Tuesday, 14 March 2023

NEW #70 Kingfishr


Remember ‘Nu-folk’? As the likes of Mumford & Sons found themselves headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, it seemed that every indie leaning musician out there was ditching the guitars, growing a beard, buying a waist coat, stomping round the haystacks and getting to grips with the banjo.

As with any musical fashion, that wave eventually broke. Even Mumford & Sons reinvented themselves as a rather boring stadium rock band and charity shops noticed an increase in waistcoat donations.

So, when a group comes along that could have quite easily fitted into that indie-folk gang back in 2009 you might give a little shudder. But don’t. Because Limerick three-piece Kingfishr make powerfully brilliant songs, and that’s what’s important, irrespective of genre, fashion or prejudice.

Kingfishr consist of Edmond Keogh, Eoghan McGrath and Eoin Fitzgibbon and they embrace Ireland’s love of traditional music that is passed down from generation to generation (banjo player McGrath is part of the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland). However, the band add the sort of muscle that rock fans will enjoy – their songs well up with the sort of punch the air euphoria that someone like Bruce Springsteen achieves.

This is best heard on the third and most recent song they’ve released – Heart In The Water, which is full of moving and sky scraping weight . Of the song the band say: “Resentment is a powerful emotion. Looking back at all the things you could have had had or done, and realising you won’t get those moments back is hard to take. Heart In The Water is about learning from paths not taken.”

Listen to Kingfishr below and once again celebrate the banjo.

Kingfishr - Heart In The Water

Thursday, 9 March 2023

NEW #69 Bellah Mae


It’s been a while since Breaking More Waves has featured a potentially chart-bound pop musician on these pages. Recently the focus has been on louder, edgier alternative acts or left of centre singer songwriter types. So, let’s address that right now by waving hello to Bellah Mae who says of herself: “I overshare my life in all my songs and then let the world listen, so welcome to the Hot Ex Girlfriends Club”.

With a couple of singles under her belt, Bellah (short for Isabella) is already showing lots of promise as a potential hit maker. First there was break up jam Boyfriend Of The Year (a pop tune with a slightly U.S rock attitude and the only one where you’ll probably hear the mention of carbonara of in the lyrics) and then the follow up, the  Drama King, which finds Bellah singing to her slightly pathetic and obsessive boyfriend: “You follow Instagram models, one after the other, but god forbid I follow back my best friends brother.”

Whilst they’re both bops a deeper perspective on what Bellah is probably about can be heard on a different version of Boyfriend of the Year titled the (Sadder) version. Here there’s a nod to Taylor Swift in its style. Just like Taylor Bellah has a bit of a country background, having done some ground-work in Nashville when she was just 17 before signing a record deal.

If you’re a fan of Taylor, Olivia Rodrigo or Miley Cyrus you’ll find a lot to like here. As with virtually everything featured on these pages it’s early days, but I’m certainly not betting against Bellah Mae right now.

Bellah Mae - Boyfriend Of The Year

Friday, 24 February 2023

New #68 SAL


If you’ve had a chance to listen to the updated Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist (here) you’ll have no doubt heard the mesmerizing song Red Wine by Irish singer Sal that opens proceedings.

The independent Cork based songwriter has released just a handful of songs under this name, Red Wine being her fourth following last year’s Bullet In The Head, Everything and Merry Go Round. It’s a stop-you-in-your-tracks country lullaby and deserves to be heard by a far bigger audience than the 773 monthly listeners she currently has on Spotify. 

A little bit of digging reveals that this isn’t Sal’s first musical project; she’s recorded and released as Sara Ryan since 2016, was named New Artist of the Year at the Irish Folk Awards back in 2017 and released an album in 2019. That was in the past though and what excites most is her new material and in particular Red Wine - a song that casts the most magnetising of spells. The irony is that the song is about the difficulty of letting go - something you'll probably find is hard to do with a tune as alluring as this.

Her other material still maintains a hint of country, but there’s elements of pop and softer rock as well; if you like music by the likes of Natalie Imbruglia or the song Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer then Sal’s melodic ways are guaranteed to charm you.

Having worked through a number of support slots with various Irish musicians, Sal has a few small headline shows of her own coming up through March in Ireland (including one in a bookshop!).

If she continues to deliver music as gently heart-melting and gorgeous as Red Wine, she could well be one to watch into the future.

Sal - Red Wine

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

NEW #67 Miss Tiny


I’ve debated in the past about what is ‘new’ in the context of music, something that probably isn’t that important to anyone else, but as the writer of an occasionally posting new music blog these are the sort of things I think about. Imagine being my partner and the exciting discussions I bring to the table: "So, if you've never heard The Beatles before, are they a new band? Are their songs new music?"

Today’s new band are pretty damn new by most definitions. After all they released their debut single today. Or are they?

A quick consultation with the internet tells us that they’re not quite the fresh-faced teenage discovery I thought they might be. For Miss Tiny is actually producer / guitarist record label owner Dan Carey (Wet Leg, Fontaines DC, Honeyglaze, Kae Tempest etc) and vocalist / drummer Benjamin Romans-Hopcraft from Childhood and Warmduscher. They’ve been friends for many years and originally formed the band together under the terrible name What It’s Like To Be A Rat, debuting at Brixton Windmill last year. Having deemed that name “too evil sounding” they’ve become Miss Tiny, after a nickname to Benjamin’s grandmother who passed away during recording.

The aforementioned debut single from Miss Tiny is called The Sound (no it's not a cover of The 1975 song) and is streaming below in video form. It is best described as a slow-motion lo-fi scuffed up around the edges take on Peter Gunn. It’s not a one off, but the first take from a bigger project of which no doubt we’ll hear more soon. But for now get your groove on to this dirty and enjoyably unpleasant beast.

Miss Tiny - The Sound