WAMI – Life Is Good

Yesterday was a pretty perfect day. Spring was definitely in the air. We went for a weekend walk around Holme Fen, the lowest point in the UK, and were able to breathe in the good, clean air. The peaty mud beneath gave us a bouncy carpet to walk on. At one point, we happened upon a bird hide on the edge of a large lake and paused for a few minutes simply to watch the geese, the ducks and all manner of ornithological dream perform their ballet in front of us. Some swooped down from their flight to make a splash in the water whilst others chirped from the comfort of their small island. Life is good. 

It has to be worth reminding ourselves of that from time to time. On those low days when nothing seems to be going our way it’s helpful to take a step back and a few deep breaths. It’s not about those things that we don’t have or can’t do. When compared to 90% of the people on this planet our lot is likely better. Our irritations are mostly minor; our basic needs fulfilled.

WAMI are an Italian duo creating splendid electronic material. Lorenzo and Federico used to be resident DJs in a club but left their booths a couple of years ago to focus on their jazzy, R&B compositions. Their recent track, ‘Life Is Good’ is an uplifting belter if ever I’ve heard one. The vocalist on this track, Julia Shuren, sent WAMI her rough idea (vocal and piano chords) which was enough to enthuse over. Much remote working followed with Julia re-recording her vocals in her apartment in New York (she studies there) and in her hometown in Canada. 

“”Life is Good” was written with the intentions of lifting people up through this difficult time that the entire world has been going through.”, say WAMI in their press release. “The past year has been bombarded with bad news, and sometimes we need a reminder that it’s going to be alright. We just need to start spreading good vibrations with simple gestures and we hope this song can help lift the spirits of people that need it the most.

From our ensuing E-mail conversation, it’s clear that WAMI are pretty driven in their pursuits.  “Our biggest plan for this year is to create an Italian independent label, in which we can push and promote our artists as harder as we can.“, they say. “Such a big goal, but we’re absolutely motivated! 🙂

They add to this. “And for our musical project WAMI, we have several tracks almost ready to be released, but we have to brainstorm a little just to understand which path choose and which track deserves more that the other. Not a simple job, but essential if we want to keep our identity and to promote to our audience the “right” song.

We got back to the car after our walk at Holme Fen and it wouldn’t go into reverse. We had to call Green Flag to help recover us. This was a blow, an inconvenience that we could do without. And yet, it’s still worth reminding ourselves that ‘Life Is Good’. 


Elena – Build A Ship

We called it the walk of shame. But I don’t think we were really that ashamed when taking the walk. Meandering home wearing your dishevelled gladrags and yesterday’s underwear, your hair astray and your face ruddied, it was a clear giveaway to all and sundry that you had been up to ‘no good’ last night and this morning.

Who was it last night?”, asks your chirpy housemate, up at the crack of dawn and making themselves a healthy fruit smoothie before heading off to work for an early shift. You mumble something incoherent, masking the fact that you can’t entirely recall their name. You make your excuses and move back to your room to slump onto the bed. Your head tells you that your promiscuity is nothing to be proud of as you begin to descend into a prolonged bout of self-loathing. The beautiful aftermath of a one night stand.


Elena’s glorious single, ‘Build A Ship’, captures those post one night stand feelings perfectly. And yet, there’s a lovely twist in the tale as she’s able to spin a positive out of the self-loathing. Back in her bedroom after a night spent with him, Elena finds an old toy ship that she must have had since childhood. And she uses the ship to create her own happy narratives. 

The single itself is a delightful dose of folk-fuelled pop, engaging, melodic and a fine vehicle in which Elena’s warm vocal can shine. It’s quirky enough to avoid any accusation of blandness but familiar enough for you to fall in love with on first listen. 

Elena, born and home-schooled on a cattle farm in Canada, lives in London now but has evidently been on quite a journey to get here. She’s got a busy year ahead “finalizing and releasing all the music created last year, so preparing for lots of projects!“.

Me – I have a busy morning ahead as I get my Lego from the loft.

Natalie Gelman – 2020

How has your 2021 been? We’re nearly a sixth of the way through the year and I guess that for most, there hasn’t been much of a difference from 2020? Here in the U.K. we’re still in lockdown, not able to see friends and family and not able to go to pubs, restaurants or non-essential shops. At least, there’s light at the end of the tunnel with an effective vaccine rollout and a plan that suggests we could be back having festivals in fields by the summer. We cling to that in the knowledge that we’ve had false dawns before.

“This year I was gunna get my shit together, Now I’m tryin’ stay alive hoping 21 is better.”

That’s a line sung in Natalie Gelman’s perky earworm of a pop song, 2020. In it, with humour, style and grace, Natalie chronicles some of the tough things that happened last year but looks forward to this with a slightly more positive spirit. I check in with Natalie and ask if 2021 is currently living up to expectation. 

It’s crazy to think how quickly this year has been going and that we’re already 2 months in.“, she says. “I’m starting to feel more hopeful this year than I did as 2020 ended. Personally, I feel like I hit a wall at the beginning of this year as the lockdowns got stricter and politics in the states turned really ugly when the capital was stormed.

Natalie tells me that she’s been writing a lot and has written her first original song on a kalimba. She’s also got plans on the horizon. 

This summer I’ll be releasing a full length album with an indie label. I’m working with them to explore how we can work with things as they are and safely do concerts that fall outside the norms. I love to play and miss touring so much so it feels good to figure out ways to make the connection at online, drive in or micro house concerts.

Natalie seems pretty sorted. She’s got a decent stash of loo roll anyway. Anybody who can write a fun rhyming couplet admonishing those people who’re unable to fathom how to properly wear a mask is OK with me. And the future song on the kalimba sounds like something to wait up for. 

As we hurtle towards another blank 2021 weekend, happy Friday all. 

Poploader – Teresa

I knew Teresa at high school. I can’t pretend I knew her well. We chatted once or twice and found common ground in our mutual desire to get out of the town at the earliest possible opportunity. But I don’t think Teresa ever left. As we got older, I found a higher education route out and rarely returned but Teresa was too much of a drifter to focus on her study. When I asked about her, friends would tell me that they’d seen her crumpled in the corner at the town nightclub. I stopped asking about her and Teresa stopped going out. I’m not sure where she is now.


Poploader, a German indie guitar pop trio from Regensburg, are absolutely not to be confused with Toploader, the much derided indie rock band from Eastbourne. Poploader is a ‘kind of new project’ whereas Toploader, by common consensus, should have given up years ago. And Poploader have recently released a vital, energetic slice of mod-fuelled, off-kilter light-punk pop with their single, Teresa. To my knowledge, Toploader have never released anything near as interesting. 

Poploader are only a ‘kind of new project’ because Markus, Rainer and Thomas have known each other for years. They played in bands together back when Toploader were just starting out but then lost touch with each other. Reuniting twenty years later over a few beers and a love of Star Wars, they decide to begin again. On the evidence of their two singles released so far, this was a wise decision to make. 

I ask Markus who the ‘Teresa’ in their song is. “The name “Teresa” is representative of all the lonely souls who are increasingly lost in solitude in search of better days, familiar people and positive experiences.“, he tells me in response.

It sounds uncannily like the Teresa that I once knew at high school. But there’s a reason for this. I might have known people like Teresa back then but I didn’t actually know anybody called Teresa. This blog gives me the licence to wander between fact and fiction and I made her up. I apologise for my deceit. 

Poploader end their press releases with ‘May the pop be with you’. I like that. 

Queera Nightly – The Girl Who Fell

We’re all on a journey. For some of us it’s a planned effort; we know where we want to be in five years time and have a pretty clear Gantt chart laid out in our heads for how we’re going to get there. For others (and I include myself in this camp), the journey is a little less certain. We might have some approximate, back of a cigarette packet, future aspirations but we’ll meander on the way, get distracted by other things and maybe end up at a different place than the one we first thought we might want to get to. To my mind, both journeys are valid.


It would appear from the accompanying press release to the wonderful track, The Girl Who Fell, Queera Nightly has been on a more demanding journey than many. All the steps travelled by the Californian based artist, musician and drag performer seem to now be bearing fruit. You get a real sense of triumph over adversity; here’s an artist in a happy place who’s keen to celebrate that fact with us all. Let me tell you more? 

Raised in a highly religious household, Queera struggled to understand their identity growing up, often wondering where they fit in. And, reading between the lines that led to a fair bit of anguish on Queera’s part. “I’ve worn different masks throughout my life: the devoted follower, the politician, the wayward soul.“, they say. “At times I felt more at ease behind a mask, safe from people’s judgement of who I really was. I thought that that would keep me safe, but it only made me feel more and more alone. I felt confined to a box of who I could be.

‘The Girl Who Fell’, the lead single and title track from Queera’s forthcoming album, explores that mask-wearing dilemma in all of its glory. With a bouncy indie-pop beat, jangling guitars and a dose of French chanson from the 1960’s, this is a tune that offers a compelling narrative flittering between social constraints and personal freedom. Past shadows are reflected upon from the current position of strength. 

And what a strong position that currently is. I ask Queera how 2021 has been so far and am struck by the overwhelming positivity. “2021 has been off to a great start!“, they say. “My partner and I have been having so much fun making art, doing photo shoots, and filming music videos and creative projects. We design and build everything ourselves. It’s a lot of work but we are growing with each project and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. My First EP is releasing in March and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it. My music has always come from a very personal place, so it can be kind of scary, but I couldn’t be happier.

Just to whet your appetites for that, I’ll bring you a bonus track today as well. Just a few days ago, Queera added to The Girl Who Fell by releasing the follow-up track. ‘First Temptation’ gives additional insight into the journey that Queera has been on. 

Where do you want to be in five years time? 


Sue Denim – A Covid Romance

We have the roadmap. The route out of lockdown has been set down by Boris and his henchmen, Chris and Patrick, and we can now all rejoice in the knowledge that we’ll be able to get a proper haircut whilst holidaying in self-catering accommodation by April 12th. The roadmap will no doubt have been of particular interest to fledgling daters, probably those of the online variety for ‘how else are you going to meet people nowadays’, who will have been jubilant at the news that they are now legally able to meet a stranger (just one mind you!) on a park bench from mid-March. 

You won’t be able to take the stranger home until mid-May of course but long courtships of socially-distanced hand-holding are just the thing that the moral core of the Tory party think is good for us right now. And, indeed, not jumping into bed with somebody just because you share a common love of yoga and fish on Tinder is surely no bad thing.Those benches will be busy.

The fab Sue Denim released a jaunty acoustic number back in December in which she yearns for ‘A Covid Romance’. Perhaps Sue will be locking her bike up by the bench to now find her man with ‘big brown eyes’ and ‘beautiful thighs’ or maybe she already found him back in December? The rules of dating and the roadmap out of lockdown are likely different in North Wales (where Sue resides) anyway. But that’s a different issue. 

‘A Covid Romance’ is the first track to be taken from Sue’s second solo album, ‘Lockdown Laments’. Recorded in her garage, this is, according to the press release, a collection of ‘nostalgic, indiepop lofi anthems’. ‘A Covid Romance’ is a pretty cool opening gambit, with its nods to Jonathan Richman and a smart Beatles refrain at the end. It all must seem a pretty far cry from those heady days performing as one half of Robots In Disguise and appearing in episodes of The Mighty Boosh but Sue seems pretty sanguine about things. 

2021 has been amazing so far“, she says in an E-mail exchange. “I’m just grateful to be alive, fed & clothed and write songs (seriously). I’ll probably take all my decluttering to the charity shops when the lockdown lifts, how exciting, can’t wait! Ha. You?

Just for the record, I won’t be taking my decluttering to that charity shop but I will be immersing myself in the delights of lockdown laments. Oh yeah, I wanna hold your hand. 


Dreams Of Empire – Space Invader

It was probably quite a paranoid thought. But we used to imagine that there was a ‘Guild Of Incredibly Tall Men’. The Guild’s sole purpose was to mess up our view at gigs. There was a period back in the noughties when we couldn’t go to a concert without the guild turning up. They’d time it to perfection. With minutes to go before a band that we’d been waiting patiently to see, two or three ‘incredibly tall men’ would slightly awkwardly shuffle over to wherever it was that we were standing and plonk themselves slap bang in front. The men couldn’t hear the protest; mostly they’d just make an impenetrable huddle between themselves and act oblivious, sometimes they’d acknowledge the grumbles but say something polite like ‘Well, where the fuck else are we going to stand?’ – joyful space invaders.

More recently, the Guild seem to have disbanded but have been replaced by the Association of Narcissists at gigs. This is the society that don’t actually seem very interested at standing and watching because they can’t bear that many eyes not being on them. So, they flail their hair about so that you can eat a gobful of it. They’ve either doused themselves with so much perfume or forgotten to use deodorant for the past two weeks but the effect is the same – you are left gagging for air. And just when you think you’ve got away from their company, they insist on getting their phone out to badly film themselves at the show utterly blocking your view. I do miss gigs.

The phenomenon of the ‘Space Invader’ isn’t just something that’s prevalent at gigs though. Over the last year, we’ve all been told that keeping our distance from others is a good thing to maintain. So why, when you go to any supermarket in any town is there still a warm welcome from the Society Of Pushers? This is the crowd that take great delight in nonchalantly reaching over your frame to pick up a packet of ham when if they’d just wait for two seconds you’d be long gone from the cold meat aisle. 


Dreams of Empire are probably similarly bitter as I am about the ‘Space Invader’. The Brighton dreampop duo (who become a four piece live) named the opening track of their second album, Encapsulation, after it. It’s a track that I’m very much drawn to and not just because I can relate. “A pure indie guitar energy rush for anyone with a fringe (or who used to own one)“, says the accompanying press release – and you can’t argue with that. 

There’s  a slice of shoegaze and a trim of twee that wrap themselves around the solid indie base on offer in this ‘Space Invader’ cake. Andrew Craig, guitarist and main songwriter in the band, tells me how they plan to follow it up. “The new stuff is going to sound similar to Space Invader which has been really well received.”, he says “Oh and I’ve even written some slightly more positive lyrics for a change – hopefully we’ll have reasons to be cheerful before too long.

I know I’m odd but I’m cheered enough by the sentiment behind Space Inader. It’s good to know that the Guilds, Associations and Societies don’t solely target me. 

Hanssøn – No Drama Llama

Back last year when the initial lockdowns hit, we took to weekend walking. Too busy during the working week to muster much of a stroll, we looked forward to the weekend when we’d get out to explore local footpaths and tracks. Places previously taken for granted came alive on our short hikes; we discovered small fishing lakes on our doorstep, geological wonders and an abundance of nature. Our horizons might have been shrinking but our interests were growing; there was beauty to behold in a single blade of grass.

One walk sticks in my mind. A seemingly endless meander along a towpath gave way to a clearing just over a slight hump. A white cottage in the distance shimmered in the early evening sunlight. And fenced off in the well-treed garden of the cottage which ran parallel to our path was a field of llamas – or were they alpacas? This was not what we expected to see on a Saturday stroll in Lincolnshire. It is not a common sight. 

On returning home, I spent an hour or two, with the net as my resource, trying to understand the differences between llamas and alpacas. I wanted to find out more about both animals. What makes them tick and why did I stumble upon them in that Lincolnshire field? I never did find out why they were there. I suspect we spied alpacas rather than llamas given the physiological differences between the two. Previously, I’d thought that llamas were only good for spitting and wool. I was wrong on that front. 


Hanssøn likes llamas. She tells me about her experience filming the video for ‘No Drama Llama’ when we exchange E-mails in advance of this post. 

Making the video was quite surreal.”, she says. “When I wrote the track, my producer was like “Dude you’ve GOTTA shoot a video with some llamas” and logistically and with the pandemic, it seemed like such a far out idea that I couldn’t even conceptualise it, but once I started digging around, a lot of things opened up – I’m based in NYC and I found a lot of the llama farms were at least 1.5 – 3 hours away. And lots of the farms were mainly for alpacas rather than llamas even though I was google searching “llama farm”. But eventually I made contact with Bev at Second Wind Llamas and when we spoke on the phone I pitched her this idea, sent through the lyrics and the song, and we agreed on it. She mentioned that the lyrics in the song “Thank you to my healers” caught her attention because she finds her Llamas to be quite affectionate and healing for certain visitors, and on the day of the shoot, shared with me stories and experiences of this.”

I love this idea that llamas have healing powers. It stands to reason really. Horses are increasingly used in equine therapy sessions so why not llamas (and alpacas)? A friend with a field is desperate to get himself an alpaca so convinced is he of their general health benefits. He could be onto something.

No Drama Llama, a synth pop gem about trying to find some peace whilst feeling alien(ated), is just one track from Hanssøn’s ‘Phases’ project. With a work ethic to envy, Hanssøn has been releasing new music every two weeks at full moon and new moon. She admits that having the focus has kept her going. “My family are all in Australia and I haven’t seen them since 2019...”, she mentions. “So having something to ground me in the USA such as music has been really a life saver, and the first thing I’ll be doing (when this is all over) is getting back to Australia to see my family.

I’m going to spend some of this Sunday morning listening to the other tracks that Hanssøn has released as part of the ‘Phases’ project. I suspect there’s much joy within. Have a Llama-great Sunday.

Simon Dinwiddy – City Of Hope

Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know how much I love going to festivals. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to party in a field by the end of this year though I admit the prospects look gloomy right now. Rockaway Beach at the Butlins in Bognor was the last festival I was able to get along to before the pandemic hit. I reviewed it for e-Festivals here. January 2020 seems an age ago. 

Festivals are my ‘City Of Hope’. Some of the larger ones (I’m thinking Glastonbury and Boomtown) are the actual size of cities but even the smaller ‘towns and villages’ help me in my escape. They are my amusement arcade; the place where I can go to forget about the 9 to 5 drudgery. I can eat popcorn and candyfloss at a festival if I want to. I simply cannot wait for their return. 

Simon Dinwiddy gets my longing. His recent tune ‘City Of Hope’ is all about dreams and romance, lust and escapism. With an indie crash and a punky, Britpop splash, Simon takes us all to the seaside for a swagger through the streets. With a nod to The Libertines and to Blur, this is a fun-time tune. How crazy that the video is filmed in Bognor, the scene of my last ‘City Of Hope’.

I’m in Littlehampton, I thought it would be ironic to do it in Bognor.“, says Simon when I ask him about his choice of location. When you see the cheesy tat on offer, the irony is not lost though I wouldn’t dismiss the hope that comes out of a place that hosts a festival of Rockaway Beach’s quality. 

‘Get on a plane and fly to Spain’, sings Simon a couple of times in the song. Now, there’s an idea if we only could. It’s two weeks since I flew out of Alicante. My enforced isolation is done and I’d hop on that plane back tomorrow. That’s a true city of hope. 

The Dead Freights – Fever And The Thunder

Here I am in Prague; it’s 6AM and I’ve been out all night. I stick to the dancefloor and sway from side to side as I try to move in time with the beat. Some of my newfound ‘friends’ also dance whilst others hide in the shadows at the bar. By tomorrow, I will have forgotten their names but that doesn’t matter a jot in this moment. Eric, an American I’d met hours previously, offers me a drag on his cigarette. I shake my head as a shard of sunlight squeezes through the window and reminds me that it might be a good time to head back to my hotel.

Now, I’m in Vienna. It’s 3AM and the taxi driver has just dropped us off at this sweat-box. There are no windows here; everything is painted black. But after an evening surrounded by champagne, ice-buckets and bling, it’s exactly what we wanted. The combination of bass and beat stops us from thinking too much; we shout words to each other in slo-mo as the strobe effect plays havoc with our mashed-up heads. 

And now I’m in Bristol. It’s not yet midnight and the party is young. It’s a student house in a posh part of town. But word has got around and the clientele that’s about to over-run this space with their presence aren’t your typical student crowd. Punks with glorious mohicans take control of the CD player in the kitchen whilst a reggae crowd sit in a huddle in a downstairs bedroom. I take another swig from my can of Scrumpy Jack and keep wandering.


Sleazy house parties and grungey discos – It’s fair to say I’ve had my fair share. The Dead Freights, fine indie from Southampton, would doff their collective cap if the evidence on offer in ‘Fever and The Thunder’ is anything to go by. 

For this is a tune that could all be about those chaotic nights spent in pursuit of grubby pleasure. Charlie James, frontman of The Dead Weights tells more. “Fever has that concise chaos which is imperative to our sound and overall vibe as a band.“, he says. “To me, it sounds like a sleazy house party; a constant groove with moments of menace. It wears itself out then climaxes into madness.“. The accompanying video sees Charlie come a cropper at the hands of his fellow band-mates.

You can clearly see why this mix of grunge-laden disco (Fever) and traditional rock ‘n’ roll (Thunder) has been turning heads down on the South Coast. I’ve had a sneaky listen to their next single, Sufferin Safari, and it’s evident that there’s still some serious diesel in the tank. When the video for that gets released, I might well give The Dead Freights more coverage on this page. I do hope that Louis, Robert and Robby have dropped their obvious desire to murder Charlie by that point.