet Shop Boys take over the top of the chart’s blog post.

Now approaching a 30 year partnership, PSB’s Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have returned to a variation on the disco/dance sound that made them famous, on their latest album, and one of their best yet, Electric.  Their second lead-in to the album, “Vocal”, has scored #1 on my personal chart again for a second appearance, and doesn’t look like it will be yielding that to another song any time soon.  I’ve already mentioned in weeks past that I think it’s one of their best songs in the last 20 years… a fact that is almost replicated several times over in Electric.  What’s back that has been missing from more recent PSB projects are the witty lyrics, sparkling melodies, and droll vocal, as well as the sheer fun amid the adrenaline rush of most of the songs which are matter-of-factly designed to smash the dancefloor.  And while the songs bring back 80’s and 90’s memories, they are all quite rightly spot-on fresh for 2013.  Besides “Vocal”, you can revel in “Fluorescent”, “Thursday”, and the most one-of-a-kind song within that is simply winning PSB, “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”.  Electric is one of the year’s best records – I’m so happy to say that about a PSB album too!!  Listen to the entire album right here via Rdio.com – PSB and dance/disco renaissance are here 🙂

  • Returning to the chart, young Anton Ewald has to settle for second place behind PSB with his contagious European hit “Begging”.  Expect it to be lodged here for a while.
  • New to the top five at #5 is  a rendition of the 80’s freestyle hit “Silent Morning” (below) that will grow on you more and more, as recorded by Parralox with Ryan Adamés, both of whom respectively have a new album and new songs due imminently.
  • And new to the top ten we have the smashing duet by Dan Black and Kelis on “Hearts” at #8, fastest riser and worldwide #1 “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I. & Pharrell Williams at #9, and Bongiovanni’s deep house Quebec dance floor delight “I Think I Love You” (a rework of a song by rapper Dwele) at #10.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

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  • In the past few weeks we’ve seen an explicit video for “Tunnel Vision” appear from Justin Timberlake, and then that was quickly followed by the spiffy 70’s throwback “Take Back The Night”, from his upcoming album The 20/20 Experience Part II (ab0ve), which might be better than any song on Part I.  In the meantime, the funky “Let The Groove Get In” arrives at #11, which was the peak for “Suit & Tie” earlier this year.
  • FrankMusik recently completed his USA Between States tour, and is preparing to release an acoustic version of his album Between called Between Us.  His current single “Chasing Shadows” lands at #12, followed by punchy album track “Life (Is My Revenge)” at #17.
  • Lawson saw their fifth single, “Brokenhearted”, featuring B.o.B., released at last, and quite fitting it arrived at #6 in the UK singles chart.  And on my chart, it moves up 21-16 (video below).
  • If the phrase ‘indie darling’ could apply to one song right now, it’s the irresistible “Remix My Love” by Killian Wells featuring Kristinia DeBarge, which jumps 26-19 on the chart.
  • I’d really love it if my talented fellow Smith, he being cabaret/electropop singer Kim Smith, would post “Shooting Star” for all to hear online.  The song moves up 28-21.
  • Don’t blame Amelia if your summer gets colder, and if you get wiser or bolder.  As sung by Color Theory (aka Brian Hazard), “Colder” by Amelia’s Fault jumps 27-23.  Fans of Depeche Mode and other mid-80’s electronica performers are most likely to be overjoyed at the sound of this song, which certainly gets under your skin quite easily.

New to the chart:

  • L.A. based singer Travis Garland just announced a small tour of central/west cities which you can find listed on his Instagram page.  After the well-deserved #1 peak of “Blue Electric Roses”, I’ve delved deeper into his Fashionably Late Part II EP for the most unique-sounding song within.  The intriguing “Homewrecker” bows on the chart at #24.

  • To me, last year’s “Timebomb” was the start of a great new phase for Kylie Minogue, and she continues that aggressive dance sound with “Skirt”, only currently available on Beatport, but arriving at #26.  You can also listen to remixes on Soundcloud via her new label Rising Music, including the Cut Snake remix, available for free download below.

  • Lastly at #28 is “Winning Ground” by Eric Saade, which has been issued as a separate single worldwide to Eric’s Coming Home EP.  It’s the best song of the lot with the potential to be a huge anthem, and you can enjoy watching Eric sing solo decked out in slick denims on the soccer field in the official video below to support women’s soccer in Sweden.

BILLCS Top 30 #408, July 1/13

It’s fitting that the two full months of summer in the western world get started with a blast of dance, plus five new entries on the chart to keep things busy…

  • You can never be sure with my chart, but last week’s #4 debut has yielded the first number one on my personal chart these last 15 years for Pet Shop Boys with the stunning “Vocal” (ab0ve) from their upcoming album Electric, due in two weeks.  Of course PSB would have likely had a gaggle of #1’s on my chart had it existed in their classic heyday.  As I’ve mentioned, “Vocal” is their best song in 20 years and paves the way for a PSB (and disco) renaissance!
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams remains at #2, still one of my favourites of the year, as the year end list will likely reflect 🙂
  • Travis Garland’s “Blue Electric Roses” slides almost prematurely to #3 after a month at the top, but watch for at least another song from the Fashionably Late Part II EP to land on the chart sometime soon.
  • Eli Escobar and Jessica 6 singer Nomi Ruiz continue to climb to #4 with the club raveup “Somebody To Love Me”.
  • “Begging” by Sweden’s Anton Ewald (below) has its eyes on the top of the chart as it vaults 15-5, in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart.

  • “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren featuring ex-soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie gets caught between a lot of movement and holds at #6, so we’ll have to see if it rides into the Top 5 in two weeks.
  • The recent cover of freestyle classic “Silent Morning” (intriguing new official video below) continues to turn heads as Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés climb to #8.  And if you like Ryan’s vocal on this song, watch for more from him to catch your immediate attention very soon – I’m sure I will have something to say about it when it’s time! 😀
  • If competition on the chart wasn’t so fierce, two gems,  “9 2 5” by Jarell Perry and “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix) by Ghost Beach would be higher, but they are only now reaching the Top 10 and hope to stay there in two weeks.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Some big moves lead the next 20 songs:

  • Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni and pal Kwik Fiks know how to make chilled out deep house music proud, taking rapper Dwele’s “I Think I Love You” and fashioning it accordingly.  The song (above) soars 20-12.
  • The song that’s in a tie for the fastest riser on the chart is “Hearts”, that rhythmic dance feast from Dan Black and Kelis.  Definitely headed for the Top 5, it climbs 23-13.
  • “Dirty Floors” is one of the most earthy and true-to-life songs amid those in Born Out Of Mischief, the full length album by NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method.  It jumps 26-17.

  • Our five debuts are led, a little belatedly, by the #1 song in the world, “Blurred Lines” (above) by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams.  Robin Thicke, son of my fellow Canadian, actor Alan Thicke, is no stranger to my chart.  “Blurred Lines” in fact is his 9th chart entry since 2002, but first since 2009.  His biggest feats have been “Wanna Love U Girl” (also featuring Pharrell, #4) and “Lost Without U” (#5), both from 2005/06.  T.I. has had three appearances himself, with Justin Timberlake (“My Love”, “Dead and Gone”) and Rihanna (“Live My Life”) respectively.  And Pharrell has seen #1 with his project N.E.R.D. back in 2003 with “Rock Star”, and has been featured on other songs by Mika (“Celebrate”) and Snoop Dogg (“Beautiful”).  It will be no surprise if “Blurred Lines” doesn’t make even a bigger presence on the chart in two weeks 🙂
  • Next up is an album track from Between, the third release from FrankMusik.  “Life (Is My Revenge)” is possibly the fiercest song on the album several listens later, it is an anthem about moving forward with life, definitely the best kind of way to say ‘I told you so’!  It bows at #24.

I’ve written about the next three independent releases already, and am so glad that they are making quick headway on to the chart 🙂 :

  • “Remix My Love” by Killian Wells and Kristinia DeBarge (above) is possibly the sunniest sounding song of summer to arrive recently, with a gloriously colourful and fun video.  It debuts at #26.
  • Completely the opposite, “Colder” (below) by Amelia’s Fault featuring a supurb vocal by singer Color Theory is definitely chilly electro to keep you calm and collected (and maybe a tad frosty) during the hot months to come.  And if it doesn’t, well then you can just blame Amelia.  “Colder” arrives at #27.
  • Lastly, from the dynamic album Nova comes the thoughtful and energetic “Shooting Star” which takes cabaret pop into electropop courtesy of the very talented Kim David Smith at #28.

More Long Players from FrankMusik and Pierre Lewis, Singles from Ivy Levan and Killian Wells featuring Kristinia DeBarge

This post starts off with new long players, somewhat ironically from two favourites of mine, who both happen to be 27 year old British singers! 🙂

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FRANKMUSIK  Between

Between is the result of the journey experienced by singer/songwriter/producer/everything-guy FrankMusik (Vincent Frank) when he found himself without a record label deal and without a fiancée.  We all experience ‘between’ times in our lives, and Vince’s songs document the aftermath of his situation.  This ultimately led him back home to England, writing some of his best (and most pungent) songs ever, releasing the album independently, and coming back to America for a club tour that is ending up being quite the road trip.  Upon release, Between immediately climbed into the Top 10 Electronics Albums chart on iTunes in most major countries!

Fans like me of his Far From Over free download EP released this past Spring will find that record’s best songs included – “Map” , “Captain”, and “Thank You” (as a hidden track).  They have all been reworked a bit, as has preceding single “Fast As I Can”, which sounds as if it’s been re-recorded.  By doing this, FrankMusik is simply upping his game, making these great songs sound even better to fit in with the tightly-produced and complex sounds of the other songs in Between.  Watch the behind-the-scenes video for current single “Chasing Shadows”:

But over to some of the new songs.  “Cake” is even more frenetic sounding (if that was possible) than the fierce “Captain”, and its many sound effects dazzle.  “Life (Is My Revenge)” is almost like FrankMusik’s new adage; there seems to be very little in the way to stop him and his music, and his fans are a huge part of the current road trip.  The lyrics are particularly biting but very juicy, and the result is exhilarating.  He brings down the pace with a beautiful duet with New York singer Cara Salimando, “How Do We Know” (she’s the gal in his video cover of M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”), and a ballad of much needed fortitude, “Stronger”.  One of the best new songs is “Did Love”, which swings like we haven’t heard FrankMusik before, reminding me sometimes of Mika’s often brightly coloured songs, and featuring another gem of a vocal.

Between is a highly personal statement from FrankMusik that pulls you in and continues to make you wonder where he’s headed next.  As hinted at by Far From Over, it truly delivers and is one of the very best albums of 2013.

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PIERRE LEWIS  Consciousness

As readers of this blog know, I’ve been following the music of singer Pierre Lewis since I first stumbled upon the beautiful ballad “Broken” four years ago.  Since then he has released some consistently good R&B-flavoured pop songs.  So now a full length album Consciousness has arrived.  And if you listened to the preview of songs from it in recent weeks, you are not only going to be surprised, but mighty pleased too.

What I thought might be a ballad-heavy album – and yes there are ballads – turns out to be an extremely versatile and well-produced record that could easily hold a candle next to the latest by Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke.  And though I’ve mentioned both singers a few times in these pages of late, when I make those comparisons, I don’t make them lightly.  

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The opener “Selfish Little Girl” isn’t at all what I thought it was after a preview on Soundcloud (below), it is a melodic but cutting swing at a gal who just won’t grow up.  It’s followed by some genuinely bright pop in the form of a duet with Pierre’s protegé, Hungarian singer Szilvia (about whom you’ve also read in these pages), in what should eventually be a single from the album, “City Lights”, and the vocals are a complimentary force together.  “Evolution” takes on strutting R&B stylistics that remind me of Rod Stewart in his heyday, with a pretty explicit scenario rounding out one of the best songs on the record.  I wrote about “Empty” a while back, a pensive and forlorn soft song.  The two best ballads?  “Lay Your Heart” followed immediately by “Always”.  They are simply swoon-worthy.

Consciousness may seem on the surface to be an understated effort by a singer known for his smooth style and dazzling voice, particularly when it reaches those high notes.  Once you’re inside, its best songs will not let you go and the ballads will entice you.  Given time to unleash this quiet tiger of a record, I think Pierre Lewis has a winner and it should spread well beyond his already significant fan base.

IVY LEVAN “Hot Damn”

Nebraska-born, L.A. based Ivy Levan is causing quite a stir out of the box with her EP The Dame, and its initial single and video “Hot Damn”.  Her style is almost a conscious flip side of what we’ve heard over the last several years from British singers Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Florence Welch.  This is energetic, powerful pop from a new voice that can belt it out with the rest of them.  Plus Ivy has a unique visual appeal in the video for “Hot Damn”, which criss-crosses Marilyn Monroe and Madonna with someone like Geena Davis.  It makes for grand entertainment aurally and visually, and her style is highly contemporary yet very retro all the same.  If Cherrytree Records needs a small tip – put Ivy Levan on the same club bill as new fave Willy Moon and there will be a K.O. in the waiting.  

KILLIAN WELLS featuring KRISTINIA DeBARGE “Remix My Love”

Moving through different variations of dance pop is nothing new for L.A. singer/songwriter/producer/director Killian Wells, as he follows up songs as diverse as “Psycho” (from last year’s This Beat Is…Poptronik comp) and the boundary-shaker “STRFKR” with “Remix My Love”.  It’s as sunny and shiny as the brightest L.A. summer day, and he brings pal Kristinia DeBarge (she of 2009 smash “Goodbye”) into the fold for a duet that is as natural as it is fun.  The video, also directed by Killian, just shows the pair having a blast with colourful clothing and scenery changes.  What I like best about the song is that it doesn’t get too sugary sweet and stays in seamless pure pop mode.  Remixes abound on the single, available on iTunes, including a bouncy orangeFUZZZ Ibiza mix that clubs will adore.

Summer Popervescence #1 featuring Baiyu, Jeronimo, Markus Riva, Carlos Nobrega, Killian Wells, and Andreas Moe

Summer looks to be very hot ahead – and I’m only talking about the music!  Don’t forget that Make Me Believe in Hope by Bright Light Bright Light drops in the USA on Tuesday.  And be sure to check out two new full length releases below, plus two new singles, and a video!

Hunter by Baiyu

Last year, Baiyu’s warm and subdued video for “Together” was my introduction to this talented New Yorker with an impressive set of pipes.  Then came the quirky and fun “Take A Number”, which showed another side of her.  I’ve already written about her tantalizing video for “Invisible” (featuring duet partner Rotimi), which has led us to Hunter, her latest free download full length mixtape.

Hunter is stellar work all around.  Baiyu has diversified even more within and you can feel the heart and soul that went into this record.  I’ve already compared her voice to Keri Hilson and more particularly Beyoncé because of her power and range.   She does marvellously in songs like “Laws of Attraction”, “Lost and Found”, and “Another Lifetime”, very reminiscent sometimes of Toni Braxton as well.  There’s blood on the dance floor waiting in the wings if more startlingly good club songs like the title track are in store for us!  It’s my very favourite on Hunter, with a close runner up being her duet “Make Believe”, featuring an equally stunning vocalist, Paul Kim – I want to know more about him 🙂  There are actually four duets with male singers within.  Often singers can get left in the dust by their partners, but thanks to Baiyu’s prowess and her production team’s fine work, the showcase is hers.

Hunter awaits for you to add Baiyu to your summer playlist.  It certainly surpassed my expectations, and we will be hearing much, much more from Baiyu.  Download Hunter right here and listen to the powerful title song below.

One Kiss by Jeronimo

I’ve finally got to hear the full album release One Kiss by Jeronimo, which confirms that the insanely infectious title song with an undetermined Latin backdrop (currently #2 on my chart) and previous single, the heartwrenching ballad “Somebody Who Loves Me”, are no flukes.  This young Dutchman (via Brazil) with the unique voice could definitely find his place in the international music scene – if this record can be released outside of Europe.

The album is full of jaunty pop/dance songs as well as ballads for Jeronimo’s swoonworthy crowd.  His playful charm comes off best in “Sacrifice”, “Renaissance Man”, “All I Want Is You To Love Me”, and the genuine spark of “Unheard”, which could be a follow up single.  Look to “Firefly”, “Someone New”, and “Hey Hey” for some effective balladry.    I would only ask in future that his production team stop messing with our boy’s fine voice by adding technology to alter it, making it stand out in the wrong ways.

But if you haven’t caught on to the title song yet, which is available internationally on iTunes, watch the video below and be slayed.  Jeronimo will win lots of new fans with this project 🙂

Poptronik Follow-Up!

Three performers from This Beat Is Poptronik Volume 1 have new songs out for you to hear that are equally as engaging as the ones on the summer’s killer dance compilation which is the soundtrack for the essential electronica beach dance party in Sitges, Spain on September 1 and 2.

“We Dance 4 Reason” by Markus Riva featuring Ralph

The Latvian singer’s “How It Feels To Be A Man” is newly perched in the Top 10 of my chart, and he’s upped the ante a bit with this fun and explosive dance song, whose video shows off some snappy choreography.  Markus is in fine voice and the song will definitely help get your groove on.  Buy it on iTunes.  Watch below.

“Turn It Up” by Carlos Nóbrega

The energy level in “Turn It Up” (co-written by Carlos) must stem from the Portuguese star’s enthusiasm that transforms what initially starts out to be a pretty formulaic dance song into a fiery and urgent dance floor anthem that has grown on me a great deal since I first heard it.  Carlos’ voice soars to new heights mid-way which keeps the song on a real high.  You can buy “Turn It Up” on iTunes, with an album to follow in the Fall.  Listen to the song below.  It’s the successor to “Pitiful”, which also shows the many sides of Carlos through an acoustic version which you can hear below.

“It’s Like That” by Killian Wells featuring Nixon

I’m so glad some music videos incorporate comedy and lightheartedness because they are often remembered more for that then those that are deathly serious.  And so we have “It’s Like That” by Killian Wells, who previously brought us the bouncy and intense “Psycho”. Stick with this one all the way through for some amusing set pieces and fun interplay between Killian and featured artist Nixon.  Recent similar reference points might be “Burnin’ Up” by It Boys and “No I.D.” by FrankMusik featuring Colette Carr.  Enjoy below!

“Collecting Sunlight” by Andreas Moe (official video)

While I’ve already posted acoustic performances of talented Andreas which showcase the man and his music, the official video of his single currently in the Top 20 on my chart (and on official release internationally this week) is a delightful animated clip that might be a bit literal but gets across a fine message.  Watch below.

Reinventing the Dance Compilation With Style: This Beat Is Poptronik, Volume One

When I first heard about the launch of This Beat Is Poptronik and its accompanying concert to be held in among the beautiful beaches of Sitges, Spain, on September 1 and 2, I was very impressed at the idea of such an ambitious project.  But upon learning the lineup on the Poptronik record, I couldn’t help but think how well it has set the stage for the concert to happen (the Poptronik concert headliner is none other than “Toy Soldiers” singer and comeback queen Martika!).  

And after being afforded the opportunity to listen to the record in advance, the great folks behind Poptronik have done something so overdue:  They have reinvented the dance compilation with style.  This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One not only contains six songs with which I was already well acquainted, it contains several others that should have no trouble finding favour in dance clubs worldwide.

This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One is a must-have compilation of 32 songs that will get your groove on, and more, for the next several months!  And it’s great to be excited about contemporary dance music.

First – those familiar songs… readers of this blog are no doubt already familiar with them 🙂

  • “Flesh” by Simon Curtis – an intense and sexually charged June 2011 release from the L.A.-based singer’s independent sophomore unique R∆ album, the song spent 2 months at the top of my chart, following other #1’s like 2010’s “Beat Drop”, “Delusional”, and “8bit Heart”.  Simon’s most recent release is the free download of the ballad “Starlight”, produced by Frankmusik.  A live performance of “8bit Heart” and “Flesh” from Simon’s London show put on by the EQ Music Blog is below.
  • “Disco Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light – a glorious August 2011 release from the upcoming debut album via The Blue Team/Aztec, Make Me Believe In Hope.  BLx2 aka Wales native Rod Thomas got to #3 on my chart with “Disco Moment”, following 2010 #1’s “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II”.  Its impressive video is below.
  • “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler – a smouldering late 2011 release from L.A.-based Adam’s  wonderful debut independent album Shattered Ice.  A Top Tenner on my chart, following previous Top 5 songs like “Friction” and “I Won’t Let You Go”, the song is complimented by an intriguing video (below) and a recent EP of remixes.
  • “Stupid” by Databoy – a fun, smart early 2011 digital single from the Texas duo which went Top 5 on my chart, and was followed by two #1’s, “Just Once” and “Memorize Me”.
  • “Head Over Heels” by Bim – a heartbreaking electro ballad from mid-2010 and the UK duo’s debut digital album Scatterheart, which got to the Top 5 on my chart.  Their latest release is the infectious “Scream”.
  • “We Don’t Miss A Beat” by Van Go Lion – a bouncy dancefloor filler from the Portland, Oregon duo which became a Top 15 hit on my chart.

These six songs may be reason enough to purchase the album, but in fact there are many top notch songs within that I didn’t know.  The variety of song styles capture the essence of electronic dance music of the last three decades.

I can’t mention all 32 songs here, so I’ll highlight my favourites (in no order), but you could play the album all the way through and not skip a beat!  Global-wide talent here 🙂

  • “Hotter” by Parallox handily modernizes the crunchy and innovative funky electro sound spawned by producers Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa on Shannon’s seminal 1983 hit “Let The Music Play”
  • “London Is Banging” by Disco Damage (pictured below) vs Dr. Jekyll teases us at the start with a Pet Shop Boys vibe but becomes a ridiculous and somewhat campy late night track
  • “Homosapien” is a delectable low-key cover of Pete Shelley’s grand 1982 hit by singer Matthew Duffy
  • “In The Beginning” by Maighread sounds like it uses Grace Jones’ Warm Leatherette album as a jumping off point for a tough, pulsating song
  • Great voices and totally infectious singalong hooks come from Tao Hypah’s “Celeb”, “Pitiful” by Carlos Nobrega (pictured below), “Bad Boyfriend” by Johnny Lazer, and the not-so-campy “How It Feels To Be  A Man” by Markus Riva
  • “Psycho” by Killian Wells takes the other point of view (singer-as-psycho 😉 ) – sort of the reverse of Simon Curtis’ ‘Super Psycho Love” but equally catchy
  • “Turn Up The Radio” by Monti Montanez (pictured below) is hit-worthy and could find the former Menudo member in radioland around the world
  • “Stay In Touch” by Garcon Garcon and “Where Are You Now” by Queen of Hearts accompany Van Go Lion’s “We Don’t Miss A Beat” into more emotionally-rooted pop-house territory
  • SIRPAUL’s breezy “Going Down In La-La Land” stands out with a familiar theme accompanied by a killer hook
  • Disco Damage accompanies Lady Joker on her self-named song – an entertaining and creative blend of Nicki Minaj meets Kesha via 90’s house styles

My raving could continue on, but suffice it to say that Aztec Records and the Poptronik organizers have created a template for the ’10’s dance compilations, and I wish them great success with their vision.   I simply can’t wait till Volume Two!

This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One is one of the best albums of the year.  Get all of the details about it and the Poptronik festival at http://www.poptronik.com.  You can buy This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One through iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, and other digital stores starting Monday.

Listen to the songs through Soundcloud at