Sophisticated and dreamy: “Eyes” by Philly duo @NiGHTS_official

NiGHTS, “Eyes”

In 2017, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS released a number of singles with a lot of unique flavours, but the one that latched on to me was “P A R T Y”, which ended up being a favourite of mine with its wonky rhythm and soulful but somewhat droll vocal.  The guys show another side to their music with the very chill and sophisticated alt.soul of “Eyes”.  It takes a few listens but it’s well worth it.  “Eyes” has a beautifully light and percussive rhythm, with the vocal here offering a really unexpectedly dreamy quality to the song.  It reminds me of some 70’s or 80’s R&B – Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love” comes to mind – where you just take the graciousness of the song in stride and absorb all of what it offers.  “Eyes” could easily find its way onto a playlist where it could be comfortable side by side with songs by Drake or Janet Jackson (maybe “No Sleeep”).  Check it out at the link above.

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #535 – May 14/18

A busy Top 10 on the new chart leaves some songs stranded behind current favourites, but that should change in two weeks.  Plus, among the four debuts, we find two by much respected performers with multiple chart appearances.  

The Top 10

  • Holding at the top for an impressive three appearances (six weeks!) is “Smile”, the quirky alt.electronica song by Norway’s Dyrisk and England’s Nik Ernst.  Think Massive Attack meets MGMT, and you have a strangely fun, sarcastic, and very different winner.  Nik has a new solo release coming in June that is going to be the bookend to “Smile” 🙂  Way to go Tipsy Records!
  • My favourite song that I heard coming out of Miami Music Week in March is Mercer’s “Satisfy”, which advances 5-2 and is a shoo-in for #1 next week.  It features a spot-on vocal by Chicago’s Ron Carroll on what is otherwise a top notch Eurohouse track.

  • The Chainsmokers’ latest songs have gotten big thumbs up from fans like me but I don’t think the audience that loved “Closer” or “Paris” has tapped into them just yet.  Both “Everybody Hates Me” (8-6, above) and former #2 “Sick Boy” contain very real sentiments about observations The Chainsmokers have obviously made in achieving their success.  I truly enjoy this other side of them, but if a club banger might be due, then bring it on 🙂
  • Like The Chainsmokers, Canadian producer Robotaki has ended up with two songs in the Top 10 on this chart.  “I Want You” rests comfortably at #3 while the entirely different, gritty, soulful “Butterscotch” (featuring singer Jamie Fine – of the duo with Elijah Woods, who were one of the winners of Canada’s TV competition “The Launch” – and producer Falcxne) zips into the Top 10, up 14-7.

  • Rounding out the Top 10 are no strangers to the chart.  Dutch producers The Him climb 12-8 with “White Lies”, their 4th Top 10, while England’s Years & Years advances 13-10 with “Sanctify” from their upcoming album Palo Santo (both above).  You can check out The Him’s recent collaboration with Jay Hardway called “Jigsaw” and Years & Years’ bubbly new single “If You’re Over Me”, below.

Movin’ On Up

  • Last week, Jesse McCartney announced his U.S. tour which will take him to just about every major city, so watch for dates near you.  His latest single, “Better With You” rises 18-13.
  • The fastest riser on the chart happens just as the artist’s song “Prisoner” drops from its #7 peak.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand has a dark winner with his Subterranean EP, which contains two songs, the title track and the deep and dangerous “Estranged” (both above), which move up together 26-15.
  • As Martin Garrix established almost 5 years ago, the clever dance producer under 20 is a real and more frequent thing these days, and Chicago’s Whethan has his share of fans which helped get him to collaborate with New Zealand duo Broods for “Be Like You”, which rises 22-17.
  • Fresh off of his appearance at Canadian Music Week on Friday is British Columbia native Tyler Shaw with “Cautious” in its remix by Halifax’s Famba, which climbs 24-18.

Debuts

  • Not only is his new single “Run” his 13th solo chart entry here since 2014 – that’s outside of his collaborations with Molly Moore and Elephante and his side project with Molly, Cosmos & Creature – Brandyn also co-wrote Jesse McCartney’s #13 “Better With You” with Molly and Jesse.  “Run” is the introduction to the story that led Brandyn to where he is today, from his upcoming album Emanate, and arrives on the chart at #22.

  • Australia-based singer/songwriter Troye Sivan’s star continues to rise and rise with beautiful songs like “Bloom” which bows at #26.  “Bloom” may have a specific meaning at its source, but it really is a song that anyone can relate to when you find yourself in a position to give yourself to someone in a relationship.  Troye’s upcoming album is also called Bloom, and this is his 6th chart entry including his collaboration with Martin Garrix on “There For You”.
  • A new chart upstart to watch who has been making great house music in Florida these last few years is Adam Foster with “Time”.  You’ll notice instantly that “Time” features the voice of Marvin Gaye.  It’s essentially a clever rework of Marvin’s 1969 hit “Too Busy Thinkin’ Bout My Baby” – one of my personal all time faves – and somehow transforms it into a new song by working its way around the original’s chorus.  “Time” drops onto the chart at #27.

  • I’m fortunate enough to meet and see in performance some very nice and kind folks in the industry from time to time, and two happen to be Norwegian producer Matoma and US singer/songwriter MAX (Schneider).  Then the unthinkable happens – an unanticipated collaboration, which turns out to be golden!  So we have Matoma and MAX with “Lonely”, with an insanely catchy instrumental hook and another brilliant vocal by MAX.  It premieres at #28.  It follows Matoma’s 2016 Top 10 “False Alarm” and is also MAX’s 6th appearance on the chart as either a lead or featured vocalist.  Matoma also is the third Norwegian on the chart – the others being Dyrisk (#1) and Alan Walker (#11).

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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #534, April 30/18

Spring has sprung finally, there is lots of music in the air and on the new chart where there are three debuts.

The Top 10

  • Norway’s Dyrisk holds at #1 with the unconventional and delightfully catchy slice of alt.electronica, “Smile”, as produced by England’s Nik Ernst.  There’s lots more to come from Dyrisk who is a rising talent that you should be keeping your ears out for.  It’s the second song called “Smile” to top my chart in its 20 years, the other being by Mikky Ekko in 2015.

  • I do like The Chainsmokers’ forays away from EDM ballads and bangers with both “Sick Boy” (holding at #2) and the fierce “Everybody Hates Me” (above), soaring 15-8.  Check out their latest below called “Somebody”, featuring vocalist Drew Love of the duo They.

  • It’s one of the simplest and most haunting songs out there right now – “I Want You” (above) in its taut Spirix remix by Robotaki and Manila Killa featuring singer Matthew John Kurz.  It continues to rise, climbing 5-3.  L.A.’s Spirix has his own new original called “This Is What It Feels Like” (not the Armin van Buuren tune) below.
  • Besides “Everybody Hates Me”, the other new addition to the Top 10 is the quirky and fun “Multiply” by Italy’s IDEO featuring American hip hop artist J.Paulished.  It climbs 12-9 and is the first Top 10 for Balmung Digital Recordings.

Movin’ On Up

Oh where to begin… and how to edit this part of the post down…

  • The huge club and dance radio hit “All Falls Down” by Alan Walker featuring Noah Cyrus and Digital Farm Animals continues to reach new heights on this chart, leaping 14-11.
  • Their new album is called Palo Santo, due July 6, which looks to be a more progressive effort for UK trio Years & Years if the lead single “Sanctify” is any indication.  “Sanctify” rises 16-13.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is a slick, languid mix of hip hop, soul and dance music styles.  It’s “Butterscotch”, the second entry by Canada’s Robotaki, featuring vocalist Jamie Fine and producer Falcxne.  It flies up the chart 22-14.
  • Jesse McCartney’s latest single is well on its way and starting to attract radio attention.  Taking cues from his early hit singles, “Better With You” is a charming, low-key winner and climbs 25-18.
  • Shawn Mendes’ new album is called – Shawn Mendes!  Which means his songs might continue to be just as personal as “Lost In Japan” seems.  With its old school vibe, “Lost In Japan” rises 26-20.

3 Debuts

  • While “Prisoner” continues its roost at #7, L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand has created some of the most enjoyably dark house music I’ve heard in quite some time with his recent EP Subterranean.  And seeing that I love both songs from the EP, I’ve created a ‘first’ on the BILLCS Top 30 to add both “Subterranean” (above) and “Estranged” (below) as one entry at #26.  Never listen to these ones nearly alone in a dark club or you may not feel the same again!!
  • On a completely different bent, Australia’s JYYE has a perky, percussive, upbeat electronic sound with his latest single “Somewhere Else” which makes a splash at #27.
  • Ever since I was at Miami Music Week I’ve been wanting EDM artists to throwback to the classic sounds of the 2012-14 era.  A number of artists have since obliged, and I expect there to be more after Avicii’s sudden passing.  Dutch producer Ravitez debuts on the chart with the instrumental “2012” which features his mentor Afrojack, who is about to go on his first North American tour in some time.  It’s Afrojack’s first chart entry since 2014’s smash “Ten Feet Tall” (#8).

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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

“Time” by Florida’s @AdamFostermusic is not-so-secretly a Marvin Gaye classic reworked with finesse

ADAM FOSTER, “Time” (free DL)

Florida producer/DJ Adam Foster may have a personal best in hand with “Time”.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about Australian producer/DJ Alex Preston’s masterful rework of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, which features a hauntingly echoing vocal track.  Front and centre, however, there is no way to hide any elements of that song and make it into something else.  But Adam found another great Marvin Gaye single, “Too Busy Thinkin’ Bout My Baby” – which happens to be my favourite Marvin Gaye song ever and his follow up hit to “Grapevine” in 1969 – and transforms it into “Time”.  Gone is the urgent love story that anchors the original, focusing instead on the verse “I ain’t got time for nothin’ else”.  And I think Adam must be using what sounds like a live rendition of “Too Busy Thinkin'” with a pristine Marvin vocal to boot.  As with other songs by Adam, a stellar house rhythm carries the track, making it immensely appealing for dance clubs.  Overall “Time” is a fine, finessed rework that I will be playing a lot 🙂  Download it for free at the link above while you can.

Austin’s versatile @Mobleywho isn’t going to be Mobley Who? for long with songs like “Tell Me”

MOBLEY, “Tell Me”

Austin singer/songwriter/one man band Mobley is not someone who you can place into any stylistic musical box.  He is driven and committed, directing his own videos and even designing his own artwork. From song-to-song you recognize the multiple dimensions of talent, from gritty and bluesy rock to alternative edginess to sweet and soulful.  From his forthcoming album Fresh Lies Vol. 1 (due Friday April 27) is “Tell Me”.  His voice is like Miguel’s, but not as rich or rooted in classic soul, but could also easily compete with Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons or Vance Joy for both power and rock ‘n roll inspiration.  There’s a sweet edge that could be as soft as Smokey Robinson if he wishes too.  “Tell Me” is a well-structured song with a great melodic hook that would sound just fine on the radio.  Mobley is currently in the middle of a three month tour that will take him to most major cities in the U.S. so watch for him to check out his live performance if you can.  “Tell Me”, I believe, is only one way to whet your appetite for more of what Mobley has to offer.

Published in: on April 24, 2018 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #533 – April 16/18

Despite so much activity on the chart, including a new #1 song and SIX debuts, this will be a shorter blog post than usual about the new chart.

The Top 10

  • It’s one of the more unusual #1 songs that I’ve had in years, but to me it’s absolutely irresistible.  Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Dyrisk scores with “Smile” along with producer Nik Ernst.  There is so much potential and for anyone who loves dance music that’s a little left of centre, this one is for you.  In particular, it is of great interest to fans of Massive Attack and Radiohead’s 90’s output.

  • “Sick Boy” by The Chainsmokers follows “Smile” right behind, up 4 to 2, but will likely get locked out in favour of the rising “Everybody Hates Me”(up 24-15, below).

  • The fastest riser on the chart arrives in the Top 10 up 22-9.  French producer Mercer’s non-stop fun with “Satisfy” features an excellent vocal by Chicago’s Ron Carroll.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is “Baby I’m A Queen” from Sofi Tukker’s brand new album Treehouse.  “Queen” moves up 17-10 becoming their second Top 10 here after 2016’s “Drinkee” (#5).

Movin’ On Up

  • Both “Sanctify” by Years & Years (20-16) and “White Lies” by The Him (21-17) (both above) don’t move up as much due to a busy chart, but should see more upward action next week.  The Him recently released a remix to Avicii’s “Without You” – check out the busy boys’ latest below 🙂  More new music coming soon!

SIX DEBUTS

#22 is “Butterscotch” an unexpectedly funky slice of electronica by Canadians Robotaki, Jamie Fine and Falcxne – it joins Robotaki’s “I Want You” on the chart (#5).

#25 is “Better With You” by Jesse McCartney, his first entry since 2009’s “How Do You Sleep”, and co-written by Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore.

#26 is “Lost In Japan” by Shawn Mendes, a Justin Timberlake-inspired romantic throwback to songs of the pre-rock era.

#27 is “Be Like You” by Chicago’s Whethan, who performed at Coachella on the weekend, with vocals by Georgia of Broods.

#28 is “Hurt You”, a collaboration of The Weeknd and French producer Gesaffelstein, from The Weeknd’s new EP My Dear Melancholy.

#29 is “Cautious” in a remix by Halifax’s Famba, from Canadian singer Tyler Shaw, who has a national radio hit with it.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right hereClick 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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Positive vibes and diversity flow from “Hands Down” by @BrandynBurnette and @itsDWilly with @KayoGenesis

BRANDYN BURNETTE, DWILLY and KAYO GENESIS, “Hands Down”

It’s come straight out of left field, from Monstercat no less, but “Hands Down” is a total winner for dance music lovers and clubs from singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette, L.A. producer DWilly, and guest hip hop star Kayo Genesis.  The song oozes good times and diversity.  There is so much going on that is rooted in 80’s soul and early hip hop (with some jazz riffing too) and somehow the trio have pulled it all together into a shiny and sometimes romantic pop sound.  Everyone can identify with a song about a crush when opposites might attract.  Kayo Genesis’ few verses are key and add an even more positive flavour to the song.  “Hands Down” should score well with dance radio and clubs and continue to open doors for Brandyn and his collaborators.

Published in: on April 15, 2018 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“I Know” by @iamJocelynAlice gets some dance floor crunch in a @PLSandTYbased remix

JOCELYN ALICE, “I Know” (PLS&TY remix)

After a flurry of recent fiery remixes, Florida’s PLS&TY returns with a bit of a different spin on “I Know” by Calgary singer Jocelyn Alice.  Jocelyn, who is releasing on Disruptor (home to The Chainsmokers), has already had some success in Canada both solo and in a duo, and is also a respected songwriter (believe it or not, Mother Mother’s “The Drugs” is a co-write).  “I Know” in its pop version is a next level single for Jocelyn that in a lot of ways echoes Alessia Cara.  In its remixed version, PLS&TY amps up the bass and synths for some crunch and thump to make those heads bob while you bounce and sway.  It works well, so if you don’t hear “I Know” on the radio first you may just hear it in a club.  Add it to your Nice ‘n Crunchy playlist on Spotify.

Published in: on April 5, 2018 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Australian R&B singer @hisnameisWilson shares emotional, edgy “Even If I Know”

WILSONN, “Even If I Know”

New Australian singer Wilsonn has some of the same mystique happening with “Even If I Know” that would parallel that some of us didn’t expect when we first heard Terence Trent D’Arby back in the 80’s.  This is the kind of song that wears its pain and emotion on its sleeve, surrounded by surreal synths and trap inflections, but guided by a soulful voice and an almost live-off-the-floor vibe.  Not your typical song to be sure, and that’s exactly why it stands out and becomes memorable.  Wilsonn anchors you with a lilting and soothing melody in the song’s calmer moments, and you’ll be taken aback by the wild ending.  Wilsonn definitely takes risks and isn’t willing to compromise, but that’s the magnet-in-hiding.  Check out “Even If I Know” at the link above.

Published in: on April 5, 2018 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TV and film star @KeiynanLonsdale has a beautiful ode to love and being yourself with “Kiss The Boy”

KEIYNAN LONSDALE, “Kiss The Boy”

How did I miss that Australia-born TV and film actor Keiynan Lonsdale was also a singer/songwriter?  Why he’s even recorded dance tunes with Louis Futon and Kasbo that I didn’t know about.  So deep inside I’m fanboying a bit here because one of the most human and likeable characters on TV in recent years has been Wally West aka Kid Flash on “The Flash”, and Keiynan’s performances have been highlights of the series, as well as more recently “Legends Of Tomorrow”.  But in film he’s also been in the “Divergent” series as well as the recent “Love, Simon”.  So it’s not really a surprise that his new single “Kiss The Boy” is all about love and simply being yourself.  Its video above is so all inclusive that you’ll be wrapped up in it before you realize that it isn’t all about same sex love and affection.  It’s as warm as a big hug, a welcome arm around your back, or yes, even a kiss.  Keiynan has an easy-going hip hop-inspired style that will extend his appeal beyond the camera.  “Kiss The Boy” is for, and all about, everyone, and all are welcome.