I receive an E-mail from Erin Pellnat. It catches my eye one morning when I’m on the train heading into Birmingham.
“Hello Sean“, says Erin. “I write to introduce you to “Neighborhood Boys,” a song about falling in love with a guy on a bus — but he gets off at his stop and leaves me with the neighborhood boys on the bus.”
There’s a beautiful simplicity about Erin’s approach. I’m not averse to deep, philosophical songs about the meaning of life but sometimes such tunes can feel complicated, aloof and emotion-less. Sometimes, you want a simple premise that’ll tug at your heartstrings a bit; you want a three minute segment from your favourite tearjerker of a film; you want glorious romance albeit of an unrequited kind.
I take a listen to Erin’s track. There’s something about her voice that gets me. There’s no over-the-top warbles or ridiculous squeezing of pitch. It’s all very considered and mannered. Yet it’s in that very understated vocal that the emotion (of which there’s plenty) comes through. In many ways, for me at least, it invokes a similar sort of feel to that I get when I listen to the late 1960’s work of Bobbie Gentry or Dusty Springfield. And that’s high praise.
I notice when I check back through my E-mails that Erin had sent me one previously to highlight the release of her earlier EP, Dream In Color. Rudely, I’d not even replied to that. I’m glad that Erin didn’t get the hump with me for that and kept sending me mails. It pays to be persistent.
I wonder if ultimately persistence will pay off for Erin with the guy on the bus? I guess we’ll have to watch this space!
Sunday morning and I need to get Groningen out of my system. I notice that Miss Eaves released a new video whilst I was away and take a look. I’m glad I did.
Interest around Miss Eaves grew whilst I wasn’t blogging much last year but I made sure I watched the string of entertaining, message-laden videos she released. Thunder Thighs, a glorious early single from her album, Feminasty, went viral. It’s a wonderful celebration of the beauty that can and should be found in bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Miss Eaves is the feminist sound storm of Brooklyn based multimedia artist Shanthony Exum. Her fierce femcee electro-pop-rap-dance-explosions are pretty stunning and Sonic Breakfast readers could do well to check out that 2017 album.
‘Paper Mache (Single AF)’ is her new track from an as-yet unreleased EP and it’s all about the joys of being single. It’s a bolshy, strident song about healthy self-esteem, about the happiness that can be gained from staying in on a Friday night with only your arts and crafts for company. It’s a middle finger to establishment thinking that suggests happiness is best served when in a couple. There’s nothing wrong in that but neither should people feel like pariahs for doing it their own way.
And Miss Eaves is making a career out of doing it exactly her own way.
“I’m recreating your presence, by wearing socks to bed.”
You kind of know that you’re onto a winner when a song knocks you sideways with an opening line full of mournful poetry such as that.
Even more so when that song, Hard To Tell, is sung in the teary, polite and brutally honest manner that Courtney Farren applies to her work. There’s a heartbreaking simple beauty about this song; you, as a caring voyeur are given a tender insight into the distraught distraction of poor Courtney.
(Click on page 2 to hear the song and to see what Courtney says about it)
I’m not as knowledgeable as many about the Leicester music scene – but it is the city I live in and, as such, you do tend to hear about the locally based acts with an international profile. It’s really hard to get my head around the fact that somebody played on VH1 and with MTV awards might be ‘anonymously’ living in our midst.
So, it was something of a surprise when the new music of Oliver Sean was thrust under my nose via musicsubmit, a U.S. based promotions company. They often send me tunes to listen to and then link me up directly with the artists I like. Oliver Sean is a chap from Oadby, Leicestershire.
And he has a name that would lodge in my head. It’s not something I’d easily forget. My nineteen year old son is called Oliver and his middle name is Sean. Coincidence can account for so much but this seemed beyond that. I wondered if somebody was winding me up.
(Click on page 2 to find out if it is a wind-up)
I’m back from Eurosonic in Groningen. Now the hard work begins as I piece together the jigsaw of events in an attempt to make a coherent review for eFestivals. Suffice to say, I’ll be singing the praises of a fantastic event.
Forgive me if the blog goes quiet for a few days whilst I’m working on that. The day job remains busy and I don’t have a massive amount of spare time. I did want to publish this piece first though.
Jono has been a friend for a number of years. He’s a man to know in Leicester with his finger in many pies. I don’t know much about studios but friends with more expertise than I’ve got tell me that his studio (Yellowbean) is one of the best-equipped and supportive across the Midlands. Jono sings in a Madness tribute band, Gladness; he has the trust and ear of Dean Jackson, the excellent BBC Introducing DJ for the East Midlands (who I once blogged about here). Every year, he organises a fab skiing trip for mates (I went one year and, in truth, struggled on the slopes). Jono’s an avid Leicester City FC fan and a very friendly and sociable guy. In truth, he’s one of the good people on this planet and I ought to drink beer with him more than I do.
So, when a stranger gets in touch with you saying that they’re a friend of Jono’s and he’s sent them your way, you sit up and listen.
(To find out more about that stranger click on page 2)
Yes, I had a lazy day yesterday. The icy frost outside looked most unappealing so, for much of daylight, I hibernated under my duvet. I felt awful for wasting time but consoled myself with the thought that this is a treat that doesn’t occur often.
I used it as a chance to wade back through unread Sonic Breakfast E-mails. And squealed with glee when I stumbled upon the latest song and video, Nobody Made Me Smile Like You Did, from American Anymen and Lise. It’s taken from a four track EP they’ve released, the Oui EP.
(Click page 2 to read on)
‘Over twists and splits, sugared sprinkled bits, maybe I could take you for ice cream’.
That’s one of the lines of simplistic and innocent, lyrical naughtiness that make up a new track sent my way by Christopher Pellnat, a chap who’s currently making music with Mercy. Mercy has a soulful, seductive voice and a winning way of wooing her man. In ‘Ice Cream’, a track that melts and slides along like a more playful Portishead, Brooklyn based Mercy licks us all into a state of submission.
‘I see your cone is dripping crazy‘, she purrs..
‘Oh yes, it is, Merci Mercy’, we all virtually reply, whilst thinking of mint choc chips. Summer’s approaching and we need this blast of warmth to get us through the remaining frosty days.
By contrast, the video to this wonderful piece of laid-back ice-pop, charms through its DIY innocence. Think of any of those great indie-geek romcoms that attract the misfits such as us and you’ll be in the right place; we want them to hold hands and work it out in the park over strawberry sorbets and pistachio crunch because that’s all we’ve ever wanted.
Raspberry ripple baby…