#BILLCSTop30 #512 – June 26/17

The Top 10

  • L.A.’s Axel Mansoor acquires another rare feat on this chart in his second appearance at #1 with the pensive “Wasted My Love” (above).  He scores a simultaneous Top 5 entry with the soulful post-breakup song “Out Of My Head” (below), which also has designs on #1 but I’m afraid may have to wait its turn.  The best thing about all of this is that both songs are available for free download – get ’em while they last!
  • Charlie Puth’s bass-laden “Attention” climbs to #2 and appears to be the successor to “Wasted My Love” at the top, but we will see in two weeks…

  • Not to be discounted, Philadelphia’s NiGHTS keep it going, rising 5-3 with the quirky and infectious indie release “P A R T Y”.
  • Bubbling under the Top 10 has paid off for “Never Been Better” by Dutch producer/DJ Steve Void, which climbs 11-8, becoming Steve’s second Top 10 solo entry following “Chemistry” (#10) earlier this year.
  • UK producer Murky arrives at #9 with the lovely “Heavy-Hearted”, featuring Polish singer Anuka, currently available as a free download.
  • And another free download gives L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand his second Top 10 entry, “D U S T”.  It follows the #1 hip hop/EDM grabber “D E E P in NY”.

Movin’ On Up

  • There aren’t many ‘story songs’ on the dance music scene, but one that works very well is the tell-it-like-it-is “Silent Games” by Lars Beck & Henri Purnell featuring Hawaiian vocalist Zekt.  It climbs 16-11 and is also a free download!

  • Besides Axel Mansoor, Martin Garrix is the other performer in the chart who has two entries.  The fun instrumental club banger “Byte” (above), with fellow Dutchman Brooks, soars 19-12, while Martin’s pop collaboration with Troye Sivan on “There For You” (below) moves up 29-22.

  • Welcome To The Hotel’s indie pop release “Darlin”, featuring vocalist Brandon Serafino, gets transformed with a clubby sax break by remix duo Saxena, and climbs 22-15.  It’s available as a free download too!
  • The fastest riser on the chart should come to you as no surprise.  Cosmos & Creature are BILLCS Top 30 chart veterans Molly Moore and Brandyn Burnette with their best collaboration yet “Bad Drug”, which vaults 26-17.
  • One jam you should definitely give a chance is Anton Ewald’s “L.I.L.Y.” (Like I Love You), which climbs 27-20.  Check out the flashy ‘all Anton’ video directed by his fiancée.

  • Singer/songwriter/actor Reeve Carney continues on his club tour in North America to support his debut album Youth Is Wasted.  From that album, the soulful and gritty “Truth” moves up 28-21.

Three Debuts

  • The highest debut on the chart at #23 looks to be a long-term favourite of mine for 2017, the joyous “Astronauts”.  It’s a collaboration between three Danes and a Scot and it’s absolutely magnetic.  It will be hard to remember the artists – Christian Boye & Christian Sigvardt & MAGNÜS featuring vocalist Uhre – so best to go pick it up at your favourite digital store now!

  • The second debut is the first appearance on this chart by Las Vegas’ Killers since 2009’s “A Dustland Fairytale”.  Brandon Flowers are back in the form that we enjoyed them best with their new wave/disco splashed “The Man” at #27.

  • One half of the UK X Factor contestants Same Difference, which achieved some popularity domestically, is singer Sean Smith, who is now solo with the gorgeous “Magic”, which has international club potential thanks to a thoughtful remix by Andy Sikorski.  “Magic” bows at #28.

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

 

“Gunshot” is potent new music from Toronto’s @Blajkofficial

blajk2

BLAJK, “Gunshot”

After belatedly finding out out about their 2016 EP Limited with a recent focus on their hypnotic song “Lethal”, Toronto’s Blajk are back to follow it all up with “Gunshot”.  The first minute is deceptive with Jordan Radics’ voice in a higher key that makes you think it will be a slower pop song.  That leaves us unprepared for the rocking crunch of drums and stormy synths that follow which you might find more at home in an Imagine Dragons song.  But Jordan’s voice returns to his intense deeper tones, stepping up the urgency and mystery that is attractive about “Gunshot”.  Can’t wait to hear what this talented quartet will offer us next.  Check out “Gunshot” at the Spotify link below.

Blajk plays in the NXNE festival at Toronto’s Port Lands on Saturday, June 24.

Published in: on June 17, 2017 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #511 – June 12, 2017

The new chart is definitely shakin’ and stirred – many songs make big leaps while other favourites tumble.  Yet there somehow is still room enough for four debuts.

I’m not sure if this has ever happened before on my chart in its 19 year history, but the both new #1… and the fastest rising song on the chart… belong to one performer, who happens to be L.A. indie singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor.

The Top 10

  • The sweet-voiced pop/R&B singer who tells it like it is climbs to #1 with a song that draws you in from first listen, “Wasted My Love” (up top).  And not too far behind at #8 is his follow up, the lovely and resolute “Out Of My Head” (below), the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 21-8 in its second appearance.  They are both free downloads for now so pick them up while you have access to them 🙂  Axel is a talent who won’t go unnoticed!
  • Also making a huge move 15-3 is a number one contender, “Attention” by Charlie Puth, becoming his highest placing song on the chart thus far.  That R&B bassline seals the deal!

  • I still can’t get enough of Alesso’s “Falling”, which is up a notch 5-4.

  • The song that moves up 11-5 has a wonky kind of charm with its rhythm, matched up with a soulful vocal with a dash of grit, and a chorus that will get stuck in your head and stay there.  It’s by Philadelphia duo NiGHTS with “P A R T Y”.
  • L.A. based producer/remixer Spirix is getting comfortable again in my Top 10, following last year’s #5 “Take Me Apart” and a #1 remix of Brandon Skeie’s “So Bad”.  Paired with Floridians Xuitcasecity “Runaway” has a lot of charm and climbs 8-6.

  • L.A. pervades my Top 10 with Virginian transplant Eddy Faulkner obtaining his first Top Tenner here with “Cruel” moving 12-9.  Though his voice is front and centre, I love the rich backdrop of production that surrounds it.

Movin’ On Up

  • It’s hard to stop listening to a song that’s been out for a while but has a killer vocal and rhythm track.  That happens to be “Never Been Better” by young Dutchman Steve Void, which continues to rise, up 14-11.
  • One of the most downright intriguing songs of the year is “Silent Games” by German producers Lars Beck and Henri Purnell, with vocals from Honolulu native Zekt.  Remixer UOAK recently gives it a lush deep house flavour while retaining the song’s mystery.  Get it for free at the link below.  “Silent Games” rises 20-16.
  • Martin Garrix and his Dutch bro Brooks move up 24-19 with their hard-to-ignore instrumental “Byte”.  And joining it on the chart is “There For You”, with Martin’s other bro, one Troye Sivan, and it bows at #29.

  • The other two debuts from two weeks ago will be contenders in the coming weeks.  I honesty never thought Shawn Mendes would appear on my chart but he’s here with the Bryan Adams-ish “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” up 27-21, while right behind it is the Saxena house remix of “Darlin'” by Welcome To The Hotel featuring singer Brandon Serafino, climbing 28-22.

The Remaining Three Debuts

  • Despite Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore’s own many chart entries, their duo Cosmos & Creature lands on the chart with an original, the total winner “Bad Drug”, at #26.  CnC first appeared on the chart as featured in Vicetone’s “Bright Side” about a year ago.
  • Sweden’s Anton Ewald returns with just his first name but also with a very hot R&B-influenced song (and a flashy, all-Anton video), “L.I.L.Y.” (aka “Like I Love You”) at #27.  It’s his first appearance in about two years, and all of his songs that have appeared in this chart have reached the Top 10.  “L.I.L.Y.” looks like it could follow that trend 🙂

  • He’s played Spider-Man on Broadway, and both Dorian Gray and Rocky Horror’s Riff Raff on TV, but before all of that he was a NYC local with his brother in their band Carney.  Reeve Carney finally has his debut solo album out called Youth Is Wasted.  I got to see his set and meet the man a few weeks back, and “Truth” is a highlight from the set and the album, arriving at #28.

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

“Walking” continues a positive pop/rock sound for @SteveGrandmusic

stevegrand8

STEVE GRAND, “Walking”

Chicago’s Steve Grand returns with a retrospective lyric video on his last four years of success and growth with his new single “Walking”, from his upcoming untitled second album.  It’s essentially a continuation of good timey songs like “We Are The Night” from his debut album All-American Boy, most noted of course for its break-through title song from the summer of 2013.  Steve has in turn broken away from a country-flavoured sound in favour of universal, enjoyable pop/rock.  “Walking” doesn’t really offer anything new per se, but it’s the aftermath of a lot of soul-searching and personal realization for Steve during the last few years which has strengthened him as a person enough to bring us this song.  So put your troubles aside, let loose and enjoy this fine singer’s progress to the next phase of his career with “Walking”.

For the first 7 days, 100% of the net proceeds of “Walking” will go to Rainbow Railroad – a charity with the mission to “help Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans individuals find a safe-haven from state-sponsored violence, murder and persecution.” For more information – https://www.americanrainbowrailroad.org/please.

Published in: on June 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #510 – May 29, 2017

 

The Top 10

  • I’m enjoying my fellow Torontonians Loud Luxury & Ryan Shepherd’s “Something To Say” far too much for it to depart #1 after one appearance, so it stays ahead of a few others for another chart.
  • Looking to ascend to the top next week is the gorgeous “Wasted My Love” (above) by L.A.’s Axel Mansoor, vaulting 9 to 2.  Even better, Axel has one of four debuts with another beauty, “Out Of My Head” (below) arriving at #21.  Axel has one of the best new voices of the year and his songwriting is on point!
  • Also arriving in the Top 5 is Alesso’s huge club hit “Falling”, moving up 6 to 5.

  • It’s turning out to be a massive hit, and Zedd and Alessia Cara’s “Stay” continues to climb, up 7-6.

  • “I Wonder” by The Him and vocalist LissA is a real earworm, climbing 8-7 – you’ll find yourself singing and humming and dancing to it for days 🙂

  • New to the Top 10 without much surprise is “Sign Of The Times” by Harry Styles, which continues to gain fans after all these weeks of release thus far, and rises 11-9.

Movin’ On Up

  • The infectious independent release “P A R T Y” by Philadelphia duo NiGHTS continues to soar, up 17-11, as a third single “B R E A T H” is released.
  • Charlie Puth follows up the Top 5 duet with Selena Gomez “We Don’t Talk Anymore” with his new bass-laden pop hit “Attention”, which is the fastest riser on the chart, rocketing 23-15.

  • UK producer Murky along with Polish singer Anuka climb 20-16 on this chart with a beautiful EDM ballad “Heavy Hearted”, which is available as a free download.
  • Bobby Nourmand’s latest “D U S T”, which is also a free download, continues to look promising as it climbs 24-19.
  • Our final debut from last week is the intriguing “Silent Games” by German producers Lars Beck and Henri Purnell, and featuring vocalist Zekt, who hails from Honolulu.  It rises 26-20.

The Remaining Three Debuts

  • Martin Garrix returns to the chart for the first time since last year’s collaboration with Bebe Rexha “In The Name Of Love”, which got to #10.  This time it’s with fellow Dutchman Brooks on the rollicking instrumental “Byte” (and a very flashy video) which arrives at #24.

  • Shawn Mendes grew up about 20 minutes from where I currently live in Pickering, Ontario.  He has his first BILLCS Top 30 chart entry with “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” which bows at #27.  And it’s a danceable affair this time; so far the NOTR remix has been released, but others are coming!

  • Welcome To The Hotel’s independent single “Darlin'”, featuring vocalist Brandon Serafino, gets a boost from a saxxy Saxena remix, which arrives at #28 and is available to download for free.

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

Rock ‘n roll glory meets the emotion and pain of “Benny” by #Toronto’s @SmashSatellites

SMASHING SATELLITES, “Benny”

As it starts of with a delicate beginning followed by a deliberate drum beat, “Benny” by Smashing Satellites then launches into one of the most ferocious bars of music that the band has written.  Like with past efforts like “Waterfall” from 2015’s Sonic Aluzion, “Benny” is a personal, emotional song, but like none other we’ve heard from Salvatore Costa and his band mates.  “Benny” was written as Sal came to grips with his recent addiction to Benzo’s – and who would have known other than those close to him? – as is best explained by him on Smashing Satellites’ Facebook page this past week:

“Welcome to my nightmare. At 21 years old a began a scary love affair with Benzo’s that lasted over 8 years. Like most people, I started taking it to “even” myself out… to make the grueling tour schedule a little easier and to help put on a happy face for everyone while I was slowly dying on the inside a little more every day until there was nothing left of me but an empty smile. I wrote this song in the thick of my addiction right before I gained the strength within to decide to pull the plug and face the battle of quitting. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It took over a year of recovery and therapy, most of which I was in physical agony… feeling like I was dying. I was one of the lucky ones though.”

It’s a cathartic, angry song with a perfect rock ‘n roll backdrop, and I’m so glad Sal, now the father of a very young daughter, chose to share it with fans as it could help others too.  Now onward to a new EP this summer called White Elephant, and hopefully some more concerts, where we can get out and support one of the warmest and caring individuals I know in the biz.  Listen at the link above and then pick up “Benny” at your favourite digital music store.

Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“We Can’t Stop What’s Coming” brings back the distinct voice of @TheThe’s Matt Johnson, from new documentary

THE THE , “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming”

Some of my favourite alternative rock and dance music of the 80’s was written and performed by London’s Matt Johnson, better known to you as the constant behind The The for more than 35 years.  I was also fortunate to see The The perform in Toronto in 1990 (and it seems maybe one other time).  The The returns as the subject of an upcoming documentary called “The Inertia Variations” with “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming”, in tribute to Matt’s late brother Andy.  It’s a captivating, gentle song about getting older and realizing there’s not much time left to accomplish what you want.  The The has often laid out controversial issues front and centre in its songs and videos, so one should expect nothing but honesty and realism here.  In the video you’ll even see flashbacks to early The The videos such as “This Is The Day” and “Infected”, and Johnny Marr returns to contribute guitar work to “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming” too.  I hope this new song is the start of more new music from The The after more than a decade’s absence.  Matt’s voice sounds older and resigned in this song but as warmly engaging as ever.

Singer/actor @ReeveCarney’s diverse album “Youth Is Wasted” yields rhythmic and radio-ready “Truth”

REEVE CARNEY, “Truth”

While you may not know his name, you’ve almost certainly seen singer and actor Reeve Carney in recent years (his great uncle was Oscar-winner and comedian Art Carney).  I first wrote about him back in 2011 when he won the lead on Broadway as Spider-man, whose theatrical soundtrack offered the uplifting and catchy “Rise Above 1” as a single featuring Bono and The Edge from U2 (I saw the fine play when I was in NYC but Reeve didn’t perform that evening).  He’s played on and off in New York with his brother in their band Carney, and has more recently become better known as Dorian Gray in HBO’s “Penny Dreadful” and bringing a new spin to Riff Raff in the TV remake of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” last year.  But Reeve has never been away from music, having built his own studio, and his debut album Youth Is Wasted was released late last year.  It’s full of jazz-tinged, classic-rock-bred originals with a unique whimsical side – Rod Stewart meets Amy Winehouse via Paul McCartney.  My favourite song this far is an album track called “Truth”, a rhythmic, somewhat bluesy, but lyrically edgy song that shows off Reeve’s alternately soft or raspy but wide-ranging voice, reminding me a lot of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, and it’s very radio-friendly.  Reeve is currently on tour supporting Youth Is Wasted, so get a taste of what he has to offer by checking out “Truth” at the Spotify link above.

Reeve Carney plays The Drake Hotel in Toronto on Saturday, May 27 and I will be there 🙂

Reeve Carney

Published in: on May 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #509 – May 15/17

For the first time since March, following “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, which stayed up top for 4 appearances (8 weeks) as did Brandon Skeie’s “So Bad” last summer, there is a new #1 on the BILLCS Top 30, and a few more contenders bubbling below!

The Top 10

  • My fellow Torontonians, Loud Luxury and Ryan Shepherd ascend to the top with “Something To Say”, their brilliant deep house rework of Craig David’s “Fill Me In”.  It’s the first time since another fellow Torontonian finished out 2016 at #1, that being The Weeknd with Daft Punk and “Starboy”.
  • Mahalo and Cat Lewis continue to rise in the Top 5 as the rollicking “WTFYWF” arrives at #3.
  • One of the most unique songs out there in every good sense of that word is Brandyn Burnette’s “Manifest”, and this song from his third EP Feature Films jumps 7-4.

  • Eyeing the Top 5 and the top of the chart is Alesso’s huge club hit “Falling”, which moves up 10-6.
  • The sweet soul of L.A.’s Axel Mansoor lands in the Top 10 with “Wasted My Love” climbing 12-9.

  • L.A.-based producer Spirix gets his second Top 10 hit here with “Runaway”, featuring pop/hip hop duo Xuitcasecity on vocals, to make an addictive blend of EDM, pop, soul and hip hop.  It bounds into the Top 10 soaring 17-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • Harry Styles looks to be the bona fide pop star formerly of One Direction, as “Sign Of The Times” from his new self-titled album winds its way up to the outskirts of the Top 10, rising 15-11.
  • L.A.-based singer/songwriter Eddy Faulkner is halfway up the chart with his first entry “Cruel”, a slick blend of pop and dance styles with rich production, moving 18-15.
  • Check out Steve Void’s fun new video for “West L.A.” below, as I’m hardly done yet with his previous single “Never Been Better” (above), which climbs 21-16.  The memorable, commanding uncredited vocal is by British singer Grace Tither.

  • The fastest riser on the chart has one of the quirkiest hooks around which will grow on you big time.  With its blend of soulful pop and EDM, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS vault 29-17 with “Party”.
  • NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method have announced upcoming tour dates in (natch) NYC, but also Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston, which is always a great way to feel the energy they bring to their music.  “I Need You Now (The More You Leave)” is from their second album The Glass Hour, and rises 24-19.
  • They co-produced “Break Up Every Night”, a song on The Chainsmokers’ album Memories… Do Not Open.  The trio Captain Cuts joins The ‘Smokers on the chart with “Love Like We Used To” (Young Bombs remix), climbing 27-22.

Debuts

  • 25 year old singer/songwriter/producer Charlie Puth is back with a song from his upcoming second album.  “Attention” is as infectious as it gets, with a slightly dirty and soulful rhythm to counter Charlie’s knowing vocal.  It bows at #23 and becomes Charlie’s 4th entry on the chart, the last being “We Don’t Talk Anymore” (with Selena Gomez), which peaked at #5.
  • L.A. producer/DJ Bobby Nourmand grabbed a #1 song here earlier in the year with the crazy “D E E P In NY” (featuring great verses rapped by D.O.C. and Goodmorning).  He returns with the first bright light of summer for those of us in colder climates called “D U S T”.  It’s a mini-epic for a long drive up a sandy beach on a clear night, and bows at #24 – and it’s Bobby’s gift to you as a free download 🙂
  • New to the chart are Germany’s Lars Beck and Henri Purnell with their deep house production “Silent Games” featuring Hawaiian vocalist Zekt at #26.  This mix of EDM, soul and folk styles will catch you immediately and draw you in with Zekt’s classic way of unfolding a story.  You can get “Silent Games” as a free download for a limited time.

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

“Line”, Latvia’s Eurovision entry by @TrianaPark receives a saxxy transformation by @Stan_Sax

TRIANA PARK, “Line” (Stan Sax remix) (free DL)

Germany’s Stan Sax is no stranger to these pages or my personal chart, having one of my favourite songs of the year with “Brothers” as part of duo Saxity, and adding trademark sax work to broaden the appeal of last year’s bubbly but inauspicious “Vague” by Fabian Luttenberger.  “Line” was this year’s Latvian entry for the Eurovision contest by the quartet Triana Park and regrettably this radio-friendly tune, a Top 10 hit in Latvia, didn’t move on to the upcoming finals.  But Mr. Sax has turned “Line” a bit inside-out and sideways, anchoring the song in a slower rhythm which gives it a more alt.rock vibe.  And of course there’s lots and lots of sax, and the melody and rhythm become a much more free-flowing jam session, making it quite the surprise by the end.  I often say that fine songs can receive some drastic but creative transformations and Stan Sax has a winner with “Line”, which you can download for free at the link above.