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.

Voices Carry: Betty Who, Sam Dickinson, Lawson, Simon Curtis, Bac2ssential with Charly Mae, plus My Favourites of the First Half of ’13

It’s summer and the best voices soar on a clear sunny day…

BETTY WHO  “Somebody Loves You”

Australia has given us another divine new voice in the form of singer Betty Who, who dropped her EP The Distance amid oodles of praise.  Add my endorsement – “Somebody Loves You” is a sparkling single that could weave its spell in the same way that Katy Perry’s best singles can overtake you.  And while this single just glows, the EP, which is free for the downloading right here, shows much depth that will make her a keeper in the pop world.

SAM DICKINSON “How It Used To Be”

Sam Dickinson is a new British blue-eyed soul singer based out of Newcastle.  Stop.  “New British blue-eyed soul singer” is almost always a good sign for me with music, but even with that positive heads up, young Sam has a unique, powerhouse voice that will blow the roof off your local club.  Take heavy doses of 80’s Simply Red and Style Council via contemporary dance tunes and add significant inspiration from the Atlantic/Stax era of the late 60’s, and you will hear where Sam Dickinson is coming from in “How It Used To Be”, from his forthcoming album The Stories That Occurred, which is due in two weeks.  I will have the scoop on that album for you closer to that time.

LAWSON “Missing”

Just in advance of yesterday’s official UK and Australian release of “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) (which I wrote about right here), promising UK quartet Lawson treated us to an acoustic performance of Everything But The Girl’s classic 1995 hit “Missing”.  This is particularly impressive because the original version of  “Missing”, from EBTG’s Amplified Heart album, was acoustic.  But all eyes and ears are on singer Andy Brown, who embodies this cover with passion and desperation, very unlike the original.  I hope they perform it in concert when I see them again in late August.  In fact, the boys can take it as an official request – pretty please 🙂

SIMON CURTIS “Meteor”

Lately, one of our favourite American wunderkinds of this decade, Simon Curtis, has been chatting on Twitter about how one of his songs called “Meteor” was excerpted in a new TV show called “Twisted”.  Yesterday, he let on that the song was available on the Internet to hear, for those that could find it!  Always up to a challenge, I have indeed located this frenzied bit of arpeggio-laden Swedish-influenced pop, which according to the Soundcloud link was discreetly posted about 10 months ago.  Even if it may not receive official release, it’s certainly way beyond a lot of the fluffy Europop that will grace your ears this summer. A very shiny sign of good things to come from Simon’s work-in-progress.

BAC2SSENTIAL featuring CHARLY MAE “Waiting For You”

Though I’m still digging her anthemic “Girls Go Hard”, UK singer Charly Mae has lent her big, big voice for the first time to a deep house club banger courtesy of Bac2ssential called “Waiting For You”.   It’s got that familiar, infectious house bounce that is slayed by Charly Mae’s engaging vocal.  Dance club DJ’s shouldn’t overlook this one.

MY FAVOURITES OF THE FIRST HALF OF 2013

Songs (in alphabetical order)

BEGGING  Anton Ewald

BLUE ELECTRIC ROSES  Travis Garland

CAPTAIN  FrankMusik

THE CITY  River Tiber

CLARITY  Zedd featuring Foxes

GET LUCKY  Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams

LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN  Lawson

LIFTED  Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni

MAP  FrankMusik

MY GIRL  Willy Moon

1998  Matthew Koma

OUTTA MY MIND  Matt Blue

PARACHUTE  Matthew Koma

PLAY THE GIRL  Tao Hypah

SAIL INTO THE SUN  Gentlemen Hall

SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME  Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz

VOCAL  Pet Shop Boys

A WORLD APART  Davis Redfield

YEAH YEAH  Willy Moon

YOUR TOUCH  Blake Lewis

Albums (alphabetical by performer)

MATT DUSK  My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook

FRANKMUSIK  Between

TRAVIS GARLAND  Fashionably Late II (EP)

MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP)

MIGUEL  Kaleidoscope Dream

WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

JARELL PERRY  Simple Things (EP)

THE PRESETS  Pacifica

RIVER TIBER  Synapses

KIM SMITH  Nova

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD  Born Out Of Mischief

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.

Kickstart Your Summer with Kim Smith’s Super Nova!

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You may recall my mini-raves for two initial tasty treats from Australian-born New York-based cabaret charmer Kim Smith, “Jealous” and “Never Ever”.  Well the full deal is available for you in iTunes as a part of Mr. Smith’s electropop album Nova.

The album is a thorough delight all of the way through.  It’s hard not to find the lyrics and melodies resonating with you, for they are of the highest calibre courtesy of a cast of many: lyricist Charlie Mason, Måns Ek, Dirty Dasmo, Crush Boys (Daniel Volpe and Thomas Lipp), Erik Gold, Dirk Homuth, Johan Emmoth, Erik Lidbom, Richard Hymas, Ricardo Autobahn, Anders Lystell, Linda Stenmark, Florian Buba and Neele Ternes (officially out of breath now).  And the songs in turn are enlivened by Kim’s rich and spot-on vocals, perfectly suited for each flavour within, whether he’s singing about having the “Radio” on, the quieter and pensive “These Tiny Little Things”, or even songs that require a very successfully campy approach, namely the haunting “Tarantula” and “Zombiez”.  Best of all to me is the song that blazes like the album title, and that is the emotional affair that is “Shooting Star”.

In the meantime, reacquaint yourself with the video for “Jealous” and the Chameleon Musique Glitter Ball disco-influenced remix of “Never Ever”.  If you reside in or will be visiting New York City this summer, do try to catch a Kim Smith show for me 🙂  I will settle for a live performance video 😉  Nova is one of the year’s most unexpected treasures from a classic talent who will be as enjoyed in the pop world as with his cabaret shows!

Published in: on June 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Your Long Weekend Playlist Part II: Lawson, Lenka, Magneta Lane, Darin, Kim Smith, Josh Kumra, Late Nite Tuff Guy, and tet:Dior

LAWSON featuring B.o.B. “Heartbroken”

In case you haven’t yet had enough of Andy, Ryan, Joel and Adam, the four young men who have had considerable UK success as Lawson, they are dropping this new single featuring rapper B.o.B. which could be the international breakthrough that I thought would happen with “Learn To Love Again”.  The band sways comfortably back and forth with harder-edged rock songs with more thoughtful softer pop ones.  This is as tight as it gets… and the rap by B.o.B. works just fine, as it did with another band – the alternate version of “Walk Away” by The Script.  Watch the video below as well which documents the band’s AustralAsian tour and shows how much synergy they have among each other as band members.  These lads are gonna go far!!

LENKA “Heart to the Party”

US-based Australian singer Lenka is on deck to release her third album Shadows, preceded by a new single “Heart to the Party”.  You probably know Lenka best from her ear candy that was featured in a Windows 8 commercial over the last year, “Everything At Once”.  This new song is a much more gentle, feel good record that wants to take you sunny days where you can forget about everything and feel like a kid again.  Score!

MAGNETA LANE “Burn”

In stark contrast to the above video, is the latest from Canadian trio Magneta Lane, whose EP Witchrock I wrote about earlier this year.  The song lyrics and the video don’t really have anything to do with each other, “Burn” being a scathing breakup song, and instead the video makes a huge and compelling statement about the portrayal of images of women to young girls.  Don’t take the video literally; if you’re a parent of a teen or pre-teen girl (who happens to be a competitive singer/dancer) like me, then you know that videos like this just try to reinforce the message which is an ongoing one throughout the teen years and into the early 20’s.  “Burn” is also a good performance showcase for Magneta Lane despite the obvious focus on the message.  Well done.

DARIN “Check You Out”

I guess it’s time for me to backtrack to Swedish singer Darin Zanyar’s latest release Exit.  Its second single “Check You Out” is indeed a bristling dance number sure to shake your tailfeather and more.   Darin seems to be filling the gap of Swedish male dance pop while Eric Saade is releasing softer R&B-oriented pop songs.  My only complaint, as with many records from the Nordic countries and northern Europe – it’s not released in North America.  Darin could have so much dance club play success with “Check You Out” worldwide.  It’s a strong and unique ready-for-play offering that stands readily next to dance club hits by Jennifer Lopez or Usher.  There’s also a really gleefully grimy-sounding John De Sohn remix on deck (listen to the preview below).

KIM SMITH “Never Ever” (J-Mi & Midi-D’s Highly Improbable Radio Edit)

Fresh from some glorious reviews for his debut pop single “Jealous” comes New York-based Australian singer Kim Smith’s second single “Never Ever”, from his upcoming album.  This song, in its original format, is all about the the sterling vocal performance, as you will find out when it’s released worldwide on iTunes tomorrow.  This J-Mi & Midi-D remix surrounds Kim’s classic voice with all kinds of sneakily creative big-sounding business, which takes the song to a new level on which you will find dance club DJ’s simply wanting more.  Listen below – there’s more to come from this great new talent in 2013!

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JOSH KUMRA “The Answer” (Russ Chimes remix)

Highly reminiscent of classic mid-90’s electro, “The Answer” by 22 year old UK singer Josh Kumra gets its groove on and doesn’t stop.  Russ Chimes’ remix brings it down low and then brings you back and wanting much, much more.  UK chart buffs will know Josh from his vocal on Wretch 32’s #1 hit “Don’t Go” two years ago.  More like this please 🙂

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LATE NITE TUFF GUY remixes JAMIROQUAI’s “Too Young To Die” (LNTG Capricorn High Remix)

Someone who knows how to lock into a groove, reshape and transform it, without taking anything away from the original, is Australia’s Late Nite Tuff Guy.  This talented producer/DJ recently won a contest to remix a song by Jamiroquai, so behold his Capricorn High remix of “Too Young To Die”, which originally appears on Jamiroquai’s 1992 massive debut album Emergency On Planet Earth.  It’s a bit different even for a Tuff Guy remix, very classy electro-disco-jazzy that truly shows off Jay Kay’s vocal.  Everything that a remix should be – I hope it receives official release.

The Tuff Guy also posted about a contemporary electro remix which re-envisions Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” a year after her passing.  Do take the time to listen to tet:Dior’s “Love2Love” below.  How very fitting considering the good times and influences of disco music are on the rise this year 🙂

New Pop Alert: Jake Bugg, Bim, Baiyu, Krewella, Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, Kim Smith, Pip, and Nick

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Jake Bugg “Two Fingers”

Though he’s already had a #1 album in the UK, I’m hoping for big things in North America for 19 year old folk/rock singer Jake Bugg.  He recently performed several showcases at SXSW and his self-titled album will be released here in April.  Ahead of this is a clever lyrics video for “Two Fingers”.  There’s an interesting contrast between the lyrics and the two children in the video, though there is a worthy theme of putting things behind you and moving on to something better that drives the song along.  Jake’s voice stands out in a crowd, his songs are catchy and one-of-a-kind, and I think he should be headlining some club dates in North America during the year.

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Bim “Stop You”

UK duo Bim, one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, continue to be on a roll with the songs that they are releasing in anticipation of a full sophomore album.  The ride hasn’t stopped since last Fall’s Lifelines EP release.  Following their recent astute and different interpretation of Chris de Burgh’s “Lady In Red” comes more gripping and emotional pop that they perform so well with “Stop You”.  Rebecca and Denmark have amazing connection that few other duos possess, which always makes their songs such a treat, even if they sometimes send you on a rollercoaster ride, you come back feeling all the better for it!  “Stop You” will be available as a free download from Bim’s website http://www.bimmusic.com

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Baiyu “Surface”

Another of my 13 Performers to Watch For ’13 is New York chanteuse Baiyu.  She never fails do deliver a quality song, and continues to release something new for free download each month.  “Surface” is aggressive mid-tempo EDM along the lines of the title song of her last mixtape Hunter.  That she continues to mix it up style-wise shows her diversity and desire to appeal beyond a traditional pop audience.  If these top notch recordings continue, they will take Baiyu and her amazing voice to the next level.

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Krewella “Alive” (Pegboard Nerds Remix)

Chicago dance trio Krewella are out to conquer with their latest release as they make their way across North American slaying audiences in concert.  “Alive” is one of the most boisterous rock/EDM songs to come along in 2013 that looks like it will also be a proper pop crossover hit.  The video of this vibrant remix is nothing short of joyful unbridled chaos.  Watch below.

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Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, “Silent Morning” 

I already wrote about “Silent Morning”, the mid 80s freestyle pop hit by Noel, as covered by Aussie duo Parralox, back in January.  What will now be the official release of the single features handsome L.A. singer Ryan Adamés in a pairing sure to cause intense dancefloor bliss.  In fact you can catch Parralox and Ryan performing in Miami tomorrow night at Twist Sound Beach to launch this sparkling rework.


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Kim Smith “Jealous Out Of My Head” (Midi-D’s Bootleg Mashup)

It’s a brilliant idea – blend New York-based Aussie singer Kim Smith’s pop-savvy “Jealous” with “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue.  The Vibe Kings remix is every so deserving of big city club play, but so is this mashup, which will keep heads spinning while feet dance merrily away into the night.

Cue two more inspired cover versions!

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First up, we have season two contestant from The Voice, 20 year old Pip, who has his ear to the radio and provides a beautiful soulful edge to his version of none other than Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  He and his band mates take a few liberties with some of the choice of instruments they use to support Pip on the song, but the spirit of the song is more than intact.  Good on you, Pip!  Pip’s 6 song EP No Formalities is currently available on iTunes.

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Second, I get to post this the day before the official release of The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake.  There’s no one better suited-and-tied (hence an older pic of him above) to cover “Suit & Tie” than sweet-voiced Nick, in anticipation of his own upcoming project.  I’m actually hoping that JT himself gets to hear this version – even though it sounds a bit rough in spots, Nick’s vocal finesse (including the rap) just nails it and the man himself would be proud of that.

Video Vérité: Matt & Kim, Semi-Precious Weapons, Willy Moon, Kim Smith, and MacKenzie Bourg

Matt & Kim, “It’s Alright”

Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim continue to reinforce how imaginative and fun they are, which of course I’ve witnessed now twice in concert.  The video for what they said at their show is their favourite song on their Lightning album, “It’s Alright”, puts the duo into the bedroom, offering up various positions for everyone to consider.  Rock stars (and perhaps especially keyboardists and drummers) should especially take note.  But you may need to sleep afterwords! 😉

Semi-Precious Weapons, “Aviation High”

SPW are back with this anthemic love song from their upcoming album.  The video for “Aviation High”, directed by Stevy Pyne, puts them out in the desert creating an open-air entertainment/living centre for a day as they recollect some good times.  While this is pretty toned down for SPW I think the song and video offer up a side of the band we haven’t yet seen or heard.  But I have a funny feeling some good ol’ R&R mayhem is right around the corner.

Willy Moon, “My Girl”

Kiwi-born and London-based singer Willy Moon is out to prove that he’s one of a kind.  The video for “My Girl” screams 60s meets 2010s (with some interesting editing and effects) while at other times recalling songs and style by the likes of 80’s Robert Palmer (who ironically also recorded for Island Records), Duran Duran, Power Station, and The Cars.  It’s a great under 3 minute follow up to the contagious “Yeah Yeah” that will leave you wanting more.  And you’ll get it when his album Here’s Willy Moon drops in April.  If you’re in Austin, he is playing several shows at SXSW.

Kim Smith, “Jealousy”

You’ve read about the talented Mr. Smith a few times now in these pages, most recently last week when the dubsteppy Vibekingz remix of “Jealousy” caught my attention – it’s eminently club worthy.  The video for the original version of “Jealousy” has a lot of dark, sexy style, with all eyes on Kim, who is captivating with his expressive voice, with thanks to RAM IMAGERY for making it a memorable watch.  It’s also a must-play in clubs where videos are shown.  Can’t wait long enough for what’s next (hopefully his album Nova, soon!).

MacKenzie Bourg, “Everyone’s Got  A Story”

There is only room so much in competitions for unique-styled singers, and the Top 10 ended up being too crowded for 19 year old Louisiana native MacKenzie Bourg, who was a total surprise with a vulnerable-sounding initial performance of “Pumped Up Kicks” on “The Voice” last year.  That got him to advance to perform a few more times for us, most winningly with another unexpected joy, a delightful take on “Call Me Maybe”.  MacKenzie has a soft-sell singer/songwriter style that’s instantly magnetic, and he showcases it on his debut single “Everyone’s Got A Story”.  The video is pretty simple – a guy, a guitar, a motorbike, and a campfire.  The lyrics are beautiful – I’ve said it before, it’s probably harder to write simple than difficult.  That he’s figured this out this early on bodes well for him, and I hope a full album is forthcoming.

Your Weekend Jams: Matthew Koma, Eric Saade, Matthew Kurz, Matt & Kim, Ryan Silverman, Kim Smith, and Cee-Lo Green & The Muppets!!

Matthew Koma “Parachute”

“Parachute” is pure pop as cutting edge as it can be for 2012. Of course it’s no wonder, it’s brought to you by singer/songwriter Matthew Koma, whose unique and wide-ranging voice makes the song soar. The melody is vibrant and inviting – really what more can you ask for? Oh yeah – a truly fun dance mix courtesy of Kat Krazy. Watch the video below and listen to the remix.

Eric Saade, “Marching (In The Name Of Love)” and “Miss Unknown”

After truly dazzling us with two splendid albums in 2011 (and taking me totally aback, especially with “Popular” and two subsequent #1 songs on my chart), Swedish singer Eric Saade uses the same strategy to bring us two new singles before his next album’s release. In these songs he seems to have put aside the frenetic arpeggio-laden electronic dance pop, which may yet emerge on the album. “Marching (In The Name Of Love)” plays more on the R&B/hip hop appeal in Europe for Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Labrinth, and Tinie Tempah. It’s likely to be more of a crowd pleaser than “Miss Unknown”, which reminds me more of a mid-tempo Ne-Yo ballad. Do I think these are his best songs? No but they may be growers, and I think his vocal particularly shines on “Miss Unknown”. Looking forward to the album to see what he will bring us. Watch the lyric videos for both songs below.

 Matthew Kurz, “One Night (Damn!)”

After tantalizing us with a series of recent cover versions (most notably a brilliant version of “Titanium”), Matthew Kurz is back with a new original song that draws you in and holds on to you all the way through. What is essentially a ballad takes a hip hop sidestep quickly that gives the song a flavour that compares nicely to some of Bruno Mars’ songs. I like the mix of swag and sweet, and it’s songs like these that will take Matthew far. Give a listen below.

Matt & Kim, “Let’s Go”

 I’ve already praised the duo to the hilt recently for their concert and new album Lightning. They have a lot of fun with an entry for the model business in the official video for “Let’s Go” (currently on my personal chart). A great cast of character faces keeps this one moving along with Matt & Kim’s endless appeal. Watch below.

Ryan Silverman, “The Crossing Tree”

While you may already know New York-based Canadian Ryan Silverman from his starring roles on Broadway, he entered the pop world recently with a striking video and cover version of “Come On Down To My House” which I brought to you in July. Now he’s back with an original that he co-wrote, “The Crossing Tree”. The song has a similar jazzy swing to it but changes it up mid-way to become more of a pure pop, storytelling entry about making choices. Ryan is definitely in the same class as Michael Buble, Matt Dusk, and Harry Connick Jr., but this fine entry also will appeal to fans of the likes of Chris Isaak, Neil Diamond or Chris Mann. Watch the video (with some fine NYC shots) below.

Kim Smith, “Zombiez”

Here is your musical Hallowe’en treat. Australian cabaret performer Kim Smith (who has a following in the U.S.) takes a detour into electropop creepiness (from a forthcoming album) with his enthralling “Zombiez”, which is accompanied by an appropriately edited video comprised of scenes from the original “Night Of The Living Dead”. The song would only work with another voice as equally magnetic as Kim’s. Watch below and enjoy the Ricardo Autobahn remix.

Cee-Lo Green & The Muppets, “All I Need Is Love”

And here is your joyful Hallowe’en-meets-Christmas treat. There is no singer better suited to work with The Muppets on a regular basis than “The Voice” judge Cee-Lo Green and his sweet soulful voice. In anticipation of what will likely be a huge video for the song, we have the lyric video below, which will also prove that the original Muppet Show TV theme is way too hard to get out of your head.