It’s okay to yell I’m “Not OK”, sings Nashville’s @ChazCardigan

CHAZ CARDIGAN, “Not OK”

Although you may not have seen his face in a video before, the name Chaz Cardigan might seem somewhat familiar to you from reading these blog pages.  A similarly named singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist named Spazz Cardigan released a few highly praised singles a couple of years ago that somehow never gelled, though it appears many folks nevertheless had their eyes and ears on his music.  Flash forward with record deal in hand from Capitol’s new Loud Robot imprint comes the freshly minted Chaz Cardigan with “Not OK” (yes, Chaz is his real name).  Be sure to check out the creative video which enhances the positives about not being okay, complete with tons of gummy bears, if you please.  The singer draws a lot from 90’s Beck at the start of the song, but by the end of “Not OK”, it’s become a righteous anthem that would appeal to 5SOS fans, for those times when you’re down and the world looks ugly and you need to chill.  With the big label push I think you’ll be hearing the music of Chaz Cardigan on the radio very soon.

Published in: on February 2, 2020 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Hold Me Down” is a fresh and danceable anthem from NYC’s Deerock and Wyle featuring Connecticut singer Ian Matthew @Ianupnorth

DEEROCK, WYLE and IAN MATTHEW, “Hold Me Down”

“Hold Me Down” is a pleasing mix of electronic dance and alt.rock from NYC producers Deerock and Wyle with vocal by Connecticut singer Ian Matthew.  Deerock and Wyle have remixed tracks by Sam Feldt and Two Friends, and hold their own as producers bringing out the rebellious, anthemic qualities of “Hold Me Down”.  Ian Matthew’s voice has some of the sneer of a Billie Joe Armstrong but the pop tones of a Ross Lynch (of R5 and The Driver Era), so comes out somewhere in-between with a friendly vocal that’s off to lead the charge.  The beats will work well on the dance floor while the other instrumentation amply covers the pop and rock bases.

Published in: on February 2, 2020 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Ooh!” it’s Toronto duo @CrashAdamsmusic with their tongue-in-cheek alt.pop

CRASH ADAMS, “Ooh!”

Singing and songwriting duo and my fellow Torontonians Crash Adams take you back to the 60’s days of 2 minute singles, suits and all, channeled through bands like Weezer, They Might Be Giants, Blink-182 and others.  This results in a tongue-in-cheek, slightly sarcastic portrayal in the video above, where they cruise down a street on a flaming red sofa in suburbia to share the duo’s convincing brand of mirth.  And what more can you ask for as an introduction? They nail the choreography in the video and the song is really slice-of-life and much ado about nothing except to make you smile.  I’ll be ready for the longer dose of Crash Adams for next time!

Published in: on February 2, 2020 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s 10/10 #07: @Hunternoneon @saxity @francescoyates @revelriesmusic @mahalo_dj @shuhandz @brendanreilly @mattfaxmusic @listentoTrove @spencerbarnett @deepchillsmusic @wearefury @micahthezealot @garethemery @nashmakesmusic @linneyofficial

10/10 #07

The 10/10 feature is back!! In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) ,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually. 

Writing 10/10 features means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 07

  • HUNTER and ROSHIN, “I Don’t Forget” (extended mix)

Toronto’s Hunter Siegel is known for his many No Neon club shows and for being a respected producer, DJ and remixer.    2020 brings us his latest EP I Might Forgive, I Don’t Forget, and its lead track “I Don’t Forget”, in partnership with newcomer and fellow Canadian Roshin, is a memorable, pounding, gritty deep house club banger.  It’s dark and haunting and is an easy centrepiece around which club DJ’s can build a set.  If you like music by Faithless, The Chemical Brothers, and Bobby Nourmand then “I Don’t Forget” is for you, particularly in its extended mix above.

  • SAXITY, “Forget Me Nots”

The German production duo Saxity returns and brings some long lost Patrice Rushen back to “Forget Me Nots”.  That’s because the melody of the song is long associated with its smash sample in Will Smith’s “Men In Black”.  But that was 1997 and 23 years later an uncredited female vocal in classic R&B style gives this great song new life amid the usual classy Saxity production including the requisite spiffy sax solo.  “Forget Me Nots” is a great and overdue cover choice!

  • FRANCESCO YATES, “I Got You”

My fellow Scarborough, Ontario native singer/songwriter/guitarist Francesco Yates offers a silky smooth retro-flavoured ballad in “I Got You”.  As I’ve seen several times in concert, Francesco can rock it out with the best of them but also kills it with a soft, romantic song, which we haven’t really heard since his 2014 debut on “Honey I’m Home”. And there’s a brilliant soulful falsetto as well that brings shades of Justin Timberlake at his best.  Like “Honey”, “I Got You” is tender and sincere and may be a welcome throwback to the Francesco Yates sound that most people got acquainted with in the first place.  Don’t let this one slip through the cracks.

  • REVELRIES, BOYBOYBOY and WILL CHURCH, “Fall-Out”

2019 brought us my favourite Revelries release thus far with the infectious “Don’t Think Twice” (featuring Oktavian) reaching #2 on my chart and finishing at #11 for the year.  Spicing it up with some funky touches and a staccato kind of rhythm, “Fall-Out” is a bit softer but a grower alongside other songs by the Netherlands-based Emirati production duo like “Naked” or “Handle”.  “Fall-Out” is a collaboration with production trio Boyboyboy and England-based German-born singer Will Church.  There’s a lot of instrumentation in the mix and with the mystique of Will’s vocal and a compelling melody, it all gels together nicely.

  • MAHALO & SHUHANDZ and BRENDAN REILLY, “Sweet Spot”

Coming off of his biggest record to date last year called “So Cold”, L.A.-based producer Mahalo continues to be busy making great music like his new one “Sweet Spot”.  Never one to get fixed with similar melodies and beats, “Sweet Spot” has an airy, jazzy quality about it in partnership with fellow L.A. based producer Shuhandz and a dreamy vocal by England-based American singer Brendan Reilly.  If you recognize Brendan’s voice then you’re a fan of Disclosure’s Grammy-nominated Caracal album, where he was featured in “Moving Mountains”.  “Sweet Spot” is a tidy mix that ends before you know it in just under three minutes.  Club DJ’s with a soft spot for jazzy vibes will take to this one.

  • MATT FAX and TROVE, “Animal”

“Animal” is an atmospheric release by French producer Matt Fax with vocals by one of Australia’s favourite go-to voices for dance music, Trove, known most recently for his work on Famba’s Canadian radio hit “Wish You Well”.  “Animal” has seductive, dark qualities about it, that keep getting richer until Trove’s vocal stops entirely.  And that’s when an extended coda takes over, which DJ’s will absolutely love for mixing purposes.  Though only just into his 20’s, Matt Fax has been working with all of the best labels for European house so 2020 could be the year where we hear much more original music from him.  “Animal” definitely amps up the intrigue and Trove’s vocal glides beautifully through it all.

  • SPENCER BARNETT, “I’m Fine”

Spencer Barnett is a talented L.A. teen with massive pop appeal if his latest single “I’m Fine” is any indication.  It’s the title track of his latest EP in which Spencer sings to justify why he’s okay, whereas the sullen melody may convince you otherwise.  Its moodiness captures the complex sentiments of today’s teens who were too young when One Direction peaked about 6 years ago, which makes him an instant draw for the lovelorn and heartsick among them.  His indie charm is proving successful so far though with a club date coming up in February in NYC.  So I think we’ll be hearing more from young Mr. Barnett in the coming year.

  • DEEP CHILLS and NOT FAMOUS, “Backfire”

Italy’s Deep Chills spreads his tropical vibes into the winter months for us with the savvy mix of pop and dance genres in “Backfire”.  The song features a delightful vocal by L.A. singer/songwriter Not Famous and a memorable bridge and chorus that will waste no time turning into a singalong.  Deep Chills doesn’t make you forget that the song at its production roots is a dance record so you can waste no time busting a few moves as well.  “Backfire” is a playful and bright release that deserves your attention.

  • WE ARE FURY and MICAH MARTIN, “Echoes”

“Echoes” is the hard-hitting recent single from Vancouver production duo We Are Fury from their two-song EP called Dusk, which also features the compelling instrumental, “Resistance”.  Taking cues from Illenium and Seven Lions and other progressive-minded producers, Stuart and Joachim bring Iowa singer Micah Martin on board for alt.rock atmospherics that will transport you back to the mid-2000’s heydays of My Chemical Romance and Linkin Park.  “Echoes” will be a force unto itself in a live set in the same way that Illenium’s “Blood” (from Ascend) leaves audiences spellbound.  We Are Fury definitely brings all of the goods with “Echoes”.

  • GARETH EMERY & NASH and LINNEY, “Yesterday”

Melodic dance music has a fascinating way to draw you in, and through its various iterations in the sub-genres of dance music, I hope that it will always be present.  After his return with Ashley Wallbridge for last year’s album Kingdom United, UK producer Gareth Emery continues in 2020 with the beautiful “Yesterday”.  Working with newcomer and fellow UK denizen NASH, they take a few cues from early 80’s electronic music by employing the lovely voice of American singer Linney, who is no stranger to dance music and recalls vocalists like Maggie Reilly and Annie Haslam.  “Yesterday” flows and pours out a positive message about leaving behind what should stay in the past.  It keeps you locked in for its just over 3 minutes, and then of course wanting more. 

#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station 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 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our 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 🙂

 

L.A.-based producer @Whethanmusic shows massive growth on “Stay Forever” with STRFKR @Starfucker

WHETHAN and STRFKR, “Stay Forever”

To say that “Stay Forever” doesn’t sound like anything that Whethan has offered to date is a bit of an understatement.  The 20 year-old Chicago-born, L.A.-based producer opted not to tour last year to address personal issues and record his upcoming album, probably a very wise move.  “Stay Forever” brings us an alt.rock flavoured sound to the electronic backdrop like some past releases, but the aim is a progressive edge that stands out from the rest.  Other producers like PLS&TY, Pluko and Robotaki also have made this conscious decision with results in unique music that provokes your senses and isn’t always about big synths and beats.  Whethan is paired up with veteran Portland, Oregon trio STRFKR here and their collaboration is seamless and complementary.  The full album should be a treat, and Whethan is returning to touring, but in more biteable chunks, which I’m sure will expand closer to the time of the album’s release.  

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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L.A.’s @meuBrando is back and we’re hearing double – his own “Look Into My Eyes” and @DonDiablo’s “Congratulations”

BRANDO, “Look Into My Eyes”

DON DIABLO and BRANDO, “Congratulations”

You likely first heard L.A. singer Brando’s voice on Loud Luxury’s “Body”, which grew into a massive worldwide pop and dance hit two years ago.  He’s off to a great start this year with two fine new songs, his own “Look Into My Eyes” (above) and one that will become a staple for  Don Diablo fans, “Congratulations” (below).  “Look Into My Eyes” should find its way to pop radio thanks to its interpolation of the hook and chorus of Charles & Eddie’s huge 1992 pop hit “Would I Lie To You”.  But Brando’s top notch, warm vocal connects you to the new lyrics that surround it, and the song stands alone as a result.  “Congratulations” is a snappy rave-up that you’ll undoubtedly hear at clubs and festivals throughout the winter, so remember who is singing it!  As a world renown Dutch producer and songwriter, Don Diablo has the great knack of bringing in partner performers who meld with his music and Brando is no exception.

Is “Bump This” a catch phrase of the winter? Listen to the contagious new hip hop song from @MichaelMedrano @JakeGermain_ and @Michete

MICHAEL MEDRANO, JAKE GERMAIN & MICHETE, “Bump This”

I’m not one to normally feature a song that’s basically about partying and taking drugs, and I’m no hip hop expert BUT the chorus, beat and rhythm made me do it 😛  I remembered L.A.’s Michael Medrano from his heartfelt collaboration with Steve Grand a few years ago called “Heal”, but I certainly didn’t expect the underground pop/hip hop of “Bump This”.  It’s positively contagious in a very retro way – think early 2000’s Dr. Dre or Lil Jon, or even 90’s Snoop Dogg, with a dash of what was once known as ‘whisper rap’.  Michael is joined in this salute to hedonism by two hip hop performers, Chicago’s Jake Germain and Seattle’s Michete.  The production is appropriately minimalist and all three performers acquit themselves well.  But it’s that beat and rhythm and that chorus, “bump this if you wanna get wild”, that will bring the listeners and make it blow up.  A video is much needed!!

“Circles” is fresh and new from UK teen singer/songwriter @AlfieTempleman

alfietempleman

ALFIE TEMPLEMAN, “Circles”

Call this one my stunning discovery of the weekend.  So I’m in a department store looking at clothes and a unique, chipper voice is drawing me into the infectious rhythm of his song.  It turns out that it’s 16 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alfie Templeman, who hails from Bedford, England, with “Circles” from his EP Don’t Go Wasting Time.  He fits in somewhat between two other relatively new UK talents I’ve written about, Lostchild and Benedict Cork.  Both are also indie singer/songwriters who have their own styles and can write great songs.  “Circles” is a quick go round at only 2:31 but it grabs you within its first minute with both rock and soulful tinges, and only makes you want to hear more.  So I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of Alfie’s EP and “Circles” (below) may also make you do the same.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Australia’s @Parralox gets it oh so right with reverent cover of Propaganda’s 1985 electronic classic “Duel”

PARRALOX, “Duel”

When not creating innovative original music, Australia’s John von Ahlen and his project Parralox can also create cover versions of classics and lesser known songs from the 80’s and 90’s that come within a few steps of the originals.  On Parralox’s latest album Holiday ’19, along with especially faithful covers of The Human League’s hits “Human” (a #1 in 1986) and “Heart Like A Wheel” (Top 30 in 1988), Parralox tackles “Duel”.  It’s much respected (and often thought to be untouchable) electronic classic from 1985 by the German duo Propaganda and their album A Secret Wish, still heralded to this day, and originally released by Trevor Horn’s ZTT label, which also brought us Frankie Goes To Hollywood.  The vocal for the song by Louise Love is spot-on, and John and team keep the utter essence of the song intact, down to the Fairlight synths and harmonies.  There are a few friendly digressions, and hearing “Duel” receive such a delightful update is simply a treat. 

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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