Heyrocco – Melt

A week today, I’ll be heading down to one of my favourite Leicester venues, The Cookie, to watch a band that I really cannot make my mind up about.

Heyrocco came to my attention by virtue of a press release that promised the earth. Here’s a band that are “in pursuit of becoming the biggest and loudest rock band of their generation.” It’s probably mandatory for any band trying to launch careers but it’s refreshing to know that Heyrocco have a “compelling image and an onstage persona that’s in-your-face rock and roll.” Just in case there’s any doubt (there is), it’s of great relief to know that this is a band already endorsed by Kerrang! and Huw Stephens of Radio 1. Sounding like the first Foo Fighters album, this is “perfect rock with massive hooks and sign along choruses“. (The press release suggests sign along choruses – I’m not sure what that might be!!!)

When confronted with such hyperbole, my typical response is to press delete but something had grabbed my attention. I had five minutes to spare and I thought I’d at least have a listen to their single, ‘Melt’. First impressions are that it’s undeniably derivative.

But then I’m drawn to the words of ‘Melt’… Hang on, is this what I think it’s about? Suddenly, it becomes clear that this is a song about premature ejaculation. These cool, rock and roll kids with a ‘compelling image’ and ‘sign along choruses’ are singing a song about a very intimate vulnerability. I had Heyrocco down as brash and slightly arrogant Americans but here they are revealing something completely different.

I’m still not sure that they’ll be entirely my cup of tea. I might be blown away.

But (and I’m sorry for the use of a rather obvious pun here) next Monday cannot come soon enough…..





Joe Sundell – The Hat Thief

A word of advice from Sonic Breakfast this morning for all hat wearers – Should you ever be at a party with Joe Sundell you might want to keep an eye on your hat. Better still, keep it on your head unless you want to be walking home, bleary eyed and smelling of last nights excesses, with your pate exposed to the elements.

Joe has a mighty fine new album out (you can find it at his website), titled ‘The Hat Thief’ and I thought I’d ask him why he called it that:-

“I had a show in Kansas City at a place called Davey’s Uptown Ramber Club. It was one of these nights where there are like five bands on the bill and no one knows each other, but this one actually turned out pretty well, fans crossed over and got into the the bands they hadn’t necessarily come to see, and I hit it off with a couple of the other groups and we decided to all go hang out at the house of one of the local groups (I guess I won’t name names here). You know what happens next, lotsa drinking, music making, and all that good stuff and everybody wound up crashing in various uncomfortable places like the floor. Well the next morning I woke up super early, everybody was still asleep and as I was taking off I saw this hat lying around. I had lost my hat the night before (I always wear a hat) and I thoughtlessly picked up this hat and wore it out. Didn’t hear anything about it until I was going back to play at the same club in Kansas City some months later and started to get the word out, and that’s when I discovered that KC was “abuzz” (in the words of one of my friends there) with the news that I had stolen a certain drummers hat. He was not happy about it as I guess I would’ve expected if I had thought about it. I gave the hat back and things worked out, sort of, although those guys aren’t too fond of me, again as I guess you would expect since I stole something that belonged to one of them.

Now as I was putting out the album and thinking about a title, I thought about what the album represented to me. For me, it’s all about this character who’s struggling to find his way in the world and who at times doesn’t even think the world is worth saving. He’s had bad luck with love, he’s down on his luck, but he’s still hoping for that chance at redemption. It’s sort of like my ultimate starving miserable misunderstood artist album. Not without worth, but I had to recognize at some point that in real life, being that character wasn’t really working for me. It may have been who I was at the time, but I just can’t go through life that way. So finishing the album and reflecting on all that, naming it “The Hat Thief” was a way for me to encapsulate that notion that it was time to move on. I guess the incident with stealing the hat was also sort of representative of that person who just doesn’t give a shit about making a good life for himself, so it made sense in that way as well.”

And so it seems that Joe is now a reformed hat thief. He’s also another of these hard working, incredibly talented musicians that we’re often featuring on Sonic Breakfast. I’ve been listening to ‘The Hat Thief’ a fair bit since Joe appeared on my radar. It’s an album that’s firmly rooted in Americana but one that draws influence from the array of genres within; we get out and out country, a jazzy swing thing, a bit of blues and some rock n’roll as the album twists and turns.

That character who’s down on his luck is clearly identifiable within the album but he’s not so morose that it makes for an uncomfortable listen. There’s a definite strand of quirky, positive humour and hope running through. ‘Mr Z’ and ‘All My Life’ are the opening and closing tracks. They’re pretty representative of the journey the album takes you on.


Roxanne De Bastion – Seeing You

Roxanne De Bastion writes a beautiful blog when she’s touring. She tends to travel by public transport and so you get tales of train travel and blogs from buses. She’ll walk to venues with her luggage and musical gear weighing her down. But, the observations that she makes en route make for compelling reading.

A few weeks ago, I heard the lead single from Roxanne De Bastion’s new EP. ‘Seeing You’ harks back to those halcyon days when the grass was greener, when birds whistled in harmony and hippies ran around London with flowers in their hair… Perhaps…

Regardless, I was drawn towards the song. There’s a clarity and innocence about Roxanne’s vocal delivery on this track that appeals. The melody feels clean and organic. It’s a tune that’s on one hand familiar and yet on the other so fresh.

‘Seeing You’ has one of those lyrics that critics might call personal, beguiling or introspective. I suspect when they attach such labels to things what they actually mean is that they don’t have a frigging clue what the song is about. These are words that might have marked significance for the songwriter but the listener is left dangling within a mystery of meaning. It might or might not be be about having a ‘lightbulb’ moment, finding happiness or dying.

Ultimately though, such ‘introspection’ never harmed Mitchell, Mclean, Dylan or Drake. And when the melody flows as well as it does within ‘Seeing You’, it’s probably best to make no attempt to decipher.

Yesterday, Roxanne released a video of her and a bass player performing a stripped back version of ‘Seeing You’. The track itself was hardly cluttered before.




Workers in Songs – That Glorious Masterpiece

Workers in Songs are a Danish Americana band who released their second album a little less than a month ago. I was listening to the excellent ‘That Glorious Masterpiece’ on the drive into the office this morning. For some reason, traffic was moving really slowly and I could feel the levels of frustration rising inside me. I had work to do.

I might have wanted to scream but I sensed my level of desperation would not even register against that being experienced by the protagonist in ‘That Glorious Masterpiece’. Morten Krogh’s vocal comes from an exasperated and elevated place of despair. He might have found no solace in the bottle of bourbon but that doesn’t matter because he’s now gurgling with bleach.

The lead single from the album is “Crazy Just For You”. A casual listen might suggest that this is one of those throwaway tender love songs that the 50’s Rock N’Roll banks are full of. But listen closer and you’ll realise that there’s madness at play here. Drinking has stirred demons and the scene that’s setting is one of broken dreams and insane intent. It’s pretty angry.

Morten Krogh sent me an E-mail to tell me about the video that Workers in Songs have made for ‘Crazy Just for You’ –

“We teamed up with director Marie Limkilde, a student of The National Film School of Denmark and an experienced music video director. In the video a young girl lives a solitary, yet playful existence on an abandoned farm. This is what happens when her universe meets the sound of a rusty male voice barking out a desperate, almost pitiful story of longing.

A contradicting clash is born between the universe of a grown-up versus child, and his desperation-to-the-brink-of-insanity versus her innocent playing around.”

I find this beautifully shot video a little bit unsettling if I’m honest. But, I think that’s the effect it’s meant to have. The juxtaposition between innocent play and adult pain and passion really does jar. I guess, though, the closing scenes suggest that hope remains for all.  It gives an initial insight into Workers In Songs but for a more rounded take, I’d strongly recommend giving ‘That Glorious Masterpiece’ a spin. 


Dylan Seeger – Claye/Weird

Sometimes, the craft, creativity, determination and sheer persistence of those making music astounds me. This is absolutely the case with Dylan Seeger. If there was any justice in the world those who hold positions of power would be falling over themselves to declare that they’ve found a new star.

New Yorker, Dylan Seeger (I checked – that is his real name) launched his new album, Claye, at the start of September. It deserves to now be resting on every coffee table in this land. At the very least, Dylan should be a name on every bloggers brow. Let’s hope, for the sake of sanity, that this is simply a slow burn. As of yet, it doesn’t seem to have had the impact that such a stunning release deserves.

Dylan told me about some of the production methods and ethics that went into creating Claye –

” I did everything myself in my apartment, from the recording, to the production, the video, the artwork, the website. Everything was a very personal, long-term project. I worked 70+ hours a week (before and after my day job) for over two years writing every song, recording every sound, all of that. The percussion you hear on Weird, and throughout a lot of the album, was recorded pretty untraditionally. The bass drum in Weird is actually me hitting a table, the bell is me flicking a metal water bottle that I always had with me while recording. There’s a ton of layering all throughout the album.”

It’s this layering that impresses. Each listen is currently revealing something new, hidden and exciting for me. It’s not just the recording methods that are unique and creative either. In an effort to get back to a proper, vinyl listening experience, Dylan launched ‘Claye’ as a web LP.

Artwork for each song – something to look at when pondering the impact that each tune is having on you. I wonder how successful this approach will be? But, you can’t fault the man for trying.

For those convinced enough to jump into the full album, it’s here. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Alternatively, see if you can pick out other items of furniture that are being bashed whilst watching the video to ‘Weird’, the lead single from ‘Claye’.


Lucy Kitchen – Autumn

I’m still coming to terms with the summer. It might well rank as one of the most perfect I’ve ever lived. 

One of the best festivals I went to was Lunar. My review can be found here. You couldn’t get away from the Nick Drake influence. I’m still not sure that cracking open a can of cider at the Tanworth-In-Arden graveyard will get me into heaven.

Autumn feels like it’s pretty much here to stay – until next year. 

When I was out and about gallivanting, dedicated musicians were sending E-mails to the Sonic Breakfast inbox. Lucy Kitchen was one of those. Yesterday morning I was lying in bed. I didn’t get up until it was afternoon. It felt so wrong and decadent. I felt better about myself when I reflected that this was my first full weekend at home since Spring. I listened to my E-mail back log. I read Lucy’s E-mail.

Oh Lucy! Autumn captures the moment. If Nick Drake was still alive, he’d be raving about you. He’d be wanting to sing duets.

Lucy Kitchen doesn’t just do songs about seasons though. Her 2014 album, Waking, is a stunner. This is the gentle folk sound of Southampton. It’s hauntingly direct; pointed and poignant. Lucy’s released a video to Blue Eyes that I’m also posting here. 

As summer turns into Autumn, I’m detecting an increased interest in the music of Lucy Kitchen. Sit back in your Sunday armchair and let this wash over you, 

Tulane – But I Say

“Despite the fact that your head might know better, unremarkable people can make remarkable impressions on your heart sometimes. ‘But I say’ is one of those unfortunate stories.”

Nikki Malvar, lead singer of Tulane, sent me an E-mail. She wanted me to know about the impending digital release of ‘But I Say’ on Grandpa records. I was struck by something within the tone of the E-mail. It was confident without being brash and friendly without being over-enthusiastic. I listened.

It surely says a lot about me but I do love a sad song. ‘But I Say’ is a love song to somebody who is not interested. They’ve moved on leaving you feeling raw, vulnerable and low but you can’t quite get them out of your head. They still fit in with your romantic perspective. You’ll probably still dream about this person in decades to come. They won’t even remember your name.

Tulane are a duo from Sydney. Nikki sings whilst Nikk plays acoustic guitar. ‘But I Say’ is their attention-grabbing debut electro-acoustic folk-pop single. It builds beautifully, orchestrated from the opening bars to demand maximum effect from your heartstrings. You can sense the pain within Nikki’s lilting vocal. This is real life. I defy you not to love.


Memory In Plant – An Epic Triumph

“Have you ever been placed in your own prison from your thoughts of how you see your past? We wrapped this feeling in a Up/down beat song.”

It was in this way that Memory In Plant first got in touch with Sonic Breakfast by E-mail.

In truth, this is probably a pretty universal feeling; surely, even the most productive and dynamic of us (I don’t count myself in that group) are trapped. We beat ourselves up over the mistakes we’ve made and the opportunities we failed to take. And seek comfort in repeating patterns of behaviour simply because they’re familiar.

A few weeks later, Memory In Plant sent me a link to their EP, ‘An Epic Triumph’. Intrigued, I listened. There’s much going on. Cluttered yet simple, complex yet accessible, mysterious yet obvious, this is an EP of contrasts. It dabs in the psychedelic paint pot but refuses to be pinned to any genre for too long.

In an effort to get beyond the mystery, I sent an E-mail with questions to the band. Here’s the responses I received: –

Many readers of ‘Sonic Breakfast’ won’t know much about Memory In Plant. How would you introduce yourself to them? What are Memory In Plant about? What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

We are a Psychedelic band with no obligation to a certain genre. The whole point is to do what ever the fuck we want.
The things that makes us get out of bed in the morning (and sometimes at noon) is mainly our day job, but also making our own music which is the perfect escape from it.

You’ve recently released ‘An Epic Triumph’ to positive reviews. What is it that makes you proudest about this EP?

That it’s truly An Epic Triumph! We created this thing that has no specific rules and people really get it.

A fair bit is made of your special recording process? It certainly generates a creative sound. How does this recording/writing process work in practice?

In practice, the writing and recording were as one. The main work was to build the parts of the songs and to make them sound as one unit. The album was recorded in our humble home studios and that was a big part of the sound of this album.
We didn’t try to imitate the sound of professional studios, We used what we had. Because we didn’t work with a time and money limit, we had the chance to use unconventional recording methods and embrace the mistakes.

Who and what are your influences?

We prefer to let the listeners to speculate who and what by hearing our music.

How much does living in Tel Aviv influence the sort of band that you are? Is there a ‘scene’ there and if so, do you sit comfortably within it?

Living in a rough neighbourhood at south Tel Aviv does have its effects on some parts of the album. Living with a lot of immigrates around you, and in Israel as a Melting pot in general, has made dreams of a better places put a kind of new world sound on this album. There is a scene in Tel Aviv and there are some great bands over here, but they are outnumbered than the potential audience. We are not sitting with the scene here, we’re standing with our luggage, ready to tour the big world and to see some amazing places.

A number of reviews have mentioned the ‘psychedelic’ aspects of your recordings. If you were forced to listen to ‘An Epic Triumph’ on a drug, what drug would that be? Combinations also allowed!!!

Actually, we asked our fans this question and as of this moment only one answered us that he would totally hear the album with the after effect of “psychedelic toad licking”. We recommend to listen to the album with all the drugs that you can get (not all at once) and then please contact us and tell us about your trippy experience.

What might the next year hold for Memory In Plant? Do you have any plans for translating these recordings into a live thing?

We are working on the live show a while now, planning on playing where ever they let us. Also working on some new stuff, always.



For those who are now itching to listen to ‘An Epic Triumph’ in its entirety (highly recommended), you can find it here….  

Mr Plow – Not The Beginning, Not The End

Mr. Plow” is the ninth episode of The Simpsons’ fourth season, which originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 19, 1992.[3] In the episode, Homer buys a snow plow and starts a business plowing driveways. It is a huge success, and inspired by this, Barney Gumble starts a rival company and quickly puts Homer out of business.

But that’s not what I’d be writing about on Sonic Breakfast.

Mr. Plow is also the name of an Americana singer-songwriter, influenced by Johnny Cash, dark tales and guitars with slide. The man has lived in Leicester for years. He now appears to be working with a band of quality musicians. For ease and simplicity, they also take the name, Mr. Plow.

I’ve known Mr Plow for years – known as in we’ve sometimes made comments on the same social media threads. We’d acknowledge each other with a nod of the head and a couple of sentences of small talk should we pass each other in the street but I’m not sure that we’ve ever got into any conversations that have lasted longer.

In many ways, this is an odd state of affairs. A quick scan across my CD and vinyl would show that our musical interests are not hugely divergent.

Back at the start of the summer, Mr. Plow announced the impending release of his third album, ‘Not The Beginning, Not The End’ on Pinkbox Recordings. A free gig at the Cookie was put on to celebrate the launch. Over the course of the last few months, it’s an album I’ve frequently listened to as I’ve driven around the festival circuit. You’ll find more detailed reviews elsewhere but suffice to say, it is very, very good.

I’m a fan of story songs. If they contain heavy doses of death and drama then it’s all the better. This has probably been the case since the 9 year old me first heard Shangri La’s ‘Leader Of The Pack’. So, how could I possibly not fall in love with ‘Dwight’s Roadside Grave’, the second song on the album. In Mr. Plow’s deep, bass-heavy, drawl, he relates the darkly humorous tale of how him and his put-upon sister despatch with Dwight, their step-Dad. It’s classic songwriting.

The tune from the album that I’m featuring here is ‘Bag Of Bones’. It’s another stand-out on an album that in truth always keeps giving. This is a slower number. It could be a man coming towards the end of his life, possibly prematurely. It’s a man questioning his very existence. It’s a wretched, walk out of the door and never come back tune. It’s a sad song and I take much joy from it.

Generationals – Alix

I think it was about 14 months ago now that I saw Louisiana duo, Generationals play at the Cookie in Leicester. It was one of those gigs. I’d heard a few of their tracks and seen youtube videos. I tried to convince friends that are remotely interested in seeing live music that the ‘next big thing from the US’ are playing in their city.

Result – a criminally under-attended gig that probably had no more than four paying punters in attendance.

Yet Generationals were good; sparkingly so. I wanted to make the noise of 100 people but self-consciousness got the better of me and so instead I clapped politely and whooped (very gently) at the end of each song. 

Back then, Generationals were promoting third album, Heza. It had a load of great tunes on it. Possibly the sort of album that could be toured for a couple of years. This video got them a fair bit of publicity to dine out on.


Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer appear to be having none of that though. Their fourth album, Alix, is being released on September 29th in the UK. I received a promo copy at the weekend and have been listening intently since. 

Thoroughly now and yet recalling some of the best synth-noise of the 1980’s, for me it hits a space somewhere between MGMT and Madonna. There’s a poppy swagger amidst funky bleeps providing the bubble. A vocal, often pitching just beneath falsetto, chimes and showers over you to complete the wash.

One of the lead tracks from ‘Alix’ is ‘Black Lemon’. If it’s not been so already, I’d place good money on this being used as incidental music on the BBC by the time this Autumn is done- perhaps with the goals round up on Match Of The Day or in a baking break on that programme that the girls at work go mad for.

By 2015, my friends might need less convincing should these guys ever return to Leicester.