Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Saturday Surf #13

Summer festival season is well and truly underway and after last weekend’s Good Weekend this week we’re stationed at Lulworth in Dorset for the fourth ever Camp Bestival where not only will we be catching the likes of Laura Marling, Caitlin Rose, Katy B and Primal Scream performing Screamadelica in its entirety, but we will also be DJing as part of the Sunday Best Forum Allstars. We hope to keep the cocktail drinkers of the Bollywood Bar entertained each afternoon. So whilst we’re away doing that, here’s our weekly round-up of tracks that have been chewing our ears off but didn’t quite make it to a full blog post. This week there’s just three songs.

Craft Spells – From The Morning Heat

Sounding like a hazier, dreamier version of New Order, California’s Justin Paul Vallesteros is the leader of Craft Spells. His song From The Morning Heat is heavily nostalgic and dips its net into the pools labelled dream pop, fey indie boy vocals and jangly reverb laden tunesmithery. Nice.

From the Morning Heat by CraftSpells

Ghosting Season – Dead Man’s Switch

Ghosting Season is a new project from Tom and Gavin of Worried About Satan. That is not to say that Worried About Satan is no more, as the boys say “It's not a name change, it's something new.” Whatever it is, it’s very good. The 8 minute long Far End of the Graveyard has already received some critical praise, but it’s this track Dead Man’s Switch that has really won us over. It’s a propulsive piece of instrumental electronica that seems the perfect soundtrack for journeys in the night.

Dead Man's Switch by Ghosting Season

Givers – Up Up Up (CSS Remix)

Givers perkily infectious Up Up Up first appeared on a Saturday Surf back in May, with a further video post shortly after. Now CSS (remember them?) have got their hands over the track and thankfully haven’t changed it that much, retaining everything that made the song so infectious in the first place and instead have just loosened it up for the dance floor a little further.

Givers - 'Up Up Up' (CSS remix)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Lighthouses - Control (Live at Good Weekend 2011)

One of the undoubted highlights of last week’s Good Weekend festival, a 500 capacity underground festival in Hampshire (full review here) was the Friday night set by Lighthouses. With intense flashing strobes turning the outdoor stage into some sort of weird alien hallucinogenic spacecraft, their music lifted the small crowd into a full-on electro-rave-pop extravaganza. Now you can witness it yourself in this live video for the song Control below. The performance incorporates parts of the seriously bone-crushing Telegram for the Queen remix which we previously featured here.

As an added bonus we’re also streaming a further remix of the song – the Lighthouses vs Stellar Cred Street Riot remix, which is about as alluring and blissful as you could want for any time of day. Inspirational stuff.



Control (Lighthouses vs. Stellar Cred Street Riot remix) by Lighthouses

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Deep Cut - Something's Got To Give (Video)

Having streamed a couple of tracks by Deep Cut recently, now seems as good a time as any to introduce some visuals to the mix. Something’s Got To Give is a no frills performance video – the song does the talking. Breathing life into the old fashioned formula of dirty, fuzzy guitars and female vocals that aren’t compressed and auto-tuned the hell out of, Something’s Got To Give sticks its tongue down your throat and writhes around for three minutes and forty seconds of near distorted pleasure.

Deep Cut's album Disorientation is out on 5th September on Club AC30 Records and they play a headlining show at London’s The Wilmington Arms on 11th August.

Theme Park - Wax (Halls Remix)

Ambient. A genre of music has evolved through the decades from high-brow studio experimentation to d-i-y bedroom electronica, but the fundamentals remain the same; low-budget, minimalistic sounds, with the emphasis on synths, samples, loops and lightweight beats. It’s more concerned with atmospherics than songs or melody. At its best the laptop wonder kids that are its architects assemble moving soundscapes far removed from the bedsits they create them in. Yet with its more recent blogospheric rebirth come numerous potential protagonists, too many of them being imitators rather than innovators, with music that’s too languid, too pale, too inconsequential, too washed out for anyone but the underground to embrace. Even one of the genre’s main modern sub-groups – chill wave - has found one of its prime leaders releasing a long player that is akin to a limp wrist slapping you with a wet blanket – this review by Paul Lester writing for the BBC says everything we would want to say about Within and Without.

Yet despite the genre firing more blanks than it does real hitters, there are a few who whilst not stepping outside of the boundaries of their predecessors, do what they do very well. One such artist is Halls (previously featured here and here) who nuzzled our ears with his druggy, ghostly beauty on tracks such as Solace and Chakra Drums. Now he’s turned his remixing skills to a band that a number of blogs including ourselves are getting cautiously excited about – Theme Park (pictured above). We’ve already described their song Wax as 'classy very English sounding pop', now Halls turns it into the musical equivalent of a gentle beat-laden haunted house.

Wax (Halls Remix) by Theme Park

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Queen of Hearts - Perfect Mistake

“I just eargasmed !” said someone on twitter today. The reason ? Read on…

Musical love was shared when Breaking More Waves new favourite pop queen Queen of Hearts teamed up with another member of the musical royal family - Monarchy. It’s as good as Will and Kate all over again. No, in fact it’s better. Because what we get here is another exquisite piece of sexy and sophisticated electro pop that has some musical similarities to the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Kylie in the verses before it drops a bigger more modern sounding chorus. Listen and you’ll hear that the synths actually swing from side to side in camp abandon.

If the young newlywed couple had heard Perfect Mistake before their betrothal and wedding planning days, maybe they’d have put this on the Buckingham Palace reception playlist alongside Ellie Goulding singing live. We’re pretty sure Prince Harry would have been pulling some shapes on the dancefloor to this one, maybe he would have even had an eargasm as well.

“It’s one of my favourite songs that I’ve ever written, and one that I think sits very nicely between the intensity of Freestyle and the wistfulness of Where Are You Now,” says the Queen. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Perfect Mistake DEMO (Produced by Monarchy) by Queen Of Hearts

Laura Marling - Sophia (Video)

There’s something that gets written about Laura Marling more than anything else. It goes something like ‘mature beyond her years’. It’s almost become a clichĂ© to write it.

Laura’s previous two albums 2008’s Alas I Cannot Swim and last year’s I Speak Because I Can both ended up on the Breaking More Waves respective top ten albums of the year list and bagged Mercury Music Prize nominations. With this new song Sophia, from her third release A Creature I Don’t Know which is out in September there’s a suggestion that she may be about to do it all over again.

Laura has already stated that she’s not sure if this song is fully representative of the album and there have been reports that the first part of the new record has an underlying coffee table jazz style more similar to likes of Norah Jones. “Who’s been touching my skin, who have I been letting in,” she starts sounding world weary and disappointed on Sophia. From there she journeys through choir girl backing vocals last heard on Blue Roses debut album to a full blown alt. country rock tune. “When the bell tolls for your last day, you'll be getting down on your knees to pray,” she sings as the song reaches its conclusion. The impression left is something more substantial and complex than anything else she’s produced to date. Mature beyond her years.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Polarsets - Morning / Sunset

Sometimes you just can’t get enough cowbell can you? We can’t on Morning by Polarsets, a track that swept around the blog world last year like the out of control brushes in Fantasia. Now the good (no make that great) news is that the song is due to be released through Neon Gold, the New York label that we fell in love a while back when they threw out a succession of credible pop tunes, starting the careers of Passion Pit, Marina and The Diamonds and Ellie Goulding. Maybe more recently Neon Gold haven’t quite pushed the Breaking More Waves buttons with all of their releases, but with Polarsets they’re back on the game. This Newcastle three piece got our pulses racing at The Great Escape in Brighton back in May and then we went a little bit giddy on Twitter, proclaiming our absolute love for everything Geordie – from the angelic indie of Let’s Buy Happiness to the ethereal majesty of Lanterns on the Lake to the beautiful folk-miserabalism of The Unthanks. Although this blog is based on the south coast we feel a strange affinity and love for our north eastern cousins. Maybe one day we'll move there and just spend all of our time salivating over the great bands this area seems to be able to effortlessly produce.

So here’s the deal. If Morning doesn’t get you dancing, then please check your pulse because you are probably dead. Assuming however that you’re very much alive and don’t want the party to stop then check out the b-side Sunset as well. It’s Morning version 2.0, with even more percussion, more sherbert high energy, more carnival joy and more hip-swinging freshness. Polarsets are designed to make you freewheel to the indie dancefloor, so what are you doing still reading ?

Morning by Polarsets

Sunset by Polarsets

The Sound Of Arrows - Magic

That’s it. We made it. This is the 1000th post on Breaking More Waves.

This may not seem that incredible, but we’re very proud of getting this far. Breaking More Waves is now just over 3 years old and in the last two and a half years we’ve averaged 1 post a day, every day, with (usually) just Sunday off. This has been achieved against a background of a demanding full time professional career outside of music, being a parent, a partner and having a busy and active social life. Call us smug, but we’re pretty happy with our achievement. We often hear talk and read about the most ‘successful blogs’ and success seems to nearly always be determined and characterised by the most number of hits and how well known the blog is. Our success is much simpler – publishing this thing on a daily basis.

At a rough guess in the last 3 years we’ve published something in the region of 280,000 – 300,000 words. That’s the equivalent of about 3 novels. Some posts have been pretty good, others (usually the ones written at 6am on a Saturday morning after 4 hours sleep, before the children get up and scheduled for the next week) have been pretty shocking. The gradual growth in hits, getting name checked here and there and being commended by our peer group is nice, but not the reason we write. Our main reason is quite simply to champion the music we love.

We’ve seen blogs come and go and we’ve seen blogs vary the pace of their posts depending on their own author’s position in life. It probably comes as no surprise to find that many of the most active sole author blogs are written by students and those who are unemployed. Although we’re very lucky to not be spare time rich, it does make Breaking More Waves a real labour of love.

So today we’re celebrating. There’s a little bit of magic in getting to 1000 posts. So here’s a band that we wrote about a few times way back in 2009 – The Sound of Arrows. Bizarrely we talked about their song Magic in September of that year and yet recently the group have re-released it. The sweet mini-film that accompanies their joyously child coated tune is a fantastical 4 minute dream adventure where all the parents in the world have disappeared leaving only the kids and strange monsters that seem to have come straight out of a Pixar movie.

Possibly one of the slowest re-releases ever, but maybe sometimes the best things in life – even sugary high-camp pop music – take time.

The Sound of Arrows - Magic (Tom Staar remix)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Music That Made Me #29 - Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene 4

I can remember the first day that I listened to a Jean Michel Jarre record. The date was 13 July 1985. The day that Live Aid took place. I watched the whole thing, mesmerised on my TV at home, suddenly feeling part of something, feeling that music really could change the world maybe in the same way that those who listened to the political message of The Clash in the 70's felt that they could change the world. I remember Bob Geldof, sat next to a cigarette wielding Ian Astbury of The Cult and Geldof swearing (in those days still a very controversial thing to do on TV) and thinking that suddenly this seemed very important.

I remember the morning before Live Aid started. I remember the trip to my local library, and the selection of some vinyl albums chosen purely because I liked the covers. One was Oxygene, a skull peering out from the core of earth, representing a dying world. I took it home and listened to it before the TV took me to Wembley.

I was hooked on first listen. I loved the pulses, the waves, the textures of the music revolving around in that secret space that only the escapism of headphone listening can give you. It was my own world, exotic, futuristic and visionary. A world inspired by electronic music that had first been released almost ten years before. It was glorious.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Good Weekend Festival 2011 - Review

The first ever Good Weekend festival took place on 22-23rd July 2011 in the green fields of Hampshire. A truly independent festival, put together by a group of friends with the vision of creating their own event after attending many festivals themselves, it showed just what could be done with determination, hard work and significant financial risk.

With just a few hundred people in attendance, Good Weekend offered a baby beauty of a festival that lived up to its name. The debut year of any festival runs the risk of being a botched and disorganised mess – thankfully by not over reaching their ambitions the organisers of Good Weekend managed to create an event that was good value, friendly, relaxed and on occasion had some great music as well. The only areas for improvement should the event run again would be to ensure batter stage management; the main stage on Saturday ran an hour and a half behind timetable at some points. Also an improvement in that stages sound at certain points would have helped - as several bands suffered from bouts of feedback and poor balance, although the likes of Worship, Hot Club de Paris and Art Brut all sounded excellent.

This is not to take away from the fact that bar these points Good Weekend was a fun-filled, carefree and highly enjoyable festival that for those on a budget prevented a welcome alternative to the bank-robbing corporate giant festival monsters. Here’s some of the key facts.

Tickets

Organisers worked as hard as possible to keep prices as low as possible. Early birds were just £35 with the rest being £40.

Weather

Saturday was almost perfect festival weather – sunny but without ever being too hot. Friday started well but unfortunately for Southampton face-painted electro kids Fly Frankie Fly the heavens opened for the totality of their outdoor second stage set leading to a mass evacuation of punters. To their credit the duo power-raved on commanding respect from the tree-sheltering crowd who remained. “God hates us,” they announced as their set and the rain finished.

Site

Good Weekend was located at Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott near Winchester easily located just a few minutes drive off the M3 motorway. It is also the new location for the larger Blissfields Festival that ran a few weeks before. The site itself is a gently sloping field dotted with trees. It was the antithesis of Glastonbury with nothing on site being more than a couple of minutes walk away, plenty of areas for those who want to relax, lots of camping space and a simple pocket sized layout. The main stage was located in a large white rectangular marquee, the second stage being outdoors, near the top corner of the site near a cluster of trees with a semi-circle of hay bales providing seating.

The Punters

A mix of older festival heads, younger teens, twenty somethings and the odd family, Good Weekend was notable for its lack of hipsters, scenesters and posers, probably due to little media coverage, giving it very much an underground vibe.

The Atmosphere

Friday night quickly grew from laid back excitement into a vibey hedonistic rush of fun particularly by the outdoor second stage and the bar area where a DJ rolled out old soul classics in an atmosphere akin to a brilliant party in your own front room. On Saturday a combination of lovely weather and hangovers meant that during the day many were happy to chill out in the sun, so many of the bands on the indoor main stage suffered from small audiences, but by the time the likes of Hot Club De Paris, Kurran & The Wolfnotes and Art Brut took to the stage the place was rocking again.

The Toilets

Usually the biggest let down at any new festival, with organisers often under estimating capacity, but Good Weekend got things right. Whilst the toilets were only standard plastic portaloos, there were enough to do the job and to the organisers credit it did appear that they were topped up with both toilet roll and hand sanitizer several times during the day and were relatively clean.

Queues

We never queued for anything.

Food

A limited choice given the size of the festival, but it was more than adequate. Delicious wood fired pizzas, home-made burgers, paella and great coffee, cookies and muffins from the bar all of which was reasonably priced compared against standard festival prices. Burgers were £3.50, paella between £4 and £6 depending on size. Pints of lager and cider (Stowford Press) were £3.50.

The Music

Musically Good Weekend went for the eclectic. On Friday Marie Naffah charmed as the perfect bohemian festival singer-songwriter with a flower garland in her flowing hair, summer dress, acoustic guitar and soulful-folk songs about real life. Lighthouses strobed-up ravetronic pop provided a real hands in the air moment, whilst Nedry soothed and coaxed the crowd into their warped world of dubstep wobbles, twitching beats and otherworldy vocals; if you closed your eyes it was possible to believe that Massive Attack and Bjork had climbed down from the nearby trees and invaded the tiny stage.

Saturday highlights included the suave mic-swinging geekiness of Eddie Argos and his indie-guitar rocking band Art Brut – there can’t be many headline bands that will ignore their set list and take requests. Berkshire’s four piece Worship (music below), fresh from a recent BBC Introducing slot at Glastonbury sounded sublime, shrugging off the Radiohead comparisons to provide tense cinematic and very modern electronic rock – in terms musical polish they shone outstandingly. Southampton’s Arp Attack (music also featured below) found themselves transferred to the outside stage rather than their timetabled earlier slot on the main stage and it worked in their favour with the bands smart sassy electropop reviving tired dancing feet as darkness fell. Lead singer Frankie gave a masterclass in pop-star moves and added further life to the bands already potent arsenal of enticing synthetic tunes.

In summary, Good Weekend provided a welcome low budget alternative to bigger festivals and should the organisers choose to run it again they could find it becoming a word of mouth success.

Arp Attack - Sugarcane

In Our Blood by Worship

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Saturday Surf #12

To quote Jarvis Cocker, we’re currently ‘somewhere in a field in Hampshire,’ at The Good Weekend, a new independent festival. So this is a somewhat shortened Saturday Surf, rounding up some of the best new tracks that have appeared on line this week that we haven’t managed to dedicate a full blog post to.

Here are just three songs that we think your ears deserve.

Theme Park – Wax

Talking Heads. It was the obvious reference point that everyone jumped on when they first heard Milk by Theme Park and we were no different. However Wax, one of the two tracks that will feature on their debut single is utterly different. Released through ParadYse, (yes that capital Y in the middle is not a mistake) an imprint under Transgressive Records, Wax is a classy, very English sounding pop song with an infectiously mellow vibe and deliciously smooth vocals. It’s time to open the drawer marked Ones to Watch again.

Wax by Theme Park

Deep Cut – About Face

Deepcut in Surrey is probably best known for its army barracks where four trainees died between 1995 and 2002, arousing significant media interest. Luckily Deep Cut the band has no association with the place, their affiliations being musical ones. We first mentioned them in a New Waves feature back in June and since then the group have played the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury and are readying a single Something’s Got To Give for release. In the meantime this new track About Face has cropped up on line – a propulsive piece of old school indie for fans of bands such as The Joy Formidable, The Primitives and Lush.

Deep Cut - About Face

Metronomy – The Bay (Clock Opera Remix)

Fresh from their Mercury Prize nomination, Metronomy get all shaken up by Clock Opera, a group that have become virtually Breaking More Waves residents since they first appeared here in July 2009. With an album from Clock Opera finally due to make its appearance later this year, we’re already wondering is there a chance of them appearing on the Mercury 2012 list?

Short and sweet, that's this weeks Saturday Surf.

Metronomy - The Bay (Clock Opera Remix)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Alice Jemima - Who I Wanna Be (Video) / I Won't Let You Down (Video)

Alice Jemima, a young, talented and prolific singer songwriter from Devon has already become one of the more regularly featured artists on Breaking More Waves. Her mellifluous voice and gentle songs have a sense of special intimacy and rare addictive calmness. It’s so easy to imagine Alice sitting round a campfire or on the beach playing these songs to a hushed and mesmerised audience.

Whilst Alice currently has a very low profile at the moment, slowly people are beginning to take notice. Elisa Bray of the Independent newspaper recently featured Alice as one of the new acts to see at the recent Wychwood Festival and noted that she was “First and top of my list.” As we’ve previously mentioned she’s also picked up play on Radio 1 courtesy of Breaking More Waves favourite DJ Rob da Bank as well as Tom Robinson’s Now Playing show on BBC6 Music courtesy of a tip off by this very blog.

So today we’re featuring two new videos that Alice has recently shot for the songs Who I Wanna Be and I Won't Let You Down. Who I Wanna Be is formed like a miniature moving polaroid; there’s something utterly captivating about the way Alice performs in it – completely natural but obviously in love with and consumed by the music she is making. Consider us 100% smitten.

Alice Jemima - Who i wanna be from Alice Jemima on Vimeo.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Starsmith - Lesson One

In the lightning-fast-rocket-up-your-backside quick world of the internet it’s pretty easy to forget things. There’s always something new to move on to. Music blogs are the worst culprits. Sometimes we don’t even hump ‘em and dump ‘em, but get halfway through the act then just after we’ve proclaimed our undying love leap out of bed and start it all over again with our next ear-fancy. Music bloggers are the dirty sluts of the music industry and we’ll prostitute ourselves for nothing if it means we can get that next exclusive remix.

We jest of course, don’t we (don’t we?) because sometimes all we really need is a little bit of a reminder – a gentle kick up the in box – of past acquaintances. Today we’ve been reminded that at the back at the end of 2010 we named Starsmith as one of our Ones to Watch for 2011 and then appeared to drop him. So let’s get reacquainted with the man behind the pop-tastic production of Ellie Goulding’s debut album and remixes of of Robyn, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Little Boots with this, Lesson One, due August 22. Confounding expectations just as he did with Give Me A Break and We Leave Tonight, here Starsmith dabbles in the moment where Daft Punk’s Digital Love goes to the disco with Donald Fagen. There’s a definite hazy summer days vibe to the track, so get ready to chill.

Oh, and Starsmith’s label, if you’re reading this, Breaking More Waves would be happy to receive that exclusive remix.

Starsmith - Lesson One

Camp Bestival 2011 - Preview

For many people a love of music festivals doesn’t stop once they’re out of their teenage years or early twenties, but their tastes in the kind of festival they attend does. In the same way that as you grow older your musical preferences may change or expand, so may your choice in these outdoor cities of musical heaven. Glastonbury, Reading or V are often where people lose their virginity (of the festival kind as well as possibly sexual), drawn by big names, heavy media exposure, and peer group pressure, but after a number of these events there may be a temptation to try something different. It’s at this point that there may be a realisation that the best festivals are often the ones that offer something a little unique and unexpected and that the sum of the parts of the festival – the infrastructure, the atmosphere, the organisation as well as the music make the great festivals stand out from a very busy and cluttered crowd.

Camp Bestival very much offers the unique with half of its 30,000 punters being children. Back in 2007 Mr Bestival himself -Rob da Bank - decided, over a couple of glasses of red wine, that there was a small gap in the festival market for what became Camp Bestival and began the process of bringing the event to life for its debut in 2008.

When you normally think of the family market you probably think of the smell of plastic and chips, ball parks, a lack of style and something very uncool. Yet Camp Bestival turns all this on this on its head.

Set in the grounds of Lulworth Castle, Dorset, the site is beautifully decorated bringing Creative Director Josie Da Bank's vision to life. Flags, bunting, the Women’s Institute Tea Tent, the hidden delights of the woods in the Dingly Dell Trail, medieval jousting, pamper lounges, the Bollywood Bar, the Wonderland Inn – Camp Bestival is far from just a bunch of marquees thrown up in a field with some bands playing. Then there’s the bands – an eclectic mix of those for the mums and dads to have a nostalgia trip (ABC, Blondie, The Wonderstuff, House Of Pain), things for teenagers (Katy B, Wretch 32, Yasmin, Labrinth), stuff for folk-heads (Laura Marling, James Vicnent McMorrow, Alessi’s Ark, Caitlin Rose) plus some of the best up and coming new acts (Yaaks, Fenech Soler, Ed Sheeran) and that’s before we’ve even mentioned Primal Scream, Mark Ronson, Clare Maguire and a certain DJ Collective known as the Sunday Best Forum Allstars of which Breaking More Waves has a rather large input into.

And for those who hate the idea of the dreaded festival toilet, last year Camp Bestival had some of the cleanest toilets we’ve ever seen.

Then there’s the kids entertainment. Far too many festivals bill themselves as family friendly and then make token gestures. Camp Bestival goes the whole hog. The kids field is huge – but cleverly the layout incorporates enough attractions to ensure that mums and dads have stuff to keep them entertained as well with the bandstand stage being located in the lower kids garden as well as a nice big bar and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage CafĂ©, so mum and dad can eat a fresh mackerel burger and enjoy a pint of real ale or cider whilst watching their kids enjoy the endless attractions. Shrek The Musical, Dick and Dom, The English National Ballet workshops for children, the insect circus, dressing up areas, circus skills, family films, DJ Jo Whiley hosting a picnic, the house of fairy tales and The Gruffalo are just a few of the huge number of excitements for children. Then there’s literature for all in the East Lulworth literary tent, the highlights of which include Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox presenting How to be a mum, have a career and leave time to eat sushi, Carl Barat of The Libertines being interviewed, Marcus Brigstocke and kids author Cathy Cassidy.

Camp Bestival may not be for those who think that getting their rocks off, shovelling down a load of drugs, drinking 10 cans of cider and weeing on someone’s tent in the campsite is a perfect weekend, but Camp Bestival shows brilliantly that festivals with children can and do work – and that everyone can go home happy and waiting for it all to start again next year.

As always with our festival previews, here are a few recommendations of the newer bands that are appearing at Camp Bestival, which takes place on the 28-31 July. Breaking More Waves will bring a review of Camp Bestival 2011 shortly after that.

Yaaks

HRHRHYTHM by YAAKS

Ed Sheeran

The A-Team by EdSheeran

Fenech-Soler

Demons by Fenech-Soler


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pris - Janie Jones (Video) + Bye Bye Baby

We love Pris. We love the fact that they’ve called us a c*nt. (Ok, it had the word lovely in front of it, but that’s not the point). We love the fact that they don’t give a sh*t. Yet we don’t like swearing. We don’t particularly like shouting, being angry or being abusive to people. Really we just want the whole world to be one big festival of love. So we’ll say it again – we love Pris.

They stand for everything we’re against but equally we love everything they do. Pris are trashy, brashy, shouty, scary, sexy, thrilling and offensively brilliant. They’re the kind of band that you really don’t care how well they play their instruments or how well they can sing – they’re not Adele for f*cks sake. Yes and we love Adele as well. We have no idea if they are competent live outfit (we kind of hope they’re not) and at this stage it doesn’t matter. If every band arrived on the scene and played 100% perfectly from the word go we’d probably only have Coldplay in our lives.

Fact - the B side to their debut single Blu-Tack Baby is even better than the A side. Fact - they do ace cover versions. Fact – they’re playing Breaking More Waves hometown multi-venue festival in September, why not bag yourself a ticket now? Fact – we love Pris.

Here’s a new video montage Pris have put together for their cover version of Janie Jones by The Clash which we featured a while back on the blog. Also there’s another new cover, this time of Bye Bye Baby, originally recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons but probably made more popular by tartan teen sensations The Bay City Rollers in the 1970’s.

Do you love Pris? You should do, otherwise they might just call you a c*nt. And you wouldn’t want that, or would you?



Bye Bye Baby (cover) by I Love Pris

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Mercury Music Prize - What Exactly Is An Album Of The Year ?

Every year following the announcement of the Mercury music prize the internet is full of chatter about how the nominations are wrong and who should have been featured and who shouldn’t have been.

Let’s take some examples. “Very funny, where’s the real list,” wrote Eltham on the Drowned in Sound Message Board. “God, with maybe the exception of 2 albums, the Mercury Prize nominations are just F’ing awful,” tweeted @quiksnowboard7 – we can only assume that he has listened to each album on the list and given them enough time to decide that they are as awful as suggested. “Adele is such a SNORE. Isn't the Mercury Prize meant to reward good, innovative music? How is she all that? Urgh,” wrote Mirroronthewall commenting on the Guardian website. Then there was Tim Chester of the NME, who blogged shortly after “the pressence of Elbow and PJ Harvey displays a lack of imagination.”

And that’s the problem. What is an album of the year ? One that moves the boundaries of music forward in a bold way ? One that receives critical but not necessarily public adoration ? One that moves you emotionally ? One that represents the zeitgeist ? One that challenges and experiments ? Or a combination of all of these things, the one that the judging panel, each with their own opinions, preferences and criteria come to a consensus is the best?

This last option seems the most likely, which means that the Mercury prize is to a certain extent always going to involve some degree of compromise along the way. It’s the reason why the likes of M People and Speech Debelle have come up trumps in the past and the reason why those who proclaim ‘so and so should have been on the list’ do so –because ultimately everybody is making a qualitative judgement and when those judgements are thrown in a pot together you’ll never get consistency or the ‘right’ answer to suit everyone. Sometimes the choices will be too mainstream, sometimes more leftfield, as the judges change from year to year. A nomination is just the top slice of the bell curve of the mode of the judge’s choices. The fuzziness of the judging criteria and the selection by panel always means that the resultant list has a danger of being similar to the Brit Awards album of the year, as so called innovative albums can be pushed to the side easily – less likely to find the middle ground of acceptance that committees and panels generally reach as a conclusion.

A survey by Breaking More Waves of twitter and internet message boards this lunch time revealed that there were at least 20 other albums that ‘should’ have been included on the list and included Gold Panda, Hurts, DELS, Admiral Fallow, Arctic Monkeys, Noah and The Whale, Radiohead, Magnetic Man, The Unthanks, Radiohead, SBTRKT, Bellowhead and most particularly Wild Beasts who ended up trending on twitter due to their omission. As one @Getintothis tweeted “Lots of angry music journalists spotted boarding the number 57 bus out of Kendal.”

So if the Mercury music prize isn’t going to be acceptable to everyone and if, by its nomination process it is in danger of simply replicating the Brits, does it really have a purpose? Leigh from Just Music That I Like blog made some valid points today on Twitter. “I fail to see its worth, other than popularizing some already popular acts,” he wrote and suggested that maybe the Mercury should be an award than champions good new acts rather than Elbow, PJ Harvey and Adele who hardly need the extra sales the Mercury nomination may generate for them.

The Mercury is a great tool to demonstrate to the world how for a small country the UK produces a significant number of highly creative and talented artists that have made some brilliant albums, but does the end output actually differ in any way from the Brits anymore ? And if it doesn’t, is it time to re-think or even kill the prize?

Here’s some music from one of the more unknown acts on the list, someone who we predicted would bag a nomination back in April here – Ghostpoet. You can find the full list of nominees here.

Ghostpoet - Cash & Carry Me Home (feat. Kano) by ghostpoet

Dennis Hopper Choppers - New Waves

Born in the relatively sleepy and weary seaside south coast town of Worthing UK, Ben Nicholls has been on a long, music obsessed journey from a very early age. Fuelled by the likes of Link Wray and Johnny Cash which he discovered at his local library, he’s been in groups before he was even legally old enough to get in to many of the venues he was playing. There was the Silver Jets, the curiously named High Class Family Butchers and Kid plus a variety of positions as a session musician before Nicholls decided it was time to create a one man band and go under the name Dennis Hopper Choppers. It was in 2008 that we first came across him as a support act to a soon to be upwardly rising Glasvegas simultaneously playing guitar, bass drum, high hat, organ bass pedals, vox-organ with a 1969 Fender Dual Showman amplifier originally designed for Dick Dale. Since then the line-up has increased in numbers and now Ben finds himself recording as an 8-piece.

And so to the music; imagine a Sergio Leone film haunted by the bruised spectres of goth Americana and nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll heroes. That’s the sound of Dennis Hopper Choppers. It’s the new album Be Ready, his second, that has got us a little bit excited. Originally conceived in an empty house in the Spanish desert the songs themselves were recorded back in London with Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, Blur, Doves). There’s an undeniably soundtrack feel to parts of Ben’s work ; rather like previously blogged Lana Del Rey we could envisage a Dennis Hopper Choppers song featuring in a Tarantino film. Nicholls voice in particular is outstanding and elegant mix of Scott Walker, Nick Cave and Richard Hawley topped off with strings, twangy guitars and organ. It’s not going to set the Top 40 on fire but given the right exposure we could imagine Dennis Hoppers Choppers finding an appreciative audience in much the same way as an artist like Seasick Steve did a few years ago – Later With Jools Holland appearance anyone ?

Good To Me by Dennis Hopper Choppers

Monday, 18 July 2011

Music That Made Me #28 - Stornoway - Zorbing

The first time we met was in a steaming pub, the atmosphere typically boisterous for a Friday. I remember a DJ playing some unremarkable dance music to drown out the slurred chatter; our introduction only lasted a moment. I complimented her on her dress and then was gone, rushing somewhere else into the evening.

Cut forward a few years and now the moments last longer. She’s responsible for some of my worst hangovers, biggest bouts of laughter and bizarre nights out in my life. From dancing with kilted up Scotsmen in a low rate Cardiff 80’s retro bar to freezing nights in an old canvas bell tent in the New Forest after stealing products from a posh hotels toilet and listening to a terrible covers band playing through an antiquated sound system. But behind the fun and her love of zombies, sewing and making the most fantastic cakes (one of which is pictured above), there’s something between us that forms the basis of all the best friendships. It’s knowledge that you utterly trust each other, could tell each other anything without judgement and absolutely love each other. Not every minute can be full of buckets of sunshine; life has its more serious times as well and the greatest friendships share both. Neither of us makes a fuss about the bad times. We get on with them – life’s too short to wallow in being mournful.

In putting together this series, the original idea was to look back nostalgically at my past and the songs that have formed my core. Yet in doing this I have realised that the songs that make me feel vibrant, fresh and alive are often those that I have only just discovered. This friend also makes me feel like that. Although we have our memories it feels that the future is more important. This is a song that we both love. It’s not that old. I know when she hears it reminds her of me a little, and likewise when I hear it I think of her. She’s the only person in the world that whenever we meet always tells me that she loves me. I’m really proud to have her as my friend.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Saturday Surf #11

It could easily become a crushing disappointment as you slowly realise over time that some of the so called ‘cool’ new music blogs, the ones who supposedly discover great off the radar artists are only doing so because they are well networked with the music industry and are being fed the next buzz band from PR companies and contacts. Their ability to truly discover is nothing more than whom they know, rather than their ability to spot something exceptional by their own means.

Yet this is a very cynical view and has nothing to do with the music itself. It ultimately doesn’t matter how, where, when or by whom the music is discovered. To paraphrase Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, it’s not where the music is from; it’s where it’s at. Indie / major / unsigned – ultimately it’s just music; the test is if it’s any good or not.

Of course, what is ‘good’ music is a matter of subjective opinion. So here, rounding up your week, are a few tracks we’ve unearthed, all of which we consider to be pretty good. Some of them were discovered through the in box from PR types. Others were discovered without any assistance. You’ll make up your own mind about each and every song – all we can do is present and promote. This is the Saturday Surf.

Fool’s Gold – Wild Window

First up for the ‘is it good test’ is Wild Window, the new single by Fool’s Gold. It’s taken from their forthcoming album Leave No Trace. With picky guitars and summery grooves this is a song that demands to be on every boy’s summer mix tape for the girl of his dreams; it’s a frolicking romp of good times. This doesn’t just past the good test; it does three somersaults as it crosses the tick box. Our single of the week.

Fool's Gold - Wild Window

My Tiger My Timing – Endless Summer

When you see the title Endless Summer you could easily be mistaken into thinking that you’re about to hear some sort of third-rate pot-smoking d-i-y bedroom chill wave track that enables us to wax lyrical about lush electronic textures and dreamy sunset moments down by the beach. You’d be very wrong. For this single, due August 1, is a jerky and groovy slab of nursery rhyme indie / electronica and yeah yeah hookiness from the former Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition finalists. Hit their website here.

My Tiger My Timing - Endless Summer

Veronica Falls – Come On Over

With an album due in October via the ever distinguished Bella Union label, Veronica Falls have released a new free download. Come On Over is full of the bands trademark lackadaisical vocal styling, ramshackle guitars and oil and lipstick garage essence. The lo-fi C86 tradition continues, why not dirty your ears with it a little?

Come On Over by Veronica Falls

Les Demoniaques – Teenage Lust

Sticking with girls, guitars and stuff that hangs around in dimly lit corners this is Dee Dee Penny of the Dum Dum Girls and Tamaryn operating under the name Les Demoniaques. Their debut single Teenage Lust, through True Panther, is a smoky, menacing and darkly sexual cover version of The Jesus & Mary Chain’s song. Is it wrong to describe a song as horny? Well we just did.

Les Demoniaques- Teenage Lust

Example – Stay Awake

Now let’s step as far away from the previous two tracks as we can. Look, we’ll admit it. We used to detest Example. He even admits himself that his first album was rubbish. But something happened last summer. Kickstarts developed into a gratifyingly sweaty pop anthem that postmen around the country began singing, and although his live show had tendencies to veer into old school Radio 1 territory, there was something natural, unforced and buzzily energetic about it that was incredibly endearing. This year we all put our hands in the air at the church of rave as Changed The Way You Kiss Me rocketed to number 1 in the UK charts and frankly it seemed like Example really deserved the success. Stay Awake is his next single and – uh oh – it has a drugs ‘message’, always dangerous territory for a pop person. Thankfully Example just about gets away with it and although Stay Awake isn’t as good as either Kickstarts or Changed The Way You Kiss me it’s still highly decent dance pop that should give him another hit.

Example - Stay Awake

Friday, 15 July 2011

Look, Stranger! - New Waves

Have you ever wondered what London's premier space-age bachelor pad band would sound like? No, neither have we, but we have an answer anyway. For London four-piece Look, Stranger! (note the deliberate use of the exclamation mark in much the same way as Los Campesinos! use it – as if the group are wanting you to take notice BUT ARE STILL TOO AFRAID TO SHOUT IN CAPITALS) define themselves as such a band. By clicking play below you can put the flesh on the bones of this definition.

Let’s see what a few others have already said about Look, Stranger! They will ‘both move you and make you move’ suggest Oh Inverted Word. “They’re as multi-layered and thought-provoking as any of their contemporaries, but in place of the commonplace fried computers is set of gravity-defying marshmallows,” stated The Recommender, which conjures up some warped Willy Wonka vision of the first ever band floating in a sweet shop . Now it’s our turn to add a few words.

Look, Stranger! make indie music that’s formed out of intricate structures, electronics and subtle dance based atmospherics, without ever bringing to mind ‘da club’. It’s smooth, gently persuasive and innocent sounding. Think Wild Beasts with more groove (particularly when lead singer Tim gets his falsetto on during Dance Away) or the brother of the self-proclaimed ambitionless office disco of Trophy Wife. Look, Stranger! sit somewhere in this area. Despite that exclamation mark this is not a band that punch with massive impact first time round; in many ways it sounds like the group is trying to supress emotion, big choruses and hooks seem to have been thrown out of the window. That’s fine though; we don’t want everything to sound like Coldplay do we? There’s space for everyone. Look, Stranger! are more akin to the coy good looking lad who has been slowly dancing away in the corner of the indie disco and has gradually sidled up to you without you even noticing. Before you know it you’re dancing together and there’s a distinct possibility that you’re going to end up going home with him.

Look, Stranger! consist of the aforementioned Tim on vocals, David on piano and synth, Alistair on all things bass and Thomas who does things with percussion, samples and laptops. They have a couple of gigs lined up in London in August, keep an eye out on their Myspace for updates

If You're Listening by Look, Stranger!
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Look Around You by Look, Stranger!

Dance Away by Look, Stranger!

Lucy Rose - New Waves

Lucy Rose likes tea. She likes it so much that at a recent show we attended she apologised to the audience for not having any merchandise or CD’s with her, but she was selling her own brand of the nation’s finest ( Lucy Rose Builder Grey – 2 parts English Breakfast Tea to 1 part Earl Grey). It’s fair to say that by the time you’ve taken her name, her tea, and her genteel acoustic songs Lucy could really only ever come from England. We’re just waiting for someone to use the headline ‘English Rose’ – surely it has to be done soon?

The back story with Lucy involves early busking and open mic slots, a Mumford & Sons approved demo and a friendship with Bombay Bicycle Club that saw Lucy guest on their song Flaws. She’s also been quietly charming the socks off those who see her live, selling out shows on the strength of those things that really matter – good songs, played well with a great voice. It sounds so simple and it probably is but right now there’s a hunger for something purer and more traditional than the lowest common denominator over produced club and r ‘n’ b related cheddar flavoured toss that is littering up much of the UK chart.

Lucy Rose - Middle Of The Bed by Lucy Rose

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Alpines - Cocoon

How many times do you think the words ‘darkness’, ‘elegant’ and ‘nightpop’ have already been used by those who write about music to describe the sounds that Alpines make ? The answer is, of course, quite a lot. Not (probably) as many times as the word ‘booty’ has been used in connection with Beyonce, or even (probably) the number of times the word ‘shit’ has been used in connection with the band Viva Brother (Google both if you don’t believe it), but still it’s an awful lot.

The point is that when a band release a number of singles that all follow a similar path it does become almost impossibly challenging to write something new about their sound without repeating what has already been said, or reverting to a thesaurus and ending up sounding like some sort of pretentious idiot (although sometimes pretension in pop music is to be admired). So instead we’ll just say this is the new single from Alpines. It’s called Cocoon. We recommend you listen to it, because it’s quite good. That may not sound like much of a compliment but as neither Catherine or Bob have shown us their booty or made anything that is remotely near shit, it will have to do.

*If you really want to read deeper and more meaningful commentary on the song, which all ultimately just say ‘quite good’ then click here, here or here. You score extra points for spotting the use of the word dark / darkness, elegant or night pop. The song is released on August 22.

Cocoon by Alpines

I Dream In Colour - Ready To Go

I Dream In Colour was the subject of a ‘New Waves’ post here at Breaking More Waves back in March. Now the epic indie rockers release their new EP These Folded Arms out on Monotwin Records on July 18. Rather than simply shooting one video for the lead song on the EP, the band have gone the whole hog and recorded one for each track and these are being premiered on a series of blogs this week. The videos link together to create one film.

You can see the other three videos on the following blogs: Wide Awake on Cats Band Crushes, Hold on to Your Heart on There Goes The Fear, Lessons on The Ruckus and today Breaking More Waves presents the fourth and final video, for the song Ready To Go. Tomorrow you’ll be able to watch them all together on the groups facebook page – surely twenty minutes of your time better spent than watching Come Dine With Me or Police Camera Action? In the meantime wrap your ears around the whole EP here.

Ready to Go is our favourite song from the EP, not because it shares the same title as the hit by ‘Jessie J stole my haircut’ band Republica (although that’s a close second) but because this brooding, emotive, valley-straddling indie rock song shows that it’s still possible to do something that grabs you by the balls (or any other part of anatomy that’s free) with vocals, guitar, bass and drums.

Ready To Go by idreamincolourband