Sue Denim – A Covid Romance

We have the roadmap. The route out of lockdown has been set down by Boris and his henchmen, Chris and Patrick, and we can now all rejoice in the knowledge that we’ll be able to get a proper haircut whilst holidaying in self-catering accommodation by April 12th. The roadmap will no doubt have been of particular interest to fledgling daters, probably those of the online variety for ‘how else are you going to meet people nowadays’, who will have been jubilant at the news that they are now legally able to meet a stranger (just one mind you!) on a park bench from mid-March. 

You won’t be able to take the stranger home until mid-May of course but long courtships of socially-distanced hand-holding are just the thing that the moral core of the Tory party think is good for us right now. And, indeed, not jumping into bed with somebody just because you share a common love of yoga and fish on Tinder is surely no bad thing.Those benches will be busy.

The fab Sue Denim released a jaunty acoustic number back in December in which she yearns for ‘A Covid Romance’. Perhaps Sue will be locking her bike up by the bench to now find her man with ‘big brown eyes’ and ‘beautiful thighs’ or maybe she already found him back in December? The rules of dating and the roadmap out of lockdown are likely different in North Wales (where Sue resides) anyway. But that’s a different issue. 

‘A Covid Romance’ is the first track to be taken from Sue’s second solo album, ‘Lockdown Laments’. Recorded in her garage, this is, according to the press release, a collection of ‘nostalgic, indiepop lofi anthems’. ‘A Covid Romance’ is a pretty cool opening gambit, with its nods to Jonathan Richman and a smart Beatles refrain at the end. It all must seem a pretty far cry from those heady days performing as one half of Robots In Disguise and appearing in episodes of The Mighty Boosh but Sue seems pretty sanguine about things. 

2021 has been amazing so far“, she says in an E-mail exchange. “I’m just grateful to be alive, fed & clothed and write songs (seriously). I’ll probably take all my decluttering to the charity shops when the lockdown lifts, how exciting, can’t wait! Ha. You?

Just for the record, I won’t be taking my decluttering to that charity shop but I will be immersing myself in the delights of lockdown laments. Oh yeah, I wanna hold your hand. 

 

Seazoo, Little Thief & The Desert – The Old Blue Last – April 3rd 2019

Sometimes, free gig nights in this fair city feel expertly curated; at other times, they feel like they’ve been thrown together with little thought to any common thread between bands on the bill. For a genre-hopper like me, the latter mish-mash approach is often more appealing. I had a grand time on Wednesday night at the Old Blue Last when three very different acts took to the stage.

The Desert were up first. From Bristol, this four-piece specialise in mellow acoustic pop layered with gentle electronics. Lyrically, they’ve got the broken love story off to a tee with words like distract, bitterness and gone featuring heavily. Their main singer looks fruity with a lime green dress and bob haircut and there’s no denying that she has a pleasant, calm voice. Think Everything But The Girl crossed with SadÄ— yet produced in the city of trip hop. Some of the more subtle changes in variety are a bit too much for a chattering Wednesday night crowd but mostly the good stuff on show here is appreciated.

 

Little Thief are a much harder proposition than The Desert. They’re a three piece and probably consider themselves a jagged indie-rock band. I can’t get over how much the singer sounds like Sting though.  A track that they put out a couple of weeks back, Bringing It Back, stands out as a slightly heavier version of Roxanne. The bass player (who is not the singer – a fundamental difference from Police) jumps into the crowd and plays his instrument behind his head before a ballad is announced and lighters are waved. It’s fair to say that the crowd are loving Little Thief. I didn’t dislike them myself.

 

Seazoo have featured on Sonic Breakfast before. Sometimes, back in my Leicester days, I ‘allowed’ friends to contribute and this (here) was one such post. My good friend, Paul, has pretty different music tastes to me but it appears that we converge when it comes to jjangle-pop from North Wales. 

Seazoo are a band made for Sonic Breakfast. It’s no accident that their album from last year, Trunks, shows up as one of my most played on Spotify. They’re are all about fine, happy tunes tinged with shuffling awkwardness. When we’re introduced to the ‘shoddy display’ of CDs and T-Shirts at the merch desk it’s all perfectly in sync with the somewhat makeshift and stumbling nature of the band. For me,this music is pure bliss but only those living with the Sarah Records and Belle And Sebastian back-catalogue might fully agree. 

Criminally, large swathes of the crowd that watch Little Thief leave and so, despite the long distance travelled, action is initially sparse for Seazoo. It must be a real bummer but like true pros, the show goes on. Those of us remaining get a treat. Spring is in the air and you can almost smell summer within these tunes. Many are enticed back and by the time the show ends, fans and new converts are energetically high-kicking with arms gleefully interlocked. 

Strangers smile over the friendly, ramshackle brew. It’s been yet another great night out.

 

Dan Amor – Sister Anne

Let’s head on over to North Wales and relax with this charming dose of romantic wistfulness from Dan Amor, the opening track from his album ‘Rainhill Trials’. That album was released as a digital download a couple of months ago but I’m led to believe things are building up towards a physical release in May. 

On ‘Rainhill Trials’, Dan sings in both Welsh and English. My knowledge of the Welsh language is limited (some would say my knowledge of English is similarly hampered) but it doesn’t affect the yearnful, nostalgic impact that these songs create. “Sister Anne” could be a distant relation of Eleanor Rigby and she might live in the same village as Grocer Jack. 

With poetry as stirring as,  ‘The beaten up old gate in red cracked paint / distant lights that flicker out to sea / windswept promenades, adorning old postcards / Birdsong, braying dogs and bumblebees’, this is a song that the Lilac Time could have recorded. 

 

 

 For those who are having an extra croissant this morning, here’s the digital download of ‘Rainhill Trials’. Don’t you just love Dan Amor?