Sunday, 30 September 2012

Why Little Boots Is Confusing Us

We’re a bit confused about Little Boots right now.

Most established artists on a record label have some sort of campaign / strategy behind them leading up to the release of an album. Yet with Little Boots it all seems strangely haphazard, as if she’s an unsigned act with no overall vision of where she’s going, throwing things out there as and when she feels like it. Shake, Headphones and Every Night I Say A Prayer were way better than average disco pop songs (if we were marking them out of 10 Shake would get 7, Headphones 8 and Every Night I Say A Prayer an 8.25) but all of them were given a low-key releases as if any attempt to get into the charts or playlisted on the radio would be seen as damaging.

A short while ago she tossed out a rough demo of another new song called Babyface – not the kind of action your typical difficult second album artist on a major label would normally do although she did write on her tumblr  “I will probably get made to take this down any minute but its Friday so sod it what’s the worst that can happen etc. I’m kind of bored of doing what I’m supposed to lolz.” Actually we’d rather she hadn’t put that one out, because our score sheet only gave it 4.5. Before that, earlier this year there was (a rather brilliant) one off show at Xoyo in London on her birthday which (of course) included a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday from the audience. And then there’s the mix tapes (which aren’t really tapes at all, but Soundcloud embeds / streams) of which she has now done several. You can find them here.

Yesterday Little Boots put another new mix tape up on line. It’s called the LITTLEBOOTSWELOVEMIX which we guess is called as such because tonight Little Boots is DJing in Ibiza at the We Love Space closing fiesta. We very much hope that she simply hasn’t recorded this, burnt it onto a CD and taken it with her to play whilst pretending to mix the tracks live, because technically that would be very naughty and cheating. So if you’re reading this Victoria (which of course you’re not but we can live in hope) as much as we love you, remember we cannot condone a cheat. (Although ultimately it’s about the tunes - not what knobs, faders and buttons the DJ is pressing). We’re streaming the LITTLEBOOTSWELOVEMIX below just on the off chance that someone reading this is in Ibiza tonight. If you are and you’re going to see Little Boots DJ, let us know if her set is identical.

So we’ve had plenty of new material from the Vickster, yet to the vast majority of the mainstream public Little Boots is a name that is rapidly fading from memory. Maybe this is where Little Boots wants to be – more of a credible electronic disco pop girl with a few DJ skills than a mainstream chart act. Back in 2008 we said “she’s fifty per cent cool, gaining rave reviews in a whole variety of dance and fashion magazines and fifty per cent geek, posting up videos of herself doing cover versions in her bedroom.” Maybe that’s still where and what she is; a mixture of cool and geek, not a chart girl or Sound of 2000-and-anything. Maybe this is why she’s just throwing music and mix tapes out willy-nilly. Maybe there is a strategy / maybe there isn’t. But irrespective of her or her label’s apparent lack of plan or control, let’s just be thankful that (demo of Babyface excepted) Little Boots is still giving us some tunes. 


Friday, 28 September 2012

Haim - Forever (The Knocks Remix)

How much do we love Haim right now?

Well if it was a choice between our family and the three LA sisters (and let’s not forget the man with a name that sounds like a film / porn star - Dash Hutton – on the drums) it would be a very close run thing. Hold on, let’s think about that a little more……

No. Sorry the family would have to go.

We suspect (actually we 100% know) that this will not be the last time you read about Haim on this blog. After all we’ve got end of year lists to create.

So here’s a remix. Now in theory, when we love a groups music, the idea of someone mucking around with it fills us with terror; but not with Haim. Because although Haim are a rock band (of sorts) they’re a rock band that make you dance. Stupidly. Sweatily. Possibly taking off your clothes and declaring your undying love at the same time.

So a remix that simply ramps up the dance element of Haim’s brilliant Forever (one of our songs of the year) is absolutely fine. So absolutely fine that we fully expect you to be down to your underwear by the time this track finishes. 

Haim - Forever (The Knocks Remix)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

San Zhi - Ice Light

Ever since we first heard the forthcoming songs from San Zhi’s debut EP we’ve become rather infatuated with them. These dreamy and very pretty pop tunes have been whirring around our head like a growing affair of the heart taking gradual steps of excitement. So today we’re streaming the first track that the band has put up on line for sharing from the record. It’s called Ice Light and it provides everything we could possibly want from music. Don’t be fooled by the crashing drums - this song is one of restrained and delicate beauty. The fragile boy girl vocals from Peter and Suraya melt together like chocolate and in turn may possibly sweeten your heart.

The words ‘new favourite band’ tend to be thrown around by music bloggers every week but we make no apologies for this; if we fall in love too easily it’s because life is too short for cynicism, negativity and not appreciating the things that are special in this world. We think the songs of San Zhi are pretty special and we hope you do too.

San Zhi - Ice Light

Laura Mvula - New Waves

At the end of 2011 we predicted that 2012 would be a good year for female singers with the initial L. Lana Del Rey, Lianne La Havas and Lucy Rose have all done the business and there are some others that are bubbling under right now such as Laurel and Laura Welsh that are already giving us goose bumps.

So today we’re introducing another L-lady, another Laura and another goose bump moment. Laura Mvula came to our attention yesterday thanks to a tweet recommendation to us courtesy of Belgium’s number 1 music blog Disco Naïveté

This jazz / soul vocalist previously fronted a band called Judyshouse and has worked with schools and young people in Birmingham on composing and performing projects. But it’s the first offering from her new solo project that has caught our ears. Formed out of delicate mirror like chimes, soft silky strings and layered voices She sounds musically like the night before Christmas – a time of hope - which is echoed by the lyrical sentiment of never giving up, even when things are going wrong.

We understand that Laura is working with Tom Elmhirst who has worked with the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, so there's a good pedigree with this one. If 2012 was a good year for the L-ladies, 2013 looks like it could be equally as good.

She will be released on October 22 and you can pre-order it now on 7” vinyl using this link here.

Laura Mvula - She

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Great Deluxe CD Rip Off

Dear record labels and the music industry,

Here at Breaking More Waves we’re not just fans of music but supporters of the artists and the industry they are part of. In its simplest terms this means that we believe that those who wish to own music should pay the artist (or retailer) an agreed amount to become an owner of that music, unless the artist decides that the art they have created holds no financial value and chooses to give it away for free.

As fans and supporters of music this means that we purchase a lot of the stuff. We’re not just talking the odd CD, record or download here and there, but masses of product. So much of it in fact that the next time we move house will probably be because we’ve run out of room for our music collection.

But although we believe in paying to own music where the producer decides it isn’t free, we also believe in fairness and treating fans like ourselves with a bit of respect.

This is where you’re going wrong record industry.

We’re talking about the ‘deluxe edition.’ The one that you released 6 months to a year after the original album has been released.  It’s the same album as before with a number of new songs, remixes or half-baked demo versions of tracks from the original album added on with some sort of fancy packaging. You charge the same (or even more) for this new version of the album as the original that we already own.

Now this represents excellent value to the casual purchaser who hasn’t bought the original record. Yet the hardcore fans, the people who rushed out the week of release and purchased the album, the ones who are more likely to buy into and sustain the artist’s career in the long term, are being ripped off.  They’ve become part of the upgrade generation, coerced into buying something new, paying twice over just to get those extra songs. We know that you’re struggling to stay afloat dear record industry and we know that since the dawn of the internet you haven’t kept up with the pace of change, but we’re not sure if ripping your most loyal customers off is good business sense in the long run.

Of course, we don’t have to buy these new versions. We could make a stand and not purchase them. But we’re fans and being a fan is a complicated all-consuming business. Sometimes record companies get it right and make the deluxe edition worth a second purchase. But too often, slapping six extra songs that weren’t good enough to make the original cut and expecting fans to pay the same again is just letting them down. Here’s some basic customer relationship advice for you; if customers feel let down they may not return next time. They might just download the tracks illegally instead.

On November 12th Lana Del Rey will re-release one of our favourite albums of the year - Born To Die - with the Paradise Edition.  iTunes lists it as featuring 9 new songs on the UK version:  Ride, American, Cola, Body Electric, Blue Velvet, Gods & Monsters, Yayo, Bel Air and Burning Desire. It retails at £8.99. The CD version is currently being advertised on Amazon at £15.19 and we understand will contain 8 new songs.

Is this good value? It certainly seems a little better than some so called deluxe editions, but there’s so much more the industry could do to keep the existing customer (fan) satisfied. Wouldn’t it be nice if the new songs were also released in a single disc format at a cheaper price for those who already own the original songs? Come on record industry, do something decent like that and we promise we’ll spend the money we save on another release. Who knows you might even find that you make more money as a higher percentage of people who bought the album first time round may be persuaded to buy that second single disc.

Otherwise you just come across as a greedy, couldn’t give a sh*t about your customers industry, and frankly if you’re going to have that attitude then it wouldn’t surprise us at all if eventually business goes down the pan.

Love Breaking More Waves xx

PS: We like Lana's new song Ride. It’s very pleasant.

Lana Del Rey - Ride (Audio Stream Video)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Charli XCX - So Far Away

If you haven't had the chance to experience Charli XCX live yet, then get out of your cocoon and go see. For besides her incredible cover of Echo & The Bunnymen's Killing Moon, Charli XCX is like all of the Spice Girls in one body, with five times the energy, ten times the attitude and fifty times the sexy sassiness. It’s easy to imagine that she’s has spent the best years of her wasted youth in her bedroom, dancing in front the mirror with a hairbrush microphone replacement in hand. Charli XCX is the sort of pop star that all the cool girls will want to be their friend and all the cool boys will want as their girlfriend.

So here’s a new track from the lady herself which will make you love her even more. Taking So Far Away (you can hear the original here) by Paul White and adding her own blend of spoken word f-you attitude, it’s another ‘oh yes’ moment from Charli XCX. Join the BFF queue here – but you’re behind us.

Charli XCX - So Far Away

Monday, 24 September 2012

Alice Jemima - By Your Side

Having become a firm favourite on the UK's music blogs with 2 Hype Machine Top 20 chart places under her belt as well as radio plays from the likes of Rob Da Bank (Radio 1) plus Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music) and one of her songs being used as the soundtrack to the Yumi fashion range 2012 Autumn / Winter Collection, 19 year old Devon based singer-songwriter Alice Jemima is rapidly establishing herself as an emerging talent to be taken notice of. Yet she has (so far) done this far away from record industry interference, acting independently and in control of her own destiny.

But here's the problem; despite prolifically writing, recording and streaming her songs online, to date Alice’s fans have not been able to obtain any material to own. That is until this moment.

Today sees the release of Alice’s debut EP – All The Boyfriends. It continues the D-I-Y ideal as an independent release, with all four songs written, recorded and produced in Alice’s Devon home. Despite her arguably nostalgic sound, Alice Jemima is very much a modern artist in her modus operandi; she has more akin to the the bedroom laptop producers that occupy much of the independent music scene right now, in both the efficiency and speed at which she creates and distributes her music on line.

Here at Breaking More Waves it gives us immense pride to see this physical release see the light of day. We have been championing Alice’s music since the first moment we heard it and since then it has given us great pleasure to see many other people becoming charmed, besotted and falling in love with it in the same way we have. To have something solid out there just makes everything seem even more special.

Below we’re streaming one of the songs from that EP. By Your Side marks a progression for Alice. Whilst maintaining her trademark simplicity and space within the music, the guitars are a little denser – more akin to something The XX might produce. It is, of course, utterly gorgeous. By now we really wouldn’t expect anything less from our favourite blog-crush girl. Simply perfect.

You can purchase All The Boyfriends EP on CD by clicking here. It will be the best £3 you spend this week.

Alice Jemima - By Your Side

Laura Welsh - Hollow Drum

In Spring 2012 a handful of UK music blogs, including our own, jumped on board with Laura Welsh (formerly of Laura and the Tears) and a small number of songs that she had uploaded to the internet. We suggested that Laura was one to keep an ear out for and have been extending our lobes ever since, but with nothing new to tantalise them. In fact the original versions of the songs we posted, some of which were available for free download, have all now been mysteriously removed. So it was a sigh of relief when late last week, new material appeared; and what material it is.

Hollow Drum is all about the emptiness of a relationship gone wrong. With a soulful and vulnerable voice we hear Laura lamenting that “all I know there was fire in the room but it got too cold too soon.” We suspect that she’s not singing from the perspective of a tribute to fire extinguisher manufacturers, although secretly we wish she was. Rather like songs on Delilah’s recent album From The Roots Up the music on Hollow Drum is never overstated, the voice carrying the weight. Once again we’ll repeat ourselves; Laura Welsh is one to keep an ear out for.

Hollow Drum can currently be obtained for free in exchange for your email address from here.

Laura Welsh - Hollow Drum

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Vestals - New Waves

This 5 piece indie band from Wales may be a throwback to a whole bunch of groups that make you want to dress in a scruffy oversized jumper and shuffle around the student disco like it was 1987 all over again, but their debut track Perfect Pain is anything but gloomy. In fact The Vestals are likely to fill you up with that same sense of giddy exuberance that bands such as The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and The Cure did (and still do). Opening with a drum click that owes more than a small debt to Hard To Explain by The Strokes, or Close To Me by the aforementioned Cure, Perfect Pain bounds in with a fizzle of lively guitars that effervesce into one foaming mass of sound that could cause serious bouts of limb-flinging or at least frantic head-bobbing.

With a statement that “we believe in a time when we know everything about everyone, a little mystery can be a good thing,” The Vestals take the give away nothing approach to their live shows as well, where they can be witnessed all wearing black and turning the lights off for their performance. Of course the trouble with surrounding yourself in such mystery is that it just makes people want to know more, so it will be interesting to see how The Vestals manage this as time goes on. For now though, just listen and let the music get you buzzing.

The Vestals - Perfect Pain

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Nina Nesbitt - Boy (Video)

If You Tube views are the new currency then Nina Nesbitt may not be Psy or Lady Gaga like rich but she’d at least be well off enough to get a nice little flat somewhere with ample space to store her guitars. When we first watched this video just 24 hours ago there had been a couple of thousand views but as we type this she’s already up to nearly 100,000.

So now that we’ve established Nina’s current value where does she fit within the musical landscape? The pop Laura Marling ? The folk Ellie Goulding ? The female Ed Sheeran ? The best blonde Nina in music since The Cardigans ? This is what happens as a new artist – bloggers and journalists reel of a list of comparisons, not because (as they are often criticised as doing) they are being lazy, but because it gives some reference points for readers to understand if the artist’s songs might fit within their taste zone. It's not lazy - it's trying to be helpful. OK, maybe the Nina one was just a bit lazy. Blonde. Female. Both called Nina. That'll do.

It was just a few days ago that we streamed the MP3 of Boy, but now you can decide your own similarities (or just accept Nina Nesbitt for being Nina Nesbitt - no reference points required) with the video of this frothy tune that features one of the most omnipresent lyrical themes in pop music; the end of a relationship, which it seems people never tire of listening to. 

Nina Nesbitt - Boy (Video)

Kal Lavelle - Gypsy Blood (Video)

In our wildest most sordid fantasies we wish that Breaking More Waves could be an out and out pop blog and just print pictures of N-Robz on repeat and provide a running commentary on the dance moves and number of You Tube views that Gangnam Style has had. But we can’t, because as much as we adore the carefree world of smash hits and shaggable pop culture, there’s a side of us that just wants something a bit melancholy, sad and introverted.

So today we’re featuring a new video for Gypsy Blood by Kal Lavelle, a song that we originally featured back in 2011 from her Shivers EP. A word of warning, this film will probably make you well up. Sorry to be the spoilsport but there is no happy ending in this one.

The video stars a powerful performance from Selina MacDonald who you may remember from Ed Sheeran’s A-Team. There’s something desperately sad about a couple who were once so in love and yet now when she simply reaches out to touch him it makes him jerk away like an electric shock. So get your hankies out, because with Kal’s emotional music and this simple but moving film, you might just have a little blub by the end.

Kal Lavelle - Gypsy Blood (Video)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

2forJoy - Michaela

Yesterday on twitter we went into a sort of mini-blog meltdown. “Today is the first day ever in over 4 years that I feel like quitting the blog. Too tired, too much real life, bands taking the piss,” was the moan in 140 characters or less.

Later in the day, with great reluctance we opened our various blog inboxes. That’s when our hunger returned. For despite the incredible tiredness, for despite the lack of motivation to write anything about music ever again, it took just one press of play for our ears to be seduced by beauty. The moment of disheartenment was vanquished quicker than you can say now that’s what I call music.

Here is one of those reasons why we felt compelled to post again and why really there’s no chance of us stopping for a hell of a long time yet, even when everything is against us. This is why writing about music isn’t really a labour of love; it’s just a pure love.

Let us introduce to you the new song from 2forJoy (pictured above performing in the Swamp Shack at Bestival 2012); it’s called Michaela. If sultry downtempo vibes, silky vocals and a calm sense of purposefulness are what you look for in music, this will be an absolute treat for you as it is for us.

2forJoy - Michaela

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Staves - Tongue Behind My Teeth (Video)

It seems remarkable that a band like The Staves, who only a few months ago were playing tiny gigs in café and bar size venues are now gearing up to play Wembley Arena. Ok, that last sentence whilst true doesn’t paint the whole picture, but it’s still pretty odd. For The Staves will be at a number of enormo-domes / warehouse sized venues in the UK this November supporting Bon Iver before they head out on their own somewhat more intimate tour in support of their forthcoming album Dead & Born & Grown, which finally will see the light of day on November 12th.

Whatever size or shape of building they play though, you can expect perfect harmonies, a real sense of warmth in their acoustic music and even the odd f-word now and then (they are after all Watford girls). However, irrespective of their origins, The Staves songs ooze class, like this track Tongue Behind My Teeth which was released to the internet yesterday. The video may look like it was shot in the wild west, but we hear rumours that it was actually filmed in Spain, but shhh we didn’t tell you that.

The Staves - Tongue Behind My Teeth (Video)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chvrches - The Mother We Share

So here we go. This is the new song from Glasgow’s Chvrches, who we first introduced back in May and then wrote about again here. It is very exciting.

We’ve done some maths to decide exactly why it is very exciting.

Here is our working out.

1. It has some deliciously hooky ‘oh-oh’ bits in it. Scotland seems to like the ‘oh-oh’ at the moment. Want more evidence? Listen to Nina Nesbitt here and see what we mean. (The first lot of oh-oh’s come in after about 40 seconds if you are short of attention span).

2. It sounds a lot like Purity Ring. Listen to Purity Ring here and see what we mean. However even with just two songs online Chvrches have more variety than Purity Ring, who despite a brilliant set of initial releases produced an album that is just one idea throughout.

3. Lead singer Lauren sounds a bit like Strawberry Switchblade, who incidentally were also from Scotland. Listen to how they sang here.

So basically Chvrches The Mother We Share is

(Purity Ring + Nina Nesbitt + Strawberry Switchblade) / Goodness = Very exciting.

Really if you like female fronted electropop (and quite clearly we do) then you can’t give Chvrches anything less than an A* right now.

Top of the class.

(Footnote – Their musical maths may be great, but Chvrches score an E (Fail) at English. Churches is not spelt with a V in the middle of it, no matter how great it is for Google searches. This change in name may be born from practical reasons but how are the kids of today ever supposed to learn the Queen’s English when her subjects are pissing around like this? They really need to get together with south coast electronic duo Curxes and practice spelling together.)

Chvrches - The Mother We Share

Duologue - Underworld

We mentioned the usual suspects of Radiohead and Aphex Twin when previously featuring Duologue on the blog back in 2010 (here) and 2011(here), so let’s move on with comparisons because we’re sure we’re all in agreement that every single piece of rock music written plagiarises something else, with intention or not. Instead let’s just focus on the important facts – this is a transcendent beaut of a tune.

With Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys) at the controls Duologue’s Underworld finds the band finding a purposeful clarity in their sound.  The spotlight starts by shining on a lone anguished vocal and guitar until the track shape shifts into deep late night atmospherics, emotional solitary piano chords, clicks, beats and strings. This is spectral rock music for the modern age.

Duologue release Underworld as part of a double A side with another song Zeros through Killing Moon on October 29th and their next gig is on 26th September with Seasfire, The Vestals and H.A.M at the Bull and Gate, London.

Duologue - Underworld

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Southsea Fest 2012 - Review

To fully understand the mood of many a Southsea Fest punter, an independent multi-venue music festival on one street in the more offbeat seaside district of Portsmouth, overheard conversations probably give the best pointer of many people’s mindset. “Who’s this band then?” “No idea mate but they’re bloody brilliant.” “Yeah, fancy another drink?” “Yeah OK, let’s go to the bar then.”

For whilst Southsea Fest has been slowly cultivating itself as a simpler and cheaper alternative to other emerging new music festivals (Great Escape, Camden Crawl, Dot to Dot) it also carries the weight of being a day out on the lash for locals, the music being just a background excuse for getting wasted.

That’s not to say that every punter is a stumbling beer-in-hand lush, but certainly as the day developed the amount of chatter and general disinterest in some of the bands playing by certain sectors of the audience took something away from what is otherwise an excellent value for money event. However, even a few drop outs from the advertised line up (Eagulls, Joanna Gruesome, Peace, Bastions and Hymns were all still named on posters outside one of the venues but had been confirmed by organisers as no-shows) didn’t detract from a number of powerful performances that were intoxicating without any form of boozy intake.

In our usual style rather than review every band at Southsea Fest 2012 here instead are 10 things that we learnt at the festival

1.Southsea Fest may be full of new / emerging music but there's no industry 'buzz' about the place. 

Unlike the likes of Brighton’s Great Escape, Southsea Fest remains relatively distant from music industry influence, retaining its own independent take on things. Combine that with an audience that at least a percentage of which don’t seem to know anything about any of the bands on the bill and the result was a lack of queues to get in to see ‘the next big thing’.  Maybe the next big thing played at Southsea Fest 2012, but if they did it didn’t attract music industry, cool kid and hipster attention and was all the better for it.

2. However there was a bit of a buzz about local types Bear Cavalry

Fresh from signing a deal to release an EP with Alcopop! records the band played 2 sets during the day in both the Wedgewood Rooms and a ‘not so secret’ show in its sister venue The Edge of the Wedge. We caught the later – a brassy, bouncy, bubbly carnival indie flavoured set that cheered the soul. Hear one of their songs streaming below.

3.The Kings Theatre, Southsea is a wonderful place to see live music and the jewel in the crown of the event

Stepping inside from the bright bustling street into the dark but elegant opulence of the Kings Theatre, a beautifully different element is added to Southsea Fest. The balconied Edwardian Playhouse creates a powerfully tall architectural space that gives an extra dimension to performances – the auditorium coaxing out the best of local lads The Dawn Chorus who played their final ever show with the whole audience on their feet for one final Arcade Fire-esque rousing sing-along and the cinematic folkiness of Old Colours who added a gentle sweetness to proceedings. Whilst not being quite fully formed yet they're a band who show promise for the future. You can hear their song Hunting Ghosts streaming below.

4.Portsmouth / Southsea doesn’t like electronic music

Brighton’s Amongst The Pigeons struggled to hold much of his audience's attention with his mash-up of club based samples, loops and beats. Battling against a bizarre piece of scheduling and venue (an evening set in a dark club atmosphere would have suited far more than lunchtime in a backstreet social club) and a crowd who weren't interested in dancing and more interested in chat and drinking it was always going to be an uphill struggle with laptop in arm. Likewise ex-Ash girl Charlotte Hatherley received a muted reaction to her new project Sylver Tongue, whose 80’s new romantic and sci-fi synths seemed to lose their way in the lager covered floors of the Wedgewood Rooms.

5. Portsmouth / Southsea loves electronic music

Two of the day’s most thrilling sets came from bands that have been regularly featured on Breaking More Waves. Industrial-electro-pop duo Curxes were found playing to a packed room under the trusses and oversized lampshades of the Wine Vaults, with the small of stature yet big of voice lead singer Roberta Fidora bringing a dark ferociousness and dominance to her performance as she transferred from on stage to singing in the middle of the audience. Later that night headliners Clock Opera found bountiful love from a Southsea crowd, buoyed up by the bands stuttering yet life affirming sample based pop music and the odd drop of alcohol or two.

6. Southsea Fest had the most amount of facial hair we’ve seen at any festival this year

Guy from Clock Opera wins the award for best facial hair on stage, but amongst the crowd we heard rumours of Jesus or Socrates walking in Southsea, with at least two of the longest beards ever known to man being spotted.

7. Sometimes dots are amazing. No, hold on, they're A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

If you follow us on twitter or have read this blog for any period of time you’ll know that we like the word amazing but prefer to write it like this: A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. We pronounce it A dot M dot A dot Z dot I dot N dot G. So imagine our joy when new London based band F.U.R.S announce from stage that they are called ‘Furs spelt F dot U dot R dot S.’ A moment of shared love for the dot. Their effortlessly cool 60’s referencing jangly guitar pop was consuming in its loveliness as well - a band that we suspect we could quickly become quite attached to. Watch this space.

8. Sometimes a band making a hell of a racket in a tiny cramped sweaty room with no ventilation is a very good thing.

Playing in what appeared to be no more than a sweaty padded cell, under flashing red lights, the pulverising zoned-out guitars and submerged vocals of Is Bliss was viscerally exciting; a bomb scare of a band.

9. If you like dubstep, disco, house or any sort of dance music Southsea Fest is not the place for you.

Southsea Fest knows its audience and caters for them.

10. Grown men hugging can be a beautiful thing

We witnessed a euphoric moment of two strangers hugging each other in joy during Clock Opera’s set. Even if a little beer was involved it was a touching and rather glorious moment. All of the best festival moments are about love and that moment was one of them. 

Southsea Fest 2012 was undoubtedly a success for everyone involved. Independent, with a strong local feel, we just hope that not too many punters woke up with hideous hangovers the next day.

Bear Cavalry - Dragon's Milk Part 11

Old Colours - Hunting Ghosts

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Dear Prudence - Coming Apart Again

If you’re currently in a situation where you’re in relationship that is breaking down and you realise there’s nothing you can do to stop it, Coming Apart Again by Dear Prudence is probably not the best piece of music to listen to. For here we find vocalist Madeleine Poncia singing of the end of always and forever and breaking hearts with a gutsy and emotional delivery that will probably make you well up inside a little. From the opening line of  “it’s getting harder to just keep on pretending, that our love will have a happy ending,” it doesn’t take long to realise that this is a desperately sad but real song.

You may remember Dear Prudence from back in April when we first introduced them on the blog, but it’s with Coming Apart Again, their most ‘pop’ moment to date, that really sees them hitting their stride. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that pop music can’t be affecting. This is.

You can get the song for free in exchange for a 'like' here.

Dear Prudence - Coming Apart Again

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lisa Mitchell - Bless This Mess

According to some blurb we’ve just read Bless This Mess by Lisa Mitchell was ‘inspired by the household saying you often see cross-stitched and hanging on a Nanna’s wall’. We’re not sure about how you quantify the word often, but certainly our Nanna (R.I.P) didn’t have anything like that hanging in her house. From what we remember she had a framed picture of a rabbit running round in circles which we painted at nursery school aged 4. However Rabbit Running Round In Circles probably isn’t a particularly great name for a song title or an inspiring lyrical theme so we’ll take Bless This Mess instead.

Bless This Mess, the title track from her new album (which sadly appears to only be receiving an Australian release at the current time) finds Lisa putting her foot down and embracing life’s rich tapestry of chaos with a more beefed up sound than we’ve heard from her before. Take a listen below.

Lisa Mitchell - Bless This Mess

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bestival 2012 - A Review (Or rather 10 things we learnt at Bestival)

In 2011 when Michael Eavis surprisingly claimed Glastonbury festival had "probably got another three or four years” before the event came to an end, perhaps at the back of his mind he was referring to the fact that there’s another event that is getting very close to stealing the festival crown. Now in its ninth year, last weekend’s Bestival on the Isle of Wight pulled out all the stops to arguably position itself as the new king of festivals in the UK, or at least the prince in waiting.

Put quite simply Bestival is an incredible experience. Organiser Rob da Bank and his wife Josie have created a world of colour, artistry, love, beauty, friendship, attention to detail and quite phenomenal music that puts other festivals to shame. It’s a festival that feels totally removed from reality, having an open-minded atmosphere that harks back to hippiedom, whilst maintaining a cutting edge and vibrancy that maybe Glastonbury has lost a little. At the end of four days of body and mind destroying fun, coming home afterwards on the ferry across the Solent feels like the end of the greatest summer holiday romance. There’s an empty sad feeling; as if a piece of our soul has been sucked out and taken away.

So here, in the normal Breaking More Waves style is a review (of sorts) of our favourite festival of summer 2012, or rather…

10 Things We Learnt (or that reinforced our previous learning) about Bestival 2012

1. A great festival is the sum of its parts, but the third most important thing is the weather.

It doesn’t matter how enchanting the aesthetic of the site build is, if it’s turned into something like a World War 1 quagmire by battering rain storms, as survivors of Bestival 2008 will testify, nobody is going to take much notice or care. Thankfully Bestival 2012 was blessed with sun cream spreading sunny weather. So it was easy to appreciate the visual splendour of the ‘swandoliers’ (lights in the shape of swans on poles), sculptural coloured striped blocks with love hearts atop them, weird installations that looked like giant fibre optic spider plants, stages that took the form of run-down swamp shacks and much more. Bestival was a colourful and wonderful assault on the eyes.

2. A great festival is the sum of its parts, but the second most important thing is the music.

It doesn’t matter how great the weather is, if the music isn’t brimming with quality the event is going to struggle to hold your attention. At Bestival set after set delivered that quality. The XX’s whispered intimacy kissed the ears tenderly under clouds of slowly drifting dry ice and minimalistic lighting, contrasting perfectly with Florence & The Machine’s euphoric bombardment of the ears complete with orchestra and choir. Alt-J found themselves humbled with a huge crowd on the replay stage and rewarded them with a note perfect set of their quirky oddball folk-step grooves, proving that often the best bands are the ones that take a risk and do something different. The Other Tribe played three times in one day and provided plenty of opportunities for people to sweat with their bone shaking non-stop indie rave grooves and then of course there was a certain Mr Stevie Wonder who probably drew the biggest crowd ever seen on the main stage at Bestival.

3. Bernard Sumner from New Order would like to run a pop quiz. (Maybe).

“Guess who we are then?” questioned Bernard as his band took to the stage. “This is a Joy Division one can you guess what it is?” he asked later. We got both questions right, but then we’re pretty good at pop quizzes.

4. There’s nothing like a smile, some chat and a cup of tea from a nice lady in an apron.

A Bestival institution, the ladies of the Women’s Institute were on hand at the top of a steep grassy incline affectionately known to Bestival regulars as The Hill of Death to provide tea and delicious freshly baked homemade cakes for just 70p each to the weary and the hungover. These angels in aprons were the real headliner of Bestival 2012, their tent being their own version of heaven.

5. Blog buzz doesn’t necessarily equal large crowds. (We may have said this before)

Say hello to Brooklyn’s Ms Mr, a new pop band. There were 50,000 people at Bestival. We would hazard a guess that between 100 and 200 watched their debut UK performance on Saturday afternoon.

6. But as a new band blog buzz probably does help a tiny bit.

On Thursday night San Zhi’s gorgeous dreamy lullaby pop was witnessed by a crowd of less than 50 people at the Replay stage. This was a real shame as it was really rather pretty.  A quick search of The Hype Machine suggests that just 2 blogs (one of whom is this one) have written about them. By our calculations based on the number of Ms Mr Hype Machine blog write ups and San Zhi’s blog coverage so far, as a new act who has yet to release a single, for every blog that writes about you at a 50,000 capacity festival you’ll get an additional 1.72 people in your audience.

7. Kate Nash’s new songs aren’t all as bad as Under Estimate The Girl

Until they disappear from twitter, find our thoughts on Kate Nash’s gig at Bestival by searching on #katenashlivetweets2 . Warning : Includes pictures of Kate Nash dressed like a tree. We found this strangely attractive. Later that day we DJ'd inside a tree at the festival. Maybe there's some deep rooted connection there. 

8. Charli XCX wins the award for best dancing at Bestival.

Imagine dancing to the Spice Girls in your bedroom with a burning firework up your bum, add in a bit of street kid aggression and save that image.

9. Sometimes artist cancellations work in your favour.

With Azealia Banks pulling out of Bestival due to exhaustion it meant that the running order for Saturday’s Big Top stage was revised. So we were able to catch a number of artists who we thought we were likely to miss due to timetabling clashes, namely Jessie Ware and The Other Tribe. Sorry you’re knackered Azealia but you were a big help to us.

10. A great festival is the sum of its parts, but the most important thing is people that you attend with.

Breaking More Waves was honoured to attend with the best set of people in the world.  We’re not going to ‘review’ them but if you sat in our car on the way to Bestival we give you 10/10.


Tragically the day after Bestival a coach transporting passengers from the festival to Liverpool crashed on the A3 near Hindhead killing 3 people and injuring 50 others. No words can express our sadness at this event and our thoughts are with the victims families, friends and loved ones.

The XX - Angels (Live at Bestival)

Jessie Ware - Running (Live at Bestival)

First Aid Kit - Emmylou (Live at Bestival)

Ane Brun - Undertow (Live at Bestival)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Gabrielle Aplin - Please Don't Say You Love Me (Video)

If any struggling band wants tips on how to get their music heard, develop a fan base and sell out shows, Gabrielle Aplin is probably someone to talk to for advice. For Aplin has carved herself a route through the multitude of in-waiting singer songwriters and acoustic troubadours to a major label deal. She’s done this through a very active You Tube channel (11,000,000 views and counting), support of BBC Introducing, a smattering of blog support (including from Breaking More Waves), a very real twitter account and 3 self-released EP’s that have sold exceptionally well (60,000 copies).  But the most important piece of advice we’d like to think that Gabrielle would dispense is this: Write great songs, have immense talent.

Please Don’t Say You Love Me is her debut single for her new found label home of Parlophone. It’s an accomplished and incredibly pretty song with sincerely honest lyrics; those three magic words of “I love you,” can sometimes change relationships in all sorts of ways. The song can be interpreted as Aplin singing to her boyfriend but it could also be interpreted from the point of view of someone having an affair, either way it deals in a very openly with the often complex subject of commitment and the difficulty of comprehending the future when things seem wonderful now. Hats off to Parlophone as well, who don't seem to have tried to influence Aplin's musical style at all, leaving her to have control creatively. You can pre-order Aplin's single here.

Gabrielle Aplin - Please Don't Say You Love Me (Video)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

PartyClub - Those Girls

“There ain’t no party like an S Club Party,” someone sang once. They were probably right, after all we can’t imagine many parties where one of the female hosts starts off by asking boys to keep their eyes on them and then put one hand down their trousers, like this lady does.

Giving Rachel & Co a run for their money however are York's PartyClub, who sing about impressing the ladies through the joys of dancing on their new song Those Girls. “I put on those dancing shoes and those girls watch me as I throw my moves.”

Following on from Shake and Young & Free, Those Girls is a buoyant and breezy piece of feel-good indie pop. Who cares about the economic crisis, banker’s bonuses and the lack of faith in government when there’s (as another band once said) You! Me! Dancing!

PartyClub will be playing in London on the 11th September at the Buffalo Bar for Club Fandango. London - get ready for their indie bounce.

PartyClub - Those Girls

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ellie Goulding - Anything Could Happen (Video)

Here are 10 thoughts on the new Ellie Goulding video (below).

1. Triangles: They’ve become mainstream now haven’t they? We blame Alt-J for singing that they are their favourite things.

2. At about 0.40 Ellie actually looks a bit like an all pale version of Skrillex.

3. Talking of Skrillex there is no WUB WUB on this record thankfully, although as one You Tube commentator notes in a rather LOLtastic way: “Brace yourself dubstep remixes are coming.”

4. As we said earlier this morning, two of our favourite things (and almost guaranteeing a blog post) are great music and the sea. Ellie’s obviously been reading, because we get the sea in this video. The beach is a bit weird looking but we’ll take it.

5. The cloud that Ellie hangs from (for example at 3.21) is rubbish. It appears to be a reject from the Olympics opening ceremony.

6. We suspect that this video will get a lot of views. It’s that kind of video.

7. The opening few seconds of the song sounds like Grimes.

8. The song plods along a bit until the choir of Ellies come in (around 1.07) and then it starts to make sense. The glorious moment where she sounds like an elfin Bonnie Tyler at 3.22-3.24 is pretty amazing and the way the glossy but cheesy electronic synth sounds kick back in after that moment is also better than 7/10.

9. As far as we’ve been able to ascertain Ellie does not wear a seat belt in the video. The consequences are shown quite clearly. Remember clunk click every trip kids – just because Jessie Ware made it trendy to go seat beltless doesn’t mean you should. OK?

10. Not specifically about this song but Breaking More Waves still gets hits on old Ellie Goulding posts with people searching for Ellie Goulding Naked. It seems people still want to see her Starry Eye.

Ellie Goulding Anything Could Happen (Video)

Ren Harvieu - Do Right By Me (Video)

It’s not often we’re lost for words, but today we are.

Take two of Breaking More Waves favourite things, namely some great music and the sea, put them in a video and it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll either be gushing our adoration or stunned silent with our infatuation.

This is pretty much our ideal. However many words there are for love, we'll use them all.

That’s all we need to say.

Ren Harvieu - Do Right By Me (Video)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ottilia - New Waves

Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten is a bit of a mouthful, so we’re thankful that this new Swedish singer has adopted the moniker Ottilia K, or even just Ottilia, depending on where you look. So for now we’re calling her just Ottilia because we’ve always believed that simplicity is best.

Originally from Uppsala, Sweden, but now based in the UK, Ottilia has been posting stark acoustic demos to the internet for the last year or so, but it’s her latest offerings, Heartless and I Don’t Let Myself Fall In Love that stand out. Reminiscent of second album Lykke Li Heartless is a despondent anthem of the used and hurt. “If I had a heart left to love you I would do, I would do,” she intones mournfully over slow beats and atmospherically melancholy music. I Don’t Let Myself Fall In Love is even better though. A sparse torch song it finds Ottilia sounding beautifully bitter; “love has no sympathy, that’s why it will be the death of me.” Imagine this song on the closing credits to an impossibly sad romantic film, with the audience blubbing their eyes out, desperately hoping that the cinema lights don’t come up yet.

Not everything Ottilia has wrapped her vocals around is so gloomy and troubled though. A short scurry around the internet and you’ll find her adding some weight to a house track called Candles & Fog by Cubiq from Oxford (listen here). She’s also been playing a number of gigs around London this summer and will be stepping out of the capital to play Gathering Festival in October.

There's also a whole collection of her demos on her Soundcloud which may lack in production values, but there's enough quality there to suggest that if these songs were given some sheen and space to grow Ottilia could be finding many more appreciative ears.

Ottilia - Heartless 

Ottilia - I Don't Let Myself Fall In Love

Southsea Fest 2012 - Preview

With just 113 days to go till Christmas, the UK summer outdoor festival season will soon be well and truly behind us. The word over-saturated probably best describes some festival promoter’s experiences in 2012 with a number of high profile cancellations, not only due to poor ticket sales but adverse weather conditions as well.

Yet even in these uncertain times there are still plenty of people bold enough to run festivals. Maybe one of the shrewder strategies is to remove the risk of the weather and create an event with venues that are indoors and a site where mud is just not possible; ladies and gentlemen welcome to the world of the urban festival. Mimicking the success of the likes of SXSW, Great Escape and The Camden Crawl it seems that nearly every city now has its own multi-venue wristband-access festival and Breaking More Waves hometown is no exception, with the sixth chapter of Southsea Fest taking place on the 15th September 2012.

Located in pubs, bars, music venues and an Edwardian playhouse in Albert Road in Southsea, the single day event has the atmosphere of a slightly drunken bohemian d-i-y labour of love rather than the larger scale branded music-industry events such as The Great Escape. Like the antique shops, curry houses and fashion stores that line Albert Road, Southsea Fest has an independent home grown flavour. It’s this keeping things local concept that has probably helped it survive as the urban multi-venue festival market continues to expand, with a number of similar events with very impressive line ups appearing for the first time this year.

Southsea Fest has always had a strong association with new music and emerging talent, with the likes of The Joy Formidable, Eliza Doolittle and Django Django having all graced the events stages at a very early points in their careers. It also strongly represents its local music scene, with hometown acts sharing the bill with national ones. The booking policy of the festival also strongly represents the tatses of local punters. This means those who like their bands to be Macbook wielding glitch kids, dubstep influenced pop dudes or hip-hop party gunslingers are likely to be struggling for something on the bill to watch, which is dominated by indie, punk and rock bands – the staple diet of the cities music scene.

Embracing our inner geek, we've created a pie chart. It shows the number of times various musical genres are mentioned within the event programme (which you can see online here) – it gives a pretty clear indication of what you can expect at Southsea Fest.

A guarded note about the use of the word pop in the chart; the programme uses the word often, but in the context of bands who are described as ‘ dirty yet catchy riffs crossing from lo fi noise pop to surf rock.’ Those who like a purer vision of pop (think Popjustice, think the Top 40 singles, think Katy Perry) will probably be very disappointed.

So whilst regular readers of Breaking More Waves are unlikely to be enamoured with the likes of yelping hardcore bands or garage punk rockers, here are 5 recommendations of acts to see at Southsea Fest 2012 that do fit our tastes. Tickets are available here.

Old Colours 14.40 – 15.20 Kings Theatre

The elegant and daunting space of the Kings Theatre creates an environment that is perfect for bands who aspire to the more cinematic end of the sound spectrum. Creating celestial landscapes out of elements of indie, folk, experimental pop and even post-rock, this band’s sense of intimacy and power fit the bill perfectly.

F.U.R.S 16.50 -17.20 The Wine Vaults

Combining a warm pop sensibility with something vaguely nostalgic London’s F.U.R.S have made Modern Lovers; it's a song that sounds like a perfect sun-drenched day out in the park, high on love. Like the band Cults going country or Summer Camp with fuzzy guitar twangs, F.U.R.S are one of the most intriguing propositions at Southsea Fest. Let’s see if they can live up to that bit of minor hype we’ve just given them.

Curxes 18.20 – 18.50 The Wine Vaults

Half of Curxes may hail from the area but Southsea Fest will nearly be the boy / girl duo’s first show there in a year (they are also supporting Karin Park a few days before at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth on September 12). Whilst they’ve been keeping a low profile in the locality they’ve been conquering the internet and the blogosphere, picking up support on tastemaker stations like Amazing Radio and supporting the likes of Frankie Rose, Ghxst and [Strangers]. Since they last played in Southsea the Curxes all-consuming brand of restrained electronic vehemence has become even more intense. Prepare yourself for the dark-synth onslaught.

Ajimal 18.35 – 19.05 Southsea Social Club

As with every festival there are some inevitable line up clashes and around the 18.00 – 19.00 period our timetable starts shaking with goodness. Besides the above mentioned Curxes, there’s As Elephants Are (Fat Fox 17.40-18.30) Bear Cavalry (Wedgewood Rooms 18.50 – 19.20) and the powerfully haunting Ajimal at Southsea Social Club. The project of one Fran O’Hanlon, Ajimal produces otherworldy evocative songs that deserve a special quiet attention.

Clock Opera 23.00 – 23.45 Wedegwood Rooms

Another band that needs no introduction to regular readers of Breaking More Waves is Clock Opera. Their debut album Ways To Forget received mixed reviews in the press but their surging euphoria probably works best in the live arena, where the fist-pumping drive of their carefully constructed electronic songs takes on new meaning. This will be Clock Opera’s fourth time in the town following a support with Yeasayer, a slot at Southsea Fest 2011, a gig earlier this year at The Registry and now they return to headline The Wedgewood Rooms.