US New Wave a Hit Thanks to Future Islands

Recently released The Far Field is proving to be a hit album for United States’ new wave band Future Islands. According to iTunes, it is Top 20 in both the US and UK and Top 10 in Canada! New wave has often done better in Canada than the United States with songs like “Let’s Go” by The Cars and “Rock Lobster” by the B’52s, both American bands, charting much better in the land of the maple leaf. Future Islands’ ability to capture the new wave sound is not just in the instrumentation but the singing style which masters the measured theatrics and pitch down bending techniques used by such acts as Simple Minds (UK), Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (UK), The Cars (US), and The Spoons (Canada). While millennials and boomers may be able to get into this, the Future Islands band is considered a breath of fresh air for Gen X-ers, and it helps too that Blondie’s Debbie Harry is featured on a track. Below is video for track “Ran”.


A Win for Canada’s The Strumbellas

Canada recently held its flagship music awards gala, the JUNOs. Of all the big Canadian names in music recently, The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara, it was folk-pop group The Strumbellas who won the Single of the Year award for hit “Spirits”. The song charted internationally, most notably in a number of European nations. In Canada itself, it was certified platinum. The “Spirits” music video, filled with colourful costumes, has amassed an impressive 40 million views. We embed it below but be forewarned, it is so catchy it just might get stuck in your head. But maybe that’s a good thing.

New Zealand’s Lorde Has the Green Light

Singapore’s Stefanie Sun had a big hit called “Green Light” a while back, but now it’s time for another one. New Zealand’s Lorde uses the title in a song she wrote with Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, and it heralds her upcoming second album, Melodrama. Lorde, whose real name is … are you ready … Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, became an international phenomenon with her song “Royals” in 2013 when she was just 16 years old. New Zealand is not known for its recording artists but has had some success here and there over the years. “How Bizarre” was a big global hit for the country’s OMC in the mid-1990s. Lorde grew up in Auckland’s suburb of Devonport. We have embedded the MV for “Green Light” below.

Katy Perry Doesn’t Like Being Chained to the Rhythm

As far as Twitter followers go, Katy Perry of the United States is the world’s most popular recording artist. After a contemporary Christian album under her birth name Katy Hudson was released in 2001, she hooked up with top producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin to go mainstream. “I Kissed a Girl” launched her to superstardom in 2008, and she has been on a roll ever since.

Katy’s latest single is “Chained to the Rhythm”, co-authored by the aforementioned Max Martin of Sweden and Sia of Australia. It debuted in the Top 10 official charts of the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, most successful in Canada at #3. Katy released the music video today which is done in a 1950s futuristic theme and explores the conformity concept used in science fiction stories like A Wrinkle in Time. The song features a reggae vocal snippet from Bob Marley’s son Skip. The MV, embedded below, surpassed 6 million views in its first day of release.

10 Million Views in a Day for K-Pop’s Twice

Formed during reality TV show Sixteen, 9-member girl group Twice is hot, hot, hot! The K-Pop stars just released debut full-length album Twicecoaster: Lane 2 following a number of extended plays. The LP’s opening track is “Knock Knock”. The music video, out for only 1 day, is already past the 10 million views milestone and received a feature in U.S. Billboard magazine. Interestingly, not all the girls are from South Korea; it is more international. Members Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Jihyo, Dahyun, and Chaeyoung were born in South Korea. Momo and Sana were born in Japan. Mina was born in the U.S. and grew up in Japan. Tzuyu was born on the island of Taiwan. Momo is the main dancer of the group, while Jihyo is the lead singer. “Knock Knock” MV embedded below. Who’s there? Think Twice.

Finland’s Haloo Helsinki! Talks Highway of Madness

It’s time to talk about Finland, the land of Nokia and sauna culture. Forming in 2006, Haloo Helsinki! has become one of the most successful rock bands in the country. In 2013, the group became the first Finnish artist to have four consecutive singles reach number one. The group recently debuted on the charts at #2 with “Hulluuden Highway” which translates roughly to Highway of Madness or Insanity. We have embedded the music video below.

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2017—Year of the Rooster


To celebrate Chinese New Year, we are presenting a few classic Chinese songs and tying them in with a few aspects of Chinese culture. We don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ll just do three. There are thousands of classics. This is just a granule.

Red Bean, Faye Wong

More than 4600 years ago, violent conflicts broke out in northern China. One day, a herder was pressed to go into battle. With great reluctance, he left his wife and children. The wife spent every day looking for the return of her husband. She leaned on a large tree on a high mountain, scanning the horizon for any sign of him. Her husband never returned. Because of her deep love, the woman wept under the big tree. As time passed, her tears turned to blood, and as these tears dropped to the ground they hardened and became red beans. The red beans sprouted and eventually a forest of big trees grew at the site where the wife had expressed her devotion and love. The legend of this love story grew and the people started calling the fruit of this tree love beans. Red beans have a a strong foundation of meaning in Chinese culture. Red beans often come in a heart shape. These love beans are similar in colour to that of blood and can be stored for a very long time without rotting, or fading in colour. Red beans symbolize love and fidelity.

Born in Beijing and relocating to Hong Kong, Wang Fei, or Faye Wong is one of the biggest superstars of all-time. In fact, her song “Hong Dou” or “Red Bean” is considered the third biggest of all time (after Teresa Deng’s “The Moon Represents My Heart” and Jacky Cheung’s “Goodbye Kiss”). Apparently, it stayed at #1 on the karaoke charts for 18 months straight back in the day. It has a subtle melody that may require a few listens before getting into its groove. But once you do, you’ll be hooked for life.

The Common Jasmin Orange, Jay Zhou

The common jasmin orange is a plant with white flowers and vermillion berries. The Chinese term for it is Qi Li Xiang. Taking the characters individually, they mean seven-mile fragrance. The idea is that it is so fragrant, you can smell it from seven miles away. Jay Zhou, from the island of Taiwan, uses it as a metaphor, that the love between a couple is so intense, they can smell its fragrance even if seven miles apart.

Firework, Gigi Leung

Chinese New Year wouldn’t be the same without an array of fireworks. Lots and lots and lots of fireworks. The nation that discovered gunpowder, making and setting off fireworks are the country’s speciality. They say the Inuit have many words for snow and the Arabs for sand. The Chinese have many for the different types of fireworks based on their effects. We have rough English words to describe them as well. Hong Kong’s Gigi Leung composed the song “Hua Huo” which is the type that rains down a shower of sparks. Of course, it is used in the song as a metaphor. One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded in any language.

Chameleon by PNAU

Sydney, Australia electronic dance music duo PNAU lands its first homeland Top 10 hit with “Chameleon”. Around since 1999, Peter and Nick have been mentored by Elton John who was impressed with their music. Nick also serves as one-half of another duo, Empire of the Sun. The music video for the track is a feast for the eyes with a rich presentation of kaleidoscopic colours.

Indonesia’s Sheryl Sheinafia Launches Her 2nd Album!


It’s time to talk about Indonesia, one of the world’s most populated countries with well over a quarter billion people. The people there serve the hottest spicy food in the world. And, yes, the collection of islands makes good music! Sheryl Sheinafia has just released her 2nd album, ii, and it’s the top album at iTunes Indonesia by a homegrown artist. From Jakarta, Sheryl, is the baby among a family of 5 siblings. She has vocals as sweet as honey and makes soft, acoustic pop or adult contemporary. Sheryl is both a songwriter and musician, handling both piano and guitar. She is also an actress. We have embedded the MV for “Kutunggu Kau Putus” which has been out for a while and is the closing track on the new album.

One OK Rock Talks Ambitions


Japan’s One OK Rock is a four-member rock band from Tokyo. The first album from the group appeared in 2007, but it was not until the fourth album in 2010 that superstardom came. The group has released its eighth album, Ambitions. The album is doing very well internationally. It sits in the iTunes Top 10 in both Canada and the United States, and is #1 in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and not surprisingly Japan itself. Track “Take What You Want” features Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer and track “Listen” on the Japan edition of the album features Canadian superstar Avril Lavigne. We have embedded the song below.

Janice Vidal’s Wounds Hit the Top

Janice Vidal is one of the bigger names in Cantopop. The Hong Kong based singer has topped the iTunes chart in the SAR with her fresh 2017 single “Wounded”. Its beautifully shot music video is embedded below. Janice is very special for a couple of reasons. She is of maternal Korean and paternal Filipino ancestry. Janice was born in Hong Kong with her twin sister Jill. She has been active as a recording artist since 2005 and has recorded songs in Cantonese, English, Mandarin, and Japanese.

Blast from the Past: Gary Numan Is Down in the Park


“Come to Zom Zom’s, a place to eat like it was built in one day. You can watch the humans trying to run.” Although radio in the United States and Canada aired only one of his songs (“Cars”) which became a huge international hit with a performance on Saturday Night Live, in his native UK, Gary Numan has scored 24 Top 40 hits, 7 Top Tens, and two number ones. His first came in 1979 thanks to “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” with his band Tubeway Army. It topped the British charts and arguably began the electronic rock or synthpop wave which flourished in the early 1980s. The new sound started by accident as he bumped into a Moog synthesizer in the recording studio and asked for permission to give it a go. Its powerful sounds blew him away, so he tacked synthesizer sounds onto the punk music his band was making. Numan was also inspired by early Ultravox. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” was discovered by influential BBC Radio One DJ John Peel. He gave it a spin, and to use a modern expression, the song went viral.

From there, electronic rock and synthpop acts flourished, especially from the UK: The Human League, OMD, Simple Minds, New Order, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones, and so on. Many modern artists cite Gary Numan as a big influence. He is considered by some as the godfather of electronic rock. He wasn’t the first but was arguably the one who launched its popularity and as such might be credited for “inventing” the 80s music-wise. These days, more into industrial music, Gary is currently working on a new album. Below we have embedded a high-resolution video from a concert in Hammersmith, London in 1980. This is “Down In the Park” from album Replicas. The amazing performance was way ahead of its time with spectacular colourful light panels, dry ice, and a joystick-controlled mini automobile. In a recent interview at Moog Fest in the United States, Numan responded to the compliment that his performance was brilliantly intense by saying that he was actually afraid he wouldn’t see the edge of the stage from all the dry ice and fall off.

Ed Sheeran Captures Top 2 Spots at Anglo iTunes


From the market town of Framlingham, England, champion of musical minimalism Ed Sheeran has released two new ditties—”Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”. They are currently #1 and #2 respectively at iTunes UK, Canada, Australia, and US. The copper top, muppet man has been releasing albums titled after the symbols of the elementary, mathematical operations of arithmetic. There are only 4 of them (+, -, x, ÷) so we’re not sure what he’ll do for his fifth album. His first album was + and second x. The new singles herald his upcoming 2017 album, ÷. Good luck making the symbol with your computer keyboard (hint: alt+0247).

The Most Popular Australian Song of 2016?

The land down under seems to have a fondness for bands that promote tar sucking behaviour. The top song in Australia for 2016 was “Closer” by American duo The Chainsmokers. The top Australian song, at 4th of the year on the ARIA chart, was “Never Be Like You” by Flume of Sydney which features Canadian singer Kai. The song has been nominated for a U.S. Grammy award. Have a listen to the song below.

The Most Popular Japanese Song of 2016?

Girl power is on full throttle in the world’s second largest music market, Japan. Girl group AKB48 completely slayed the country’s charts in 2016. On the year-end Billboard Japan chart, four of the Top 10 songs were from the group, including #1. And that chart topper was “Tsubasa wa Iranai” meaning no wings are needed. According to Oricon, it sold one and a half million copies. View the MV below.