Thursday, 31 May 2012

Let's Buy Happiness - Works Better On Paper

In one of yesterday’s blog posts we featured a new video for a song that we’d originally posted about 20 months before. The past has a way of repeating itself we suggested. So let’s repeat ourselves again. Only this time cast your minds back even further, 27 months to be exact, when we started a blog post with the words ‘yesterday we fell in love’. The band concerned was Let’s Buy Happiness and the beguiling tune we streamed was called Works Better on Paper.

Fast forward to today and Let’s Buy Happiness have released three singles, played two Maida Vale sessions for BBC6 Music and Radio One, been invited by Michael Eavis to play the John Peel stage at Glastonbury, supported Primal Scream, The Futureheads, The Temper Trap and Vivian Girls amongst others and toured the UK with Frankie and The Heartstrings and We Were Promised Jetpacks. However the highlight of their touring life must have been spending a night on the floor of Breaking More Waves HQ after playing Southseafest 2010 - the career peak for any band of worth surely? Bono, if U2 are playing a gig in Portsmouth, and want to put the icing on your career, you’re welcome to stay as well, but due to austere times we will have to charge you a little.

Now Let’s Buy Happiness reaffirm for us why their music is so special with a new version of the song that originally grabbed our ears two and a half years ago. This reworking of Works Better on Paper (released June 11th) languishes in its gentle beauty, with shadowy searing guitars, weary drums and Sarah Hall’s starkly feminine vocals that even after all this time and still creates a visceral goose bump reaction. Absolutely still in love.

Let's Buy Happiness - Works Better On Paper

No Direction Home Festival 2012 - Preview

One sign of a successful festival is expansion. Reading took its ‘bands and not a lot else’ chaos to Leeds, Bestival took its visual aesthetic and made it more family friendly with Camp Bestival and now End Of The Road with its organic vibe, attention to detail and non-hype band musical ethos is about to do the same. The result is No Direction Home, a smaller (5,000 capacity) version of its bigger brother with a similar musical output (much of it folk / rock based) but a more northerly location on Welbeck Estate near Sheffield.

The festival promises three stages; The Lake Stage, The Electric Dustbowl and The Flying Boat Society and headlining acts are The Low Anthem, Andrew Bird and Richard Hawley.

Besides music there will be comedy, literature, the lost picture show cinema, food workshops (including brewery, baking, butchery and dairy) and possibly our favourite idea - the secret post office. The concept is that in the age of twitter, email, text and facebook there is something extra special about receiving a post card, so attendees are being encouraged to take some time out and write to friends and loved ones. The festivals postmen and women will be doing their rounds all day in the distinctive uniform with bicycle and megaphone. The idea is to provide an address as specific as possible (campsite, tent colour etc) or offer a clear description of the recipient and their likely whereabouts.  If a letter cannot be delivered it will be returned to the post office where the sender can visit and arrange a redelivery. 

There will also be (like End of the Road festival) a range of quality festival food and drink providers including Welbeck Farm Shop,  Pizza Tabun, Wide Awake Cafe, Barnaby Sykes Pie Maker, Moorish, The Tea Stop, Le Grande Bouffe, Anni's Breakfasts, The Sea Cow, Luardos & Bhatti Wraps plus a real ale bar and the famous Somerset Cider Bus, who’s hot spiced cider is a treat and a half.

We’ll be reporting back from No Direction Home Festival shortly after it finishes (and the blog will also be taking a few days off before and during the festival), but in the meantime you can catch up with many of the artists playing an excellent Spotify playlist (linked below) as well as listen to and / or watch 4 bands that we recommend watching.


Django Django (Lake Stage – Friday 19.15)

The last time we came across quirky indie popsters Django Django and their Beta Band influenced style of oddball pop on the blog was back at the start of 2010 when they were halfway up an alldayer bill in a Camden pub. With critical acclaim behind their new album now the band find themselves as serious main stage contenders.



Other Lives (Lake Stage – Saturday 19.30)

The sweeping panoramic musical vistas of Other Lives found us proclaiming their album Tamer Animals as ‘so immaculately crafted that once your ears have heard it once, they’ll want to be treated to its elegance many, many times more,’ as we put it at number 6 in our top ten albums of the year list for 2011.



Slow Club ( Lake Stage – Sunday 18.00)

Sunday’s Lake Stage line up is pretty special. Besides the likes of Cold Specks, Richard Hawley and our next recommendation The Unthanks, there is also the wonderful  Slow Club. This is a band who we’ve watched gradually develop over the last few years from a shambolic but charming mess, into a rather exhilarating and enamouring act.



The Unthanks (Lake Stage – Sunday 19.45)

Going 5 better than Other Lives, The Unthanks album Last was our favourite album of 2011. Therefore this recommendation should come as absolutely no surprise to Breaking More Waves regulars. The beauty of The Unthanks live, besides their incredible talent is that for every tour they play they do something different. For No Direction Home The Unthanks will be playing with the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band rather than their traditional piano and strings line up. Bring your hankies, so beautifully sad are their songs they’re likely to have you in tears.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Alpines - Empire (Video)

A question taken from the Grade 2 Music Bloggers exam paper 2012.

Music blogs as ‘influencers’ and ‘tastemakers. Discuss. (10 Marks)

Our theory is that the biggest blogs and sites in the U.S (where there isn’t the more risky radio programming that the best UK radio output produces) probably are, but in the UK blogs have less of an impact. However despite that lesser power, the longer running more established UK blogs do still have a small amount of weight as first generation media influencers and sieves of music in their own country. Although we don’t have much evidence to justify this statement (sorry we’ll lose marks in this exam question because of it), there does seem to be a hierarchy of media when breaking new bands or artists. Blogs along with other personal social media channels are one part of that now recognised first step up - our over full email in box testifies to that.

Some of the more cynical / hip / alternative UK bloggeratti would probably cringe at the label ‘tastemaker’. Yet we’d argue that surely one of the main reasons for writing a music blog is to tell people about the music you adore and at the heart of that, what motivates bloggers to do it day in day out, for no financial reward, sometimes (certainly in our case) at antisocial times, is the desire for the blogger to want other people to love the music that he or she likes – otherwise why bother telling people about it? Effectively you’re trying to influence peoples taste and as a blogger you have to have a big enough ego to think that other people might actually like what you like.

Here’s a band that we tried to influence peoples tastes with back in October 2010. Of the 800+ blogs listed on Hype Machine at the time it was just us and our blog brother Faded Glamour that posted the demo version of the song Empire by Alpines. There certainly wasn’t any internet buzz about them. Now they have a record deal, played a support slot with Florence & The Machine at Alexandra Palace earlier this year and have had some radio play. It makes us wonder which bands or artists that aren’t the latest flavour of the month or buzz act that we’ve posted on this year might go on in 24 months to secure a deal or get played on national radio? (Yes, you see our ego is big enough to think that our taste is that perfect that other people will agree with us) If our world was absolutely perfect we'd love it if someone like the beautiful Laurel or the equally beautiful Alice Jemima had success - although the definition of success in art doesn't have to be commercial. Just the joy of creation that you're proud of is success on its own.

So here we are almost 20 months on from when we first featured Empire by Alpines, featuring Empire by Alpines again as it is now an official single. As we said in our very first blog post in June 2008 ‘the past has a way of repeating itself.’ Music has a habit of repeating itself. Waves form, break and come again. This one’s coming again.

Alpines - Empire (Video)

Pop Stars In Their Underwear ( Possibly, Maybe )

A few days ago, we were contacted by a regular reader of Breaking More Waves who was unable to view the blog on her mobile phone. Her service provider (O2) had mistakenly blocked the blog on the basis that it was a phishing site or contained inappropriate adult content. On twitter we announced “Hoping we’ve been blocked by O2 due to our analogies of music to sex. New strap line: Breaking More Waves – a sexy music blog for adults.” Later, again on twitter we joked “All this adult content tomfoolery has got me thinking. Maybe I should do a ‘pop stars in their underwear’ feature. Any volunteers?” Unsurprisingly we didn’t get any replies; after all we only have 1 or 2 bona fide pop stars following us on twitter and a number of potential ones.

However, the tweets had already sent our brains cells off in a particular direction. One that concludes with this post. It may not be exactly what you expected. There are no pictures of Little Boots in bra and knickers straddled over a synthesiser or Thom Yorke doing that dance in just his pants. As one twitter follower commentated “when did you turn into FHM?”  Well we didn’t, not really. However we did continue the underwear theme yesterday by posting a video by Australian band San Cisco, where the band didn’t appear at all, but a number of women clad only in their under garments ‘larked’ around. When we tweeted about it and mentioned underwear wearing women it got one of the highest click through rates we’ve ever had. We’ll leave you to make your own conclusions on that.

Yet despite the lack of replies to our ‘humorous’ twitter request for undie wearing pop people, it’s incredible how pop culture and pop musicians use sexual imagery to sell their brand / image / music and how this imagery has developed over time.

In 2011 Erin Hatton and Mary Nell Trautner published a well-publicised paper following a detailed analysis of the covers of Rolling Stone magazine between 1967 and 2009 which found that sexualised images of men and women have increased, though women continue to be more frequently sexualised than men. In the 2000’s 74% of all the cover images of women on the magazine were found to be hyper sexualised. For the purposes of the study hyper sexualised meant that they exhibited multiple signs or symbols of sex.  Often women on the covers of Rolling Stone were shown naked (or nearly so); they were shown with their legs spread wide open or lying down on a bed—in both cases sexually accessible; they were shown pushing up their breasts or pulling down their pants.

The potential danger with this is that it gives a message out to society that it’s now acceptable to treat women purely as an object and not a human being at all. “Inside the dirty mind of a pop princess,” was the title on Rolling Stone for one naked Christina Aguilera shot, the implication perhaps being that Aguilera had nothing to think about except sex and further objectifying her as nothing more than a f*ck object.

When Lana Del Rey came to prominence on the internet last year there was a staggering amount of objectification (of sorts) around her. The numerous comments about her lips and her looks on the internet came close to classifying her as a cartoon rather than a real person. Yet at the moment that the Lana Del Rey lynch mob had reached its peak her images whilst sometimes being moderately sexual weren’t hyper sexualised. There were no pictures of her naked, or touching her breasts, but it seemed that society had shifted one dangerous step further. Quite simply being a female pop star, irrespective of what she was wearing, made her an object for consumption (either positively or negatively) by others with little regard to her music or any other aspect of her as a human being. Had the likes of the Aguilera cover almost 10 years previous moved society to a position where now every female pop star could never be judged on anything other than physical appearance?

This blog post is not attempting to lay a moral high ground (after all we purposely posted the video of the women in underwear yesterday to see what reaction we got and have celebrated intelligent bands like Pris who like to wear underwear as part of their stage wear ) and say what is right or wrong; we’re a firm believer that much of life isn’t black and white but full of grey.It is to simply question the route that we’re going. When artists parade round in nothing more than a bra or pants on stage and in photo shoots, are they actually expressing how empowered women have become or are they just adding further to the dehumanisation of women? Is Rihanna, a singer who has been through domestic violence and parades round in skimpy garments on stage choosing the correct thing to do ? Will there come a time when a potential female popstar will only be signed to a record label on the basis of how overtly sexual she's prepared to be. Or is this already happening?

Ultimately these choices of what to do or not to do are the individuals choices, but is society making these choices too limited ? 

We're sorry if you came here hoping to see pictures of Katy Perry in a bra and suspenders or members of Rizzle Kicks stripping off. We know and understand that the points we're making are fairly basic and have been discussed numerous times before, but the route of travel continues to be in one direction and we're not fully sure if enough people are at least questioning if it's a good route to continue ? The human body is a beautiful thing and there's absolutely nothing wrong with the naked form, we're not being prudish; but has the hyper sexing of pop culture gone too far ?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

San Cisco - New Waves

Here’s one of those new / not new bands. That is to say that San Cisco’s debut single was released somewhere near the start of 2011 in their homeland of Australia and the follow up EP came out at the start of 2012. But even with the world wide web sometimes as a UK based blog it takes a bit of time for artists, bands and songs from other parts of the planet to find their way to us. So it is with this young group, a four piece consisting of Jordi Davieson (Lead vocals and guitar), Josh Biondillo (Guitar, keyboards and vocals), Nick Gardner (Bass) and Scarlett Stevens (Drums and vocals) from Fremantle. As of yet they haven’t made significant in-roads with UK blogs, press or media but this could change when the band release their Australian hit Awkward on July 9th.

San Cisco is a band that on the surface are pretty cute. With innocent not trying too hard boy-girl vocals that almost hit the side of twee, do-do-do da-da-da-da hook lines and minimalist choppy guitars that have a passing resemblance to Darwin Deez’s Radar Detector, the label cute is always going to be lurking. But delve a little deeper and the lyrics show a date gone wrong, with a resultant slightly obsessive one sided non-relationship. Or as we more commonly know it, a stalker at large. “I saw you at dinner last night you were holding his hand , I've been watching you for days. I thought I saw you last night get out of my life, you've been stalking me for days,” the song concludes.

So maybe not cute, but whatever they are singing about their songs sound fun and so are their videos. Certainly boys will enjoy Girls Do Cry (below) which features a bunch of girls larking around in their underwear, covering themselves in popcorn, wiggling their bottoms and eating ice lollies whilst bouncing on the bed. The video currently has 70,000 odd views, but this is nothing in comparison with Awkward (video here) which despite not featuring any underwear wearing ladies has cropped up over 1 million hits.

There’s a simple reason why Awkward has become so popular though. It’s a hooky, offbeat highly agreeable indie pop song with a slightly old fashioned and simple charm to it. What’s not to like about that?

San Cisco - Awkward



San Cisco - Girls Do Cry (Video)

Gabrielle Aplin - Blood

Since we last posted on Gabrielle Aplin a lot has happened. There’s been a whole string of sold out dates, she made her debut TV appearance on BBC2’s review show, entertained a traffic logged M1 motorway with an impromptu performance, announced another tour and most importantly has inked the dotted line with a major label. As we identified last year Gabrielle’s route to getting signed has been to build the all-important fan base first and aside from playing live the vast majority of this has been done via a succession of You Tube covers and videos.

So whilst Gabrielle begins preparations for a debut album release (we hear rumours of Jan 2013) she keeps everyone happy with a new homemade D-I-Y cover version of Blood by The Middle East recorded live with a Macbook and a bit of reverb to, as Gabrielle puts it, “smooth things out.” As with everything Gabrielle wraps her golden tones around, this song is bewitching, and endlessly beautiful. To say anticipation for the album in these quarters is high would be something of an understatement.

If you can’t remember the original then if you go way back on Breaking More Waves you’ll find it somewhere here.

Gabrielle Aplin - Blood (Video)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Misty Miller - Horns On

The seed of a clue had already been planted late last year when Misty Miller appeared on her facebook under the caption “a preview of what’s to come,”  dressed in black, sneering at the camera, holding devil horn fingers above her head.

Cut forward to 2012 and five new songs have been whacked up on line. Fans expecting more of the same sentimentally sugary sweet ditties strummed on ukele about romance will probably have had to sit down. Because Misty has formed a band called Slit Lizard, got out the electric guitar and recorded with ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. It’s fair to say she's done something of a 180 degree musical turn. Suddenly her songs are embracing the dirty, bluesy, rough, lo-fi world of rock ‘n’ roll.

You can find all of Misty’s new material, (which is a little like a cross breed experiment between The White Stripes and Kitty, Daisy and Lewis) from the sweaty stomp of Lovesick Blues to the lonesome storm of Crushed Velvet over at her Soundcloud. The standout tune for us is the sad slow-burning torch song Horns On, which streams below. “You broke me and now I’m putting my horns on,” Misty sings with some gusto against the backing of a solitary electric guitar. We can’t help but wonder what sadness she’s been through over the last couple of years.

This is a new chapter for Misty Miller and it certainly makes us want to turn the page to see what happens next. 

Misty Miller - Horns On

Sunday, 27 May 2012

D-E-W-L - New Waves

Today’s musical recipe involves 1 part glitch pop, a quarter of a Beach Boys ‘wee-oo’, 2 parts gentle crooning r ‘n’b flavours and 1 part late-night creamy smooth smoochiness mixed together, before whisking in  a measure of gospel styled backing vocal chanting and a hint of noise. Pop that all onto the internet for a few months and voila, you have created Red Velvet by D-E-W-L. Who are D-E-W-L ? Well that’s for the internet detectives to find out, but our Google searches tell us that they may be a duo (there’s certainly two people in the jars in their only available photo), they may be from South London and they have definitely remixed St Lucia; other than this scant information D-E-W-L have left very little trace of who they are. The only other clue are the latin words dirige omnis cum luminum on their Facebook page which translates as 'direct all the lights'. What does it all mean ? Does anybody actually care ?

The mystery band concept has been discussed (and done) to death. It’s easy to understand why groups try this approach, the speed at which everything is shared on the internet being absurdly fast and open. Holding identities back gives some sort of personal protection to those creating the music, whilst at the same time, if the music is good, increasing the hype or anticipation of the full reveal; except that often the full reveal leaves a sense of anti-climax, like a hot sexy date abruptly ended by a premature ejaculation. Let’s hope that D-E-W-L don’t keep us waiting too long for some more information, so we can all just move on and concentrate on the music, which if it’s as seductively good as Red Velvet, could be worth spending some time with.

D-E-W-L - Red Velvet



St Lucia - All Eyes On You (D-E-W-L Remix)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Great Escape 2012 - Sofar Sounds at Marwood Coffee Shop

Some of the more intimate performances at the Great Escape festival 2012 came at Brighton’s Marwood Coffee Shop as part of Sofar Sounds. Amongst the musical highlights were Breaking More Waves long term favourites Slow Club and new girl on the block Laurel whose song Next Time has become one of our latest obsessions (you can hear it here).

For your listening pleasure streaming below are live acoustic versions of Slow Club's Hackney Marsh and Laurel’s Killing Me from the shows. There are plenty more performances over on the Sofar Sounds Soundcloud including BIGkids, King Charles and We Were Evergreen.

Slow Club - Hackney Marsh (Live Acoustic)




Laurel - Killing Me (Live Acoustic)

The Milk - Every Time We Fight (Video)

If you’ve ever felt cheated out of a brighter future The Milk’s new single Every Time We Fight, due on June 24 is the song for you. Full of the bands adrenalising soul sound, impassioned vocals and irresistible hooks it also features a video  shot in a working mens club in Dagenham by Inbetweeners star (and long-time fan of The Milk) James Buckley.  The film has a back story of a factory closing and how the people then come together as a community. Buckley himself plays the worker who rallies them together. Written at the time of the London riots, the song captures the spirit of that, but can also be seen as a more personal reflection on a relationship.

The Milk have already completed one huge UK tour this year and are out on the road again till the end of June. They really are a superb band live; their set has more in common with a DJ set than a typical live rock band, with all the songs flowing in to one another to create one gradually building party. Our only disappointment? That to date The Milk have still not released a song we mentioned back in September 2010 called Chip The Kids. If you think Every Time We Fight is good (and it is... really good) Chip The Kids could take things to a whole new level.

The Milk - Every Time We Fight (Video)

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Chevin - Drive

The Chevin are possibly one of the most deeply unfashionable bands around. They are therefore all the better for it. Channelling the spirit of U2, The Killers and The Alarm with all of its pomp and glory The Chevin (which is pronounced The Shevin) simply don’t do small.

New single Drive released on May 28 through So Recordings certainly gives Bono and co a run for their money. It’s full of stadium straddling, powerhouse sonics that will no doubt be loved and loathed in equal measure. Add into that mix a lead singer named Coyle Girelli who enjoys a glass of red wine on stage and a forthcoming album called Borderline and we have a feeling the haters will hate even more and the lovers will be pledging their souls forever, or at least for the next few weeks.

The Chevin - Drive

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Hervé feat. Ronika - How Can I Live Without You (Make It Right) (Video)

We’ve posted about Ronika before on Breaking More Waves. Here’s another post. This multiple posts thing makes us suspect that we are signing up to the Ronika fan club.

Earlier this year we mentioned that Ronika is not the tallest of pop stars, but as we all know that never did Kylie Minogue any harm, or Nik Kershaw for that matter. (Go look him up kids - your pop music knowledge isn’t complete until you’ve heard Wouldn’t It Be Good, I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me and have memorized all of the words to The Riddle. Just avoid Radio Musicola where tricky Nik went for a Level 42 style funk work out and forgot to write a decent song)

Now here is another important and exclusive fact about Ronika that we recently discovered when she supported Little Boots at Xoyo in London. Ready ? OK, here we go….

EVEN THOUGH RONIKA DANCED HER ARSE OFF ON STAGE SHE STILL SMELT VERY GOOD AFTERWARDS

This we can only conclude is because the best pop stars never sweat. Sweating is left to dirty smelly indie bands. When we saw Shed Seven in Amsterdam once their lead singer smelt of wee. We also once shook hands with a member of The Klaxons after a show in Portsmouth and there was a distinct stench of unpleasant body odour coming from his direction. Interestingly we once stood next to Simon from Blue at a funeral reception in Ironbridge, Shropshire and he smelt exquisitely good.

How Breaking More Waves gets so close to these pop and indie types and gets a good sniff is a closely guarded secret. But for now enjoy Ronika jamming with Hervé on this very 90’s old school track called How Can I Live Without You (Make It Right), which alas isn’t available in smellovision.

Hervé feat. Ronika - How Can I Live Without You (Make It Right) (Video)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

PartyClub - Shake

York may not have the musical lineage that the likes of Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow have (Shed Seven anyone?) but Partyclub are certainly attempting to put the place on the map with a heap of smiles. Having labelled their music as ‘indiebounce’ their single Young and Free picked up the support of BBC Introducing leading to daytime airplay on Radio 1 as well as support from this blog.

Now they’re moving from the bounce to the shake. It is, like Young and Free, carelessly happy sounding. Shake will never inspire the music journo or indie snob into hushed, reverential tones but it will in all likelihood get a whole bunch of people who are unashamed of enjoying life onto the indie dance floor and jumping about amongst the cider spills.

PartyClub - Shake

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Alt-J - Dissolve Me

We’ve had a strange relationship with Jessie J. We liked Do It Like A Dude. It was a bit mainstream-edgy  (without ever being alternative) and promised much. Unfortunately since then if we plotted a graph of Mystic Meg turned pop star, with the Y axis labelled ‘pleasantly intrigued’ down to ‘nauseated and annoyed’ the graph would have slipped below the bottom to ‘vomiting and angry'.

But here’s a fact (that is if you believe everything you read on the internet) Proportionally on twitter even the dullest of ours are more popular than Jessie J’s dull ones (tweets not songs that is).

Here’s the maths.



Jessie J tweets the words “I'm gonna have so much fun this summer!” and gets (at the time of writing) 50 odd retweets.

Breaking More Waves, so inspired by Jessie J also tweets the words “I'm gonna have so much fun this summer,” and gets 3 retweets.

4,300,000 divided by 50 = 1 retweet per 86,000 people

1,800 divided by 3 = 1 retweet per  600 people

This therefore conclusively proves that Breaking More Waves dullest tweet is proportionally more popular than Jessie J’s identical dullest tweet. We’re not sure what that really says about us except that some people like the comedy of the dull. Here's another fact - our second most popular tweet in terms of retweets ever was a picture of our daughter’s half eaten meal. However this needs to be seen in context; we hate people tweeting pictures of ordinary meals as much as we hate people tweeting pictures of their sleeping cats. We tweeted the picture as some kind of warped social experiment, and it worked. Yet these tweets are things that offer no added value to our life.

The golden rule of twitter should be if you don't have anything interesting to say don't say it at all. But then most of us would never have anything to post would we?

What does offer added value however is this, one of our favourite songs from the forthcoming Alt-J album An Awesome Wave. It’s a track called Dissolve Me, which according to the notes on the bands Soundcloud player is about the bedtime routine one of the band had with his mum as a child, which involved describing a day out at the beach ending with him falling asleep making the sounds of the sea. With percussive grooviness, hooky electronic riffs and tender quirky vocals this perfectly formed folk-step tune makes us think that Jessie J is actually right – we can all have so much fun this summer. Headphones on, this track on repeat, let’s head to the beach and leave Jessie wondering why viewing figures on The Voice are dropping.

Alt-J - Dissolve Me

The Hall of Mirrors - Bittersweet Love

They’ve already been described as Julie Andrews in hell (by Paul Lester in The Guardian), cutesy dream pop (by our favourite blog sister Flying With Anna) and a delicate spoonful of sugar adventure of pretty tunefulness (by ourselves) but those last words were written a long time ago, in 2009. Yet it seems that it’s only now that The Hall Of Mirrors are slowly beginning to pick up the media attention that they deserve. At least there’s no question of the group being a hype band, shoved onto the scene with no time to develop or write a decent collection of songs. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that over the last few years and it’s still happening now, with the blog pack mentality slavering over identikit sounding groups who haven’t had the chance to learn the craft of how to play or write (other than one or two pretty good tracks ). Bands end up playing to expectant industry types in London on just their third gig only to end up ignored and forgotten within the year. So many potentially great bands are destroyed by the sharing / upgrade generation; developing in public isn’t always an easy or good thing.

Thankfully Hall Of Mirrors are emerging gracefully. They may not be fully there yet, but they’re better positioned than many bands are.

This is a new video for their song Bittersweet Love, a candyfloss collage of dark psychedelia, sixties referencing pop and easy listening. It’s likely to make you feel uneasy even if you adore it – but then when has love ever been simple? Lead singer Jessica certainly seems to want to have it her own way. “Bittersweet love will satisfy. You want me? Bittersweet love will satisfy. Well I don’t need you. Bittersweet love will satify. Come here and kiss me. Bittersweet love will satisfy. You know you want too. Bittersweet love will satisfy. Of course I don’t love you,” she coos.

The band will play The Guardian New Band of the Day show at The Camden Barfly on the 14th June but before that Jessica continues to model a ‘Chair of the week’, one of which is pictured above, over on the bands website.

The Hall of Mirrors - Bittersweet Love



The Hall of Mirrors - Bittersweet Love (Video)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Haim - New Waves

If you’re a fan of new music the chances are you’ve probably already come across Haim (pronounced as in time not rain), the Los Angeles four-piece consisting of Danielle, Alana, Este and (the non-pictured drummer) only man in the band Dash. So we apologise if we appear to be ‘late’ or ‘not on the case’ in only featuring Haim in an introductory new wave feature now, but the fact that the group have at the time of writing just over 2,500 followers on Twitter and 4,862 likes on Facebook suggests that there’s still a huge volume of people who have yet to hear their music, so even if you know all about them, a lot of people don’t.

Back in March Haim created quite some buzz in Austin, Texas at SXSW with the NME naming them as one of the 10 hottest new bands on the planet. Now of course just because a band is creating a stir in the music and / or social media doesn't necessarily mean they're any good. 'Hottest band' can sometimes equal most well networked or sleeping with the editor and nothing more. Fast forward to this month and at Great Escape festival Haim had become quite literally the hottest band on the planet – or at least in Brighton. In the Psychosocial Basement on Friday night the temperatures reached get naked sauna like heights, with even one of the band stripping down to her underwear.

It was at this sweat inducing set that Haim really showed what they’re about. You may have read elsewhere that they’re like the r ‘n’ b version of The Staves. That description doesn’t really get close except for their sisterhood and long hair. What we have here are almost two distinctly different bands in one. The studio versions of the songs on Haim’s debut Forever EP may be full of harmonious r’n’b smoothness but live it’s tougher, louder, rawer and full of classic rock references (Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The White Stripes and Patti Smith) than the glossy productions streaming below. It’s all the more compelling for it - they're like an r'n'b band for people who don't like r'n'b. Take a look at the crowd sourced video of a recent London pub gig at The Shacklewell Arms below and by the end we think you'll agree that Haim are really quite thrilling. Quite how the band are going to pull these two strands of forceful-rough and groovily-polished forward to one coherent form remains to be seen, although perhaps they shouldn’t. Maybe their Jeckyll and Hyde musical forms can gloriously co-exist happily together. One thing is for sure though, be it the temperature of their gigs or the level of buzz about the group; Haim really are one of the hottest new bands in the world right now.

You can currently download the Forever EP for free from the bands website (here) in exchange for your email address. Stop whatever you're doing (reading this) click the link and get yourself 3 cuts of musical perfection. You won't regret it.

Haim - Forever



Haim - Better Off



Haim - Let Me Go (Live Crowd Sourced Video)

Friday, 18 May 2012

Paper Crows - Happier

“An ache inside your soul, fearing the unknown, don’t hide yourself away from being happier,” begins the lyrics of Paper Crows new song Happier. Now let’s face facts happiness in pop music has always been pretty unhip. When he was reminding us that heaven knows he was miserable now Morrissey was effectively also reminding us just how damn savvy he was. Sarcasm built with a steadfast dislike of the world and yourself is the ultimate in cool when you’re young. Of course as you get older, you just become a grumpy old git that nobody wants to associate with. Cool is transient; much better to be happier in the long run. 

So we’ll take that line from Paper Crows and embrace it, rather like the whole of this song. It has a chorus that brims with robust vastness, a rap from Major Look and a weird backwards vocal moment towards the end to keep you on your toes. The track comes from the bands Build EP which also features their excellent cover version of Smashing Pumpkins Disarm, which we posted back in January. Equally impressive is the interactive video concept for the EP which features all four songs in one art-piece - you can see it on this link here.

Paper Crows - Happier



Thursday, 17 May 2012

Foxes - Let Go For Tonight

Foxes aka Louisa Rose Allen, the Southampton born now London based 22 year old has been a regular fixture on Breaking More Waves since we first put her name up in lights last August when she was still using her real name. Since then we’ve discussed her name change ( the potential confusions with Lucy Rose and Lily Allen were always going to be too much) and her new name (that disorientates some even more with Brighton band Foxes! loitering around). So just to cap off and seamlessly link this all together we finally got to see Foxes (the female solo one not the Brighton band) in Brighton last weekend at the Great Escape. We hope that everyone who turned up to see her was in the room for the same reasons we were.

What we managed to confirm during Foxes performance was that

1. Despite an intense sauna like heat in the venue Foxes still looked cool. The woman appears not to sweat at all.

2. Foxes can sing. This might be a very obvious point for a singer, but some can’t.

3. Foxes band members must have something wrong with their body temperature controls because just before their set started, despite the intense heat, THEY PUT ON COATS.

4. Foxes has some good songs in her arsenal. Echoes and Night Owl Early Birds were our particular favourites.

5. Foxes likes waving her arms around a bit and wiggling a tiny bit. Which is good, because it makes her look like a pop star rather than just a singer. No dancing though

What we didn’t establish at the gig but what we did through one of those press release things that bombard our email in box over 100 times a day is that Foxes is soon to unleash her Warrior EP on the 2nd of July via Neon Gold Records on a 7-inch vinyl and digital EP. This demo version of Let Go Tonight will be one of the songs on it. It’s a piano based stormer that is screaming out for crashing drums and towering synth sounds to truncheon their way in, but for the moment things are kept simple.

Foxes - Let Go For Tonight

Summer Camp - Life

Music appreciation is made up from the fabric of relationships. The relationships we have with songs, with bands, the people we go to gigs with; they’re all bonded through the emotions of love, hate, sexy one night stands and intimate long termism’s.

The internet has changed relationships though. Facebook and other social networks have given many people the sense of having many of them, but the depth and quality is actually very superficial. Our relationship with music is similar; it's now one of constant turnover. We see music bloggers making proclamations of how they adore a particular new record or artist and yet just a few months later they’ve ditched that music for something shiny and new. We recently asked on twitter a high profile 'buzz' blogger about an artist (Lana Del Rey) that at the start of the year he was proclaiming almost undying love for. He admitted that in the last three months he hadn’t played her album at all. This it seems is how some people live with music these days. Everything is becoming a short term shallow f*ck.

Ladies and gentleman we are living in the upgrade generation where for many, nothing holds any lasting emotional value any more.

As a music blog we fully recognise we have the potential to be part of the problem with our constant posting of new music. Yet so are musicians, who with modern technology can create and upload to the internet the wealth of new music that is out there. And as soon as something is available on line, somebody will hear it, blog it, tweet about it or post it through one of the hundreds of other channels that are now available. Just like the first hot adrenalin flushes of a relationship where two people meet and are attracted to each other, when you hear something incredible, something exciting, something that thrills your heart you want to tell the world about it.

Not only are we living in the upgrade generation we’re part of the sharing generation, created through the code of the web.

So today we’re sharing the new Summer Camp song with you. It’s called Life.

But our relationship with Summer Camp is not a one night stand, far from it. When they first appeared on line with a bunch of smudged washed out 80’s pop referencing songs we didn’t find them attractive at all. Interesting possibly, but not attractive. Yet as time has gone on they’ve become ever more appealing. In December 2011 their debut album Welcome To Condale almost made our Top 10 of the year and if we rewrote that list now it would have found a place in it. The first time we saw them live we certainly weren’t dazzled, but their recent headline show at the Scala in London bowled us over with goodness.

Our point here is that sometimes all of this upgrading and sharing means that we can easily dismiss something and never return. As we’ve said before the most important ingredient of good music and great artists is time. We wonder if one of our favourite bands of all time – The Cure – would have ever stood a chance of the long term if they’ve had if they had been born out of the internet age. Would they have been quickly upgraded for something else?

So listen to Life below. To our ears it sounds like Giorgio Moroder has discovered an indie vampire disco. It’s taken from a new 5 track EP called Always which will be released on July 9th. If you like what you hear why not buy the EP and then in six months, if you’ve moved on to your new fancy, remember this blog post, dig out the EP and give it a spin. It might even sound better than you remembered it the first time.

Summer Camp - Life

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Seasfire - Shiver

The last time Seasfire cropped up on Breaking More Waves was just a few days ago. Now here we go again. This time it’s a cover version and rather like our favourite cover of the year (the wonderful take on Lana Del Rey’s Million Dollar Man by the beautiful Alice Jemima ) Seasfire have also taken a song by a contemporary artist that we like and very much put their own spin on it. So just as we’re huge fans of Alice and Lana, Seasfire interpreting Lucy Rose very much floats our boat.

The results are rather good. Ghostly beats, late night piano sounds and a dreamy moodiness prevail throughout the track. Absolutely delectable.

Seasfire - Shiver

Churches - New Waves

Today we introduce a new band that press Breaking More Waves buttons, tick all of our boxes and massage our ears in exactly the right way. They’re called Churches and consist of Iain Cook, Lauren Mayberry and Martin Doherty from Glasgow. All members of the trio have past or present histories with other bands, namely Aerogramme, The Unwinding Hours, Blue Sky Archives and The Twilight Sad but Churches sound nothing like any of those bands.

Instead their debut track Lies is a rampantly banging electropop track. It’s the audio equivalent of up-on-the-benches sex with a horny lab technician. There’s beats that punch like Fix Up Look Sharp by Dizzee Rascal and mammoth synth riffs that sound like The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats played by Justice. If that sounds pretty incredible, it’s because it is.

Lies has already picked up a small amount of blog coverage from the likes of Neon Gold and Listen Before You Buy and has been played out on BBC Introducing Scotland, now we’re adding our weight behind what sounds like an excellent start to this project. Our only worry is that it is just a project (or rather a side project away from their other bands) and they may not develop any further. Let’s hope they do because Lies by Churches is our new favourite thing in our ears. This is absolute electropop goodness with a hint of naughty badness too.

Churches - Lies

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Swiss Lips - Danz (Video)

The iconic image of The Smiths outside the Salford Lads club was used on the sleeve of the Queen is Dead vinyl album. Now who is this chap in this video outside the same building and other locations? It’s certainly not Morrissey returned, although he does pull some nifty dance moves that we’re sure Mozza would be proud of.

Whoever this long grey haired groover is he certainly seems to be enjoying the sounds of Swiss Lips and their dancetastic version of hooky electronic pop that will probably find favour with those who enjoy the likes of Fenech Soler or first album MGMT. Whilst the video is new, a demo version of Danz has been on line at Soundcloud for some time and this new version certainly doesn’t show any radical changes; the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it rule applies here. 

We’re not sure about the spelling of the word dance by the band – it either suggests lack of attention at school that has led to very poor spelling skills or alternatively that Swiss Lips are misspelling on purpose to show how cool and edgy they are, rather like Prince who we can all agree was the master of bad spelling. Remember Take Me With U? Or Gett Off? Eye Hate U? U Got The Look? Terrible, terrible, spelling that deserved to find Prince at the back of the class if it wasn’t for the fact that his music at its best was absolute genius. In fact Swiss Lips also have a track U Got The Power so it seems very possible that they’re big Prince fans as well.

For now we’re letting them off as well. What do U think kidz?

Swiss Lips - Danz (Video)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Seasfire - Heartbeat (Video)

Like pretty much what seemed the whole of the UK music blogging community (or at least those based in the southern half of the country) Breaking More Waves was at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton last weekend.

Here’s a band that we saw by the sea that impressed. They’re called Seasfire. You may have even read about them on this blog before.

Heartbeat is their new song. It’s a mellow zoned-out electronic piece of post-ambient, post-dubstep, post-pretty-much-everything music. It’s dimly-lit and vibey, Josh Thorn’s vocals having just the right amount of tenderness, emotion and sleepiness to match the mellifluous music. 

Seasfire - Heartbeat (Video)

The Great Escape 2012 - 10 Final Things That We Learnt (Saturday)

As the sun sets on the third and final day of Brighton’s Great Escape Festival we offer up 10 more thoughts on the 2012 event and some of the bands that played. More musings both here and here from the previous days.

1. Established artists sometimes steal the show at 'new' music festivals

Admiral Fallow is hardly a new band, just about to release their second album, but their Great Escape gig was everything you could ask for from a live music performance. Beautifully played, evocative and capable of bringing a tear to the eye.

2. Venues with low ceiling heights and low stages make terrible places to see bands

Unfortunately Brighton has a number of these and unless you stood in the front two rows (we did) your chances of seeing anything more than the tops of popular bands heads was minimal.

3. The X-Factor to near credible pop person transformation is possible 

Aiden Grimshaw (remember him the moody one out of the X-Factor?) continued his journey into the territory of TV talent show contestant to authentic pop star hipsters can get away with liking. This stage of the journey included playing at The Great Escape, on the same stage that will later feature indie flavours Theme Park and just down the road from the likes of Haim, Virals and Porcelain Raft. It was certainly an interesting addition to the bill, but then Grimshaw was never your typical X-Factor contestant. After all he appeared to be quite an intense introverted sort of chap (or at least that’s what he was made out to be). With a number of respected music sites giving Grimshaw’s debut single Is This Love positive reviews it has enabled him to be placed in a position where he can play what is essentially a ‘serious music lovers festival’ and be given the time of day and stand or fall on his own merits without so many preconceived ideas.

There are no screaming hyperactive girls in the crowd just a busy but polite audience eager to see what else Grimshaw will do. The answer is a series of (mainly) big electronic pop anthems, of which at least three (including Is This Love) sound like they deserve radio attention and chart success on their own merits rather than because of the X-Factor. Grimshaw still has the intense eyes and deranged expressions, there’s a bit of crotch fondling (his own) and an awkward ballad where he sings the lyric “Give me some rope which I can hang with,” so there’s still some torment in the material.

Those who cannot listen to music without talking about the concept of authenticity, an entirely different concept to the concept of if music is actually good or not ( aka the Lana Del Rey authenticity debate that raged last year) find it difficult to handle the idea that good music is something that moves you in some way and not by the constructs created by the environment and context that surround it. They will therefore never give Grimshaw the time of day. But we will at least watch and keep our ears open. For the record Grimshaw has one song that sounded like a potential big radio hit, some other near-heavy epic electronic pop songs that are pretty good and a few others that maybe aren’t quite as engaging – but as a ‘new’ artist this is better than many so called buzz bands who arrive on the scene with one idea, one song and quickly disappear into the void. So overall, an impressive second start.

4. Even new music festivals are to the majority of people still about big name headliners at a certain point in the evening

After watching Shields play their hipshaking danceable indie guitar grooves in Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar to about 100 people we ventured into the cavernous Coalition night club for Jinja Safari to find headliners We Are Scientists running late and packing the place to the gunnels. It’s something that most bands can only dream of.

5. Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar probably takes its name from its very beer-sticky floor.

This explains the sticky bit but we didn’t meet Mike. Or the frog. It used to be called Jam. Have a not too long think about that one.

6. Some people are happy to pay for a ticket to stand in a queue for half an hour get in a venue and then chat all the way through the band they’ve queued and paid to listen to and watch. Alcohol is largely to blame for this.

Next year we’re thinking of starting Europe’s leading chat festival. It involves bands queuing to come into your house whilst you are having a conversation with your friends, gagging you and then playing music very loudly at you whilst they drink only water.

7. Hair wars could erupt between Karima Francis and Emily And The Woods guitarist who happens to be her brother.

Both of whom have massive afro heads. Karima would probably beat Emily’s hair-bro. Emily also has pretty great hair, but it’s not as big. However we all know that bigger isn’t better right? And Emily has better things to do than become involved in hair battles. She’s got to get on with writing gorgeous songs, the type of songs that sound like a musical version of your nicest, sweetest, most emotionally endearing friend.

8. If you want to capture the zeitgeist be a one man laptop act or a lo-fi fuzzy indie guitar band.

Just don’t expect anyone to buy your records because there are already hundreds of other acts doing the same thing, but you’ll probably get a bunch of in crowd bloggers being excited about you until they drop you for the next cool underground thing.There was a lot of this stuff around this year. Mmoths (streaming below) and Oliver Tank (blissful ambient songs) stood out for us.

9. The Chevin nearly destroyed our eardrums

This band from Leeds had big void filling music that took elements of The Killers (2nd album), U2, Springsteen, Embrace and The Alarm and turned the levels up to maximum. Choose your own level of volume by listening to their debut single below.

10. The Great Escape is an excellent festival and a must for any new music fan.

Although we’ve never been to the Texas event a number of music industry-types told us that they actually prefer Great Escape to South by South West. Shh…just don’t tell anyone else as we don’t want everyone coming to it and making it impossible to get in to see anything.

We’ll certainly be back for Great Escape 2013.

Mmoths - Summer



The Chevin - Champion