Thursday, 28 June 2012

Breaking More Waves Is 4 Years Old Today

On the 28th June 2008 Breaking More Waves was born. Today it’s four years old. It's a happy blog birthday.

When we embarked on this journey we didn’t really know exactly what we were doing or what we were letting ourselves in for, particularly the overloaded blog submission in box! Breaking More Waves started with a vague idea about posting up some reviews of music festivals and gigs and writing about new music we were enjoying – it was a continuation of a paper based fanzine we used to write called Breaking Waves. The likes of hit counts, page views, google optimisation, blog aggregators and monetisation were terms that weren’t even on our radar at this point. We still don't care for some of them, but we know what they are now. We were just doing it for ourselves with no thoughts if anyone would read it. At the start very few people did.

The blog was mobilised at a snail’s pace. In July 2008 we posted just 6 times. It wasn’t until 6 months later in December (the time period by which most new blogs have folded) that we’d built up a head of steam. At that point we published our first Albums of the Year feature. Our top 3 albums of 2008 were Bon Iver, Elbow and Glasvegas; choices we’d stand by now. We also named our 10 Ones to Watch for 2009 which included the likes of Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine, Little Boots, La Roux and Marina & The Diamonds (a year before she cropped up on the BBC Sound of List and many tastemakers prediction lists). In terms of predicting commercial success it was a pretty good crop.

It was around this time we noticed that something was happening. The blog was starting to get quite a bit of traffic, including people revisiting more than once. We were even being referenced and quoted on other blogs. People were also leaving comments on some of our posts.

At this stage we still weren’t listed on any music blog aggregators such as Hype Machine, choosing not to publish MP3’s, because at the time the blogging landscape and copyright issues were unclear. Lots of high profile blogs were being taken off line with DMCA notices served against them and we didn’t want this to happen to the blog we’d lovingly created. At this time Soundcloud hadn’t become fully established as a way for artists to post their tracks on line so that music blogs could legitimately share them and artists could remove them when they wanted to, so we were cautious.

But even without the benefit of the likes of Hype Machine, Shuffler FM, etc the blog was starting to get noticed. In 2009 we were asked to vote on the BBC Sound of 2010 (2 of our 3 choices – Ellie Goulding and Stornoway made the final list), an affirmation that this humble old fashioned looking Blogspot template blog, run somebody with no connection to the music industry but a huge passion for music (and in particular new music) had a small amount of flair for recognising some of the rising talent in the world. If there’s one thing that unites all music bloggers it’s probably the thought that their taste in music is ‘the best’, you have to have a big ego to think this, and the BBC contribution was a further boost to this already huge ego.

Since then the blog has continued to flourish. We finally signed up to the likes of Hype Machine as Soundcloud paved the way for safer hosting of MP3’s and have through the blog found ourselves doing a wide range of things that we never dreamed possible a few years back; helping judge the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition, attending music festivals for a free as a member of the press, appearing on national and local radio and being quoted in national online media to name just a few highlights. 

We’ve also had the privilege to meet many of the artists we’ve written about, and many other UK music bloggers. Some of these artists and bloggers have now become personal friends away from the world of the internet and if there was any one thing that has made writing this blog worthwhile it’s those wonderful friendships that have been developed. There's nothing more important than good people.

So where does Breaking More Waves find itself today? Well, the blog has evolved a little. We’ve dropped the album and live reviews (except festivals) instead focussing more on positive fan based writing rather than attempting to create critical content. But in terms of the music we cover and in the way we write we’ve been reasonably consistent. We've never been concerned with 'great writing' and 'journalistic ability' partly because we don't have the time to fine tune what we post. Most of our posts are speed-written late at night or early in the morning - the real life of work and family mean we can't spend as much time as many other more time rich bloggers creating content. However we're proud of what we do manage to create - besides the friends we've made through the blog our other biggest success is simply creating and maintaining the thing for four years. Many other members of our UK new music blog peer group have evolved – either changing their style of writing (have a look for example at The Recommender’s first post compared with its more verbose, lengthy and analytical prose these days) or the type of music they feature (underground fuzzy guitar bands or D-I-Y laptop kids may be a staple diet of now fairly quiet The Pigeon Post but a few years back the blog was featuring the likes of country rock girl Lissie) or their look (The Von Pip Musical Express now has a cleaner less chaotic presentation than it did a while ago) but apart from a few tweaks we're not that different from when we started. Other once prolific blogs have fallen by the wayside. We wonder who will be next ? Certainly at the time of writing we feel we’re in fine shape and have no plans to stop the blog. We are however intending to scale back our volume of posts slightly, moving back to about 20-25 a month rather than the 30-40 we seem to be producing at the moment. We might even take the odd week day off. 

If this is your first visit to Breaking More Waves or you’re a regular we’d like to say thank you for reading. We’d still write even if only 1 or 2 people read it, ultimately we write it for ourselves and nobody else but the fact that many more do is a wonderful bonus. Thank you. What the future holds for new music blogs who knows ? But for now it's business as usual for us. That means falling in love (again) with pop music, occasional analogies between music and sex, the odd bit of humour, discurssive banter as if we're down the pub with you and lots and lots of new music.

We’re off to Blissfields Festival this weekend. We’ll be back in July. Here’s to our fifth birthday next year.

Blissfields Festival Video

Avec Sans - Heartbreak Hi

We’re wondering if the apparently schizophrenic Alice Fox is about to become the new toast of all the tastemakers as they gather round to hear the emperoress’s new beats. Alice and her mysterious partner Jack St James have already managed to volt up Bon Iver with heightened standards of amazingness covering Perth and now they unleash to the world their first self-penned material.

As Alice tries to erase and forget the past massive waves of icy synths punch the air alongside soft but eerily robotic vocals giving the song a sense of ghostly but euphoric atmospherics. Catch your breath, press play and listen to this piece of electronic perfection. Like a cross between one of Breaking More Waves blog golden girls Queen of Hearts and the blog buzz band du jour Purity Ring, Avec Sans tick all of our boxes with this glorious slice of electropop. It’s available to download for free – really why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Avec Sans - Heartbreak Hi

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Last week we canvassed various bloggers and other music commentators for a few opinions and theories on Kate Nash’s Under-Estimate The Girl and posted them on the blog. The most important theory was that theories are a waste of time because they are just that, theories and not reality - people's belief systems click into play based on their pre-conceived ideas and their environment.

Yesterday we attempted to inject a little bit of reality into the theory and went to see Kate Nash live in Oxford. Following in Kate’s spontaneous footsteps (she recorded and posted Under Estimate The Girl in 24 hours and uploaded it straight to the internet without a care what anyone thought) we decided to annoy the hell out of anybody who follows us on Twitter and ‘live tweet’ the gig under the hashtag #katenashlivetweets. We don’t review gigs on Breaking More Waves anymore except for festivals, but you can see a flavour of some of the show in reverse chronology using the link above. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Alice Jemima - Live + A Song A Day

Over the last year and a half we’ve become a little bit obsessed with Alice Jemima at Breaking More Waves. If we were to hone down exactly why this is we’d suggest there are three key reasons; the warm tender simplicity of her songs, the whispered feminine beauty of her voice and as a performer an easy charm that she seems to be almost unaware of.

Last week Alice was in London to perform a couple of shows, one being her second visit to the Old Queens Head in Islington where she played alongside the likes of Foe and Abi Wade and secondly an intimate gig at Blacks in Soho, where a number of songs were captured on film. It might not quite be as good as being there in the flesh, but the hushed audience and Alice’s sweetly captivating vocal chords tell the story well enough, wherever you are in the word. We’re featuring her song Take Me Back below.

This week Alice follows in the footsteps of Kate Nash and has uploaded a live performance of a new song called I Didn’t Know What To Expect which was written in 20 minutes flat and recorded 5 minutes later before she forgot it. It’s as fresh and honest as you can get showing how fast the internet can operate. Here’s a singer from a little town in Devon broadcasting something rather special to the rest of the world within minutes of its creation. Unlike Nash’s song it's simply adorable. Continuing her creativity Alice will be posting a new recording every day this week, check out her Facebook or Twitter for updates on how she gets on. 

Alice Jemima - Take Me Back (Live)

Alice Jemima - I Didn't Know What To Expect (Live)

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Folk - Stay

No matter how many songs there are in the world about the hunger of love it seems that there is always room for more. Hertforshire based band The Folk serve up a beautiful song of longing and affairs of the heart called Stay, the follow up to When It Rains. “First thing in the morning, last thing at night, you’re the only thing that’s on my mind,” they sing as the song swells to a captivating chorus. The so-young so-talented rule applies here from a band whose members have only just finished their AS Levels. If new music blogging is the new A&R, spotting young talent at an early stage, then this is one of those moments where we raise our hand.

Since we last wrote about The Folk they’ve slimmed down from a four piece to a core of three consisting of Rose, Lauren and Lucy,(which fits in very neatly with our past theory that 2012 was going to be a good year for women with the initial L - the likes of Lana Del Rey, Lucy Rose, Lianne La Havas, Louise & the Pins, Loui Rose (aka Foxes) and Laurel Arnell-Cullen  having  all lit up our world so far) have been featured on both BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio, played a slot at The Great Escape’s Alt. Escape in Brighton and are also performing at a number of summer festivals including Lodestar and Standon Calling where they’ll be playing The Folk Tent – nice of the festival to name the stage after them! 

Take a listen to Stay below, it may be pretty but there's a rock solid strength to the music as well. The song is released on the 25th July

Photo credit : Redwood Photography

The Folk - Stay

Sunday, 24 June 2012

John Newman - New Waves

The chances are you have already heard the rather extraordinary voice of the rather ordinarily named John Newman, even if you hadn’t put a face to the name or a name to the voice. The twenty one year old singer from Settle, Yorkshire who is now based in London provides the unmistakable vocal on Feel The Love by Rudimental – a massive number 1 hit in the UK. So in some ways featuring Newman on a new music blog when he’s already topped the charts is a little bit wrong, but there’s three things to remember here. First that the internet is global and that 40% of Breaking More Waves readership is based outside of the UK where it’s unlikely many have heard of Rudimental or Newman. Secondly Newman may have been a guest vocalist on Feel The Love, but his fully fledged solo material has yet to see the light of day; he’s currently working on his debut album. Third this is a music blog, there are no rules, we can write what and how we like.

So what can we expect from Newman’s future music? His website references James Brown, Prince and The Black Keys, ambitious reference points perhaps, but reaching for the stars is surely preferable to the gutter. Imagine if we were told that Newman took the music of Brother or Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong as his inspiration. Exactly.

But whatever Newman puts out as his own solo material, what’s going to hit you is his phenomenal vocal. A raw crackle of a voice, the kind of smoke-thirty-fags-a-day arse-clenching soul sound that James Morrison aims for but fails at. It’s pretty special. Huskily special. With the likes of Michael Kiwanuka delving into the catalogue of Bill Withers and The Milk reinventing the sound of Stax and Motown for a modern generation there seems to be a hunger for this deeply old fashioned but incredibly powerful sound again – maybe it’s a reaction against the deluge of synthetic faceless pop that clutters the UK charts ? Whatever it is John Newman looks like being the next most likely British soul man. It may be that his guest spot with Rudimental isn’t his only and last hit. Listen to an acoustic version of Cheating below and you'll see why we think this. You can also download another song Stay The Night which for the moment is free using this link (although you'll have to 'like' it before you've played it.)

John Newman - Cheating (Acoustic)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Saturday Surf #33

This is the Saturday Surf, our lazy weekend blog post where we offer very little commentary and let the music do the talking from some songs that we haven't found time to devote a full post to.

Ghost Loft – Seconds

Ghost Loft is a project from LA-based Danny Choi and is another one of those acts (like 2forJoy yesterday) that has been sitting in the Breaking More Waves virtual filing cabinet for a couple of months. So we’re having a bit of a clear out today with this song Seconds. It’s a dreamily sexy r ‘n’b influenced piece of flirt-pop that has the same sort of minimal groove as The XX but with a smoother electronic touch. Arousing.

Indiana – Blind As I Am

This beautifully understated track came to our attention via our blog sister and all round purveyor of loveliness, Anna of Flying With Anna, so a massive hat tip to her. It’s a piece of chilled soulful electronic beauty, from a new Nottingham based songstress that reminds us a little of another Breaking More Waves favourite Delilah. Utterly gorgeous. Instant love for Indiana and Blind As I Am.

Golden Fable – Sugarloaf

We first featured Golden Fable in our New Waves feature back in February. Sugarloaf is the duo’s new single released on August 6. Vocals flown down from heaven, radiant guitars and puzzling clicks grow into something subtly jubilant. More mind expanding than any illegal drug and better for you.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Royal Concept - Knocked Up + Gimme Twice (New Video)

When we introduced unsigned Swedish band The Concept in January the number of web page views and plays we received for the songs Gimme Twice and D-D-Dance suggested that the group were onto a winner. So it comes as no surprise to find that they have now been snapped up by a major label and are unleashing their effervescent brand of Phoenix / Strokes / Alphabeat /cross pollinating pop via a self titled EP. The sound might be the same with both the original frenetic tracks present and correct, readying themselves for a second go at making you jerk your body like an electrified headless chicken, but the name has changed; The Concept are now The Royal Concept.

From the EP we’re streaming a brand spanking new track. Maintaining the bands pop songwriting sensibilities Knocked Up sees the group start at a more moderate pace than the two previous numbers,then at about two minutes and fifteen seconds it kicks off its boots and races for the finishing line like a lost member of the Strokes at their best.

There’s also a new video for Gimme Twice (below) which has already picked up nearly 100,000 views in half a week. The song is a gloriously sunny side up piece of pop music and the film matches the tune’s energy with good-looking head-shaking Swedish band members, pillow fights and a set that is literally trashed to destruction by the end.

If you missed The Royal Concept first time round, shame on you. Here’s your second chance time to get acquainted.

The Royal Concept - Knocked Up

The Royal Concept - Gimme Twice (Video)

2forJoy - New Waves

This singer has a past history as one of the superstars of the London neo-burlesque scene and co-founded Glastonbury festival’s Trash City, but now she’s set her sights on spine-tingling pop music.

Her name is Ruth Ivo although you may previously remember her as the front woman of electro-trash pop-rompers Hooligan Night where she used the alias of Ruby Blues. Now Ruth has taken on a new identity and is 2forJoy.

It was back in March when 2forJoy’s music first came to our attention by way of our in-box. We were immediately impressed with the dark sultry song Choke, with its still ghostly piano and bittersweet 'I want to f*ck you again even though this relationship's f*cked' lyrics sung so tenderly. “I don’t believe in fairytales and we both know that this is never gonna end well. Underneath the sweet is the taste of regret, I don’t feel like saving myself yet, ‘cos I keep on coming back for more while you lay tangled in the bedroom sheets and I know that we’ve yet to do our worst but I think darling you’re going to choke on me first.” It was powerful emotional stuff made even stronger by the restraint and lack of drama in Ruth’s voice. This was no Florence & the Machine bombardment of the lungs, yet nor was it so wispy and fragile that it seemed twee and girlish. It was just right, in fact we’d go as far to say it was even perfect. On top of this there was PDA, a stomping electropop tune that added some spunk to the dark bliss of Choke.

We filed the song in the Breaking More Waves ‘to blog’ virtual-drawer sure we would come back to write about it soon. At the same time a couple of our UK blog brothers Faded Glamour and The Recommender wrote about 2forJoy and we were certain that many more blogs would follow suit. But it didn’t happen. Like a cheap tart we got carried away with some other musical fancy and the blogosphere didn’t jump either. Some time passed and we shamefacedly admit we forgot all about 2forJoy. Until now, when a new song, a version of the Tom Waits track Green Grass surfaced on line to pleasure you aurally. This time we didn’t risk shutting the drawer and letting Ruth slip from the memory again.

Three months on and what is most impressive is that Choke sounds even more beguiling, the lyrics even more addictive than when we first heard it. We’re pleased to finally feature it on the blog, by way of this stunningly effective video. This is near perfect pop music that we could listen to over and over.

2forJoy - Green Grass

2forJoy - Choke(Video)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Smoke Fairies - She Sells Sanctuary

Originally released as part of a limited edition 5 track covers EP exclusive to Rough Trade store to accompany their recent Blood Speaks album, the Jack White approved Smoke Fairies have now uploaded to the internet their version of goth / rock 80’s dancefloor stormer She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. Instead of copying the ballsy whip-your-hair-around energy of the original ( which featured one of the most fist-pumping guitar intros ever) The Some Fairies take the song to a place full of languid and sweeping mysticism,  a dark foggy marsh where a lone wraith-like hooded figure stands rowing a boat towards you perhaps. Dare we mention Clannad? Well there’s certainly something in Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire’s vocals that hint of the Irish band a little, but whatever it reminds you of the song is undeniably enchanting.

The Some Fairies - She Sells Sanctuary

Purity Ring - Fineshrine

Here’s an admission. We hardly ever read or visit Pitchfork. If that makes you think that we’re not serious about our music, well that’s fine. If we all get too worthy it will become a chore rather than a pleasure and then we’re all done for. However, on one of our rare visits to the revered site we did discover Purity Ring.

The Canadian duo has been getting a lot of attention from the blogosphere with each single release they put out. But blog attention doesn’t always equate to real life popularity. The latest buzz band may be riding the hype-highway to hell with internet adoration and Pitchfork 9.8’s out of 10 but when it comes to live shows they can still end up playing to one man and his dog in a stinking boozer in Cardiff on a damp Monday night. However, Purity Ring do seem to be managing to transfer some of the world wide web fervour to bums on seats; a recent packed sold-out gig at Madame Jo-Jo’s in London is some evidence of that. We need to be mindful though that the venue capacity is only 200 people. If they had been playing in Dundee or the above mentioned Cardiff how many tickets would they have sold there? In a random survey of ten people in a pub in our home city of Portsmouth only one of them had heard of Purity Ring (the band) and only because he read about them on this blog. Breaking More Waves - more influential than Pitchfork in a certain pub in Portsmouth perhaps? 

Fineshrine is the latest teaser from the group prior to the release of their album Shrines. Within 8 hours of the song being released 25 Hype Machine listed blogs (mainly American) had posted the track and no doubt countless others have done so as well. Probably by the time you read this (written the night before it’s posted, because at Breaking More Waves we’ve never been bothered or have the available free time to be ‘the first to post’ and prefer to provide a small amount of regular daily content which we have to schedule to fit in with our busy non-internet life) plenty of other blogs will have jumped on board. There’s a simple reason for this; because Purity Ring are infectiously good. Cute-glitchy r ‘n’ b influenced electronica with sweet melodies and hooks as displayed by this latest offering. Enjoy the sounds of Fineshrine. It’s worth the buzz. 2012 looks like it could be their year.

Purity Ring - Fineshrine 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Slow Club - Beginners (Video)

Starring Daniel Radcliffe and shot on location in London at The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park in a single take (after all Radcliffe is a busy man and probably doesn’t come cheap), this is the video for Slow Club’s new single Beginners. Having admitted that Slow Club were one of his favourite bands and also that he has in the past had a bit of a problem with alcohol, Radcliffe combines the two and staggers his way round the boozer, lip-syncing to one of our favourite tracks from the bands second album Paradise, which sounds even better live.

Radcliffe isn’t the only Harry Potter star to appear in a pop music video. Rupert Grint raised the ginger stakes in Ed Sheeran’s Lego House video whilst Emma Watson has also taken her turn in One Night Only’s Say You Don’t Want It.

Slow Club - Beginners

First Aid Kit - Blue (Video)

Sweden may be producing some of the best pop music in the world, but it does a fine job with country and folk as well, via First Aid Kit. The Lion’s Roar, the duo’s second record was released at the start of the year but its American country sound has not been forgotten. From this record comes a new single - Blue.

There’s something despairing but beautiful about the Söderberg sisters harmonies and they soundtrack this video of a wealthy lady who seemingly lives alone and lonely in an opulent mansion perfectly. “You’re just a shell of your former youth” they sing, the song both gentle, sad and soul-stirring at the same time. 

First Aid Kit - Blue

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

10 Theories On Kate Nash's Under-Estimate The Girl

When former Brit Award winner Kate Nash started a hashtag on twitter last week called #katessurprise it was inevitable it would end with some new music.

What nobody predicted was that having once recorded a tune called Shit Song, she was about to take that title to heart and release a real life stinker. Here’s some theories on the track that got Nash’s name trending on Twitter over the weekend and beyond for (possibly) all the wrong reasons. Thanks to the various bloggers, bands and music types that helped via twitter / via email / text / in conversation yesterday in forming some of these theories and arguments.

Theory #1 This is actually a very clever (but risky) PR stunt.

Let’s face it Kate Nash’s profile is not what it used to be. Foundations may have only been kept off number 1 by Rihanna, but her last 2 singles Kiss That Grrl and Later On failed to chart. Rather than put out ‘just another Kate Nash track’ that would be ignored by an audience that has moved on, utilising the power of social media and releasing a song that sounds like whacking a knitting needle in your ear with a hammer, Nash has got her name back in people’s minds. This is a massive risk though. Seeking attention for something that has been described by more than one commentator as the worst song of the year could go horribly wrong in the PR stakes. Nash could end up being buried deep into pop music’s rubbish skip - never to climb out again.

Theory #2 This is not a PR stunt at all but a relatively spontaneous action by Nash that hasn’t been given proper thought.

In principle this is a great concept. There’s a thrilling excitement in the idea that an artist can record a song in 24 hours (as Nash said it was) and throw it up on the internet for public consumption without any record company interference. You’re hearing the song just as the artist wanted you to hear it - in its full rawness, warts and all. But theories don’t always turn into great realties. With Under-Estimate The Girl we actually wish there had been somebody around to say “Hey Kate, maybe putting this out to the public isn’t such a great idea.” Or at least persuade her to release it under a different name / image to protect the ‘Kate Nash brand’.

Theory #3 Kate Nash is being punk

When punk was born Johnny Rotten said that it was about destroying everything that had gone before – it was an attitude as well as a musical style. If this was the punk ideology then Under Estimate The Girl is not punk. It doesn’t destroy what has gone before. It sounds a lot like what has gone before (Hole, Riot Grrrl Movement etc), the only thing that has gone before it that it may destroy is Nash’s career.

Theory #4 It isn’t authentic – she’s a posh girl shouting “Look at me I’m a rebel.”

Lacking authenticity in music is an argument only used by those that don’t understand pop. Every performance by an artist is faked to a greater or lesser degree. Some of the greatest forms of music from disco to rockabilly to electronica have been chastised as being inauthentic. If all music was truly authentic we would strip away much of what makes music great; things like glamour, drama and most importantly influence and inspiration from outside sources. We really don’t care if Nash is authentic or not (although the fact that she has been quoting her love of Bikini Kill for a number of years, played in punk side project The Receeders in 2009 and has worked with the indie bubblegum teenage pop band, Supercute!, producing their first album suggests her authenticity is genuine) All we care about is this; do we like the music (for like read ‘is it good music’). Sadly it isn’t.

Theory #5 Kate Nash is just doing pop music in reverse.

The normal route for pop musicians through history has been to start by making underground non-commercial records before making a transition to radio-friendly songs that the masses love but the original audience hate, claiming their beloved artist has ‘sold out.’ Maybe having made her money with her debut album and moderately selling second album Kate Nash is doing things in reverse.

Theory #6 Every artist deserves the right to be able to create the art they want now matter how self indulgent.

As an artist the ultimate success is not pleasing others but ensuring that you please yourself. The question that must be asked though is was it necessary for Nash to unleash this song on the public at large? Just because you’ve had a satisfying dump in the toilet doesn’t mean that the rest of the world will be interested.

Theory #7 Kate Nash is just showing how conservative our listening has become.

In the last decade the way we listen to music has become more conservative, with nearly all so called new music taking references from the past. Innovation fades away as new ideas become scarcer. So many underground artists make music that sounds like the music the bands parents (or even grandparents) used to listen to. So if Nash has shocked her fans with her bolt of noise (which admittedly is also taking masses of influence from the past) at least there’s a possibility that she’s helped create a debate about the music we listen to and the way that we listen to it. As we’ve suggested time and time again on this blog, rock music has just reached middle age and there’s nothing that can stop the ageing process. Rock music is now just a tradition in the same way folk music has become a tradition. Nash is just continuing a tradition.

Theory #8 Before every album Kate Nash puts out a deliberately peculiar song.

Remember Caroline’s A Victim? That preceded Foundations and the Made of Bricks album. In fact Caroline’s A Victim was very sneaky. It was Foundations in disguise. Don’t believe us? Listen to the chords on the acoustic version of the song here, then compare with Foundations here. So with Under-Estimate The Girl maybe she’s doing the same again ?

Theory #9 Kate Nash’s change of style is good / bad.

The history of pop shows that many of the best bands undergo change both musically and stylistically in order to survive or they die a death of ever decreasing returns creatively and commercially; change in pop music is therefore an inherently a good thing. So Nash deserves to be applauded for doing something different. It’s just not very good.

Theory #10 Theories are a waste of time, because we don’t actually know the reality.

So essentially everything we've written here was pointless, except to maybe entertain and promote discussion. 

As identified in Theory #2, theories don’t always turn into realities and everything we’ve written here could be way off the mark from what Nash or you think. In fact even our belief that this song is a crime against music is just a belief, not fact. The evidence of numbers of You Tube likes and dislikes for the song currently matching each other suggests the track is certainly divisive, so we’ll leave it at that. If you haven’t seen or heard the song yet, here it is. Prepare yourself.

Breaking More Waves will be attending a Kate Nash gig next week. We're hoping to find something that we can engage with. To see if we did, follow us on twitter.

Kate Nash - Under-Estimate The Girl (Video)

San Cisco - Rocket Ship (Video)

Having introduced you to Australian band San Cisco last month, today we feature a new video for Rocket Ship, a song taken from their Awkward EP. The tune’s full of rough and tumble percussion and gang sung oo-la-la’s, one of those choruses which is so simply framed that you only need to hear it once for it to lodge in your brain. The video shows that the group aren’t worried about any sort of cool / hipster status, this is what in certain sectors of the music world would be considered a swear word; that word is fun. So if you consider yourself a bit edgy or a bit too cool for school please close this page now, otherwise press play and enjoy.

San Cisco - Rocket Ship (Video)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Blissfields 2012 - Preview

A previous winner of Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards Blissfields has grown from a tiny family and friends only event back in 2001 when approximately 70 people attended to a 2000 capacity show at Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, Winchester, Hampshire. It’s the second year Blissfields has located at the site, having moved from the smaller Bradley Farm near Alresford.

With an audience that varies from cool teens / twenties to older festival veterans and their families, Blissfields provides something for everyone with a mix of old-school favourites (Dreadzone, Subgiant) to dance your socks off to, a huge array of up and coming talent, much of which has featured on Breaking More Waves (Lucy Rose, Clock Opera, Charli XCX, Emily & The Woods, Arp Attack, King Charles, Spector and Dog Is Dead for example), some more established names (Noisettes, Guillemots, Patrick Wolf) and even somebody you probably wouldn’t expect to be seeing at such a festival (Charlotte Church). Add in to that mix comedy, DJ’s, workshops, circus skills and a chance to channel your inner athletic abilities prior to the Olympics in the Blissfields' sports day which will include sack racing, space hopper long jump, the hipster swingathon, balloon fencing and egg and spoon races and its pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to come away with a big smile on your face.

Blissfields has a reputation for punching above its weight in terms of big name acts, having secured The Mystery Jets to play on its older grass hill stage back in 2005 and 2006 (even back in 2006 all the bands played for free so the festival was able to give a donation of £2000 to the local school and charity Practical Action), Scouting For Girls gracing the same mound in 2007 and in 2009 Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Super Furry Animals (and a certain DJ Hojo Hits one of Breaking More Waves alter egos, dressed as a horse, bringing the cheese to a field in Hampshire)  all appeared on a site that held just over 1,000 people.

So with a bigger site, an excellent line up and glowing reviews from 2011, Blissfields 2012 has the potential to be the best ever. If you’re planning to come don’t delay in booking your tickets, the festival is reporting that they’re are selling fast, youth weekend tickets at a concessionary price have sold out so an adult price ticket will have to be purchased  and live-in vehicle passes / family tickets are also looking low. Blissfields takes place on June 29th-30th June although there is also some limited extra ticket entertainment on 28th June on the smaller stages from 6-12 at night and the site remains open on the 1st July for campers.

Here’s a couple of our recommendations of bands playing Blissfields that we’ve not featured on the blog before - Man Like Me (Main Stage, Friday) and Aluna George (Second Stage, Saturday) although with so much of the line up having appeared on Breaking More Waves in the past we can veritably stamp the whole line up ‘approved’. 

Aluna George - Just A Touch

Man Like Me - Squeeze

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Saturday Surf #32

Sound the trumpets, hang the bunting up and roll out the red carpet because a feature we’ve laid to rest for a while is back. It’s the return of the Saturday Surf.  When we last posted this featured in February we said it would return in Mid-March, but due to technical difficulties (we forgot) March seems to have become June.

The rules are simple:

1. The Saturday Surf will never be more than 5 tracks.

2. The total length of the music will be no more than 15 minutes. 

3. The text relating to each track will be no more than one short paragraph.

The concept is that we don’t want to take up too much of your time. There are plenty of blogs out there who post long playlists and generate high volumes of traffic to their site from blog aggregators such as Hype Machine. This is not one of those blogs. We believe that in the world of the internet, where there are so many distractions, there aren't many people that have the patience to sit through 20-30 new tracks chosen by someone else in one sitting. Instead we serve up a smaller and hopefully more palatable dish of delicious new music from the last week or thereabouts that we didn't get round to posting on its own for your aural consumption.

 Alice Jemima – Only Girl (In The World)

This is how it seems to be working. Alice Jemima uploads a new song on line. We write something gushing about her. Repeat over and over. If music is a relationship we're way beyond the infatuation buzz now - this is proper love. Alice Jemima is undoubtedly one of the Breaking More Waves golden girls. After her beautiful interpretation of Lana Del Rey's album track Million Dollar Man (another one of our golden girls) comes another cover. This time Alice tiptoes her way through Rihanna's fist-pumping, ball-busting Only Girl (In The World) with a delicate sensitivity that gives the song the same sort of natural intimacy that we last heard on The XX’s debut album.

No Ceremony/// - Holdonme

We’re getting a better sense of No Ceremony/// and are beginning to be able to define their sound with more accuracy with every new track they release. Holdonme delves deep into the landscape of the night with druggy computerised voices and trance like beats and bass. It would be a perfect soundtrack to a road trip in the small hours.

Charli XCX – You’re The One

Another one of our golden girls, although maybe Charli XCX  is laced with streaks of something more urban and gothic in amongst the shine. If All Saints were still around in 2012, this is the kind of song we suspect they’d be doing. Despite it’s dirty and sexy electro styling You’re The One is actually a rather neat pop song, primed for the ears.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Delilah - Inside My Love

Delilah’s blend of sultry soul pop has become a pretty regular feature on Breaking More Waves so we figure it’s time for some more. Inside My Love was originally performed by Minnie Ripperton, best known for the classic Lovin’ You which reached no.2 in the UK charts back in 1975. It’s such a shame that Lovin’ You was Ripperton’s only UK hit, blessed as she was with such a wonderful voice, but she died in 1979 of breast cancer at the young age of just 31, a life and a talent cut tragically short.  When your ears are first caressed by the original of Inside My Love, you’d have to hate music to not admit that it is an exquisite and really rather sexy late-night song. If you’ve never heard it, give yourself a valuable education in beauty by clicking here.

Maybe now Delilah can bring further recognition to this wonderful song with this honey coated recording. “You can see inside me, will you come inside me, do you wanna ride inside my love?,” she seductively asks and frankly if she was singing this to us, we’d find it difficult to say no.

Delilah’s album From The Roots Up will be released on 30 July. 

Delilah - Inside My Love

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Let's Buy Happiness - Works Better On Paper (Video)

We’ve already written about the gorgeous Let’s Buy Happiness and their freshly minted re-recorded version of Works Better On Paper (here). Now there’s a video.

The bands recent live shows have found the Geordie five piece displaying a new found confidence, particularly lead singer Sarah who seems to have come out of her shell as a front woman. This confidence gives the band’s sound a more muscular sonic dynamic than ever before and any criticism of twee must now be placed in the rubbish bin. As thrilling as this aural development is, the video for Works Better On Paper finds the group looking rather absorbed in thought rather than excited about future prospects. Yin and yang in an indie rock music video perhaps?

Let's Buy Happiness - Works Better On Paper (Video)

Matt Corby - Made Of Stone

Really we should hate Matt Corby. Not only is he one talented so and so, but he’s a bit of a babe magnet as well. “I would gladly mother his young,” states one comment on his new live You Tube video for Made Of Stone, the title track of his new 3 track free to download EP which is available from his website using this link here. Yep, it’s comments like that which makes us extremely jealous. Until we realise that actually somebody once (actually more than once) did want to mother our young and that’s why we now have two children, so up yours Matt Corby BECAUSE WE’VE ACTUALLY PROVED OUR MANHOOD and don't have to rely on strangers on the internet for compliments.

Of course Corby still wins, because this is a music blog and this blog wouldn’t exist without the artists that create that music, so we owe it all to people like him really.  He’s been called Australia's answer to Jeff Buckley in some parts, which is pretty high praise, but listening to his flowing piano playing and his rangy voice on Made Of Stone, the accolades are undeniably worthwhile.

We’re still 2-0 up on the fathering children stakes though. 

Matt Corby - Made Of Stone

Matt Corby - Made of Stone (Live at Studios 301 Video)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

12 Things We Learnt About No Direction Home Festival 2012 (A Review)

Last weekend Breaking More Waves opened its 2012 outdoor festival season, attending a new festival on the Wellbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire. Here’s our review (of sorts) of No Direction Home 2012.

1. It doesn’t matter how many times you check the weather forecast before going to a festival – until you get there you never really know how things are going to be.

Let’s face it, outdoor music festivals are never as good when it rains and the site becomes a slip-slide mudbowl. Forget all that ‘it brings everyone together in true British community spirit.’ That’s just people justifying their empty bank balances after a drowned dog of a weekend, freezing cold, damp and caked in disgusting brown gloop.

With a forecast that promised strong winds and heavy rain for the first two days of No Direction Home, things didn’t look good. Yet the reality was far better. On arrival the majority of the site was still green grass, with mud limited to a few isolated areas. Until Sunday it was undeniably anti-summer cold with a few showers meaning that some of the main pathways could only be traversed sensibly with a pair of wellies, but the rain was less frequent and intense than predicted and by Sunday umbrellas were being used as sunshades rather than their more traditional forms.

2. Teething problems for new festivals are not a given….

Especially when they’re created by someone who already has experience in running them. No Direction Home is the new sister festival of the much celebrated End of the Road Festival and is very much a mini-me version of its bigger brother. The festival oozed goodness in every aspect and really we can’t find anything negative to say about it at all. From the local farm shop that sold high quality home produced cheese, fruit and bread to the blend of alt.folk, country, indie rock and late night electronic acts on the roster.

3. You wait for a bus and then two come along at once.

At No Direction Home one served cider, the other served tea and cake. Both were delicious. The Somerset Cider Bus even sent some of their ladies to the main stage to deliver pints of cider to Richard Hawley during his set, which upon drinking he described as being ‘like acid’. We’re not sure if he was referring to the druggy kind or the taste, but he seemed to be enjoying it.

4. The Lost Picture Show Cinema actually smelt of popcorn.

Which was nice. If you like popcorn.

5. There was a distinct lack of twats and idiots.

No Direction Home had a complete absence of twats, more than any other festival we’ve been to in the last few years. Hipster types were largely absent and the ones that were there were the slightly older ‘Ex-Shoreditch but now has 2 kids and lives in suburbia’ type who were actually enjoying the music rather than trying to out cool each other. No Direction Home was very much a music festival, for music fans. Quieter acoustic and folk acts were listened to rather than talked over. It was an absolute pleasure to see a large audience respect the artists playing. This was a grown up audience with grown up behaviour.

6. The best stupid dancing of the weekend we witnessed was at Slow Club and Django Django

Probably because both bands were very good. (It was the audience doing the stupid dancing not the bands.)

7. Festival toilets don’t have to be disgusting.

Compared with many other events the toilet cleaning crews (and punters) did an excellent job of keeping the toilets as close to perfect as you can imagine for an event involving several thousand people using portaloos.

8. The Electric Dustbowl Stage was and is a rubbish name for a stage.

It was a big top, on some grass, near some trees. Maybe if would have been a dustbowl if it had been hot all weekend, but it wasn’t. The Lake Stage was however by a lake, so we’ll call it a draw on that one.

9. Sometimes getting old is lovely.

The Cornshed Sisters were so good that we saw them twice; once on the rather inappropriately above named stage and once in the more accurately named Rough Trade Store where they played unplugged. Amongst their number was Marie Du Santiago who alongside Lauren Laverne (off of BBC 6 Music and general culture vulture fame) used to be in indie-power-pop-glamour-kittens Kenickie and subsequently Rosita. Now however Marie is all grown up, having worked in music management and as head of communications for the Northern region of the Arts Council. Marie performed alongside three other equally talented singers / players that form The Cornshed Sisters, and both of their sets were beguiling and beautiful; a mix of country, folk and pop with gorgeous harmonies and sparse instrumentation that was one of the unexpected highlights of the weekend. Listen to Dresden streaming below and see what we mean.

10. Folk music doesn’t just have to be fiddles, acoustic guitars and accordions.

The Unthanks, a very modern folk band who take the oldest of traditions and add their own sense of contemporary still beauty to them played one of the sweetest and unusual sets of the weekend. With the stage full of the many members of the Brighouse and Rastrick brass band, the bold dynamics of the sound gave a new sense of purpose and delight to The Unthanks music. This wasn’t just a diversion but a musical performance that headed directly for the soul, from a Manhatten Transfer style version of Queen Of Hearts sung by Chris Price to the gutsy spit of Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk. It was superb stuff.

11. No Direction Home isn't a cheesy festival, except when it is.

The School of Artisan Food were on site doing food demonstrations and tastings.. They taught us more about cheese in just over half an hour than we have learned in our whole lifetime.

12. No Direction Home may be the little sister of End of the Road but it feels like there’s space for growth.

The advertised capacity for this debut event was 5000 people. It didn’t sell out but there were plenty of punters there. However the spacious site seemed much bigger than many festivals of similar attendance and we suspect that there is more than adequate room on site for increased capacity, although the smaller stages would probably have to be redesigned somewhat to take the additional load.

Overall for its first year No Direction Home Festival can be considered nothing more than a triumph. Early bird tickets are already on sale for 2013.

The Cornshed Sisters - Dresden

Deap Vally - New Waves

Like somebody ripping apart a wound with a guitar Deap Vally (no spelling mistake plus it's good for Google searching) sound raw. Their music makes the kind of primal, dirty holler that grabs the nastiest (and therefore best) bits of The White Stripes, Sleigh Bells, Joan Jett, The Datsuns, Led Zeppelin and Suzi Quatro and bangs them into your eardrums with a musical hammer. When you begin to bleed you’ll probably enjoy the pain.

The story goes that Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards met at needlework class, where we can only presume they were learning to sow soul shredding guitars and hard hitting drums together than how to stich a pretty dress. In their short time as a duo they've already courted the attention of a certain Josh Homme, whose Eagles of Death Metal invited them to open for their shows in LA.

Their opening gambit is Gonna Make My Own Money. It’s vulgar, visceral and brutal sounding, the kind of out-of-fashion rock 'n' roll song that makes you want to get trashed, get sweaty and get naked with the wrong sort of guy or girl. It will be available through Ark recordings on July 30th but for now you can grab the track as a free download from the Soundcloud below. This is filthy good. 

There's also a straight up performance video of another song called Baby I Call Hell - all alt.blues electric guitar and hair shaking drumming in a room covered in newspapers. That's even filthier.

Parents, lock your sons up - Deap Vally are coming to get them. Starting on July 11th at the Old Blue Last in London before hitting Hyde Park with Soundgarden and Iggy & The Stooges, Latitude Festival and Reading & Leeds Festivals.

Deap Valley - Gonna Make My Own Money

Deap Vally - Baby I Call Hell (Video)

Deap Vally - Baby I Call Hell from Welcome To The West on Vimeo.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

12 Things We've Learnt About New Music Blogging

Here are some things that we’ve learnt since starting Breaking More Waves in 2008

1. In certain respects the new music blog world is divided into two categories, with most blogs falling into one type or the other type or somewhere in between.

First the buzz blog. Their sole reason for existence is to deliver the music they love to your internet device first. They’re usually defined by very little editorial content as they're too busy trying to be the first to copy and paste the code into their blog and press publish. A lot of these blogs ultimately end up featuring the same artists and songs because it’s difficult to create a buzz if you stand alone.

Then there’s another sort of blog. We’re not sure what they’re called, but they’re less concerned with what’s buzzworthy and (to a greater or lesser extent) more concerned with having some sort of voice, editorial content and personality. 

2. The modus operandi for a new music blogger is as much determined by the author(s) personal circumstances as anything else.

The buzz blogger for example needs lots of small amounts of spare time. He or she has to be at the laptop or computer several times a day, keeping a careful eye on everything new coming out, so that he or she can post it as quickly as possible. Constructing a buzz blog is pretty impossible if you have a full time job and a family where if you're lucky you get to start writing a blog at midnight and have to get up at 6am for work.

3. Drunk blogging can give 'interesting' results.

Writing a blog post at 3 in the morning after a 12 hour day at work, looking after the kids and then a gig and quite a few drinks with friends is very rarely a good idea, although occasionally funny. Here’s an example of when that happens. (Thankfully we edited it before posting the next day - the original was twice as rambling and also mentioned Kate Nash in sexy underwear and something about DJ hamsters)

4. It’s not all about genuine self-discovering of new music.

Many(but not all) blogs are led by the PR machine or the record industry itself. Don’t kid yourself that all blogs are just finding all this great new music like a golden needle in a haystack. Someone is often feeding them. 

5. New music bloggers are generally quite nice people.

Bloggers by and large are actually very nice people in real life and aren’t as geeky as you would think. They do however normally have an iPhone and if you spend more than an hour with them probably won’t be able to resist checking it for their latest email and twitter updates. 

6. There is no money to be made in new music blogging.

Breaking More Waves is fully independent and unfunded and intends to remain so, but even those that aren’t rarely generate more than pocket money from their site and we don’t see this changing in the future to any great extent. 

7. Blogs = hugs from beautiful people

We’re constantly amazed that when we meet a new up and coming artist in person after writing about them on the blog they are (normally) as excited to meet us as we are them. This tends to lead to a lot of mutual loving. This is a good thing. The world needs more love, not war. In our experience love back from artists towards blogs tends to lead towards repeat posts. New artists there's your tip - if you learn that someone has written something nice about you say thank you. It's not that hard.

8. Like anything in life there’s sometimes some politics in new music blogging.

The best advice we can give to anyone getting involved in this is put your ego to one side and remember why you’re writing the blog in the first place. Otherwise it’s just silly. For example if you write a blog and refuse to post on a band unless you're given an exclusive track, check your ego.

9. Many new artists don’t have a clue about how to promote themselves on line.

We could probably write a book about this, but here’s some simple tips about how to get your music on music blogs.

10. Our favourite blogs are very rarely the biggest.

Breaking More Waves favourite music blogs are the ones that stick to their own vision, are consistent in their tastes and opinions, write for themselves rather than anyone else, know their subject, aren’t concerned with hits or being big, have their own voice, don’t take themselves too seriously and post regularly. 

11. We haven’t really learnt anything, but have learnt a lot about 'hype' and 'buzz'.

The speed at which new music blogging (and therefore music listening) works is sometimes (perhaps) counter productive to developing real love for music. Today's hype becomes yesterdays old news. Music for many bloggers seems to be treated more and more as 100% disposable.  We know for a fact that there are some bloggers out there who only spend a few weeks with an album and then move on to something else. Music seems to be treated more and more like a film at the cinema or a play at the theatre - listen once and then you're done with it. We're not sure if this is a good thing. On the one hand the new is nearly always more exciting than something you've had before, but don't the greatest rewards come from the depth and understanding that a long term relationship brings? 

12. Sometimes music blogging feels overwhelming.

There’s so much new music out there, the internet has made it a huge melee of songs.  Acting as a filter can be tiring. We’ve seen blogs stop because of new music overload burn out. Only the most enthusiastic, organised and dedicated survive more than 3 or 4 years. We reckon any new music blog that keeps going more than 5 years (later this month this blog will be 4 years old) deserves a medal.

It’s why every now and then we need a holiday. We’re doing exactly that, including during our holiday a trip to No Direction Home Festival. In fact we’ve already been on holiday since last Monday, but because of the beauty of the ‘pre-write and schedule’ it appears that we’ve been posting regularly all this week up till now. But this is our final post for a few days, although we'll probably crop up on twitter so you can follow us there.

We’ll be returning to the fold later next week, but until then we'll leave you with a song that we've been enjoying the last few days. It's from Nathan Hewitt, James Wignall, Dean Reid and Marc Raue and they go by the name of Cheatahs.  Those of you who like the lo-fi, fuzzy slacker sounds of the likes of Yuck or The Lemonheads will probably nod appreciatively.

Cheatahs - Coared