It’s swirling in the air around you – “Magical Thinking” is the outstanding new album by L.A.-based producer @Shalloumusic

SHALLOU, Magical Thinking

I’m not much into listening to full albums these days.  But in the electronic dance music world, on occasion there are some special ones that come along, and I’m thinking of those in recent years by the likes of  3LAU, Illenium, Shoffy, and Tritonal among others.  You can easily add Shallou’s debut album Magical Thinking to that list.  And it’s funny because the music of the L.A.-based producer otherwise known as Joe Boston had not really resonated with me before.  Magical Thinking isn’t much of a party album, it’s a thoughtful, lyrical, often danceable, and deftly structured release with sometimes ear-dropping production that deserves to be heard all of the way through for full effect.  It has major contributions that all work in their own ways from The Knocks, Grammy-winner Daya, Ashe, and Bob Moses (who co-produced “Fading”).  The songs I will steer you to for starters are “Good Together” (featuring Ashe singing with Shallou, who has a soft but earnest voice himself throughout the album), the highlight which will simply warm your heart; “Make Believe”, which has a James Blake vibe about it; and “Mutual Love”, with a really sweet vocal by Zachary Knowles.  After a number of years of releasing singles and remixing others, Magical Thinking definitely assures Shallou his proper place in the electronic dance artist world. Fans of 3LAU’s Ultraviolet album will find Magical Thinking to be equally appealing.

Published in: on April 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Someone Else” is an alt.rock flavoured surprise from the dynamic pairing of @Rezz and @Grabbitz

REZZ and GRABBITZ, “Someone Else”

I always enjoy how adventurous the dance music genre can be, sometimes pulling in styles from the least expected places.  Toronto-based, Ukraine-born festival staple Rezz pairs up with L.A.-based singer/producer Grabbitz for “Someone Else”.  And it’s one dynamic pairing as the two draw heavily from the 90’s alt.rock era – don’t tell me you can’t hear Kurt Cobain in Grabbitz’s vocal.  This makes it a taut and unpredictable electronic track instead of a big banger, going in a similar direction that Whethan has taken with his recent songs with grandson and STRFKR.  So in lieu of dance clubs being closed, if I was the record label – hello Sony – I’d be heavily promoting “Someone Else” to indie/alt.rock radio and potentially tapping into a new audience.  I think we’ll need another Rezz and Grabbitz project in the near future, too!

 

Published in: on April 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“All We Have Is This Moment” is a song for these times by L.A.-based singer/songwriter @CSHIROCK

C.SHIROCK

C.SHIROCK, “All We Have Is This Moment”

It’s not a new theme by any means, and the song was likely inspired by something specific, but “All We Have Is This Moment”, the latest from L.A.-based singer/songwriter C.SHIROCK couldn’t be more fitting for these times.  It’s been proven many times over that songs about seizing that moment can inspire people.  And when it’s sung with such a melt-worthy voice as Chuck Shirock’s (which I wrote about a few months back), the sentiments can sink in that much deeper.  A lot of us currently have too much time on our hands in this locked down world, so now is definitely a good time to make the most of it to do what you can to feel good and care for one another.  C.SHIROCK’s “All We Have Is This Moment” is certainly one of the most appropriate companion pieces to these times that you will hear.

Published in: on April 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UK singer/songwriter @JazzMino lays it all bare when reminiscing about those “Old Friends”

JAZZ MINO, “Old Friends”

Reminiscing comes with its good and embarrassing moments, as UK singer/songwriter Jazz Mino relates to you in her latest single “Old Friends”.  Some of those friends will always hold fond memories, but then there are the ones who created unnecessary drama and fostered a toxic relationship – the ones that we don’t need and don’t want to see again.  So for those ones, Jazz Mino offers a “hey”, but also the proverbial musical finger – you know the rules, don’t piss off a songwriter, or they may just write about you!  It’s all set to a jaunty beat to which you can sway, with a top notch vocal from the singer which reminds me at times strangely enough of new Country vocalists like Maren Morris.  But “Old Friends” is pure pop through and through. You’ll be able to identify with the storyline, putting those folks in the past and let the memories of them fade in the years to come.

Published in: on April 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #585 – April 13, 2020

I’m using this bi-weekly chart feature to take a moment to check in with you all to make sure you are doing well and staying safe.  It’s also a reminder that music is a huge distraction for everyone, so when you’re not checking out new stuff to hear, be sure to take the time now to dip into your own personal catalogue of favourites.  I’m fortunate after so many years to have a wide selection of vinyl albums, 45’s, 12″ extended mixes, cassette tapes, CD’s and Mp3’s at my disposal.  So when you feel you have nothing to do, or feel like you’re cleaning the house for the 10th time this week, put some music on either as background or to help transport you to be where ever you want!

It’s really turning out that my #1 song is very apropos for these times.  Chicago producer Whethan and Toronto singer/songwriter grandson combine forces for the alt.rock/dance frenzy of “All In My Head”, which takes the top spot for a second appearance. This one really deserves a shot for play on alternative rock stations.

Right behind once again at #2 are the gentle intentions as spelled out in “Backfire” by Italian producer Deep Chills with L.A. vocalist/songwriter Not Famous.  The arrangement the vocals make “Backfire” distinct in these times when many dance songs use the same formula.

Gareth Emery’s “Yesterday” (above), with fellow producer Nash and LA vocalist Linney, climbs 5-3, while the British producer’s follow-up, independently released single “You’ll Be OK” (featuring Annabel, below), from his upcoming album The Lasers, rises 29-21.

Like Gareth, Russian producer Arty has two fantastic songs on the chart.  Not only that but he contributed to the Beatport online festival a few weeks back with a dynamic DJ set.  “Daydreams” (above), featuring singer Cimo Fränkel in the Sultan + Shepard “echoes of life remix”, jumps 6-4, while the anthemic, much needed vibes of “You’re Not Alone” (featuring singer Griff Clawson, below) is the Fastest Riser on the chart, soaring 22-13.

I’m absolutely loving Porter Robinson’s latest reinvention of his style as “Get Your Wish” (from the upcoming album Nurture) rises 11-5.

And it’s another big jump for the Highest Debut from two weeks ago, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” by L.A. producer The Prizm featuring vocalist and co-writer/producer ARTFCAL.  It wastes no time leaping 13-6. ARTFCAL has been in the Top 10 twice before under another name… I will leave that reveal to another time.

After contributing to both Beatport and Digital Mirage online music festivals, we must tip our hat to one of the current young masters who does his own thing like no one else – Montreal-born, NYC-based A-Trak.  His song with UK producer Friend Within called “Blaze” climbs 12-9.  A-Trak also contributed to one of the debuts which you’ll find out further down.

Shawn Hook is another performer investing some time to participate in online concerts.  The B.C. native zips up the chart 17-10 with his Canadian radio hit “I Don’t Wanna Dance”.

UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson is gunning for his next Top 10 entry – amazingly, all of Sam’s songs that have appeared in the chart have thus far reached the Top 10.  But for now, amid the competition, the stylish sounds of “Diamond Skin” climb 18-12.

Don Diablo was also a part of last weekend’s immense, memorable Digital Mirage festival.  His song “Congratulations”, featuring vocalist Brando, rises 19-14.

The Highest Debut arrives at #16 – a song that I wasn’t even sure if would make my chart when I wrote about it a few weeks back.  But I understand its song structure better, and both its melody and emotion have crawled underneath my skin big time.  It belongs to Nashville producer Super Duper with “All On You”.

Also offering more personalized online broadcasts is L.A. producer Mahalo, usually on Instagram.  Try to catch his sets when you can, and in the meantime, the Danny Quest remix of “Tongue Tied”, in partnership with Disco Killerz and vocalist/songwriter Brandyn Burnette (EMAN8) moves up 25-19.

As “Starlight” slowly makes its departure from the chart, the second song featuring NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry is on the rise.  His third release with German producer Levi called “Lost Boy” leaps 27-20.

The second debut this week is an interesting one from a couple of different angles.  It’s called “So Ready” by former Tony! Toni! Toné! vocalist Raphael Saadiq and lands at #24. The first item is that Raphael sets a record of longevity between chart appearances.  His last entry on the chart was “Get Involved”, with Q-Tip – which got to #21 in 1999!  And that’s 21 years – to the EXACT WEEK, strangely enough!  The second item is that “So Ready” enters the chart as “The Brothers Macklovitch remix” – the Macklovitches being Canadians Alain and Dave, aka A-Trak and one-half of Chromeo!  It’s a fun, speedy, classic house mix that doesn’t let up.

The third debut belongs to “Bummed” by L.A.-based, Canadian producer Chet Porter and Aussie wunderkind Alison Wonderland at #26.  This early 80’s DIY inspired release is the first appearance for Chet on the chart since 2016’s “Stay” (with Chelsea Cutler, #6), and the first time Alison Wonderland has graced the chart.  Both performers also provided immensely enjoyable sets for the Digital Mirage online festival last weekend, and you can find them both on You Tube under the Proximity channel.

The BILLCS Viral Weekly is back 🙂 and will indeed be a weekly feature despite not appearing last week (again *groan*).  Some of the songs will change every week, particularly those by bigger name artists, and it will always include a mix of newer and independent artists with those who are more popular.  Check it out below!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Emirati duo @Revelriesmusic and US producer @SamSmyers partner again for the snappy, hook-driven “End Up Like That”

REVELRIES and SAM SMYERS, “End Up Like That”

Emirati producers/songwriters/musicians Revelries are becoming masters at creating snappy, hook-driven songs, with current case-in-point being “Fall-Out”, which is residing in the Top 10 of my personal chart.  Last year, their song “Don’t Think Twice” reached #2 and was my #11 song of the year.  So they’ve reunited with US producer Sam Smyers from that song and the result is “End Up Like That”.  Like any of the recent Revelries singles, “End Up Like That” sticks in your head thanks greatly to a solid, appealing (if uncredited) vocal.  There’s a driving deep house beat to carry the song straight to the dance floor, and lots of layers in the production to keep the sounds deep and interesting.  “End Up Like That” is simply another winner waiting to be heard.

Published in: on April 13, 2020 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Norwegian duo @Richellomusic make a splashy return with radio-friendly “All We Are”

RICHELLO, “All We Are”

The social media for Norwegian producers/remixers Richello went quiet in early 2016, some time after what was once a duo became a one-person project.  The break proved fruitful so for the first time in about 6 or 7 years, Richello is once again a duo.  And with major label deal in hand, “All We Are” sounds like it should be both an immediate pop and dance radio hit.  The first thing you’ll notice are the good-timey vibes and synth flavours which are a throwback to the start of the decade.  The second thing you’ll notice is that the song has a few bars that are quite similar to The Wanted’s huge 2012 hit “Glad You Came”.  And while some songs have been interpolating lyrics of other famous songs into their choruses and such, this comes as no surprise, even if unintentional.  It all works and the vocals give that friendly anthemic punch that will sound great in the summer months.  So it should be ‘all systems go’ for Richello with “All We Are”!

Published in: on April 13, 2020 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Caroline” continues Toronto duo @CrashAdamsmusic’s rocking slice-of-life songs

CRASH ADAMS, “Caroline”

Following up the brief but infectious single “Ooh!”, Toronto duo Crash Adams have released another rocking slice-of-life in the form of “Caroline”.  I like it when I can hear influences that go back to the 50’s (Buddy Holly, Big Bopper) in the songwriting.  Even though that’s so long ago, it set the foundation for AM radio pop of the 70’s.  “Caroline” wouldn’t have been out of place in any of those decades, or even the turn of the 2000’s alongside alt.rock bands like Fountains Of Wayne (RIP Adam) or American Hi-Fi. It’s got a fresh, timeless, and highly likeable sound that will go over well in concert.  I for one will be very happy with an EP or album full of this engaging power pop, so Crash Adams are definitely on to something.

Published in: on April 13, 2020 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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California electronic producer @JayB1rdmusic dips into a heavier, rich electronic sound with “Silent”

JAY BIRD and DNAKM, “Silent”

After a few online chats late last year, I’ve been very anxious to hear where California electronic producer Jay Bird (aka Jason Brown) was headed after a number of pop-flavoured dance releases over the past few years as he gradually nails down his own brand.  “Silent” takes a positive turn for a heavier, dubstep-flavoured song with a set of bleaker lyrics than usual (“I don’t want show emotion / When I’m crying out I’m broken / Everyone in slow motion”) which Jay has co-written with singer DNAKM (Donna Kim).  Having previously sung on Jay’s “Alive”, DNAKM provides the knowing vulnerability that cuts through the music and some bigger beats and synths than in the past.  “Silent” definitely allows the music of Jay Bird to reach into a bigger audience within the electronic music genres, one that is there for the big synths and rhythms, but also for the songwriting.

Published in: on April 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Run” by electronic producer @KaiWachimusic and singer/songwriter @itsDylanMatthew turns sadness into release

KAI WACHI and DYLAN MATTHEW, “Run”

Idaho-based electronic producer Kai Wachi is someone you may have encountered either performing at a big festival or supporting Black Tiger Sex Machine on tour.  His latest single, “Run”, mixes earnest sadness with aggressive release, culminating in a fierce synth breakdown at around the three-quarter mark.  He co-wrote the song with singer Dylan Matthew, whose name you will associate with songs particularly by Slander, but he’s also worked with Seven Lions, Crystal Skies, and Dabin among others.  “Run” is a pretty sad and angry breakup song that taps into a genuineness which the electronic dubstep genre of current artists seem to find inside a treasure trove of emotions for their fans.  “Run” is also pretty accessible for those not looking for anything too heavy, but there’s still lots for long-time fans to enjoy as well.

Published in: on April 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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