Xuan – Sheila

I woke early yesterday. It gave me chance to write up a couple of outstanding (as in overdue) articles whilst the villa remained cool. The night had dipped below twenty degrees for the first time in months. My head, for so long a fuzzy mess in this heat, yearned for a return to routine. 

So, once the articles were done and dusted, I turned to what I know and love best. And spent most of the day scouting around for new music. I was stumbling over so much that I enjoyed. Some of it made me cry; some of it made me laugh; some of it was clearly great art but pretty unlistenable all the same. 

Before long I had a list as long as my arm of acts that I wanted to feature on Sonic Breakfast. It’s fair to say that I’d had a productive day. Music can make you feel good. Out here in this remote space where it’s entirely feasible that I won’t speak to actual live humans for days on end, music had again been my companion and friend. 

Xuan (pronounced ‘swan’ apparently) was one such act that made me smile. This young woman from Dallas, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, is releasing an album, ‘Have Some Fun’, in November on Palo Santo records. On the evidence of the two tracks I’ve heard from it, there’s no misnomer here. 

Regular readers of ‘Sonic Breakfast’ will know that I’m a sucker for a bit of indie bubblegum twee. Initial single release, ‘We Were Just Talking’ ticks those boxes as it playfully sets up the tried and tested girl-meets-boy / girl-misses-boy story. Xuan’s voice, deliberately innocent, gives the sound some extra chewiness. Let go of any cynicism you might have and I’ve no doubt you’ll find charm within. 

Xuan has just released a new video for another song from the album ‘Sheila’. It’s another belter of a tune. On the surface, it appears to be about an old classic car but dig beyond that and there’s a wider metaphor at play. This is about classic friendship and fun times. 

I’ll be looking forward to more music-listening fun when I get to hear Xuan’s full album. 


Gaston Light – Wake up and fight

It’s been a tough week at work. There’s a lot going on and I feel like I’m juggling more balls than I ever have. I could sink under the stress of it all but that’s of use to nobody. Instead, I need to look forward to the light that’s at the end of the tunnel and take on the challenges head on.

Today’s Sonic Breakfast song provides perfect motivation. Gaston Light’s new single, ‘Wake Up And Fight’ is a rallying call for those of us who need an early morning boost. This is the song that’ll have us punching the air as we get out of bed; a positive mantra that today we’re going to achieve and nothing’s going to get in the way of that aim.

Dallas-based artist Jason Corcoran is the man known as Gaston Light. He started writing his new single “Wake Up and Fight” with nothing more than the song title in mind. “It’s taken from a list of Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s resolutions,” he explains. “As a song title, it felt ridiculously huge to me. I thought that with such an overtly optimistic sentiment, I might be setting myself up to fail. I wanted to write a self–fulfilling prophecy,” he says. “I wanted to force hope into my life. I wanted a good life, or at least a better one. The song is me telling myself that I have things to be grateful for and to just keep going.

26 year old Corcoran has a fair few reasons to be grateful and to keep going. He’s now a happily married Dad but it wasn’t always thus. He’s fought drug and alcohol addictions, been on psychiatric wards, spent nights in jail and flitted in and out of treatment centres. There can be no doubt that the path to recovery has been a torturous one for such a young man.

We’ve not all had to fight such extreme demons. But, chatting to friends, colleagues and other regular Sonic Breakfast readers, I realise that we’ve all got things going on in our lives today that might mean we’d rather just stay in bed hiding under the duvet. I can see the attraction. But, today, I am going to ‘wake up and fight’.