British producer @ZenDubmusic brings drum and bass dance music to the fore again with “Invoke” from the new album “Enigma”

ZEN DUB, “Invoke”

“Invoke” is dance music for creative thinkers, as British producer Zen Dub pulls drum and bass melody and beats front and centre for the first time in a long while. Culled from his ambitious 10 track album Enigma, “Invoke” reminds me a bit of what Tritonal were trying to achieve with their Sanskrit mantra “Shivohum” last year.  Zen Dub uses Asian influences to help make “Invoke” a unique experience, and the compelling vocal makes it more than just the average drum and bass electronic release. It’s as challenging as Disclosure’s recent releases, and the album title reminds me of the same-named 90’s project by German producer Michael Cretu which brought other styles and cultures to Top 40 radio with tracks like “Return To Innocence”. “Invoke” is a highly recommended step away from the big beats of today’s dance music and demonstrates enjoyable alternate flavours that are available for more progressive electronic music fans.

“Fly” is a commanding new progressive dance instrumental by L.A.-based producer @JerinJamesmusic

JERIN JAMES, “Fly”

The first thing I think of when I hear “Fly” is seeing a bunch of jets rise into flight. Thus, it’s a very visual and commanding new progressive dance instrumental track from Jerin James, who has brought us gems like “Birds and Bees” and “Dance Again” during the past year. But it’s always trickier to make an instrumental, and “Fly” is notable because of all of the vibrant sounds Jerin uses in the mix. Synths soar and swoosh amid some additional vocal effects, while layers of strings permeate the busy but balanced mix. “Fly” is highly recommended for creators of video games, commercials, or short films looking to sync their visuals with a song that will instantly snare viewers’ attention.

#BILLCSTop30 #618, July 19/21

If you haven’t already done so, get those dancing shoes ready for the rest of the summer because there is plenty of hot dance music of all sub-genres for you to enjoy, and part of the fun is finding out about it through sources like my blog or the ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES (see details after the post).  Once again, we have a new #1 from an artist who has been to the top before and just released a new album on Friday!!

That artist of course is Denver-based electronic producer Illenium, whose fourth album Fallen Embers dropped on Friday. While not as strong a release as Ascend, it has plenty of highlights and emotional shifts that will keep you totally engrossed.  Illenium’s recent single “Sideways”, which is now a North American dance radio hit – a bit surprising considering it’s usually harder than what dance radio normally plays – featuring Valerie Broussard’s stunning vocal and production partner Nurko.  You can also check out the album opener “Blame Myself” below, featuring an out-of-character but bang on appearance by Tori Kelly.

Trying to get a place in line for the top is the glorious “The Feels” by Cash Cash and the amazing Alex Newell, which rises 9-4. Though not a single – a strange move by the record company – it can be found on Cash Cash’s latest album Say It Like You Feel It.

Also contending for the top is “Can’t Stay Away” by Sweden’s Darin, his first English language release in about eight years. It soars 14-7.  It’s his highest peaking song since 2009’s “Girl Next Door” (#5).

I’m totally loving Greyson Chance’s quirky and infectious “Hellboy” from his album Trophies, which moves up 11-8 to become his second Top 10 on this chart following last year’s “Dancing Next To Me” (#2).

Arriving in the Top 10 for the first are social media stars Nessa Barrett and jxdn, who have two great voices that deserve attention with “La Di Die”, which climbs 13-10.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is some deep house bliss from England courtesy of Charlie Lane, Gold 88 and vocalist Kate Wild with “Give Me That” zipping up the chart 19-11.

Toronto indie pop/rock duo Crash Adams have a new personal best on the chart.  “Symphony” rises 15-12, surpassing the #13 peak of last year’s “Too Hot To Touch”.

While “Myself In You” yields the pole position to “Sideways”, “Slip Away” by French producer Kislaw and NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to build momentum, up 17-13.

“You” by Regard, Troye Sivan and Canada’s own Tate McRae is one of the more distinct songs you’ll hear on pop and dance radio, and it climbs 21-15.

The “Reprise version” of Moby’s “Natural Blues” as passionately sung by Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah moves up 24-17, from Moby’s recent album of retooled songs called Reprise.

New Toronto solo artist CMagic5 continues to climb with her recent “Love Me If You Can” (23-18) from her independent release Ready To Run.

And look who gets the Highest Debut – Ed Sheeran!! I’m highlighting this because it’s the first time he’s appeared on my chart and “Bad Habits” is one helluva way to do that, bowing at an exceptional #20.  It’s definitely one of the songs of Summer ’21. He’ll continue with the mathematically-titled albums with The Quadratic Formula, coming soon.

Premiering at #28 is one fun song that doesn’t let up, thanks to its party vibe and multi-lingual versus (sung in Portuguese, French, and African language Bambara (check out the cool video above, which just dropped today).  It’s “Mon Cheri” by US dance music mainstays and Grammy nominees Sofi Tukker in collaboration with fellow Grammy-nominated Mali duo Amadou & Mariam.  It’s culled from the new Red, Hot + Free album, which has proceeds going to three LGBTQ2S+ charities: The Trevor Project – http://www.thetrevorproject.org The Ally Coalition – https://theallycoalition.org; and SAGE – https://www.sageusa.org. “Mon Cheri” is Sofi Tukker’s first chart appearance since their 2018 #1 with Benny Benassi “Everybody Needs A Kiss” and fourth overall.

The third debut at #30 is “Back To You” by Chicago electronic dance producer Aash Mehta with fellow producer Charlotte’s ephem, a terrific house track for summer that’s guaranteed to make you dance.  Regular blog readers know I’ve been writing about Aash’s music for about five years and it’s his first appearance on the chart. 

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 🙂

ONLINE RADIO AFFILIATES

Radio GTA – listen to The Big 20 from 10pm to Midnight EST as “The Musicman” James Rogers and I bring you the latest in new songs mixed with classics and songs you haven’t heard in a while.  And on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6pm I bring you “Your Weekend Music Mix” six hours of commercial-free music from the 2000’s including many song choices from this blog.

Halton Hills Online – “Your Weekend Music Mix” has a second home on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8pm to Midnight! It’s a different mix from Radio GTA’s show, and like that one it is also commercial free, proudly brought to you by Symposium Cafe Restaurant & Lounge in Georgetown, Ontario!

Planet Radio Canada – currently on hiatus but returning in August, listen to the “3D Variety Show” with “The Musicman” James Rogers. I’m featured every Tuesday between 7 and 7:30 pm with my New Music Pick of the Week, and I also join occasionally for looks at music from our past as well as the occasional live segment.

 

India’s @Ashwynmusic is back with progressive rock-flavoured electronica called “Déjà Vu”

ASHWYN, “Déjà Vu”

Back in early May, I wrote about Indian producer Ashwyn‘s rock flavoured electronic track “Sell My Soul”, which features awesome guitar work and an intriguing story sung with a committed vocal.  Continuing to find gaps to tell his own musical story, Ashwyn has followed up “Sell My Soul” with the decidedly different “Déjà Vu”.  This one is likely to appeal to rock music fans even more than “Sell My Soul”, while still capturing progressive electronic music fans’ attention with its rich production which would sound fantastic in a stadium setting.  With a big nod to Pink Floyd, the song starts with two minutes of instrumentation before Ashwyn’s vocal kicks in to tell the story about looking outside of the box while routine and history repeat themselves. Amid the beautiful instrumentation are the sounds of a live string quartet orchestrated by Spanish composer Pedro Osuna. “Déjà Vu” is all about mystery, quality and experience, and the real instruments give the song warmth and depth. It’s hardly what you might have expected after “Sell My Soul” and might be a transitional release as a result, but there’s no denying that Ashwyn’s music can stand apart from the rest and hold its own.

SoCal electronic dance producer @JayB1rdmusic creates euphoric anthem with “Gone Tomorrow” with singer Clay Agnew

JAY BIRD and CLAY AGNEW, “Gone Tomorrow”

The path for Jay Bird continues upward with his latest release “Gone Tomorrow”.  With this track, Jay creates a second collaboration with singer/songwriter Clay Agnew (the first being 2019’s “Hold On”) that mixes nicely with other anthemic songs from the styles of Arty through to Seven Lions. Still maintaining a progressive direction, the production is richly layered and creates an inspiring and euphoric setting for a theme that we all need to keep in mind as we live our lives.  Continuing to stay one step ahead of the game, including his frequent outreach with his audience as well as fellow producers, will help Jay Bird latch on to new fans as his talents grow and evolve.

Listen to reflective and reassuring “We Know Who We Are” by @SaidTheSky and @OlivverTheKid

SAID THE SKY and OLIVVER THE KID, “We Know Who We Are”

“We Know Who We Are” is a brand new anthem for the sad boi/progressive electronica crowd courtesy of Said The Sky and Olivver The Kid.  Said The Sky (aka Denver-born Trevor Christensen) of course is part of the House of Illenium and played as part of Illenium’s band when I saw his show in September 2019, and “We Know Who We Are” is released on Illenium’s 12Tone label.  It’s got a friendly vocal by Olivver, and it’s a well-written and well-rounded song that takes the listeners through many reflective, happy, emotional times of the past, and then brings them back grounded and full of confidence with a huge singalong chorus.  With festivals and shows resuming, expect to be hearing “We Know Who We Are” regularly for the rest of the year.

Electronic dance producer @BobbyNourmand continues to challenge listeners with “FADE” from new EP “Life On Mars”

BOBBY NOURMAND, “FADE”

Ever the experimentalist, progressive L.A.-based electronic dance producer maintains his groove but with a different vision now with the songs in his new EP Life On Mars, including “SANTO”, which I previously wrote about, and “FADE”. Bobby’s new music is heavily instrumental and big on atmosphere, and would be a video artist’s field day.  “FADE” is a song that would be a segue into the wee hours at a club, in preparation of what might come during a night out.  I can picture DJ’s playing it to reach just past the two minute mark, when the only words are uttered, in a whisper – just to get that moment of awestruck silence from the audience which would then be followed by cheers.  “FADE” is an enjoyable and very creative release with an undeniably hypnotic rhythm.

Chicago’s @AashMehtamusic taps into his Indian influences for deeply personal “Ma” featuring @iamSonez

AASH MEHTA and SONEZ, “Ma”

It’s a bit off the beaten path even for the producer himself, but Chicago’s Aash Mehta is back with a personal but progressive ode with “Ma”.  The song incorporates musical elements from his Indian heritage, as well as being bilingual with both English and Hindi verses.  Most of the song is recorded at a deliberate pace with focus on a vocal by Sonez that’s subtle and strong in all the right places.  At 4:45 it is a little long but is punctuated by two solid buildups, one which really serves as the climactic moment in the song in its last 1:30 or so.  It may take a few listens but you can appreciate the unique touches by Aash and the multi-cultural moments all the more.  “Ma” is a beautiful, relatable love-letter and reinforces the need for artists to take time to make their songs personal when they can.

Toronto’s @iamDabinLee and Nashville’s @thisisMokita team up for lovely sweeping anthem “Drown”

DABIN & MOKITA, “Drown”

Even on paper, pop and electronic music fans seeing the names Dabin and Mokita in the same song know that something good has been in the works.  “Drown” is a definite winner, and happily, not a cover of the recent Martin Garrix song of the same name.  This one is an original sweeping electronic anthem about being there for your significant other no matter what.  Dabin’s ongoing association with Illenium and his core team has undoubtedly helped give him much deeper roots as a producer. He knows how to bring the mood down to touch those raw emotional nerves, and then before it gets too deep, he brings you out of it with a magnificent build up.  “Drown” also contains one of Mokita’s best vocals to date, with his voice soaring like on no other song that I’ve heard by him.  “Drown” should become a staple at EDM festivals once they are back in swing.

L.A.-based electronic dance producer @BobbyNourmand is back with the highly atmospheric “SANTO” featuring vocalist/co-writer Jessica Zese

BOBBY NOURMAND and JESSICA ZESE, “SANTO”

Aside from one single release last year, it’s been a while since the infectious grooves of Bobby Nourmand have graced our ears.  After a series of highly infectious singles in 2017-18, he’s back with a change of pace on the more progressive “SANTO”, which features new Canadian vocalist/songwriter Jessica Zese.  I’m not quite sure what it’s all about, but “SANTO” is one of those slices of atmospheric electronica that takes you by the ear and leads you deep into the night.  Jessica’s lovely voice is interwoven with the music and ambiance, and becomes the song’s siren of sorts.  “SANTO” is out of the ordinary and designed to make you ask about it, and I’ll look forward to more of Bobby’s latest artistry as it evolves.  The above version is the radio edit; “SANTO” is a 2-song single that also includes an even longer “edit” – perhaps we’ll hear the full version at some point!