BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #40 to #31

#40 Labrinth featuring Tinie Tempah “Earthquake”

“Earthquake” is a carry over from last year, when it was a #2 hit in the UK.  Europe still gets what North America doesn’t:  Labrinth (aka 23 year old Timothy McKenzie) created a complicated landscape which stands out from so many other dance/EDM records of the past year.  Tinie Tempah’s rap blends into the proceedings quite nicely, and the song is matched with an appropriately snazzy and other-worldly video.  Boom! Shake the room.

 

#39 JMSN “Something”

One of the most compelling records of the year, if not always an easy listen, is JMSN’s †Priscilla†.  The lengthy album features R&B-oriented pop songs about heartbreak, loss, loneliness, self-doubt, and self-realization.  But JMSN (Christian Berishaj) executes his songs with such finesse, well-structured vocals, and arrangements to die-for that you are drawn into the concept rather than shoved away from it.  “Something” is the album’s stunner, full of longing and grim truth that echoes like the hefty amount of percussion in the backdrop.  JMSN has been playing shows this year primarily in Los Angeles, and I’m hoping his next effort in ’13 will take him across North America (perhaps with his friend Daniel Bedingfield?  More about that further on.).  Watch the video below; it will make you squirm but it’s hard to look away.

#38  Bright Light Bright Light “Moves”

#35  Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mykal Kilgore “Feel It”

Nary a day has gone by in the last three years when the music of Bright Light Bright Light hasn’t been heard in my household or in my car or on my iPod.  Regular readers will already know that Wales-born London-based BLx2 (Rod Thomas) creates wise and romantic soundscapes that draw heavily from disco and 90’s dance pop.  “Moves” and “Feel It” are two of three songs in this year end listing from BLx2’s debut album Make Me Believe In Hope – and Rod will convince you.  “Moves” (live performance video below) is disco heaven featuring a backdrop of 70’s flourishes while “Feel It” pulls up to the bumper with its funky heat and supurb featured vocals by mister Mykal Kilgore that would not sound out of place on a Black Box single.  To cap it all off, Rod created one of his now famously generous mashups with “Feel It” and Scissor Sisters’ “Let’s Have A Kiki” which puts a smile on my face – and anyone else’s who I’ve played it for – every time.  

#37  Adam Tyler “Like A Drug”

Another album that has songs split between last year and this year is Shattered Ice by Adam Tyler.  L.A.-based Adam’s been a mainstay in these parts for the last three years, continuing with the seductive “Like A Drug”, which took a bit longer to resonate with me than some of his other songs, but nonetheless it did, and Adam scored with a slick, impressively choreographed video.  Adam also released an EP of stripped-away renditions of some of the Shattered Ice songs called Acoustic Ice, whose proceeds go to charity.  One more Adam song – making it four that charted from Shattered Ice –  is still to come in this countdown!

#36  Andreas Moe “Collecting Sunlight”

One of the year’s utterly joyful delights is “Collecting Sunlight” by Swedish singer/songwriter (and one of my 13 Performers to Watch in ’13) 24 year old Andreas Moe.  The song tells a simple story that is brought to life by Andreas’ affecting vocal and subsequently by a literal but engaging animated video.   But this time, watch the live performance clip below.

 

#34 Joe Jonas “Not Right Now”

I didn’t latch on to Joe’s Fastlife album until late last year after the first two singles from the album failed to register much with me.  But upon hearing his third single, the R&B-oriented ballad “Just In Love”, I ventured into the album, and found it filled with intensely edgy danceable pop with a heavy influence from the current EDM scene.  That led to two other non-singles arriving on my chart (one will follow later on in this list), so first we have “Not Right Now”, which is a pretty damn fierce cha-cha if you ask me.  This is hardly what Jonas fans could have expected (and perhaps album sales suffered for that), but its smart arrangement and urgent vocal will certainly keep Joe Jonas on my radar for his next release.

 #33 Vincent Did It featuring Quigley “Notice Me”

While we anticipate FrankMusik’s third album next year, he did offer us (under the guise of Vincent Did It) a still-free EP early on in the year called The SOPA Opera.  It contained a diverse collection of electronic dance pop songs, including this gem, a duet led by Quigley (aka Casey Carlson) released in advance of her FrankMusik-produced EP Pleiades.  Follow Frank on his journey on Twitter and take the opportunity to drop into the adventurous proceedings in his studio when he streams his works-in-progress.

#32 Ellie Goulding “Anything Could Happen”

Unlike her massive hit “Lights”, which took well over a year to gel with radio stations in North America, the sparkling and uplifting “Anything Could Happen”, from Ellie’s sophomore album Halcyon, is a no-brainer.  Ellie performs a striking vocal in this song, which should by all rights be a bigger hit as it just jumps out of the radio when you hear it.  I also wrote about its inventive remix by Birdy Nam Nam which generated quite a flurry online a few months back.  Ellie has the potential to be the Kate Bush of the current generation.

#31 Daniel Bedingfield “Secret Fear”

Being a fan of his earlier hits, I was very pleased when Daniel Bedingfield was released from record company hell to bring us up to date on the music he’d been writing for the last eight years.  Understandably, this comeback was not going to be Gotta Get Thru This part two.  In fact Daniel’s album Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik contains intensely personal and emotional ruminations on love, relationships and most apparently, sex.  “Secret Fear” is the dramatic, cathartic lead off song, which Daniel transformed into a claustrophobic but most watchable video that he also directed.  Shows in Los Angeles and South Africa received raves from those who attended; let’s put him on a double bill with his friend JMSN for a tour, shall we?

BILLCS Chart #381

My new and slightly overdue chart is a busy affair where only one song sits still.  That would be the song at the top.  I simply can’t get enough of “Waiting For The Feeling” by Bright Light Bright Light or the essential album from which it comes, Make Me Believe In Hope (read my previous post right here).  And I’m very anxious to hear Jeronimo’s full album that contains its title song “One Kiss”.  I often look for songs that are mood-changers, and “One Kiss” is a breezy, fun ode to new love that moves up to #2 on my chart.  Also rising up a place is the first of three featured songs from the amazing electronica dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One.  Tao Hypah’s “Celeb” moves up to #3.  Give a listen to this one, and bop your way into bliss 😉

While his gal Quigley’s “Inkblot Game” continues to climb up to #16 on this chart, FrankMusik (under his Vincent Did It alias) pairs up with his lovely on “Notice Me”.  This song is a grower, thanks to Vince’s artistic production and Quigley’s exuberant vocals, and moves up to #4.  Listen to this one below.

Also entering the Top 5 is “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters, currently touring their Magic Hour album.  I’m thinking about checking out their concert next week, so if you’ve seen them let me know what you think to help make my decision 🙂  Watch their performance of “Only The Horses” from The Voice UK at the top of this post.

There are more Poptronik performers to be had within the Top 10, with Adam Tyler’s “Music Freak” rising to #6, and “How It Feels To Be A Man”, a quiet kind of anthem of sorts by Latvian singer Markus Riva, moves up to #9.  The trifecta of Foster The People’s Mark Foster, DJ A-Trak, and New Zealand’s Kimbra, currently on release with her own album Vows, rounds out the songs on the rise within the Top 10 with the free download of “Warrior”.

I won’t leave the Top 10 without remarking on a very high debut.  That of course comes from Texas duo DATABOY, whose “Dreams Are Gold” is my new summer jam and crashes the chart at #8.  Read all about it right here.  The second highest debut on the chart, at #21, also belongs to these lads, from their free download Summer Now EP.  “Lotion” will transport you to a beautiful beach somewhere warm enough where DATABOY won’t let you get sunburned 🙂  Listen to both songs 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.

There are five other fast risers on the chart.  “All Our Love” by Gentlemen Hall jumps 19-14, while the fastest riser, “Secret Fear” by Daniel Bedingfield is right behind, climbing 22-15.  Moving up four places each are “Collecting Sunlight” by Andreas Moe at #19 (official single is out June 26 – watch him perform an acoustic version below), River Tiber’s jazzy “These Are Centuries” at #20, and Poptronik performer Monti Montañez with “Turn Up The Radio” at #22.

There are two other debuts which complete this week’s blog post.  RAC stands for Remix Artist Collective, three producer/DJ’s who create their own music and remix that of others, and you can find out more about them at http://www.rac.fmPenguin Prison has joined up with them for the free download of “Hollywood” which bows at #23.  Listen below.

Lastly but hardly least, when Darren Hayes picks a song recorded by someone else to sing, it’s usually a wise choice.  I’ve actually owned the vinyl single of “Talk Talk Talk” since last Fall, and I’ve decided to chart his vibrant and faithful cover of Madonna’s “Angel”, the 45’s B-side, after continual play on my iTouch.  “Angel”, at #28, accompanies “Stupid Mistake”, which moves up to #11.  Listen below – and why shouldn’t pop radio play it??  The song would fit like a glove.

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 #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 🙂

BILLCS Chart #377 – April 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel Good Pop & Electronica: Vincent Did It aka Frankmusik, Herve, Scissor Sisters, Cascada,Theophilus London, and more…

With my recent Canadian Music Week and other rock ‘n roll distractions lately, you may have thought that electronica/dance was taking a backseat with me – with that having been said I think Eric Saade would think otherwise since his rocking electronic song of the same name is up top of my chart.  So the next few weeks will turn primarily back to one of my favourite genres, especially with the upcoming release of what will be the electronica soundtrack of the summer, This Beat Is Poptronik Volume 1 – more on that next week!  So on to catching up with some songs I’ve been listening to for the last while…

Vincent Did It, The SOPA Opera EP

Frankmusik, aka Vincent Frank, or recently Vincent Did It, constantly delivers great music to us.  Throughout the past few months, he’s shared the songs “Dynamo”, “Somebody”, “So You’re Alive”, and “Notice Me” with us in various renditions and formats to start off his new era in music.  But it looks like the plan was always to share the songs as a complete package, hence we now have The SOPA Opera EP, which Vince has made available for free download for us on his revamped FreeFrankmusik site.  These are the sort of songs that major record labels should be killing themselves over:  Engaging, creative, playful, and positive dance/electronica with all kinds of variations, including a rap by Jay White in “Somebody” and Vince’s gal Quigley carrying most of the gorgeous vocals in “Notice Me”.  Plus there are remixes of “Dynamo” and “So You’re Alive” by the likes of Digiraatii, Leisure Council, and Hervé (which is just as enjoyable as Vince’s own mixes).  Get it while you can!!

Hervé “Better Than A BMX”

Speaking of Hervé, aka British producer Joshua Harvey, his own release of Pick Me Up Sort Me Out Calm Me Down is due in May, and to precede that album have a listen to “Better Than A BMX” below.  You’ll find a similarly effects-laden and uplifting feel to the songs of Frankmusik here – and isn’t it so appropriate that the guest vocalist on the song is none other than one Vincent Frank.  Sounds like an engine getting ready to revvvvv….

Scissor Sisters “Only The Horses”

Finally!  After the misfire that was “Shady Love” earlier this year, Scissor Sisters have returned to supurb form with their upcoming single “Only The Horses”, from their album Magic Hour due later this year.  It was a darned shame that engaging songs from 2010’s Night Work kind of came and went, but if the rest of the songs from Magic Hour are anything like “Only The Horses”, it will be an album that resonates throughout the rest of the year.  “Only The Horses” is specifically designed to fill the dance floor but will probably translate to pop radio play as well.  Jake Shears has never sounded so good.  This may be the group’s best single to date, it’s so very refreshing.  Listen below.

Cascada “Summer Of Love”

Lest I be the one who thought he’d be writing about the German trio whose massive pop/dance hits of “Everytime We Touch” (2007) and “Evacuate The Dancefloor” (2009) quickly bored me.  But “Summer Of Love” is just one of those irresistible confections that draws you in whether or not you know who the performer is.  “Summer Of Love” is a joyous and anthemic pleasure.  Listen below and purchase it on iTunes if it’s available to you (the song is not available in Canada yet).

Theophilus London “Lightning” (Jeffrey Jerusalem remix)

Brooklyn rapper Theophilus London proves once again why his diverse music finds an audience everywhere with a sly Jeffrey Jerusalem remix of “Lightning”, originally from last year’s album Timez Are Weird These Days.  Rarely does R&B/rap sound so comfortable in an electronic setting, and the mid-90s vibe that Jerusalem pulls (I hear sound effects from Chemical Brothers’ “Setting Sun” in there) will fill the bill for a late night club crunch.  Listen and download it for free at the link below.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs “Tapes & Money”

I wrote about T.E.E.D. last Fall, when I introduced you to their free download of the sublime “Dream On”.  The duo continues to build its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the electronica world with “Tapes & Money”, which dances to its own trippy club tune to make a difference to your ears and feet when enjoying your nightlife.  Think of T.E.E.D. as the disembodied offspring of 80s electro outfits like Yazoo and Blancmange.  I wanna say there’s a sample within – a cover of The Trammps’ “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”?  Listen below.

And if you think you’ve heard all that the boy band world of pop will offer us in 2012 in the forms of One Direction and The Wanted, well be sure to hold that thought, for there will be much, much more.

Lawson “When She Was Mine”

The four British lads of Lawson are going to make you think twice with their equally tight hit-bound melodic pop/rock of “When She Was Mine”, from their forthcoming album.  These guys have the goods as I previously wrote about last year when they did a most pleasant and striking acoustic version of Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”.  And unlike other boy bands, Lawson up the ante by not being a strictly vocal band.  While the official single release isn’t due till end of May, you can listen to the song below.

It Boys! featuring Jeffree Star and Lacey Schwimmer, “Burnin’ Up”

Just looking at the featured performers made me want to listen to this song.  But before I get to that, I’ll introduce you to It Boys!, a five piece band from L.A. consisting of Matt, Tommy, Jeff, Judah, and Duck (he’s the drummer).  The band jumps a few steps to the left of the boy band scene that is more reminiscent of the Fall Out Boy/Panic At The Disco rivalry of a few years back.  Nonetheless they’ve toured recently with the likes of Breathe Carolina and released “Guys Don’t Like Me” for free (which you can get from their website).  But the highly entertaining video for “Burnin’ Up” has captivated me 🙂 if not so much the song itself.  It’s well-directed, contains great “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” kind of effects, features some sultry verses from Dancing With The Stars/So You Think You Can Dance fave Lacey Schwimmer, and a most well-placed interlude from on-the-bubble celeb Jeffree Star.  Watch below – and be sure to stay for the ending!  It Boys! look to have enough of the goods to make heads turn.  You can get this on iTunes.

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

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

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

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

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

“Montauk” click right here and listen after the advertisement

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

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

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

Listen to “Notice Me”

Watch “Inkblot Game”

Sam Sparro “Happiness”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Electric Sex” 

“Walking On A Dream” 

Electronic Bliss: Simon Curtis and Vincent Did It team up for “Starlight”, “Flesh” remix

Those of you who follow the promising careers of both Simon Curtis and Vincent Did It (formerly Frankmusik) have known that they collaborated on some songs in advance of the release of Simon’s album R∆ last June.  Since that time, they’ve both been hinting at the release of Vince’s remix of “Flesh” and other songs.  So with today came the release of that “Flesh” remix, as well as a gorgeous ballad called “Starlight”.

Vince’s remix of “Flesh” takes the staccato ends of the song and keeps you there, focusing on trebly arpeggios and Simon’s upper register.  Its playful pace makes the mix seem much shorter than its 5:37 length.  The result is akin to keeping you perpetually at a particular moment… the few seconds before you find out the solution to a mystery… the few seconds before you get your college diploma… the few seconds before a first kiss… the few seconds before … all right, I think you get where this is going 😉  

Download the Vincent Did It remix for “Flesh” for free from the redesigned http://www.simon-curtis.com – check out all those great Tyler Shields photos!

It’s obvious from first listen that “Starlight” did not fit the mold that became R∆.  It’s a wistful, pensive downtempo ballad as a reminder of a relationship that ended, that has the sound of Darren Hayes, most evidently, as an inspiration.  Like the other songs in R∆ though it evokes a personal place in time for Simon, and I’m glad he chose to share this gentler side of the R∆ sessions with us.  Vince is no slouch at producing softer songs either – his free download from last year, the dramatic and heartfelt “Hurt You Again”, was one of my favourites of the year, and it didn’t make the cut for Do It In The AM either.

Courtesy of the ever-wonderful Arjan Writes, read Arjan’s thoughts and download “Starlight” for free on this page.

Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Adam Tyler’s video for “Like A Drug”, “Somebody” by Vincent Did It, and New Faces: MNEK, Fallulah, Liquid Diet, and Chromatone

Well my Monday certainly kicked off with a blast, with the arrival of the video for Adam Tyler’s “Like A Drug”, and more new music from Vincent Did It (formerly Frankmusik) with “Somebody”.  I’ll throw in songs and/or videos from four new faces as well.

Adam Tyler, “Like A Drug”

Adam Tyler has been whetting our appetites for the last while with picture previews of stills from the video for “Like A Drug”.  It dropped yesterday and serves as an eyebrow-raising calling card for the talented L.A. based Missouri native.  We’ve already seen videos for 2010’s “Friction” and last year’s first single from the Shattered Ice album “I Won’t Let You Go”.  This time though it’s an all out assault on our senses, as this well-directed video takes us into a cavernous warehouse where naughty and/or naasty things may happen depending on your temptation.

The video is both persuasive and compelling, not knowing what to expect… But throughout it we see snippets of some dancing, and Adam gets up close and personal with most of the cast as the tension builds.  It ultimately leads to the best part of the video – a group dance to some truly magnificent 30 seconds of choreography, which may even stick in your head more than the rest of the video.  Then, boom – it’s over.  I hope “Like A Drug” opens more doors for Adam.  The song had to grow on me more than some of the others in Shattered Ice as I’ve listened to the album for the past five months.  The quality in its video has been worth the wait – well done everyone! 🙂

Vincent Did It, “Somebody”

Vincent Frank is back in his element.  He may be about to make the best music of his career if recent songs “Dynamo”, “So You’re Alive” (video is below), and “Somebody” are any indication.  The singer is in his best voice with some of his best lyrics, not without some humour, as well on “Somebody” as he encourages everyone “don’t let the bastards bring you down”.  The singer himself has had to rise above so much himself over the last year and I’m glad that he can release it through his songs.  Keep it coming – can’t get enough!  And it’s only January!!

MNEK, “If He’s The One” 

MNEK is 17 year old British singer Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike, who has already risen to cutting edge prominence with a Top 5 UK hit under his songwriting belt, “All Fired Up” by The Saturdays.  He’s remixed for Graffiti 6, Frankmusik, Colette Carr, Tinie Tempah, Olly Murs, and Simon Curtis.  And he’s recording his debut album, to be released next year.  In the meantime, he’s offered up the cheery and soulful “If He’s The One” with a big voice way beyond his years.  Watch out for this talented lad and download “If He’s The One” below for free.

Fallulah “Out Of It”

26 year old Maria Apetri is Fallulah, and hails from Denmark, where “Out Of It” has already topped the charts recently.  The singer compares at times to Florence Welch but has a softer quality about her.  I’ve been listening to a remix of “Out Of It” for a while now, which brings out the eerie undercurrent of the song better than its original video (above).  That’s definitely owing to the talented remixing of Monsieur Adi, who you’ll know this past year from remixing Darren Hayes’ “Bloodstained Heart” as well as producing his own songs as well, such as “Chariot”.  Listen to the Adi remix of “Out Of It” below and mix it up with songs like “Ghosts ‘N Stuff” by Deadmau5.

Liquid Diet “Hand Dance”

New York trio Liquid Diet comprises Georgia, Billy, and Jonathan, and with the entertaining video for “Hand Dance” they join in some very good company – Divinyls, Cyndi Lauper, The Vapors, and others – who have all sang hits about the thrills of self-pleasure.  Not so guilty pleasure?  You bet!  Great fun that goes well with a song like Databoy’s “Stupid”.  Download it for free below for a limited time.

Chromatone, “One Half”

Chromatone has meshed up rock, jazz, funk and soul, for a slick and danceable affair with “One Half”.  Like some other recent singers from the UK, Chromatone will remind you of some of the best US and UK soul/pop singers of the last 20 years, like Terence Trent D’Arby, Andrew Roachford, Remy Shand, and Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, with obvious influences from masters like Stevie Wonder.  It’s that classic jazzy guitar playing though that makes you notice.  Songs like “One Half” signal more energetic delights to come.  Download it for free below.

Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 12:57 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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