Gone troppo: “Still Young” by @WilTril & @Aayiomusic (featuring @MatthewJohnKurz :D )

WILTRIL & AAYIO, “Still Young” (featuring Matthew Kurz)

I happened upon “Still Young” by producers WilTril and Aayio, recently released by Ultra music.  It’s a terrific summery retrospective kind of song, perhaps you could call it the “7 Years” of tropical EDM.  The buoyant, winning tone of the song is captured by the uncredited vocal of Miami-based singer/songwriter Matthew Kurz.  I’ve written about Matthew many times, but it’s now been about three years, so I’m glad to see a discreet breakout moment happening for him through this fine dance track for which he deserves much attention.  One of my 13 Performers to Watch in ’13, Matthew has many great songs available on You Tube through his mixtape or covers like “Titanium”.  WilTril and Aayio are gonna go big with this one and having Matthew’s honed vocal is such an amazing bonus.  Listen above and pick it up on iTunes.

Published in: on May 25, 2016 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Winter Popervescence #3: Pop Gets Smeared by ‘Kiss My Lipstick Off’, plus Willy Moon, Bim, Ryan Silverman, Matthew Kurz, Kim Smith, James William, and Brendan Maclean

I’m getting in my Popervescence dibs while it’s still Winter with lots of great songs to warm you up…

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Kiss My Lipstick Off (compilation)

The creators of 2011’s sensational Ballroom Remixed album are back with another compilation set for some real razzle dazzle.  All kinds of pop gets smeared by Kiss My Lipstick Off, which naturally focuses on some mighty talented ladies.  Like any other compilation, not all of the songs work as well as others, but the fact that so many do means that it’s worth your precious dollars.  The songs vary from pure upbeat pop and electronica to those that have a more serious bent about them.

Give me dirty, grimy disco any day with a deep synth line, and here it comes in the form of “XTC” by lovely Liz Primo, who gave us some Hallowe’en tinged fun last year with “The Devil In Me”.  “XTC” is for the late night dance crowd and would make a sensationally sexy mashup with 90’s hit “A Little Bit Of Ecstasy” by Jocelyn Enriquez.  Georgia Haege’s title song is quite the tease that will instantly grab pop radio listeners’ ears with its Eurotastic rhythm and Kylie-esque vocal.  “You Can Always Come Home” is lighter, lyrical fare whose melody recalls another Kylie song – “The Locomotion” – albeit slowed down.  Producer Stormby has paired with singer Roz for “Twisted”, which also gets its sexy on.

I was already pre-disposed to the grandeur that is “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by the lovely Jane Badler, which reached #8 on my chart last year.  Stormby is also in the picture here – the version of the song is his “Drama” remix which throws the into stage musical mode.  And Nathalie Archangel’s “Next To Me” is back in a new and much improved Ricardo Autobahn Electropop version, such a delight of a simple song set to help relaunch Nathalie’s new album Raven 25 years after her debut release.  Martha Wash did it recently too, so Nathalie is in great company.

Four of the songs already have videos, and you can watch those by Spray (animated video), Nathalie, Jane, and Georgia (featuring comedian Stevieweevie) below.  Hats off to the singers and creators for an impressive release.

Willy Moon, “My Girl”

I give Willy Moon a lot of credit for blending current electro-pop with a variety of 50’s and 60’s approaches – mainly having to do with fashion, hobbies (billiards, bowling), and short, short songs.  His iPod theme “Yeah Yeah” recently got to #2 on my chart – bested only by songs by Matthew Koma.  His debut album Here’s Willy Moon is on its way to us on April 1 and it’ll be preceded by another brief but big-sounding pop blast as the next single, “My Girl”.  Willy’s got a niche all his own right now and I can see many people finding it very attractive.  Listen to “My Girl” below as well as a sampler of the upcoming album.

Bim, “Lady In Red”

Ironically, “Lady In Red” originator Chris de Burgh (a singer frequently on my turntable from mid-70s to mid-80s) has a new record out, so it’s an unlikely tribute to the song that finds UK duo (and one of My 13 Performers To Watch For ’13) putting their own spin on the classic 1986 hit for Valentine’s Day.  If it was a straight cover I don’t think it would work and purists would complain.  So by making it a duet and changing the tempo, Bim doesn’t take anything away from the original at all, has fun with it, and allows it to offer up its own share of delights.  Watch below and download the song for free from Bim’s website.

Ryan Silverman, “If Only In My Mind”

In between stints on Broadway, current “Passion” star Canadian-born Ryan Silverman has been dropping videos that I’m hoping will ultimately extend to a full album release for this multi-talented guy.  “If Only In My Mind”, like Ryan’s last video “The Crossing Tree”, is a co-write from Ryan in which the director delights in taunting Ryan as to whether or not his relationship in the video is real or not.  Watch below and pick up tickets for “Passion” if you happen to be in New York City 🙂

Matthew Kurz, “Dancing On My Own” (Robyn cover)

He hasn’t officially released anything new yet in 2013, but American singer/songwriter Matthew Kurz, another of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, has been busy with viral covers, the best of which recently has been his acoustic take on Robyn’s beloved “Dancing On My Own”.  His diverse voice gives this rendition a genuine and gentle appeal all its own.  Listen below.

Kim Smith, “Jealous” (Vibekingz Remix)

It’s getting closer!  The long awaited release of Australian-born New York City-based cabaret singer Kim Smith’s pop album Nova is almost here.  Although it wasn’t what I expected to usher in its release, this Vibekingz remix of “Jealous”, with a fantastic dubsteppy break,  is about to charge full steam ahead through dance club doors with intent on slaying audiences worldwide.  Listen below, and don’t say you weren’t warned.

James William, “Lay Your Love On Me”

James William appears to be the new name for Manchester-based James Hutchinson, who has been performing in the UK and Germany for the last 10 years in different settings.  Another multi-talent, James looks poised to break out with a contemporary male pop sound in “Lay Your Love On Me”.  This could easily be a companion piece to the likes of Chris Wallace, Matthew Koma, and Kyle Patrick, who have continued to grace these blog pages and my chart.  Like them, James has an immediately identifiable voice and the song itself is pure ear candy.  Thanks to EQ Music Blog for the tip – you can get this song for free via Tweet For A Track, or you can listen to it below.  Like me, I expect you will listen to this one over and over again once you hear it.

Brendan Maclean, “Stupid”

It has taken me a number of viewings, but I think I finally get it.  Australian singer/dancer/actor Brendan Maclean’s video for his new song “Stupid” portrays him in a Mika-esque mode while emotions fly around the room – the singer performing his song and parading around the room; the balloons and “Congratulations” sign still up long after everyone has left; the lone other guest clearly heartbroken  despite Brendan performing and whatever has just transpired.  This is a promising start for the singer who will appear in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film “The Great Gatsby” and is highly endorsed by fellow Aussie Darren Hayes, which speaks volumes.  Watch below – be prepared to be mesmerized into unexpected deeper thought.

I leave you with the artwork for the just-announced FrankMusik album, titled Between, due on April 1.

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13 Performers To Watch for ’13

One of the most popular blog post’s I’ve written – even these past three years, it still receives many views – is 10 Performers to Watch in 2010.  I revived the format of that post for 2013, as there are too many promising performers who should not go without notice.  My criteria for this list is that the performer is releasing songs either for purchase or free download, and did not just issue one song in 2012.  The performer could be releasing a debut or sophomore album, and may already be signed to a major label.

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BAIYU   exquisite vocalist to soar beyond “The Next”

I was absolutely delighted when New York singer Baiyu was set to appear as a contestant on the CW’s talent contest “The Next”.  She also released a high quality mixtape called Hunter, which contained beautiful ballads, such as the duet with American Idol contestant Paul Kim on “Make Believe” (video below), and sinewy uptempo songs such as the title song.  She didn’t win the New York auditions on “The Next” (to me the show compromised the singer’s style with what they wanted to show on TV) but received exposure to-die-for, and recorded a few other viral cover versions including Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” and even the Jonas Brothers’ “Paranoid” to tantalize Jonas Brothers fans who got to know her through “The Next” (since Joe Jonas was a judge).  I’m not sure what Baiyu has planned for ’13, but I expect it will be well-planned and chosen, and I can’t wait.  Her gorgeous Beyoncé-like voice at times could put her easily in the big leagues.

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CODY BELEW  our likeable multi-talented underdog from “The Voice”  

Nobody, but nobody, captured my attention on this past season of “The Voice” like Cody Belew.  From his initial performance of “Hard To Handle” (which caused coach Cee-Lo Green to turnaround at the last moment) through compelling renditions of “Jolene”, “Somebody To Love”, the deliberately and massively campy “Crazy In Love” (video below, because it’s just so much fun), and especially George Michael’s “One More Try”, it was easy to root for Cody, who just seized every opportunity to win over both coaches and fans alike.  The transition to nation-wide concerts will be easy, but more critical will be what he records.  All eyes and ears on Cody in ’13!

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BIM   UK duo flaunts their emotions

As I predicted last September, Bim’s EP Lifelines has become one of my favourite and most consistent records of 2012, and their second album is on deck for early ’13.  I stand by my earlier statement that every song within Lifelines – particularly “Lights Out”, current single “Burn” (video below), and “Scream” – is full of intense emotion, powerful vocal interaction, and key lyrical moments that resonate long after the song is over.  Rebecca Rosier and Denmark Davis are a dream team, and I for one can’t get enough.

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GENTLEMEN HALL  Boston collective’s fans are its anchor

After catching the sextet’s appearance at Canadian Music Week in March, I found their EP When We All Disappear growing on me throughout the year, and it is one of my most played records.  The multi-layered instrumentation (including glorious flute) and compelling lead vocals from Cobi Mike and Gavin Merlot made each song from the record a rich experience, especially “All Our Love”, “Blush”  (below), and “Take Me Under”.  Gentlemen Hall has a dedicated following, and quite frankly they could be contently touring every club in North America to appease their fans instead of signing their lives away to a record deal.  But I think the right deal will come along in ’13 for Gentlemen Hall that will take them to the next level for which they clearly are more than ready.

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IN MY COMA  Toronto trio brings out the rocker in you

It’s been on release for more than a year now, but Magnets & Miracles, the debut album by Toronto rockers In My Coma, definitely has durability with its contemporary take on 90’s alt.rock styles through songs like “Believe Me” (video below), “Dreamers”, “Hit Them Down Kid”, and “Losing Sleep”.  Part of the reason for the appeal, which seems to be increasing month-by-month, is the band’s ability to connect with fans and pull out the rockers in them which keeps them coming back to their shows, to the point where they won a contest to open for Sum 41 in Toronto in the Fall.  Keeping this strategy in place, the next logical step is a new record of songs, always tough to do when gigs are what bring fans to the table.  Timing will be everything for In My Coma in ’13 to maintain their momentum – but with their determination they can do it!

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MATTHEW KOMA  major pop voice sounds like no other

Regular readers will know that part of the last quarter of 2012 was spent with me raving about Matthew Koma, his collaboration with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play chart single of the year “Spectrum”, and his diverse EP Parachute.  Matthew is Major Pop 2012, signed to Cherrytree/Interscope, and his distinct voice sounds like no other – in fact you might think on “Spectrum” and other songs that he is a teen instead of a mid-20-something.  Matthew’s finishing off his upcoming album which is a high priority for me to hear in 2013.  That he is also guy-friend to my fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen is pretty sweet, too.

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MATTHEW KURZ  supurb singer/songwriter has it almost in spades

Matthew Kurz has tantalized me throughout the last two years, first with his free mixtape from last year featuring the gripping and emotional “Fix Me”, and then with a series of originals and cover versions that were posted through You Tube.  Though he hasn’t released much for commercial sale or for free this year, 2012 is pointing in all of the right directions for Matthew with “Moving On” (available on iTunes), but most particularly “One Night (Damn!)” (below), and an absolutely stunning rendition of David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”.  While the latter wisely does not attempt to replicate Sia’s higher register, Matthew makes the song his own with its raw urgency.  While I believe he has a songwriting publishing deal, Matthew Kurz’s many talents and music should find a wider audience in ’13.

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LAWSON  UK quartet on the bubble for North America

While the year started off with talented UK foursome Lawson opening in North America for The Wanted, the band was also in the process of recording its debut album for Polydor/Universal UK, Chapman Square.  So once that was done they made a retreat to their native UK to promote singles  “When She Was Mine” (video below), “Standing In The Dark”, and “Taking Over Me”, all significant hits in the UK.  Chapman Square was released… but not in North America.  But upcoming club dates over here should draw out the fans who have become familiar enough with this band that writes its own songs and plays its own instruments to divert their attention from One Direction and The Wanted.  Lawson has the goods and 2013 should be a breakout year for them.

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ANDREAS MOE  can sing anything. writes his own songs too.

2012 has been a whirlwind for Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe.  Dance music fans discovered him as a featured vocalist on songs by Avicii (with whom he performed in Japan!) and John De Sohn (“Long Time” is one of the biggest hits of the year in Sweden).  But Andreas wisely used these successes as a springboard for his own solo work, captured beautifully in his EP Collecting Sunlight, and especially on the title song (animated video below), “My Side Of The Bed”, and his acoustic rendition of “Long Time”.  He even posted a sparkling acoustic performance of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” right after its release.  But Andreas has one of those grounded and diverse voices that can sing anything.  I think greater things are in store for him as both a songwriter and a performer in ’13!

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CARLOS NOBREGA  balancing the pop and EDM worlds and more

Like a few other performers this year, I first discovered Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega through the essential dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One, where his plaintive pop song “Pitiful” was featured.  With the EDM community embracing the singer as a result of this affiliation, Carlos next released “Turn It Up” in June, and the infectious chorus of this song will lift you up and keep you on a high.  Then he collaborated with producer/DJ Sky Santos for the sultry “I Miss You”, which led in nicely to one of the best (and still somewhat undiscovered) dance party songs of the year, “Music Makes You Lose Control”, a record that reached #1 on my personal chart.  Carlos is another performer who can do it all – sing, write, act, dance, and release all of his songs independently.  The sheer quality of his releases and his determination should make heads turn when his album is released in 2013.

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RIVER TIBER  engaging and unique talent not to be missed

The music of Toronto’s River Tiber has been discussed at length in these posts since the Spring, after I became acquainted with their album From Now On, from which three songs landed on my personal chart, with “Someday” at #1 for six weeks and “Symmetry” reaching #2.  Three concert performances later, and the third one, which I wrote about right here a few weeks ago, speaks for itself.  River Tiber releases its next effort Synapses on January 1, and there will be much more influence in this record by experimental electronica than in From Now On.  It is not to be missed.  Let the additional raves begin.  Watch out 2013!

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STONE WALTERS  honest-to-goodness earthy UK soul

One of the first free downloads I heard to make its way up my personal chart in 2012 was “Home” by Stone Walters.  The song has lyrics rooted in values that anyone can relate to – you know the same ones that you feel at the end of “The Wizard Of Oz”.  Stone has one of those silky smooth voices that could be as easily influenced by classic Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, as it could by more contemporary singers like Terence Trent D’Arby or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.  Stone also showed that his boundaries stretch beyond soul with the pop tune “World Keeps Turning” and his softened-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”.  While he had a taste of some success a few years back, his more recent songs sound more honest-to-goodness.  Stone Walters deserves another shot as he will easily find an audience that will gravitate to his style and music.


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ZAC POOR  no vocal talent contest required

L.A. based singer/songwriter Zac Poor came to my attention a few years back with an initial release of his own songs such as “She’ll Be Breaking Hearts” and “Silver Screens”, which all attracted some significant buzz… and then it went quiet for a bit.  I think Zac has either a songwriting or record deal that has not yet come to fruition.  But two cover songs he released this past year will surely change that.  The first one is his take on Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”.  It’s been oft-covered, but never this well, and it totally blows the doors off of the original with a vocal performance that is sheer perfection, and understated production by MdL.  Had it seen proper release, it could have been a hit all on its own!  Next up was an appealing version of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”.  All of this bodes very well for something significant to happen for Zac Poor in ’13.

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.

Cool Clever Covers

As many of you know, it is not my first choice to listen to a cover of someone else’s song as the original almost always is better.  But here are some intriguing choices from some reliable performers you know all too well from these blog pages 🙂

Adam Tyler “One Thing”

As a precursor to plenty of new songs to come from the always-busy Adam, the singer/songwriter has delved into current tweendom with a sharp cover of One Direction’s “One Thing”.  It’s a smart diversion from the original, starting with a gruffer vocal but the song moves along to showcase Adam’s range and perfectly captures the sentiment of the song.  It’s a pleasant surprise from a song that’s been covered a lot since its release.  Listen below and check out Adam’s website.

Matthew Kurz “Diamonds”

So many performers are already out of the gate trying to outdo Rihanna’s version of this Sia song.  To me, this is one song that can be improved on immensely, and Matthew Kurz, who is so adept at his own songs, can do just that, as witness to his triumphant version of “Titanium” this past summer.  His vocal on “Diamonds” actually accentuates the lyrics and once again showcases his fine, expressive voice, giving it a totally different feel to the original.  Listen below and check out his You Tube channel for more music.

Charly Mae, “Your Body”

And you might be thinking, oh who can possibly do this song justice so soon after its release?  You may recall UK singer and resident gal-in-pink Charly Mae Tuffen from these pages earlier this year when she introduced herself with a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”, followed by an equally punchy original “4 Ya Queen”.  Well since she had already tackled a Christina song, why not another?  With a re-recorded instrumental track, “Your Body” is simply soft putty when set to Charly Mae’s voice.  She has the range to get the job done as if she owned the song.  More new Charly Mae music will be coming soon so stay tuned to her Facebook page.  Watch her perform “Your Body” below.

Kyle Brylin, “Untouched”

Ever prolific Kyle is so often on a roll that I miss the odd song choice and have to backtrack.  So I re-found his rendition of The Veronicas’ smash “Untouched”, and while it doesn’t sound drastically different from the song musically, the lower register of Kyle’s voice is perfectly suited to it and matches the spontaneous-sounding energy level of the original.  Kyle is great at delving full thrust into the heart of many of his cover choices, and you can get this one as a free download right here.

Baiyu, “Paranoid”

Wait, a new cover of the classic Black Sabbath rocker?  Heh heh… No, New York singer Baiyu logically tackles the 2009 hit by the Jonas Brothers to showcase how she can breeze through a straight-forward pop song.  And what better way than by appearing as a contestant on the CW’s “The Next” in front of judge Joe Jonas?  Jonas fans have latched on to her and this is surely a delightful treat for them.  You can download “Paranoid” for free right here – appearing on “The Next” is only the start for this top notch talent so watch her You Tube channel for more news!

Beyond the Tweets: New Songs by Late Nite Tuff Guy, Florence & The Machine, Foster The People, Green Day, Matthew Kurz, and When Kylie meets Kyle!

Late Nite Tuff Guy “Nobody”, “Boy U Turn Me”, and “Do I Believe In God”

And this is just a sampling of the sounds Australian DJ/Producer Late Nite Tuff Guy is creating by putting new spins on some true classics, as well as some that weren’t such huge hits.  He keeps the original intent of the songs, doesn’t really disturb their cores, and then builds around them, allowing them to flow seamlessly into today’s dance music, through reworks, edits, or remixes.  So don’t be surprised if you hear Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Prince, The Jackson 5, Steve Winwood and others in the midst of more contemporary electronica.  It’s a fantastic way to introduce today’s dance club audiences to classic performers through the essence of some of their classic songs.  So listen below to the recreations of “Ain’t Nobody”, “Upside Down”, and “Controversy” below – I think you’ll be impressed.  With the breakthroughs of Skrillex and Deadmau5 over the last few years, there is room for someone as innovative as Late Nite Tuff Guy.

Florence & The Machine, “Spectrum” (Calvin Harris remix)

With all of the success of Florence Welch and her talented band over the last three years, it was surprising that no song from Ceremonials was utterly massive – until now.  I had always enjoyed “Spectrum” as an album track, but had never thought of it being a breakthrough over songs like “Never Let Me Go” or “What The Water Gave Me”.  “Shake It Out” did well enough as a single, but it is indeed the amazing Calvin Harris remix of “Spectrum” that literally sends the song over the top.  Besides being at the top of the UK charts, “Spectrum” should be the worldwide radio breakthrough and dance club play hit that has eluded Florence & The Machine thus far.  Can’t get it out of my head now!

Foster The People, “Houdini” (Green Children remix)

It’s already been a year since the release of the American trio’s Torches album, and since “Pumped Up Kicks” became a critical soundtrack to Summer ’11, which resulted in two Grammy Award nominations.  The band’s constant touring has kept their music living through the public, and “Houdini”, the third single, with its positive+ lyrics, is no exception.  I’m pretty partial to the free download release of the Green Children remix, which transforms the pop song into a club jam that will keep you jumpin’.  

Green Day, “Oh Love”

After a return to a heavier sound on their last record, Green Day are about to release a trilogy of albums called ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tres!, with “Oh Love” being the initial release from the first of the three.  Put this in a similar place as their classic 90’s power pop like “When I Come Around”, which bodes for a good start for the trio after the considerable success of the theatre version of American Idiot, which continues to play across North America.  Get out your 3D glasses if you have ’em!

Matthew Kurz, “Titanium”

In these days of social media, you come across so many cover versions of popular songs of the moment.  Among them, there are gems.  LA singer Matthew Kurz came to my attention last year with the release of his free mixtape, which contained the stunning eye-welling ballad “Fix Me”, which reached #6 on my chart.  He’s been busy creating viral covers and mashups of numerous songs lately, but I must say that his rendition of David Guetta/Sia’s “Titanium” is pretty bloody powerful.  Listen below for this exceptional take, just when you thought overkill was overtaking this song.

Kylie Minogue featuring Kyle Brylin, “Timebomb”

Wisconsin native Kyle Brylin brought us all kinds of electronic popervescence in 2011 with covers like “S&M” and some well chosen originals like the still-hypnotic “Everything I’m Missing” (video below) and “Never Love A DJ”.  He interjects himself into the “Timebomb” proceedings and manages to sound like he was always into Kylie’s business.  How naughty – but in this case very nice indeed, especially with renewed interest in the song happening in the UK.  Download it for free right here.  Looking forward to more originals from Kyle soon.

Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2011

That annual ritual is upon us again.  I kicked it off with my previous post “And Visions of 2011 Danced In His Head”, which talked about my favourite 20 performers (and one compilation album) that made 2011 glitter for me.  I won’t go into much depth about those performers again, other than those whose songs are in my Top 10.  I’ve provided links to some notable videos and/or songs in my list below (click on the relevant song titles), particularly some you may not know, as well as some comments.  You can see the web-pretty list using the Best of 2011 list in the sidebar to the right or click right here.

Before we begin, only one performer has more than 4 songs on the list, and that is Simon Curtis, who had my #1 song of 2010 “Beat Drop”.  Among 7 entries, he has three duets on the list!  Then with four songs is Frankmusik, and with three songs apiece we have Penguin Prison, Elouise, Eric Saade, Ro Danishei, and Kyle Brylin.  These are no surprises if you’ve read this blog throughout the year.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin 🙂

BILL’S TOP 75 SONGS OF 2011

75 TILL THE WORLD ENDS  Britney Spears

Unlike much of the pop world, I have never much been a fan of Ms Britney.  But this year she recorded the best song of her career thus far which kicks off my year end list.  In fact one of the very best reasons for expanding my list to 75 songs this year was to include this song.  Well done – more like this please!
74 METAPHOR  Nick Hagelin

Watch Nick’s Twitter account for word about his upcoming single “X Games”!
73 JILTED LOVERS & BROKEN HEARTS  Brandon Flowers
72 WE DON’T MISS A BEAT Van Go Lion

Portland, Oregon duo Amy Paige and Josh Hoertzel make magical melodies together, and “We Don’t Miss A Beat” is their best yet.  Watch for more in 2012.
71 ICE MELTS  Matt & Kim
70 ANOTHER DIMENSION   Bass Robbers featuring Matt Blue
69 NEVER WILL BE MINE  Rye Rye featuring Robyn
68 THE CITY (Richard X emix)  Patrick Wolf

It was so grand to hear British singer Patrick Wolf full of positive and happy energy with songs like “The City” from his recent album Lupercalia.
67 TILL IT HURTS (Radio mix) Native Underground

Native Underground and singer Javi Silva (who gave us last year’s tantalizing “Situation”) are part of a New York City new dance/disco undercurrent.  Watch for more from them in 2012, including Javi’s other project Chasing The Ghost.
66 CINEMA  Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go
65 FALLING Bright Light Bright Light

BrightLightx2 aka Rod Thomas recorded this free download and unique interpretation of the theme from TV’s “Twin Peaks”, originally sung by Julee Cruise.

64 WHITE HORSE  Jessica 6
63 MORE (Red One Jimmy Joker remix)  Usher
62 STUPID WITH YOU  Eric Saade
61 MY FIZZY POP   Kyle Brylin
60 THEN I GO TWISTING  Erasure
59 ALL YOU NEED IS NOW  Duran Duran
58 THE LOVER’S RUMBA   Elouise

The first of three contemporized ballroom songs to appear in this list from the fantastic Ballroom Remixed compilation from our favourite UK torch song chanteuse.

57 KEEP YOUR HEAD UP  Andy Grammer

One of the most upbeat and carefree songs of the year also had one of the most enjoyable (and interactive) videos!

56 BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE  Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi

I must say I was totally enthralled with Chris Brown’s performance of this song on the Grammy Awards – though it was really a lot of special effects that catch your attention more so than the song, you can imagine how much work went into it.  But I was totally puzzled that his record company did not promote this song to pop radio, and instead it became a #1 Dance Club Play hit.

55 TAINTED LOVE  Elouise

Another magnificent Steve Anderson production which turns the song best known as the 80’s hit by Soft Cell into a seductive, smoky, and empowering torchy rendition.
54 ALORS ON DANSE  Stromae

53 NEVER LOVE A DJ  Kyle Brylin

52 THE EDGE OF GLORY  Lady GaGa
51 DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART  Agnes
50 SUNLIGHT Bag Raiders featuring Dan Black
49 FAMOUS Audio Playground featuring Kardinal Offishall or Randy Raymond

Canadian dance trio Audio Playground enlisted Kardinal Offishall for this infectious dance song that perked up Canadian radio playlists this Fall.

48 LADY LUCK  Jamie Woon
47 ROCKETEER  Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder
46 BAD DOG  Neon Hitch
45 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL   Elouise

From the little belter herself, a live clip of this version of the ABBA hit which shows that Elouise has the goods and you’ll hear much more from her in 2012.


44 SET FIRE TO THE RAIN  Adele
43 MOVES LIKE JAGGER  Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera
42 MONSTER  Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj

I will always listen to Kanye West’s music knowing that he can come up with greatness with the help of such friends… and to me Nicki’s outstanding rap in this song is what helped get her on the map.
41 FAIR WARNING (Dirty Vegas remix) Penguin Prison
40 VENOM Long Story Short

A hooky, movie theme-inspired rock song from this duo, who are from Quebec and L.A.  Watch for more from Long Story Short in 2012.
39 THE PUPPET WHO GAVE HIMSELF STRINGS  Simon Curtis

The most adorable song from Ballroom Remixed which shows a different side of Simon.
38 PREY TO THE BEAT   Ro Danishei

Prey To The Beat is the hidden gem in Ro’s End Of The Rainbow album.  It can easily slay the dancefloor!
37 BLOCK AFTER BLOCK  Matt & Kim

Block After Block is set to one of the best videos of the year – it’s just so much fun, like the duo themselves.

36 PULL THE TRIGGER  Adam Tyler
35 MULTI-MILLIONAIRE (Shook remix)  Penguin Prison
34 TALK TALK TALK  Darren Hayes

33 FIX ME  Matthew Kurz

Fix Me is one of the most heart-wrenching ballads of the year by L.A.’s Matthew Kurz, a new singer with an amazing voice.  Download his Mixtape featuring Fix Me right here.
32  CINNAMON  Matt Webb 

Guitarist Matt Webb  initially released Cinnamon as a limited free download before appearing on his debut EP Coda and Jacket.  It’s one of those perfect summer heartbreak songs that shows another side of this Marianas Trench member.
31 EVERYTHING I’M MISSING  Kyle Brylin

As Kyle enters an acoustic phase of his career, his electropop of 2011 leaves its mark especially with this hypnotic song with a video that makes you watch, even reluctantly. And what is it about the eye makeup that helps give this song a bit of a sinister side? 😉

30 SUPERHERO  Simon Curtis

Your Superhero arrived in May to stage the arrival of R∆.

29 STUPID (Brad Walsh remix)  Databoy

It takes a few listens until you realize what a smart release this is from this Austin TX duo.  It’s still available as a free download right here.

28 I WON’T LET YOU GO   Adam Tyler

Watch the colourful video from the best song on Adam’s Shattered Ice debut release.


27 MICHELLE  Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis

Watch Ro and Simon perform this blistering duet from London, the first of two videos from that show in this list!

26 BORN THIS WAY  Lady GaGa
25 I’M IN LOVE  Christian TV

The first of two pop/dance confections on this list from the Detroit performer who now goes by the moniker JMSN.  Watch for more tricks up Christian Berishaj’s sleeve in 2012.
24 PRISONER OF LOVE  Jessica 6 featuring Antony Hegarty

Prisoner of Love is just one of those to-die-for duets that happen once in a while.  Hopefully this will be the first of many Nomi Ruiz/Antony Hegarty pairings!


23 BLOODSTAINED HEART  Darren Hayes

There are few performers who can convey heartbreak so conscientiously as Darren Hayes.  The best song on his Secret Codes & Battleships album is also one of his finest vocal performances.  Watch the video all the way through.

22 PUMPED UP KICKS (Skeet Skeet Show remix)  Foster The People

It’s very clear from their sold out concerts and their praised performances (even on TV’s Saturday Night Live) that Foster The People is not a one-hit pony.  Despite the strange subject matter, the song became one of the defining hits of the summer, but my preference is for the frenetic Skeet Skeet Show remix.
21 JACKSONVILLE  Brandon Flowers

Held over from 2010, Jacksonville is one of the songs on the deluxe version of Flamingo, an album that could have fared very differently if the excellent deluxe tracks had been the the core of the record.  Nonetheless, this is Brandon at his most unique – Jacksonville could have also been kicked up a notch with some dance remixes.
20 DISCO MOMENT Bright Light Bright Light

One of Rod Thomas’ very best songs contains several lyrics that can leave you teary-eyed while you dance:  “And I am open, I am open, but I might just close if… /You make it so hard to be around”.  The outstanding video will twist your emotions on the spot.


19 OUT WITHOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND  Jerry Reid featuring Ben Waters

The best song from the Ballroom Remixed compilation is this contemporary jive number, aided immeasurably by the magic fingers of Ben Waters.  Jerry Reid, too, is a new bad boy talent to watch in 2012.
18 TALK TO ME  Andrea Lewis featuring Simon Curtis

Toronto’s Andrea Lewis has another hold over from 2010 release 54321, with her 60’s retro sounding duet with Simon Curtis.  Watch the exclusive performance by these best friends from London below.


17 HURT YOU AGAIN Frankmusik

Pre-dating the Do It In The AM album by several months, it’s one of the rare tender ballads you will hear from Frankmusik, originally available as a free download.
16 SOMEONE LIKE YOU Adele
15 S&M Rihanna

Rihanna was a non-stop music-making machine in 2011, but S&M to me exceeded all expectations and made the music that followed pale in comparison.  She was at the top of her game but is now probably due a break for fear of that other industry-eating event, over-exposure.  The song also accompanied an interesting cadre of songs with suggestive topic matter, which all ended up in Billboard’s Top 4 on the Hot 100 earlier in year – the others were “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa, “Fuckin’ Perfect” by Pink, and “Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)” by Enrique Iglesias 🙂

14 DO IT IN THE A.M.  Frankmusik F/ Far East Movement

13 CAN’T HELP MYSELF (KEEP DANCING)  Matt Blue

One of 2011’s must-talents to watch is 19 year old Matt Blue, who hails from the Netherlands.  Songs like “Can’t Help Myself” transcend the record industry barriers for official release through their videos.


12 LOVE 2 BABY Christian TV

If there was any song that should’ve been a hit in 2011 it was “Love 2 Baby”, dance pop at its best and somewhat hedonistic video to boot.  Watch for the artist now known as JMSN in 2012.


11 NO I.D. Frankmusik featuring Colette Carr

One of the most joyous treats of 2011 was watching this completely unexpected video throwback to “Grease”.  Frank and Colette have great chemistry together – hopefully they’ll record again.


10 MADE OF POP  Eric Saade

It was never released as a single *hrumpf* but this love letter to Eric’s fans has some of the best lyrics that pop music could offer in 2011:  “My kings and queens /Are speaking through me / Got my degree / In the big P-O-P”.

9 ROLLING IN THE DEEP  Adele

Rolling In The Deep is the song that defines 2011 in pop culture.  It endured the entire year, became a massive hit beyond expectations, was covered – sometimes magnificently – a gazillion times.  More than any other song in the 21 album, it showcases the many broad talents of Adele.  Now let’s hope her voice recovers and we hear more magnificence in the next few years.


8 NIGHT AIR  Jamie Woon

One of the most mysterious and oddly appealing songs by this new English singer with deep down embedded talents.  While the video surely must have had “Twilight” as a source, its quiet is incredibly elegant.


7 THE FEAR INSIDE  Frankmusik

The best song from Do It In The AM was Frank’s first single from the album, released about a year ago.  Just release yourself to this one.

6 GOLDEN TRAIN Penguin Prison

Penguin Prison held court on my chart at the top of the year for two months with this song, which was made even better when Chris Glover paired it in a stunning mashup with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day And Night”, which you can hear and download in the link in song title.

5 LASER GUNS UP  Simon Curtis

It lasted from the first time I heard it in a live clip from a January show throughout the year.  Laser Guns Up is still my anthem for 2011.  And I still want some LEGO laser guns.  “This one’s for the people who’ve been told they’re never good enough / The little girls and boys who dream of what they wanna be / The little girls and boys who grow up into you and me”.
4 JUST ONCE Databoy

I had just heard “Stupid” and had not yet charted it before I was introduced to Databoy at the Superfraiche showcase in New York City in April.  And that’s where I heard this song.  Instantly, it became my song for the upcoming summer, and when it arrived as a free download there was no other competition.  I can’t wait for more Databoy music in 2012.

3 WICKED BABY Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis

We had to wait till late Summer for this bonus track from the deluxe edition of Ro Danishei’s End of the Rainbow, but the best was saved for last.  This is the child of Ace of Base’s The Sign that you’ve all been waiting for, with a stunning dubsteppy breakdown amid another smoking Ro/Simon duet.  And I wasn’t the only one who loved it, check out My Fizzy Pop’s thoughts on the song too!

2 FLESH  Simon Curtis

There was no song more unique in 2011 than this second single from Simon’s R∆ album.  Totally different from even the songs within R∆, it’s a tour-de-force of sensual imagery carried by fierce production that will simply throttle you.  I still want to see it featured in a segment on TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”:  “You put your hand upon my neck and feel the pulse beat-beat-beat-beat /It’s like a trigger getting ready to shoot” and “Hold me up against the wall / Give it till I beg, give me some more /Make me bleed, I like it raw / Like it R∆ R∆ R∆”.
1 POPULAR  Eric Saade

“Popular” is the best and most captivating song of 2011 to me, which threw Swedish singer Eric Saade even more into the spotlight when the song won the Melodifestivalen contest and came third in Eurovision.  It signalled things to come, with Saade’s Volume One and Volume Two albums dropping before year’s end and giving us the year’s most  lighthearted, feel good, crunchy electropop, which hopefully will find its way around the world in 2012.  Eric Saade and his team have created the template, the rest of the world needs to catch on.  And if you’re a male pop singer, all eyes should be on Eric!  Watch the star-making performance from Melodiefestivalen again below.


Tuned-On! Top 30 #363 – October 10/11

October is proving to be a watershed month in 2011 for album releases – yes that’s right album releases!  As many of you know, I’m a singles-going-steady kinda guy, one song will do it for me over an entire album.  So we have no shortage of album releases this month – priorities for me by Darren Hayes, Erasure, Penguin Prison, Chris Isaak, Florence & The Machine (Nov 1), and the already released Adam Cohen – plus Evanescence, Kelly Clarkson, Drake, Coldplay all on deck too… well the iTunes gift cards will be bountiful this year.  So my new personal chart is a transitional one until the floodgates open.  And I’m still waiting for some highly anticipated singles to drop – “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy and “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)” by Matt Blue to name two.

So something will likely give at the top of the chart in two weeks, and you can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  But for now it continues to be “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei and Simon Curtis at the top but virtually neck and neck with Simon’s own “Laser Guns Up” in second place.  Rumour has it that Ro is now signed to Sony BMG – fantastic! – but I’m not sure of details, and I’m sure they will be forthcoming at some point.

“Disco Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light should by all rights join “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II” as number ones on this chart, but may get shortchanged in the coming weeks, so it jumps to #3 for now.  New York’s Jessica 6 will be starting a small North American club date tour soon, which will then take them to Europe.  “Prisoner Of Love”, their unique splash of disco nightlife pairing with Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons, climbs to #4.  I’m anxiously awaiting the video for this song!

The Top 5 is rounded out by the Fastest Riser on the chart.  “No I.D.” by Frankmusik and Colette Carr are in the running for the top as the song surges 20-5, thanks to relentless touring – now that the Erasure/Frankmusik tour is wrapping up overseas, there will be another tour for both performers along with fellow Cherrytree Records signees LMFAO and Far East Movement, starting very soon!

Songs 6 through 12 are trapped in the middle and some should break loose in two weeks.  “Fix Me”, the stunning ballad by L.A.’s Matthew Kurz and his free download mixtape, holds at #6, while “Bad Dog” by UK singer Neon Hitch (and that’s her real name too!) jumps to #7.  And what would a chart be without Adele?  “Set Fire To The Rain” is her third Top Tenner for me from the 21 album, currently one of my favourite albums of the year along with others such as R∆  by Simon Curtis, Eric Saade’s Saade Volume One, and Do It In The A.M. by Frankmusik.

Contemporary electro pop is all a flutter right now as represented by a delightful next bunch:  Adam Tyler’s “Pull The Trigger” becomes his third Top 10 entry at #9; “My Fizzy Pop” by Kyle Brylin follows “Everything I’m Missing” as his second Top Tenner; Penguin Prison does not look to miss the Top 10, making it five in a row in two weeks with “Fair Warning”; and “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade is simply charming pop at its best.

“Bloodstained Heart” by Darren Hayes can only be purchased in Australia right now, but will be on release worldwide in two weeks when his album Secret Codes And Battleships arrives.  The song continues to rise up to #14.  Florence & The Machine’s “What The Water Gave Me” is holding at #18 while their new album Ceremonials is on deck.  And four more of last week’s debuts make headway.  Will Young’s free download of “The Way I See” climbs to #22, while Swedish pop queen Agnes moves 29-23 with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.  Nick Hagelin’s tender R&B ballad “Metaphor” also climbs to #20 and is a free download from his website.  With every week that passes, “Famous” by Audio Playground manages to find more radio stations playing it in Canada – Top 50 on the Billboard Canadian Top 100.  This past week saw the debut of the video of the French version of the song, featuring Randy Raymond.  Watch it below.

I’ve spent the past week blogging and tweeting about Like A Man, the fresh start of a sophomore release by Adam Cohen (son of Leonard), as well as his lovely and intimate show I saw in Toronto this past week.  His beautiful and thoughtful single “What Other Guy” (available as a free download) arrives at #24.  One of Kyle Brylin’s latest releases, the propulsive and somewhat gleefully cynical “Never Love A DJ” joins “My Fizzy Pop” on the chart at #27.  Lastly, on the more raucous side, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim have been promoting the hell out of last year’s release Sidewalks.  I saw them perform last Fall, and they won me over with their energy and crowd interaction.  “Block After Block”, from Sidewalks, keeps grabbing my attention, and with a spot-on performance on the Jimmy Fallon show this summer, the song arrives on the chart at #25.  If you don’t know about this fun pair, watch the Fallon performance by clicking on the link below, as well as the official video at the top of the blog, and you will be converted.

http://busk.com/news/matt-and-kim-late-night-with-jimmy-fallon-video

Tuned-On! Top 30 #361 – Sept 12/11 plus Erasure and Frankmusik Concert in Toronto!

Last week was exceptionally busy and while I had already decided on my new chart rankings by Friday, I did decide to attend the Erasure and Frankmusik show at Sound Academy in Toronto, hence today’s belated blog.  More on the show later, on to chart news.

I’m still riding the Rainbow – End of the Rainbow that is – thanks to one of the best records of 2011!  That would be the sinfully delicious “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis (click to listen) that ascends to #1 on the Top 30, and looks like it might hold grip in wicked ways for the next several weeks.  That “Wicked Baby” should blitz the chart all the way to the top is even surprising to me.  And hand in hand with Simon’s anthem “Laser Guns Up”, which rises to #2, it knocked down what I thought was a sure thing for #1, which is “Made Of Pop” by Eric Saade, which now resides at #5.  Two further items of note:  Ro Danishei’s arrival at #1 is the first for a female singer on my chart since Lady GaGa’s “Teeth” back near the beginning of 2010 (I know I’m…. wicked).  And Simon Curtis packs a 1-2 punch holding court in the Top 2 for at least likely the next month.  If you have not sought out these talented singers, be sure to check out their respective albums (End Of The Rainbow for Ro, R∆ for Simon) on iTunes!

Definitely in the mix are the song that everyone’s trying to figure out, “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People, at #3, and Bright Light Bright Light’s “Disco Moment” at #4.  In any other year they would both be chart toppers.  Right below you can check out the “So Hard” mix of “Disco Moment” by Blx2 himself, Rod Thomas, also available on Blx2’s official site 🙂  Do I detect early 90’s Pet Shop Boys?  Hmmm.

Next up are late night New York dance delights in the forms of Jessica 6’s “Prisoner Of Love”, which climbs to #8, and yet another Top Tenner for Chris Glover’s Penguin Prison and “Multi-Millionaire” at #10.  Penguin Prison’s much-awaited self-titled debut album is out everywhere but in North America now (due date October 18).  I’m also charting the Dirty Vegas remix of “Fair Warning”, which hops to #18 and will certainly join “Multi-Millionaire” as a Top Tenner sometime soon.

Outside of the Top 10 there are several songs looking in with confidence!  Matthew Kurz’s amazing independent ballad “Fix Me” is now at #11, followed immediately by the glorious Adele with “Set Fire To The Rain” at #12, and then the Rye Rye and Robyn duet of the inspiring “Never Will Be Mine” at #13.  Neon Hitch’s “Bad Dog” is turning into a new favourite as it’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, up 25-15.  It’s followed immediately by a third song from Saade Volume One, “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade (watch for Volume Two later this year and hear this song in a concert clip below) and Kyle Brylin’s effervescent “My Fizzy Pop” at #16 and #17 respectively.

Our three debuts were previewed for you two weeks ago at around this time.  “Pull The Trigger” is vying with “I Won’t Let You Go” as my favourite song from Adam Tyler’s independent debut album Shattered Ice, and soars into the chart at #22, as the singer completes a North American club tour and is off to Japan.  I can’t wait to see the video for Darren Hayes’ Australian single “Bloodstained Heart” which arrives at #24.  Don’t rule out a debut for “Black Out The Sun” sometime soon… there’s just that much competition right now!  And lastly, powerhouse Florence Welch previews her forthcoming untitled album with “What The Water Gave Me” at #26.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.

Erasure and Frankmusik, Sound Academy, Toronto, Sunday September 11/11

Erasure and Frankmusik performed excellent sets last night which for me were just what the doctor ordered 🙂  I was anxious to see what Mr. Frank (Vince Turner) had to offer up for his debut performance in Toronto, since he is also the producer of Erasure’s upcoming Tomorrow’s World album (due October 4 in North America).  The last time I saw Erasure in concert was in 2003 for their Other People’s Songs tour.  In this show, there were no covers (yes, no ABBA, no Blondie), but they weren’t missed at all.

This was the fifth time I’ve seen an Erasure show, and I think this was one of their best and most engaging shows yet.  Singer Andy Bell was definitely glad to be back in Toronto (“Toronto always makes me horny”).  Andy looked extremely fit and basked in the audience’s gaze, while keyboardist/guitarist/producer Vince Clarke looked dapper in red and black behind his gargoyle-like keyboard.  

They had an attentive audience that soaked in their new songs like “When I Start (To Break It All Down)” (which is bound for my chart), “A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot” and “Fill Us With Fire”, which may be some of their best songs in the last 10 years, and fell contently into place next to their hits.  And what choices of hits they were!  “Blue Savannah”, “Drama!”, “Ship Of Fools”, “Chorus” (view a clip of the song from the show at the top of the blog), “Love To Hate You” (I was singing every word to those last two), “Chains of Love”, and “A Little Respect”, and even something a little more obscure going back to 1986, “Push Me, Shove Me”, which most of the audience didn’t know (but I did since I have the Wonderland album).  Their 90 minute set closed with the glorious “Oh l’amour” and, naturally, “Stop!”.  

While a replay of greatest hits isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, when it’s this well done (despite some poor sound) and highly entertaining, then I’ll gladly have Erasure coming back again and again.  The set certainly exceeded my expectations.

Frankmusik’s new album Do It In The A.M. is due at last on September 27, and to get word out in person, he’s opening for Erasure on their entire North American tour.  Vince and band performed a 45 minute non-stop set that not only set the stage for Erasure, but showcased the clever singer/songwriter/producer’s repertoire and some of his inspirations. So he mixed in older songs like “Better Off As 2”, not only with excellent new songs like “Do It In The A.M.”, “Struck By Lightning”, “Ludicrous”, and my favourites of the evening “Wrecking Ball” and “No ID” (featuring his gal Casey Carlson subbing for Colette Carr), but with either sung verses from noteworthy hits “You Can Call Me Al”, “Disco Inferno”, and “Music Sounds Better With You”, or well-placed samples of Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me” and Daft Punk’s “Around The World”.  Frankmusik wrapped the audience up tightly in his set and the unpredictability of it won them over.  The cheerful club party vibe and Frankmusik’s eagerness to please made for an exceptional set.

Last week, we saw the premiere of the video for “No ID” by Frankmusik and Colette Carr.  I’m so glad some of today’s videomakers are looking back to not too long ago (well, maybe before they were born but not me) for simple stories, inspiration (in this case a certain movie from the 70’s) and positive attitude with some fun choreography.  If it doesn’t put a big smile on your face then back to bed with you!  Watch in particular the scenes with Vince and Colette in the video below.  And there’s a familiar male dancer in the blue sweater with Boy Robot glasses…

Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)

Tuned-On! Top 30 #360 – August 29/11 plus new music from Darren Hayes, Florence & The Machine, and Adam Tyler

The bi-weekly Tuned-On! Top 30 looked to be going in a topsy-turvy direction this week, so the only way to contain all of the insanity was to take some good listens to my favourite songs.  As much as I’ve been obsessed with Ro Danishei & Simon Curtis’ sensational “Wicked Baby”, it debuts in the stratosphere at #3.  That leaves “Just Once” by Databoy (#1) and “Made Of Pop” by Eric Saade (#2) to hold court for a second time as the last full month of summer comes to an end.  Judging from the activity below, topsy-turvy may be the expression that stays intact in two weeks.  Not surprisingly, “Laser Guns Up” by Simon Curtis is the fastest riser, blasting up the chart 16-4, while the breezy “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People arrives at #5.  Be sure to check out the free euro-trance Skeet Skeet Show remix too.

Four out of the next five songs in the Top 10 are movin’ on up.  In any other year, these songs would be destined for #1, but because of competition some may even fall short of the Top 5!  Bright Light Bright Light’s “Disco Moment” climbs to #6, while Ro Danishei hangs in the Top 10 with a second hit, “Prey To The Beat” at #7.  I can’t get “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera out of my head, so it continues up to #8, and NYC late night contemporary disco is in the form of “Prisoner Of Love” by Jessica 6 featuring the unique vocals of Antony Hegarty at #10.

Trying to break through the Top 20 are more songs on the rise.  The Shook remix of “Multi-Millionaire” by Penguin Prison climbs to #12, and while we’re in anticipation of the self-titled PP album, I’m debuting the smoking Dirty Vegas remix of PP’s “Fair Warning” at #24.  Amazing new L.A. singer Matthew Kurz jumps 21-15 with the stunningly beautiful “Fix Me”, while Wynter Gordon’s party anthem “‘Til Death” continues to move up to #16.  A cornerstone of the 21 album is Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain”, which rises to #17, while the infectious “Never Will Be Mine” by the duet of Rye Rye and Robyn jumps to #18.  The man-who-would-portray Jeff Buckley, Reeve Carney, inches up to #20 with “Rise Above 1”.

Don’t be fooled by small moves by “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade and the exuberant “My Fizzy Pop” by Kyle Brylin, they both have to wait for other songs to move out before moving up more.  Our last debut this week is one of the most energetic and catchy songs around, UK singer Neon Hitch with “Bad Dog” at #25.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)

Darren Hayes Times Two:  “Black Out The Sun” (video) and “Bloodstained Heart”


Well it’s fortunate for the Internet that we all get to see and hear two more songs from Darren Hayes’ upcoming album Secret Codes And Battleships.  Australia gets “Bloodstained Heart” as the second single, and it’s an intensely emotional ballad that reminds me a lot of the sentiment from “How To Build A Time Machine” and “Casey” from This Delicate Thing We’ve Made.  And if that’s not enough, the song has one of Darren’s most beautiful and affecting vocals, as well as lush instrumentation that sticks in your head.  The UK and the rest of the world gets “Black Out The Sun”, which is more familiar to Darren fans who liked “Who Would Have Thought” from Delicate Thing, as well as his Savage Garden ballads.  But the song would not be out of place next to darker tunes from Darren’s 2004 album The Tension And The Spark, such as “Unlovable” and “I Like The Way”.  It’s a sad song to be sure, but with an emotional purpose.  It looks like the rest of the songs from Secret Codes And Battleships may exceed all of our expectations!

Florence & The Machine “What The Water Gave Me”

Florence & The Machine’s Lungs was one of the most compelling releases of 2009, spawning memorable hits like “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” and “Dog Days Are Over”.  Those two hits and other songs from the album transcended the last two years thanks to the band’s touring and Florence Welch’s magnetic presence on shows like this year’s Grammy Awards.  So riding the wave of all of this is “What The Water Gave Me”, and if it’s of any indication, the sophomore album should outdo Lungs.  Like with “Rabbit Heart” and “Dog Days”, “What The Water Gave Me” is a frenzy of musical power along with Florence’s vocals which evoke shades of no less than Siouxsie Sioux, Sinead O’Connor, and Annie Lennox.  It’s scary to think that Florence & The Machine could also grab the ride that Adele got on at the inset of 2011.

Adam Tyler’s debut album Shattered Ice

It’s taken a long time to arrive, but an independent release has to be done just right in order to succeed.  I think that Adam Tyler’s Shattered Ice has a stamp of success awaiting it.  Earlier this year, we received a major taste of the LA-based singer/songwriter’s best work with “I Won’t Let You Go”, whose unique blend of affecting europop resonated through the Interweb.  The full release of Shattered Ice also builds nicely on Adam’s 2010 single release, the frenetic “Friction”.  

The album contains a varied mix of pop, dance, and three acoustically arranged versions of songs on the album, with credit to Sky Felix and his collaborators for the imaginative production.  Best of all is “Pull The Trigger”, an intriguing mix of europop and 90’s styled house carried by the phrase “bang bang baby cry”.  Hear the song at the end of the blog.  While the song does the trick in its current version, it cries out for a remix that has a screaming bass undercurrent!  Next up we have “Emergency”, an urgent song about shattered emotions that does very well in its original pop/dance mix, showcasing particularly strong vocals by Adam surrounded by some fun production tricks and instrumentation.  But it’s also available in a softer and beautiful orchestral version.  “I Won’t Let You Go” also appears in a stripped down piano version.

Also check out the intense “Music Freak”, more hearts on the sleeve in the title track, and a mid-tempo companion piece to “I Won’t Let You Go”, “Taking Back My Love”.  To me sometimes the album gets caught up in arrangements that overwhelm Adam’s voice or overshadow some of the weaker songs.  But pop music lovers will find much more to delight them on Shattered Ice.  Get it on iTunes!  “Pull The Trigger” by Adam Tyler