Heart’s desire: “Memories Of You” by @iamAlyxAnder featuring @SreyDavihaunts

ALYX ANDER featuring SREY DAVI, “Memories Of You”

It’s one of the more compelling progressive deep house records I’ve heard in a while, and it may might cause races to the dance floor.  Miami-based producer/DJ Alyx Ander brings us “Memories Of You” featuring Seattle-based vocalist Srey Davi.  Unlike so many Dance/EDM records that are about escaping or burying the past, “Memories Of You” is reminiscent of an enticing affair where you can’t get that special person out of your head.  Srey Davi’s vocal commands your attention, turning the emotions up as needed, while Alyx Ander’s mix showcases some terrific build ups to drops that you don’t want to end. It’s great to see Nettwerk Records supporting “Memories Of You” as they have a wealth of electronic music history tracing back to their humble mid-80’s beginnings which launched the likes of Sarah McLachlan.  You can pick up “Memories Of You”, along with a half dozen remixes (below, including a playful Alex Preston remix, Alyx’s own slower “day by the pool” alternative, and Banx’s sizzling, mainly downtempo take) at your favourite digital store.

#BILLCSTop30 #495 – October 31/16

The only thing scary about this Hallowe’en edition of the BILLCS Top 30 is that songs 4 to 18 are all bulleted, which means that songs are patiently waiting their turns to rise faster up the chart.  You should also know that the BILLCS Top 30 is strictly my list of favourites and the rankings are purely subjective.  Even better, these 30 songs form part of a regular 60 to 70 song playlist on my iPod – yes I have lots of faves even if they aren’t on the chart!

The Top 10

  • The Top 3 are some of my favourite songs of 2016, all holding steady, with Gramatik and Leo Napier once again holding court at #1 with the Jenaux remix of “Native Son Prequel” from Gramatik’s album Epigram.  But will it stay on top next week or relinquish it to another song?
  • I don’t know when I’ve ever had two songs from Norway in my Top 10, but the first of those is “High” by Jesper Jenset in a punchy Young Bombs remix.  It climbs 8-4 – will it be enough to get the song to the top in two weeks?
  • Songs #5 and #6 have been bookends for weeks and they continue to climb – Tritonal & Jenaux’s “Broken”, featuring Adam Lambert (ab0ve), giving NYC producer/remixer two songs in the Top 5 🙂 and Norwegian #2 Matoma & Becky Hill’s “False Alarm” (below – the Steve Void remix), which is at last making inroads at US Dance Radio.
  • Zipping into the Top 10 13-7 with eyes towards the top is “Plans” by Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette, neither of whom are strangers to the Top 10 this year.  Elephante’s “Closer” peaked at #3, while Brandyn has visited four times solo and once featured as part of Cosmos & Creature (his side project with Molly Moore), but first time as a featured solo artist!
  • Toronto’s Chet Porter brings his show back to home territory on Tuesday November 8 opening up for Lemaitre at the Velvet Underground.  His current single “Stay”, featuring Chelsea Cutler, continues to move up, 10-8 🙂
  • Also new to the Top 10 are two tremendous slices of EDM:  “In My Head” by Steve James featuring RKCB (above) rises 11-9, while “In The Name Of Love” by Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha (below) leaps 14-10.  It becomes Martin’s 4th Top Tenner following #1’s “Animals” and “Proxy” and #3 “Gold Skies”.

Movin’ On Up

  • It looks like Brandyn Burnette may land three times in the Top 10 in two weeks – which he has done before solo 🙂 – as “Closer” (from his EP State I’m In, above) glides 15-11 in a crunchy Sean Turk remix.  He also features on Molly Moore’s hypnotic “Just A Dream” (below), which is the chart’s fastest riser, vaulting 20-13.

  • It’ll take a lot for me to get sick of Torontonian The Weeknd’s epic “Starboy”, featuring Daft Punk, which jumps 18-12.
  • Bright Light Bright Light and Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic climb 19-16 with “I Only Want To Please You” (above) from BLx2’s album Choreography.  Not to be outdone, BLx2 follows it up with an EP of cover versions called Cinematography, featuring his rendition of Michael Sembello’s #1 song from the film “Flashdance”, “Maniac”, which you can hear below 🙂

  • Cole Plante looks to be headed for another Billboard Club Play #1 with “Teardrops” (featuring Bobi) as it approaches that chart’s Top 5.  “Teardrops” swiftly moves up this chart 27-21 too!
  • The only appropriate Hallowe’en song on the chart is “Skeleton” by  NYC’s Stefan Alexander, and I understand that a video is forthcoming 🙂  “Skeleton” climbs 28-22.

Three Debuts – Fun and Funky, Fun and Wacky, Fun and Dirty

  • L.A.-based producer/DJ Bobby Nourmand has outdone himself with a rework of one of his own songs.  “D E E P  In NY” takes his deep house instrumental “Deep” and adds fantastic fun and funky hip hop rhythm and rhyme courtesy of D.O.C. and Goodmorning.  It’s a striking original all over again and bows on the chart at #25.  Bobby has some fantastic news coming soon as well.  
  • Halifax EDM artist Famba has a fun and wacky debut on this chart with “Right Here, Right Now” at #26.  The extended version is a must hear for Famba’s long, enjoyable patter – point of reference for me is Eric Burdon & War’s “Spill The Wine”,  combined with 90’s house rhythms similar to classics like “Push The Feeling On” and “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)”.  It totally sustains its 7 minute length so check it out above!

https://soundcloud.com/snowmassmusic/convex-ft-titus-bad-kids-snowmass-remix

  • The second song with hip hop sharing space with EDM is Convex & Titus’ “Bad Kids”, which unto itself is a pretty cool track.  But creative Chicago remixer Snøwmass takes it several steps further making it even more fun and dirty.  “Bad Kids” arrives at #27.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

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

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesday at 9pm EST! :)

@Bannersmusic’s “Start A Riot” gets fresh EDM makeovers by @itsDaveEdwards and @Thundatraxx

BANNΞRS, “Start A Riot” (Dave Edwards and Thundatraxx remixes)

It’s rare when two remixes of a song that’s been long on the bubble come along, and you can’t really decide which one you like best.  The good news is that both are official remixes of Banners’ “Start A Riot”.  UK singer/songwriter Banners (aka Michael Nelson) has been touring North America recently promoting his highly touted EP released late last year.  And while the original of “Start A Riot” comes off as an enjoyable song that’s the next best thing to acoustic Coldplay, the remixes beg to offer up their own variations.  

NYC native Dave Edwards keeps his remix closer to the original melody as well as the pace of the song, as it gradually segues into charming futuristic deep house that allows a beautiful focus on Banners’ voice at the 2 minute mark.  

Thundatraxx is the (shhh) pseudonym for noted US producer/songwriter Eric Sanicola, who revs up the tempo a tad allowing him to incorporate an anthemic tropical vibe which serves the song nicely, keeping the song’s intention and vocal qualities intact.

So you can’t go wrong with either remix and it will be special indeed if club DJ’s can find a place for them in their playlists, which will help grow Banners’ music to an entirely different crowd.  Listen to both remixes via Spotify below.

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #483 – May 16/16

Dance music has always been present on my chart but seems to arrive in waves but also in droves.  There is so much great dance music out there, probably as much as there was around 2002-04 when worldwide flavours became more prominent thanks to online exposure.  So in edition #483, there are SIX debuts (about which I’ve already written), all in the EDM/dance vein, remixed or not!

The Top 10

  • “Care For Me” by Toronto’s Dzeko & Torres (currently touring in Europe) and Sweden’s Hellberg, and the emotional Young Bombs remix of “Lost” by B.C.’s Connor Phillips still lead the chart neck-and-neck.  Both songs are two of my most favourites of 2016 thus far.

https://soundcloud.com/maxrmusic/freeze-time-feat-alice-berg-maxr-remix

  • Manse’s “Freeze Time”, featuring fellow Swede Alice Berg on vocals, may have come out in 2015, but MaxR’s progressive remix (available for free download above) has kept it much alive in 2016, as it climbs 6-4.

  • If this were almost any other year, “The Pop Kids” by Pet Shop Boys (7-5) would be #1 on this chart.  But the songs above are preventing that from happening so a lower placing will happen, though it’s one of their best songs in years.  PSB tour North America later this year, and chances are that tickets are already gone for most of those shows (I’m going 🙂 last time I saw the lads perform was in 1991!).

  • Win & Woo and Kiso created such a warm and charming remix of Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams” that it continues to climb 10-7.  It’s all in anticipation of more music from Brandyn’s upcoming EP State I’m In.

  • Miguel is touring with label-mate Sia on her upcoming tour to a city near you, and “Waves” lands in the Top 10 this week, rising 12-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • The fastest riser on the chart this week is Elephante’s stunning original “Closer” which grows with each listen thanks to a compelling vocal by Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp.  It vaults 21-14.  Listen to the busy, futuristic remix above for free download by Virtu!

  • Dan Talevski’s “Knock Me Off My Feet” is one of those songs that just stands out when it’s played on the radio, so I hope that movement spreads to the U.S.  It climbs 23-18.

  • It’s one of the most engaging pieces of storytelling of the year, so you’d be best to download “You Fucked Up” by Toronto-based singer/songwriter Joël LeMay before it disappears!  It rises 26-20.

  • It’s as much of an EDM anthem as “Roses”, and not surprisingly “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya) is cleaning up the pop charts for the ever-busy Chainsmokers.  It moves up 28-22.

SIX DEBUTS

  • Brandon Skeie is a name and voice to watch!  “So Bad” is an immediate singalong to which anyone can connect and a cool video for the song has arrived too.  Brandon has an amazing voice which will make you smile when he uses his high register.  Watch it above and check out the dynamic free remix by EDWYNN x TIKAL and Spirix above too.  “So Bad” arrives halfway up the chart at #15!!

  • Ever since I heard this song last Fall, I was hoping it would see official release (as its singer Camden Cox has reassured me!).  And it has so be sure to pick up “Dreamin'” by Britain’s Embody on iTunes and show your support.  It’s a perfect song for a summer night on the beach, and it bows at #19.

  • It’s very reminiscent in some ways of the bigger Everything But The Girl hits of the 90’s but “Sound Of Home” by Montreal’s Sterling Grove and Ellyn Woods in its remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass has its own mysterious qualities that are likely more rooted in jazz.  The remix kicks up the original quite a bit and makes it irresistible for clubs.  “Sound Of Home” premieres at #21.

  • There are more and more producer/DJ’s showing their talent as performers and songwriters and I think that’s great.  Jenaux’s “Get It On” is totally rooted in 70’s funk and disco via 80’s new wave like Duran Duran and is meant to hit you square between your ears.  It arrives at #23.

  • “Don’t Need You” by Christofi is a gorgeous R&B-influenced house music original at its best, thanks to a fine vocal by L.A.’s J-VEN.  It debuts at #26.

  • It’s been around for a while yet, but “Burn Fast” by Bryce Fox is long-lasting thanks to a spiffy progressive tropical mix by Koni.  “Burn Fast” lands on the chart at #27.

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

http://www.planetradio.ca is currently improving its technology and my two features, “Bill’s Top 10” and “Pick Of The Week”, will return soon!

French remixers @Ofenbachmusic transform #PraiseCats “Shined On Me” featuring @theAndreaLove into a dirty house anthem

PRAISE CATS featuring ANDREA LOVE, “Shined On Me” (Ofenbach remix)

In the dance music world, you just can’t keep a good song down – the dance community has an elephantine memory!  So now, a few years after initial release, a bevy of remixes of Praise Cats’ “Shined On Me” are surfacing, and one of the best is by French duo Ofenbach.  They took the house basis of the record and expand it with low distorted vocals and a much more layered sound in stark contrast to Andrea Love’s classic Martha Wash/Simone Denny R&B vocal.  It works like a charm and will breeze by in clubs beckoning patrons to the dance floor.  Ofenbach revive “Shined On Me” with the essence of house with a difference.  Get it for free at the link above.

#Canadian dance master @FelixCartal reimagines Rihanna’s sad “Never Ending” as wistful #EDM ode

RIHANNA, “Never Ending” (Felix Cartal remix)

I’m not so crazy about what I’ve been hearing from Rihanna’s Anti album thus far, but when someone like Vancouver’s Felix Cartal chooses to re-imagine one of the songs, then that’s cause enough for a look-see.  The 2013 Juno Award-nominee is not even 30 but has been producing great dance music for almost 10 years with a focus on often using vocalists who are not a part of the dance music scene.  With remix successes for the likes of Zedd and Dragonette, “Never Ending” should help to raise Felix’s profile even further.  What is a sad ballad in its original form is reshaped into a wistful melodic ode for a reflective drive down the west coast.  It’s such a cool remix that deserves notice – no word from Rihanna’s team but give it a listen and stream/download it using the Soundcloud link above.  Club patrons will also immediately turn their ears for this one!  

 

#BILLCSTop30 #478 – March 7, 2016

A scorching new #1 and 4 debuts highlight edition my 478th bi-weekly chart since 1998 🙂

The Top 10

  • MAX Schneider’s “Wrong” hangs in long enough to score an appearance at the top 🙂  I couldn’t let all of those Prince-ly high notes get away just yet!  This is because MAX has already released a video for a song from his upcoming album Hell’s Kitchen Angel, out on April 8.  Check out “Holla” below.

  • Congratulations to The Knocks for their excellent long-awaited album 55, which was released this past Friday.  The Wyclef Jean-led “Kiss The Sky” climbs 4-2 and undoubtedly more songs from 55 will prevail on this chart 🙂

  • Troye Sivan is a vivid force on this chart with three showings:  “Talk Me Down” (below) glides 7-5, while “Wild” climbs 9-6 and “Fools” rises 17-13.  All songs are from his continually impressive Blue Neighbourhood album.  “Youth” is beckoning from outside of the Top 30 too.

  • While Simon Curtis’ redux of “8bit Heart” slips to #4, the Super 8bit Heart version of “Super Psycho Love” continues to climb 10-7 as Simon’s “Boy Robot” novel gets an earlier October release!

  • Fun on the dance floor continues as Craig David & Big Narstie arrive at #9 with “When The Bassline Drops”.  It’s Craig’s first Top Tenner here since “7 Days” in 2002.

  • The fastest riser on the chart has its designs on #1 – soon!  Canadians DVBBS and Dante Leon should be all over dance club charts – and maybe even pop charts too – with the irresistible “Angel”, which soars 23-10.

https://soundcloud.com/dvbbs/angel

Movin’ On Up

  • The Voice Season 10 has started up again with some interesting contestants, including Nick Hagelin, who I’ve written about many times and will be writing about soon again.  Clinton Washington gave an excellent showing two seasons ago and has produced some beautiful songs lately.  Despite the emphasis on my chart towards dance music, his gorgeous ballad “Frozen” rises 14-11.

https://soundcloud.com/cloudchord/jamie-xx

  • The rest of the last chart’s debuts all break into the Top 20.  The joyous and anthemic Cloudchord remix of Jamie xx & Romy’s “Loud Places” bounds 24-17, and right behind it is the Norwegian EDM grace of “Faded” by Alan Walker (featuring the gorgeous voice of Iselim Solheim) up 25-18 (both above), and rising 27-20 is the both truthful and amusing “u suck” by Minnesota’s Call Me Karizma (below), featuring a cool interpolation of “Why Don’t You Do Right” as recorded by Bev Lee Harling.

Premiering

  • It takes a lot for me to enjoy a cover version as much as or even maybe more than the original.  I love the way that Jonas Blue and Dakota have made Tracy Chapman’s  huge 1988 hit “Fast Car” into this introspective song for a highway drive along a beach coast.  And of course you can dance to it too, so I’m looking forward to official remixes!  This Top 5 UK hit should do the same on North American shores.  I particularly enjoy covers when they don’t take anything away from the original.  This one expands on that and runs with it 🙂  “Fast Car” arrives at #23.

https://soundcloud.com/voidmusik/snbrn-beat-the-sunrise-feat-andrew-watt-steve-void-remix

  • Another song for warm, late nights and dancing on the beach is “Beat The Sunrise” by SNBRN featuring vocalist Andrew Watt, as remixed by Dutch producer/DJ Steve Void.  It’s all warm and good natured for middle-of-the-night grooving and bows at #24.
  • Sweden’s Hellberg is on a breakthrough with the emotional EDM of “Synchronize” featuring a fine vocal by American singer Aaron Richards.  This is just a taste of great things to come from this talented producer/DJ and debuts at #25.

  • Miguel’s Wildheart naughtiness has caught up with me and I have completely given in.  And it makes me ask, almost belatedly, why “Waves” isn’t all over everywhere yet?  It could still happen with new remixes by the likes of Tame Impala and one featuring Travis $cott.  But I like the sexy original best and it jumps onto the chart at #26.  It’s Miguel’s first appearance here since “Adorn” went to #1 in 2013 in his UK duet version with Jessie Ware.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart. Go 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

You can now hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Tuesday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Thursday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!

 

Remixes Galore: The Rise of @MonsieurAdi

MONSIEUR ADI, Remixes and “What’s Going On” (featuring A*M*E)

Beyoncé, “Grown Woman”; Mikky Ekko, “Kids”; Bastille, “Pompeii”; Capital Cities, “Safe & Sound”; Seal, “Crazy”; Jamie N Commons, “Rumble Away”; Say Lou Lou, “Julian”; Swiss Lips, “U Got The Power”; Laura Mvula, “Green Garden”; Lana Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness”; Don Diablo featuring Noonie Bao, “M1 Stinger”; Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”.

I’m so very pleased to have heard the rise of 26 year old French producteur, remixeur, et magicien des electroniques, Monsieur Adi, over the past three years with his own songs like “We Are The Romans” and the aggressive instrumental “Chariot”, as well as initial remixes like the heavily 80’s flavoured “Situation” by New York singer Javi Silva.

Since that time, le Monsieur has gradually become the go-to-guy for unique and very personalized remixes for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Darren Hayes (who have both lavished praise upon him in social media), and Lana Del Rey among others.  He released his own EP last year called Fire Fire Fire, and it’s all resulting in an hour long A-list of remixes (which you can hear streamed above) as well as enhancing songs by newer performers like Swiss Lips and Say Lou Lou.

In particular, I’m really impressed with his takes on the new Beyoncé song “Grown Woman”, and Mikky Ekko’s solo bid for stardom after being featured in Rihanna’s “Stay”, “Kids”.  His remix of “Pompeii” by Bastille got me into that song, and it looks like the same will happen with the current hit “Safe & Sound” by Capital Cities.  But most outstanding of late has been his collaboration with young UK-based chart topper A*M*E, “What’s Going On”, below, which completely transforms one of my favourite late 80’s smashes, Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life”, with A*M*E amply filling the big shoes of Caron Wheeler.  SMASH.  And more to come, OUI OUI! 🙂

Remixes! Covers! Action!

My stereo and iPod Touch are currently being flooded with supurb male R&B voices and remixes, and as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m wondering if these are all signposts for a disco comeback?  The vibe is definitely out there and people are in such need of true feel good music.  So I have for you today some remarks on some choice remixes and cover versions (and y’all know I’m selective about the latter…).

Remixes

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE “This Is What It Feels Like” (W&W remix)

While this has quickly become a song that I can foresee being played way past the summer months, the W&W remix gives the song a really deep trance drop right at the two minute mark that is repeated later on.  These guys clearly know how to take an already great song and make it go boom on the dance floor.  If you’re not grooving to it, shame on you!

PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  “Silent Morning” (Cherry Cherry Boom Boom remix)

I’m actually loving this remix, and while it kind of abandons the freestyle origins of the song itself, it adds a different bunch of punches. They include Ryan’s hard hitting vocal at the beginning, as well as the influx of some crunchy rock guitar in the midst of a lot of fancy razzle dazzle that doesn’t overwhelm the song at all.  Not what you’d expect, and that’s a good thing for such a recognizable dance song done in style by Australian duo Parralox and American guy-on-the-rise Ryan, as I wrote about a while back.

FAITH EVANS “Love Like This” (Kwik Fiks Can’t 2-Step Remix)

Not sure if this garage house flavoured remix is designed to make you want to attempt the 2-step or not 😉 but Canadian producer/remix Kwik Fiks (still comfortably sitting atop my Top 30 with “Lifted”) has messed with Faith Evans’ 1998 smash by giving it a new set of grooves. What it might just do is make you forget what Fatman Scoop did to the song about 10 years ago, right?  This is the kind of inventive remixing that will keep ears on Kwik Fiks.  Free download, to boot 🙂

GHOST BEACH “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix)

Penguin Prison (Chris Glover) is definitely on a roll, recently with a fine remix of Churchill’s “Change” and now with something much rockier, New York band Ghost Beach’s “Too Young”.  The rock basis of the song is kept along with the terrific almost punk-ish vocals amid disco synths that will send your mind into a bit of a time trip.  It’s a really playful remix for clubs to try.

VAGUE-A-BONDE “Our Love” (Camache remix)

The original version of “Our Love”, from the Minnesota-based singer’s recently released (and reviewed) EP 222 is transformed from an other-worldly synth-laden ballad into another club mix that leans heavily on a harder rock sound along with some deliberate distortion near the end.  It’s definitely got crunch that stands out from the rest in a set.

Covers

SAM SPARRO vs DAFT PUNK “Get Lucky”

The Nile Rodgers connection thing is a-happening with what is actually such a deft alternate version of the new hit featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals.  Sam’s slick voice seduces the lyrics and those disco guitar riffs that offers its own experience which some may like better than the hit version.  Official release, pretty please?

CHRIS WALLACE “I Knew You Were Trouble”

I’ve watched this video many times over the last few weeks, and Indiana-born Chris Wallace absolutely kills this Taylor Swift cover in a live House of Blues performance that really makes you want to be a fly on the club’s wall.  The success of “Remember When (Push Rewind)” on US radio has set the stage for huge things to happen for this multi-talent, and performances like this only seal the deal.

CHROMATONE  “Fine China” and “Justin Jackson”

Chromatone is hard at work on new songs for an upcoming release, and in the meantime we are being treated to some choice cover versions.  I already wrote about the version of Emeli Sande’s “My Kind Of Love”, and now we have two videos to keep us going while we’re waiting.  “Justin Jackson” is a supurb medley of Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake songs (including JT’s recent “Suit & Tie”) with a raw vocal, that is designed to be a crowd pleaser and succeeds (gotta like his British accent amid the songs too 🙂 ).   “Fine China” is transformed in an amusing video and with a really potent vocal from him that might just make you leave Chris Brown’s original in the dust.  Watch both highly entertaining videos below.

More on Make Me Believe In Hope by Bright Light Bright Light, plus Penguin Prison, Amanda Palmer, and Rebecca Ferguson

It’s hard for me to find different ways to exude my enthusiasm for Make Me Believe In Hope, the debut album by Bright Light Bright Light, after raving about Rod Thomas’ many talents over the past two years plus.  He has literally cornered the market for smart emotional/lyrical  electronic pop music that is only rivalled by several Swedish performers who have their own take on that style.  There are five new songs on Believe In Hope, including the retro-pop/dance of “Feel It” which I showcased last week.

“Immature” is a great song for anyone in their 20’s to listen to.  There’s always a turning point in our 20’s where you wonder why you acted or did things the way you did.  Rod captures the spirit of those instances so well and so very thoughtfully.  “Moves” is a potential dance floor banger with a 90s electronica inspired melody where you can visualize a couple gracefully commanding the dance floor.  “Debris” is a brief quite pause near the end of the record like that moment at the end of a long evening where you know the night is basically done and wonder what’ s going to happen next.  And “Grace” is such a classy way to inspire hope and moving on while at the same time remaining true to who you are.

With these songs adding to the splendid mix that includes the previously released “Love Part II’, “A New Word To Say”, “Disco Moment”, “Waiting for The Feeling”, “Cry “At Films”, and “How To Make A Heart”, Make Me Believe In Hope will find Bright Light Bright Light on many Best of 2012 lists at year end.

Below, listen to Rod’s playful mashup “Disco Respect”, as well as a sparkling remix of “Waiting For The Feeling” by Vinnie Vero and Steve Migliore.

“Hollywood” by RAC featuring Penguin Prison

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison is one busy guy.  Besides relentless touring with Miike Snow (pic above from his May 1 show in Toronto) and Class Actress, DJing at festival such as Bonnaroo, and remixing everyone notable under the sun including Jamiroquai, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and more, he’s now showing up as a featured performer as vocalist on this song by RAC, who previously remixed Penguin Prison’s “The Worse It Gets”.  And “Hollywood” has a similar 70’s pop vibe that tells a story around an instantly catchy chorus.  I got to hear the band perform the song the other night at a high energy small club show in Toronto, which now makes me want a remix!  Penguin Prison also does a killer live version of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans”. Take a listen to Penguin Prison’s remix of “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons below.

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra “Do It With A Rockstar”

I had not really heard of New York born, Boston-based singer Amanda Palmer before her amazingly successful recent Kickstarter launch for her upcoming CD.  She was previously noted for leading the Dresden Dolls and for establishing ‘punk rock cabaret’.  “Do It With A Rockstar” is noteworthy as a precursor for her new project but also for its reverence to the post 80’s punk-new wave sounds by the likes of Lene Lovich, Cyndi Lauper, Romeo Void, and others, though the song’s attitude and lyrics reside mid-70’s through influences of the glam and punk rock eras, with a reference point for me being David Bowie.  It’s an engaging record, full of great lyrics, not to everyone’s taste, but recommended to those with a sense of adventure outside of the pop bubble and don’t mind some sneer in their pop veneer.  Get it as a free download from Amanda’s website with an email subscription and listen below.

Rebecca Ferguson “Nothing’s Real But Love”

While we don’t hear much about the success of UK X-Factor contestants over here, 2nd place finisher (to Matt Cardle) Rebecca Ferguson seems to be one of those unique voices that only comes along once in a while and appears destined for the same club that includes Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Alicia Keys.  “Nothing’s Real But Love” is nothing new, but a simple and direct showcase (co-written by the singer) for a voice that will absolutely wow you.  It was recently an iTunes store freebie and now I can’t wait to hear what she has to offer on her new release Heaven.  Watch below.