Tuesday, 25 July 2017
You may well recall before Breaking More Waves took off on holiday (with just the occasional post such as this one - normal service resumes sometime mid-August) I mentioned the forthcoming sweary new Sofi Tukker beast of a tune Fuck They. That animal is now out in the world and is positioned to assault your earlobes, with over thirty F-words in its three minutes of fingers-up-at-the-world dance attitude, if it hasn't done so already. Thirty is certainly a decent amount of potty mouthed foulness, although nothing compared with the Super Furry Animal’s The Man Don’t Give A Fuck which clocked in at over fifty.
Whilst Fuck They has been streaming for a couple of weeks now, the video has only just gone live. Filmed in Toronto and directed by Mac Boucher, whose previous work includes videos for Grimes, HANA and Yukon Blonde it features a cameo by celebrity hairstylist and frequent band collaborator Danny Moon, a nod to Tucker Halpern’s past basketball life, the best carrot munching moment you’ll see this year, lots of head nodding, messy drinking and a whole lot more that will probably leave you uttering a few expletives yourself. Unleash your inner animal and enjoy the WTF colourfulness of Sofi Tukker.
For those (like me) in the UK who have been patiently waiting for the band to come back to our shores, you finally get a chance to see the duo when they play Oslo in Hackney, London on 1st October. Tickets are available by clicking here.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
SKOTT, one of the world’s greatest hand in the air pointy finger singers and also one of Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch for 2017 has a new single. It’s called Mermaid. For those who have already seen her live you will already be familiar with this song, possibly to the point of thinking that Mermaid has already been released simply because it gets under the skin so easily; on listening it feels like a familiar friend.
If you haven’t, then dive in, and prepare yourself for an immersive pop treat. It’s the equivalent of an emotional 80’s power ballad dragged gently into this decade with its tinkling piano chords, sweeping strings, la la la backing vocals and heavyweight electronics. All it needs now is a moodily styled video with some shots of SKOTT floating around underwater and she’ll be fully in business – for this is a very good song.
Now come on radio people and playlist people – this one deserves to be on at least your B list / high up your new music Friday playlist or you are dead to me.
Skott - Mermaid
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Breaking More Waves is about to go (in fact it's already gone) into one of its quietest periods ever as I take a huge long summer holiday that started a few hours ago and doesn’t finish till somewhere around four weeks from now. Despite having been being lucky enough to get time off the day job to attend a number of music festivals, the reality is that I haven’t had a proper holiday abroad for over two years, so that’s what I’m doing this summer.
There will however be the odd post or two over the next month, but they will be extremely limited. I'll be back down to business as usual in mid-August.
Before the quiet though I’d like to introduce a band that released their debut single last month and it’s been never far from my ears ever since. Swimming Girls song Tastes Like Money is a dizzying indie guitar pop tune with supersaturated guitars straight out of the Cocteau Twins handbook and a vocal that has just enough lilt and drawl to make it stand out from the crowd. It is indebted in some respects indie records from the 80’s and perhaps a little bit of early 90’s shoegaze towards the end, but that’s fine when it’s done as well as this. Taste Like Money is a record to feel as much as hear. Let it run through your veins.
Swimming Girls are Vanessa, Roo, Jay and Max and are based in Bristol. However, they formed in nearby Bath as students put together randomly in order to “write a song” for an undefined musical project. Watch out for more material from the band coming soon.
Swimming Girls - Tastes Like Money
Monday, 10 July 2017
By now the chances are that you’ve read an awful lot about Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury. You’ll also have read far less about a French popstar qui est absolument parfait, named Jain, but trust me, she played Glastonbury as well.
At first her booking on the Sonic stage looked a little out of place, Sonic mainly catering for dance heads, but within a few seconds of her starting up the booking made absolute sense. Less a dance party more a crazy gymnastic hands-in-the-air workout, Jain pulled punters into the venue with one of those ‘what is going on over there ?’ moments. I think by the end of her set the ground in the venue had lowered a couple of inches with all the bouncing on it.
So now it’s your time to move your feet as Jain revisits a track from her album. Dynabeat is all about the dance of life: “Love it or hate it , but you have no other choice, you have to realise that we are all living on a beat.” The video, like all of Jain’s videos, is a little surreal, like a modern Magritte inside a TV screen. There’s plenty of detail and clever little effect pieces to keep you hooked. Oh, and the song? Well Jain is all about the hooks; she probably has a whole wardrobe full of them and she's got this one out for you today. A squelchy synthy neon-bubblegum tune to keep you going all night.
Jain - Dynabeat (Video)
I can’t remember the last time I posted a remix on Breaking More Waves, it’s something that I just don’t seem to do that often these days. Here’s one I couldn’t pass on though. After all, at the back end of last year I named, as I always do in late November / early December, ten artists that I believed were Ones to Watch for 2017. Two of those artists were Maggie Rogers and Sofi Tukker*. So, when the two of them came together musically, there was an inevitably that the results were going to find their way on to this little corner of the internet.
So what’s the output? The results are perhaps not the pounding, riffing, weird-out, hip banger that you might expect from Sofi Tukker**. Instead they’ve taken the chilled soulful coolness of the original and whisked it off to Ibiza for a mellow sunset moment. Imagine a classy seafront bar / terrace, a cocktail and everything being right with the world, whilst this loops on repeat in the background. That'll do nicely.
*Footnote: The 10 artists I selected as Ones to Watch for 2017 were Skott, Maggie Rogers, LANY, Hazel English, Seramic, Dave, Sofi Tukker, Jerry Williams, Cabbage, Liv Dawson.
**Footnote 2: Keep an eye and ear out for Sofi Tukker’s forthcoming single out later this week. It’s very sweary, very good and you definitely won’t be hearing it on the radio.
Maggie Rogers - Alaska (Sofi Tukker Remix)
Sunday, 9 July 2017
Way back in 2013 I featured a new band from Brighton who went by the name Phantom Runners. Their debut single It Takes Me Away jangled with some full on groovy indie swagger and I was ready and prepared for the blogs to be all over the song. It didn’t happen. A few further releases (which to be fair a number of sites did get a little bit excited about) followed but it all seemed to fizzle out before the sparkle had really got going.
But in pop you need to be careful with sparks and embers, because sometimes they ignite something else and before you know it you’ve got a glow. In this case a neon glow of electronic pop gloss goodness.
For Adam Al-Hilali was the front man of Phantom Runners, but now he flies solo under the name ADAL, signing himself as a future pop collaborator / curator rather than just a producer and songwriter. His new project has been bubbling under for a while now but it’s his new collaboration with Copenhagen’s singer of pop bangers FREJA (they're both lovers of the capital letter clearly) that really hits home. Fire To You is a cinematic pop tune that could have easily featured on the soundtrack of Top Gun or Drive. It’s a flawless example of the slick soft synth song that will no doubt appeal to fans of M83 with its dark throb of a bass line, subtle electronic stabs and references to the American dream. Rather like his previous work with Phantom Runners Fire To You definitely looks over its shoulders with an eye on the past – this time the mid to late 80’s rather than the early 90’s – but it’s done so well it’s impossible not to be impressed.
What did Bruce Springsteen say? You can't start a fire without a spark. From that spark here's Fire To You.
Adal - Fire to You featuring FREJA
Are you sitting down whilst reading this? Well if you are get ready to stand up and shake your tail feather, because Curtis Harding is going to make you groove, right from the moment the opening drums kick in. The former Cee Lo Green backing singer is moving on up after his debut album Soul Power with another slice of horn fuelled Philly strong stuff and on this one he lets everything fly. Sure, there’s nothing new in any shape or form here; On and On is the sound of someone who has studied the classics well, and mastered his craft to the point of perfect tribute, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth your attention. A good song is a good song. Not everything has to be about the new and progression.
Listening to On and On is like a discovering a super rare Northern Soul stomper in the bottom of your dad’s record collection. Seconds after that you’re dancing on the ceiling. Solid gold.
Curtis Harding - On And On
Saturday, 8 July 2017
I might be a bit tired so that's my excuse I'm using for admitting that I cried a little watching this film, but Lucy Rose's new documentary is hugely touching. I can't stress how important it is that anyone who reads this post watches it.
In 2016 Lucy Rose travelled to South America to stay with fans and play free gigs booked by them. The results, far away from London and the often very unkind music industry, were clearly life changing for Lucy, altering her view of the world and her music.
As Lucy says in the film: "Music is more than music." That's something I've always felt and I hope (because you read this blog) that's something you feel as well. It can connect people in weird, wonderful and beautiful ways that can alter our future paths and beliefs.
Take twenty minutes out to watch this documentary and then listen to Lucy's new album, which is undoubtedly the best thing she has recorded, and for me is the album I always wanted her to make.
Lucy Rose - Something's Changing
Friday, 7 July 2017
Back in the Summer of 2016 I introduced an impressive new artist on the blog called Jade Bird and wrote that she was recording her debut EP in London. Now nearly one year on that EP has arrived. It turns out that the majority of it was recorded in Woodstock – but irrespective of location it was very much worth the wait.
The EP takes the classic sounds of country, folk, Americana and the delta-blues and frames them in the world of teenager in 2017 who has spent time in South Wales, Germany and Chesterfield. It’s a case of one foot in the past but one foot very much in the future as well. At points on the EP her music sounds hauntingly intimate whereas at other points, such as the bluesy holler of Ginnin’ In Your Face she sounds raspy bold and whisky swigging loud. The range of songs is strong but it all glues cohesively together.
Where Jade Bird’s natural audience sits is still to pan out. Certainly in the UK it’s easy to suggest an older Radio 2 crowd, but her youth and some her other songs that I’ve seen her play live could perhaps cross over to a younger crowd – so maybe Radio 1 is in her grasp as well. Irrespective of age though, one thing is clear, Jade Bird has bags of talent and her EP fully displays that.
Jade plays a number of festivals this summer (including Latitude next weekend) and has her own headline show at London's Omeara in October (tickets here) after recently selling out a gig at Servant Jazz Quaters also in London.
Hear the song Something American below and the whole EP on Spotify by clicking here.
Jade Bird - Something American
Thursday, 6 July 2017
There’s something wonderfully widescreen and ambitious about Manchester’s Affairs and their new song Gracious World. It sounds like it’s got its sights set way higher than some grotty boozer in Shoreditch, Camden or anywhere else for that matter. A high-kicking and life affirming song soaked in the drama of the world and all that it has to offer, it heads straight for the indie rock jugular and then some; a chest thumping, fist pumping tune. This is the big music.
Affairs are out on tour this summer playing those grotty boozers I mentioned including a show at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch on Wed 9th August. Catch them there for now, before it’s too late.
Affairs - Gracious World
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
If you follow the blog very closely you’ll have probably noticed that besides all the indie, pop, electronic, folky and acoustic music I tend to gravitate towards I also have a very soft spot for instrumental sounds, particularly soundtracks and ambient music. It’s why SURVIVE’S RR7349 featured in a very high position on my end of year album list last year and why records by the likes of Nils Frahm, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin as well as The KLF’s Chill Out all have a special place in my heart.
So today here’s a new favourite instrumental. It’s called Bloodflow and it comes from the German duo Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel, better known as Grandbrothers. Taken from their second album Open due on October 20th Bloodflow is structured in layers that are constantly repeating yet subtly shifting and mutating as they grow like watching ripples and waves on the sea from above. It makes for an immersive and meditative listen as the piece propels forward towards its final landing point. It’s six minutes long but it never feels like that. Beautiful stuff. Take a listen below.
Grandbrothers - Bloodflow
Sunday, 2 July 2017
Look at virtually any artist that has been in it for the long term and you’ll see one binding factor - development. Sometimes there will be radical changes in style, other times it might be more gradual twists and turns. But apart from a handful of exceptions most acts need to diversify creatively over time, not only for themselves but for their fans. Otherwise the rule book of pop suggests that boredom and stagnation sets in for everyone involved. Take a look at a band like Oasis for a classic example of ever decreasing returns by sticking to the same formula. Then look at someone like David Bowie for an example of an artist who was always pushing for change creatively.
Comfortable, the new single from Greta Isaac, shows how exciting development can be. From her initial mellow organic roots first featured on this blog in 2011, the 2017 version of Greta shows folk and world music reworked, reinvigorated and rebooted. The results are really interesting; organic sounds are chopped and mixed with a frenetic and futuristic fury as the newly glitchy Greta explores the ideas of turning a blind eye to everything - the trait of apathy and selfishness.
A fine development.
Greta Isaac - Comfortable