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

New Music: 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.

THE DETAILS

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

New Music: Brika - Blinded


Brika’s new song Blinded is by far her most ambitious to date and possibly my favourite thing she’s ever done. It starts with a crackle and some single drips of piano that gradually evolve into a rain of notes, a storm more reminiscent of something from a classical-ambient record than an artist usually associated with R‘n’B pop. It doesn’t end with the surprises there either. There’s Brika’s effect-laden vocal, what sounds like suspiciously like a banjo and a backing track that sounds haunting, mysterious and almost modern Celtic.

It’s bolder and more experimental than anything Brika has done before and it opens up the idea of all sorts of future possibilities – and it’s those possibilities that make me excited just as much as this rather intriguing piece of music.

Brika - Blinded

Monday, 22 April 2019

New Music: Golden Fable - Finery


Have you watched the Netflix show The OA? Do you remember how after watching series 1 you (probably) felt a little bit WTF? Especially after THAT dance. If you did you might feel the same after viewing the new video from Welsh band Golden Fable who return with a new single Finery, which is taken from their forthcoming album Alchemy. Featuring two members of Manchester’s Kapow Dance the performance you see is strangely captivating, tender, physical and beautiful – but also downright weird. The comments on the video say it all. First: “Lol I found this while looking for a Fable soundtrack chill out music mix. WHERE AM I?! What is this? Why internet, why?” Second: “This is brilliant.” Personally, I could (and have) watched it over and over and what helps is the beautiful music that accompanies the performance.

If you know Golden Fable’s previous work, you’ll already be familiar with Rebecca’s celestial voice and it’s in the best form on Finery. But that’s not all, the string laden music is also superb; stirring without ever being bombastic it swells and rises much like Rebecca’s voice. Is it folk? Is it rock? Is it indie? I don’t really know or care – but it absolutely moves me. I'd take this over 1000 BTS's or Ariana Grande's.

You can pre-order the new Golden Fable album by clicking this link here.

Golden Fable - Finery



New Music: Talkboy - Wasting Time


There’s been more than one occasion now where a writer has stated that comparing one artist to another in terms of what they sound like is lazy journalism. That’s bollocks. Cutting and pasting a whole press release and then passing it off as your own is lazy journalism. Equivalence, especially in new music writing, is a useful tool to give a reader at least a vague sense of if the music might be something that appeals to their tastes. It isn't lazy – it requires a bit of thought.

Which brings me to Leeds based sextet Talkboy. So far I’ve seen them compared to Franz Ferdinand, Arcade Fire, Alvvays, The Big Moon, Sophie Ellis Bextor (that was me) and on new single Wasting Time the intro has the trippy feel of The Beatles more LSD influenced moments. The point is that Talkboy, whilst sitting in the indie rock / pop genre, are exploring lots of different avenues within it.  “One of Yorkshire’s most exciting indie prospects,” the press release tells me. It’s not wrong – screw it if I’m being a lazy there. (If you think I’m the only one so Google the words ‘Talkboy one of Yorkshire’s most exciting indie prospects’ and play spot the copy and paste job!) I’d go further than just Yorkshire with the praise for Talkboy though – to at least the north of England - maybe even further. 

What makes them deserve the hype? At its core the answer is the songs. They’re inventive, hooky, well-constructed and bloody enjoyable. Wasting Time is another example. Dealing with the conflict of the world of adult responsibilities whilst trying to enjoy the here and now of youth it’s chock full of melodies, harmonies and is wonderfully executed in every respect. If this is how Talkboy waste their time, let’s let them do more of it.

Talkboy play a number of festival shows over the next few months in the UK including Live At Leeds, The Great Escape (Alt Escape Show), Long Division Festival, Blue Dot and Y-Not. 

Talkboy - Wasting Time

Sunday, 21 April 2019

New Music: Abbie Ozard - Growing Pains


The last (and first) time that Manchester’s Abbie Ozard appeared on the blog was almost a year ago with her single Average Disguise. Since that track she’s released a further single Gone and a cover of East 17’s Stay Another Day, at Christmas time of course. Now it’s time to catch up with Abbie through her latest release and her best so far - Growing Pains.

She describes the song as talking about a young person’s perception of love and the confusion that comes with it. “I wanted to write a song that makes teenagers feel less isolated when falling in and out of love and struggling with identity and acceptance.”

The sound is Abbie’s chirpiest yet and if you’re a fan of old school indie – the sort that in the 80's wasn’t afraid of the floppy fringe and dancing bashfully in the corner with a pint of snakebite and black – you’ll probably like this. There are hints of artists such as Hazel English and Rose Elinor Dougall here, and even perhaps the more pop moments of The Cure, so if those names mean anything to you, it’s probably time to press play. 

Words like summery and dreamy are almost inevitably going to crop up when describing this song - and let's face it there's a lot worse things in life - so embrace it.

You can catch Abbie at Liverpool's Sound City on May 4th if you're from that neck of the woods.

Abbie Ozard - Growing Pains

Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Music: Lauran Hibberd - Hoochie


Over the years the Breaking More Waves household has owned a number of hamsters. They were called Frisbee (RIP), Krispy (RIP) and Cocoa (RIP). Lauran Hibberd also owns a hamster; it’s called Hoochie. This also just happens to be the name of her new single. I quite like the idea of her owning a menagerie of pets all named after her songs: Sugardaddy could be a tortoise perhaps, Hunny would be a cute adult rabbit and Shotgun would be some sort of vicious looking dog, that she could call at any time when she lets it off the lead.

Alas Hoochie the song isn’t about a hamster, although pets do get a brief mention. Instead it’s a tune about someone who Lauran used to hang out with, but now she thinks they’re a bit of a plonker: “I saw you bought another bass, I thought I told you it was a waste of space. I know you’re gonna start another shit hot band and make me laugh,” she concludes of the jackass boy. Hoochie flies by like a zip being yanked down. Before you know it you’ve had a bunch of growling indie guitars and yet another earworm of a chorus – Lauran just can’t stop writing them.

If the music career doesn’t work out for her  (and it seems to be going pretty well at the moment – although if the promo picture above is to be believed she doesn’t seem to have earned enough money yet to be able to afford a hairdryer, instead resorting to hand dryers in public toilets) she could perhaps try one in comedy. For anyone that has seen her live you’ll know that she does a neat line in slightly self-disparaging slightly cocky humour as displayed in her latest quote about this song: “I think there’s a confidence in this track lyrically that I’m yet to filter through to my actual life. I’m looking forward to that happening.”

Lauran has a few headline dates of her own coming up in May (in Southampton, Manchester and London) before she’s out doing a few festivals this summer including Great Escape, Winchestival, 110 Above and the mother of them all – Glastonbury - where she represents the south in the BBC Introducing tent. (I couldn't think of a finer representative). Hoochie is out all over the place right now – just like a Hoochie does.

Lauran Hibberd - Hoochie

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

New Music: Alice Jemima - Icarus


I tweeted about this track last week, but let’s face it, a tweet is a momentary and rather lightweight method of supporting an artist. So, here’s a slightly longer blog post. In fact, it would have been a little odd if I didn’t write about the return of this musician considering how many times I’ve writen about her in the past, from her early bedroom demos through to signing the dotted line with Sunday Best records and her debut album.

Alice Jemima is back and she returns with a bop. All the trademark elements that made me fall in love with Alice’s music are still present - the smooth honeyed vocals, the unfussy songwriting and the snappy guitar sounds that owe a fair amount of debt to The XX - but this time round there’s an increased level of dancefloor energy rather than her normal quietly chilled delivery. This probably has something to do with the fact that the track was co-written with one of the queens of the disco, the one and only Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The collaboration goes further than just this song though, with Alice due to support Sophie on her UK tour this summer. 

Icarus is of course a character from Greek mythology who together with his father attempted to escape from Crete by wings constructed of feather and wax, but flew too close to the sun leading to the wax melting, the wings being destroyed and Icarus falling to his death. Here we find Alice singing cautiously of love and relating it to the tale of Icarus. Can love be too perfect? Can you be blinded by it? Or is there a risk of those beautiful highs leading to you flying metaphorically too close to the sun and falling? The song is a plea for that not to happen. 

It’s also a wonderful pop record.

Alice Jemima - Icarus

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Introducing: Arlo Day


Judging by her debut single Bad Timing, Arlo Day is a purveyor of the down-beat; she makes the kind of melancholy tunes that have just the right weight of heaviness to wallow in a little, without it becoming overbearing. If introspective singer-songwriters are your thing (and we all need a little introspection every now and then, right?) then get ready to immerse yourself in her music.

Hailing from South-East London Arlo Day is the moniker for one Alice Barlow and if you do the smallest bit of digging (one simple Google search) you can find her on Soundcloud with another track called In A Vice. The track is 5 years old and was released under her real name and has subsequently clocked up an impressive number of streams. 

Described by those in the know as ‘one of the capital’s best kept secrets’ Arlo has been signed to Domino records and will release her debut EP on the 31st May. She also has a handful of summer shows, including an EP release show at Bermondsey Social Club, London on 6th June and slots at Green Man and Latitude festivals.

For now, take a look and listen to the video for Bad Timing which found Barlow collaborating with her friends Holly Taylor, Elena Isolini and Esther Collins. The visuals (black and white of course, to suit the mood) were shot in the friends’ houses all around South London. Barlow adds: ‘Like the song, the video is based around the disparity of time and hindsight, and how moments of the past can replay in your mind.”

Arlo Day - Bad Timing (Video)

Monday, 15 April 2019

New Music: Another Sky - The Cracks


I've mentioned this before on the blog, but i think it's worth repeating.The common consensus that I see amongst music biz types and some industry publications is that bands are out of fashion and out of favour. But that misses a critical point – that some of those groups are still creating incredible music. It’s why when I named my Ones to Watch 2019 on the blog last year I purposefully started with two bands. Two bands that I firmly believe are making some of the most intoxicating and compelling music to be heard right now. 

One is Dublin’s Fontaines DC, a group that has recently released a brilliantly boisterous and lyrically poetic debut album called Dogrel.

The second is Another Sky, a four piece who seemed to fly under most people’s radars with their debut release Forget Yourself in March 2018 but have been beavering away ever since, slowly drawing attention to themselves with a string of bold and arresting songs that get better and better with each listen. They’ve now got to the point where they are able to announce a headline show at Village Underground in London on September 24th, a step up from the tiny toilet venues they’ve been slogging around which seem somewhat unbefitting of their superbly structured sound, a sound that can only be created by musicians who have already mastered their tools. 

Today saw another new song join Another Sky’s collection of powerful hymns. It’s called The Cracks and is taken from their upcoming EP Life Was Coming In Through The Blinds which is due for release on 14th June. Vocalist Catrin Vincent describes the track as “a response to a Leonard Cohen lyric, ‘the cracks, that’s how the light gets in’. The song is an ode to our generation, one that is more self-aware and being forced to have the difficult conversations that lead to progress and evolution. It’s inspired by the little girl fined by the council for setting up a lemonade stall, the kids suing the US government for global warming, teenagers like Greta Thunburg. It’s about our generation’s unique position of facing extinction.”.  Driven by a rhythmic force it once again showcases Catrin Vincent’s incredible voice; it jumps from solid rock to the heavens with what seems like ease. There’s a real sense of drama here, but it’s never overblown. 

If you get the chance to see Another Sky live grab it. It’s only in that environment you really get the opportunity to appreciate the atmospheres, textures and sheer bloody great musicianship that the band possesses. They’re already in the Breaking More Waves diary for Are You Listening festival in Reading (where they play in a church) on 27th April, Brighton’s Great Escape in May and most likely a few others as 2019 rolls on as well.

Out of fashion? Perhaps. But fashion is transient. This is music built to last. 

Another Sky - The Cracks

Thursday, 11 April 2019

New Music: Iris - Romance Is Dead


Since Iris, the latest Norwegian pop-export, first hit the pages of Breaking More Waves, she has released her debut EP A Sensitive Being. It’s a rather fetching low-key collection of anti-bangers for those who like pop music that is a little more plaintive and gentle in tone (although the track Hanging Around You / Crackers displays some near-Sigrid like qualities of elevated synthy euphoria, albeit in a rather understated manner).

Now there’s a video for the closing track from the EP, the seemingly harshly titled Romance is Dead. “Who can say romance is dead when I see strangers running into each others arms?” she sings and in these times of what seems to be constant anger on line, it’s nice to hear some words like this with a piece of music that is so beautifully soothing. Of the video Iris says “I used an old digital camera because I like how the world looks through it. There’s a bit of perfection in it looking so imperfect.”

Iris comes to the UK in May for Brighton’s Great Escape festival.

Iris - Romance is Dead (Video)

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

New Music: Pocket Sun - Tightly


I first introduced Pocket Sun to the pages of Breaking More Waves last month with their debut track Plastic and now it’s time to drift away with them again as we catch their second song to be released from their forthcoming EP Sleep Inventions due May 17th. It’s called Tightly.

The sound here is perhaps unlike the title; it's less constricting and tight but more snug, like a belated Indian Summer where you’ve spent all day dozing in the hammock without realising. Pocket Sun’s music doesn’t grab you, instead it sidles up to you gracefully and just nestles into your ear comfortably. Add in lyrics about ‘floating on the waves of you’ and ‘a body needs a sun’ and the dreamy and tranquil textures of the music are accentuated even more.

To accompany the track there’s a spacey-fruity video which you can see below.

Pocket Sun is the project of an artist who goes by the name of GMT from Bristol who has assembled a 5 piece to embrace her vision. Behind the scenes Pocket Sun have been working on a live show, which will see the light of day this year - catch them at all the best venues and emerging music festivals soon.

Pocket Sun - Tightly (Video)


Sunday, 7 April 2019

Introducing: Nasty Cherry


Nasty Cherry announced themselves to the world last year with an Instagram post that showed an attempt to balance two champagne flutes on a bare bottom in a swimming pool and some text that stated: “HI WE’RE NASTY CHERRY AND WE’RE THE BEST BAND OF 2019.” It was, if nothing else, an unusual and bold opening statement and made a change from a dull press release that mentioned the word ‘empowering’ or 'empowered' (2018’s buzz word in music biz press releases by a country mile).

Since that time the world has learnt a bit more about Nasty Cherry and there’s even been some music; a song called Win.

Here are the key facts that you need to know about the band so far:

1. Nasty Cherry has four members. They are Gabbriette Bechtel who has worked as a model, Chloe Chaidez who is also in the band Kitten, Georgia Somary who has worked as a movie set decorator including Star Wars VIII - The Last Jedi and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Debroah Knox-Hewson who has previously drummed for Charli XCX.

2. The Charli XCX connection runs deep – it seems that the original idea of bringing the band together was Charli’s and Win was co-written by her. The video (streaming below) was also directed by Charli and she’s been banging on about the band for some time on her Instagram.

3. Justin Raisen has also been involved in the Nasty Cherry project. He was the guy who helped produce and write a lot of Charli’s True Romance album and also worked with Angel Olsen, Sky Ferreira and L Devine on her excellent song Peer Pressure.

4. The Nasty Cherry video for Win, which includes the band dancing like a crazed coven of witches whilst covered in gold glitter paint, was premiered by Vogue – not some two-bit music website, which says quite a lot about pop music and how it's marketed these days.

5. They’ve only played one live show to date and claim they to want to achieve world domination through their music. So they’ll probably be releasing some more songs and playing some more shows at some point. They’ll not manage a global takeover off one track.

So, there’s the info, but what about the song? 

It’s essentially a pop tune masquerading as something a little bit edgier. There’s a hint of Peter Hook’s bass lurking around and perhaps a bit of a slowed down take on Feeder’s tune Buck Rogers as well. I’ve seen several people refer to Sleater-Kinney (which I don’t really hear) and also reference Joan Jett. With Charli XCX being involved there’s the inevitable repeated hook, in this case “I need to win.” If you’re a bit cynical that the whole project seems a little bit too stylised and steered by the music industry, try to push that away and just listen to the tune. It’s a very promising start. Maybe they’re not the best band of 2019 yet, but they are one rung up (a very long) ladder. 

Nasty Cherry - Win



Friday, 5 April 2019

New Music: James Blake - Barefoot In The Park (feat. Rosalía)


Whilst it’s probably a bit early to start thinking about end of year / decade lists unless you’re me, (because I love lists, statistics and contrary to most creative types beliefs I actually enjoy treating music as a competitive sport) I can think of at least 8 records that could easily feature in my top 10 or 20 of 2019 already. One of those is James Blake’s Assume Form and my absolute favourite track from it is Barefoot In The Park featuring Rosalía. It’s a simply sublime song that despite it’s electronic sound appears to have roots in traditional Irish folk music, with a number of sources suggesting that the sample featured in the track is from the song Fill Fill A Rún Ó, recorded by a singer named Valerie Armstrong in 1972. (Click here to see the original)

Now the song is getting some more attention as James has released a video to support the track. Everything about this piece is just so gorgeous. Rosalía’s vocal’s are to die for giving me shivers every single time and the tender production is absolutely perfect. I’d go as far as saying this might even be my favourite song of the year so far.

On the face of it the video is just Rosalía and James strolling around and a bunch of kids doing the same, but there's an awful lot of symbolism in the video; a boy covered in roses being shot at in play, a dead dove, the children disappearing as they grow older, a burning car crash with children staring at it, the clouds opening to the heavens, adults forming an arch that the children go under, a beautiful butterfly flying towards the crash. It’s (possibly) saying something quite sad about love, becoming adults and the journey of life, but you can form your own opinion.

James Blake - Barefoot In The Park (feat. Rosalía)

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

New Music: Max Cooper - Lovesong (Poppy Ackroyd Remix)


Earlier this year you may remember that I posted an astoundingly good remix by Max Cooper of the Poppy Ackroyd track Paper which I described as a ‘calm banger’. Now it’s role reversal time because Poppy has re-worked Max’s track Lovesong, which is the closing track of Max’s album One Hundred Billion Sparks Remixed, out now. 

Max’s original was a gentle electronic comedown, as if the doors were closing and everyone was going home. Yet it seems that someone had left a grand piano in the room and Poppy was there hiding, waiting for her chance to sit in front of the keys and coat the track in subtle pitter-patter rhythms as if it was raining outside, the small splashes in the forming puddles creating something bigger. I’ve always thought that if you are going to do a remix you should very much leave your mark on the music – the new track should be identifiably the work of the remixer - and for anyone familiar with Poppy’s work you’ll hear her signature all over this lovely piece. 

Max Cooper - Lovesong (Poppy Ackroyd Remix)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

New Music: Hatchie - Stay With Me


Since Hatchie first cropped up on the Breaking More Waves radar in January 2018  I thought I had her sound nailed down. Layers of dreamy guitars and a pretty indie pop melody that take you instantly back to the late 80’s and early 90’s have pretty much been the order of the day. 

So new song Stay With Me is a bit of a surprise as it veers away from her usual (albeit lovely) formula into something far more synthetic. It still has that languid dream like quality to it and despite the video showing Hatchie ‘in da club’ it’s not really a dance track at all, unless your style of dancing is pretty laid back. Hatchie has described the song as one of her favourites on her forthcoming album: “Because I’m a sucker for crying-in-the-club tracks.” Personally, I prefer Camilla Cabello’s idea of there being no crying in the club, because the beat will carry away your tears as they fall and the music will lift you up, but each to their own….

Hatchie’s debut album Keepsake will be released on the 21st June and she will be playing some UK shows in Brighton, Bristol, London, Manchester and Leeds in the same month.

Hatchie - Stay With Me

Monday, 1 April 2019

Introducing: AVA


Normally on this day of the year Breaking More Waves goes a little wonky and I post some sort of April Fools’ day post – from the advert for DIY Breaking More Waves merchandise made out of Sellotape, handwritten notes and plastic bags, to a fake new band called Duben Tosk (you can still listen to their ‘music’ by clicking here), to an announcement that I’m converting Breaking More Waves to a food and porn blog with live video streams, to an announcement of the first ever Breaking More Waves tour featuring just me reading my blog to an audience from my laptop.

For once though I’m putting the jokes aside and continuing to focus on music. And today what beautiful music it is.

Whilst Breaking More Waves has always focussed heavily on pop, indie, electronic and acoustic music, regular readers will have also picked up that ambient music is very close to my heart, be it electronic and sample based or of a more classical variety. Last year for example Erland Cooper’s Solan Goose was my favourite record of the year.

Today I’m introducing a new duo AVA who released their debut single Waves last Friday. They are Anna Phoebe and Aisling Brouwer – and they make ambient soundscapes formed out of the connections and interactions between piano and violin. Both are professional composers in their own right; Aisling for film and TV and Anna for the Royal Ballet School (as well as a session musician for multi-platinum selling bands and artists). They will be putting out an album through One Little Indian records on the 12th July, which is described as ‘a deeply personal record written for those looking to find solace in a world full of unrest.’

This first track, Waves, was recorded in a studio just a mile from the Kent coast and uses Brouwer’s piano playing as the sea whilst the violin plays the part of the surf coming into the shore. It’s an incredibly evocative and beautiful piece and it's easy to visualise the waves tumbling and rolling, full of power and rhythm as you listen to the music. 

With a forthcoming Erland Cooper album also dealing with the wonder of the sea and with Julia Kent having already released a stunning album this year, 2019 looks like being a very good one for modern post classical / ambient music. Get to know AVA and let them take you to a better place with their album this summer.

AVA - Waves