Top 100 Songs of 2016

2016 was a year of music highs and lows. Lots of excellent music was released, yet the year also saw an unusually high number of untimely and significant losses of legendary musicians – most notably David Bowie, Prince, Natalie Cole (on New Year’s Eve), Glenn Frey, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Bobby Vee, Leon Russell, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, George Michael on Christmas Day and, most tragically, the entire promising young band Viola Beach.

There were a lot of great albums, but I’ve honestly heard only a fraction of the hundreds released in 2016. My personal favorites are the gorgeous albums by Radiohead (A Moon Shaped Pool),  The 1975 (I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It), David Bowie (Blackstar) and Matto Rules (What Comes Around, which I reviewed previously on this blog). A few other highlights were the eagerly anticipated albums from Green Day, Metallica, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest and Bon Iver.

Now I unveil my 100 Best Songs of 2016. These are my favorite songs of the year, and I’m confident everyone seeing this list will disapprove of some of my selections, and that’s fine. Music is very subjective and what sounds good to me may not sound good to someone else, and vice versa. My favorite genres are alternative and hard rock, so my list reflects that. However, I never expected that a Justin Bieber song would end up in my top 40 -lol. There were hundreds of songs that I really liked, so picking only 100 was difficult. Some songs on this list were released in 2015 (and “Walking on a Dream” from Empire of the Sun was released in 2009, but didn’t get airplay in the U.S. until seven years later), but they were “hits” or appeared on my Weekly Top 20 in 2016. A few songs overlapped both 2015 and 2016, and are therefore in my Top 100 for both years. Those songs are marked with an *.

1. STRESSED OUT – twenty øne piløts *
2016 was clearly the year of twenty øne piløts, as the duo saw their fame skyrocket with their enormously successful Emotional Roadshow World Tour and the immense popularity of their magnificent album Blurryface. I think they’re one of the best bands to emerge in many years, with a totally original sound that is like no other act around today. Their song “Tear In My Heart” was my #1 song of 2015, and their follow-up single “Stressed Out” is my #1 song of 2016 – and one of my favorite songs of the past 10 years. It’s a brilliant song about facing the burdens of responsibility of adulthood while longing for the simplicity of one’s childhood: “Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days. When our mama sang us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out.” I also think it’s a particularly appropriate song to top the list, as 2016 was certainly a stressful year on many levels. “Stressed Out” was #8 on my Top 100 for 2015, but it had such staying power that it ends up at #1 for 2016. twenty øne piløts have three songs in my top 10, a feat accomplished by only two other artists: the Beatles in 1964 and Foster the People in 2011.

2. DARK NECESSITIES – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been making music for 30 years, and have had scores of hits. But “Dark Necessities” is their greatest song yet and a masterpiece in my opinion. The complex music and meaningful lyrics show a real maturation of their sound, which is totally appropriate for a band whose members are now in their late 40s to early 50s. Without question one of the best songs of 2016.

3. RIDE – twenty øne piløts
The exhilarating “Ride” was the fourth track from Blurryface released as a single, and is further proof of the high caliber of the songs on the album. Literally every track could be a hit song. The song’s lyrics speak to uncertainties and anxieties over the meaning of life. Tyler Joseph fervently sings “I’ve been thinking too much, help me.

4. MOUNTAIN AT MY GATES – Foals *
Let me just state up front that UK band Foals is awesome and I passionately love their unique sound. “Mountain At My Gates” is a gorgeous anthem about overcoming life’s obstacles. Lead vocalist Yannis Philippakis has an amazing and immediately identifiable singing style that smolders, wails and soars. The powerful song builds to a climactic flourish that gives me chills every time.

5. BURN THE WITCH – Radiohead
The release of Radiohead’s amazing album A Moon Shaped Pool was one of the music highlights of 2016. The brilliant single “Burn the Witch” has dark lyrics, hauntingly sung by Thom Yorke’s beautiful falsetto, and set to a gorgeous arrangement by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and lush strings performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The clever, stop-action animation video, directed by Chris Hopewell, pays homage to the 1973 horror film The Wicker Man.

6. BANG BANG – Green Day
Green Day proved their staying power with the release of their 12th studio album Revolution Radio, 26 years after their first album 39/Smooth in 1990. The album’s hard-driving first single “Bang Bang” stays true to the band’s penchant for topical themes, with lyrics that speak to America’s culture of gun violence and mass shootings in an era of narcissistic social media. The song’s high points are the furious guitar riffs and Tré Cool’s awesome drum solos.

7. ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME – Coldplay *
Coldplay pulled out all the stops with their joyously upbeat “Adventure of a Lifetime.” Jonny Buckland’s gorgeous swirling guitars, Will Champion’s spot-on drums and Chris Martin’s signature soaring vocals make for a truly great song. Guy Berryman’s strong bass gives the feel of a heart beating and the mandolin at song’s end is stunning. The whimsical video has the bandmembers as gorillas cavorting about in the jungle.

8. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals
“Life Itself” is one of the most interesting and musically complex songs on this list and I adore it. Glass Animals employs all kinds of instruments, from harps and tom toms to tambourines, piano and unusual guitar synths to create an exceptionally strong track. Lead singer Dave Bayley’s vocals are hypnotic and mesmerizing, and the lyrics about being a millennial slacker are superb: “I can’t get a job, so I live with my mom. I take her money but not quite enough. I sit in the car, and I listen to static. She said I look fat, but I look fantastic.

9. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts
The brilliant “Heathens” was recorded for the Suicide Squad film soundtrack. The dark song has a haunting arrangement set to a slow hip hop beat. Mournful piano, rough scratching sounds, Tyler Joseph’s monotone vocals, and a mysterious disembodied voice chanting “watch it” contrast with the sweeping orchestration, creating a menacing sense of danger.

10. TROUBLE – Cage the Elephant
Another one of my favorite bands, Cage the Elephant returned at the end of 2015 with their album Tell Me I’m Pretty. Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, the album really shows his strong influence. “Trouble” was the second single to be released (after the uneven “Mess Around”) and it’s absolutely brilliant. The song features beautiful piano, xylophone and guitar instrumentation, accompanied by Matt Shultz’s incredibly beguiling vocals. The song’s video was shot at Joshua Tree National Park, which is near my home and one of the most popular places to make music videos.

11. THE SOUND OF SILENCE – Disturbed
When I first heard Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence” I thought meh. I gave it another listen and thought “well this is actually good.” By my third listen, I was totally blown away by the song’s magnificence. It’s hard to believe anyone could do a respectable cover of this iconic Simon & Garfunkel song, but David Draiman and his band accomplished the feat and then some. Wow, just wow!

12. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart
“All We Ever Knew” is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt songs on my list, which seems quite appropriate given the band’s name. The beautiful melody, instrumentals and vocals belie the bittersweet lyrics about a broken relationship that cannot be fixed.

13. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon came roaring back with their gorgeous anthem “Waste A Moment.” The song features Caleb Followill’s signature soaring vocals and the band’s lusty guitars.

14. SAY MY NAME – (IAM)WARFACE
I was literally blown over the first moment I heard this incredibly powerful hard rock song by the appropriately-named UK band (IAM)WARFACE. It was like being hit by an atomic blast, and I never tired of hearing this gem!

15. ONE DANCE – Drake, Kyla, WizKid
Drake hit the mark with this simple but oh so awesome hip hop dance song. He had assistance by the sultry vocalist Kyla and rapper WizKid. The song spent many weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

16. TRIP SWITCH – Nothing But Thieves
“Trip Switch” by UK band Nothing But Thieves is an incredibly catchy song with outstanding instrumentation. Lead singer Conor Mason’s distinctly seductive vocals are mesmerizing.

17. STARBOY – The Weeknd
“Starboy” is a beautiful, rather mysterious song from the amazingly talented The Weeknd. His slightly falsetto vocals are really captivating in this song.

18. SPIRITS – The Strumbellas
I seem to love gorgeous anthems, because “Spirits” by Canadian band The Strumbellas is certainly that. Everything about this song is perfect – orchestration and arrangement, instrumentals, lyrics and the band’s beautiful harmonizing vocals, led by lead singer Simon Ward.

19. PRETTY PIMPIN – Kurt Vile
I really love this quirky song. Great lyrics and guitar, plus Kurt Vile’s wonderful vocals.

20. WAY DOWN WE GO – Kaleo
This hauntingly beautiful song by Icelandic rock/blues band Kaleo is from their second studio album A/B, and one of the most compelling singles of 2016. The bluesy melody is almost funereal, but in a torch song kind of way, with a strong drumbeat that propels the song forward. The guitars and piano are gorgeous, and JJ Julius Son’s raw, impassioned vocals bring chills.

21. OPHELIA – The Lumineers
22. BORED TO DEATH – Blink-182
23. 7 YEARS – Lukas Graham
24. WHEN WE WERE YOUNG – Adele
25. ALONE – Sun Arcana
26. GENGHIS KHAN – Miike Snow
27. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet
28. 24K MAGIC – Bruno Mars
29. OFF THE GROUND – The Record Company
30. HELLO – Adele *
31. CHEAP THRILLS – Sia featuring Sean Paul
32. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille
33. HYMN FOR THE WEEKEND – Coldplay featuring Beyoncé
34. SEND MY LOVE (To Your New Lover) – Adele
35. WALKING ON A DREAM – Empire of the Sun
36. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE – Phantogram
37. SORRY – Justin Bieber
38. CHANGES – MUTEMATH
39. COLOR – Finish Ticket
40. HAPPY SONG – Bring Me The Horizon
41. SOUNDCHECK – Catfish and the Bottlemen
42. CAKE BY THE OCEAN – DNCE
43. HARDWIRED – Metallica
44. PRAYERS/TRIANGLES – Deftones
45. SOMEBODY ELSE – The 1975
46. BAD DECISIONS – Two Door Cinema Club
47. KISS THIS – The Struts
48. 10,000 EMERALD POOLS – BØRNS
49. UNDER THE INFLUENCE – Elle King
50. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove
51. NIGHTLIGHT – Silversun Pickups
52. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers
53. SURE AND CERTAIN – Jimmy Eat World
54. JUGGERNAUT – Partisan
55. THANK GOD FOR GIRLS – Weezer
56. MESS AROUND – Cage the Elephant
57. SMOOTH SAILIN’ – Leon Bridges
58. I TOOK A PILL IN IBIZA – Mike Posner
59. TONIGHT – Matto Rules
60. FIRE – Barns Courtney
61. DESTRUCTION – Joywave
62. RIVER – Bishop Briggs
63. WOMAN, WOMAN – AWOLNATION
64. LET IT GO – James Bay
65. WAKE UP CALL – Nothing But Thieves
66. LOVE YOURSELF – Justin Bieber
67. SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN – Young the Giant
68. REAPERS – Muse
69. BAD REPUTATION – Adelitas Way
70. MAGNETS – Disclosure featuring Lorde
71. WISH I KNEW YOU – The Revivalists
72. LOVE ME – The 1975
73. DARK OLD HOUSES – Chris Watkins & Drunk Poets
74. CLOSE – Nick Jonas & Tove Lo
75. JUST LIKE FIRE – P!nk
76. CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! – Justin Timberlake
77. VICTORIOUS – Panic! At the Disco
78. DEVIL’S BLEEDING CROWN – Volbeat
79. STARS – Wons Phreely + the Horses
80. THE POP KIDS – The Pet Shop Boys
81. THE SHAKES THAT YOU MAKE – Dyslexic Postcards
82. AWAKE – Acrylic
83. WOW – Beck
84. THE SOUND – The 1975
85. YOUR SATURDAY NIGHT – Bryan Howell & the Standalones
86. BELONG – Shelita Burke
87. OBSOLETE – Agony in the Garden
88. RED SUN – Whale House
89. EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT – Neil and Adam
90. ASKING FOR IT – Shinedown
91. UNSTEADY – X Ambassadors
92. CLOSER – The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
93. DREAM STEALING – Paul Iwan
94. DRUG DEALERS AND DJS – Twintwo
95. HAND CLAP – Fitz & the Tantrums
96. RETURN TO THE MOON – El Vy
97. FIRE AND THE FLOOD – Vance Joy
98. AIN’T NO MAN – The Avett Brothers
99. BRAZIL – Declan McKenna
100. DON’T THREATEN ME WITH A GOOD TIME – Panic! At the Disco

EP Review: XOTIC YEYO – “Down 2 Funk”

xotic-yeyo

I’m back in South Florida to shine my spotlight on Xotic Yeyo, a three-piece band that plays a fun and funky style of psychedelic rock. And let’s face it, you just gotta love a band with a name like “Xotic Yeyo.” Formed little more than a year ago (in October 2015), the band consists of Stu Sauce on guitar and lead vocals, Rod Reiter on bass and backing vocals, and Cody Orange on drums. Their upbeat eclectic sound is influenced by funk greats like Parliament, Curtis Mayfield, Average White Band, Prince, Gil Scott Heron, Phish, Primus and Jamiroquai, among others.

The guys dropped their debut EP Down 2 Funk in November, a collection of three infectious tunes guaranteed to funk you up! The artwork on the EP sleeve is a good indication that not only is the band’s sound pretty hot, they also have a playful attitude. The first track “Trip the Lights” is a six and a half minute long funky jam session. I love Stu’s wobbly distorted guitar solo that continues throughout the song, helped along by Rod’s funky bass and Cody’s light percussion that complements, but never overpowers, the track.

Xotic Yeyo lays it all out about who they are and what they do in the delightfully funky gem “Mothership.” The lyrics are so good I have to include a few stanzas:

First time I ever set foot on the Mothership, jamming hard at the bass was the rapid responder – Ring Cody Orange for a drummer. So funky – swear this brotha’s pandemic. Radioactive to the hips and I hope you all catch it. Cause we got that dancing beat that goes on and on and on. Abducted then we’re gone.”

They call me Stu Sauce. Had vision in my verses – some call the blessings a chorus, some call the verses curses. Why people of the planet want to stay or escape, humans feeling alien to their alien race.

So I sought some lifeforms off of the inner-coastal. Like the vice of Miami, we’re called Xotic Yeyo. Taking over your TV, taking over the radio, taking over your airwaves beyond the international. We funk it up intergalactic, and we want the world to know it. Our style is the freshest, and our fresh ain’t ever frozen. The minute that you’re in it and the moment that your dancin.”

The band’s funky style is in full swing on this track, with Stu’s deft guitar riffs in perfect rhythmic harmony with Rod’s funked-up bass. Stu’s quirky, rapid-fire vocals inject a playful hip-hop energy that makes this a hot, compelling tune. The song’s video shows the band performing the song and cavorting with a few friends, clearly enjoying what they’re doing and proving that these guys are all about having fun and wanting their listeners and fans to have fun too.

“Disco Zombies” is a hook-laden funk fest, with great guitar riffs and jazzy grooves set to a catchy dance beat. There’s no way even the biggest wallflower could hear this song and not want to dance!

To learn more about Xotic Yeyo, check out their website. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase it on their website,  iTunes or other music platforms.

Top 20 Songs for December 25-31, 2016

This is the final Top 20 of 2016, and the first time since May 2015 that twenty øne piløts has not had a song in my Top 20.

1. STARBOY – The Weeknd, Daft Punk (1)
2. 24K MAGIC – Bruno Mars (2)
3. MY NAME IS HUMAN – Highly Suspect (5)
4. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (4)
5. SAY MY NAME – (IAM)WARFACE (3)
6. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (7)
7. SURE AND CERTAIN – Jimmy Eat World (8)
8. BAD DECISIONS – Two Door Cinema Club (10)
9. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (6)
10. BLACK BEATLES – Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane (11)
11. THE SHAKES THAT YOU MAKE – Dyslexic Postcards (13)
12. BELONG – Shelita Burke (14)
13. OBSOLETE – Agony in the Garden (15)
14. DON’T WANNA KNOW – Maroon 5, Kendrick Lamar (16)
15. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (9)
16. CHANGES – MUTEMATH (12)
17. MOVE – Saint Motel (20)
18. STILL BREATHING – Green Day (N)
19. TAKE IT ALL BACK – Judah & the Lion (N)
20. ATLAS, RISE! – Metallica (N)

Artist Spotlight: NEIL BILLINNESS

Neil Billinness is a musician who likes to do things his way. He writes, records and produces his own unique style of electronic music and, preferring a more ‘organic’ sound that’s not too polished, his songs are not mastered. Neil, who lives in Rosyth, England, started writing songs as a teenager, when he was inspired by 80’s artists Howard Jones, OMD, The Human League, Tears For Fears, David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, and even ABBA (all artists I also happen to love). His grandparents bought him his first keyboard, which was the impetus he needed to channel that creative inspiration.

Neil spent some time as a member of the bands Turbo and Ebon Night beginning in high school. He states that while he enjoyed those stints, the songs and styles he wanted to write were not always well-received by other band members, which frustrated his creative energies. For many years while building a career, he put his music on the back burner, but starting around 2011, he took up songwriting again in earnest, seemingly making up for lost time. He set up a home studio and embraced sequencing, sampling and programming, rather than playing everything manually, which has helped him produce music more easily. Still, Neil says he’s “a perfectionist when it comes to recording and writes and records at a pace that would make Kate Bush look prolific.” (Neil also has a wicked sense of humor.)

neil-billinness

Neil established an independent label NeRo Music with his late partner Robert, who he says was a continual inspiration to his songwriting, and an honest critic. Neil’s debut single “Passing Thoughts” was released in January 2016 and, tragically, Robert passed away suddenly the day after the song was released. The song calls to mind the sounds of OMD and New Order, with sharp, chiming synths and a strong pulsating beat. Neil’s vocals have a hazy, otherworldly quality as he sings “So many memories, so many fears. A bunch of photographs from through the years. I’d like to see you once again. So I could show you just how much I’ve changed.

His wonderful follow up single “Discotheque” was a newly recorded version of the song that reached number one on the Unsigned Top Chart in late Dec 2015-early Jan 2016. This incredibly catchy EDM track, about escaping the cares and worries of everyday life and letting loose at the disco, features lush synths set to a hypnotic dance beat that aims straight for the hips. The colorful and stylish psychedelic-looking video was produced by mixing video clips of Neil’s family and friends dancing to the song with live footage of him singing it.

Neil has a strong love for Science Fiction films, which has also greatly influenced his music. Many of his songs fuse mysterious, otherworldly Sci-fi synths with EDM grooves to create really compelling instrumental music. He released some of his new and earlier recorded tracks on a few EP’s, including A New Direction, Just Me, the song Do It All Again, which includes three remixes, and the three-part song Phase Three. A New Direction and Phase Three are the most futuristic-sounding collections of his songs. Their tracks are very Sci-fi, with computerized voices talking over highly synthesized instrumentals. “The Vision” from A New Direction has a great dance beat vibe that reminds me a bit of Madonna’s “Vogue.”

Just Me features four ambient instrumental tracks, one for each season. My favorite is “Autumn” with it’s complex, multi-textured synth arrangement that contrasts between the upbeat sounds of summer’s last gasp and the brooding approach of winter.

Despite the setbacks of Robert’s death and some health issues this year, Neil is working on producing a full album which will contain his two singles along with a number of re-recorded older songs. He hopes to release the album, which will be dedicated to Robert, early in 2017.  Follow Neil on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to his YouTube channel. Stream his music on Soundcloud and Spotify, and purchase on iTunes or  Amazon.

Top 20 Songs for December 18-24, 2016

1. STARBOY – The Weeknd, Daft Punk (3)
2. 24K MAGIC – Bruno Mars (4)
3. SAY MY NAME – (IAM)WARFACE (1)
4. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (2)
5. MY NAME IS HUMAN – Highly Suspect (9)
6. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (6)
7. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (7)
8. SURE AND CERTAIN – Jimmy Eat World (8)
9. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (5)
10. BAD DECISIONS – Two Door Cinema Club (12)
11. BLACK BEATLES – Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane (19)
12. CHANGES – MUTEMATH (10)
13. THE SHAKES THAT YOU MAKE – Dyslexic Postcards (15)
14. BELONG – Shelita Burke (16)
15. OBSOLETE – Agony in the Garden (17)
16. DON’T WANNA KNOW – Maroon 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar (20)
17. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (11)
18. BANG BANG – Green Day (13)
19. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (26th week on list)
20. MOVE – Saint Motel (N)

EP Review: BILLY MOON – “That Which You Can’t Throw Away”

I recently discovered the Canadian singer/songwriter Billy Moon when I was contacted about reviewing his latest EP That Which You Can’t Throw Away, which dropped in September. Billy hails from Hamilton, Ontario, and plays a terrific and thoroughly engaging mix of alternative garage, post-grunge punk rock. As he states in his Facebook bio, “Stop listening to bad music, and listen to ShittyRocknRoll (the name of his pretty respectable 2013 debut EP). After an invitation like that, how can you possibly resist?

Hallmarks of Billy’s infectious music are his honest, straightforward lyrics, fine guitar work and beguiling vocals. His unique sound is influenced by such bands as JEFF the Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet, Makeout Videotape, PS I Love You, Frank Zappa and Surfer Blood. That Which You Can’t Throw Away features five great tunes that address the ups and downs of love and youthful angst, while showcasing his creative songwriting and musicianship. Let’s dig into the songs.

billy-moon

The first track “Butterfly – Boyfriend’s Car” starts things off with Billy singing “I just want to cut the brakes on your boyfriend’s car. Listen to you cry as I hold you in my arms.” The buzzing bass riffs on this track are extremely good, as well as on “Long Drawled Out Story That Goes Nowhere – Sam + Alex” – a song about a couple who can’t decide whether or not they want to be together.

The wonderful track “Different Song (Same Girl)” speaks to the awkward, heart-tugging experience of meeting someone and immediately falling for them, hoping they feel the same about you. The song has a bit of a throwback doo-wop surfer vibe that conjures up images of a romantic summer evening by the beach. Billy’s heartfelt vocals perfectly convey his vulnerability: “Oh would you be so kind, as to tell me I’m fine. /I got a brand new leather jacket, that covers up all the holes in my shirt. Don’t be nasty. Say you like it.” His beautiful falsetto vocals in the chorus are sublime.

My favorite track on the EP is “Roads,” a tasty post-grunge tune with a catchy hook and languid beat. Our ears are treated to more of Billy’s awesome fuzzy guitars and compelling vocals. His falsetto and guitars in the chorus remind me a bit of Tame Impala (whose sound I adore). The lyrics address feelings of wasting time and not getting anywhere as the world passes you by. “Seems all the kids went out to Bangladesh. While I just stay at home and bang my head. Always in motion and always at rest. To sounds of people so alive some day. Somebody tell me what the fuck did I do with all my friends.” The imaginative video shows Billy sitting next to his little camper at night, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer as he sings the song. An animated video plays on an inset in front of the camper, almost like a big flat screen TV.

Ghosts” offers up more exceptional post-grunge sounds and powerful lyrics. “I am armed and I’m defenseless. Blind and naked in the dark. And all we do is try. We thrash around in the dark trying to find room. Trying to find walls. Something to hold on to./I think so much, but I’m not getting any smarter.” The guitar work in the final third of the song is brilliant.

All in all, That Which You Can’t Throw Away is a first-rate EP. Support Billy by following him on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his YouTube channel.  Stream his music on Spotify and Soundcloud, or purchase on Bandcamp .

Featured Song and Video: CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS – “Life As We Know It”

UK band Calling All Astronauts are a London-based three-piece who play complex and dark politically-charged Electronic Goth Post-Punk music.  They’ve established a reputation in the alternative underground not only because of their often provocative lyrics, but also their ability to mix electro, rock, goth, post-punk and dubstep into their amazing music style. Band members include vocalist/songwriter/programmer and producer David B, guitarist JJ Browning, and bassist Paul “Buzz Saw” McCrudden

calling-all-astronauts-copy

In a divergence from their usual darker sound comes their latest single “Life As We Know It.” Taken from their superb highly topical album Anti-Social Network, it’s a really outstanding EDM track featuring gorgeous synths and chiming guitars set to an addictive driving beat. David’s rough monotone vocals contrast with the smooth clear instrumentals, creating a bit of tension that adds to the overall quality of the track. I liked it so much upon my first listen that I had to feature it on this blog.

The terrific video produced for the track features a beautiful young woman dancing to the song in various indoor and outdoor settings, as well as a few other women shown dancing in brief scenes. I promise you’ll end up hitting replay.

To learn more about Calling All Astronauts, check out their website, follow them on  Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Stream their music on Spotify and purchase on iTunesAmazon, Bandcamp or EBay.

Top 20 Songs for December 11-17, 2016

1. SAY MY NAME – (IAM)WARFACE (1)
2. WASTE A MOMENT – Kings of Leon (2)
3. STARBOY – The Weeknd (4)
4. 24K MAGIC – Bruno Mars (5)
5. FEEL INVINCIBLE – Skillet (3)
6. WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE – Grouplove (7)
7. CLEOPATRA – The Lumineers (9)
8. SURE AND CERTAIN – Jimmy Eat World (10)
9. MY NAME IS HUMAN – Highly Suspect (11)
10. CHANGES – MUTEMATH (6)
11. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (8)
12. BAD DECISIONS – Two Door Cinema Club (14)
13. BANG BANG – Green Day (12)
14. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (13)
15. THE SHAKES THAT YOU MAKE – Dyslexic Postcards (17)
16. BELONG – Shelita Burke (18)
17. OBSOLETE – Agony in the Garden (19)
18. STARS – Wons Phreely + the Horses (15)
19. BLACK BEATLES – Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane (N)
20. DON’T WANNA KNOW – Maroon 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar (N)

Featured Song & Video: SHMOO – “pLaStIc SuRgErY”

Shmoo is a UK duo consisting of two brothers – David and Neil Newport – who’ve been making an exciting style of Electronic Dance/House music for some time. They just dropped their marvelous new single “Plastic Surgery,” along with one of the most delightfully entertaining videos I’ve seen in a long while.

shmoo

The guys artfully employ sweeping synth arpeggiators and smooth Moog bass lines to create an otherworldly vibe. Broken beat drops are then added, moving the song forward with a hypnotic driving rhythm guaranteed to set your hips in motion. Their mesmerizing vocals are spliced with the spoken vocoder for the chorus ‘plastic surgery,’ giving the track a bit of an eerie sci-fi feel. This is an awesome song that had me hitting replay.

The fun and clever video tells a story in which Shmoo are recreated as plastic figures who go on an adventure through a fantasy world, where they encounter characters from Star Wars, Transformers, Thunder Cats, He-Man and Zoids. The guys end up at the Star Wars Cantina, where they’re led to a stage and begin performing the song with other characters.

Learn more about Shmoo by following them on  Facebook,  Twitter and  Instagram. Subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream their music on  Soundcloud and  Spotify.  Purchase “Plastic Surgery” and their other music on Bandcamp,  iTunes or other music platforms.