Be sure to listen to @ChesneyHawkes’ touching song “John Lennon Lived Here”, co-written with @NikKershaw

CHESNEY HAWKES, “John Lennon Lived Here”

I enjoy songs that capture unique perspectives in life. Appropriately obtaining attention just before John Lennon’s 80th birthday was “John Lennon Lived Here” by L.A.-based UK-born singer/songwriter Chesney Hawkes. The song, co-written by one of my long time faves, Nik Kershaw (who wrote Chesney’s 1991 UK #1 and US Top 10 hit “The One And Only”), was originally included on Chesney’s 2012 album Real Life Love. It takes the viewpoint of a wide-eyed tourist in NYC who is also a John Lennon fan. NYC can be terribly intimidating to some, but to others (like me!) it’s extremely welcoming. The song’s title represents the ability to reconcile with the facts that John Lennon not only lived in but died in NYC, but that it was also where he wanted and needed to be. The subtle arrangement has several Beatle-esque moments and Chesney’s voice is in great form. Although North American audiences would see Chesney as a one-hit wonder, he is not in the UK, and has kept busy over the years with acting and reality show gigs. He belatedly and perhaps unexpectedly resurfaces again through this song and it’s most welcome indeed. It is currently in the Top 10 of the United DJ’s Heritage chart.

Published in: on October 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Heart Stop” is an infectious bass-laden rocker by Boston’s @AlmostOwenmusic

ALMOST OWEN, “Heart Stop”

Boston indie singer/songwriter Almost Owen (aka Isaac Haselkorn) has had a busy, prolific last year, releasing several singles, then two amply-filled EP’s, leading to his latest 3-song effort Felt Cute…Might Delete. “Heart Stop” is the stand out track, with its infectious chugga-chugga bass line that rides underneath a positive message about finding inspiration in yourself again and again to keep your heart beating. I find Almost Owen’s songs usually to be chock-filled with a myriad of thoughts when they hover around the three minute mark. “Heart Stop” takes a slightly different less-is-more approach and comes out a winner.

Published in: on October 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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Pittsburgh’s @ASummerHigh returns with the playful bop “London”

A SUMMER HIGH, “London”

After starting to make waves a few years ago (when I first wrote about them) with relentless touring, which included gigs in the U.K., Pittsburgh rockers A Summer High have returned somewhat weathered but not beaten – but pared down to the duo of Mason Levi and James Anthony. “London” is as good a relaunch as any. A Summer High were massive fans of 5 Seconds Of Summer, and “London” moves their sound even closer to the music of that band, albeit with early 2000’s inspiration from Blink 182 and others apparent too. “London” is about crushing on a girl in that city and hoping she feels the same way. It’s an energetic, playful bop that shows that A Summer High is back and means business – in the most entertaining way possible.

Published in: on October 6, 2020 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s “10/10” #15!: @chriswallace101 #BewareTheBear & @SeanSmithsolo @HotelGaruda @Lawsonofficial @SamDickinson @BrandonColbein @JayB1rdmusic & @ChandlerBlase @Mollydotmusic @TheTrustedband @theTysonKelly

Surprise! It’s 10/10 – Edition 15!! 

This is the first 10/10 post since August.

In 10/10,  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, and they are not listed in any particular order.  Songs by Bright Light Bright Light and Pawl & Discrete that were featured in edition #14 debuted yesterday on my personal chart 🙂

Writing 10/10 posts 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. 

  • CHRIS WALLACE, “Daydreaming”

L.A. based singer/songwriter Chris Wallace has been busy regathering his many fans, and a number of new ones too, after resurfacing this year after several years’ absence on the recording scene, though he continues to be a sought-after songwriter (such as for The Vamps). “Daydreaming”, his most recent release, is a certified bop, guaranteed to make you groove and revel in all those things you long to do. It’s delightfully straight-forward and guaranteed to offer you a great time.

  • BEWARE THE BEAR and SEAN SMITH, “Wishing On The Water”

“Wishing On The Water” is British singer/songwriter Sean Smith’s second collaboration with Portsmouth duo Beware The Bear, following last year’s “Show Me Love”, which ended up receiving international attention when featured in the TV show “MotherFatherSon”. “Wishing On The Water” is definitely a smooth, radio-ready pop song which takes a few spins before you latch onto its hook. Sean sounds wonderful in this more uptempo setting, and I’ll direct this one to the enjoyment of fans of Bastille and Coldplay.

  • HOTEL GARUDA, “Leave You”

I’ve been enjoying all four songs from Hotel Garuda’s latest EP This Tension, but have zeroed in on the playful-sounding positivity of “Leave You”. The man known otherwise as Aseem Mangaokar has taken a break from the deeper house vibes, which I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in concert, in favour of a highly danceable but more pop-flavoured sound, likely the result of working with a number of different contributing producers and writers. Despite its title, “Leave You” is about not wanting to leave someone, and the high level of energy is definitely in the spirit of loyalty, companionship, and love.

  • LAWSON, “Four Letters”

The engaging British quartet who were stars in their native country have returned this year after a four year absence with a number of solid new songs, and even performed online a few weeks ago to the delight of their fans. “Four Letters” is probably the best of these new songs, and it’s also exceedingly familiar, with a hook that is like a companion to their previous hit “When She Was Mine”. This all works wonderfully well, and in particular vocalist/songwriter Andy Brown is at his best here.

  • SAM DICKINSON, “Nothing’s True”

UK indie singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson continues to preview his much-awaited second full album Off Script, due in October, with “Nothing’s True”. This album is full of assorted soulful, danceable pop songs, and this new one does not disappoint. Taking big cues from 70’s and 80’s disco and UK soul, “Nothing’s True” contains a sharp vocal and some excellent guitar work which make this one stand out in Sam’s growing repertoire.

  • BRANDON COLBEIN, “Mean To Me”

“Mean To Me” by California-based singer/songwriter Brandon Colbein is a fascinating new song about staying in a flawed relationship when you don’t know what else to do about it. It’s catch line is “I let you be mean to me because of what you mean to me” – and that’s a real dilemma when you may be choosing your idea of love over your own well-being. Some people stick it out in that relationship and succeed; others do not. Brandon often zeros in on affecting topics that have different perspective. The song features one of his best recent vocals, and you can find other songs that he’s written, but not recorded himself, through recent releases by Zayn, Liam Payne, Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani, among others.

  • JAY BIRD and CHANDLER BLASE, “Storm”

“Storm” is an atmospheric, quieter lyrical slice of electronica from California producer Jay Bird and featuring the gentle voice of Chandler Blasé. It continues Jay Bird’s transition into a producer and performer whose music will appeal to fans of Illenium, Crystal Skies, Said The Sky, etc. more than many of his previous songs. The song is sung from the perspective of a lost lover who knows that her special someone will be out there for her whether or not she makes it through her “storm”. Its hopeful message will definitely resonate with listeners and the music is solid and restrained.

  • MOLLY., “Paradise”

“Paradise” serves as a song of reassurance for many people whose mental health has taken its toll during the pandemic. Molly. is a new singer/songwriter and guitarist from Lancaster, England whose vocal tones are reminiscent of Florence Welch and Sigrid, while taking cues from classic songs by the likes of Fleetwood Mac. “Paradise” is a refreshing earworm which should bring the singer attention thanks to tight songwriting bridged by her spot-on vocal.

  • THE TRUSTED, “Wild Love”

The Trusted are a new four piece outfit from Southend-On-Sea, England who have a lot going on in their new EP Love And Suicide. All of the songs go by quickly with boundless energy and charismatic vocals by Tom Cunningham. The Trusted reminds me more of bands from the American alt.rock scene than from the UK. Nevertheless, I’m drawn to “Wild Love”, the song that concludes the EP, which stands out as the sum of all its best parts along with its relateable escapist theme. The Trusted are definitely one band to watch and I’m sure will deliver the goods in concert.

  • TYSON KELLY, “Am I Ever Gonna See You Again”

Tyson Kelly is a California-based indie singer/songwriter to watch with his new EP Plastic Rockstar. Taking cues from music of The Beatles and Talking Heads and spilling it into translation to the 2020’s is a challenge, which makes the EP fun to hear. “Am I Ever Gonna See You Again” tells the familiar road story of a fan falling for a rock star while on tour – which means, essentially, a one-nighter. The saga is in stark contrast to the upbeat, sometimes soulful vibe of the music, which even has Beach Boys qualities about it. Tyson is the son of renown songwriter Tom Kelly (Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”, Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional”), so his evident talents are in his blood, and he has appeared as John Lennon in Broadway’s “Let It Be”. His solo songs do break away from a Beatles-ish sound and, while some of the songs in the EP sometimes sound over-exaggerated and perhaps try too hard, he comes off as an affable original performer.

#BILLCSTop30 #597 – September 28/20

This week, the BILLCS Music Blog turns 11! And this week I will be working on a new project that will support the blog and chart, and a great deal of new music and artists, if it all works out. So watch for more news on that front.

In the meantime, the new chart had four new entries while the upper region continues to look similar to the past four weeks of music.

What will Joel Corry do next for dance music, following the success of “Lonely” and “Head & Heart”, which continues at #1 on my chart for a third appearance (six weeks). Collaborating with co-writer and singer MNEK was definitely a blessing, and I hope they will reteam in the future. In the meantime, who will be next?

“Dancing Next To Me” by Greyson Chance is a dance anthem for anyone who’s been cheated or denied their opportunity to be with someone of mutual attraction. It moves up 3-2.

Greyson or the song at #3 seem poised to challenge “Head & Heart” in two weeks. And that song is “Undo My Heart” by Karen Harding & Digital Farm Animals, climbing 4-3. This one can go side-by-side with the likes of “Nobody’s Supposed To Be There” or “Un-break My Heart” in my books!

Also moving up from 6-5 is “Naked” by another dream team, which is British producer Jonas Blue and NYC singer/songwriter MAX. Both artists had huge events this past week. Jonas performed the virtual show Electronic World this past weekend; long-time fave and chart veteran MAX released his new album Colour Vision, and performed all of the songs virtually (and solo, where there are usually collaborators). Check out MAX’s amazing song with BTS’ Suga called “Blueberry Eyes” below.

UK indie singer/songwriter Benedict Cork has more new music this week just ahead of the release of his new EP Piano Tapes Vol. II. “One Last Song” continues its upward movement, rising 10-8. Watch for “Wild One” on Wednesday!

Giiants obtain their second Top 10 on my chart with their latest single “Waiting For You”, which climbs 13-9. They previously reached #3 with “Small Talk”. And of course two of the members, Cam and Adam, also recorded as DATABOY, who had three #1’s here in the last decade.

The Fastest Riser on the chart, for the second time in a row, is a blazing instrumental that will make you get out of your seat and move! That is mission accomplished for “House Is Happiness” by Germany’s Stan Sax, which soars 18-10!

L.A.-based trio Fames have a catchy winner with “scared of the dark”, which moves up 25-20.

“We Are Home” by Florida-based singer/songwriter Lauren Mayhew and Moroccan producer Mariline moves up a brisk 27-22. It’s also the second entry on the chart for indie dance label Tipsy Records!

The Highest Debut on the chart is the first entry for Sweden’s Pawl & Discrete with the irresistibly infectious, snappy house track “Type Like That”, which arrives at #24. It’s also the first release on the chart for dance label LoudKult.

Returning for the first time to the chart as a solo artist since 2011 is Sweden’s Agnes Carlsson with “Fingers Crossed” at #26. She of course was part of Avicii’s belated but amazing “Tough Love” last year, which got to #3. Agnes’ “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was her last solo entry, which reached #7, but her first entry in 2009, “Release Me”, went to #1.

Debuting on the chart are the brothers Lynch, Ross and Rocky, aka The Driver Era, with the beautiful “Take Me Away” at #27. When she was a pre-teen, my daughter was a big fan of Ross’ TV show from early last decade, “Austin & Ally”, and I became acquainted with his music and additional talent by taking her to a couple of shows by his family band R5. Since then Ross has developed quite a resumé as an actor – I watch him in episodes of “The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina” – and as a singer, even recording with the likes of dance producers Tritonal a few years ago. The Driver Era is a cool alternative pop/rock project that deserves to flourish.

The fourth new entry is by another one of my chart veterans, Bright Light Bright Light, who has been going strong in my music world since 2010! With the recent release of his fourth album Fun City, there is so much great music from which to choose, but the unbridled anthemic joy of “It’s Alright, It’s OK” resonates with me and it arrives at #28. It’s a collaboration with a trio of talented women from Montreal called Caveboy. The first single from Fun City, “This Was My House”, peaked at #5 this past summer.

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 Radio GTA’s 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 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

“Late Night Love” allows @FrancescoYates to stretch his talents to the max

FRANCESCO YATES, “Late Night Love”

To say that I’ve been impressed by my fellow Toronto native Francesco’s 2020 releases is an understatement. To me, the singer/songwriter/guitarist is putting out the best music of his career right now independently. No longer the teen pop talent who broke out in 2014 with “Better To Be Loved”, Francesco tapped into deeper songwriting on his EP Superbad with songs like “Queen Street Blues” and the title track in particular. “Late Night Love” really allows his talents to be stretched to the max. It’s a sexy and risqué track that’s going to make a difference, featuring a blistering performance that could go entirely over the top if he let it. Instead it’s bound to make you turn your head and pay close attention. Check it out up top.

Published in: on September 24, 2020 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Party at the office? Call on @CrashAdamsmusic who bring on the fun with “Too Hot To Touch”

CRASH ADAMS, “Too Hot To Touch”

I’m not sure how I missed out on the release of this single and its totally engaging video this past Spring, but there’s no time like the present to catch up, and you need check out “Too Hot To Touch” by Toronto rock duo Crash Adams. Though the guys have had a red couch surface as the constant in video and public appearances, the couch takes a pandemic break while Crash Adams (expanded to a four piece unit) rocks out in an empty office in the video up top. The well-directed video captures the ribald good-timey spirit of the band, who should be a club draw by the time things reopen if they keep on releasing records like this. “Too Hot To Touch” is also extremely radio friendly – highly recommended for college and alt.rock radio stations.

Published in: on September 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @Gillian_music expands her creativity with “desperate”

GILLIAN HEIDI, “desperate”

This past June, I introduced you to Gillian Heidi (previously known under her first name only) with the memorable alt.pop song “high”. The 16 year old Boston native continues to release songs to show off her unique style with “desperate”. Whereas something like “high” recalled a host of 90’s women vocalists, “desperate” is very current and Gillian taps into her creativity with this one that is more likely to appeal to fans of Billie Eilish, Alessia Cara, and other contemporaries. Her vocal here is passionate and engrossing, making “desperate” an immediate draw, particularly for fans of young women in alt.pop.

Published in: on September 17, 2020 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #596 – September 14/20

The new, post-surgery chart is here, and will hopefully serve as stimulation for more blog posts in the coming weeks, since I could only manage to craft a handful before my surgery last week.

I think it’s increasingly important to point out that almost half of this chart is comprised of songs either released independently by the artists themselves, or released independently without a major label distributor. It’s critical for me to continue to write about these artists and performers on these labels’ rosters because they are making as solid recordings as the major label releases. You really owe it to yourself to incorporate discovery into your listening time so you don’t miss out on these and other performers.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that none of the Top 3 songs have changed. Joel Corry and MNEK’s irresistible “Head & Heart” (above) gets a second appearance at #1, while Victor Perry’s beautifully earnest and emotional “What I Deserve” (below) and “Dancing Next To Me” by Greyson Chance hold at second and third.

With two consecutive dance bangers at #1, is there room for a third? “Undo My Heart” by England’s Karen Harding and Digital Farm Animals puts that case forward as this huge dance record soars 10-4.

I will have words about Canadian producer Dezza’s latest release called “Getaway” later in the week. In the meantime, “Carry Me”, featuring co-writer Mike Schmid on vocals, climbs 11-7. Dezza, among other artists such as Matt Fax, has announced a 40-artist new music compilation which you can pre-order called Colorscapes Volume 2.

The hard-hitting, futuristic banger by Australia’s Fisher called “Wanna Go Dancin'” (above) moves up 12-9, while UK indie singer/songwriter Benedict Cork gets his second Top 10 with “One Last Song” (below) rising 16-10. Benedict’s “Breaking Hearts” reached #3 last year.

Inching closer to the Top 10, up 15-11, are the wacky antics of Greece’s The Prince Karma with “Superstar” and its “Night at the Roxbury”-inspired video.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is one that should immediately put you on your feet to groove with all of its marvelous saxophone playing. It’s by Germany’s Stan Sax called “House Is Happiness”, which vaults 27-18.

If you haven’t delved deeper into Troye Sivan’s latest EP beyond the interesting singles that preceded it, you owe it to yourself to soak in its meltworthy title song, which is “In A Dream”. It moves up 26-21.

The Highest Debut of two belongs to new L.A. trio Fames with their big earworm called “scared of the dark”. It arrives at #25.

The second debut will wrap you up in a big progressive electronic hug. “We Are Home” is the latest from Florida singer/songwriter Lauren Mayhew in collaboration with new Moroccan producer Mariline, and bows at #27.

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 Radio GTA’s 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 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

It’s “10/10” #14!: @brightlightx2 & @caveboymusic @weareApolloLTD #Calvo @egzodmusic @HVNNIBVL @KidBloomusa @KiNGMALAmusic @Pawl_official & #Discrete @SteveVoidmusic #KaiStevens & @EmilyMcsings

It’s 10/10 – Edition 14!! 

This is the first 10/10 post since June.

In 10/10,  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, and they are not listed in any particular order.  Songs by Yello and Jazz Mino that were featured in edition #13 are currently moving up on my personal chart 🙂

Writing 10/10 posts 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. 

  • BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT and CAVEBOY, “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

“It’s Alright, It’s OK” is the fourth preview from Bright Light Bright Light’s upcoming fourth album called Fun City. This time collaborating with the noted all-women Canadian trio Caveboy, the song is a reassurance for anyone who is having trouble with their identity that everything will work out in the end if you just be yourself. It’s another joyous delight from NYC-based Wales-born Rod Thomas, more of a pop/house workout like the initial single “This Was My House”, full of great synth work and vocals that truly compliment each other. “It’s Alright, It’s OK” is also available on an EP chock full of remixes.

  • APOLLO LTD, “Patient”

The Nashville duo of Jordan and Adam produced one of my favourite albums of 2019 called Out Of Sight, which demonstrated a range of different styles, from ballads to anthems. Apollo LTD are back with “Patient”, more anthem-styled power pop as a plea to the singer’s partner to help him be patient to get through whatever troubles are ailing him. It’s a logical successor to songs from Out Of Sight like “On The Way Up 2.0” which dazzle your ears with seamless production and vocals. Why a major label has not yet snatched up Apollo LTD for their roster is a mystery. The duo consistently provides well-written, quality songs that deserve radio exposure. Check out the new lyric video for “Patient” above.

  • HVNNIBVL, “Worth It”

Now based out of Los Angeles, Buffalo NY singer/songwriter HVNNIBVL quickly follows up his cheery slice-of-life single “Who’s Gotcha” with “Worth It”. Like “Who’s Gotcha”, “Worth It” sends positive vibes in your direction, particularly aimed at people with depression or anxiety whose condition constantly makes them ask themselves if they are good enough. Everyone has their moments in life, so it’s time to step out and shine. “Worth It” is self-produced and showcases HVNNIBVL’s great voice to the max. Sometimes the synth effects are too razzle dazzle to me for this kind of song, and less can often be more. But “Worth It” will certainly move HVNNIBVL more steps forward and I’ll happily be listening for the next one.

  • KID BLOOM, “Blood Sugar”

The L.A.-based singer/songwriter follows up “Wounded/Surrounded” (featured in my 13th “10/10” blog post) with “Blood Sugar”, which is also the title of his recently released EP. After a long relationship, thoughts and feelings always linger, and in Kid Bloom’s take, it’s like being inside your blood. So he sings about emotional entrapment set to a bass synth rhythm which pulsates like whatever is stuck inside his head. His invested vocal and an arrangement that shakes the mix loose of its dark trappings from time to time all make “Blood Sugar” a captivating listen.

  • CALVO, “Broke In Amsterdam”

German producer/DJ Calvo’s latest single “Broke In Amsterdam” has caught my ear with its shiny production that creates a delightful pop/dance confection. Co-written with the always amazing Daniel Volpe, “Broke” is a happy slice-of-life story reminiscing about younger days where life seemed more carefree. It’s just the kind of tonic we need to help us continue to get through these strange times. Calvo has numerous listeners in Europe, who have brought his song stream tally into the 50 million range. Perhaps “Broke In Amsterdam” will expand that audience further into North America.

  • EGZOD, “Ride The Wave”

“Ride The Wave” continues the evolution of Florida-based electronic dance producer EGZOD, about whom I’ve written several times since he arrived on the scene in 2016. More than around 20 million streams later, EGZOD – otherwise known as Carlos Carvalho-Martins – can shift flawlessly between the heaviest trap/dub step and much lighter fare, the latter applying to “Ride The Wave”, which I would call ‘mid-summer beach pop’. The spry uncredited female vocal is appealing and distinct, while EGZOD weaves more harmonies into this song than usual. “Ride The Wave” has some bold singalong moments and washes down as easy as gliding into shore from one of those waves. Watch for EGZOD’s new EP The Revolution next month!

  • KAI STEVENS and EMILY McNALLY, “Hero”

As Summer-themed tunes ride out the last sunsets of the next month, the arrival of a softer song or two for Autumn is always becoming the new season. Kai Stevens is a 17 year old producer and multi-instrumentalist from NYC who has emerged over the last year with songs that keep getting better and better. While this release is nowhere in the league of big productions by Illenium or other similar artists, “Hero” strikes the emotional chords that you would find in the progressive ‘sad boi’ electronica sub-genre. It’s sung by another young New Yorker, Emily McNally, whose graceful and delicate voice is compelling and convincing amid the bigger synth breaks within. “Hero” is a promising song most deserving of electronic dance music fans’ attention.

  • FETS, FORMAL CHICKEN & STEVE VOID, “Pushing On”

Don’t let the billing fool you – I think that “Pushing On” is entirely a Steve Void production. The talented young Dutchman has produced quite a variety of house and dance/pop releases on his Strange Fruits label over the past few years, and he has even opened his own restaurant! While he’s been mainly dabbling in covers of late, “Pushing On” is a brisk, deep house update of a more obscure 2014 track by Germany’s Oliver $ & Jimi Jules. It’s slick and goes down easy, with pitched-down vocals giving it qualities you’d normally find in a soulful UK house track.

  • PAWL & DISCRETE, “Type Like That”

“Type Like That” is a snappy, tautly-produced house single in a partnership between two Swedish producers, Pawl and Discrete. In tandem with direct support from LoudKult Records owner Lucas Estrada, with whom he has also recorded, Pawl’s music has acquired over 20 million streams across platforms since he emerged five years ago. Discrete is newer to the genre, having released an EP and a few singles thus far. But the guys have released one super-catchy, sultry song in “Type Like That”, which is a good bookend with last year’s release by Revelries and Oktavian called “Don’t Think Twice”. The song-writing here is spot on, calling out a long line of so-and-so’s who all behave the same, hence “you’re just a type like that”. This one will stick with you with repeated listens, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

  • KiNG MALA, “sugarblind”

KiNG MALA is the moniker for L.A.-based singer/songwriter Areli Castro, and her music will appeal to fans of Ashe, Bishop Briggs and Maty Noyes. It’s complex alt.rock with a tough exterior (“Mala” means ‘bad bitch’ in Spanish, hence “King Bad Bitch”), underneath which you will find infectious hooks and melodies that will take older fans back to the time of heyday of Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux. KiNG MALA is relatively new on the scene, with “sugarblind” her third single release and most streamed one to date. Great talent takes time to develop, so she is definitely one to watch in the coming years, and alt.rock radio should welcome her unique style.