When I started writing Breaking More Waves nearly 10 years ago I didn’t really realise what I was getting myself into. I just started posting about music that I had heard and liked (and posted the occasional festival review and what I now know to be called a ‘think piece’) with no thoughts about if anyone would read it. But just in case someone did read it and just in case an artist wanted to tell me about their music I put my email address on the blog for people to get in contact with me. It was my personal email address. Why on earth would I set up one for the blog when this was just a small personal project?
10 years later that email address remains on the blog as a way for people to contact me, except these days it receives over 200 submissions every 24 hours. It amazes me on a daily basis how much new music is released. And because there is so much music put out there every day, it makes me sad to think of how many of those artists will get little or no coverage from small scale personal blogs like mine right up to the Pitchforks of this world. I probably read less than 5% of the emails I receive - full time work and having a life take precedent.
I’ve had to change my personal email address of course. The old one is now just for the blog. My mum was getting annoyed when I wasn’t replying to her because her messages got buried in between submissions from Japanese heavy metal bands and the latest glitchy new wave electronic bedroom pop artists single promotion. Sorry mum. Now I reply pretty quickly to her so we're all good.
But now I have to say sorry to the artists as well. Because although it can still be a lot of fun discovering new artists via the in box, I’m still just as likely to discover new music through a whole variety of other channels. Such as today’s new singer songwriter. Her name is Abbie Ozard and she hails from Nantwich, Cheshire. If she did ever send me an email (I've just checked - I don't think she did) the chances are I probably would have missed it anyway.
Abbie has already been picked up by BBC Introducing Manchester and last year won the inaugural Words & Music Song Contest, a competition that included 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins and singer songwriter Thea Gilmore as its judges. So it's not just me that has noticed her, although at the moment most of the attention on Abbie has come from the Manchester area.
The song that has grabbed my ears is Average Disguise; it's a dark torch song cast from the witching hours. It was the track that won her the competition and it was released at the start of this year - but it's still worth your time now. The most important ingredient of quality is time. Average Disguise is full of powerful brooding textures and ghostly cinematic guitar rattles and it is frankly rather wonderful. Abbie names Daughter and Marika Hackman as influences and you can definitely hear that in terms of the atmospherics of the song – it has elements of the epic, the cinematic and the nostalgic to it, although this is no copycat – it very much stands out as a very well-crafted piece on its own.
It’s early days for Abbie Ozard, but I’ll be keeping close tabs on her to see what comes next, for this sounds impressive.
Abbie Ozard - Average Disguise