Thursday, 14 June 2018

New Music: Pale Waves - Kiss (Video)

Yes yes. I know all the arguments against Pale Waves. To a certain extent I agree with them.

Their songs all sound the same. Their songs all sound the same. Their songs all sound the same. Their songs all sound the same. Their songs all sound the same. Their songs all sound the same.

And then there’s the argument that people only like them because of their indie goth pop look. 

Which I don’t agree with. 

Having seen a hyped-up energetic crowd bouncing up and down and singing along to every word of every song the band played at Heaven, London recently, it certainly didn’t feel like a gig where people were only there because of the bands style. They were fully invested in the music. People might buy into or identify with the look, but only if they’re passionate about the songs first and foremost.

And what a gig Heaven was. With a light show that screamed ‘we want to make this look as amazing as we can in a small venue' and with Heather becoming a rather excellent front woman (especially when she put down her guitar and pulled some shapes) it was a watershed moment for Pale Waves. At that point it left me feeling right here, right now, they’re unstoppable. Whatever the arguments against them.

Today the band continue their upward trajectory with a new video. Accusations that Heather is actually the daughter of Robert Smith won’t be helped here. It’s undeniable that the guitars in this tune could quite easily be taken from one of Fat Bob and the Goths poppier moments. And Heather’s got the oddball eye rolls and jerky quirky hand movements down to an art form. The fact that the song is called Kiss – virtually the same title as one of The Cure’s songs (which incidentally features one of my favourite opening lyrics of any album: “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, your tongue is like poison, so swollen it fills up my mouth.”)  doesn’t help either. So as much I want to throw the ‘all their songs sound the same’ argument into the ring, there’s something about this track (namely those similarities to one of my favourite bands) and Pale Waves’ confidence and energy that keeps me locked in.

Pale Waves - Kiss (Video)

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

New Music: Introducing - 3rd Culture Kid

Some of you with good musical memories might remember Lulu James. For a while, in the sort of circles that some people would describe as ‘tastemakers’, Lulu’s name seemed to be everywhere. It was easy to see why – she had enormous vocal talent, personality and some fine songs to go with it. She even cropped up on this blog a couple of times and I managed to see her live at The Great Escape Festival (on a stage alongside Chvrches and MØ) and at a rather magical set at the House of Barnabas in London.

However, such is the nature of pop music that sometimes artists, irrespective of their talent, just don’t break through the way that the tastemakers think they will do. 

Now after some time away Lulu is back with a new name to signify a new project. Thankfully despite the re-brand she’s not trying to cover up her past existence or work, something that some artists attempt and I personally find a little bit odd; there’s nothing wrong with your art heading in a different direction or changing but accepting the past is just as important as moving into the future.

And 3rd Culture Kid does see an evolution for Lulu musically. After going back to Africa, (she was born and lived in Tanzania until she was 6) and reconnecting and rediscovering her roots, she’s uniting the two worlds she comes from through her music and singing; partly in her native tongue.

Less 21st century soul (as her style used to be categorised) and rather more international leftfield pop, MTO (which means rivers in Swahili) represents the first fascinating offering from her under this new guise. If you’re a fan of the likes of Ibeyi you may well latch onto this pretty quickly and for those who want to lose themselves in dance, there’s a rather infectious remix by Kidnap (formerly Kidnap Kid) out there as well. 

I’m streaming both tracks because after repeated listens I can’t decide which I like more. The remix is rather easier to connect with at first but as you delve further in the original is perhaps the deeper and more long term listen. 

3rd Culture Kid - MTO

3rd Culture Kid - MTO (Kidnap Remix)

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

New Music: Zuzu - All Good

Liverpool’s Zuzu seems to be making a once a year appearance on Breaking More Waves. Back in 2016 an introducing piece described her as a cross between Courtney Barnett and Black Honey, then in 2017 I wrote that What You Want was a rollickingly good indie rock song. In 2018 I stand by all those statements.

But there’s more this year. So far I’ve managed to catch Zuzu live at The Great Escape Festival in the rather odd environs of a white walled hotel function room that’s probably more used to hosting weddings and conferences than raucous chaotic guitar bands (it had the nicest toilets though – so that was a definite advantage). Then there was the class of her third release Beauty Queen which has been tickling the earlobes with its hook-a-plenty delight and the promise of a full EP to come. Elsewhere over the last few days there’s also been some social media footage of Zuzu chair-moshing at a Taylor Swift gig with the Breaking More Waves regular Lauran Hibberd (look out for new material from Lauran soon). I like it when our favourite indie singers become good friends.

From the forthcoming EP comes song 4 and it’s called All Good and it’s er……all good. After all what’s not to like about a trippy ballad (of sorts…) that mentions alien aunties and falling in love without drugs in virtually the same breath? It’s the song that adds a little more musical depth to Zuzu’s output, although to be honest I’d be just as happy with her cranking out some more haphazard trashy-speed-pop belters. Either way what’s clear is that Zuzu can write a song and then some. Now all we need is a physical release so that she can claim the prize of sitting right at the end of my music collection after the Zutons; and no, before you ask I don’t own any ZZ Top.

Zuzu - All Good

Monday, 11 June 2018

New Music: Starling - Profiteroles

I can categorically say that until today I have never listened to a pop song titled after those odd little French choux pastry balls with a moist filling and a chocolate topping. But now that I have I’m glad I did. Because Starling’s Profiteroles is a lean, mean and peculiar piece of electronic pop music and certainly the only one you’ll ever hear where the lyrics mentioned those pastry balls in ‘the pockets of Charlotte’s pink dressing gown, she’s sick again, must be the neighbourhood.’ Add in some expressive dancing in the video at some slightly overcast locations and you can consider my interest piqued for her forthcoming EP The Soul, which is the follow up to 2017's EP The Body – you can see what she’s doing with those titles can’t you?

Starling plays The Waiting Room in London on 26th September.

Starling - Profiteroles (Video)