EMERGER – Round We Go

This might come as a surprise to some but I take my ‘art’ seriously. Publishing a blogpost every day could be perceived as a tendency towards quantity over quality though I still have standards to maintain. If I’m not happy with the content of an article, I will start again. I can’t say that I’m ever up all night poring over my words to get the tone just right but there’s more teeth grinding and general grunt-work going into these short daily outbursts than the average Joe might think. 

I’m sure that Emma and Gerry, the emerging South African duo of EMERGER, would understand. Indeed, their wonderful latest offering ‘Round We Go’ is all about that creative process we go through to come up with our end-produce. “We wrote this song for all the creators out there.“, says Gerry. “The song chronicles the creative process and all of its intricacies. Everything involved with the creation of a work of art has so many layers of complexities, which we feel a lot of people have taken for granted.

Admittedly, when the song is as fine as ‘Round We Go’, it’s quite a challenge to take it for granted. Synth-based and drawing influence from the 80’s, Emma’s vocal comes to  the fore from the off before a big, bold chorus gets into your head. A word of warning – it’ll be one that goes round and round in your head after a listen or two. The lyrics of the opening verses especially , taut and neat, deftly describe those initial creative flurries as if it’s the first throes of a romantic relationship. 

Starts off with one idea, Tame at first, But then it evolves to, One million thoughts for every hour, Spinning ‘round no turning back from here. So much there is to say, The smokescreen fades, And colours come into play, I’m lost in conversation, With my word constellations.” 

I take the opportunity to ask Emma and Gerry how things have been in South Africa seeing as we hear lots about the potential Covid variants in our news broadcasts. “Yeah, things are going okay-ish over here.“, they say. “Happy that we have more time to create during the pandemic, but yeah the loss of income due to no gigs/touring have been a massive blow. The South African variant is definitely a real thing. The first batch of vaccines our government ordered proved to be ineffective against the mutated strain. So it was a huge fail and put a massive delay on the vaccination process. Things have started returning more and more to normal. There are isolated instances of gigs that are starting to take place again. But there’s some serious predictions of a third wave that’s still to come, because our government can’t vaccinate enough people soon enough.

That does sound serious. Clearly, world leaders need to bash their heads together and ensure that vaccination rates are more equitable across the globe. The triumphant xenophobia evident in the Daily Express (‘our vaccine deployment is better than yours’)  is no way to fight a global pandemic. But that’s probably a blog post for another day. 

For now, let’s all allow our creative juices to flow with the sweet sounds of EMERGER. 


Georgia and The Vintage Youth – Colour Blind

I’m sure we’ve all got friends who are pretty skilled at letting us know about the current state of their mental health. They’re the ones who post on Facebook when they’re having a down day and are frequently letting us know about every minor challenge that they face. I don’t want to under-appreciate their troubles but today’s song might not be for them. 

We’ve also all got friends who don’t want to be a burden, ‘the grin and bear it’ crowd. They drop ever so subtle hints that their mental health might not be quite all there but our ears are not really in tune with what they’re saying. We’re listening to the wrong words or refusing to accept what we hear because things don’t really compute in our head. Chances are that things during lockdown haven’t got any easier for these friends. Today’s song is for them. 


Georgia and The Vintage Youth released the track, Colour Blind, at the end of January. Swathed in a soulful rock ‘n’ roll swagger, the influence of Marilyn Monroe looms large throughout. It’s no surprise to discover that Georgia is a massive fan of Marilyn. “Quite a few people have remarked that they look similar!“, I’m told by her PR company. “Georgia has treated the last 12 months in the same way that she feels Marilyn would have. ‘Carpe Diem’. Make every day count and make the most of it.

Slap bang in the middle of Colour Blind, we get a short spoken word segment from Marilyn. “I’m not just generally happy, if I’m generally anything then I guess I’m generally miserable,“, says Marilyn to deaf ears. The audience laugh it off. They don’t want to believe that their pin-up can be troubled. 

“Colour Blind is a ballad about coming to terms with and addressing my own mental health.“, says Georgia about the track. “The chorus is a huge hint, encouraging people to check up on loved ones and notice what their eyes are saying as opposed to just the words they speak.

I think there’s a real talent emerging here. You might well be swayed when you listen as well. Don’t just listen to ‘Colour Blind’ today though. 

Moontwin – For Your Happiness

Cast your minds back a couple of months if you will? I published a post when I was just back in the UK from my long retreat in Spain to talk about the fascinating dreampop duo, Moontwin. (Piece here). Moontwin create their music from separate places, one in  the UK and one in Bulgaria. It doesn’t seem to impact upon their quality. They’ve released another track since early February. ‘For Your Happiness’ deserves attention. 

Single friends of mine tell me that they’d like to meet a partner, perhaps ‘the one’ for them and then their lives will be complete. I scoff at their assertions and suggest that they might be putting too much emphasis on the power of the other. They tend to concede that I’m right but still their search goes on; they copy and paste profiles onto dating apps saying what they think they’ll need for happiness. They should look within.

That’s what Moontwin’s ‘For Your Happiness’ is about – “our obsession with idealised, romantic love and the desire to seek our personal salvation through ‘the other’“. Centred around some deliciously stark spoken word from Hunter S Thompson’s The Proud Highway’, here’s a tune layered with rich melancholia, sinister progression and standout vocal harmony. Much is packed into the song’s three and a half minutes – exactly what Sonic Breakfast readers expect from their Monday morning tune. 

I ask the Moontwin duo what they might need to ensure their own happiness. “Happiness would be assured with an abundant supply of fine cheeses and wines to help navigate these trying times.“, says Mellie. I’m sure we can all agree with that. “Ideally accompanied by lashings of warm, buttery, yellow custard and baskets of kittens in lace attire.“, she adds more controversially. 

Zac’s request is less complicated. “A few litres of cheap unbranded vodka, some Marlborough reds“, he requests.

‘For Your Happiness’ is definitely not about meeting your dream lover. 


Katie Frank – Politician

I’ve managed teams of people most of my working life. It’s mostly been a glorious thing to do. I love working with others to pursue goals, to try to achieve great things. I think I’m pretty good at cajoling and encouraging to foster collective spirit. I like to coach, to support others to reach targets. It wasn’t always thus.

I think back to one of my early jobs in line management. I was young and naive and others would take advantage of my inexperience. I’d make ill-informed decisions and depend upon the wrong people to get answers to questions that didn’t need asking. It wasn’t through lack of effort but I wasn’t very good at my job.

And one person loved to expose these inadequacies. Let’s call her Mary for ease though that’s not her name. Mary wasn’t much cop at her own job but had built up her profile with the senior managers who thought she could do no wrong. We’d go into meetings and I’d lose count of the times that Mary would tell all about the great things she had done. Sometimes I’d know that Mary hadn’t done those things because I had. But I was too meek to speak up and my stock wasn’t at the height where I could knock Mary from her pedestal. She’d seem to take joy out of my mistakes telling all and sundry how she would have done it differently. I never openly challenged Mary and we never argued. I let her get away with being the chosen one in the office. I think Mary knew that her status was secure. My life was pretty miserable in truth. 

If Katie Frank’s ‘Politician’ had been available back then, I would have probably played it on repeat on my Sony Walkman cassette player. It’s a song written about Mary and all of her ilk. Katie explains more. “I actually wrote it about one of my least favorite coworkers while working in memory care in a nursing home.“, she says. “This coworker was not a team player. Much like a politician, she only cared about promoting herself and making herself look like the hero while we did all the dirty work.

Katie, originally from Philadelphia but living in Nashville since 2019, peddles an upbeat, country-rock sound that’ll clearly sound grand on the radio in those parts. On the evidence of the video to ‘Politician’ she also wears nightshirts with cool logos and has a backing band that sport fine facial hair. It’s music that’ll never win awards for originality but sometimes we just want a solid stomp and ‘Politician’ has that by the bucketload. Think Shania Twain and you’ll be on track to not be disappointed. 

Katie’s colleague gets her comeuppance in this fun video. I like to think that one day Mary was also found out. Unsurprisingly, I’m no longer in touch.

Matt Monsoor – The Rower

I had my initial Covid-19 vaccination earlier this week. I know that, for some people, the  days following the first jab have been pretty horrible; fevers, shakes and unbearable headaches as their immune system deals with the dose. I’m happy to report that I felt none of this; perhaps there was an insignificant headache but that might have been a consequence of having to stare at the laptop screen for too long. The day job has been pretty intense this week. 

Matt Monsoor, in his own words ‘a nobody from Wisconsin‘, also had his first jab this week. I know this because he tells me so in an engaging and informative note he sent to me. “A bit of normalcy will feel good again.“, he says “Even though there is still work to be done, with the sight and feel of spring in the air it sure helps.“. Sonic Breakfast does not consider Matt to be a nobody. 

Indeed, on the evidence of recent single ‘The Rower’, Matt has a creativity and vision that demands much attention. “Honestly, I just got tired of people waving their Jesus saves flags while behaving like really awful people at the same time.“, he says. “The hypocrisy and greed in America was becoming more ruthless and embarrassing by the minute. It’s been ten years since my last release so apparently i had a few things to get off my chest.

This commentary on the divided state of America runs deep. I can’t help but reflect upon my own disdain over the current state of this post-Brexit Britain when Matt says “it was a great sense of relief to get egomaniac trump out of the house but also really disappointing to see how it all shook down. So much damage has already been done and the division here has been intense. Trump and his cronies have brought out the worst in everyone. Now in the last week we’ve had two mass shootings to add to the deadliest gun violence in decades yet they still argue about reform. It’s all so sad and incredibly frustrating.

A friend mentioned earlier this week that he’d been told to fuck off when asking another shopper to wear their mask properly in a supermarket. It sounds like things aren’t that different over the pond. “Some people here go about their business as if it’s just another day.“, mentions Matt. “Depending on what state you live in determines what you can and can’t do. They should just call it america cause there is no such thing as united states here with all the divisiveness.

I’m getting distracted. This is supposed to be a piece about ‘The Rower’. It’s quite a tune; a breathy, appetising Blues-based starter gives way to a psychedelic poppy middle and conclusion. For me, it’s a long lost unreleased track by Marc Bolan; fab alt-folk that’s making a comment about those who use religion to nullify their minds. “I think the accumulation of frustration over the last four years came to a head sometime over this last summer.“, says Matt. “I’d spend my time in my shop playing my 55LG2 and found the opening chords to be a relief valve. I’d just play them over and over. I enjoyed the minor chords aggressiveness.The song just kinda fell out of that. Splat. It has felt good to put something out again after such a long gap.

Don’t just take my word for it. Enrich your weekend with ‘The Rower’. It’s exactly the sort of quirky gem that Sonic Breakfast was established for. 



Peploe – The Novice

There are times when you hear a track and really love it – but can’t quite put your finger on why that’s the case. For most people this is not a problem; but for somebody who writes about music it’s stifling. Words that mostly come freely don’t and you’re left staring at a blank page. You’re a beginner in your craft trying hard to deny the feelings of failure. You are nothing more than a novice… Ah, there we go…


Today’s track is called ‘The Novice’ by a London-based duo, Peploe. It’s been out for a couple of months now but I remain keen to bring it to the attention of Sonic Breakfast readers because it’s a great song to hear. It’s a ‘pick and mix’ of genres, an almighty mash-up that comes together to work as a whole. Gabrielle’s immediate vocal line comes from a soul-mod base whilst the glitchy, staccato rhythm emerging from Arvid’s drumming is drawing influence from electro-jazz. There are key changes a plenty; wild and wacky creative flourishes that keep you on your toes as your head learns to cope with the complexities within. Somehow though, what could be an almighty muddle never becomes so. This is a simple, futuristic pop song – genius. 

And the video is quite neat as well. We’re all missing parties and interaction and this is Peploe’s attempt to deal with the fact that social events are limited for many. Arvid and Gabrielle plaster their faces onto the bodies of guests at parties in an attempt to remind us all that fun can still be had. It’s been well received. 

I ask Peploe about 2021 and their future plans. “2021 has been a bit slow, we’ve been itching to start gigging!!“, they say. “Though the silver lining is that we’ve been writing a lot of music that we’re excited to release soon. A real highlight was the amazing reaction we received to the release of ‘The Novice’ and its music video. The first thing we’ll do when the restrictions lift is hug our friends! After that, we’ll make the gigging a reality. 🙂

Sonic Breakfast can’t wait for that reality. We’re not absolute beginners when it comes to writing about gigs. 

PENT UP – Reflection

A pattern is forming; not one, not two but three instrumental pieces featured on Sonic Breakfast in recent weeks. (The other two are here and here). For a blog that is so wrapped in lyrics, this is quite a development. I’m finding so much on offer in the piano-led pieces that I’m hearing. Cinematic and evocative, they’re helpful position-statements in explaining the raw emotion of the last year. They allow you to fill in the gaps, to let you mind wander, to reflect, to think and to learn. You can lose yourself in a story without words, wallow for a while and breathe it all in. 

Today’s choice is aptly called ‘Reflection’ and it’s by PENT UP, the moniker of Stephen Brook, a pianist from the South West of England. It’s already been noted by commentators more relevant than I that Stephen has the ability to tell stories without lyrics. Stephen himself notes that the video he made to accompany the piece ‘adds the visual context to the song’s narrative‘.

It’s an emotionally-charged video. Quickly we move from the bustle of a busy underground to deserted streets and empty buses. I’ve now not been to the office of my day job for over a year but when this video charts a path up an empty Regents Street and pans down a quiet Leicester Square, things really resonate. These are some of the streets that I’d walk along daily as I’d merrily go about my working day. Their emptiness is eerie, almost apocalyptic. It’s chilling when thinking about what we once took for granted.

The video moves on to feature images of people in various reflective modes; some are alone and others are in clinches with loved ones. All are taking the time to think and to ponder. We’ve lost a lot but gained equal amounts of insight into the things that really matter. 

Stephen explains his motivation behind ‘Reflection’. “I wanted to capture all of the emotions that we’ve all gone through over the past year.“, he says. “The numerous lockdowns, the sparse opportunities of freedom and how this is affecting the population mentally. I’ve also had my own realisations on the importance of family and how I have taken my own family for granted in the past.

Do find time to have a listen to ‘Reflection’ today. It can be a thinking Thursday for us all. 

Griefcat – The Vaccine Song

A very short post today because I have an urgent appointment that I need to get ready for. Today is the day that I’m getting my initial Covid-19 vaccination.

I have no fears or qualms about it. Indeed, I see the roll-out of the vaccination across the world as the way that we’ll get to return to some sort of normality. I’m aware that I might feel a bit shivery after I’ve had it but I see it as a price worth paying. I want to see my parents again by the time that this year is out.


I know very little about Griefcat but I’m charmed by this video that I’ve found on YouTube. Some crazy anti-vaxxers have been claiming ‘The Vaccine Song’ as one of their own completely missing the fact that this is pretty tongue-in-cheek. From what I understand, the song was written and produced prior to the latest crazy furore over Covid vaccinations. It’s more relevant now than ever. 

See you all tomorrow (hopefully) when normal service will be resumed. 

Rachel Love – Primrose Hill & Down The Line

It’s been mentioned before on the pages of Sonic Breakfast but I was a pretty intense, obsessive teenager. Goodness knows what that would have meant if I’d have been growing up now. Back then in the 1980’s I had to depend upon late night radio to pick up on new music that I liked. I’d scour the pages of music magazines to find recommendations that I might enjoy – and I’d spend most of my paper round money collecting my ordered stock from the ‘Our Price’ in my provincial town. Despite being ridiculously well-stocked, those record stores would never have what I wanted and so I’d have to place an order and wait weeks for the delivery. 

The world was such a different place. For all of its downsides, I’m much more of a fan of the readily-accessible music we now have. I’m not sure I’d have the patience anymore for the old models of retail. 

I’m a little surprised that I didn’t pick up on ‘Dolly Mixture’ when reading those magazines. I’d been in love with the Shangri-La’s since my pre-teen years and so would tend to gravitate towards acts that cited them as influences. If I was in a pub quiz nowadays (online of course) and a question came up about ‘Happy Talk’, I’d know it was a Rodgers and Hammerstein cover by Captain Sensible but would have no clue that ‘Dolly Mixture’ was the backing band for that song. 

Rachel Love, today’s featured artist on Sonic Breakfast, was guitarist and singer in Dolly Mixture. We need to fast forward to now.

2021 has seen two singles being released by Rachel. Both sweet, almost pastoral lilts, they shimmer and meander in gentle fashion grabbing the attention of any indie-pop fan as they proceed. On Primrose Hill, we find Rachel in melancholic mood, reflective and looking back to roads previously travelled. On Down The Line, a song that was previously part of the ‘Dolly Mixture’ catalogue, we take a short train ride to more glamorous places, casually observing our surrounds as we travel. On both,the music is breezy, calming, romantic and full of yearning.

I exchange E-mails with Steve Lovell, Rachel’s partner, about the journey they’ve both been on. “We set CowChow Records up so that as musicians/producers we could pool together resources, information, skills etc.“, says Steve. “Both Rachel and I have a pretty extensive experience from working in the music business in the past but most of these experiences have little relevance to a vastly changed industry. It has been a sharp learning curve but also at the same time a great experience. The biggest challenge for me as the main administrator has been producing, mixing, creating videos and promoting the various musicians much of it from a hospital bed. Again something that wouldn’t have been possible in the past.

At Sonic Breakfast, we look forward to more from CowChow Records and more from Rachel. Her album is due for release in the summer. For now, we take a moment to be grateful that we’re no longer lurking around record shops in provincial towns like a misfit in a Nick Hornby novel. 

YNES – Better Job

As soon as he said it, the furious backtracking began. The slippery Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, maintained that he hadn’t actually meant to be so dismissive to the whole of the creative industry when he mentioned that they should all get better jobs. He even tried to justify his position by saying that, every once in a while, he listened to music. His colleagues in the Tory party chuckled amongst themselves whilst they looked forward to another trip to the ballet. He’d only said what most of them felt after all. These artistic types were a scourge on society; layabouts and wasters, the world would be a better place without their moans and grumbles. Get them working in ‘better jobs’ and they might be less critical of us, they all thought.

It’s typical of the party that doesn’t really understand huge swathes of the creative industry. Friends of mine were upset by Sunak’s comments but not entirely surprised. For years, these friends have struggled to make ends meet as they dedicatedly pursue their artistic dreams. They hold down second and third jobs that most wouldn’t want just so that they can get the occasional chance to release their art. Hats off to them – I’m pretty sure that countries where creative spirit is suppressed are not the sort of places I want to be.


It’s fair to say that Sunak’s dismissive approach to the arts got YNES’ goat. The post-punk artist from Coventry (“City of culture 2021 – talk about timing“) was angered enough to write a vitriolic, witty, tongue-in-cheek gem about the whole sorry state of affairs. You’ve got to love a tune that slams down its lyrical position right from the off and then doesn’t let up throughout. 

 “Maybe I should get a better job – one where I can wear a tie to work. Actually I’m a woman, it’ll have to be a mini skirt“, sings YNES at the beginning of the song. 

 “Retrain me, Teach me how to be fucking boring, Show me conformity, Please.“, she offers at the end.

YNES is a modern-day Toyah Wilcox, a sneering and pouting Hazel O’ Connor. She’s got stuff to say and is able to say it well. I don’t want her to become a banker or an accountant. That would be a waste of her talent. For now, she’s getting on with things and waiting for this whole nightmare to end. 

It’s given me time to sit at home and use what I have around me so I suppose it’s given me more creativity.”, says YNES. “I’ll be back in the charity shops when lockdowns lifted – pretty much the only thing I miss is scouring through second-hand clothes (so cliche).

Monday morning beckons the start of another week for most of us. Keep on doing what you’re doing.