BILLCS Top 30 #426 – March 10/14

As with the last chart, there are 5 new entries, and I suspect this will be the trend for the next few charts too, as many are sticking around to the maximum 10 appearances (20 weeks) before they drop off (“What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E first charted for 4 appearances prior to its release, then re-entered, and is now in its 10th consecutive appearance).  So the wheels on the chart are going round and round…

The Top 10

  • Sam Smith fever is slowly finding its way to North America.  So “Money On My Mind” continues at the top of my chart, while his featured vocal in “Latch” by Disclosure is the highest debut at #16.  That song peaked at #11 in the UK at the end of 2012.  There’s a brilliant acoustic version of  “Latch” on Sam’s equally stunning EP Nirvana (live version below).

  • Challenging for the top is the first of three appearances for Matthew Koma in the Top 10, this time on “Cannonball (Earthquake)” by Showtek & Justin Prime, which climbs 5-2.  Watch the new sci-fi adventure themed video below, sort of reminiscent of “Mad Max”.

  • “Collide” by Jake Miller shows it has staying power, and rises 6-5, while Audra Mae’s deep-down-in-your-soul vocal carries Avicii’s “Addicted To You” 10-7.
  • “Happy” by Pharrell is number one in most countries, climbing 11-9, as his new album G I R L is released to positive reviews.  It’s Pharrell’s fourth appearance in the Top 10, the other three times as featured artists on Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful” (#6, 2003), “Wanna Love U Girl” by Robin Thicke (#4, 2005), and Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (also #4, 2013).
  • The rest of the songs moving up in the Top 10 do have Matthew Koma in kommon 😉  Zedd’s “Find You’ (also featuring Miriam Bryant) is the fastest riser on the chart (19-8), becoming Zedd’s third top tenner following “Spectrum” and “Clarity”, while his collaboration with Robbert Hardwell jumps 14-10.  That makes it 7/7 Top 10’s for Matthew, following #1’s “Spectrum”, “Parachute”, and “1998”, plus “One Night” (#10).  Enjoy the exclusive Sky Felix remix of “Find You” below.

Songs on the Rise

  • Disclosure is #16 on the new chart as the boys were on the last one with Mary J. Blige on their rework of “F For You”, which climbs 16-12.
  • John Newman continues to find new North American fans with his soulful voice, which to me sometimes recalls Paul Young.  “Love Me Again” moves up 17-13.
  • The online reaction to Adam Tyler’s “Electric Valentine”, which the singer dropped on V-Day, has been just splendid, and it’s still available as a free download for you to enjoy.  It looks to be one of Adam’s biggest hits on my chart, rocketing 22-14.

  • Riding right behind as the release of his EP City Lights approaches is Nick Hagelin with the playful “Finest Clothes In Town”, up 23-15.

  • Semi-Precious Weapons have a full album coming to you sometime soon, but in the meantime, from their EP Aviation is “Drink”, rising 26-19.
  • U2’s new album has been deferred to 2015, despite the Oscar-nominated success of “Ordinary Love” and the charity donations behind “Invisible”, which moves 25-21.  I suppose it makes sense that a tour will promote the album and looks like one may not be announced till year end.
  • If you’re in the New Haven, Connecticut area, watch out for club dates from Sean O’Reilly, whose melodic delight “Ready For You Now” jumps 27-22.

The Rest of the Newcomers

  • A lot of dance/EDM is booming in my Top 10, and San Diego-based Convulsic’s imaginative “Love Space” will tweak your ears and move your booty, arriving on the chart at 23.   Official video is on its way.

  • I’m a tad late on “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz, but in keeping with the playful and bawdy spirit of  “Blurred Lines”, the song scores a place on the chart this week at 24.  It’s Jason’s first appearance in these parts since 2010’s “In My Head” (#7).

  • The honest storytelling and performance are the key to the vast enjoyment you will receive from Steve Grand’s “Back To California”.  The singer moves a touch away from the country music leaning of his first two singles for something more in classic pop.  It premieres at #26 in advance of his crowd-funded All American Boy – The Album, due in May.

  • In keeping with “Talk Dirty”, I might as well go for the gusto with the return of dance diva Lonnie Gordon with “Horny” at #29.  Looks like there will be all kinds of naughty fun this Spring!  And remixes are on their way!

The Full Chart

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

01 01 MONEY ON MY MIND Sam Smith
05 02 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
03 03 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
04 04 TAKE COVER Neverest
06 05 COLLIDE Jake Miller
02 06 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
10 07 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
19 08 FIND YOU Zedd featuring Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
11 09 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
14 10 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
12 11 INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
16 12 F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
17 13 LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
22 14 ELECTRIC VALENTINE Adam Tyler
23 15 FINEST CLOTHES IN TOWN Nick Hagelin
New 16 LATCH Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
07 17 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
09 18 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
26 19 DRINK Semi-Precious Weapons
13 20 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
25 21 INVISIBLE U2
27 22 READY FOR YOU NOW Sean O’Reilly
New 23 LOVE SPACE Convulsic
New 24 TALK DIRTY Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz
15 25 GOLD Eurielle
New 26 BACK TO CALIFORNIA Steve Grand
18 27 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
20 28 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
New 29 HORNY Lonnie Gordon
24 30 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E

BILLCS Top 30 #425 – February 24/14

There’s a new #1 and two big debuts that happen to be free downloads 🙂

The Top 10

Buzzing with activity:

  • Coincidentally the new UK #1 single (as it held the chart all week long) is also my new #1, Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind”.  He’s been performing alternately solo gig or select ones (such as for TV) with Disclosure.  I’m looking forward to his Toronto show on March 28.  His entire EP Nirvana has the goods!

  • Martin Garrix slips to #2 with “Animals” as it hits the Billboard Top 40.  As I wrote about this week, his new single “Helicopter”, should be equally huge.
  • Travis Garland advances to #3 with the sexy and repeatable “Motel Pool”.

  • Neverest climbs 9-4 with their dance song “Take Cover”.  The quartet is performing at the new Avenue nightclub in Vaughan, just north of Toronto, on Friday February 28.
  • “Cannonball (Earthquake)” by Dutchmen Showtek & Justin Prime and featuring American Matthew Koma on vocals needs to be released worldwide!! It climbs 11-5 on my chart and is a dance floor killa!
  • Jake Miller’s pop gem “Collide” moves up 10-6 as the new L.A. resident gets ready to release a new video!
  • Bright Light Bright Light’s “In Your Care” climbs to a new peak of #7, but Rod’s duet with Elton John will storm this chart closer to its April 7 release.
  • Rounding out all of the Top 10 movement are newcomers “MANiCURE” by Lady GaGa at #9, and the sensational “Addicted To You” by Avicii at #10 but given its vocal life with a bluesy vocal by Audra Mae!

Rising Up:

  • It looks like the rest of the world will be pretty “Happy” soon as Pharrell Williams’ ditty with an old-style Motown beat climbs 15-11 on my chart, but should get to #1 in the US and internationally too.
  • Kylie Minogue’s “Into The Blue” also has a great shot at being her first international pop hit in some time.  It moves up 17-12.
  • Matthew Koma is part of one Top 10 song this week, but he’s also the vocalist of Hardwell’s “Dare You” (#14) and Zedd’s “Find You” (#19), along with sensational newcomer Miriam Bryant.  Matthew was still charting a year ago on my chart with #1’s “1998” and “Parachute”.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is the dynamic pairing of Disclosure with Mary J. Blige on the rework of “F For You”, up 25-16.
  • “Love Me Again” by UK singer John Newman is going great guns all over the world, and is back in the UK Top 40.  It moves up 24-17.
  • Sve’s beautiful “Talking To The Walls” jumps to a new peak of #18.

New to the Chart:

About those two at the top of this blog post 🙂

  • Adam Tyler has graced my chart with many of his songs since his debut in 2010 with “Friction”, still his best charting song peaking at #4.  2012 was all about “Fade Into The Light” (#9), with its well shot video and appearance on the compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume 2.  Adam released “Electric Valentine” as a free download on Valentine’s Day.  It has received massive response as a free download, and to me is one of Adam’s best pop confections thus far.  It debuts on my chart at #22.  Oh and there’s a tiny tease of a classic pop song near the end 🙂
  • Nick Hagelin has only appeared in my chart once, in 2011 with the dreamy ballad “Metaphor” (#12) from his Take Off EP.  Since then, he’s been signed to Streamline (Lady GaGa’s label), distributed by Interscope, but has yet to see release with any songs through that label.  In the meantime, the free EP City Lights is coming on March 5, and in advance of that we have “Finest Clothes In Town”, a funky slice of R&B pop that will put you in a great, sexy mood 😀  “Clothes” bows at #23 on my chart.
  • U2 last appeared in my chart in 2005 with “Sometimes You Can Make It On Your Own” (#21), and was last in the Top 10 with 2000’s “Beautiful Day” (#7), though Bono & The Edge appeared in Reeve Carney’s “Rise Above 1” (#19, 2011) from their soundtrack to the “Spider-Man” broadway play (which I quite enjoyed).  “Invisible” is one of their best singles in recent years and I got it from iTunes when it was available as a limited free download.  Some of its proceeds go to the RED fund.  The song arrives at #25.

  • While I’m looking forward to hearing their full album when it arrives, and seeing them on tour when it happens, Semi-Precious Weapons have altered their sound somewhat from hard-hitting, edgy-danceable-punkish rock, to a slicker, anthemic but still edgy pop/rock flavour.  And, as demonstrated by last year’s Aviation High (#9), it works beautifully.  “Drink” is punchy and contagious, and debuts at #26.

  • I love discovering new music by talented independent artists with lots of potential.  Such is Sean O’Reilly, whose “Ready For You Now” is crammed full of varied pop influences and striking piano playing.  From the Connecticut native’s album Volume 1, “Ready” arrives at #27.

The Full Chart

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

06 01 MONEY ON MY MIND Sam Smith
01 02 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
04 03 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
09 04 TAKE COVER Neverest
11 05 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
10 06 COLLIDE Jake Miller
08 07 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
02 08 EASY Travis Garland
12 09 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
13 10 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
15 11 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
17 12 INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
03 13 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
19 14 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
05 15 GOLD Eurielle
25 16 F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
24 17 LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
20 18 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
26 19 FIND YOU Zedd featuring Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
07 20 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
14 21 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT  SIRPAUL
New 22 ELECTRIC VALENTINE Adam Tyler
New 23 FINEST CLOTHES IN TOWN Nick Hagelin
18 24 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
New 25 INVISIBLE U2
New 26 DRINK Semi-Precious Weapons
New 27 READY FOR YOU NOW Sean O’Reilly
16 28 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast featuring Adam Lambert
21 29 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles featuring Dru
22 30 DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly

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

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.

BILLCS Top 30 #399 – February 25/13

The belated appearance of my personal chart this week finds some recent arrivals zipping into the upper reaches.  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 :)

Toronto group River Tiber score their second #1 on my chart with “The City”, which displaces Matthew Koma’s “1998” to #2 after Matthew’s 5 chart (10 week) lock on #1 with that song and “Parachute”.  River Tiber keep getting more great local gigs in Toronto, at The Drake Hotel again (where they scored majorly on January 3) and tomorrow night at The Horseshoe Tavern.  They’ll also be playing The Annex Live on March 23 during Canadian Music Fest (I’ll remind you again about that).  Tommy Paxton-Beesley recently dropped a new River Tiber video for another song from their album Synapses (still available as a free download), this time for “The Star Falls”.  Watch below.

Scoring another #1 Dance Club Play hit again is Zedd with British singer Foxes on “Clarity”, which moves up to #3.  Another killer dance track that the rest of the world hasn’t really got to know yet is “A World Apart” by DJ/producer Davis Redfield, which climbs to #5.  Sandwiched in-between is one of the coolest club tracks you will hear that I can’t stop talking about.  With a deep house rework of Baby Bash’s “Suga Suga”, Canadians Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni climb 24-4 with “Lifted”.  Download it for free and give a listen below.

The Wallflowers’ “Reboot The Mission” climbs to #8, becoming their first Top Tenner here since I began the chart in 1998.  However “One Headlight” was my #1 song of 1997 so I’m well acquainted with the diverse styles of Jakob Dylan and his band.  I’m particularly impressed by the production and vocal arrangement on this song.  The song seems to be everywhere now (including “Glee”), but “Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo rises to #9.  Those Lawson lads managed another Top 20 placing in the UK with “Learn To Love Again”, arguably their best song to date.  It climbs to #11 on the chart.  Alas, no North American release in sight yet…  Another huge mover on the chart is “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall, up 25-15 – a song you won’t be able to escape for the months to come thanks to impressive inclusion in a Samsung smart camera commercial.  Hopefully this exposure will hasten the release of a new album.  Great songs to be heard!  Listen below and get it for free from the band’s website when you tweet about it.

Other songs still on the rise include those by Mika (and I got a ticket for his April 5 show here 🙂 ), Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z, River Tiber (“Reverie”), The Presets, Passion Pit (“Carried Away”, video below), AVAN LAVA, and Depeche Mode.

I’ve already written about our new arrivals recently.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William is just darn near impossible to get out of your head with its crisp pop sound that may have more of an American bent than a British one.  The song debuts at #28.  You can get it for free through Tweet For A Track and you can hear it below. The other two debuts both belong to FrankMusik.  You can read all about my musings on his EP Far From Over with its nifty Brink Magazine spread to great effect.  First single “Map” bows at #19 and the rollicking “Captain” is sharp on deck at #24.  Hear both songs below and download them for free from FrankMusik’s website.

BILLCS Top 30 #398 – February 11, 2013

The news on my latest chart is about all of the new songs that look like they will take over within the next few weeks, along with a few asides into songs not on the chart by FrankMusik and (a cover by) Neverest.  Exciting!  You can view the full Top 30 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.  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 :)

If you watched the Grammy Awards last night, you will have seen a slim young gent sitting next to Carly Rae Jepsen, who alas didn’t win any of the categories in which she was nominated.  That is indeed Matthew Koma, who still resides at the top of my chart with the crunchy rocker “1998”.  The challenge in two weeks is to hold on to it against one of the most beautiful songs on release right now.  That’s “The City” by Toronto’s River Tiber (below), edging up to #2 (they also have songs at #7 and #20!).  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace is up to #3 and you can see Chris again on TV in North America on the Kelly & Michael morning show on ABC in 9 days on Wednesday February 20.  Rounding out the Top 5 is another top of the chart contender, “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes.

Passion Pit comes to my city next weekend in a sold out show, and “Take A Walk” climbs to #6, while newest single from their Gossamer album, “Carried Away”, bows at #30.  New to the Top 10 are the dance raveup “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield at #9, and “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #10 – still waiting for a video for the song as well as the Native album to arrive.

Holding at #8 and not on his upcoming EP Far From Over (due on February 14), but still available as a single on iTunes is “Fast As I Can” by FrankMusik.  Far From Over looks to be one of the most riveting releases of 2013.  FrankMusik has returned to the inventive electronica that won over so many fans with Complete Me in 2009, after heading in a more pop-oriented direction in 2011 with Do It In The AM.  It appears to be about being lost in personal and professional turmoil, only to be rejuvenated and found again by returning to his humble beginnings, recording the EP entirely back in Croydon, England after being in L.A. for three years.  The first single, “Map”, is as visceral as it is evocative of his earlier style – old becomes new again!  I’ll be writing more about the EP after its release on Thursday.  To whet your appetite, below is the artwork for Far From Over.

frankmusik9

While the middle part of the chart sees songs on the rise from Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo, Chris Wallace (“Keep Me Crazy”), The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones, Mika featuring Ariana Grande,  Eric Saade, and Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie”), the fastest riser on the chart belongs to “Learn To Love Again” by UK foursome Lawson, who have found themselves in the UK Top 20 this week.  I had the pleasure of seeing the lads in concert on February 2, and they performed a crisp, solid and generous 75 minute set which won over anyone who didn’t know what to expect – considering their album Chapman Square is still not on release over here (memo to Universal Canada: Make it happen!).  First, here’s a snap of the band by yours truly.

lawson4

A bonus to seeing Lawson for the first time in our country was to find out a week before the show that Toronto quartet Neverest would be opening.  While they didn’t play for long (20-25 minutes), they sounded in fine voice and very tight musically after working on their new record.  We got to hear their hits “About Us” and “Everything”, and even though I got burned on this song with all of its radio play, Neverest made Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” sound fresh and engaging again.  Video below – looking forward to Neverest’s next release… and more shows!

So, it was time for a little house cleaning on the chart, and the five remaining debuts should definitely go places, not only on my chart, but in the music world.  I simply can’t get enough of “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, which I wrote about last week, so it arrives as the highest debut at #24.  This is a chilled out, deep house version of “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash & Frankie J, which got to #11 on my chart back in 2003.  It’s available as a free download right here.  “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall has such a shiny, clear sound, you can hear it beckoning Spring to arrive.  It premieres at #25 and you can get it as a free download or buy it on iTunes.  It follows The Hall’s 2012 appearance on the chart with “All Our Love”, which peaked at #7.  While “Youth In Trouble” disappears from the chart after peaking at #20, a much stronger song from The Presets’ Pacifica album is the positively epic “A.O.”, which bows at #26.  This one sounds like Blade Runner met Star Wars in a discotheque, with triumphant vocals and a steady build up reminiscent of the duo’s earlier songs like “My People”.  Watch the live clip below.

Rounding out the debuts, at #28 is “Heaven” by Depeche Mode, which I wrote about recently, becoming the venerable band’s third song to appear on the chart since its inception (the first being the #1 “Dream On” in 2001) and their most recent being 2005’s “Precious” (#3).  AVAN LAVA is a Brooklyn, NY pop/dance band that arrived on the scene in 2008 and has steadily built a following.  I don’t think I’m too late to the game by debuting “It’s Never Over” on the chart at #29 about a year after the release of their EP Flex Fantasy.  The trio hovers between beautiful lush pop and gritty nu-disco funk – I’d describe “It’s Never Over” as somewhere between Prince and his proteges and early 90’s pop such as Tara Kemp’s “Hold You Tight”.  Watch the video below and download the song for free right here.  AVAN LAVA headlines a show on March 2 in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg along with Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6.  Get to that show if you can (simply because I can’t!!).