It had me at first listen: Thoughtful and poignant “Love Me Sober” by @MartinLukeBrown

MARTIN LUKE BROWN, “Love Me Sober”

Leicester, England-born multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Martin Luke Brown scored in 2015 with his unique vocal with a soulful edge on “Take Out Of Me” from an EP of the same name, followed by “Knife Edge” and “Scars on Scars”.  “Love Me Sober” still has the grittiness of some of those songs but what’s brought out here is a lot of depth with a thoughtful arrangement that keeps you going until a stunning climactic moment that will have you hanging for almost the minute of self-realization that remains.  Think of this as Martin’s “Take Me To Church” – like Hozier’s song (with some definite Coldplay-ish moments), “Love Me Sober”, while lurve at first listen for me, will be a grower for fans of piano-led storytelling songs.  I hope this will see official release soon.  In the meantime listen at the link above.

Martin Luke Brown is currently on tour throughout Europe with Jack Garratt.

Published in: on May 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop75Songsof2015

Onward and upward to 2016!  However the music in 2015 was really strong compared to other recent years.

Chart: BILLCS Top 75 Songs of 2015

01 BRANDYN BURNETTE I Wanna Be (Free)
02 YEARS & YEARS Shine
03 ADELE Hello
04 COREY NILES F/ ALEX LACASSE Chasing Stars
05 YEARS & YEARS King
06 RIVER TIBER Let You Go
07 BRANDYN BURNETTE Sleeve
08 RIVER TIBER No Talk
09 COLOR THEORY Headphones (Matt Mancid Retro Crossover Mix)
10 DAN TALEVSKI Guilty As Sin
11 DENIZ KOYU VS TWOLOUD Goin’ Down
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS F/ GREAT GOOD FINE OK Let You Go (Tiesto Remix)
13 REIGEN Come Back To Me
14 ERIK HASSLE No Words
15 DNCE Cake By The Ocean
16 NATHAN SYKES Kiss Me Quick
17 CHRIS JAMISON Velvet
18 BRANDYN BURNETTE Life’s A Beach
19 THE KNOCKS & MATTHEW KOMA I Wish (My Taylor Swift)
20 TRIBE SOCIETY F/ KIESZA Pain Told Love
21 JESSIE WARE Pieces
22 SMASHING SATELLITES Waterfall
23 ADAM LAMBERT Ghost Town
24 ERASURE Sacred
25 SANDER VAN DOORN, MARTIN GARRIX & DVBBS F/ ALEESIA Gold Skies
26 JESSIE WARE Champagne Kisses
27 ANTONIO GIACCA Sensation
28 PARRALOX Aeronaut
29 DAN TALEVSKI My Religion
30 PENGUIN PRISON Show Me The Way
31 ERIC SAADE Sting
32 GREAT GOOD FINE OK F/ ST. LUCIA Something To Believe In
33 ELI LIEB Lightning In A Bottle
34 BRANDON FLOWERS Can’t Deny My Love
35 CHIC F/ NILE RODGERS I’ll Be There
36 GRAHAM ALEXANDER She’S A Chameleon
37 BOJANA STAMENOV Beauty Never Lies
38 NERVO F/ KYLIE MINOGUE, JAKE SHEARS & NILE RODGERS The Other Boys
39 LUCIEN DANTE Black Water
40 FRANCESCO YATES Better To Be Loved
41 GIORGIO MORODER F/ SIA Deja Vu
42 ERASURE Reason
43 TYLER SHAW Dizzy
44 FALL OUT BOY Uma Thurman
45 YEARS & YEARS Desire
46 GIORGIO MORODER F/ KYLIE MINOGUE Right Here, Right Now
47 MIKKY EKKO Riot
48 CHARLIE PUTH F/ MEGHAN TRAINOR Marvin Gaye
49 LIFEHOUSE Hurricane
50 DATABOY F/ NIKO THE KID When It Rains, It Pours
51 SHIFT K3Y I Know
52 ANTONIO GIACCA Ignited
53 NEW ORDER Plastic
54 SAM SMITH Writing’s On The Wall
55 KRISTINE W. Love Come Home
56 MARTIN LUKE BROWN Take Out Of Me
57 ANTON EWALD Save The Last Dance
58 DISCLOSURE F/ SAM SMITH Omen
59 JULLY BLACK Fever
60 THE WEEKND I Can’T Feel My Face
61 SAM SMITH Lay Me Down
62 SMASHING SATELLITES What It’s All About
63 GIORGIO MORODER F/ FOXES Wildstar
64 STEVE GRAND Time
65 ELEVEN PAST ONE There’s Nothing Wrong
66 THE WEEKND Earned It
67 BOYCODE It’s A Mistake
68 JAMES BAY Hold Back The River
69 MATTHEW KOMA So F**Kin’ Romantic
70 ADAM LAMBERT The Light
71 LAWSON Roads
72 SAM SMITH Like I Can
73 DANIEL ROBINSON Moonmolt
74 TRISTAN THOMPSON Burn Again
75 MI DISGUISE East Side Bay

BILLCS Top 30 #464 – August 24/15

This week’s new chart sees one of my most favourite songs of 2015 yielding to another.  Either way, both songs have a lock on the Top 2.  And strangely enough many songs stay still – probably because I can’t get enough of them, as well as the songs above them on the chart, which also explains why there is so much activity in the Top 10.  There are no bad songs ever on this chart.  Even if a song lands on the chart for one appearance at #30, I still enjoy will enjoy it evermore 🙂  So on to the new chart…

The Top 10

  • Years & Years score their second #1 with the brilliant “Shine” from the album that is currently stuck in my head, Communion.  Their September 14 Toronto show cannot come soon enough, I’m itching to hear all of what they have to offer in concert.  Watch the excellent video above.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s EP Made of Dreams is coming soon, but “I Wanna Be (Free)” is one of my most played songs right now, and has left #1 after 4 appearances (8 weeks).  It is really in an ongoing battle with “Shine” for the top.

  • “Guilty As Sin” by Dan Talevski has a lot of immediate competition to face below, but still hangs on to #3 for another chart.  I write about Dan’s new song “My Religion” the other day and the intriguing and sexy video has also landed at the top of the Music page at http://www.much.com.

  • In just about any other year, the very hot “Kiss Me Quick” by Nathan Sykes would be at the top of my chart, but currently advances 6-4.

  • Also new to the Top 5, but no surprise, is “Show Me The Way” by Penguin Prison from the sophomore album Lost In New York.  The last time PP was in the Top 5 was three years ago as featured in RAC’s “Hollywood”.
  • Francesco Yates’ debut EP, featuring production and co-writes with Pharrell Williams, is due September 11, also featuring new Canadian single “Call” and another new song “Honey I’m Home” (also below – you can get it instantly when ordering the EP on iTunes).  In the meantime, the well-served “Better To Be Loved” climbs 9-6, and Francesco also features in another song on the chart.

  • “Take Out Of Me” is a soulful slice of energetic R&B Britpop by Martin Luke Brown, and it moves up 11-8.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is the propulsive club-banging Tiesto remix of “Let You Go” by NYC’s The Chainsmokers, featuring fellow NYCers Great Good Fine OK, vaulting 22-9.  The Chainsmokers have launched a new tour which will hit Toronto on November 7, featuring many special guests.  Great Good Fine OK also debuts on this chart with one of their own songs!

  • The last new Top 10 entry belongs to L.A.-based producer Mi Disguise with his unique east side/west side story for dance clubs, “East Side Bay”, up 12-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • Slinking up the chart is “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy (14-11), which is definitely a grower that will stick with you, and that riff from “The Munsters” TV show is a hoot.

  • Despite a lot of the songs in holding below, “Walking Through The Fire” by Cobi Mike climbs a notch up to #12, while his fellow former members of Gentlemen Hall also debut with their new band name.

  • It’s only a very temporary thing when you see the songs by Eric Saade, Janet, Trevor Guthrie, Molly Moore, and J-Mi & Midi-D all holding steady, but it’s also a very good thing!  We’ll see who continues to advance in two weeks.
  • Meanwhile, NERVO’s “The Other Boys” gets stuck as well, moving up 23-20, so look for their guest-filled collaboration – with Kylie Minogue, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers – to get un-stuck in two weeks.

  • Both Robin Schulz & Francesco Yates’ “Sugar” and Disclosure & Sam Smith’s “Omen” advance four positions to #23 and #24 – seems like a small start, but watch the chart in two weeks to see what might happen!

Debuts

Watch for great things from these debuts in the coming weeks!

  • I’m not quite sure why Island Records hasn’t dove into this song as a single release, so perhaps it’s a matter of time.  But “Pain Told Love” is the emotional centrepiece and standout on Tribe Society’s debut EP Lucid Dreams, and has Kiesza no less on featured vocal.  The rest of the former Gentlemen Hall have a winner here and it bows at #25.  As the song’s lyrics sink in, expect to find yourself reaching for a tissue every now and then!

  • Arriving at #26 is “Something To Believe In” by Great Good Fine OK from their EP 2M2H (‘too much to handle’ – also a song on the EP).  The song also features the Brooklyn-based (but South Africa born) electronica performer St. Lucia (who is also due for a new record of his own!).  It’s a fine blend of voices and style, the key song on the EP.

  • The last debut marks the third appearance on the chart for the actress, and also singer, Jane Badler.  The original version is from last year’s album Opus (also featuring “Losing You”), but producer/DJ Eel Eye has sparkled up “Dead Eyes” with some early 90’s dance club flavour, which enhances the sinewy, mysterious lyric of the song.  “Dead Eyes” premieres at #28.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart. Go on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #463 – August 10/15

The amount of posts I write seems to have slowed down, but I do make them count 🙂 And my chart brings some of them full circle and also introduces you to some songs I adore that I haven’t written about (usually major name performers).  So the new chart has five debuts – don’t let the lower chart position belie how well these five will do in the coming weeks 🙂  As usual, current faves have to give up the ghost first!

The Top 10

  • What more can I possibly say about Brandyn Burnette’s “I Wanna Be (Free)”?  How about a fourth appearance (eighth week) at #1!  Just in time for the remix by The Bravos which I wrote about recently.  It’s going to be very hard to beat the Top 2 songs in this chart at year end!

  • And then there’s “Shine” by UK trio Years & Years.  I can’t understand why radio will not play this one in North America.  There’s a really powerful emotional undercurrent to “Shine”, which didn’t sink in until well after I stopped hearing it with one ear on a similar-sounding melody to Erik Hassle’s “No Words”.  It holds at #2 again, but “Shine” is looking to take over from “I Wanna Be (Free)” whenever that song surrenders #1.

  • It does have an ‘earworm’ of a chorus as my friend David kindly put it.  Toronto’s Dan Talevski has released a follow up called “My Religion” which I have not heard yet (but will in the next while undoubtedly), probably because I’m too wrapped up in “Guilty As Sin”, which rises to #3 for the talented singer.

  • I get the feeling of triumph every time I hear “Beauty Never Lies” by Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov.  The Eurovision finalist climbs up to #5 to anchor the Top 10 midway point 🙂

  • There is no doubt that “Kiss Me Quick” by Nathan Sykes (which climbs to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this week) has its druthers aimed for the top spot on this chart, and for now it bounds 12-6 while the UK singer continues to promote the song throughout the US.

  • Toronto quartet Smashing Satellites follow up their #3 chart hit “Waterfall” with the very different and ebullient “What It’s All About”, which has taken its time but lands at #8.

  • Rounding out the trio of Torontonians in the Top 10 is star-on-the-rise singer/songwriter/guitarist Francesco Yates with “Better To Be Loved” at #9.  Francesco sings on one of the debuts too!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Penguin Prison with the effortless-sounding and breezy “Show Me The Way”, soaring 22-10, and the Top 10 is no stranger to PP who have cracked #1 twice before.  In the US, you can catch “Show Me The Way” in the latest Hulu ad 🙂  Not yet a single, but soon-to-be… I hope… pretty please…

Movin’ On Up

  • I can’t get enough of UK singer Martin Luke Brown’s vocal on “Take Out Of Me”.  This searing piece of soulful pop rises 19-11.

  • Another unique vocal appears in “East Side Bay” by L.A.-based producer/DJ – and yes vocalist – Mi Disguise.  This is one sneaky club track that deserves exposure, and climbs 15-12.

  • Amid fierce competition, Cobi Mike’s thoughtful and affecting “Walking Through The Fire” continues to move up 14-13 – check out the intriguing video (you’ll get past the point that the singer is naked throughout, really, you will).

  • When in doubt gain brownie points by using your country in your latest song title 😉  Seriously, “Girl From Sweden” by Eric Saade is a catchy singalong, and I’m sure you’ll find the singer dancing in the Swedish countryside one day with pretty girls in hand 😉  The song rises 18-15.

  • Performers who collaborate with their significant others often make fine music together.  Such is the case with Molly Moore, whose “Natural Disaster” climbs 25-19 (Brandyn Burnette is a co-writer).  I wrote about another top notch song by Molly not long ago called “Don’t Believe It”, which saw official release on iTunes last week. Much more new music to come!

  • Canadians J-Mi and Midi-D are off to a great start with their recent single “So Much For That”.  Not only is it loads of fun, with its 90’s Europop backdrop, but these underdogs, remixers and ravers alike, have created a song that absolutely anyone can identify with.  The video is a hoot and the nerd in us all will appreciate it.  “So Much For That” climbs 26-21.

Those 5 Debuts

  • I must admit to have been totally blown away by the collaboration of New York producer/DJ’s The Chainsmokers with fellow New Yorkers Great Good Fine OK on “Let You Go”.  But the song IMO has been immensely improved with a throttling Tiesto remix which is available for free download on Soundcloud!! “Let You Go” is the highest debut, arriving at #22.

  • It was a fine few weeks for dance music and NERVO land their first chart entry with “The Other Boys” at #23 from their new album Collateral.  The powerful mix plus Kylie Minogue and Jake Shears on vocals, carried by propulsive guitar work by Nile Rodgers should send this to the top of the national dance charts in short order.  I wish that pop radio would be open to playing it but alas I expect not.

  • The Weeknd doesn’t need my blog’s help with all of his success, to be seen in December come Grammy Awards nomination time.  His latest single, “I Can’t Feel My Face”, from the upcoming Beauty Behind The Madness (which I predict will be the #1 album of 2015), arrives at #25.  Despite all of his obvious influences, The Weeknd makes every song his own and that’s part of his appeal!  That he comes from my part of Toronto speaks volumes too 😀

  • Meanwhile, back to Francesco Yates… who sings lead on the latest single from Grammy nominee Robin Schulz on “Sugar”, the title song from Robin’s upcoming album.  The inclusion of lyrics from Baby Bash & Frankie J’s “Suga Suga” is a bonus, but kind of interesting in a roundabout way when you think that Francesco himself (who is 19) was a mere lad when the original came out in 2003.  “Sugar” premieres at #27 and the video is quite slaptsticky-funny if you suspend your disbelief.

  • The final debut belongs to Disclosure featuring Sam Smith once again on “Omen”.  This trio must get into a room and just know when they’ve written a hit.  Although “Latch” did take a while to catch on in North America (eventually climbing to #1 on this chart), “Omen” arrives signed and sealed for success.  It debuts at #28 and comes from Disclosure’s forthcoming album Caracal.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #462 – July 27, 2015

There’s lots of movement within the Top 10, and four new entries, three by chart newcomers!

The Top 10

  • Brandyn Burnette once again reigns at #1 with the joyous and heartfelt “I Wanna Be (Free)”.  It’s my go-to song on my iPod right now!  Good news for Brandyn fans – the powerful “Stand Down (2150 AD)” will be his follow up single, due for release on August 4, from the upcoming EP Made Of Dreams.

  • If not for “I Wanna Be (Free)”, “Shine” by Years & Years would be at #1, but must settle for #2, perhaps only for now, we’ll see.  The trio’s entire Communion album is fantastic, also watch “Foundation” below.

  • Antonio Giacca’s unusually addictive “Sensation” is one dance song you shouldn’t miss.  It climbs up 5-3.

  • Like with Years & Years, Adam Lambert’s The Original High is one of my favourite albums of 2015.  I have many choices as to what will follow “Ghost Town” on to the chart in the coming weeks, but for now the song moves up 6-4.  Who wants a solo tour from Adam?? 🙂

  • Another song on a high is Dan Talevski’s “Guilty As Sin”, which soars 8-5.  The Toronto singer recorded the video for his next single “My Religion” in Spain these past few weeks.  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for us.  “My Religion” arrives July 31.

  • “Beauty Never Lies” continues to make its presence known on my chart!  As sung by Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov, the song advances 10-7.

  • UK quartet Lawson obtains yet another Top 10 entry with their latest single “Roads” at #10.  The band has just begun its U.S. tour opening for Australia’s Sheppard.

Movin’ On Up

  • Nathan Sykes managed to take over Times Square in New York City this week for a video shoot.  I’m glad to see his spry song “Kiss Me Quick” is getting so much attention.  It’s the fastest riser on my chart this week, vaulting 20-12!!

  • In case you missed it, Canadian singer Francesco Yates is the featured vocalist on Robin Schulz’s excellent new single “Sugar” (below).  In the meantime, Francesco’s “Better To Be Loved” (above) climbs 16-13.  Yesterday in concert in Toronto, he dropped some songs (including a few written with Pharrell) that are going to pop big time!

  • “Walking Through The Fire” by Cobi Mike rises 17-14.  It’s accompanied by a compelling and thought-provoking video too.

  • L.A. based producer Mi Disguise is recording more music for his album which will be on its way this Fall.  Do check out his unique EDM single “East Side Bay” which climbs 19-15.

  • You want to dance like “Uma Thurman” too, don’t you? 😛  The fun single by Fall Out Boy continues to advance, with that surfin’ groove from the 60’s TV show “The Munsters” used to great effect.  It moves up 21-16.

  • Janet Jackson fans are soaking in her first single in 7 years in advance of her tour and the Unbreakable album.  The sexy quiet storm ballad “No Sleeep” rises 25-20.

  • The good-natured and energetic “Summertime” by Vancouver’s Trevor Guthrie is well on its way, climbing 27-21.

The New Stuff

  • It was released last March but one of the reasons my chart is here is to bring you new found talent that I enjoy.  And such is “Take Out Of Me” by UK singer Martin Luke Brown, which is certain to grab your ears from above just like it did me.  It bows on the chart at an impressive #19.  Also take a look at the video below for the emotional follow-up single “Scars On Scars”.  Think Mikky Ekko meets Sam Smith!

  • Penguin Prison’s concert in Toronto a few weeks back reinforced that “Show Me The Way” is my favourite new song from his new album Lost in New York, bowing at #22 on my chart.  The crowd reacted to it most favourably on the dance floor – as much as Penguin’s encore cover of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”.  It’s Penguin Prison’s 10th chart entry summarized as follows: 🙂
    • Something I’m Not, #2, 2010
    • The Worse It Gets, #1, 2010
    • Golden Train, #1, 2010
    • Multi-Millionaire, #7, 2011
    • Fair Warning, #6, 2011
    • Don’t Fuck With My Money, #3, 2011
    • Hollywood (with RAC), #5, 2012
    • Hang On To Your Love, #19, 2014
    • Calling Out, #13, 2015

  • I’ve already written about L.A.-based singer Molly Moore a number of times this year.  But I’m pleased to say that her song that I wrote about back at the top of 2015 has now received official release.  “Natural Disaster” (co-written with her guy, Brandyn Burnette) is a winner both in its original and laid back, tropical Win & Woo remix, and arrives on the chart at #25!

  • Canadian producers/remixers (as well as ravers and gamers) J-Mi and Midi-D debut at #26 with their move-on-let’s-party anthem “So Much For That”, which I wrote about on its day of release last week.  Check it out for a lot of 90’s Swedish dance-pop inspiration!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

The soulful angst of “Take Out Of Me” by @MartinLukeBrown

MARTIN LUKE BROWN, “Take Out Of Me”

There I was, standing in SportChek, and this edgy falsetto is crying out from the speakers.  It’s one of those holy shit! moments when you find out that the song is by someone entirely new.  And that is British singer Martin Luke Brown whose “Take Out Of Me” will turn your head and make you go whoa all the same!  It’s from his debut four song EP recorded for Parlophone, which has been out for a few months now, so there is absolutely no reason why radio shouldn’t be playing this song everywhere. And yeah, whatta voice, conveying soulful angst like the best British soul singers do.  Let’s say Martin is the British counterpart to Mikky Ekko.  Pick it up on iTunes.

Published in: on July 10, 2015 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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