Songs, songs and more songs: #44: Sumner, Kinder, Peach Tree Rascals, Cat & Calmell, CamelPhat + #Eurovision update

It’s been a tough year and while vaccinations are in the offing around the world, we’re a long way from being out of the pandemic woods just yet.

So, it’s good that there are five songs by five supremely talented artists who talk about life, love and the human experience in songs that are lyrically substantial and exuberantly melodic into the bargain.

These songs are just the tonic in a world that seems to have forgotten a little , and understandably so, how wonderful life can be, especially if it has music this good to soundtrack it.

Put down the gloom for a moment, put up your headphones and remember how gloriously uplifting life can be …

“Stranded” by Sumner

Sumner (image via YouTube (c) Sumner)

Described as a duo that explores “themes of power, intimacy and isolation from their cold-climate doorstep”, Chloe and Jack from Tasmania have delivered a gorgeous piece of upbeat pop in “Stranded”.

Redolent with fervent, evocative emotions and a soaring melody that is both uplifting and melancholic at once, the song was co-written and produced by Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes (PNAU, Empire of the Sun) to whose label, Lab78, they have been signed.

The song is the first of many with the genesis of its beat coming about in a sudden burst of inspiration on Jack’s part that reflects the sensation of “chasing the bittersweet feeling in between melancholy and hope” and its lyrics coming about this way, explains Chloe.

“Lyrically, Stranded is a letter to a former self – acknowledging that without that previous person you once were, you would never have arrived at your current form. It’s easy to shy away from a former version of yourself that you’re not so proud of, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that existence and what it taught and prepared you for. Accept what was and carry yourself forward. See the beauty in all versions of yourself instead of abandoning the ones that no longer serve you.” (all quotes via YouTube)

The beauty of the song is augmented by the clip which was films in the stunning surrounds of the wild West Coast and Central Highlands of lutruwita / Tasmania which adds even more to an already complete and rewardingly listenable song.

“Come Along” (feat. A.GIRL) by Kinder

Kinder (image courtesy official Kinder Facebook page)

Dispense with any ideas of siblings always been rancorous combinations because electronic duo, made of Savannah and Briony Osei, have come up with a catchy piece of joing music making in “Come Along”.

The latest song from a duo well known on the Sydney electronic music scene, the song is a collaboration with Sydney-based hip hip artist A.GIRL and is an exuberant upbeat joy to listen to.

The epically rhythmic dance track also reflects the Maitland, NSW-based sisters’ Ghananian heritage as Pile Rats explains:

“It’s without a doubt one of the funnest songs of the year – a sure-win soundtrack to the summer of seltzer approaching – but there’s a deeper connection too, which plays a part in the single’s official video clip being unveiled today. It’s a connection to their culture and family in Ghana, sharing their story through recollections of the past infused with high-energy club music, sampling the world around them and intertwining melodies from their homes both in Sydney and Ghana.”

“OOZ” by Peach Tree Rascals

Peach Tree Rascals (image courtesy official Peach Tree Rascals Facebook page)

Ever hear a song and feel like it’s a shot of happy Summer joy joy bouncy fun loveliness right into your beleaguered veins?

That is EXACTLY how the sublimely wonderful “OOZ” from “LA-based multi-genre, multimedia collective” (Line of Best Fit) Peach Tree Rascals sounds, a track so gorgeously alive and languorously vibrant that the online music magazine saw fit, quite rightly, to describe it this way:

“Playfully meandering between alt-pop melodies and West Coast hip-hop beats, the track pulls bouncy drumbeats and riffs from rock and funk influences. The accompanying video echoes this vibrance with its psychedelic Magic School Bus vibes.”

Lifted from their debut EP Camp Nowhere, “OOZ” is presentative of an album that the group’s rapper and singer Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq, says come with a lot of pondering and creativity woven into it.

Camp Nowhere came from the idea that a lot of people have been using the isolation of quarantine and the state of the world to dig deeper into themselves and figure out what’s important to them.” (Line of Best Fit)

“dramatic” by Cat & Calmell

Cat & Calmell (image courtesy official Cat & Calmell Facebook page)

How do you follow up a debut single with the dramatically scornful title of “Dumbshit”?

With a track appropriately titled “Dramatic”, which the early twenty-something Sydney pop duo, who met in an after-school program for developing artists, have suitably invested with a big epic melody and the kind of BIG subject matter that a song like this is calling out for.

“‘Dramatic’ is one of our favourites! We wrote this song as a way to express our frustration at the people in power and their complacency with the state of the world, it’s a cry of frustration from our generation to theirs and we hope it resonates and you think it’s a good jam!” (EMI Music)

The song ticks all the boxes and then some proof that this up-and-coming duo have what it takes to really make a continuing impression for years to come.

“Easier” (feat. LOWES) by CamelPhat

CamelPhat (image courtesy official CamelPhat Facebook page)

Dialing things down a beat, “Easier” by British DJ Duo, CamelPhat, with some resonantly collaborative vocals by the singer from UK alt=pop band LOWES, starts seductively and slowly before ramping things up to the point where you feel your souls soar, your heart leap and your feet begin dancing of their own happy accord.

Underpinned by magnificently beautiful melody, “Easier” is one of those pop gems that inhabits the dark and light of human existence with exuberant poise and maximum emotional impact and a clip that captures all the effervescent escape of dancing in a club, something that has proved elusive thanks to COVID-19 but found voice in the transcendentally evocative visuals, as director Tom Haines explains on EDMIdentity.

“There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing all that energy and potential we collectively enjoy is hanging in the balance, mothballed while it waits to be reanimated. That’s what I wanted to conjure with the video for Easier, the idea that it’s just within reach, that the rich history of clubbing and dance music and all that brings with it is in the ether. I hope that it’s by parts joyous, ecstatic, and also emotional as a video. Shooting it was just a dream, having been holed up at home so much, to then be in a club environment with a creative team was truly amazing, and hearing the song blasting on a proper system, watching Dominant our dancer do their thing, genuinely gave me goosebumps.”

Goosebumps are indeed the order of the day with “Easier”, a song so fantastically alive and blissfully possible in a time when the world feels starved of such things.

EUROVISION 2021 UPDATE!

Firstly, and most importantly we have lots of new fabulous songs to talk about – and artists old (selected for last year’s contest which never took place but back for a second go this year) and new for 2021 – from the likes of last year’s darlings Iceland, Latvia, Moldova, Australia (filmed at this year’s COVID-friendly Mardi Gras parade in Sydney), Switzerland and lots more …

In much sadder news, Armenia has withdrawn from the contest citing the following reason:

“After careful and detailed discussions, the Public Television Company of Armenia has decided to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, considering the latest events, the shortness of production time as well as other objective reasons that make the proper participation of Armenia at ESC 2021 impossible.” (Eurovision.tv)

Armenia’s withdrawal leaves 40 countries in Eurovision 2021 which includes Belarus who have been asked to withdraw their song from band Galasy Zmesta which, according to The Guardian, “appears to mock protesters who have taken to the streets against the dictator Alexander Lukashenko.”

Again from The Guardian

“Butakov described the Russian-language song as satirical and said it did not address the protest movement openly. But the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs the competition, said there was a political undertone to lyrics such as ‘I’ll teach you to walk on a string / You will be happy and glad about everything … I will teach you toe the line’.

“In a statement, the EBU said it had ‘carefully scrutinised’ the entry to ensure it complied with the rules of the rules of the competition, which bans political statements. ‘It was concluded that the song puts the non-political nature of the contest into question.’

“The EBU said Belarus would have to rewrite the song, find another entry, or face disqualification.”

If you think this means Belarus will simply take its bat and ball and go home, think again; it appears that Lukashenko may agree to comply with the Eurovision edict though he is, in keeping with the authoritarian leaders handbook, accusing the contest being yet another force besieging his country (despite the fact that the fact that the rules against political material are long-standing and quite explicit.

And finally, Måneskin will represent Italy at Eurovision 2021, having won the contest the 71st Festival di Sanremo that selects the country’s representative.

For more on the Italian entry, go to Eurovision.tv

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