#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

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 our 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 🙂

 

L.A.-based producer @Whethanmusic shows massive growth on “Stay Forever” with STRFKR @Starfucker

WHETHAN and STRFKR, “Stay Forever”

To say that “Stay Forever” doesn’t sound like anything that Whethan has offered to date is a bit of an understatement.  The 20 year-old Chicago-born, L.A.-based producer opted not to tour last year to address personal issues and record his upcoming album, probably a very wise move.  “Stay Forever” brings us an alt.rock flavoured sound to the electronic backdrop like some past releases, but the aim is a progressive edge that stands out from the rest.  Other producers like PLS&TY, Pluko and Robotaki also have made this conscious decision with results in unique music that provokes your senses and isn’t always about big synths and beats.  Whethan is paired up with veteran Portland, Oregon trio STRFKR here and their collaboration is seamless and complementary.  The full album should be a treat, and Whethan is returning to touring, but in more biteable chunks, which I’m sure will expand closer to the time of the album’s release.  

Published in: on January 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Circles” is fresh and new from UK teen singer/songwriter @AlfieTempleman

alfietempleman

ALFIE TEMPLEMAN, “Circles”

Call this one my stunning discovery of the weekend.  So I’m in a department store looking at clothes and a unique, chipper voice is drawing me into the infectious rhythm of his song.  It turns out that it’s 16 year old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alfie Templeman, who hails from Bedford, England, with “Circles” from his EP Don’t Go Wasting Time.  He fits in somewhat between two other relatively new UK talents I’ve written about, Lostchild and Benedict Cork.  Both are also indie singer/songwriters who have their own styles and can write great songs.  “Circles” is a quick go round at only 2:31 but it grabs you within its first minute with both rock and soulful tinges, and only makes you want to hear more.  So I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of Alfie’s EP and “Circles” (below) may also make you do the same.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Hello” is the first taste of the new progressive electronic project by L.A. producer @Prizmofficial with vocals by @McEwenofficial

THE PRIZM and McEWEN, “Hello”

Last year I previewed some songs by L.A. mystery electronic producer The Prizm which showed a lot of interesting potential while he figured out where this new project was heading.  So I’m now pleased to introduce you to the first single from his upcoming untitled release, which is “Hello”.  It’s a rather uncomplicated first taste of what’s to come, with a straight forward melody which finds its way through some complex synths and heavier beats.  The pitched up, unrecognizable vocal belongs to McEwen, otherwise known as Adam Tyler, a long-time favourite in these blog pages.  The Prizm uses McEwen’s appearance to unlock the door to the rest of his release, which fans of Illenium or Seven Lions will want to hear.  So say “Hello” to The Prizm, with much more to come in 2020.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #578 – January 6, 2020

The new chart is in the end of the year/decade shake down mode, time for old favourites to depart and for new ones to find their way into the chart.  The past few weeks have been relatively quiet new music-wise, given that most people were compiling end of the year/decade lists.  Oh, and if you missed my BILLCS Top 89 of 2019, feel free to check it out as well as other previous years’ lists back to 2009 using the bottom tabs (it’s a Google spreadsheet).  You can also listen to the songs on my Spotify playlist.

So, let’s get back to the music of 2020!  The year and decade kick off with a brand new #1, and a unique one it is!  Austin production duo Tritonal and Australian producer Henry Dark climb to the top with “Shivohum”.  It’s sung in Sanskrit as an empowering mantra, one that deserves to get crowds reeling at festivals this winter.

Another unconventional song that soars 12-3 this week is “Flames” by R3HAB and Jungleboi featuring a potent vocal by Zayn.  Could it follow “Shivohum” to #1?

L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Colbein’s emotional gem called “Mad” becomes his second Top 5 hit, following 2016’s #1 “So Bad”, moving up 9-4.

Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy may be a veteran of the music business but his contemporary, danceable fable of today called “Toxic World” fits right in the mix, climbing 11-8.

It should be no surprise to you that the Fastest Riser on the chart is by the performer who just finished three appearances (six weeks) at #1.  It’s Harry Styles of course, from his startlingly good Fine Line album, with “Adore You” making short work of the chart by rising 21-9.

Rounding out the busy Top 10 is the first appearance on the chart for L.A. rockers Awolnation, whose majestic-sounding and danceable release “The Best” moves up 16-10.

Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith make a compelling duo as their joint, energetic effort “Dirty Mirrors” (in a Matt Pop edit) climbs 25-19.

“Ain’t Deep Enough” is satiny smooth deep house from Chicago duo Autograf featuring a stellar vocal by Jared Lee, and rises 26-20.

Leading the pair of new songs on the chart at #26 is “Starlight”, the delightful, gentle R&B/pop ballad by Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry.  After a few releases together, this is their best collaboration to date.  ZEROBADDAYS is one-half of production duo Saxity (aka Mr. Stan Sax) who worked with Victor on the #8 “You Found Me”, which was on the chart exactly two years ago (the second of three chart entries for Saxity).  It’s also Victor’s sixth appearance on the chart overall (which includes his side project Labrose).

The second new entry picks up where former #1 “Dreamer” leaves off, as it departs the chart this week.  Australian producer Throttle continues with songs from his EP Where U Are with the introspective and melodic “Japan” 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 our 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 🙂

 

 

UK alt.rock quartet Colour Of The Jungle @colourojungle scores with the intensities of “Humblebee” and “Steel Tray”

COLOUR OF THE JUNGLE, “Humblebee” and “Steel Tray”

The inevitable comparisons to the music of Kings Of Leon and Nathaniel Rateliff will usher alt.rock fans in the door to meet UK quartet Colour Of The Jungle.  Two recent singles, “Humblebee” (above) and “Steel Tray” (below), prove that they are worthy of your attention in this busy music world.  Lead singer Jack Evans commands these songs as he flexes his sometimes raspy voice through the often intense proceedings.  “Humblebee” soars with pounding rhythm and excellent guitar work, while “Steel Tray” has a melodic foundation that gradually allows the song to rev up significantly.  In time, with more familiarity, the complexities of the lyrics will sink in.  Colour Of The Jungle deserve a place at the rock ‘n roll table and I’m sure these songs will resonate even more in concert.

Published in: on January 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Buffalo NY pop-punk singer/songwriter @LexxiRaine delivers with 7 song EP “Fun While It Lasted”

LEXXI RAINE, Fun While It Lasted (EP)

Lexxi Raine is a talented new singer/songwriter from Buffalo, New York who arrives with her 7 song EP Fun While It Lasted.  While all of the songs aren’t entirely successful, with too sparse production sometimes a culprit, the EP focuses on showcasing her razor sharp songwriting skills, and to me, her songs are easily transferable to be promoted to and recorded by other artists as well.  She has a great way with words and telling a story like so many other songwriters cannot do.  She calls her style “pop-punk” but it’s really cut from the same cloth that made The Go-Go’s, The Bangles, The Waitresses, and other women artists all the rage in the 80’s, which also influenced male bands like Green Day and Blink-182.  The songs are often acoustic, with vocals not always on key (but someone tell that to team Billie Eilish 😉 ), but the best ones rock out with full band effect.  So I’ll draw your attention to the gritty “He Says, She Says” and the cutting “Dear Kellie”, both below.  But don’t get me wrong, Lexxi Raine is on a very contemporary path with the telling and provocative video for “What The Lonely People Do” (above), where the protagonist wants a relationship to be all about her and not about others.  Lexxi Raine has just completed a small tour of the UK where she is obviously establishing a fan base.  She’s someone to check out at this ground-level stage and has the potential to go far with the right songs and production.

#BILLCSTop30 #577, December 23/19

My last chart of the year, and decade, is here, which means my year end Top Songs list will be following on December 31.  What a year it’s been for music! Though it doesn’t compare as much to other years in this decade, it still had so much to offer.  There are four debuts on this new chart, and a contender for the top in two weeks.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be 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 our new interactive Facebook group too!!

It’s Harry Styles Week in most of the world, at least according to the album charts.  Fine Line is the top album in North America and elsewhere in the world, and deservedly so with its find blend of contemporary and many past styles which make an incredibly diverse album that goes down really easy.  Oh, and can I mention Harry’s super vocals yet again?  🙂 Not only does “Lights Up” (above) get a third appearance (6th week) at #1 on this chart, but “Watermelon Sugar” advances 25-19 and “Adore You” (below) has the highest debut two positions down at #21!

It seems likely that Tritonal and Henry Dark could take Harry Styles away from #1 in two weeks as the new Sanskrit-chanted festival anthem for 2020, “Shivohum”, soars 9-2. This riveting song keeps your ears glued and your feet very happy.

I never thought I’d see Dolly Parton in my Top 5 in the 2010’s or 2020’s, but here she is with dance superstars Galantis retooling John Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me” into the jubilant and fun dance track, “Faith”, rising 7-5.  Dolly’s classic, recognizable vocal goes so well with Mr. Probz’s soulful one too.

Speaking of soul on a dance music song, Aloe Blacc lends his trademark voice to Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark”, which glides 11-7.

Also new in the Top 10 are “Mad” by Brandon Colbein (12-9, above, with a tender, acoustic, stripped down version), his second following the #1 “So Bad” in 2016 (billed then as Brandon Skeie), and Sam Smith’s glorious cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (13-10, below).  It’s Sam’s tenth top tenner here, including his featured vocals with Disclosure on “Latch” and “Omen”.

Peter Foldy’s “Toxic World” is a wonderful new release by the veteran Canadian singer/songwriter and it rises 15-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi with the short but deeply involving “Flames”, which goes into fast gear, up 20-12.  Zayn with his compelling vocal as a demon or the devil?  Yes please!!

L.A. indie alt.rock quartet Awolnation has one of the most infectious songs out there with “The Best”, which climbs 22-16.

I’m hoping that pop radio will jump all over “if we never met” by Florida-based singer/songwriter John.k soon.  It moves up 21-17.

Halifax dance producer Famba acquires his first American dance radio Top 10 hit with my second new entry, which is “Storm”, featuring vocalist Kyra Mastro at #27. It’s from Famba’s upcoming release Wishes Vol. 1, due just after the new year, and follows his Canadian radio hits “Wish You Well” and “Swear To God” (which peaked at #3 on this chart).  I’m waiting for Canadian stations to jump all over it – what are you waiting for?

I’m also surprised that radio in general is ignoring Adam Lambert’s sensational performance in covering Cher’s “Believe”, brought to life over a year ago at the Kennedy Centre Honours performances (above), and bows at #28.  It’s Adam’s first appearance on the chart since 2016, which was on the last charting hit by our #2 song’s lead act Tritonal called “Broken” (#4).  Fascinatin’ fact:  “Breaking Hearts” (#15) singer Benedict Cork co-wrote Adam’s single from earlier in the year “Feel Something”.

Pulling in at #30 is “Hard To Say Goodbye”, another in a series of excellent emotional electronic songs, this time in collaboration with Vancouver’s Ekali and Denver’s Illenium, and a heart-wrenching vocal by Chloe Angelides.  It’s Ekali’s second chart entry following last year’s #12 “Blame” with ZHU, and is Illenium’s 6th chart appearance (including the current #8 “Broken Ones”).

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

“November” is gritty, deliberately-paced alt.rock flavoured trap from @PatrickReza

PATRICKREZA, “November”

Continuing with his successful blend of progressive electronic music with gritty alt.rock music, deep house, and trap, Los Angeles-based producer PatrickReza is back with “November”.  After repackaging last year’s first forays into this stylish mix with “Tip Toe” and “The Wall” into the EP Strung Out (featuring the title song), as well as his white-listed remix of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” (which she shared in her socials and has acquired 3.5 million plays on Soundcloud alone), “November” offers a herky-jerky Nine Inch Nails melody, downbeat guitar work, and a disaffected semi-spoken vocal.  It’s a taut blend that gets revved up briefly about halfway through, but it all works quite well.  Modern rock radio would have fun with this one as would clubs for late night play.

Published in: on December 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #576 – December 9/19

It’s the second last BILLCS Top 30 of 2019 already!  Unlike others I don’t tally up my year end chart until after my last chart is published.  In the meantime, I have a new chart that is chock full of debuts… in fact, there are six of ’em, with another lineup of songs waiting to join them in two weeks.  So this blog post will be focused on the newcomers!

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be 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 driving Russ Horton crazy each week by sending him lots of new music from the blog and chart to join the mix too!

It’s amazing how pop music can cause you to shift styles and genres at the drop of a hat.  So while I’ve been caught up with Illenium’s music these past few months – and he’s still on the chart with “Broken Ones” joining the Top 10, and another collaboration, this time with Canada’s own Ekali, on deck in two weeks – all ears are now on Harry Styles as “Lights Up” (above) continues at #1.  Not only that, but “Watermelon Sugar” debuts at #25, and the third single from Fine Line, “Adore You” (below, if you haven’t seen it yet) has arrived with a triumph of a video and is also in waiting for the chart for two weeks from now.  

Talk about staying power!  Lostchild’s “Like Like” in its OKJAMES remix gets a fourth appearance at #2 (that’s eight weeks).

Slow-burners “Breaking Hearts” by Benedict Cork (4-3, above) and “Flicker” by Anden (6-4, below) both move up to new peaks.

The remaining new arrival in the Top 10 is also the Fastest Riser on the chart.  It’s the intense, provocative, and joyous banger “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark, which soars 21-9, with designs on the top of the chart!

There are several songs waiting to make their big moves mid-chart, but the ones making the most noise on their own are Sam Smith’s jolting cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (17-13, above); Peter Foldy’s pensive and positive ode to today with “Toxic World” (19-15, also above); and John.k’s delightful “if we never met” (27-21, below).

And I have to get a quick word in about Sam Fender, who is selling out shows across the UK thanks to the success of his album Hypersonic Missiles.  “Will We Talk” is from that album and climbs 20-17.  And one of the happiest moments on Twitter that you will see this week is Sam greeting a really young fan backstage.  That’s what magic moments are made of!

Leading the six debuts at an impressive #20 is “Flames” by R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi.  Dutch legend R3HAB is having a monster year, with one of his biggest club hits being the cover of the A*Teens’ “All Around The World”.  And on “Flames”, his second chart entry here following “All Into Nothing” with Mokita (#15), he and Jungleboi manage to pull out what I believe is Zayn’s best vocal to date.  “Flames” isn’t really a dance song, it’s definitely more pop radio friendly, and a nice follow up on Zayn’s underrated Icarus Falls album.

It seems that it’s time for alt.rock and dance music to become friends again, and I’m hearing more successful blends of these genres for the first time in many years.  Is it the ‘new’ new wave when songs like “The Best” by Los Angeles group AWOLNATION start to get my attention?  It’s the band’s first appearance on the chart, bowing in at #22.

The Weeknd is back and has been listening to a lot of 80’s new wave, if the keyboard riffing in “Blinding Lights” is any indication.  The song arrives at #26 – a far cry from his other single “Heartless”, which I don’t care for at all – becoming my Scarborough neighbourhood boy Abel Tesfaye’s 6th chart entry.  The Weeknd got to #1 on the chart in 2016 with “Starboy”.

Battling it out for the last two positions on the chart are:  “Dirty Mirrors” by Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith in a smashing duet that lands at #29 in its Matt Pop edit (above).  It’s Ben’s debut on the chart, while Sean has got to the Top 10 twice, with the Andy Sikorski remix of “Magic” in 2017, and last year with Peter Wilson in another duet called “Verona”; and at #30 is “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below), slick Chicago house from production duo Autograf featuring a fine vocal by Jared Lee, who just left the chart with Midnight Kids on “Those Were The Days” (#5).

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 🙂