The wonderful ALMA have been in touch again. “We wrote a party song about climate catastrophe“, they tell me in conversation.

Since I last exchanged mails with them towards the end of 2020 (review here), the trio have been busy setting out their stall. I don’t recall their website being quite the hub of information that it is now but, by their own acknowledgement, their operation was fledgling when we first talked. Just look at the progress now. (Website link)

I bet we’ve all made progress in the last six months? Despite the inevitable slowing down that I’d hazard we’ve all experienced as a result of lockdowns, I’m sure we could all look back on where we were at last year and identify areas in which we’ve personally grown. Some things must have got better for us. Individual evolution makes the world go round, right?

So why the fuck does the world continue to die? Why do we all still lurch towards climate catastrophe without making the changes that are required? Is it that it’s all too complicated and that it’s easier for somebody else to worry about that stuff? Where’s the outrage a week after the collected outpourings at Earth Day?

ALMA are outraged by it all. Latest single, WATER RISES, is a protest song in its finest sense. Some choose to shout, scream and holler when recording their frustrations but ALMA don’t take that path. They shroud their anger in stunning and playful harmony. WATER RISES is a thing of sweet beauty; the count to 11 is simplistic and nursery-rhyme like; a rock around the clock when time is running out. 

WATER RISES harks back to Hurricane Sandy and the visible high-water marks that those floods have left on the streets of New York. There’s anger that the promised defences against rising sea levels have yet to materialise and that there’s an accident waiting to happen (again). As authorities fiddle, New York could flood. Or any other city that hasn’t sorted out its infrastructure. 

When the spring has disappeared, We’ll make plastic flowers for the trees.“, conclude ALMA somewhat ominously. There are things we can all do to protest and act against such a disaster. 

Nuit Oceãn – Fire Divine

Hey Sean,

Hope your day’s still rocking! :), We have noticed that you have previously supported Elliot Moss and have a similar artist to share with you Downtempo Producer Nuit Oceān who released his  EP and  music video titled ‘Fire Divine’ via  ROUGE NEON RECORDS..

I like receiving mails such as this. Targeted and clear, you can be pretty sure that when you do listen there’ll be something within that appeals. It might now be six years since I’ve written about Elliot’s music but his influence still shimmers across Sonic Breakfast. The post about ALMA just this week (here) being a very clear case in point. 

So, I listen. And then I listen again. Steve Mesmin, the Bordeaux-based producer behind Nuit Oceãn has released one of those tracks that you like very much but you’re not sure why. The lyric, sung in an impassioned and vocodered falsetto soul, a repeating loop of verse and chorus, culminates in the stark word, Fool. It’s mournful and you wonder what dark place Steve might have been in when he created this. There’s a sense of giving your all and being let down and yet so beautiful and calming is the accompanying music that drawing any definite conclusions cannot be concrete.

Perhaps this ambiguity of feeling is exactly what Steve is looking to create in his EP? Content from the press release would appear to corroborate. 

“I always have this “mantra” in my head during the creating and recording process: “When there is nothing left. When you no longer have the strength to move forward. There he is, in each of us…” The FIRE DIVINE guides us to a better version of ourselves, towards a brighter future. Let it flow.”

A song about reaching rock bottom and then coming out fighting on the other side; an ambiguous breakdown that signals a rage of positivity. As many of us enter tougher and restrictive measures to our movement this November, it’s perhaps a tune that we can all take into the dark nights with us. 


ALMA – Fall

A month or so ago now, I received a mail from ALMA. Super-polite and humble, Alba, Mel and Lillie asked if I might consider writing about their debut single, Fall. 

They attached a live video and I watched, transfixed, as the song built with a haunting pleasantness. “Try writing about this and not using the word ethereal”, I said to myself as I hunted down my Cocteau Twins Thesaurus. 

Repeated listens in and the melodies and harmonies continue to wash over me, the provider of all sorts of honest chil. It’s absolutely one of those songs that allows you to wallow and to bathe in your memories from years gone by. 

“Fall is a nostalgic elegy to childhood and growing up. We joke that it was inspired by a quarter-life crisis, but it has become much more of an appreciation of memory and our roots.”,say ALMA by way of explanation. 

A name jumps out at me when I look at the credits and I realise that the super-talented Elliot Moss is the mixing engineer for this recording. I assume that this is the same Elliot who so encouraged me to keep writing Sonic Breakfast posts when this site was in its infancy. There’s hardly likely to be two such talents with the same name in New York? For those visitors to Sonic Breakfast unfamiliar with the story of Elliot’s generosity, it can be read about here

Highspeeds, his debut album, still gets a frequent spin in these quarters. I confess though that, to my shame, I’ve not delved into Elliot’s later releases with such diligence. Perhaps now will be the time to do so.

But not before I listen again to Fall from ALMA and give more thought to Sonic Breakfast’s childhood; the tentative Spring steps giving way to a spirited Summer and a recent sense of maturing after migration.


Nozart – Orphanage

Every now and again, I have a recurring dream. I am, once again, in the company of an ex-girlfriend. We’ve not met since we were both teenagers but, in the dream at least, the years have been kind. Our conversation and laughter flows in much the same way as it did when we were dating. We’re older now and the arguments that were always a feature of our real time together have diminished in this dreamland.

Sometimes, we kiss. Mostly, my alarm wakes me just as we’re making plans to see each other again. “Let’s not leave it so long until we next catch up”, she says with that infectious giggle she seems to never have lost.

As ridiculous as it might seem, this recurring dream derails me. I’ve got no desire to find out what has happened in the life of this ex. But, I find myself overwhelmed with a sense of loss; for a short while, I’m an awkward teenager again. Life, with all of its uncertainties and anxieties, is spanning out in front of me. I’m clinging to a child-like romantic ideal. I’m refusing to allow myself to grow up.

This long preamble does have a purpose. Last week, Nozart sent me the video to his new song, ‘Orphanage’. I’m a sucker for delightfully romantic, sentimental gush, especially when it’s all wrapped up in a story-based song. This ticks all of those boxes. The beautifully animated video just adds to the sense of ‘awww’.

Nozart is from New York. He’s currently playing piano on tour with a chap we have featured regularly on Sonic Breakfast, Elliot Moss. I hope that they’re having fun. ‘Orphanage’ is taken from a yet-to-be released album that Nozart has been working on for the past two years.

He says about ‘Orphanage’ that “this is a story about being in love before you know how. It’s about losing that love too soon and being afraid to grow up, because you don’t want to grow up without it. It’s about holding on even when the person you loved might not be the same person at all.”

For me, it evokes much the same feeling as that recurring dream.


The Sonic Breakfast Top Ten – 10 to 6

I’m relatively content with the way that Sonic Breakfast has gone this year. A few random conversations and, before I really knew what I was doing, it launched in March. Despite a Summer break when I was far too busy in festival fields, there’s still been 112 posts this year that have been read in 91 countries of the world.

I care about every single one of the acts that I feature on Sonic Breakfast. I write about them because something appeals to me about their music and attitude; it’s not and never will be genre specific; I’m too ancient to be chasing the next big thing – although that’s not to say that some of the acts I’ve featured this year might not strive to greatness in 2015.

I thought (because it seems to be all the rage) I’d do a ‘Sonic Breakfast’ top 10 of 2014. Ten discoveries for me this year; ten artists or tracks that I want to revisit; numbers ten to six will come today and then five to the coveted number one slot later this week.

This will look like no other end of year chart that you’ll see….

(10) Tapestry

It was quite a year for Tapestry. Bursting on to the Leicester scene, Elliot, Alex and Taylor precociously announced their presence by storming the Original Bands Showcase. A prominent slot at Simon Says where the eFestivals reviewer highlighted their set for praise by saying – “the very first band on the outdoor Hobgoblin stage that afternoon, the fresh-faced  three-piece Tapestry were perhaps the most experimental bunch of the entire weekend, doffing their saxes and synths to Alt-J and Goblin. ” Alex left the band due to musical differences in the late summer. It remains to be seen if Elliot and Taylor can continue to develop without their drummer. Still young and with their fingers in all sorts of musical pies, don’t bet against something special in 2015.


(9) Huskies – Sober

I was charmed when I first heard Huskies back in April by their brand of indie-pop. Since then, they’ve continued to get noticed in all the right places. A successful EP launch less than a month ago and well received gigs around the country marks these out as ones to watch. I saw them play at Y-Not when writing for eFestivals and said this about them:- “Their jingle jangle form of pop arguably sits in that hole between The Strokes, The Housemartins and Vampire Weekend. This correspondent predicts big things for these dogs.”


(8) Sean Grant & The WolfGang

It seems like an age ago when my friend, Val McCoy, played me Sean’s video on her mobile phone and suggested she’d try to get him along to an OBS unplugged night. Sean travelled up from Northampton and impressed all who saw him. Other Musician shows followed for him and his band as did a slot at Simon Says. Incredibly impressive inter-blog coverage since and a neat line in videos suggests he’s travelling a considered path. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke (and band). Tonight, they play a set at London’s Sebright Arms. This recently released video to ‘Fairground Fighter’ oozes class.


(7) Son Little – Your love will blow me away when my heart aches

Let’s not beat around the bush. This is one of my songs of the year. I was sat in my comfy armchair listening to new music on my headphones and this just left me quivering. I heard it being used by the BBC in one of their programme links a few weeks later and I was so happy that a wider audience might now question who was behind this incredible track. He’s played a few UK shows in the past month. Foolishly, I conspired to miss them. Follow up tracks to ‘Your Love’ have been well received… That voice….


(6) Elliot Moss – Slip

Finally for today we come to this gem of a track by Elliot Moss. This could be number one in my top ten and I’d be happy. Not only did I write about this but I also wrote about the remix by Hippie Sabotage. Writing about remixes isn’t something that comes easy to me! Elliot’s sheer act of generosity in sending his CD, at considerable cost, across the Atlantic Ocean still sticks with me. His is an album that deserves to get under more skin in 2015.



With such quality amidst numbers ten to six, I bet you can’t wait to see what’s in the Sonic Breakfast top five? 

Elliot Moss – Slip (Hippie Sabotage remix)

Earlier this year, I blogged about Elliot Moss, the 20 year old Neo-crooner from New York. His song, Slip, made quite an impression on me and I simply had to feature it (link here).

I’d had no prior contact with Elliot so I was delighted that he seemed genuinely happy with my little post – so happy that he insisted on sending me a beautifully designed digi-pak CD of his album, Highspeeds, across the ocean. Shipping costs were considerable but Elliot, to his absolute credit, was insistent.

I tend to listen to CD’s whilst driving in my car. Highspeeds has been one that has been on regular rotation over the summer. I’ve made a point of playing it to passengers and it’s rarely failed to grab attention.

Thus, I’m chuffed that Elliot’s career really seems to now be picking up momentum.

I’m hardly an authority on notable remixers but judging by their Facebook and Twitter profiles, Hippie Sabotage, two brothers from Sacromento, are at the top of their game. The fact that they’ve chosen to remix ‘Slip’ gives me hope that tunes of real quality might eventually get the profile they deserve.

When the starting point is as strong as ‘Slip’, it would need some excessively clumsy hands to mess the mix up. Hippie Sabotage are too good at their craft for such an eventuality. The lovely original, laced with a lingering, laidback soul-filled feel is given an extra fizz and energy. We’re still in the realms of chill but it’s a bit earlier in the evening now.

Elliot Moss has also been announced as the main support on a Cold War Kids U.S. tour in 2015. An unlikely alliance on the surface perhaps but a fine opportunity all the same. I once saw Cold War Kids at Glastonbury. I also saw them at Summer Sundae.. But, those are tales for other days. I hope it’s not long before Elliot’s growing stature means that some U.K. dates are announced.

For now, enjoy the Hippie Sabotage remix of Slip.


Elliot Moss – Slip

When you give it some real thought, you realise that the word ‘slip’ is one of the best in the English language. Many words mean more than one thing but a ‘slip’ could be a mistake, a piece of paper or a fall. If I was in danger I might abscond to a dock (or slip away to a slip). You don’t need to think about cricket fielding positions or female undergarments to know that this is a versatile word.

And on the evidence contained within this track, New Yorker, Elliot Moss, is a versatile musician. Last year, he released his album, Highspeeds, to a degree of critical acclaim. It’s this track, Slip, recently added to Soundcloud, that has grabbed my attention though.

A vocodered voice spills out of multiple lips. There’s a mighty contrast at play here. The idea that letting things slip can be both positive and negative never seems far from the surface of the song. In one simple verse, Elliot asks where the pain, hurt and light he once knew have gone. This is a tune that’s both dark and light, sinister and joyful, laidback and layered.

Elliot is just 20 years old. His press release suggests that his versatility derives from his upbringing.

“His mother, an artist, rearranged the living room furniture into an assembly line of sorts, blanketed in drying mosaic tiles and soldered-together trinkets. A young Elliot surveyed piles of abandoned gear entombed in the basement of his dad’s recording studio. He would rescue and repair lost treasures to put to use in his own music; among them his first guitar – a worn Silvertone 1448 which he still plays.”

This week slips away. The weekend begins. Born slippy.