Saturday, 23 June 2018

Breaking More Waves Is 10 Years Old Today. A Decade Of New Music Blogging (And Why I Still Do It)

Breaking More Waves is 10 years old today. Yep, a decade of new music blogging.

This post is the equivalent of giving myself a pat on the back on the internet; because let’s face it, this is very much a solo endeavour.

Every single written word on this site was typed out by me. There’s no team, no colleagues, not even any friends giving a helping hand. (Although there is, in a way, but I’ll get to that later…).

But whilst doing this for 10 years is a reasonably impressive length of time and commitment, contrary to what I sometimes see others saying about running a blog, it’s not hard work. Or at least not the way that I do it.

Sure, if you’re running your blog to make money, it can be hard to make that work. And if you’re spending the whole day just sitting at your laptop, checking PR emails and getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night just to run a music site, that can become draining in the longer term. And yes, sometimes fitting in a few minutes in the day to write a post or two in amongst a full-time career, looking after children, running a house and still having a social life can be a little challenging. But just because something is challenging doesn’t make it hard work. It's only hard if you perceive it that way.  

And I don't. Running a small music blog like mine is relaxing and self-indulgent and mentally stimulating. To be able to take that time to get away from the stresses of the real world and bash out some words on the internet about some music I love gives me endless pleasure; sometimes even the same amount as going to watch artists play live and listen to their recorded output.

And it’s for those reasons that I continue to write the blog. I still get a huge buzz from music and love taking a bit of time out of my busy life to be able to share that buzz. It’s not about hits or money or building up my ego because people sometimes say nice things about the blog. It’s just about doing it and the fun I get from that. 

Music blogs have largely gone out of fashion these days and from my perspective it seems that over the last few years a lot of other cooler, better looking, better written, intelligent, well-known new music blogs have been calling it quits. At the same time there’s been a much smaller number of new blogs taking their place.

More recently some bigger, more professional sites appear to have been struggling as well. This year Sean Adams the founder of Drowned in Sound website has alluded to the fact that he has been considering shutting DiS down because his advert revenues are decreasing. And Tom Johnson of Gold Flake Paint has announced that whilst his site isn’t closing, it’s no longer going to be a music blog in the traditional form as financially it can’t sustain him a full-time income and that his health and happiness was suffering from running the site. 

It’s a slightly worrying trend, because as much as I’m a fan of amateur music blogs like mine, I do think that professional music journalism has an important role. That role is to provide considered, well thought out, well researched articles and interviews that help give us a greater depth, context and understanding of music, as well as entertaining us. Most amateur blogs will never have the time or resources to provide that on a regular basis. Certainly I don’t. Most of my posts are rattled off in a spare 10 minutes.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to say.

Whilst Breaking More Waves is largely written in an unedited rush, sometimes before I get down to the writing there has been some degree of thought gone in to them. Anyone who knows me in real life will know that I love nothing more than having a good conversation or debate about all things music over a glass of wine / gin and tonic / pint of cider / cocktail and that sometimes, if you’re the person having that conversation with me, a day or two later you might just find some of the ideas or concepts that we talked about ending up in a blog post on Breaking More Waves. 

Whilst I started this piece saying that there was no one giving me a helping hand with writing this thing for 10 years, that's not totally true - everyone I talk to has helped.

So, this post is a thank you to every friend or person I’ve ever had a conversation with about music, pop culture and the internet, who has helped me shape and form my ideas. It’s also a thank you (and apology of sorts) to every friend who has woken up one morning, read one of my blog posts and then sent a text: “The first paragraph in that blog post is pretty much word for word what we talked about yesterday.” Sorry if you didn’t realise many of my blog posts derive from real life conversations.

When Breaking More Waves hit 5 years, the original plan was to stop. I didn’t. A couple of years ago I decided that when it hit 10 that would be a great point to end. But now I’ve decided it isn’t. And part of that reason for not finishing just yet is because of all the friends and conversations that have been made and created through writing this thing and a desire to keep that going. 

In conclusion; thank you to everyone who has ever read Breaking More Waves.

Thank you to everyone who I have had a conversation with about music.

Thank you to everyone whose ideas I’ve stolen from those conversations and put into a blog post.

I’m taking just a few days off to celebrate Breaking More Waves hitting 10 - today you’ll find me at Bushstock Festival in London – follow my Twitter (here) for updates on that, but I will be back with more new music later next week. Also coming soon is an announcement regarding Dials, a fully independent 5 venue new music festival I'm helping pull together in Portsmouth to support a local mental health charity in October. We'll be announcing about 30 acts playing and ticket details later this week. Save 6th October in your diary for that.

Friday, 22 June 2018

New Music: Déjà Vega - Eyes Of Steel

Well this is rather good isn’t it? Eyes of Steel takes elements of Krautrock, psychedelia, motoric beats, indie and atmospheric shoegaze and channels them all into something rather powerful.

Originally released a couple of months ago, today it may not be considered that new to some, but with just 12,000 listens on Spotify and a video that’s yet to reach 2,000 plays that means there’s still a whole world of indie rock fans to be turned on, tuned in and taken to oblivion with this track. Awash with trippy atmospherics, blasts of guitar power and shouts of “Novocaine. Novocaine. Works his magic just like Novocaine,” this is the moment where you need to bow down and let the Winsford three piece of Déjà Vega surge into your ears. 

Déjà Vega - Eyes Of Steel

Thursday, 21 June 2018

New Music: LibraLibra - Tongues

Are you ready to be disturbed and exhilarated at the same time? Then take a look and listen to Tongues, the second single from one of Brighton’s most exciting new bands LibraLibra.

Delivered with a real physicality, Tongues is intense art-pop. Imagine Fever Ray in the asylum and you might be getting close. As you press play you'll probably think that the devil has crept into your stereo system – but stick with it and don’t be scared. The journey to hell can be full of thrills for those prepared to embrace it. For in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds that follow you’ll find an outlandish mix of tribal and military beats and vocals, electronics and a huge hollering chorus. Add to that an equally bizarre video featuring pink morph suited men, some violence and a child’s solo tea party and you can rest assured that if there were any worries about pop music losing its sense of weirdness LibraLibra are ensuring that’s not going to happen.

They’re as gruesome as they are beautiful, but totally compelling in the drama they create. With further releases to come later this year and other live dates booked, it's worth keeping your dial on this lot. 

LibraLibra play a free single launch show at the Green Door Store in Brighton tonight  with support from Yumi and the Weather and Blush. There are rumours of the venue being transformed into a giant womb tonight, so be prepared to walk not just through the green doors but a gaping vagina as well.

LibraLibra - Tongues (Video)

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

New Music: Introducing - Rachel Chinouriri

This is Rachel Chinouriri, a musician who appears to be sitting somewhat uncomfortably on a hedge. Personally I prefer a chair or the floor, and thankfully there are pictures of her sitting on a chair on her Facebook page, so at least we can conclude that she doesn't have some weird shrub seat fetish.

Rachel is a new name to the pages of Breaking More Waves, but a quick click on her Soundcloud will show you that she put an EP out in 2016 which was recorded in her bedroom with a just a cheap microphone and her laptop. It was appropriately called Bedroom Tales and seems to have garnered her a bit of attention with thousands of plays and the likes of Gary Crowley playing her song Weight of the World on BBC Radio London. 

Whilst there’s clearly some emerging talent on the EP, if it had come the way of my in box I probably would have passed on it in terms of featuring it on the blog – it just sounds a little too raw and underdeveloped for my personal tastes.

However, Rachel’s new song is a gorgeous revelation. A beautifully measured piece that glides rather than punches What Have I Ever Done reminds me a little bit of the work of Daughter with its nocturnal atmospherics and hushed stillness. If you want big pop choruses and bangers turn away now, but if you want something to really immerse yourself in, dive in deep.

Living in Croydon (home of the once largest second hand record shop in Europe - Beanos - now RIP) on the outskirts of London, Rachel is the youngest child from a large family that hail from Zimbabwe, although Rachel was born in England. Apparently, her family’s traditional Zimbabwean values sometimes left Rachel feeling isolated and it was from this situation that she found herself delving into writing and recording music. The result here is beguiling to say the least.

Rachel Chinouriri - What Have I Ever Done