Scalawag – You On My Mind

I hope we’ve all experienced those hopeless days of infatuation at the start of the best relationships when you can’t get the other out of your head. The very thought of them makes you smile broadly even if you’re miles apart. You can’t wait to spend time with them; you experience butterflies in your tummy just in advance of seeing your partner again. Time spent with them feels so right and you never want it to stop. 

It does of course. The ga-ga feeling that accompanies your stuttering heart is not a sustainable one and probably not a healthy one. Practical realities come back to the fore and you find ways to work out how to be together outside of the first throes of love. Either that or you move on to somebody else so that you can circle back to the hopeless days of infatuation again. A fluttering feeling on repeat. 

Scalawag’s latest single ‘You On My Mind’ is all about those early days in a new relationship. From Vancouver, Teo Saefkow, the man behind Scalawag, explains more in the press release to the song. “I wrote the guitar in 2015, then I waited for 5 years for inspiration to strike for the lyrics” says Teo. “It came one day in early 2020 when I was noodling on the guitar, and I decided to try and make my partner smile. I improvised the lyrics, and they just kinda stuck.

There clearly aren’t enough songs in the world making reference to peanut butter and for that reason alone ‘You On My Mind’ deserves a Sonic Breakfast blogpost about it. It’s also delightfully playful – a gentle acoustic guitar sound merging with a few choice piano flourishes to build into a climax of trumpet and whistles. Sweet, unfettered love sure does sound nice in Teo’s world. He plays all of the instruments himself. “It’s important to me that I create as many of the sounds myself as possible, instead of using stock instruments or samples,“, he says, about the creative process. 

Teo’s having a good, happy year. “2021 has been pretty good so far, there’s a lot of hope in the air, and the weather has been pretty awesome in Vancouver!“, he says when we exchange E-mails. “I’ve been able to write and record a lot, so that’s definitely the biggest highlight. Once the restrictions start to relax I think the first thing I’ll do is just go eat at a restaurant!

The mood around the UK feels similarly positive. Spring is in the air and we wake to blue sky and birdsong. Lockdown relaxations continue to offer improved freedoms (pub anyone?) and I sense a happy Wednesday song will be more than appreciated. 

Todd and Jingyu – Find Me Find You – A Story

As this week builds towards the corporate schmalz of Valentines Day, Sonic Breakfast has unearthed a delightful record about love for your listening pleasure. 

Find Me Find You: A Story by Todd and Jingyu is quite an album. We’re suckers for stories here at Sonic Breakfast and this one beautifully documents the relationship of our leading characters. The first half of the record takes us from the pain of previous friendships that weren’t quite right through to the initial connection and meeting between Todd and Jingyu. The second half shows how, despite some cultural differences (Todd is American and Jingyu Chinese), the love that develops continues to grow. 

One suspects that this is still a couple who hold hands when they walk in the park. You get the sense that Todd and Jingyu wake every morning with that secure knowledge of being able to share the wonders and curiosities of the world together. 

Musically, the story of Find Me:Find You also touches on many of Sonic Breakfast’s pinch points. There are counterpoints a-plenty within the sweet, observational duets that make up much of the record. You can easily imagine that you’re listening to the soundtrack from a stage musical here; a simpler Sondheim shall we say?

Do listen to the record from start to finish if this has piqued your interest – it’s freely available on line and well worthy of digging into. For now, Sonic Breakfast wants to share two songs with you . 

‘Find You’ is set before Todd and Jingyu meet. Both are establishing their online dating profiles, boiling their wants and desires down into a simplified cliched language that might appeal to their dream partner. And wrestling with themselves over the apparent stupidity of it all.

‘Boy And Girl’ is the album’s central stone. It’s the thoughts of Todd and Jingyu when they first meet; the initial rush of excitement when they realise there’s a connection; the nervous energy that’s expended when you babble on about the first thing that comes to mind in those moments when any silence might be considered awkward rather than perfectly natural.

These are happy romantic tunes, awash with the sweetest of uncorrupted innocence. It almost feels like Spring is in the air.

 
 

Elle Exxe – Love-Fuelled Hate

Today marks the official release of Love-Fuelled Hate, the debut album from Elle Exxe.

Over the course of this year, I’ve received various E-mails from her excellent PR company informing me about new singles, videos and gigs in traditional and non-traditional venues.

My response to the E-mails has largely been the same; general acknowledgement that there’s a real talent blossoming here but never quite getting me excited enough to write a Sonic Breakfast blog post about Elle.

This week, I found some time to listen to an advance copy of Elle’s album; frankly, it knocked me sideways. Whilst the singles do stand up on their own, it’s alongside the other album tracks that they really come to the fore. 

Designed to be listened to as a vinyl LP, both sides kick off with short introductory prologue pieces which then merge into stunning tracks. Side one belongs to the hard-sexy-brash-soul of ‘Lately’ whilst side 2 funks along with the deceptive pop of ‘Lie To Me’.

Broadly, side one has tracks where the songs are about the wide spectrum of emotions associated with love whilst side 2 has more songs with hate in the title. In reality, there’s little difference between the sides with both containing ballsy belters about the first throes, commitment, insecurity and revenge. 

You sense that there’s a diva waiting to get out in Elle and the album is at its best when the young Scot really goes for it. But, she doesn’t shy away from moments of uncomplicated tenderness either as the doting vocal-only mix of ‘I Do’ pays testament to.

Sonic Breakfast goes pop and heartily recommends Love-Fuelled Hate.