Now this is music #94: PVRIS, Chase & Status and Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Ainslie Wills, Akouo ft. Montaigne

 

Done right, and thankfully so much of it is, music should move you deeply and completely and wholly.

Mind, body and sould should be engaged; you should never hear a song and just go “Oh … that’s nice.” Upbeat songs should move you to dance or turn a dark mood into something a little bouncier. More sombre songs should go into the very marrow of your being, articulating emotions you’re feeling in ways that might defy you at the time.

Whatever the song or genre or mood, it must have some effect on you or it’s just been-there-done-that ear candy of limited value.

These five artists have the ability to craft songs that actually affect you in a real, tangible way; no earworm filler, although the songs are undeniably catchy and listenable, but songs that matter, that evoke, that change you … and make your world a better place, even if only for 3 minutes or so.

 

“Winter” by PVRIS

 

PVRIS (image via official PVRIS Facebook page)

 

Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, PVRIS (Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald) – once known as Paris, they changed their name citing “legal reasons” – are a lush-sounding rock band with a synth-laden edge.

“Winter”, which you might expect to be dour, cold and, well winter-ish, is, in fact, a barnstormer of a song, picking up more and more pace on its full-speed, melodically-rich course.

It’s one of the lead-singles for their sophomore album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, due out 25 August, and it packs quite a punch, musically and lyrically.

It’s very much in the vein of the band’s music to date which is gorgeously epic, cinematic and drenched in what feels, winningly, like every emotion at once; if you got #allthefeels, then PVRIS are your band.

 

 

“This Moment” by Chase & Status and Blossoms

 

Chase & Status (image via official Chase & Status Facebook page)

 

Keep the epic momentum going, with added harmonies, is “This Moment”, an insanely catchy collaboration between English drum & production band Chase & Status, and Mancurian indie pop band Blossoms.

It has grunt, charm and melody and came about, as many great collaborative endeavours do, as Blossoms front man Tom Ogden, who provides vocals on the track, told NME:

“The collaboration came together really quickly and naturally. It was a good buzz to step out of my comfort zone. I believe the kids call such tunes ‘fucking bangers’.”

Bang it most certainly does, a powerful piece of perfect pop that sweeps you up in its non-stop headiness and doesn’t let you go for a second (not that you’ll be complaining).

 

 

“Use Me” by Goo Goo Dolls

 

Goo Goo Dolls (image via official Goo Goo Dolls Facebook page)

 

To be honest, my interest in the Goo Goo Dolls,until recently, came and went with their luminously-affecting song “Iris (City of Angels)” which provided the musical heart-and-soul of the 1998 film City of Angels.

While in many peoples’ minds, including truthfully my own, they were likely marked as One Hit Wonders, but as “Use Me” beautifully demonstrates, the Buffalo-New York formed, multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated band are still producing mightily good music.

In fact, so good is “Use Me” that it will be cycling in and around and through your earworm for days after you first hear it.

It’s giddily upbeat, harmonious as hell – the chorus alone is worth the price of admission – with a bit of ’60s-Roy Orbison-esque thrown in for good measure.

 

 

“Running Second” by Ainslie Wills

 

Ainslie Wills (image via official Ainslie Wills Facebook page)

 

Fresh from wooing the hell out of the UK, festival appearances at the likes of Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival and with her first headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne since 2015 under her belt, Melbournian singer-songwriter, is making waves with “Running Second”.

Anchored by her pure, fresh vocals, enough emotionally-resonance to affect the hearts of anyone lucky enough to hear her songs, and lyrical insightfulness, Wills’s songs are deep, rich and accessible all at once.

“Running Second” is a stunning example of Wills’ craft, delivering up an important message – “The message within it, is dedicated to all of us who feel that for whatever reason, we aren’t good enough.” (source: Triple J Unearthed) – wrapped in sublimely-moving pop that can’t help but move you.

This is pop at its pinnacle and explains why Wills has become increasingly popular, not just in Australia but across the world where people are flocking to listen to real music that means something.

 

 

“Feel That” by Akouo ft Montaigne

 

Akouo (image via official Akouo Facebook page)

 

“Feel That” brings together two brilliant Australian musical talents – producer Akouo (pron. ah-kooh-oh), known for his exuberantly upbeat electronic masterpieces, and the captivatingly-good Montaigne, whose transcendentally-rich voice slips in effortlessly to this immersive piece of pop.

As Purple Sneakers perfectly notes, the song has a lot going for it:

“Montaigne‘s vocals soar benevolently over Akouo‘s masterful, shimmering production, which elegantly pulsates in the background to create a wondrous sound floor. Carefully curated instruments, trumpeting riffs and beating percussion sets a feel for an exotic wilderness, with touches of echoing vocal samples to coagulate the ambience of this soundscape.”

You can well understand why Akouo is attracting so much interest – he pairs the oft-cold bleakness of electronica with a human warmth and analogue brightness that togetherness creates music both winningly ethereal and remote, and intimate and deeply personal.

 

 


NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!

 

PINK, one of my favourite music artists in the world has a new song, “What About Us?”, a new album Beautiful Trauma out 13 October, and her finger right on the zeitgeist as Vulture points out.

Rejoice and be glad with insanely appealing attitude.

 

 

You know what you’ve been missing all this time? The gang from Sesame Street performing a series of ’80s pop hits. Hole in your soul remedied! (source: Laughing Squid)

 

Inside Big Bird: Witness how one of Sesame Street’s most-loved residents comes alive

(image via Pinterest (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

Big Bird is one of Sesame Street‘s most beloved characters, the perfect embodiment of sweet childlike innocence, playfulness and an eagerness to learn.

For much of his time on Sesame Street, he was given life by Caroll Spinney, a charming man who devoted much of his life to his friendly feathered companion and who was responsible for the richness of Big Bird’s characterisation.

This beautiful partnership was captured in the charming documentary I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, from which the following clip has been taken.

It gives us insight into what literally makes Big Bird tick and it will leave with renewed appreciation for the amount of work that went into making this delightful denizen of Sesame Street such a joy for children young and old.

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

Want to join Grover Singing in the Rain? Of course you do!

(image via YouTube (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

Grover is my favourite resident of Sesame Street hands down.

He’s lovable, enthusiastic, a little impatient at times but always ready to give anything a red hot go.

Like taking on Gene Kelly’s iconic role in the evergreen musical Singing in the Rain.

Problem is that while he, and the director understand what rain looks like, everything else on the production team is a little hazy on the concept.

Which leads, as you can well imagine, to some very amusing moments …

 

Are there monkeys in Ernie’s bed? There are and elephants in the sock drawers too #SesameStreet

Ernie and his animal friends (image via YouTube (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

Next to Grover, who is my favourite Sesame Street monster bar none, I have a huge amount of affection for Ernie (especially) and Bert, the two diametrically-opposite housemates who have long amused and delighted with their Abbott and Costello-ish antics.

Now Ernie is starring in a delightful musical number, which riffs beautifully on a running gag where Ernie wakes an exasperated Bert up in the middle of the night, where he recounts an animal-filled dream he had.

Monkeys playing in his bed, an elephant in his sock drawer, and a crocodile under his where the monkeys were having fun? What’s not to like?

Bert naturally wouldn’t be happy about turning their bedroom into a  zoo or farm but hey it was all a dream so what are the odds of that right?

Now let me just go and grab some socks …

 

Sesame Street parodies strike again: Witness the tasty fun of Orange is the New Snack

(image via YouTube (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

Sesame Street is the unquestioned monarch of parody.

From Game of Thrones to Harry Potter, True Blood to Pirates of the Caribbean and many more in-between, the parodies from the unquestioned originator of the gold standard in televisual children’s education have amused and instructed in equal measure, proof that teachable moments can be as silly as they are important.

The latest addition to this stellar line-up is Orange is the New Snack, a homage to the Netflix series which is about to enter its fifth highly-successful season Orange is the New Black, in which the inmates of Litchfield Aacdemy find out that oranges are far yummier and better for you than the usual snacks (Cookie Monster may disagree, of course).

It’s madcap, silly and makes frequent allusions to the show it is parodying and if you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black, or simply of Sesame Street‘s gift for silliness-based learning, you’ll find a lot to love about their latest effort.

Even if you have to watch it from The Shoe!

 

Get Ur Freak On with Missy Elliott and the Teletubbies

(image via Teletubbies wikia)

 

It’s true what they say – you can’t keep a freaky good Teletubby down!

Actually no one likely says that at all, but they should with a brand new mash-up video, by YouTube user Robert Jones, giving the Teletubbies, who ran for 365 episodes in 1997-2001, before being revived for 60 episodes in 2014, a chance to get their freak on Missy Elliott-style.

The song was originally released as part of the soundtrack for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), a compulsively listenable song in a collection of similarly-strong songs. The movie, which I quite enjoyed in a pulpy switch-your-brain-off kind of way, may not have met with critical acclaim, but the soundtrack, which gathered together Missy Elliott, Nine Inch Nails, The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx among many others, was a resounding success.

Now 16 years later, the Teletubbies, who as noted have experienced a pop culture Lazarus moment of their own of late, are giving “Get Ur Freak On” a whole new brightly-coloured lease on life and we are all the better for it.

So you heard them – off you go and well, you know …

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

 

And just so you have a reference point, here’s the non-Teletubbies original clip.

 

Dance your way from A to Z with Disco Grover!

Get on down! (image via YouTube (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

SNAPSHOT
Step aside and let the King show you how it’s done. Grover is the King of ABC Disco and he is going to boogie oogie oogie through all twenty-six letter of the alphabet. Watch him get down!

I have long been a fan of the absolutely impressive, endlessly talented Grover who is rivalled in my Sesame Street affections, only by the engaging twosome of Ernie and Bert.

Suffice to say then that Grover doing pretty much anything enthralls and delights me, meaning of course that were he to hit the disco dancefloor as he does in his clip then I would have of course have to watch.

And sing my ABCs at the top of my disco-loving voice as I boogie with dear old Grover.

 

 

There is something incredibly endearing about Grover who never quite seems to get things completley right but who is nonetheless lauded for giving it a go and being willing to plunge on regardless of the likely, less than graceful consequences.

At least he tries … well until it all, rather sweetly and hilariously, becomes a little too much for him.

Even then he is unfailing polite, lovely and adorably Grover-ish.

Get on down but make sure you don’t tread on Grover OK?

Cookie Monster and the delicious history of cookies #nomnomnom

Eyes on the cookies (image via Mashable (c) Sesame Workshop)

 

SNAPSHOT
Kids try 100 years of cookies with special guest Cookie Monster including mallomars, sugar cookies, nutter butters, macarons, and more. (synopsis via Laughing Squid)

If you wanted to learn everything you could be about the last 100 years of cookies, and why wouldn’t you, then the person to go to would have to be Cookie Monster!

So that’s exactly what Bon Appétit did, handing the floor to Sesame Street’s most ardent lover of small baked items to teach two eager, sugar-loving kids about cookies from every decade of the last 100 years.

It’s every bit as messy and fun as you’d expect, a fun educational reminder to us all that eating cookies is truly only done right when there’s as much on you as in you.

Eat up everyone and remember, it’s history you’re gobbling up!

 

Will being told the minor key way to Sesame Street make you happily sad? It just might

(image courtesy Sesame Workshop)

 

One of the most noticeable and much-loved parts of Sesame Street, which is currently in the midst of its 47th season and now broadcast on HBO, is its extraordinarily upbeat theme song which asks eager boys and girls (and let’s be honest more than a few adults) “Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street?”

It’s bright, shiny, enthusiastic and full of childlike fun, as it should be, since it’s the lead-in that’s meant to instil an air of eager anticipation for the kind of education that Sesame Street has found itself enormously talented at delivering.

And while it’s unlikley that the show will be changing its theme song anytime soon, YouTube user and talented singer/musician YOAG has made a good case for giving the show’s theme song, as part of his Will it sad? series,  a little more melancholy and introspection than it usually possesses.

The results are strangely soothing and not at all depressing, proving that getting to Sesame Street may be just as effective if you slow down a little, stop and smell the roses (that begin with the letter “R”) and meander your way to the home of Grover, Big Bird and Oscar.

Maybe not all the time, but occasionally? I have a feeling even Oscar wouldn’t mind that.

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

 

For comparison, here’s the original theme song in all its cheery glory …

 

There’s a new letter on Sesame Street … or is there?

(image via YouTube (c) Jimmy Kimmel Live!)

 

Let’s face it – you get to a certain point in life and you feel like you’ve seen it all.

The good old “there’s nothing new under the sun”, a phrase drawn from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, that laments the unsurprising monotonous feel of life begins to feel more and more like it’s the defining paradigm of life.

And yes that kind of ennui can affect anyone and anything – even good old Sesame Street.

So Jimmy Kimmel, host of nightly talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, decided to shake things up a bit when he visited the venerable show, unveiling a brand new letter to an understandable sceptical Cookie Monster, Elmo and Grover in the hopes that the 26 rather over-used letters in the existing alphabet could have a break.

Alas, while the new letter, pronounced “yuke” is a daring move, opening all kinds of status quo-unsettling possibilities, it soon becomes obvious, in this highly-amusing piece, that its uses may be a tad limited.

Back to the alphabetical drawing board and the 649th featuring of the letter “T” it is then (which in the hands of the awesome people and muppets at Sesame Street will be just as good as the first) …