Tuesday, 31 December 2013
We’re geting ready to say goodbye to 2013 as its sun begins to set. Before we do so, here are some 2013 blog related facts then some music:
1. This year we’ve uploaded close to 400 blog posts.
2. 400 posts is quite a lot of words (the equivalent of a novel) and a lot of music (the equivalent of about 40 albums worth).
3. If you had read and listened to everything we've posted in 2013, at a guess, it would have taken you about 45 hours of your life - the equivalent of a working week.
4. Its difficult to quantify, but we reckon we've spent the equivalent of between 7 and 8 working weeks on Breaking More Waves this year (if you include listening to music that we may / may not include on the blog and other blog related activities such as emailing artists / labels and their representatives, a bit of social media stuff, but excluding gigs and festivals). Yet despite being quite time heavy, having to balance it against the day job, family etc, at no stage has it ever felt like work in terms of the pressures and responsibilities that our real day job places upon us. We've enjoyed everything that comes from writing Breaking More Waves, probably more so this year than any year before.
5. We've seen a fair few well known blogs give up in 2013 due to the usual reasons of lack of motivation (see this post on Chromewaves for one example) or some that were on hiatus then vanished with no real public explanation (what did happen to The Recommender?). Then there were others that moved on to do other exciting things; our favourite girl on the block / in a field / up a mountain Flying With Anna closed down to open a new chapter (and blog) in her life as she set off on her travels. And so after 5 and a half years of Breaking More Waves is also stopping. Till tomorrow that is. We need a break. But 24 hours should be enough. See you at 8.30am on New Years Day?
And that's it. We’re closing our year by featuring 12 of our favourite (and therefore 'best') songs we've featured from 2013, each one in video form. For once, we 're providing no commentary on the individual tracks, we think we've said all we want to say for one year.
This isn’t a definitive list as we’ve chosen 1 song from each month’s worth of posts, meaning that on really good months a number of great songs have had to be sacrificed and some songs that we adore haven’t made the cut as they never had a video.
If you missed any of these gems we highly recommend you press play. The artists who have created these beauties deserve at least that.
We wish you a very happy New Year. We’ll be back tomorrow in 2014.
Twelve from thirteen = the ones.
Thank you for reading.
Indiana - Bound
Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30
Lorde - Royals
Lana Del Rey - Young And Beautiful
John Newman - Love Me Again
Chvrches - Gun
London Grammar - Strong
Flyte - Over and Out
FKA Twigs - Papi Pacify
Mononoke - Alice
Wolf Alice - Blush
Laura Doggett - Sometimes
Monday, 30 December 2013
The reasons why people view Breaking More Waves are many and varied. Some come here whilst searching for “Ellie Goulding naked,” and leave disappointed never to return, whilst nearly 300 people have reached a Lana Del Rey post whilst searching for "Lana Del Rey's lips." Others such as regular readers come via an RSS subscription.
The amount of traffic any one blog post is going to get is never predictable. For example when a multi-million selling worldwide famous band linked to Breaking More Waves via Facebook and their official website because we’d written a piece about a new act who were due to support them we had a deluge of hits for a few days, yet before that the post had attracted no more than a couple of hundred views. Sometimes some of the discussion pieces we post get shared across the internet via social media and generate large quantities of readers, whilst other times these posts don’t seem to click with people and fall by the wayside.
Thankfully as Breaking More Waves is a fully unfunded and independent blog (and intends to remain so) ultimately the choice of what we write about has nothing to do with how much traffic it is likely to generate, but has everything to do with the music we’re enjoying and the thoughts inside our head. Sounds Good To Me Too once described Breaking More Waves as being a window into the inner workings into our mind and we’d thoroughly agree with this. We love the fact that when people who have read the blog meet us for the first time they normally say ‘you’re just like your blog’, which when you think about it, isn’t that surprising is it?
So today, here are the posts from 2013 that from our head out into the internet have become the most read (or at least most viewed) posts this year – all with links in case you want to up their view count further. Yes, an Ellie Goulding remix was (just) our most viewed post of 2013, make of that what you will, although our inner geek is very happy that a blog post about how we file our pretty huge music collection attracted plenty of attention.
1 Ellie Goulding – Burn (Maths Time Joy Remix) (July 2013)
2 Lorde – New Waves (March 2013)
3 How Do You Organise Your Music Collection (A Geeky Blog Post) (October 2013)
4 Some Random Thoughts On The Spotify / Thom Yorke Debate (July 2013)
5 UK Blog Sound of 2014 (December 2013)
* For the record, here's the least viewed post on the blog this year. (Click here)
**Note – The graph above shows a basic representation of the increase in page views to Breaking More Waves from its inception in 2008 to just a few days before now. It's nice that people read the bollocks we write, if absolutely nobody did it would be a pointless exercise. However, even if there was only a tiny handful of readers we'd still do this, because ultimately Breaking More Waves gives us a hell of a lot of self indulgent pleasure.
Sunday, 29 December 2013
The very first blog post on Breaking More Waves in 2013 was a song called New Year by an artist known as Layla. Just before Christmas there was another called Winter, You Tease. As we move towards the end of 2013 here’s another. Oh My Love is taken from Layla’s Yellow Circles EP and features Layla crying to herself and a pigeon. OK, it’s not quite Layla swinging naked on a wrecking ball, but we think we’ve had quite enough of that for one year don’t you?
Oh My Love is a song about love and love’s drug like power to take things higher. It’s as pretty as a musical picture and we could easily see this one finding its way onto the soundtrack of a sweetly slushy and romantic movie soundtrack.
Layla - Oh My Love (Video)
At one point in 2013 we wondered what the plan for Chlöe Howl was. After the early 'tastemaker releases' of No Strings and Rumour at the start of the year things seemed to be all going in the right direction. Come summer No Strings got a re-release, and was marketed as her first official single. Then everything seemed to go a bit quiet. Now bear in mind that Chlöe had been launched to the internet around the same time that London Grammar first came on everyone’s radar, it appears that with Chlöe things were taking a lot longer to really ramp up to speed. London Grammar have spent 2013 pushing out single after single, playing larger and larger shows and releasing a successful debut album. Yet with just 1 official single to her name and to the outside eye, not a lot else happening, there was even a suggestion that Chlöe might have stalled.
Then suddenly there was Paper Heart, an 8/10 pop song with an 8.5/10 video. Things were back on track. Since then she’s cropped up on lots of Ones to Watch / Sound of 2014 type lists including the BBC Sound of 2014 (smug alert - ours was one of the first), bagged a nomination on the Brits Critics awards and everything looks golden again.
Which brings us back again to Rumour. Having decided one re-release wasn’t enough her label are now due to have another bash with this song next year. Rumour is of course a gossip-fuelled pop scorcher and worthy of worming its way into as many airwaves and earways as possible, but what we really want is some bona fide new material. Come on Chlöe, we love the fact you're being a tease, but we know you’ve got the likes of This Song’s Not About You and Drop In The Ocean hidden away somewhere. We’d like to hear those please.
For now though, we’ll settle for Rumour, which has a new weird chess playing video and is still another very good 8/10 pop song. There's also a rather fine acoustic version of the song recorded for Vevo which you can find below.
Chlöe Howl - Rumour (Video)
Chlöe Howl - Rumour (Acoustic Video)
Saturday, 28 December 2013
Brighton’s Fickle Friends make the kind of life-affirming indie-pop racket that creates angular elbow twitching and furious head bobbing melees in these parts. It seems that similar dad dancing might well be taking place in the kitchens of one Mr Jamie Oliver as well, the band having won the celebrity chef’s Summer Jam competition, bagging themselves the opportunity to play at his ‘Big Feastival’ in 2013.
Having formed in 2012 Fickle Friends have already released an EP A Girl Like That and the start of 2014 will see new track Swim featuring on a compilation put together by Killing Moon Records and Ally McCrae of Radio 1. Swim is another song that will guarantee sock-melting chicken-dancing grooves a plenty. The tune we’re introducing readers of Breaking More Waves to Fickle Firends with however is the vibrant I Want / You Want. It’s an examination of relationships that stabs and blasts with an itchy irrepressibility and giddy guitars. This will get the post-Christmas adrenalin flowing at the jangle disco.
Fickle Friends can be found treading the boards alongside one of Breaking More Waves favourite pop belles Laurel at Camden Barfly on the 9th of January. Get there early to catch them and dance a bit silly.
Fickle Friends - I Want / You Want
Whilst the opportunity for long-term careers and significant monetary gain for many musicians may have been destroyed by modern technology and internet, for others it has created the chance to create and be heard in a fashion that is far simpler than it ever has been before.
17 year old Liverpool based Holly Lapsley Fletcher aka Låpsley is a prime example of that. She’s been uploading tracks to the internet for the last half a year, starting with songs built around simple acoustic guitar loops before progressing to pieces that mix ambient, house and downtempo electronica. Whilst some of these tracks sound like Låpsley is still finding her musical feet, (although with 45,000 plays on Soundcloud in 2 months Pick Me Up finds her standing strong) it’s with Station, a new track uploaded on Christmas Eve, that things seem to have really fallen into place. The song’s calm caress and velvety minimalism provides the backing to an unnamed 'co-vocalist' of sorts who brings a touch of soul to this chilled gem. In just over the three minutes of Station Låpsley shows us how electronic music can make something disarmingly beautiful. A sleek spell has been cast.
Låpsley - Station
Friday, 27 December 2013
Jetta first graced these pages back in 2012 when we presented one of the simplest formulas that can be found in the maths and equations sections of The Rules Of Pop (Chapter 9). That formula was big songs + big lungs = big results. Those big results started with two songs titled Start A Riot and Can You Hear Me and just got even bigger with Feels Like Coming Home. In the last two weeks 15 million people have heard Feels Like Coming Home due to Google using it to back their 2013 Zeitgeist video. So irrespective of if you’ve seen the Google video or not, take a listen to the full version below and meet a giant of a tune.
Jetta - Feels Like Coming Home
Music sites / magazines / blogs that haven’t published your Ones To Watch / Sound of 2014 tips lists yet, hold your horses. It might just be time to add New Zealand’s sibling duo Broods to that list. After all they’re ticking all the right boxes with experience / past history (The Peasants), a hit making producer on board (Joel Little of Lorde fame) and a debut track (Bridges) that has been all over the blogs (including ours). Now to add to that check list they can add a second release in the form of Never Gonna Change which finds Broods stepping up from a crawl to a confident stride.
Never Gonna Change adds a melancholy depth to the Broods catalogue of two, from Georgia Nott’s opening delivery of “You’re pushing down on my shoulders and emptying my lungs,” to the shadowy synths that sweep through the chorus. This is pop with a steely cold edge, just the way we like it.
Having now signed to Polydor in the UK and Capitol in the US following the success of Bridges, we’re pretty certain this isn’t the last time you’ll be hearing from Broods. In the meantime you’ll no doubt find this song blowing up around the internet.
Broods - Never Gonna Change
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
“Weaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy kidz! Santa ‘ere again and gez wot? I’m out of ma f*ckin’ tree! This sherry has been goin’ down a treat! Even betta than last Christmas. Which rmeindz me. Last Christmas by that George Michael c*nt and that absolute W*NKER Andre Ridge Pole or whateva 'is name his. For f*ck's sake, what a TUNE! Not as good as Mariah of course, but still a tuneeeee all the same. No idea who this Summer Camp lot are, but the bird in the band looks hot enough to melt my snowballs and whilst I’m at it the bloke can have have a go at warmsley-ing me up in whateva method he choosis as well. Even betta, lets have a Christmas threesome! After all it’s the time for goodwill to all men and womenz. Where’s that Rudolph? Oi'll tell yer wot, he can join in wif his big shiny red nose as well! Ho ho ho.
Well I’m done in. All the presents are delivered, I’m absolutely bolloxed. See you next year for more songs from me bulging sack of happiness.
Wishin’ yer all a happy Christmas and all that. Breaking More Waves is having a couple of days break but will be back very soon.
Ho bloody ho, merry Christmas! This is Santa signing off. It's Christmaaaaas!!!!!!"
Summer Camp - Last Christmas
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
“So kidz. Come and shit, no I mean sit, on old Santa’z lap and tell ‘im if yer’ve been good or bad thiz year. Whad’ya you mean yer don’t want to? Fat old Santa stinks of sherry you say? Alright, alright, I might have just been swigging from a bottle or two, but don’t worry I’m perfectly OK. Just gettin’ in the Christmas spirit and that. Don't be so bloody bah humbug yer two bob piece of sh*te.
Well if yer not gonna tell me what you want for bloody Christmas I better show you my list. Anyway, it's a bit bloody late now ain't it? It's soddin' Christmas eve and I'm all bloody loaded up and ready to creep into your bedroom wif what i've got for yer. Here ya f*ckin’ go:
Santa’s Christmas List
1. Mariah Carey in her sexy Christmas dress.
2. Four bottles of sherry.
3. Some Mistletoe and Kylie Minogue in her sexy Christmas dress.
4. Four bottles of brandy.
5. The Saturdays in their very sexy Christmas dresses (dresses optional, they can come in just their Christmas stockings if you can't afford the whole thing.)
6. Four bottles of port.
That’ll do. Ho bloody ho. ‘Ere’s anofa Christmas tune. It ain't a banger which iz wot all the kidz wont for Christmas ain't it? But it’s from a
Sophie Jamieson - The First Noel
Me again. Yep old Santa’s still ‘ere, cruising round in his sleigh, his sack still bulging, looking for some action – and what action I’ve found. It’s from another one of those charity albums and this one is put together by Daisy Digital, the rather jolly good music blog that always makes our mince pies feel warm. It’s called It’s Coming On Christmas.
For just £5 you get 21 Christmas songs straight onto your computer or even one of those new fangled mobile devices that seem all the rage these days. More importantly all the proceeds from this record go to CoppaFeel! a charity that educates young people on the importance of checking their boobs regularly and knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
From It's Coming On Christmas I’m featuring the opening ditty, Winter, You Tease by Layla – it’s a cracker! Don’t just take old Santa’s word for it though – press play and see for yourself. Now we all like a good tease don’t we kids? I’ve got Mrs Claus one of those sexy Santa negligee’s for her special Christmas present and hopefully I’ll be able to tease her out of it later. Yo ho ho. Christmas can be such fun can’t it?
So enjoy the music, but bloody well buy the whole album as well (from Daisy Digital on the link above) OK? Now I’m off to roast me nuts over the fire, they’re gettin’ chilly up here in Lapland and Mrs Claus doesn't like 'em cold when she puts 'em in her mouth.
Layla - Winter, You Tease
Monday, 23 December 2013
Yo-ho-ho! Gawd, why do I always have to say that? I mean it’s not that I even bloody mean it. I feel as jolly as a man who has had his private parts bitten off by a reindeer. Why? 'Cos whilst all you lot are sitting on your arses stuffin’ yourself with food, me and the elves are bustin’ a gut to get all the presents and shizzle to you on time, whatever the weather, wherever you are in the world. I f*cking hate Christmas come to think of it.
Thankfully I met this lady the other day who seems to think the same as me. The Nashster has got a new Christmas EP out which she calls Have Faith With Kate Nash This Christmas, but this song I Hate You This Christmas captures the real spirit of Christmas. Basically it involves Kate gettin' plastered at the office Christmas do then nipping round her boyfriend’s for a bit of pre-Christmas how’s yer father, only to find ‘im shagging one of her mates. Dirty bastard. Ho ho ho, now that’s what I call Christmas, sharing the love around and a racket of post-punk-pop all in under three minutes. Oh and it includes excellent use of the lyric candy c*nt. Nice work Kate. Even better work her boyfriend. Happy Christmas one and all. Yo-ho-ho!
Kate Nash - I Hate You This Christmas
“Ho ho bloody ho, it’s me Santa again, limbering up for the big day. Now, I’ve got a question for all you kids who are gettin’ giddy for Christmas. Here we go....
Why does that Rudolph have a red nose?
‘Cos he’s a c*nt.
Now, whilst we’re all takin’ the piss out of poor old Rudolph I’ve got a serious message today. You’re probably wonderin’ why I’ve got my hands in my pocket. No, it’s not because I’m having a feel of my frosty balls. It’s because I’m digging deep to donate to the Alzheimer’s Society. Why? Because those good folks at Electronic Rumors blog have created a fine soundtrack to your Christmas party with an EP stacked full of electronic covers of Christmas songs. Featuring Last Christmas by Kids At Midnight, Let Em Riot’s version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), New York’s She’s The Queen doin’ What Christmas Means To Me and Australian producer beaumont (yep, no capital B) havin’ a bash at The Little Drummer Boy. The EP is being released on a ‘pay what you want’ price mark with 100% of the revenue going to the Alzheimer’s Society.
So, you know what to do kids. Have a bit of Christmas spirit – I know I’m going to, I’ve got all those sherries to get through – and put your hands in your pockets (or your wallet) and donate now and get yourself some good electronic music like this Let Em Riot tune below.
Buy X-Mas Rumors here (that’s an order) or I’ll send the elves round to shovel sh*t down your chimney. Yes, Santa can be a bad man as well.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some more Christmas fun from my big bulging sack. Till then, flash the cash kidiepops.
Let Em Riot - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Sunday, 22 December 2013
“Alright kiddies? It’s Santa here. F*cking ho ho ho from the North Pole. Hope you’re all gettin’ ready for to me come and slide down your old chimney with my massive old sack. It’s bulging bigger than ever before.
Now remember, when I arrive, forget about leaving a bloody mince pie out for me, I can’t stand the ‘orrible things, just top up that sherry glass, alright? Even better, just leave old Father Christmas the whole bloody bottle and I’ll see you right and stuff your stocking with a few surprises. And remember, no holly round your fireplace, I prefer a smooth entry OK?
Right, as you can probably tell I’ve grabbed hold of the reins of Breaking More Waves for the last few days leading up to the big day to bring you some of my favourite tunes that I’ve been DJing at the annual Lapland toy workshop Christmas party that have got the elves twerkin’ with the turkey. It wasn’t a pretty sight. So sit back and enjoy as I crack one out each day up to Christmas, starting with this from baldy rave-heads Orbital. The lazy f*ckers couldn’t be bothered to write a new tune for Christmas though could they? Oh no, the techno-king w*nkers just flicked the switch on Chime to bells and pissed off down the pub. Christmas time? Or Christmas Chime? Actually that’s bloody genius. Oi Orbital, wait for me, I’m comin’ with you, double brandy ya f*ckers….”
Orbital - Christmas Chime
Remember Pris? The lipstick, glitter, leopard print, cool as f*ck power punk pop band from London who took healthy slices of references from early Manic Street Preachers, Kenickie and Shampoo and splashed their vivid generation sex colour spray all over it?
At the time when they featured on the blog a fair few times we’d already dreamt up how the band’s life would go. First there would be a collection of sassy angry riot girl infused singles, stinking beautifully of vitriol and punch. Then a deliriously noisy and journo baiting lo-fi bastard pop EP would follow. Then they’d glam up their sound, get a major label record deal, record a big glossy chart topping album with three killer singles and one that would flop abysmally, before the inevitable split after one final chaotic gig. From here Pris would become every underground cool kids favourite cult band (especially in Japan) until twenty years later they’d be referenced by the latest big American rock band in an interview, have one of their songs featured on an advert for a new perfume and finally reform for one shambolic but somehow scintillating reunion show in some dodgy pub in London. It would of course all be bloody brilliant.
That was our Pris fantasy.
The reality was they just seem to disappear before they even got that EP or the major label deal. We assumed it was Pris RIP.
But now they’re back. Guitars are for the moment ditched, pouting however is still very much part of their raison d'être.
Pris mark their return with a cover. Men Without Hats scored a one off UK top 10 hit in 1983 with The Safety Dance (an album Rhythm of Youth made it to number 96 for just 1 week after the single). The video was probably one of the most incredible / horrendous (delete as appropriate) things you’ve ever seen with more waistcoats than Mumford & Sons could dream of, pole dancing (the maypole sort) and a dancing dwarf. Now Pris give their take on it which doesn’t contain any of the above but does (as the band stated in a tweet to Breaking More Waves) have arses and knee high socks.
Let’s hope that this is just the start of things to come. Maybe there’s still a hope of our dream coming true.
Pris - The Safety Dance
*This is the final standard new music post on Breaking More Waves till after Christmas. But up to and including the 25th itself, the big man will be along. Listen carefully and you might be able to hear his sleigh bells in the distance. Get ready as Santa unloads his musical sack on Breaking More Waves, starting later today.
Saturday, 21 December 2013
The Kite String Tangle is an experimental solo project of alternative electronic artist and producer, Danny Harley from Brisbane Australia.
His downtempo jams have been popping up on blogs left right and centre, although noticeably not on that many UK ones (like Breaking More Waves) yet, so we thought we’d slip his gorgeously chilled melodies into your pre-Christmas musical cocktail just in case you haven’t heard him. There’s a cover of Lorde’s Tennis Court that’s worth a listen but the tune that got us 100% hooked in is the creamy eargasm of Given The Chance. It’s dreamy and dancey all in one shot. Press play and thank us later.
The Kite String Tangle - Given The Chance
We’ve always enjoyed a bit of pretentiousness in pop. After all if we don’t have bands with big ideas and schemes of importance in their heads all we’d be left with is those that celebrate the banal and the normal and that would be very boring. We want artists to take us to new places, indulge us in fantasies and bring colour to our world or at least to try - even if they fail.
It could have gone either way with London 5 piece 00000000. After all, their name seems to almost suggest that as artists they are nothing, which doesn’t really give us a lot to endorse them. However, the statement that came with their music suggested that 00000000 have some sort of vision. “We're living in the age of the individual. Our culture tells us that we're distinct autonomous economic units all out for ourselves and the only way to get ahead is by going it alone. 00000000 is band that chooses to believe that this is not true. They believe that we are greater when we come together and that it's only when we join forces that we can change the world. Join us.” Or maybe we could just reword that as ‘we like being in a band, have a listen’, but even if that is all they mean, the fact that they’ve made being in a band sound exciting ticks our boxes.
So to the music. 00000000's debut track Sweetness is a toweringly good piece of post-rock pop. Of course post-rock and pop aren’t two genre’s that you’d mesh together, after all we can’t imagine The Saturdays jamming with Explosions In The Sky (although we’d pay good money to see that) but bear with us on this. It’s weird and experimental and certainly not an instant gratifier, but at its heart, under the coiling noise, 00000000 seem to have a valley straddling sense of melody that takes you on a journey through the bliss and haze. Big statements, big music. Welcome to the world of 00000000
00000000 - Sweetness (Demo)
Friday, 20 December 2013
Calling Curxes ‘synth pop’ these days is akin to calling X-Factor ‘progressive and essential TV viewing’. In fact recent live shows have found the south-coast duo ditching the keyboards completely, allowing Macaulay to frug with the guitar whilst Roberta prowls the stage dramatically ready to chew the face off anyone who wasn’t paying attention. Further evidence of this rejection of Depeche Mode comparisons comes with new song Avant-Guarded released earlier this month. Whilst it maintains a basis in programmed electronics, it has more associations with post-punk and electropunk than anything else.
Now let’s be clear about this. The song itself is by no means our favourite Curxes tune. There’s a brilliant earworm of a hook in the part that barks “sound and vision is a privilege, trade your faces, alter the images,” but elsewhere the machine gun beats and angry shouts veer too far away from our core love of melody. It seems that with Avant-Guarded Curxes are letting fly as musical outsiders.
However given a visual treatment things click into place more. The only music video to feature a budgie named Eugene, it mixes real life footage with animation and gives some clues as to the bands existence as d-i-y outlanders and underdogs balancing the drudgery (or should that be budgerie?) of real life (work, household chores) against the need to enjoy escapism / their art. “Eugene Budgerigard – He never lived,” states the epitaph on a gravestone at one point in the video. Poor old Eugene. If only had had flown out of his cage; but maybe flying is something that can only be done by those privileged enough to be able to afford it?
You can download Avant-Guarded from here.
Curxes - Avant-Guarded (Video)
It seems pretty incredible to our minds that Laura Doggett isn’t already a household name and yet, at the time of writing, the 5 songs on her Soundcloud have just a few thousand plays between them and her Facebook has less than a thousand likes.
There are two reasons why we’ve been struck by Miss Doggett. The first is her voice. It’s deep, rich and soulful. The second is her songs, which are absurdly good. Heard It All Before sounds like it could have sat very neatly on Adele’s 21 long-player, whilst the gentle ballad Sometimes "everybody gets blue sometimes", is blessed with a pop-classicism that makes us believe that Laura was born to do this and only this. Showing off her ability even further, Laura has taken former X-Factor judge, N-Dubz member and ‘female boss’ Tulisa’s song We Are Young and completely reworked it into something pretty special. Yes, really.
Take a listen to the stream of Heard It All Before and the video of Sometimes below and if you’re in London go and check out Laura at a Communion show at Notting Hill Arts Club on the 12th Jan alongside Blog Sound of 2014 nominees Honeyblood and indie six-piece Haus.
Laura Doggett - Heard It All Before
Laura Doggett - Sometimes (Video)
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Earlier today we revealed The Bones Of What You Believe by Chvrches as Breaking More Waves album of 2013. It’s the first time in the blogs short history that an electronic band has found their name at the top of the pile joining the likes of Bon Iver, Blue Roses, The National, The Unthanks and Lana Del Rey. It seems long overdue with much of our favourite tunes and output of the blog being electronic pop based. However, there’s a huge difference between a few brilliantly individual singles and a whole body of work that you can listen to repeatedly.
Sometimes this is where pop falls over. Singles are generally pop’s game. Yet, as we’ve suggested a number of times in this year’s run down of our favourite long-players, in 2014 pop upped that game; Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Little Boots and of course Chvrches have all made great pop albums where the sum of the parts is more than the individual songs.
If you missed any of our favourite 15 albums of 2013, you can find them all here.
Tomorrow we return to new music blogging, introducing before Christmas at least two acts that have had little (if any) coverage on blogs to date. Until then we’ll leave you with a new remix of one our favourite tracks from our favourite LP. Junior Sanchez takes hold of Tether and pumps it up for a hands in the air, catching lasers dancefloor moment. This is glorious.
Chvrches - Tether (Junior Sanchez Remix)
Last year we opened our Ones to Watch 2013 list with Scottish three piece Chvrches. One year on we’re closing our Albums of 2013 run down with the same band. The Bones Of What You Believe is our favourite record of the year. We believed and they delivered more than just the bones of a great record.
It's an album that has commercial appeal (reaching number 5 in the UK charts and number 12 on the US Billboard chart) and yet has layers and depth that bring you back for further listening in the same way a rock record often does. Maybe the bands past history in groups such as Iain Cook's post-rock Unwinding Hours or the indie beginnings of Lauren Mayberry's Blue Sky Archives subconsciously had influence on the way the songs were structured
Look back at the albums we listed on previous posts between #15 and #2 and you’ll notice that one theme is that it’s been a good year for pop music. Not the painting by numbers mundane pop that the likes of The Saturdays or Jessie J seem to be eternally capable of pushing out, but an edgier, (dare we say it) intelligent, darker form of pop. Chvrches are absolutely an example of this. But what puts Chvrches at the top of the list is one simple thing; great songs. The Bones Of What You Believe is packed with them. From the uplifting Gun with its blood black menacing chorus : “Hide, hide, I have burned your bridges, I will be a gun, and it's you I'll come for,” to the cascading beauty of Tether, a song that transcends the boundaries of pop and becomes a stadium synth ballad of epic proportions, through to the murderous Moroder meets Vangelis pulse of Science / Visions.
Main vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s voice may sound sugary sweet but the lyrics on this record are often barbed and bitter, the beats pummelling and the synths crystal evil. We could imagine Chvrches writing a particularly good score for a horror film soundtrack. However The Bones Of What You Believe is no horror show musically, but instead a flawless collection of pop of the highest order.
We’re incredibly conscious that sometimes when a new artist puts their first song on line there’s a tendency for the likes of music blogs like Breaking More Waves to get a little over excited and proclaim the act the next big thing and then the artist is unable to live up to expectations. Chvrches not only delivered on expectations but exceeded, in the same way that Lana Del Rey did last year.
Without question our album of the year. The Bones Of What You Believe contains everything we want from a record. A meticulously crafted musically euphoric pop record that as far as we're concerned is perfect.
Missed any of our Albums of the Year 2013 posts? Find them all here.
Chvrches - The Mother We Share (Video)
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Since their 2005 album Human After All something strange happened with both the media and public perception of Daft Punk. Despite the record being the French duo’s least successful record commercially and critically their status over the next eight years seemed to become the stuff of living electronic music legends. Maybe it was Kanye West sampling their track Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger in 2007 that did it? Or their Musique Vol 1 compilation from 2006 that reminded people how many great tracks they had created? Maybe it was the rise in mainstream popularity of electronic dance music in America that brought their music to a wider audience? Maybe it was simply their lack of further studio releases (orchestral Tron soundtrack excepted) that increased their robot-suited mythical status?
So when the hype for their new album Random Access Memories became a major pop culture event this Spring, that status seemed to jump to a new level. This was event marketing at its best, the band seemingly having to do very little, letting the internet do the work instead. (Something that Beyoncé's team seem to have continued in the last few days). For example in April Daft Punk made an appearance at Coachella Festival, not to play live, but by way of a premiere of a promo video for their new single Get Lucky shown on screens at the festival. The result? Fans filmed the video and put it almost immediately on You Tube creating their own mini viral video sensation. By the time Random Access Memories was finally released our twitter timeline was full of people tweeting just one thing: I am listening to the new Daft Punk album. But then, many of them then began to express disappointment. Because Random Access Memories, from a duo known as being electronic pioneers is not an electronically pioneering album. It’s something different.
But our twitter timeline is an odd one, full of music bloggers, press and online types who are often keen to express an opinion first. They don't necessarily have the same window as the majority. So it would seem here, because Random Access Memories has become Daft Punk’s biggest commercial success by a country mile. It’s been number 1 virtually worldwide and Get Lucky has been undeniably one of the biggest tunes of summer 2013. It’s also one of our favourite records of the year.
For these reasons:
It’s a record that is still unmistakably Daft Punk, but yet is very different in its sonic palette from previous records – in fact it pretty much ditches their core staple of house music completely. It’s an ambitious baroque prog disco record that shows that the robots have souls. It’s warm and organic sounding. You can groove to it but it’s a fantastic home listening experience as well. It mines genres and concepts that have been seen as uncool for years and makes them sound relevant again. It has great songs. It’s a concept record, but the concept is accessible to all (quite simply it’s a tribute to music and dancing). It has key tracks that form the backbone of the record (Giorgio by Moroder, Touch and Get Lucky) and give the long-player a sense of importance – of being more than just an album. It pays homage to their roots but never feels or sounds like mere imitation. It has an incredibly diverse collection of collaborators (Nile Rodgers, Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Paul Williams and Pharrell for example) each of which seems perfectly chosen for their particular track(s). It gets better with every listen.
At the end of 2013, Random Access Memories sits with Breaking More Waves as a sweetly infectious album that justifies all the attention; believe the hype and lose yourself to dance.
Daft Punk - Lose Yourself To Dance (Video)
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
Take a look at any iGeneration 20 something or teen’s listening habits and the chances are you’ll see what looks like chronic attention deficit disorder. As swipe quickly, click a love heart, on the go behaviour becomes the norm with the likes of Spotify providing endless choice, music listening becomes the sonic equivalent of the new Tinder app – shallowly rejecting anything that isn’t instantly perfect and moving on. Music is being treated as a casual one night stand where you don’t even bother to find out the person’s name. The art of listening to an album over and over and falling deeper and deeper in love with it is becoming lost.
Daughter’s If You Leave is the antidote to this poison. It’s an album that finds itself in third place on this Albums of the Year list because it’s one that we’ve played nearly more than any other in 2013 and like a slow burning fire in a room first it smouldered then it burnt and then there was the full intensity of flashover.
If You Leave is a beautifully crafted, emotionally heavy album. The lyrics are often bleak and heartbreaking, Elena Tonra’s vocals often blankly icy, the chiming guitars desolate, painting oppressive atmospheres that suit the post break-up pain of the lyrics perfectly. If You Leave is the complete antithesis of records that sing of how “oo-oo baby baby I love you, you’re so hot in da club.” It’s an album that treats love like cancer – a disease that will inevitably end in grief. “Don’t bring tomorrow because I already know I’ll lose you,” Elena whispers on Tomorrow. Lust is a drug that can help stop her feeling “dead behind the eyes” as she sings of wanting to be touched “just so I can feel something,” on Touch. Then there’s Youth, the stand out track on the record. It features one of our favourite lyrics of the year: “And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones. 'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs, setting fire to our insides for fun.”
Out of Elena’s emotionally damaged open diary we’ve found a huge amount of pleasure in If You Leave in 2013. It’s an album that is unlikely to grab you fully on first listen. Like all the best things it requires a little time to live with, time to sink into its tender troublesome depths. Take a dive with it and you may not come up for air for a long time.
Daughter - Still (Video)
Monday, 16 December 2013
In fourth position on Breaking More Waves albums of 2013 list is Immunity by Jon Hopkins. The one time Coldplay and King Creosote collaborator has cropped up on plenty of end of year lists already with this devilishly good electronic album and now we’re adding him to ours.
Immunity takes you on a propulsive and absorbing musical journey that matches some of the best work by the likes of Aphex Twin and Brian Eno. The road isn’t straight from A to B, that would be too simple. Instead it’s one that takes detours, sneaks down a side alley, shows you something you didn’t expect and only then delivers you safely at the end wanting to do it all again. It’s not a record to enjoy by pressing play on one song, skip the next and maybe listen to some others later. This is a record that requires you to set aside an hour and listen from to start to finish, with no distractions.
Immunity is an album formed from technology, but as many other commentators have suggested, it’s one that has in places a very human side (although other parts writhe around in celebration of technology). It plots a soundtrack from the opening doors and slithering glitchy beats of We Disappear to the ambient piano soundscape beauty of the closing title track and with it brings bags of imagery and emotion. Immunity is a ride, a relationship, an experience, a voyage of sound, sculptured from simple changes, minimalism, repetition, pulsing left field computerisations and wonder. It's one of our favourite long-players of 2013.
Jon Hopkins - Collider
Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal (Video)
Jon Hopkins 'Open Eye Signal' from AOIFE MCARDLE on Vimeo.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
Our 5th favourite album of the year. Combining the sound of the late 80’s / early 90’s Madchester scene, 60’s harmonies, psychedelic swirls, sunshine guitar riffs, samples, loops, house and electronica, Howlin by Jagwar Ma is a hypnotically potent beast that will find you grooving your heart away.
Australians Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield have taken elements of the past and reconstructed them into something new. It’s an album that can be enjoyed by pill popping hedonists, indie kids, chilled dudes on the beach in summer and connoisseurs at home on their headphones. From the bleeps, pulses, percussive repeats and reverb laden floating vocal snatches of Four, to the more song based stomping surf rock of Let Her Go, Howlin is a record to get lost in, to dance to and to listen to with a big stupid grin on your face.
Jagwar Ma - The Throw
Saturday, 14 December 2013
As what seems like every music blogger / website / critic / magazine / website / fan publishes their end of year list one thing is becoming clear, just as it does every year; pop music is being short-changed. For some reason when it comes to albums pop music is often not considered good enough by those who are ‘serious’ about their music.
Which is a shame; because as we've said in a number of these posts (and we feel the need to bang on about it again to make sure our message gets across) 2013 has been a very good year for quality pop. Being a serious muso all the time is really dull. In our top 15 albums we’ve already placed the likes of London Grammar, Lorde and Little Boots (it’s also been a good year for the letter L) and coming in at a strong sixth in our list is one Charlotte Emma Aitchinson aka Charli XCX with her debut album True Romance. No doubt the serious brigade will laugh in our face at this choice, but whilst they’re off scowling at the floor we’ll been having fun.
True Romance is an album that roughs things up with a mix of 80’s electro-pop, post Brit-pop girl band references and glossy but edgy production that embraces dance, house, electronica and even a little bit of hip-hop. It’s an album with a very modern synthetic sound but is painted with a darker wash of new wave and interesting, sometimes messy ideas. It’s a pop album from the city, not the countryside. The lyrics are (depending on the song) trashy, shallow, romantic, sad, sweary and try-hard-cool, in other words exactly what you’d expect from someone who was just a teenager when these songs were written. Probably when Charli is 35 she’ll look back at some of her songs here and be slightly embarrassed by them, but we suspect there will be part of her that is also nostalgically proud; because True Romance is a cracker. Sure go and listen to ‘serious’ music (you’ll find a few of those in our top 5) but have some fun with this hyper-modern class-A album as well.
Charli XCX - What I Like
Charli XCX - You're The One
Friday, 13 December 2013
Earlier this year when the on-line conversation turned to who would be on this year’s Mercury prize list, every time we were asked, amongst our predictions we included a dark horse. The album was Week of Pines by Georgia Ruth. We were absolutely convinced the record would get a nomination as what is commonly known as ‘the token folk act’. This wasn’t based on a wave of outstanding critics reviews or record industry gossip, but quite simply because this evocatively beautiful album bewitched us the first time we heard it and several months on it was still plucking (quite literally) at our heart.
We use the word pluck very purposefully here, because Georgia Ruth (who first appeared on Breaking More Waves way back in May 2010) not only sings but plays the harp, and it’s her powerfully intricate playing of this instrument as much as her crystal clear voice that enchanted us.
Our certainty in a Mercury nomination was eventually proved incorrect, it seemed that this year there wasn’t much of a place for albums outside of the mainstream, but solace was found in the fact that Week of Pines received a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize. Then to our delight it won the thing. So someone agrees with us.
Week of Pines contains songs recorded in both English and Welsh language. The music varies from traditional folk such as welsh sea shanty Codi Angor to the lonely and haunting sounding Mapping to the motorik beat pop of the title track (one of the finest songs we’ve heard this year). Week of Pines is an album that is rich in songcraft, strong emotion and near perfect musicianship. Recorded and produced by David Wrench over six days in August 2012 in Snowdonia’s Bryn Derwen studios, it’s a record to which the word timeless really does apply; Week of Pines really could have been recorded in any decade from the 60’s to now. Thankfully it was released in 2013 and so deservedly sits at number 7 in our albums of the year list.
Georgia Ruth - Week Of Pines (Video)
Thursday, 12 December 2013
On paper Arcade Fire’s new album sounded like it could be a disaster. When a rock band says that they’ve been informed and influenced by the voodoo rhythms of Haiti and Jamaica, that the forthcoming release is to be a double CD, the majority of the songs are over six minutes long and that the album will include a dub / reggae track, the two immediate thoughts are ‘over-indulgence’ and ’what drugs are they on?’ Thankfully it isn’t the catastrophe it could have been; instead Reflektor's an album that lives up to its ‘important release’ hype. It finds a band taking risks, throwing all sorts of art-school ideas into the pot and seeing what sticks.
In many ways Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s Sandinista. For here is a rock band playing with rhythm, be it funk, reggae or carnival grooves, but all restrained by their rock traditions. Of course being creative and experimenting is one thing, but without the tunes it would suck. Thankfully there’s plenty of tunes under the bands new found groovy belt. The carnival dub of Flashbulb Eyes is criminally short at under three minutes, whereas the tropical ride of Here Comes The Night Time has a lilting toy town riff that could quite easily result in some strange shapes being pulled when the band play it live. Best of all however is Afterlife, a juggernaut of a pop song which builds to a joyous and epic finale. No wonder Greta Gerwig wanted to dance to it at the You Tube awards (see below).
In a world full of have it all internet accessibility where many albums are listened to once and then discarded for the next shiny thing, Reflektor is the opposite. It’s an inspiring art-rock album that takes a number of listens to even start to comprehend, but once you do, the chances are you might just think that it’s their bravest and finest work to date.
Arcade Fire - Afterlife (You Tube Awards Performance Video)
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
2013 has been a good year for pop. Not the bland lowest common denominator pop that the likes of Will.i.am, Olly Murs and their like continue to peddle out, but pop that has a sense of substance, lyrical interest and a hint of thought beyond how to get a-list radio plays and subsequent chart to bargain bin sales.
No one artist has typified good pop more than Lorde. Royals, a song that shrugs off the aspirations of much of modern pop culture (“gold teeth, Grey Goose, tripping in the bathroom” or "Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timpiece, jet planes, islands, tiger's on a gold leash, we don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair") went from free download / blog buzz hype track to worldwide chart topper over the course of about 11 months and has given its young protagonist Ella Yelich-O’Connor the opportunity to experience exactly the things she sang about if she wanted. But Ella appears to be cut from a different cloth. Her album Pure Heroine fights against the standard pop formula of glamour and romance; in a cooly detached voice she sings of being “kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air,” and “it’s a new art form, showing people how little we care.” It’s the type of album that only a bored 16 year old teenager living many miles from New York or London could make.
Despite its disenchanted lyrical approach, musically Pure Heroine is bang on the money. Sticking to a template of near minimalism, this record is all about subtle beats, effects and electronic simplicity with nods to both hip-hop and modern R ‘n’ B. Pure Heroine isn’t packed with variety – there’s one great idea carried through coloured in different shades – but that’s the point; it’s a great idea.
In a year when the best pop has matched other genres not only in its traditional battleground of the singles chart but with quality albums that deserve to be taken seriously, Lorde’s Pure Heroine has been part of that charge.
Lorde - Royals (Video)