Being neither a musician nor a poet, I had no idea what an ‘Anacrusis’ was until I started to dig beneath the new track from Mt. Wolf.
The Beatles threw one into ‘Yellow Submarine’; those words ‘in the’ that precede the rest of the verse we know and love are an anacrusis. They’re the pick-up before a downbeat; the first but unstressed syllables of a lyrical verse. In a broader sense, they are the beginning of something.
There’s also a genus of moths known as ‘Anacrusis’ – never say that Sonic Breakfast doesn’t try to inform and educate eh?
I saw Mt. Wolf twice last year. Both of those gigs were at ridiculous o’clock and so (not that this should always follow), both times I could barely stand. At the Great Escape festival in Brighton, they were one of my must sees. It had been an excessive day and night of industry bashes and special gigs so all I could do was sway. Something was beginning as something was ending. Later, in the evening, I fell over and bashed my head, waking to think I was in Berlin.
The second time I saw them was up north at the Beat Herder festival. I sat in an armchair at the back of the tent, having overdone the evening considerably. I allowed their gorgeous brand of fractured, folky electronics to wash over me whilst I considered falling asleep. They picked me up before I eventually downed my tools.
I do plan to see Mt. Wolf again. I’ll try for a less bleary and blurry experience in the future. They’re a fine band occupying a Sigur Ros sort of space and I owe it to them. This is the beginning.
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.
I had to get away from the fortress. The exuberant house music was playing havoc with my head. People that I’d never seen before were smiling as if they were long lost friends. Perhaps they were long lost friends. I doubted it.
I walked towards the main stage. The relentless beat in the heat was stifling these dancing feet to a walking pace. Skinny Lister were about to come on the stage. I’d seen them before. A bit of folk was surely what I now needed to recharge my batteries. I could sip at a pint of cider whilst chilling on the grass.
Little did I know.
Skinny Lister became my favourite festival band that day. There’s something contagious about their enthusiastic, inclusive approach. You might watch them from a distance when they take to the stage but, by the end, you can’t help but be immersed in the throng they create. Here’s what I said about their gig at Beat-Herder:-
“Skinny Lister on the Saturday afternoon are a case in point. Their well-rehearsed folky festival set doesn’t fail to get the skin blistering as those that are assembled work up a sweat with their energetic bouncy dancing. The flagon of rum that gets passed amongst the crowd is communally quaffed by thirsty onlookers. Laura Thomas takes a break from her vocal duties and waltzes with the audience. People wake from an afternoon slumber to find a double bass being plucked next to their heads. This is how Mumford and Sons should be.”
I saw them twice last year at different festivals. After both sets, I walked away beaming. Hangovers from a previous day of drinking were forgotten about. It was time to get back on it.
Skinny Lister are building up to the release of a new album, Down On Deptford Broadway, in April. They’ve pre-released two tracks from it although these are folky-punk lunges that live show regulars might already be familiar with. Singer Dan says about latest single, Cathy, that ‘It’s an ode to addiction and recklessness. A declaration of desire for something or someone you know is bad for you. The classic wrestle between head and heart.’
Previous single release, ‘Trouble On Oxford Street’, had an accompanying video full of beer and rebellion to entertain us.
It might be grey and dismal outside but I can sense festival fields not far in the distance. This makes me smile.