Wednesday, 4 May 2016

New Music: Majik - Closer

When you cast your eyes over dance styles in the history of pop music, from jive to northern soul to disco to acid house through to modern r ‘n’b twerking and grinding, there’s one that’s often forgotten, and that’s the slow dance. 

Back in the 80’s, in provincial towns and cities across the land, neon lit nightclubs with names like Cinderella’s and Ragamuffins owned the slow dance. There was that always that point in the night when the upbeat dance grooves and beats gave way to the smouldering smoochies. At this point couples would follow the instructions of artists such as Phyllis Nelson who sang that everyone should ‘Move Closer’. The swaying with arms round waists should have been a beautiful romantic moment, but in reality was often just an excuse for a lusty teenage experimental grope. Some people even called it the erection section.

I can’t imagine the slow dance making a return to today’s clubs; it now seems confined to the first dance at a wedding, unless perhaps if it was served with a massive dollop of guilty pleasure type cheese and a knowing wink.

However, if it did and was irony free, Closer, the new one from London duo Majik would be the perfect soundtrack to the new slow dance scene. A non-careless whisper of a tune, this soft, atmospheric and velvety pop song is true seduction, taking the sentiments of Phyllis forward for a new age; “Move a little closer to me.” Following debut tracks Save Me and It’s Alright, it’s another demonstration of why, despite it being incredibly early days for the band, I named Majik as one of my Ones to Watch for 2016. Modern and gorgeous.

Majik - Closer

Monday, 2 May 2016

New Music: Lido - Crazy (Video)

Whether he’s working with Cashmere Cat, giving the remix treatment to the likes of Banks, Bill Withers, Bastille or The Weeknd or knocking out his own jams like I Love You or Money, Norwegian producer Lido has been pretty prolific over the last couple of years. Now he’s put out his best track to date. Crazy is, I warn you, completely bonkers. If you’re going to use autotune and effects on a vocal, this is the way to do it. It sounds like music produced by one of those alien creatures you’d find in the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars after they’ve had one too many Lucozades; it’s an out of this world banger that will either make you want to punch the air or punch Lido’s face. 

A simple but brilliant visual concept for the video as well. A man conducting some lights might not sound like visual entertainment, but it works.

Lido - Crazy (Video)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Great Escape 2016 - Preview / Recommendations (Saturday)

From my perspective the final day of the official Great Escape programme has less must sees than the previous two days. However, Saturday’s Alt Escape makes up for this with an abundance of choice, so there’s never going to be a dull moment on the streets of Brighton. These posts focus on the core event though, so in a similar manner to the two previous posts (here and here) I’ll waste no time and get straight on with recommending five acts that may be worth your while checking out.

The Big Moon 12:30 Komedia (Also playing at The Corn Exchange 19:15)

The Big Moon will be playing a huge venue (The Corn Exchange) later in the evening when they play support to The Mystery Jets, but early risers are advised to catch these Blog Sound of 2016 long list nominees earlier in the day at Komedia. Expect brash bold noisy guitar pop such as The Road, Sucker and new tune Cupid (below) to blow the cobwebs away.

Cadet 13:15 Paganini Ballroom

Grime isn’t a genre that you’d really expect to see on Breaking More Waves, but for me one of the beauties of Great Escape is to be able to sample something a little off your normal musical road map. As I listened to the festival’s Spotify playlist last month, Cadet’s track Stereotype stood out. With its honest lyrical delivery, he deals with the idea that stereotypes sadly often come from behaviours of reality - we're all likely to be our own stereotype.

Ary 15:30 Patterns Upstairs (Also playing at Stick Mike's Frog Bar 01:30 Saturday)

I first wrote about Norwegian pop singer Ary back in January and compared her to the likes of Aurora and Emilie Nicolas. After impressing audiences at other European new music festivals now she heads to the UK, hopefully to do the same there with her take on pulsing electronic Scandipop.

Holly Macve 18:45 Sallis Benny Theatre

From the Bella Union label comes Holly Macve, another artist I introduced on the blog relatively recently. Clearly inspired by American songwriters, Holly possesses a show stopping country tinged vocal that sounds as if it’s been beamed from 50 years past into the present. A must see.

Stevie Parker 19.45 Komedia Studio Bar

Gorgeous, laid back, keyboard based chill-pop from an artist from the Bristol area that is cropping up on the undercard of a lot of UK based festivals this year. Full confession; I’ve only heard one song (Never Be – streaming below), but it’s an enticing enough beauty to make me want to hear more. Stevie Parker is the last of my tips from the Great Escape 2016 official core programme.

Alt Escape Bonus Pick: Emily Burns 14.45 The Black Lion

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Great Escape 2016 - Preview / Recommendations (Friday)

No messing, no commentary on the event (you can find that on yesterday’s post), I’m just going straight in with 5 music makers that are on my list of possible (venue capacities permitting) acts to see at this year’s Great Escape festival, which takes place in Brighton city centre at a variety of venues between 19th and 21st May. Then I finish by tossing up a link to a recommendation for a band on the Alt Escape line up as well.

Here are my choices from the Friday line-up. (You can find Thursday's choices on this link here) If you’re going you can see all these 5 selections with no clashes (unfortunately my Alt Escape bonus pick does clash). If you’re a regular reader of Breaking More Waves none of these choices will in any way surprise you.

Note: You should also go and see Have You Ever Seen The JaneFonda Aerobic VHS? On Friday at the Queens Hotel at 14:30 because with a name like that and being from Finland they can be nothing but incredible. Also in between Black Honey and Declan McKenna at Wagner Hall  there’s Loyal, an act that is very much loved by the blogosphere, so they’re going to be worth sticking around for. Don’t go to the bar instead.

Xylaroo 13:00 The Pop-Up Stage

If singing sisters are a thing (and the evidence suggests they are – The Staves, First Aid Kit, Haim…er…..The Nolan Sisters) then these sisters, one of two acts we’re recommending from the Sunday Best stable are another name to add to the list. I tipped Xylaroo as One to Watch for 2016 last year on the blog, so go on, take my advice and watch them.

Pleasure Beach 15.30 Spiegeltent

I’ve seen (and maybe in some cases written) words about Northern Ireland’s Pleasure Beach that compare them to Arcade Fire, War On Drugs and Bruce Springsteen. This is the point where I should say ‘but that’s just lazy journalism’. But it isn’t – because those comparisons have some basis of truth. It’s not lazy journalism – it’s accurate journalism. Lazy journalists are the ones who work for a couple of hours in a day and then call it quits to go down the pub / watch TV. Anyway, I digress. I have no idea what Pleasure Beach are like live, but if they sound anything like their recorded material they should be pretty marvellous.

Alice Jemima 19.00 Jubilee Gardens

The unsigned artist that I’ve posted the most about in the history of Breaking More Waves, but now she’s signed to Sunday Best. She recently released a rather clever tune called Liquorice. It went top 10 on the Hype Machine. She’s playing BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. It’s all very exciting. This is why you should catch Alice Jemima at Great Escape. If you see a man explode like a bomb in front of you – that’s me. The excitement got too much.

Black Honey 20:30 Wagner Hall

The band most likely to 'do a Wolf Alice' over the next year or so. Need I say any more? Rock ‘n’ roll with a nostalgic twangy cinematic twist. Breaking More Waves regulars.They’re the real deal and genuine contenders. If you haven't seen them yet, make Black Honey a must. 

Declan McKenna 22:30 Wagner Hall

The winner of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition in 2015. Two fascinating, unusual and assured singles in the form of Brazil and Paracetamol. Another of Breaking More Waves’ Ones To Watch 2016. A young but rare talent doing something different in a crowded field of the singer songwriters. For once someone that isn't Ed Sheeran-like or r'n'b influenced pop

Alt Escape Bonus Pick: Majik 19.15 North Laine Brewhouse