Shapes of Things to Come: New Music from Rufus Wainwright, Vincent Did It and Quigley, Sam Sparro, Elouise, Wilde Project & Matt Blue, Eleven:Eleven

Rufus Wainwright “Montauk” and “Out of The Game”

While Rufus has released a number of projects over the last few years, including the House Of Rufus boxed set, it’s really been since 2007’s Release The Stars and his 2008 concert tour to promote Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (I last saw a Rufus concert on my birthday that year) that I’ve really been in tune with his pop music.  I stepped away from the All Days Are Night: Songs For Lulu album, a beautifully enough done record but alas one that I could never listen to or play regularly.  And believe me, Rufus’ music from all of his other albums is played regularly on my iTouch 🙂

I first encountered his songs while at a listening station at Tower Records in 1998.  It was his first self-titled album and I simply hadn’t heard anything like it before.  So I caught an intimate show at Toronto’s Rivoli Club, just Rufus and his piano, and I was completely sold.  I have seen him in concert five times.  So I am really happy that we find Rufus in a different place in pop for Out Of The Game, which is due for official release in late April.  Produced by Mark Ronson, the sampling of two new songs below, “Montauk” and the title track, signal that the amazing lyricism that you find in songs like “April Fools”, “Greek Song”, “Tulsa” and more is well intact.  “Montauk” is beautifully and personally written for his baby daughter about a touristy beach resort in New York where she will eventually visit.  “Out of The Game” shows Rufus in more classic pop singer-songwriter territory.

If these songs are just previews of what to expect, definitely continue to count me in this game 🙂

“Montauk” click right here and listen after the advertisement

“Out Of The Game” click right here (from Mark Ronson’s tumblr)

Vincent Did It “Notice Me” and Quigley “Inkblot Game”

I’m writing about these songs together because they are each so different, yet two of a perfect pair 🙂 Of course Vincent Did It is Vincent Frank (formerly Frankmusik) and Quigley is his gal Casey Carlson, who have already performed in concert together on Frankmusik’s Fall tour in support of Do It In The A.M.  Though the Galaga arcade game sounds are a delightful distraction, it’s Quigley’s soul-tinged vocals that showcase “Notice Me” and make romance-at-a-distance in an arcade the backdrop.  Quigley’s debut “Inkblot Game” also gets Vince’s magic production touch – the melody does remind me a bit of “Hurt You Again” at times – but it’s a multi-layered song that makes you think, especially when faced with the seemingly simple but deliberately paced video.  Her vocals convincingly portray someone torn apart internally who has withdrawn into a safe place.  Just beautiful.

Listen to “Notice Me”

Watch “Inkblot Game”

Sam Sparro “Happiness”

It’s been four years since Australian-via-L.A. Sam Sparro dazzled us with “Black and Gold”, which became a stunning huge hit worldwide and is a staple for dance competitions everywhere.  His debut self-titled album was an R&B-laced fun fest which kind of went quiet a bit too fast.  Several remixes and other projects later and Sam returns with his sophomore effort Return To Paradise and debut single “Happiness”, currently available only in Australia – lucky Aussies.  This one takes me back 30 years to infectious R&B pop courtesy of George Benson, Chaka Khan, Patrice Rushen, and Quincy Jones, but yet done with a slick and distinctive Sam Sparro vocal spin that will also fit in just fine next to today’s club sounds.  After all, we all need a little bit of “Happiness” and “Paradise” don’t we?  Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album! 🙂

Elouise “Could It Be Magic” (Le Kid remix)

To most of us around the world, “Could It Be Magic” is an excellent choice for UK’s Little Belter herself Elouise, who can bestow upon it all of the drama and power that is required.  In North America, we know it as a Top Tenner from Barry Manilow in 1975; it became a hit in the UK three years later after Barry became king of “Copacabana”.  But Donna Summer gave the song its disco savvy in 1976, which was later captured by Take That in its 1992 Top 10 UK hit version.  Those great folks behind Le Kid have given the song a splashy remix that doesn’t overpower the original.  Watch Elouise sing the song in concert below.  We need Elouise in North America SOON!

The Wilde Project featuring Matt Blue and Matic “She’s A Maniac” (Traxx remix)

Michael Sembello’s 1983 hit from “Flashdance” comes alive again through this Eurohouse remix featuring one of my favourite new vocalists, Holland’s Matt Blue.  Matt’s stellar voice is the perfect vehicle to drive the chorus from “Maniac” back on to the dance floor for late night fun.

Eleven:Eleven “Electric Sex” and Empire of The Sun “Walking On A Dream” (Eleven:Eleven remix)

Eleven:Eleven is a duo from Austin, Texas comprising vocalist Sicca and producer Jake Childs that shows that the nu-underground disco that I’ve associated with New York City is spreading elsewhere.  “Electric Sex” is sinewy late night dance floor affair all rolled into one that leaves you wanting more after 3 minutes.  To satisfy that, take the duo’s delightfully intensified remix of Australian duo Empire of The Sun’s 2009 hit “Walking On A Dream”, which could find its way back into clubs again because of the fresh take on the song.  Eleven:Eleven are ones to watch.  Download these songs for free from the links below.

“Electric Sex” 

“Walking On A Dream” 

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s – FINAL (#50-1)

Here it is, the final 50 of the complete list of 300 songs, a list that I fussed over for the last few months.  I may have been a little generous overall with songs from the last year, but time will only tell, since 2009 was to me a great year for new music.  I think the best way to introduce this list is with some of my favourite lyrics.

I won’t worry my life away…

I’d go extra miles to show that you are the one thing that I’ve got…

Gimme gimme symphonies, gimme more than the life I see…

I know that after tonight you don’t have to talk about the stars no no…

If I have understood correctly velocity equals the distance traveled, divided by time…

Step into the light, this dog doesn’t bite, oh, just want to be your friend…

Simply being loved… is more than enough, yeah yeah…

I’m living for the only thing I know, I’m running and not sure quite where to go…

My baby’s got the lonesome lows, don’t quite go away overnight…

Feathered hair and lame heels, what turns me on is so surreal…

And I’m only makin’ it worse when I let her go, then I come on back every time I leave…

And I won’t call you baby anymore, won’t call you baby like I did before…

I’m miles from where you are, I lay down on the cold ground, I pray that something picks me up…

You know in 1987 I was dancin’ in a discotheque, and people were coming up to me and sayin’ “What is this shit??”…

The full updated list is available right here – please leave your comments and observations!!  Onward to the new decade… 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 3 (200-151)

Let’s see – a few amazing dance anthems/comebacks (“It’s All True”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Night Of My Life”), a solo debut (“Like I Love You”), two songs that re-entered my chart (“Last Train Home”, “You Want Me Don’t You” – the latter as a remix), doubles from Rufus Wainwright, Coldplay, Kanye West, and Marianas Trench, plus wondrous stuff from Tyler Hilton, iio, Darin, Blue Man Group, Mans Zelmerlow, Gary Go, Jamiroquai, Josh Kelley, and more!

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments!

Favourites from the Decade Lists, Part 3: The 1990’s

As we approach the end of the first decade of the 2000’s, I’ve decided to add my lists of personal favourites from the 70’s, 80’s  and 90’s in preparation for the end of this decade.

If you look at the list of songs that make up my list of favourites from the 1990’s, it must have been difficult to figure out what I really like the most in terms of music genre.  But one thing’s always for certain:  I love a great well-sung song with a terrific melody.  Beautiful songs by Chris Isaak, Jeff Buckley, Everything But The Girl, Rufus Wainwright, Extreme, and Jann Arden grace the list for this reason.   Rock songs from Live, Nirvana, Collective Soul, Smithereens, New Order, Electronic, and the Matthew Good Band all have their place on this list, and as technology expanded rapidly during the 90’s, so did the ways to make a dance song cut loose.  Thus we see songs by Kristine W., Everything But The Girl, Delerium, and even The KLF with Tammy Wynette in-between the grooves.  As the Internet rose, so did communication world-wide.  I only found out about Faithless’ “God Is A DJ” because an email contact in Sweden was kind enough to send me a compilation CD in exchange for information about Bryan Adams.  Music was still a solid hand-held CD for me… but I began to wonder how I could acquire songs that weren’t released in North America yet for a decent price.  iTunes and downloading were on the horizon as I began listening to streamed music online.

It still dwells inside of me that we lost two of my favourite singers of all time in 1997, one the same age as me, and one younger.  Jeff Buckley’s death was heart-wrenching; his music was only a discovery of mine two years prior, and boy did it grow on me in time, and I sought solace in the many, many online tributes.  And Michael Hutchence, who I saw five or six times in concert with INXS, apparently took his own life.  His vibrant on-stage personality was one-of-a-kind.

With sentimentality out of the way now, I hope you enjoy the list using the link below.

Bill’s 100 Favourite Songs of the 1990’s