Friday, 18 August 2017

New Music: Introducing - Maisie Peters

Listening to all of the Spotify UK New Music Friday playlist can at the best of times be quite an endurance test even for the most hardened of new music fans. However, this week there’s plenty that hits my buttons marked ‘Quite Good’, ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ amongst the dirge; a couple of those songs I’ve already posted (Pale Waves yesterday and Flyte earlier today) and there’s also the likes of Fickle Friends, Off Bloom and Anna Of The North that could all have all easily have found their way onto these pages.

One of the most intriguing songs on the list is right near the top. Alongside the as usual commercial high fliers such as Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus you’ll find the name Maisie Peters. Maisie describes herself as a 'singer songwriter from Brighton who likes writing songs with too many words in them and prefers the term vertically challenged'. Yesterday 17 year old Maisie picked up her AS-Level results (she got 3 As) and today she releases her debut single proper after a few years of developing an audience through You Tube. 

If you like early Kate Nash you're almost guaranteed to like those You Tube tracks such as Maybe (below) and Over You. The single Place We Were Made sounds like a breath of fresh air amongst the paint by numbers pop of much of the rest of the New Music Friday list. It's a delightful and evocative acoustic piece which finds Maisie singing of teenage life in a small town; fake ID, stealing gin from a friends dad, talking about boys, fires on the beach. There's still a hint of similarity to Nash's songwriting here, but Place We Were Made veers off in a folkier direction that defines Peters as very much her own artist.

Maisie Peters - Maybe (Video)

Maisie Peters - Place We Were Made

New Music: Flyte - Faithless

Here’s another old song that has become a new song, released today. Faithless by Flyte first got a mention on Breaking More Waves back in 2013. This is what I wrote at the time as I introduced them: “Here’s a band who know how to write a real corker of a tune, with all that basic stuff that so many bands forget; great melodies, harmonies, variety and an accessible inventiveness that draws you in further. We hear elements of Tom Petty, Orange Juice, Roy Orbison and Talking Heads in what they do, as well as The Beatles in this gorgeous song called Faithless.” Ah yes, the days when I used the royal 'we' even though it was only me and then realised that was a bit weird. 

Quite why Faithless has taken so long to get an official release is beyond me. (Possible answer – the music industry is a bit useless – but I’m sure there’s a better reason than that). Anyway, better late than never. Take a listen to Faithless below. It sounds utterly out of time and out of place with most modern music, and is so much better for it. What a song. On repeat x 1000.

Flyte - Faithless

New Music: Alice Jemima - Home

Appearing on streaming services today with no fanfare pop singer songwriter and long-time Breaking More Waves favourite Alice Jemima returns with a new song. Of course, what is new to the casual listener often isn’t new to the fan, certainly I’ve heard Alice play this one a number of times live. 

Home is the musical equivalent of a peach. It’s certainly a little bit fruity. It's all about desire. Here we find Alice singing of wanting to go back to someone elses place, trying to erase the memories of a ‘love I used to know’ from her head. But it goes further than that, with Alice singing of ending up in a romantic situation under the stars on a rooftop. “Hoping you feel this to, kind of thinking you do, by the look in your eyes, by the kiss you’ve just supplied.” 

Home wasn’t featured on Alice’s debut album, but this is far from some cast off / b-side material; with its hook that seeps softly into the brain and slinky mix of electronics and indie guitars that Alice does so smoothly and so well, this is as good as anything else she has released. It also does that classic singer-songwriter trick of opening the song with the line that will eventually become the chorus to place it immediately in your head even before you even realise that it is the chorus. Sneaky.

Alice has been playing a number of UK festivals this summer including Secret Garden Party, Boardmasters and Camp Bestival with The Big Feastival being her next stop.

Alice Jemima - Home

Thursday, 17 August 2017

New Music: Pale Waves - Television Romance

If you were to eat a piece of cake and the first slice tasted delicious you’d probably be tempted to have another. But would that second slice be more enjoyable, less enjoyable or about the same? And if you enjoyed it just as much, would you eat another slice and then keep going, slice after slice until you had eaten the whole cake? 

It’s a bit like that with the new Pale Waves song Television Romance for me. I really liked their previous tune There’s A Honey; it was an extremely hooky piece of indie pop. But.....Television Romance sounds an awful lot like that, particularly the chorus where you can virtually sing the chorus of There's A Honey over the top of the song and it doesn't sound wrong. So in theory I should like this just as much. But it's a dilemma. Because is that second slice really as good as the first? If I'd eaten the second slice without tasting the first it would have definitely been superb.

What I'm trying to say (badly) is that our tastes and perceptions of music are affected by what has gone before. It's not quite as simple as just listening to every song in isolation.

Let's continue this idea forward. What if the band released a whole album of songs that sounded very similar? Would I like that? Probably not. For me it's why a band like Oasis became ever less exciting with every album and why David Bowie always kept my attention.

If music is the food of love, give me excess of it, but make sure that it continues to interest me, challenge me and take me to new and exciting places, otherwise eventually the appetite will die.

So that’s a thumbs up for Television Romance,it is ultimately a good song (and yes, like the previous tune it sounds a lot like The 1975 version 2.0 / rebranded), but there’s going to have to be more variety in the future to keep me engrossed. 

Pale Waves - Television Romance

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Music: Dream Wife - Fire

I’ve always been a fan of groups of musicians who look the part. Bands not bland please. Some groups forget this. When you record a song you’re a musician, but once you go on stage you’re a performer. All the great bands have great songs, sure, but live they have identity and personality as well. 

Dream Wife seem to understand that. Their shows are fierce; lead singer Rakel prowls the stage with a look that seems to vary from contemptuous menace to knowing cool whilst Bella and Alice pummel their instruments with a real intensity and enthusiasm. They look like a unit, ready for war. I certainly wouldn't want to pick a fight with them, OK I wouldn't pick a fight with anyone, I'm a lover not a fighter, but you understand what I mean I'm sure.

For those who have been to a Dream Wife gig, new release Fire will already be familiar. It’s all about that surge, that rush, that emotion, that moment of connection, about dancing, screaming and holding each other tight. Of course, fires don’t last forever but let's enjoy the heat whilst it lasts. Three and a half minutes of edgy indie-art-pop that burns with a spike.

Dream Wife will be back out on the road this October. Dates can be found by clicking here. Fire will form the lead track of a new EP released on 29th September which will include three remixes of the song as well as previously released track Somebody.

Dream Wife - Fire

Sunday, 13 August 2017

New Music: Introducing - Morgan Saint

With a pristine and skeletal electronic production, a simple yet visually compelling video and a soothing vocal delivery New York singer Morgan Saint introduces herself to the world via her tender debut single You. It’s a pop song, but one of those pop songs for people who say they don’t really like pop music. Yes, it’s a little bit cool, with that coolness created through a minimalist backing that sounds effortless. That’s not to say that You was knocked out in five minutes, with no effort whatsoever, because Morgan needed to nip out of the studio for a pizza and a couple of beers; but sometimes making something sound so easy is actually hard work.

 “I could be looking for you, in all the wrong places,” Morgan sings and as she does so the song reminds me a little of early Jessie Ware or Kacy Hill. Not bad acts to be compared to. 

You is taken from Morgan’s debut EP 17 Hero which will see the light of day soon.

Morgain Saint - You

Saturday, 12 August 2017

New Music: Mausi - Famous

Pop music is an odd beast sometimes. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we’re not aware of. 

That seems to be the case with Mausi. Back in 2014 the group seemed to be on the cusp of something. Their hedonistic pop banger My Friend Has A Swimming Pool was getting quite a few people (including me) deliriously tipsy and as the track moved from online buzz to picking up some radio play it seemed almost inevitable that the house of Mausi was going to need a big extension. Or at least a loft conversion.

But that wasn’t the case. What happened? I have no idea. But everything just seemed to stop. The Mausi Facebook gives some clues: “We got carried away with the promise and excitement of the music industry. We were young. Now we’re free to do what we want. Release music the way we always wanted to. No compromises.”

So here we go with chapter 2. 3 years on and Mausi return with Famous. Don’t worry Mausi fans, they didn’t go away and rediscover themselves as new age hippie types playing soothing acoustic folk music. No. Famous makes it seem like those last 3 years (Trump, Bowie’s death, Brexit, Prince’s death, the Brangelina break up) never happened. Famous is another banger, that heads to the clublands with a full on hands in the air joy. “One day we will all be famous,” is the hook line, which when you think about it, isn’t really possible is it? But who cares? Pop music has never been just about reality. This lie will make you feel good.

Mausi - Famous

Thursday, 10 August 2017

New Music: Lauran Hibberd - Old Head Young Shoulders

Lauran Hibberd is blessed with one of those voices that just cuts through. Whether she is playing solo acoustic or with a full band, as she dissects her words, her vocal beauty is just instantly recognisable. It's for that reason (as well as having great songs) that I’ve been championing her a number of times on Breaking More Waves.

Lauran’s new tune Old Head Young Shoulders might start quite gently, but it soon unzips itself to reveal a buoyant and hugely enjoyable indie folk pop song. Once up and running it sounds like Lauran has been studying Usain Bolt, hammering along at some pace, although thankfully it doesn’t do a sub 10 second finish. Watch out for when the instruments drop and just the beat remains – live it’s sure to be a clap-along-with-Lauran moment for sure and the song as a whole will probably produce some twitchy shoulder, jerky arm dancing from the audience.

Lauran plays a gig in her homeland of the Isle of Wight this Friday as part of the Ventnor Fringe Festival, which is sold out. She will also be playing in Southsea, Portsmouth for Victorious Festival and at Lulworth Castle for Bestival in the next few weeks.

Lauran Hibberd - Old Head Young Shoulders

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

New Music: Gabrielle Aplin - Waking Up Slow

Here is a pop song that will make you want to stand up and cheer. And then have a crazy little boogie afterwards.

When Gabrielle Aplin utters the words: “I don’t see you like I used to, now I’m going back on the things that I know,” she might be singing about a relationship but then she could also be singing about music itself. But of course music is all about the relationships we have with it anyway, so all of these things are entwined aren’t they?

My relationship with this one is easy. It’s love at first listen. It’s like dancing on the clouds. It glides in from the heavens with pulses and hooks and melody and just makes everything about pop music seem worthwhile. It’s a song that will make you, like me, feel happy punch the air and shout YES!

Well done Gabrielle Aplin. Well done pop music.

Gabrielle Aplin - Waking Up Slow

Friday, 4 August 2017

New Music: Hannah Grace - Praise You

The chances are that if you are based in the UK you’ve already heard Hannah Grace’s reinterpretation of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, which in turn was derived from a sample of Take Yo’ Praise by Camille Yarborough. That’s because the song has already been featured on a TV advert for a bank and has also played out on BBC coverage of the 2017 London 2017 World Athletic Championships. Regular readers of Breaking More Waves also might be aware of Hannah’s music before that though as in 2016 I posted her gutsy, gritty punch of a song Mustang taken from her EP of the same name.

This version of Praise You is radically different from both the Brighton Big Beat DJ’s dancefloor filler, but maybe the cover isn’t as surprising as you’d expect – after all Hannah’s exceptional vocal is rooted in gospel and soul and she has also worked with Breaking More Waves regular Gabrielle Aplin, who also benefitted from gaining a wider audience with a piano cover version that became a TV advert (her version of the Power of Love).

However, despite the TV advert, the connections to Aplin etc, what really matters is the quality of the music and this version of Praise You is flawless; the vocals, the arrangement, the mood. Everything is just perfect. So, whilst in my country this cover may not be new to you, this is the world wide web and hopefully this post will bring Hannah’s take on the song to the attention to at least a few more people.

Hannah Grace - Praise You