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