More intriguing alt.rock from new #Toronto duo #Homestead with “Rather Be Friends”

HOMESTEAD, “Rather Be Friends”

If last month’s “Runaway” was an interesting slice of alt.dance music, then “Rather Be Friends”, by Toronto duo Homestead (producer/guitarist Liam DeBoer and vocalist Joël), ups the intrigue ante a few more notches.  You must stick with this one.  The beginning definitely starts off a little slow, but just after the minute mark things start to brew, and electronics creep in.  Then with some change-ups to Joël’s vocal, at times sung/spoken, the mystery of the song starts to reveal itself – who is it that would actually ‘rather be friends’ here?  The last minute of the song is well worth waiting for, as Joël’s vocal totally rocks out and catches you by surprise.  Like with “Runaway”, there’s a lot of mystique in “Rather Be Friends”, but this time it’s more rock-flavoured and could appeal to fans of Toronto’s Edge 102 or Indie-88, where it should find favour on either of their playlists.  I guess we will never entirely know what’s up Liam’s and Joël’s sleeves, and because of this, a few songs in, Homestead as a project has a lot of potential.

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #565 – July 8/19

There’s a lot happening on the new chart.  And it’s a bit of a strange week, because most of the debuts from two weeks ago don’t move up very much, except one, which is the Fastest Riser on the chart.  That’s because a number of long-term favourites are still very much in play up near the top of the chart, and they’ve created a bit of a roadblock which will ease over the next month.  But two classic singers reappear on the chart along with a strong independent release on the rise.

Not about to let go of #1 anytime soon is “Good Things Fall Apart”, the definitive slice of emotional electronica which seems to have increased in popularity this year, by Illenium and singer/songwriter Jon Bellion.  

Nashville’s Mokita has a song about reconciling his feelings for a past relationship called “Kiss And Tell” (above) that advances to #3, which is where his previous song “London” peaked a couple of months ago.  And he’s followed up “Kiss And Tell” with a gentle new electronic pop song called “ICLYA”, which stands for “I Can’t Love You Anymore” (below).

Canadian producer Famba has his second solid radio hit locally with “Swear To God”, and it becomes his second Top 10 song on this chart, moving 11-6.  “Right Here Right Now” got to #2 back in late 2016.

A number of veteran dance producers are releasing some of the best music of their careers this year, and Australia’s Timmy Trumpet is one of them.  The compelling “World At Our Feet” (above) climbs 13-7.  Check our Danny Avila’s spot-on remix below.

Another producer making his Top 10 debut on the chart is France’s Kidswaste, with vocalist KOLE, with the slight melodies of “Sleeping Pills” climbing 12-10.

The next song is definitely competing with other strong songs from Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings album, including songs featuring Lykki Li and Camila Cabello.  But it’s “Don’t Leave Me Lonely”, featuring the stunning YEBBA, which takes hold of this chart and moves up 17-11.

Manila Killa recently announced another leg of his 1993 tour, which will actually stop this time in Toronto at the Velvet Underground in October 🙂  In the meantime “Atypical” (featuring GiGi) climbs up a few more notches 16-13.

Breaking through all six of the new entries from two weeks ago to become the Fastest Riser is “Monday Blues”, the super cool house track from L.A.’s Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao.  It soars 25-18.

Also making a big move is “Even In Confusion” by Italy’s Eric Zava and DJ Mirko B featuring singer Daniel Gorash, rising 28-23.  Mirko previously appeared on the chart at the top of 2017 with “#Bomber” (#17) with Beatmarthz.

The Highest Debut at a stellar #16 is “Higher Love”, the cover of the 1986 #1 hit by Steve Winwood as recorded by Norway’s Kygo, who was given the opportunity of working with archive tapes from the estate of Whitney Houston to bring her classic voice, circa 1990, to a new audience.  It’s a timely release for its message; Arista Records wouldn’t include it in the I’m Your Baby Tonight album at the time because they wanted her to get away from recording cover versions, and the original was still fairly fresh at the time.  But bravo to Kygo and those on the estate who trusted him to represent the singer well – which he does perfectly 🙂  Strangely, it’s Kygo’s first appearance on this chart.  Last year’s “Remind Me To Forget” with Miguel should have charted but I didn’t hear it till well after it peaked.  Whitney only appeared three times on the chart in her lifetime, with “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” and “My Love Is Your Love” (both #9) in 1999, and the underrated duet with Enrique Iglesias, “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” (#15), in 2000.

After reaching #5 on this chart late last year with “Wild Sun”, UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson is back with the hearfelt “All We Are” at #26.  This one is receiving regular BBC radio play and hopefully its audience will grow with each spin.  Like with “Higher Love”, the message is extremely timely.  It’s from Sam’s new EP From The Glass House Part 2.  “All We Are”, like “Wild Sun”, is also available on an EP of a variety of remixes for your dancing pleasure.

The third debut is from a performer who last appeared on this chart in 2003, which to date has been her only appearance.  That’s Celine Dion, whose new song “Flying On My Own”, is nothing short of inspiring and bows at #29.  Her previous entry on the chart?  Her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night”, which in its Hex Hector remix version reached #16. Watch the live performance of “Flying On My Own” above.

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 🙂

Call it the new Power Pop: “Out Of Body” is the debut album by Nashville’s @weareApolloLTD

APOLLO LTD, Out Of Body

I must admit I do not listen to full album releases much these days.  But after a couple of promising single releases, you owe it to yourself to check out Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s debut album Out Of Body.  It puts all of their singles and two previous EP’s into one convenient place, and shows how cohesive these songs sound when you listen to them all consecutively. 

Call it today’s Power Pop – incredibly strong melodies that naturally blend pop, rock, and dance genres, featuring multi-layered stories that can apply to anyone.  The tight production has a wall-of-sound effect which gives the music a retro-classic kind of feel.  Jordan Phillips is the vocalist with the affecting tones while Adam Stark handles production but both handle the various instrumentation.  The combined sounds of synths with live instruments also offers a big, full sound on the album.  

I’ve already written about “Misfits”, “On The Way Up”, and the ballad “Heaven (All Around You)”.  The latter song also appears in its more uptempo version, while “On The Way Up” has been re-recorded and seems to emphasize more anthemic dance qualities than the mainstream sound of the original.  “On The Way Up 2.0” (above) is probably my favourite on the album, with “Misfits”, “Supernatural” (also above), “Drive”, and “Tired Of L.A.” all memorable in their own special ways.  

Out Of Body is a consistent effort from Apollo LTD with undeniably fine songwriting and production that sets their songs apart from the rest.

Canadian rock all stars #BondsOfMara kick ass with debut single “Lights Out”

BONDS OF MARA, “Lights Out”

With loads of talent stemming from My Darkest Days, Smashing Satellites, I Mother Earth, finger eleven and Default, Bonds Of Mara is ready to put good old Canadian rock and roll back on the map with “Lights Out”.  The singer is Brian Byrne, on guitar and vocals we have Sal Costa, Dave Benedict is on bass, and Rich Beddoe is the drummer, and when they all came together there was so much synergy that it was enough to kickstart a new, if unexpected, collaboration.  “Lights Out” doesn’t offer much that’s new but it offers solid contemporary rock and roll by performers who know how to do it right.  You’ll remember Brian Byrne’s ragged, inspired vocals from I Mother Earth’s 90’s hit “Summertime In The Void”, and guitarist supreme Sal Costa from My Darkest Days and Smashing Satellites is back from a long break to weave his magic.  “Lights Out” has got the goods, and Canadian rock radio is already all over it, so if you like your rock hard but melodic then Bonds Of Mara is for you.

Bonds Of Mara plays Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Thursday July 25.

Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @AlmostOwenmusic rocks out with “One Lucky Man”

ALMOST OWEN, “One Lucky Man”

In early May, I introduced you to Boston’s Almost Owen through a delightful acoustic indie bedroom production.  He’s followed that up with a full blown alt.rock effort called “One Lucky Man”.  He’s got a great voice and like with many classic rockers, he can sing a lot of powerful, meaningful lyrics and draw the audience into his story without worrying that he’s actually singing too much.  The song has a straight-forward arrangement with a steady rhythm that steers it quickly through three and a half minutes without it seeming even as such.  Definitely keep your ears open for Almost Owen – he’s a sharp songwriter who knows what his listeners want to hear, and delivers a great message with “One Lucky Man” in the process.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Show Me Love” is uplifting pop-rock from UK band #BewareTheBear featuring a change of pace for singer @SeanSmithsolo

BEWARE THE BEAR and SEAN SMITH, “Show Me Love”

“Show Me Love” is proof positive that sometimes it just takes a solid vocal to take a song to the next level.  And UK band Beware The Bear – who seem to be rather elusive in social media circles – have given the vocal showcase to Sean Smith on this particular occasion.  Of course readers of this blog know Sean well for his own songs like “Magic” and his recent unique dance collaboration with Peter Wilson called “Verona”, and fans of pop music in the UK also know him from his Same Difference days.  “Show Me Love” is a different setting for Sean from his recent music, and perhaps in some ways leans back to more straight-forward pop-rock of Same Difference.  In any case, Sean’s voice is the right fit for this song and allows him to exercise his range and versatility.  “Show Me Love” has wide appeal and is a worthwhile addition to upbeat pop-rock playlists.

Published in: on June 16, 2019 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s 10/10 #04: @DJSAVI @TarynManning #TobiasBergson @MichaelShynes @AdnanVeron @ShayceOpal @PaulHofficial @BenedictCork @weareApolloLTD @Beticalmusic @KenSummit @EricKupper @AmyDouglassings @ValenciaJamestw #Homestead

10/10 #04

10/10 (or tenoutoften) is back and is once again this blog’s new feature where 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. 

Writing 10/10 features 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. 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 04

  • SAVI & TARYN MANNING, “Bring Me Back To You”

“Bring Me Back To You” is a future house fan’s delight from L.A. producer SAVI and long time dance club favourite, singer/actress Taryn Manning (“Orange Is The New Black”, “Hawaii Five-O”).  This Strange Fruits release is a well-produced mix to keep dancers on the floor, with a nice trappy mid-section that draws you back into the latter part of the song.  It’s great to hear Taryn in this slightly different, more progressive setting, so with her track record on the charts – two #1’s “Send Me Your Love” (with Sultan + Shepard) and “GLTCHLFE” – club DJ’s will easily fit “Bring Me Back To You” to their mid-evening Saturday night sets.

  • TOBIAS BERGSON & MICHAEL SHYNES, “Keep Trying”

“Keep Trying” is one of those positive slices of deep house music that’s destined to be a crowd pleaser.  Brought to you by the new Dutch label Diepgraven, Austria’s Tobias Bergson surrounds the lyrics with bright sounds and a riveting rhythm to allow the fine voice of US singer Michael Shynes to anchor the song.  This one’ll getcha in the same way that Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie’s “This Is What It Feels Like” or Dave Edwards & Mark Asari’s “That’s What We’re Made Of” created timeless, effortless good vibes.

  • ADNAN VERON & SHAYCE OPAL, “Without You”

Anytime is the perfect time for romance in “Without You”.  Adnan Veron is a new producer out of Indonesia and he’s got a fantastic British singer named Shayce Opal to carry the song for him.  It’s a delightful combination of stunning high vocal notes with mid-tempo electronica, and it lilts along at a comfortable pace with wistful lyrics setting the tone.  “Without You” is a gorgeous Neon Fruits release that deserves attention.

  • PAUL HETHERINGTON, “Touch”

Australian producer and vocalist Paul Hetherington follows up his first release in a number of years called “When I Lost You” with the atmospheric and taut “Touch”.  The song seems to take cues perhaps from 80’s new wave and late 90’s and 00’s pleasures from the likes of fellow Aussies Darren Hayes and Savage Garden.  Paul crafts an intriguing and memorable melody while the provocative synth beat throbs along.

  • BENEDICT CORK, “Funny How Things Change”

It came out a little while ago now but I don’t want “Funny How Things Change” by British singer Benedict Cork to slip away without notice, in the same way that I immediately latched on to YEBBA’s “Evergreen” in late 2017.  This is indeed a happy marriage of a wonderful new voice and a splendid song, which Benedict co-wrote.  He has a radiant tone that immediately impresses and cuts through the lyrics like butter.   Benedict Cork is definitely one singer to put on your list. In fact he’s released another song since “Funny” called “Breaking Hearts” so I’ll have to get to that one soon too.

  • APOLLO LTD, “Misfits”

Nashville duo Apollo LTD returns with “Misfits”.  It strikes you instantly with an urgent vocal and a snappy melody with well thought out words to which anyone can relate.  It has a slightly soulful backdrop that could have found its way out of a 70’s Boz Scaggs or Steely Dan record, but mainly “Misfits” is a solid, contemporary pop release that stands out.

  • BETICAL, “Runnin'”

French brothers Max and Martin, aka Betical, offer up late night deep house grooves with “Runnin'”.  It’s a bit different from their more recent releases but should have no problem drawing folks out on to the dance floor with its atmospheric vocal and booming house beats.  The song hopes to strike a chord with the younger crowd about being independent and free-thinking.  DJ’s might find themselves making “Runnin'” a go-to for late hot summer nights.

  • KENNY SUMMIT, ERIC KUPPER and AMY DOUGLAS, “Give Me Love”

“Give Me Love” has one mission – to make you groove long and hard.  This is big sounding deep house at its best thanks to US producers Kenny Summit and Eric Kupper featuring the classic, soulful voice of NYC’s Amy Douglas, who most recently appeared on Horse Meat Disco’s “Let’s Go Dancing” (which got to #14 on my personal chart).  There’s simply no denying the power of a song like this in dance clubs.  It draws heavily from 90’s house – a nice companion piece in my opinion in fact to its namesake late 90’s classic by Alcatraz.

  • VALENCIA JAMES, “Flames”

Australia-based, NYC-bred singer/songwriter Valencia James is a newcomer with a fierce voice to remember in her debut single “Flames”.  It’s a powerful song with an expressive and compelling vocal that uses the imagery of playing with fire when a relationship is about to be permanently damaged.  There’s no doubt when you hear Valencia James that you will think of another very famous NYC vocalist – Lady Gaga.  “Flames” is a great introduction to Valencia James and I’m sure we will be hearing much, much more from her.

  • HOMESTEAD, “Runaway”

“Runaway” was a nice surprise to come my way as the debut single from two super and talented fellow Canadians calling themselves Homestead, producer/guitarist Liam DeBoer and vocalist Joël, who previously reached #12 on my personal chart with 2016’s “You Fucked Up”.  This alt.rock flavoured dance track has a hypnotic melody led by Joël’s at times unique and mysterious-sounding vocal.  I haven’t figured out what it’s all about but “Runaway” is chock full of interesting imagery and warrants multiple listens.

 

#BILLCSTop30 #563 – June 10/19

I’m so glad my big faves from very early Spring have carried over to make my birthday week a very happy place where ever I play the Top 3!  And the rest of the Top 10 is quite active, with three debuts rounding out the chart.

They are of course M-22’s “White Lies” (above), Cedric Gervais & Just Kiddin’s “Good Things” (disco edit) featuring vocalist Kyan (also above), and “Enlighten Me” by Dutch producers DubVision and SYZZ (below) giving the chart the zing it needs at 1-2-3!

MAX is back in the Top 5 for the first time as a lead artist since “Lights Down Low” got to #3 in its Two Friends remix in 2016.  Was I just an early bird on that one, or were y’all late heads?  Anyway, “Love Me Less” (featuring Quinn XCII) climbs 7-4.

Nashville’s Mokita is on his way to the Top 5 for a second time this year with “Kiss And Tell” rising 9-6.  And then there’s his new one “Inside Out” too so watch for it in this space in the near future…

The Chainsmokers acquire their 10th Top 10 since 2015 with “Do You Mean”, featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Canada’s Juno Award-winning bülow moving up 11-7.

The fastest riser on the chart had its video debut today.  Soaring up the chart 20-9 is Illenium & Jon Bellion’s “Good Things Fall Apart”.  This is Illenium’s third Top 10 entry since the late Fall.  Check out that intriguing video above.

Rounding out the newcomers to the Top 10 is Lost Frequencies’ magnetic “Recognise” featuring vocalist Flynn and rising 12-10.

Closing in on the Top 10, with no surprise, is the progressive and experimental “Coyote” from L.A.’s Mako, zipping up the chart 17-11.  This one draws you in with each listen so don’t miss it.

Halifax’s Famba just signed to Sony Canada proper, and he’s on his second radio hit for them.  Easily accessible to dance clubs in its Dallerium remix above is “Swear To God”, advancing 19-12.

Timmy Trumpet’s new anthem “World At Our Feet” finds itself soaring 23-15 in its second appearance.

“Adore You” by Jessie Ware is a quiet, sexy, funky grower and it moves up 22-17.

Taking its cue from a lot of 90’s pop and hip hop music is “We Found Love” by Canada’s Sultan + Shepard who collaborate with Showtek for this reboot of the Heavy D. & The Boyz hit.  It climbs 26-18.

They say some DJ’s don’t dance but in the video for his song “Atypical”, you’ll find Manila Killa busting some impressive moves.  Led by the vocals of GiGi, “Atypical” rises 25-19 culled from Manila Killa’s 1993 release.

The first newcomer is by recent Oscar and Grammy Award winner Mark Ronson who brings along Grammy-winner YEBBA for one of three songs on his album Late Night Feelings.  The sensational “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” arrives on the chart at #23.  Somehow it’s only Mark’s second entry on the chart, the first being “Valerie” with Amy Winehouse in 2007.  YEBBA’s previous 2017 “Evergreen” got to #4, and I expect similar things from “Lonely”.

Next up is the debut entry for Switzerland’s Luca Hänni, who was so fun and engaging with his Eurovision performances with “She Got Me” arriving at #25.  The song ranked 4th overall in Eurovision and deserves to be a worldwide smash.  It’s pretty darned irresistible.

The third new entry of the week at #27 belongs to French producer Nick Peters with a lyrical dance gem in “Where Did You Go”, featuring UK vocalist Jamie Grey.  Nick’s visited the chart before, in 2017 with “No Love In Brooklyn” getting to #4 in partnership with Frank Pierce and Scott Vega.

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 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #562 – May 27/19

Some innovative and entertaining songs make their debuts this week.  One artist continues to find himself with two songs at a time on the chart, while another appears on the chart – twice – for the first time in over 5 years.  And they both join another artist who has one song on the rise and one which peaked in the Top 5 a few weeks ago.

But first the Top 10, in which we find two songs snug comfortably at the top 🙂

It’s “White Lies” that reigns supreme for a second week for German/UK producers M-22 and featuring the songwriting talents and uncredited vocal of British singer A*M*E.  It kind of goes hand in hand, for me anyway, with Cedric Gervais’ disco edit of “Good Things” in collaboration with Just Kiddin and singer Kyan, which stays at #2.

A third frenetic house track joins the top two to keep you dancing away.  “Enlighten Me” is by the fine Dutchmen that are DubVision and SYZZ, and it soars 8-3.  They bypass Mahalo and MŌZ who remain at #4 with the deep house of “Go Ahead”, as well as “Sucker” by The Jonas Brothers, which still climbs 7-5.  Although Joe Jonas found himself in the Top 5 previously as a solo singer with “Make You Mine” (#3, from his underappreciated Fastlife album) in 2012, and again with DNCE with “Cake By The Ocean” (#2) in 2015, I don’t think I ever fathomed the Jonasei gracing the upper reaches!

Every release by MAX that has hit my chart has made the Top 10, and “Love Me Less”, featuring Quinn XCII, rises 10-7.  Mokita’s third entry on the chart becomes his second Top 10 hit.  The Nashville singer/songwriter moves up 11-9 with “Kiss And Tell” as “London” tumbles to #15 after peaking at #3.  The second newcomer to the Top 10 is “Wild” by German producer Final DJs and featuring Bright Light Bright Light on vocals.  “Wild” moves up 13-10 and becomes Bright Light Bright Light’s 17th Top 10 entry!

Three other recent entries are advancing well on the chart.  French producer Kidswaste’s delightful “Sleeping Pills” featuring vocalist KOLE climbs 21-16, and right behind is progressive electronica from L.A.’s Mako with “Coyote” moving up 23-17.  The fastest riser on the chart, however, is “Swear To God” by Canadian producer Famba, which is making short work of the chart by leaping 27-19.  It’s also Famba’s second Canadian radio hit following “Wish You Well” (featuring Trove).

It’s definitely an interesting chart for debuts.  Although he continues to move up at #13 with “Crashing” (featuring Bahari), the prolific Illenium has singer/songwriter Jon Bellion on deck this time for the quite amazing and thoughtful “Good Things Fall Apart”, which makes an impressive debut at #20.  Then there’s Timmy Trumpet’s commanding “World At Our Feet” which becomes the Australian producer’s first entry on this chart at #23.  

And last but not least, there are Dutch producers, the brothers Showtek.  This is the first time that Showtek has appeared on the chart since 2014, when “Cannonball (Earthquake)”, with Italian producer Justin Prime and US vocalist Matthew Koma, went to #1.  They are back two-fold, first at #26 with Canada’s own Sultan + Shepard bowing for the first time on the chart with “We Found Love”, an update of “Now That We Found Love”, a huge 90’s hit for Heavy D. & The Boyz, originally recorded in 1979 by reggae band Third World.  And then there’s the story of remixing a fun 4 year old song – but when a remix by A-Trak is among them you know it’s going to be great.  Showtek and vocalist Leon Sherman’s “Listen To Your Momma” arrives at #28, and A-Trak’s is one of five remixes on the EP.

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 🙂

 

Toronto’s @RiverTiber returns with gentle, soulful alt.pop of “Taurus”

RIVER TIBER, “Taurus”

There have only been a handful of songs released by Toronto’s River Tiber since the acclaimed Indigo album a few years back.  Multi-instrumentalist Tommy Paxton-Beesley must definitely have a few cards up his sleeves to help guide us where he is going next after an album full of hip hop and electronic influences that showed he can tackle any style and succeed.  So with “Taurus” – and I do understand Tommy falls under that sun sign – we have a gentle, soulful alt.pop song with some folk influences that seems to bring out in its lyrics some common traits of a Taurean – being committed and resolute.  There are no drums here, just guitar, bass and piano, all of which are played by Tommy, with ever-able assistance from long time pal Justin Nozuka, who also sings backup vocals.  So while “Taurus” goes down easy, it does make you wonder what’s coming, always worth the wait in the evolution of River Tiber.

Published in: on May 26, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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