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.