BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #60 to #41

Today I bring you the big middle bit of the list, a delightful array of 20 songs that more than tickled my fancy throughout the year.  So this post is a little long, but bear with me…

Click here to view songs #75 to #41  :)

Three singers in this list escaped from an often horrible fate in the music industry – record company hell.  Tyler Hilton had never been away from the music scene, and of course showed up on TV quite regularly in One Tree Hill as Chris Keller.  After many delays in trying to release a sophomore album, seven years perhaps is a long time between albums but his TV and film popularity preceded him and Tyler definitely grew in that time.  So he ended up releasing his album Forget The Storm independently, and toured throughout North America, the UK, and Europe.  It’s a fine rocking effort and gave Tyler the opportunity to connect with many fans who have been waiting for him, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming” became yet another Top 10 entry on my chart for him.  Ryan Star is another fantastic singer whose previous record company was doing nothing to help the release of new songs after some success in 2010 with the album 11:59.  So he switched to Island Records and saw his single “Stay Awhile” (video below) released while he works on a new album.  Phenomenal piano man Jon McLaughlin also parted ways with his previous record company only to sign a new deal with Razor & Tie after releasing the exceptional (and now, no longer available) Forever If Ever album independently.  Two of his songs slid into the Top 10 and both long runs on the chart.  “Promising Promises” was originally featured on Forever If Ever but ended up being the title song of his re-released album.  And to whet our appetite for that album, Jon teamed up with Sara Bareilles in one of those pairings where the voices just go so well together.  A rerecording of “Summer Is Over” (video below) was the song the singer was waiting for to throw him back into the spotlight after touring North America for most of the year.

His initial songs didn’t really draw me in, but I thought “Better Than I Know Myself” by Adam Lambert had a lot of personal conviction in the vocal performance, and showed a more vulnerable side of the singer, so it became his first chart entry for me.  Darren Hayes’ third and final entry in this list peaked in January where some chartphiles carried over “Bloodstained Heart” from 2011 (that song was #22 on last year’s list).  “Black Out The Sun” is a lilting and sombre affair led by another wonderful vocal by Darren.  Another darker song captured with a fine and appropriate vocal is Jane Badler’s theatrical “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” (video below), a song that gets better with repeated listenings (there are also many delightful remixes available).  The Australia-based actress best known for TV’s “V” is well on her way with another career as a pop singer.  And did funky pop seem out of vogue?  Not if you’re Sam Sparro, who released his sophomore album Return To Paradise mid-year with lead single “Happiness” in advance.  The album is a moody but always danceable affair, and is much better as a long-player than to isolate most of the songs individually.

Singles still go very steady in my musical world.  “Champagne” gave the start of the year its fizz courtesy of Australian singer Nelson Clemente.  Converse shoes had a stroke of brilliance by creating a free download with a highly entertaining video (below) to promote its products.  So Foster The People head honcho Mark Foster gets paired up with Canadian producer/DJ extraordinaire A-Trak for the song “Warrior”, and who gets to save the day not only in one of the year’s most entertaining videos, but as the song’s vocalist?  New Zealand chanteuse Kimbra, who duetted with Gotye on the year’s biggest song “Somebody That I Used To Know”.  US production duo The Knocks did the rather unthinkable – they transformed M83’s ethereal “Midnight City” into a 3 minute pop song with the help of singer Mandy Lee, in a free download and a fine video (also below) to showcase the singer.  I ended up liking it even better than the original so it ranks in the Top 50.  Minnesota’s Nicole Brenny, known as Vague-à-bonde, is an emerging talent to watch who is recording a new album as well as a video for the song that reached the Top 10 on my chart, “Evolved”.  The song has a gentle vocal whose toe-tapping refrain throttles you and makes you want more.  UK quartet Boy Banned seemed on the bubble to go on to big things by the end of 2011, however the bubble exploded when they split after the release of the immensely likeable “The Stars Are Saying Yes” and its utterly charming video (also below).  “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters proved that this outfit can produce fine original pop singles that sparkle amid an inconsistent album, outside of its engaging presence in the dance/EDM community with fun records like “Let’s Have A Kiki”.  “Horses” became their first Top 5 hit on my chart.

The remaining songs in this group are featured in albums that have held their own since their release.  “Unheard” is a jaunty album track from Netherlands singer Jeronimo, whose song “It’s A Fun Thing” is the Cartoon Network theme song in the south Pacific part of the world.  His unique voice and eagerness to please made his album One Kiss one of the most solid records of the year, even if it didn’t receive release in North America.  Another song from that record ranks higher up on the list 🙂 Markus Riva’s “How It Feels To Be A Man” is the Latvian singer’s second entry on the chart, and one of the highlights of the year’s best dance compilations This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume One that morphed into a summer dance festival on the beaches outside of Barcelona.  Volume Two and another festival are in the works for this year.  Another song from the compilation is featured later on as well.  I proclaimed Brooklyn’s Matt & Kim as pop music’s hardest working duo after partaking in their most enjoyable show, where they had to work around a power failure (with the effortless help of the audience).  “Let’s Go” is the song and video (below) that took them back to a simple and basic but high energy sound on their latest album Lightning.

Boston sextet Gentlemen Hall are one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and mix journeyman rock in with powerful, lush instrumentation on their EP When We All Disappear, which is still available for free on their website.  While every song on that EP is strong, it was the joyous “All Our Love” and its accompanying video (below) that captured my attention this past Spring.  And what would the year be without me including two songs from Austin duo DATABOY’s Dreams Are Gold album?  “Lotion” was initially released on the free Summer Now EP, which led up to the release of their long-awaited full album.  That record contains some of the most entertaining and heartfelt songs of the year, all also designed to make you dance, one being “Genius”, which could be the new unofficial theme song for “The Big Bang Theory”.  Without question, Dreams Are Gold is my favourite album of 2012, and you’ll find two more DATABOY songs much higher on this list in the next few days 🙂

BILLCS Chart #380

It’s here at long last!  Make Me Believe In Hope, the debut album by Bright Light Bright Light arrives in most places except the USA on Monday June 4 on iTunes (Americans get it on June 26).  The stunning “Waiting For The Feeling” gets a second appearance at the top of my chart, and doesn’t look like it will relinquish #1 any time soon, though a couple of challenges are brewing below.  In anticipation of this feat for BLx2 (aka Rod Thomas), take a listen to one of the new songs from the album below called “Feel It”.  You will revel in a wayback machine journey back 20 years or so when house-y dance hits featured powerhouse vocalists like Martha Wash (Black Box, C+C Music Factory, among others).

River Tiber’s “Symmetry” gets stuck at #2 for a third appearance, while a third song from their CD From Now On arrives on the chart (more on that later).  The fastest riser from two weeks ago, the instantly memorable “One Kiss” by Jeronimo zips up the chart to #3 to become a number one contender.  Jeronimo’s One Kiss album is on release in the Netherlands and Belgium, with other territories to follow.  Also new to the top 5 is “Celeb” by Tao Hypah, from the must-hear compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume One.  And a third song from that album debuts on the chart too.  This is also the first time that I think two Dutchmen (Jeronimo and Tao Hypah) are in the Top 5 at the same time!  Maybe they’re starting a trend 🙂  Rounding out the Top 5 again is “Call It What You Want” by Foster The People, whose Treasure Fingers Preparty remix rings my bell every time.  It also reminds me of Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”.  Listen below.

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.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

Speaking of the Sisters, “Only The Horses” gallops to #7 this week as we saw the release of their album Magic Hour.  And it’s a fine and varied affair, definitely a few dances and turns away from  2010’s Night Work.  The Calvin Harris-produced album sees John Legend contributing to what is the most obvious pop radio target, “Baby Come Home”, while the Bee Gees harmonies are abuzz again on “Inevitable”.  The quirky “Let’s Have A Kiki” stays in your head, and the other standout song is “Self Control”.  The songs should make for a grand bit of fun in concert too.  You can listen to the entire album right here.

The tireless Adam Tyler has been home in Kansas City, MO performing this weekend.  And while that’s been happening, “Music Freak” has risen up to #8.  The last new entry to the top 10 is from Frankmusik’s free Vincent Did it project called The SOPA Opera EP.  “Notice Me”, featuring Quigley on additional vocals, is one of Vince’s best songs.  I can’t wait to see what makes the cut for his next full album.

Just outside of the Top 10, several songs continue to move up.  “Warrior” by Mark Foster, A-Trak and Kimbra should bound into the Top 10 in two weeks along with “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Latvia’s Markus Riva, also from the This Beat Is Poptronik release.  I continue to enjoy Keane’s “Silenced By The Night”, though I’ll wait to see what’s in store for single release #2 from Strangeland.  Since this is Bright Light Bright Light’s big week,  the link to his remix of my #13 song, “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes is right here.

While “Prince Of Nothing Charming” sails to #6, Tyler Hilton’s rocking “Loaded Gun” jumps 21-15.  The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the exuberant “All Our Love” by Boston’s Gentlemen Hall, climbing 26-19.  While Sam Sparro’s “Happiness” tumbles to #17, I’m posting the lyrics video to Sam’s next single, “I Wish I Never Met You”.  It’s a scathing change of pace from the joyful “Happiness”.  But the song’s lyrics and execution hit home, particularly if you’ve ever been crushed by love.  I love how bold this song is.

“Can’t Say No” by Conor Maynard has a cheery charm to it that keeps me listening, and it moves up to #20.  Andreas Moe’s upcoming single “Collecting Sunlight” debuted on my last chart, and you can watch him perform it live below.  Huge talent in the making, folks!

The highest debut belongs to Daniel Bedingfield, who graced the top of my chart twice back in 2002 with “Gotta Get Thru This” and “James Dean (I Wanna Know)”.  His new songs are decidedly rockier and more emotional, and his new EP Stop The Traffik-Secret Fear, though available for free download, is worth buying to get all seven songs (only five are available on the download).  The dramatic and very well sung “Secret Fear” bows at #22.  Watch Daniel sing it in concert below.

I’ve mentioned the other debuts above.  Whether he thinks it or not, Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s created one of the coolest albums of the year with River Tiber’s From Now On.  No more is this evident in the jazzy “These Are Centuries”, which arrives on the chart at #24.  The only place where you can hear this one online is through iTunes, where you should go and purchase the entire album anyway 🙂 Lastly, our third debut from the This Beat Is Poptronik album belongs to 23 year old former Menudo member Monti Montañez with “Turn Up Your Radio”.  Initially, this was not one of my three favourites from the album; however its insanely catchy chorus has captured me and its 2:30 length just reminds me of the kind of songs radio used to play – short, sweet and memorable.  If you happen to be in Spain on September 1 and 2, Monti is one of the featured performers at the Poptronik festival in Sitges.  Listen right here.

BILLCS Chart #379 – May 21/12

While the chart’s a tad late, it’s worth the wait, he says poetically 🙂 There’s a new #1 song and 14 songs in a row that are surging upward.  Not surprising, we’re springing closer to summer!

With writing so much lately about the ongoing successes of Bright Light Bright Light, it’s no surprising that Rod Thomas takes #1 for a third time on my chart with the extraordinary “Waiting For The Feeling”.  It comes in anticipation of his debut album Make Me Believe In Hope, and more new songs too!  River Tiber’s mystical “Symmetry” holds at #2 from the exceptional indie effort From Now On, which also yields “Someday”, which slips down to #3.  Judging from his website, it appears that Colin Munroe has signed to Capitol Records, and my #4 “The Fight Of My Life” (featuring Pusha-T), is no longer available for free download but is on iTunes for sale.  It’s well worth the purchase; in the interim get his newer song “Invincible” (featuring RZA and Memoryhouse) from his website with an email subscription.  The energetic “Call It What You Want” by Foster The People now rounds out the Top 5.

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.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

I’d love to comment on all 12 songs ranking #6 through #17 but I’m going to focus on those that are fast rising or in the Top 10.

Two songs from This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One bookend that list.  At #6 is the frenetic “Celeb” by The Netherlands’ Tao Hypah, and moving up to #17 is Latvia’s Markus Riva with the beautifully sung “How It Feels To Be A Man”.  Look for more Poptronik to bust onto the chart in the coming weeks.

I had the pleasure of seeing Tyler Hilton in concert for the second time on May 17.  The positive energy in his show was contagious and he was really stoked to play a second night in my city.  He focused on new songs from Forget The Storm (bypassing my favourite Tyler song, “The Letter Song” – but it wouldn’t have fit the set anyway 😉 ).  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” leaps into the Top 10 at #7 , appropriately becoming Tyler’s 7th Top Tenner on my chart.  Not only this, but the first song we all heard way back in January in advance of Forget The Storm, “Loaded Gun”, bows at #21 just in time to reacquaint yourselves with it (live clip from the Toronto show above).  If you don’t know it yet, download it for free 🙂  Below is a list of Tyler’s Top 10’s from my chart:

When It Comes, #3
The Letter Song, #1
When The Stars Go Blue (with Bethany Joy Galeotti), #2
How Love Should Be, #10
Missing You, #4
You’ll Ask For Me, #7

Sam Sparro’s upcoming Return To Paradise album is being released in Canada by EMI Music, not sure about the rest of the world.  “Happiness” is a great start to that record at #8.  It’s somewhat fitting that a cover of a song Donna Summer recorded (albeit as a cover itself) was on my chart at the time of her passing last week.  Elouise’s faithful but still original spin on “Could It Be Magic” moves up to #10.

The fastest rising song (for the second time at the top of this blog) is one of the most insanely catchy and instantly likeable songs of 2012 thus far.  Mixed with some traditional elements and personality plus, “One Kiss” by another Netherlander, Jeronimo, soars 24-9, looking to be a key player on the chart very soon.  Look forward to Jeronimo’s One Kiss album as well!

The official release of Scissor Sisters’ “Only The Horses” just passed as their album Magic Hour soon approaches.  It climbs 19-11.  “Music Freak” by Adam Tyler inches closer to becoming the third Top 10 hit from Shattered Ice at #12 this week.  I’m still enjoying the fab Bright Light Bright Light remix of “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes, and the song moves up to #15.  Separated by three chart points are two songs that are so different yet so go together for many reasons, obvious or not 😉  Quigley (aka Casey Carlson) is the featured vocalist on her beau FrankMusik’s “Notice Me” (billed as Vincent Did It) at #16, while her own stunning ballad “Inkblot Game” (also produced by FrankMusik) jumps to #19.  Don’t forget to download Quigley’s EP Pleiades and Vincent Did It’s The SOPA Opera EP both for free while you can.  Next up from her is a video for the song “Making Plans”.  And don’t think that the modest 5 point move will slow down the UK’s Conor Maynard.  “Can’t Say No” is well on its way at #23.

I’ve already written recently about the other two debuts.  “Collecting Sunlight” by Sweden’s Andreas Moe is another song that just reaches in and grabs your enthusiasm, and will be a summer delight, at #25.  The good nature of the rocking “All Our Love” by Boston’s Gentlemen Hall will brighten your day and bows at #26.

BILLCS Chart #378 – May 7/12

The new chart is anchored at the top once again by Toronto group River Tiber, with the rocking “Someday” at #1 for a third appearance (6 weeks) and the quiet and thoughtful “Symmetry” moving up to #2.  The band is working on their next album, and will be playing in Toronto on Saturday June 16 as a part of NXNE at C’est What restaurant and bar.  Check them out if you’re in Toronto!

Closing in at rapid speed though is “Waiting For The Feeling”, the latest single by Bright Light Bright Light, from the upcoming Make Me Believe In Hope album, due now in a month.  If the lyrics don’t strike you at the first couple of listens, they do hit home not long after.  Hence “Waiting For The Feeling” is the fastest riser on the chart, moving 14-3.  Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light x2) has already had two #1’s on my chart, “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II”, in 2010.

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.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

Moving along, Toronto’s Colin Munroe is also working on a highly anticipated album, but in the meantime “The Fight Of My Life” climbs to #5, followed behind at #6 by “Call It What You Want”, the insanely catchy song that is the true follow up to “Pumped Up Kicks” by L.A.’s Foster the People.  I’m looking to catch Ryan Star’s show in Toronto on June 5 at Lee’s Palace when he opens up for The Parlotones.  In anticipation of a follow up album to 2010’s 11:59, “Stay Awhile” rises to #9.

Somehow it doesn’t seem quite right that “Happiness” by Sam Sparro and “Could It Be Magic” by Elouise have only inched up to #11 and #12, but there’s a load of competition brewing underneath.  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” by Tyler Hilton jumps to #13 – I have my tix to his May 17 show at The Virgin Mobile Mod Club here in Toronto.  As far as I know, it’s Tyler’s first show in Toronto since 2006.  Adam Tyler’s “Music Freak” can be found mid-way at #15, followed by the soaring “Silenced By The Night” by Keane at #17 (and another Toronto concert on deck, for June 19 at Sound Academy), and the three-fold punch of “Warrior” by Mark Foster/A-Trak/Kimbra at #17.  “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters is turning into a current favourite with its bright melody and urgent Jake Shears vocals at #19, followed by “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes at #20 (live clip from his New Year’s show is below).

(Psssst watch Twitter and Facebook for what will be surely some online celebrations of Darren’s 40th birthday on Tuesday May 8!)

I’m hopeful for some success of the five very strong debuts which have hit the chart.

My raving about the supurb dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One continues, as some favourites from that record have surfaced to rank alongside the six songs on the record that have already appeared on my chart during the last year.  There are so many great songs inside that I play regularly, but there are two that I’m going to more often.  The one that’s grabbed me and won’t let go is the Lindsay Lohan-inspired “Celeb” by half-Dutch, half-Japanese singer Tao Hypah, which bolts onto the chart at a stunning #14.  The bouncy and fun vibe of this song is worth your time as Tao Hypah prepares to release more new songs, including his latest “Play The Girl”, whose video will be online in a few weeks (pic from the video is above).  In the meantime, you can get “Celeb” on the Poptronik release, though it has been available as a free download on Soundcloud for quite sometime as well and you can get it right here.

Also very impressive and bowing at #27 from the Poptronik album is “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Latvian sensation Markus Riva.  Markus is a true DIY performer – already a noted singer, actor, and model in his home territory – so “How It Feels” serves as a sturdy breakout for him (he also directed the video, above).  Some genuine lyrics carried by Markus’ rich voice, which reminds me a lot of British singer Peter Murphy’s low timbre (listen to “The Sweetest Drop” for example), make the theatrical-sounding song highly recognizable.  I’d love to hear some remixes too!

Two songs immediately carry over from my last post to arrive quickly on the chart.  Jeronimo’s “One Kiss” spells Mass Appeal and has the potential for worldwide success.  It’s from Jeronimo’s upcoming album and bows at #24.  “Can’t Say No” by UK sensation Conor Maynard is a nice companion to “One Kiss” with its good-natured fun, and premieres at #28.

Lastly at #25 is a song whose intriguing video of psychological drama (ab0ve) I wrote about a few months backQuigley (aka Casey Carlson) hits the chart with “Inkblot Game”, from her brand new EP Pleiades.  Pleiades is a star cluster within Taurus, hence why lovely Quigley released the EP on her Taurian birthday!  The EP is available for free download at http://www.quigleyofficial.com and “Inkblot Game” arrives concurrently with her featured vocal on “Notice Me” by Vincent Did It (aka FrankMusik) moving up to #22.  Of course “Inkblot Game” and the two other gorgeous songs in Pleiades (which all also appear in instrumental form) are all produced by FrankMusik.  The music of Quigley and Frankmusik will not be free forever.  This is high quality craftmanship most deserving of way more than online success.  FrankMusik has also posted a few more of his demos for you to hear on his Soundcloud page.  I just can’t get enough 🙂

Final chart geek note:  You’ll notice on my chart that “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy has hit the magic mark of 11 appearances (22 weeks) on the chart.  One of my few rules is that songs drop off after a 10 appearance run, but because “Memorize Me” has had two non-consecutive runs, it continues past the 10 appearances 🙂

Tyler Hilton’s new album, Richard Barone’s new video, Roz Bell’s new song, and Billy Franks’ upcoming book

Tyler Hilton, Forget The Storm

Tyler Hilton rocks up a good time on some of the best songs on Forget The Storm and perhaps leaves behind the attractive whimsy that tickled many of us in 2004’s The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton.  But Forget The Storm seems to be a coming of age album in some ways, and in other ways weathering several different storms of sorts that the singer has been caught up in the interim between records, despite acting in One Tree Hill and acquiring thousands of new fans along the way.  But all things happen for a reason, and in turn there are many good reasons to buy Forget The Storm.

Forget The Storm ups Tyler’s rock music ante big time, starting with the opener “Kicking My Heels”, which gives a stylish grandiloquent start to the record.  “Loaded Gun” preceded the album’s release as a crackerjack free download, a song that grows big time with repeated listens with its clever wordplay.  “Ain’t Foolin’ Me” puts you in the middle of a big ol’ bar somewhere in the south for a rocking good time.  And “Jenny” (listen below) is an angry breakup song that drops a line “love is not some fucking movie” – not a lyric that you might have expected in a Tyler record, till now, but the shoe fits and it’s a great song that features lovely harmonies by Elizabeth Huett.

Whether it’s about love or other issues, the thoughtful side of Tyler is always worth hearing.  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” has already had that unassuming, yes charming effect, because it’s lovably understated.  And “Leave Him” and “Can’t Stop Now” tackle serious breakup issues directly with a softer pop or country flavour to change up the mix.  There’s also a redux of Tyler’s “You’ll Ask For Me” from a few years back to keep long-time fans happy.

Tyler is in the midst of a tour that’s going to take him to the UK, Ireland, and Europe starting in June.  Forget The Storm is an enjoyable and diverse way to try and catch our boy before his music blows up real big everywhere.

Richard Barone, “Hey, Can I Sleep On Your Futon?”

The talented New York-based singer who came back (but was never really away) with his thoroughly likeable album Glow (the title song is still my unofficial theme song for NYC 🙂 ) is one of several performers who appear on the upcoming Occupy This Album (including Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, and many, many others).  He also celebrates his 25th anniversary of his debut solo album Cool Blue Halo.  I stay away from politics, and I don’t entirely agree with the “Occupy” movement, but will always support stellar music.  I think Richard’s latest, co-written with Matthew Billy, says a lot in both words and images:  Help the people that deserve it because the economy is preventing them from getting ahead.  I think the video for “Hey, Can I Sleep On Your Futon?” could reach new heights just like “Breathe” by Ryan Star in 2010 actually helped some of the people in the video get jobs.  The sentiment is genuine here and Richard’s performance is a delight.  Watch the video above (and take a look at “Breathe” again below while you’re at it).  EDIT:  Courtesy of Richard himself, also below is an interview video about the song, which is actually based on the classic “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”.

Ryan Star “Breathe”

Roz Bell, “Half A Man Down”

Toronto singer Roz Bell always writes songs that sink in more than just like a slice of life.  You know him from 2008’s The First Sunbeams, which featured the hits “Yesterday Man” and “Papercut”.  It was followed in late 2009 with a deeper and somewhat darker digital release October, and then the pensive and free The Gran Cavallo Mixtape.  According to his tweets, Roz has been doing a lot of writing in Nashville, and the brooding spirit of that city shows in “Half A Man Down”.  The song holds back no punches about the way the singer feels as a relationship crumbles away while he tries to keep his head straight.  It’s another generous free download from Roz – get it right here and watch for more music ahead from the talented singer.

Billy Franks’ upcoming book A Far Cry From Sunset

UK singer Billy Franks always has a place in my heart as one of the most underappreciated singers in the 80’s as a leader of the band The Faith Brothers, whose two stunning albums Eventide and A Human Sound I still play to this day quite regularly.  The singer is finding a new audience through writing, and the premise behind his book A Far Cry From Sunset is this:  Could 4 friends who travelled to America a few years back try to convince 10 superstar singers to appear on a tribute album to Billy?  So who did they try to approach?  Start big with McCartney, Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, Jon Bon Jovi, and also try Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis, Aaron Neville, Tom Petty and Steve Earle.  The book  intends to explore how all of the approaches occurred and what happened in the midst of what is essentially a road trip.  You can find out much more about how you can get involved as well as purchase the book when it’s published at http://www.billyfranks.com/AFARCRYFROMSUNSET.   I’m sure this will be a once-in-a-lifetime and very telling story, and don’t plan on missing it.  What about you?  Listen to one of my favourite solo songs by Billy, “My Beautiful Heresy”, below.

BILLCS Top 30 #376 – April 9/12 plus Stunning New Videos from Darren Hayes and Mark Foster/Kimbra/A-Trak

The new chart has another changeover at the top and four debuts, plus I have comments on two new videos in what will likely be my only blog post till the weekend.

Being a former college radio programmer, I have always been a huge supporter of independent music.  And while independently released music has appeared in my chart over the years, it wasn’t until around 2009 when the calibre and quantity of quality independent music appeared to dominate the commercial releases through major record labels.  So more than half of my current chart currently consists of independently released songs or ones that are not yet available in North America.

Advancing to the top therefore is the independent release of “Someday” by Toronto band River Tiber.  “Someday” is a song that slowly draws you in, basking in some great guitar work, and then takes you on a little journey that keeps you hanging in till singer Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s last breath at the end.  River Tiber also has a quieter more moody song in the Top 10 at #7 with “Symmetry”.  This one relies on a vocal climax followed by relaxing jazzy instrumentation and has an incredibly dreamy feel-good vibe.  Be sure to buy River Tiber’s From Now On album on iTunes.  You can view the videos for both songs by reading my comments about From Now On right here.

All eyes are on One Direction and The Wanted right now, but the latter’s “Glad You Came” has won me over and soars to #4 on my chart.  Ya gotta admit – everyone has their favourite boy-band songs.  For me, the last one that was special was the BT-produced “Pop” by N Sync, which got to the top of my chart for a month in 2001.  In addition to “Symmetry”, song on the rise in the lower Top 10 include “Something” by JMSN at #6 (the drums/percussion arrangement alone is outstanding), “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles at #8, and Colin Munroe’s magnificent “The Fight Of My Life”, featuring Pusha-T at #9.  I can’t wait for more from the talented Colin, including perhaps a video for this song?  Listen below.

The rest of the chart is jam-packed with great songs, some of which by all rights should be in my Top 10 if there wasn’t so much fantastic music out right now.  As M83’s “Midnight City” slides down the chart, the unique cover by The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee is the fastest riser, climbing 19-11 and about to pass the #10 peak of the original.  Nadia Ali is one of the busiest female singers in dance music today, and she lends her many talents to Spencer & Hill’s “Believe It” which ranks #12.  Ryan Star is about to embark on another tour in support of his upcoming album, led by the single “Stay Awhile”, which climbs to #13.  

“Could It Be Magic” by Elouise revives Barry Manilow and/or Take That via Donna Summer’s rendition at #15, followed by “Happiness” by Sam Sparro (making us anxiously wait for the Return To Paradise album) at #16, Foster The People’s “Call It What You Want” at #17 (which makes a great mix with Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”), Kaya & Pierre Lewis’ beauty of a ballad “When I Was Blind” at #18, “Hand Dance” by that tantalizing teasing trio Liquid Diet at #19, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming”, the understated lead single from Tyler Hilton’s top notch Forget The Storm.  I’ll have my own review of Forget The Storm soon – I didn’t realize it until reading further about it, but Tyler released Forget The Storm through his own Hooptie Music label (whose name comes from Tyler’s song “When it Comes”).

Debuting in this edition though are four songs, the first of which you can view at the top of this blog post.

Rod Thomas under his Bright Light Bright Light moniker is a performer whose releases I always listen for since I first heard “A New Word To Say” more than two years ago.  “Waiting For The Feeling” is classic Bright Light x2 as Rod always finds those moments in time in-between everything and captures them beautifully in words and music.  His Make Me Believe In Hope is now due in June and I just can’t wait to hear it in full.  “Waiting For The Feeling” debuts at #23 and will undoubtedly join his best songs near the top of my chart very soon.

Next up is “Music Freak” by Adam Tyler from his Shattered Ice album.  As “Like A Drug” departs my chart (but is still in the midst of full-on promotion thanks to its compelling video), I’m adding “Music Freak” because over the several months since the release of Shattered Ice, the lyrics of this song have become increasingly important to me as a music fan.  Being a music freak myself, I can’t let it hide in the midst of several strong songs on the album, so “Music Freak” debuts at #24.  You can listen to it right here.

I’ve already posted blogs about the next two songs, but they bear repeating!  Keane has come out of the gate blazing with “Silenced By The Night” at #25, the first gorgeous single from the upcoming Strangeland album.  Watch the video below.  And lastly, Scotland’s Aerials Up is a talent to watch for with their independent release of “I Am” at #26 – video is posted again below.

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.

Darren Hayes “Stupid Mistake”

I got up this morning to find that Darren had posted his new video for “Stupid Mistake”, which I had heard was to be the fourth single from the singer’s fourth brilliant solo album Secret Codes And Battleships.  The video is captivating in its simplicity, which shows Darren alternately in stage make up or in the process of removing it.  In relationships whether we know it or not we all put on masks, which eventually get stripped away like make up.  And if you keep the mask on too long, then you lose yourself in your daily life which becomes a performance and ultimately will hurt the ones you love.  Watch it all the way through, it’s amazing!  Those of you who have had long-term relationships end will completely relate.

Mark Foster + Kimbra + A-Trak = “Warrior”

It’s a sly bit of promotion for Chuck Taylor Converse shoes and Journeys, but what a cool way to do it!  Who’d have ever thought Foster The People’s Mark Foster, New Zealand singer Kimbra, and Canadian DJ extraordinaire A-Trak would all get together for a project, let alone film a highly entertaining video?  “Warrior” is a must-view and listen, and could be a sneaky hit in the making for the trio.  I seriously wonder how many bruises were achieved during the making of the video.  I’m not into watching wrestling but the entire concept is spot on.  Best of all, you can download “Warrior”for free from the Journeys website right here.  Kudos to whoever planned this project – more please!

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.

Long Weekend Jukebox: Ryan Star, Tyler Hilton, Cassie, Charly Mae, Will Young, Colin Munroe, Marcus Collins, Tooji

A few of my favourite performers return with new songs, plus of course the requisite bunch of talented newcomers 🙂

Ryan Star “Stay Awhile”

With crowd-pleasing honesty and passion in his songs and performing, Ryan Star has been keeping mighty busy since the August 2010 release of his last album 11:59 (for which you may recall I attended the CD launch show in New York City).  He’s in the process of recording a new album and released a free download called The America EP which dropped last month (including a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”).  “Stay Awhile” however is the first single from his upcoming album and has all the makings of a classic rock ballad, full of warm, understanding lyrics and Ryan’s big, versatile voice.  I don’t say it very often, but I’m predicting great things for “Stay Awhile”.   Ryan Star is currently on tour in the USA with Andy Grammer.

Tyler Hilton “Prince Of Nothing Charming”

After kicking off the year with a big rockin’ bang with the free download of “Loaded Gun”, Tyler precedes his upcoming album Forget The Storm with “Prince of Nothing Charming”, a song that has the witty lyrical wordplay and simple kind of melody that attracted many people to his music in the first place back in 2004/05 with songs like “The Letter Song” or “When It Comes” from The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton album.  This is a great song to tie into the final season of One Tree Hill, where Tyler plays Chris Keller.  Now that Tyler’s signed to Matt Serletic’s Emblem Records (home to Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty), it looks like the increasingly common music business hassles that have prevented release of the new album will benefit Forget The Storm in hindsight if the songs are this good.  Get “Prince of Nothing Charming” on iTunes.

Cassie “King Of Hearts”

Another singer who has had many delays with the release of her next album, Cassie Ventura tantalized us back in Fall ’06 with the Ryan Leslie produced pop/R&B ballad “Me & U”, which was positively everywhere for the next six months, getting to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.  And then the bottom kind of fell out with rumours abounding that she had been dropped by P. Diddy from his Bad Boy label.  Apparently not so (distribution switched from Atlantic to Interscope for her), as a few singles did surface in ’09 but failed to click.  So almost six years later and Cassie returns with “King Of Hearts” – which is decidedly unlike her first records.  In fact this is pretty pure dance pop that fits snugly next to Kylie Minogue or Britney Spears songs.  And as with “Me & U”, the production and music is much bigger than her voice, which is not a bad thing at all.  This one’s a tidy surprise and may take a while to catch on, so let’s see if club DJ’s jump on it first.

Charly Mae “For Ya Queen”

Picture yourself as a judge on “The Voice” doing blind auditions.  You hear this big soulful voice, with decided shades of Rihanna and Beyonce with more than a dash of Christina Aguilera.  You turn around and find yourself faced with a 20 year old blonde Brit dressed in trademark pink (as you will see in the acoustic video version below) – that would be Charly Mae Tuffen, whose debut single “For Ya Queen” is nothing short of instantly memorable.  The song goes for the vocal punch, which will grab younger fans that like the style who might be into Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, while attracting older fans looking for something fun and not so sophisticated.  But there’s more than meets the ear on this one song for Charly Mae – she’s one to listen for in 2012.

Will Young “Losing Myself”

I feel like I somehow missed out on last year’s campaign around Echoes, which resulted in huge UK success for Will Young and appearances on many bloggers’ best lists for 2011.  I like the album but I suppose its songs didn’t stick with me enough, unlike limited freebie single “The Way I See” which somehow did.  At any rate, Echoes does not appear to be out of steam yet, witness the stylish and watchable video for “Losing Myself” which is a good way to bring people like me back around to appreciate the fine song that it is.

Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T “The Fight Of My Life”

Like with records by Tyler Hilton and Cassie, Torontonian Colin Munroe got swept into a major record label shenanigans which prevented him from releasing his own new music since 2008’s seminal and diverse mixtape Colin Munroe Is The Unsung Hero – you’ll recall “Will I Stay”, featuring Dallas Austin and Wale.  That didn’t stop him from writing for the likes of Sky Ferreira and working with Drake, Travie McCoy, and Donnis in the interim or by releasing another free download EP called The Revox Suite, which is most known for grabbing Nicki Minaj’s rap out of Kanye West’s “Monster” (shortly after it went viral before the official release of Kanye’s last album) and pairing it up with La Roux’s “Bulletproof”.  He’s back with an emotionally powerful song called “The Fight Of My Life”, which is edgy pop/soul complimented by Pusha-T’s nicely contained rap.  “The Fight Of My Life” is a sign of great things to come – can’t wait to hear what’s next from Colin.  You can get it from his official website for free with an email subscription.

Marcus Collins “Seven Nation Army”

The rest of the world has to catch up with Marcus Collins, but UK audiences know him as the runner up to their X Factor competition winners Little Mix last year.  With tutelage from Take That’s Gary Barlow, Marcus grabbed a deal with RCA Records which will see his self-titled debut album released in March.  It’s preceded with an interesting choice for a first single, a soulful take on The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”.  Marcus makes it his own though, replacing the military thump of the original with a slinky groove, which is played out further by the handful 😉 in its colourful video.  Think of him as the UK male version of Janelle Monae – wonder what they’d sound like in a duet?

Tooji “Stay”

Although for me there doesn’t seem to be a song to root for in the lead up to Eurovision this year as with Eric Saade’s “Popular” last year, the backstory behind Norway’s official entry is so fitting.  Tooji Keshtkar was a refugee from Iran who ended up in Norway at age one, eventually becoming a model and MTV presenter, but with always a desire to be involved with the UN to assist children refugees.  But this young man has undeniable talent and stage presence, witness this starmaking performance of “Stay”.  I’m not sure if the song itself has the oomph to capture the Eurovision judges but it’s going to open international doors for Tooji.

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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…

#MusicMonday Roundup

Saint Motel “Dear Dictator (Sam Sparro remix)”

Sam Sparro’s remix has given a 70’s lustre to this L.A. quartet’s caustic humour that screams disco balls and polyester with this song, but still sounds contemporary in a dramatic Scissor Sisters kind of way.  It might take a while to catch on, but well worth it.  Download it for free right here .

Tyler Hilton “This World Will Turn Your Way”

It’s been over 6 years since LA’s Tyler Hilton debuted with his CD The Tracks Of, which featured the catchy and modest “When It Comes” and jaunty crowd-pleasing fare such as my personal favourite, “The Letter Song”.  He had featured roles in TV’s “One Tree Hill” and as a young Elvis in the film “Walk The Line”.  He’s used his website, MySpace, and meet-and-greets at his shows to communicate with and secure his extremely loyal fan base, which has waited, through singles, album tracks, and EP’s for his upcoming full album release “The Storms We Share”.  From his latest EP “Ladies and Gentleman” comes the optimistic “This World Will Turn Your Way” with a very eye-catching and touching video, above.  Fans of Ryan Star and Rob Thomas should dig this, and if “World” is any indication, “The Storms We Share” will be well worth the long wait.

Elouise “Pretender”

If Sam Taylor’s “Run Away” was a contemporary torch song for the youngins and since Rufus Wainwright is wrapped up in the opera world, the UK’s Elouise is finding a niche with her own version of alternately sultry, soulful, campy, and bold torch pop that brings to mind everyone from Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield to Dionne Warwick.  Matched with Kylie Minogue producer Steve Anderson, Elouise’s 3 song EP Stardust, including “Pretender” (a live snippet in the video above, whose sonic power on record soars through you), goes right through the high quality meter, leaving you wanting much more.  I second and third the raves from fellow bloggers MyFizzyPop and Don’t Stop The Pop, so now the world has to catch up! Order it from Elouise’s website or via Bandcamp (where you can also hear the full version).


Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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