James Poole recommendations

A soulful Bjork

Sappho’s Journey

Summer 2008. I’m heading to that bastion of middle class attitudes in the woods, with music, comedy, sheep and beer: Latitude. A wonderful line up had caught my interest, with headliners including Sigur Ros, and other acts including Elbow, Seasick Steve, The Aliens, Beth Orton and Blondie. Good times ahead. This was my first Latitude. I was there with three close friends. We drank for England (my Canadian chose to drink for Canada by starting the day with a ‘breakfast drink’ of cider’), and dealt with the ensuing hangovers. We endured the toilets that could have been choppered in from ‘Nam in 1972. We stood firm through the frankly, pissing rain. It was a great weekend. Bands I wasn’t expecting to hear stood out. I became a huge fan of The Go! Team and British Sea Power. I was also fortunate enough to hear an early performance of CocknBullKid…

I remember reading descriptions of CocknBullKid which name-checked both Morrissey and Neneh Cherry. Thinking ‘that can’t be right’, while simultaneously intrigued, this was one of the acts that I had mentally prioritised as I tried to plot my course through a packed line-up. She didn’t disappoint. CocknBullKid was a festival highlight. ‘On My Own’ became a tune I played a lot. Still do, two years on…

I’ve got two reasons for raising CocknBullKid. First of all, she has new material coming out in the next few weeks. ‘One Eye Closed’ is much more accessible than previous releases. Much more accessible in the sense that New Order were more accessible than Joy Division. Still good, but CocknBullKid’s earlier releases were significantly darker. Which leads me to the second reason for raising CocknBullKid: that reason is Sappho’s Journey. Bear with me here…

Chances are that you won’t have heard of Sappho’s Journey. It’s the moniker under which Monique Wilson has recorded some truly outstanding material. Think Lamb, think Alpha, think Massive Attack (particularly the levels of darkness reached on Mezanine). Listening to Sappho’s Journey is like hearing a soulful version of Bjork. It’s that good. Sappho’s Journey is an NYC-based act. Small sets are being played every couple of weeks around the city (check out the facebook fan page if you want to find some dates). I’ll guarantee that if you’re reading this in the UK you won’t have heard of her. It’s a shame. Spread the word. This is new, original, freethinking music. Do your bit for the movement.

You can hear one track, from the EP ‘Venerate‘, below.

I can raise comparisons to Massive Attack, Bjork and Lamb, artists which you will have heard of – but the most striking musical similarity for Sappho’s Journey comes from a little known London based vocalist with an equally striking name: CocknBullKid. Both are worth checking out.

Click here to hear ‘It’s The Light’, by Sappho’s Journey

And here’s the new, poppier version of CocknBullKid…

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