The Phoenix Foundation – Landline

Hands up who misses the landline? Bonus points if, like an alcoholic with drink, you remember your first ever encounter with the fixed phone device, especially if it was one that you had to prompt into action with a circular swoop of the finger. 

I recall my Saturday mornings as a young child well. I must have been six or seven and I was desperate to ask a question on ‘ Multi Coloured Swap Shop’.Each week I’d spend hours, when others were watching Noel Edmonds pose questions to the latest pop sensation, sitting on the hard parquet floor in the hall laboriously dialling and re-dialling. The TV was in another room. I wouldn’t actually be watching the programme itself. I had more important business to conduct.

 

I never did get to ask my question. I never got beyond the engaged tone. My Dad, in a vain attempt to curb my obsessive behaviour, did take me to a wet field in Wycombe where Cheggers (RIP) had set up stall with his roaming swap-shop. I swapped a favourite toy for something that was broken in a box; my deal-making, business acumen laid bare for all to see from an early age. 

But I’m rambling. There is no point talking about foolish attempts to woo girls in my teenage years from the now-carpeted steps leading off from the hallway; the clock-watching waiting for 6PM to pass and the cheap rate to begin. I can barely believe that I once told a young woman who was blatantly not interested in a date that they would ‘regret that decision one day’. I’m sure she never has. There are many more landline misdemeanours that I could draw upon but I won’t.

In years to come this prose will seem archaic, distant, confusing and perhaps quaint. Maybe, some younger, more mobile readers are already wondering what the point of this weird invention, the landline, could ever have been? 

The Phoenix Foundation, a sextet from New Zealand, have just released a song called Landline. The tune itself is an upbeat slice of happy funk-bounce. Laced with a healthy dose of 80’s psychedelia yet sounding thoroughly right for 2020, it’s worth three and a half minutes of anybody’s time. According to the bands co-frontman, Samuel Scott Flynn, this “ridiculous song is about trying to keep real connections with your friends in this bollocks time in human history but in the video I’m a human telephone trying to stab a Spy Vs Spy version of Luke. Makes sense.” 

A video to make you smile, a song that draws upon feelings of nostalgia to make sense of today’s crazy world. This is right up Sonic Breakfast’s street and I’m sure it’ll be up yours as well. 

Sonic Breakfast Top Ten 2019 – Number Two – Jonathan Bree and John Moods – The MOTH club

2019 was a full-on year of exploration for me. I loved nipping between the many, varied London venues discovering new delights. I’d struggle, if pushed, to name a favourite venue because there have been many iced buns in the bakery but high in the rankings would be Hackney’s stunning MOTH club. The repurposed British Legion Club is a fab gig venue; I’m yet to have a bad night there. 

 

And of the few MOTH club gigs that I could pick for this epic exercise of a top ten, I’m delighted to announce that number two in the countdown goes to the night spent with Jonathan Bree and support act, John Moods (written about here).

John Moods played Paper Dress Vintage, another favourite Hackney venue, in November but I foolishly managed to miss that. His single that came out in the summer, I Wanted You, was a real cracker. The German popster returned to Berlin and played all manner of gigs across Europe. 

 

I still smile when I consider Jonathan Bree’s direct generosity. A sold-out show, I’d given up hope of seeing Bree and band but the cheeky E-mail paid off. The friendly soul in a mask didn’t need to guest-list me but he did. I love that Jonathan Bree’s career has grown and grown in the last year. Once you see the live show it’s hard not to be smitten. 

New tracks are being drip-fed from a future album. They’re sounding solid and in ‘Cover Your Eyes’, you suspect that there’s another set highlight in the making. It’s been a year of relentless touring for Jonathan and band, including a first ever gig for them in the Ukraine. I wish I’d been there. Returning to Camden’s Dingwalls on May 1st, you’ll have to lock me in my room to stop me from being there. And this time I won’t be begging Jonathan for my ticket.