BILLCS Chart #377 – April 23, 2012

With Springtime just brimming with new music, this new edition of my chart was pretty decisive.

Up top for a second appearance at #1 is a song that doesn’t look like it will let go, unless it yields to another song by the same performer:  “Someday” from River Tiber’s independent album From Now On.  Another brilliant and totally different song from the album, “Symmetry”, soars 7-3.  You can get From Now On (cover below) on iTunes and find out more about River Tiber at http://www.rivertiber.com (including a free download of the EP Massachusetts).  Sandwiched in-between is Eric Saade’s long-lasting “Backseat”, while the Swede sensation’s “Fingerprints” falls to #5.  “Glad You Came” by The Wanted holds steady at #4.

The Top 10 continues to be super busy.  Toronto’s Colin Munroe has another collaboration on deck with RZA called “Invincible” which you will hear more about soon, but in the meantime his pairing with Pusha-T on “The Fight Of My Life” rises to #6.  You can get both for free with an email subscription at http://www.colinmunroe.com.  The release of the Promising Promises album is coming up within a month, and Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles’ duet of “Summer Is Over” climbs to #7.  Turns out I like The Knocks’ cover of “Midnight City” better than the M83 original.  Featuring rousing vocals by Mandy Lee, it rises to #8.  The exuberance of “Call It Want You Want” by Foster The People sends it to #9, and “Stay Awhile” by Ryan Star moves up to #10 as he is about to begin another tour on May 17.  Watch the video for “Stay Awhile” below.

Moving on, Sam Sparro’s perfectly joyful slice of retro soul “Happiness” jumps to #12, while the fastest riser on the chart is by the performer pictured at the top of this post.  Welsh singer Rod Thomas is Bright Light Bright Light, and his long-awaited album Make Me Believe In Hope is due June 4.  Rod specializes in melancholy dance-pop that always has a bright side to it.  Thus we have one of his best releases to date “Waiting For The Feeling”, moving up 23-14, with an EP of remixes on deck on April 30.  To celebrate the upcoming album release, Rod is releasing limited pink cassette bootleg versions of his album which feature some ‘special’ versions of his songs.  So to coincide with the appearance of “Disco Moment” on the stunning This Beat Is Poptronik compilation,  there is “Gypsy Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light vs. Crystal Waters!  Listen below and download for free!

Last week’s other debuts all move up four spots on the chart:  “Music Freak” by Poptronik featured performer Adam Tyler is at #20, Keane’s “Silenced By The Night” is at #21, and Scotland’s Aerials Up rises to #22 with “I Am”.  Watch for these songs to make impressive moves in the coming weeks!

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

As I said earlier, the chart was pretty decisive, and I’ve written about all of the chart’s debuts before, the highest two just two weeks ago.  The unique blend of talents that is Mark Foster (of Foster The People) plus DJ/producer A-Trak plus Kiwi sensation Kimbra is featured on “Warrior” (#23), which is a free download courtesy of Converse and Journeys.  Independent of the raucous video, the song is extremely catchy and is definitely hit-worthy unto itself!  Then we have a song whose interest to me was reignited by its stunning video.  That’s “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes which bows at #24 as the fourth single from Secret Codes And Battleships, which contains some of Darren’s best ever vocals.  Then we have the perfect pairing of Vincent Did It, the alter-ego of Frankmusik, and Quigley, who is his gal Casey Carlson (you may have seen her on tour with him when he wasn’t singing with Colette Carr).  From Vince’s free download of The SOPA Opera EP is the beautiful “Notice Me” (#26).  Vince needs no major record label to continue creating stunning new music.  Lastly, from the much-awaited forthcoming album Magic Hour is Scissor Sisters with the Calvin Harris co-production “Only The Horses” at #27.  This instant ear-grabber should put the Sisters back on the map outside of dance clubs.  It’s a perfect pop radio confection – let’s hope it gets there.

Quick Bits: New Songs/Videos from Jon McLaughlin, JMSN, Aerials Up, Gravitonas, Bim, Elspeth

Jon McLaughlin featuring Sara Bareilles “Summer Is Over”

It’s taken a awhile, but to bridge the time until the release of Jon’s upcoming Promising Promises CD comes the video for “Summer Is Over”.  The duet featuring Sara made a very good song even that much better.  The video is easy to relate to, with Jon and Sara on duelling pianos under a weird old tree in the middle of somewhere.  More tour dates for Jon at his website – be sure to check out his show!

JMSN “Jameson”

Another chapter in the talented mind of Christian Berishaj, aka JMSN, in this latest video for “Jameson” from an album that still intrigues two months after release, †Priscilla†.  With this sad tale about temptation and the loss of innocence, JMSN and his team continue to startle and captivate.  Be sure to purchase †Priscilla† on iTunes if you haven’t done so.  And if you’re baffled about the video, you can go to JMSN’s Tumblr for an explanation.

Aerials Up “I Am” (vide0) and “The Old And The Innocent” (new single)

The Scottish collective that I want you to hear has just released a new single to iTunes, “The Old and The Innocent”.  Like its predecessor “I Am” (a new favourite of mine), the music of Aerials Up is a lively blend of pop/rock with beautifully arranged additions of violin and cello into the mix.  I’m predicting big things for this band – watch for their album soon!

Gravitonas, “Call Your Name”

Over at the My Fizzy Pop blog, Paul is often right about a lot of great new acts, it sometimes just takes me a few more songs to catch on.  The buzz on Gravitonas didn’t hit me until their Ballroom Remixed contribution called “Fun and Games”.  But the duo’s latest “Call Your Name” is shimmery Swedish electropop heaven perfect for a hot summer’s day.  Gravitonas comprises singer Andreas Öhrn and ex-BWO/Army of Lovers legendary Swedish producer Alexander Bard.  A new album is due later in the year.  Watch the somewhat peculiar video below… to me the song’s the key here.

And just a friendly reminder to remember to check out videos for British duo Bim’s “Scream”, which I told you about a few weeks back, as well as Ireland’s Elspeth, whose debut album Coax is imminent.  I wrote about the band back in the Fall, so have another look at “Think Back”.  My recent ramblings on post-grunge music making a contemporary comeback seem to be on the mark.

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BILLCS Chart #375 and Canadian Music Week Update

My new personal chart is taking a backseat to my Canadian Music Week update.  Despite lots and lots and lots of walking as well as shifting my regular body clock a few times to accommodate some shows, I was really glad I decided to purchase a Canadian Music Week wristband this year.  I had been to shows during CMW in the past but I really had the urge to get out and see some shows, since my winter months were pretty concert-deprived.

As much as I love the dance music that takes regular residence on my chart, getting away from autotune and seeing mainly raw live performances was well worth it.  I got to meet a lot of great people which shows me that the people making music out there are still the ones I enjoy most.  There are many talented people behind the scenes, but too much of a requisite amount of a-holes.  I used to find that with performers, too, but not in recent years.

So here are my highlights – if you follow me on Twitter, you pretty much realized that I needed to be cloned 😉

THE TEMPER TRAP:  The Aussie quintet is back with its self-titled follow up to Conditions due this Spring.  The group provided an entertaining mix of savvy pop, rock and dance music, capped with its big hit “Sweet Disposition”.  The new songs sound very gripping and I can’t wait to hear them.  Dougy Mandagi is an engaging front man.  Check out the video for new single “Need Your Love” below.

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT:  It was way too long since I last saw Martha open up for her brother Rufus in one of his shows about 7 or 8 years ago.  I saw an in-store 20 minute acoustic set, and she was very inspiring and in fantastic voice.  Another upcoming album that will be well worth the wait.

AERIALS UP:  The first of my pop collectives, as I blogged about last week, the 7 piece Scottish unit led by Alan Kemlo offered up one of the very best shows I saw with a perfect balance of instrumentation.  The band was totally wrapped up and in the moment on stage, and the songs from their upcoming album due in April sounded fabulous.  Despite an effort to see them a second time that was screwed up from wrong information I received from the venue, I will look forward when Aerials Up return to Toronto.  I think they made a whole lot of fans here.

GENTLEMEN HALL:  Despite mediocre and sometimes distorted sound, the 6 piece Boston rock band led by Gavin Merlot and Cobi Mike who were my second pop collective stirred up a tempest on stage.  With synthesizers prominently in the mix, the band did not hesitate to add heavy guitars or some lovely melodies for a diverse set.  I got new appreciation for their song “Gravity Will Break Our Bones”.

IN MY COMA:  Though I didn’t get to see their CMW show, I did catch a set by the three piece Toronto band led by Jasper James that I wrote about recently a few days before CMW.  The band is tight with a rich contemporary take on post-grunge rock that is presented in their finely crafted CD package Magnets And Miracles.

BIG SCARY:  Big Scary is a duo from Australia comprising Tom Iansek and Jo Syme.  Lest you think that a the market for a two piece band with a female drummer comprised The (now defunct) White Stripes and Matt & Kim, we’ll you’re wrong.  Big Scary indeed does have a big rock sound (guitar/keyboards/drums) that takes inspiration from post 80’s new wave.  There seems to be lots of room for anything in their mix so I’ll look forward to hearing songs from their recent album Vacation.

THE SLAKADELIQS:  I’ve written about this Toronto outfit led by Slakah the Beatchild twice now, and was fortunate to catch their premiere public show.  Despite being sabotaged by poor sound, the band invited guest vocalists up on stage, to give their show a real community vibe.  This in turn was enhanced with their guitar players alternating with some fantastic dual cello work!  Best of all at the end came Justin Nozuka, who lifted the set into an entirely different game with his vocals for “Keep Breathing” and “Love Controls The Sun”.

RIVER TIBER:  It was very cool for me to actually meet Tommy Paxton-Beesley at The Slakadeliqs show, before I saw his band play their own set in a well-attended graveyard shift (3:00 a.m.) the next night.  River Tiber delivered the goods in performance especially on “Someday”, “These Are Centuries”, and a well-chosen rendition of The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun”.  As I wrote a few weeks back, River Tiber’s From Now On is one of the few Must Hear records of 2012 thus far.

With that having been said, let’s move into chart mode 🙂

I could not leave Eric Saade stranded at #2 with “Backseat” after 10 weeks.  The last song I remember in a similar situation was “Crush (1980 Me)” by Darren Hayes, which got one appearance at #1 in 2002, but became one of my 10 favourite songs of the last decade!  I love the rock flavour and sexual undertones in “Backseat”.  If you haven’t heard it yet, listen below.  His other song on the rise on the chart, “Fingerprints”, slides up to #3 too.

Then back we go to Tommy Paxton-Beesley and River Tiber.  “Someday” is currently taking over my iTouch and it climbs 11-2 to challenge for #1 in two weeks.  Not only that, but another River Tiber song “Symmetry” will grab you when you’re not looking.  It debuts at #12.

The rest of the Top 10 shapes up with single point gains with songs by Graffiti6, JMSN, and Joe Jonas.  M83 enters at #10 with “Midnight City”, but it’s The Wanted that unexpectedly storm the Top 10 with “Glad You Came” at #9.  Oh, and boy bands are NOT back.  They never went away.

As the release of his Promising Promises album arrives in May, the stirring duo of Jon McLaughlin with Sara Bareilles on “Summer Is Over” inches towards the Top 10 at #11.  On a different bent, Colin Munroe’s inspiring “The Fight Of My Life” draws me in listen after listen and moves up to #13.  Last week’s other debuts all fare well.  The Knocks’ take on “Midnight City” rises to #19; “Could It Be Magic” is transformed by Elouise and climbs to #20; “Happiness” by the ever-talented Sam Sparro jumps to #22 (video is below); Kaya and Pierre Lewis  take “When I Was Blind” to #23; and “Call It What You Want” is at #24 for Foster The People.

It’s been almost 5 years since Tyler Hilton appeared in my chart with “You’ll Ask For Me”, but in the interim he’s been busy performing both on stage and on camera in film and on TV (“One Tree Hill”).  It’s hard to believe that Forget The Storm will only be his sophomore full album release, his first being 2004’s The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton.  But if the pensive and laid back “Prince Of Nothing Charming” (debuting at #26 – his 7th entry on my chart though!) proves anything it’s that Tyler Hilton is on his way to continuing to please his many fans and expand worldwide.  Watch for the release of Forget The Storm on April 3.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

BILLCS Top 30 #373 – February 27/12

Much of my personal chart stays the same in this end of February edition, but there are always the requisite new songs on the rise.  The big mover on this week’s chart is the increasingly infectious “Free” by Graffiti 6, which jumps 20-8.   The British duo of Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers comes off with a unique pop sound amid so much autotuned dross on the charts.  As testament to this, you’ll find an acoustic video of “Free” below as well as the official video.  As bloggers have claimed for the last few years, Graffiti 6 continues to impress and acquire new fans (me, among them).

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

The top of the chart continues to be a friendly battle between “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy, which continues in the lead, and “Backseat” by Eric Saade.  The former’s intriguing story sweatered in electropop and the latter’s rock-flavoured sensual dance pop are both fantastic detours in the current pop world.  Not far behind is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #3, which like “Backseat” throws a little aggression into the mix.  The sensitive old-school R&B/pop of “Home” by Stone Walters continues at #4, and then it’s that guy Saade again at #5 with the mysterious and danceable singalong that is “Fingerprints”.  Aside from “Free” by Graffiti 6, the only other new entry to the Top 10 is another Jonas-should-be-smash done up as a break-up cha cha called “Not Right Now” at #10.

While the fine “Fallout” by Marianas Trench (video below) and “Born To Die” by Lana Del Rey each inch up a notch, Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” comes up the middle as Top 10 bound at #12.  JMSN’s intriguing “Something” is on the move at #14 (yes, more weird and wonderful videos are on the way), with “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles climbing to #16.  M83’s “Midnight City” continues to get stuck in my head for long periods of time and jumps to #17, while Fallulah’s “Out Of It” as remixed by the ingenious Monsieur Adi is equally captivating at #20.  The crowd pleasing “Believe It” by Spencer & Ross and Nadia Ali rounds out the songs to watch at #21.

I’ve already written about our four debuts in past posts.  But in case you haven’t got the tip from the above paragraphs, a lot more rock flavour seems to be finding its way into my personal chart.  Three out of the four debuts can attest to this.

At #25 is New Yorker Ryan Star, whose songs have fared extremely well on the chart since 2008, all reaching the Top 5:  “Right Now” (#2), “Start A Fire” (#3), “Last Train Home” (#4), and “Breathe” (#5).  “Stay Awhile” is no exception – a fine emotionally-charged and thoughtful rock ballad.  The video is below, as is Ryan’s rendition of “I Won’t Back Down”, a late 80’s hit for Tom Petty.

Then we have River Tiber, the band name for Canada’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, which hits with “Someday” at #26.  It’s another song with genuine emotional fervour and highly-charged guitar playing that is made even better by Tommy’s Jeff Buckleyesque vocals which now give me goosebumps.  Catch the video below and become a believer, along with another one of River Tiber’s songs called “Symmetry”.  Be sure to download a new EP, hot off the presses, called Massachusetts, from River Tiber’s website.

Bowing at #27 is “The Fight Of My Life” by Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T.  The duo concocted a wicked blend of pop, rock, R&B, and rap in this powerful song, which should put Toronto’s Colin back into the international scene handily.  A lot of people, myself included, can relate to the lyrics and Colin’s soulful and honest vocal.  Colin’s had two chart entries, “Will I Stay” (#8) and “Bulletproof Monster” (#12).  Listen to “The Fight Of My Life” below, as well as lending an ear to Colin’s affecting revox of Sky Ferreira’s “One”.

The last debut at #29 focuses on a retro new wave vibe, in a kind of Animotion-meets-Divinyls kind of way (and they would do a great version of the former’s hit “Obsession”, hint hint).   I’m talking about fun trio Liquid Diet, who have released a 3 song self-titled EP that puts ears foremost on “Hand Dance”, their ode to self-pleasure.  It’s kitschy for sure but not only instantly likeable but hard to get out of your head, and before you know it you’ll want more… And that must be why the duo also recorded a danceable cover-with-a-twist of George Michael’s “Father Figure”.  As with “Hand Dance”, vocalists Georgia and Billy trade off well and what sounds like it could have been a train wreck in principle actually works out just fine thank you.  The EP rounds out with “Nude”, which manages to name-check bloggers among a cast of thousands.  Watch the video for “Hand Dance” below and listen to “Father Figure” as well.

BILLCS Top 30 #371 – Jan 30/12 – Rune RK & Databoy’s “Memorize Me” Returns – At The Top

Oh the joys and sometimes pain of making a chart and being consistent!  Be prepared for a bit of a ramble…

Back in November, I got so excited about a song that I put it on my chart right away, anticipating a release.  The release, unfortunately got delayed… and delayed… and delayed.  So in ways that only chart geekdom will explain 😉 I have two rules about my chart:  1) If a song is on the way down the chart or holding, it will be removed from it after 10 appearances (20 weeks); and 2) A song must be officially released and commercially available somewhere, either as a free download or for purchase, it can’t exist strictly on a video that people can’t buy or download legally.

So I was thrilled last week when the official release of “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy happened!!  But it created both a dilemma and strange chart situation.  The dilemma:  Eric Saade’s “Hotter Than Fire” and “Backseat” ruled the top.  Could they make room for “Memorize Me”?  The strange chart situation:  I removed “Memorize Me” from the chart after three appearances (all in the Top 5) because it wasn’t released.  Returning it to the chart would allow a consecutive 10 appearance chart run, like anything else, and it may join Nelson Clemente’s “You Want Me Don’t You” (16 appearances, two chart runs, in 2008 and 2009) and Ryan Star’s “Last Train Home” (the record holder at 17 appearances, two chart runs, also in 2008 and 2009) as one of the three longest running songs on my chart.  The longest consecutive run is Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which moved upward in its 11th appearance to peak at #2 last year.  In any case, “Memorize Me” manages to re-enter the chart at #1, the only song ever to do so in the chart’s 14 year online history.  Another song did re-enter the chart and got to #1, but it didn’t re-enter at the top.  That was “Millennium” by Robbie Williams, my #1 song of 1999.  “Memorize Me” is in great company and will certainly rank highly at year’s end!

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

With all of that chart madness out of the way – it doesn’t happen too often thank goodness – Eric Saade’s “Backseat” holds hard at #2, while “Hotter Than Fire” gives way and lands at #3.  “Make You Mine”, the snappy album track by Joe Jonas, holds tightly at #4.  Further into the Top 10, the beautiful soul ballad “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters rises 8-6, with fellow Brits Labrinth and Tinie Tempah up to #7 with the Benny Benassi remix of “Earthquake” (watch the snazzy video below).  Jon McLaughlin’s piano-laden “Promising Promises” jumps to #8, with The Midway State’s rocking “Fire!” at #9.  Rounding out the Top 10 is “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler.  I posted about the slick video earlier in the week and you can watch once again below.

All of the songs ranked 6 through 17 are movin’ on up.  They include songs by Jason Mraz (which alas is slowing down, I thought it would have more staying power), Lady GaGa, Nelson Clemente, Marianas Trench, The Midway State’s “St. Paul and the Wolf”, and Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die”.  In the middle of the chart is the fastest riser, another Eric Saade would-be-smash called “Fingerprints” which climbs 21-15.  Also Top 10 bound is Adam Lambert’s latest, “Better Than I Know Myself”, which climbs to #21.  “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles should move up more in the coming weeks but for now rises 28-24.

There are four debuts this week, and I did warn you previously about another Joe Jonas song from Fastlife making an appearance.  “Not Right Now” bows at #23, and it’s a real hum-dinger… a beautiful and romantic contemporary cha-cha number.  I would love to hear a remix of this one for clubs.  Hear the song below.

A couple weeks back, I posted about JMSN’s fascinating and mysterious debut album †Priscilla, which contains several songs of note, including the new single “Something”, which arrives at #25.  Its video is definitely worth a look, but is not for those of you who might squirm.

Florence & The Machine’s “No Light, No Light” bows at #27, and the clip below is from the excellent Saturday Night Live performance in December.  I’m finding Ceremonials a bit heavier hitting than Lungs at times, it seems fairly relentless, but still marvel at Flo’s Annie Lennox-meets-Sinead O’Connor voice – best of both worlds there.

And after arriving with a big splash in the UK, singer Yasmin has the last debut on the chart with the percolating “Light Up The World”, featuring Shy FX and Ms Dynamite at #28.  It gets stuck in your head and keeps your foot tapping away.

BILLCS Top 30 #370 – When will the rest of the world get the Eric Saade albums?

OK, Nordic countries, it’s time to share.  While it’s a mean feat to cop a release in the UK, the rest of the world awaits.  Of course I’m referring to Saade Volumes One and Two, my favourite albums of 2011 by 21 year old Eric Saade.  His duet with Dev, “Hotter Than Fire” continues to lead my personal chart at the top.  The fastest riser is right behind at #2, none other than (surprise, surprise) “Backseat”, also from Volume Two.  No singer has started to dominate my chart this way since Simon Curtis (oh, and they should do a duet – but that’s a whole other story 🙂 ).

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

In addition to “Hotter” and “Backseat” (which is a really sexy song, if you haven’t already got that), I’ve debuted another song at #21 this week, and that’s the anthemic “Fingerprints”.  Despite a little too many effects on Eric’s voice, the song is just too damn catchy for you to miss.  Listen below.

This will be a shorter chart blog than usual because I’ve already blogged about the other new songs on the chart.  We have Jason Mraz’s tender and hopeful “I Won’t Give Up” bounding onto the chart at #13 and Top 5 bound.  Adam Lambert (and it’s hard to believe he’ll be 30 in a few weeks!) makes his premiere appearance here – “Whataya Want From Me” and “If I Had You” came close – with “Better Than I Know Myself” at #26, which sounds like it’s a whole new chapter in the making with such a stunning vocal.  Adam’s upcoming sophomore album is called Transmission.  And the teaming of Jon McLaughlin and Sara Bareilles couldn’t be better on “Summer Is Over” at #28, from Jon’s upcoming album due in May called Promising Promises – the song of the same name strolls into my Top 10 on this chart 🙂

Closer to the top, most noteworthy is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas, which climbs handily to #4 (listen below).  I can’t say enough how much his album Fastlife is such a joy.  While R&B ballad “Just In Love” slides down the chart, you can expect another song from the album to debut in a few weeks.  Sounds absolutely great up loud!  Other upward moves in the Top 10 come from the late lamented Boy Banned, Darren Hayes’ “Black Out The Sun”, and the stunning soul/pop ballad full of things important and personal, “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters at #8.

The middle of the chart is looking mighty fine with nice moves from songs by Labrinth & Tinie Tempah, The Midway State (both “Fire!” #12 and the increasingly infectious “St. Paul & The Wolf” at #20 – listen to remixes on the band’s Soundcloud page), Lady GaGa, Adam Tyler (just a forthnight away from the video for #15 “Like A Drug”), Nelson Clemente’s cheery “Champagne”, the fine “Fallout” from Marianas Trench, and of course the gothic sound of “Born To Die”, the title track from the upcoming debut album by Lana Del Rey.  Lana’s “Blue Jeans”, in its spunky Penguin Prison remix, still resides at #5.  Frankmusik is no more in favour of independence for Vincent Did It, but “Wrecking Ball” nonetheless climbs to #22.

I’ve been listening to lots and lots of new music – you should see my Internet bookmarks – so more news on songs you should hear will be coming your way over the next two weeks.  Don’t forget to bookmark this blog too please 🙂

Winter Popervescence #1 – The Return of Tyler Hilton, plus Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles, Le Kid, Danny Fernandes & friends, Armin Van Buuren, and JMSN

Well you had to have seen it coming.  We’re technically not even a month into Winter, so our seasonal Popervescence returns with a number of single platter delights.

Tyler Hilton “Loaded Gun”

I put “The Return of Tyler Hilton” in the heading for the blog with tongue a bit in cheek.  For Tyler has never really left the music scene at all, it just seems like a long while since the L.A. based singer/songwriter released a more electric kind of pop/rock record.  

We’ve been treated to acoustic EP’s, fine and dandy, a spot-on rendition of John Waite’s “Missing You” from one of the One Tree Hill soundtracks (Tyler, of course, is also Chris Keller on OTH), and a few singles, including a Christmas song.  Nothing has quite captured my attention in the same way as his 2004 album The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton, which generated must-play tunes for me in the forms of “When It Comes”, “Rollin’ Home”, and my favourite, the whimsical “The Letter Song”.  

So it’s great that Tyler’s first single from his upcoming album Forget The Storm is “Loaded Gun”, because it smokes from the first lick of that crackling guitar.  So those of us trapped in a warm-ish kind of winter can transfer our thoughts to driving down the California coast and headed to a bar for a good ol’ rockin’ time.  The song was co-written with Deana Carter whom Country music buffs will know for massive hits like “Strawberry Wine”.  Absolutely no surprise – if you’ve heard Tyler’s other songs there is always a heavy Country influence running through them.  

But “Loaded Gun” has that stadium rock potential that makes you think more of John Mellencamp than Johnny Cash.  Be sure to download “Loaded Gun” for free right here.

Jon McLaughlin featuring Sara Bareilles

“Summer Is Over”

If you’re heard Jon’s (now unavailable) recent album Forever If Ever, then you already know “Summer Is Over”.  But now that Jon has signed a new record deal with Razor & Tie and has another album coming in May called Promising Promises (named after my favourite song from Forever too, currently on my personal chart 🙂 ), he’s had the chance to rerecord the song as a duet with noneother than Sara Bareilles, most noted of course for “Love Song” and “King Of Anything”.  Their voices are a natural fit together, and having two voices on the record reinforces the feeling of longing and fond memories so very well conveyed by the song.   Listen for it on the radio and buy it on iTunes.

Le Kid “Human Behaviour”

Oh Swedish pop of the 2010’s how I adore thee.  Taking its cue from the best years of Swedish pop (aka the early 90s) and one Madonna Ciccone,  female vocal duo Le Kid tantalizes us with the sprite pop sounds of “Human Behaviour”.  As much as I’ve raved about the harder hitting recent electronic songs by Eric Saade and Agnes (producers/songwriters Felix Persson and Märta Grauers wrote Agnes’ smash “Release Me”, while third partner Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad has written for Mr. Saade), this is music that audiences would associate more with Robyn.  And like other music from Sweden lately, it has enormous international potential – with a few remixes it can find its way into worldwide clubland too.  Listen to “Human Behaviour” below and don’t say you aren’t doing some kind of little happy dance afterwards.  Listen to it by clicking on the link below.

http://soundcloud.com/hansifriberg/human-behaviour-le-kid/s-RUf12

Danny Fernandes featuring Josh Ramsay and Belly

“Hit Me Up”

26 year old Canadian singer Danny Fernandes first came to my attention back in 2007 with his first singles such as “Curious” (featuring Juelz Santana) which got to #13 on my personal chart.  Since then he’s had some significant domestic success with his gritty blend of pop and rap in songs like “Fantasy”, “Private Dancer” (also featuring rapper Belly), and “Automatic”.  With his recent album Automatic Luv we find what is sure to be his biggest hit to date, “Hit Me Up”, which has grabbed my attention whenever I’ve heard it on the radio, probably because it’s more electronic and slams harder than his past records.  While the song more than holds its own, it’s abetted to the max with the guest appearance of Marianas Trench singer Josh Ramsay in the chorus.  Watch the video above – you’ll have to get past the so-so storyline and the strange editing near the end which makes it seem like there was much, much more to the video than made the final cut.  Focus on the song – it’s a foot-stomper 🙂

Armin van Buuren featuring Adam Young, “Youtopia”

Dutch DJ/producer Armin van Buuren always has a few gems up his sleeve.  I came upon this one quite by accident but I’m glad I did.  Featuring none other than Mr. Owl City (“Fireflies”) himself, Adam Young, on vocals, the video above beautifully captures the wistful and emotional quality of this song, which is clearly about permanently lost love.  “Youtopia” rings true, tugging at your heart while making you sway.

JMSN, “Something”

Lastly I leave you with a preview of my next blog, which will be about the new album by JMSN called  †Priscilla†,  released on iTunes earlier in the week.  Its release was accompanied by a third single, “Something”, which follows previous singles and videos for “Hotel” and “Alone”.  

The singer formerly known as Christian TV is stretching boundaries big time with his new identity as JMSN.  “Something” is highly personal, full of atmosphere (particularly with exquisite percussion and drums) which reels you in, only to find that you’re not exactly sure of where you are and how you’ll feel when you’re done.  So yes it’s a head-scratcher but JMSN’s excellent high register vocals stay in your head, giving this song a much longer lasting quality than other songs. 

To seal the deal, watch the video above.  You may only want to watch it once, given some imagery that will make you squirm right from the first frame.  But I commented in an earlier blog about how much the previous videos seemed very similar to visuals from the mind of someone like David Lynch, the creator of “Twin Peaks” among other weird and wonderful forms of entertainment.  So you may get the creeps, but it makes you think.  Now if I’ve scared you away from the video, then take a listen to the song below.  More to come…