BILLCS Top 30 #444 – November 17, 2014

My personal chart has been online since January 1998 and we’re at edition Triple-4!  With a new number one no less!  And there are five new entries…  The full chart is listed below the blog post.

The Top 10

  • Jessie Ware succeeds Mikky Ekko at #1 with the should’ve-been-a-hit “Say You Love Me”, and I don’t think anything will challenge for a while yet.  If you haven’t heard it yet, her sophomore album Tough Love is one of the best of the year and a great companion piece to Sam Smith’s album.
  • Mikky Ekko’s “Smile” got an appearance (two weeks) at #1, still one of the finest songs of 2014.  Ads popping up everywhere claim Mikky’s album Time will surface on January 20.  Can’t…. wait….. !
  • The best songs of the year rule the top of this particular chart… again!  That means another few more weeks for Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One”, Brandyn Burnette’s “Thanks For Nothing” (above), and the Aron Friedman remix of “I Won’t Let You Go” by Adam Tyler at #3, #4, and #5 respectively!  We’ll see if songs below shake up the Top 5 in two weeks.
  • Looking to make that happen is “Brando” by Semi-Precious Weapons, finding a gap in the chart and charging up 13-6.  No sign of another new album officially yet but I know this band will make it happen.  “Brando” is such a great lead-in to a new album, and surpasses the #9 peak of “Aviation High” on the chart last year.
  • It’s my favourite of the four songs on his same-titled EP, largely because of one verse which strikes me deep down inside on each listen.  New Yorker and former contestant on “The Voice” Jake Barker rises 12-8 with “Stage Fright”.  Preview the song right here.
  • Jane Badler acquires her second Top Tenner on this chart with the hypnotic “Losing You”, leaping 14-9.  “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” peaked out at #8 two years ago.  “Losing You” is culled from Jane’s latest long-player called Opus.
  • I love the energy of this song, and that’s a big reason why it’s stuck around so long on the chart.  “Play For Me” by UK’s Chromatone advances 11-10 🙂

Movin’ On Up

  •  What?!? Another Bright Light Bright Light song headed into the Top 10??  That’s what’s been happening since 2010 in my world!  “Arms Of Another” zips up the chart handily 16-11.  It’s a featured song on the single release of BLx2’s previous #1 “An Open Heart”.
  • I’m pleased to say that the DJ/producer collective of Sander van Doorn, Martin Garrix and my fellow Canucks DVBBS have debuted on Billboard’s Canadian Top 100 at #57!  Just as it makes a challenging move on this chart too!  The wistful, anthemic, and highly danceable “Gold Skies” climbs 20-14.
  • Gotta love those Janoskians!  The comedic Aussies get a fair amount of social media time each day, which usually involves body skin or removing pants (oh, and thank you Jai Brooks for following me on Twitter, Janoskians fans seem to dig it 🙂 ) .  I’m looking for more new music from them very soon, but in the meantime the insanely catchy “That’s What She Said” continues to move up 18-16.
  • I’m not sure why The Script’s “Superheroes” isn’t more wickedly popular in North America after leading off their 4th album No Sound Without Silence well in advance.  It got a late start on my chart but rises 22-17.
  • The retro flavour of Erasure’s latest album The Violet Flame has scored huge with their fans and other EDM/electronica fans too.  Initial single “Elevation” just peaked out at #3 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play Chart and I’m looking for “Reason” to get to #1.  It soars with no surprises 26-19.  And we need a video!!
  • Flying very high indeed and the fastest riser on the chart is “Burn Again”, a pensive ballad by British Columbia singer Tristan Thompson.  It’s taken from his debut album Here For You, is being played on well over 100 Canadian radio stations, and has entered the Billboard AC Airplay Top 40!  Impressive – and don’t forget, Tristan is just 16.  “Burn Again” makes short work of the lower part of the chart and moves 28-20.

Five New Entries

 You’ve read all about them in detail in my blog pages, so here’s a briefer reminder of what they are and why some of them have debuted high!

  • Bowing at #18 is “Headphones” by Color Theory.  Its 80’s electronic elements and story about a guy who just won’t take off his headphones will get stuck in your head.  This bodes for a fine advance in two weeks.  Color Theory (Brian Hazard) first appeared on this chart as featured singer on Amelia’s Fault’s haunting “Colder” in the summer of ’13, peaking at … #18 (note: not intentional!)!  But Brian is hardly a newcomer, his website is very comprehensive and he’s been making music for about 20 years.  Great to have such an infectious potential breakthrough like this! My preference is for the Matt Mancid retro crossover remix right here but listen to the original above.
  • Last year, a lot of you were blasting Martin Garrix’s “Animals” at your New Year’s celebrations.  This year that pleasure should belong to “Goin’ Down” by DJ/producers Deniz Koyu vs Twoloud, which arrives at #21.  Listen above and tell me that you weren’t sitting down after.  BOOOM!  Available at this time on Beatport.
  • Following up his earlier release of “Back To California” (which reached #10 on this chart), Chicago’s own Steve Grand reminds us once again about why he is such a great storyteller, which got many of you listening to his web hits “All American Boy” and “Stay” last year.  “Time” is his latest original, and Steve’s sincerity just oozes from the words.  For me not being a Country music fan it’s a happy mix of both Rock and Country – but it’s the performance and lyrics that really score.  “Time” debuts at #23 in advance of his upcoming album expected early next year.
  • As his cover of “Hang On To Your Love” departs, Penguin Prison (Chris Glover) premieres with his new single “Calling Out” at #26.  He takes us back to what got under our skin back in 2010 with songs like “The Worse It Gets”, with a simple lyric and a bright sunshiny melody as we head into winter months.  Penguin Prison is another performer with a new and much-anticipated sophomore album on deck for next year!
  • “Hounds” sniff their way on to this chart at #30 as recorded by Canadian band Smashing Satellites from their EP A-Side (SonicAluzion).  Responsible are an infectious melody and chorus that will have you singing in short order.  Plus – they play in my city (Toronto) next week on Saturday, November 22, opening up for Moist with In My Coma at the Danforth Music Hall.  Looking forward to being there!!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

02 01 SAY YOU LOVE ME Jessie Ware
01 02 SMILE Mikky Ekko
03 03 I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE Sam Smith
04 04 THANKS FOR NOTHING Brandyn Burnette
05 05 I WON’T LET YOU GO (Aron Friedman remix) Adam Tyler
13 06 BRANDO Semi-Precious Weapons
07 07 UNBREAKABLE Jamie Scott
12 08 STAGE FRIGHT Jake Barker
14 09 LOSING YOU Jane Badler
11 10 PLAY FOR ME Chromatone
16 11 ARMS OF ANOTHER Bright Light Bright Light
06 12 AFTERGLOW Harriet
15 13 RESTART Sam Smith
20 14 GOLD SKIES Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix & DVBBS featuring Aleesia
08 15 AMNESIA 5 Seconds Of Summer
18 16 THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID The Janoskians
22 17 SUPERHEROES The Script
New 18 HEADPHONES (Matt Mancid Retro Crossover Mix) Color Theory
26 19 REASON Erasure
28 20 BURN AGAIN Tristan Thompson
New 21 GOIN’ DOWN Deniz Koyu Vs Twoloud
09 22 CRIMINAL Adam Tyler
New 23 TIME Steve Grand
27 24 YELLOW FLICKER BEAT Lorde
10 25 ZEPPELIN Eli Lieb
New 26 CALLING OUT Penguin Prison
19 27 GET TO KNOW YOU Corey Niles featuring Ish
21 28 NO FUN The Presets
23 29 THIS COULD BE SOMETHING Anton Ewald featuring Medina
New 30 HOUNDS Smashing Satellites

Listen for My New Music Pick Of The Week on D-Moos.com!

I am now a radio voice on D-Moos.com Canada’s National Internet Radio Station!  Every week I feature a New Music Pick of the Week, which is usually either on my chart or may soon be!  Listen in amid the great variety of older music as I bring cutting edge new music to the rotation of over 20,000+ songs!!

BILLCS Top 30 #443 – November 3, 2014

After 6 weeks of having a lock on the chart, making it some of the best music weeks of the year thus far, the Top 3 songs have faltered and an influx of new songs is on the way, but that will probably still take another month or so, with the exception of one song which has its sights on #1.  A list of the complete chart follows the blog post further down 🙂

The Top 10

  • “Smile” by Mikky Ekko gets an appearance at #1 after holding down the fort at #2 for six weeks.  I’m looking forward to hearing the singer’s album Time when it surfaces – not sure of a release date now, and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t shoved back till the new year after he completes his tour with Alt-J.  Ironically the singer’s collaboration with Chris Malinchak, “Stranger” (which peaked at #8) is #30 in this edition.

  • After killer performances in a four city North American tour – including Toronto, where I was fortunate to bear witness to her amazing voice and show – Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me” soars 6-2 to challenge “Smile” for #1 in two weeks.  I don’t understand why “Say You Love Me” isn’t tearing up charts everywhere (it did reach the Top 25 in the UK), but there’s a dearth of beautiful songs on her album Tough Love too!
  • While Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One” slips to #3, do not fear, fans, “Restart” is on its way up at #15!

  • He continues to post a lot of new music on his Soundcloud page, but for now “Thanks For Nothing” by Brandyn Burnette holds its own at #4.

  • Jamie Scott’s “Unbreakable” is slowly attracting friends at radio, and the song climbs this week 9-7, as his album My Hurricane will see release this month.

  • 5 Seconds Of Summer’s memorable ballad “Amnesia” enters the Top 10, right behind the #7 peak of “She Looks So Perfect” at #8.

  • Oh look!  Two Adam Tyler songs in the Top 10!  No surprise that, I believe he’s done it before 🙂  So we have the Aron Friedman remix of “I Won’t Let You Go” at #5, and the Paul Hetherington 80’s retro-styled production of “Criminal” becomes yet another Top Tenner for Adam at #9!

Movin’ Up

  •  Chromatone’s pop-rock-R&B flavoured song “Play For Me” continues to climb to a new peak, at #11 in this edition!
  • The last chart’s fastest riser, Jake Barker’s “Stage Fright”, moves up just outside the Top 10 at #12.
  • Semi-Precious Weapons look to follow “Aviation High” into the Top 10 with the unconventional love song “Brando”, moving up 17-13.

  • Actress and singer Jane Badler’s hypnotic and stylish “Losing You” makes a big move this week, rising 20-14!
  • The fastest riser on the chart this week can only be found within the new EP An Open Heart by Bright Light Bright Light.  It’s “Arms Of Another” (musically inspired by Crystal Waters’ classic “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”, climbing 24-16.

  • It debuted inside the Top 50 this week on the UK Official Singles Chart so “Gold Skies” by the triple threat of Sander van Doorn, Martin Garrix and DVBBS (featuring Aleesia) is proving to be an international chart threat, and it rises 27-20 on my chart in this edition.

  • It took a while to reach the chart, but “Superheroes” by The Script is well on its way, rising 28-22, from their 4th album No Sound Without Silence.

Chart Newcomers

  • Erasure has been one of my favourite groups since I first saw their show in 1986 (!), and their latest album The Violet Flame is one of their finest, harkening back to their classic late 80’s period.  They’ve only surfaced on my chart three times since 2003, but each time it’s with a personal Top Tenner:  Their cover of “Solsbury Hill”, “I Could Fall In Love With You”, and “Then I Go Twisting”.  Can “Reason” join this trio?  It arrives at #26 as the group completes its recent four.

  • Arriving at #27 is the initial single from the intriguing-looking soundtrack to the latest edition of “The Hunger Games” called “Mockingjay” (Part 1).  I wasn’t a fan of the first movie, but award-winning singer/songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, is the curator of the soundtrack (not bad for turning 18 years old this coming week!) and the alluring “Yellow Flicker Beat” debuts on the chart.  Lorde’s “Royals” only got to #11 before I tired of it; perhaps “Yellow Flicker Beat” will do better!

  • Lastly at #28, is the second official single by British Columbia singer Tristan Thompson, “Burn Again”, which I wrote about recently.  This 16 year old will be a contender in the next year, mark my words!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

02 01 SMILE Mikky Ekko
06 02 SAY YOU LOVE ME Jessie Ware
01 03 I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE Sam Smith
04 04 THANKS FOR NOTHING Brandyn Burnette
05 05 I WON’T LET YOU GO (Aron Friedman remix) Adam Tyler
03 06 AFTERGLOW Harriet
09 07 UNBREAKABLE Jamie Scott
11 08 AMNESIA 5 Seconds Of Summer
12 09 CRIMINAL Adam Tyler
10 10 ZEPPELIN Eli Lieb
13 11 PLAY FOR ME Chromatone
15 12 STAGE FRIGHT Jake Barker
17 13 BRANDO Semi-Precious Weapons
20 14 LOSING YOU Jane Badler
22 15 RESTART Sam Smith
24 16 ARMS OF ANOTHER Bright Light Bright Light
18 17 KILLER WHALES Smallpools
21 18 THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID The Janoskians
07 19 GET TO KNOW YOU Corey Niles featuring Ish
27 20 GOLD SKIES Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix & DVBBS featuring Aleesia
08 21 NO FUN The Presets
28 22 SUPERHEROES The Script
16 23 THIS COULD BE SOMETHING Anton Ewald featuring Medina
19 24 HANG ON TO YOUR LOVE Penguin Prison
14 25 MUSIC GODS Davis Redfield featuring Carl Man
New 26 REASON Erasure
New 27 YELLOW FLICKER BEAT Lorde
New 28 BURN AGAIN Tristan Thompson
25 29 I BELIEVE Bright Light Bright Light
26 30 STRANGER Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko

Listen for My New Music Pick Of The Week on D-Moos.com!

As many of you are already aware, after many years away from the microphone, I am now pleased to be back as a voice on D-Moos.com Canada’s National Internet Radio Station, which mainly plays a selection of oldies, mostly from the 50’s to the 90’s, with soon to be more intrusions from the 2000’s and other new music.

Do listen in for my New Music Pick of the Week feature on D-Moos.com 8 times per day starting at 2:05 AM EST on Mondays, and while the station is only live in the evenings from 9:00 pm to midnight (with my long-time musical partner in crime “The Musicman” James Rogers), you can hear my voice at other odd times, particularly if you’re an oldies loving night owl on the weekend overnights 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #442 – October 20, 2014

Time isn’t standing still, but when you’ve got a 1,2,3,4 kapow like what’s happening at the top of my new chart, you’re gonna have to be patient to find out when they all get shook loose.  And it could happen as early as the next chart in two weeks but until then, enjoy:

#1 “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith

samsmith6#2 “Smile” by Mikky Ekko

mikkyekko#3 “Afterglow” by Harriet

harriet3#4 “Thanks For Nothing” by Brandyn Burnette

Brandyn Burnette has a new acoustic set available on Soundcloud above and lots of free songs as well so I’ll be keeping you posted on the prolific singer’s new songs very soon!

ON THE RISE

The lone new entry to the Top 5 isn’t actually new, but it does sound significantly different from the original version which got to #5 in 2011.  I’m talking about the mid-tempo Aron Friedman house remix of “I Won’t Let You Go” by Adam Tyler of course, which climbs 8-5.

As her album Tough Love enters the UK Top 10 and her October 26 show in my city approaches, Jessie Ware is the gal-most-likely-to as “Say You Love Me” continues to rise quickly, up 9-6.

It’s now due on November 10 (in Canada anyway), but if you go to iTunes you’ll find 3 more songs to preview from Jamie Scott’s My Hurricane album, including a duet with Christina Perri called “Gold”.  In the meantime, his latest single “Unbreakable” moves up 11-9, joining his band Graffiti6 with their Top 5 entry from last year, “Free”.

Music fans are the always the first ones to get “Zeppelin” by Eli Lieb but even if you’re not familiar with the famous band’s songs or why friends might be jamming to Zeppelin in the car, then you can still revel in the positive and nostalgic vibe of the song.  It anchors the top songs on the chart at #10.

Chromatone is out gigging in the London, England area quite regularly, so do try to catch one of his performances!  His latest song “Play For Me” continues to advance on the chart 17-13.

It’s one of the more discreet songs on the chart, but it’s heartwarming and holds within its lyrics reams of truth.  The fastest riser on the chart is “Stage Fright” by Jake Barker.

It’s not easy to find different love songs to write about but Semi-Precious Weapons has done just that with “Brando”.  Hopefully a video is in the works and can make it out before their next album, still expected before year end.

I caught Smallpools’ set back when they opened for Neon Trees back in July, and with new songs like “Killer Whales” I look forward to their next album release.  The band plays in my city on October 24 too.  “Killer Whales” swims upstream to #18!

Between her acting career and her singing career, Jane Badler travels all over, and will next perform a concert in Paris at the end of November.  Her beguiling single, featuring Spanish guitar via 70’s new wave via torch ballad, “Losing You”, lands at #20 on my chart, from her new album Opus.

Those Janoskians are still making their way across North America promoting their latest single “That’s What She Said”, which lands at #21 this week.  The teens definitely like their Aussie boys when they get even a little more than naughty, and that’s what makes watching their success unfold rather interesting! Yes, this blogger likes The Janoskians 🙂

There’s nothing stopping Sam Smith short of exhaustion, and he’s announced another North American tour, including a stop in my city on January 20 at the biggest venue in town!  I was fortunate to see him at the 500 person Virgin Mod Club last Spring for $15.00!  “Restart” moves up to #22.

NEW TO THE CHART

Keep those dancing shoes on for “Arms Of Another” by Bright Light Bright Light, which I wrote about recently as the extra song (or ‘B’ side as we used to call them) on the new single for “An Open Heart”.  The latter song already conquered this chart back at the top of the year, and now “Arms Of Another” arrives at #24.

And now I return you to the explosive and diverse dubstep/trap and other EDM scene.  “Gold Skies”, brought to you by the quartet of Sander van Doorn, Martin Garrix, and DVBBS, and featuring vocalist Aleesia, sounds like a radio hit in the making, and it’s included on Martin’s EP of the same name on iTunes, which also features two of my 2014 #1’s, “Animals” and “Proxy” (previously a free download).  “Gold Skies” bows at #27.

It’s been since 2011 that The Script last landed on my chart, and to me have returned to the sound now which got them popular in the first place back in 2009.  “Superheroes” is the first single from No Sound Without Silence, the Dublin, Ireland trio’s fourth album.  And they are well worth seeing in concert!  “Superheroes” premieres at #28.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

While “Hang On To Your Love”, the Penguin Prison free download cover of the 1984 Sade debut glides up the chart at #19, the singer (aka Chris Glover) released his first solo single in three years last week.  He’s not breaking a formula that won over fans like me either with “Calling Out”.  It’s as simple a song as “The Worse It Gets”, with similar late 70’s early 80’s inspirations like “Kiss On My List” by Daryl Hall & John Oates or “What A Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers, but spun Penguin Prison style:  Danceable ear candy!  Can’t wait to hear more from PP’s upcoming sophomore album.  Listen below and get it on iTunes.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

01 01 I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE Sam Smith
02 02 SMILE Mikky Ekko
03 03 AFTERGLOW Harriet
04 04 THANKS FOR NOTHING Brandyn Burnette
08 05 I WON’T LET YOU GO (Aron Friedman remix) Adam Tyler
09 06 SAY YOU LOVE ME Jessie Ware
07 07 GET TO KNOW YOU Corey Niles featuring Ish
05 08 NO FUN The Presets
11 09 UNBREAKABLE Jamie Scott
12 10 ZEPPELIN Eli Lieb
14 11 AMNESIA 5 Seconds Of Summer
15 12 CRIMINAL Adam Tyler
17 13 PLAY FOR ME Chromatone
06 14 MUSIC GODS Davis Redfield featuring Carl Man
23 15 STAGE FRIGHT Jake Barker
10 16 THIS COULD BE SOMETHING Anton Ewald featuring Medina
24 17 BRANDO Semi-Precious Weapons
21 18 KILLER WHALES Smallpools
22 19 HANG ON TO YOUR LOVE Penguin Prison
26 20 LOSING YOU Jane Badler
27 21 THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID The Janoskians
28 22 RESTART Sam Smith
13 23 JUST SAY HELLO Lyonn
New 24 ARMS OF ANOTHER Bright Light Bright Light
16 25 I BELIEVE Bright Light Bright Light
18 26 STRANGER Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko
New 27 GOLD SKIES Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix & DVBBS featuring Aleesia
New 28 SUPERHEROES The Script
19 29 TIME HAS COME Hannis
20 30 TEN FEET TALL Afrojack featuring Wrabel

Listen for My New Music Pick Of The Week on D-Moos.com!

As many of you are already aware, after many years away from the microphone, I am now pleased to be back as a voice on D-Moos.com Canada’s National Internet Radio Station, which mainly plays a selection of oldies, mostly from the 50’s to the 90’s, with soon to be more intrusions from the 2000’s and other new music.

Do listen in for my New Music Pick of the Week feature on D-Moos.com 8 times per day starting at 2:05 AM EST on Mondays, and while the station is only live in the evenings from 9:00 pm to midnight (with my long-time musical partner in crime “The Musicman” James Rogers), you can hear my voice at other odd times, particularly if you’re an oldies loving night owl on the weekend overnights 🙂

It’s All Within You: “Superheroes” by @TheScript

thescript6

THE SCRIPT, “Superheroes”

The Script return with the lead single from their upcoming fourth album No Sound Without Silence, “Superheroes”.  Moving away from their well-established ballads but retaining their ability to empower, the trio has crafted with “Superheroes” an R&B-inspired rock anthem with an immediate singalong chorus that their rabid hardcore fans probably already know!  I’ve seen the group’s powerful performance in concert and “Superheroes” also bodes well for The Script after what I would say was a less memorable (albeit successful) third album.  These guys are taking in all of what they’ve learned over the years and they know how to deliver.  Give a listen below.  It’s now available on iTunes and I’m sure much radio play is forthcoming.

Published in: on July 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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And Visions Of 2011 Danced In His Head…

2011 is a special year in many ways for me.  Utterly fantastic music was to be heard at every turn, whether it be a Facebook or Twitter link, a video, a concert… we were just a few clicks away from something amazing.  I’ve met and made contact with some of the genuinely nicest people who are either performers, writers, songwriters, producers … and are always music fans.   For someone like me who has sometimes odd music tastes and often wants to stand up on my seat and root for the underdog, it’s reassuring to know that there are so many of us out there in the world.

In anticipation of my year end Best Songs list – which will be a Top 75 Songs for the first time since around 1992 – I’m going to rave on about 20  performers (and one compilation project) who made 2011 a watershed year, particularly for pop music online (he says after listening to the radio and finding so little of interest on it).  So this post is a little longer than usual… they are in no particular order, except for the last five 🙂

The Script

The Irish trio toured around the world and then seemed to do it again, sideways, finally landing a show in my city.  Their Science And Faith album proved to be a consistent soft rock entry, spawning long-lasting hits like “For The First Time” and “Nothing”.  It’s a record that you can put on at any time and know that you will get something different back in each play every time.  The band in concert has an earnest, contagious energy which will serve them well in their rock career.

Jamie Woon

If I hadn’t heard the magical and eerie “Night Air”, well represented by a beautifully-shot video, Jamie Woon’s Mirrorwriting would not have been one of my most played albums of the first quarter of the year.  Englander Jamie has one of those deep musical souls, highly evident in gripping R&B/Blues-influenced songs like “Tmrw”, “Street”, “Waterfront” and “Shoulda”.  I can’t wait to see where his next album will take him, and us.

The Midway State

The Toronto-based quartet had me a bit puzzled with their sophomore release Paris Or India, but it’s really an album that grows on you with time.  First you must get over the hurdle that it’s quite different, and much more produced, than their 2008 debut Holes.  But the songs do resonate, particularly “Fire!”, “All Anew”, “Hartley Salter’s Kite”, and “St. Paul And The Wolf”.  The band proved how much they’ve grown touring back and forth across Canada and are now a formidably tight unit in concert.  Keep them on your radar!

Jon McLaughlin

What’s one to do after leaving your major record label of 6 years?  Why, you tour the hell out of North America in support of the album that you couldn’t agree upon, that’s what!  So Indiana’s Jon McLaughlin released Forever If Ever on his own, as if to reacquaint us with an increasingly lost image – the singer/songwriter/piano man.  I mean, a full blown piano solo in the album’s best song, “Promising Promises”, really?  The record is mainly soft rock, but also rocks out on “What I Want” and “These Crazy Times”.  And Jon proved himself to be a compelling presence in concert, prepared to bang out that keyboard until it falls apart.

Adam Cohen

I was fortunate enough to win last minute tickets to see Adam Cohen’s show in Toronto in October.  And I was treated to a low key, enthusiastic small event to showcase his first English solo album, Like A Man, since 1998, after recording one in French in 2004 and of course having some success with his rock band Low Millions.  So Adam has now embraced some of father Leonard’s style and grace on the album.  But these are Adam’s songs which tell interesting tales of love, lust, and beauty, as well as a coming of age of sorts.  At 39, Adam has decided to continue with a pop music career after nearly talking himself out of it.  And so out of that we have Like A Man, one of the best albums of 2011.

Jessica 6

This New York City trio is among a select few who seem to be reinventing the late night dance music of their city.  There’s no better example than their See The Light album, full of dark and sensual rhythms carried by the sultry-plus voice of Nomi Ruiz.  “Fun Girl”, “White Horse” and especially the knockout duet with Antony Hegarty on “Prisoner Of Love” will serve as benchmarks in this sub-genre which will continue to grow.

Ballroom Remixed

It almost seems like a no-brainer.  But with the success of contemporary dance in our pop culture spectrum now, thanks in large part to TV’s So You Think You Can Dance, no one had thought about putting a contemporary spin on traditional ballroom dances until now.  Dance choreographer extraordinaire Melanie La Patin executive-produced this fun and diverse compilation, with all songs written and produced by one group of incredible individuals, so it comes off as a dedicated and attractive affair to suit your every dance mood.  And the performers who participated?  A who’s who of Internet pop from across the globe – Simon Curtis, Kyle Brylin, Gravitonas, Elouise, Lee Latchford Evans, Romy Low, Neo, plus stunning newcomers like Jerry Reid, Joshua Desjardins, and Jeronimo.  Putting together such a compilation in these times must have taken massive effort but the results are exceptional, so check it out if you haven’t.

Bright Light Bright Light

Rod Thomas creates sad and romantic electropop with a big heart.  And while we haven’t yet seen a full album release, this London-based Welsh singer/producer/DJ continued to dazzle us in 2011 with the heartbreak of “Disco Moment”, “How To Make A Heart”, and a unique interpretation of the “Twin Peaks” theme (originally sung by Julee Cruise) “Falling”.  And then there are his numerous dance mixes, often courtesy of his nightclubbing event “Another Night”.  Bright Light Bright Light is on my must-listen list.

Adam Tyler,  Kyle Brylin, and Nick Hagelin

All of these fine young men didn’t strike me with their first few songs.  But 2011 has shown that all are coming into their own, with endless possibilities ahead.  All are very prolific, whether engaging us with their own originals/collaborations, or with well-chosen cover versions.

Adam released his debut album Shattered Ice, toured most of the U.S., and also visited England, Sweden and Japan.  The well-received electronic album included pre-released single “I Won’t Let You Go”, plus club bangers such as “Like A Drug”, “Pull The Trigger”, and the anthemic “Music Freak”, but also showed Adam’s softer side as well, which truly highlights his voice, very apparent in his non-album free download covers of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” or Adele’s “Turning Tables”.

It seemed that every month saw a new Kyle Brylin release.  And I’d be the first to back off a bunch of songs that sound like they were being thrown against a wall to see what stuck.  But there is enormous quality to multi-instrumentalist Kyle’s versatile performances,  most of which were available as free downloads.  The year started with the interesting “Committed”, and quickly got turned upside its head with a visceral version of Rihanna’s “S&M”.  “Everything I’m Missing” was hypnotic, his best song yet.  He gave us a tongue-in-cheek side with “I’m A Man (Not A Piece of Meat)” from the Ballroom Remixed compilation.  More aggressive electronica followed in the form of songs like “Make It So” and “Never Love A DJ”, countered by sweet pop like “Bay” and the joyful “My Fizzy Pop”.  The year wrapped up with precursors to an album with the many remixes of “Revenge” along with the The System EP.  OK I’m officially out of breath.

For the first while, all I could associate singer/songwriter/guitarist Nick Hagelin with were dancing pandas (from his video of “ICU”).  So when the acoustic cover versions of “The Story Of Us”, “Sometimes I Cry”, and “Marry You” all surfaced, along with a beaut of an R&B/Pop EP called Take Off, then I knew Nick would be here to stay, with much to look forward to next year.  Take Off is available for free download and features the sultry “Metaphor” and wistful title track.

Erasure

September brought me back to an always pleasant experience – my fifth Erasure concert (I saw them first back in 1986!) – but this year’s event focused on both their greatest hits and music from their album Tomorrow’s World, produced by their opening act, Frankmusik.  The album itself stands as unique among all of the Erasure albums because it updated the duo’s sound, which attracted many new listeners, more than evident in the audience at the concert.  And the concert showed that Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are still very fine performers indeed – and just count all of those hits they played.

Ro Danishei

The L.A. based singer/songwriter released the first album of 2011 online for free, and in a year of such high profile women singers, Ro Danishei held her own with End Of The Rainbow.  It’s a collection of songs that would best resemble what a de-layered Kesha might sound like, but with much more focus on deeper lyrical content and solid production (courtesy of Jeff “Jadion” Wells) than image or novelty.  Her duets with Simon Curtis on the blistering “Michelle” and the child of Ace Of Base that is “Wicked Baby”, as well as solo efforts like “Baby Doll”, “Drunk Txt”, and “Blackout” put Ro Danishei on her own platform, waiting to be heard more in 2012.

Lady GaGa

Despite naysayers, Born This Way as an album (but more particularly as a song) is a triumph.  Every generation has its excesses, whether they be by Elton John, David Bowie, or Madonna.  Lady GaGa has her own invention of excess, but with all of her talent, and her ability to get right down to a fan’s level, she still comes across as a multi-layered and unique person.  And there’s no denying the variety in Born This Way, from the humorous “Government Hooker” and “Scheiɮe”, through to the more dramatic “Marry The Night” and “Judas”, and the anthemic “Hair” and “The Edge Of Glory”.

Adele

21 is the most stunningly beautiful best-selling album of many recent years.  Who would have thought a year ago that the New Artist Grammy winner from 2009 had created a record with songs that will serve as bellwether performances for years to come.  The honest emotion in “Rolling In The Deep”, “Someone Like You”, and “Set Fire To The Rain” transcended the year, and will continue into 2012.  21 is certainly a dream come true, a vocal tour-de-force with stunning arrangements.

Darren Hayes

Secret Codes and Battleships is Darren’s first album since the magnificence that is 2007’s This Delicate Thing We’ve Made.  It’s a softer and very personal affair, full of emotion and positive energy.  “Talk Talk Talk” was the danceable introduction to the album, followed by the intense “Bloodstained Heart” and feverish “Black Out The Sun”.  There’s no shortage of fine songs, with “Don’t Give Up” and “Roses” continuing to show the quality and beauty that Darren and his team put into their music.  What’s best though about this record – Darren’s finest vocals throughout.  Can’t wait for the North American concert dates.

Here now are the five quintessential performers in 2011 who require your attention in 2012 and beyond!

Elouise

England’s “Little Belter” certainly captured my attention last year with her knockout Stardust EP, which showcased her powerful voice on “Pretender”.  This year we saw Elouise take up a residency at Madame JoJo’s in London for several sequined-dress laden Little Belter shows, including “Santa’s Little Belter” at year’s end, which promoted her same-name EP of a trio of Christmas songs, including the lost disco gem “Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas)”.  She also released another three song EP Stardust Melodies (as with the others, lovingly produced by Steve Anderson), featuring a warm and spot-on cover of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All”.  Plus she dared to cover “Born This Way” while Lady GaGa’s Grammy performance was still fresh in our minds (releasing it as a free download), as well as a sexy and sultry version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”.  Then we found her contemporized on the Ballroom Remixed compilation with “The Lover’s Rumba”.  It was a great year for Elouise, and it will only get better from here.  A tour of England first; the rest of the world awaits!

Penguin Prison

Chris Glover and his band were everywhere in 2011.  The year started off with the single “Golden Train”, which Penguin Prison then mashed up with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night”.  Then came the Prince-worthy “Multi-Millionaire” and an older single “Fair Warning”, in numerous different remixes.  Chris also entertained us with various remixes and mixtapes throughout the year, until the self-titled Penguin Prison album dropped, first in England, and then in North America in October.  The album was more than worth the wait, with the crunchy and ribald “Don’t Fuck With My Money” scoring the lead-off track role.  But there’s more to Penguin Prison than making an outstanding fusion of dance past and present, as “Desert Cold” and “In The Way” will inform you upon listening.  Despite their relentless touring throughout 2011, I hope to see a Penguin Prison show again in 2012.

Simon Curtis

Our Boy Robot from last year’s 8bit Heart free download release threw his hat into the official release game with R∆ pretty much taking over my Twitter timeline for the month of June.  He also performed a few shows throughout the year, including the Superfraiche showcase in New York City which I saw in April.  R∆ is a hard-hitting and emotionally heart-felt triumph which is not always an easy listen.  In fact it’s better to be broken up into several parts.  

The song that stands apart from the rest in R∆ is second single “Flesh”, Simon’s most unique offering to date that wraps you up and doesn’t let you go, with its impressive vocals, all of its sexy and sensual imagery, and whirlwind production from Jeff “Jadion” Wells.  Then we have the anthems – first single “Superhero”, concert fave “Laser Guns Up”, love letter to the fans “Get In Line”.  Then smouldering dance/pop courtesy of “Soul 4 Sale”, “Don’t Dance”, and “Enemy”.  Lastly, the intensely raw songs like “How To Start A War”, “I Hate U”, “Pit of Vipers”, and “Joshua” – I for one would not want to be the subject of any of these songs for fear of having to crawl under a rock somewhere.  

Despite its flaws, R∆ proves that Simon Curtis can take his music to the next level and beyond… I’m gonna have to be extremely patient waiting to see what’s in store next.

Frankmusik

Frankmusik left me breathless in 2011 after what seemed to be a simple start with the release of the infectious “The Fear Inside” at the top of the year.  But then the rollercoaster effect started, with the online free release of fine songs that didn’t end up on his September album release Do It In The A.M.  One of those songs is “Hurt You Again”, one of my favourite ballads of the year with a tender vocal which we hadn’t yet heard from talented Vince Turner.  

In the midst of it all, Frankmusik produced Erasure’s album Tomorrow’s World, from which he also gave us a raw cover of the band’s single “When I Start (To Break It All Down)”, and then opened up for them on their North America and England tours.  And in the midst of all that, songs from Do It In The A.M. were leaked months in advance of the album’s release, prompting Frankmusik to release several more songs for free download, including a song about London’s summer riots “Living In The Mayhem”.  

But back to the album – flat out and edgy dance pop, featuring collaborations with Far East Movement, Natalia Kills, and Colette Carr, all Cherrytree labelmates.  The music from the record shaped my playlists for late Summer and Fall, with the swinging title track, the jaunty “No I.D.” (with a fantastic “Grease” inspired video), and dance floor fillers like “Wrecking Ball”, “Ludicrous”, “We Collide”, and “Struck By Lightning”.  

Frankmusik now occasionally broadcasts on uStream from his studio and says he’ll be releasing his next album for free online.  But I’m sure this busy fellow will have more up his sleeve and should not be underestimated in this strange world of pop music.

Eric Saade

I’m so glad I keep an open mind about music or else I may not have returned to listen to Eric Saade’s records this year.  His previous releases, huge hits in the Scandinavian countries, didn’t connect with me.  

And then this year’s Melodifestivalen contest happened in Sweden, with Eric’s “Popular” one of the contenders.  Like with Mans Zelmerlow in 2009, the show extracted a stunning live performance  by Eric.  I was converted and  “Popular” is the defining song for me of 2011, followed in the summer by a full album, Saade Volume One.  This isn’t just Swedish electropop, it sets the standard for the way contemporary electropop should be.  Eric and his fine team of songwriters and producers covered the entire pop spectrum, from the caring and personal “Me and My Radio”, “Stupid with You” and “Timeless”, through to his own anthem for his fans “Made of Pop”, and the brilliantly bizarre “Killed By A Cop”.  

In November, Volume One was followed fearlessly by Volume Two, an even harder hitting, forceful collection of grittier arpeggio-laden electropop, led by a stunning first single featuring Dev, “Hotter Than Fire”.  But there are comparable songs within such as “Fingerprints”, “Love Is Calling”, “Explosive Love”, and “Crashed On The Dancefloor”.  Put Eric on a double bill tour with Swedish legend Robyn in 2012 along with a few other noteable performers and we will have Electropop Heaven.  

Not only does Eric Saade create electropop done so right that makes you feel so good, but he leads the way in which a male performer can rightly find his place in such a female performer-driven business these days.  If there’s any guy who should break into the worldwide pop marketplace in the next few years, it’s Eric Saade.  With Volumes One and Two, he’s created the template.  So other male pop performers, your challenge is here:  The Glove Is Now On.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #349 – March 28/11

As much as I can’t resist the laid back and mysterious charm of Jamie Woon’s “Night Air”, the song gives way to the summit of my personal chart after one appearance in favour of the positively infectious, can’t-stand-still hedonism of Christian TV’s “Love 2 Baby”, whose video was featured two weeks ago in these pages.  “Love 2 Baby” should by all rights be a must-play this Spring and Summer, so listen for it and get it on iTunes in advance of Christian’s upcoming album.

That leaves Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” holding in third place this week, while Frankmusik’s supurb ballad “Hurt You Again” climbs to #4 – if you thought Mr. Frank was only a remixer and dance artist, this song proves what an amazing voice he has.  And the Top 10 is packed with fine vocalists.  Adam Tyler’s Euro-inspired pop dance song “I Won’t Let You Go” continues to climb, with Dan Black complementing Aussie producers Bag Raiders on “Sunlight”, and the Red One Jimmy Joker remix of Usher’s “More” right behind.  Adele’s current UK chart topper – her 5th week at the top there – “Someone Like You”, is the lone new entry into the Top 10.

The feel good vibe of Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up” is paying off slow and steady as the song’s about to crack my Top 10, with the Richard X remix of Patrick Wolf’s “The City” in tow in anticipation of his upcoming album Lupercalia.  “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa hasn’t worn on me and it jumps to #13, while Enrique Iglesias’ party-hardy “Tonight” also rises up to #16.

The song that has grown on me the most these past few weeks is the fastest riser on my chart.  Kyle Brylin is a new singer from Wisconsin and his alternately hypnotic and eerie “Everything I’m Missing” soars 24-17.  Double back to the video featured a few weeks back while you’re at it.  BT’s warm electronica of “The Emergency” cracks the Top 20 along with the softer sound of “How To Make A Heart” by Bright Light Bright Light.  I think Brandon Flowers’ fans should convince Island Records to release “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts” as a single to extend the life of his fine Flamingo album.  The song rises to #21 this week.

Our four new entries are led by Sweden’s Eurovision entry – which I think has a great shot at winning the whole deal.  I was so glad to see Eric Saade’s “Popular”  (arriving at #18) take home the Melodifestivalen award – it could very well be one of the finest songs of the year, and I’m going to say again that it has immense international potential, now all Eric’s handlers have to do is get him on Twitter and use this opportunity to promote the hell out of this song.  Check out that starmaking video again from a few weeks back.  Next is the second single from Jamie Woon’s upcoming Mirrorwriting album.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it right away, but like so many UK soul-inspired records over the years, its understated appeal and the contemporary dubstep rhythm make “Lady Luck” (debuting at #22) unique, and you can view its video at the bottom of this page.

Further down, I’m bucking the singles that have been released from The Script’s sophomore album Science and Faith in favour of an extra song on the North American version of the album.  I think the pairing of rapper B.o.B. with the band has given their song “Walk Away” an extra boost, and it arrives on this chart at #26.  Listen to the song right here to see what I mean.  And last is a singer from the Toronto area who first appeared on this chart in late 1999 with a slice of pop/electronica called “Don’t Wanna Lose You”, and then again in 2002 with “Get Ready”, both of which got to the Top 5.  After that I thought a lot of his songs began to sound awfully similar, so I was glad to see a new approach with his latest album Fresh.  Shawn Desman is back with the fun “Electric” at #27, and you can view the video mashup with “Night Like This” right here.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading 🙂


Tuned-On! Top 30 #335 – September 13/10

It’s somewhat of a no frills blog this week, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to chat about or that the chart isn’t any less active…

There’s a new #1 song on top.  And it’s the second time this year, and only the third time since 2007, that a song has debuted at the top.  Rod Thomas and the folks at Popjustice Hi Fi made a good decision to debut Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” online this summer, followed by the video at the top.  For “Love Part II”, simply put, is one of the most glorious, revelatory songs of 2010.  It has a melody that sings by itself under the vocal, which in turn sings this absolutely fantastic chorus:  Do what you want with me / And let everybody see / I’m in love again / I’m in love again / And you changed my mind / And took me by surprise / And I’m in love again / I’m in love again…  “Love Part II” is a song that I’ll be listening to years and years from now – it’s one of the sure bets of 2010!  Congratulations, Rod and friends 🙂

With “Love Part II” arriving in the best possible place on the chart, that’s not to slight the gentle and raw emotion of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”, which moves to #3.  Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is a song that will change the mood you’re in with its zesty rhythm, and it moves up to #5.  Lifehouse’s powerful “All In” bounds 12-10, while gorgeous UK pop singer Elouise climbs 15-10 with “Pretender”.  Check out some of these pictures on Facebook from her September 11 show in London !

It appears that I’m not the only one who finds “Start A Fire” as the best new track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 CD.  It’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, headed towards the Top 5 I would say, moving this time from 18-11.  Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way” continues to rise, 16-13, and courtesy of the noted Arjan Writes, download the Penguin Prison remix .  Into the lower teens, Saint Motel’s “Dear Dictator” is one of the more endearing and quirky songs around, The Script’s “For The First Time” is off to a great start as lead single from Science & Faith, and “Love Part II” B-side “Cry At Films” has a life of its own on this particular chart 🙂

Aside from the debut of “Love Part II”, I blogged specifically about two of our other debuts during the last few weeks.  Darin’s “Lovekiller” is growing and growing on me by the minute (Paul of My Fizzy Pop , of course, is right about this one!), and Russ Chimes’ “Never Look Back” may be the best dance instrumental I’ve heard in years, with extreme pop crossover appeal!  Check out part two of his “Midnight Club” trilogy video series at the bottom of this page, “Tertre Rouge”.  It’s not quite as good as “Look Back” but continues the intriguing story in that video.  Last, UK perveyors of miscellaneous fun pop styles, Jackanory & The Ball arrive on the chart with the indelibly infectious “Audio Precision”, which you can hear on their MySpace page .

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right or save yourself a couple of clicks and view it right here .



Tuned-On! Roundup!

Roundup Spotlight:

JACKANORY & THE BALL “EP”

I must say, London duo Jackanory & The Ball know how to make one satisfying four song EP.  Singer/songwriter Tom Skelton and producer/DJ/pianist Michael Rendall have a strange kind of fusion going on – and this kind of strange is really strong and entertaining.  I could be wrong, but I think it might start with some jazzy Steely Dan influence, moving through new wave and pop electronica of the 80’s, then into some hip hop and dance club sounds of the 90’s, yielding a pastiche of sometimes humorous pop that sounds as theatrical as it does melodic.  The duo is like a British companion-piece to American veteran duo They Might Be Giants (“Birdhouse in Your Soul”, one of my faves from 1990).  Be sure to check out “Audio Precision”, perhaps the most accessible track – listen for Pac-Man – with bouncy rhythm and sing-along lyrics.  The other tracks – “Not The One”, “Too Long” (the most R&B/hip hop oriented track), “Come Away with Me” – are equally unique, with rich melodic weaves but straight forward words and themes.  All in all, it’s an EP full of promise which lends natural curiosity to how Mssrs Skelton and Rendall can perform these songs in a live show.  Be sure to check them out if you’re in England (and let me know!).


BILLY FRANKS “Euphoria”

UK singer Billy Franks had generously put his Euphoria compilation online for free.  It’s a cozy and energetic 12 song record compiled from six releases from the Faith Brothers leader and creator of the charity single “The Beautiful Game”.  Despite the varying production qualities from track-to-track, Euphoria has a terrific pub-next-door feel – its genuine warmth overall is contagious.  And if you’ve ever heard the Faith Brothers, no one, but no one, writes emotionally rich songs like these like Billy Franks.  With live tracks like “Sleep A Little Easy When It Rains” as well as other songs full of beautiful and brutal honesty like “Just”, “Beautiful Heresy”, “She’s The Messiah In Me”, and “50/50 America”, it’s easy to get caught up in such fine and raw veteran musicianship.  Be sure to provide a donation if you can.

COLIN MUNROE “I Would Die 4 U”

Toronto’s Colin Munroe came to my attention in 2008 with the release of his adventurous mixtape Colin Munroe Is The Unsung Hero, which featured covers as diverse as songs like U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and originals, sometimes with some better known friends, such as the shouldabeenahit “Will I Stay”, featuring Wale and Dallas Austin.  Well this singer/producer/DJ is back in the aftermath of what sounds like a record deal gone (near?) sour, and he’s boldly chosen a Prince cover to stage his re-entry.  Yes, “I Would Die 4 U” is a favourite of many Prince fans, but Colin has slowed it down a bit to give it more emotional, almost retrospective or even introspective quality.  And no, that is not autotune folks.  It’s free with subscription to Colin’s newsletter – worth it always to find out what he’s up to next!

PETER KATZ “Dangerous”

The iTunes single of the week feature often brings intriguing tracks and artists to the attention of the public, and being from Canada I see a regular and different selection.  Toronto-based Peter Katz’s “Dangerous” is edgy, thoughtful folk/pop that stays in your head, and reminds me of Michael Penn’s best efforts of the early 90’s.  It’s from his fourth release, and first through Sony, called First Of The Last To Know, and you can hear tracks from it at his website .  And it looks like he’s touring a lot, so check out his tour schedule too.

DARIN  “Lovekiller”

OK hit me over the head with a large plank or something, but after many repeated plays, Darin’s “Lovekiller”, a Swedish #1 hit, has finally sunk in.  I thought the song was perhaps too derivative of too many other songs that I could think of  (including the beginning, sounding a lot like INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart”, or as a male version of “Unfaithful” by Rihanna), but the slow-burning mystery appeal has finally sunk in.  Strange, because I was a big fan of 2008’s “Flashback”, which featured the Kat DeLuna duet “Breathing Your Love” and the “Just Dance” soundalike “Girl Next Door”, both of which landed in the Top 5 on my chart.  But the new record is definitely more mature and better written, and perhaps I just wasn’t expecting that.  Darin should be Sweden’s next natural pop export.  I can’t see why this song shouldn’t do well internationally.


ADAM TYLER “Over The Top”

Ah yes LA’s Adam of the “Friction”, one of my current favourite songs, alerted me a few weeks back through Twitter that “Over The Top”, one of the songs recorded for his upcoming Lullabies for Rattlesnakes release, had been leaked online.  It’s a mid-tempo pop/dance track not too far removed from “Friction”.  It has an undeniable hook but could benefit from a perkier remix.  You can either check out a clip of the song from Adam Tyler’s official site or try to locate it in its leaked version online.

SHANE HARPER “Dance With Me” and “Good Friends”

Another new guy from LA, Disney Channel fans already know singer/actor/dancer Shane from a supporting role in the new show “Good Luck Charlie”.  And his first could-be hit “Dance With Me” is pure teen/tween late-night-on-the-beach confection, sort of what Jesse McCartney started a few years back before the more grown up Departure album.  Top marks though for Shane’s very good voice and dance moves in the video.  As a bonus, he’s made the ballad “Good Friends” available as a free download with an email subscription to his newsletter .  Shane Harper definitely has my curious ear at hand – and I like triple threats!


THE SCRIPT’s “Science & Faith”

The Irish trio’s sophomore album after its very long-lasting 2008 debut has joined what looks like a wonderful week of record releases starting September 13 (also including Bright Light Bright Light’s “Love Part II” and Brandon Flowers’ “Flamingo”).


CLAYTON SENNE’s “And Her Name Is Music”

Kansas-born but Florida-based piano man Clayton Senne tweeted a few weeks back that he would release his second album on January 1, 2011 – for binary code fans that’s 010111 🙂 On Saturday, August 29, he performed a new song full of urgency with oodles of potential called “Floodgates” on Orlando Live Streaming , during which he also announced that the title of said release would be “And Her Name Is Music”.  I hope to be blogging a bit more about this talented new artist and this record in the coming months, so watch for it!  In the meantime, check out his official site.


RICHARD BARONE “Glow”

The former Bongos member and creator of a number of fine solo albums, including 1990’s Primal Dream and 1994’s Clouds Over Eden, is back with his new CD “Glow” (also due next week, on September 14), and will be performing several club dates in the New York/New Jersey areas.  I saw Richard in concert many years ago in Toronto and he can captivate an audience very easily.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #334 – August 30/10

As the end of summer approaches, another season of music begins, and I’m pleased that it includes the artists of my top two songs.

I was fortunate enough to see Brandon Flowers in concert on Wednesday, August 25 at the Mod Club in Toronto.  It was a good – but not great – 50 minute show to focus on his upcoming solo debut Flamingo (picture of deluxe version cover above), which drops on September 14.  There are definitely some solid songs which I’m looking forward to hearing on my stereo  – Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, Playing With Fire, Magdalena.  Brandon was in good voice but his Killers band members were sorely missed.  In any event, “Crossfire” is still the best song of the bunch thus far, and it retains its #1 status on my personal chart this week.  At the bottom of this post are some pics from the concert 🙂

Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light (or Bright Light x 2) is one of 2010’s pop music treats, and I can’t wait enough for a full album.  Former #1 “A New Word To Say” holds tight at #2, while “Cry At Films”, the B-side of the forthcoming “Love Part II” single, arrives on the chart at #25.  For me, the ‘B-side’ no longer has the same meaning as the halcyon days of 45 vinyl singles.  Rather than filler, sometimes the B-side is better than the track being promoted.  And while that’s not the case – as you’ll find out in two weeks, when “Love Part II” is released and debuts on my chart 😉 – it’s easy to revel in the soft, emotional, and danceable qualities that Rod brings on “Cry At Films”.

The Top 10 has a change-up that still allows Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” – one of the more chipper songs of the year – to advance to #3.  British duo Bim – whose lush and emotional album Scatterheart you must check out – score in the Top 5 with “Head Over Heels”, and L.A.’s Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is contagious enough in its Ricardo Autobahn edit to become the Fastest Riser on the chart, up from 14 to 7.  Toronto’s Roz Bell is one of Canada’s most interesting and underrated talents, whose third effort Songs For Leaving will be well worth the wait when it arrives.  In the meantime, bask in “Endless Summer Night”, which climbs to #8.

I expect a chart housecleaning in two weeks, which will get rid of a log jam of wonderful songs stuck behind each other in the Top 20.  I’m eyeing songs by Chris Mann, Elouise, Ryan Star, and perhaps Hanson to bust out and eventually they all may land in the Top 10, pending competition.  And Billy Franks’ “The Beautiful Game”, now at #17, keeps reminding me that humility and a great tune will do wonders with each listen.  Maroon 5’s fun “Misery” lands at #20… which feels somewhat underwhelming for such a good band, but there are indeed many stronger songs out there, and we’ll have to see how powerful the other songs are on the forthcoming Hands All Over album.

“Dear Dictator” by Saint Motel continues to get stuck in my head and advances to #21, with The Script’s “For The First Time” not behind at #23.  The other new songs this week arrive in a revisit to Lady GaGa’s The Fame Monster album, allowing “Dance In The Dark” to bow at #24.  And at #26 is a new Detroit-raised singer who comes via L.A. with a great summer song.  Christian TV’s flirty and maybe a tad naughty “When She Turns 18” is a grower and may yet become a hit going into the Fall months.  Check out the video below.

Despite the lack of blogs within the last two weeks I have been listening to a lot of music, and expect to update you all on some of the better ones over the next few days.  Enjoy!


Tuned-On! Top 30 #333 – August 16/10

Elouise

It’s now a few weeks away for the release dates of what could be a few of the year’s great records.  One of those belongs to Killers singer Brandon Flowers – his solo debut Flamingo is due September 6, and “Crossfire” has wasted no time in attaining the pole position on my chart.  It steals it away after one appearance from Bright Light Bright Light’s “A New Word To Say”, which slips to #2, but Rod Thomas and friends of course have the utterly brilliant “Love Part II” coming for official release on September 13.  Expect that song to chart here in two weeks.

Two Door Cinema Club’s Tourist History is quietly becoming one of the albums that should be heard right now.  The Irish band is coming to my city (Toronto) in October, complete with Penguin Prison as opener!!  “Something Good Can Work” finds a weak part of the Top 10 and takes advantage of it, moving 9-4.  Evan Taubenfeld’s “Pumpkin Pie” and David Guetta’s “Gettin’ Over You” both move up a notch.  Three new songs join the Top 10 – the sublime 70’s disco influence of Goldfrapp’s “Dreaming”, the modern electro-punk energy of “Your Body Is A Machine” by The Good Natured, and the tears behind the pop smile of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”.

The middle of this chart continues to be log-jammed with great songs.  The ones more likely to cut through are this edition’s fastest riser, the gorgeous Steve Anderson-produced torch song “Pretender” by UK’s Elouise, climbing 27-18.  Londoners be sure to check out her show for me on September 11 at the Tabernacle! Then we have boy power pop courtesy of Adam Tyler’s “Friction” and its free propulsive Ricardo Autobahn edit.  Still awaiting the Lullabies for Rattlesnakes album! The Top 10 will also have to make way for Roz Bell’s should-be-summer-anthem “Endless Summer Night”, while other songs by Reni Lane, Lifehouse, Chris Mann, Hanson, and Kylie Minogue are all just plain solid.  Maroon 5’s “Misery” pulls up the rear and advances 28-24.

I’m going to continue to plug “The Beautiful Game” by UK singer Billy Franks, which moves up to #19.  It has a lot of hidden quiet power in its melody and emotion, and proceeds go to a charity set up by Prince Harry to help African children, and you can purchase it on iTunes.  Billy – the former leader of one of the 80’s treasures called The Faith Brothers – has also made available for free download a full album of music called Euphoria, which I expect to blog about in the coming weeks.  Download it right here.

On to the debuts.  Surely it’s no surprise after his August 3 concert that another track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 appears (while “Breathe” tumbles to #8)!  And yes it’s “Start A Fire”, which is about to blaze a path of glory in these parts, arriving at #22.  Then we have the fun and slightly eccentric dance sounds of Saint Motel.  The LA quartet lands at #27 with the Sam Sparro remix of “Dear Dictator”.  Finally, The Script haven’t been away from this chart for long, as the long legs of the band’s self-titled debut album have proven a lasting commercial success.  From their upcoming sophomore record Science and Faith comes “For The First Time” at #28.  It’s very samey-sounding to songs off the debut record but it certainly grows on you, and their audience sure enjoys the earnest and emotional style of this Irish trio.

It’s been a quiet, dull live concert scene in Toronto for me this summer.  Most of the artists I’ve wanted to see did not come to my town.  A whole bunch – Two Door Cinema Club, Penguin Prison, Florence & The Machine, Matt and Kim, Miike Snow – are coming within weeks of each other in October – and Brandon Flowers is performing a show for Virgin Mobile members only (you must be a member – which I am 🙂  – to enter the contest, so I’m crossing my fingers!!).  And I’m hopeful that others like Lifehouse, The Script, and Ryan Star, will find there way here to make the winter months more pleasant.