The Watanabes – Over Romantic

“There’s no point looking back when it’s an insult to the present. There’s no point looking front when it might never happen.” – The Watanabes – An Insult To The Present – Spoiled And Nostalgic EP – November 2016.

When I started Sonic Breakfast, I had no ambitious, blogging master plan. I never thought that I might travel the world on money made from it, get rich quickly or live happily after. 

I’ve not been disappointed.

But, undeniably, unearthing new acts to write about has given me many pleasurable moments; e-mails of thanks received from bands living all around the world who I might have stumbled across in late-night listening sessions and simply had to feature.

That was definitely the case with The Watanabes. I can’t quite recall when I first saw the video to ‘Yuriko Yuriko’ but I knew I had to write about it (here). I remember how exciting it was that other readers of Sonic Breakfast seemed to agree that this was something special. 

Last week, a new E-mail from Duncan (of The Watanabes) popped into my mailbox. He has a generous writing style and is clearly a very decent human being. I was pleased to discover that The Watanabes are releasing a new EP, Spoiled And Nostalgic, at the end of November. I was even happier to discover that the lead single from it, Over Romantic, is already in circulation and has a video to go alongside it. 

This is a band that can do no wrong in my eyes. Or at least, the only wrong that they can do is to wear their hearts a bit too much on their sleeves and possibly over-complicate their romantic liaisons. And that’s OK in my book. From the opening acoustic flourish that leads into the confession that ‘I’ve got myself into a bit of a fix‘, this is a tune that draws you in and then holds your interest as it builds and builds. It has a beautiful, forlorn resignation within, a positive kind of melancholia and a video that I can’t help but keep watching on repeat.

The other three tracks from the EP grow on you in similar ways. In my favourite, ‘An Insult To The Present’, we find The Watanabes in reminiscent mood, thinking back to days gone by and wondering if the dreams of those times have been achieved. They conclude in the only way possible to live for the moment.

I think Sonic Breakfast readers will like this. 





Olde Worlde – Stuck In Hibernation / Thinking About You

And so, after a summer break when I went to a festival every weekend, Sonic Breakfast begins again. Normal service is resumed.

I’ve half-joked that, as summer turns to Autumn, it signals my descent into hibernation. My armchair is comfy; the boiler is working and the heating is tested. There’s a mass of music to get me through the cold, winter months. Before we know it Spring will be in the air again. 

It seems appropriate that this song about being ‘stuck in hibernation’ by Japanese act, Olde Worlde, is my first post of the Autumn. This is twee Tokyo with a nod towards Brit pop. At times, the vocal is over-pronounced but rather than frustrate this just amplifies the overall charm. The lyrics might appear like they’re thrown together but I defy you not to smile at their random arrangement. 

Olde Worlde is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, Sohhei Numata. Born in Machida, Tokyo, Olde Worlde released his brand new album The Blue Musk-Oxen in the UK on September 1st. 

These are tunes that’ll get inside your head. You’ll find yourself singing them as you make your morning coffee; you’ll stomp through the leaves that are falling from the trees whilst whistling these happy tunes. I add a second tune from Olde Worlde today as well. ‘Thinking About You’ is one of those wistful and yet upbeat laments; a love song to somebody far away. They might not even know how loved they are. 

Bring on those winter nights… 



Jimmy Binks And The Shakehorns – Apple Tree

A week ago on Sonic Breakfast, I posted about a wonderful Japanese ex-pat band called The Watanabes. And I pondered whether the ex-pat scene in Japan was an active one. The Watanabes are clearly generous, sharing sorts for Duncan from the band sent me a couple of other recommendations to check out.

One of those recommendations was Jimmy Binks And The Shakehorns. He must have known that left-field Alt-country, the sort of songs that The Broken Family Band used to issue before their sad demise, presses one of my many buttons. There’s lots of fine stuff here.

Just so that you know (I had to look it up), a shakehorn is a plastic acorn-shaped shaker percussion instrument that the band uses as often as possible.

You might have thought that JB&TS would have been fronted by a man called Jimmy Binks – but they’re not. This is a six piece band with four of the members coming from the Uk, one from Canada and one from Japan. Last year, they released a five track EP, Not Too Late, that built upon the success of a mini album they named after the band.

A quick FB search does show though that there are a number of people in this world called either Jim, James or Jimmy Binks. One Jimmy Binks would appear to be a lover of Liverpool FC and a keen fan of Elvis; another has recently started working at the VC Summer nuclear station. I wonder if they know about their namesake band in Tokyo? Perhaps, they could all be encouraged to form a choir of Jimmy Binks to singalong on a future release? 

If you have access to Spotify, I urge you to check out their tune, “I’ll be in your arms again tonight”. It’s a classic, skewed story tale, littered with the darkest of humour and Country cliches. I genuinely hope it’s not describing a true story. 

Quite a few of their tunes seem to describe scenes in which relationships are drawing to an end, pictures of romance gone wrong. I guess it goes with the alt-country territory. It mightn’t be music to make love to but it’s definitely music to love.