Thursday, 31 March 2011

Example - Changed The Way You Kiss Me

When posting a track by Example we almost feel the need to defend ourselves. In the new music blogosphere to prove your credentials there occasionally seems to be a view that you’ve got to be posting the most up and coming, fresh and preferably underground tracks. So as a blogger, posting the new single by Example isn’t going to ingratiate you with your peer group. He’s not exactly Wu Lyf, Odd Future or Grimes is he?

Thankfully we have no credentials to prove and therefore provide no defence except this; when Example started out he was pretty rubbish. Then along came Kickstarts and we changed our mind a little. Then we saw him live and despite initial reservations his boisterous rabble-rousing electronic pop-rap tunes won us over. Now he has a third album ready and this is the first track from it. It’s called Changed the Way You Kiss Me. It a monstrously uplifting strobe light frenzy banger, taking the structure of the synth build of Insomnia by Faithless as a reference point and then punching the sky with it. It’s a little bit Eurotrash, it’s a little bit ravey, it’s a little bit cringe-worthy, it’s also a little bit good. No defence required.

Who fancies a dance then?

Example - Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Paper Crows / Alpines / Labyrinth Ear - A Triangle Of Synthtopian Goodness

Right now there’s a trio of new male / female Brit electronic dabbling duo’s who are following the traditions of Eurythmics, Goldfrapp and Yazoo but in a more modern context. Each is pressing all the right keys both on their laptops and Breaking More Waves musical consciousness to make the heart race a little faster. Having featured every one of these duos a number of times, now seems a perfect moment to bring them together into some sort of triangle of electrifying brilliance. The reason for this is that two of the three, Paper Crows and Alpines, have released their respective singles this week - Fingertips / Follow The Leader and the Night Drive EP. To complete matters, the third point of our three sided musical polygon - Labyrinth Ear - played a gig a few of nights back where Breaking More Waves was in attendance. Now if someone could put all of these three acts on one bill at one gig or festival that would be all sorts of amazing. Possibly even A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Promoters are you reading? Thank you.

Whilst waiting for new material from all three, today is an end of the month mop up exercise bringing you the fine remixes and tracks that each duo has unleashed that haven’t yet featured on Breaking More Waves. From Labyrinth Ear we have Wild Flowers – the only song we haven’t streamed from their debut self-released Oak EP, a polar piece of art-disco. From Paper Crows we feature the batshit mental Megabit remix of the flip side of their current single, whilst Alpines deliver the blissfully cool Dark Sky remix of Ice and Arrows, which is already gaining significant love. Take your pick, whatever you choose they’re full of synthtopian goodness.

Wild Flowers by Labyrinth Ear

Paper Crows - Follow The Leader (Megabit remix) by Sainted PR

Ice And Arrows (Dark Sky Remix) by Alpines

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Queen Of Hearts - Where Are You Now (StardonE remix)

We love pop music. We love good pop music.

No correction we love great pop music.

Of course what is good or great is one hundred per cent arguable, but that’s fine because we’re always right aren’t we?

But irrespective of if it’s good or great or bad (hello Westlife and Olly Murs we know which camp you’re in and it doesn’t begin with g ) we can define pop music. It has something to do with making you want to dance, something to do with appealing to the masses, something to do with being crafted from production and technology over live performance and something which reflects the trends of the day. Or at least that’s what Wikipedia says so it must be right. Even we wouldn’t argue with the might of Wikipedia.

Something, or rather someone else that is very right is Queen of Hearts. She’s ticked all of our pop music boxes with a huge fat indelible ink pen so far. She does good, possibly great pop music. She also seems to have another quality essential to pop music – sexiness. Not sexy as in a ‘Ooops all my clothes have fallen off just as a photographer arrives in the room,’ sort of way, but in doing enough to keep us interested without ever revealing all both musically and visually.

Today Queen of Hearts reveals just a tiny bit more – it’s the musical version of the shoulder strap slipping down a little. It’s from romantic synth disco house producer StardonE and it’s a remix of the song Where Are You Now. It’s a Breaking More Waves exclusive and is free to download. That's kind of great isn't it?

Queen Of Hearts - Where Are You Now (StardonE remix) by Queen Of Hearts

Polarsets - Sunshine Eyes (Remixes)

Taking the indie-dance template to frantic new levels of hands-in-the-air-laser madness Geordie boys Polarsets new single Sunshine Eyes was premiered on Breaking More Waves earlier this month. Now it’s remix time. Not any old remix though. First there’s Kid Adrift who drops his usual heavy synth rock beat laden intensity to deliver something gently fluttering and floaty and just a little bit flirtatious. Like all the best sex Kid Adrift’s version is in no rush to reach a climax, but when it does it’s euphorically blissful and huge, yet it’s not necessarily the climax you would expect. The Kel Skies mix is a more obvious weekend starts here dance floor banger; sweaty, pulsing, ready for boys to pull their tops off and dance gurning with fists clenched. That just leaves the most absorbing of the three - the Jensen Sportag mix. It starts with what sounds like an electronic tap drip and a tension building bass sound before it slowly finds a groove whilst all sorts of oddness goes on around it.

Having already supported the likes of Ellie Goulding, De La Soul, Everything Everything and Fenech Soler and having won a 150-act-strong competition to play Wickerman Festival the band are headlining their own tour in late April / May. No south coast date though boys? Shame on you. Sunshine Eyes dawns on April 18 through Kitsune.

Sunshine Eyes (Kid Adrift mix)

Sunshine Eyes (Kel Skies mix)

Sunshine Eyes (Jensen Sportag mix)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stealing Sheep - New Waves

What is it with bands these days? Give them a silly name (Dog Is Dead, Black Light Dinner Party, Yuck) and they go away and make notably good music. Here’s probably the finest example yet. Stealing Sheep are impossibly lovely. That’s in a soft magical Blue Roses meets Alessi’s Ark meets First Aid Kit meets Peggy Sue impossibly lovely way; but underneath their gentle exterior there’s something bolder, more experimental and off-kilter that surprises and endures. There are hints of folk, lo-fi and campfire oddness in what this Liverpool based female three-piece do and it’s brilliantly charming. We’re just a little bit smitten with them. It might even turn out to be love.

Stealing Sheep are Becky, Emily and Lucy and formed after attending the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. But if you’re thing Kids from Fame / X-Factor styled pop stars in the making you couldn’t be further from the truth. Stealing Sheep are completely natural – we can imagine running through grassy fields to a river on a spring day and jumping in to its cool crystal waters whilst the band provide a soundtrack that’s loaded with buckets of harmonies and vintage wonkiness. Their EP The Mountain Dogs, released in February could be that soundtrack.

If you fancy poaching your own bit of the band, they’ve lined up a huge number of dates in the UK and Ireland this spring and summer including confirmed festival slots at The Great Escape, Sound City, The Trip Festival, The Secret Garden Party and Croissant Nuef – full details on their website (here).

Stealing Sheep - Shoot The Ducks To Win

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Overexposure Of Jessie J ?

Recently there have been a number of articles published on Jessie J’s rapid rise from industry secret to (arguable) overexposure and commercial success. In the UK she’s already had a no.2 hit with the slow burning hit Do It Like A Dude and a no.1 with Price Tag, a no.2 album with Who You Are, a Brit Award and topped the BBC Sound of 2011 poll. As Rebecca Nicholson noted in this weeks Guardian Guide “she stomp-stomped, she arrived, and then, with impressive efficiency, she squashed into half a year the starry antics most artists take 20 years to pull off.” With performances on Saturday Night Live, Later With Jools , constant rotation on UK radio and a growing presence on pop and digital stations in the US, Jessie J is all over the place. By Christmas she’ll probably have released her Greatest Hits album.

It’s inevitable with such an accelerated pace of promotion that Jessie J is going to find haters. Drowned In Sound and Pitchfork have waded in with 1 and 2 out of 10 reviews, hardly surprising given their demographic of readership and journalists, and whilst we would certainly agree that the album is no masterpiece (we'd give it 3.5 or 4 - so let's call that 3.75) and that as a pop personality Jessie J is pretty insufferable, the fact that the two singles released so far have sold well would suggest that someone likes what Jessie J is doing – even if established critics don’t. Price Tag is, let’s face it, a hooky commercial pop song and is always going to be enjoyed by the mainstream more than the new Josh T Pearson record.

Earlier this year we attended one of Jessie J’s gigs to fully form our own opinions. It was certainly one of the strangest shows we’ve been to in some time; it felt more like a record company PA than a gig, but with higher levels of excitement, although there was no teenage pandemonium. Of the 8 or so songs Jessie J performed, half of them were X-Factor-gone-to-the-nightclub karaoke sing-alongs over a backing tape, whilst the others were performed with a solo acoustic guitarist – allowing we suspect Jessie J to display her ‘realness’ and ‘vocal talent’. There’s no doubt that Jessie J can warble and hold a tune albeit with a significant number of Mariah Carey style histrionics emanating from her huge gob. After forty minutes or so of screaming, whooping and filming the whole thing on their mobiles the youthful audience went home happy. However one thing that came across at the gig was that Jessie J was incredibly determined and wanted her fans to know just how hard she had grafted to get where she was. “There was no one here last time I played here” she recalled of her time playing alongside JLS in their previous pre X-Factor incarnation of UFO at the same venue a few years before.

Earlier this year we asked the question “can she now maintain a longer term career? Even in the world of commercial pop, talent isn’t the only factor that counts.” It seems now that this question is almost irrelevant. Like Sandra Bullock on the bus in Speed, Jessie J has her foot pressed hard down and has no reason for braking.

So what’s the motivation? Why is Jessie J so greyhound determined to achieve commercial success so quickly now that she’s out of the traps? Maybe it’s the fact that when she was 11 she was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and when she was 18 she had a minor stroke. She started recording her album 6 years ago and has been on the cusp of getting a release a number of times before Who You Are finally got the big push at the start of this year. Her poor health and her nearly-made-it-before status make Jessie J a highly driven artist full of mettle – something that in some quarters of traditional rock journalism is seen as a negative. It’s why Pitchfork described her as ‘over-eager’. But when your eyes have been opened to the fact that maybe you won’t be around as long as you would like to be both in terms of mortality, then it’s time to speed things up before it all comes crashing down. Likewise Jessie J is astute enough to realise that the commercial life expectancy of the typical pop star is incredibly short - from fresh faced teen idols in the fifties and sixties to phone-vote chart favourites of the X-Factor generation – so best to hammer home the music now before the career takes a nose-dive as has that of many other pop princes and princesses before her.

So irrespective of what you think of Jessie J’s music, criticising her for working hard and being overexposed now her opportunity has come seems a little pointless. If you don’t like it when she’s on the TV / Radio or the like you can always turn off.

Jessie J - Price Tag (Doman & Gooding Remix)

Mechanical Bride - Colour Of Fire

Mechanical Bride is 25 year old songwriter and self-taught musician Lauren Doss from Brighton. You may remember her from 2008 when she released a hushed version of Rihanna’s Umbrella or maybe her 2007 EP The Throes ? Now she’s back with Colour Of Fire taken from the debut album proper Living With Ants, released 6th June via Transgressive. She played her first gig for some time last night in Brighton, with Caroline Weeks - a collaborator with Bat For Lashes in her band - and to add completeness Natasha aka Bat For Lashes herself was in the audience watching.

Colour of Fire is a piano led lament that has a timeless, melancholy quality that demands stillness and silent attention, similar to the work of Essie Jain who featured on the blog a while back. Perfect for a sleepy Sunday morning wakeup call or as a gentle kiss before bed. You can download the song for free from and it streams below.

Mechanical Bride - Colour Of Fire

Music That Made Me #13 - The Cure - Lullaby

Some people are confused by my taste in music and subsequently what Breaking More Waves covers – from commercial pop to folk to more experimental and darker sounds. I’ve never been one for embracing musical snobbery or singularity in any way and the notion of only listening to music that is ‘cool’ is pathetic and shallow – coolness is transient – todays cool is tomorrows naff.

If there’s any one band in this series that defines those qualities it’s The Cure. From the dark dense wash of the Pornography album, which opens with the line “It doesn’t matter if we all die,” to the smiley optimistic chart-bound sounds of single Friday I’m In Love, The Cure are a band who have always done exactly what they wanted, embracing a myriad of styles from commercial to post-punk to goth irrespective of what is cool at the time. It’s this ideology that appeals to me. Their music makes me want to dance in the rain.

My favourite album by The Cure is Disintegration. In fact it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. If you've never heard it it really is essential listening. Ironically, despite Disintegration being highly introspective, depressing and gloomy in its nature it became the bands biggest commercial success. It's an album to really immerse yourself in, even if by doing so you're enjoying wallowing in someone else's deep despair.

I saw the band tour the record and even although we had seats at the very back of the auditorium the sombre beauty of the music and moody lightshow completely enveloped me. Tracks such as The Same Deep Water As You and Plainsong were magnificent in their out-of-reach darkness and Lullaby was a hauntingly sinister pop tune that perfectly merged commercial nuance with something from the shadows.

In all honesty it would be quite possible for this series of Music That Made Me to just include 52 songs by The Cure and it is a tough choice just choosing one, but Lullaby is of such perfection that it’s a necessity that it is chosen.

This September The Cure will be playing a two and a half hour show headlining Saturday night at my favourite music festival, one that I have a special association with having been to every single one since the first – Bestival. You can guarantee that when Robert Smith walks out on stage, for me, it will be just like heaven.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Oh My! - New Waves

“Hey you, walk away. I don't want you anyway. Don't you turn around. Don't you know, we run this town!!!,” the new girl-pop-duo Oh My! demand as they announce themselves to the world and commence their possible bid for stardom. If pop music is a hotel and Lady Ga Ga is the bridal suite, Katy Perry the luxury room and Ellie Goulding is a standard single with shared bathroom then Oh My! just entered reception. Time will tell if they’re able to check in or if there’s no room and they're sleeping on the park bench.

If Oh My! are allowed in then the hope would be that they stay in room 679 for this is the record label they’ve signed with - home to the likes of Marina and The Diamonds, Little Boots, Spark and The Streets. We’d also quite like them to room-buddy with Pris – an altogether punkier, trashier d-i-y band we featured recently here – Oh My! being the poppier more polished version of what Pris could become if they sold their souls to ‘the man’.

So what do Oh My! sound like? Well, take the radio-friendly girl chanting of the likes of Shampoo, Banananrama, The Spice Girls, We’ve Got A Fuzzbox, The Belle Stars and The Go Team (there’s a list!) put them all together in a modern day blender (not literally – they wouldn’t all fit and the resultant whisked up old pop star remains would be a bit messy) and voilà Oh My! become the latest shouty-singer-girls with attitude to arrive on planet pop.

With backing from Example who is working with them in the studio, nice coats, good hair that is in the premier league rather than the Premier Inn ( © bad hotel puns) of La Roux / Jedward quiffdom and a parrot (not an official member of the band) Oh My! have already got a few tongues wagging. You can download debut track Run This Town for free below. Bigger things are to come from Alex and Jade – for these are the names of the twosome who form Oh My! Keep watching.

OH MY! Run This Town by OhMyOfficial

Friday, 25 March 2011

I Dream In Colour - New Waves

It’s been well documented by those that know that Britpop and its accompanying drunken skinny jeaned cousins landfill indie and lad-rock killed the heart, soul and very fabric of what was once known as indie music. It’s also likely that in a few years’ time the waistcoat and check shirted wearing anthemic folk-rock of the likes of Mumford and Sons will also be frowned upon as having destroyed traditional folk music. Dubstep too will eventually be derided and replaced with something else. It’s a genre with its back to the wall and at some point it will be shot down. This is because - we’re sorry if we’re repeating this hypothesis from previous blogs way back - pop music doesn’t wear out, it goes out – it has to reinvent itself to excite and fascinate buyers to consume more. This is why, those who find change difficult will be found skulking around bars murmuring ‘music isn’t as good now as it was when I was young.’

Yet here’s a band that destroy that hypothesis. For I Dream In Colour aren’t breaking any new waves, coming very much from the familiar school of lads, guitars, classic song-writing structures and big stadium sized choruses. But here’s the rub – it’s very good. If the Pigeon Detectives were writing songs as life affirming, as strong and as soaring as I Dream In Colour we’d doth our cap to them. They’re not of course – but I Dream In Colour do enough on their own that we can forget about The Pigeon Detectives. Forever.

Having first recorded four tracks with Babyshambles and Mystery Jets producer, Iain Gore, the Essex band released The Boiler Room EP digitally last year and since then have recorded a BBC Introducing Session, been played on BBC 6 Music and have recorded tracks with producer Phil Tyreman who has worked with the likes of Doves and Belle and Sebastian. The band will release their new EP, These Folded Arms in May, via Monotwin and to give you a taste of the I Dream In Colour sound you can stream and download their song If You below. A brooding small masterwork in whopping guitar music that reaches for the sky and pulls clouds apart. Maybe there’s life in the epic-indie-rock beast still.

I Dream In Colour - If You

Black Light Dinner Party - New Waves

Just one song. One song full of Passion Pit / Miike Snow throbbing electronica, plinky keyboards and falsetto male vocals is all we have from Boston’s Black Light Dinner Party – but sometimes one song is enough. In this case it’s called Older Together and it’s already been all over a number of blogs including a few high profile ones. Yet (wait for it) nobody seems to know very much about the band at all. It seems as if they’ve taken their name literally in their method of approach – keeping people in the dark and hungry for more.

Such a mystery approach leads some people to ask questions about the bands existence (here) and the answer if we believe everything we read on the internet is “The band members are: Jack Cote, Matt Decker, Joel Friedman, TJ Jordan and Zack Lipkins. They have a Myspace, Twitter and Facebook page.” And that’s it – with their official web presence giving nothing away, no press release or obvious information out there it’s easy to make the ‘we know nothing about this group’ statement.

But with just the small bit of information we have we’ve done a little bit of digging. Here’s just a couple of snippets that we’ve found. First the band is not that new – there is evidence of Black Light Dinner Party being around at least a year ago, even if those internet entries have now been deleted. Second one of their number has been producing some quirky folky electro-acoustic music for a while now, away from Black Light Dinner Party. It seems like Decimal. One may also have connections to the band. But really does this matter, it’s just back story. What counts are the tunes. And Older Together, which you can download below is a turned-on synth sizzler indeed.

Older Together by Black Light Dinner Party

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Trust - Candy Walls

Earlier this month we posted a well-received article aimed at artists entitled How To Get Your Music Featured On Blogs. Included in the piece was a darkly electronic song that used a backdrop of tastefully minimalist 80’s synth sounds, slow-techno and cold wave – like a valium slowed Crystal Castles track sung by a beautifully restrained Phil Oakey or Dave Gahan in a lounge suit. It was the kind of thing that could have come out of the UK, Germany or Poland perhaps. Yet the duo that created this music – Trust - are from Canada and the song in question - Candy Walls – is released worldwide this week through Sacred Bones records.

Formed in 2009 Trust are Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski. They began writing songs about nostalgia, lust, and erotomania together and now Candy Walls is the first public release of their passions. The duo has played gigs with the likes of Glass Candy, Hercules & Love Affair, Washed Out and Zola Jesus in their home town of Toronto and has just completed shows at South By South West.

As Candy Walls was embodied right at the bottom of a previous long discursive article and may have been missed, we’re highlighting it again and this time featuring the video – which despite its simple motor bike journey road trip tale hints at something more nightmarish underneath. There’s also another track – Gloryhole – which continues the slow motion Crystal Castles vibe.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Cults - You Know What I Mean

This is lovely. No, not just lovely, but really really lovely.

The source of this loveliness is Cults. Cults are New York boy and girl Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin, a duo who found themselves at the centre of a blog-buzz storm last year with their two songs Go Outside and Oh My God. Since that rage they’ve bagged themselves a record deal and are readying an album, due May. You Know What I Mean – an irresistible 50’s / 60’s mum pleasing torch song dragged from the imaginary vaults of Motown then drenched with wall of sound splendour reminds us a lot of the much overlooked but brilliant British band Lucky Soul. Inevitably given the major label backing and blog hype, Cults will gain more attention than Lucky Soul ever have, that’s the way the industry works – but as far as we’re concerned all that matters is the music, not who is funding them – and this song is divinely nostalgic. It’s the first hint at what the long-player may sound like.

Cults are currently out on the road stateside and will be back in the UK in May for a number of shows including Brighton’s Great Escape Festival.

Cults - You Know What I Mean by cultscultscults

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Strangers - In Chaos (Paper Crows Remix)

‘Hotly tipped,” is a phrase that gets banded about these days almost as many times as Katie Price appears in the UK edition of Heat magazine and is just as meaningless. ‘Hotly tipped’ to do what exactly? Sell lots of records? The chances of that are less and less these days. Produce an album of great quality? Well that’s a possibility maybe, but just don’t ask Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong about how to do it. Or to go from rock n roll hero to appearing on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here? Well at least Shaun Ryder and John Lydon do share something in common with Katie Price then. But whatever they’re ‘hotly tipped’ for, the much Breaking More Waves supported Paper Crows have had this label slung at them a few times since we first featured them last summer.

Only time will tell if such hot tips are worth anything more than the small change on a waiters plate at the end of a meal. But in the meantime let’s turn our attention to another band that Paper Crows have been messing around with, who are only just appearing on the horizon. That band is Strangers. Their song In Chaos was featured a few days ago here and now there’s more. Paper Crows get their remixing hands dirty, fusing all sorts of electronic goodness together, followed by a video for the track which takes retro-subdued colours, a pretty girl and some arty camera flickers to accompany the song. Anyone fancy hot tipping Strangers then?

[STRANGERS] - In Chaos (Paper Crows Remix) - [STRANGERS] (E.P 1) by [STRANGERS]

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Milk - (All I Wanted Was) Danger - Video + Remixes

A list of our top 5 tracks of the first quarter of 2011 would undoubtedly include (All I Wanted Was) Danger by The Milk. Quite simply it’s a piece of brassy hip swinging soulful brilliance. Can a song become a classic when it’s not even been released yet? Answer = Yes, quite possibly in our world. Thankfully that date is not far away now for March 28 sees Britain’s musical answer to Cee Lo Green come storming out of the traps packed full of musical charisma, forcing smiles wherever they go. We’ve yet to see the band live (although will be doing so very soon) but from what we’ve been hearing they absolutely storm it wherever they play and sold out shows are already occurring.

Since we first wrote about the band back in September 2010 The Milk has slowly been building up a weight of praise including positive comments from the likes of The News Of The World, The Guardian, Neon Gold and of course The Fun Lovin’ Criminal himself - Huey from BBC 6 Music who like ourselves has been a massive supporter of the band.

To celebrate and remind you of the tracks release – The Milk’s debut - you’ll find the new video for the song below which is a simple performance piece in a pub, complete with pints and shots - as well as two remixes. The Nextmen and Random Impulse strip away the Staxx flavours and add hip hop beats and a new rap, whilst Greenmoney brings tropical -rhythmic house flavours and some heavy carnival bass. The Greenmoney remix is available for free download, so grab it and groove. The god father of soul may have passed away, but The Milk are his grandchildren. Believe it. Top notch stuff.

The Milk - All I Wanted Was Danger (Nextmen mix, ft Random Impulse)

The Milk - All I Wanted Was Danger (Greenmoney remix)

Music That Made Me #12 - Goodbye Mr Mackenzie - The Rattler

In 1988 I went to a gig that changed my life. Or at least it changed the way I viewed live music. Up until then, the few bands I’d seen had been in soulless concert arenas such as Wembley Arena, the gigs being entertainment more than anything transcendent or life affirming. The support band was a mild distraction that nobody was interested in and the shows, whilst all pleasantly diverting, were nothing more than that.

I’d become a big fan of the frisky buzz-pop of The Primitives – their single Crash had kicked its way into the UK’s top 10 singles, a beautiful blonde sore thumb of indie guitar melodies that stood out against the majority of the bland late 80’s chart rubbish – and took the trip to London to see the band with a friend of mine.

The event was a revelation. We stopped for a drink in a pub close to the venue – the Town & Country Club in Kentish Town - and I found myself surrounded by kids with black leather jackets, drainpipe trousers and attitude. There was no one selling glossy programmes outside, no hot dog stalls and the jukebox was playing The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Cure and Half Man Half Biscuit. Downstairs in the Town & Country Club itself there were no seats – the first time I’d ever been to a standing show. It felt exciting and very different to the ‘safe’ shows I’d been to until that point.

What’s more there were two support bands and the people who arrived early took notice of them. It was the second of the two - Goodbye Mr Mackenzie - who entranced me. Mixing edgy pop melodies with punk and post-punk influences, their suave lead singer sneered and crooned with menace and delight,guitarist ‘Big’ John Duncan filled the stage with both physical size and personality, and lurking in the shadows on keyboard a slight but beautiful gothic looking girl provided backing vocals. Her name was Shirley Manson and a few years later she would have international success fronting the band Garbage.

Suddenly going to gigs became a complete experience. It wasn’t just about turning up to see the main band and being entertained. It was about getting there early because something lower on the bill might be astounding. It was about the energy of standing shows; later when the Primitives played I was literally and metaphorically swept of my feet under the audience’s excitement. It was the realisation that sometimes the best gigs weren’t about the best musicianship, the best light show or even the best sound; it was about the emotion they generated and how they made you feel and think.

I came out of the Town & Country Club sweating, fired up and on a massive high. I wanted more. Over twenty years on I haven’t stopped.

Friday, 18 March 2011

D/R/U/G/S - Love / Lust

At last years In the City event one of the performances that made the biggest impression on Breaking More Waves was the all-conquering cyber-grooves of D/R/U/G/S. From that point onwards they were always going to feature on our annual Ones to Watch list and now finally there’s a proper release through Moshi Moshi offshoot Tender Age on May 9th. The track Love / Lust you may already be familiar with – full of irresistible ripples, echoing piano and female vocal loops it’s easy to see why we have in the past compared D/R/U/G/S to baldy rave gods Orbital. You may even remember the track from when we featured the Antwerp Remix in December.

Love / Lust will be backed with Velodrome I and II – the former which streams below. It’s a sleek spacey minimal piece with a contemplative yet pounding sound that’s bound to get dance freaks closing their eyes and gurning in mellow joy. “I write new music every day. If I'm in the mood to just write I'll record all kinds of sounds. I know how I want my tracks to feel but I don't know how to get there. No one does really. That struggle is what you hear, that's the music,” says Cal from D/R/U/G/S. So listen below and hear that struggle.

D/R/U/G/S are playing a number of live shows in the later part of March and have also been confirmed for both the Camden Crawl and Great Escape festivals. Knob twiddling computer geekery may not always be fantastic to watch live but our experience last year was that D/R/U/G/S really work – so if you get the chance, go see, go dance.

D/R/U/G/S - Love / Lust 12" Version

D/R/U/G/S - Velodrome I

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Halls - Solace

In a time pressured world there’s a danger that the work of ambient and ghost-electronica minimalist Sam Howard aka Halls could pass by unnoticed, lost to a planet so caught up in itself it has no time to breathe. This would be a huge pity because these four minute artworks deserve all the time you have. Loop them over and over and listen to the soft crackling fuzz of sounds that intertwine throughout the three tracks on his new Solace EP (available to purchase from his website here) and find yourself taken somewhere else.

Following a lineage that includes Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, The Orb and Burial, Halls are creating something druggy, unfussy and free from the everyday clutter of life. Ambient music has sometimes been described as anti-music, often created for background atmosphere to another activity, but this is not the case here. Like diving into the deep ocean and never coming up again, this is music that requires you to utterly immerse yourself in its spacious quality.

Streaming below is the lead track from the EP, plus one of the b-sides Colossus. Halls plays a debut live show at the Lock Tavern in Camden on March 27.

Halls - Solace

Halls - Colossus

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Queen of Hearts - Where Are You Now?

Remember when you lost your virginity? It seemed to mean something at the time didn’t it? But actually it didn’t. Let’s face it – no one cared. Especially five years on. It’s a bit like that for new music bloggers; being the first to get a song listed on Hype Machine seems important for a nanosecond until you realise that nobody is interested except you.

Queen of Hearts was one such pop starlet in the making that Breaking More Waves did it with; that is getting listed first on Hype Machine, not losing our virginity to. However with Freestyle still throbbing inside us, it’s time to hear a new song. It’s an electro-friendly piece of pop music called Where Are You Now that makes us think a little of a more sensual Little Boots for some reason (where is she now ?). More melancholy sounding than Freestyle, it bridges the gap until her debut single The Last Day Of Summer, a collaboration with Agebjorn (Sally Shapiro) and Ercola (Annie) is released in May on Paper Bag. Besides working with those fine folks Queen of Hearts has been in the studio with the likes of Fear Of Tigers (Kylie), Dreamtrak and Diamond Cut, so a wonderblast of pop should be being dealt soon. We’re looking forward to it.

Where Are You Now? (Produced by Diamond Cut) by Queen Of Hearts

Strangers - New Waves

One of the journeys that slightly more leftfield pop music has gone on over the last few years is one from high colour and showmanship into slightly darker more introverted spaces – it’s an inevitable backlash against what has gone before. You can trace it through the spine of this blog – the phrase ‘pop-noir’ was first used back in April 2009 and ever since there has been a slow transition to darker places with the XX’s debut album being a keystone in changing the musical landscape. Pop music continues to go out of fashion rather than wear out and whilst no doubt further changes lay ahead, for now dancing in the twilight is a guilt free pleasure.

Strangers label their music dark pop and whatever it is, they do it rather well. We’re not talking about intense shoegazing layered-noise, but magnificent electronic pop music that superbly scales into territories occupied on one side by Hurts on the other side Gary Numan. Not everything has to sound angry for it to come from the night.

Another more direct reference to the sound of Strangers is a band we blogged in the past – NewIslands - who apparently are no more. However Strangers seem to slot into their clothes with a perfect fit. The song we’re streaming below is entitled In Chaos and is a track from their forthcoming EP (keep an eye on their website - linked above - for details). It’s cinematic and emotive – the sound of David Bowie impersonating the vampire lord of synthpop in a billowing robe. What more could you possibly want ?


Pris - We Hate You

“DON'T YOU JUST HATE BANDS WHO DJ? WE DO. WE HAVE A NEW SONG, SIMPLY CALLED, WE HATE YOU (NOT YOU, THEM)” shouts the latest tweet from our new blog loves (and favourites of Manic Street Preacher Nicky Wire) post-punk-popsters Pris. You know we’re going to love it before we’ve even heard it – and they’re right – we do hate bands who DJ. It has been known in our experience for groups to turn up for a paid DJ slot, get their roadies to do all the mixing (or even worse just use an iPod) whilst they drink all the rider and get members of their entourage to find drunk, desperate, ugly students to perform sexual favours behind the DJ booth. Nasty.

Bloggers DJing are probably just as bad, after all we can be a horrendously earnest bunch (but at least would never go the ugly student route – we have better taste). We're constantly analysing every song, only posting tracks on the basis of so called 'musical merit and quality' which frankly is a load of old tosh - we really do climb up our own arses now and then don't we? Sometimes we forget that the best pop culture isn’t about the music at all. It’s about the haircuts, the attitude, getting up and having a go, the fashion, the sex, the drugs, the good times, the hangovers, and everything in between. Pris understand this. If you met them in the dark corners of an indie disco, they’d probably have you naked, rob you of your money and scribe the word IDIOT on your forehead with lipstick before you even knew it. Here’s their new song – it really doesn’t matter what you think of it, they probably don’t care.

We Hate You by I Love Pris

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition 2011 -The Shortlist

Monday saw the announcement of the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition Shortlist. The long list of 123 artists, of which Breaking More Waves helped compile, was whittled down to a shortlist of 8. The final 8 are, in alphabetical order: Emily and the Woods, J Treole, Louise and the Pins, My First Tooth, My Tiger My Timing, Treetop Flyers, Tristam and Twin Brother. You can hear all of the bands on the player below.

"The standard of acts on the Emerging Talent Competition long list really was very high - for which we have to thank the blogger judging panel. It certainly wasn't easy to whittle them down to just eight artists for the live finals. But, after much tea and heated debate, we think we've come up with a great selection of acts, all of whom have a real chance of winning the main stage slot at this year's Festival. Bring on the finals!” said the judges.

Those of a certain alphabetical persuasion will notice the number of finalists that contain the letter T – as well as two of the bands having the word My in their title. The short list probably doesn’t contain that many unknowns for fans of new music – the vast majority of the acts on the list already having had some degree of exposure and being reasonably well established. This is something that we found when judging our cluster of bands for the long list as well – 2 of our 3 choices had already had exposure with only our third choice being a completely new band.

The live final takes place on the 2nd April at Pilton Working Mens Club. Keep an eye out on our twitter and this blog for updates on that.

ETC Shortlist 2011 by glastonburyofficial

Jamie N Commons - New Waves

With a desert-smoked vocal that hints at Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, John Smith, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Gomez, Jamie N Commons, a former student of music at Goldsmiths, University of London may not be a name that is known to many yet, but if you’re a fan of any of the above named prepare yourself to be impressed. For Commons (we have no idea what the N stands for) sings like a man who has already seen far too many years. It’s gritty, gravelly and full of the blues, which gives his songs an unquestionable authenticity whatever he’s singing about.

Yet, as far as we can tell, Commons is a whipper-snapper still in his twenties. So whilst a few years back his music would have only be given exposure to the mature music fan – the kind who reads Uncut and Mojo magazine for example, now Commons has the potential for his country / folk /rock sound to find acceptance with a more youthful crowd just as the likes of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling have done so over the last few years. In fact Laura Marling is a good reference point as we could quite easily imagine Ms Marling covering his song The Preacher - a potent tale of religion, death and loss touched with hints of dark Americana. It streams below together with the tender piano torch song Wasted Time.

Jamie N Commons is undeniably talented and as long as he avoids the clichés of the genre and gets his music heard, could find his whisky-glugging-shards-of-glass-vocals popularity rising very quickly.

Wasted Time by Jamie N Commons

The Preacher by Jamie N Commons

Monday, 14 March 2011

Music That Made Me #11 - Tindersticks - Travelling Light

The first thing I noticed about him was his walk. Slow, measured and with the occasional pause for consideration, it was the walk of an unemployed man with a long day of nothingness ahead. Yet this walk was misleading and had more to do with his physicality than the status of his life. We became friends quickly, and became reluctantly aware that from an early point our lives were bound for separate journeys in the future.

We were busy then, or so we thought. The reality is that we were busy satisfying ourselves, with no real commitments except ensuring that our time was occupied. These days I long for time when I am unoccupied – I can’t help but raise a smile when a single friend with no children tells me they are too busy. “Compared to what?” I want to ask, but that kind of arrogance does one no favours, so instead I keep my head down and get on with things. People tend to fill the time they have with whatever they have to do.

When we weren’t ‘being busy’ we would often spend time chewing the cud and educating each other with our music in the warm glow of candlelight, fairy lights and red wine right into the murky hours of early morning. Those times really did become the music that made us - he would play me sixties soul, big belting divas, Joe Cocker, Elton John and high energy disco – for he liked to dance, whilst I’d play him the latest hot new thing that everyone would be talking about in six months time. Sometimes our tastes clashed, other times they found a marriage.

I remember that I played him Tindersticks – a band that suited the slightly alcohol hazed splendour of the night – and we both agreed they were magnificent. I still think so now. And when, on the occasional moment that I have time to pause, I’ll still put them on and enjoy their rain soaked, nicotine stained beauty.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Clock Opera - Belongings

We tweeted about it last week, but frankly 140 characters doesn’t do justice to Belongings, the new single from Clock Opera. One of the more intensely dramatic songs from the band’s current live set Belongings is out on Moshi Moshi on May 7. It continues to affirm why as far back as July 2009 we got pretty charged up about the music of Clock Opera and they haven’t disappointed us since. There’s something intelligent and unique about the way Clock Opera create songs – they don’t seem to be following any fashion, trend or media led scene – they’re leaders rather than followers, innovating rather than copying and through it creating something that is compelling and long lasting.

If Belongings were a bar chart it would start with the smallest of bars in black and white of piano keys before slowly growing with an upward trend of bigger and bolder bars that finally explode in an arousing concentration of colour. Belongings is reach for the sky, stately euphoric pop music. The band have been around for a while now, but with Moshi Moshi being a label whose every release rouses interest, Clock Opera could be about to step up one more gear.

Before this single another new Clock Opera creation will be available to buy on record store day (April 16) as the band have remixed Tracey Thorn’s You Are A Lover which is taken from the Everything But The Girl singers acclaimed current solo album Love And Its Opposite.

Belongings by moshi moshi music

Just A Number 05272011 - New Waves

Blogpop. Is it a new genre? Popjustice certainly think so, having mentioned it today. Of course it can’t be can it? Blogs are so broad and so all-encompassing that there can be no such thing. Yet the number of times the phrase ‘big on the blogs’ crops up these days would suggest that there may be something in it. If we were going to put forward a definition, then maybe blogpop is slightly cool off-kilter underground music that is still listenable enough that it can cross over to the masses? Maybe, but then again maybe not. How you can define a sound just by the fact that a bunch of internet geeks are writing about it?

However if blogpop does exist then over the last few days a number of blogs have gone into overdrive as they unearth a shining example of it. Just A Number 05272011 is an odd name, if indeed that is the artist's name, there's very little information out there right now. However you can be assured that if there's one thing most music blogs like it's is some sort of enigma to chase - the classic "shouded by a veil of mystery," or "we know very little about this artist," quotes will appear regularly. The name perhaps signifies a release date – your guess is as good as ours, but forgetting the internet gossip the important thing is that their brand of eccentric electronic chamber-bop, which sounds a little like a madcap version of The Knife, is going down very well indeed. So at the risk of turning into a sheep, here they are on Breaking More Waves as well, because Just A Number 05272011 sounds like a majorly great piece of blogpop.

THE PAIN by Just a number 05272011

He Didn't Want A Love Song from just a number 05272011 on Vimeo.

Paper Crows - Fingertips (Acoustic)

By now we’ve established that Paper Crows are Breaking More Waves blog favourites. Yet so far their sound has been in the zone marked electronic-post-dubstep-gothlite-pop. So now for something a little different; a captivating version of the duo’s new single Fingertips, due March 28. It’s performed with mournful piano plus violin and showcases the soft come-to-bed lullaby vocals of Emma Panas. There have been parallels drawn to Panas with the likes of Kate Bush and Bjork, but these seem widely off the mark when you listen to this still and tender version.

As seems to be the way these days there’s also a ‘teaser’ of the forthcoming video, which is nice but sometimes all this teasing can be a little bit infuriating can’t it? If every boyfriend or girlfriend you have just spends all their time parading around in their underwear and takes ages to get to the full reveal it can feel like there’s no other way of doing things. Sometimes it would be quite exciting to just rip everything off and plunge straight in, if you get our analogy. This is a minor criticism however, because this teaser video is actually really good - with a menacing and crazy mini thriller / horror vibe - its not for the faint hearted.

Paper Crows - Fingertips (Acoustic)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Letters - New Waves

There’s something stirring about the cello. Listen to and witness its use by bands such as Arcade Fire, Smashing Pumpkins and even heavy rockers System of a Down to see how its employ can evoke untapped emotions of sadness, strength and ambition. Now add to this list a new band from Edinburgh who very much make the most of the four string bowed beast. They’re called Letters. Whilst Breaking More Waves doesn't often dip its foot into classic rock structures Letters have just enough of a difference to make us want to do so.

Letters do big music. Not in the sense of the numbers in their group – of which there are five – but the way that their sound is expansive, rocket fuelled and aiming higher and higher. Their debut single The Grand National released last month is musically like its title – an exciting heart pounding race of explosive jumps that storms to a glorious finish and the flipside Pipe Dreams, is muscular enough to whack the bell on a fairground high striker all the way to the top.

It’s very early days for the band having only formed in the winter of 2010, but based on these two fairly intensive and impressive songs, (you can download both legally and for free below) there’s a good chance that Letters could be worth keeping an ear and eye out for. If you want to check them out live Letters are playing gigs in Scotland this month and hope to expand into shows throughout the UK in spring time, with a new EP to follow in April.



Alpines - Update

This is another blog post featuring Alpines. We planted a seed about this band some time ago last autumn and now it’s beginning to grow, its leaves revealing its fuller form.

Below you will find a series of videos. Three webisodes (is that really a word and did we actually just use it without any sense of humour?) that have a touch of the Iamamiwhoami’s about them, plus the film for a song that we previously featured in demo form – Ice & Arrows – which will feature on the Night Drive EP out March 28. Now smoothed with a more considered production Ice & Arrows is in our opinion not quite as cold or night-pop as everyone seems to be saying - there's a sense of hopefulness here. "Ice starts to melt at my feet and I start to see the world for what it could be," sings Catherine over music that has a gentle middling glow about it.

Then, for the sake of completeness there’s an Akira Kiteshi remix of the duo’s song Drive which in a musical sense pulls your underwear down, pushes you against a wall and thrusts powerfully. Damn that’s good. Let’s do it again only louder.

That pretty much brings you up to date with Alpines. Click the label cloud for all of our previous posts on them and then if you want more and are in the UK catch them on tour later this month with Fenech Soler, at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May or Lounge on the Farm in Kent in July, all events that Breaking More Waves will be attending.

Alpines - Drive (Akira Kiteshi Remix) by Radar Maker