Leyley – Aganju

I met Leyley this Summer. 

Hungover and desperate for water, I stumbled out of my tent. Phil and I had been psy-trancing all night at Noisily. I’d slept like a baby but now I needed to get up. It must have been 10AM at least. 

Welcomed to a tent opposite, I plonked myself in a camping chair and attempted to engage. I knew I was chatting to Andy the night before. We were both feeling delicate but he hid it well.

“Listen to this”, said Andy as he pressed play on his phone that was amplified through a mobile speaker. I could still hear the stomp-stomp-stomp of the previous night ringing in my ears.. But this tune was a gentler affair. “This is the perfect comedown music”, I commented.

That’s my voice“, said a voice from behind me. I turned to see a beautiful woman, singing along in Portuguese. This was Leyley. 

A lady walked around with a basket full of choices. We chose.

Leyley and I have kept talking since. Very soon this incredibly talented young woman heads off to ‘find her tribe’. After six months in South America and the West,Indies I doubt she’ll ever come back. She’ll be a star.

Today, on the train to London, I listened to ‘Aganju’ again, that wonderful Bebel Gilberto cover – and I don’t mind admitting that the reminiscence drew a tear. 



Ionie – Give Me Your Eyes

“It conveys the plight that many young lovers must face– the endlessly complicated, dichotomous relationship between the private, verses the public. In private, a bond with someone can seem indestructible and carry through with careless, ineffable glee. Yet, in public, the same person can suddenly transform into someone impenetrable, reclusive, and distant.”

 So comments Erica Rose, the producer/director of this new video that surfaced in my inbox recently. Ionie’s ‘Give Me Your Eyes’ is truly lit up by the story that runs throughout this video. And regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that I’m partial to a bit of theatrical narrative.

New York based Ionie released her self-titled debut album back in April. On initial investigation, it’s a pretty mixed bag. That might be a deliberate ploy to show off her varied talents or it might be that Ionie has yet to absolutely find the style she’s most comfortable with. ‘Give Me Your Eyes’ is undoubtedly a stand-out track.

Modern dating is tough right? It certainly seems to be the case here. You put all of your eggs into one basket-case and then they turn out to be fecklessly unreliable. They sweep you off your feet by whispering sweet nothings into your ear whilst, at the same time, whispering ‘it’s nothing, sweet’ into somebody elses ear. 

What better way to convey the highs and lies of that experience than through a dose of jazz-tinged soul? This is a tune calling out for your commitment. 

Give it a shot. Give it your eyes. I don’t think it’ll disappoint.  


Father John Misty – Cambridge Junction – October 27th 2015

Just a brief Sonic Breakfast update today because I need to rush to catch a train to Grimsby. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself with the good fortune that surrounds me. 

Last night, I was at the Cambridge Junction for a Father John Misty show. It was slick, impeccably choreographed, intelligent and wise. Josh Tillman was supported by a band of brilliant session musicians who are more than capable of turning his songs, written with Country tinges, into full-on soul stomps. 

It was a gig that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. The album, ‘I Love You Honeybear’, is up there as my album of the year. The tunes are typically cheery and breezy masking lyrical content that is often bitter, cynical or simply deflated. I was in a perfect mood to receive.

I’ve little doubt that those watching Father John Misty tonight will see the same posture at the same point of the set. But, when something is as well rehearsed as this, does it really matter that any ounce of charming ramshackle is lost? 

Father John Misty – clinical charm – a fine Tuesday night and well worth the drive through the rain.


Ellie Ford – July

Cast your mind back to July. In many ways, four months is not that long ago but for me it feels like an age. The summer was ending before it had even begun. The days were already getting shorter and darkness was beginning to creep into our humid evenings. 

I wasn’t a happy chap then. Dreams of a delightful year that had seemed like an optimistic wish in Springtime lay shattered by June. My eventful and largely destructive trip to Brighton for the Great Escape in May had perhaps been an indication of what was around the corner. 

But it wasn’t all bad. There were still the festivals. At Beat Herder in the Ribble Valley, I experienced new things. By the end of July, I was pretty much smiling again for the chug to the coast of Cornwall for the charming Port Eliot festival

All of our July’s were different. I bet we can all remember moments of joy and moments of happiness that occurred back then. I bet we can remember the new things we tried, the things we were losing and the things that were just beginning. 

I’ve been sent this new video from Ellie Ford. 

She’s from Brighton but I don’t remember seeing her on that lost weekend in May. The song is called ‘July’. Ellie’s experiences of calendar month number seven are different to mine. But, this remains a song that fluctuates between highs and lows, peaks and troughs. Centred around a harp, new instruments are added and then removed. Orchestration comes and goes. Ellie’s voice flutters.

July is the first song from Ellie’s album ‘The Other Sun’ that’s not out until Spring 2016. July suggests that things are just beginning for Ellie Ford. 


Sam Baker – October/November tour

A call out to the fine people of London, Lewes, Plymouth, Leeds, Gateshead and Bury. You’ve got a chance, this week, to see one of the most compelling live performers that I had the pleasure of reviewing last year. 

For Sam Baker is back in England and once again he’s joined by Carrie Elkin. Here’s my review from the simply stunning show that I saw last year.


And here’s a video of Sam playing the title track from his most recent album, Say Grace. 

Take a chance on live music. You surely won’t be disappointed.

Ephemerals – You’ll Never See Me Cry

 I’ve had my fair share of relationship break-ups over the years. I’ve dealt with them in a number of ways but the common factor in all is that I’ve blubbed like a baby. Admittedly, some of those tear-stained goodbyes have lasted for mere seconds yet others have been cathartic, waterwork exercises that have surely tested the patience of my most chilled friends. 

 So, I confess to not entirely understanding the emotional sentiment of the new song from London based soul act, Ephemerals. “You’ll Never See My Cry” isn’t immediately identifiable as a break-up song but by the end of verse 2, the listener is left in no doubt.

 There’s hurt and regret a-plenty within this beauty. Tears might not be streaming down the face of the singer in that faux manner that viewers of X factor will be all too familiar with. Nope – this suppressed pain comes direct at you from the heart – and it’s all the more raw and powerful for it. 

 “You’ll Never See Me Cry” is the first release from Ephemerals second album, ‘Chasin Ghosts’ that’s just been released on Jalapeño Records. I’ve heard short snippets of the tracks on the album. 

 On the evidence provided, these are some Ephemerals that are very unlikely to be transitory or to quickly fade. 



Kirt Debique – Things Left Unsaid

I no longer have a CD player at home. Everything is accessible through this pad on which I type. Increasingly, ‘things’ and ‘products’ become redundant as we move towards virtual storage, a space amongst the cloud.

Despite this lack of equipment, I still let out a squeal of satisfaction when, from time to time, the postman pops a CD package through my letterbox. They’re often delivered from PR companies eager for me to hear and review the latest artist they’re pushing. 

I daren’t reveal that Dropbox is often easier. I still love having something to hold. My car has a CD player; never a tidy cocoon, it’s now full of promotional polycarbonate plastic. 

One of the CDs that has really caught my ears in recent weeks is the new one from Kirt Debique, ‘Things Left Unsaid’. Before listening to the album, I had been drawn into the premise of it via the disturbing, yet ultimately (I think at least) redemptive video for the lead song from the album ‘Tell Me How You Know’. I’ve not heard many tunes this year that capture feelings of hurt, rejection, mistrust and anger in such laidback, calculated beauty. 

Accordingly, ‘Things Left Unsaid’ is an album conceived as a series of letters to parents and partners, siblings and strangers. Its eight songs delve into themes of love, family, and loss. Sitting behind accessible melodies are dark ponderous, rumblings. This is an album that lays demons bare; it knocks down the walls and barriers we all create around our hurt in order to protect and encourages us to dig deeper within our key relationships to become better citizens.

Kirt says of the album, “my dream would be if two people could actually become closer together and have these kinds of conversations by listening to, and talking about, the ideas on this record. I’d love that.”

It’s the sort of record that I should invest in a CD player at home for. 





Felix Hagan & The Family – Kiss The Misfits

We’re halfway through another busy, working week. I’m pretty lucky that I enjoy my day job even though it can sometimes be pretty intense and busy. Tomorrow, I’m up before 6 to head to London for the second time this week. Tomorrow, I’ll have to wear a suit. I clock up the train miles. 

 But, I mustn’t grumble because doing this day job means I can cover (in part) the costs of my hectic social life. And this week, my social life (where I get to muse about music) has been pretty active. It shows no sign of abating this coming weekend either.

 I took advantage of being down in London for a ‘day job’ meeting to nip across to BBC 6 music’s live ‘Bloc Party’ show at Maida Vale. My brief reflections for eGigs are here

 Last night, I saw Squeeze and John Cooper Clarke at De Montfort Hall in Leicester. My review for the Leicester Mercury is here

This coming weekend, I’m heading off to Skegness to cover Butlins Alternative Weekender for EFestivals. I concede it’s not a shabby life. 

 I love my social life. I can whip off the suit and tie to mix with the people I really want to mix with. I can ‘Kiss The Misfits’. The theatrical, exuberant happiness of Felix Hagan & The Family’s tune, from their EP of the same name that’s coming out at the end of November, leaves the listener in no doubt which camp they’re in. 


This is an embrace of staying up all night, of exploring the darker recesses of pubs and nightclubs and of not worrying where the next pay cheque is coming from. 


The Gods Themselves – Pink Champagne

I’m reminded of a work Christmas party. I was a mess back in those days. We all got on a coach and headed 50 miles up the motorway to join colleagues from another office. We only ever met in Tinsel season.

I had a wee. “Do you want some Pink Champagne?” said a voice from a cubicle. “What’s that?” I asked. “It’s like speed but with a tinge of red”, said the mystery voice. I got to know him as Duncan.

I missed the coach home. 

Hearing The Gods Themselves muse about Pink Champagne brings it all back. I don’t suspect that their tune is amphetamine tinged but I adore the edgy noise on display here.

“You’re such a young tramp, with your vanity Mouthin’ off beneath the marquis” 

I was terrible back in those days.. 





Summer Twins – Demons

I’ve been sent a copy of the new album, Limbo, from Summer Twins. It’s released in the US today but fans of the sparkly, seductive, 60’s-inspired sisters in the UK will have to wait another month until they can get their hands on a copy. 

There’s a few train journeys coming up and I’ll make the most of them by digging into the new tunes of Chelsea and Justine Brown. On initial listen tonight, there are songs almost as immediate as Summer Twin classics like ‘Forget Me’ but where the earlier stuff twinkles on the toes-edge of twee, these new tracks have a harder, leathery jacket. The vocals appear more underplayed in the melodic mix as some of the throwaway cartoon punk guitar riffs take greater prominence. It’s still pretty fab though.

Apparently, Limbo was recorded over an intense ten day recording session in an isolated Sacramento studio. You can certainly feel some of that burning solitude surface within the one track that’s been circulating to date from the album. ‘Demons’ are being released through this release. 

Compare and contrast ‘Forget Me’ with ‘Demons’… I know what I prefer…