Friday, 26 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #4 - Sam Ryder


First Appeared On Breaking More Waves: February 2021

When I introduced Sam Ryder on the blog this February he had 2.6 million followers on Instagram. By November that figure had risen to 3.5 million. To give some context that's the same number of followers as Charli XCX and she's been doing music for over 10 years.

It’s easy to see why. His posts are incredibly engaging, his personality clearly huge. But most of all the reason why people lap up his social media like he’s new music’s version of Kylie Jenner is because of his incredible vocal talent; the man can sing the underwear off a celibate and he loves showing off that skill on his posts. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t actually make people’s clothes fall off that really would be an odd skill). It’s starting to transfer to real life as well – his UK tour in January is completely sold out.

Take a listen to his vocal on his version of his song More recorded in the V&A in London. It covers all bases. From angelic choirboy, to mellifluous boy-band balladeer to gritty rock star in the making. He makes music that is broad and could have Capaldi like mainstream appeal if he releases the right song and gets the right support, but his sound is (just) flecked with just enough edge to not make it schmaltzy. 

With one EP (The Sun's Gonna Rise) released in September and a new single called Spaceman due in January, Sam could easily be shooting for the stars. Not every act on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list has commercial appeal, but Ryder could be one that has.

Sam Ryder - More (Live at the V&A)

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #3 - Pip Millett


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: N/A 

The third artist on this year’s One to Watch list is Pip Millett. (Her real name is Georgia, but Pip has always been her nickname and Millett is her mother’s maiden name)

Pip has been drip feeding music since 2018, including 3 Eps: Do Well (2019), Lost In June (2020) and the recent Motion Sick (2021), growing her audience to the point where she is now able to play a sold out tour - unfortunately a number of her recent dates had to be rescheduled to January due to laryngitis. She’s also appeared on the most recent series of Later…with Jools Holland on BBC2, performing in an empty swimming pool. (People who have followed me on Twitter will probably realise that I think this is essentially a case of #musiciansinthebath on a bigger scale)

However, irrespective of empty bathing facilities, her music, which is what we are focussing on, is beautifully chilled and soulful; fans of the likes of Joy Crookes and Jorja Smith will relish what she does. And just like Crookes and Smith, the most appealing quality about Pip is her voice. It’s warm late at night creaminess is gorgeous and could work its way into a lot of hearts if her future songs connect with people. 

Pip Millett - Hard Life

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #2 - Gabriels


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: n/a

The second artist on this year’s Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022 list is Gabriels

Who are Gabriels?

They’re a LA based outfit fronted by the incredible Jacob Lusk who sings with a soulful voice that reminds me a little of Anohni and Nina Simone. That goregous voice is then carried by a luscious orchestrated backing. The songs and the sound are truly beautiful. The first time I heard Gabriels was a complete stop-me-in-my tracks moment. A wow moment. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Back in October Will Orchard, director of Blue Dot and Kendal Calling Festivals tweeted: “Truly, I’ve never seen a gig as extraordinary as Gabriels at The Social, London tonight. Their first ever show. It felt like a privilege to see a band that are clearly going to be absolutely, deservedly, huge in such an intimate space. Their unreleased stuff is phenomenal.” 

With a 12" vinyl single released almost a year ago selling out on Bandcamp, Gabriels have been picking up support from the likes of Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music - he was an early champion of Sault as well, who in terms of their retro-modern sound share some similarities to Gabriels. And if you do love Sault then make some more room in your heart because you're going to need space to adore these guys as well. 

Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree. Gabriels absolutely have to be Ones to Watch for next year as they release more new material and play shows. Their new EP (Bloodline - title track below) is due December 3rd. I have a full expectation of them being the ones to see at all the best festivals in 2022 and (hopefully) releasing one of the albums of 2022.

Gabriels - Bloodline

Gabriels - Love  and Hate In A Different Time

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #1 - Wet Leg


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: June 2021 

Heading up this year’s Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list is Isle of Wight indie-pop powerhouse Wet Leg.

They follow on from other recent choices from the garden isle, with Lauran Hibberd (Ones to Watch 2019) and Coach Party (Ones to Watch 2020).

From the first time I pressed play on the video for Chaise Longue with its hooky, comically absurd lyrics, simple propulsive guitars, cottage core fashion, dead pan stares and high kicks it was clear that Wet Leg were likely to be ones to watch for the future. Chaise Longue gave me the same sort of buzz that tracks like The Modern Age by The Strokes, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys and Bros by Wolf Alice (Ones to Watch 2014) gave me when I first heard them. 

Wet Leg demonstrate that, despite some commentators opinions, bands aren’t dead. They just need good songs.

Cut forward one month after the release of Chaise Longue and Wet Leg could be found packing out a small tent at Latitude festival to absolute capacity - one of the musical moments of the year. People might have come for the one song, but they went away having witnessed Rhain Teasdale and Hester Chambers grinning from ear to ear as they stormed through a set chock-full of catchy tunes; from the likes of the sexy lobster pop of Wet Dream to Supermarket, Wet Leg’s lockdown-dating song, which found Rhain singing of hooking up in supermarkets because it was the only place you could go. Of course, it was always clear Rhain was talented (I’d previously featured her as a solo artist on the blog in 2016) but I certainly didn’t expect this; and judging by the band’s reaction at Latitude, I’m not sure if they did either.

A further month later and I saw them do it all over again at Green Man festival. As the first band of the first day Rhain jokingly announced that they were running the festival in opposite order this year so they were headlining. It was a set that once again confirmed that they have plenty more good songs under their belts. It will undoubtedly be the final time they are bottom of the bill.

Now with shows selling out faster than a speeding ticket and talk of an album, next year is almost certainly going to be a good one for Wet Leg. They have to be Ones to Watch for 2022.

Wet Leg - Chaise Longue

Wet Leg - Wet Dream