Wednesday, 3 July 2019

New Music: Lara Snow - Swim Far

It’s been pretty quiet over at Breaking More Waves HQ the last month or so and will remain so for almost the whole of July whilst I’m on holiday and then hit up Latitude festival, but once we reach August it will be full steam ahead with new music posts.

However, before I take a break I want to highlight three things to you that may be of interest.

First is the Breaking More Waves Spotify playlist. It’s updated at the end of every month with all of the songs that I’ve posted on the blog in the previous month (assuming they are on Spotify of course). Due to the small number of posts last month the current playlist is under half an hour long – which I’m sure you’ll agree is much more manageable than those ridiculous 80 song long playlists you’ll find all over streaming services. You can find the playlist by clicking on this link (here) and at the bottom of this post. If you are so inclined you can follow it and enjoy the monthly updates.

Secondly, I’d like to draw your attention to a new music discovery festival that I help curate. It’s called Dials. It runs on one street in five small venues in Southsea, Portsmouth on October 5th and is in support of local mental health charity Solent Mind. In the 2018 I was the director for the event but I've handed over to someone else now, but am still involved this year in a booking capacity. 2019 will be the festival’s fourth edition and there are a number of confirmed artists on the bill that have featured on Breaking More Waves, including The Blinders (who played Glastonbury this weekend), Another Sky, Pocket Sun and another ‘sun’ band Saltwater Sun. The festival will be announcing a further 20 artists this Friday around 10am including at least a couple more that have been featured on this blog in the last month or so. One of them, Megan Lara Mae was sneakily announced here a few weeks ago. The festival is very small in size and excellent value at £20. Therefore if you’d like to come I’d recommend that you buy your tickets early to guarantee entry. You can buy tickets by clicking here

Thirdly, some music. That’s the point of this blog after all. Here is a song that I’ve had on repeat the last few weeks. It’s from an artist that describes their current location as Berlin / Tel Aviv on their Facebook page. I assume that means that she’s based between the two rather than that she has magic powers that enable her to be in two places at once. However, when it comes to pop music it seems that Lara Snow does possess some sort of magic, because her single Swim Far is a bewitching banger that has put me under a spell. If you like the sort of electronic pop that Chvrches do then you’re almost guaranteed to like Swim Far. In fact drop the almost. You are guaranteed to adore Swim Far. To paraphrase Kylie Minogue I can’t get this one out of my head.

Lara Snow - Swim Far

The Breaking More Waves Playlist

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

New Music: Celeste - Coco Blood

One of my absolute highlights of Brighton's Great Escape Festival 2019 was the short set performed by Celeste (no not of Daphne & Celeste / Ooh Stick You / Reading festival bottling fame) underneath the chandeliers in the Old Ship Hotel's Paganini Ballroom as part of a Radio 1Extra showcase. She may have looked slightly uncomfortable and awkward, standing frozen to the spot, giving the impression of being very self aware of herself, but as soon as she opened her mouth she took the audience to another place. Jazzy, theatrical and elegant it took about five seconds to fall in love with her voice and songs. As Celeste finished each number the applause seemed to go on forever – always a good sign that the artist has really connected with her audience.

This week Celeste has released her latest tune, albeit one she wrote a couple of years ago. Coco Blood is the sort of cinematic track that I’d expect to hear at someone’s swanky floor to ceiling windowed loft apartment in New York or London whilst drinking an expensive red wine or cocktail. It's definitely not a pint of lager and packet of crisps down the Dog & Duck. Go on, lift a glass, take a sip and let Celeste, the trumpets and the strings seduce you. A timeless beauty.

Celeste - Coco Blood

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Breaking More Waves Is Eleven Years Old Today

Today Breaking More waves is 11 years old. That’s a pretty long time to do anything. But here I am, still doing it. 

So far 2019 has seen me post far less than any previous year. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is simply that I’ve been freeing up more of my spare time to do other things. Some of you may remember that in November 2018 I underwent open heart surgery due to a congenital defect and since then I have been getting my physical health back on track, which takes time. And as writing a music blog also takes time (not a huge amount of time, but still, it’s not written instantaneously) so the posts have decreased.

However, I still am absolutely determined that Breaking More Waves will continue. This has been very much a slow-down rather than a complete halt. A huge amount of new music blogs have fallen by the wayside over the last few years as ‘discovery’ becomes dominated by streaming services, and some bloggers shift to try and monetise their love of music in other ways; working for record companies, artists or shifting to print formats seem to be the most popular. 

However, everything I do in relation to music has always been and always will remain a hobby. 

Internet traffic and hits are nice if only to show that someone is visiting the site, but they’re not essential to me continuing: although ironically despite blogs apparently no longer being popular, the visitor numbers to this blog has increased over the last few months.

So that’s where I sit with Breaking More Waves. The rest of 2019 will continue to be more of the same. New music that I like. 

I have toyed with the idea of doing a little more than just this though.

Instead of bringing back the ‘think pieces’ (which I used to write but tired of) I am thinking about writing reviews of gigs and concerts I go to. After all, the very first edition of Breaking Waves paper fanzine (the precursor to this site) was simply one gigantic review of Glastonbury Festival written in diary style. And when the blog started I did write the occasional gig write up. Some were quite popular. One journalist even copied and pasted my review of an early Ellie Goulding show onto their site and passed it off as their own. Tut tut. 

Far too often these days I read live reviews on other sites and find myself incredibly bored with them. Dull descriptions of what the music sounded like and what songs the band played might be very factual, but they send me to sleep. There seems to be a lack of emotion, passion, context or humour in a lot of writing now and I keep wondering if I could write something better. If this is something you’d like me to do, please let me know. 

Mind you, the reality would probably this: 

‘It was raining so I got the number 2 bus down to the venue rather than walk. I bumped into John and Lucy at the bar. They had already had a couple of pints and were in a jovial mood, their faces flushed with cider. The support band was dull. The main band was better but the woman in front of me kept flicking her hair around as she danced and it ended up in both my pint and mouth. It didn’t taste pleasant although there was a slight scent of apples to it, which weirdly I liked. I went home as soon a the encore finished It had stopped raining, which was pleasing, as I didn’t have enough money for a return.” 

Pitchfork / NME eat your heart out.

Anyway, happy birthday my blog. 11 years of spouting this rubbish. It’s just as well it’s not my job – I’d have been sacked a long time ago.

Friday, 21 June 2019

New Music: Stormzy - Crown

2 slightly different takes on Crown, the new single by Stormzy:

Take One

When Stormzy released his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer the one track that grabbed attention more than any other was the gospel tinged beauty Blinded By Your Grace Part 2. It was a song so full of soul it found people who didn’t normally like grime proclaiming their love for it. Now with album two on its way and Stormzy’s forthcoming potentially career defining Glastonbury headline performance on the horizon, it’s really important for him to release something that’s up there with Blinded By Your Grace Part 2. So throw in some more gospel, a topical reference to Boris Johnson and Stormzy saying that he struggles to find the words to describe how important the song is to him and Crown immediately is cast with a sense of gravitas and authenticity that define Stormzy as an important artist ready to sell a massive load of records. The fact that it’s a track that deals with the pressures that have come with his success make it all the more appealing as it certainly isn't going to slow with this one. 

Take Two

Crown is a bloody good track. Great personal lyrics. Great Tune. Forget everything else and just listen to the music. Anybody that says he’s not worthy of a Glastonbury headline slot clearly doesn’t understand contemporary pop music and culture in the UK. I’m confident he’s going to smash it.

Stormzy - Crown

Monday, 17 June 2019

Introducing: The Goa Express

There are plenty of UK based bands right now making a right old ear pleasing racket. Here’s another one. 

The Goa Express (which if they’re not named after an Indian restaurant will be most displeasing) is James Douglas Clarke on vocals and guitar, Joey Stein on guitar, Naham Muzaffar who plays bass, Joe Clarke at the keyboards and Sam Launder on drums. Their latest tune The Day bounds along with the sort of scruffy ramshackle energy that suggests that they just stumbled out of bed, downed four Vodka and Red Bulls and got straight down to gritty business. It’s rough, ready and slightly retro sounding and at just over two minutes long isn’t going to waste too much of your day if you’re not really into it. But you should be. 

The Goa Express could easily hail from New York with a sound like this, but in fact they’re based in the Manchester area. They worked with Fat White Family keyboardist Nathan Saoudi on this track, and if you want more you can find an EP they released in 2018 titled Use Your Brain in all the regular places. But start with The Day, which is about moving to university and getting in a bit of trouble as well as the idea of fake society - where everyone is pretending to be friends when they're really not. It's out on all the major streaming platforms on the 5th July.

The Goa Express - The Day

Sunday, 16 June 2019

New Music: Arlo Parks - george

When I first featured Arlo Parks, the coolest wearer of the headband since 1970's Swedish tennis superstar / underwear designer Bjorn Borg, I mentioned the groove. I think it’s necessary to do so again with her new track george, because the groove here is essentially the musical equivalent of a cool but surly teenager, head down, hands in pockets, sauntering along the street, but with a fluidity rather than awkwardness that you might normally equate with someone that age. It will probably rather appeal to those of us who have reached a certain age where we don't have quite as much energy as we used to. It's a head bobber rather than a hip twister.

Yet Parks certainly isn't of the age I am; she's just a teenager. like many 18 year olds in England and Wales she's just finished off her A-Levels – including English Literature. That education is paying off, because she’s using it in her songs, even if they clearly haven’t taught her that names have a capital letter at the start of them. Because george is a reference to the flamboyant poet and politician Lord Byron, with Parks taking the idea that Byron was a pretty terrible heartbreaker and narcissist and constructing the lyrics around the idea of someone like that: ‘Leaving a bit of blood in every room.’

george is smooth and perfect as a rolled bowling green. Which is a terrible simile. I'd probably get an E in my A Level.

If like me you're off to Glastonbury you can catch her 4 times over the weekend. A couple of slots are on the official timetable but she's also cropping up at places like the Crow's Nest. Check her Facebook for all the details.

Arlo Parks - george

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Introducing: Megan Lara Mae

Today I’m introducing a Brighton based artist who is playing this year’s Glastonbury festival and also has a song on Spotify that is approaching 60,000 streams; yet the chances are most readers won’t have heard of her, such is the sheer volume of new music out there.

So, here’s my first tiny attempt to get the name Megan Lara Mae embedded with you. 

The second will come on October 5th when Megan plays alongside The Blinders, Another Sky, Talk Show and fellow Brighton residents Johanna Bramli and Arxx at Dials festival in Portsmouth (many more still to be announced). Dials is a multi-venue new music discovery event I help curate and book. It's the world's easiest festival as all the venues are on 1 street - you can walk between them all in about 5 minutes. You’ll see Megan’s name amongst the next wave of artists that are being announced for the festival in the not too distant future - but consider this a sneak preview. If you fancy grabbing yourself a ticket for Dials they’re £20 and available by clicking through to the website here.

On her Soundcloud Megan lists some of her inspirations as Rae Morris, Sigrid, Lorde, BANKS and Aurora so it was perhaps inevitable that she would get the Breaking More Waves seal of approval – all of those artists being ones I have featured here in their early stages of their careers on the blog. However, liking a certain style or genre is easy. Liking good songs, whatever the genre is even more my cup of tea. If Megan’s brand of creative electronic pop didn’t have the tunes, I wouldn’t be writing about her here. But she does. 

Take her song of strength Caribou for example, with its thundering slabs of synth, its percussive shouts of ‘Hey’ and its positive lyrics: ‘Standing tall, getting drenched in the rain, but I’m not giving up on what I’ve gained from this pain.’ It’s a spot-on pop tune. If a marketing person heard Caribou they’d probably wet their pants and start shouting from the rooftops that it was ‘empowering’ but as that’s currently the most over used word in pop this year, we’re not going there Ok? 

Another example of her contribution to being a good thing for pop music comes in the form of the curious From The Ashes. Its an idiosyncratic piece that combines Vince Clarke Erasure / Yazoo electronics with something far more swirling and cinematic. Megan’s vocal delivery is impressive as well – strong but never overstated even when the track aims for the heavens.

There’s some clear talent in Megan Lara Mae. That’s why I’ve booked her for Dials Festival. Oh and that Glastonbury slot? No, it’s not the Pyramid stage (obviously), but you’ll find her playing a slot on a bandstand near the Croissant Neuf tent (the tent where Ed Sheeran made his Glastonbury debut in 2011) before the bigger stages open, so if you’re going this year try and get along to see her and support some new music as well as the bigger stars.

Glastonbury likes her. Dials likes her. Now it’s your turn.

Megan Lara Mae - Caribou

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Introducing: Maude Latour

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning, shall we? (And for anyone who has just come across this blog you have a lot of catching up to do re: musicians and baths). Yes, this is a relatively new pop musician. And guess what? She’s leapt straight in and done a promo picture with a bath. Except she hasn’t leapt in, because she’s sitting outside it. If she was aware of the long history of pop musicians and bath promo shots, she’d probably realise that this was something a little bit different. Not edgy as such - but certainly different. Maybe she is aware? Maybe she reads this blog and took influence from all the other musicians in the bath out there. There’s certainly a lot of them. I still don't anyone has beaten Mariah Carey for sheer ridiculousness though.

So, to the music and the musician. (Do you really want to read about that when you can just press play and decide yourself? Ok, I’ll keep this short.)

This is Maude Latour. She does pop music that sounds a little bit like Lorde once it gets going. 

I’m told she’s lived in London, Stockholm and Hong Kong and is fluent in both Dutch and Mandarin. She's currently a freshman at Columbia University studying philosophy and political science and plans to be the first president to perform at her own inauguration. She’s 19 years old. Which makes me look back at my 19-year-old self and think I was pretty rubbish back then. I was probably sitting in a pub drinking cider talking about record shopping and that was about it.

She has 2 tracks on her Soundcloud: Superfruit (which has elements of the aforementioned Lorde and also Marina) and unusually in these days of co-writes with big teams it was written by Maude and Maude only. The second track is Plans which starts like a pretty twinkling electronic fairytale before heading into those Lorde-a-like territories as Maude sings of the start of a new love and wanting to cancel all of her plans to be alone with that person. According to the press release in front of me the song has some ‘phantasmagoric digital flourishes.’ See if you can spot them. Whatever or wherever they are, I like the sound of them. Let's have more phantasmagoric digital flourishes in life generally please.

There are some other songs on Maude’s Spotify that she released last year as a mini album called High School High. The internet tells me this was a high school final project – which makes some sense as it’s Plans and Superfruit that really hit the spot for me, as it has done with a number of blogs over the last week or so.

She’s done the bath thing, she’s released a couple of blog loved pop songs, so she’s off to a fine start. 

Let’s keep our eyes and ears out for what Maude Latour releases next.

Maude Latour - Plans

Monday, 3 June 2019

Introducing: King Hannah

“It’s not shite, I promise.” Those were the opening words of Hannah Merrick of the band King Hannah when describing their debut song Crème Brûlée to me. It’s certainly a better take on things than the usual ‘*Insert name of trendy music website* premiered this yesterday’, which somehow in the world of music promotion is meant to make me desperate to listen. "It's not shite," doesn't raise too many expectations at least.

Hannah's right. It's not shite.

Crème Brûlée is if nothing else an interesting title for a song. It's probably a bit more sophisticated sounding than Apple Crumble and Custard or Sticky Toffee Pudding. But what is actually about? “Crème Brûlée is about Crème Brûlée and my love for it. Essentially, I'm singing about a pudding,” says Hannah. So there you have it. It's not shite and it's about pudding. Maybe. If music be the food of love then play on.

If Hannah really is singing about the custard and hardened caramalised sugar dessert, then it's a little worrying, as she really is obsessed by it: “I need you so bad….. I think I like you too much…..” she confesses with an unruffled world-weary tone whilst the music recalls the evocative atmosphere of Mazzy Star, Howling Bells or perhaps Portishead without the electronics. Ok, not only is it not shite, but it's rather good. 

There’s something else on Crème Brûlée that you don’t hear so often these days as well – a big old power-chord guitar solo that rolls on and on till the end. There's none of that 'designed for Spotify / short attention spans' songwriting going on here. Which I'm fully in favour of. Let's have more long intros, even longer outros and 10 minute sonically expansive journeys please. I can just imagine scrunched rapturous faces on air guitar players all over the world when listening to this.

Based in Liverpool King Hannah are Craig Whittle, Dylan Gorman, Hannah Merrick and Jake Lipiec. Crème Brûlée is available for streaming now and in many good restaurants. Both are very tasty, delicious etc etc.

King Hannah - Crème Brûlée

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Introducing: Walt Disco

Here at Breaking More Waves Towers I have an imaginary box where I file away many of the new artists that I hear, ready to post about them at some point in the future. However, this box is always stuffed full and a lot of music gets lost in the crush. So, this week I’m emptying it out, writing about some of my favourites, then starting afresh with an empty one. This means a series of Introducing posts for the next few days; apologies if you’re an avid new music fan, most of these acts may already be known to you, some have been sitting in the box for a while.

First out from the pile are five sharp glitzy boys from Scotland called James, Dave, Lewis, Calum and Finlay and they create a brutal beautiful indie punk sound under the name Walt Disco.

Having met at university Walt Disco have been gradually putting out tracks and picking up the praise for their vitally raw and energetic songs, marked in particular by a flamboyant vocal croon that many people have already compared to Billy Mackenzie from the Associates - I don't disagree. In amongst the dark melee of their edgy art-pop you might be able to hear early 80’s new romanticism, punk and even the blackest of styles – goth.

Current single Strange To Know Nothing has hints of early Simple Minds, Talking Heads, Orange Juice, Duran Duran and Franz Ferdinand all fired up with extra spice and these references continue through to the wonderfully titled My Pop Sensibilities, a song for all the people who feel like they don’t quite fit; it’s about being yourself and not having to be 'normal'. The slower Dream Girl #2 meanwhile is the sound of three glasses of red wine and a staggering waltz around a velvet lined cabaret club with the opening line “Like a Disney Princess, I’ll sing every ballad to you, it doesn’t matter how short your hair, I’ll act all shy coy and unaware.”

Walt Disco’s songs are sometimes (but not always) raw, almost angry sounding, but like the title of one of their tracks, there is a pop sensibility in there as well. You can hear it on the frantic Drowning In Your Velvet Bed. It’s a storming, flailing brilliant grunt of a tune, but just when it seems like it’s all getting a little too intense, on the recorded version, the band throw in a smooth come to bed saxophone as if we really are back in the 80’s. It’s moments like this that make Walt Disco stand out amongst the current crop of angular new indie punk bands, of which there are many. They seem to have more than one idea up their sleeve. Let's hope they continue to reveal more of that as time goes on.

Walt Disco has already been out on tour with Sports Team, played the Great Escape and Live At Leeds this year and you can expect to see more of their impetuous glamour and action as 2019 progresses. 

Get involved with Walt Disco now, if you haven't done so already.

Walt Disco - My Pop Sensibilities

Walt Disco - Dream Girl #2 (Video)

Walt Disco - Drowning In Your Velvet Bed (Live)

Friday, 31 May 2019

New Music: Poppy - Scary Mask featuring Fever 333

From the word go Poppy has always been one of the more interesting pop stars out there. From her wonky pastel universe videos where she asked her followers to repeat with her “I am not in a cult” and clips that made a basil plant and a mannequin called Charlotte internet famous, to her early highly synthetic pop shows (the one I caught in London saw Charlotte the mannequin ‘perform’ a DJ set and Toto’s Africa was played on repeat non stop for an hour getting gradually louder each time before she came on stage). it's fair to say that Poppy has always been slightly more than bonkers but weirdly entertaining. 

New track Scary Mask continues her trajectory into the odd. The one criteria I usually use for featuring a song on Breaking More Waves is that I like it. I’m not really sure if I do like Scary Mask; but it does make me smile, so that’s close enough to liking something isn’t it? 

So, what’s so odd about Scary Mask? Compare her earlier work such as the barbie-girl-nursery-time-synth-pop of Beach Blonde Baby (here) with this and you’ll see why. You probably didn’t know that you needed some dark electro hardcore metal intensity in your life – but you’re just about to get it. For this time, Poppy teams up with Fever 333. Madness ensues.

You can find this track alongside everything else I’ve featured during May on Breaking More Waves (which is less than usual) on the Breaking More Waves Spotify playlist, which is updated at the end of the month for your listening pleasure. Why not give it a follow? You can find it by clicking here.

Poppy - Scary Mask featuring Fever 333 (Video)

Monday, 27 May 2019

New Music: Winnie Raeder - I Wear A Ghost

Winnie Raeder had already filled my heart with her debut Don’t You Dare and now she lays claim to being one of the most promising new voices of 2019 with the sublime I Wear A Ghost.

Against a gentle acoustic background and light harmonies Winnie exposes her doubts about herself and who she is to someone. It’s music that speaks to the soul; tender and powerful.  There’s a tiny hint of the Lewis Capaldi’s about I Wear A Ghost but here it coaxes you in softly rather than straining for the power chord as Capaldi seems to do rather too often for my liking.

Sometimes I write too many words. This time let’s just let the music do the talking.

Winnie plays St Pancras Old Church in London on 3rd June (Sold Out) and Bushstock festival on the 15th June. 

Winnie Raeder - I Wear A Ghost

Friday, 24 May 2019

New Music: Oscar Scheller - Interstellar Disco (featuring Pawws)

Imagine a decadent and seedy basement bar where the champagne and illegal drugs flow freely whilst half naked Swedish men pole dance for free for the baying clientele's pleasure. This is the club that I imagine that pop musicians nip off to when they disappear off our radar, never to be heard of again. 

Look around and there in one velvet draped corner you might find Duffy, doing vodka shots whilst regaling anyone who will listen about how she won 3 Brit awards in 2009 before metaphorically falling off a cliff. Somewhere else on the dancefloor, shaking her thing vigorously on her own you’ll see Tiffany – yes her from the 80s. Coming down in the elevator right now is Yazz; when she gets back in it after the club is over it will be her turn to sing THAT song one more time.

For a while I thought Pawws might also be in that club. You might remember her back from 2012-2014 when I featured her on the blog with a series of top-notch electronic booty wiggling jams. But after that it could have been easily assumed that she was hanging out with Duffy.

Except she wasn’t. Pawws has in fact been busy. Remember Dua Lipa’s Be The One? Pawws (real name Lucy Taylor) was one of the writers of that. Pawws knows how to do pop for sure.

And now here she is again alongside Oscar Scheller with a premier league tune called Interstellar Disco taken from Oscar’s forthcoming album HTTP404. And rather like my imagined club for retired / semi-retired pop stars, Interstellar Disco is about a fantasy club; a place where you can go and let loose with that friend who knows that sometimes sitting around talking about how life has thrown you one too many custard pies isn’t what you need. Sometimes, when everything seems to have gone wrong you just need to dance dance dance. This is truth. 

Grab your favourite friend and get moving to this - a prime piece of electronic pop.

Oscar Scheller - Interstellar Disco (featuring Pawws)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Introducing: Dua Saleh

First, we had Dua Lipa, but now there’s a second Dua to add to your catalogue of musical goodness. Although Dua Saleh’s music is very different from the mainstream pop of Ms Lipa.

This Dua’s cuts are far deeper, far more leftfield and arguably far more intriguing. Dua identifies as gender non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. They released their debut EP Nūr (pronounced 'noor') which means ‘The Light’ in Arabic earlier this year through Bandcamp and after numerous listens I’ve concluded it’s pretty damn special.

Nūr is full of jams that touch on jazz, pop, hip-hop and the sort of ghostly r’n’b that FKA Twigs does so well. It’s wonderfully varied but the songs seem to co-exist in a harmonious union of difference. Dua’s vocals are forceful and snappy one moment, casually half-spoken and half-sung the next (on the track Kickflip), then on the atmospheric Albany, which comes complete with some birdsong samples, all shadowy and wispy.

Lyrically there’s plenty to devour. For example on the economical opener Sugar Mama you’ll find Saleh singing of halitosis, lobster and someone who has a “pussy melting like a glacier” as the person “wonders ‘bout my flavour, those chocolate coated layers.” Then on the track Survival (streaming below) you’ll find them intoning "I am not a lover, won't you fuck right off,” as Velvet Negroni adds some extra vocal touches to develop the track into something that the likes of Massive Attack or The Weeknd would probably be pretty proud of.

Below you’ll find that tune and another titled Warm Pants. Give them a listen but make sure you check out the whole EP which you can find by clicking here. Hopefully there’s more to come from Dua Saleh soon.

Dua Saleh - Survival (feat Velvet Negroni)

Dua Saleh - Warm Pants

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

New Music: whenyoung - The Others





whenyoung - THE OTHERS

New Music: Charli XCX - Blame It On Your Love (featuring Lizzo)

Over the last day or so Charli XCX and Lizzo have been teasing a track that they’ve recorded together. 'BOUT 2 SAVE POP MUSIC,' the sign in the picture proclaimed (see above).

At first Blame It On Your Love could seem like a disappointment; it’s a remix / rework of Track 10 - my favourite tune from Charli’s Pop 2 record. Why remix a great tune? It seems silly – it's like taking a Michelin starred restaurant meal and throwing some Nando's perri perri lemon & herb sauce over it - it might still taste OK, but the chances of improving things are very limited. But then music, like food, is all about taste.

And yes, this version isn't as spectacular as the original. However, the Stargate reggaeton / tropical house pop production on the track probably makes it a little more accessible to the masses. If there’s a non-sweary edit it could even get some radio play. After all the super-synthetic, apocalyptic, bonkers, build-to-ecstasy version on Pop 2 with it’s weird Aphex Twin style intro, harp, Charli’s processed vocals and PC Music production was pretty out there. 

However, Blame It On Your Love reminds us (as if we needed reminding) that Charli XCX knows how to write a hook, so be prepared to get fully pulled in by this one. As a bonus we also get Lizzo, although her appearance on the track is fleetingly short and seems a little bit phoned in: “Blame it on the juice, looking at my booty like you don’t know what to do,” she raps.

If I hadn’t heard Track 10 before this I’d have been claiming that it was time to grab a cocktail and jump into your neon coloured swimwear as this could be one of the party pop songs of the summer, instead I’ll say it could still be, but to turn up the heat even higher put on Track 10 and get well and truly burnt.

Other fun facts about Lizzo and Charli XCX: In the last couple of years they’ve both recorded songs called Boys. Both are very good although bizarrely Lizzo didn’t put hers on her album, although it can be found on the Deluxe edition, so play that instead.

Charli XCX - Blame It On Your Love (featuring Lizzo)

Monday, 13 May 2019

New Music: Arlo Day - This Love

Over the last week I’ve been wracking up the footsteps (over 60,000 in 3 days) at Great Escape in Brighton – Europe’s leading new music festival. The one question I was asked time and time again as I chatted to other punters, in between the music, is who have you seen that you’ve really rated? For the record some of my favourites that I haven’t seen before were The Murder Capital, Chai and Celeste. Other highlights were from Squid, Another Sky and Confidence Man but they are all acts I’ve seen on a number of occasions before Great Escape.

However, today I’m featuring an artist that in certain respects I was surprised not to spot anywhere on the bill at Great Escape given she has been signed to Domino Records and is new. But perhaps that's because she is supporting AlaskaAlaska in Brighton tomorrow. Her name is Arlo Day.

This Love is the second track to be released from her debut EP which comes out at the end of this month, following the introspectively divine Bad Timing. An exquisitely doleful sounding piece it finds Arlo contemplating a relationship with someone she knows isn’t good for her: “You are like a drug to, but I can’t let you get to me.” It’s a song that has extra weight because of its musical subtlety. This one feels special. Give it a listen below.

Arlo Day - This Love

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Introducing: The Murder Capital

This weekend is every British new music fan’s dream festival: Brighton’s Great Escape. With over 450 artists playing over 3 days, most of them being relatively new and from all over the globe, it’s an amazing festival of discovery. I’ve been attending since its very early days, when gigs really only happened in the evening, to see it grow into the bustling and enormous event it has become now. It’s an immediate must do in my diary every year.

Normally around this time I’d write a number of posts giving my tips, musical and otherwise, for the festival, but time has been against me. So instead I’ll just rattle of a small handful of names that I’m most excited to see, some not for the first time: 404, Squid, Amahla, Another Sky, Plastic Mermaids, Celeste, L Devine, Chai and one more band that I’m featuring in full on the blog today. 

That band are The Murder Capital and they hail from Ireland. Loaded up with post-punk intensity they currently have just 2 songs on line to stream. 

Having first caught the attention on the strength a You Tube live recording of a song called More Or Less that packed a hard weighty punch as well as word of mouth from those who attended early gigs, The Murder Capital built a fierce reputation before they even released a single. 

The first track they put out officially to stream in January was the The Fontaines DC-ish Feeling Fades, the second in April was the claustrophobic and brilliantly murky sounding Green & Blue which has hints of early U2, Joy Division and The Cure to it. Both are superb but particularly this second song. It might be called Green & Blue but it’s real colour is midnight black. 

“With their wings flung the choir sung their final song today, as the doors appear to clear the space in which she lay, she’ll collapse she’ll collapse as the amber sisters softly say,” it starts, hinting at an end, a death. This theme is continued through to the powerful video which finds the characters portrayed dealing with what appears to be grief and the loss of someone loved. The audio and visual combined make a poignant and powerful piece of work.

Having already supported the likes of Idles, Fontaines DC and Slaves, The Murder Capital seem well positioned to take things to the next level. The Great Escape might be your last opportunity to see them in a really small venue like The Prince Albert. Go see them if you get the chance.

The Murder Capital - Green & Blue

Monday, 6 May 2019

A Personal Note On Dials Festival 2019 - An Event I Help Run

Away from my day job (which has absolutely nothing to do with music) one of the other projects I’m involved in is running a small music festival in Portsmouth. It’s called Dials. It’s a multi-venue event run by a team of volunteers in support of Solent Mind, a local mental health charity. 

Dials ran in 2015 and 2016 as a smaller replacement for the now defunct Southsea Fest, before taking a break in 2017. My original role was not much more than having a small hand in booking some of the artists that played in those first two years, helping out with a bit of public relations and trying to understand how a putting on a music festival worked; it's a jigsaw and you have to put all the pieces in the right place at the right time.

In 2018 we decided to continue, with a slightly different (albeit very small) team as well as a modified concept and I acted as festival director as well as co-booker. For 2019,  I’ve taken a step back after some recent health issues and another team member Abbie Eales has taken on the role, but I’m still quite heavily involved; I co-book the event and generally do whatever I can to help with the limited spare time I have.

2018 was the first year that the festival took the decision to support a charity and it is something that is very important to me. I’ve always been more of an actions speak louder than words sort of person (ironic given that I write a blog) and so you won’t find me doing lots of posts on Twitter about how important mental health is – I’d rather get on with organising an event like Dials and supporting an organisation like Solent Mind and (hopefully) giving people a great day out watching some of the best new music out there. Tweets are useful, but taking real action is even more so.

2018 represented a new start for our festival with its charity support and revised team structure. The feedback we got from punters was hugely positive and spurred us on to do it again in 2019.

This year we’ve grown the team working on the festival as we had lots of interest from people about getting involved and volunteering after the 2018 event, although the festival itself is the same size. I like to think that when something is positive and successful people want to be part of it. It certainly helps having a bigger number of people to spread the workload, especially when the team is full of such talented and brilliant people. 

I mentioned the praise we received in 2018; we especially liked that ticket holders thought that Dials had a friendly community atmosphere, was well run, had some nice elements of attention to detail (even though we had very little budget), how close all the venues were to each other, and how much great new music they discovered. 

And it’s new music discovery that is at the heart of Dials Festival. Which is why I’m incredibly excited today to reveal the first 13 acts that will be appearing at Dials 2019. 

Headlining will be The Blinders - a band I named as Ones to Watch in 2018 (here). Since that time they’ve released their debut album Columbia and cooked up a storm wherever they’ve played live. This year they’ve already played the Scala in London and will be supporting Noel Gallagher at some of his summer shows before they head to Dials. 

Alongside The Blinders I’m ecstatic to bring Another Sky back to Portsmouth for the second time. If you’ve read Breaking More Waves this year or followed me on Twitter you’ll probably know that this band is one of my favourite new acts of the last 12 months. They were the first band I approached about playing for 2019 and was absolutely delighted when they said yes. If you haven’t heard them yet, it’s time to do some catching up and listen to tracks like Chillers, The Cracks, Forget Yourself, Apple Tree and Avalanche and feel the band’s power. Having seen them play a number of times I know they can deliver the goods on stage as well – they are all fantastic musicians.

Besides these 2 bands today we’ve announced 11 more acts. From fresh new cosmic dreamy synth pop from Bristol (Pocket Sun) to snarling South London new wave punk recently signed to Felix White of The Maccabees new Yala! Records label (Talk Show) to analogue ambient audio-visual electronic art from Brighton (Johanna Bramli) to a band that are playing Glastonbury, Boomtown and Download this summer, have collaborated with Bobby from Primal Scream on a recent single and are making people’s jaws drop with their full-on live performances (Black Futures). 

We’re really proud of the line up we’ve curated and hope that as many people as possible will come along for the day. We’ve already sold out of early bird tickets and hope that even if you know none of the acts playing, you’ll come for a grand day out anyway.

A quick plea: It really helps us survive as a festival if you buy tickets early so if you have any thought about coming to Dials 2019 – grab a ticket now (just click here). 

Dials takes place on October 5th on one road (Albert Road) in Southsea, Portsmouth and runs from lunchtime to around 11pm at night.

The artists announced for Dials 2019 so far are: The Blinders, Another Sky, Arxx, Black Futures, Fake Empire, Haze, Hussy, Johanna Bramli, LibraLibra, Pocket Sun, Saltwater Sun, Talk Show and Wych Elm, but this is just the start, we have lots more to come. 

Find out more about the artists, check out the Spotify playlist and most importantly buy your tickets at the Dials Festival website by clicking 

If you’d like a free ticket to Dials, then why not come and help out and volunteer? We’ll be looking for people to help with things such as merchandise sales on the day, artist accreditation and acting as runners. It’s a really rewarding experience (something I never really considered until I started helping out) and we’ll make sure you get some time off to go and see some of the artists play. If you’re interested in volunteering just send an email to

To finish off, here’s some music from a few of the artists playing Dials 2019. We look forward to welcoming you in October. For more information on Solent Mind and what they do click here.

The Blinders - Brave New World

Another Sky - Apple Tree

Saltwater Sun - The Wire

Johanna Bramli - Spirals

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

New Music: The RSPB - Let Nature Sing

Last year I came up with a new idea for a DJ project. It was, at least initially, a complete piss take. I adopted the name Bird Song DJs, took some promo pics of me wearing a plague doctor bird mask and an orange ravers coat and managed to get myself booked for a major UK festival (Bestival) and a couple of smaller intimate shows. The idea was originally that there would be 3 of us adopting the names DJ Robin (well Robin is my real name after all) and the Budgie Twins and that we would play purely ambient music overlaid with the sound of birds twittering.

Unfortunately, the Budgie Twins had to drop out of the project due to other commitments but I flew on and come Bestival what started out as a joke had become a rather beautiful thing. On an evening where there was banging grime, techno and incredibly energised music virtually everywhere else on site, a walk up a hill through near fog brought you to a space of calm and beauty. As a mix of Nils Frahm, Max Richter, The Orb, Jean Michel Jarre and Poppy Ackroyd floated across the landscape in amongst it could be heard the sound of real tweeting and twittering – not that of social media. It was strange and eerie and calming and engulfed you. People stopped, sat down, relaxed and some even meditated and fell asleep. One person commented to me that it was the most perfect thing she had ever heard (she may have been drunk but I like to believe she wasn't) and another phoned her boyfriend to play the sounds enveloping her. It was a huge success and probably my favourite DJ set I’ve ever done. 

It also made me think seriously about how important the sound of birdsong and nature is to us all as human beings. Imagine spring without bird song. Imagine summer without a bee’s busy buzz. Yet 56% of UK wildlife is in decline and time’s running out to protect what’s left.

It’s for this reason that this week The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has released a track called Let Nature Sing. Today. there are 40 million fewer birds than there were 40 years ago. The RSPB are saying we need to turn up the volume on nature before it’s too late and are asking people to buy (via a download) or stream the track, which is purely bird song to get the track into the charts. 

Currently it seems to be working. In the mid-week charts Stormzy is number 1, Taylor Swift is number 2 but Let Nature Sing is number 11. Which is bloody brilliant. It may not stay that high by the end of the week, but with your help it can. The recording is accompanied by a beautiful video animated video which is perfect for the track (see below). 

Let Nature Sing is now guaranteed a place in any future Bird Song Dj sets. If anyone wants to book me to come and do my set, just let me know. Any profits from any fees I make after costs will be given to The RSPB. Download and stream the track to show your support for nature.

The RSPB - Let Nature Sing

Friday, 26 April 2019

Introducing: Winnie Raeder

“Wow! Who is she? Can't find her anywhere, but she's brilliant!”

“It takes a special ability to make your music hit people straight to the heart and this here is ability.”

“Tone of Adele with the melodies/vibrato technique of Matt Corby. Haven't heard a voice this honest sounding in a long time. Her songwriting takes it to that next level, though.”

“Could not be more in love with a voice.”

These are just a handful of the positive comments on Winnie Raeder’s Mahogany Session video published in December last year. They’re not wrong. Winnie is a more than special talent.

This week saw the release of her debut single Don’t You Dare. Written and performed by Winnie and produced by James Earp (a man who has worked with a whole bunch of Breaking More Waves favourites; Fickle Friends, Nina Nesbitt, Shells) it’s an instant classic. OK perhaps to become a classic it has to connect with a big audience and at the time of writing it only has just over 1,000 plays on Spotify, but don’t let statistics put you off. Stripped back to the core Winnie’s earthily soulful voice is timelessly beautiful. The simple addition of keys and some soft backing harmonies give the song a solemn stillness that is poignant and powerful.

Born and raised in Denmark but now living in London Winnie was, so the story goes, discovered in a coffee shop where she worked. it’s always good to have an extra skill set in case the music doesn’t work out – so hopefully she can make a mean cappuccino. However, if she continues to release songs as good as this, there really won’t be any need.

Having already nabbed support slots with Alex Vargas, Banfi and Meg Mac, Winnie plays a show in Brixton on the 1st May, but it’s already sold out. This is followed by one at St Pancras Old Church in London on the 3rd June and the mighty Bushstock Festival, also London, on the 15th June.`

Listen to the song and let it beguile you. Then do it all over again with the Mahogany Session video. 

I suspect Winnie Raeder is going to be one of my (and maybe your) favourite new artists of 2019.

Winnie Raeder - Don't You Dare

Winnie Raeder - Don't You Dare and Now I Understand (Mahogany Session)

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Preview: Are You Listening? Festival 2019

If there’s one expression that UK TV and radio types use a little too often, that I find quite annoying, it’s ‘Festival Season’. If you listen to Radio 1 for example you could be easily duped into the idea that ‘Festival Season’ starts with their Big Weekend event (which whenever I hear it mentioned my head starts speaking to me in the voice of Aidan Moffat…. “So that was the first big weekend of the summer. Starts Thursday as usual with a canteen quiz and again no-one wins the big cash prize….”) and ends with Reading / Leeds (remember when they rebranded it The Carling Weekend – that didn’t work did it?). The fact that somewhere in the country there is a music festival of some type taking place at least 48 weeks of the year seems to escape them.

Today Reading is the focus of Breaking More Waves attention, but not for the post GCSEs riot that happens in August. For this weekend Reading's more civilised festival takes place. It's called Are You Listening?

Are You Listening is one of my personal favourite one day festivals for a number of reasons (more of which in a moment) and one that I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from in helping run Dials Festival, a one day / one street / multi-venue new music festival that happens in my home city of Portsmouth, this year on October 5th. A quick plug - you can buy tickets for Dials by clicking here and we’ll be announcing the first handful of artists playing for the 2019 edition in just a few weeks time. 

Most festival previews I read tend to focus on what bands the writer recommends you see. Whilst this can be useful I prefer festival previews that actually tell me a bit about the event. I can easily listen and decide about what artists to watch using streaming services. Any festival worth its salt will have its own playlist. (Find Are You Listening’s by clicking here). What I want to know is what’s it really like to attend? What are the queues like? What are the punters like? What’s the location like? On that basis, here’s my run down of Are You Listening? 2019.


WHERE: Reading town centre. It’s one of the largest towns in the UK without city status and is easily accessible by public transport from London and the South. If you get bored you can always do some shopping in The Oracle Centre and there are plenty of places to eat to suit every budget. (Note: You won’t get bored).

THE VENUES: 8 in total. Milk, Oakford Social Club, Purple Turtle, Rising Sun Arts Centre, Sub 89, South Street Arts Centre (2 venues – Theatre and Studio), St Laurence Church. 

All venues are accessible with a single wristband (subject to capacity) which started at the bargain price of £10 for super early birds and are now £25. Some of the venues like Milk (a trendy cocktail bar on a side street) are very small – it can’t hold (at a guess) more than 100 people, whilst others such as Sub 89 (a regular nightclub) holds around 600 and the church (standing not seated) is also a sizeable space. If you go to see any acts at South Street the 2 venue spaces are right next to each other so you can just skip between them with ease. 

The only venue I’m not so keen on is Oakford Social Club. Despite the name it’s a modern pub, but the area where the bands play is relatively small and enclosed meaning that viewing can be difficult if not impossible unless you get there early, as the capacity of the pub is way bigger than the space to watch the artists. 

THE ARTISTS: A mix of national touring bands often of the new music / indie / alternative / rock / singer songwriter variety and the best of more local rising talent. If you listen to BBC 6 music and Radio 1 you will be well catered for. This year some of the highlights include Flamingods, Bad Sounds and Breaking More Waves favourites Another Sky. Also this year St Laurence Church is being opened by Reading's very own Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, so if the rock ‘n’ roll thrills are too much for you there’s a very different choice! Find the full list of acts and timetable on the festival's website here.

QUEUES AND CAPACITY: Clearly any multi-venue festival is limited by the capacity of its spaces but in the 4 years I’ve been to Are You Listening so far I’ve never struggled to get in to see who I wanted to see. The only time I witnessed a big queue was last year for Idles at Sub 89, but the band were rapidly rising at the time so this was easily predictable and anyone with any sense would have arrived early. This year I suspect there isn’t a similar buzz band on the bill and so my guess is venue hopping should be relatively straightforward. I could of course be proven wrong! As always with these events, if there’s someone you desperately want to see arrive early!

TIMETABLING: The festival generally sticks to the approach of putting the biggest names last, with a smaller number of venues open at the start of the day when less people are present. Sub 89 closers earlier than other venues, which is good as it is possible to see the headliner there and then go on elsewhere to catch another. 

PUNTERS: The number of twats / idiots in the audience is very low. Punters tend to be a mix of hardcore gig goers and people just enjoying a good day out – buy my experience has been that audiences are generally well behaved and respectful of the artists. As some of the venues are 18+ punters tend to be a little older than the other Reading festival in August!

THE BEST THING ABOUT ARE YOU LISTENING? BESIDES THE MUSIC: It’s in aid of charity (Reading Mencap). This is an element of the event I love – just by buying your ticket you’ve helped support a great cause and the work they do. It’s an idea we’ve 100% stolen for Dials Festival in Portsmouth (where we support Solent Mind). 

THE SECOND BEST THING ABOUT ARE YOU LISTENING? BESIDES THE MUSIC: Honest Burgers have produced a special edition AYL? Burger on sale at the Reading Restaurant on festival day only (£1 from every burger goes to Reading Mencap)

THE THIRD BEST THING ABOUT ARE YOU LISTENING? BESIDES THE MUSIC: West Berkshire Brewery have brewed an AYL? Festiv-Ale which is available at local pubs this week and at venues on 27th (a percentage from every pint goes to Reading Mencap).

THE FOURTH BEST THING ABOUT ARE YOU LISTENING? BESIDES THE MUSIC: It’s just before my birthday, so the festival acts as a party of sorts for me. 

THE FUNNIEST THING ABOUT ARE YOU LISTENING 2019: One of the band’s playing early on (Diving Station – who I featured on the blog back in 2017 here) have a song called You’re Not Listening. I hope they play that – for obvious reasons.

Are You Listening? Is this Saturday, April 27th 2019. Tickets whilst available can be purchased by clicking here.

Last year's festival was a sell out event and boasted performances from Idles, Field Music, The Lovely Eggs, Her's (RIP) and raised over £13,000 for Reading Mencap