Saturday 31 January 2009

Polly Scattergood - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Whilst publishing our One's To Watch list for 2009 last December, there were a number of artists that we considered for the ten in the list but eventually discarded. This month we have blogged our way through those that missed out, under the title of New Waves @ Breaking More Waves. Polly Scattergood is our final artist who crept around the edges of the list, but was always more likely to be found hiding in a shadowy corner.

Polly Scattergood makes music that is experimental and emotional, sung with feminine charm and a super vulnerability that belies a dark undercurrent. With an album due for release in March, this Brit school graduate has been described as “The Kate Bush of the 21st century,” and there are certainly elements of Bush in her slightly leftfield style.

Her atmospheric angst music is a mix of piano, electronica, pattering beats and guitar that hosts some rather troubled lyrics. On Nitrogen Pink Polly sings “And all the education daddy, it never paid, because the fat man took my innocence away.” Then on the ghostly I Hate The Way she comes across like a young Beth Gibbons whispering “Well you can take what you want cos I’ve got nothing, pass me some pills, and I will go to bed, but however much I toss and turn I feel a dark place up ahead,” before singing with the air of dark madness “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo - my doctor said I’ve got to sing a happy tune.” These sombre unsettling reflections on life show a deep confessional tone that disturbs, yet draws you further in. If these songs are autobiographical, she’s a psychiatrists wet dream.

Haunting and slightly disturbing, Polly Scattergood is unlikely to be featuring on any commercial radio stations in the near future, but she is all the better for it.

Friday 30 January 2009

DJ Hojo Hits Returns - New Songs / New Look !

In 2009 DJ Hojo Hits begins a new campaign of aural fun on the unsuspecting British public. Following his debut DJ sets at Bestival 2008, where he subjected punters to an hour of nothing but the tunes of 80’s synth pop star Howard Jones , and subsequent appearances at parties and clubs across the south coast, DJ Hojo Hits returns in 2009 with a new look, a new sound and new gigs being confirmed.

We are delighted to announce that the first of these confirmations is that DJ Hojo Hits will be returning to UK Festivals this summer, with a slot confirmed at Blissfields 2009, alongside artists such Laura Marling, one of our One’s To Watch for 2009, Mumford & Sons and dance specialists Subgiant.

DJ Hojo will be widening his mojo with a big slab of eclectic party tunes from his bulging box. Expect anything and everything from hard dance to guilty pleasures, but with every tune designed to put a big old smile on your face.

DJ Hojo will also be presenting a new image, so forget the 80’s wig, Howard Jones tshirt and bad shades. This is all new baby. Keep an eye out on You Tube and this blog for an exclusive of the new DJ Hojo Hits look coming soon. But for the time being, here’s a very short reminder of what DJ Hojo is all about.

And before you ask, yes Breaking More Waves has a very special relationship with the man that is DJ Hojo Hits. We share the same body. So expect more DJ Hojo Hits updates here soon

Tuesday 27 January 2009

XFM Xposure All Dayer @ London Camden Barfly

An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump

The annual XFM Xposure All Dayer at the Camden Barfly is a gruelling musical marathon that showcases some of the latest indie and rock upstarts and urchins. A slog of a day in a darkened room that smells of lager and stale bodily odours, its one for the dedicated and determined only. But with determination comes reward, as previous years have seen such acts as Jamie T, The Horrors, Frank Turner, Mystery Jets and Friendly Fires all tread the boards. So who would this years winners and stinking losers be?

Pulled Apart By Horses have almost finished their set by the time Breaking More Waves arrives. We witness five minutes of flailing, speaker stacking climbing, punishing, hair flinging, uncompromising, dirty old school rock riffage with a big old dose of shouting. Brains are pulled apart by this brutalism, never mind horses.

An Experiment On The Bird In The Air Pump look and sound like three girls who have just stepped out of a Tarantino film. With earthy guttural gothic-blues vocals, if looks could kill scowls, stripped down stage front drums and a t-shirt that proclaims “Jesus died for somebody’s sins,” they are artily cool and scare all the Top Shop indie kids away. This is the true alternative. An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump are glorious in their instrument swapping darkness.

Harrow based quintet Rogues are so blatantly now we suspect a backlash before they even start. We’ve blogged about them before, and despite their early placing on the bill, they are one of the more outwardly commercial propositions on stage today. They meet the generic white indie pretty boy, haircuts and skinny jeans look but add eighties fashion and synth sounds to their urgent riffs and belting dance rhythms on songs such as Not So Pretty. Like a modern take on early Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet combined with guitar sounds of Foals and Bloc Party, they pull a young crowd at the front of the stage and could easily find this fan base growing.

The multi cardigan wearing Laurel Collective are up next, their quirky oddball sound being inventive but not immediately engaging. The twitchily spinning Vuitton Blues combined with bands geeky dancing and obvious enjoyment for what they do gradually wins the crowd over. Mixing musical styles a plenty, co vocalists Martin and Bob provide handclaps, wide eyes and sweet big hearts in their rough pop style to produce an almost feel good factor in the room.

Another previously blogged artist Rose Elinor Dougall, ex Pipette, brings pop sophistication and casio confidence as she tries to eye sex the audience with her sideways glances. Spending most of her time behind her keyboard she excels the most when she leaves their shield and sings centre stage. Her material is warm and vibrant with the highlight being the almost stomping indie Come Away With Me.

“This is a song I wrote a couple of days ago, so I’ll probably fuck it up, but better to do so now than when it’s being recorded,” jokes mournful vintage country / folk singer Jay Jay Pistolet before melting hearts with his tender, heartfelt tunes. Girls swoon as he almost apologetically says “Thanks for being so polite,” and admits that he is actually a “cheesy guy.” His earnest demeanour and the timeless romantic simplicity of his songs provide a victory for the meek in a rock venue. Jay Jay, so good they named him twice.

Are you still with us on this marathon? At this stage Breaking More Waves almost hits the wall. But that wall is kicked down hard by Middle Class Rut. MC Rut as they are also known are a two piece from California that make the sound of an army. With a lead singer that shakes his head so hard we are scared it will fall off, and a bare chested drummer with the words ‘For Sale’ emblazoned across his chest, they spit out high volume, powerful rock in capitals. It’s almost unbelievable that the sound they make is coming from just one guitar and a set of drums. It makes The White Stripes look like big cissies. This is hard, ferocious, pummelling stuff. Donnington and Reading Festivals must be calling.

Slow Club

Breaking More Waves has come across Slow Club live several times before, and tonight they are the best we have seen them. They are utterly engaging, uplifting and bring big smiles to the crowd. Despite false starts and songs that collapse in the middle Charles and Rebecca’s take on alt. country is the absolute highlight. Comparing the gig to a Take That reunion and charming with tales of teenage parties in limousines with bin liners for windows, they charge through a set of campfire ballads, cooing and yodelling that makes Breaking More Waves think that when they release an album later this year it will be an essential purchase. The vocal interplay and chemistry between Charles and Rebecca is growing with every gig they play, but they retain their sense of fun and ragged roughness that made them so appealing in the first place.

Esser has been the subject of considerable hype of the last few months, and based purely on this evenings performance, it may not be fully justified. With his big quiff and turned up jeans, he certainly looks the part, and his attacks on a drum placed near the front of the stage provide some visual entertainment. Unfortunately his quirky funky electro pop lacks distinction through a rather muted expressionless vocal and song construction that is built around simple one line choruses repeating themselves until you have no choice but to submit . “Oh you’ve got me in a headlock, nothing in the world’s going to help me now,” he chants over and over again, but these words fail to move us in any way, except possibly to the bar.

So it is left to Twisted Wheel to up the ante and provide a thrilling and exciting end to the evening. If like Breaking More Waves you subscribe to the theory that music is an art form that needs to constantly evolve and challenge in order to remain exciting, then Twisted Wheel will be your worst nightmare. With the sneer of The Clash, the drive of The Jam and the football terrace mentality of Oasis, Twisted Wheel are a delight to those who think that The Enemy are the best band the UK has produced this decade. Lads in polo shirts are suddenly slam dancing in a circle to the front and the venues bouncers are kept very busy. The band are furiously fast and tempestuously tight, but as bodies fly past it leaves Breaking More Waves feeling that it’s rather like watching a tribute band to lad culture, and we're not sure if that is really where we want to be in 2009.

Then it's over. Rather like a real marathon the place is sweat soaked. It stinks to high heaven. But the floor is covered with crushed plastic lager glasses rather than bottles of water. We have made it, a mini indoor festival survived, the inelegant beauty of a toilet venue has not quite destroyed us.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Fight Like Apes @ London Camden Koko

The last time Breaking More Waves came across Fight Like Apes they were performing to a virtually empty basement club in Brighton. Tonight as the screen that hides the stage from the auditorium slowly rises, the band walk out to see a rammed and intoxicated Camden Koko. The volume of punters flushed with excitement has little to do with the bands presence however, and more to do with the fact that this is Friday night, it’s Club NME, it’s gone midnight and extravagant self indulgence of an alcoholic kind has proceeded this moment.

Fight Like Apes are ready to storm it though. The bands frenzied, quirky, occasionally disturbing bombardment of synth and bass combined with the strident vocal of hair tossing MayKay suits a night like this. One moment they are ramming out a volatile cover of Lightsabre Cock Sucking Blues by Mclusky, with its lyrics of “Nicotine stained on account of her crutch, and I’m aching from fucking too much.” The next MayKay is ascending the speaker stack and playing with the hair of girls in the front row. This is a band who want to sonically and visually grab you by the tits and balls, and possibly yank them off. They even ask the crowd to boo for them, which everyone is happy to do. Bass player Tom salutes the masses, this is a two way satisfaction.

The gig climaxes with Lend Me Your Face, probably the quickest speed fuck the audience have ever had, before Battlestations explodes in a screaming orgy of samples and electronica, the band throwing their keyboards to the floor. The audience have been taken, indie cool lost in a smiling mosh pit at the front. Whether the next morning anyone will remember this hardcore unrelenting aural gang bang may well depend upon the extent of the hangover, but no doubt Fight Like Apes satisfied in a bruising and wonderful way.

Friday 23 January 2009

The Joy Formidable - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Before we all get hung up on the fact that indie guitar music is going through a bit of a crisis at the moment, here is some news to bring you joy. Welsh indie pop trio The Joy Formidable are, well, joyous and formidable.

A squealing mix of buzz saw guitars and driving bass and drums, The Joy Formidable present a mix of straight forward, shouty, uncomplicated, knock the shit out of you female vocals with accessible indie pop hooks. Think Belly with added scuzz and you’ll be somewhere on the right track. This is not to say that the band are straight laced and lacking ideas. Take the original video for Austere which had the honour of being banned on You Tube for showing top third shots of people apparently masturbating over their soundtrack of punky, brash and energetic noise.

Nor is everything they do is simple three minute indie pop however. Take The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade where guitar spillage growls with a weight of shoegazing noise similar to early 90’s indie goth band Curve as diminutive lead singer Ritzy offers a distant and slightly enigmatic mournful vocal.

The Joy Formidable are soon to release a fuzzily unhinged 8 track mini album entitled A Balloon Called Moaning that will be available for download, but will also be released in hard format from Breaking More Waves favourite record store Pure Groove. It is limited to 500 copies as a box set special edition with screenprinted cover and extra goodies. We recommend you get your order in early. Here's a less rude, dizzily bouncing video for another one of their tunes, Cradle.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

White Lies - To Lose My Life

When Breaking More Waves first came across White Lies playing live back in spring of 2008 we wrote on our previous Myspace blog that their sound was widescreen and exhilarating, brooding and gloriously pompous. We thought big potential.

Nine months later and the band have featured highly in industry polls a plenty. We tipped them to be one of our One's To Watch 2009. Our basis for picking them, albeit slightly reservedly was that their gloomy cinematic riffs were neatly polished and produced for a commercial sound; of their genre there was something about them that made them stand out.

Following the release of three singles, their album To Lose My Life is on the creaking shelves, heavy with the weight of expectation that has been built up around them. It’s time to decide if it makes the grade.

The reviews so far have been mixed. The NME gave the thumbs up, The Observer didn’t, arguing that White Lies were a band subsuming their identity to commercial indie formula. We fall somewhere in the middle.

To Lose My Life is a collection of songs that is big on eighties influences. With pounding heavy basslines, death march drums and baritone vocals, there are moments of Simple Minds, Editors, Furniture, Echo and the Bunnymen, Sisters Of Mercy, Ultravox and The Killers throughout the album. The reference points are obvious. Certainly this is not a band who want to move things forward. Their sound is familiar in its stadium gloominess. Around every dimly lit corner of this album there is a big guitar riff, or an epic drawn out synth sound designed to feel momentous and all consuming. It is this design, from the big echoing drums of E.S.T to the rather pedestrian power ballad of Nothing To Give, that leaves the feeling that the album is calculated and rather contrived. If it were a film it would be set on a windswept mountain in black and white and the miserbale looking characters would wear big overcoats with upturned collars.

This is not to say that the songs are bad. Title track To Lose My Life is like an easy to listen to Interpol with a big chorus of “Let’s grow old together and die at the same time.” Then there is the throbbing hands in the air anthem Death with its rousing call of “This fears got a hold of me,” a powerful and explosive song.

The albums biggest failing is in its trite sixth form lyrics. To match the bands music vocalist Harry McVeigh has tried to create big imagery of blood, wind, rain, night and death to bring passion to their songs. Unfortunately it is all done in a rather pubescent cringe worthy way. Take Unfinished Business “I came through thunder cold wind, the rain and the snow, to find you awake by your windowsill, a sight for sore eyes and with a view to kill. I broke down in horror at you standing there, the glow from the moon shone through the cracks in your hair.” Then on From The Stars “He catches raindrops from his window, it reminds him how we fall, from the stars back to the cities, where we’ve never felt so small.” It’s hardly poetry and barely romantic.

Ultimately To Lose My Life is not an album that one could ever feel passionate about, it feels too contrived and lacks soul or real depth to make it a triumph. It is weakened further by its schoolboy lyrics. However, neither is it a huge failure, with some big tunes and production values that will satisfy a demand for those who have enjoyed the bands singles, and are not wishing for any further development or challenges.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Exlovers - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Are exlovers (note the intentional lack of capital letter) really that ? Or is it just a neat band name to get people talking ? Lyrics such as “We’ll keep secrets from each other,” in their sad sounding and strangely titled song SOF ( yes, capital letters this time) certainly don’t help.

Irrespective of past relationships and whatever secrets they hold, exlovers name is out of the bag and beginning to spread. Tours with acts such as Cheeky Cheeky and the Nosebleeds, Golden Silvers and Pete and the Pirates have lead to exposure for the group. Their restrained mix of subtle melodies, boy girl harmonies and jangling guitars can be heard on Silhouette, a single released late last year. It provided a pleasant and slightly dreamy sound that would fit neatly in the record collection of those who like bands such as Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub and other late 80’s / early 90’s Scottish indie groups, even though this five piece are from London.

The sound of exlovers is rooted resolutely in old school indie where sweetly chiming guitars are contained and never veer into rock riffs or mosh pit pleasers. These are the kind of toe tapping, head nodding harmonics that have no ambitions to play Wembley Arena, preferring to scuttle and shuffle around the fringes, melting a few hearts in the process.

The group are due to release a new single Photobooth at the end of February following a lengthy support tour around the UK with Emmy The Great and a one off date supporting Pete Doherty.

Monday 19 January 2009

Fashion & Pop Music - Breaking More Waves Says Yes Please !

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last year or two, it is impossible not have noticed the number of young, talented female solo acts that have come to prominence in the music industry in the UK. From Adele ,Lily Allen , Duffy, Kate Nash , to Amy Winehouse the rise of the girls has been unstoppable.

Of course defining a new breed of artists purely because of their gender could easily be criticised as being lazy, they are simply artists, irrespective of sex, and in our opinion should be judged equally. However over the last few years music has been so defined by male identikit guitar bands, that one cannot really blame journalists for wanting to write about something different and new, then putting a tag on it. Little Boots, La Roux and Florence & The Machine , all of whom featured in our One's To Watch List 2009 list have all received significant media coverage in the last few months as some of the latest girls climbing to the top.

Irrespective of gender however, one element that Breaking More Waves celebrates in relation to these new artists is a return to colour and style with ownership in pop music. Significant portions of the 2000’s have been characterised not only by a lack of imagination or innovation in the music, but also the very same bands displaying the lack of ability to think outside of the box in any way when it comes to style. The skinny jeans, t shirt and leather jackets gang look of The Strokes may have looked cool when they first burst onto the scene with vibrant songs like Last Night and then The Libertines gave a reply from the UK, but the subsequent copyists such as The Pigeon Detectives, The Fratellis and The Kooks have shown a dispiriting lack of creativity which was echoed by record companies who rushed to sign them. Take one look at the picture above to see the evidence. Spot the difference. Hard isn't it?

Not every band will have style at the top of its agenda. Our last two albums of the year, by Bon Iver and Radiohead respectively were created by artists who would never be cited as stylish, their music existing outside of style or fashion. It is probably all the better for it. However, Breaking More Waves believes that one of the elements that drives popular culture forward is the interrelationship between fashion and music. Timothy Warner in his book Pop Music : Technology and Creativity talks about the clear parallels between these worlds. He identifies that both are luxury commodities, which undergo stylistic change in similar short timescales in order to renew themselves. Pop music and fashion do not ‘wear out’ but instead they ‘go out’. They both rely on high profiles in the mass media to involve potential buyers to excite or fascinate them. From the androgynous look of 1970’s David Bowie through to Britney Spears dressed as a schoolgirl in Hit Me Baby One More Time. Neither would have been as good dressed in a baggy grey t shirt and pair of jeans from Asda.

As the skinny jeans indie bloke band disappears at a rate of knots, Breaking More Waves welcomes with open arms many of these new female artists. Many of them have talent but also come with their own identities and sense of style. Kate Nash and her vintage dresses, La Roux and her wonky hairstyles, Little Boots with her half bedroom geek, half big heeled sexy minx look. One hopes that each can keep their own style and not be lead to compromise, in the same way that we want their music to be their own vision, full of their own personalities.

And as for the skinny jeans boys ? Well, who knows. Pop music is a curious thing. Maybe some of these bands will undergo a cosmetic and musical transformation, remoulding their look and sound for a new audience. Or maybe they will continue to roll out the same languid indie pop by numbers to an ever decreasing ever ageing audience, until a revival comes round in ten years time. Some will split up. It's all guesswork. Music and fashion, arm in arm, will continue to change. There’s always a new kid on the block waiting round the corner. Let’s just hope it isn’t this new kid in the video below.....

Friday 16 January 2009

Cherbourg - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Cherbourg are another band that tumble and fall from the trap door that has seen artists such as Mumford & Sons, Alessi’s Ark (both in our One's To Watch 2009 list), Laura Marling and Noah & The Whale drop through it. Previously known as Davie Fiddle & The Lucky Egg, the band have changed their identity to a name that can probably be taken a little more seriously.

Consisting of Andrew Davie on guitar and vocals, the ‘surely it’s a made up name’ Phil Fiddle on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, piano and vocals, Kevin Jones on bass and vocals and ‘Ho Ho ho cue the santa jokes’ Chris Maas on drums, the band are releasing their debut EP Last Chapter Of Dreaming through Chess Club at the start of February. The EP is bound to find fans from amongst those who love the so called new folk revival.

Cherbourg create a sound that is full of soulful traditional folk character. They have a sense of the dramatic in their music without ever being overblown. Never Love Again starts off with Fisherman’s Blues era Waterboys fiddle before settling into a more mournful sound. The lead vocal declares “I will never love again with all my heart, it just falls apart every time I try.” It is the sound of Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol if he had decided to wear sack cloth and hang out at the Cambridge Folk Festival rather than being backstage at V Festival drinking white wine. The scope of the song Horses is almost middle ages, with violins and guitars creating a Robin Hood style misty forest soundscape of chanted melodies and soaring masculine beauty. One almost expects Maid Marion to feature on backing vocals.

Despite lyrical sadness the music is heartily warming. Expect to see Cherbourg grow in profile during the year.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Bon Iver - Blood Bank

Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago was Breaking More Waves album of the year in 2008. Now in 2009 Justin Vernon and his contributors step out of the cold on 19th January with a new 4 track EP entitled Blood Bank. The songs continue a path set by the album but with a few subtle surprises woven in, both musically and lyrically.

The title track uses a rough weary guitar to soundtrack the warmth of love against a wintery background. Gone is the isolation of For Emma, replaced with the visual and poetic romance of desire and companionship in the lyrics. “Then the snow started falling, we were stuck out in your car, you were rubbing both my hands, chewing on a candy bar, you said ain’t this just like the present to be showing up like this, as a moon waned to crescent, we started to kiss.” It is as gorgeously compelling and wonderful as anything on the album. Nothing else on the EP gets anywhere near this perfect song, but then if they did we would be proclaiming this the EP of the year, and it's only January.

As for the other tracks, Beach Baby is a gentle strummed affair with added country steel pedal guitar. It feels a little like an out take from the album, a half finished idea that was left in the corner of the cabin. Babys sees Justin veering away from the formula that has served him so well up to now. As a waterfall like piano repeats and chimes in introduction, his familiar falsetto and harmonies ring out with joy “Summer comes to multiply, to multiply.” This leaves the most experimental track on the EP - Woods. Reminiscent of a slightly poor man’s Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap, it uses vocoder layering to produce an acapella choir, backed by more falsetto harmonies with the repeated lyrics “I'm up in the woods, I'm down on my mind, I'm building a still, To slow down the time.”

With the Blood Bank EP Bon Iver have challenged those who think they are just bearded acoustic guitar folkies. Not everything presses all the buttons, but enough are pressed to make it a welcome addition to a record collection.

As with any Bon Iver release there is no expensive pop video, but this unofficial slow, subtle, simple piece works well.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill (New Version)

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip Angles album, released on Sunday Best last year, showed that British hip hop could be innovative, fluid, funny, full of influences and occasionally dark. Unfortunately the album was much under rated and overlooked in the UK. Now Sunday Best are re-releasing the stand out single Thou Shalt Always Kill on 19th January, with a new version featuring Posdnuos (Kelvin Mercer) from De La Soul. Once again Pip delivers a comical and clever set of new spoken word commandments matched against Le Sac’s jelly like Atari bleeping laptop beats. Some classic new lines are thrown in right at the start. “Though shall not type LOL unless you are really laughing out loud,” we are lectured. Or try “Thou shall not think having a blog makes you a journalist.”

We never did Mr Pip. We never did.

You can buy the single here and watch the video below.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Trash Or Talent - You Decide

Almost as soon as music pundits and publications throughout the UK have listed the artists that they think will break through or provide something of value in 2009, the cynics are out to condemn them. Take a look at almost any forum thread that is discussing the lists and you’ll find comments such as “The tastemakers have decided that we’re all going to be listening to vacuous synthesiser pop this year. What a load of rubbish.” Meanwhile indielite boy bands such as The Kooks, The Fratellis and The Pigeon Detectives are allegedly wetting themselves with fear that their careers are going to go down the pan as the industry decides that its time for a change in musical direction and that skinny jeans are yesterdays news.

Yes, of course pop music is based around changing styles and fashions. The clothes a band wears, their ridiculous haircuts and their good or bad looks can initially influence people as much as the music. But as for who decides what we are all going to be listening to, here at Breaking More Waves we believe it is somewhat more complex. Of course elements of the media try to influence. Youth culture wants an identity, often different from a generation that preceded it. So youth culture media needs to reflect and provide new movements to give its audience something to latch on to. New Rave anyone ? We’ll have that. Brit pop ? Mmm nice. Punk ? Yes please. You get the idea.

Record companies also have to try and influence what the public listen to. If companies have signed artists, it wants those artists to sell. Therefore in come the marketing men. There is an undeniable link between exposure and sales. Marketing is a reality and necessity for companies who have financially invested in their product. They need to persuade the public that they want, or even need this music. Also in this world of the illegal download they must convince us that we should part with cash for it.

Bloggers now also provide an important role in influencing what we listen to. Whilst some blogs may be written by professional journalists or those within the industry, and some by those who fancy themselves as such, the vast majority such as Breaking More Waves are written by enthusiastic Joe public, with no real writing skills, but a passion for music. Such blogs play an important role in bridging the gap between the industry and the public, influencing on both sides.

But ultimately the public decide. Music pundits are wrong as often as they are right. Record companies will spend big bucks and yet the artist will flop. Bloggers over enthusiasm will lead to unwanted hype. Artists can suffer from over exposure.

So if the public decide, on what basis do they decide ? It would be nice to think that talent always rises to the top. Talent is hard to define though. Britney Spears has sold millions of albums and continues to release big sellers. Here at Breaking More Waves we have a soft spot for her, but is she talented ? There’s a debate.

On a recent blog on her Myspace Marina from Marina and the Diamonds argues that talent always wins through “You don't have to work in the music industry to know that people are infinitely fickle. Trends come and go in music, as they do in fashion. And the "Quirky Girl Singer" is yet another trend that has come. And that will go. Give it 2-3 years and it'll be near the end of its 'supercoolelectrosynthqueenofpop' reign. As with every phase/ trend that sweeps music, artists who have something lasting and unique to offer will remain and will inevitably move on to do greater things. The ones who have little to offer, except for the ability to latch onto and simulate a trend, will disappear. Mark my words,” she says.

She’s probably right. But here at Breaking More Waves we would also argue that in the big world of music there is room for more than just lasting talented artists. We like fashions, styles and trends; they provide variety and excitement. Sometimes we like a less than super talented person or band who produce a one hit wonder and then disappear. It’s all part of the magic of the pop wizards cauldron. We aren’t ashamed of loving music in its widest form. This doesn’t make us shallow. We would never choose to like something purely because it is in fashion, because we want to fit in with everyone else or because it fits with our perceived musical taste.

We believe that a wider vision enhances experience in life. As Garry Mulholland suggests in his introduction to his book Fear Of Music, with a great album you may form a deep lasting relationship which is a partner for life, but sometimes trashy singles can be fuck buddies.

We suggest that sometimes the record industry, the media, bloggers and the public need those fuck buddies as well as lasting relationships. At Breaking More Waves we try to bring you both, and everything in between.

Sunday 11 January 2009

Clare Maguire - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Since the start of the new year, here at Breaking More Waves we have featured a number of new artists that almost made it in to our One’s To Watch list for 2009. There was of course only room for ten and some just had to be discarded. This one was the hardest call. Ladies and gentlemen, as the lyrics of her own song say, somebody stop the music, somebody dim the lights; it's time to put the spotlight on and introduce Clare Maguire.

Just over a year ago Maguire was working behind a till in a shop in Birmingham, dreaming of a making an album. Now a major label deal is in place and that dream is coming alive.

Clare Maguire is blessed with a rich, powerful voice that is simply staggering. Ingredients of soul, folk and even a pinch of operatic intensity are locked down into the handful of songs we have heard from this gifted young singer. Burn is a simple stripped down acoustic affair where we hear the ghost of Johnny Cash kissing a female soul diva. Butcher Boy, a song about a suicide, oozes a classic traditional Celtic folk sound . The exuberant Strangest Thing provides contrast, being more modern, commanding and jazzy; it puts any X Factor winner to absolute and total shame. It’s easy to see why Clare has bagged herself a record deal. Radio 1 and 2 could love her. In fact Huw Stephens of Radio 1 already does, with Clare having played at the Swn Festival which he curates in Cardiff where she played at the Glo Bar.

It’s early days for Clare Maguire at the moment. There is no You Tube footage, no forthcoming single and only one live date announced for 2009. Maguire is dedicating her time to recording the album. If it is released this year, and if the quality of the song writing matches up to her voice, Clare Maguire could find a very appreciative audience.

Saturday 10 January 2009

Fight Like Apes - Tie Me Up With Jackets

On 19th January Fight Like Apes release their new single Tie Me Up With Jackets on Model Citizen. It will be available on a limited edition 7” heavyweight shocking pink vinyl and digital download. Here at Breaking More Waves we’ve become quite obsessed with Fight Like Apes, and mentally debated for hours if they should feature in our One's to Watch List 2009 before finally discarding them on the basis that they were probably just a little too leftfield to gather wider public acclaim in the UK, despite having had some success in Ireland.

Tie Me Up With Jackets shows that Fight Like Apes have no desire to relinquish their status as the most unpredictable, primitive and comically aggressive band to come out of Ireland ever. The song sees MayKay proclaiming that she likes her meatballs in a dish, but she’d also love to see you in the nude with overcoats tied around your head and Japanese children in your bed. She then moves on to a request for her room to be fumigated as it smells like socks and tastes like apple schnapps. This all happens whilst synths and guitars do battle in a nursery rhyme fight, where the children have all been fed drugs and tied up their nannies. Tie Me Up With Jackets is the sound of a two year olds first tantrum, ending with a shouting cacophony of lovely noise. It is utterly brilliant in its madness.

At the time of publishing, there is no official video, so instead watch Pockets from the band make pancakes with Steve Lamacq below ! Yes it’s Fight Like Crepes ! You can buy the single here.

Friday 9 January 2009

Run Toto Run - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Run Toto Run, are a four piece from Manchester lead by vocalist Rachael Kichenside that play delicate twinkling lo-fi classroom indie folk. Alongside gently plucked acoustic guitars, violins and sunflower girlish vocals they add recorder and glockenspiel to give a school hall assembly sound that ensures that headmistress does not need to make the children sit with fingers on lips, as they have already been silenced.

If this band is a Myspace sensation, it’s not because of vast numbers of hits on their page, but because part of the band met via said site with a mutual appreciation of each others early musical efforts. Rachael herself had already released several very limited low key single releases including the sold out Any Minute Now EP and Long Time Later which can still be purchased on I Tunes.

Formed in March 2008 the band have already gathered some momentum, with radio play in the UK from both Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and played their third ever gig at Glastonbury. The band by their own admission are still developing, and promise that later material will have an increased electronic element, but their output so far has a village fete gentleness and lightness of touch that is charming and heart warming. This is not to say that their lyrics are always full of sunshine however, as you can hear on debut UK single Your Face, a song about wasting time on a one sided love affair.

You can get the chance to see and hear Run Toto Run when they set off on their own journey in March, playing some gigs around the UK. Whilst we can be fairly sure this journey will not involve yellow brick roads and wicked witches, we would advise you to tap your ruby red slippers and wish you were there to catch their delicate, dare we say twee sound. Here is the band performing several songs live.

Thursday 8 January 2009

Rogues - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Rogues, a new band from the UK are not to be confused with a plethora of other groups with similar names. They are certainly not The Rogues, English Rogues, Rogue Wave, Rogue Dolls or even Rogue Traders. They are simply Rogues. A male five piece which includes three brothers in their number, they formed in the summer of 2008 and have been busy creating a blend of accessible funky hip swinging indie dance.

Currently unsigned, in March 2009 the band will release their debut single Not So Pretty, on a limited run of 300 copies. A slice of Foals like angular grooved up guitar and multi layered vocal harmonics it could easily move feet on the indie dance floor. In fact, Not So Pretty is so Foals like we almost wonder if it is Yannis and co under a different name. Unlike Foals however Rogues map is centred on accessible songs and is virtually yelp free. There are synthy opening slabs, percussive cowbell show downs and even a moment on the opening of their tune Angel Blonde where the bass sounds like a ship lost in the fog. Breaking More Waves also detects a slight eighties vibe, which right now seems to be the decade to be referencing to gain credibility with the cool kids.

Rogues are out on the road in February and March, supporting Iglu and Hartly on three dates before eleven dates around the country in various small club venues, then they hit the heights at the somewhat bigger Koko in Camden, London.

Rogues TV on MUZU.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

The Jessie Rose Trip - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

At the start of 2008 there was a lot of talk about who was going to be “The next Amy Winehouse.” With this talk commentators did not mean which once talented singer was prepared to turn into a farcical mumbling drug taking joke, but a British female soul or blues belter who could cross over into the mainstream. With her big voice, Brit school pedigree, cracking songs and cackling laugh Adele fitted the bill perfectly. And with the success of Adele the door is now open to other similar singers.

Jessie Rose of The Jessie Rose Trip is one such singer. Earning her keep working in a Manchester Casino performing soul and jazz covers by day, by night she’s put a band together that are creating quite a buzz. After teaming up with drummer James Wood the duo decided they need bass and brass to complete their sound. Step forward Sarah Buckley from High Wycombe and Johnny ‘Tiger’ Thomson from Glasgow who responded to an advert placed in the Royal Northern College Of Music. With Jessie writing the songs and the other players adding their own interpretations The Jessie Rose Trip was born.

Since April 2008 the band have begun to develop a building profile, with support from Manchester XFM’s ex Inspiral Carpet Clint Boon and a well received live slot at the 2008 In The City event. The bands songs are a combination of jazzy blues, skanking pop and soul with added piano, trumpet, flugelhorn and ukele. Yes you read that correctly. Flugelhorn and ukele. There’s Forever And A Day which has a lilting summery feel to it and For Love Or Money which has whistling, jazzy bass and Jessie singing “Diddly dum doo” over head bobbing guitar riffage.

There is no Brit school pedigree here, but buckets of raw vocal talent and Jessie’s own fully formed vintage fashion identity. This band almost made it on to our One's To Watch 2009 list for this year, but at the moment it's probably just a little too early for them, and although the musical ability is self evident they still need a killer tune or two. We call them the wow and punch moment. The place in time when a tune comes on the radio and you just have to stop whatever you are doing to listen. The pull the car over moment. Adele had Hometown Glory and Chasing Pavements to propel her into the stars. Once the Jessie Rose Trip have that they too could be nipping through the door that Adele and Winehouse opened.

Catch the band playing live in the video below and see a small interview.

Jessie Rose TV on MUZU.

Monday 5 January 2009

Now That's What I Call Music Selected Track #3 - Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Our final choice cut from Now That's What I Call Music Volume 1 has to be Bonnie Tyler and Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Born Gaynor Hopkins in Skewen, near Swansea, South Wales, Bonnie Tyler wrapped her husky noduled vocals around this semi operatic rock power ballad which was written by Jim Steinman, the man responsible for the production of Meatloaf’s best selling Bat Out Of Hell albums. The song was a Number 1 hit in the UK and sold a phenomenal 5 million copies worldwide.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart is one of the ultimate guilty pleasures and features the most warped 1980’s video you will ever see. In it big haired Bonnie fantasises about young schoolboys as she wanders around the gothic school building where curtains blow in the breeze, backlighting and dry ice abound and half naked men cavort.

They just don’t make them like this anymore do they ?

Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 is re-released on the 12th January. Now That's What I Call A Challenge is a further blog that chronicles every track on the album.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Now That's What I Call Music Selected Track #2 - The Cure - The Love Cats

The Cure are probably one of Breaking More Waves favourite all time bands. From the dark despair and decay of Pornography and the morbid grandeur of Disintegration to some of their perfectly twisted sugar coated pop songs such as Friday I’m In Love, In Between Days and Close To Me, The Cure’s back catalogue must be the envy of many other bands.

Often seen as gloomy outsiders, this has never stopped The Cure embracing the mainstream singles charts, and hence when the cartoon jazz of The Love Cats reached their highest chart position to that date in the UK at Number 7 it felt like the freaks and weirdo’s had been let in through the back door. Still played at indie clubs around the country, The Love Cats is a bona fide classic pop tune and is one of the highlights of the first Now That's What I Call Music Vol 1 album.

Saturday 3 January 2009

Now That's What I Call Music Selected Track #1 - Howard Jones - New Song

Not only is it twenty five years since the first Now That's What I Call Music was released, but it is also twenty five years since solo synth pop wizard Howard Jones released his debut single New Song. It is Breaking More Waves favourite song on that first Now album. Regular visitors to this blog will already know of our warped obsession with Jones and his one man band of retro synths such as the Moog Prodigy. This obsession lead last year to Breaking More Waves giving birth to its own one man comedy DJ Act known as DJ Hojo Hits, whom appeared at Rob Da Bank’s Bestival, alongside acts such as Underworld, My Bloody Valentine, Amy Winehouse and Aphex Twin, playing an hour long set of nothing but Howard Jones tunes.

New Song was a big hit in the UK, spending 15 weeks in the charts, getting as high as Number 3. This simple song bears a resemblance to Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill in its melody whilst lyrically it is a message of positive and open thinking with Jones preaching his message of not being “Laden down by the doom crew,” whilst “challenging preconceived ideas,” unusual lyrics for a pop song.

Of course most people will remember Jones for his very eighties spiked haircut, his mime dancer Jed who performed with him and the “Ooo ooo ooo” chorus of this song, which is a shame as many of his lyrics had a vision and philosophy behind them that set him apart from many of his peer group.

Now That's What I Call Music

The 12th January 2009 will see the re-release of one of the most important albums of the last twenty five years. An album that has lead to the development of a brand that has chronicled the evolution of pop music over this time. An album that changed chart rules. An album that along with its successors has to date sold seventy five million copies.

That album, released in the UK in December 1983 is Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1.

The Now That's What I Call Music compilations are the most successful compilations of all time. Born through a collaborative partnership deal between Polygram, EMI and Virgin the Now series could beat all other hits compilations by offering excellent value, all killer and no filler, through being able to source so many hit singles through the label partnership.

Twenty five years on from Now That’s What I Call Music and the series is still being produced at a rate of three editions a year, recycling chart hits from the previous few months, giving a musical snapshot of a time and a place. The artists who have benefitted most from the albums are Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue who have had the most number of songs included throughout the series. So successful were the early Now albums that UK sales charts were changed, otherwise the Top 10 albums weekly chart would have been simply full of compilations, particularly the Now compilations. Of course these days the charts for artists and compilations are separate. But when a Now compilation is released it is almost guaranteed a number 1 spot.

And in a few days time the original Now That’s What I Call Music album is being re-released. Like all the Now albums it featured songs that are now regarded as pop classics, songs that are best forgotten and songs that have been forgotten but shouldn’t have been. Of the thirty tracks on the first album, a third of them were number one hit singles in the year of issue.

So how long can this series continue ? The Now brand certainly shows no sign of stopping yet. CD consumers continue to recognise the value that they offer. The download market is somewhat different however, with consumers being able to pick and choose tracks, effectively making their own personalised Now That’s What I Call Music compilations. But at this moment in time, for many the beauty of being able to walk into a shop and pick up a compilation of forty of the latest chart sounds for around the same price as an ordinary album, knowing every song on the album, is still a big factor in their music purchasing. When the physical release market dies then it is likely that so will the Now albums.

So happy 25th birthday Now That’s What I Call Music. Breaking More Waves is here and ready to celebrate your birthday. We’re going to do this by selecting one song from the original thirty tracks each day for the next three days. These are our personal favourites. Enjoy each one of them. We continue to do so. And come 12th January we’ll be updating our worn out cassette copy of the album for a pristine CD.

Our first selection follows later today.

Friday 2 January 2009

Le Corps Mince De Francoise - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Le Corps Mince De Francoise consist of Mia, Malin and Emma and are the new crazy stomping scamps from Finland. This is a band for fans of Robots In Disguise, CSS, M.I.A, Uffie and Santogold or for hipsters who like the sound of a bunch of post new rave riot girls jumping around Space Invader and Pacman machines whilst rapping knowing lyrics about being cool and bored. LCMDF are certainly a playful bunch for sure, their rudimentary and crude energetic electronic pop providing hyperactive fun for escapees of the eaten too many Jelly Tots hospital.

With the usual handful of songs on Myspace and their own blog, LCMDF hit the UK this month for a series of dates, mainly in London. Expect to hear Bitch of The Bitches referencing Peaches in a very obvious way and adding “Oo oo oo” catchy hook lines and stuttering vocals over ass shaking rhythmic accents and d-i-y ethos echoey 80’s synth rave sounds. Another song Rayban Glasses starts all acid brass before diving into heavier bassier beats over a chant of “Ha ha, I don’t wear a bra, shock your ma ha ha.” It is certainly not Bob Dylan.

Le Corps Mince De Froincoise represent a night out on the alcopops which ends up in a neon lit basement club bouncing daftly and taunting boys. Whether when you wake up in the morning with an annoying headache you will remember anything of the night is doubtful. They are that kind of band. Enjoy the moment, but when you’ve had enough feel free to leave.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Blue Roses - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

At the back end of 2007 our One’s To Watch for 2008 list featured an artist from Bradford, UK called Laura Groves. Just over a year later and still Laura remains very much an unknown. With just one single, I Am Leaving released independently on Salvia on 7” vinyl, a finger appears to have been placed over her lips with no further releases in 2008.

The reality is that Laura has been slowly building an album under her new identity Blue Roses, notching a support slot with Emmy The Great, appearing on Jeremy Warmsley’s Welcome To Our TV Show and busking on a windswept bandstand. Laura feels that she is in a different place musically to where she started out, so it was appropriate to become something new and hence the name change to Blue Roses. Her album, which was recorded in the relaxed comfort of her producers house rather than a traditional studio is now due for release this year.

Laura has explained that whilst her current live shows are simple sparse affairs with just acoustic guitar and violin accompaniment, the Blue Roses album will be a much more layered multi instrumental affair. A while ago she posted up the first fruits of the album recording sessions on her Myspace page and they bode well for a curious, warm and haunting listen. There is the ghostly waltz of Doubtful Comforts and the intimate choir girl folk of Does Anyone Love Me Now, both songs easily surpassing her previous work. The vinyl crackles and melancholy of Doubtful Comforts in particular shows a new found maturity both vocally and in mood and texture. Breaking More Waves hopes that there will be more of this to follow.

Until further new material emerges, here is the fuzzy felt and wool video for Laura’s debut single I Am Leaving which will feature in a different form on the album. The song sounds like a silver tap, dripping essence of Joanna Newsome and Alessi’s Ark, captured in a tiny perfectly formed glass potion bottle.

Dismiss Blue Roses as just another girl with an acoustic guitar at your peril, for there is magic in that bottle.