I’ll be heading to Groningen in the Netherlands in less than two weeks. Knowing this, I probably should have taken it a bit easier over Christmas.
Eurosonic Noorderslag has been a festival I’ve wanted to do for some time now. There’s something particularly attractive about the idea. Whilst others are finding ways to get fit and limit their expanding waistlines, I’ll be partying with festival bookers, up and coming bands and writers just like me in Holland.
This is apparently where the festival industry goes to do their summer deals. I’ll be doing my utmost to unearth the best rumours for eFestivals.
But, I’ll be honest. The scale of it all feels a tad overwhelming. 350 bands or so promoting their wares over a few days during which I’ll have to get my bearings in a strange city. It could be carnage if I had no plan.
Yes, I had a lazy day yesterday. The icy frost outside looked most unappealing so, for much of daylight, I hibernated under my duvet. I felt awful for wasting time but consoled myself with the thought that this is a treat that doesn’t occur often.
I used it as a chance to wade back through unread Sonic Breakfast E-mails. And squealed with glee when I stumbled upon the latest song and video, Nobody Made Me Smile Like You Did, from American Anymen and Lise. It’s taken from a four track EP they’ve released, the Oui EP.
Christmas is done for another year. Miles have been driven and much has been spent on petrol and snacks in service stations. I’ve quite enjoyed it but it’s nice to be home knowing that I can leave my car alone for a few days.
I used the time whilst driving to get to know some promo CDs that I’ve recently been sent. There was one CD that I listened to more than any other, regularly on repeat, and that’s the forthcoming release from The Blue Aeroplanes, ‘Welcome, Stranger!’.
It’s that time of year again. We come to the end of another one and decide upon the things that have made us happiest (and in the case of the shit-fest that has often been 2016, the unhappiest).
Sonic Breakfast will again get in on the act – with my list of the top ten posts from 2016 that have for a variety of reasons given me the most joy. There’ll be surprises and certainties, posts I’d forgotten about and posts that I wish I’d never published! I think you’ll enjoy.
Without further ado.. Click on the next page number for number 10…
Christmas is coming and work parties are in full flow. Restaurant owners are rubbing their hands in glee and turkey juice whilst colleagues pull crackers and wear flimsy paper hats.
In a dingier part of town, men carry bunches of mistletoe in their back pockets in the hope that a predatory chance might present to tickle the tonsils of a drunken reveller. Strains of “You scumbag, you maggot, You cheap lousy faggot” can be heard blazing out of a nearby karaoke bar but the irony is lost amidst the cheap scent and puddles of piss.
You’ve got to love the build up to Christmas; the night-time economy in any town, whilst particularly unpleasant, is still much nicer than it is by day.
I can ignore it no longer. In a week it’ll all be over for another year. And many of us will be breathing sighs of relief whilst sucking on our humbugs. I’ll play the game and post a Christmas video to Sonic Breakfast.
But this isn’t any old Christmas song. In fact, it’s rather brilliant.
The Senti-Mentals are a new act to me. Their existence might have passed me by if it wasn’t for a PR company sending me a link to this fine animated video. “You show me yours at Xmas” sums it all up. It’s a gloriously sympathetic tribute to classic Christmas tunes of the past. Wrapped in a bow of Slade and Wizzard whilst moving the genre forward with healthy dollops of doo-wop, this is a tune that’ll raise the smiles and the party spirits. Here we have the faint whiff of optimism that we’re all encouraged to feel at this time of year blended in with a sort of knowing nostalgic nonsense that simply makes things feel right.
The Senti-Mentals have been going since 1998 when John Dobinson, a stalwart of the retro doo-wop scene, met up with punk-poet singer and songwriter, Paul Eccentric. They’ve gigged a fair bit but can hardly be accused of being prolific in their releases. Since 2008, Den Hegarty has also been part of the mix. Den was bass vocalist and founder of Darts back in the 1970’s. The first ever cassette I bought from a Woolworths (ironically with a Christmas gift voucher) was a Darts album.
I can only have been six or seven years old then and probably believed in the beauty of Christmas. Funny that.
Genuinely though, I do wish readers of Sonic Breakfast a happy holiday. Let’s have a glittery ball.
Still much to write about before we can say a cheery farewell to 2016 and hope that there’s brighter stuff in store for 2017. I’ve got a couple of distinct Christmas videos to post and in the final week of the year I’ll publish my Sonic Breakfast top ten.
But, today I want to focus upon Crushed Out. I’ve watched with growing admiration as new videos have been released to accompany their album from September, Alien Ocean. From the time I first watched the video to Skinny Dipping through to yesterday when I admired Rolling In The Moonshine, I knew that Crushed Out were the sort of band that Sonic Breakfast readers would go wild for.
Crushed Out’s thing is a sort of out-of-this-world comic book psych-surf. Arty without being obscure, accessible without being obvious, there’s something about all of the tunes on Alien Ocean that simply make me smile. They creep up on you when you’re least expecting it and tickle you under your armpits or on the soles of your feet. They give you that warm goo in the tummy.
Crushed Out is husband-and-wife team Frankie Sunswept on guitar and Moselle Spiller on drums. I’m told that their live show (they’re often touring around the US) features an immersive David Lynch-ian Tiki bar stage world complete with electric palm trees, black flamingos and much that you’d expect to find at the shores of an Alien Ocean. Sounds fab and I’d love to see them tour the seaside towns of Britain in 2017.
For now, let’s start developing that crush for Crushed Out.