Postcards From Jeff – Suburban Girl

Joanne,

Wish you were here. We’re having a wonderful time in the sunshine and the free bar is playing havoc with my sobriety. You’d love the views from the chalet – perhaps one day we’ll get to walk along the beach together. I’ll call you when I get home. I hope the job continues to go well. It must be quite a commute from your tree-lined avenue to that built-up tower block but I’m sure you’re coping. You always did cope. I’m glad we’re speaking again.

Pete.

X

There’s something incredibly glamorous and yet distinctly distant about the ‘Suburban girl’ video, recently released by Postcards From Jeff. Directed by Brighton-based film-maker, Steve Glashier, you get a real sense here that you’re digging into the dreams of the characters within. The story being told is by no means linear – and to try to fully grasp what’s going on will do your head in. But, that’s not to say it’s not worth the effort. 

 

“It’s about the projection of fantasy; getting lost in the worlds of people we watch on the silver screen, obsession, glamour, and desire,” reveals Postcards From Jeff alter ego Joss Worthington. “It references being mesmerised by someone and the ideas you project onto them.”

And if this Yorkshire based producer and multi-instrumentalist is saying that it must be true. 

Listen to the tune without the video and your imagination might still run riot. By all accounts, Modern Language, the album from which this track has been lifted is a bit of a tragic-romantic feast. I can’t wait to hear it.

Pete and Joanne have previously communicated by letter on Sonic Breakfast. I’m sure you’ll be as encouraged as  me to see in the postcard above that Pete’s persistence is perhaps paying. 

 

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Girl Friend – The Cookie – Last week sometime

Last week, I had one of those fab evenings you get sometimes when watching live music. 

I thought that Manchester’s Girl Friend were a bit special. 

I was able to write about them for the Leicester Mercury and after some delay, they’ve published my review for others to read here..

Yep – they were that good. I’ve previously blogged about Tapestry. There’s perhaps no finer support. 

One of my favourite new bands of 2015.. There’s been a few. 

 

 

Eurovision 2015 – On The Fourth Day, God invented monsters, sheep shaggers and songs about world peace

 One of the many things often thrown at Eurovision by detractors is that the voting is a ridiculous con. Why should they spend hours investing in something when their country is ‘never going to win’? I’ve got little sympathy for such arguments and would politely suggest that such criticism is missing the point. 

We all know that countries affiliated to the former Soviet Union vote en-bloc. We all know that there’s often a Scandinavian love-in. We all know that the best song rarely wins. I fail to see how any of this is a problem when you’ve got hours of fun leading up to the vote. 

What bothers me more about Eurovision is when Countries enter songs with a message. The message is often a simple one such as ‘war is bad and peace is good’ or ‘I used to be really ugly but now I realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ or ‘don’t shag sheep’. There’s quite a few of these songs entered this year. And a large proportion in this final ten.

 

THE NETHERLANDS Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk Along

Trijntje does her best impression of a Geordie in the chorus of this. ‘Why-ay why-ay why-ay’, she sings. A bit like passing a road traffic accident.

 

 NORWAY Mørland – A Monster Like Me 

Morland is pure evil. Aside from sounding a little bit like Chris Martin at the start, we’re treated to the best opening couplet of this Eurovision, “Honey, I’m telling the truth. I did something terrible in my early youth”. I don’t think we ever find out the secrets behind this terror but I think it might refer to some stolen pick n’ mix from Woolworths. You monster Morland.

 

 POLAND Monika Kuszynska – In The Name Of Love

After last years milk-churning, butter-squelching erotic selection from Poland, they revert back to a more normal choice with Monika. There’s not much to say about it. It’s dull and bland. 

 

 PORTUGAL Leonor Andrade – Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa

Marks for not singing in English but that’s as far as my praise goes. I could listen to this non-stop for hours and still not be able to tell you anything about it. I’d rather not listen to it non-stop for hours though. 

 

 ROMANIA Voltaj – De La Capat

Goodness, we’re really scraping the barrel in this last ten tunes. Blander than Poland and Portugal combined. Oh hang on – it’s a dual language effort. Half way through, Voltaj starts to sing in English. ‘You’ll be the reason to start all over again”, he sings. Tell you what, please don’t!

 

SERBIA Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies

I think this is one about how beauty is all about what’s on the inside of a person and that it’s very shallow to judge a book by its cover. I doubt that Bojana will be appearing on the front cover of ‘hello’ anytime soon. The tune is a grower.

 

RUSSIA Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices

Russia go all Disney and tell us that they believe in the dream of peace. It’s despatched in a decidedly passive-aggressive manner  and is thus a bit threatening. I’m sure that Polina is a very nice person but this says nothing to me.

 

 SWEDEN Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes

I quite like the opening verse to this. It’s vaguely country-ish and has a synthesized slide guitar sound . But then, it goes all dancey like that chap Avicii. Mans struggles to pronounce his ‘H’s’ – it sounds like ‘we are the ear holes of our time’ – perhaps we are? 

 

 

 SLOVENIA Maraaya – Here For You

Maraaya has a nice soul-ish twang to her voice. And there’s a couple of fiddle-breaks within. It’s all a bit frantic but i’m flattered to know that Maraaya is here for me. It’ll help me to sleep without nightmares. Perhaps.

 

 SAN MARINO Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola – Chain Of Lights

 ‘If we all light a candle, we’ll illuminate the night”, sing Anita and Michele. And somehow, by doing this we’re going to create world peace. Nice sentiment I suppose. Shit song though. Seriously, this is not a song to listen to if you have an ounce of cynicism in your body. Seeing as I’m cynically-obese, we were never going to get on. Will probably be loved by all of those who purchased a copy of ‘Candle In The Wind’ when Diana died. 

 

And, with that, our time is up. There are a lot of good songs in this years Eurovision but, arguably, no great songs. The quirky edges seem to have been sanded down and now we’ve got an overdose of bland. It’s all perfectly professional and will, no doubt, be a great show to watch. But, somewhere the spark is missing. 

 Regardless, I’m going to be dancing like a loon and waving my flag for the UK when in Vienna’s state arena. Today’s video choice comes courtesy of the monster from Norway and the angels from San Marino (I love the credits at the end of the video which last half as long as the song & appear to list all of the residents of San Marino – a treat there). 

 

 

 

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Eurovision 2015 – On The Third Day, God invented Engelbert Humperdinck, pet goats and Maltesers.

Last year, I was in Barcelona for the Sonar music festival. It’s a very trendy exhibition of the very best in electronic dance music and, as such, possibly the last place you’d expect to enter into a conversation about the Eurovision Song Contest. 

 But that’s not accounting for Rian. Perhaps it was the abundance of daytime Estrella or simply the euphoria of dancing to FM Belfast in the sunshine but, as I talked to this cheeky effervescent Irishman, we discovered a mutual love of all things Eurovision. He had it all planned out. In May, he was definitely going to be heading to Vienna to experience the Eurovision first hand for the first time.

 This was something that had always been on my bucket list and so, there in the Catalan sunshine, we shook on a plan; Vienna, we’re coming to get you in May. Since May, Rian has also enrolled Liam and Cathy onto the trip. Johnny Logan is apparently busy elsewhere.

 It’s appropriate that the opening song for day three of my pithy Eurovision reviews is the Irish entry. If the UK don’t win I feel duty bound, by association, to throw some weight behind this tune.

 

IRELAND Molly Sterling – Playing With Numbers

 Unfortunately, this doesn’t feel like a Eurovision Classic but rather like a painting by numbers effort. Here’s a number for Molly to play with; Nil points.

 

ISRAEL Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy

 This is so bad it’s great. Nadav begins by coming across as a needy sort by moaning to his Mum that somebody has broken his heart again. But, then he gets all Europop arrogant on us (‘I’m a golden boy, come here to enjoy’). There’s reference to Tel Aviv and spectacular key changes. Pure tosh.

 

ICELAND María Olafs – Unbroken

 ‘One step at a time’, sings Maria. Maybe she needs to invest in a pair of shoes with more grip. I really don’t like this but I have a sneaky feeling it’s the sort of tune that will capture Eurovision hearts and minds. 

 

ITALY Il Volo – Grande Amore

 These guys are quite well known aren’t they? But then, so was Engelbert Humperdinck. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Light operatics and dramatics, I expect they’ll wear dress suits and women will throw underwear at them. Does Grande Amore translate as massive cock? 

 

LITHUANIA Monika Linkyte & Vaidas Baumila – This Time

 An upbeat number that seems to have a bit of everything. Banjo, handclaps and a couple ‘feeling love, round and round and round and round’. I am giddy with excitement. I’m going for a lie-down.

 

LATVIA Aminata – Love Injected

 So this is where La Roux has disappeared too. Sadly, nothing like last year’s Latvian Eurovision entry. It’s got a bit of a dubstep in the middle and is actually ok. I wonder if love is the only drug that Aminata has injected.

 

MOLDOVA Eduard Romanyuta – I Want Your Love

 ‘Hey girl, remind me why we’re not together? We’ve got a magnetic connection.’ Sings Eduard in the opening line of this upbeat piece of electronic dance. You can’t help thinking that with a bit of psychotherapy, he’ll discover the answer to this question. 

 

MONTENEGRO Knez – Adio

 It takes so long for Knez to start singing in this that I wonder if he’s cut his losses and headed back to Montenegro to let this simply be an instrumental. But, all is well in the world and it soon builds into theatrical crescendo. A song all about saying goodbye to his pet goat (apparently). 

 

F.Y.R. MACEDONIA Daniel Kajmakoski – Autumn Leaves

 Daniel tells us that ‘my heart is beating like a million drums and he’s falling like the Autumn leaves’. Now, I’m no medical expert but when he confesses that he’s also ‘trying to find a way to breathe’ I suggest he’d best get to a hospital pronto. The Eurovision is no place for a man with a heart condition. Too much excitement. Clearly.

 

MALTA Amber – Warrior

For many reasons, I want to like this song from Malta. It’s a feisty effort from Amber. You certainly get a sense that she’s more of a warrior than the wet lettuce leaf ‘worrier’ from Georgia who has also entered a song with this title. But then Amber ruins it all by saying that she’s a ‘conker’. Why would anybody say that? Malta have teased us again. 

 

 And, with that, another ten songs have been previewed. There seems to be less quirky excitement this year and more songs that have been written by committee. I’ve got to choose golden boy, Nadav from Israel in my video features else he’d moan to his Mum; torn on another to choose but when in doubt go for the car crash that is Moldova.. 

 

 

Eurovision 2015 – On The Second Day, God created donkeys, kebabs and electro-swing

You know what? I think Eurovision was better when countries sang in their own language. We might not have had a clue what was being sung about but you could let your imagination run wild. 

“Perhaps this one is about time being like thunder”, said no one ever. “Perhaps this one is about the sexual fetishes of a gentleman who ordinarily has an unhealthy obsession with model railways,” we all imagined . Didn’t we? Have I over-shared again? Oh bollocks. 

Better get on with my review of songs 11 to 20 in this years Viennese  whirl. 

 

GERMANY Ann Sophie – Black Smoke

 Another break up song. Ann Sophie sounds a little bit like a Paloma Faith tribute act. One of the better German entries of recent years but still a pretty uncomfortable listen if I’m honest.

 

DENMARK Anti Social Media – The Way You Are

 In summary, Summery pop from Denmark, this could be a song rejected by One Direction. My guess is that it’s very popular on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Anti Social Media – pah, pandering to the lowest common denominator more like.

 

ESTONIA Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday

My favourite so far. Remember a Britpop band called Rialto? This should have been recorded by them. A moody 60’s influenced mod-soul classic. Last year, I fell in love with Estonia’s neighbours, Latvia and supported their folky cake baking all the way to semi final failure. Let’s hope Elina and Stig fare better. 

 

 SPAIN Edurne – Amanecer

First in a language that’s not English (of sorts). I like Spain and want to like this. I’m afraid It’s nothing more than an annoying wail though. This might mean Edurne stands a chance of victory.

 

FINLAND Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – Aina Mun Pitää

 A true oddity here. It’s only one and a half minutes long for starters. It’s punky and harks back to the noise made by previous Finnish winner, Lorde. It seems devoid of chorus and verse but might just do well. This isn’t simply a song contest any more after all. Some would debate that it ever was.

 

 FRANCE Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas

Songs not in English are like buses. You wait ages for one to arrive and then…. Instantly forgettable French ballad from this cherub. Don’t understand a word of it.

 

UNITED KINGDOM Electro Velvet – Still In Love With You

 When it was announced that the United Kingdom was being represented by this dose of electro-swing, the world of social media went crazy. How could we debase the contest with such nonsense? Personally (and I realise this is a controversial opinion), I think this entry is our best since Scooch were flying the flag. Hopefully, this’ll do better than that unmitigated crash landing. 

 

GEORGIA Nina Sublatti – Warrior 

There are two songs with the title ‘Warrior’ in this years competition. Unfortunately for Nina, she struggles to pronounce the word. Instead, she’s more of a ‘worrier’ in this tune. I can understand why she’s worried having now had the misfortune to listen to this soft rock twice. 

 

GREECE Maria-Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath

It’s another song that wants to be a James Bond theme tune. Maria-Elena would appear to be a fantasist. I can think of better things to be doing if you genuinely do have ‘one last breath’ than warbling a la Mariah. File under Greek Austerity.

 

HUNGARY Boggie – Wars For Nothing

If this had been sung in Hungarian, I could have amused myself by imagining that Boggie was singing about making love with a man who groomed donkeys by day and cooked kebabs by night. But, it’s sung in English (just) and I sense it’s an earnest consideration about the pointlessness of war. Twelve points guaranteed from Russia then. 

 

And, with that we’re half way there. I’m going to break with tradition and feature two and a half videos today.. My favourites so far Estonia, the odd submission from Finland and, being patridiotic for a moment, the wafflingly brilliant entry from the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

Eurovision 2015 – On The First Day, God created Azerbaijan…

The 60th Eurovision Song Contest is but a month away. Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that Eurovision is a guilty pleasure of mine. 

In fact, I’d even go so far to say that I no longer feel guilty about confessing my love for this wonderful, annual event. This year is going to be a bit of a special one for I’m going to be travelling to Vienna. Tickets for the main event are priced ridiculously but I do have my grubby mitts on a ticket for the Friday night dress rehearsal. Excited? Just a tad. 

 I’ve been listening to the 40 songs that have entered into the competition. Like horses in the Grand National, some will fall at the first hurdle whilst others will still be in contention as the final votes from the Azerbaijan massive descend. As per last year, here are my pithy, mostly rude comments about each entry.. Ten a day for the next four days with my two favourites also getting a video link.

 First up is:-

 ALBANIA Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive 

Female vocalist, Elhaidi from Albania does the best to convince all that she’s alive. She sings  ‘you shattered my dreams’ and it sounds just like ‘you shat on my dreams’. It’s deliberate right?

 

ARMENIA Genealogy – Face The Shadow

 Genealogy appear to be straight out of an Andrew Lloyd-Webber chorus line. It’s epic and will give you shit dreams.

 

AUSTRIA The Makemakes – I Am Yours

 Last years winners do their best to ensure that we won’t be heading back to Vienna next year. I jest, I’m pretty sure that there’s no bearded lady here though the Makemakes man does go falsetto at one point. He sounds anguished and in pain. Such expectation on their heads. An outside chance. 

 

 AUSTRALIA Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again

 Australia in the Eurovision? Despite the geographical nonsense, they show complete ignorance of the rules by putting in an effort that’s not half bad. I sense this’ll be one ‘tough act to follow’ when we’re singing along in the auditorium to this. 

 

AZERBAIJAN Elnur Huseynov – Hour Of The Wolf

 Elnur tells us that ‘he won’t sleep tonight’. Everyone else will Elnur. You’ve entered a pile of pompous pap that’ll send us all soporific. Take some drugs and discover disco would be my advice to you.

 

BELGIUM Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside

 I have a sympathy for Belgium. They always seem to submit inventive and catchy entries to Eurovision (last year’s love song to his Mum by Axel being an exception) but rarely seem to progress beyond the semi finals. This is a fine pop tune, a bit like that hit by New Zealander Lorde (not to be confused with legendary Finnish winner of the Eurovision Lordi).

 

 

BELARUS Uzari – Time

 Uzari tells us that ‘time is like thunder’. Quite an assertion that he fails to back up in the subsequent lyric. Let’s move away from this quicker than lightning.. (See what I did there?)

 

SWITZERLAND Mélanie René – Time To Shine

 Another song about ‘time’ but this one is better than Belarus’s. Admittedly, this is damning with faint praise. I bet Switzerland are dead envious that this is being hosted in Austria. This is alright until a distinctly dated guitar solo comes to prominence. I doubt Melanie’s smile will be shining in Vienna. 

 

CYPRUS John Karayiannis – One Thing I Should Have Done

 Exactly the sort of song that’s perfect for Eurovision. John is hurting and his life is in tatters. This is a song about a broken relationship. It was going so, so well but there was ‘one thing that John should have done’… John leaves us in suspense.. What was it you should have done John? And then we get it in the final couplet; “In your hour of need, I should have come”… Thanks John.. Too much information for a family show I feel. 

 

CZECH REPUBLIC Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta – Hope Never Dies

 Unfortunately for Marta and Vaclav, their hope was clinically dead in the opening piano tinklings of this pot boiler ballad. Like a few others in this initial ten, it sounds a bit like a James Bond wannabee theme tune. I wonder why? What won last year again?

 

 More tomorrow – a hard video choice for today but I’ll plump for Australia and Cyprus.. 

 

 

 

Inner Tongue – Fallen Empire

I don’t have to spend ages agonising over the selection of every word right? No, instead I can just write about whatever comes into my head. This is my own blog. I’ve got loads of posts almost ready to go; great music to share but I’m holding back on doing so because the writing doesn’t quite feel right. I need to get over myself, right? People just read this to watch the videos… I should learn to be silent more.

Inner Tongue was scarily forced into silence. Can you begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been to be diagnosed with something where you could well lose your voice? Something that requires an operation and then months of silence? You’d get pretty contemplative. 

“Until the first follow-up appointment,” Inner Tongue explains, “I hid myself in total silence in my apartment. I was totally depressed, and refused to write any music. But somehow I was drawn from my sofa to my piano, and tried to overcome my fear. So I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. What emerged came from an entirely new perspective. It was as if someone had pressed a reset button on the musical identity I had of myself.”

Inner Tongue is from Vienna. I’m heading there in a couple of months to fulfil something on my bucket list of to do’s. For many, watching an Eurovision Song Contest will be a sad pursuit. The looks I’ll get from friends and colleagues when I declare my interest will be priceless. But, I really don’t care. Whilst in Vienna, I’ll be sure to explore the local music scene if it’s half as perfect as this electronic pop is.

Domino, domino, domino, domino. Who’s up for a game of tennis?. Easter Sundays don’t get better than this right? Enjoy your eggs.