#BILLCSTop30 #532 – April 2/18

The tides are changing now that Spring is here as new favourites overtake older ones.  While we have four debuts this week on the chart, there are two songs that reach the maximum of 10 appearances – “Pineapple Skies” by Miguel (#1) and “Body” by Loud Luxury and Brando (#2) – and will depart the chart in two weeks.  We could have a slew more debuts in two weeks so watch for them.  In the meantime, chart #532 brings a new #1 while other contenders rise up as well!

The Top 10

  • The new #1 belongs to L.A.’s Alex Seaver, otherwise known as Mako, with “Breathe”.  It’s such a compelling performance and keeps you attuned all the way till the very end, and Alex can bring it in concert too.  “Breathe” also happens to be the most charted title in my 20 year chart history – 6 times – but this is the first time the title has reached #1!
  • Soaring from 8 to 3 is Norwegian singer/songwriter/ Dyrisk with “Smile”, featuring production by the UK’s Nik Ernst.  “Smile” is such a different, dark song, full of attitude and so reminiscent of alt.electronica from the early 90’s by Massive Attack and Radiohead.  
  • Another song that continues to get under my skin in all the right ways is “I Want You” by Robotaki and Manila Killa with vocalist Matthew John Kurz.  In its intense Spirix remix it climbs 12-6.  That matches the peak of Matthew’s only other previous chart entry, “Fix Me”, in 2011, while producers Robotaki and Manila Killa are both chart newcomers 🙂
  • “Perfectly Me” is UK singer/songwriter James Poole’s song about positive body image that will have you cheering gleefully with its embedded influences that seem to range from Mika to Queen.  It moves up 11-8.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is UK Top 10 smash “17” by MK (producer Marc Kinchen), which zips into the Top 10, rising 19-9.  It’s also an overdue dance club smash in North America, and should by all rights be a radio hit too.  The uncredited vocals, by the way, are by UK soul singer Carla Monroe.  MK’s Miami Music Week sets were all the buzz when I was there recently.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is “Prisoner” by Bobby Nourmand featuring UK R&B singer Laurent John, climbing 14-10.  It marks Bobby’s fourth trip to the Top 10, with new music just released and itching to be heard 🙂  I had the pleasure of witnessing Bobby’s masterful set at the Potion Records showcase at Miami Music Week.

Movin’ On Up

  • Kudos for Vancouver’s Ekali and all of his recent appearances at Miami Music Week.  His recent single with ZHU called “Blame” rises 16-12.
  • Sofi Tukker are keeping busy with touring and remixing as the April 13 release date of their album Treehouse approaches!  “Baby I’m A Queen” may be their best single yet and it flies into the Top 10, up 26-17.
  • What do you do when you’re a successful act like Years & Years, leading into your second album release with a strong song and video like “Sanctify”, but get New Order’s own Bernard Sumner to remix it!  “Sanctify” climbs 25-20, check out Bernard’s remix as well as French producer Michael Calfan’s more uptempo “Prayer” remix at the link above.  I also caught one of Michael’s excellent DJ sets at Miami Music Week.
  • Dutch production duo The Him just wrapped their recent North American tour, which means that more new music is on its way soon.  In the meantime, I got to see their engaging set at Miami Music Week, and their latest single, the soulful “White Lies”, rises 27-21.

Four Debuts

  • Yes I continue mention Miami Music Week!  It was an interesting experience that I would repeat 🙂  A song I fell in love with in a DJ set one night was “Satisfy” by French producer Mercer and featuring Chicago vocalist Ron Carroll.  I didn’t know that Mercer was from France and honestly all I could think of at the time was 70’s disco by fellow French producers like Cerrone and Don Ray, married with contemporary house rhythms.  The pace is relentless and the vocals rich and on point – just the way I like a record!  “Satisfy” bows at #22.

  • Although I didn’t go to the Ultra Music Festival, The Chainsmokers blew away the naysayers about their latest songs with what I heard from others was a dynamic performance.  The uncharacteristic “Sick Boy” slides 6 to 4, while the hip hop influenced “Everybody Hates Me” debuts at #24.  Do not underestimate The Chainsmokers – “Everybody Hates Me” will have you singing when you need to vent.

  • In an unexpected collaboration, Philadelphia singer/songwriter ROZES (she of ever-recognizable The Chainsmokers’ “Roses” vocal) and Dutch dynamo Nicky Romero released “Where Would We Be” recently, and this true-to-life song arrives at #27.  It’s the first appearance for both on the chart.  Above is their recent performance on TV’s “Conan”.
  • From his excellent album Ultraviolet, 3LAU (that’s pronounced “Blau”, as in Justin Blau) gets his first chart appearance with “Walk Away”, featuring LunaAura.  This memorable new song should prompt you to listen to the whole album in full, well worth your time!  “Walk Away” bows at #28.

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

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#BILLCSTop75Songsof2015

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

Chart: BILLCS Top 75 Songs of 2015

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

#BILLCSTop30 #472 – December 14/15

Two weeks sometimes goes by in a flash when life keeps you busy… and so we have a busy new chart as well!

The Top 10

  • So North America wasn’t being left out after all, as Adele announced tour dates, including 4 in my city Toronto – next October!  So it should come as no surprise that Adele’s “Hello” remains on top for a third appearance (that’s 6 weeks).  Have you got any money on who might succeed her at the top either in two or four weeks?

  • While Adele calls out from the other side for her former flame somewhere in California, DNCE party it up by the waves with “Cake By The Ocean” being one of 2015’s sheer delights for entertainment value alone, as it holds at #2 for Joe Jonas and company, from the EP Swaay.

  • Cali has it all wrapped up in spades with the Top 3 as it’s summertime in Los Angeles when Matthew Koma and The Knocks search for dream girl in “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” (video up top), up a notch to #3.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s “Nothing At All” cruises 7-4 to give the chart some edgy, blues-rooted progressive soul for the mind and body 🙂

  • “Black Water” by Lucien Dante lands at #5 just in time for the release of a cool, sometimes head-scratching animated lyric video that definitely helps you understand the song much more.  But it’s Lucien’s vocal that’s one-of-a-kind – alternately forlorn and sexy with bursts of joy and energy.

  • The Top 10 was cleaned out a bit with four new arrivals:
    • There’s no time in a day when the honest emotion of “Lost (Stripped)” by Brandyn Burnette doesn’t strike you.  No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re doing, the song will affect you differently, and that’s part of its beauty.  It soars 12-7.
  •  

    • I still haven’t seen “Spectre”, but I continue to revel in the amazing vocal by Sam Smith in “Writing’s On The Wall”, which rises 11-8.
  •  
    • The wonder of the vocal and lyrics in Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” always catch my attention, and in its Elephante remix the song climbs 13-9.
  •  
    • New Order acquires its first Top 10 song on my chart since 2005 with “Plastic” from the top notch Music Complete album jumping 14-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • MAX (Schneider) has another EP on deck this month called Wrong, available for pre-order on iTunes.  His pairing with rapper Jared Evan on “Ms Anonymous” climbs 15-11.

  • Clinton Washington’s soaring vocal on “Heart Beats Loud” leaps out of the speakers whenever it’s played, and moves up 19-13 for “The Voice” season 7 contestant.

  • Right behind is the would-be-bitter taste of revenge of “Over” by Goldhouse that’s set to a slamming dance rhythm.  It rises 20-14.

  • Get yourself high with “A Higher High” courtesy of pop singer Nathalie Archangel.  The Billboard Dance Club Play hit climbs 23-18.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is a song that I believe should be played everywhere and anywhere in dance clubs throughout the world.  “The Shadow Of The Moon” by Rozalla and House of Virus has great lyrics with an unbeatable hook, which is why it moves 29-19 🙂

  • Uh-oh… Matt and Kim are now on Snapchat, which can only mean many snippets of fun and mayhem, M&K style.  The frenetic 2:11 of “Make A Mess” climbs 28-21.

  • The gorgeous retro 90’s dance music rhythm and melody blessed with a Bright Light Bright Light vocal spells great things for “Lost In Feelings” by Final DJS, moving 30-23.

Premieres

  • It’s an insane mix of Portuguese lyrics (based on poetry!), an irrefutable guitar hook, and a slinky beat that will draw you on to the dance floor.  By all rights “Drinkee” by New York duo Sofi Tukker should be the talk of clubs, and I’m going to help out with that by premiering it at #20.

  • It wasn’t my most favourite song from River Tiber’s When The Time Is Right EP when it dropped this past Fall, but the hip hop/soul anchor of “Waves” and its graceful flow are completely compelling.  While former #1 “Let You Go” now sits at #6, “Waves” bows at #24 for the Toronto band.

  • Kendal Thompson appeared on this chart last year with the very catchy “Be Mine”.  The Toronto singer is back again at #26 with a soulful slice of pop that would be right up Rihanna’s alley called “Secret” from Kendal’s new EP One.  Give a listen right here.

The Full Chart

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

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

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

#BILLCSTop30 – #469 – November 2, 2015

The Top 10 is log-jammed with fine songs and new peak positions, but some will need to give way within the next few weeks to make room for all of the newcomers on the rise.  The highest debut has undoubtedly got #1 to contend with, while the other three have enormous potential and debut a little lower than usual because of the songs with which they are currently competing.

The Top 10

  • River Tiber’s “Let You Go” has a comfortable lock on #1 – for now – despite the incredible activity below.  The song’s stellar performance and rich, soulful vibe help define it!  Other songs from the EP When The Time Is Right are also sinking in, such as “Waves”.

  • It’s been a steady pace for songs that are totally different but have been bookends these past few weeks.  Continue to dance your a** off to “Let You Go” by The Chainsmokers & Great Good Fine OK, which arrives at #2, while the beautiful and thoughtful “Pain Told Love” by Tribe Society & Kiesza moves up to #3 (ironically where Tribe Society’s predecessor band Gentlemen Hall peaked in 2013 with “Sail Into The Sun”).

  • And here’s Brooklyn’s Great Good Fine OK again in the Top 5 in a great pairing with St. Lucia on “Something To Believe In”, which climbs to #4.

  • I was very early on “The Other Boys” by NERVO featuring Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers.  It holds at #5 here but in better news has reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart.  I like it when my ears ring early on a song and this happens 🙂  Watch the new video above!

  • Brandyn Burnette’s enduring “I Wanna Be (Free)” leaves the chart after a mandatory 10 appearances (20 weeks), but until his new Made Of Dreams EP (which I will continue to preview) arrives in two weeks, the heartfelt “Life’s A Beach” will keep your attention at #9.  It’s available for free from Brandyn’s website from his mixtape called The Bright Side.

  • Can you say Food Fight? 😛 The second new entry to the top 10 is the rollicking “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE, led by one Joe Jonas.  It soars 17-10.  Pleased to say I got a ticket to their Toronto show on November 18 🙂 “Cake” is culled from the new EP Swaay.

Movin’ on Up

  • It’s Koma Koma time!  Now a Top 10 Billboard Dance Club Play hit – I’m another early adopter on this one too! – “So F**kin’ Romantic” by Matthew Koma continues to climb up to #11.

  • And three places below, we find talented Matthew again, in a pairing with talented production duo The Knocks, with the rhythmic and dreamy “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)”.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, charging up 24-14.

  • Toronto singer Diego Gomes has a new EP called The Beginning due this month.  Until this new music arrives, we have the chipper and winning single “Bow Tie”, which climbs 21-17.

  • New Order is definitely on a roll with new single “Plastic”, which I anticipate will arrive on international dance charts very soon.  It moves up 25-19.  The enduring band has charted four times on this chart since its inception in 1998 – “Crystal” got to #2 in 2001, followed by Get Ready album tracks “Rock The Shack” (#12) and “Turn My Way” (#16), and then “Krafty” reached #5 in 2005.

  • Marianas Trench’s latest album Astoria is now on release and “One Love” is a delightful change of pace for them, recalling the diversity of 2009’s similarly conceptual Masterpiece Theatre.  “One Love” climbs 23-20.

Those 4 Debuts

  • It should be no surprise that “Hello” by Adele is at the top of the debuts, crashing in at #15 with #1 high on its radar.  Adele’s pristine vocal leads a song that anyone can identify with and should garner her a Grammy.  This bodes extremely well for the upcoming album called 25.  This is one song that will continue to sound grand over and over again.

  • At #25 is the bitter but danceable “Over” by Chicago-based EDM performer Goldhouse, which I wrote about not long ago.  You’re guaranteed to be singing this one after one listen!  Pick up the “Over” EP on iTunes.

  • At #26, is a song that I think is a perfect companion to Adele’s “Hello”.  “The Voice” contestant Clinton Washington will make you swoon with his soaring vocal on his independent release “Hearts Beat Loud”.

  • The last debut at #27 is from an EP that I’m enjoying a whole lot.  I was fortunate to see MAX (Schneider) recently in concert, and he’s a ball of energy who is extremely well-connected with his fans, even jumping into the audience to perform in the centre of the crowd.  The title track from his EP Ms Anonymous also features a nice break by talented rapper Jared Evan.

The Full Chart

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

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

#BILLCSTop30 #468 – October 19, 2015

Despite a bit of a busy spell which meant much less blog posts than usual since the last chart, I hope to make up for that during the next two weeks!  The chart continues to be busy with a new #1 and four debuts.  So without further adieu…

The Top 10

  • “Let You Go”, the R&B-infused single from River Tiber’s When The Time Is Right EP, garners the pole position.  It’s River Tiber’s third jaunt at #1, following 2012’s “Someday” and 2013’s “The City”.  But Tommy Paxton-Beesley is definitely on the right track with his new songs; River Tiber’s recent performance at Adelaide Hall in Toronto to me was a personal best!  Folks, be sure to check out When The Time Is Right on iTunes.

  • Zipping all the way to #6 we go for a new Top 10 entry from Brooklyn’s Great Good Fine OK, who also reside with The Chainsmokers at #3 with the other “Let You Go”.  “Something To Believe In” is the compelling duet with St. Lucia full of gorgeous vocals and instrumentation.  It’s from GGFO’s EP 2M2H.

  • Vancouver’s Tyler Shaw is on point with his current single “Dizzy” from his debut album Yesterday.  You can hear it all across Canada on the radio (all the more reason for international readers to find this out with online radio links).  “Dizzy” climbs to #7.

  • Venturing into my city for a concert with a serious of guest singers is Disclosure, who with Sam Smith glide up to #8 with “Omen”.  It’s their third Top Tenner following last year’s #1 “Latch” (with Sam) and #10 “F For You” (with Mary J. Blige).

  • Also new in the Top 10, following that infectious seductive piece of business called “Guilty As Sin” (which peaked at #3, and falls off the chart) is a soft and sinewy number called “My Religion” by Toronto’s Dan Talevski, climbing 18-9.  Canadians continue to boom in the Top 10, with River Tiber, Tyler Shaw, and Dan all aboard (Dan also co-wrote Tyler’s previous single “House of Cards”).

Movin’ On Up

  • Sugar can get stuck easily but with a little persuasion it can be moved.  After holding at #13, “Sugar” by Robin Schulz and Francesco Yates continues to advance up to #11, with its amusing slapsticky video well worth watching.

  • While Brandyn Burnette’s #1 “I Wanna Be (Free)” had a deservedly phenomenal ride on this chart for the last 20 weeks, it moves down to #2 and will depart the chart, leaving room for the heartfelt and catchy “Life’s A Beach” to continue to rise.  It leaps 22-12.  A reminder – it’s available for free from Brandyn’s website as part of The Bright Side Mixtape.

  • Dance clubs totally get it and the so song is headed for the Top 20 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart.  Matthew Koma’s “So F**kin’ Romantic” moves up 17-14 – more Matthew to come!

  • Can you say DNCE?? Well if you like to DNCE then you can say it 😛  Joe Jonas’ new project is well on its way with the carefree “Cake By The Ocean” climbing 25-17.  Check out the new video above, which is light years away from The Jonas Brothers.

  • Like Brandyn Burnette and Great Good Fine OK, Sam Smith has two entries in the chart, the latest being the theme from the upcoming James Bond movie “SPECTRE”, “Writing’s On The Wall”, which moves up 23-19.

  • “Bow Tie” by Diego Gomes (another Canadian!) gets far too easily stuck between your ears thanks to a snappy vocal and clever lyrics.  It rises 27-21.

Premiering

  • Leading the debuts is “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)”, a special pairing off DJ/producers The Knocks and singer Matthew Koma at #24.  Despite its title and subject matter, it’s a really clever song with a laid back, dreamy melody.  It’s the second appearance for The Knocks on this chart, following their 2013 cover of M83’s “Midnight City” with Mandy Lee (#8).

  • Arriving for the first time since 2005’s “Krafty” (#5) on this chart is enduring UK quintet New Order, one of my favourite bands of all time who have recorded many must-have’s in my book – “Blue Monday”, “The Perfect Kiss”, “Fine Time”, the list goes on and on.  Their latest album and first for Mute Records is Music Complete – their best IMO since 1989’s Technique.  “Plastic” is the second single, which bows at #25.  It’s New Order creating dance music at its best, drawing from numerous influences through the 70’s to their own music and perhaps even Bernard Sumner’s 90’s side project Electronic.  Turn it up loud and move those feet!

  • Bowing at #28 is a duet between 17 year old Swedish star Zara Larsson and new UK sensation MNEK with “Never Forget You”.  The pairing is just dynamite, and I predict great things for both song and singers.  Readers of this blog know that I’ve written about MNEK several times since 2012, when the talented singer/writer/producer – who recently co-wrote and sang on Madonna’s “Living For Love” (!) – was also just 17.  He’s since been similarly behind the scenes for UK #1’s by Oliver Heldens, Little Mix, and Duke Dumont, too.

  • Rounding out the chart at #29 is the latest single from Years & Years’ still-stunning debut album Communion.  The gorgeous ballad “Eyes Shut” debuts as long-lasting #1 “Shine” leaves the chart.  It’s the group’s fourth chart entry also following “King” (#1) and “Desire” (#7).

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

It’s GREAT to have brand new music from @NewOrder: “Restless”

NEW ORDER, “Restless”

After the resounding success of their 2013-14 touring which coincided with the release of the Lost Sirens record (additional songs recorded at the same time as 2005’s Waiting For the Sirens Call), it was inevitable but still GREAT to have New Order back now with new music.  “Restless” is the lead single from their upcoming album Music Complete, due in September.  For fans like me, “Restless” is everything you knew to expect from New Order that you really enjoy about their music.  It doesn’t carve out new territory, but shows how visionary the band was to create their own sound in the alternative dance music sub-genre which has turned out to fit like a glove, anywhere, anytime.  This release also continues to show that while we may miss Peter Hook’s influential and resilient bass work, after over 30 years together it is time to move on.  I can’t wait to hear Music Complete and some of the rumoured collaborations on the record (Brandon Flowers, La Roux, among them).  You can buy “Restless” on iTunes now, but if you pre-order Music Complete, you will get it for free.

Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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EDM treasure trove: 11 songs by @Parralox on “Aeronaut”

PARRALOX, Aeronaut

You’ve already read my recent rave blog post about the New Order-meets-Human League flavoured title song from Australian duo Parralox’s latest Aeronaut (featuring backup vox by the other member of Parralox, singer Johanna Gervin).  And John von Ahlen is one busy guy, with another record called Subculture coming later in the year.  Wearing both 80’s inspiration and today’s technology on his sleeve, John incorporates his original style with far too many elements and sounds of the last three and a half decades or so to identify.  And it makes Aeronaut a pleasure to hear (and dance to!) throughout.  

Right after John’s remix of “Aeronaut” comes “Atmosphere”, which is going to take you back music and sound-wise to the days of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Trevor Horn indulgences.  It’s got a huge boom to it and could easily mashup with “Relax” or “Two Tribes”!  “Do You Feel What I Feel” happily channels industrial dance of the 80’s reminiscent of Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb, while the lighter “Mystery” is right up Thompson Twins territory.  “Somebody II” (in original ballad or dance remix form) is a perfect companion to Depeche Mode’s own “Somebody”.  And the album closes off with the innovative and progressive instrumental “Zero”, which stands beautifully next to such recent releases as Giorgio Moroder’s “74 Is The New 24” or Pet Shop Boys’ “Axis”.  

So if you long for the halcyon 80’s days or are interested in hearing songs outside of the mainstream but essential for clubs, then Aeronaut is for you!  Well done to John and Parralox, and Subculture will definitely have my attention when it arrives!  Check out the beautifully shot video for “Aeronaut” above (ahhhhh Paris how I miss you!).

Rocking On: New Order, David Usher, Magneta Lane, and Final State

neworder2

New Order, Lost Sirens

I had the pleasure of attending New Order’s October concert in Toronto, my fourth time seeing the now-quintet but the first time since 1993.  New Order created some of my most favourite music of the 80s and early 90s – “Blue Monday”, “The Perfect Kiss”, “Temptation”, “Fine Time” among others.  While the group no longer had Peter Hook’s one-of-a-kind bass playing in the mix, the diversity of their 30-year repertoire plus the bang-0n addition of bassist Tom Chapman and the return of keyboardist Gillian Gilbert to the fold all took precedence (multi-instrumentalist Phil Cunningham had replaced Gillian for the Get Ready album).  It was probably the most entertaining and tight New Order show I’ve seen, with Bernard Sumner a particular joy on stage, the most communicative and appreciative the band has been.  They announced at the show that Lost Sirens would be dropping in January, this set consisting of songs that didn’t make the final cut for the 2005 swan song with Hook, Waiting For The Sirens’ Call.  There is so much great music out there in storage that none of us will ever hear, so I’m pleased that New Order chose to raid their vaults.

Lost Sirens is more than simply impressive as the group’s 9th album, even though it won’t see the light of the same kind of hype that a brand new album would be given by its record company.  While the songs may not have fit into what they wanted in ’05, 8 years later they are highly contemporary while remaining definitively New Order.  It doesn’t get much better than “Shake It Up”, which would normally be a New Order song that would take off in dance clubs.  “Hellbent” has some driven guitar work and effects, while other songs like “California Grass” and “I’ve Got A Feeling” change up the mood as you might expect in any New Order album.  Bernard sounds as fine here as he did in concert.  So I hope Lost Sirens isn’t the last we hear from New Order.  Peter Hook is also on tour playing songs from Joy Division’s records.  Perhaps Bernard and Peter will bury their differences for at least one more album together, who knows?  You can stream Lost Sirens in its entirety at Rolling Stone’s website right here.

davidusher12

David Usher, “Operator”/”Répondez-moi”

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t written about David Usher in these pages over the last three years.  Having seen him about a half dozen times in concert and heard all of his albums, with many favourites I play regularly (“Black Black Heart”, “Blinded”, “Kill The Lights”, “The Music”, and more) I am having some difficulty connecting with his 8th solo album Songs From The Last Days On Earth.  It’s essentially a mellow side of David that reminds me most of his debut solo album Little Songs, recorded in 1998 when he was on a break from his band Moist.  

I guess I prefer a mix of edgier rock and soft songs from David, but I’m glad he’s released “Operator” as a single from Last Days On Earth.  It has that familiar theme of wanting to call and talk to someone, but not getting through, but with a difference – it’s the end of the world.  It’s a song that features one of David’s best vocals on the album and hopefully will help reignite my interest in it.  Residing in Montreal and being bilingual, he’s been taking advantage of recording songs in French (most notably “Je repars” – the French version of “I’m Coming Down” – with Quebec chanteuse Marie-Mai two years ago), so “Operator” is also available as “Répondez-moi”.  Listen to both below.  If David is on tour, you can’t go wrong by checking out his show and his 14 year song catalogue.

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Magneta Lane, Witchrock

Savvy Toronto indie scenesters will know all-girl trio Magneta Lane from their three previous releases, which were all recorded when they were teens between 2004 and 2009.  When you thought that too much – well too much everything – had done in the band, they have resurfaced with the four song EP Witchrock.  Since I hadn’t heard their early material, I’m treating Witchrock anew.  Led by singer Lexi Valentine and featuring bassist French and drummer Nadia King, Witchrock is a bona fide throwback to post-punk women of the early 80s like Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, and Joan Jett.  The band also cites singers like Courtney Love and Patti Smith as inspiration, but with a three-piece band it’s hard not to think of The Runaways, but with a modern twist.  Teaming up with producers  Rick Jackett and James Black of Finger Eleven, Witchrock delivers a sparse but highly melodic sound that showcase’s Lexi’s forthright vocals.  The best songs within are the scathing “Burn” and the bass-led rave-up “Lucky”.  Witchrock is due for release on February 12 and the trio will be performing at Toronto’s The Rivoli on February 14.  Watch the teaser trailer below.

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Final State featuring Laurence Pagé, “Make Up Your Mind”

Every now and then I come across some bilingual songs from Quebec performers and I wonder why they can’t cross over to the rest of Canada.  The latest is “Make Up Your Mind” by Final State, the Quebec City quartet led by singer Rick Pagano.  Add female singer Laurence Pagé (noted for a viral cover of Flo Rida’s “Whistle”) and you have this insanely catchy slice of sincere and danceable pop/rock reminiscent of groups like The Midway State that deserves a wider audience.  Watch the video below and see why!

Random but Interesting: iTouch Shuffle

This random selection helped make a long drive into work bearable on Tuesday morning…

  • Anna Domino “Summer” (1986) from album ‘Anna Domino’
  • Blondie “Call Me” (1980)
  • Roz Bell “Night To End” from album ‘October’
  • Searchers “Love Potion Number Nine” (1965)
  • New Order “Mr. Disco” (1989) from album ‘Technique’
  • Dan Black “Wonder”
  • Raspberries “Go All The Way” (1972)
  • Howard Jones “And Do You Feel Scared (Eric Prydz mix)” (2006) a redux of “Things Can Only Get Better” 20 years later
  • Mika “Blame It On The Girls”
  • Jay-Z/Linkin Park  “Numb/Encore” (2005)
  • Kane Gang “Gun Law” (1984)  see video below from album ‘The Bad & Lowdown World of The Kane Gang’
  • Thunderheist “Jerk It”
  • Alicia Keys featuring Tony Toni Toné “Diary” (2004)
  • Alicia Keys “Harlem’s Nocturne” (2004)

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 3 (200-151)

Let’s see – a few amazing dance anthems/comebacks (“It’s All True”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Night Of My Life”), a solo debut (“Like I Love You”), two songs that re-entered my chart (“Last Train Home”, “You Want Me Don’t You” – the latter as a remix), doubles from Rufus Wainwright, Coldplay, Kanye West, and Marianas Trench, plus wondrous stuff from Tyler Hilton, iio, Darin, Blue Man Group, Mans Zelmerlow, Gary Go, Jamiroquai, Josh Kelley, and more!

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments!