Friday, 11 June 2021

NEW #29 - Modern Woman

 

Modern Woman, the latest band to be introduced on Breaking More Waves are purveyors of leftfield experimental art rock. Then they throw in the surprising addition of supple vocals that you’d probably expect to hear in a traditional folk group rather than a band that are about to embrace a series of dates that include shows at various alt-rock / psych / indie festivals, including End of The Road Festival.

In fact End of the Road Festival is important here as Modern Woman are the first signing to End of the Road Records, a label set up by the festival. Simon Taffe, the founder of the event has said of the band; “As soon as we accidentally stumbled upon a Modern Woman live show, we were obsessed. They were so fully formed. We were stunned to discover they hadn’t even recorded a song.” 

Now they have. 

Let’s be clear here – Modern Woman are very much on the avant-garde side of things. They’re not searching for a hit. They prefer to explore areas such as free-jazz, noise and post-punk. They’ve also been known to create percussive sounds from instruments they have created themselves, such as an old table with a metal colander nailed to it. Their debut single is about desire and a voyeur leaving offerings for their neighbour. It’s edgy, weird and all over the place. The closest comparison I can think of is PJ Harvey going completely off-piste or perhaps Black Country New Road or Squid after a big night out.

Modern Woman make music that is uneasy listening. In places their sound is brutal. But Offerings is an intriguing start.

You can find Modern Woman on this week’s Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly Playlist, which you can find by clicking here.

Modern Woman - Offerings

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

NEW #28 - Alice Low

 

We all know the rules of pop, right? Don’t make your song more than 3 minutes long, because modern attention spans just can’t cope with any more than that can they? Especially if it's your debut single.

Alice Low, from Cardiff, clearly hasn’t read the rules. Debut single Ladydaddy clocks in at a superbly absurd 14 minutes long. Of course, there’s a shortened radio edit but forget that. You need to dive fully in, if only to hear the opening lines “Trying to work out what it takes to turn a man into a doll, go into town with my best fuck me face mask on.”

What Alice Low does is ridiculous but brilliant. Ladydaddy is a bewildering journey into weird 70’s pop via the world of an acoustic bar room singer, sax solos, Bowie, glamorous excess, camp stomp, and ideas that dart and propel themselves around like an energised pinball. You never know what's coming next, but you can be 100% certain it won't be like Lewis Capaldi. Think Sparks at their most eccentric and you’re possibly getting a little closer. Ladydaddy sounds so completely unlike anything else from 2021; it’s gloriously refreshing and inventive, if also a little perplexing at the same time. You won't be finding this played on daytime radio (although I can imagine the radio edit sneaking onto BBC 6 Music).

Ladydaddy was released a couple of weeks ago via Clwb Music. Truly bonkers pop music that doesn't play safe. 

Alice Low - Ladydaddy

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

NEW #27 - rainbow frog biscuits

 

Today’s new artist has just one song online, but it’s such a pretty and melodic thing that its soft impact feels ready for writing about at this early point. The song in question is Attention. It’s by Amber Louise, a teenager who hails from the Leicestershire region and performs under the name rainbow frog biscuits. It will charm rather than punch you into submission and yes, there’s an element of tweeness about it, but twee unfairly gets a bad name sometimes. 

If you’re only into lad-rock you’re probably not going to be jumping up and down with excitement to rainbow frog biscuits, but at least Amber can’t face any criticism from the dreaded ‘real / authentic music’ fans who think that anything that is generated from a computer isn’t good. Her plucked guitars and gentle cooed harmonies are about as organic and natural as you can find – you can easily imagine her playing this song in a shaded glade at a festival in the woods to a hushed adoring crowd.

Of course, it’s the de rigeur for new artists to develop a following on Tik Tok these days and here Amber is doing rather well, with 1 million followers and 17.4 million likes. But away from that, Attention, a song about the classic teenage insecurity of having a friend that you think is way better looking than you, stands tall on its own, whatever platform you first discover it on.

“I just wanna make some quirky groovy tunes about quirky groovy things, you know?” she explains on her Spotify bio and the playlist she has curated there spells that out from the start; after her own song twelve Kate Bush tracks follow. Unsurprisingly the playlist also features a Dodie track (probably the most obvious reference point) but the inclusion of George Benson, Tears For Fears and Chris De Burgh may not be what you expect.

What we can expect next from Amber is a mystery at the moment. But if her songs are anything near as endearing as Attention, those play counts on streaming services are going to be shooting up.

rainbow frog biscuits - Attention

Sunday, 23 May 2021

NEW #26 - Scout

 

There are those who dismiss the 80’s as just a decade of Thatcherist deconstruction of society, yuppies and shallow upbeat synth pop. But anyone who even scratches the surface even just a little will find there was far more than that. However, it cannot be denied that the 80’s were key in the development of the synthesiser. As the technology got cheaper more artists embraced it – and just like any genre there were fast songs, slow songs and mid-tempo songs. There were songs that had deep meaning and there was stuff that was throwaway. There were songs about love and songs about heartbreak. Just as there probably always will be.

Which brings us to Scout. On their (or is it her?) debut single Never Fade Scout strongly references that synth pop; the sort of lush, cinematic glossy electronic sound that comes from the same 80’s family as Berlin’s Take My Breath Away. Lyrically it’s definitely in the sad-pop-heartbreak arena; after the break up and the misery comes the difficulty of disconnecting from the memories: “Every little thing reminds me of your face.”

It’s not just 100% retro though, the song itself has a very modern structure – the vocal delivery has hints of a downbeat Charli XCX and I could easily imagine Chvrches putting this in their set and nobody batting an eyelid. Scout is not totally new to all of this; in 2015/6 they were working under the name Kid Wave, a much more guitar-based project. You may remember the track Wonderlust which gained some decent traction. 

What comes next remains to be seen, but a debut EP is promised. If it’s as dreamy and sad as Never Fade, count me in. Let’s get ready to wallow in someone’s unhappiness.

Scout - Never Fade