There’s something happening in the mean streets of Bury St. Edmunds. Well, that mightn’t be true but there’s definitely something in the Suffolk water. The very cool Mosiah Levi is advancing towards the summer release of his 6 track EP, ‘Headspace’, by teasing us with some fine, laid-back, nu-soul releases. Opening single, Angel, came out at the beginning of March but feels like an ideal fit for Sonic Breakfast to feature on a languid, Bank Holiday Monday.
Yep, we can all partake in the chill pill that Mosiah has produced. The video, simple and yet effective, features Mosiah and a mate at the side of a country road watching the sunset whilst drinking rooibos tea. Their chat is punctuated by the occasional passing of traffic. Drivers of the vehicles must have had a bit of a ‘WTF’ moment if they’d looked to the grass verge where the impromptu picnic was set in stall. Mosiah and his mate seem oblivious though, deep in conversation.
Maybe they’re taking about good and bad, angels and devils, right and wrong. That’s certainly the overarching theme of ‘Angel’. Mosiah’s deep, soulful voice is apparently racked with guilt in this ballad for getting a relationship all wrong, the error illuminated and amplified by the pure clarity of a gospel choir repeating selected segments of his words. The emotional turmoil boils just under the surface until the concluding guitar solo (from Mosiah’s Dad no less) lets it all out.
As well as building up to the release of ‘Headspace’, Mosiah’s been putting out some covers onto his YouTube channel. The most recent one, a cover of Abba’s ‘Take A Chance On Me’, removes the pop bounce from the original. This is not a copycat version of the original and helps to give us all a different take on a fine song. It’s exactly what cover versions should be about.
“If you have any cover suggestions I’ll see if I can get him to do it (he’s on a country streak atm lol),”, says Mosiah’s PR person by E-mail. I’ll kick of those suggestions with ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ by Hank Williams. That’d be a dark and dirty winner waiting to happen.
You appear in my dream again. Intermittently, you do so (here). In this latest edition, we find ourselves on a coffee-tasting tour. We hop into an open-top vintage car (make and model unknown) and drive around the local hostelries to taste the flavour of their beans.
I’m a coffee novice but I can still distinguish between styles and types. The flavours are real. As I sip from one cup, the bitter roasted taste lingers on my tongue proudly announcing itself as a top dog of coffee. Let’s not forget that this is a dream. How is this even possible?
We’re young and carefree. We always are in this dream. The wind breezes through our hair ( I still have hair) as we travel from venue to venue. The radio is turned up loud and it plays a variety of hits from the eighties. Sometimes, we sing along if a tune catches our attention but mostly, despite the volume, it is background fodder. Instead, we chatter and laugh. We’re always happy in this dream even though we both know how it will end by now.
As we pull into another place for one last coffee, I reach across to give you one last kiss. Our lips almost touch this time but before they do I wake. The pattern is familiar.
Michelle Daly, the Irish born and Berlin based songwriter, released the second single from a forthcoming album at the back end of 2020. ‘In My Dreams’ is a stylish and sultry soulful stroll through Michelle’s own land of dreams. She’s got a cracking voice for jazz classics and so the comparisons with Winehouse are inevitably drawn. It’s a tune that gives me lots of pleasure and I’m sure it will you.
We find Michelle contemplating the end of a brief flirtation. Or perhaps it’s the final days of a longer term relationship. Whatever, we know for sure that Michelle is coming to terms with the fact that she has put more into this than she’s been getting out. She’s been betrayed and is now the woman spurned. And she’s not crying into her coffee but working out ways to cope.
I pity my friends who are unable to dream. They tell me, as if it’s a badge of honour, that they don’t dream or, if they do, they can’t remember them. I actively cultivate mine. Who would not want to wake with a hazy and happy memory from your sleep time? It strikes me that it’s even more important to have vibrant and wild dreams right now when our daily horizons are so streamlined.
Happy Monday all.
It’s a Monday evening and this week’s Airbnb is south of the river. I’m tempted to stay here and chill for it is quite a trek north to Stoke Newington’s Waiting Room. I’ve been meaning to get there for some time but gigs I’ve been keen on have clashed with others; there’s rarely a shortage in this town.
Tonight though Bernardo plays a free show at The Waiting Room in celebration of the release of her Panic Prayers EP. The EP has come out on cassette format. For a fiver, it clearly represents something of a bargain even if I’m pretty sure that I no longer have the technology on which to play it.
Bernardo’s on-line profile is growing if not fully-formed. I’m guessing that Bernardo is a surname; searches suggest that the confident, enticing individual who takes to the stage in a ‘Betahoven’ T-shirt with a Fender Jaguar guitar to play a jazz-pop opener is called Sonia. “The band have decided to sit this one out”, she declares.
Bernardo’s band duly join her from the next number; there’s four of them (five if you include Alfie, the excellent trumpet player who joins a couple of songs later). They’re a confident bunch, clearly well versed in jazz and funk progressions. In the ‘brand new one’ which might well be called ‘Almost A Mother’, they’re given space to wig out with solo endeavour. Bernardo is impressed. “I often just play alone and it’s great to have this band“, she acknowledges.
It’s hard to get away from Winehouse comparisons. Bernardo’s vocal occupies a similar space and the songs appear to toy with heartbreak and the darker side of love. Bernardo is compelling to watch on the stage. She rolls her eyes , the lids of which are painted in a pinky red shadow, towards her hairline in playful pose whilst smiling and connecting with her crowd. “We’re going to jazz it up a bit now“, says Bernardo before launching into a version of ‘One Inch Punch’. Truth is that proceedings had already been a tad jazzy prior to that.
Just as this short show began with a solo song from Bernardo so it ends in similar fashion. The band leave the stage and two stripped-back tunes bring things to a close. ‘Sunday heartbreak matinee’ stands out, a chilled comedown of a track after a more urgent weekend.
There’s little doubt that Bernardo is one to watch – and I’m glad I made the effort to head north to do so.
“It conveys the plight that many young lovers must face– the endlessly complicated, dichotomous relationship between the private, verses the public. In private, a bond with someone can seem indestructible and carry through with careless, ineffable glee. Yet, in public, the same person can suddenly transform into someone impenetrable, reclusive, and distant.”
So comments Erica Rose, the producer/director of this new video that surfaced in my inbox recently. Ionie’s ‘Give Me Your Eyes’ is truly lit up by the story that runs throughout this video. And regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that I’m partial to a bit of theatrical narrative.
New York based Ionie released her self-titled debut album back in April. On initial investigation, it’s a pretty mixed bag. That might be a deliberate ploy to show off her varied talents or it might be that Ionie has yet to absolutely find the style she’s most comfortable with. ‘Give Me Your Eyes’ is undoubtedly a stand-out track.
Modern dating is tough right? It certainly seems to be the case here. You put all of your eggs into one basket-case and then they turn out to be fecklessly unreliable. They sweep you off your feet by whispering sweet nothings into your ear whilst, at the same time, whispering ‘it’s nothing, sweet’ into somebody elses ear.
What better way to convey the highs and lies of that experience than through a dose of jazz-tinged soul? This is a tune calling out for your commitment.
Give it a shot. Give it your eyes. I don’t think it’ll disappoint.