Sunday, 2 August 2020

Monthly Playlist: July 2020

Uploaded yesterday to Spotify, posted about here today, here’s the end of July Breaking More Waves new music playlist. It’s a bit shorter than previous months. So get your ears round it now and whilst you’re at it have a listen to The Blinders’ Fantasies of A Stay At Home Psychopath, Courtney Marie Andrews’ Old Flowers and E.M.M.A’s Indigo Dream, my three favourite albums of the last month.

The jury is still out on the second Fontaines DC album from my perspective. My initial impressions are, despite the good reviews, disappointment. For me, so far, it lacks the immediacy and connection that Dogrel had, but I’m going to give it some time before making a full judgement.

Playlist (Find it and follow it on Spotify by clicking here)

Into Indigo – E.M.M.A

I Still Like Kelis – Plastic Mermaids (Ajax Roy O’vaque remix)
Tapestry – Winter Gardens
What You Gonna Do??? – Bastille
Lonely Girl – LibraLibra
It’s All So Incredibly Loud – Glass Animals
One More Weekend – Maude Latour
Won’t You Be Happy – Eaves Wilder
Buzzkill – Baby Queen
Lose My Cool – ROMES
My Future – Billie Eilish
Redemption – Hurts
Simply Put - lilo

Here are a few of the tracks from the playlist that haven't featured on the blog this month before:

LibraLibra - Lonely Girl

ROMES - Lose My Cool

Maude Latour - One More Weekend 

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Not Quite A Full Stop. But Nearly A Pause. Breaking More Waves - The Slowdown

Back in mid-March I posted a piece titled The (Temporary) Return of Breaking More Waves Blog.

With the introduction of a lockdown in my home country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and a period of isolation I decided that with no friends to see, no gigs, festivals, art galleries, theatres, restaurants or cinemas to go to and with the amount of jogging I was doing being reduced it was a good time to bring Breaking More Waves out of semi-retirement and start posting about new music again to help keep me sane. 

I have some underlying health conditions and therefore am slightly more at risk should I contract Covid-19, so have been relatively risk-averse in terms of staying safe over the last few months, but thankfully over this time my physical health has remained good. 

My mental health too has been strong; even although until this week I haven’t seen a friend in real life since February I feel like I’ve weathered the storm so far. I have a theory that being an only child helps – I grew up with limited company when I was young, so I’m used to keeping myself busy on my own at home. I also helps that I’ve been very fortunate to work throughout the pandemic and although my job (working for 2 local authorities) has been challenging, it has been a piece of p*ss compared with working on the frontline in our health services or being made unemployed and now struggling to find work.

However, as things have begun to open up in the UK there is the opportunity to return to seeing some friends and socialise a little and I’ve also got out on the streets running more often. Therefore, I’m finding less time to prioritise writing the blog again and so I have decided to part retire Breaking More Waves. The return was always intended as temporary – I stated that from the off and nothing has changed my mind on that, although I've enjoyed doing a handful of posts the last few months.

However, I will still be running a monthly playlist on Spotify of new music from the previous month (click here to find it and follow) which I will write about on Breaking More Waves and if I feel compelled to bash out anything else about music, I reserve the right to do so here. It’s my blog so I make the rules. Also, whilst I very much hope it doesn’t happen, if the number of cases of Covid-19 in the UK accelerates again and the country goes into another lockdown, the frequency of posts here will probably match that acceleration. 

But for now, this is me not exactly signing off, but making Breaking More Waves the blog equivalent of driving at 1st gear with my foot hardly on the throttle.

Finally, just to add, I’ll still be relatively active on Twitter (here) where you’ll probably find me posting about musicians in the bath a little too frequently. Stay safe everyone. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. This video, released today seems appropriate in a number of ways.

Phoebe Bridgers - I Know The End

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Winter Gardens - Tapestry

Cast your mind back. To February 2019 to be exact. For it was at that time I introduced a new band from the Brighton area called Winter Gardens with their debut single Coral Bells; a mix of dreamy indie and punkish sounds that rattled with energy. It showed promise.

My crystal ball was working well that day because in a moment of spot-on fortune telling I suggested that lead singer Ananda had just a hint of Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins about her vocals - they have subsequently covered a Cocteau’s track - and that whilst there was a lot of energy in the music I could easily imagine Ananda’s voice coating itself over something a little slower and softer.

Now after a somewhat lengthy gap Winter Gardens has finally readied their debut EP and the lead single from it, Tapestry, released yesterday, is a treat. It does exactly what I imagined in that introducing piece. 

For at the start Ananda’s voice is given space to breathe, her voice a giddying and bewitching sound designed to make even the burliest of builders weak at the knees. The tempo is unhurried, the band seemingly realising that there Is no rush to reach heaven. There’s no chorus as such; the whole thing is constructed as one beautiful repeated nursery rhyme, so it doesn’t need it. What’s possibly even more striking though is the sheer power of the song, for when the explosions come, and believe me they do come, you are lost, deliriously lost, in a rich landscape of sound. Ananda’s voice battles to be heard and whilst this could be perceived as a tragedy, that melody, repeated again is already lodged in your brain. It doesn't need to be front and centre any more.


You can pre-order the debut Winter Gardens EP by clicking here.

Winter Gardens - Tapestry

Monday, 20 July 2020

Introducing : Eaves Wilder

If the names Lush, Slowdive, Ride or Chapterhouse mean anything to you then this new artist might just make you raise an eyebrow. 

She’s only sixteen years old, hasn’t played a live show yet and has released just one song; but it’s a good one. Won’t You Be Happy is a blissed-out swoosh of indie guitar pop. It’s already picked up plenty of online press coverage plus national UK radio play via BBC 6 Music (Lauren Laverne) and Radio 1 (Jack Saunders). It's an impressive start. 

Let’s remember Eaves Wilder is just sixteen. When I was that age the most noteworthy thing I’d done was probably get a couple of detentions at school for not giving in homework. Come to think of it, I'm way older now and still have never had a song played on the radio.

The chances of Eaves being drawn to music were probably always somewhat higher than your average kid; after all she’s the daughter of journalist parents (Caitlin Moran and Peter Paphides), both of whom have written for music publications. I wonder how mum and dad would have reviewed her single back in the day? Caitlin once in the early 90’s called Curve’s song Unreadable Communication ‘the most intense piece of music to be recorded this year.’ There’s a very subtle hint of Curve in what her daughter is doing here as well – albeit the intensity on a scale of 10 is more around a 2 to 3 than 10.

Won’t You Be Happy dips its foot into both colourful psychedelia and swirling shoegaze yet also maintains a dreamy but punchy indie-head sound. If you’ve ever heard a Shine compilation you’ll probably feel this fits. The song was recorded during lockdown in her bedroom, but has been given some extra zing by producer Stephen Street, probably best known for his work with Blur and The Smiths. 

What’s surprising about this fuzzy head music of a tune is that Eaves first came to some attention online via a video of her jamming piano to Uncertain Smile by The The for National Piano Day in January. It subsequently gained the approval of Matt Johnson from The The who sent her a signed copy of the band’s album Soul Mining with a note saying ‘To Eavie – Practice makes perfect, keep up the hard work!’ So, whilst this first release frames Eaves in the way of stoned guitar sonics, there could well be some very different dimensions to her music to come in the future. Very early days, but perhaps one to watch?

Eaves Wilder - Won't You Be Happy

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Introducing : lilo

Today’s new band, a duo, merge UK folk and US singer-songwriter styles with a pleasing serenity and beauty.

But before we go any further, I should add that this ‘Introducing’ post feels a little bit like a lie; I already featured lilo on Breaking More Waves - back in 2018. However, then they were called Lilo’s Wall and at the time the ‘soft acoustic strums, golden harmonies and a calm intimacy’ that I described I thought would lead to further releases. It didn’t happen.

Now in 2020 we have that music. Alongside a name change (lilo with no capital L – hence a new post under the Introducing banner). 

Everything else is present and correct. There’s not been a huge stylistic change with the shortened name; lilo haven’t suddenly decided to have a go at becoming grime superstars, launch into some dark DIY psychedelic rock and their career as pumping house DJs will have to wait for now. Their new songs are still all about a cosy camp fire tranquillity, showing that quiet can still speak volumes. The Staves are still a definite point of reference. They still sound rather lovely - if music were an action then lilo's would be a hug, which given the current social distancing guidance in the UK, we could all probably do with right now.

There are 5 tracks up on Bandcamp (1 is a demo) and 4 of those are also on Spotify. Take a listen to latest release Simply Put, which went online yesterday. The duo have written of the track: "This song is about feeling like you're not being listened to, and about questioning your worth and value, especially as a woman™ in music™ and in relationships™. Sometimes it can feel very tiring to realise as you grow up that you gradually get listened to less and less." I hope that everyone reading this will listen.

lilo - Simply Put

Friday, 17 July 2020

Hurts - Redemption

If music is going to achieve any sort of result it has to move me. Sometimes this movement can be physical - primarily dancing - but likewise it can be some sort of emotional engagement. The new single from Hurts, Redemption certainly achieves the later. 

Hurts has always been a divisive and somewhat misunderstood band; from the moment they first emerged a decade ago coming in the top 5 of the BBC Sound of 2010 and playing an incredible show at Wiltons Music Hall that featured an opera singer and Theo combing his hair on stage, some people struggled with the idea of a duo who displayed big ideas alongside a slight cheesiness. This was I believe primarily because Hurts didn’t fit with the staid clich├ęs that help influence and form the judgements we make about music. There are so many preconceived ideas around pretension, authenticity and naffness. Yet what is perceived as over sentimental songwriting that makes the skin crawl to one person is a thing of huge power to another.

“You've made all our hidden pain inside just cry out and shake what we really are,” comments one person on You tube about this song. “You saved my life in 2010 and you keep on changing me with everything you do,” says another. People from Russia in particular seem to get Hurts and connect with them. Most Brits and Americans less so.

Yet some people will press play on Redemption and vomit. If the idea of Hurts structuring a song like Lewis Capaldi whilst singing of never feeling this far from God make your dark cynical heart feel a bit queasy then get the bucket because you’re going to be very sick. But even if that’s your reaction, stick with it because something quite amazing happens towards the end of Redemption. In a classic Hurts moment, they go the whole hog; orchestras, choirs, a cinematic piece that the word epic was 100% designed for.

You might hate it. You might love it. But I defy anyone not to be moved by this. And that’s a good thing. Music is at its best when it’s a force.

The new Hurts album, suitably titled Faith is released on September 4th.

Hurts - Redemption 

Saturday, 11 July 2020

E.M.M.A - Into Indigo

You know that scene in the movie where the camera pans over the wild untamed landscape from above, a single winding road cutting through the crystalline ice capped hills and dense green forests? It’s twilight and a single set of headlights light up the road. Dark clouds signify a storm is brewing.

The camera begins to zoom in and we follow the car for a few more seconds, driving steadily and carefully through the scene. The windscreen wipers work against the falling sleet. The camera cuts to inside the car and it’s there we see the protoganist, staring straight ahead, their face hollow, deep in steely thought and concentration The events of the last few days have changed her as a person forever. She’s driving to the final destination. 

The moment of truth is about to arrive. Your pulse quickens and you realise that you are gripping the arm of your chair in tense anticipation. Then the camera fades and the climax begins.

This is the soundtrack to that scene.

Off course I have no idea what was in E.M.M.A’s head when she wrote Into Indigo, it may well have been fluffy bunnies, but what I do know is that it’s seven years since her acclaimed debut Blue Gardens. Now she’s back with a Indigo Dream, her forthcoming album which is released on July 29th. It includes a track called Ryan Gosling In Space and for that reason alone is worth buying. 

The field of electronic music is one area that is still hugely dominated by men. That is slowly (ever so slowly) changing and in that scene E.M.M.A has been quietly established herself, gaining much respect not only through her released music, but her work as a soundtracker and her behind-the-scenes work as the founder of Producergirls, the UK’s first free-to-attend beginners’ electronic music production workshops for women.

Take a listen Into Indigo, a superbly crafted piece and imagine your film scene.

E.M.M.A - Into Indigo

Friday, 10 July 2020

Introducing: Baby Queen

Today’s new artist is South African born, London based singer-songwriter Bella Lathum. She goes by the name of Baby Queen. She makes songs that have a big pop heart, but they’re just a little roughed up around the edges; I could imagine her listening to Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift but then putting on Avril Lavigne and Paramore loud and mixing those ideas up to serve as her own musical dish of angst. She’s already had a hand in writing for Sofi Tukker (featured many times on this blog) which is made more interesting because of the fact that they have a song called Baby I’m A Queen. Although Bella wasn't to my knowledge involved in that one.

Bella has just two songs on line at the moment - although if you do your Google detective work you might find that she first released some music in 2014 when she still lived in Durban.

The debut single under her Baby Queen moniker was called Internet Religion and it explores the slightly problematic and narcissistic relationship many people have with the likes of Instagram: “Let me show you all the best parts of my life, my clothes and my phone and the gap in my thighs,” she sings of the unreal identities that some people seem desperate to forge on line. There's a certain irony that people criticise fake news yet are happy to fake it on Instagram, Snapchat etc. Maybe in years to come we'll look back and think of filtered selfies as weird freakish exhibitionism, or maybe it will seem odd to not to participate? 

Now it’s coupled with the newly released Buzzkill, which mixes a spoken drawl in the verse with an ultra-hooky chorus. But despite the bubbliness of the melody Buzzkill isn’t a happy tune: “When the party came to life I imagined I was dead,” she tells us as she ruminates on her unhappiness and how life is basically crap. There’s nothing crap about the tune though which makes it two out of two for Baby Queen. I’m filing her in the top drawer of my ones to watch.

Baby Queen - Internet Religion

Baby Queen - Buzzkill

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Sofi Tukker (ft Gorgon City) - House Arrest

Feeling a bit shite? Is Covid-19 getting you down? Does the world seem a bit f*cked up? OK. Here’s a solution. You need a banger. A 100% epic pop banger. With recent research (here) showing that pop music is now playing at the fastest it’s been for a decade (the average tempo of the top 20 best sellers each year is up to 122 beats per minute) it seems that all we want to do in these weird times is dance dance dance. As I suggested around the time when I reactivated this blog at the start of lockdown, one of the most important jobs for musicians right now is to entertain and put some happiness in people's lives. I can’t think of a better tune to achieve that feeling and shake that booty to than Sofi Tukker’s House Arrest.

Having already clocked up big numbers on streaming services with the track now our favourite New York based musical duo have delivered the official video which shows what they’ve been up to during lockdown.

Remember when this all started and it seemed like every single act on the planet was rushing to their bedrooms to film a poor quality Instagram live stream of them strumming their acoustic guitar and wailing badly, thereby demonstrating how rubbish a lot of live music can be when cobbled together quickly and without good production, then disappeared from view? 

Well, not Sofi Tukker. 

No, our dynamic duo took the ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’ approach and bedded down for some serious DJing. That is to say serious in commitment, but not in intent; their sets have been a riotous romp of elation and warmth. Sofi Tukker have become my best friends on the internet; producing a daily soundtrack of escapism for over 100 days now. I love the way they just naturally dance in the same rhythm, sidestepping together without even looking at each other. I love their humour and friendliness; this isn’t some faceless DJ duo going through the motions, telling you to put your hands in air whilst they dream of the cash they’re raking in. I love their colour and joy. And I love the tunes they play.

Did I mention House Arrest is an absolute banger?

Well sometimes things are worth repeating.

Watch the video, which features some clips of their sets, fans dancing to them (including a penguin) and a lightning strike. Then realise why Sofi Tukker has owned lockdown.

If you need some banger education. This is it. By the end you’ll have graduated with a first class honours degree in bangerism.

Footnote: Gorgon City feature as well – but to be honest I didn't really notice. 

Sofi Tukker - House Arrest (Video)

Friday, 3 July 2020

Monthly Playlist: June 2020

“What is going on?” the people shouted in desperate voices. 

“It’s the 1st of July and there is no Breaking More Waves new music monthly playlist. The playlist that catalogues some of the best banging tunes from the past month. What has happened? First a global pandemic and now this!”

The people shed a silent tear. They mourned. They felt sorrow in their hearts. How would they cope without their favourite playlist? What could they fill their empty lives with now? What was the point of it all? Life seemed futile and worthless.

Then from somewhere a small voice whispered in nervous excitement: “It’s here.”

The people looked up, their agonised faces flickering with hope. Was this true? Could it really be?

It was here. Solid, real and magnificent.

The Breaking More Waves monthly playlist. A few days late so that I could catch a handful of new releases out today, which considering this is meant to be a June playlist is a bit of a cheat isn't it? But I make the rules around here. Let's not let things like dates get in the way of proceedings. OK?

New music from the past month up to today or discovered in the past month. Some of it was featured on the blog. Some wasn’t. A gift to the people to cheer up their small and purposeless existence. And you can find it on Spotify by clicking here. Why not follow it if you don’t already?

A full list of tracks below and three of the songs from the playlist also stream via Soundcloud at the bottom of the page.


Cosmo Sheldrake – Nightjar Wake Up Call
Liz Lawrence – Hope (Or Something Like It)
AK / DK – Shared Particles
Another Sky – Fell In Love With The City
Sault – Monsters
Club Intl – Crush
Jorja Smith – Rose Rouge
Arca featuring Rosalia - KLK
Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
TWST – Are You Filming Me
Rinse – Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me
Elan Tamara – My Eyes
Courtney Marie Andrews - How You Get Hurt
Lola Scott – Crowded Conscience
Ashnikko (Feat Grimes) – Cry
Holly Humberstone – Overkill
SKAAR - A Little Quiet
Remi Wolf - Hello Hello Hello
Lynks Afrikka – How To Be Succesful
International Teachers of Pop - Femenenergy
Fear Of Men - Into Strangeness
Max Cooper - Swarm
Betsy – Behind Her Smile
Creep – Arlo Parks

Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Remi Wolf - Hello Hello Hello

Lola Scott - crowded conscience

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Lynks Afrikka - How To Be Successful

As regular readers will know, besides running Breaking More Waves I’m one of the booking team for Dials Festival, a small volunteer-run multi-venue one day event that takes place on one street in Southsea, Portsmouth in October. All profits made by the event are given to mental health charity Solent Mind. For the last couple of years I’ve taken on a major role in the booking and this year had taken the job of lead booker.

Sadly the Dials Team had to cancel the 2020 event due to the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns around safety and certainty in planning. You can hear a playlist of the artists that had been confirmed to play prior to the decision to cancel by clicking this link here.

However, whilst we keep our fingers crossed that we are able to return in 2021, I’m pleased today to feature, not for the first time on this blog, one of the artists Dials was due to bring to you this year. That artist is Lynks Afrikka

Alongside acts like International Teachers of Pop and Brighton newcomers Hourglvss, Lynks Afrikka was set to give Dials 2020 a splash of colourful technicolour vibrancy, with dance party atmospherics being the order of the day. (Click here to see an example of the sort of fun-frenzy Lynks Afrikka brings live.) 

Whilst Dials would have provided its usual mix of indie rock, punk, new wave and pop that is at our core we have always tried to provide a mix of genres for people to pick and choose from. This year more than ever we had programmed the line up and running order to ensure that both our party starters and party finishers were correctly placed, ready to bring the whole thing to a shuddering climax at the end. Lynks Afrikka would have been part of that final surge of energy.

Whilst the debut of Lynks Afrikka in Portsmouth will have to wait for another day, there’s no stopping his new single which has unleashed itself onto the world. How To Be Successful comes all over you like a lo-fi Pet Shop Boys or Fischerspooner banger biting against the conveyor belt of life. The track is taken from his forthcoming Smash Hits Vol.1 EP and arrives complete with a section in the song entitled ‘Dance Break’. Brilliant. Are you ready to bounce? You should be.

Lynks Afrikka – How To Be Successful

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Another Sky - Fell In Love With The City

“Fell in love with the city. Fell in love with @AnotherSkyMusic (again).” I posted those words on Twitter back in September last year after the band’s phenomenal show at London’s Village Underground. Now we finally get that song ahead of the band’s debut album I Slept On The Floor due 7th August.

It feels good to be posting this song today. It is, after all, the day Breaking More Waves was born back in 2008 with a quote from Lyndon B. Johnson: “We can draw lessons from the past but we cannot live in it," together with a reflection that it was eleven years before that that I’d published my first ever fanzine (Breaking Waves) under the author pen name The Boy On The Boat. (Simply because at the time I lived on a houseboat on the Thames).

Now here I am 12 years after that first post (despite supposedly retiring the blog last year) and 23 years since that first scrappy stapled and photocopied ‘zine. I'm still writing about the work of bands and artists I love for no other reason than i like doing it. 

I still occasionally go off at tangents and reflect on the oddness of pop. Questions such as why is it that music seems to be the only profession where it seems totally normal to promote your product by publishing a photo of yourself in the bath? Or why are musicians so full of contradictions? I still write posts unedited and throw them up online in the spare 15 minutes I find in the day. I still get over excited about an artist who I'm sure will be the next big thing that we then never hear of again. I'm still a nerdy fanboy. I still love this thing we call music.

And there you have it, I’m veering off again. This is about Another Sky. 

Fell In Love With The City is classic Another Sky. Surging cinematic guitars combine with Catrin’s Vincent’s mighty vocal to make a song that is exhilarating and elevating. I've already played it a dozen times and I've only just got started.

This is big music. This is another one to lose yourself in. What a band.

Another Sky - Fell In Love With The City

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Sault - Monsters

When the blogosphere was fully loaded, active and pretty influential a few years ago, being a ‘Mystery Band’ was a de rigueur model for marketing a new act. Put some classy tracks out and a band name, but keep everything else secret and watch bloggers fall over themselves to discover the arist's identity, generating extra publicity as you went. It certainly helped the likes of Jungle and Oh Wonder; the difference between these artists and some other mystery bands that didn’t fare so well being the quality of the material.

Which brings us neatly to Sault. Having released two albums seemingly from nowhere last year, last Friday Sault released a third. It’s called Untitled (Black Is). Whilst there is no official confirmation of who Sault is, Spotify credits and a number of internet sources show that Cleo Sol and Melissa Young (aka Kid Sister) are involved alongside producer Dean Josiah Cover (aka Inflo) who has worked with Little Simz on Grey Area and Michael Kiwanuka on Kiwanuka as well as his own single No Fear in 2018 under his own name.

Untitled (Black Is) might be 20 tracks long, but unlike say The 1975’s lengthy offering it never feels flabby or that it’s struggling to sustain the quality over the duration. It wouldn’t surprise me if, given the right amount of publicity, we see Untitled (Black Is) cropping up on a lot of people’s end of year lists and winning the Mercury Music Prize. From the off Untitled (Black Is) is a perfectly realised protest album; it undoubtedly provides part of a soundtrack for the social and political climate in 2020 and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

There’s no official single from the record right now and so I’ve had to choose one track to stream from the album for the purposes of this post; an almost impossible task. Ultimately it was a toss-up between two. First there’s Wildfires with its poignant words and beautiful melody: “White lives, spreading lies, you should be ashamed, the bloodshed on your hands, another man, take off your badge, we all know, it was murder.” Then there’s Monsters: “Mr Liar got a secret now, take off your suit you’re just a sorry clown, and why are all my people disappearing now?” Monsters just pipped it, but don’t just listen to this song – immerse yourself in the whole album. One of 2020’s masterpieces.

Sault - Monsters

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Ashnikko - Cry (Featuring Grimes)

Ashnikko, the only artist I know who has sold a ‘tentacle penis candle’ as part of her merchandise on her webstore (now sold out) seems to have been bubbling under with an already impressive fan base for quite a while now. 

Her latest track Cry, a blink and you might miss it 2 minutes and 6 seconds of kick-ass rage will continue to develop her profile nicely, especially with the addition of Grimes supplying some backing vocals to the track. It's my on repeat tune of the moment.

The reason for the angry future-pop? Her ex-best friend sleeping with her boyfriend. “Lay another finger on me and you could lose a hand,” she sings. 

Don’t mess with Ashnikko!

Ashnikko - Cry (Featuring Grimes)

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Introducing: Club Intl

Today’s introducing post doesn’t feature a totally new artist but instead a new project from that artist. Crush is the debut tune from Club Intl, an NYC based collective formed and led by John Eatherly who has previously featured in the likes of Public Access TV, The Virgins and be your own PET.

Crush is all about big sliding synth sounds and a glossy pulsing production; think Goldfrapp recording the soundtrack to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive or a robot fashion show in a neon lit club. It has lyrics about feeling “deep down heavy in a blue pill daze” and being “not quite ready for my Jesus phase.” It sounds futuristic and fantastic and as if music has evolved into medicine to make everything better again. Listen carefully and you might also hear Madeline Follin from Cults sighing some gentle backing vocals towards the end. It is in short, electronic pop bliss and I must have played it at least 100 times over the last few days. 

Club Intl came into being when the East Village basement studio Eatherly records in had a nightclub built directly on top of it. “The energy from upstairs & seeing hundreds of kids just wilding out every night, started seeping into what we were working on downstairs,” Eatherly has explained. For me this track sounds more like the unsteady flickering sodium end of the night, riding the taxi home, than in the middle of club euphoria but whatever imagery it conjures up for you I hope we can agree that it’s a piece of steely pop perfection.

Club Intl - Crush

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Introducing: RINSE

Today’s new artist admires the likes of The Cure, Spiritualized and The Jesus & Mary Chain and it’s those influences plus much of what students in dimly lit student indie discos in the 80’s shuffled around to which his sound references. 

RINSE is the solo project of Brisbane artist Joe Agius. The very eagle-eyed among you might recognise him from his work with Hatchie who he has produced, co-written and performed live with. He’s also responsible for the Hamster Calling filter that went viral a year or so ago; it now has in the region of 350 million users, which is probably a claim that most musicians couldn’t make. 

Alas at this point his music hasn’t been exposed to those same 350 million. Right now, his Spotify profile shows he has 1,743 monthly listeners with debut track Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me having had 15,897 plays whilst new single Trust In Me has yet to reach 1,000 plays. However, if I had to choose between a hamster filter and RINSE’s music it would be the music all the way. 

Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me’s throwback guitars and underlying moody synths are complemented by a vocal delivery and melody that has an effervescent pop-charm. If I was going to stereotype and hadn’t seen a photo of Joe I’d be fully expecting him to have a Flock of Seagulls haircut (here) and be wearing a long grey raincoat (oh hold on...that coat above is grey and may well be long) and pair of Doctor Marten boots. Trust In Me follows suit, with some hooky keyboard lines overlain with some dirty The Boo Radleys Giants Steps era noise. It’s decidedly nostalgic but glistens with a joyful abandon all the same. Right now, the chances of Joe making it to the UK to play any shows are absolute zero, but perhaps we can all wish for 2021 bringing better things for live music and travel and RINSE gracing our shores?

RINSE - Tell Me Tell Me Tell Me

RINSE - Trust In Me

Arlo Parks - Creep

Yesterday I mentioned that two young artists had released cover versions of my favourite songs this week. This is the second of those.

Arlo Parks' reworking of Radiohead’s Creep is sublime.

Early Radiohead material is sometimes not particularly well regarded and whilst I agree that much of Pablo Honey was distinctly average, for me there are three songs on that record (Stop Whispering, Anyone Can Play Guitar and Creep) that stand the test of time. I also really like Pop Is Dead, the non-album single the band released in May 1993 which limped to number 42 in the UK charts, at a time when bands like Radiohead could still have singles that charted.

From this era it is of course Creep, their debut single proper and still their biggest U.S hit (it was surpassed in the UK charts in terms of position by Street Spirit (Fade Out), Paranoid Android, No Surprises and Pyramid Song) that is best known.

However, the band has had a negative history with the tune, Thom Yorke once stating that it had “sucked Satan’s cock” after its release and also suggesting that people who liked the song were “anally retarded.”

I am however quite happy to be anally retarded if it means I get to listen to Creep and this exquisite cover by Arlo Parks. Of the song Arlo has said, “Creep is simultaneously a delicate and brutal exploration of inner turmoil and human relationships. This song has acted as a refuge for me, during times of self-reflection and low mood, for many years and Radiohead as a band has deeply influenced my music.”

Arlo’s take on the song is for Shy Radicals a new short film depicting the work of artist, activist and author Hamja Ahsan.

Abandoning the angsty guitars Arlo plays the song on piano giving it an even more fragile intimacy. Together with Black Dog (which has grown to be one of my favourites of 2020 so far) it marks out Arlo as an artist who, as others have noted, is able to express real depth with a wonderful lightness and deft touch. With each song she releases an album becomes an ever more exciting prospect.

Arlo - Parks - Creep

Friday, 12 June 2020

Jorja Smith - Rose Rouge

Breaking More Waves was brought back from retirement due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown; the idea was to keep me occupied when normally I would have been out at gigs or socialising with friends. I have been lucky to be able to work all through the pandemic (ironically I’ve been even busier than normal) and so this was very much an ‘evenings only’ resurrection. However, the last couple of weeks have found even this time limited and as a result I now have a large backlog of music I would have loved to have written about but haven't got round to, despite a drop off in the number of emails to my blog in box. Hopefully in the next few days I will be able to find some space again and so there will be more activity on Breaking More Waves.

This week has been exceptionally interesting for me, as a couple of young artists have released cover versions of two of my favourite songs of all time; both would have easily found a place in my ‘Best 100 Pieces Of Music In The World Ever’ list if I ever wrote such a thing.

First up is past Mercury Music Prize nominated artist Jorja Smith who, in the UK at least, has gone from understated but soulful acoustic gigs to full-on pop stardom in what seems like just a couple of blinks. This week she released a track that some of her more pop leaning fans may struggle with, but because of my love with the original piece I’ve delved into with enthusiasm. Rose Rouge, originally by St Germain, was a hit in a number of European countries. It featured an excerpt from Marlena Shaw’s introduction to her performance of Women of the Ghetto from Live At Montreux, a recording released in 1973. If you’ve never heard the St Germain original it comes highly recommended; you can find it on the album Tourist. 

Jorja’s take whilst still sitting firmly in the court of jazz is less urgent than the St Germain take, taking a more laid-back approach as she sings the repeated lyric “I want you to get together.” With this we can trace a journey from the early 70s to the current day through the evolution of a song. From Marlena to Jorja.

The track doesn’t mark any signifier of a new album from Jorja, instead Rose Rouge is from a forthcoming project from Blue Note records called Blue Note: Re:imagined due on 25th September. The record will find a whole host of newer artists such as Poppy Ajudah, Jordan Rakei, Ezra Collective and Jorja herself taking on tracks from Blue Note's impressive back catalogue.

Jorja Smith - Rose Rouge

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Pocket Sun - I Lost Track

When you put the words pop music and exercise together what do you think of? Kraftwerk’s Tour De France? The re-recorded version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World called Everybody Wants To Run The World? Fitness by Lizzo? Or do you, like me, think of Olivia Newton John’s classic Physical video with those tiny briefs, muscles, tans and a fat man winning the day? (Sorry Dua Lipa, your song Physical is good as well, but Olivia wins on a technicality because of the video).

Whatever you think of, here’s a new one to add to your list. I’ve written about the rather gorgeous synthwave sounds of Pocket Sun before and here they are with a dreamy piece of pop loveliness; it’s the sort of song that will surely morph even the most hardened rock fan into a marshmallow mush of romanticism.

I Lost Track is a Covid-19 lockdown tune of separation but also hope: “Missing your hello, missing your goodbye, things won't change, unless we wait it out alone. But some day it will end.” 

“But what about the exercise?” I hear you shout. That comes in the video which finds Gina from the band breaking out into her own quarantine aerobic routine – watch out Joe Wicks. Whilst there might not be any body builders accompanying her here, there is at least a naked blow up man, which given social distancing rules is probably a fairly decent effort. You can get the tune on Bandcamp by clicking here.

Pocket Sun - I Lost Track

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Introducing: Elan Tamara

Today’s introducing artist is a singer-songwriter from Walthamstow who has been circulating in music circles for some time now, but with her latest release seems ready to gain some traction on her own. 

Her name is Elan Tamara and the track in question is My Eyes; a jazzy piano based tune that fans of Laura Mvula in particular might like. Having studied ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London, played with the likes of Tirzah and Toro Y Moi and featuring Georgia on percussion and Kwes on bass and production duties, Elan’s music comes ready-stamped with pedigree – and it shows. My Eyes, a song about a long-distance relationship is far from an obvious pop banger but listening to it is an absorbing experience, nonetheless. “You knew just what to do,” sings Elan. You do, don’t you? Take a listen and keep an eye and ear out for this clearly talented individual in the future.

Elan Tamara - My Eyes

Monday, 1 June 2020

Monthly Playlist - May 2020

Today is that time of month when I do a short post to let readers know that the Breaking More Waves new music monthly Spotify playlist has been updated. I'd like to say it's been carefully considered and curated, but really it's just a bunch of tracks I like thrown into an order that makes sense in my head. 

You can find and follow the whole thing by clicking this link.

This month there’s everything from a surprisingly great track from The 1975, a band that until now have never really resonated with me, a fabulous rainbow-glitter disco stomper from relative Brighton unknowns Hourglvss, a track from the bold and futuristic Charli XCX album and some beautiful softer acoustic tracks from newcomers Molly Payton and Lydiah. It’s all topped off with Erland Cooper’s wonderful A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window, a composition that soundtracks this strange time perfectly.

I hope you find something to like here. Three tracks from the playlist stream below, but click the link above for the whole thing. Some of these have appeared this month on the blog. Some haven't.

The tracks featured on Spotify this month are:

1. Celeste – I Can See The Change
2. Hourglvss – Supreme Beings
3. International Teachers Of Pop – Flood The Club
4. Moyka – Violet
5. Twst – Sad Girls Club But U Gotta Be Cute  (AmPm x Funtyme Remix)
6. Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
7. Courting – David Byrne’s Badside
8. LibraLibra – Juicy Lucy
9. Charli XCX – Pink Diamond
10. Sofi Tukker & Gorgon City – House Arrest
11. Aliche – Lockdown Love
12. The 1975 – Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied
13. Arlo Parks – Black Dog
14. Olivia Dean – Baby Come Home
15. Maude Latour – Furniture
16. PREP – Pictures Of You
17. Molly Payton – Corduroy
18. Lydiah – Holding Back
19. Skullcrusher – Places / Plans
20. Erland Cooper – A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window

Charli XCX - Pink Diamond

Sofi Tukker & Gorgon City - House Arrest

Twst – Sad Girls Club But U Gotta Be Cute  (AmPm x Funtyme Remix)