Sunday, 22 April 2018

New Music: Introducing - LibraLibra

Pop music needs free-spirits. If we didn’t have them then we’d be drowning in the bland. Thankfully LibraLibra, a new Brighton based project, wields its unconventional approach with a ferocious confidence. 

Debut single Animali ties together the musical out-there conviction of The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual album with a sound not dissimilar to that of tUnE-yArDs and in the process conjures up an invigorating song of colourful rhythms, tribal wails and shakes. It’s an art-school adventure that isn’t afraid to explore off the map and is all the more enjoyable for it. 

Animali also comes with probably the strangest pop music video you’ll see this week, with animal mask wearing people, BDSM ball gags, babies and blood all featuring. It’s fair to say this probably isn’t the sort of thing you’d see Drake or Taylor Swift shooting.

LibraLibra is Beth Cannon and Joe Caple with additional musicians added for live performance. You might recognise Beth’s name (or voice) from her recent work with Bella Union man Simon Raymonde’s Lost Horizons project for which she provided some vocals – and what splendid vocals they are – urgent, gymnastic and powerful. 

Animali is a song that is bold, manically creative and just a little bit ridiculous. Thank goodness for mavericks.

Catch LibraLibra in Brighton on the 28th April at the Bad Pond Festival, supporting Swedish Death Candy at the Boiler Room in Guildford in May, at Liverpool's Sound City and at the Alt-Escape part of Great Escape in Brighton. But before that be sure to check out the video below - it's one for all the animal lovers out there.

LibraLibra - Animali (Video)

Thursday, 19 April 2018

New Music: Lykke Li - Hard Rain

There are some artists who bang out record after record that all basically use the same ingredients stirred around in the bowl of a music studio, and then there are some who seem to prefer cooking up something different every time.

Lykke Li is definitely one of the later type of artists. From the pop noir of Wounded Rhymes to her flirtations with a more folky acoustic sound as part of the Liv project, she’s never been one to serve up the same dish twice. 

New song hard rain (yes, there’s no capital letters) is one of two songs she released today (the other being deep end which you can hear by clicking here) and it's taken from her forthcoming album so sad so sexy

The song takes Lykke Li into new deeper territories; it’s a skeletal trap-twisted beauty that sounds not dissimilar to something you might have found on Bon Iver’s 22, A Million. Of course, this being a Lykke Li tune there is one thing that is consistent with much of her other work- she’s not singing about partying in the club with the champagne popping. There’s still a sadness there: “If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling, I have a sea full, I can give you an ocean,” she offers. Someone get the handkerchiefs quick. Or maybe a mop.

Lykke Li - Hard Rain

New Music: Introducing - King Princess

I’ve always been a little cynical of when huge major label pop stars suddenly start suggesting their love of lesser known artists on social media, especially if it turns out there’s a connection to the label they’re signed to. 

So when One Direction’s Harry Styles quoted some of the lyrics to the song 1950 by newcomer King Princess on Twitter, but didn't tweet the title of the song or who it was by, it was inevitable that his fans would head straight to Google to search out what it all meant. Suddenly King Princess was getting a lot more attention and love. 

The label connection comes from the fact that King Princess is signed to Mark Ronson’s new Zelig Recordings and Zelig is a venture with Columbia. Guess who's signed to Columbia? Yes Harry Styles of course. It’s therefore not hard to join the dots and come up with the thought that Harry's tweet is as much about hard faced business as it is a genuine love of the song. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt shall we? And even if we don't, let's be realistic; the music business is called a business for a reason.  

But once the cynicism has been overcome there’s a pleasant surprise in store. Because the music of King Princess is actually agreeably sophisticated pop, which is chilled, measured, soulful and comes with a more interesting lyrical take on things.

1950, the song Styles tweeted about, is a love song, which takes a twist from the typical ‘girl is pursued by boy then they fall in love’ narrative: “I hate it when dudes try to chase me, but I love it when you try to save me, ‘cos I’m just a lady, I love it when we play 1950” she sings.  The video for the tune already has over 800,000 views (and a lot of Harry Styles sent me here comments below it) and hints at rebelliousness with King Princess sporting a drawn-on moustache, setting fire to a teddy bear and smoking a cigarette. 

A second track, Talia, due to appear on an EP alongside 1950 solidifies the idea of what King Princess is about. This one’s a break up tune though. Starting with soft synths and hand clicks it soon burbles up with a mid-tempo chorus that finds King Princess singing of getting a bit wasted and imagining her ex is still there: “If I drink enough, I can taste your lipstick, I can lay down next to you, but it's all in my head.” Musically, the hook isn’t in your face, but it’s still there ready to creep in to your ears.

OK, fair play Harry Styles. You might just be on to something here.

King Princess - 1950 (Video)

King Princess - Talia

Monday, 16 April 2018

New Music: Aurora - Queendom

1963. 1978. 1981. 1997. Four years that in terms of music Norway will probably want to forget. They were the years when it scored 0 points in the Eurovision song contest – the most times any country has had that dubious distinction.

2018. Everything is better. It's the year when Norwegian pop singer Sigrid became ‘The Sound Of’ and one of her countrywomen Aurora returned to the fold with the promise of a new album and this new song, Queendom, taken from it, is released today. It's a year that not only Norway will want to remember, but the world.

OK, maybe that’s a little bit of hyperbole, but there’s no doubt that the Scandinavian country is doing exceptionally good things with pop music right now, producing artists that not only can sing beautifully but have bags of charm and charisma. Anyone that has seen Aurora live will know this, she has a nature that comes across like some sort of elf or fairy – kind, caring and full of wide eyed magic.

This nature shows up again in Queendom where Aurora sings of the underdogs being her lions, the silent ones her choir and the women her soldiers. It’s a song about empathy, coming together and being safe in Aurora’s world. It’s a wonderfully positive tune and amongst all the crap that the world seems to harbour right now shines a light and allows you to smile and feel that little bit better.

It’s great to have her back.

Aurora - Queendom

Sunday, 15 April 2018

New Music: Ben Khan - 2000 Angels

Back in 2014 when a whole bunch of music fans and websites were frothing excitedly about Ben Khan’s debut EP 1992 the music didn’t really connect with me. The same happened in 2015 with his 1000 EP. If you, like me, felt the same about his output then it would be pretty easy to skip over his new tune 2000 Angels. However, that would be doing Khan a disservice, because this song is a jam with the lid fully off. It’s like Nicolas Winding Refn suddenly got together with Khan for a new film and the result is the funkiest neon flecked futuristic horror / sci-fi soundtrack you’ve ever seen or heard.

Khan might have been considered the class of 2015 but finally he’s due to drop an album later this year. Has it all come a bit too late? Maybe for those who treat their music as fashion. But for the rest of us there’s hope of something interesting brewing here. Let's get frothing together.

Ben Khan - 2000 Angels

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

New Music: Janelle Monáe - Pynk (Video)

If on the 26th April you are just about to go to bed and look out the window and wonder what that queue down your street is, the answer is that it’s probably the line of people waiting for the new Janelle Monáe album Dirty Computer to be released on 27th April.

I’ll be at the front. Obviously.

Why? Because she’s already released one of the best pop songs of 2018 with Make Me Feel and now she has replicated that achievement with another pop song that demonstrates the art of amazingness.

It’s called Pynk. Grimes added some harmonies on it. You might recall that Janelle worked with Grimes on her track Venus Fly. It’s got great lyrics like: ”Cos boy it’s cool, if you got blue, we got the pynk.” Or how about “Pynk like the inside of your, baby, pynk behind all of the doors, crazy, pynk like the tongue that goes down, maybe, pynk like the paradise found”. Yes, it's a song that is undoubtedly talking about cunnilingus. It’s got a stripped back deeply throbbing minimalist 80’s sounding synth groove. It’s got a guitar riff and some ‘Yeahs’ that sounds like the sort of thing that Taylor Swift might have done after 1989 if she hadn’t screwed it up with the piss poor Reputation. It’s got a video that features pink trousers that look like a vagina. 

I defy any fan of pop music to dislike this jam. It will make you feel alive.

Frankly even if all the other songs on the album are a load of old toss it won’t matter, because there’s more amazingness in Pynk and Make Me Feel than most full length long-players combined.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to join the queue.

Janelle Monae - Pynk (Video)

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

New Music: Curxes - The Stars, Like Dust (Video)

As someone who was born on a small island, lived part of their life surrounded by water (on a houseboat) and now lives in an island city, I can appreciate the advantages and disadvantages that separation and isolation of water can give. The biggest pro is undoubtedly that the physical disconnects that such life provides with a greater sense of mental freedom and independence; for musicians this can mean increased creativity and less pressure to follow trends or fashions, allowing them to create something unique. Yet this also contributes the biggest downside; freedom can go unchecked, meaning that artists can sometimes go too far down the rabbit hole.

In terms of music the Isle of Wight certainly seems to provide that freedom with a number of unique, sometimes challenging artists emanating from across the Solent. The likes of Plastic Mermaids, Champs and Lauran Hibberd have spearheaded the Garden Isle scene, getting varying degrees of recognition well beyond the relatively small towns from which they come. 

It was therefore not unsurprising to learn when Roberta Fidora aka Curxes returned with her second full-length album Gilded Cage last year that she had moved to the Isle of Wight. It was a record that was fearlessly experimental – a vivid collage of oddball ideas and warped sounds that sounded unshackled from the world at large. It was the sort of record that could really only ever be realised from living in a greater degree of solitude. It wasn’t going to be for everyone, but the more I listened the more interesting I found it and it ended up in my list of top 15 albums of the year (here).

Today Curxes release a new video from the record for the track The Stars, Like Dust. Whereas previous single In Your Neighbourhood displayed the poppier and more melodic side of Curxes, this track is its antithesis. Spooked-out synths, hazy vocals, beats that don’t seem to fit and then drop away altogether, this is definitely from the leftfield. But then with recent contributions to the likes of The Dark Outside, a site specific radio station in the middle of nowhere that nobody can hear (unless you happened to be on that particular hillside on the single day of broadcast with an FM radio), and live performances that have included a dancing bear, it’s clear that Roberta is not trying to satisfy anyone but herself.

Of the video Roberta says: “Introversion, distance and being burdened by nostalgia or surrounded by the past are the most prevalent themes throughout Gilded Cage and in the video for The Stars, Like Dust (directed by Rob Luckins), the only way to deal with them is by being lost in space memorabilia and good dogs.” 

It’s a neat piece of work with one scene that vaguely reminds me a little of a TV moment from Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy featuring some characters that you might recognise from the In Your Neighbourhood video and the Curxes album cover (which you can buy at Bandcamp by clicking here – I recommend the vinyl just for its orange colour and the bigger scarier cover).

The Stars, Like Dust is oddball spaced-out pop with a slightly disturbing feel. Not so much music to enjoy, but to experience; and sometimes that’s far more rewarding than something that Dua Lipa phoned in on her day off. 

Curxes - The Stars, Like Dust (Video)

Friday, 6 April 2018

New Music: Bokito - Love Gotten

When Bokito first hit Breaking More Waves with Better At Getting Worse I described their carnival-afro-pop-indie sounds as a potential party in waiting, and that description turned out to be very accurate when I finally caught them playing to a packed room at The Great Escape Escape festival in Brighton in May. What was touching about the performance was the way that the band was clearly thrilled that so many people had turned out to see them and in return they delivered a show that, centred around frontman Moses Moorhouse, made you feel glad to be alive, with Moses pulling some outrageously hip wiggling free dance moves that seemed to have more in common with African tribes people than a typical UK indie bop / mosh and the songs themselves managing to stand out from the crowd with their inventiveness.

Since that time the band released another track, Aloof, and now return with Love Gotten a tune that high-kicks and struts with a nerdish indie pop joy. Bokito’s eccentric fidgety sound sits comfortably (or perhaps given the general jerkiness of their grooves maybe I should say uncomfortably) alongside the likes of Everything Everything and shows once again that indie music can, when it tries, be both imaginative and fun. 

The band play at the Strongroom Bar in London on the 27th May.

Bokito - Love Gotten

Thursday, 5 April 2018

New Music: Introducing - Hatis Noit

And now for something completely different…

One of the criticisms I often throw at myself and this old school music blog of mine is that it sometimes doesn’t represent my full listening tastes or experiences. The number of times that people think I only like pop music or indie music or female vocals because that’s what I feature a lot of here grates a little. Because outside of Breaking More Waves I often find myself disappearing into odd, unusual, and sometimes experimental nooks and crannies. People seem surprised when I tell them that, for example, I’m a huge fan of (most) of Aphex Twin's work as if somehow because I also like Kylie Minogue or Britney Spears that its not also possible to like stuff that isn’t mainstream.

So today I’m introducing a new artist that comes very much from the experimental side of things. She creates exotic, oddly crafted pieces that have been fascinating me for the last few days. Her name is Hatis Noit and she’s the sort of artist I could imagine the likes of Bjork hearing and immediately wanting to collaborate with.

Hatis Noit is originally from Shiretoko in Hokkaido, Japan but now resides in London. Her music (I daren’t even call her creations songs, because they’re certainly not songs in the traditional form) are based almost exclusively around her voice. It’s a voice that in places is operatic, alien, monastic and earthily primal. Sometimes she layers or chops and splices her vocals to make astonishing abstract and somewhat absurd soundtracks that sound as they’ve come from a dream. And what a dream - a playful one that is cast out on her recent EP Illogical Dance released via Erased Tapes a couple of weeks ago. It’s a transcendent piece of work, demonstrating a vocal that has incredible range and embraces the idea of experimentalism to the hilt. 

Through this music Hatis Noit has created something unique and strangely, startlingly beautiful.

Hatis Noit - Illogical Lullaby

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

New Music: Hatchie - Sugar & Spice (Video)

If you were to plot a graph of how your love of music has deepened or otherwise as time edges forward what would it look like? If when you were fifteen you fell in love with the latest new indie band that the press was championing as the saviours of rock n roll, do you still love those records now? And do you still gravitate to similar styles of music? Or have your tastes moved on and changed? Have you now perhaps become a free-Jazz convert? Or have your tastes and interests waned as other aspects of life such as kids, houses, work taken over? Does today's music feel less invigorating than it did a few years back? 

I guess each persons’ journey is slightly different, but personally my palette has definitely got broader and wider with more textures, colours and love of different musical paintings as I’ve got older and developed more of an understanding of the song as a form and an art. Yet I still largely maintain a love of the old originals that brought my own sonic picture to life as a child as well. I’ve yet to tire of music in any way.

However, today I unashamedly admit that this song, Sugar & Spice from Brisbane singer Hatchie takes me back to some of the first sounds that really touched me. Glorious layers of dream pop / shoegaze guitars and a pretty indie pop melody take me instantly back to the late 80’s and early 90’s and yet here we are in 2018 and this stuff still sounds beautifully life affirming. 

The title track of her debut EP, Hatchie has explained that for the Sugar & Spice video she wanted something simple and colourful compared to previous videos to represent the fact that the track itself was a fun short song and that she took inspiration from her old school scrapbooks.

Hatchie - Sugar & Spice

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Diary Alert: Put Fri 13th In Your Diary And Follow These Instructions. Thank You.

What are you doing this Friday 13th? Forget all that ‘unlucky date’ crap. This one is going to simply fabulous.

Here’s what you need to do:

1.      Book the day off work / school / college (hopefully quite a few students will already be off on Easter Holiday). If you can’t book the day off, pull a sickie.

2.      Buy some Champagne. Remember to put it in the fridge the night before. If you can’t afford Champagne a cheap bottle of Prosecco from Lidl or other discount supermarket will be perfectly acceptable.

3.      Go to bed and set the alarm for a reasonable time so that you have had enough sleep, but it’s not too late in the day that you have missed out.

4.      Wake up, don’t bother getting out of your pyjamas, but maybe brush your teeth. Nobody likes morning breath and you need to make a bit of an effort for this special day.

5.      Ready yourself for a full-on dance / listening party (with the emphasis on dancing) for two new albums that have magically appeared on your streaming service of choice overnight. Both albums are by bands that have featured heavily on Breaking More Waves, both are fronted by a boy and girl who have delivered vocals on their songs, both have a sense of humour, colour and fun about what they do and somehow seem connected (at least in my head in terms of what they do) even although as far as I can tell they have never met.

6.      Go on your favourite streaming service (you can buy the records on physical form tomorrow) and press play. The two albums in question are Treehouse and Confident Music For Confident People.

7.     The two bands are Sofi Tukker and Confidence Man. They are both f*cking brilliant. Excuse my swearing, but they are.

8.      Dance your bloody arse off. Drink the champagne. Repeat.

In summary: Friday 13th. Wake up. Clean teeth. Champagne out. Soffi Tucker and Confidence Man albums on the stereo. Dance in your pyjamas and go batshit mental.

Here’s a new song from Sofi Tucker. It’s called Batshit. As Prince once said, Let’s Go Crazy. 

Sofi Tucker - Batshit

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Announcement: The Best Of Breaking More Waves + Live Tour

Having watched the evolution of blogging over the last few years it has become clear to me that the future doesn’t belong to words, but to images and sounds. The rise of vloggers and podcasts and the slow death of traditional music blogs has made me reconsider the way Breaking More Waves is presented.

So, today I can reveal that Breaking More Waves is moving into some new territories that involve sounds and performance.

Over the last six months, in my spare time, I have been carefully curating, editing and recording all of the best posts on Breaking More Waves over the last 10 years into a series of compilations for you to listen to. Yes! Now you can listen to ‘The Best of Breaking More Waves’ via a limited-edition cassette series. 

Why cassette? Because as a true struggling indie / DIY blogger I want to ensure that I release them on a format that hardly anybody can actually play anymore and therefore reduce my sales so that I can then complain about how hard it is to be a struggling indie blogger. Now you can experience the joy of listening to me having had a couple of glasses of red wine reading some of my ‘classic’ blog posts as I intended them to be. Gasp at the deep intellectualism of the classic ‘Pop Stars In The Bath’ series. Be amazed at the number of times I’ve used the word A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. when writing. Revisit some of my classic discussion posts and reviews and enjoy some of the comments people left, such as my favourite, when someone told me to go and wank myself off with a bar of soap.

All of this and more can be yours for just £5 per cassette (plus p&p). Or if you buy the whole series of 10 you get a 20% discount and get them for just £40.

Full details of the cassettes can be found on the new Breaking More Waves Bandcamp page. Get in quick for the ultimate blogger in your ears experience. Buy them now by clicking here.

In addition to the cassettes, I’m also pleased to reveal that this summer I’ll be taking the blog on the road for a short UK tour. Yes, you can now come and see me reading my blog posts from my laptop complete with a smoke machine and a strobe light for dramatic effect. I’ll even be doing requests - so look up your favourite Breaking More Waves post now.

Full details of the tour and supporting acts will be available soon. If you write a blog (it doesn’t necessarily have to be a music one) and want to read from your own blog as part of the tour, please feel free to get in contact.

Early bird tickets are now available from the venues direct and more will be released soon via the usual ticket agents.

Breaking More Waves Live

Jun 15th The Dog & Duck, Boggy Bottom , Hertfordshire

Jun 17th The Fawcett Inn, Craggy End, Cornwall

Jun 18th Pisstake Festival, Glasgow Green

Jun 21st The Mince Pie, Lapland (Only non UK show)

Jun 23rd Special Secret Breaking More Waves 10th Birthday Extravaganza at a secret location on the south coast of the UK with DJs, bands, exotic dancers and me reading some exclusive unheard blog posts.

Jul 1st The Vegan Coffee Store, Meatborough

Jul 3rd Bloggers Delight Festival, London

Jul 4th The Seaman And Hole Inn, Cardiff

Jul 6th The Fool, April Square, Portsmouth

Saturday, 31 March 2018

New Music: Stereo Honey - What Makes A Man

Being the end of the month means that it’s time for the Breaking More Waves monthly Spotify playlist to be updated with the songs that I’ve posted here throughout March in one easy to stream collection. The updated playlist is up now, so if you don’t like words and just want the music you can listen by clicking (and perhaps following?) by using this link.

Having pulled all the tracks together it’s noticeable that the last month of posts has been dominated heavily by women’s voices. I’m not sure why I connect with more female singers than male ones; maybe it’s something to do with the fact that more women seem to be able to display vulnerability and emotion far more openly than men. Many of my favourite female artists, from Kate Bush to Bjork to more contemporary pop artists like Sigrid seem to be able to do this. Masculinity doesn’t particularly teach this.

However, today my final post of the month is an all-male act and yet somewhat ironically here we find Stereo Honey asking What Makes A Man and hinting at someone desperately trying to hold on to some idea of manhood. “Oh they moulded and they shaped you, till you forgot to dream, now the place you crawl for comfort, is a place you can’t reach.” It’s a soaring piece of wide screen non-lad indie pop that sounds and feels majestic. Listen to it and fly.

Stereo Honey - What Makes A Man

Friday, 30 March 2018

New Music: Erland Cooper - Solan Goose

An album that I’ve been falling in love with (and also falling into sleep to) over the last few days is Solan Goose by Erland Cooper. The multi-instrumentalist, also of The Magnetic North (which also includes Breaking More Waves favourite Hannah Peel) and formerly of Erland & The Carnival has created an evocatively beautiful piece of work that has already picked up a small amount of critical praise and has been featured by BBC 6 Music.

Originally created for his own personal use as a response to the anxiety and claustrophopia he felt when working in a large city rather than a commercial release, Solan Goose started as a series of improvisations that gradually grew into something more. A combination of minimal soft piano notes (not dissimilar to something like Nils Frahm’s piano album Solo), ambient tones and effects, beautifully arranged strings and the occasional human voice it’s an album that carries with it a sense of calmness and serenity – much like a bird in flight.

And it is birds that this album particularly references. Erland originally hails from Orkney, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, and each track is named after a feathered friend by its original Orcadian title. It’s a record that you can very much drift away to imagining the flights of the creatures above the land and sea, full of grace and unhurried majesty. Counteract the horrible stuff in the world by finding some tranquility in this.

If you are a fan of ambient, classical, experimental or piano based music Solan Goose comes highly recommended. The title track streams below.

Erland Cooper - Solan Goose (Video)

Thursday, 29 March 2018

New Music: Introducing - Lxandra

Sometimes potential pop stars skirt around the edges for a while before they go for the bullseye. Yet it seems that Finnish born and Berlin based artist Lxandra got bored of doing that pretty quickly. She just hovered around the outskirts momentarily with self-released debut single Flicker, before immediately aiming for the centre target. 

Her second single Hush Hush Baby, a piano ballad that she described as a love song from a daughter to a mother, might have had a hint of the Adeles about it, but Lxandra’s vocals took it into more peculiar territories, albeit ones that hit the spot.

Now she’s at it again. This time with Dig Deep, a big dramatic Sia meets Lana type pop tune that comes accompanied by a video with a big hat and Lxandra polishing off a cake in some style. If she attacks all of her music like she attacks the cake we could be in for some treats in the future. 

Lxandra - Dig Deep (Video)

Lxandra - Hush Hush Baby

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

New Music: Grace Savage - My Favourite Game

One of my favourite bands of the 90’s and early 00’s was undoubtedly The Cardigans. I fell in love with their first two albums Ennerdale and Life as they spun the saddest of songs into sunshine through the wheels of the sweetest of sixties sounding indie. 

However, it was their lack of fear in developing and changing their sound, whilst maintaining their ability to pen a tune and then some, that endeared me to them in the longer term. From their disco chart breaker Lovefool through to their much underated emo-pop classic Long Gone Before Daylight from 2003, The Cardigans took me deeper. If you’ve never heard songs like the hushed 03.45 No Sleep with its line “And if I had one wish fulfilled tonight, I’d ask for the sun to never rise,” then my ask of you today is that when you have a quiet moment, find a space, put on some headphones, shut your eyes and absorb that song.

Despite their brilliantly accessible and absorbing writing it’s rare to see The Cardigans tracks being covered, so my heart fluttered with a mix of joy and nervousness when I saw that four times UK Beatboxing champion Grace Savage had covered the band’s worldwide hit My Favourite Game. Thankfully the results are very good. Giving the song a modern dark electronic twist Grace sounds suitably introspective and downcast as she sings over a foreboding modern electronic backing that brings a new potency to the lyrics. 

Grace plays live at Reading’s Are You Listening Festival on April 28th, London’s Sebright Arms on the 27th May and releases a new EP Control Freak on the 23rd May.

Grace Savage - My Favourite Game

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

New Music: Clairo - Waste

Sometimes living in a relatively small place like the UK it’s difficult to establish exactly how popular an act from overseas is in your own country when they haven’t had a regular top 40 hit here. That is until they play some live shows. The fact that Brockhampton, the self-proclaimed ‘first boy band of the internet,’ has already sold out their two August gigs at London’s Koko (approx. 1,400 capacity) suggests that they’re already doing rather nicely here as well as in their home of the U.S. Brixton Academy or similar surely beckons next?

Therefore, if you’re going to drop an ‘on-trend’ cover version Brockhampton are probably the ideal act to cover - people are bound to listen - and another internet sensation, Clairo, has done just that today with her take of Waste, the closing track on Saturation. Describing it as ‘a sh*t cover’ Clairo has kept to her lo-fi roots, with a languid campfire strum of the song. It’s two minutes and forty seconds are disarmingly pretty. 

Clairo - Waste 

Monday, 26 March 2018

New Music: Lily Moore - 17 (Video)

Last month I introduced Lily Moore on Breaking More Waves with 5 essential things that you need to know about her alongside her debut single official Not That Special. (Click here for the full low down).

Last Friday Lily released a second song called 17. There’s essentially only 1 fact you need to know about it and that is that it’s f*cking marvellous and that Lily is clearly a big talent. (OK that's actually 2 beliefs rather than 1 fact, but let's not get too precious about these things, we're all here for the love of music, right?)

“I give her 5 months and she will be all over the radio” says one comment on You Tube. That would be good wouldn’t it? Can the gods of radio let this happen please?

Filmed at the Marwood Café in Brighton, Lily’s home town, the video for 17 needs no special effects, no clever storyline and no high budget. Lily’s delivery is enough on its own.    

Lily’s debut EP is released April 25th.

Lily Moore - 17 (Video)

New Music: Introducing - Dizzy

I guess we all have certain sorts of music that are more likely to tick our internal boxes than others. Right? 

Yet I’ve always tried to keep an open mind to as many genres and styles as possible. I dislike the narrow mindedness of disliking something just because it comes from a particular genre, or because it’s too mainstream or too leftfield, is too new or too old. 

However, Canadian quartet Dizzy have a sound that regular readers of this blog will undoubtedly recognise as being ‘very much the sort of thing Breaking More Waves would like’, namely there’s a female vocal and a mellow warmth to the instrumentation that acts as the sweetest of hugs. Regular readers would be 100% right of course.

Dizzy are from Oshawa in Canada and consist of three brothers Alex, Mackenzie, and Charlie (Spencer) and Charlie’s close friend since school, Katie Munshaw who provides vocals. According to their press statement they make music to combat the anxieties of the feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction that can come from living in the suburbs and certainly their sound, which has a languid prettiness to it, conjures up images that are distant from the throbbing pulsing heart of the metropolis. 

Having picked up a lot of online traction last year with their debut song Swim, Dizzy got snapped up by Communion Records. Pretty Thing is their first release for 2018 and is produced by Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire, Austra). It’s an enchanting listen, with a caress of a chorus: “Pretty girls on the stairs with their hopes up, making noisy dreams, sneaking smiles at the boys on the rooftops, it’s a pretty thing, it’s a pretty thing.”

Consider the Breaking More Waves boxes all fully ticked. 

Dizzy - Pretty Thing

Thursday, 22 March 2018

New Music: Introducing - Odette

Have you ever had that experience where you hear a song for the first time and it grabs you so immediately that you want to devour every single lyric, every phrase, every pause until you’ve learned it and turned it inside out? 

This happened to me this week with English born and Australian raised singer Odette’s Watch Me Read You. A beautifully poetic piece about her relationship with an uncommitted lover, it’s built from quick-fire spoken word and soulful singing with a subtle hook. It got to me straight away. The words are just so perfectly placed and positioned. Quoting a line doesn’t do it justice, it needs to be heard as a whole, but here I go anyway: “Watch me read you like words ripped right off the page, another ghost, another day of melancholy, UV rays, and heavy eye lids.” The way Odette delivers just makes it all work.

Already a radio and streaming hit in Australia, Odette (real name Georgia Sally Banks) followed Watch Me Read You with the soulful piano based song Collide, and whilst her name may not yet be so well known outside of her homeland, if her music gets the worldwide exposure it deserves there’s every chance that may change.

Odette plays the Slaughtered Lamb in London on the 22nd May 2018. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Odette - Watch Me Read You (Video)

Odette - Collide

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

New Music: Introducing - Little Destroyer

I’ve always been a fan of bands who take their name and title a song after it, or is it the other way round where they take the title of a song and name themselves after it? Either way, I like it. Maybe it would be fun if solo artists did this as well. Time for Ed Sheeran to write a song called Ed perhaps? Mind you that sounds a little egotistical – but then Kanye West has already done it with I Love Kanye. I’m looking forward to hearing Sigrid’s tune Sigrid is Amazing or perhaps Taylor Swift’s I Am Swifty (So Hurry Up)? Maybe there's even an opportunity for Lorde to release Praise the Lorde?

Which brings me to Canada’s Little Destroyer. They of course have a song called Little Destroyer which was released on streaming services back in January. It’s one of a number of tracks they’ve put out over the last year or so from a forthcoming EP called Strange Future which is a potent blend of modern electronic pop with plenty of sharp edges.

Little Destroyer first came into being in the earlier part of this decade under the name Legs. Consisting of singer Allie Sheldan and brothers Chris and Michael Weiss, their original aim was to ‘score some festival tickets’. Legs was eventually shelved until the three regrouped as Little Destroyer, and the results with their new modus operandi impresses.

Immediate standout track is Rattlesnakes. Little Destroyer might look like a rock band in the picture above, but their sound is pop. Albeit Rattlesnakes is dark, hard-hitting industrial electronic pop tune that deals with the disillusionment that comes from the realisation that youthful partying ultimately just leaves an emptiness. Of the track the band have said: “It’s about the nights you become a mutant, and the mornings after. And it parallels the empty, dank & depressing vibe of a club, after last call, when the house lights turn on, to when the veil of fantasy lifts and you see it all for what is; a monstrous feedback loop set to empty.” 

Another track, Savages takes a danceable pop verse and then throws on the noise and distorted electronic drums for the chorus as shouts of “Run wild” burst out. It’s certainly more guttural than most pop music you’ll hear and therefore when you learn that the band have worked with Dave Ogilvie (Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy and Marilyn Manson) things make sense in terms of what they are aiming for in their sound. Katy Perry this is not.

For those of you like me in the UK, you have a chance to see Little Destroyer this Spring as they hit our shores in May to play Focus Wales Festival in Wrexham and Brighton’s Great Escape 2018, so they've finally achieved that initial aim of bagging some tickets.

Little Destroyer - Rattlesnakes (Video)

Little Destroyer - Savages (Video)

Monday, 19 March 2018

New Music: Pale Waves - Heavenly (Video)

Whilst some questions remain of the Pale Waves sound and if it is going to provide enough long-term variety to keep everyone hooked in, for now the buzz they’re creating continues to propel them forward. Despite not varying far from previous tunes in terms of melody or style, Heavenly, the best track from their All The Things I Never Said EP and one of the first songs the band ever wrote, still manages to be a mini indie-pop thrill that gets inside the head, beaming with a glossy mix of 80’s indie pop, energy and modern production.

Today Pale Waves released a new video for the song and its their most stylish piece to date. It features lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie in a set of minimalist coloured futuristic visuals and casts her as some sort of latex clad dancing marionette. It reminds me a little of Edward Scissorhands being trapped in Clive Barker's Hellraiser film as she is trapped by the wires.

Pale Waves - Heavenly (Video)

Thursday, 15 March 2018

New Music: Sigrid - Raw

There’s a school of thought that suggests that pop music somehow has less depth than other forms of music like rock, jazz, or soul.

That school of thought is absolute bollocks.

Here’s an example to prove my case. Her name is Sigrid. She’s from Norway. She does pop music. You of course have already heard of her, or you’ve been living under a rock.

Sigrid is brilliant. She can do all the things that are required of brilliant pop music. She has great tunes. She can sing. Boy oh boy can she sing. She has the moves. She has a great band around her.

But there’s more than that. Because any great art has to have more than the sum of its parts to really resonate. Songs are great to connect with, but it’s all the other stuff that surrounds popular culture that’s just as important. Of course, it’s a dangerous thing to do – putting artists on pedestals can lead to them falling off – but if we didn’t, how would we ever show off their greatness to others?

And Sigrid is great. Not just because of the music, but because of the way she is. There’s no artifice or act. People who argue that authenticity in music is important (often fans of men with guitars) will even find it difficult to argue that Sigrid doesn’t have that authenticity in huge bucket loads. Of course, they’ll argue that it’s ‘just pop’, but when you’ve been to a show like the one I saw Sigrid perform last night, it’s possible to see that sometimes pop isn’t ‘just pop’. 

From her simple stage attire (jeans, plain t-shirt and tied back hair) to her self-aware and unassuming nature  (before thanking the audience for coming to the show last night she asked “Can I be a bit cheesy now, is that OK?”) to her inability to surpress her emotion (last night at the start of Don’t Kill My Vibe Sigrid became so overwhelmed with the reaction she couldn’t sing, so she just held the microphone out to the audience who sang the words back whilst she stood and cried – it was a beautiful moment that made even the hardest of us well up a little). These are the things that, combined with the music, make Sigrid special. There is something about her pure and raw.

Which is 398 words just to shoehorn the word Raw into the conversation, which just happens to be the title of the new song from Sigrid. 

It’s the first in a collection of brand new material, set to drop every week. It’s not a banger. Don’t worry banger fans. If you wanted another Don’t Kill My Vibe / Plot Twist / Strangers she has more of those to come. But having watched Sigrid’s set grow over the six times I’ve seen her one thing that is becoming apparent is that she’s a much more versatile pop artist than one that just does in your face jams. This one is stripped back to the very core.

“No apologies for being me,” sings Sigrid on Raw. I think this much about her we all know.

Sigrid - Raw

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

New Music: Introducing - Clairo

If you’re into lo-fi or bedroom pop music then the chances are you’ll have already found Claire Cottrill, known as Clairo from Boston, USA. Even if you’re not, you may well have stumbled across her homemade video for Pretty Girl, which she uploaded last August and somehow went viral with (currently viewed more than 10 million times). But if you haven't, this post is for you...

The Pretty Girl video which Clairo struck internet gold with had no clever production, no super cool direction and Clairo has gone on record to say that on the day she recorded it her hair and skin looked bad, but she felt that that was the perfect day to make it – after all it’s a song about feeling that you have to be ‘pretty’ for someone else and feeling that you have to change for someone else and ultimately how messed up that idea is. “I could be a pretty girl, I’ll wear a skirt for you, and I could be a pretty girl, shut up when you want me two,” she mouths as the words scroll across the screen and she stares into the camera with headphones in her ears.

Clairo - Pretty Girl (Video)

When Clairo uploaded Pretty Girl, she didn’t think that it would get seen by that many people. It was just her mucking around in her room – a what you see is what you get visual. “I'm still not entirely sure how Pretty Girl blew up the way it did. It wasn't really meant to. The song was originally meant for a compilation tape for a magazine called The Le Sigh, and I made the video in about 30 minutes. I only expected about 5,000 views at most! Getting a million views on a video I made is still hard for me to wrap my head around. Most of my friends back home still have no idea that any of this has happened,” she told Pigeons and Planes website recently.

With lo-fi music there are generally two types of artists. There are those who like to keep the sound quality lower than usual contemporary standards. It’s part of their aesthetic. But then there are those who do it out of necessity. Recording at home rather than using expensive studio space is a commercial reality for many musicians. This sort of musician would love to have the opportunity to record somewhere where the imperfections are ironed out and overall reproduction of the sound is improved but they just can’t afford it. Sometimes when a lo-fi artist does develop to a more polished sound they lose some of their fans but gain many more – for some it’s that DIY sound that attracted them in the first place.

With Clairo’s DIY efforts blowing up the question is which sort of artist is she? If she got the opportunity to grab the gloss, would she paint it all over in bright lurid colours.

It seems that the answer might be yes. Although not in the way you might think (yet). For yesterday Clairo released a new video for her track Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, a simplistic but weirdly addictive chill-pop song she put out six months ago which has achieved over 1.5 million streams on Soundcloud. This video has a lot more budget thrown at it than the likes of Pretty Girl. Way more. It involved directors, stylists and choreographers and er….. dancing Cheetos! Visually it’s a long way from her bedroom minimalist beginnings and has already divided fans with some calling her early work a façade. But is an artist not allowed to change an develop? Is this not part of the natural evolution of art? Can we all not just enjoy the silly dancers?

What comes next musically from Clairo will if nothing else be intriguing. Will she try to keep her low-key, minimalistic bedroom pop sound alive?  Or will she aim for a bigger more expansive hi-fi pop sound? Or try and find a halfway house between the two? Only time will tell, but for me whatever direction she goes it’s the quality of the songs that’s important. It’s whether they connect, irrespective of if they’re hi-fi or lo-fi. Let’s wait and see.

Clairo - Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Sunday, 11 March 2018

New Music: Chløë Black - Good Times

Some artists take a while to establish their true artistic vision, some never fully realise it and some come with it fully formed. Chløë Black is definitely from the later school. Whether she’s singing about f*cking you for life or getting high enough for two, her take on pop has always danced towards the darker side; songs that deal with topics such as getting f*cked (by either sex or drugs) and death make up Black's arsenal. Up until now I would have said you’re hardly likely to find Chløë on the dancefloor wailing about bringing on the Good Times. But it seems I’ve been proved wrong.

Not that Chløë is covering Chic or bashing out some thoughtless happy-day-glo disco track about being in da club (the only club she’s sung about is the 27 Club). This is very much her take on things. She might sing of wanting to get high, but there's also a reminder that those transient moments of chemical euphoria come double-edged: “Everything hurts when I’m sober,” she adds. The music takes the same form as the songs lyrics, with melancholy piano balladry and heavy beats matched with Ibiza tropical rhythms and moments of lighter bliss to convey both sides of the highs and the lows.

It's another piece of stylish pop from Chløë Black. 

Chløë Black - Good Times

Saturday, 10 March 2018

New Music: Sofi Tukker - Baby I'm A Queen

Let’s face it, New Music Friday can be both a blessing and a curse. Yesterday I wasted the best part of three and a half hours working my way through the UK edition of Spotify’s NMF playlist to find very little to connect with. But then away from the playlist there’s the new Sofi Tukker. Oh yes, and Sofi Tukker rule. 

New single Baby I’m A Queen is the sound of Sofi Tukker grabbing pop by the nether regions and twisting them hard until an intense climax. It’s all about a chunky granite guitar riff, Sophie’s finest vocal delivery yet and some techno-club beats that thwack like they're trying to raise hell. 

Of the track the band say: “Baby I’m a Queen is about embracing tumultuousness and vulnerability. Just because you are vulnerable, doesn’t mean you have to let yourself be belittled or infantilized (Why is “baby” the default nickname?) We are strong and empowered because we cry, because we desire, and because of what is chaotic about us. This song is about standing up as strong and powerful, because of that courage to share ourselves. It’s about being both a baby and a queen at the same time.”

The good news is that Sofi Tukker has announced the release of the debut album Treehouse for April 13th. They’ve also announced a world tour that runs through from late March to August. The bad news is that for those of us in the UK that tour doesn’t include our fair land. However, the tour is labelled Part 1, so perhaps we’ll all get to the chance to dance hard with them later this year?

Sofi Tukker - Baby I'm A Queen