Two years later, “Feels Like Summer” by South Africa’s @SamuelJackmusic is a social media sensation

SAMUEL JACK, “Feels Like Summer”

With social media, you can never predict what will happen that will suddenly engage the public.  I wrote about Samuel Jack’s “Feels Like Summer” on June 30, 2019 and in the excerpt below, indicated that it was a summer winner:

Recently, the song became a sensation on Instagram reels, which snowballed into Tik Tok, and since then the song has started appearing not only on viral streaming charts, but sales charts too (I checked iTunes Canada today and the single was #82 today, which is quite good for an independent release). Well, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer song, and I hope the Instagram and Tik Tok attention will parlay into radio play for “Feels Like Summer”, which would be well-deserved. Watch Samuel sing it live (above), and now there’s are two remixes (below) too!

 

 

 

Published in: on July 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Be Somebody” is the new uplifting anthem from @DillonFrancis featuring Australian singer @EvieIrie

DILLON FRANCIS and EVIE IRIE, “Be Somebody”

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.

Outstanding remixes reboot “Tongue Tied” by @mahalo_dj @discokillerz and @EMAN8 and “Naked (With My Headphones On)” by @RatCity and @Kiesza

MAHALO, DISCO KILLERZ and BRANDYN BURNETTE, “Tongue Tied” (Danny Quest and Frank Pole remixes)

RAT CITY and KIESZA, “Naked (With My Headphones On)” (Tungevaad, VIDA and Blinkie remixes)

I’m a firm believer that in some cases official remixes can improve on a good song’s success.  Here we have two cases that clearly support what I believe.

L.A.-based Mahalo is extremely prolific and with a song like “So Cold” becoming such a major dance radio hit last year, it’s important that every release since that one must stand out.  Despite the talent in partnership with Disco Killerz and EMAN8 (billed as Brandyn Burnette), two remixes of “Tongue Tied” actually add more to enhance the original song.  Florida’s Danny Quest pumps up the rhythm with an arrangement that enhances Brandyn’s vocal (above).  And Italy’s Frank Pole lends a Eurohouse vibe that will assuredly draw dancers to the club floor (below).

“Naked (With My Headphones On)” is such a strong song by Norway’s Rat City with my immensely talented fellow Canadian Kiesza singing it, and it has endured through social media since its release last Fall.  A trio of remixes is definitely helping to reboot the song’s infectious appeal.  Norway’s Tungevaad brings a European trance flavour to the proceedings in a shorter, tighter version of the song (above).  London’s Blinkie offers similar sped up trance-y vibes while newcomer ZIDA focuses on Kiesza’s vocal and strengthens the pop appeal of the song (both are below).

If you checked out and loved the originals of “Tongue Tied” and “Naked (With My Headphones On)” then do yourself a favour and listen to the remixes too!

Let the good times roll with @BDavidsonmusic and @SeanSmithsolo scoring with “Dirty Mirrors”

BEN DAVIDSON and SEAN SMITH, “Dirty Mirrors”

“Dirty Mirrors” positively sizzles with all kinds of energy and chemistry, courtesy of Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith, both of whom you’ve read about a number of times in this blog.  It’s actually featured on Ben’s 2018 album No One Knows, but has graduated to its own EP release featuring remixes by Matt Pop and Tmac.  It is in fact the Matt Pop edit (above) that to me takes the song to the next level with a euphoric tropical vibe that is so suited to the song, and it warrants being promoted to dance clubs.  Both singers show off their versatile voices and how well they go together.  In fact, you can check out the guys singing in live performance in the video below, with Ben ever the low key charmer while Sean works up the song with the audience.

 

Published in: on November 29, 2019 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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UK singer @NickiFrenchie stirs up quite an anthem with “Raise Your Voice”

NICKI FRENCH, “Raise Your Voice” 

“Raise Your Voice” is a jubilant new anthem that indeed will have you singing along in no time, fists clenched in the air.  UK singer Nicki French follows up songs like “On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Away” and “Teardrops On The Disco Floor” (which like “Voice”, is also co-penned by the esteemed Charlie Mason) with another engaging and well-sung release that will happily lead you to the dance floor in various remixes by Matt Pop – the extended club mix – Ricardo Autobahn, and Sakgra for those of you who can’t get enough. 

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s so easy to get lost in their “Verona”: Peter Wilson and Sean Smith’s compelling duet @pete80s @SeanSmithsolo

PETER WILSON & SEAN SMITH, “Verona” and its Remixes EP

“Verona” has a such a beautiful melody at first listen that you simply must play it a few times for the rest of the song to sink in.  Once you’re hooked, it’s so easy to get lost in the “Verona” as sung in the duet of the unlikely vocal pairing of Australia’s Peter Wilson and England’s Sean Smith.  Some of you will know Peter from his fine work with John von Ahlen’s Parralox, and others will recognize ex-Same Difference’s Sean Smith from these blog pages last year when he tantalized us with “Magic” in an Andy Sikorski remix.  The voices don’t really sound like they should be together but they offset each so well other that you don’t want to wait until whichever of them sings next!  And when they sing together, it’s a perfect sonic fit.  “Verona” of course is the setting in Italy for Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”.  Here, the song is a story of a love that is losing its vibrancy only perhaps to be rekindled by the end.  With its musical influences sunk in German europop of the 80’s, “Verona” has this massive and unexpected appeal all around.  And there are even a variety of remixes to choose from, but I will tap Matt Pop’s extended version for adding a triumphant flavour to “Verona”.  Check out the original below (from Peter’s forthcoming album The Passion & The Flame) and pick up the Remixes EP on iTunes.

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Prolific Colombian producer @Flapomusic gets remixed by @CRNKN for “Us” and remixes #Tundran’s “Every Wave”

FLAPO featuring JOSH RUBIN, “Us” (CRNKN remix) (free DL)

TUNDRAN, “Every Wave” (Flapo remix) (free DL)

Miami-based, Colombian producer Flapo has been on a roll lately, cranking out some quality tunes that perhaps are a bit more off the beaten path but worthy of your attention.

His latest original, “Us”, featuring singer Josh Rubin, has been remixed by L.A. producer CRNKN.  It’s a downbeat, mellow song to be sure, but CRNKN takes it in some layered up-and-down deep house directions without losing the intent of the original.  Those who like creative remixes will enjoy this one.

Flapo himself has remixed singer Tundran’s “Every Wave” as well.  It’s an even quieter, more atmospheric song in which you can get lost while having a solo walk on a cloudy day at the beach watching the waves come in.  Its focus is on Tundran’s lyric-less crooning which helps make this remix memorable.

Best of all, both songs are available for free for now at the links above.  Enjoy!

Published in: on March 3, 2018 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Electric Nights” gets a retrotastic revival by Australia’s @Parralox

PARRALOX, “Electric Nights” (radio edit)

Some songs just live on and are transformed to have their own showcases, even if it’s years later.  Australia’s prolific Parralox revitalizes “Electric Nights” as the latest single from the same-titled 8 song EP, featuring a new radio edit, as well as a separate 12 song EP that includes the likes of remixers Pete Hammond (of Stock/Aitken/ Waterman) and Vinny Vero.  “Electric Nights” started out as a contest entry in 2003 which ultimately won Australia’s Best Dance Song of the year as sung by frequent collaborator Roxy (who sings back up on this new version).  But “Electric Nights” somehow never saw release until Parralox’s 2016 album Subculture.  Even then “Electric Nights” was perhaps lost in the weight of many strong, differently flavoured songs, and at last gets its own showcase.  Ever the learned connoisseur of 80’s and 90’s electronic dance pop, John von Ahlen, Parralox’s producer, chief songwriter, and often vocalist himself, has designed “Electric Nights” Mach III to make a big splash on dance music radio and in clubs, with Johanna Gervin’s bright vocal a key attraction.  “Electric Nights” also bridges the wait for the next Parralox album, due in 2018, called Genesis.  Add “Electric Nights” to your Spotify playlist at the link above.

Published in: on November 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s @PenguinPrison x 3, with vocals for @Gramercysound on “Unbelievable Love” and remixes for @Arizona_music and @FreedomFrymusic

GRAMERCY featuring PENGUIN PRISON, “Unbelievable Love”

ARIZONA, “Electric Touch” (Penguin Prison remix)

FREEDOM FRY, “Junkie” (Penguin Prison remix)

I definitely enjoy my doses of new music by or featuring Penguin Prison in doses of three like this 🙂  New York’s Chris Glover is back with new music following his second album, 2015’s Lost In New York, featuring on vocals with fellow NYC denizen (but a Canadian in disguise , hehe) Gramercy on “Unbelievable Love” (above) for Spinnin’ Deep no less.  This is particularly fast-paced house that will sound great in clubs at the top of the evening.  And Gramercy, also known as Justin Davey, knows his craft well and who to work with – he’s produced songs by the likes of David Guetta, Jason Derulo and Nicki Minaj.  With fine songs like “Unbelievable Love”, Gramercy is one to watch!

Returning to more familiar territory that sends me back to Penguin Prison’s other remixes, like for Ghost Town’s “Too Young” a few years back, we have French/American duo Freedom Fry with “Junkie” (below).  The catchy song, from an EP of official Remixes, gets a big boost from PP’s funky touches which do all the right things to help make this one a singalong come chorus time.

Penguin Prison also tackles an official remix for on-the-bubble New Jersey group             A R I Z O N A on “Electric Touch” (also below).  With more of a regimental rhythm and lots of high end, PP’s remix captures the magic of instant love at first touch.  This one’s an easy grab for club DJ’s to catch on to Arizona’s growing appeal and Penguin Prison’s effortless way of making his interpretations work so well.

#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016