Get to know the surreal melancholic style of NYC-based singer/songwriter @LisaRemar with “Fell Into”

LISA REMAR, “Fell Into”

For those who enjoy complex lyrics, with rich, melodic landscapes, then you should get to know the music of queer NYC-based alt.pop singer/songwriter Lisa Remar with “Fell Into”.  The song is deep, melancholy and layered, with rhythms pointing to the ‘boom bap’ bass-and-drums hip hop style of the 80’s and 90’s, and a basic theme of what to do and think when encountering deceptive people who only care about themselves. That creates an altered perception of those people which can be sometimes surreal and makes you question your own good judgment. Taking cues vocally from artists like Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey, Lisa has created somewhat of a maze of emotions in “Fell Into”. Half Japanese herself, in the above video shot in Japan, she finds herself alone in somewhat of a distorted reality as she comes to grips with her findings.  And if complex songs are not entirely your thing, you will definitely appreciate the beautiful qualities in Lisa Remar’s voice – fans of the precision of Sinéad O’Connor, Mariah Carey, and Ariana Grande will enjoy.

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet Indiana-born pop singer/songwriter @Jake_Schafer with “Over and Over” from his EP “The Space Between”

JAKE SCHAFER, “Over and Over”

In these days when so much popular music has so many similar qualities about it, a refreshing surprise every now and then is in order.  So meet Indiana-born singer/songwriter Jake Schafer, who has just released his EP The Space Between, which includes “Over and Over”.  It’s soulful pop that will appear to fans of The Bee Gees, Mika, Darren Hayes, and Sam Sparro among others.  Jake’s voice, particularly in his lower tones, elicits Barry Gibb vibes, and strangely in his higher tones recalls Mika more than Barry.  The music in “Over and Over” relies heavily on an infectious but basic metronomic synth drum beat.  The melody builds on its initial minimal sounds and adds ear-catching guitar and harmonies.  It all gels quite nicely and makes you wonder what’s next for Jake Schafer.

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Be Somebody” is the new uplifting anthem from @DillonFrancis featuring Australian singer @EvieIrie


If you’re looking for an uplifting anthem of encouragement, then listen no further to “Be Somebody” by L.A.-based superstar producer Dillon Francis featuring the voice of young Australian singer/songwriter Evie Irie.  Released on his own IDGAFOS label through Casablanca/Republic, and already breaking out at US dance radio, “Be Somebody” gets right down to business with a brisk rhythm that makes its short two-and-a-half minute length go even faster.  Evie Irie’s down-to-earth vocal sounds like a blend of Billie Eilish-meets-Dua Lipa, and makes you do a double-take in a ‘where have I heard her’ before kind of moment.  “Be Somebody” has a lot of innate charm and Dillon’s slick style makes it all seamless.  I prefer its “VIP” mix, but there’s a slightly pitched up one by Moodshift, as well as a busier transformation by XIE for you to check out in the EP below where you can appreciate it in all of its variations.

“Bring That Back” is the insanely catchy deep house banger from NYC producer @Gattuso_music, Israeli-Belarusian duo @asketanatchaim and Danish singer @NadiaGattas


“Bring That Back” is a new banger that’s going to quickly get under your skin and stay there.  It’s from the collective global talents of NYC producer Gattüso and Israeli-Belarusian production duo Asketa & Natan Chaim, featuring a rich and memorable vocal by Danish singer Nadia Gattas.  While the song is called “Bring That Back”, you might be temped to call it “Do You Remember”, or ask what that new song that goes “na na na na / na na na na na na” might be.  Because the deep house rhythm track and song structure are so on point, “Bring That Back” escapes being a novelty song or an insipid pop song that was intended to unwillingly crawl under your skin.  It’s a solid dance track that has immense crossover potential to dance radio airplay.

Create your own adventure with electronic instrumental “Ddos” by Watertown, NY’s @GhostData


Ghost Data is the performing name for Watertown NY native Xzaviyer Hoffpauir, who has been making his name in the progressive electronic world as well as in the video game and animé worlds with his “Dreamsynth” sub-genre and his recordings that tell the story of “The Shepherdess”.  “Ddos” is an inspiring, aggressive instrumental that will prompt you to imagine your own adventure, whether video game or animé, as set to its music.  Its dramatic, cinematic effects hold your attention all the way through, and before you know it you have a mini-movie in your head.  “Ddos” could be the start of another story, who knows, so it’s best to pay attention with what Ghost Data has coming for us next, too.

Published in: on January 11, 2021 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #604, January 4, 2021

Happy 2021! Let’s hope the worst of everything is over, and that 2021 can be used as a year of healing and revitalization. For the music industry, however, I expect things will take longer before it gets back on its feet in most of the world.  Edition #604 marks the 23rd official online anniversary of this chart, though I did post it in various forms in late 1997 on message boards, etc.

2021 starts with a new number one on my chart, and a first for all three performers.  The efforts of NYC producers The Disco Fries, L.A. producers Giiants, and vocalist Allison Park have paid off as “Give It Back” reaches the top position.  Only two of the members of Giiants have been at #1 before in their previous incarnation as DATABOY.  “Give It Back” is one helluva banger of a house track to start of 2021!

Songs #2 and #3 both fared well on my Top Songs of 2020, in fact they were back-to-back at #33 and #34.  “Tinseltown In The Rain” (Big Rhythm mix) (above) by Matt Mancid and Color Theory moves 3-2, and “Fantasy” (below) by Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen advances 4-3. Both songs will also carry over to my Top Songs of 2021 at the end of the year.

Another house banger, “Chasing Feelings” by Jerome Price and Cally Rhodes, leaps into the Top 10, moving up 14-8, with its sights set on the Top 5.

I was very pleased to see Tyler Shaw sing “Remember” on the CBC’s New Year’s Eve telecast, he’s always on his game.  “Remember” climbs 11-9 becoming his second Top 10 on my chart after 2015’s “Dizzy” (#6).

“Good At Goodbyes” from the Fun City album becomes chart regular Bright Light Bright Light’s 18th Top 10 on my chart since 2010 as it moves up 12-10.  Featured vocalist Andy Bell also previously reached the Top 10 as a solo artist outside of Erasure with “Crazy” in 2005 (#7).

It may have charted somewhat belatedly, but I’m still grooving to James Bay’s “Chew On My Heart”, and it moves up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the triple whammy of Canadian dance producers – duo Loud Luxury and Frank Walker – as “Like Gold” (featuring vocals by Stephen Puth) soars 23-14.

Scotland’s Illyus & Barrientos paired with UK singer Karen Harding is a dream team for the sophisticated deep house of “Let’s Get Together” (24-17).

“Lucid” by Japanese-British pop/dance singer Rina Sawayama makes its presence known on the chart, advancing 26-19.

The carefree and breezy sound of “All About You” moves up 28-21 for the second teaming of The Knocks and Foster The People after 2018’s “Ride Or Die”.

“Synthesizer” marks the fourth chart entry for seminal UK progressive dance group Faithless from their first album since 2004 called All Blessed.  It’s their first chart entry since 2009’s “Sun To Me” and features singer Nathan Ball.  “Synthesizer”‘s retro techno flavours matched with interesting lyrics help it become the highest debut at #24.  Although this chart wasn’t around for 1997’s “Insomnia” (which would have been a #1 for me), Faithless did reach #3 in 1998 with “God Is A DJ”.

Also in a progressive-techno vein is “Bridged By A Lightwave”, the startling single by an unlikely Canadian duo – Deadmau5 and Kiesza!  It arrives at #25, and appears in an EP along with a few remixes.  It’s Deadmau5’s first appearance on this chart, and Kiesza’s second, following 2017’s delightfully wacked out #1 “Phantom Of The Dancefloor”.

Like Deadmau5, another veteran dance music act appearing for the first time on this chart is UK legend Hot Since 82.  His album Recovery has attracted performances by the likes of Boy George and Rudimental, but it’s the intrigue of “Sinnerman”, featuring singer/songwriter Ed Graves, which helps it arrive at #27.

Making his 17th appearance on this chart since 2014, including three as featured artists, is L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette.  He’s back as a solo singer with “Airplane Mode”, the title track from his enjoyable new EP, which bows at #28.  Brandyn has also appeared on the chart as EMAN8 and in one-half of Cosmos & Creature.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

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 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 23 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 















Toronto’s @RiverTiber returns to a more progressive rock style with “Hypnotized”

RIVER TIBER, “Hypnotized”

I can’t believe it’s been almost 9 years since I first wrote about Toronto’s River Tiber, which has mainly been a studio project led by multi-instrumentalist Tommy Paxton-Beesley, though there have been a number of live performances over the years but not at least for the last three or so that I can recall.  “Hypnotized”, which is actually a two-song single, also featuring the instrumental “Rainbow Road”, is only River Tiber’s 5th single release since 2016.  But watch out, when Tommy gets on a creative roll, the fine music just pours out.  Pausing the fascination with R&B and hip hop on River Tiber’s most recent releases, “Hypnotized” is a return to the progressive rock of earlier releases out of which you can currently find When The Time Is Right and The Star Falls on streaming platforms.  Its off-kilter, blurry sounds contrast delightful jazzy elements and Tommy’s clear but laid back vocal.  His stellar guitar work sings through, especially around the halfway mark, which will make this song a treat to hear in performance. “Hypnotized” is an intriguing welcome back for River Tiber, and I’m curious where it will lead.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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After 2020, the music world needs some fun and Toronto’s @ShuffleDemons have got it with “Crazy Time”


As I witnessed at a free live show in Toronto in summer 2019, Toronto’s alt-jazz troupe Shuffle Demons are still going as strong as ever some 35 years after the seminal “Spadina Bus” became an alternative radio and video channel favourite across Canada.  The bleakness of 2020 has given the guys perfect ammunition to look on the brighter, sillier side of things with “Crazy Time”, the title song and video (above, directed by Kurt Swinghammer) from their latest album.  They choose to skewer fake news and social media stories in particular, and surround it all with their trademark three-saxophone sound, supported by drums and stand-up bass.  If you’re looking for something off the beaten path that will put a smile on your face, then seize the moment and check out “Crazy Time”.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Arizona’s @Devoramusicxo lives life fast and furious in rocking “Not Dead Yet”

DEVORA, “Not Dead Yet”

If you like your guitar-filled rock fast and furious but outside of the heavy/death/speed metal sub-genres, then you’ll find a treat in “Not Dead Yet” by Arizona singer/songwriter Devora.  She coins the phrase “outlaw pop” to describe her music, and in “Not Dead Yet” if you don’t keep up you’ll be left in the dust. It’s about living life fast and furious, and not giving up – you can still keep going because you’re not dead yet. It’s a challenge for you as the listener to buy into this philosophy and enjoy the ride, but to think about what you really want and keep striving to attain those goals even if it means travelling into the dark unknown.  Devora’s voice is Joan Jett-meets-Suzi Quatro with a dash of Gwen Stefani in her No Doubt days, and is definitely a tad left of centre from what other women are recording in pop music.  Devora’s ambitious style and the zeal in her messages should continue to attract attention in the coming year.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet London-based Ukrainian electronic producer/songwriter @Sleep_woka with “Together We Are”

SLEEPWOKA, “Together We Are”

“Together We Are” calls for a united, loving front for all music listeners around the world during these strange times.  Its passionate lyrics are brought to you by new London-based Ukrainian producer Sleepwoka, who creates retrotastic soundscapes using analog synthesizers that take you back to the early 80’s new wave days of Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. He plays on the rock elements of that style rather than fusing it with more contemporary dance or house flavours.  The vocal tones are rather simple but expressive at times in order to stress the important message of the song, which gives it kind of a ‘root for the underdog’ appeal. With only a handful of singles on release since 2019, Sleepwoka has latched onto a good thing that is worth following.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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