Monday, 31 October 2011

Spector - Grey Shirt & Tie

The music industry works very much in a cyclical way and we’re getting to that point where soon we’ll be deluged with end of year lists and tips for 2012. Like a sheep Breaking More Waves will be in with the herd, starting on December 1 with our 10 Ones To Watch for 2012 followed by our Top 10 Albums of the year, which leads us neatly up to Christmas.

Of course one of the big tip lists of the year is the BBC Sound of list, which will no doubt encourage the usual round of debate complete with a fair degree of negativity from elements of the public on internet message boards along the lines of “all of these are rubbish,” or “who are these judges, what do they know about music?” and even better the classic “there hasn’t been any good music since The Beatles.”

In terms of the BBC Sound of 2012 here’s a band that we first featured on the blog back in May who have been doing all the right things to position themselves for a nomination from this years panel of ‘tastemakers’. With a couple of low key singles getting some small scale radio play, summer festival slots, UK blog buzz, toilet venue tour this autumn and this song Grey Shirt & Tie due to be released on Luv Luv Luv records (who rather like Neon Gold a couple of years back who put out debut singles by Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding and Marina & The Diamonds, have become the boutique label du jour releasing singles from Jamie N Commons and Theme Park, besides this one) Spector have positioned themselves neatly on the grid for the Sound of 2012 list. All they need to do now is be announced for the next NME tour and they would have ticked all the boxes for imminent take off. Don’t think this is all natural organic indie progression though – there’s a major label (Fiction) behind it all.

Ultimately though, irrespective of major or indie label the band will succeed or fail because of the quality of their songs. Or we’d like to think that, and we hope you do to.

“We’ve only released 2 singles and this may be as good as it gets. And if it is, fine,” lead singer Fred recently told the NME. Grey Shirt & Tie is the bands third, released on Dec 5. It’s crooning radio-friendly commercial sounding indie (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). It’s hardly breaking down any barriers, sounding like The Killers doing a Richard Hawley ballad for a slow dance in an 80’s disco, but it’s pleasantly listenable. You may even find yourself unknowingly humming it as you set off to work, school or college tomorrow.

This is our last post on Breaking More Waves for a couple of days. We’re back on Thursday. Until then we’ll leave you to decide if Spector are Ones to Watch for 2012.

Spector - Grey Shirt & Tie

Music That Made Me #40 - The Unthanks - The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw

“They could sing the songs of Las Ketchup and make them sound impossibly sad and beautiful,” someone once said of The Unthanks. I couldn’t agree more.

The Unthanks play folk music. Not the sort of rousing, chest-thumping, arena filling folk music that the likes of Mumford & Sons play, nor the whisky punched stomp of the likes of The Pogues from the 1980’s. No, The Unthanks play downbeat, mournful, utterly bewitching traditional folk music, much of it handed down from generation to generation.

When I was younger I always thought of folk music as being something that old men with beards and aran knitwear exclusively listened to. The closest I got to this form of music as I was growing up was probably The Waterboys album Fisherman’s Blues and much of The Pogues output, but by and large my ears weren’t open enough, my experiences not broad enough and my prejudices too strong to really give this music a chance. Yet slowly as the years have gone on folk music has become an integral part of my life. I still don’t have the aran jumper or the beard, but at least now I’m old; or older I prefer to say - although my children delight in telling me how ancient I am.

I first encountered The Unthanks when they were still known as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, before various line-up changes and Rachel Unthank''s sister Becky committing firmly to the band after university. The moment of discovery was, like any hugely passionate music fan, at a live show. The Unthanks had just been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for their haunting second album The Bairns and so inevitably a large crowd of onlookers had gathered to watch them play at Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester in 2008, myself and my family included. The group played in the De Montford Hall, a traditional civic theatre style venue and so to ensure we got a good view (my children being only relatively small and the audience in the stalls being standing) we sat on the side balcony to watch them play. From the moments the lights went down and The Unthanks stepped on stage I fell utterly in love. The pristine spacious mix of spectral piano, lush violins and achingly beautiful Geordie accented vocals created a moment of ghost like stillness in the hall. It was captivating. Dry eyes didn’t last very long. It really felt like I’d witnessed something very special indeed.

From this moment on I became a huge fan of The Unthanks. They have now released four albums, three of which are so timeless, so tense and so bewitching that if I was naming my Top 100 albums of all time, they would all appear in the list. It’s almost impossible to pick just one song for them for this series, so exquisite are so many of them, but I’ve chosen The Testimony of Patience Kershaw from their album Here’s The Tender Coming. The lyrics are based on the real spoken testament of Patience Kershaw, aged 17, to the Royal Commission on Children’s Employment in 1842 about her life working down the mine. The words are sweetly polite but also horribly sad.

Even now as I listen to this exceptional song again, a shiver runs down my spine. In the fast world of the internet and where music bloggers forget artists that they were claiming to be the next big thing every second, the music of The Unthanks will, I’m sure, stand the test of time. The video below shows the band playing the song live.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Worship - House Of Glass (Curxes Remix)

Stamping your own authoritative sound on a remix is often one of the best ways for new artists to grab the ears of another band’s followers. This is exactly what Brighton based, Blade Runner loving, electronic duo Curxes do as they take Worship’s widescreen modern rock and add their trademark black celebration of industrial-junkyard clattering sounds, dirty bass and slinky synth notes. It’s one of those mournful but surprisingly uplifting reconstructions.

Right now (until somebody grabs this Soundcloud embed) this is the only place in the world you can hear this remix, but if you purchase yourself a ticket for Worship’s forthcoming single release gig at St Pancras Old Church in London on Dec 1 from this link, for parting with cash you will get a pre-order ticket bundle which includes one of 300 limited-edition transparent House Of Glass vinyls and a free physical remix EP, featuring a number of remixes including this one by Curxes.

Worship - House of Glass (Curxes Remix)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Saturday Surf #22

The internet is full of hate isn’t it? People seem so much angrier here than they do in real life. It’s a shame because we’re all here for such a short time we should be sharing the love not making war. That’s what our aim is, to provide you with some hot, get-down and take-your-clothes-off-free-musical-loving. Please form an orderly queue and prepare yourself for the Saturday Surf, because by the time you hear these tunes you’ll be feeling moist and ready for action.

Dreams - OooO

Oh man. OooO sounds like an orgasm. And we haven’t even got started. Dreams is one Jesse Pimenta who claims to be from the town of Chillville, USA. Yeah, right. His Facebook suggests he's from Rio de Janiero, Brazil - we don't believe that either. He's probably from Ipswich. He does however sound like Starslinger - that's a fact. This sample based piece of electronic beat laden sexy blog-pop gets straight down to it, nuzzling in against you and making you realise that resistance is futile. Horny jamz. Welcome to the erection section.

OooO by Dreams.

Bear Cavalry – Custom Hands

Next up on this musical love machine is a band that are the indie rock version of the kama sutra – so full of inventive (often chaotic) ideas, that you really don’t know what they will do next. With titles like Will Smith Solves the Rubik’s Cube and David Attenborough’s Voice providing genre straddling songs that slam trumpets, angular rhythmic guitars and tropical carnival chanting (wait until 1.50 for that) into an orgiastic melee of hotbed oddness, entertainment is guaranteed. Even lank-haired emo-gone-dubstep producer Skrillex has used the groups’ acoustic cover of his song Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites on one of his videos gaining 370,000 views on You Tube. Possibly better than that, the band hail from the same part of the world as Breaking More Waves, meaning that for once we get to post about a band from the Portsmouth area – a rare thing. Prepare for a musical rodgering from Bear Cavalry.

Custom Hands by Bear Cavalry

Ren Harvieu - Forever In Blue

And after all that sweaty boffing around, you might just want to slow it all down and make it a little bit more candlelit romantic through the night. In which case this gentle torch-song, Forever In Blue by Ren Harvieu will do just the trick - it's like the ultimate seduction scene in a James Bond movie. With nostalgic 60's overtones of Dionne Warwick and Shirley Bassey, it probably won't be long before Ren Harvieu gets called Britain's answer to Lana Del Rey, but without all the authenticity arguments.

Forever In Blue by Ren Harvieu

Wild Child – Pillow Talk

And when all that musical coitus is complete, what could be better than laying back and enjoying some pillow talk with the one you love. Here’s one of the ones we’ve been loving hugely this week. Yes we know, we’re a bit slutty, humping and dumping all these musicians, but god we’ve had such satisfaction from it. We’re hoping this beautiful song performed by Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins who are Wild Child will touch you as much as it did us. Imagine if Slow Club grabbed a ukulele and went to the good ‘ole U.S.A. This would be the result.

Pillow Talk by WildChildSounds

There, was that good for you? Same place next week? This musical rumpy-pumpy should be compulsory.

Friday, 28 October 2011

King Charles - Bam Bam (Video)

Last Sunday we posted the new single from beehived dandy King Charles - Bam Bam. It seems to have been rather well received, grabbing plenty of plays and just pushing the song into the bottom reaches of the Hype Machine chart from our one blog post alone. It made a nice change to get hits from the Hype Machine 'popular' chart from someone else other than Lana Del Rey.

So just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video for the song, where King Charles clowns around a bit on the back of a moving vehicle. Considering the guy has already survived one near death experience, you really think he would have given more consideration to health and safety and at the very least equipped himself with a safety harness before attempting to cavort around as he does. Mind you, he also performed the highest guitar solo at this years Positivus festival without such a harness (see the second video below), so we think it's safe to assume that King Charles likes to live dangerously. Rock n roll kids, rock n roll.....

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Codes - This Is Goodbye (Video)

Last week we featured the grandiose and widescreen sounds of Irish band Codes, who are over in the UK for a few small London shows over the next few days. Whilst the group have had some success and acclaim in their homeland, to the rest of the world they are still unknown.

So let’s open the treasure chest a little more, because besides these gigs, you can now watch the new video for This Is Goodbye and then download the track for free. “What’s ours is yours,” say the group.

The video is a relatively straightforward piece with the band walloping pianos and hacking at guitars, but it’s interspersed with shots of a rather beautiful lady walking through the woods. What her purpose is we’re not quite sure, but at 1.12 she appears to attempt to push over a tree, maybe because it has not been dreaming in algebra and therefore needs to be punished.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stay+ - Fever

Manchester duo Stay+ (formerly known as Christian Aids until they received a trademark infringement notice from the charity ) are an outfit that, despite being very leftfield, have done all the right things to have a vague outsiders chance of getting on the various ‘tastemakers’ lists that come out at the end of the year and beginning of next. They’ve had significant blog buzz since they first cropped up with a demo on Altered Zones in January, plus they have managed to retain an enigmatic sense of brooding dancehall mystery with their foreboding ghost-rave sound and early lack of identification (even although now the cat is out of the bag and one of their number has been revealed as a former member of idiosyncratic electronic pop band Run Toto Run (R.I.P) ). With selective live slots, some way-cool remixes and the gradual build in online coverage leading to articles in the printed media, Stay+ may have just done enough to get enough exposure to at least put themselves in the mind set of those who vote or compile such lists.

Irrespective of tastemaker lists or not however what is important is the creative output of Stay+. For Breaking More Waves the jury has been out for a long time, but it has recently returned and after much deliberation has issued a verdict of not-guilty for crimes against music. In fact their track Fever, a haunted journey of ghoulish ambience and lost-in-echo vocals that eventually detonates into a vibed up twitchy electronic groove has us sold completely. The accompanying reverse story night-gone-wrong video is also a consummate actualisation of the music as well. Consider us impressed, if slightly disturbed.

Fever is released as a single on November 7 through Ramp Recordings.

Fever by Stay+

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rachel Sermanni - The Fog

Here’s something new from the Mumford & Sons approved Scots singer songwriter Rachel Sermanni. It’s called The Fog and fully justifies why we’ve been putting her name forward on the blog a number of times now. It’s a bold and fearless song built around a simple but irresistible chorus, which finds Rachel pulling back the curtains to hit us with her resoundingly potent vocal. “Mercy mercy I’ve been caught, lying with my darkest thought,” she hollers note perfectly.

If the likes of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling are now the respective kings and queen of the UK nu-folk movement then Sermanni is very much the princess in waiting. In fact, The Fog is far more accessible than anything on Marling’s jazz-tinged and slightly experimental third album - so there's commercial potential here. We’ve been smitten for quite a while now, but maybe now is the time to declare our full love.

The Fog by Rachel Sermanni

D/R/U/G/S - Connected

Unless someone manages to send the earth spinning in a different way, end of year lists are inevitable and it won’t be long before blogs and the press alike are littered with Albums of the Year, Singles / Tracks of the Year and tip lists for 2012. We’ll certainly be no different, with pretty much the whole of December acting like some sort of internet version of a musical advent calendar. Find out then if we put our money where our (twittering) mouth is and name Cinderella Eyes by Nicola Roberts as one of our records of 2011 and who we’re giving the kiss of death to as a One to Watch. We might even let Santa back in, as long as this time he doesn’t drink all the sherry and have sex with mother.

Whilst in previous years our Ones To Watch list has ended up containing some pretty big releases (Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, La Roux, Ellie Goulding, The Vaccines for example) sometimes artists false start or fall at the first hurdle. For a while we thought that this fate had met D/R/U/G/S. With nothing more than the Love / Lust release and a reduction in forces down from two personnel to a solo project, D/R/U/G/S looked in no state to be marching boldly forward. However, Connected, out through Moshi Moshi offshoot Tender Age on Nov 7 on 12” (a digital release follows later in the month) manages to make that first confident stride. Callum Wright (for he is D/R/U/G/S) distances himself from past Orbital comparisons and instead crafts a piece of cybotronic sounding club music that still has a heart. With warm rave and house overtones and a techno core it progressively takes you away from the dance floor and way up high, walking through the clouds.

Callum’s second foot forward will come with a European tour with Digitalism before he wraps things up with two pre-Christmas shows at Manchester Warehouse Project and London Brixton Electric, leaving him just enough time to write his own end of year lists.

Connected by D/R/U/G/S

Monday, 24 October 2011

Music That Made Me #39 - Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

This series is about songs that have formed my tastes and memories of key (and not so-key) moments in my life. Some of the songs are inspirational; some are never to be played again.

Mainly for reasons of practicality (the series needs to make way for the traditional favourite albums of 2011 and ones to watch for 2012 posts in December), but also because it’s the number of years I’ve spent on this planet, there will be 42 choices in total. When it’s done there will be a list of all of the tracks and links to all the posts, but let’s be very clear now – this list is in no way designed as a definitive collection of my favourite songs of all time, nor are they all what I deem to be ‘classics’. Sure, some of them are probably considered as such, songs by the likes of The Pixies, Kate Bush, The Cure, Chuck Berry and Kraftwerk could all easily turn up in the kind of lists you find in critics polls or music magazines, but I very much doubt if you would find The Wombles, Thousand Yard Stare or King in those lists. Nor would many music publications suggest that memories of snogging a girl at a school disco or lyrics that remind you of unfulfilled relationships would go down as valid methods of assessing great music, but this is what this series has done.

Looking back at the 38 choices before this, one thing is very clear. There has been very little (by very little I mean none) rap, hip-hop, urban or soul music in the choices. It appears on first glance that the soundtrack to my life has been largely empty of such music. Yet the likes of Public Enemy, Diana Ross and Sam Cooke would all feature in my ‘classic records’ list and todays choice very much fits into this mould.

This selection –Move On Up – by Curtis Mayfield ticks all the boxes. It’s undeniably a classic recording – funky, sharp, with hyperactive bongos, a punchy brass riff that gets me every time; it found Mayfield reaching the zenith of his career. It’s one of my absolute favourites, irrespective of it’s a classic status or not. It also provided a memory of soundtracking a moment in my life – the summer of ’96 to be exact, rather than 1970 when it was originally released.

I’d originally discovered the song in my early teens on a long lost compilation record that I had purchased for just a few pennies in a charity shop. I remember very little about it now except for its dog-eared slightly musty smelling blue cover and a title something along the lines of The Ultimate Soul Collection or Soul Classics. It featured the likes of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Percy Sledge, and Curtis and I played it over and over again until the grooves were nearly worn out. If you read the blog regularly you may occasionally spot this records influence – ever since I heard it I’ve become a sucker for punchy brass riffs which in a modern context you can probably best hear in Rizzle Kicks Down WithThe Trumpets or The Milk’s All I Wanted Was Danger. And let's not forget that a certain Kanye West sampled the song a few years back and brought it into a modern context.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

King Charles - Bam Bam

Once you’ve had a near death experience the chances are you’re probably going to cram as much as you possibly can into your remaining time on the planet. With his new single Bam Bam the unique and debonair King Charles does just that. It’s as if the man with the big hair and streak for philosophy has sieved as many influences as he can and stored them all up in a bottle named life. Now he’s given the bottle a good old shake, popped off the cork and allowed Bam Bam to explode into your ears. A frantic skewed rockabilly racer underlain with Beach Boys backing vocals, jaunty hooks and speed-for-the-finish-line-vocals it’s hideously catchy in all the right ways.

Bam Bam is the first of two songs about Mississippi Isabel to be released as singles ahead of my debut album,” the man himself says. We can only assume that the other is either Love Lust, which first featured on Breaking More Waves way back in 2009, featuring as it does with the line “I wrote you a song Mississippi Isabel. I even sent you flowers when you felt ill,” or another song that seems to take the title Mississippi Isabel and can be found on various live video clips on the net. So the question for all you investigative types is, exactly who is Mississippi Isabel? Answers on a postcard please.

This future album has been a long time coming, but it’s going to finally see the light of day in February 2012 through Island records. Expect anything and everything when that comes out.

King Charles is a powerfully irresistible live act and you can catch him out on his Tail Lights Disco tour in the UK, starting in Aldershot on the 29 October, running through till the middle of November. Full dates are listed here.

In the meantime, enjoy his regally idiosyncratic, bonkers, all over the place / palace pop.

Bam Bam by King Charles (Official)

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Saturday Surf #21

This week people went a little bit stupid-crazy over music. The Stone Roses, a band who produced one brilliant album and one decidedly average one announced that they were re-forming and sold 220,000 tickets at £55 each for three concerts in Manchester this summer. That’s slightly over 12 million pounds in ticket sales for a band that have a reputation for being decidedly dodgy live. Their 1990 Spike Island show was a wind-blown sound disaster, but most of the kids in attendance were too off their heads on hallucinogenic substances to care. Yet Spike Island set a precedent for indie rock bands to do something that really hadn’t been done for some time; to have ambition, to be huge, to fill stadium sized venues. It was that swagger that would form the template for the future, right up to the present day where those auditioning for X-Factor talk about ‘wanting this more than anything else,’ without really comprehending or understand what that actually means or what it can bring. There’s a reason why the Stone Roses split after two albums and it was nothing to do with love.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the colossal ticket sales will help keep The Stone Roses in trainers and baggy flares for life, the crushing reality is that 100’s of decent bands will play to a half empty room in the UK this week. As you’re reading this blog you are evidently a music fan, so this week, please get off your sofa, find a venue and go and see some bands you’ve never heard of for probably no more than the price of a couple of pints of lager. We will be. In 1989 we did exactly that and saw a decidedly average band play at the West End Centre in Aldershot for £2.99. The name of that band? The Stone Roses.

Today is Saturday. The bit where we round up some tracks that for one reason or another didn’t quite get their own blog post. These are bands and artists who will probably never headline a stadium or huge park. Yet that doesn’t mean that in their own ways they haven’t been successful. Surely success is the creation of art that you’re proud of? Or have we now created a society where success is only seen as the money you've made?

James Vincent McMorrow – Higher Love

If you’ve had the pleasure to capture one of James Vincent McMorrow’s recent live shows you’ll have witnessed him playing this tender, yearning, sparse cover version of Steve Winwood’s 80’s hit Higher Love. The song has also been used on an advert for Love Film having originally featured on a compilation of 1980s covers called Silver Lining released by Sound Training Records, which is a record label operated by the students of Dublin’s Sound Training Centre. You can buy the song from iTunes here.

James Vincent McMorrow - Higher Love (Steve Winwood Cover)

Stealing Sheep - Paper Moon

It’s been quite a while since we’ve blathered on about Stealing Sheep but we’re very happy to see new material now in the form of Paper Moon, which is taken from their debut Heavenly release, the Noah and the Paper Moon EP. You can download this song as part of a 3 track sampler the group are giving away for free here. With a didgeridoo (Rolf Harris would be proud), handclaps, sounds like one girl-singing-multi-tracked harmonies and oft-kilter guitar work Paper Moon seems to try as hard as it can to duck and dive away from anything that could be considered obviously likeable and yet still manages to have a charm all of its own.

Stealing Sheep 'Paper Moon'

Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons

Charli XCX’s output has changed considerably since we first wrote about her back in November 2009. From day-glo on-heat toytown electro to getting screwed up by Salem to something that brings pop music neatly into a calm and considered autumn, this is her new song Nuclear Seasons. There's a definite whiff of Marina & The Diamonds vocally on this song, and that's no bad thing. Sign up to her mailing list and get it as a free download.

CharliXCX - Nuclear Seasons

I Am In Love – Call Me An Animal

From a city (Leicester) whose two biggest musical exports are Kasbian and Showaddywaddy comes Sebastian Twigden, Nicci Robertson, Edmund Grunill and Martin Brien. They go by the name I Am In Love and their new single Call Me An Animal is released on October 31 through Robot Needs Home. With a dark, dirty urgency this is a gritty piece of ear sex. Like it. No love it.

Call Me An Animal by i am in love

Friday, 21 October 2011

[Strangers] - Human

[ Strangers ] keep things nice and simple with their third EP, calling it EP 3. It follows on, would you believe it, from EP 1 and EP 2. If we were the betting sort we’d be tempted to have a flutter on the title of their next release.

The EP features the songs Promises (Featuring Lara Smiles), Sweet Nothing and our personal favourite Human (it is also referred to as Because I’m Human on the blurb on their Soundcloud player) which streams below. The first few seconds of the song attempt to throw you off the scent a little with a keyboard riff that sounds like it’s about to build into some euphoric rave anthem before everything comes together in an electric dream of 80's referencing pop hook melody and an earworm of a chorus.

Away from EP3 The band have also knocked out a moodily skewed electronic version of the ubiquitous Video Games by Lana Del Rey, which you can hear by clicking this link.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Codes - New Waves

With their debut album Trees Dream In Algebra being nominated for the 2009 Irish Choice Music Prize, Codes shouldn’t really be introduced as a new band at all. We're stretching the idea of newness to its extreme here - especially as the band were formed in 2007. Yet ask a significant proportion of music aficionados in the UK or anywhere else outside of Ireland where Breaking More Waves has measurable readership (hello US, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany in particular) if they have heard of Codes and the chances are you’ll get a negative response. So maybe they are new to you ?

We’ve posted on the group before, as part of our involvement judging the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. However in terms of a fuller blog post we’ve never given the band the attention they deserve. So today we’re addressing that error. It’s an appropriate moment to further highlight the band, in particular to UK readers, as the group are playing two low-key dates in London next week.

Codes use synths and electronica but they are fundamentally an indie rock band. Their sound is vast and cinematic, full of epic explosive climaxes, stadium sonics and moments of brilliant barmy pop. On Trees Dream In Algebra you’ll hear voices from out-of-space, soundscape atmospherics, skyscraping ‘woah-oh-oh’ chants, layered guitars and adventurous full on rock drumming that may make you think you’ve stumbled upon a long lost Muse demo, albeit one that’s been tempered with a softer melodic sensibility last heard on Keane’s earlier records. Lyrically too there’s lots of ambitious references. On Memorial lead singer Daragh sings of reaching out for satellites from the high rise and climbing chandeliers into the atmosphere. Elsewhere on Starry Eyed they hang on to boundless concepts of taking flight and limitless horizons; it’s as widescreen as the arrangements of the songs are. Codes produce what Mike Scott of The Waterboys once called the ‘big music’, in every sense. It’s why they were one of our Glastonbury nominations – their music seems perfect for a huge stage.

The danger for Codes in terms of gaining UK exposure is that it may not be the ‘right’ time for the music they make. There’s a growing movement towards the hating of the big in rock and pop music. The wilfully small scale lo-fi laptop producer or obtuse indie rock n roll band is celebrated as being brilliantly challenging and exciting, even although many of these artists are utterly generic and no more creative than the likes of Coldplay or The Kings of Leon. Any sort of success or perceived ambition is seen in some quarters as a negative attribute - witness the backlash against the likes of Lana Del Rey or Ed Sheeran, yet the backlash is often targeted on the artists looks or major label status rather than the music. Furthermore the likes of Keane and Muse are seen as old-hat and any band that bears even a passing resemblance to their sound may find unwilling ears, such is the way that the fashion conscious music business works sometimes.

Whilst Breaking More Waves is fascinated with the rising tides of music and fashion, the show-stopping drama of Codes is beyond all of this. It deserves a chance outside of just Ireland. This is why we’re posting today.

Codes play London dates at the Bull & Gate on Oct 27 and then at 93 Feet East on Oct 31. If you’re anywhere near London, why not make the effort?

Codes - This Is Goodbye

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sunday Girl - Love U More

It’s fair to say that rave / house band Sunscreem have probably done reasonably well out of their 1992 hit Love U More in terms of financial payback. Besides their own chart success it’s been covered by the likes of anti-music provocateurs Steps and Basshunter. Now Sunday Girl has given it a shot.

Remember Sunday Girl? We’ve put a picture of her above with Jarvis Cocker. Sunday Girl is the one on the left, just in case you need help there.

Jade (for that is her real name) was getting quite a lot of action from bloggers last year. No nudge nudge wink wink smiles at that statement please – you knew what we meant, but your deviant sexual brain just couldn’t help itself could it? OK, we admit that in a past blog we may have suggested (i.e. lied) that Sunday Girl got her name from providing weekend sexual satisfaction to the blog community and as a result we’re just as low-level. But please remember that it’s all for your pleasure and entertainment, because let’s face it there’s just too many blogs taking themselves far too seriously and being far too up their own thesaurus referencing backsides aren’t there?


But instead of alienating ourselves from our blog-brothers and sisters, (we love them all really, except the Von Pip Express, because he sounds like a second rate Ringo Starr and nobody wants that) let’s talk about the music instead. Now where we?

Yes, Sunday Girl. She had quite some buzz around her didn’t she? Some were predicting her for all the tip lists such as the BBC Sound of 2011, but it didn’t happen. Since then she seems to have disappeared off the tastemaker-radar but now she’s thrusting herself back under it with this cover after a change of labels. If the ‘illustrious’ likes of Steps and Basshunter don’t strike fear into your hearts then things could get potentially worse when you hear that she’s going to be supporting LOLpop disasters LMFAO on their UK tour dates. Don’t worry though music lovers, we’ll be down at the venues with a gun, putting those in attendance out of their misery and pain. It’s the only humane way.

So here’s the twist. Sunday Girl’s version of Love U More is OK. It’s not innovative, it’s certainly not ground-breaking, but a straightforward (rock journos use the word ‘honest’ at this point), club bound rave pop song (you can see it in the video below and hear a remix from RAC in the Soundcloud player). Welcome back Sunday Girl - back on the radar for commercial pop success in 2012 maybe? This song is released for purchase on December 5.

*Footnote. Not everything you read on the internet is true. Especially where it concerns people who through no fault of their own speak like The Beatles. The gun thing just might be though.

Sunday Girl - Love U More (RAC Mix)

Fixers - Trans Love

Imperial Goddess of Mercy is the new 5 track EP from Oxford’s experimental psychedelic bad-jumper wearing pop five-piece Fixers. It’s released on Dec 5. Below we’re streaming a song from that EP - you can also download it for free in exchange for a 'like' from the bands facebook page. It’s called Trans Love and demonstrates that the group have obviously studied their Beach Boys collection very well. Amongst the swirling synth sounds, clattering percussion and sixties production references the band proclaim over and over how they’re in love with a tropical world. We’re not sure if this is a reference to one of the UK's most popular garden tourist attractions in Leeds or something a bit more profound. Either way it’s a song that will put a bit of summer into your heart as the northern hemisphere slides into winter.

With an album ready for 2012 release the band are playing an extensive UK tour throughout October to December including a date in the Oxford Ashmolean Museum on November 11. For those local to Breaking More Waves HQ they also play a free show at The Registry in Portsmouth on October 27.

Trans Love by Fixers.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

M83 - Midnight City (Video)

There’s something particularly exuberant about the synth sounds on M83’s new single Midnight City, something so stupidly happy that despite the woes of the world, everything seems just perfect. Hell, since the song surfaced on the internet even UK inflation has reached a new 3 year high. David Cameron didn’t need drugs to take it to that peak – he was probably just listening to this music. Even the saxophone solo can’t bring this track down; believe it or not it actually makes it better.

Having featured this deliriously good trailblazer on the Saturday Surf a few weeks back, we now have this video. Directed by French duo Fleur & Manu the film features a group of spooky children who have supernatural powers; its 80’s Spielberg styled imagery fits perfectly.

Data Romance - New Waves

This Canadian duo fashion music that walks the tightrope between dark, chilly electronics and modern mainstream pop sounds. That’s not to say they’re anywhere near the LOLpop of the likes of LMFAO or Bruno Mars, nor are they writhing in underground musical dungeons like Gazelle Twin or Salem. Instead Data Romance occupy a more ear-friendly middle ground with enough edge to cut through the soft brie anti-music blandness of most of the mainstream.

There’s a heavy modern soundtrack feel to some of Data Romance’s songs and in fact they’ve already gone the whole hog and recorded one for a film called Life Cycles. For comparisons think of the previously blogged Jess Mills, Alpines, Paper Crows or the now UK top 20 conquering Delilah and you’ll be in the right zone.

Data Romance’s music is so utterly modern it could be held up in educational establishments as an example of exactly where slightly leftfield pop music was at in 2011. Their cover of Cole Porter’s jazz standard Ev’rytime We Say Goodbye seems to have been studying James Blake’s Limit To Your Love – the vocoder reliance, the sparse minimalism, and the quiet moment of reflection halfway through. On the other hand it could be Diana Vickers masquerading in a different zone, bidding for second-go credibility. Then there’s The Deep with its almost obligatory creepy video. Caped ghoulish dancers that could be out of a Tolkien novel add a sense of evil to this zombie-electropop, like a low budget black and white version of Michael Jackson's Thriller. It’s all very of the moment, but then that isn’t a criticism – just as a band sounding retro isn’t necessarily a bad thing either – as long as the music moves you.

Data Romance are Ajay Bhattacharyya (try saying that when you’ve had a few beers) and Amy Kirkpatrick. They first got together in 2009 and originally recorded and performed under the title Names, which must be one of the hardest band names to find on Google ever. Thankfully they changed that and started pulling the strands together with a self-titled EP which was released in June. The next one, Ashes, is due for release in early 2012. Spark (streaming below) will be on that EP and is available for now as a free download from the bands website (use the link above).

Spark by Data Romance (official)

Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye by Data Romance (official)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Salt Ashes - Gold

Last month you may remember we introduced you to Brighton’s Salt Ashes putting her firmly in the Kate-Bush-brought-up-to-date-with-synths-and-a-hint-of-Ellie-Goulding camp, or something similar to that. If you’ve forgotten already then play catch up by clicking the link above.

Now you’re up to speed we can reveal this, a new song, from the sodium chloride burning lady. It hit the internet today and it’s called Gold. Fear not though, it’s not an ear bleeding horror show cover version of the Spandau Ballet ‘classic,’ but instead her own composition.

Imagine if you can the improbable event that Kate Bush had finally decided to make a comeback (oh hold on….), but she decided to throw out the Bulgarian folklore, renaissance musicians or strange literary reference points and instead remodelled herself for the iGeneration, straddling her grand piano on the X Factor, possibly dressed in artistically ‘revealing’ garments – but not the overtly sexual / virtually naked garb that the likes of Rihanna are prone to not covering their bodies with, but something a little more classy. This is very much what Gold sounds like. Of course what we've done there is provide a visual description rather than an audio one, but a picture speaks a thousand words doesn't it?

Now we fully understand that the words Kate Bush and X Factor don’t go hand in hand at all and that it’s likely that fans of Kate will be put off by the TV show reference and vice versa. But imagine if it did happen. Kate (Salt Ashes) would be surrounded by candles, lit by a single white spotlight, in the distance ladies dressed in black robes would dance like shadowy ghosts and at the end the camera would cut to Louis Walsh looking a little bit teary. A number 1 single would surely follow and the song would feature on a number of 'intimate' or 'romantic' moments in chick-flicks.

In the real world of course Salt Ashes is playing The Brunswick in Hove (basically a pub in the posh end of Brighton) on Wednesday 26 October, with more gigs to follow shortly. We don’t expect there to be any dancers, candles or Louis Walsh to make an appearance, but there’s still time for all that to happen - because fundamentally a well-written song is a well-written song whatever the context or style. In fact, imagine if you walked into a grotty seaside pub and heard someone singing and playing like this. That would be pretty stunning.

Gold by Salt Ashes

Music That Made Me #38 - Bentley Rhythm Ace - Bentley's Gonna Sort You Out

I haven’t played a Bentley Rhythm Ace record for years. They certainly wouldn’t be in my classic bands of all-time list. The chances are I would have never even thought about them if it wasn’t for this series. However, for a short while in the late 90’s Bentley Rhythm Ace was a hell of a lot of FUN -B.R.A was a group that didn't take themselves too seriously.

Bentley Rhythm Ace was part of the emerging big beat scene – a scene that had evolved from the earlier acid house movement but used heavy breakbeats plus synth and sample generated loops to create highly danceable, often euphoric tracks that appealed to rock and indie fans as much as clubbers. Big Beat was more about a moment than losing yourself in the trance or groove of house or techno. It took its name from the Big Beat Club in Brighton that ran on Fridays at the Concorde up until 2001. Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, Lo Fidelity Allstars and Propellerheads were all names synonymous with the scene and Bentley Rhythm Ace was also an integral part of it.

I experienced the Bentley’s jumble club road show of sixties samples, driving beats, funk, trip-hop, jungle and whatever else took their fancy at the Glastonbury mud bath of ’97 and a much drier Astoria, London in ’98. Formed by ex-members of EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself their gigs featured silly wigs, car windscreens with working wiper blades in front of their equipment, smiley acid face flags and huge balloons. It was all about a not-a-care-in-the-world party with sets that built and built, dancing that got faster and faster, grins getting bigger and bigger and clothes getting sweatier and sweatier.

When they stopped releasing music I didn’t even notice. The scene had moved on, but they left me with some happy memories and sore dancing feet. It was case of ‘it was fun at the time.’ Sometimes that’s all music needs to be.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Saturday Surf #20

Did you notice it - the most important and momentous piece of news across the internet this week?

No, not that in the UK nearly 1 million young people aged under 24 are now unemployed, nor worldwide that President Obama has promised the 'toughest sanctions' on Iran over the alleged bomb plot, nor even the celebrity news that Beyonce was accused of faking her pregnancy with a false bump. There was something that surpassed all of this.

The Breaking More Waves twitter account reached tweet number 10,000.

That’s a lot of useless babble on the internet.

To mark the occasion we originally had big plans to create a flash mob event where hundreds of music bloggers ran naked into the cold UK south coast sea holding signs reading ‘STILL BREAKING MORE WAVES’, but eventually settled for something a little easier and wrote a blog post about it instead.

However when we weren’t tweeting our life away proclaiming our love for Nicola Roberts we were discovering the goodness of new music and as usual on a Saturday have brought together a few of the finds that nearly got washed away in the tide as we surfed .

Rizzle Kicks – When I Was A Youngster (Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer Remix)

If you’ve spent any time at UK festivals away from the main stage the chances are you’ll have come across the fine English gentleman that is Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer and his banjolele. On a one man mission to introduce hip-hop to the Queen’s English this Chap-Hop superstar has turned his attention to Breaking More Waves favourites, regulars and now bona-fide UK chart stars Rizzle Kicks. As Mr B says himself let’s rock, ideally with some cucumber sandwiches and a cup of tea, or maybe a sneaky sherry. Splendid.

Rizzle Kicks - When I Was A Youngster (Mr B "The Gentlemen Rhymer" Remix)

Dan Mangan – Post-War Blues

A Breaking More Waves blog post regular in 2009, Canada’s Dan Mangan returns with a new album Oh Fortune which sees Mangan stretching his sound and working with the likes of free-jazz experimentalists and a near orchestra. Not that this means that the results are unlistenable. In fact Post-War Blues positively bristles with both commercial and creative energy, taking Mangan’s highly recognisable gravel soaked voice to a chest-thumping, rabble-rousing, mightily-muscled piece of indie folk rock glory. Did we say it's free to download? It is you know.

Dan Mangan - Post-War Blues

My Tiger My Timing – Written In Red

From blues to red and the danceable indie flavours of My Tiger My Timing. Lead singer Anna’s soft and delectable purr keeps all the chiming guitars and the boogie groovy beats together nicely with something that sashays its way onto the indie dance floor without resorting to throwing in a dubstep wobble or power chord. Written In Red is released on November 14 through Snakes & Ladders.

My Tiger My Timing - Written In Red

Paper Crows – When Friend Survive (Discopolis Remix)

When Friends Survive is the new single from Paper Crows – it’s their third but the first to be released on Pete ‘Weekend Starts Here’ Tong's resurrected label ffrr. When Friends Survive sounds like an opening statement, it’s more experimental and less song based than their previous work, revolving around repetitive beats and some bigger dagger like synth sounds. Earlier references to Kate Bush and Bat For Lashes can be thrown out the window.

You can hear the original here but we’re particularly fond of a remix put together by Edinburgh’s Discopolis which goes from smooth sorcery to rave fist-puncher to dirty-disco floor-banger in just over three minutes. It’s free to download below.

Paper Crows | When Friends Survive (Discopolis Remix)

Torches – Little Ice Age

Finally if you’re anywhere near The Old Blue Last in London this weekend the chances are you’ll probably be able to spot a new music blogger hanging around somewhere. The clues? The iPhone, the constant tweeting, the surprisingly unfashionable clothing (“because it’s all about the music man”) and the ability to nod appreciatively at a bored looking man pressing one button on a laptop whilst two singular notes come out of it and melt into each other on stage. The reason the hype of bloggers will be loitering around Shoreditch drinking expensive dodgy pints? Because of Binnacle.

Binnacle is a ‘micro-festival’. In the olden days it would be called ‘an all-dayer ’ but micro-festival sounds so much cooler doesn’t it? And let’s face it this is East London, so it has to sound cool otherwise it’s worthless and to be sneered at. It also bills itself a festival of ‘future-sounds’ which could almost be seen as ironic when you listen to some of the very old fashioned reference points some of the artists playing appear to be influenced by. As is fashionable in the blog-base world these days there’s lots of ambient / electronic acts playing and a fair few underground bands as well. Torches (who are appearing at Binnacle) sound a little bit like Wild Beasts covering Hurts whilst looking for the anti-depressants , or any cold faced band that wore a long grey overcoat in the 80’s. As terrible or amazing that sounds depending on your perspective, it’s actually pretty good.

Torches - Little Ice Age

Friday, 14 October 2011

Muchuu - Heart In Turn

At 1081 posts and over 3 years of new music blogging it’s inevitable that some of the artists that we featured in the formative and tentative early days of the blog will have now returned with new records, some as established stars, some still very much as unknowns to the public at large. Others will have fallen off the radar completely. Our 2008 list of ‘ones to watch’ returners include Florence & The Machine and Marina & The Diamonds, whilst the likes of La Roux and Little Boots remain absent on leave. Others such as Giantess (renamed Yes Giantess) have split and Skint & Demoralised, who parted ways from his major label before the album was released, hover around doing indie support slots, but at least he’s now got two albums under his belt - you can now listen to both, including the previously unreleased debut here.

Which brings us neatly to another previously featured group – brother / sister duo Muchuu -who rather like Skint & Demoralised have skipped very quickly to album number two, demonstrating one of the bonuses for fans of bands who don’t have huge commercial success and operate in a more independent way – that the whole process of writing, recording and releasing material can be sped up without lots of cooks stirring the broth. There’s an irony here because you would expect that major labels would want to capitalise on a band that experience commercial success, pop music being the fickle thing that it is, and follow up with a second album quickly. Also with a team working behind them you would expect a major label artist to have more time to spend on the creative process and less time on the business side of things, but it seems that in the majority of cases this simply isn’t true. Maybe independent artists are just more motivated? Or maybe major labels are just massively inefficient beasts.

Whatever the reasons let’s be thankful that Muchuu are back; they have a new album called On Beyond which is out now. You can buy it from iTunes here, listen and download a free track called Pirate here and to whet your appetite here’s a rather sparklingly gorgeous piece of pretty electro pop extracted from it. It’s called Heart In Turn. “I know in my heavy bones its worth all of this time alone, the chase and all the secrecy, obsession fade to you and me,” sings Millie with that distinctive cute vocal over fluttery woah-ohs and crystal showers of electronica.

Heart In Turn - Muchuu

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Our 10,000th Tweet - 10 Things We've Learnt About Twitter

Just a few moments ago the Breaking More Waves twitter account reached a historic moment - having tweeted 10,000 times. The tweet was a link to this blog post. Like many others when Twitter got up and running we decided to create an account. We had no vision or real understanding of its use, application or benefit. We’re probably not that much wiser now. However to mark tweet 10,000 here are ten things we have learnt from and about twitter.

1. Tweeting is like standing in a dark room with your eyes shut and shouting, hoping that somebody, anybody is listening. Quite often very few people are because they’re all busy shouting in the room as well and the babble is loud and confusing.

2. The often published wisdom is ‘don’t tweet anything that you wouldn’t want to read yourself.’ Yet Mashable suggests that at least 40% of tweets are pointless babble. Our personal pet hates on twitter are people who babble about what they have had to eat and what the weather is like. Yet when we ironically and with a (hopefully) slightly humorous tone tweeted a picture of our evening meal once, it became our most viewed ever, being re-tweeted all over the world. The message here – the internet may advise you not to tweet anything you wouldn’t want to read yourself – but the internet can be wrong sometimes. Even that picture of the evening meal wasn’t our own, which gives us another message – not everything you see on the internet is true.

3. The click through rate from a tweet via a link to the blog is usually pretty low. Breaking More Waves has just over 1000 followers. Each time a link to a blog post is tweeted from our twitter account we only get about 30-50 followers clicking the link. That’s a 5% click through rate. Unless of course it’s a picture of somebody’s half-finished meal in which case we’ll expect several hundred. Maybe more if we mention the word sex in the tweet.

4. The best tweets, the ones that get the most reaction are often (but not exclusively always) the ones where the author takes a step back, reflects and considers their perspective rather than just blurting something out amongst the sheep. Are you a leader or a follower? Leaders influence with original thought, not following the crowd.

5. Irrespective of the above point, the crowd can be extremely powerful in spreading news through twitter. The death of Amy Winehouse this year showed just how quickly news can spread. Yet the danger of Chinese whispers and incorrect information shows how important it is to check facts before tweeting if you want your twitter account to have credibility and trust.

6. Clogging up your followers twitter feed with information that is not useful to them will invariably annoy people in the same way spam emails do. Do you really need to tweet every aspect of your life? If you do, first consider why that is. It says something about you as a person. If you really must lay everything open why not consider writing a blog instead – you could still do it in 140 character posts. Having said that, it does seem that the occasional picture of a half-finished meal is what people want, so maybe we’re just hugely out of touch and should be tweeting every time we go to the toilet or bake a cake. For your information the last time we baked a cake was about six months ago (a date and walnut loaf), but we went to the toilet more recently.

7. Relevant conversations can be voyeuristically interesting to those who follow both tweeters. However save the irrelevant ‘what time are you going out’ stuff to texts or direct messages if you can.

8. @stephenfry is not nearly as interesting as people would have you believe. We unfollowed him after about a week, we’re pretty sure he wasn’t bothered.

9. Not everyone gets humour on twitter, particularly irony, because many of the people following you on twitter are just that – followers – not friends. We’ve been caught out a few times on this when we’ve tweeted something we thought was absurdly funny but others haven’t even realised it was a joke. Or maybe, actually, we're just not funny at all. Having said that, twitter can be a great way to pass by an idle few moments reading some peoples funnies.

10. There are no rules on twitter and ultimately this blog post and our twitter feed is pointless, but fun. Hope you enjoyed the picture of our tea that we ate tonight – the quiche was made by our twelve year old in her cookery lesson at school. It was delicious and far better than any shop bought one.

You can follow us on twitter here. We reserve the right to break all the rules (if there are any), post about the weather, what we had for tea and maybe just now and then we'll do what we should be doing and tweet about music, gigs and festivals.

Oh yes, this is meant to be a music blog isn’t it? You want some music? Ok, here we go. Brighton four piece Black Black Hills have really grabbed our attention recently with this song – military drums, underwashes of electronics and a bluesy vibe all create The Celebration. Worth tweeting about.

Black Black Hills - The Celebration