Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ellie Goulding - Explosions (Video)

This is the new video for Ellie Goulding’s new single Explosions. Here is our current take on all things Ellie.

1. Ellie’s second album is called Halcyon. This is a good thing because on her recent tour it gave her the opportunity to use Halcyon and On and On by Orbital as her intro music when walking on stage.

2. It's one of those ‘we can’t really afford another high budget video for the third single so let’s just use some tour footage’ films. In it you get to see Ellie walk on stage. Unfortunately you don’t get to hear Orbital. So for the first few seconds of the video, instead of listening to Ellie listen to this to recreate the full ‘Ellie Goulding walks on stage live experience’. In terms of onstage walking we’d give Ellie 7/10. Her good shoes helped. Otherwise she might have ended up doing 'a Mariah'.

3. To add even further to the experience we suggest turning off the lights, getting a lot of friends to scream in your ears and just as Ellie arrives someone to throw a pint of beer over you and stumble into you with the words 'sorry mate.'

4. Once you’ve done all that put the Ellie Goulding video back on and remind yourself of the following simple facts.

i Her voice is really pretty unique. She’s been around a bit now so it’s easy to forget. So pinch yourself and say three times “her voice is really unique,” just so you remember.

ii This song is one of the best on the album (although the album is actually very good overall). If you’re going to do a modern pop ballad, this is the way to do it. Not like the horrendous cover that will not be mentioned.
iii The bit where she sings “Explosions, on the day you wake up needing somebody,” is a near eargasm holler along moment. It makes us feel a bit squirmy, and emotional, but in a good way.

5. Maybe Ellie’s next album can be called Chime, then she can have a 9/10 walk on moment. 

Ellie Goulding - Explosions (Video)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Chlöe Howl - Rumour

We’ve already established that Chlöe Howl is probably not the sort of lady to mess around with. We imagine she’s the type that hung around the corners of the school playground huddled with the cool kids giving two fingers to anyone who even dared look at her, let alone talk to her. Of course this is only our imagination, maybe she was at home playing Barbie and reading a Jacqueline Wilson book (although we hear Lola Rose is a pretty edgy read).

If she was then she’s made a bit of a step up from those early teen relationship dramas as Rumour is a gossipy pop rocket about someone that goes a bit astray whilst growing up. “I’m just trying to work out how to be like myself, I’m just trying to work out these cards I’ve been dealt,” concludes the chorus. Teenage pregnancies, growing up as a prisoner of a religious fanatic and boozing on the dole are just some of the life experiences fired off over a squelchy pop bass line as Chlöe lines herself up to be the modern version of Kate Nash it’s ok to like for 2013. 

Chlöe Howl - Rumour

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Indiana - Bound

So the Soundcloud stream suggests that the artist is called Raider of Arks, but we probably know her better as Indiana, who we last found covering Frank Ocean. Now she’s back with Bound, which sounds like the sort of thing that Portishead might have created if they’d been influenced a little by R’n’B. Or maybe imagine if Ellie Goulding got a bit f*cked up and unromantic.

Bound comes from the black minimal underbelly of pop. It’s a song about corruption, domination and submission. There’s no sentimental beauty here. “This isn’t love it’s dangerous,” sings Indiana her voice intimate and fragile. You’ll probably be a bit creeped out by it. Yet once it’s finished, you’ll probably want to play it again, such is the strange attraction of the dark side.

Indiana plays her first London show March 14 at Old St Pancras Church.

Indiana - Bound

Monday, 28 January 2013

Py - Black Magic (Video)

The internet and music; it’s global right? Local scenes may still exist but the chance of one emerging to be a dominant game changer nationally or internationally are now much lower than they were before. Blogs, online streaming and social networks combined with the smaller importance of physical sales and the rise of the bedroom musician may have increased the scope of what we’re able to listen to but often at the expense of missing stuff on our own doorstep.

Breaking More Waves is located on the south coast of the UK (it’s one of a number of reasons why the blog is called what it is) but because of the globalisation of music we very rarely feature tunes that have any connection with our home town. It’s too easy to fall in love with stuff from New York, Stockholm, London or Glasgow. So today it makes a rather pleasant change to feature a track from a label based in the heart of Pompey. Sounds of Sumo was born in 2010 after a variety of club nights and has already put out the first releases from the likes of Kry Wolf and Canblaster and this is their latest.

Black Magic by Py, (not to be confused with that K-Pop beast) produced by Kadabrah is a terrific funky pop tune taken from a mix tape called Tripping On Wisdom and will soon be released on Sounds of Sumo. With beats that sound like they’ve been conjured from one of those Glastonbury stone circle sunrise moments and sultry vocals that match the effortless cool of Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge this song is sounds about as far away from Portsmouth as its possible to be. It certainly takes us somewhere else.

Py - Black Magic (Video)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bastille - Pompeii (Video)

Look. It’s quite simple really.

There’s good pop and there’s bad pop.

It doesn’t need an intellectual debate about it, quite simply a good pop song contains at least some of the following.

A good tune

A good tune

A good tune

And most importantly….

A good tune.

Pompeii by Bastille has a good tune several times over and therefore for any discerning contemporary music fan is quite obviously good pop.

There’s been quite a bit of debate around recently about how the UK singles chart is like the sewer of pop, full of stinking turds of songs.

Pompeii is like Dyno-Rod coming along and jet washing the whole thing.

If you like pop music, if you care about the state of the UK charts, it is your duty to pre-order this song (here’s the link) and ensure that come its official release date it secures a high chart position. £1.49 will get you the song, a b-side and 3 remixes. Let’s put that in perspective. That’s less than the price of 4 Andrex toilet rolls from Tesco and they just end up down the drain covered in shit.

Bastille - Pompeii (Video)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Salt Ashes - Black Celebration

Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration is one of our all-time favourite albums from the 80’s. It’s a record that manages to beautifully juxtapose human emotion with the music of machines and melody. So it was with some trepidation when we pressed play on this new version of the title track by Brighton’s Salt Ashes.

Thankfully our nerves were soon settled. Nobody is likely to surpass the original; how can you better perfection? But this is very good all the same.

Starting with a similar electronic intro to the masterpiece, the track soon drops away into something spacious and minimal, allowing you to focus on the words. “Your optimistic eyes, seem like paradise, to someone like me.” Even when we hear those lyrics 27 years on it makes us feel impossibly romantic. “Consolation, I want so much, want to feel your touch, tonight.” Oh! Consider us completely blown over and taken.

Although there’s minimalism within this version there’s also clouts of mountainous electronic oomph as well, which combined with Salt Ashes sensual voice means that we’re happily able to celebrate the fact that we’ve seen the back of another black day.

You can find more (new) Salt Ashes here.

Salt Ashes - Black Celebration

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Clare Maguire - Happy Anniversary (Demo)

It’s not often we do this but sometimes music just can’t wait. One of our blog rules is only to post one track each morning and then occasionally one in the early evening. But when we saw and heard this we decided it was time to break some rules. After all that's what makes life exciting.

For anyone who has followed this blog from back in the day, you will know that we got very very excited about Clare Maguire early doors. Maybe her album didn’t quite reach everybody’s expectations, but (and it’s a big but - but not the sort of butt that you can see in the Soundcloud player below ) one of the problems of our hump ‘em and dump ‘em short attention span age is that we’re too quick to put the metaphorical bullet to the head of the artist. Remember, the secret of all great music and art is time.

So time passes and now Maggie is back.

Gone are the mammoth string laden studio pop songs and instead we get something that reminds us a little of some of her very early demos we heard. Happy Anniversary is all bluesy and wild-west, her voice restrained but strong as ever she sings of cheating hearts. “This song was written after spending an evening with my ex, what was supposed to be a special occasion turned out to be a giant hazy dose of our morbid reality...”, says Clare. This is just a demo? Hell, we’d say leave it at that and forget rerecording it, don’t suck its soul.

Consider us smitten. Consider us breathless. Consider us back in love with Clare Maguire. 100%

Clare Maguire - Happy Anniversary (Demo)

Inside A Music Bloggers In-Box ( #liveinboxtweet )

This blog post is aimed at those who are interested in how d-i-y music bloggers work when they open their in box, which is one, but not the only way music bloggers find the music they write about. If you just want to hear some new music, skip to the bottom of the post and pretend this waffle didn’t exist. This is essentially a quickly written, shocking amateur, navel-gazing 'look at me poor overloaded blogger' rehash of what we wrote on How To Get Your Music Featured On Blogs, but hey bands steal old ideas all the time and call it influence, so why can’t we? It's just our influence is ourselves. 

If you follow any music bloggers on twitter you’ll probably occasionally see them mentioning / moaning about the dreaded blog in box. It’s the place where hundreds and thousands of videos, albums, songs and news stories drop into their lives every day. And when we say hundreds, we mean hundreds. Yesterday Breaking More Waves had about 120 and this was pretty average. One music blogger told us he currently has 14,000 unopened emails. Ouch. He needs to press delete all and start again.

Most bloggers we’ve talked to have a love / hate relationship with the in box. For every gem they unearth they have to shift through an awful lot of crap. To demonstrate this yesterday for about an hour we methodically opened each email in reverse chronological order. Then we tweeted what we discovered. You can probably find the results for a short while on our twitter feed. We called it #liveinboxtweet

There was a point to this rather annoying exercise though (sorry if you follow us on twitter and we clogged up your stream) and that was to demonstrate how time consuming music blogging is and how much of the stuff we get sent is totally unsuitable for our blog. Hip hop mix tapes ? We seem to get a lot of those and yet have never ever featured one. In just under an hour we opened and attempted to read / listen to 17 emails. Therefore to open and listen to a full day of emails at Breaking More Waves would take 7 hours. As we have to do a real job and have a real life we could only do this if we never slept. Even although we like to think of ourselves as amazing, we’re not that amazing.

Some bloggers are time rich (hi students and the unemployed) and can while away the day opening lots of emails, scouring the likes of Soundcloud and Bandcamp and the like to find that new undiscovered gem. But for the rest of us, it’s a case of finding time when we can. It’s why this week we took a bit of a break – we had a lot going on. But on average we personally probably spend an hour every evening going through the inbox. We also check our Soundcloud and You Tube feeds. But that’s only the start. If we find something we really like we listen and watch a number of times. We sometimes find out a bit more about the artist via our own Google searches as well as contacting the act or their PR company directly if we feel it’s required. Then we think about what we’re going to write. You’ll have probably noticed that whilst some of our posts are straightforward ‘here’s some music, it sounds like this, it’s quite good’, others bring in discussion points or talk randomly at what appears to be bollocks (sometimes it is, sometimes it’s because we’re creating a narrative for a future blog post) and then finally we write. Our writing isn’t literary prose, or journalistic, it’s just how we talk, so we can write quickly, but all of this can still take another half hour to an hour of time, depending on circumstances.

So just to create one blog post you could be talking up to 2 hours. Last year we created 372 posts. The year before that 435. That’s a lot of hours, a lot of work, for which we receive no payment except lots of free music (most of which we won’t listen to). And many of us have full time jobs, social lives, families and even children. Oh yes and we actually like to listen to other music as well – albums we own, go to gigs and suchlike.

Of course every music blogger has their own approach to the in box. We asked some bloggers how long they spent and the norm seemed to be around an hour a day, but most bloggers used some sort of sieving mechanism when scouring their inbox. The emails weren’t opened in order as we did yesterday, where we found a very mixed bag from songs about assholes to a pretty enjoyable new tune from Gabriel Bruce. As Tim from the ever excellent blog The Blue Walrus told us “a lot of the whittling down is done via inbox rules and first-line reading.”

Which brings us (finally) to the point of this article. If you’re thinking of emailing a bunch of music bloggers with some music you might be better spending your time doing your research before you send your email. We’d suggest that the 3 golden rules of sending an email are:

Target the correct blogs

Don’t mass email every blog under the sun. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. Find ones that are more likely to feature your music. Here at Breaking More Waves the likes of indie, pop, folk and electronic are all in with a good shout. But hip hop mixtapes and heavy metal are most likely to get a delete without even listening – it’s part of the scouring process.

Title your email appropriately

Make sure your opening title of the email and opening line is the attention grabber. Don’t muck around with the ‘hi we love your blog’ nonsense (you’d be amazed at how many artists supposedly love our blog, especially when they’ve CC’d 800 other blogs in on the same email and not even used BCC). We couldn't give a sh*t about what you think of our blog - just tell us who the music is by and what the music sounds like (genre, similar too etc). You could even do this in the email title and save the blogger some time.

Put the music somewhere where it’s easy to see

Although we prefer concise emails we understand that lots of detail about the artist can be helpful to some blogs and some of those do like to copy and paste. However, the important thing is the music. So make sure the email is set out in a way where it’s really quick and easy for the blogger to find that music and press play in one click. Eg: A working link to Soundcloud / Bandcamp / You Tube

There’s a whole bunch of other strategies that can be used to get your email read – from sending them at the right time and on the right day to having already created a relationship with the blogger (this is where PR company have the upper hand – many bloggers have trusted sources) to phased targeted emailing that slowly builds awareness amongst the blogging community (fact: many bloggers including this one read other blogs). But the three rules above are good places to start. Of the 17 emails we opened and live tweeted yesterday, on a normal day scouring and sieving we’d have only got round to pressing play on 3 or 4 of those.

Here’s the one song that made it through to the blog today. Oh, except we didn't discover it via the in box at all, which goes to show how hard it is out there. Have a listen. We featured some of their demos last year, but now they're sounding bigger. This is K.I.D.S

K.I.D.S - Black Star

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Eliza and the Bear - Upon The North

Breaking More Waves is taking a short pause for a couple of days whilst we’re holidaying in Scotland. So what could be more perfect to break with than a song called Upon The North from Eliza and the Bear. Its jubilant sound references the likes of Arcade Fire, Local Natives and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and bristles with a vibrancy and feels good to be alive energy that we imagine would perk up even the most lethargic of listeners.

Whilst largely absent from many Ones To Watch for 2013 lists (they very nearly made ours) they are undoubtedly ones to watch this year if this and previous track Brother’s Boat are anything to go by. Released on the 25th Feb through Generator, get ready to put your hands in the air and holler along with the words “I spent summers away,” over and over again. On this form an Eliza and the Bear album is going to be worth parting cash for.

Eliza and the Bear - Upon The North

Friday, 18 January 2013

Gazelle Twin - Heartbeat (Video)

We have to shamefacedly admit that we’ve taken our eye off the ball when it comes to Gazelle Twin since we first introduced her back in April 2011. Music bloggers sometimes get accused of metaphorically humping and dumping an artist but often the reality is just that there’s so much music we enjoy (new and old) and not enough time to consume it all let alone write about it.

But today we’ve finally made it back to Gazelle Twin and this new video for Heartbeat, her cover of a song from Wire’s album Chair’s Missing. It features on her forthcoming Mammal EP which is due on February 28th. The EP itself was inspired by Ennio Morricone’s score for the film The Thing directed by John Carpenter. Certainly Heartbeat has a soundtrack feel, you can almost sense the black solitude of a an underground cell or dungeon in the mood of the music as Elizabeth Walling sings of feeling icy, cold, empty and dark with the original’s chugging heaviness replaced with pulsing elecrtronics.

The video itself reveals very little. Like the song it has a beautiful simplicity to it.

Gazelle Twin - Heartbeat (Video)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Blaenavon - Into The Night

Spotting potential in a band is a mug's game. But we still like to play. For every new group in their early stages posted on Breaking More Waves that go on to create great art in the future (and possibly gain some sort of critical or commercial success from it) there are many more who end up failing to live up to our expectations. But it doesn’t stop us trying to spot that seed that may grow upwards at an early stage and support it. For many new artists just knowing that someone out there thinks what you’re doing is good is enough to motivate them further.

We heard a whiff of musical promise from whippersnappers Blaenavon  around this time last year, particularly in their 7 minute opus Swans (sadly now deleted from Soundcloud). Since then they've played Breaking More Waves hometown of Portsmouth a couple of times including the independent Southseafest as well some London shows and are now preparing to release their debut single Into The Night. It comes backed by Denim Patches, one of the songs that we originally featured on that first blog post through Transgressive label's (Foals, Theme Park) imprint paradYse on the 11th March.

Into The Night might initially sound like indie by numbers but as it progresses you’ll realise that Blaenavon are striving for something more here. There's skyscraping sonic ambition present, their youth (none of them are yet old enough to buy a drink at a bar) not holding them back. If The Maccabees and Wild Beasts feature in your record collection then why not put Blaenavon down as your next must buy?

Blaenavon - Into The Night

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Charli XCX - You (Ha Ha Ha)

We’ve written about Charli XCX and her musical journey before, but we think it’s worth revisiting and then extending it a bit further again.

As we see it there are three stages so far. Think of it as a trilogy describing the move from base camp to further up the mountain. The peak will be when the album comes out, which can’t be long now can it?

Basecamp / Stage 1 “The Formative Years” (2008-9 ish)

Alternatively known as the ‘hyperactive-dayglo-tinfoil- electropop years’. It was the time when Charli XCX was frankly a bit annoying, but somehow loveable at the same time. Like your younger teen sister who has eaten too many lollipops. She had a song called Neon Fashion and Glowstix and quoted a desire for unicorns, cupcakes, jam, dreams and bubbles amongst other things. It was all a bit uncomfortable really and we wrote about it here.

Halfway up the mountain / Stage 2 (2011 ish)

Alternatively known as the “grown-up-dark-pop-years”. It was the period when a lot of music bloggers came on board. Remixes from the likes of Salem and coverage on big American blogs suddenly repositioned her as the new underground gothpop queen of cool.

Nearly at the top / Stage 3 (2012-13)

A progressive development of Stage 2, but with the bloggers firmly in support and radio taking interest Charli XCX could regress a little to her brighter more colourful days in stage 1. So for new single You (Ha Ha Ha) we get the cool (big Gold Panda sample), the edgy sweary lyrics “we used to be the cool kids, you were old school I was on the new shit,” but we also get a video that apart from the guns is a mass of colour and energetic dancing that has more in keeping with The Spice Girls than anything else. There’s a bit of All Saints in the song as well in the spoken word section. So we’re talking late 90’s girl band pop with oomph really.

So as Charli XCX makes the bold steps towards the summit, we wait to see how it all ties together as an album. Hopefully it will all be rather good. We're pretty confident it will be. Oh, and if you get the chance to see Charli live - do so. Trust us this girl dances with attitude.

Ps: Don’t ask us what happened to 2010. We don’t really know ourselves. Even a blog post we wrote on her then then just gave a load of question marks.

Charli XCX - You (Ha Ha Ha)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Monarchy ft Dita Von Teese - Disintegration (Video)

Sometimes on Breaking More Waves we go on a bit don’t we?

Blogs about blogging, 400 words about a new song where only 20 of those describe the song, sex analogies, food analogies, analogies of analogies, musical theories about how pop (and we mean pop in its broadest sense to include rock, indie, dance etc) has reached middle aged and everything is just a repeat of something gone before. See we’re doing it again and going on and on when really all we need to say is this:

This is Monarchy. We thought they’d called it a day, but it seems they haven’t. 

We’re very glad they haven’t, because this new single, recorded with Dita von Teese is all sorts of turn up the strobes and take off your clothes amazing.

Dancefloor. Get on it. Now.

This is the sound of Disintegration

How I Feel Love would have sounded in 2013.


Monarchy ft Dita Von Teese - Disintegration (Video)

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Music Class of 2013 - The Voice of Apathy?

Warning : This blog post contains some generalisations, because without them every opinion piece would be redundant because of the exception to the rule.

When last week the 2013 Brit nominees were announced the general consensus was that it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. With a couple of minor glitches (Cat Power in best international female wasn’t fully expected) the awards simply appear to be rewarding the big sellers. No surprises here really, after all the awards are effectively a back slapping exercise by the music industry for the music industry.

However, these safe nominations left us pondering. In 2012 the biggest shock was Adele getting cut off in her prime during the live show; hardly the stuff of outrage. Is there any chance of a moment of rock ‘n’ roll behaviour at this year’s ceremony? Will there be a Jarvis mooning a MichaelJackson, a KLF performing a thrash metal version of their biggest hit before dumping a dead sheep outside an aftershow party or even just good old Suede perplexing music industry execs with a flash of nipple, trashy glamour and raw visceral guitars amongst the blandness of the rest of the awards.

Looking down the list we suspect not. Where’s the class of 2013’s angry outsiders that have infiltrated the mainstream? Alt-J? An innovative album sure, but they just seem too passive to ever rage against the machine. Jessie Ware? She may have been marketed as the mainstream pop act it’s OK for cool kids to like, but we’d suggest she’s more likely to be giggling over a glass of wine with Nick Grimshaw than throwing her champagne furiously at someone.

And here’s why. There’s little anger in music anymore. There’s little politics. Everyone is too afraid to upset anybody. Even the new wave of alternative indie guitar bands (traditionally a route for outspoken views) such as Peace, Luls and Palma Violets seem to have very little to say. And when they do, it seems to be a poorly thought out exercise in self-promotion, like Eagulls recent rant on their blog which lacked in any sort of inspiration or intelligence, as well as appearing to be misogynistic and concerned more about fashion than anything else. Interestingly a few days after it was posted it was removed. What were we saying about everyone being too afraid to upset anybody? Oh that. (You can still see the rant, which has been preserved by This Is Fake DIY here )

In the UK 1 in 9 high street stores are empty / shut, public services are being slashed left right and centre, long term unemployment including youth unemployment is high and homelessness has increased,  yet very few musicians seem to offer a voice against any of this.  In the past this hasn’t been so. Musicians often rallied against politicians, offering an alternative voice and inspiration for youth culture, but now the anger seems to have gone, replaced by apathy. Those musicians of the past still wanted to be famous rock stars but they wanted to make a difference as well. From The Clash to Springsteen, they were able to put across intelligent (and sometimes not so intelligent views) and if they got it right and weren’t too patronising or preachy make their fans think. Now it seems the number of Facebook likes is more important to many young bands than talking or singing about what is happening to their country and maybe for the fans of the music as well. Certainly reading music blogs (and we shamefacedly include our own in this) lyrical content of songs gets short coverage. Has it come to the point, perish the thought, that what bands are singing about doesn’t actually matter anymore? Have we all become not only apathetic to what’s going on in the world, but also in the way we listen to pop music?

Music can be a force can that can act as a catalyst to change, an angry cog in the machine.  Yet right now, that machine seems sadly complacent, rusted and stuck. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Night Engine - New Waves

We’re pretty bored of all this ‘guitar bands are coming back / guitar bands aren’t coming back’ nonsense that’s been floating round the media recently, aren’t you? Although if guitar bands are coming back what we are interested in is what it means for youth market public financed radio in the UK– but we’ve already talked about that here.

So instead, right now, let’s just talk about music, irrespective of if it’s made on synths, laptops, harps, fiddle, guitars or beating the hairy arse of a monkey with a wooden spoon and introduce a new group. Good morning Night Engine.

Night Engine have spent time honing their songs and sound, getting things right before they’ve launched themselves into the world with just a handful of gigs. They’ve already picked up column inches by some of our favourite blog buddies Killing Moon, The Recommender and The Metaphorical Boat as well as being featured in the NME, The Guardian’s New Band A Day and Ones To Watch 2013 series, so certainly they’ve had good start. If you’re suspecting that this sounds like some sort of early adopter hype with such a limited number of shows under their belts, then maybe it’s time for you to rethink how bands get their music heard these days. The old fashioned method of slogging round the country playing bottom of the bill shows to one man and his dog just isn’t practical anymore unless you’re well off or are being financed by a label or a very wealthy bank of mum and dad. Do the maths. 4 band members travelling to say Manchester from London to play for less money than the cost of the petrol to get there simply isn’t sustainable. It would be a case of band or bust. Why do that when your music can be heard by several hundred people off one post from a music blog? It’s a lot cheaper and just as likely to get you noticed.

With the return of Dame David Bowie earlier this week this post feels unusually topical. It’s because Night Engine make tight, direct pop songs that smash-funk their way onto the indie dance floor like outtakes from Let’s Dance as well as Franz Ferdinand’s debut album. They combine half-sung half-chanted vocals, choppy guitar licks and weird keyboard riffs that probably don’t take a genius to play and yet sound weirdly genius. It's dirty jerky disco music that directs your hips to thrust and your legs to twitch. It’s spikey, it’s rough, it’s brazen and will probably divide opinion, but this stuff struts like a peacock on heat. It knows it’s good.

If you're in or around London you can catch Night Engine next on February 20th at The Borderline. 

Night Engine - Seventeen

Night Engine - I'll Make It Worth Your While

Night Engine - Treat Me Like A Baby (Live Video)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Wilsen - New Waves

Are you sitting comfortably? Ok, good then we’ll begin. Today we introduce Wilsen from New York, although lead singer Tamsin has UK roots.

Press play and breathe deeply and slowly. Take your time. This isn’t to be rushed. This is a musical journey. It takes 7 minutes to fully unfurl itself.

Taken from the bands mini album Sirens which was released last year (our blog-brother / general musical connoisseur Leigh from Just Music That I Like named it as his third favourite of 2012) Anahita begins full of quiet folky stillness and elegiac restraint. There’s nothing more than there needs to be but nothing less than is just right. Don’t drop a pin whilst listening because even that will make too much clatter amongst the hush. But eventually the clatter comes, as a boldly galloping mid-section reveals itself and then slowly drifts away again. As we said, it’s a journey and a rather wondrous one at that.

If you’re a fan of the likes of Lanterns on the Lake or in particular Daughter, Wilsen might just possibly be your next new favourite band. This song will be released as a single both digitally and physically from the their website on the 18th February and we understand that they are writing and recording songs for their debut album proper for release later this year.

We look forward to hearing that part of the story as and when it appears. This is absorbing.

Wilsen - Anahita

Thursday, 10 January 2013

San Zhi - The Ex-Factor

Having become rather animated about San Zhi’s debut EP last year, we’re now pleased to see that the band have put the whole thing up online for your listening pleasure, and what a pleasure it is. Back in the days of the Madchester scene of around '89 and '90 Inspiral Carpets fans wore t-shirts that proclaimed that they were as ‘cool as f*ck’. Well we couldn’t give a hipster on a snowdrift about cool, but if we did, we reckon that the Ice Light EP would be the musical equivalent of those t-shirts. 2 original songs and 2 covers (of Robyn S and Lauryn Hill respectively), it’s a highly desirable musical experience, demonstrating that just because something is cool doesn't mean it can't be brilliant as well. Important note: This is probably the only time we will ever describe the words Ex-Factor and brilliant in the same line ( albeit the spelling is slightly different). Stream one of the covers below. 

Warning - even the frostiest amongst you will probably just melt when you hear Suraya sing “this is crazy.” And it's OK, you can blame (or maybe thank) us as you part with 2 measly quid by clicking here to actually own these beauties. You’d be mad (or very tight) not to do so.

San Zhi play alongside a great line-up that includes previously blogged Brolin, Syron and Please at the Old Blue Last in London on the 23rd Jan and entry is free. If only we were a few miles closer, we’d be there like a shot.

San Zhi - The Ex-Factor

We Were Evergreen - Leeway (Video)

There’s something about happy sounding music that makes many a music snob turn up their noses. It’s almost as if to be considered serious about art your brain has to have a jaundiced and cynical view of anything that could put joy in people’s hearts. A pessimist is never disappointed somebody once sang and maybe that’s at the core of it for the anti-cheerful brigade. The shield of negativity protects them from being let down and in an ironic way keeps them content, or dare we say it, happy.

So here’s the new video from French funsters We Were Evergreen. It’s one to press play and watch your body react with delirious bad dancing, silly smiles and good vibes as if you’ve just swallowed some Jedward pills. The ratio of likes to dislikes on You Tube says it all really. We’re serious when we say we love this song. For those of a more downward persuasion, enjoy your negative bubble, but maybe one day it’s worth giving it a pop?

We Were Evergreen - Leeway (Video)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

SPC ECO - Push

Whilst SPC ECO have never featured on Breaking More Waves before, we’re not introducing them under our normal New Waves banner as the group have been writing, recording and releasing material since 2008, so are probably not to be considered as new. Furthermore our history with SPC ECO goes even further back in time as their multi-instrumentalist and producer is Dean Garcia. Those who have a few years under their belts or have depth of indie music knowledge will remember Garcia from indie-shoegaze-electronic-rock group Curve who combined densely layered guitars with Toni Halliday’s dark ethereal vocals to form some spectacular records such as debut EP Blindfold (one of our favourite EP’s from 1991) as well albums Doppelganger and Cuckoo.

Now Garcia records as SPC ECO (pronounced Space Echo) with Rose Berlin and if there seems to be an intuitive chemistry between the two of them it is because Berlin is Garcia’s daughter.

Whilst this duo already has a significant backlog of material behind them (have a look at their Bandcamp), the track that has caught our attention is Push, which features on their EP of the same name released this week. Throbbing with haunting synth tensions, Push places itself somewhere between Depeche Mode and Garbage with a horrow show darkness that makes us shudder with delight. Now, we’re off to revisit that Curve back catalogue….

SPC ECO - Push

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Gabrielle Aplin - Salvation (Video)

The world of pop is a fast moving beast. Just ten months ago we watched Gabrielle Aplin play a bunch of songs in an out of the way pub in Portsmouth. Now, because of a couple of snowmen, a well-known UK high street retailer and a rather saucy pop band from Liverpool in the 80’s, pretty much everyone knows who she is. As we suggested when we featured her in our Ones toWatch 2013 post in November 2012 the danger for Miss Aplin now is being perceived as ‘that girl that did the Frankie cover.’ We’re reasonably confident that Aplin will be able to weather that storm, as based on her three previous EP’s and the live shows we’ve seen her play she’s got strength in her own material as well.

Here’s one example. It’s called Salvation. With a piano sequence that is undeniably similar to Adele’s Hometown Glory, it almost sounds as if Gabrielle is paying tribute to the snowmen in THAT advert. “I never meant to fall for you,” she starts before adding “all that I could see was white.” Then there’s “you are the snowstorm.” But if Gabrielle has fallen for Frosty or some other snowman / person that’s OK, because let’s all remember that it wasn’t so long ago that Kate Bush sang about a very romantic encounter with a snowman and she went all the way.

For this week only you can get this song for free from itunes by clicking here. Gabrielle’s album English Rain, from which this song is taken, will be released on April 29.

Gabrielle Aplin - Salvation (Lyric Video)

The Vestals - Seventeen

Perfect Pain, the debut song from The Vestals fizzed like a packet of Mentos shoved in a bottle of Coke last year, drawing comparisons with The Cure, The Strokes and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, all bands who have demonstrated that it’s possible to make giddy pop music with guitars. At the time we wrote about this Welsh group our man in the north and one of our favourite blogsters Andy Von Pip from The Von Pip Musical Express enquired of us in the comments section of  Breaking More Waves if the song in question had been rereleased having already featured the tune on VPME way back last April. 

The answer was no. But now it’s yes because one of our favourite label and blog types in London (that’s enough internet loving, this site isn’t a dating agency after all) Killing Moon is putting Perfect Pain out on 7 inch on Feb 11. Hurrah!

To celebrate, we’re streaming the b-side of Perfect Pain below. It’s called Seventeen. It’s a moment of classic indie pop guaranteed to make you feel lightheaded with joy. Press play and dance round your bedroom as if you were…er seventeen.

The Vestals - Seventeen

Monday, 7 January 2013

Pretty Heart - Toy (Video)

Ever since we pressed play on Pretty Heart’s music for the first time we’ve become more and more obsessed; her ghostly electronic sonnets have 100% given us the chills. Beyond the music we adore her videos, for they show someone with a strong performance ethic somewhat akin to a PJ Harvey in training. Her movements and dancing aren’t Cheryl Cole sex-crab choreographed to perfection, instead retaining a sense of improvisation, humour and even campness. It’s like watching Robyn sauntering out of a performance of The Rocky Horror Show – and that’s a good thing.

You’ll have probably already heard Toy which we streamed back in December and now Morgan (who is Pretty Heart) has revealed a new film for the song, which despite its relatively low budget limitations retains a D-I-Y charm that makes us think someone needs to give this girl a proper record deal and give her the chance to be a monumentally edgy pop star, or at least get her to come and play in the UK.

Don’t forget you can grab loads of her material (including this song) for free from her Bandcamp.

Pretty Heart - Toy (Video)

Chasing Grace - Dinner Will Be Served

One of the general theories, amongst those of us who like to come up with arguments and proposals about music (ready to be proved horrendously wrong) is that the internet has cross fertilised genres and tribes to the point where there will never be one dominant scene ever again.

19 year-old Philip Plested and 17 year-old Grace Ackerman aka Chasing Grace first graced this blog (ok that’s enough graces for one blog post) in November 2012 as we named them as one of our Ones to Watch for 2013 and they very much fit this music as an amalgamation idea. It seems that (rather like the likes of Ed Sheeran before them) they’re not content with just hanging out with one set of musicians that fit a blinkered window of the world (a criticism that could be labelled at indie rock traditionalists perhaps?) and are happy to mix it up with urban artists as well as more traditional acoustic singer songwriter types. From collaborating with Devlin on his forthcoming album to playing gigs with modern soul artist’s like Joel Culpepper at The Jazz Café, covering Swedish House Mafia and supporting over exposed pop types like Emeli Sande it seems that Chasing Grace are following a modern pick and mix approach to exposing their music.

So take a listen to their song Dinner Will Be Served, which from the limited information we have we understand will be on a forthcoming EP. We hear (as we’ve said before about their music) a touch of Ben Howard, The Staves but also a pop /soul sound in the female vocal.

Chasing Grace - Dinner Will Be Served

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hurts - Miracle

So what do we all think of the new Hurts single then?

A few days ago we suggested that the first taster from their new record Exile positioned them on a rather exciting path to the world of darkness.

Now we have Miracle.

It is quite obviously a ‘big’ song.

It has a throw your arms out around the world vastness that makes the path turn into a bid wide road. A motorway even.

It sounds a lot like Simple Minds circa 1985-1990 (The Once Upon A Time and Street Fighting Years period). This is not a bad thing. Hurts have always sounded ambitious and Miracle seems to possess an even greater sense of scale and drama ready for arenas. Shut your eyes and imagine thousands of people hollering along to the “woah-oh-oh” segments. See we’ve done well so far; we haven’t mentioned Coldplay.

So, whilst Miracle is undeniably still Hurts, it’s a development.

We suspect they’ll lose a few of their electronic-head fans with this one, (the picture above gives the clue why) but they could easily replace them with the sort of person who will happily pay £65 to stand in a huge soulless shed and drink warm lager from a plastic pint after having consumed a piss poor burger in a stale bread roll and 'experience' a gig.

Go on then, we’ll have chips with that. 

Hurts - Miracle (Audio Stream Video)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Factory Floor - Fall Back

Pairing everything down to minimalist man-machine pulses, clattering beats and dehumanised spoken word vocals that sound like they’ve come out of a freezing Berlin locker room, Factory Floor return with new single Fall Back. Imagine all the robots getting angry, necking a load of drugs (kids don’t try this at home), turning up the strobes and losing it in some sort of huge post-industrial-motorik-techno-love binge; this is the soundtrack to that orgy. At eight and a half minutes long Fall Back has longer staying power than most teenage boys in the bedroom and it’s been on near constant rotation since it first hit our ears yesterday. This is the sound of our brain melting. This is the sound of the deadpan disco. Get dancing.

Released on January 15th you can pre-order the track from iTunes or on vinyl from Rough Trade.

Factory Floor - Fall Back

Friday, 4 January 2013

Gabrielle Aplin - Please Don't Say You Love Me (Cyril Hahn Remix)

This one is probably going to annoy Gabrielle Aplin purists (and quite possibly those who hate Aplin as well), but Cyril Hahn has remixed the single that was meant to be the single that wasn’t because the John Lewis cover came along and changed all the plans but is probably going to be the next single anyway but you’ve got to wait a bit further for that. February 10th to be exact.  

Wow that was a sentence wasn't it ?

Whoever would have thought that Gabrielle would have found herself on a deep house track (although you won’t even recognise her vocal which has been radically altered). Rather like a remix we posted of another singer songwriter Alice Jemima recently (which now has had 34,000 plays on Soundcloud), it works surprisingly well, full of blissful late night atmospheres and otherworldly subtle vibes that float round your head.

You can see the video of Gabrielle's original from when we posted it here. There’s also a gorgeous piano version that’s under wraps somewhere but that hasn’t been released to the world yet.

Right, we’re up for some clubbing. Who’s taking us out then? And don't worry Breaking More Waves isn't about to become a house / DJ blog, but we're a fan blog and that means that sometimes when artists we're fans of put remixes out that we actually like (and can dance to them) we're going to share them.

Gabrielle Aplin - Please Don't Say You Love Me (Cyril Hahn Remix)

No - New Waves

The National. There, we’ve said it. We might as well get it out in the open right now because there’s absolutely no doubt that No (a band with possibly the hardest name ever to Google) sound a lot like Matt Berninger and co.

However, if you’re going to produce music that’s inevitably going to draw comparisons, we couldn’t think of a better reference point than The National. High Violet was quite simply the most accomplished and perfect album of 2010 and it would be understandably easy to mistake the six songs on this Echo Park band's Soundcloud page as the first half of the new album from Brooklyn’s finest mature indie rock group.

For the songs of No sweep, soar and occasionally creep with a gritty majestic stadium-bound beauty and menace. If they’re imitations they’re certainly not pale ones. Combining Bradley Hanan Carter’s wonderful baritone with atmospheric melodies and brooding instrumentation their debut EP Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever has already picked up a lot of praise in the U.S and a small amount of interest in our homeland of the UK. Radio 1’s Zane Lowe featured Another Life as his ‘next hype’ on his Radio 1 show last summer plus Daytrotter recently named Stay With Me as one of the best songs of 2012. "I'm leaving my husband to be with this song," one excited You Tube commentator recently said of Stay With Me. We know what she means. If last year was a great start for No, then 2013 could be even better as new video material is shortly to be unveiled.

So, let’s forget the obvious comparison and just accept the music for what it is. Bloody marvellous.

No - Another Life

No - Stay With Me (Video)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Blog Sound of 2013 - Results

The Blog Sound poll aims to identify the most popular emerging acts amongst UK music bloggers and was organised for 2013 by this blog together with the Von Pip Musical Express.

The votes have been counted, the results are in and they can now be revealed.

Congratulations to Haim, this years most voted for.

The 5 artists out of the 170 nominated that received the most votes by the 49 UK music blogs that took part in the poll are

1st Haim

3rd= Savages

3rd= Pins

The number of nominations cast for the top 2 bands in the poll was incredibly close, with Haim holding off Glasgow’s electronic pop finest Chvrches by just one vote. These two acts were considerably ahead of all the other bands that received votes, garnering more than double the number of nominations than the equal joint third placed acts – the indie guitar bands Savages and Pins. The Neighbourhood came in fifth and represent America’s second band on the shortlist. It’s interesting to note that all five acts are bands. Solo musicians didn’t feature at all. There are also some similarities to the 2012 list which also featured all bands, the majority of the acts having female vocalists, the winner being American and one Scottish act appearing in the Top 5 (although Chvrches second place has little to do with a strong Scottish vote, far from it, in fact their votes came from a whole variety of different types of blogs throughout the UK).

The Blog Sound 2013 poll’s intention wasn’t to criticise the BBC Sound of poll but simply to canvas a particular demographic – that of UK music bloggers - who have fairly small representation on the panel of pundits who vote on the BBC poll. The 2013 Blog Sound long list contained 7 acts that were also then revealed to be on the BBC Sound of List (AlunaGeorge, Chvrches, Haim, Laura Mvula, Palma Violets, Savages and Tom Odell) and 8 that weren’t (Curxes, Daughter, Mo, Pins, Randolph’s Leap, Rhye, Seasfire and The Neighbourhood).

The winners Haim have been one of the most talked about bands of the last few months and were the second most blogged act by UK Hype Machine listed bloggers in 2012. They also featured in Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2013 feature in November alongside Chvrches and Savages. Haim consist of three sisters from California and were originally in a band with their parents called Rockinhaim. They signed a record deal earlier in 2012 and will release their debut album in 2013. Their sound fuses elements of classic rock, r ‘n’ b and pop and they have been compared with the likes of Fleetwood Mac, TLC and Wilson Phillips.

You can hear all of the 5 shortlisted acts in the Soundcloud stream below.

The songs are

Haim – Forever

Chvrches – The Mother We Share

Savages – Husbands

Pins – LuvU4Lyf

The Neighbourhood – Let It Go

Blog Sound 2013 Shortlist Playlist

So, with music bloggers being a knowledgeable bunch with a good eye and ear near the musical coalface, the question is are these 5 acts going to be the multi-million selling artists of tomorrow in the UK? The evidence suggests almost certainly not.

First, because bloggers were asked to name what they considered to be the best emerging talent. ‘Best’ doesn’t actually mean ‘commercial big hitters’ – it really means ‘aligns with my taste’ and many of the blogs represented on the poll have underground / leftfied / indie tastes or specialist taste. For example, in 2012 Ed Sheeran had one of the biggest selling albums in the UK, yet his song The A-Team was blogged about by only 1 UK based Hype Machine listed blog (this one).

Second because, as mentioned earlier, all of the acts on this poll are bands and if 2013 follows the current trends, groups (with the exception of Coldplay, One Direction and Mumford & Sons) just aren’t selling as well as solo artists. Take a look at this list of who sold the most albums in the UK in 2012 for the evidence.

Third because last year's Blog Sound 2012, whilst unearthing some interesting acts that were very different to the BBC Sound of 2012 failed to produce any real big commercial hitters in the short list.

But then rock n roll doesn’t always follow the rules. So we’re throwing the Rules Of Pop (volumes 1,2 and 3) out of the window and instead  we’re just going to listen, watch and enjoy whatever happens to music in 2013. We’ll see you for the Blog Sound of 2014? Maybe some of the new acts we feature this year on the blog will turn up on that?

Breaking More Waves 5 nominations for the Blog Sound Poll were Haim, Chrvrches, and Curxes (who all made the long list and 2 made the short list in 1st and 2nd) plus Avec Sans and Alice Jemima. Neither Avec Sans or Alice Jemima made the list, but yesterday Alice Jemima was featured on BBC Radio 1's new music takeover with Rob Da Bank playing 3 songs in session at the world famous Maida Vale studios. You can hear the whole session (which is stunningly beautiful, particularly the last track When You Dance here).

That's all our end of year lists / polls and such like done now. Let's get back to new music shall we ?