#BILLCSTop30 #605 – January 18/21

2020 favourites are gradually departing the chart to make room for what’s new and fresh. There are five debuts on the new chart, a few that have been waiting through the heavy holiday period to find their way onto the chart.  There’s lots of great music coming in January alone, so the competition for future charts will be particularly fierce.

“Give It Back” by NYC producers The Disco Fries and L.A. production trio Giiants with vocalist/songwriter Allison Park continues its reign at the top.  This one leads the way in the ‘dance banger’ department for me right now, though there are other fun ones further down the chart.

Could “Nobody” by Norway’s NOTD and Catello be the one to succeed “Give It Back” at #1?  Currently experiencing one of the longest stays at #1 on US dance radio in recent memory, I hope “Nobody” is also promoted to pop radio.  It climbs 6-2.

“No One But You” (above), the quiet, beautiful R&B/pop ballad by Toronto’s Justin Nozuka with UK singer/songwriter Mahalia climbs 5-4 from an upcoming EP that will be released in the Spring.  Justin’s latest peaceful and tranquil new single is “summer night 08” – check out the video below.

Like “Bad Decisions”, “Late Night Love” by Toronto’s Francesco Yates has long-lasting power.  This funky, soulful, naughty jam climbs 7-5 to match the peak of “Bad Decisions”.

With the release of their album The Good Times and the Bad Ones, L.A. quintet Why Don’t We arrive in the Top 10 with the rollicking “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”, moving up 11-8.

Also new to the Top 10, somewhat belatedly, is “Chew On My Heart” by James Bay, which rises 12-9.  James was last in the Top 10 with 2018’s “Pink Lemonade”, which peaked at #2.

Karen Harding is well on her way to having two Top 10’s in a row on this chart. Following last year’s #1 “Undo My Heart”, “Let’s Get Together”, a collaboration with Scottish producers Illyus and Barrientos, zips up the chart 17-12.

The fastest riser on the chart is by the venerable, influential dance group Faithless.  They’ve returned after a long absence with a new album called All Blessed, and “Synthesizer”, featuring singer Nathan Ball, soars 24-16.

With its rather obtuse, mythical-sounding lyrics and futuristic production, Deadmau5 looks to have his biggest hit to date with “Bridged By A Lightwave”, featuring the commanding vocal of Kiesza, up 25-19.

Another innovative production that throws back hard to 90’s techno is “Sinnerman” by England’s Hot Since 82 featuring vocalist/songwriter Ed Graves. From Hot Since 82’s new album Recovery, “Sinnerman” climbs 27-20.

The highest debut is by a performer who effectively replaces himself on the chart.  Illenium’s “Nightlight” (#8) departs in favour of new single “Hearts On Fire”, a collaboration with Canadian producer Dabin and Juno Award winning singer/songwriter Lights.  Also coming in various remixes, “Hearts On Fire” charges on to the chart at #22.  It’s Illenium’s 8th chart entry since 2018.

Premiering on the chart is young French producer Wizzay with the punchy house track “Jealous” at #25 from his debut EP “Who I Am?”.  Chart trivia: The uncredited vocalist on this track also appears elsewhere on this chart as part of a group of producers…

His history on this chart has spanned almost 20 years. In fact, the first time he appeared on the chart, it wasn’t even under his own name.  “Feel Something” by dance music veteran Armin van Buuren arrives at #26.  His first appearance on this chart was in 2002 with the classic “The Sound Of Goodbye” (#4) under the name Perpetuous Dreamer, before Armada Records released its first record.  “Feel Something” marks his 8th appearance under his name, with guest vocals by 2019 Eurovision winner Dutch singer/songwriter Duncan Laurence (“Arcade”).

Brits both, producer Bobby Harvey and vocalist Danny Dearden make their debuts with “Tell Me” at #27.  It’s one of my favourite deep house tracks that had to wait a little longer than usual to premiere on the chart.

At #28 is the fun alt.rock track by Toronto’s grandson called “Dirty”.  The Juno Award nominee reached #1 for three appearances (six weeks) last Spring as the vocalist/co-writer of Whethan’s “All In My Head”. 

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New 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 2021 🙂  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 🙂

 

Meet Indiana-born pop singer/songwriter @Jake_Schafer with “Over and Over” from his EP “The Space Between”

JAKE SCHAFER, “Over and Over”

In these days when so much popular music has so many similar qualities about it, a refreshing surprise every now and then is in order.  So meet Indiana-born singer/songwriter Jake Schafer, who has just released his EP The Space Between, which includes “Over and Over”.  It’s soulful pop that will appear to fans of The Bee Gees, Mika, Darren Hayes, and Sam Sparro among others.  Jake’s voice, particularly in his lower tones, elicits Barry Gibb vibes, and strangely in his higher tones recalls Mika more than Barry.  The music in “Over and Over” relies heavily on an infectious but basic metronomic synth drum beat.  The melody builds on its initial minimal sounds and adds ear-catching guitar and harmonies.  It all gels quite nicely and makes you wonder what’s next for Jake Schafer.

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #604, January 4, 2021

Happy 2021! Let’s hope the worst of everything is over, and that 2021 can be used as a year of healing and revitalization. For the music industry, however, I expect things will take longer before it gets back on its feet in most of the world.  Edition #604 marks the 23rd official online anniversary of this chart, though I did post it in various forms in late 1997 on message boards, etc.

2021 starts with a new number one on my chart, and a first for all three performers.  The efforts of NYC producers The Disco Fries, L.A. producers Giiants, and vocalist Allison Park have paid off as “Give It Back” reaches the top position.  Only two of the members of Giiants have been at #1 before in their previous incarnation as DATABOY.  “Give It Back” is one helluva banger of a house track to start of 2021!

Songs #2 and #3 both fared well on my Top Songs of 2020, in fact they were back-to-back at #33 and #34.  “Tinseltown In The Rain” (Big Rhythm mix) (above) by Matt Mancid and Color Theory moves 3-2, and “Fantasy” (below) by Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen advances 4-3. Both songs will also carry over to my Top Songs of 2021 at the end of the year.

Another house banger, “Chasing Feelings” by Jerome Price and Cally Rhodes, leaps into the Top 10, moving up 14-8, with its sights set on the Top 5.

I was very pleased to see Tyler Shaw sing “Remember” on the CBC’s New Year’s Eve telecast, he’s always on his game.  “Remember” climbs 11-9 becoming his second Top 10 on my chart after 2015’s “Dizzy” (#6).

“Good At Goodbyes” from the Fun City album becomes chart regular Bright Light Bright Light’s 18th Top 10 on my chart since 2010 as it moves up 12-10.  Featured vocalist Andy Bell also previously reached the Top 10 as a solo artist outside of Erasure with “Crazy” in 2005 (#7).

It may have charted somewhat belatedly, but I’m still grooving to James Bay’s “Chew On My Heart”, and it moves up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the triple whammy of Canadian dance producers – duo Loud Luxury and Frank Walker – as “Like Gold” (featuring vocals by Stephen Puth) soars 23-14.

Scotland’s Illyus & Barrientos paired with UK singer Karen Harding is a dream team for the sophisticated deep house of “Let’s Get Together” (24-17).

“Lucid” by Japanese-British pop/dance singer Rina Sawayama makes its presence known on the chart, advancing 26-19.

The carefree and breezy sound of “All About You” moves up 28-21 for the second teaming of The Knocks and Foster The People after 2018’s “Ride Or Die”.

“Synthesizer” marks the fourth chart entry for seminal UK progressive dance group Faithless from their first album since 2004 called All Blessed.  It’s their first chart entry since 2009’s “Sun To Me” and features singer Nathan Ball.  “Synthesizer”‘s retro techno flavours matched with interesting lyrics help it become the highest debut at #24.  Although this chart wasn’t around for 1997’s “Insomnia” (which would have been a #1 for me), Faithless did reach #3 in 1998 with “God Is A DJ”.

Also in a progressive-techno vein is “Bridged By A Lightwave”, the startling single by an unlikely Canadian duo – Deadmau5 and Kiesza!  It arrives at #25, and appears in an EP along with a few remixes.  It’s Deadmau5’s first appearance on this chart, and Kiesza’s second, following 2017’s delightfully wacked out #1 “Phantom Of The Dancefloor”.

Like Deadmau5, another veteran dance music act appearing for the first time on this chart is UK legend Hot Since 82.  His album Recovery has attracted performances by the likes of Boy George and Rudimental, but it’s the intrigue of “Sinnerman”, featuring singer/songwriter Ed Graves, which helps it arrive at #27.

Making his 17th appearance on this chart since 2014, including three as featured artists, is L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette.  He’s back as a solo singer with “Airplane Mode”, the title track from his enjoyable new EP, which bows at #28.  Brandyn has also appeared on the chart as EMAN8 and in one-half of Cosmos & Creature.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New 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 2021 🙂  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 23 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto’s @RiverTiber returns to a more progressive rock style with “Hypnotized”

RIVER TIBER, “Hypnotized”

I can’t believe it’s been almost 9 years since I first wrote about Toronto’s River Tiber, which has mainly been a studio project led by multi-instrumentalist Tommy Paxton-Beesley, though there have been a number of live performances over the years but not at least for the last three or so that I can recall.  “Hypnotized”, which is actually a two-song single, also featuring the instrumental “Rainbow Road”, is only River Tiber’s 5th single release since 2016.  But watch out, when Tommy gets on a creative roll, the fine music just pours out.  Pausing the fascination with R&B and hip hop on River Tiber’s most recent releases, “Hypnotized” is a return to the progressive rock of earlier releases out of which you can currently find When The Time Is Right and The Star Falls on streaming platforms.  Its off-kilter, blurry sounds contrast delightful jazzy elements and Tommy’s clear but laid back vocal.  His stellar guitar work sings through, especially around the halfway mark, which will make this song a treat to hear in performance. “Hypnotized” is an intriguing welcome back for River Tiber, and I’m curious where it will lead.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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After 2020, the music world needs some fun and Toronto’s @ShuffleDemons have got it with “Crazy Time”

SHUFFLE DEMONS, “Crazy Time”

As I witnessed at a free live show in Toronto in summer 2019, Toronto’s alt-jazz troupe Shuffle Demons are still going as strong as ever some 35 years after the seminal “Spadina Bus” became an alternative radio and video channel favourite across Canada.  The bleakness of 2020 has given the guys perfect ammunition to look on the brighter, sillier side of things with “Crazy Time”, the title song and video (above, directed by Kurt Swinghammer) from their latest album.  They choose to skewer fake news and social media stories in particular, and surround it all with their trademark three-saxophone sound, supported by drums and stand-up bass.  If you’re looking for something off the beaten path that will put a smile on your face, then seize the moment and check out “Crazy Time”.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Arizona’s @Devoramusicxo lives life fast and furious in rocking “Not Dead Yet”

DEVORA, “Not Dead Yet”

If you like your guitar-filled rock fast and furious but outside of the heavy/death/speed metal sub-genres, then you’ll find a treat in “Not Dead Yet” by Arizona singer/songwriter Devora.  She coins the phrase “outlaw pop” to describe her music, and in “Not Dead Yet” if you don’t keep up you’ll be left in the dust. It’s about living life fast and furious, and not giving up – you can still keep going because you’re not dead yet. It’s a challenge for you as the listener to buy into this philosophy and enjoy the ride, but to think about what you really want and keep striving to attain those goals even if it means travelling into the dark unknown.  Devora’s voice is Joan Jett-meets-Suzi Quatro with a dash of Gwen Stefani in her No Doubt days, and is definitely a tad left of centre from what other women are recording in pop music.  Devora’s ambitious style and the zeal in her messages should continue to attract attention in the coming year.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet London-based Ukrainian electronic producer/songwriter @Sleep_woka with “Together We Are”

SLEEPWOKA, “Together We Are”

“Together We Are” calls for a united, loving front for all music listeners around the world during these strange times.  Its passionate lyrics are brought to you by new London-based Ukrainian producer Sleepwoka, who creates retrotastic soundscapes using analog synthesizers that take you back to the early 80’s new wave days of Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. He plays on the rock elements of that style rather than fusing it with more contemporary dance or house flavours.  The vocal tones are rather simple but expressive at times in order to stress the important message of the song, which gives it kind of a ‘root for the underdog’ appeal. With only a handful of singles on release since 2019, Sleepwoka has latched onto a good thing that is worth following.

Published in: on January 2, 2021 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“B4U” offers a glimpse of another side of L.A.-based performer @KINGMALAmusic

KING MALA, “B4U”

I’ve written a few times this past year about L.A.-based singer/songwriter KING MALA, who I’ve described as having a tough exterior and aggressive alt.rock style (“KING MALA” means “bad bitch” in Spanish).  “B4U” sheds some new light on that persona, and it’s culled from her recent EP Gemini, whose title offers somewhat of a giveaway (and being a Gemini myself, I know a lot about it!).  “B4U” is softer in vocal approach – kind of Suzanne Vega meets Amy Winehouse at times – but doesn’t hesitate to make deliberate choices in harsher words that create some vivid imagery, which delivers a song that is both vulnerable and unapologetic.  KING MALA’s unconventional, thought-provoking approach is something to continue to watch in 2021.

Published in: on December 28, 2020 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #603, December 21/20

Many of us are having to make the most of what’s going on in our municipalities.  I can’t be more grateful that we have an overabundance of music to keep us company.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  There’s a lot of activity brewing in the new chart, with two additions joining in all the activity.  I wish everyone a safe, restful and happy holiday and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it with me.

Closing out the year at the top is “Diamonds” by Sam Smith from their excellent third album Love Goes.  Even the best singers have to admit that Sam’s performance here is pretty unbeatable.  I think the public-at-large associates Sam with sad songs, which they also sing so well, and which make up most of the album.

Soaring from 9-2, in a tie as the Fastest Mover on the chart, is “Give It Back”, a new dancefloor banger that requires your attention!  It’s brought to you by The Disco Fries and Giiants with vocals by Allison Park.  It’s the highest that The Disco Fries and Giiants have reached on the chart, though two thirds of Giiants reached #1 three times as DATABOY in 2011-13.

Cover songs rarely appear on this chart, and I must say one by The Blue Nile is a great choice by producers Matt Mancid and Color Theory.  It’s “Tinseltown In The Rain”, which originally appeared on The Blue Nile’s 1984 album A Walk Across The Rooftops.  The “Big Rhythm” mix climbs 5-3, with vocals by Color Theory (Brian Hazard).

Climbing 7-4 is “Fantasy” by the dynamic collaboration of Saxity, Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen.  It’s Saxity’s second Top 5 entry following #3 “Brothers”, and Victor’s fourth, most recently reaching #2 with “What I Deserve”.

Tying for the Fastest Riser is another danceable favourite, “Nobody” by Sweden’s NOTD with vocals by Catello, rising 14-7.  “Nobody” also reached #1 this week on Mediabase’s national dance airplay chart.

Toronto’s Francesco Yates obtains his third Top 10 on this chart with the steamy “Late Night Love” (13-9) from his EP Bad Decisions.  It’s been amazing to hear his growth as an artist on this enjoyable EP.

“Good At Goodbyes” by Bright Light Bright Light and Erasure’s Andy Bell closes in on the Top 10 as this multi-faceted track from the Fun City album moves up 18-12.

The fun and energetic “Too Hot To Touch” by Toronto’s Crash Adams rises 16-13 and gives you another reason to check out their ‘in office’ video.

L.A. quintet Why Don’t We have a new album coming in January called The Good Times & The Bad Ones, which will include their current rollicking pop hit “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”, which moves up 21-16.  The band also made available a hologram of sorts of themselves on Snapchat, where you can place them virtually in your room with you.

I’m fond of the messaging in “Fake” by Lauv and Conan Gray as much as I am of its cool music track and its colourful video.  It climbs 25-19.

The highest debut belongs to Japanese-British singer/songwriter Rina Sawayama with her first entry, “Lucid” at #26.  This Lady Gaga influenced track should be her big breakthrough.  It’s the lead track from her recent album called Sawayama.

The second entry is the latest collaboration between NYC producers The Knocks and rock group Foster The People with “All About You” at #28.  It’s The Knocks’ 8th song to appear on this chart (they reached #1 in 2016 with “Kiss The Sky” with Wyclef Jean), and it’s Foster The People’s fourth but first since 2012.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the online radio station The New 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 2021 🙂  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!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Criminals” is top-notch Killers-inspired alt.rock from UK band @TheTrusted

THE TRUSTED, “Criminals”

Following up their EP Love & Suicide, from which came “Wild Love” which I wrote about in the Fall, is “Criminals” by UK alt.rockers The Trusted.  The obvious comparison, because of their penchant for strong melodies, is The Killers, or perhaps more specifically Brandon Flowers.  But that’s where the similarities end, and The Trusted carve out their own niche with ease.  “Criminals” is definitely radio-worthy, with the melody-line being the highlight while Tom Cunningham’s anguished, sympathetic vocal provides the tough-love story.  Fans of Cage The Elephant, The Strokes, and Billy Talent will enjoy songs by The Trusted.

Published in: on December 20, 2020 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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