Top 30 Songs for April 18-24, 2021

  1. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (3)
  2. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (1)
  3. SLEEP – The Frontier (4)
  4. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (5)
  5. FIRE – Two Feet (2)
  6. MY BEST FRIEND’S EX – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (8)
  7. LET DOWN – Michigander (6)
  8. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (10)
  9. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (11)
  10. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (12)
  11. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (13)
  12. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (14)
  13. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (7)
  14. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (9) 20th week on list
  15. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (17)
  16. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (22)
  17. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (18)
  18. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (19)
  19. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (21)
  20. METRONOME – Polarizer (23)
  21. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (24)
  22. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (25)
  23. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (26)
  24. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (27)
  25. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (28)
  26. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (29)
  27. SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (N)
  28. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (20)
  29. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (30)
  30. SOFIA – Clairo (16)

Top 30 Songs for April 11-17, 2021

  1. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (2)
  2. FIRE – Two Feet (1)
  3. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (9)
  4. SLEEP – The Frontier (6)
  5. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (7)
  6. LET DOWN – Michigander (8)
  7. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (3)
  8. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (11)
  9. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (4)
  10. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
  11. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (13)
  12. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (14)
  13. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  14. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (17)
  15. 1ST TIME – Bakar (5)
  16. SOFIA – Clairo (10)
  17. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (18)
  18. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (19)
  19. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (20)
  20. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (16)
  21. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (21)
  22. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (22)
  23. METRONOME – Polarizer (23)
  24. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (24)
  25. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (27)
  26. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (28)
  27. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (29)
  28. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (30)
  29. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (N)
  30. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (N)

Top 30 Songs for April 4-10, 2021

  1. FIRE – Two Feet (1) 4th week at #1
  2. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (5)
  3. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (4)
  4. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (2)
  5. 1ST TIME – Bakar (3)
  6. SLEEP – The Frontier (8)
  7. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (9)
  8. LET DOWN – Michigander (10)
  9. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, SilkSonic (17)
  10. SOFIA – Clairo (6)
  11. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (11)
  12. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
  13. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (13)
  14. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (14)
  15. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  16. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (7)
  17. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (19)
  18. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (20)
  19. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (21)
  20. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (22)
  21. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (23)
  22. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (24)
  23. METRONOME – Polarizer (26)
  24. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (27)
  25. DIRTY – grandson (16) 20th week on list
  26. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (18) 20th week on list
  27. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (N)
  28. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (N)
  29. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (N)
  30. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (N)

Krosst Out featuring Melotika – Single Review: “Runaway”

I’ve been following Canadian artists Krosst Out and Melotika for more than four years, and it’s been gratifying to watch them grow both artistically and professionally. Krosst Out is the musical alter-ego of singer-songwriter and rapper Aaron Siebenga,, who grew up in a small town not far from Toronto, and melds hip hop with grunge, alt-rock and punk to create his own unique contemporary sound. Melotika is the alter-ego of Mel Yelle, a Montreal-born sultry-voiced singer-songwriter who makes intriguing electro-pop.

The hard-working and creative duo met in Toronto, but are now living in Montreal. They’re both successful artists in their own right, as well as a delightfully charming and hilarious couple I’ve grown quite fond of over the years, and have featured them both numerous times on this blog. Last October, I reviewed Krosst Out’s debut album Phone Calls With Ghosts, a deeply personal work addressing youthful mistakes, broken relationships, and the reality that nothing will ever again be what it once was. (You can read that review here.) And just last month, I chose Melotika’s latest single “Beautiful Disguise” as my New Song of the Week, which you can read about here

Now the two are back with a hot new collaborative single “Runaway“. The song was recorded at Phase One studio in Toronto under the guidance of long-time collaborators Jor’Del Downz and Sean Savage. Drums were played by Spencer “Taabu” Heaslip, who also mixed and mastered the track. With “Runaway”, Krosst Out and Melotika wanted to create a dynamic, punk influenced hip hop ballad reminiscent of the late 1970’s London punk scene. Krosst Out explains “I’ve been calling it 1977 punk meets rap, or Sid and Nancy meet hip hop. I wrote this at the same time I was writing my album Phone Calls With Ghosts, [but] in the end, I just felt like this song deserved to be a stand alone track. ‘Runaway’’s message is one that all can relate to, especially during these times; it’s one of escapism, running away from a place you no longer want to be in. There’s times where we do just need to pick up and run away from everything. If you find yourself in a place you don’t want to be in, pick yourself and run away from that spot, put yourself someplace better. It’s meant to be this cross between both happy and melancholy. The beat was an anthem type feel that gets you amped up, but my chanting of ‘I don’t want to be here’ gives you the feeling of hopping on the next train to anywhere, running away.”  

The song opens with a flurry of spritely skittering synths, then expands with a layer of brooding synths as Melotika croons her lyrics followed by Krosst Out, who raps his lines as a deep trip hop beat kicks in. Soon the melody ramps up into a frantic punk beat at they both shout “I wanna run away, I gotta run away, I’m gonna run away!” This back and forth continues throughout the song, providing alternating moments of frenzied tension with calmer interludes of introspection that convey a cool sense of self-awareness and humor. 

The two have made a crazy-fun video that nicely showcases their strong charisma and zany playfulness.

Connect with Krosst Out:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp 

Top 30 Songs for March 28-April 3, 2021

  1. FIRE – Two Feet (1) 3rd week at #1
  2. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (3)
  3. 1ST TIME – Bakar (2)
  4. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (5)
  5. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (6)
  6. SOFIA – Clairo (7)
  7. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (4)
  8. SLEEP – The Frontier (9)
  9. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (10)
  10. LET DOWN – Michigander (12)
  11. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (11)
  12. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (14)
  13. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (15)
  14. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (16)
  15. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (17)
  16. DIRTY – grandson (8)
  17. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (28)
  18. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (13)
  19. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (22)
  20. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (23)
  21. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (24)
  22. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (25)
  23. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (26)
  24. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (27)
  25. SHAME – Saboteurs (18)
  26. METRONOME – Polarizer (29)
  27. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (30)
  28. COLD – Chris Stapleton (19)
  29. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (20)
  30. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (21)

Top 30 Songs for March 21-27, 2021

  1. FIRE – Two Feet (1)
  2. 1ST TIME – Bakar (3)
  3. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (4)
  4. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (2)
  5. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (6)
  6. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (7)
  7. SOFIA – Clairo (9)
  8. DIRTY – grandson (5)
  9. SLEEP – The Frontier (10)
  10. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (11)
  11. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (12)
  12. LET DOWN – Michigander (13)
  13. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (8)
  14. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (18)
  15. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (19)
  16. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (20)
  17. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (21)
  18. SHAME – Saboteurs (17)
  19. COLD – Chris Stapleton (14)
  20. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (15)
  21. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (16)
  22. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (24)
  23. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (25)
  24. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (26)
  25. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (27)
  26. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (29)
  27. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (30)
  28. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (N)
  29. METRONOME – Polarizer (N)
  30. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (N)

Top 30 Songs for March 14-20, 2021

  1. FIRE – Two Feet (6)
  2. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (1)
  3. 1ST TIME – Bakar (5)
  4. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (4)
  5. DIRTY – grandson (2)
  6. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (7)
  7. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (8)
  8. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (3)
  9. SOFIA – Clairo (11)
  10. SLEEP – The Frontier (13)
  11. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (14)
  12. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (15)
  13. LET DOWN – Michigander (16)
  14. COLD – Chris Stapleton (9)
  15. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (10)
  16. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (12)
  17. SHAME – Saboteurs (18)
  18. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (19)
  19. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (20)
  20. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (22)
  21. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (23)
  22. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (17) 20th week on list
  23. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (21)
  24. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (27)
  25. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (28)
  26. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (29)
  27. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (30)
  28. GOOD DAYS – SZA (26)
  29. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (N)
  30. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (N)

Top 30 Songs for March 7-13, 2021

  1. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (1)
  2. DIRTY – grandson (3)
  3. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (2)
  4. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (6)
  5. 1ST TIME – Bakar (7)
  6. FIRE – Two Feet (11)
  7. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (8)
  8. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (9)
  9. COLD – Chris Stapleton (4)
  10. THE ADULTS ARE TALKING – The Strokes (10)
  11. SOFIA – Clairo (12)
  12. THEREFORE I AM – Billie Eilish (5)
  13. SLEEP – The Frontier (15)
  14. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (16)
  15. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (19)
  16. LET DOWN – Michigander (20)
  17. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (14)
  18. SHAME – Saboteurs (21)
  19. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (22)
  20. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (23)
  21. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (18)
  22. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (25)
  23. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (26)
  24. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (13)
  25. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (17) 21st week on list
  26. GOOD DAYS – SZA (24)
  27. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (30)
  28. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (N)
  29. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (N)
  30. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (N)

New Song of the Week – MELOTIKA: “Beautiful Disguise”

I follow thousands of indie artists from around the world, and have featured several hundred of them on this blog over the past five and a half years. One that I’m particularly fond of is Canadian artist Melotika, the alter-ego of singer-songwriter Mel Yelle. The hard-working, charismatic and personable artist began her music career in Toronto, releasing her first music in early 2018, but moved back to her home town of Montreal last summer. Her distinctive, sultry vocal styling, exotic beauty, and strong sense of individuality and determination coupled with an endearing vulnerability, set her apart from a lot of other female artists. Her honest and relatable lyrics touch on the universal subjects of relationships and love, as well as timely issues such as the minefield of social media and how pressures to conform can affect our emotional well-being.

I’ve featured Melotika’s music on this blog several times over the past three years, when I reviewed her singles “Unaware Part II [Blindside]”, “Bittersweet Reality“ and Bury the Bones, a dark, haunting song about a woman who’s a psychopathic killer. And just last month, I featured a collaborative single “Eternal Eclipse” that she recorded with German electronic music producer Lazer Squad as one of four fresh new tracks.  Now, the prolific artist returns with her latest single “Beautiful Disguise“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. Released on February 12th, it’s the lead single from her forthcoming album Dancing Without You, due for release this coming fall. She wrote the lyrics, and the music was composed by her frequent collaborator Sean Savage, who also mixed and mastered the track.

A concept album, Dancing Without You will be a collection of songs that Melotika states are “sort of like a personal diary exposing super vulnerable moments of my life, through alternative electro pop dance music. If I were a teenager, this would have been the perfect pop album to listen to.” Especially fond of artists like Blondie, Eurythmics, Madonna and Depeche Mode, she wanted to capture the essence of their 80s dance-pop/new wave sound for “Beautiful Disguise”, and I think she and Sean succeed quite nicely. The mesmerizing song features a lush palette of shimmery, almost haunting synths and bold hand claps layered over a hypnotic dance beat. Melotika’s rich, sultry vocals were run through tape, providing a captivating vintage texture that’s quite appealing.

“Beautiful Disguise” is based on a song Melotika first wrote in her late teens. She shared some details about it on her Facebook page: “The original song was called ‘Misery’ then switched to ‘Victim’ for some time. The song was a generic angsty break-up type song. Last year when I looked back at it, I decided to reinvent the song and add some more fictional story telling. I thought that a typical break up song would be cliché and over done, so I created a tale about a beautiful forbidden lover, and breaking free from the toxic situation. The lyric ‘The devil inside of me is the devil inside of you when you got nowhere else to go’ refers to the concept ‘misery loves company’. Do we fall in love with bad people or are we obsessed and fall in love with the drama?

Connect with Melotika on  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple MusicSoundcloud
Purchase on iTunesBandcamp 

Fresh New Tracks Vol. III

For my latest installment of recent releases, I’m featuring four scintillating new singles by international artists (in alphabetical order) Favourite Daughter, Lazer Squad featuring Melotika, NAYAD and Alex Southey. Three of them – Favourite Daughter, Melotika and Alex Southey – are Canadian, Lazer Squad is German and NAYAD are Swedish.

“Long Distance” by Favourite Daughter

Favourite Daughter is the music project of Toronto-born and now Montreal-based singer-songwriter Julia Kennific, who’s just released her terrific debut single “Long Distance“. Drawing inspiration from such artists as Courtney Barnett, Hayley Williams and Julien Baker, she creates her own unique brand of infectious indie pop/rock through catchy melodies, honest, vulnerable lyrics and emphatic vocals. Julia wrote and sang vocals on the song, with assistance by Sam Eastman on guitars, Sam Donald on bass, Kate Markle on synths, Edward Scrimger on drums and Gabrièle Côté-LeBreux on percussion. The track was produced, recorded and mixed by Steven Gibb at Lites Down Studio, and mastered by Richard Addison at Studio Trillium Sound.

Julia elaborates on her impetus for writing the song: “I wrote ‘Long Distance‘ on an unplugged, rented electric guitar during a blackout on a night off from an opera gig I was doing in Halifax in the summer of 2019, in tears after a frustrating phone call with my then-girlfriend. We were spending a four month stretch away from each other while I travelled for work. Neither of us were communicating well, and our daily check ins became monotonous. Both of us kept up the charade that we were good, while allowing fear and resentment to build up, which ended up costing us the relationship entirely. It’s about trying to keep up appearances that everything’s fine, while running from the inevitable.

The rousing song features lively rhythms and chugging guitars, creating a cheerfully upbeat but anxious vibe that builds as the song progresses. It all works beautifully to convey feelings of running away from one’s problems, yet knowing you’ll have to face up to them sooner or later: “So it’ll feel like I’m dying till it doesn’t anymore / I’ll rebuild again, Lord knows that I’ve done it before.

Follow Favourite Daughter:  FacebookInstagram

“Eternal Eclipse” by Lazer Squad featuring Melotika

Lazer Squad is a versatile and talented electronic artist and producer from Germany who creates EDM, Synthwave and Nu-Disco music. He began his music career over 15 years ago as a drummer for a punk and metal band, as well as playing and touring with numerous bands as a backup musician, eventually transitioning to electronic music. In 2020, he wowed critics and fans alike with his excellent debut album Undead Nightmare, which he then followed with a series of singles. His latest effort is “Eternal Eclipse“, a mesmerizing EDM track featuring sultry vocals by Montreal-based singer-songwriter Melotika, a hard-working and charming electro pop artist for whom I have a special fondness. She’s released quite a lot of music over the past three years, and I’ve had the pleasure of featuring some of it on this blog. She will soon be dropping her debut album Dancing Without You.

“Eternal Eclipse” serves up an infectious EDM groove that aims straight for the hips, giving us three and a half minutes worth of joyous escapism. The timely lyrics describe what it feels like to be stranded in the middle of a global crisis with a loved one: “Everybody’s trippin’ out / Taken back, shaken up / Nobody even knows my name / Thinking about tearing down, and I’m singing a song. Singing alone. What can I do without you?” Have a listen and prepare to move those hips!

Follow Lazer Squad:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Follow Melotika:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

“Holy Lakes (Dusk)” by NAYAD

Stockholm-based duo NAYAD create dreamy psych lofi pop, which they humorously describe as “Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey and ABBA had an orgy and the result is us” – a pretty spot-on characterization of their gorgeous sound. Last summer, they burst onto the Swedish music scene with their breakout Swedish-language single “Ingen vet”, then followed up with the English-language “Don’t be mad if I don’t come along”, gaining airplay on Swedish National Radio and other radio stations. In November, they dropped their third single “Holy Lakes (Dusk)” a stunning track celebrating their love of nature. Although the single is now more than two months old, I’m featuring it now because they just released a beautiful video for the song.

The song is utterly captivating, with achingly beautiful piano keys, accompanied by stirring atmospheric synths creating an enchanting soundscape for their sublime vocal harmonies. About the fascinating video, they provide a bit of enlightenment: “NAYAD loves mother earth. We immediately had a clear picture that the video for ‘Holy Lakes (Dusk)’ would be a journey through lakes and mountains, because that is the theme of the song. We used an introductory film to national parks around North America and cut it together with other goodies we have collected over the years.” Much of the imagery they used includes old footage of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks.

Follow NAYAD:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

“Rosie” by Alex Southey

Alex Southey is an indie folk singer-songwriter and musician currently based in Toronto. He’s released quite a lot of music over the past few years, including two albums: Christmastown in 2019 and last year’s You’re Not Just a Body to Me. Since that release, he’s dropped three singles in advance of his forthcoming third album …And the Country Stirred, due for release on February 5th. The latest of these three singles is “Rosie“, a hauntingly beautiful and deeply personal love song to his erstwhile hometown of Vancouver. Alex sang and played guitar, piano and the soaring string arrangements, Kenny Feinstein played fiddle, and Tommy Drinkard played pedal steel and mandolin. The track was produced and mixed by JUNO Award winner John Critchley and mastered by Aaron Hutchison.

About the song’s title, Alex elaborates: “Who is ‘Rosie’? I had been wanting to write about a place, but knew that I’d have to personify it. I was trying, failing, at growing rosemary naturally on my balcony and I began to find the word alluring. I fused it with this personification concept and it became the name of the person when in reality, the song is a love letter to Vancouver where I was born. I feel a sort of mysterious attraction to Vancouver. The city sells itself well, but has its pitfalls: rain all the time, darkness, basements, high price of living – it can all seep into you. For a long time, I was giving something to it and it didn’t give me anything back.” In his sublime and plaintive vocal style, he croons of his mixed emotions: “Rosemary, I can stay away / You say it well, then you take it away / Got no problem, follow up / You’re the one I say I’m from.

Follow Alex Southey:  FacebookTwitterInstagram