Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What Happened To Our Ones To Watch 2014 (So Far) Part 2

This is the second of two posts where we look back at the artists that we predicted would be Ones to Watch in 2014 and how they’ve fared so far.

6. Mononoke

“We're naming her as one to watch for 2014 on the basis of just the one song we've heard - always a dangerous strategy - but when that one song (Alice) is so good, she becomes one to watch even if only to see if she can keep the standard up with her next release,” we said. Her next releases, both to the internet, were Bones & Glory and Barefoot & Broken. Both were good, although not as breathtaking as Alice. Then nothing. Not even a reveal on who Monnoke was, or at least not officially. Although if you look very carefully (here) you might get the full picture. For the time being we wait patiently and hope that more material will be forthcoming soon.

7. George Ezra

When we suggested that “Ezra’s star was rising,” in our Ones to Watch article in 2013 we really didn’t expect it to rise as far as it has. Sold out gigs left right and centre, a huge UK chart and radio hit with Budapest (which was once a free download available from Soundcloud), a top 10 chart album in the UK and it seemed that he played about 100 shows at this year’s Glastonbury a bit like Ed Sheeran did a couple of years before that. The boy did good.

8. Banks

Queen of the internet, every time Banks has put out a song this year the blogosphere has gone crazy, rather like it did when Beggin' For Thread (streaming below) was released yesterday. The proof of her true potential will come in the next few months though. Will the BBC Sound of / Blog Sound of nominee live up to the hype with an album that manages to be both commercially and critically successful and will her live shows be able to stand the test of the large venues she’s been booked to play? When we saw one of her early UK gigs in the tiny Bermuda Triangle Club in Brighton she was good but not fully convincing. If the album stuns and if she’s upped her game with the live performance then 2014 is for her taking. If not then we might all be scratching our heads a little.

9. Eva Stone

Has yet to release a single. Maybe we were a little too early with Eva Stone? Fingers crossed for the second half of 2014. She did however support George Ezra in London earlier this year and we caught her live at Brighton's Great Escape where we confirmed that this girl has a voice of some magnitude.

10. IYES

Whilst keeping a relatively low profile in terms of live shows in 2014 Brighton duo IYES continued where they left off in 2013 by sparking up the blogs with the songs Breathe and Toys as well as some rather excellent remixes for the likes of Paperwhite and Zella Day. As a result Hype Machine recently featured them in their own Ones to Watch list. As far as we’re aware the band remained unsigned. “We have some amazing news coming soon,” they tweeted on Monday. We wonder if that position is about to change? Continue to keep your eyes on IYES.

Banks - Beggin' For Thread

What Happened To Our Ones To Watch 2014 (So Far) Part 1

It might only be July but we’re already starting to think about end of year lists. We’re stupidly obsessed with the things. We reckon we’ve heard at least four or five albums that stand a very good chance of getting in our top 10 (could Sophie Ellis Bextor be a surprise dark horse contender ?) and already have a sizeable bunch of possibilities for our own Ones to Watch for 2015 (2 or 3 of them may have appeared on the blog in the last month) plus some pretty strong guesses for the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list and the lesser known but in our opinion excellent UK Blog Sound of 2015 list (well we would say that, we run the thing).

As we’re over halfway through the year we thought it was about time that we cast our eyes back to the 10 acts we predicted would be worth watching last November and to give a half-term report on how they’ve been doing.

So without further ado, here we go with the first five. The next five will follow in a second post.

1. Wolf Alice

It’s been a solid year for Wolf Alice so far. The indie alt rockers followed up the excellent 2013 Blush EP by signing to Dirty Hit Records (home of The 1975, Marika Hackman and Ben Khan), released the equally good Creature Songs EP this May, played their biggest headlining tour and then hit the festivals including a slot in the John Peel Tent at Glastonbury. A good few months creatively and commercially it would seem.

2. Chlöe Howl

After bubbling under for all of 2013, 2014 has seen Chlöe continue to bubble, just the bubbles are slightly bigger. The re-released Rumour sneaked into the bottom end of the UK chart at number 84 (and bizarrely became a number 4 hit in Poland) and new single Disappointed is due to be released next week with an album to follow. Chlöe has also been bringing her punchy pop to the festivals this summer. The album was originally scheduled for June 9th but appears to have been put back till September. The question for Chlöe is will her bubble grow that little bit more (she’s on a major label and we imagine as a pop act they’ll expect a relatively quick return on their investment) or will it burst?

3. Sophie Jamieson

“Of the artists we’re selecting as our Ones to Watch 2014 Sophie Jamieson is probably one of the least likely to be lighting up the top 40 in the next year,” we wrote last November. That still holds true. However whilst Sophie’s music may not hold huge commercial potential, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t delivered anything but majestically beautiful creatively by way of single Stain / Other through Luv Luv Luv records this year. It was a case of two songs forming one single with the line ‘when I leave’ common to both. Sophie also featured on the BBC Introducing stage at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

4. Jungle

The mysterious T and J finally revealed their identities and then as happens with these so called mystery acts we all went ‘ok now we know who they are’ and just got on and listened to the music. The debut album was released last week and was generally well received and went into the top 10 in the UK. It’s electro-soul done impeccably well, as are their rather groovy live shows (see the footage of Busy Earnin' from their crowd wowing set at Glastonbury below). The only question that really remains is will the record last in people’s memories – there’s not a huge variety to it. It’s virtually one idea / song played out 12 times, but it’s a very good one nonetheless.

5. Flyte

Classic songwriting indie boys Flyte have been taking their time in 2014. Earlier in the year they were out on the road winning some new fans supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, and they released a single We Are The Rain through indie label Transgressive. Since then they’ve played a few festivals, played on the same bill as Neil Young and have been recording more material. From the songs we’ve heard Flyte play live we’d suggest that their best is yet to come. Very much still ones to watch for 2014.

Jungle - Live At Glastonbury (John Peel Stage)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Kate Miller - Fortify (Video)

Back in February we introduced Kate Miller to readers of Breaking More Waves and stated that a debut EP would be released later in the year. Now signs of that EP are beginning to surface. First up from it comes Fortify and the accompanying video which streams below.

On Fortify, rather like the previously streamed Collar Up it sounds as if Kate isn’t trying too hard vocally; there’s no X-Factor style warbling or histrionics to be found and frankly the tune is all the better for it. Her understated tones have a glowing sensual presence, the opening line of ‘tonight I’m gonna face the sun’ being a perfect description of how she sings; with a warmth and mellowness that its easy to drift away with.

The video takes clips of performance artists such as Bruce Nauman as well as Anne Teresa De Keersmaekers’s choreographed dance Fase. The choice of these videos comes from Kate’s obsession with performance art. “I wanted to address visually what I felt about the songs on my EP, going through obsessions, being besotted with a subject or person, and repetition,” she says.

Kate Miller - Fortify (Video)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hype Machine's Most Blogged Artists Of 2014 So Far

Yesterday BBC 6 Music revealed the 20 most blogged acts so far in 2014, compiled from data from Hype Machine. If you don’t know what Hype Machine is, it’s a blog aggregator which pulls together all the MP3s that the music blogs it features post and allows you to stream them from one site. If you register you can customise the site to suit your own preferences, for example choosing to just hear music from your favourite blogs (such as Breaking More Waves of course) by following those particular sites. You can also vote for the songs that you really love and these votes count towards the Hype Machine chart, a fluid chart that identifies what songs are getting the most love at any particular point. If a song gets near the top of the chart it guarantees the artist a huge amount of extra plays for that particular song. Rather than explain Hype Machine in detail the best thing we can recommend is that you go and visit the site (here), register with it and then of course don’t forget to follow Breaking More Waves as one of your preferred blogs!

From the data Hype Machine has gathered here are the 20 most blogged acts of 2014 so far. It’s no surprise to see Banks at number 1, she has been the queen of all things blog related for the last year, including being joint winner of last December’s UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll voted for by UK music bloggers.

You can debate the value of this list till the cows come home. From our own UK perspective we’d have liked to have seen more acts from our own country featured (we thought Jungle might have sneaked on there for example). There’s also a big debate to be had about if the more established artists on this list really need the exposure of music blogs – but that’s a highly complex debate and not one which we’re sure we can draw any firm conclusion to. Ultimately the list is what it is – a representation of what the 800+ music blogs across the world (many of whom are American) have been writing about over the last 6 months. 

Here's the list:

1) Banks 
2) Little Dragon 
3) Chromeo 
4) Caribou 
5) London Grammar
7) Mac Demarco 
8) Todd Terje 
9) Yumi Zouma 
10) Sharon Van Etten 
11) Sylvan Esso 
12) Tycho 
13) Lorde 
14) Chet Faker 
15) Mø 
16) Cloud Nothings 
17) Drake 
18) Sam Smith 
19) Lana Del Rey 
20) Glass Animals