Jolene – Denied

If things were ‘normal’ right now, I might be packing up a small suitcase in anticipation of a flight to Amsterdam. And from there, I might be hopping north on a train to Groningen. I’d pull my things through the slush on the streets (the snow never quite settles) and check in at the cheapest room I’d been able to find. I’d then reacquaint myself with all that there is to see and do at Eurosonic Noorderslag. January festivals are the best.

Clearly, things aren’t ‘normal’ right now. That giddy freedom of drinking myself silly whilst rushing around Dutch cities and watching acts that I might love or hate whilst talking nonsense to nearby punters is not on the cards. I’m glad I have the memories. 

Jolene is still releasing music. Sonic Breakfast readers with particularly extensive memories might recall how we once met in Groningen (here). I would love to be back in that crowd right now. I treasured the card that Jolene gave me until my wallet got stolen about eighteen months later

“Wow that is a long time ago and how drunk was I that evening hahah”, says Jolene when I get back in touch with her to tell her how much I like her new track, Denied. It’s  a dark-pop classic. On the surface, it’s a tale of love gone wrong and yet for me, right now, it takes on a much greater significance. I’m being denied these things that I love, festivals in January, and it hurts. But probably not as much as Covid does. 

Eurosonic Noorderslag is sort of continuing this year. From this Wednesday, it’s programmed four free online stages where you and I can head to watch 15 minute sets from the up and coming across Europe. I might dip in and out. I’ve struggled to connect with online gigs in the way I might if I was there in person but it’s a noble substitute and there will no doubt be some fine contributions. (Sign up here). It’ll be worth watching if other lockdown alternatives are exhausted. 

I don’t know if Jolene will be watching any. She’s sounds kind of flat-out . “For 2021 at the moment I’m busy with another project I’ve just started. It’s another musical side of me. I’m going to record another rock album with influences of Quentin Tarantino Dead Weather Style :)”, she says. “Meanwhile I’m looking for a producer to record 3 new tracks for my Jolene electro project. So kinda busy with creating music.”

We’ll be through with this nightmare soon. 



Circus Of Bones – A Big No Body

When it comes to hangovers, I’m a heavyweight champion. Those minor bumps that I recall from my younger days when my head hurt a bit are nothing like the cuts and bruises that my body feels all over now after a punishing session. The ache and shakes that go on for days convince me that alcohol is best avoided in such quantity – and until the next celebration it is. 

The worst hangovers are undoubtedly those that come at the end of a mad festival weekend. I recall the journey home from Boomtown one year, convinced that I was on the way out such was the severity of the shivery sickness. I asked Photographer Phil to stop the car a couple of times just so that I could regain composure in a layby. When I got home, I curled up in a ball under my duvet and dealt with vivid dreams for the next 48 hours. Drinking to excess is really not cool.

In those under-duvet moments you can’t help but consider how your ‘normal’ friends have got it right. Never the life and soul of the party (because they’re not there), these are your friends who revel in routine; they get up at the same time every day and take their packed lunch they made the night before from the fridge. They work without conflict or ambition because such emotion would throw the from their equilibrium. Very little comes as a surprise to these friends; they live vicariously through the likes of you. They have a perfect, mundane life.

(And of course, these friends don’t really exist – you just imagine that they do when your wretched self is in the midst of hangover hell.)

Circus Of Bones have released an absolute gem in ‘A Big No Body’. The video, full of humour and timely moments of Speedo-Scratching just adds to the overall effect. Over a lazy cabaret ska-rhythm, we find Eddie from the band lurching from crisis to crisis as he tries to deal with his current demons and can’t even depend upon chickens as friends.

The band say that about A Big No Body – “Written in 2017 in response to the worlds worst hangover owing to a night on the whiskey at Edinburgh’s famous Sandy Bell’s, Eddie, finds comfort in the imaginings of “a settled life”. An existence devoid of fear and anxiety by throwing all ambition and expectation to the wind and accepting a future of mediocrity.

It’s an off-kilter tune for misfits; one you could easily imagine singing along to late at night in a packed festival tent – God, how I’ve missed such experiences in 2020. It manages to be both urgent and laidback, crazy and mellow. 

It’s like very little else that’s around at the moment. And I simply can’t get enough of it.




Hot Feet – Sedation

 Back from a great time at the Spring Bank Holiday Off The Tracks. A full review will appear on eFestivals this week once I’ve recovered enough to write it up. I tried to blog from there but couldn’t get a good enough signal to allow for uploading. Here’s something I wrote yesterday (Sunday) morning…


I’ve returned to my car to survey the lie of the land. The grass is soggy;puddles sit on the surface suggesting it could be a slipping and sliding affair to get out of this car park.

From elsewhere, the roar of Super Bikes has just kicked in again. The thunderous throttling hum has been a constant this weekend though it has sometimes been drowned out by low flying planes about to land and mostly been hidden by the live music on offer. 

I am here at Off The Tracks. My belly aches suggesting that one of the 80 real ales lives on inside me (Just to clarify, I didn’t have 80) and blue sky is trying to break out from behind the cloud. My hands are no longer cold. An extra layer of socks are keeping my feet warm.


But my feet aren’t hot. I’d go as far as suggesting that the only Hot Feet here yesterday were the band of that name from Stroud who entertained from a threshing barn. Hot Feet opened up an early evening session. Punters were still feeling the effects of the hog roast, the incredible, electric, storm that left everybody rushing for cover and a break for beer so Hot Feet’s languishing folk-fuelled laments hit a sweet spot.

I sat on a bench towards the front and marvelled at their display. The drunken, bumbling compere introduced this band as one with the best female vocalist we’d see all weekend. Marianne certainly did impress. A voice, fragile and pure, yet with a hint of rural ruddiness. These are songs rooted in farmyard barn simplicity that break out into urban sprawls of sound. 

And I find it rather charming. They’re apparently playing at Wychwood next weekend, another festival I’m reviewing. My mind is made up that I’ll see them there again. No cold feet from these quarters. 



Liverpool Sound City – Erotic Market

A week today, I’ll be heading to Liverpool for Sound City. I went last year and had an absolute ball. It was my first festival of an epic summer in which I reviewed eighteen for eFestivals. This summer won’t be quite as crazy but it’s still going to be busy.

 There are hundreds of bands that play over the Sound City weekend (Thursday to Saturday). It’s pure bliss for a new music fanatic to have such quantity and quality across 25 venues in one city – though agonising to deal with the clashes. Many of these acts harbour ambitions to be the next big thing – and some will actually break through. Picking which ones is a task that I’m not going to indulge in – my ears aren’t tuned that way – but you could stick a pin in the donkey’s arse (or a map of Liverpool) and quality would bounce back at you from whatever of the city venues you found yourself in.

In the build up to next Thursday, I plan to write about a few of the acts who have caught my eye – this won’t be your Kodaline, Clean Bandit, Hold Steady or Jagwar Ma’s who, whilst exciting live, are more known than most. This’ll be the acts that really might have otherwise passed you by. It won’t be a daily feature – for I’ve also got a Micah P Hinson gig to preview and another Leicester showcase to feature – it’s more of a finger into the bag of sherbet.

Erotic Market are the first act to be playing at Nation on Thursday evening. They take to the stage at 8PM. I’m not a Liverpool local but I understand that Nation is a club, a big warehouse like shed that’s home to the ‘Cream’ nightclubbing brand. It’s a new venue for Liverpool Sound City.

Erotic Market are a French duo formed in May 2012 by Marine Pellegrini and Lucas Garnier. Both musicians for more than 10 years, they perfected their skills in contemporary jazz bands and a first joint venture, N’Relax.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a preview of their forthcoming album, ‘Blahblahrians’.  It’s a chewy meat of a record. You’ve got to masticate away at the gristle to get to the tenderness. I’m not entirely sure that I’m there yet. The obvious comparison to draw is to M.I.A. but to do so potentially limits the scope of this record. On first listen, one song merges into another with little respite – but, on further investigation, the subtleties, intelligence and humour start to come to the fore. With titles like ‘retro retardo’, ‘I want to be some booty’, ‘Clitacasm’ and ‘Weird arabic stuff’, it’s worth perservering with. I’ve got no doubt that these are tunes that take on a whole new angle when played live – which is why Erotic Market are high on my schedule.

 Still need convincing?  I’ll end with a couple of extracts from their press release. Surely something is lost in translation here? Or perhaps it’s not? 

Grasping Erotic Market music is like that strange, penetrating dream of unknown music which is, each time, neither quite the same one nor a different one. It’s like saying again that beauty is always strange and is the magnificent essence of genuineness. It’s the odd, elusive feeling of remembering those tunes without knowing them at all, recognizing the vigorous rock garage music, the bright triturations of electro, the groove of hiphop…’

‘Erotic Market is a go fast. A racing car that designs its own routes, spinning past illogical scenery, between sensual, suggestive eroticism and a clearcut, flashy market. A space where we can feel in turn fully within and without this world. An allegory of contemporary life that often tosses us from the one to the other end.’ 

 I prefer to call it a chewy meat. 

Glastonbury ticket balance day

A very slight diversion from writing about bands and songs today.

Yesterday, I paid the balance on my Glastonbury festival ticket. I’d been lucky to get one when they went on sale back last year. Today is the last day in the week long window you’re given to turn your deposit into a real ticket. 

I’ve been to Glastonbury every year it’s happened since 2003. I’m sure that 2014 will still provide a lovely time in a field but, for me, confirming my ticket holds much less excitement than it did back then. Yes, I’m older. Yes, there are smaller festivals such as the wonderful Shambala that I look forward to even more and yes, there’s less on the initial line up announcements that is a must-must see for me (though a Sunday afternoon with Dolly Parton promises to provide lifelong memories). 

Perhaps, this’ll be the year when I finally allow myself time to breathe at Glastonbury. Perhaps, I’ll no longer feel the need to rush from stage to stage to watch the next big thing who by the next year is a second album flop. Perhaps, I’ll come home again saying that it was ‘the best I’ve ever been to’. (My standard recourse save for 2007 when a flagpole thrust in my eye by a drunken teen just compounded the misery brought on by five days of rain).

This song by the fabulous Cosmic Rough Riders really does sum up what it used to be like. It’s my favourite song mentioning Glastonbury. I couldn’t find it on soundcloud so we’ll have to listen via youtube. Have a happy Monday all.

Metronomy Interview


I’ll be using this blog to write about all sorts of music related things. I have an outlet for my gig  and festival reviews at and but I don’t have anywhere to write about the great new music I hear.

Sometimes, a band or a press agency sends me a link to a fantastic piece of music and I want to share it. This seems like a great way to so that…

Anyway, whilst that’s all developing, here’s my recently published interview with Metronomy at the 6 music festival. Their new album ‘Love Letters’ really is a stunner….

 Metronomy Interview