Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Kid Adrift - Oxytocin

Breaking More Waves is not about underground snobbery. We’ve never subscribed to the idea that just because something is ‘mainstream’ or ‘commercial’ sounding it cannot be amazing. Often the greatest records created are the ones that touch or move the masses, it doesn’t all come from the elitist-head-stuck-up-their-own-arse underground. Pop is not a dirty word as we discussed here.

This is why we get excited when an act we’ve written about in the past achieves commercial success. It’s not about gaining credibility points for spotting them early, although a little ironic smug smile may cross our lips. What excites us is the fact that an artist that we thought deserved to be heard gets that opportunity to do so on a larger scale than just a handful of music blogs or playing to a dingy pub with thirty people in it. For many artists making huge amounts of money is not complete success but the chance of getting your music heard by as many people as possible is a wonderful thing - irrespective of commercial gain. Witness how many acts at last weekends Glastonbury were moved by such huge crowds watching them - it’s an easy to relate to visual indicator of your music being heard - something radio or television cannot provide.

This is why it excites us that an artist such as Clare Maguire, who we’ve been upfront in our love for since January 2009 (here), is finally creeping out of the closet to play live at this years Latitude. It is also why we were celebrate the fact that bands we’ve blogged such as NewIslands, Lanterns on the Lake and Kid Adrift all graced the BBC Introducing Stage at this years Glastonbury. These are bands we think deserve to be heard and we want to shout about them.

Which leads us to Kid Adrift. The Scottish genius has now got a record deal, and is able to deliver his monstrously good compositions live with a fully fleshed out band. Kid Adrift is readying the release of the Oxytocin EP, an incredible fusion of beats, electronica and rock music that verges on the classical. Sounding like a hand swiping across a table and pushing everything off it, Oxytocin is a modern symphony of greatness and needs to wrap itself around your ears. The EP is due for release on the 12th July.

The video, directed by High Contrast turns Hello Kitty merchandise into something a little macabre and there’s a classic 'shock' ending involved as well. It streams below together with a remix of Oxytocin by Cyantific and Wilkinson which you can download for free. Just click on the arrow.



Kid Adrift - Oxytocin - Cyantific & Wilkinson Rmx by WorkItMedia

Monday, 28 June 2010

Lounge on the Farm 2010 - Preview

Some festivals take their name because of their location -Reading, Isle of Wight, etc. Lounge on the Farm takes it one step further, leaving you under no illusion where it is set - on a working dairy farm, the main stage being a cow shed. Set just outside Canterbury, Lounge on the Farm is the one of the premier festivals in Kent (the other being the larger Hop Farm). As a county Kent has been subjected to mixed fortunes with its festivals, from the shambles that was Zoo 2008 (google the words ‘worst music festival ever’ and Zoo 2008 will be noticeably present) to the much better Electric Gardens, which ran very successfully in 2006 and 2007 but then ended following the illness of a key organiser. This year has also seen the cancellation of the Sellinge Festival, with the company who ran it going to into liquidation.

Lounge on the Farm however continues to successfully grow, with the Virtual Festivals website describing it last year as a boutique festival that was “well worth the trip to Kent wherever you are in the world.” The organisers of the event have likened it to a “pumped up village fete,” and certainly this festival gives off the air of very much being a ‘local’ event with its great range of locally sourced grub - the Guardian named it as “the best for foodies,” - and a website whose travel directions are certainly not aimed at those who are travelling some distance.

This year however it's well worth travelling the distance even if you‘re not local. Over the three days of musical and agricultural adventures many Breaking More Waves approved bands are appearing. (King Charles, Rose Elinor Dougall and Wild Palms for example), but it‘s the Saturday line-up that really bites. On the wonderfully named Sheep Dip stage Moshi Moshi Records and Wichita Records combine to curate a superb line up of bands that includes First Aid Kit, Silver Columns, Slow Club, Summer Camp, James Yuill, Gold Panda, Veronica Falls, Dam Mantle , Spectrals, Lissie Trulie, Wave Pictures and Hot Club De Paris. Excellent stuff.

Tickets for Lounge on the Farm, which takes place on Merton Farm near Canterbury on the 9th-11th July 2010 are currently still available and can be purchased from the festival website here. Even better, if you click here, for the cost of just your email address you can download a free 17 track compilation album that features acts appearing at the festival including Slow Club, Gaggle, Silver Columns, Frankie & The Heartstrings and Phenomenal Handclap Band. You don’t even have to be a ticket holder to grab this album.

Breaking More Waves will be bringing a review of the Saturday of Lounge on the Farm 2010 and in particular many of the acts on the Sheep Dip stage. Hopefully it will be mooo-sic to our ears amongst the haystacks. In the meantime here’s some clips from last years event.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - World Cup Song

We said we weren’t going to post or tweet about the World Cup. We did it once and think we got away with it.

So let’s get this over and done with then we can get back to the cricket.

Cucumber sandwich anyone ? This is the best world cup song of 2010 thanks to Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer. Spiffing.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Yuck - Weakend

We’re not sure why, but the band that have up until now been known as Yuck, seem to have changed their name to Yu(c)k. This may mean that we should be changing our pronunciation to You-See-Kay, but for now we’re sticking with Yuck, because as rubbish as it is, it requires less effort.

Yu(c)k continue to confound us with astonishment and beauty. Their live set we saw (here) was full of buzzing and fizzing guitars that screeched and jostled in their rawness, yet they have now delivered several laments that are full of dreamy softness. Weakend (again the spelling may or may not be confusing) is the third of a trilogy of comfort blanket beauties, the other two being Suicide Policeman and Automatic. Here Yu(c)k create another song to utterly immerse yourself in. It’s due to be released on a forthcoming cassette EP, out soon through Mirror Universe.

Right now in our digital age, where everything is easy, the cassette tape is having a nostalgic analogue rebirth. Witness how many of the coolest indie / underground labels are putting out releases on tape. Maybe the cassette, like 7” vinyl has taken on a new identity. It now stands for something; the fight against the corporate giants and the mainstream. The ipod is marketed as cool, but can something be that cool when everyone has one? Furthermore the cassette represents a labour of love. We’re always very disappointed when we see that someone advertises a ‘mix tape’ but it’s actually a CD or even worse an online play list. It smacks of efficient convenience rather than a time consuming and incredibly painstaking effort.

Of course ultimately cool counts for nothing. This weeks cool is next weeks naff. Better to trust your instincts and decide what to fall in love with on the basis of what moves you.

So this weekend, enjoy weakend. Falling in love with this isn’t hard. Do it.

Yu(c)k - Weakend from Yuck on Vimeo.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Lite N Dark - Nightfever

Just a few days ago we brought you the electro / pop / rap fusion of Lite N Dark. Bringing energy, confidence and big stonking songs to the floor we liked them a lot. Now they’re back with another track - Nightfever. Not to be confused with The Bee Gees song of the same name, this is another unbelievably hot high-energy joyride which lyrically deals with the passion and fall out of a one night stand. From the rush of lust “just go down on me, feel your kiss surrounding me,” to the empty ending “waking up in the morning and I didn’t know your name,” Nightfever is insanely good and in a just world would be blaring out on daytime pop radio.

Listen to the track below and then if you like it, do the right thing and give something back and buy it for whatever price you decide on - the track is up as a pay as much as you like download. Lite N Dark are putting the money they make from sales of the song into a band fund and once they reach three hundred pounds are going to immediately return to the studio to record another song, as this is around how much it costs to make a new track. The more you donate and the more people that buy, the quicker the group can record another track. This process will be repeated indefinitely.

But first press play and enjoy this shot of passion pop. Hot hot heat indeed. Nightfever.

Unicorn Kid @ Southampton Joiners

It may be a school night, exams may still be ongoing, and someone seems intent on flicking the switch to off, but in a pub in Southampton a bunch of kids, many of them far too young to drink, are going ballistic. Wired and sweat-drenched bodies jump in excited unison, hands are raised in exultation - there’s a real sense of unadulterated joy and chaos rushing out of every pore; welcome to the full throttle, pumped up world of the lion hat sporting electronic boy wonder - Unicorn Kid.

There’s something about Unicorn Kid’s overexcited mix of glitchy chip tune that is infectious and glorious - it brings the vibe of heady e-fuelled second summer of love rave euphoria or the mosh-pit energy of a rock gig, complete with crowd surfing and boys taking their tops off. Not everything he creates is just the berserk sound of Gameboy mentalism - several tracks including the recently released Dream Catcher have a darker, tripper heaviness which reverberate through the body.

Even when for the third time that night the sound cuts out just as blasts of beats, dirty sub-bass and vibrant colourful electronics raise the roof, it doesn’t stub out the atmosphere - instead there’s just enough time to catch your breath before the dancing re-ignites.

Oliver Sabin, aka Unicorn Kid is not simply a man standing on stage poking a laptop and twiddling a few knobs, he’s an unrestrained human dynamo full of enthusiasm. Leaping and punching at the air against a backdrop of projections, by the time he gets to the last track Animal City you have to wonder if he’ll need an oxygen tank to recover in afterwards. A joyous and riotous evening of fun - certainly not Casiotone for the painfully alone, the only question that remains is if Unicorn Kid can broaden his appeal to a larger audience. On the evidence of this show, it’s certainly possible.

*Here a short clip of the gig - the sound quality is very poor as it was filmed on a small camera, but it gives an impression of the energy that was sustained from the word go to the finish.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Masks - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

The influences and music category sections of a groups Myspace page can be utterly confusing. The next time we find a rock band describing themselves as ‘Healing & Easy Listening’ we swear they will be getting a throttling. Brighton band Masks however are utterly safe from our wrath. With a description of ‘Experimental / Shoegaze / Industrial’ and influences stated as Fuck Buttons, Health and Crystal Castles, Masks are bang on. These instrumental cover up kids are exponents of exactly what they say on the tin, or rather the web page.

The duo that is Masks purvey dramatic, throbbing noise - the sound of pounding 3am blissful armageddon or drug fuelled sci-fi sex perhaps. Whatever it is, Masks do it very well. With their track Forever Dancing (video below) Masks take a guitar loop that displays a remarkable similarity to Elephants by Warpaint and then add layers of fuzzy guitars, keyboard stabs and Viking longboat drums to create a glorious circuit bending orgy of sound. Tribal Fangs (which you can stream and download below) is a brooding, beckoning soundtrack with the possibility of violence bubbling under the surface. We like. A lot.

Masks make the music of our favourite nightmares. If you’re in the UK and going to Truck Festival in July you can catch them there. They also have dates in London and Brighton shortly after that.



Masks Tribal Fangs by MASKS

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Good Gods! - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

It’s fair to say that the comically named Tom Hatred flexes a particularly dulcet croon from his vocal chords. We hear hints of Charlie Fink, Edwyn Collins, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Grandmaster Gareth from Misty’s Big Adventure when Tom opens his mouth. His band are called The Good Gods! (note they have an exclamation mark, so say it right) and on the limited evidence we’ve seen so far, whilst more quirky than godly, they are definitely good.

Tom himself has been kicking around the block for some time now, you may recognise his name and drummer Ed Seeds (ex Mules front man) from the Pick Your Own compilation and same named club night in London. Both Tom and Ed both have played in bands with Emma Moss (aka Emmy The Great ) and Johnny Flynn but The Good Gods! are a new venture bringing a very eloquent Englishness to your ears. The Good Gods! possess a clearly enunciated, slightly nerdy, cardigan wearing eccentricity that can knock out endearing songs such as their new single Lying On Our Bright Red Backs. “Will I ever get to see the sunshine ?” Tom questions in a slightly melodramatic Morrisey-esque tone as he cycles his way round in the groups absurdly odd video that features a hell (boy) of a lot of red face paint. Red and warmth seem to be favourite themes of The Good Gods! - another one of their tracks, a trumpet adorned instrumental is entitled When The Earth Was A Ball Of Flames. The weirdness of the video don’t stop there either, with stuffed animals and long plastic arms featuring in a previous film for their cover of the Robert Palmer tune Addicted To Love which you can see here.

We need characters in music and The Good Gods! Seem blessed with quite a bit of that. Thank The Good Gods!



The Good Gods - Lying On Our Bright Red Backs (Download)

The Good Gods! - Lying On Our Bright Red Backs by Sainted PR

Zola Jesus - Night

Here comes the darkness. Here comes the Night. It’s the debut UK single from Zola Jesus - real name Nika Roza Danilova. There’s something defiantly art-house, brooding and cavernously gothic about the song. Painted jet black with morbid synths, marching ghost-drums and Nika’s powerfully immense vocal, Night is as un-summery as it gets.

Raised in Wisconsin, Nika spent her formative years taking opera lessons before turning towards other genres. She has a love for weird electronics and industrial music, but also claims that she loves intensely powerful melodic songs. These two strands can be distinctly heard on Night. If there was a similarity to another current artist then Fever Ray is a reference point, and it therefore seems highly appropriate that Zola Jesus will be supporting Fever Ray in Glasgow, London, Paris and Berlin later this year. Before then you can catch Zola Jesus at shows in the U.S before Nika and her band travel to the UK for a series of small headlining shows.

Haunting stuff. You can download or stream Night by Zola Jesus for free from the player below.

1 Night by WorkItMedia

Monday, 21 June 2010

Tesla Boy - Thinking Of You

Here’s a band we wrote about an age ago. 368 days ago to be precise. Now they say (although we’re never quite sure who ‘they’ are*) that a year is a long time in pop. Yet pop is like a giant hamster wheel. If you keep running hard enough, eventually things will come round to your way of thinking, as long as you don’t tumble off it, no matter how fast it spins.

Pop is in its middle age, an age where often the luxuries of yesteryear seem as exciting as the new – and the new is ultimately just a reinvention of an old idea. The hamster wheel keeps revolving, fashions come and go and as the ideas run out, the old ones are recycled. Sometimes this recycling is intentional; at other times trying to avoid cliché becomes the biggest cliché of all, as ‘new’ ideas find distant cousins and relatives from the past.

If you are a regular reader you will know that we subscribe to the thoughts of that well known pop theorist Aristotle. ‘It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world,’ the Greek philosopher said. Ok, he may not have been Simon Cowell, but it wouldn’t surprise us at all if Aristotle ran his own version of the X Factor around 300 BC and he probably stole the concept from someone else.

Tesla Boy, our second favourite Russian pop band (here without doubt is our first), fully represent a fusion of ideas – reinventing and reinterpreting to create something that is both very much of the past ( hello 1984-1986 ) and the future. Their hamster wheel has spun so fast that everything has just become a blur, but it’s a blur that is also flashing discotheque of an oasis with synths that swirl and funky bass that grooves like it wants sex now. This is the video for their new single. It’s called Thinking Of You. It's out June 28th.

* Actually we are sure who ‘they’ are. They include The Guardian and even a certain Breaking More Waves blog back in 2009. We’re hope you’re still with us, and the logic is seeping through, but there’s a central theory and argument that we've been running with here.That’s why sometimes we repeat ourselves. The past has a way of repeating itself. The past has a way of repeating itself. See what we did there ? No you miss the point. The hamster wheel keeps spinning. Just like the past repeated itself right at the start of everything. Almost two years ago to the day. This link here explains, thanks to an old granny.

Visions of Trees - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Discovering new bands is, thanks to the internet, incredibly easy. The buzz that connects the world of music through laptops, mobiles and PC’s can often be louder than a South African vuvuzela. So when we feature a ‘new’ band we’re often conscious that the band aren’t ‘new’ at all. We can’t always be first. Claims that Alan McGee was the first to discover Oasis in front of a handful of people at Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut are not particularly true - the reality is that there were others before him. For instance the promoter that booked Oasis to play that night, or audiences who saw them play other gigs before they hit Glasgow. McGee was just the person who offered Oasis a deal.

In the last few weeks we’ve written about very new acts such as Lite N Dark, Brilliant Mind and Spark. For many these will be totally new artists, but in most cases someone probably got there before us to help bring the artist or group to our attention - at least in two of the three cases mentioned.

Which brings us to Visions of Trees. To the discerning new music fan Visions of Trees will no longer be considered this weeks hype. This boy / girl duo put out their EP Sometimes it Kills back in February this year and have had significant exposure through blog coverage both before and after its release. However, blog exposure is just a starting point. Blogs may be the new-accessible-underground having virtually killed off the old-underground of the fanzine, but they rarely reach out to the mainstream. There’s a bigger machine to do that of which blogs are just a tiny but important part. However, another blog (this one) writing about another ‘new’ not so new band, will still find some readers who have yet to hear of Vision of Trees. Maybe they are new to you, and we may be your Alan McGee.

Vision of Trees are Joni Juden and Sara Atalar from London. Their sound is like a celestial rhythmic Mother Mary in a world of Cocteau-esque electronica. With songs shaped from reverb laden ethereal vocals, subtly danceable percussive elements and a trippy almost gothic come-down vibe, there is a hint of spaced-out mellowness to Vision of Trees that we haven’t heard since the early 90’s. A modern take on the work of ambient house pioneers The Orb but with more emphasis on tropical beats perhaps? Or distant groovy cousins of Esben and the Witch maybe ? Whatever their references though - their Myspace suggests psych r ‘n’ b - Vision of Trees provide a magic carpet of sounds that fly towards escapism but in a gentle, virtually seamless manner. Witness their live show to see this in full effect, where each song moulds into each other giving the audience no chance to applaud until the end.

Visions of Trees, like many other bands over the last year, started with an air of mystery about them, their initial press shots showing their faces covered in masks. As you can see from the photo above though, Visions of Trees have nothing to be embarrassed about in the flesh. Also like many other new acts these two have been keeping themselves busy with some remixing duties as well as forming their own songs, including mixes for Memory Tapes and the current Everything Everything single Schoolin’. They also have a few UK summer festivals booked including Glastonbury, Truck, Camp Bestival and Bestival. Here’s their track Cult of Cobras.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Scotland World Cup Football Squad - We Have A Dream - Guilty Pleasure #4

It’s Friday, and despite our promise on our Twitter that Breaking More Waves would be a Jabulani / football / soccer / vuvuzela free zone, we really can’t help ourselves. It’s an absolute age since we posted a guilty pleasure, and in amongst all the debate about what is the greatest football song ever (answer = it has to be World in Motion by New Order of course, if only for that hand on hip 'rap') we’d like to bring you this gem. If you haven’t heard it before you really are in for a treat - of sorts. Or should we say of Scots ?

This evening if you’re from England, grab your space on the sofa, get the beers in the fridge, perfect your "Ingerland ,"shouting at the TV and bring out all those 1966 clichés. It's a once in four year ritual. If not, please support us, we need all the help we can get. Come on England Come on England. Come on England. Oh......

Normal new music service resumes next week. But for now, your country is needing you.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Fanfarlo - Fire Escape

It’s been some time since we’ve featured Fanfarlo, but their new video for their song Fire Escape really demands your attention. Filmed mainly in black and white it weaves a narrative around the concept of death, taking emphasis from the lyrics in the song. “When you’re still midway, it’s not too late to just turn back.” You’re never quite sure how it’s all going to end. Furthermore once you’ve watched the film there’s an alternate ending of the video here which has a somewhat darker finale.

Fire Escape is taken from the bands album Reservoir. If you’re wanting more Fanfarlo, in exchange for your email address, the band are currently giving away an exclusive live EP with songs recorded on their first US tour at college radio stations across the country. It includes The Walls Are Coming Down, I’m A Pilot and Finish Line and you can click here to grab them.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Drums - The Drums

Since The Drums first crossed our paths last August (here) their floppy fringes, camp angular posturing, incessantly hooky tunes and thin mix of early 80’s references - The Smiths, Orange Juice, and early Cure - have elevated them to gracing the cover of the NME and a high positioning on the BBC Sound of 2010 list. It’s been a rapid ascent for the New York bands fey whiny indie pop.

How much further this climb can continue following the recent release of their debut album is questionable. Whilst every song on The Drums by The Drums has an abundance of low-rent pop catchiness and innocent harmonies, over the course of a full length the limited scope of creativity and lack of muscular vigour means that The Drums becomes a soulless experience. Each song on its own right is accessible and radio friendly, but by three quarters of the way through any initial lure the record had is lost. The Drums have served up a collection of songs that will satisfy many a modern day NME reader in the same way that Darwin Deez does - their sound is fun, lightweight and easily accessible - but underlying this there is no big ideal or intricacy that will endear.

The template for The Drums can be heard from the very first song Best Friend. Bouncy Peter Hook styled bass, simplistic twangy jangly picked guitars, muffled drums and Jonathan Pierce’s vocal making all manner of “Ah-ah,” and “Oh-oh,” sounds. With the exception of the downbeat prom-queen ballad Down By The Water there’s little variation - not necessarily a bad thing if there’s something to maintain high levels of addiction, but here there isn’t. There’s a tendency for The Drums songs to sound formulaic, centred around one simple vocal hook. Compared to some of the reference points mentioned earlier Pierce’s song writing certainly has a long way to go to form something more lasting.

With their 50’s college boy looks and ability to bash out something undeniably infectious, their short term is assured, but The Drums are going to need more than this if they want to maintain their current flavour of the month status.

NewIslands - Paradise

Back in March we became gushingly excited about the band NewIslands and an incredible track called Out Of Time. Since then it’s been relatively quiet in the waters surrounding NewIslands, but now waves are building. First there was the announcement that the band have secured a slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at this years Glastonbury Festival, and now NewIslands have revealed a new song. It’s called Paradise and excuse us whilst we explode with excitement again, but it’s as good, if not better than Out Of Time.

We called Out Of Time A.M.A.Z.I.N.G and so now we’re struggling for words, but we’ll start with masterly, gargantuan, epic and dramatically superlative. With Paradise NewIslands have dropped the pulsating electronic sound and instead created a lofty dark soundscape out of echoing funeral drums and turbulent slathering rock guitars. It starts with a gentle caress before writhing, wriggling and stabbing you in the heart with some dangerously high voltage power. Previously we referenced Hurts and this reference remains but only in terms of the way the song is structured, in terms of sonic similarities this time we hear Echo & The Bunnymen and possibly even the mid 80’s clarion call of U2.

NewIslands are rapidly becoming one of our favourite bands. Listen to them and they may become one of yours as well. Let's go on a journey to Paradise.

Phew, we’re going for a lay down in a dark room to take some deep calming breaths. Inspirational.

NewIslands Paradise 14062010 by NewIslands-Explore

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Lissie - Catching a Tiger

“I’d rather jack than Fleetwood Mac,” some terrible Stock Aitken and Waterman protégé once sang back in 1989. It seems that with her debut album Catching a Tiger, Lissie doesn’t agree - we suspect she would rather listen to The Chain on repeat. To be more accurate Lissie is the updated sound of one member of Fleetwood Mac - Stevie Nicks. For Catching a Tiger is an album full of southern drawls and songs that sound like they’ve been plucked straight from a nostalgic sun bleached road trip somewhere between 1975 and 1985. It’s a road trip that very much occupies the middle of that road, in a moderately adult FM friendly way.

Lissie certainly has a strong rasping voice that holds the songs together well, but as Catching a Tiger ends there’s a sense that this is a very safe album - a typical listener will be one who values authenticity, and possibly has Sheryl Crow and Maria McKee in their record collection, besides the works of the aforementioned Nicks.

There are a few great songs on Catching a Tiger. Record Collector starts things off well, with an off-kilter rhythm formed out of what sounds like a table tennis ball being walloped with a frying pan, the tender and intimate Everywhere I Go - a track that was used in the series finale to Dollhouse season 2 - is breathtakingly beautiful, and Little Lovin’ with its hooky chorus, lyrics of Mississippi moonshine and gradually building stomp is exquisitely classy. However there’s also some padding with non-big hitters such as the riff-rocking and acoustic bravado of Cuckoo and the oddball Worried About which takes a similar rhythmic approach to Record Collector with lesser effect. At its worst Catching a Tiger is comfortable and bland, yet at its best it’s a vehicle for displaying Lissie’s ability to deliver a strong country rock tune with a hint of soul.

Those awful jacking Stock Aitken and Waterman produced Reynolds Girls also sang “the music of every generation has its own identity,” yet Catching a Tiger harks back to a generation past. As we argued in our opening article back at the start of the year (here), pop music has reached a middle age where everything references something else. Catching a Tiger for better or worse, for richer or poorer, 100% supports this argument.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Lite N Dark - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Here’s an unsigned duo who produce music that wouldn’t sound at all out of place in the UK Top 40. They are Lite N Dark - a boy/girl electro-pop group. He is Tim Talbot, a 21 year old Strokes loving Londoner with a sushi obsession, she is Katie McKenna a 17 year old Bolton girl who prefers House music and Hollyoaks. Even from this description, it’s easy to see where the name Lite N Dark came from.

It may be a cliché, but in the case of Lite N Dark, opposites really do attract, for Katie and Tim make big, colourful, exhilarating, danceable pop songs that can only be formed by people working well together. A prime example of their highly commercial and joyous sound can be found on Walk Away, where their contrasting vocal styles mix in a bassy rave-pop fusion. Katie’s strong voice wouldn’t be out of place on many a record you could hear on daytime UK pop radio whilst Tim’s distinctly pompous and over-ambitious vocal is straight out of the Human League / early 80’s school of dramatics, a kindred spirit to both DEKADE and The Modern who we have recently written about. It’s the polarised influences of the two individuals in Lite N Dark that ensure that Walk Away is not just another mediocre pop song. Listen and you’ll hear a Faithless like thrust of euphoria with an Erasure-esque disco pulse as waves of synths rush headlong towards the moment where the two sing “So if I can’t stop loving you, the fire can bring us together.” It's a pop banger ready to explode and make you go ga ga - and yes some of the sounds that Lite N Dark use would fit tidily onto that Ga Ga's The Fame. Take for example another song Nasty Boy, which features rapper Kay Maf delivering lines such as “ Yeah now I’m higher, yes I'm hitting the high notes like Mariah,” over sharp disco synths and a rippling bass line before Tim comes in with the chorus. It’s not quite as good as Walk Away, but the computerisations are still sharp and punchy.

Lite N Dark are incredibly new to the scene, their social networking sites having only gone live in the last few days. A first ever gig is just around the corner in Leeds on the 19th June, supporting Breaking More Waves favourite Unicorn Kid. Although it’s early days, it’s easy to visualise the sound of Lite N Dark’s perfect production values blasting out of the radio. For now, you can download Walk Away and Nasty Boy from the bands Bandcamp page which streams below.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sleigh Bells - Treats

With blog buzz set to overdrive it is completely understandable if you approach Treats by Sleigh Bells with caution. We’ve all seen the over exaggeration that can spout from excitable writers who think they have discovered the next big thing, only to purchase the album and find ourselves shrugging our shoulders.

But the caution that you should exercise with Treats is nothing to do with hype. This time the danger is from the powerful sensory overload of sound that will hit you when you play this recording. Ear defenders may be required because Treats is loud even when it’s played quiet. In fact, Treats is so loud it makes us want to SHOUT. LIKE THIS.

TREATS IS A FORCEFULLY IMMEDIATE RECORD THAT HITS HARD AND HEAVY WITH DISTORTED PROCESSED NOISE, WEIGHTY BEATS AND GIRLISH NURSERY RHYME CHANTS. IT’S AN EXHILARATING OBLITERATING PIECE OF WORK, THAT IS BRUTAL, HARDCORE, INVENTIVE AND YET FULL OF POP SENSIBILITY. DO YOU HEAR WHAT WE’RE SAYING ? NO WE’RE NOT SAYING IT, WE’RE F*CKING YELLING THIS AS LOUD AS WE F*CKING CAN.

RATHER LIKE THE XX ALBUM LAST YEAR TREATS IS A RECORD CONSTRUCTED FROM ONE IDEA, BUT IT’S SUCH A MINDBLOWINGLY GOOD IDEA THAT WE DEFY YOU NOT TO FIND YOURSELF PRESSING REPEAT OVER AND OVER. DO YOU HEAR US ?

IMAGINE M.I.A RUBBING YOUR EARS UP AGAINST A CHEESE GRATER AND THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE BEING INCREDIBLY PLEASURABLE - SO PLEASURABLE THAT BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU’VE STRIPPED NAKED AND ARE PUSHING YOUR WHOLE BODY AGAINST THAT GRATER WILLINGLY. THAT’S THE SOUND OF TREATS.

SLEIGH BELLS HAVE CREATED AN ALBUM THAT COULD BLOW NOT ONLY YOUR MIND BUT THE SPEAKERS. CROWN ON THE GROUND IS SO DISTORTED THAT THE FIRST INCLINATION IS TO ADJUST YOUR CD OR MP3 PLAYER. IT SHOULD COME WITH WARNING LABELS. YET AS THE TRACK GROWS IT BECOMES APPARENT THAT THE SOUNDS, THE CHANTS, THE GLORIOUS RACKET SPOUTING FROM THE STEREO IS AS ADDICTIVELY STIMULATING AS CRACK/COCAINE, ONLY IN A GOOD WAY - BECAUSE UNDERNATH THE FUZZ THERE’S SOMETHING HOOKY, BANGING AND HIGHLY MEMORABLE. STRAIGHT A’S IS A PULVERISING, YELLING PIECE OF MAYHEM THAT BEATS YOU INTO SUBMISSION IN JUST A MINUTE AND A HALF - IT WILL LEAVE YOU FEELING WASTED AND SPENT LIKE THE BEST EVER ORGASM OF YOUR FANTASIES. TELL ‘EM, KIDS AND RIOT RHYTHM ARE THREE PERFECTLY FORMED TRIBUTARIES THAT MERGE INTO EACH OTHER TO CREATE A TORRENTIAL FLOW OF MUSIC. ONLY RILL RILL REDUCES THE ILLUSTRIOUS EDGINESS, INSTEAD FORMING A CALMER OASIS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RAGING DESERT STORM - BUT WHAT A STORM. LIKE A DIRTY, TRASHY ONE NIGHT STAND THAT TURNS INTO SOMETHING MORE, IT MAY NOT LAST FOREVER, BUT THIS ABRASIVE INTENSE POP BUBBLEGUM NEEDS TO BE CHEWED FOR SOME TIME YET.

BELIEVE US. BELIEVE THE BUZZ. TREATS IS ONE OF THE DEFINING ALBUMS OF 2010.

We’re done.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Run Toto Run - Little Wonder

Does anybody remember the fleeting moment when David Bowie went Drum n Bass (or jungle as we used to call it), managed to recite all the names of the seven dwarfs and get the phrase “Big screen dolls, tits and explosions,” in a song ? No ? Well that moment was on Little Wonder, the hit single from his album Earthling. It’s not particularly regarded as a classic against the rest of his back catalogue, but we like it a lot.

Something else we like a lot is Run Toto Run. So when the band decided to cover Little Wonder we had a suspicion that two lots of like would equal a lot of love, and we were right. Stripping away the fast break beats, Run Toto Run stamp their own quirky soft electronic authority on the song and make it their own. The d-i-y video comes complete with silver foil costumes and handmade stars and planets hung from a washing line. With this and their viral video of Sleepyhead by Passion Pit, Run Toto Run are becoming the ultimate oddball covers band, but they also hold their heads up high with their own material.

Something to make you feel happy, rather than grumpy, sleepy or dopey - here’s Run Toto Run and Little Wonder. Rather wonderful indeed.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Pete Roe @ Brighton The Hope

Pete Roe is certainly no stranger to gigs. Having acted as roadie and support act for Mumford and Sons, as well as spending time playing piano in Laura Marling’s band, he knows his way round both the not-quite-as-new-as-it-used-to-be-when-it-was-just-new-folk scene, as well as the touring circuit. Maybe his familiarity with playing live, albeit under the auspices of others, gives reason for his performance being so assured, even if this date upstairs at Brighton’s Hope is the first night of his UK tour,

Roe may look the stereotypical folk minstrel with beard, cap and acoustic guitar, but many of the songs he sings have a greater alt.country / Americana influence. Bird on the Wing for example has a soft rootsy influence straight out of Nashville. The closing Devil’s Dancefloor, complete with the addition of a saw to the instrumentation and its “glory, glory Hallelujah,” chorus evokes a nostalgic 70’s feel with its casual warmth, strumming and twanging.

Each member of his band brings something extra to the show. A sophisticated and serious cellist, an expressive and lively double bass player, a guitarist in cap, white tee-shirt and jeans who looks like an ex-indie rocker who has found a more humble side and a drummer who despite looking like his day job may be throwing drunkards out of Chicago Rock Cafe or The Walkabout provides meticulously delicate rhythms to the songs. It all mixes to create a gracious, pleasant sound, that whilst hardly likely to take him into the commercial environs of his compatriots Ms Marling and Mr Mumford, is organic, loose and easy on the ear.

It’s easy to imagine welcoming Pete Roe into your own house and Pete playing his songs in your back porch - their gentle elegance gradually pushing them further into your brains prominence each time you hear them.

BBC Sound of 2010 & Ellie Goulding - Not A Poisoned Chalice ?

Last year here we queried if coming top of the annual UK music industry ‘tastemakers’ poll - The BBC Sound Of List was a poisoned chalice due to the commercial expectations that are placed on the artist by the media and the more knowledgeable music loving public.

Despite a significant number of acts on the BBC Sound of 2009 list, including Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons going onto to be commercial big hitters, Little Boots didn’t quite set the world alight as her positioning at number 1 suggested. The reasons suggested for the comparative ‘failure’ include the wrong choice of songs being chosen for the singles from the album, the record label marketing Little Boots to the wrong audience, 2009 being a year where big star personas were lapped up by the public (Florence, Lady Gaga) and Little Boots not having the huge personality to match, a failure by her record company to capitalise on the huge exposure the nomination gave her, and her songs and sound not standing up to scrutiny after the initial buzz that was created by tracks such as Stuck On Repeat. Here at Breaking More Waves we still very much like Little Boots and hope that following her debut album release she doesn’t fade into obscurity, but the world of pop is a hard kicking, fast moving place, so she is really going to have to come up with the goods for any future release.

At the end of last year we were asked by the BBC to cast a vote on the BBC Sound of 2010 list, and two of the three artists we voted for (Elle Goulding, Stornoway) made the long list of fifteen. (Our other choice - Unicorn Kid didn‘t make it, although he has subsequently started to make a few waves with his track Dream Catcher). Ellie Goulding eventually came top of the pile and we wondered with concern if the Little Boots poisoned chalice would be passed on to her. With a debut top five single, a number one album that thirteen weeks later was still in the top 15 and a sold out UK tour, it seems not.

Listening to Goulding being interviewed after the announcement of the list results (and Marina and The Diamonds who came second on the list) it was apparent that both artists, whilst a little apprehensive about what lay ahead, were ready for the exposure that the Sound of 2010 would give them. Their record companies had their marketing plans, release dates and strategies in place (something Little Boots label didn’t seem to have) and the Sound of 2010 nominations were just part of that plan - it almost seemed as if there was an expectation that they would be on the list.

Of course irrespective of such plans and being nominated on the list, ultimately it is the public who decide if an artist achieves commercial success, and with Ellie Goulding the public vindicated her selection. There may have been a degree of rather predictable and inevitable negativity towards her from some critics and bloggers as she moved from an underground pop act to a mainstream one, but once Goulding was fully pushed out to the public, the haters had little power or influence.

Certainly the BBC Sound of 2010 nomination for Ellie Goulding hasn’t been a poisoned chalice. With a good album, an ever improving live performance and a record company who were ready to use the nomination as part of their strategy to get her music heard, the nomination has been used successfully and now nobody is even talking about the nomination and its effect on Goulding, as they were with Little Boots last year (except this blog). She has stepped up beyond the initial exposure and despite the weight it carried, she has bore it well. The BBC Sound Of - a poisoned chalice ? No, not at all, just a great tool to give new artists that don’t fit into the X-Factor model of exposure a chance of being heard and then possibly some commercial success.

Just don’t mention Hurts - Better Than Love, their debut single proper could only manage number 50 in the UK singles chart - evidence that pop is a funny and complicated lottery. Roll on the BBC Sound of 2011 !

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Yuck - Automatic

Whilst the Yuck live show may be full of fuzzy noise pop and squalling guitars, there’s another more restrained side to this band. We first wrote about Automatic a few months back and now Yuck have released a simple video for song, shot from an aircraft coming in to land. Automatic is a slow burning tranquil hymn formed out of simple piano and hushed harmonies - it’s built for that late night come down. So perfectly full of restraint and calm in its structure, it coaxes you into sitting perfectly still as it plays. Automatic deserves to be heard quietly rather than loud, like listening to a light rain against the window.

The band are due to play Latitude, Field Day and Bestival festivals in the UK this summer and an album, which has a working title of “Sexy Album” is being recorded on old fashioned 8 track recorder. We look forward to hearing the results. For now, fingers on lips, shhhhh..... listen to the sound of beauty. Yuck - Automatic.

Yuck - Automatic from Yuck on Vimeo.

Wychwood Festival 2010 - Review

Wychwood Festival is a very civilised, very adult affair. Casting your eye over the sun kissed crowds under the Prestbury Hills by Cheltenham it’s easy to identify the significant number of families, the happy relaxed vibe, the lack of trouble, the lack of litter on the campsites, the picnic blankets and queues for the smoothie stall that are often longer than those for the bar.

“Welcome to the summer,” shout The Levellers during their unpretentious punk-folk headlining slot on the Friday night, and certainly Wychwood feels like the curtain being drawn back on a season of UK summer festivals. Of course with this country’s unpredictable climate patterns there is always a danger of rain, and for twenty minutes of madness on the Sunday a storm dropped huge droplets over the site, but other than this it was a case of blissed-out summer glory.

The core base of the Wychwood Festival musical programming is based around traditional instrumentation - be it folk, rock or world music, but searching through the site there are pockets of other genres from the rave-on indie-dance of Happy Mondays to the comedy ‘chap-hop’ of Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. Mr B (pictured) draws a good sized crowd in the Big Top early on a Saturday afternoon to watch his comical take on hip hop where he overlays the beats with what he describes as “The most important instrument in the history of hip hop – the banjolele.” Dressed in a linen suit, fine moustache and glasses he rolls out rhymes in the accent of an upper class gent. There are tracks about Tim Westwood “dropping his r’s and talking about dropping bombs,” sexual disease “I thought you were rather hot, but you had a rotten bot,” and porn “why can’t there be more kissing in porn.” His schoolboy humour, comic mannerisms and dancing give bellyaches of laughing, and his timely rap about the forthcoming world-cup football “let’s get this over and done with, then we can get back to the cricket,” is a hilariously brilliant anthem of the dejected Englishman. Main stage next year perhaps ?

And on the subject of cricket the gritty, bluesy vocal of John Smith bats the small crowd who venture away from the sun and the Lightning Seeds into the Big Top on Saturday evening for six. Like a folk version of Gomez, his rasping vocal sounds like he has been knocking back the whisky since the day he was born. It’s powerful stuff.

Other highlights of the weekend were many. Early on Friday evening Wychwood hosted The Leisure Society. “It’s a glorious evening for music,” they announce and then deliver just that. With the crowds chilling on the grass or grabbing a cocktail from the Waitrose sponsored cocktail bar -maybe next year Reading Festival will be sponsored by Lidl perhaps - their Ivor Novello nominated Last of the Melting Snow is inappropriately titled for the season but is still exquisitely beautiful whatever the weather. Mixing violin, cello, keys, guitar, drums, flute, ukulele and xylophone, even the groups more maudlin tunes are a delight to the ears, perfect for a summer festival. The Leisure Society also highlights one small deficiency of the event – they ask if there is a Pieminister stall on site, and are greeted with a number of shakes of the head. A note to the Wychwood team next year maybe? No festival is complete without Pieminister and their mash surely?

For something of a more challenging nature Welsh indie band Islet provide the most physical and confrontational performance of the weekend. Playing to an audience that you suspect is not their typical crowd - with ages from six to sixty plus present - their blend of blood curdling off-mic shouting, instrument swapping and jumping from the stage to lay, sit and run amongst punters is met at first with a reaction of laughter and bemusement, but by the end they have won virtually everyone over and get terrific applause. If anyone thought that being an ‘adult / family friendly’ festival meant that the music would all be ‘safe’ then Islet is the counter argument. (Although admittedly the Beautiful South - now known as The South played as well) What the band lack in songs they make up for in high-dosage energy and noisy-diy-art values. If they manage to write a few decent tunes as well they could be very dangerous.

In terms of the headliners, The Levellers, Happy Mondays and Seth Lakeman (Dreadzone play after Seth Lakeman but Lakeman is listed on much of the advertising as the headliner) all produce good sets.

The Levellers may now be middle aged but they are still crusty idealists, who evidently believe and enjoy what they do – there are bags of energy in their music. One Way is a jubilant arms aloft anthem and The Devil Went Down To Georgia a Deep South moment of fury. No wonder they still maintain such a strong fan base, even though they are ignored by the critics.

Happy Mondays re-evoke the spirit of the Madchester scene complete with joyful ramshackle vibe and baggy grooves - with Shaun Ryder dressed in a white tracksuit top and shades. He is the ultimate ‘non-frontman-legend’ - his hand almost permanently in his pocket, not moving from the spot. With his wailing, mumbling vocals more coherent than they have been in the past he even manages to bark out the odd quip in between songs. “Andy Warhol the abstract artist? I’m an abstract artist.” The biggest irony here is that on the night when Simon Cowell graces the nations TV sets for the final of Britain’s Got Talent, one of his former X Factor protégés Rowena is the real star of the Happy Mondays freakshow, prowling the stage, wiggling her hips, commanding the audience and belting out her co-vocals as if her life depends on it. Many of their defining songs - W.F.L, Loose Fit, Step On are played. It’s pure hazy nostalgia for an audience of whom a significant number would have had these rhythmic jams soundtracking their formative years.

Mercury nominated, Seth Lakeman on Sunday is probably what you would call a ‘typical’ Wychwood artist. His fiddle laden songs are full of character and bring the hoe-down for a fantastic finale that gets the crowd jigging and bobbing, as the sun fades.

And as the light disappears, many of those present leave with memories of a feast of musical delights. Wychwood Festival 2010 was the perfect start to the UK Festival season. And it wasn’t all just about the music either. There was so much more going on site, which isn't covered in this (music blogs) review - one example of which can be seen below.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Brilliant Mind - Our Osprey

There has always been a tendency for the music press (both professional and amateur) to want to bundle up bands together in some form of ‘scene’ or musical movement - sometimes in a geographic context. Brooklyn and California seem to have had UK writers hyperventilating at their word processors like six year olds at Christmas and whilst we’re not about to sick up an ejaculatory load of verbal diarrhoea in an attempt to mesh together a group of artists, we have noticed that a number of acts that we are enjoying are hailing from the North East of the UK. We’ve already featured acts such as Let’s Buy Happiness, the dance floor mischief of Razmataz Lorry Excitement and the established heritage folk beauty of The Unthanks - all highly diverse but consistently good. There’s also plenty of other brave exciting acts from the Toon and its environs such as Nadine Shah and Viva City who are jostling to be our next new favourite thing. But right there in the middle, with elbows out, fighting for space are this next gang.

“You must be out of your brilliant mind,” one hit wonders Furniture once sang back in 1986. Not so much out of it, but in it; James, Paul, Callum, Kate and Josef are the young hopefuls who form the group named Brilliant Mind. They create a very British construct of the word indie, the kind of thing that bands such as The Drums and The Killers for all their claims of UK influence will never be able to pin point as exactly as groups that hail from northern working class UK cities. Brilliant Mind have precise jangly guitars, tunefully effeminate vocals and a dose of intelligence that bands such as The Smiths, Pulp or The Housemartins delivered before indie became bastardised by Brit Pop (versions 1 and 2). Brilliant Mind will appeal to confused teenagers, both boys and girls, who need delicate anthems of joy to express themselves on the indie dance floor. Their debut single Our Osprey, released today, features vocals that swoop, dip and flow in a fragile embrace against music that twitches and clasps against the ears in confident delight. Brilliant Mind? Brilliant band. Like the first kiss of a very British summer.

You can hear Our Osprey by Brilliant Mind below and can purchase the single as a digital download or one of one hundred limited edition cassettes that comes complete with a hand printed cover, badge, mini poster and a photograph of some of the bands favourite South East Northumberland industrial estates.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Spark - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

The first time we heard Spark our immediate thoughts were similar to when we first heard Marina and the Diamonds - there was definitely something there, perhaps not fully realised yet, but her songs ooze with slightly left of centre pop potential. It therefore seems highly appropriate that Spark has just finished a series of support slots with Marina and is due to release her debut single Shut Out the Moon on July 12th.

Spark is not this 18 year old London based singers real name - that’s Jess Morgan, although apparently her stage name is derived from her middle name; Sparkle. Her parents dreamed that up following her water birth. Her father had gushed that she ‘sparkled in the water’. Now she hopes to sparkle on stage. Her savvy theatrical (Brit School ?) pop has hints of a hipper Paloma Faith on Revolving and on the celestial Damage Done - a song that you hear once and feel like you’ve known it forever - there’s just a tiny bit of a sweet and gentle Lily Allen or Jem (anyone remember her ?).

Our critique is that she has some pretty good songs. Which is a shame because Spark doesn’t particularly like the idea of critics as a job. “They search for the bad instead of the good - at least that’s what the job title suggests,” she rants on her blog. So that discounts us as a critic from the perspective of Spark then. Most blogs take roles of finding mainly good stuff, although sometimes an expression of disproval is required, if only to give a gauge of measurement of the great against the bad. She does however admit that “I have personal issues with other people forcing their opinions and beliefs on others.” We’re not quite sure if a critic forces their beliefs on others, more that they put them out there for others to consume if they want, but we understand her positive sentiment. We suspect however that she’s going to have to get used to dealing with those issues as her career gets underway.

The aforementioned Shut Out the Moon is the opening gambit in the world of music from Spark. A fertile piece of pop that could sit comfortably on daytime radio with its cascades of piano, mature sounding vocal and an over and over repeated title. It's a minor victory. You can pre-order it here. Just don’t confuse Spark with Sparks - this town is certainly big enough for both of them.

Here’s some live crowd footage of Spark on her recent Marina and the Diamonds support dates.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Miike Snow - The Rabbit

Whilst Swedish pop Miike Snow produced a series of highly accomplished and accessible contemporary pop songs last year with songs such as Animal and Black and Blue, they never set the UK charts on fire. This was a shame as what they delivered was significantly more enjoyable and better crafted than 90% of the singles that dominate the market place. Maybe the pop that Miike Snow create is just a little too perfectly refined and a little too cleverly produced to compete with the likes of the Bieber monster and Scouting For Girls.

But this isn’t going to stop Miike Snow trying. The trio are back with a new previously unheard song entitled The Rabbit, released on the 5th July from a new deluxe edition of their debut album. Produced by Miike Snow themselves and mixed by Stuart Price who is probably best known for his work with Madonna and Seal, The Rabbit skips in with subtly ambitious daytime-radio hooks and a cool nagging groove. The video references Florida’s 2 Live Crew and features some mean booty shaking. Here it is.

Crystal Castles - Celestica (Thurston Moore Remix) + La Roux - Lazerproof

Last month we posted how we’re not particularly in the habit of posting remixes at Breaking More Waves - the blogosphere is awash with the things and your average blog reader is more than adequately catered for. Yet the 'remix via blog model' is very much one of the ways that record labels, PR companies and artists now promote their music. It’s a win-win situation for both remixer and artist - the remixers profile and status can be boosted by a quality re-working of an already well known artist - probably the reason why these days so many new acts are given the opportunity to sprinkle some remix magic dust. The artist can gain credibility through association with a hip new remixer, as well as find new audiences through radical reinterpretations of their songs. One such example in recent times of this win-win was the Skream remix of In For The Kill by La Roux, which expanded her sound, gave her a hip edge and ensured that Skream wouldn’t be out of work for a fair time. Now La Roux is doing it again stateside with her free mixtape collaboration with Major Lazer which is also mighty fine - you can grab the whole thing below if you haven't done so yet.

Crystal Castles are probably as hip as you can get. In the past we have described them as ‘style over substance’, but their second album is a dense, dramatic and very deliberate album that transcends their debut by a significant amount. They really don’t need any remix endorsement. Sonic Youth certainly don’t either. Which is why we were intrigued when this track came to our attention. What could Sonic Youth guitarist and vocalist Thurtson Moore do with Celestica, a rather revelatory dance pop tune from Crystal Castles ? On the original Alice Glass dropped the blood curdling screaming that she is renowned for and instead laid an icy reverb-laden pop vocal over gentle ambient dance-floor synths. Thurston Moore keeps that vocal but largely ditches the disco replacing it with scratchy, wonky, gurning guitar. You can judge the results for yourself below by downloading or streaming the track.

So, that's a post about not just one but two remixes. We're just so full of contradictions.

La Roux - Lazerproof Mix Tape



Crystal Castles - Celestica (Thurston Moore Remix)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Antlers - Waves

The Antlers Hospice was one of the finest and most intense albums of 2009 - no question. Now Antlers lead singer and guitarist Peter Silberman has covered Holly Miranda’s beautiful song Waves, one of the standouts from her sleepy, ember-glow seductive debut solo album.

Not so much a radical transformation, but a dreamy lo-fi version, Silberman gives the XY against the XX from Miranda. Take your pick, but both are designed for hazy, late night, out of body moments. A hypnotic piece of weary beauty, it streams below.









Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Wychwood Festival 2010 - Preview

Now that the UK summer is finally on its way, we turn our attention away from urban multi-gig festivals to outdoor festivals; the fantasy towns built of canvas where we leave our troubles at the gates and indulge in three or four days of musical and non-musical madness. It’s fair to say that summer festivals are some of the absolute highlights of the Breaking More Waves calendar. Despite the evolution of festivals from being something on the periphery of society to mass media publicised events that embrace the mainstream, the best festivals still conjure and embrace an ideology that is based not just around the music but the very fabric of the temporary society they create for a weekend, where a true sense of community exists; people have a great time but look after each other.

Wychwood Festival (main stage pictured above) is one such festival. It may not have the big name headliners, the latest fashionable cool bands or Kate Moss in her wellies, but it has a real sense of community, a relaxed atmosphere, compact site and embraces all ages from 6 to 60 year olds. It also features some fine quality music and hidden gems. Last year for instance we caught the then little known Stornoway playing in the festivals 3rd stage to a small but rapt audience and a love affair was confirmed. Wychwood has been described by The Independent as “Like a bijou Glastonbury, the perfect way to ease into the festival season,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Wychwood was created in 2005 by a group of festival enthusiasts who wanted to run their own event. It has been nominated every year it has been running for the ‘Best Family Festival’ in the UK Festival Awards and has seen the likes of Super Furry Animals, Billy Bragg, Badly Drawn Boy, Duffy, Camera Obscura, The Unthanks, Supergrass, Little Boots, The Divine Comedy and Guillemots take to the stage. This years headline acts include The Levellers, Happy Mondays and Seth Lakeman. The festival is set beneath the beautiful Prestbury Hills in the grounds of Cheltenham race course, with the campsite being located in the middle of the track itself, leading to the odd sight of campers being surrounded by national hunt fences. This location provides a couple of distinct advantages for less hardy festival goers. First, providing the weather is reasonably dry, ticket holders are allowed to drive onto site and pitch their tents - no lugging of heavy rucksacks and equipment across hills. Secondly the festival is able to use the permanent toilet facilities of the racecourse, so no squeamish festival toilet experiences and the bonus of hot running water.

Besides the three main music stages Wychwood is very proud of its large range of workshops and other entertainment, which include film, a children’s literature festival, Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, English National Ballet, circus and street theatre and a huge amount of workshops of which there are so many to list you are better just clicking here. You could have so much fun (child or adult) that you never even see any music.

But if you can drag yourself away and sample some music, here are 5 acts that Breaking More Waves recommends for this years Wychwood 2010.


With 2 Ivor Novello nominations under their belt you can rest assured that The Leisure Society know how to pen a good song. The group are currently readying their second album, the follow up to their debut Sleeper and will no doubt be playing some of these new songs. Beautifully restrained, this band make orchestrated folk pop with just a hint of American influence. Soft harmonies, wonderful melodies and beautifully tender, they are the perfect band for the main stage on Friday night.




At the end of 2009 we named Beth as One to Watch for 2010. A strange mix of warped folk, glam stylings, pop and soul, Beth is hardly the demure sweet singer songwriter - often taking to the stage wearing big wigs and hotpants. Backed by her band The Hooves of Destiny her song I Will Return, I Promise has a jaunty, stomping rhythmic Celtic sound that will probably make you jig madly in a little circle.




Cardiff’s The School are a band whose sound is obsessed with sixties pop. They are the full take on girl-group bubblegum cuteness - think Camera Obscura and The Pipettes and you won’t be far off the mark. One of their songs - Valentine was chosen for a fridge advert in Japan. We bet that’s something other welsh compatriots The Stereophonics have never achieved. Playing the BBC Introducing Stage on Saturday, they are a must see for fans of all things sugary, twee and ever so slightly flat in the vocal classroom.




Bath five piece Kill It Kid may look like a typical indie band, but they have one very secret weapon - just wait till the lead singer opens his mouth and starts to sing. A bluesy bellow of some distinction, their brand of delta-blues rock earns them the dreaded cliché “mature beyond their years,” but in this case it is a massive compliment.




Back by popular demand Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer was one of the highlights of last years Wychwood. Straight out of Surrey Mr B brings “Chap-hop” to entertain the masses. One of the funniest musical acts we have ever seen, if watching a posh man with a banjo reinterpreting hip hop classics and dissing Tim Westwood doesn’t have you in stitches, as well as singing along, then frankly you are probably dead. Let him smoke his pipe !


Finally, rather like our Great Escape coverage a few weeks back Breaking More Waves will be (mobile phone reception permitting) tweeting our way round the festival, so if you are on Twitter and want to join the fun, follow us by clicking here.