@JamesPoole_ Slays the Beast That Is “I Put A Spell On You”

JAMES POOLE, “I Put A Spell On You”

UK singer James Poole is full of surprises.  So for a Hallowe’en treat, James brings us his rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic 50’s R&B tune “I Put A Spell On You”.  The song has never really been a big hit in any version in North America, though the UK saw hits of it by Alan Price in the 60’s and Sonique in 2000.  Nina Simone also recorded a well-respected version in the 60’s.  I love the original song and it’s a hard one to sing, so I was a tad iffy about an adaptation of it, since I’ve heard other versions of the song come off like huge soggy noodles instead of powerful and eerie and fiery.  Well, James tackles this beast of a song, and boy does he slay it in his own soulful and jazzy rendition.  He shows off his spectacular high register vocal technique like no other song that I’ve heard him sing yet.  It’s suitably creepy for Hallowe’en, yet James teases when he briefly brings down his vocal.  “I Put A Spell On You” continues to increase the ‘wow’ factor for James, and I for one am looking forward to the release of his record when it comes, all in good time.  In the meantime, be sure to put “I Put A Spell On You” on your must-hear list.  Just for comparison’s sake, you can also listen to another fine version, by New Zealand singer Willy Moon, below.

Published in: on October 31, 2014 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Voices Carry: Betty Who, Sam Dickinson, Lawson, Simon Curtis, Bac2ssential with Charly Mae, plus My Favourites of the First Half of ’13

It’s summer and the best voices soar on a clear sunny day…

BETTY WHO  “Somebody Loves You”

Australia has given us another divine new voice in the form of singer Betty Who, who dropped her EP The Distance amid oodles of praise.  Add my endorsement – “Somebody Loves You” is a sparkling single that could weave its spell in the same way that Katy Perry’s best singles can overtake you.  And while this single just glows, the EP, which is free for the downloading right here, shows much depth that will make her a keeper in the pop world.

SAM DICKINSON “How It Used To Be”

Sam Dickinson is a new British blue-eyed soul singer based out of Newcastle.  Stop.  “New British blue-eyed soul singer” is almost always a good sign for me with music, but even with that positive heads up, young Sam has a unique, powerhouse voice that will blow the roof off your local club.  Take heavy doses of 80’s Simply Red and Style Council via contemporary dance tunes and add significant inspiration from the Atlantic/Stax era of the late 60’s, and you will hear where Sam Dickinson is coming from in “How It Used To Be”, from his forthcoming album The Stories That Occurred, which is due in two weeks.  I will have the scoop on that album for you closer to that time.

LAWSON “Missing”

Just in advance of yesterday’s official UK and Australian release of “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) (which I wrote about right here), promising UK quartet Lawson treated us to an acoustic performance of Everything But The Girl’s classic 1995 hit “Missing”.  This is particularly impressive because the original version of  “Missing”, from EBTG’s Amplified Heart album, was acoustic.  But all eyes and ears are on singer Andy Brown, who embodies this cover with passion and desperation, very unlike the original.  I hope they perform it in concert when I see them again in late August.  In fact, the boys can take it as an official request – pretty please 🙂

SIMON CURTIS “Meteor”

Lately, one of our favourite American wunderkinds of this decade, Simon Curtis, has been chatting on Twitter about how one of his songs called “Meteor” was excerpted in a new TV show called “Twisted”.  Yesterday, he let on that the song was available on the Internet to hear, for those that could find it!  Always up to a challenge, I have indeed located this frenzied bit of arpeggio-laden Swedish-influenced pop, which according to the Soundcloud link was discreetly posted about 10 months ago.  Even if it may not receive official release, it’s certainly way beyond a lot of the fluffy Europop that will grace your ears this summer. A very shiny sign of good things to come from Simon’s work-in-progress.

BAC2SSENTIAL featuring CHARLY MAE “Waiting For You”

Though I’m still digging her anthemic “Girls Go Hard”, UK singer Charly Mae has lent her big, big voice for the first time to a deep house club banger courtesy of Bac2ssential called “Waiting For You”.   It’s got that familiar, infectious house bounce that is slayed by Charly Mae’s engaging vocal.  Dance club DJ’s shouldn’t overlook this one.

MY FAVOURITES OF THE FIRST HALF OF 2013

Songs (in alphabetical order)

BEGGING  Anton Ewald

BLUE ELECTRIC ROSES  Travis Garland

CAPTAIN  FrankMusik

THE CITY  River Tiber

CLARITY  Zedd featuring Foxes

GET LUCKY  Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams

LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN  Lawson

LIFTED  Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni

MAP  FrankMusik

MY GIRL  Willy Moon

1998  Matthew Koma

OUTTA MY MIND  Matt Blue

PARACHUTE  Matthew Koma

PLAY THE GIRL  Tao Hypah

SAIL INTO THE SUN  Gentlemen Hall

SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME  Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz

VOCAL  Pet Shop Boys

A WORLD APART  Davis Redfield

YEAH YEAH  Willy Moon

YOUR TOUCH  Blake Lewis

Albums (alphabetical by performer)

MATT DUSK  My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook

FRANKMUSIK  Between

TRAVIS GARLAND  Fashionably Late II (EP)

MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP)

MIGUEL  Kaleidoscope Dream

WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

JARELL PERRY  Simple Things (EP)

THE PRESETS  Pacifica

RIVER TIBER  Synapses

KIM SMITH  Nova

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD  Born Out Of Mischief

MAY DAYS: Willy Moon’s album, Chromatone’s interview, Pierre Lewis’ preview, Bim’s video and demo, and Jeronimo’s B-side

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WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

London-based Kiwi Willy Moon knows a lot about creating a really big sounding, splashy, and stylish debut album.  Here’s Willy Moon finally dropped in my country this past week and it’s guaranteed to turn heads and open ears just like when you first heard breakout single “Yeah Yeah” on the iPod commercials.  Some of the 14 songs (including two bonus tracks) on the self-produced album were already released on his previous self-titled EP so the record as a whole isn’t all new.  It’s a mix of new originals plus 3 cover versions that channel 50s/60s basics – only one song within is longer than 3 minutes – through our contemporary technological sound machine.  Led by Willy’s exuberant vocals, the album works most of the time (only the R&B flavoured opener “Get Up (What You Need)” seems out of place), and as I heard in Austin in March, he can replicate the sound on stage.

willymoon3

Willy’s originals often bask in the classic melodies of the past.  “Fire” is one of the standouts, recalling a song like “Heart Full Of Soul” by The Yardbirds in melody and style, but leaving a unique mark after you hear it.  “My Girl” sounds like Eddie Cochran and Brian Setzer (of the Stray Cats) together, with stylistic whomp courtesy perhaps of 80’s Robert Palmer sounds.  You could visualize hearing “I Wanna Be Your Man” in a 60’s Go-Go club if it didn’t have all of the modern trappings.  Covers of classics “I Put A Spell On You” and “Shakin'” (video below – my favourite version of the latter is the cover by The Blasters in the 80’s), as well as bonus song “Bang Bang” , can easily label Willy as a competitive interpreter.  Second bonus song “Oh Nikki Darling” (co-written and co-produced with Martin ‘Cherry Cherry Boom Boom’ Kierszenbaum) is short and haunting – a sequel to the Prince song of almost the same name, perhaps?

So you can hear where this is heading.  Here’s Willy Moon is definitely one of the year’s boldest debuts by a singer who aims to dazzle from the start.

CHROMATONE, “Fire” – plus an interview!

Chromatone is turning out to be one of 2013’s most promising talents to watch, after getting to know his music a bit last year.  It’s all a plan to lead up to an EP coming this Fall.  Be sure to watch the clip below courtesy of the new Nupe Vibes series.  It features a brand new Chromatone original, “Fire” in a stellar live-from-the-floor performance which just makes me realize how grand his voice will sound when in a studio with added production!  Plus we get to know the man who answers some well-presented questions and you get to find out why he’s so good at making music.  Dynamite stuff, cannot wait for more!!  Also check out the video for his cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” where he busts out some dance moves (and throws in some Gotye near the end for good measure).

PIERRE LEWIS, Consciousness (preview)

It’s been a while since we heard from UK pop-soul singer Pierre Lewis, who first came to my attention in huge style with his ballad “Broken” (#2 on my chart) in 2009.  Last year we heard his EP Transitions, featuring “Out Of My Mind”, as well as his duet with Kaya in a classic style on “When I Was Blind”.  His new album Consciousness drops next week, and there’s a rich blend of uptempo pop songs as well as softer R&B-influenced songs that so enchant his many women fans 🙂 There are bound to be a few surprises that you don’t hear in the preview below so you can count on me to bring you more very soon.

BIM, “Highlight” (The Barn Sessions video) and “Ghost” (demo)

One of last year’s releases often on repeat on my iPod Touch is Bim’s Lifelines EP.  The UK duo with whom you are well acquainted in this blog keeps taking their music to the next level in different ways.  So now we have “Highlight” (from Lifelines), in a performance video shot inside a barn, which finally gives you a visual of Rebecca and Denmark in what you would likely see in a concert setting.  It’s a passionate performance that brings life to the song that a creative music video can’t do justice.  Then, take a listen to the moving new song “Ghost”, in a pretty convincing demo format, and try to fathom why it shouldn’t be given a full release itself.

JERONIMO, “Fading Memories”

We’ve already been teased by Jeronimo, the Dutch singer with the highly recognizable voice, with an acoustic version of his upcoming single “Flying Solo”.  So then he actually records a video for the song that is the ‘B side’ to “Flying Solo”, “Fading Memories”, which is not only a great idea, but has probably turned out even better than expected!  The singer himself has such a fun personality and is a real cheerleader for having a good time.  So we get treated to both the serious side of Jeronimo in the performance part of the video (and we’ve already seen how well he does this in the videos for “Somebody Who Loves Me” and “Firefly”) for what is really a thoughtful song about moving on, and then the carefree side which appears to show him in historic sites in the Philippines.  To be honest, “Fading Memories” could/should be a single unto itself, it’s certainly a powerful enough song on its own.  This bodes very well for a full upcoming album of Jeronimo songs to follow up last year’s immensely entertaining One Kiss.

Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #405 – May 20/13

With so much new music arriving on the chart over the past month, there is considerable activity!

Amid it all, though, FrankMusik holds at #1 with “Map” (ab0ve), as the release date for Between as well as Frank’s US tour approach.  But it’s being immediately challenged by “Blue Electric Roses” (6-2, below), my favourite song from Travis Garland’s magnetic free download Fashionably Late II EP.  Travis’ song “Homewrecker” got a huge unexpected endorsement on Twitter this weekend by pop singer Richard Marx!!  “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni slips to #3 but seems very attached to the top portion of the chart 🙂 “Outta My Mind” the Europop dance hit by Dutch singer Matt Blue jumps 10-4, while Willy Moon’s “My Girl” hangs in at #5 as his album Here’s Willy Moon looks to be released in North America soon.

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Songs 6 through 12 are all on the upswing, which of course means that no song within the Top 5 is truly safe.  “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis is deservedly right at the heels of the Top 5, and it’s followed by the fastest riser on the chart, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, which climbs 16-7.  Could “Get Lucky” be one of the songs of Summer ’13?  Watch below, and check out the splendid alternate unreleased version with Sam Sparro on vocals.

Ariana Grande & Mac Miller’s “The Way” inches up to #8, while both Bastille’s “Pompeii” and “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons arrive at last in the Top 10.  Almost there are the radio-cranker “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin Van Buuren & former soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie (18-11, below), and “One Night” by Matthew Koma (14-12), which arrives in new remixes tomorrow on iTunes.  It’s from his upcoming album Arcadia.  Cherrytree Records has posted them on their Soundcloud site.

Meanwhile, “Somebody To Love Me”, the dance club rave-up by Eli Escobar featuring Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz soars 23-15, and Jarell Perry’s pensive but uptempo “9 2 5” jumps 20-16.  Ghost Town’s edgy “Too Young” in a definitive Penguin Prison remix rises 25-18, while both “On My Way” by Charlie Brown and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege (both below) land in the Top 20 finally.  And our third debut of last week, “Silent Morning” by Parralox featuring Ryan Adames, a cover of Noel’s classic mid-80s dance hit, moves up 26-21, with new remixes in tow on iTunes (including that crunchy rock-oriented one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom).

At least one of my three debuts might be of surprise to you.  I’ve been fighting with myself about what song from Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience would succeed the #11 charting “Suit & Tie”.  Initially I was wrapped up in the beautiful “Strawberry Bubblegum”, but with all of the dance music energy on the chart right now the rump shaker and 70’s R&B-inspired “Let The Groove Get In” has won out and bows at #24.

Absolutely no stranger to the chart over the past three years is Adam Tyler, whose new and creative “Fade Into The Light”, especially with the huge dub-steppy break in the extended version, lands on the chart at #27.

I also can’t get enough of the song “Shame” by Slow Knights, a project spearheaded by Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis – again the powerful R&B vocal and groove get stuck in your head and make you move.  It’s from the project’s Cosmos album and bows at #28.

BILLCS Top 30 #404 – May 6/13 – Mapping His Way to the Top Again!

This edition of my personal chart is full of ups and downs with only a handful of songs staying static.

That of course means a new #1 song.  It’s very fitting that FrankMusik’s “Map” should grab the top spot (his third time, following “The Fear Inside” and “No ID”) with the imminent arrival of his album Between, and another of acoustic songs, Between Us.  In a case of great timing, Vince posted his acoustic version of “Map” (below) on Soundcloud last night, and it’s a lot more raw and cutting (and I mean, ouch!) than the original version.  The frenetic “Captain” also climbs to #4, and new single and video “Chasing Shadows” is on deck.  There’s so much happening with FrankMusik that it seems absolutely crazy, but I’m happy to be along for the ride 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

This means that “Lifted by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni surrenders to second place after 3 charts (6 weeks) at #1.  Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” holds steady at #3 – I hear some radio stations are now playing it, probably wise since it’s been all over TV for the last two months!  I can’t wait to hear more new music from the Boston sextet.  Willy Moon’s highly contagious “My Girl” (video below) soars to #5, and thank goodness it’s available as a single here since Universal Canada has not got around to releasing the Here’s Willy Moon album…

The Top 10 got turned inside out, with James William’s “Lay Your Love On Me” and “The Way” by Ariana Grande & Mac Miller each advancing one position.  They had to contend with the soon-to-be unstoppable force that is Travis Garland, whose stunning and direct blue-eyed soul ballad “Blue Electric Roses” is the fastest riser again, this time vaulting 18 to 6.  And right behind is “Your Touch”, whose song and groove are embedded in my head now, courtesy of Blake Lewis, climbing 16-7.  Then there’s also the irresistible dance fest that is “Outta My Mind” by young Dutch singer Matt Blue (video below), already advancing to #10 in its second appearance.

Also on the rise and likely headed for the Top 10 are “Pompeii” by UK sensations Bastille, Semi-Precious Weapons’ “Aviation High”, “One Night” by current travelling man Matthew Koma, “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato (loving the remixes, video and remix below), plus huge movers “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk (27-16), “This Is What It Feels Like” by Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie (25-18) which has become a massive radio hit in Canada, and the thoughtful ode about being stuck in a “9 2 5” (28-20) world by the new R&B singer with the amazing voice, Jarell Perry.

While “On My Way” by Charlie Brown and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege may seem stuck below #20, they will still likely move up in two weeks and attempt to hang around amid fierce competition, which includes three new entries, about which I’ve already written.

I love how DJ/producers like Eli Escobar are re-inventing Disco in the NuDisco format, deep house music mixed with old school disco, techno and trance at times.  His collaboration with Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz is a stunner, and “Somebody To Love Me” arrives at #23.  It appears on Eli’s EP Feel It.

Like Eli Escobar and Nomi Ruiz, the guys (Josh Ocean and Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn) who comprise NYC duo Ghost Beach seem to mesh the past with the present with ease.  To think they were in town a couple of weeks ago, when I had just found out about the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which bows at #25.  What makes this record are the vocals which remind me of late 70’s Joe Jackson meeting Justin Tranter of Semi-Precious Weapons about halfway.  Listen below and pick up the remix as part of the duo’s EP Modern Tongues Remixed.

Lastly, it’s been a big week for Aussie duo Parralox and rising US singer Ryan Adamés and their wonderful team.  Parralox’s John Von Ahlen has unleashed an eye-popping animated lyric video (below) for their rendition of Noel’s seminal 1987 freestyle classic “Silent Morning”.  And as I wrote about earlier in the week, Cherrytree Records prez and Interscope Records VP Martin Kierszenbaum, aka Cherry Cherry Boom Boom, remixed the song to give it a punchier alternate identity (also below).  In either version, the song is a huge grower and I hope that dance clubs fawn all over it in the coming months.  It debuts on my chart at #26.

BILLCS Top 30 #403 – April 22/13

And the new music keeps on coming, with four new entries (all but one of which I’ve written about), causing premature exits on my personal chart for some songs, but it looks like we are in for a grand summer given the quality of music on its way.  And can the flavour of 1970’s disco make its comeback with the help of one of the new songs?  Read on…


“Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni holds tight at the top for a third chart appearance (6th week), and the guys are busy with other projects, including Bongiovanni’s “I Think I Love You” rework which I wrote about earlier.  Zedd & Foxes (video below) and Gentlemen Hall continue in the runner-up spots, with Lawson ranking 5th, while FrankMusik’s “Map” climbs to #4 and “Captain” rises to #6.  FrankMusik is no stranger to my Top 5, with two previous #1’s (“The Fear Inside” and “No ID”) and three other Top 10’s, including “Fast As I Can”, which will also appear on his upcoming album Between in May.  New single “Chasing Shadows” is on deck soon!  If “Lifted” doesn’t hold at #1 in two weeks, I think a new #1 will be a surprise 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Most of the chart is in a tight lock, as often happens when a lot of new songs arrive, so there is minimal upward movement.  Nonetheless The Presets’ “A.O.” grabs #7, and “My Girl” by Willy Moon (whose album Here’s Willy Moon is still not out in Canada) rises to #8.  James William’s supremely catchy “Lay Your Love On Me” (sing it – wo-oh-oh-wo-oh-oh – below) becomes a Top 10 hit in its own right and it’s still available as a free download.  “The Way” by Ariana Grande & Mac Miller is becoming a deservedly huge pop hit and climbs to #10.

Songs by Matt & Kim, Semi-Precious Weapons, and Jerry Reid are still locked in below the Top 10, so there are bigger moves just below.  You can find me jamming in my car to “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis pretty much every day, and the song jumps to #16.  Matthew Koma’s glorious slice-of-life of “One Night” is right behind at #17.  But it’s Travis Garland’s “Blue Electric Roses” (below) which is the fastest riser, moving 25-18.  It’s a phenomenal song that gets better with each listen; the lyrics are pointed but thoughtful, and the vocals… well don’t get me started being overly partial to male R&B-sounding voices.  Travis has it in spades with his recent EP Fashionably Late Part II which you must download from his website.

Locked into the chart #20 and below are the bluesy jamming in “Right Back Home” by Lifehouse featuring Peter Frampton and Charles Jones (live clip below), Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack”, “On My Way” by Charlie Brown, and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege.

The newcomers to the chart are all pretty brilliant.

Dutch singer Matt Blue has already had two chart appearances in 2011, first with a collaboration with Bass Robbers called “Another Dimension” (#8), and then with his own feelgood jam “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)”, which got to the top of the chart in November 2011.  The singer has returned as featured in Kontor’s massive Top of the Clubs series, with his single “Outta My Mind”, which is now available on iTunes everywhere and makes a huge splash at #19.  There is no end to how great summery feelgood songs can be if they are done right, and I am looking forward to a full album from Mr. Blue one day that will show off his big, big vocal range.

Another Dutchman, Armin van Buuren, is back with a new album appropriately called Intense.  I’m predicting incredible things to happen with the first single “This Is What It Feels Like”, which I wrote about last week, and it bows at #25.  A major plus is the return of soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie to the music scene, I just never expected it to be on a dance record.  Wise choice – it’s a great song, and van Buuren has a 10 year pedigree for successful emotional dance pop.

The big news of the last week was the official release of “Get Lucky” (at the top of the post), French duo Daft Punk’s return with vocalist Pharrell Williams (who sounds tremendous) in tow along with music legend Nile Rodgers providing his distinct, recognizable sound.  “Get Lucky” starts out at #27 but will undoubtedly take off in the coming weeks.  I think it could be not only one of the best pop and dance records of the year, but its celebratory vibe could bring back the happy disco sound of the late 70’s.  Young people have never experienced the glorious days of disco, and I think considering so many recent tragedies that the impetus is there for a joyous update.  The older disco haters have long gone… now is the time!!

Lastly, it’s hard to cherry-pick songs from Jarell Perry’s debut free download album Simple Things.  It’s ALL more than good and I will be a broken record about it over the next few months.  I’m leaning heavily towards the day-in-a-snapshot as told in “9 2 5”, a big and emotional song which arrives at #28.  Jarell Perry’s got way too much talent not to get a record deal, and if not, someone is missing out and he will succeed on his own terms.  Listen for this fantastic singer.

BILLCS Top 30 #402 – April 8/13 – Six Songs Debut!

The newbies are taking over, sending some songs that should have peaked higher down or off the chart.  And you’ll be more than a little bit surprised at some of the chart entries as I haven’t yet written about them 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

It’s a no brainer that “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni reigns supreme for another chart… with nothing below it really challenging to take its place in two weeks.  Good thing for our boys Danny and Victor, who are recording some follow up songs to this one 🙂  Right below, #1 Dance Club Hit (and now charting on the Billboard Hot 100 too) “Clarity” by Zedd & Foxes ascends to runner-up status, while the summertime smash-in-waiting “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall (above) climbs to #3.  Lawson’s “Learn To Love Again” moves up to #5 as a fifth single “Gone” will be released from their UK gold record Chapman Square.

FrankMusik has a double headed for the Top 5, as “Map” and “Captain” (both above) are now back-to-back at #6 and #7 respectively, while Mr. Vince Turner finalizes his new album Between.  The Presets are coming! The Presets are coming! Back to my city on their tour on May 10, with Dragonette opening!  The otherworldly “A.O.” becomes their second Top Tenner on my chart at #9 following “If I Know You”, which got to #4.  Willy Moon is on deck with Here’s Willy Moon arriving in most places around the world tomorrow, and “My Girl” follows “Yeah Yeah” into Top 10 status at #10.

And here’s where I have to choose what not to write about… a busy chart with six debuts.  3 of our last chart’s debuts make significant inroads.  Semi-Precious Weapons soar with “Avaition High” at #15, while Jerry Reid’s mysterious rocker with great lyrics “Tell The Night” follows suit at #16.  Bastille’s irresistible pop rocker “Pompeii” (above) is the chart’s fastest riser, moving 28-20.

But it’s those debuts that have my attention right now.  19 year old Ariana Grande’s “The Way” is one of the most instantly likeable songs out there right now, and the song (featuring rapper Mac Miller) bows at a spectacular #13.  It’s from the Victorious star’s upcoming debut album Daydreamin’.  That’s an interesting title.  Ariana’s ultra sweet vocal on “The Way” immediately captured Mariah territory comparable to her 90’s work.  Of course one of Mariah’s albums is called Daydream (not to mention one of my fave Aretha songs is “Day Dreaming”).  I think the reason I enjoy this song the most is that it’s the teen version of Estelle & Kanye’s 2008 hit “American Boy”.  But the gal has the built in goods in her voice, I have heard her sing live and she is the real deal.

Down further at #21 is one of the better known American Idol contestants, 31 year old Blake Lewis, with his latest single “Your Touch”.  This song has grown on me immeasurably over the last month, and it’s chorus is loud flat out belt-worthy with such a feel good vibe.  It’s from Blake’s upcoming third album Portrait Of A Chameleon, and it’s his first chart entry here since 2009’s classic “Heartbreak On Vinyl” got to #4.

I just wrote about it yesterday, but Matthew Koma’s “One Night” has wasted no time in debuting at #22.  Let’s see how good a job it does in two weeks trying to take over the chart as his most recent #1, “1998”, leaves after the mandatory 10 appearances (20 weeks).

First Ariana Grande, and now… X Factor judge Demi Lovato makes her first chart appearance here with “Heart Attack” at #24.  Her voice keeps getting better and better, so her new album, Demi, will be well worth hearing.  She attacks the cutting and biting lyrics like there is no tomorrow, and that’s exactly what was required for the song.  Bravo.

I’ve already been raving about Travis Garland’s Fashionably Late Part II EP being one of the best of 2013 so far.  My favourite song from it is “Blue Electric Roses” at #25 – the kind of innovative song that I was expecting on Justin Timberlake’s latest album.  But sometimes the innovation has to be left to others and I think Travis is on the right track for making the right kind of big splash soon.  The EP is available for free download at Travis’ website.

The last debut at #27 belongs to Mr. Charlie Brown, whose “On My Way” got to #7 in the UK last week.  He will be touring with Craig David in the UK soon, and I’m hoping his management has big things planned for a North American debut.  This is soulful pop at its best from someone who should have broke out four years ago.  Charlie is very big on interacting with fans on Twitter too @CharlieBrownLDN 🙂

“One Night” by Matthew Koma Looks Forward Into 2013 + First Quarter Review, plus Kaden’s “Black Light”

There is no question in my mind that New York-born singer Matthew Koma leads a promising pack of performers and songs into the rest of 2013 with his new single “One Night”.

MATTHEW KOMA  “One Night”

The video for “One Night”, the upcoming single from Matthew Koma’s debut album Arcadia, takes its cue from (and could be the title song to one of the) coming-of-age movies that become signposts for a generation (well, despite a bit too much mugging later on).  Four cute guys in a car meet four cute girls in an amusement park, and for once it’s not a horror movie.  Flirtation and posturing happens, and then expect the unexpected.  Matthew’s song itself is a well-produced pop jolt that’s quite different from the songs in his Parachute EP.  It’s more direct and obvious, and designed to grab ears like the best records on the radio.  I think it will succeed on its many strengths, including the vocal charm of the singer.

Here’s what you might have missed in the first part of 2013, alphabetically by performer (hyperlink indicates a free download).

  • FRANKMUSIK Far From Over (EP) including “Map” and “Captain”
  • GENTLEMEN HALL  “Sail Into The Sun” appearing in Samsung and Target commercials
  • MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP) including the title song and “1998”
  • KWIK FIKS & BONGIOVANNI “Lifted”
  • LAWSON “Learn To Love Again”
  • WILLY MOON  “Yeah Yeah” – his album Here’s Willy Moon drops April 8
  • DAVIS REDFIELD “A World Apart” – dance smash waiting to happen featuring a mystery female vocalist
  • RIVER TIBER  Synapses – featuring “The City”, “What Are You Afraid Of”, and “Reverie”
  • TAO HYPAH “Play The Girl”
  • VARIOUS  Kiss My Lipstick Off
  • CHRIS WALLACE “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” and “Keep Me Crazy”
  • ZEDD featuring FOXES  “Clarity”

And before this page is finished, I’m going to light a bit of a fire about a song that I so want to see released!!

KADEN “Black Light”

Kaden James is an L.A. based singer and I think he has a smash-in-the-making with “Black Light”.  It’s been a long time coming, but the official release of the song should arrive along with a full album.  It’s one of those songs that has a perfect combination of a strong but boyish voice, scintillating rhythm, and truthful lyrics that anyone can claim as theirs.  What the song also possesses is an innate sense of drama.  Producer/remixer Stormby has a spectacularly effective remix of “Black Light” that is just waiting to lay conquer in clubs. I’m posting a link to a video made of the song last year.  And if you ask me, it’s pretty darned nifty, but apparently a new one is in the works.  Plus I’m posting a teaser to Stormby’s remix which will hopefully see the light of day when “Black Light” is officially released.  Okay – fire is lit – now we wait 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #401 – March 25, 2013

With travelling and illness being the order of March for me, I plan to write briefer and more frequent posts.  When great new music stacks up, it just shouldn’t wait!! :)

That having been said, there’s a new chart on deck brimming with all kinds of upward movement.

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Independently released music continues to score big time on my chart.  Toronto’s Danny Voicu meets Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni as Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni for “Lifted” (ab0ve), a beautiful chilled out deep house take on Baby Bash’s 2003 hit “Suga Suga” that is also a free download.  It reaches the summit this week, sending pals River Tiber to #2 with “The City”.  Big dance music tunes “Clarity” by Zedd and Foxes, and “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, remain at #3 and #4.

Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” (above) exploded into American Target commercials these past few weeks and moves up 8-5.  When I was in Austin, just before I left to go to the airport on March 13, I was walking to the back of a local Target store and I could hear this familiar song singing out to me… you just kind of had to be there :)  “Keep Me Crazy” is apparently the next single from Push Rewind for Chris Wallace, and it rises to #8.  The only newbie to the Top 10 is the sensational “Map” by FrankMusik at #9, which looks like it’s Top 5 bound.

Every song between #11 and #22 is on the way up, making the chart an interesting blend of multiple competitions!  So we have Justin Timberlake scratching at the Top 10 with “Suit & Tie”, just ahead of more frenetic FrankMusik and The Presets with “Captain” and “A.O” respectively.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (above) is a slick slice of pure pop available on iTunes if you like what you’ve been hearing by Chris Wallace or Matthew Koma.  James also recently posted a well done original, “No Regrets”, which you can also hear above.

The fastest riser on the chart is pop with a difference, and lots of style to boot.  “My Girl by Willy Moon (above) moves 25-16, looking to join “Yeah Yeah” as his second Top 10 hit on my chart.  Judging by one of his Austin shows two weeks ago, Willy delivers the goods in concert and leaves you wanting much more after a half hour set.  “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim glides into the Top 20, while I thought “Heaven” by Depeche Mode (also above) would be a lot further along by now, slow and steady is the pace with the release of Delta Machine this week.

As I threatened two weeks ago, there has been a mini-house cleaning, resulting in five debuts.  I’m loving the flow of “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons (above) in powerful anthemic love ballad style.  It’s so different from their other songs and arrives at #21 as we await their new album and more tour dates.  You can also find a beautiful recent cover by R&B singer Jarell Perry (who I will be writing more about 🙂 ), also above, available for free download.  Detroit rocker Jerry Reid returns after 2011’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, which got to #3 as a part of the Ballroom Remixed compliation.  An equally striking new song, “Tell The Night”, bows at #22.  The only place you can hear an excerpt of it is on Amazon at this time.  The song is also noteworthy for featuring background screaming by P.J. Soles of “Rock & Roll High School” movie fame.

Down further at #26 is everything that a bluesy/jazzy R&B-infused rock song should be.  It’s an album track by Lifehouse from Almeria called “Right Back Home” which features none other than 70s hit maker Peter Frampton (who I saw in concert – and got drenched during a storm – back in 1981) alongside blues singer Charles Jones.  Combined with Jason Wade’s vocal and a melody that brims along, and Lifehouse delivers a southern piece of good time honky tonk.  And who expected this?

At #28 is UK sensations Bastille with “Pompeii” from their new album Bad Blood, which hasn’t yet seen release around other parts of the world like North America.  I felt bad when I had to miss their 1:00 a.m. Austin set due to illness.  But “Pompeii” is more greatness in a small package, and you can get it on iTunes on the Remixes EP, featuring reduxes by the likes of Monsieur Adi and Kat Krazy (this remix is below).  Premiering at #30 is “Kiss My Lipstick Off”, the bubbly and naughty song by Liquid Diet’s Georgia Haege (you will remember last year’s memorable “Hand Dance” by Liquid Diet) from the equally bubbly and naughty compilation of the same name.

400th Edition – BILLCS Top 30 – March 11/13

15 years and 2 months later, and my bi-weekly online chart is at edition 400 🙂 Because I’m not home though, it’s a no frills edition.

You can view the full Top 30 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’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

I will have to double check when I get home, but I believe the last time two songs by Canadians held the top two spots on my chart was last Spring, when I believe River Tiber’s “Someday” and “Symmetry” were the Top 2 at one point.  Before that, I’m not sure when it happened last, or when the performers were different.  In this case “The City” by River Tiber is on top for a second appearance, and it’s joined at the summit by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, whose deep house rendition of  “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash moves to #2, and looks to succeed River Tiber in two weeks.  Listen to both below.  Zedd & Foxes hold at #3 with the propulsive “Clarity”, while another song brimming with energy, “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, advances to #4.

It’s all about the action in the lower half of the Top 10.  The Wallflowers, featuring Mick Jones in what is clearly a song inspired by The Clash’s “This Is Radio Clash”, move up to #6 with the funky “Reboot The Mission” (watch the video below).  The rest of the songs within the Top 10 are new to the top end of the chart.  Lawson’s memorable “Learn To Love Again” climbs to #7, while Gentlemen Hall move up quickly to #8 with “Sail Into The Sun”.  Talented UK teen Conor Maynard’s “Turn Around” (featuring Ne-Yo) glides to #9, while “Keep Me Crazy” by Chris Wallace (live performance from the Jimmy Kimmel show) inches up to #10 to make it 3 Top Tenners for 3 for Chris, following #1 “Remember When (Push Rewind)” and #3 “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”.  Chris is getting around the USA to promote the long-lasting “Remember When” and his album.

The fastest riser on the chart is “Map” by FrankMusik (19-11, video below), which will be included on his upcoming album Between.  Also included will be song #18, the frenetic “Captain”, as well as song #29 “Fast As I Can”.  Between will not hold back any punches 🙂

Justin Timberlake, who is everywhere, seems to be leading a classy softer style that is appealing to the younger crowd as they see him perform on shows like Saturday Night Live.  “Suit & Tie” climbs to #13; I’m anxious to hear what else is in store on The 20/20 Experience.

Songs 16 through 22 are looking to bounce higher on the chart in two weeks.  “Reverie” by River Tiber is looking to take advantage of songs moving down.   Then we have the stunning and futuristic “A.O.” by Australian duo The Presets, AVAN LAVA’s finger-snapper “It’s Never Over”, the breezy-sounding “Carried Away” by Passion Pit (video below), classic Top 40 pop in the form of “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (listen below), and in advance of their album Delta Machine, “Heaven” by Depeche Mode.

There’s a line up of songs waiting to land on the chart, and sometimes it makes me want to change it to a Top 40, but then I get talked out of that.  So for now, two songs I wrote about recently make their debuts.  Willy Moon is playing in Austin this week, and I hope to catch his show tomorrow night if I can get in.  His stylish video for “My Girl” below helps the song debut at #25.  Ever wonder what rock stars do in bed?  The fun video for “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim might answer a few questions below.  It debuts at #26.