Thursday 29 July 2010

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Brighton Concorde

The term ‘indie’ is obsolete, as dead as Amy Winehouse’s ability to perform brilliantly and sober. Brit-pop, the vacant landfill guitar bands that followed and the media can be targeted as the culprits responsible for laddishly bludgeoning the genre to a sad death. Or so you could be led to believe if you’ve followed or read about music models, fashions and trends over the last few years.

Yet reports of this death are over exaggerated. Fashion and pop music are inextricably linked. As soon as one goes out you can almost guarantee that somewhere, under the radar, there will be new kids on the block stirring up their own palette of ideas. Right now it seems this mix is surfacing again. Indie is back. The concept of truly independent - verging on artily elitist - self-released music on non-commercial formats such as cassette and 7” vinyl is being embraced by a new bunch of creatives – from Mirror Universe Tapes to Transparent, who successfully operate with the use of the internet. There’s also a whole crop of bands that are creating music that fits the old-fashioned, nostalgic indie ideal – groups making music that words such as hazy, dreamy, distorted, d-i-y and lo-fi are designed for. Still Corners, Yuck and Memoryhouse are just three of these bands that we’ve featured on the blog. It’s a bit C86 all over again.

Of course some would say that this music has always been there and that in the last few years the media drew a curtain across it. Whilst this may be true, it does seem that there are an undeniably good number of bands of this nature at the moment. At this rate it won’t be long before all the cooler NME reading kids are ditching their plastic sunglasses, colourful t-shirts and over-excitable love of bands such as Vampire Weekend, Klaxons and We Are Scientists – and regressing back to a world where black is the new black and any other colour really just won’t do.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart fit perfectly into this wave of indie. Let’s call it ‘new-indie’ for want of a better name, even although it’s really just old indie that got forgotten for a while. Their sound is a consistent vat of buzzing guitars and thin vocals, with every song clocking in around three minutes. After a flat and lacklustre first song, 103 amps things skywards, scorching guitars burning the slackness away, and from thereon in every track the band play is zestful, joyous and surprisingly muscular. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart may sometimes have a jangly lightness to them and Kip Berman’s softly indistinct and muffled vocals don‘t help, but their trebly guitar sound is a supersaturated noise that brings dreamy distant smiles across faces. The cynics will complain that every song sounds the same (they’re probably right) but when something is beautiful, why disfigure it?

The band clearly enjoys the reaction that they get from the audience as well, particularly on Come Saturday and Young Adult Friction where celebratory cheers ring out as the first notes chime. Brighton may be a supposedly hip and cool city, but tonight the crowd are having fun with plenty of dancing and on the spot jigging. Kip picks out one particular individual near the front - a colourfully attired dude in a pink baseball cap and shades - who is grooving like he’s having the time of his life. He may not have subscribed to the old school indie fashion sense, but his musical appreciation is right there.

“We went to the beach today. We’re not really a surf rock band,” Kip says to the crowd. They may not be surf rock, but their tight-knit old fashioned indie rock is plenty good enough. Sharply intoxicating, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart showed Brighton that indie is still alive and kicking. Old indie or new indie ? Who cares as long as it's good.

Jamaica - Short and Entertaining

This is possibly our shortest ever blog. Sometimes we're a bit too wordy - but we often have a lot to say. Here is the video for Short and Entertaining by Jamaica, released a couple of days back.

Jamaica were formed out of the band Poney Poney and first came to a lot of peoples attention through the last Kitsune compilation, where this song was featured. Flushed with the snappy, toe tapping groove of French pop Short and Entertaining sounds like a perfect indie disco floor filler - one that seemingly from the video, even heavy rock fans can love.

That is all.

JAMAICA - 'Short and Entertaining' VIDEO from bermudapants on Vimeo.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Futuristic Retro Champions - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Scottish electro pop is going great guns at the moment. Just a few days ago we introduced the rather fabulous Mopp, now here’s another exciting gang of synth kids from the northern quarters. Whilst Mopp is utterly modern and luscious, this band have a very old school indie sensibility about them. Consisting of three girls and one boy, Glasgow’s Futuristic Retro Champions spell out what they do with their name. Modern pop with an old fashioned twist, their bubbly songs are mighty fine. Their song Jenna from their free LaChunky EP is a sparkling, soda-pop piece of indie that reminds us of Lauren Laverne’s Kenickie with added all-girl Scots accented vocals. Kitten With A Loaded Gun is just as good (we'd almost say awesome, but they're not there yet - very few bands are) - but it is certainly happy-clapping, bob till you drop brilliant. Then there’s the funky hyperactive lollipop of Strawberries & Vodka Shots which references teen-c Scots wonderkids Bis and an adrenalin filled Strawberry Switchblade in its sound. Get them from the bands Bandcamp below for free.

The bands new single - a double A side, with artwork designed by Turner prize winning artist Martin Creed takes Futuristic Retro Champions in a more danceable direction. May The Forth (which is streaming below) in particular is great - a euphoric club-bound hands piece of exaltation, with bittersweet lyrics of a disappearing youth “watching you dance is giving me a second chance to feel young again.” It's one to throw the hands in the air to.

Futuristic Retro Champions provide perky, glittering tunes ready for the disco floor. Indie kids can dig them, but so can the ravers. Like a bag of sweet electro-pop Maltesers, they almost have something for everyone.

You can download the LaChunky EP for free here

Then enjoy the more club-bound sound of the song May The Forth which streams here.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

The Dufflefolks - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

With a name like The Dufflefolks and song titles such as Ley Lines and Homegrown it would be very easy to expect this Hemel Hempstead based four-piece to be a bunch of bearded earthy Stonehenge loving hippies, with flower power emblems painted on their camper van. On top of this the group recently won a competition to play the Green Man Festival - an event known for its richly organic line-up - so the last thing you may expect would be for The Dufflefolks to wield keyboards, electronic beats and laptops. But they do, albeit in a very warm, woozy, folky way. Lead singer Daniel Davies has an ochre-coated vocal that resonates with a touch of soul and their instrumentation is just vibey and trancey enough to coax you into a better place, without ever becoming boring. Occasionally if the suspicion is aroused that things are getting a bit too chilled and sofa-bed comfy, the band also inject a more jittery and experimental sound, such as on their playfully stuttering laptop drama Two Hands Clapping.

Having bonded in an art room in sixth form a number of years ago, The Dufflefolks began making music that has evolved over a number of years, to reach its current more electronic state. For their live shows they have been known accustomed to sport animal hoodies made by one of the bands girlfriends. However this novelty element doesn’t take anything away from their honey-coated laidback tunes which have a grass-roots authenticity that combines with a touch of modern beauty. Highly lovely stuff. Listen to Homegrown below and see what we mean.

Monday 26 July 2010

The Hardcore Gig Going New Music Fan Project

Every now and then, something in our blood gurgles up and makes us want to achieve a goal. Most of these goals are sensible life decisions about work, family, or home life.

However sometimes our goals are a little more leftfield. We’re not sure where they come from, but once they’re in the head they cannot be shaken out. We call them our boy projects. Some are simple, like getting a letter published in the NME, which we blogged (starting here and finishing here) and only took a few weeks. Others - which are more complex and are somewhat longer, are done away from the blog. We will be talking about one of these boy projects involving our obsessive campaign and emotional journey to DJ in a marquee in a muddy field in the Isle of Wight dressed as an 80's synth pop star playing only the music of one Howard Jones in the Literary Tent at Camp Bestival, Dorset at 9.30 this coming Saturday morning for any early risers at the festival. It seems to have gone down in history as one of the most bizarre sets ever DJ'd at a festival.

Today we announce our new boy project. It may last just a few days; it may still be going this time next year, although for the sake of our sanity a time period of six months seems a reasonable period to impose as a maximum.

Have you ever travelled a huge distance to a gig to see a new or unsigned band that nobody has ever heard of? We have, quite a few times. It’s probably something about being a committed fan of new music. Driving 150 miles on a rainy winter night to see some shockingly bad 'next big thing' band play 6 songs in a smelly pub with a terrible soundsystem is a pretty common activity at Breaking More Waves HQ. Sometimes we review the gigs on this blog, others are just left or discarded to memory. We can measure this hardcore gig going commitment by a mathematical formula. Simply divide the total distance travelled by the price of the gig ticket. Free gigs don’t count. For example travelling 100 miles to see a band for a 4 pound ticket equals 100 / 4 = 25. Anything over 50 points rates pretty highly. It gives you status as a hardcore gig going new music fan. (HGGNMF)

So here’s a new boy project.

We will select a band. We will travel to see the band play a show. We will measure the total distance travelled and divide by the price of the ticket. It will be our HGGNMF points for that show. We will post a review of the show. We will then select another show. We will again measure the total distance travelled and divide by the price of the ticket. We will compare points - the objective is to improve our points score each time, meaning longer distances and cheaper shows are required. Effectively we will be travelling further to see less and less known bands, unless of course U2 or Coldplay play a gig for a couple of quid somewhere and we grab a ticket. We will continue this process for at least six months. The one caveat to our travels is that we will not travel outside of the UK (our wallet needs some protection).

In carrying out this boy project we are also asking for your help in two respects.

First as it gets harder to beat our previous HGGNMF points we will need to travel to gigs further away with cheaper ticket prices. We'll be appealing for your help to find gigs in towns miles from where Breaking More Waves HQ is based (Portsmouth) with cheap prices to help beat our score. Ideally we'll be looking for crappy pub gigs where entry is £2 or so in Manchester, Newcastle, maybe even Inverness if things get desperate.

As the gigs get inevitably further away we're probably going to find it hard to convince normal gig friends / lovers to travel with us. So we're looking for strangers / readers of this blog in faraway towns to hook up with. If you fancy it get in touch via email at and express an interest, letting us know where you are based and your musical tastes. Or if you fancy a long road trip with us, that could also be arranged.

That is the new boy project. We’re calling it, for want of a better name, the Hardcore Gig Going New Music Project. It's all about racking up the points. To start with we're keeping it relatively local with a short trip along the south coast to Brighton to see The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Ticket price £11.00. Miles travelled there and back 100. HGGNMF points 9. It's a low scoring start, but at least sets a benchmark.

We'll update on the blog at regular intervals on how the project is going.

Are there any gig venues in Inverness ? Just wondering......

Camp Bestival 2010 - Preview

Founded in 2008 by Bestival head-honcho, Radio 1 DJ and all round quality music connoisseur Rob da Bank, Camp Bestival is the smaller sister festival to its big bro Bestival. Whilst Bestival has always attracted a wide range of ages and types, as it has grown from just a few thousand attendees to over 40,000 it has become too big and too loud for many who used too attend - particularly families. Camp Bestival is the obvious and logical next step for those groups as well as those who have found other non-family friendly festivals too daunting.

Camp Bestival still contains the eclectic mashed-up village fete / party vibe of the early Bestival festivals back in ‘04’ - 06. However it’s smaller capacity site set in the grounds of Lulworth Castle, Dorset, complete with sea views and a strong visual styling gives it a strong boutique feel. Whilst most festivals set aside a small amount of space for ‘family camping’ at Camp Bestival this small space is labelled ‘non-family camping’ with the rest of the site being occupied by families - giving the event a very safe and relaxed atmosphere.

One of the most magical areas of Camp Bestival is the huge kids garden, right next to the castle. Here adults and little ones combine in a utopian society which you simply don’t find in the real world. Adults can grab a beer in the Wonderland Inn, food from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cafe, or cakes courtesy of the Women’s Institute Tea Tent, whilst they watch acts perform on the bandstand. Meanwhile kids can have the time of their lives watching the Insect Circus, attending the mini pamper lounge, participating in the kids dressing up and catwalk, crazy bikes, puppet shows, book tent and much much more. Elsewhere on site there’s jousting, the house of fairytales, the Bestival institution that is the Bollywood Bar, Pink Flamingo cocktail bar, Literary tent (where Breaking More Waves will be making an early morning Saturday appearance on stage as part of a show entitled “ A Chapter In My Life”), a mesmerising firework display (a clip of last years can be found here) and plenty of live music.

Unlike many other family orientated festivals that seem to assume that your interest in music stops the day you become a parent, Camp Bestival provides an eclectic mix of bands and DJ’s from nostalgic singalongs to fresh exciting acts. Five of Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2010 are appearing at Camp Bestival (Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Beth Jeans Houghton, Stornoway and Unicorn Kid) alongside old favourites such as Billy Bragg, Madness, The Fall and The Human League. More recent chart toppers Calvin Harris, Example, Friendly Fires and Chipmunk bring a youthful vibrancy to proceedings and DJ action comes from Annie Mac, Mr Scruff, DJ Derek plus of course Rob Da Bank himself, amongst others. Below are 5 of the newer acts that Breaking More Waves will hope to catch, line up clashes and too much cider permitting !

Hi-de-hi campers -check back here next week after it's all over for a full Camp Bestival 2010 review, plus if you're on Twitter follow us as we attempt to Tweet our way around the festival (internet access permitting).

First featured on Breaking More Waves in May 2009 here.

The finest acoustic pop band from Oxford received a rave review from us for their debut album Beachcomber's Windowsill here. They’re a band that the phrase charm your socks off was invented for. Beautiful songs, beautiful melodies - simple.

First featured on Breaking More Waves in June 2010 here.

A mix of Cocteau Twins vocals, tribal-electronica and ambient gurgles, this exciting new London duo create atmospheric washes of ethereal danceable rhythmic wonderment.

First featured on Breaking More Waves in August 2009 here.

Delivering chiptune and big beats, Unicorn Kid has already knocked out one of our singles of the year with the mighty Dream Catcher. Expect a high energy, sweaty, fist-pumping, ravetastic show from the Scottish wonder kid. Oh, and possibly the odd lion hat.

First featured on Breaking More Waves in December 2009 here.

Hurts blend of high-pop electronic melancholy has a glossy pretentious feel to it that worked superbly in a dark London old fashioned music hall (here). Quite how they will fare at a summer festival is another matter, but it will be intriguing to find out.

First featured on Breaking More Waves in March 2009 here.

Sunday Best recording artists Lucky Elephant produced one of our albums of 2009 and were due to play Camp Bestival last year, but their bandstand set got rained off. We will be praying for better weather this year from this engaging group who provide sensual vintage summertime vibes.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Hurts - Wonderful Life

Minimalist, mysterious, meticulous and a triumph of simplicity over extravagance, the original video for Wonderful Life by Hurts got us very excited indeed, enough to name them in our Ones to Watch 2010 list. Theo and Adam have not crossed over commercially in the UK yet - and the re-release of Wonderful Life, due August, is their big shot at doing so. If it fails there will no doubt be those sniggering at the ‘failure’ but commercial failure doesn’t mean creative failure. Their musical and artistic preciseness and pretentiousness alienates some music fans, but there’s also a niche hardcore fan base who can’t wait until the band deliver their album Happiness in September.

Now here is the new video for Wonderful Life. With some references to the dancer in the original video (check the photo frame and the moves) Wonderful Life continues to be a staggeringly good pop song, the tale of basic human emotion when two people meet. “They share a look in silence and everything is understood.” The band are playing a number of festivals this summer before a European tour starts in October.

Friday 23 July 2010

Yu(c)k - Daughter

A while back when we posted the latest instalment from Yuck we questioned why they had changed their name to Yu(c)k and also how you pronounced this new slightly pretentious name (although we would like to stress there is nothing wrong with pretentiousness sometimes - we positively celebrate this characteristic in certain cases). We still don’t have the answer to the second question, but apparently the name is to differentiate their noisy effect laden fuzz pop from the rather touching and graceful quiet songs that they are also producing. Their two live sets we’ve seen have both been of the rackety kind; hopefully at some point we’ll be able to share their softer intimacy as well.

So here’s another new slice of elegant simplicity from Yu(c)k. Daughter is a magical ballad, full of cuddle-in-the-darkness loveliness.

Yu(c)k - Daughter from Yuck on Vimeo.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Still Corners - Endless Summer

Still Corners are one of those bands that have started appearing on many blogs over the last few days. If you're a blog surfer - we apologise - you've heard this all before. Probably. If not, don't worry, we're like that third bus that comes along in less than a minute - but you've only just arrived at the bus stop.

With a song like Endless Summer, Still Corners tick all the right boxes to get the hipsters, the indie kids, the chill wave dudes and the muso lovers all quivering with weak-kneed love at the same time. We’re all human, we all feel the same highs, lows and emotional pulls; sometimes it is inevitable that a song or a sound will speak to more than just one clan, if indeed clans exist at all these days.

The word that best describes Endless Summer is vague. Not as in ‘haven’t got a clue’, but in the context of the song sounding blurry, blissed and hallucinogenic. Like the smudged dreamy sound of Beach House or the sixties ghost-film soundtracks of Broadcast perhaps, all given a sepia-tinged church-like makeover. It’s a piece of celestial pop music that floats along with breathy female vocals, vintage organ and ends with the entry of some shadowy shoegazey guitars. It's like falling back into soft cotton sheets on a Sunday, staring up at the blankness of the ceiling and enjoying the moment. Or casting yourself out into the sea at night, on your back, looking at the stars. Really rather lovely.

Endless Summer is available below. It is also available on a limited edition Fierce Panda compilation entitled Gruff Trade. The band play the Shoreditch 1234 Festival this weekend.

Still Corners: Endless Summer by brilliantlydifferent

Latitude 2010 - Review (Part 3)

Despite over indulged weariness and the hottest day of the festival, a decent sized crowd trooped towards the Obelisk stage on Sunday lunchtime for the second set of the weekend at Latitude by Tom Jones - a late addition, the result of his Thursday night set being missed by many due to overcrowding and capacity issues at the small stage in the woods.

Rumours suggested that this set would see Jones wheel out the hits, but it was not to be. Instead he performed the same songs as on the Thursday, with Jones keeping his ladies man reputation alive by referring to his female backing singers as “lovely,” in a suggestive voice that got a laugh.

“Good morning Latitude,” announced a member of The Antlers in the Word Arena. “It’s not morning,” one of his colleagues advised. Whatever time it was The Antlers suited perfectly, their soaring, atmospheric soundscapes of songs emotionally numbing with their bludgeoning weight. Two was particularly impressive, the bands feedback rock-pop taught and mesmerising.

If Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys had just woken up, put a Dougal from the Magic Roundabout red wig on and played slacker-surf-rock songs from the 50’s whilst reinterpreting Billy Childish he may have just found himself transformed into the lead singer of Spectrals. Their short songs performed on the Lake Stage had a direct approach which sometimes hooked and caught, but in other moments it was just a little too hazy for its own good.

Evidence of the continued ascension of the soon to be Mercury nominated Mumford and Sons was one of the biggest crowds of the weekend turning up for their mid afternoon set on the Obelisk Stage. “Can we start?” they questioned the masses, receiving a huge roar in reply. It seems like only yesterday that the band were wheeling out their americana-folk inspired tunes to small pub crowds and now they’ve become possibly the first UK arena-sized bluegrass band. White Blank Page, Little Lion Man and Roll Away Your Stone were all greeted with hugely positive reactions, but for those who have seen Mumford and Sons a number of times over the last few years it all feels a little bit ‘one festival set too many.’ Time for some new songs perhaps? They did at least oblige with one new slice of mass-market folk-rock, a song with Marcus playing drums, a horn section adding depth and lyrics of “I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine.” Laura Marling were you listening?

As the black clad Morning Parade blasted out Pieces in the Sunrise Arena it became easy to understand why they are being tipped as potential next big things. Their confident brand of epic guitar drama combined with washes of fluttering synth made a sound tough and muscular enough to be liked by the indie rock kids but accessible enough to find itself on daytime Radio 1. Soaring choruses, guitar licks and strong vocals - the only thing they lack is originality.

Samuel Chase (previously known as Samuel and the Dragon) drew the short straw. Dressed as a huge red feather love heart (!) he played to about six people standing at the barrier at the Lake Stage - anyone else who may have been interested took shade from the searing sun under trees some distance away. You really had to feel sorry for him. Yeasayer had just finished their set in the Word Arena and thousands of people were passing by. If Samuel had grabbed the moment and started his set five minutes earlier then some of these punters were his for the taking. But by the time he started his first tune the moment had passed. His songs were a mix of plaintive vocals, electronic jittery beats and live strings - torch songs for a place far from a hot outdoor stage. His fantastic single Diamonds On A Boat didn’t even get an airing and the impression left was that Samuel just couldn’t wait to get it all over with and extricate himself from the stage.

Finding an audience was no problem for the Pains of Being Pure at Heart who played under the shady canopy of the Sunrise Arena, which seemed a blissful respite from the heat. Visually they were like a cartoon indie pop band - boys jigging round with guitars, and girl gently swaying at her keyboard - their sound consisting of twee optimistic fuzz-tones of lovely noise and soft unaffected vocals. They mixed old songs such as the giddy Young Adult Friction with new ones and joked about reading a poem at the festival. “Music is all the bad poetry you need,” singer Kip Berman quipped.

If Beth Jeans Houghton were a rock she would be quartzite. A metamorphic girl who changes every time she takes to the stage. Gone was the big wig. Gone was the bleached blonde. This time she was dark. Next time we expect to see her she’ll probably be sporting a Sinead O’Connor crop. O’Connor is a reference point musically as well, with Houghton’s vocal having an air of the celtic soul sister to her. With tales of dropping her sunglasses in the festival toilets (her manager rescued them) and a punk rock song that she dedicates to him, Beth entertained in between songs even although we suspect that her quirky stories were well rehearsed and practised before. The entertainment factor was kept high during the music as well, the songs varied considerably from danceable oddball pop to jaunty folk.

Latitude 2010 was almost at an end. Musical overload. Grizzly Bear were the closing act on The Word stage. They played to a mainly partisan crowd, who listened intently, their collage of sound subtly shifting between songs creating something that is highly admirable, very worthy and yet for this reviewer not a performance that could ever be loved. Their layered harmonies and experimental sound glided with well played competence, but maybe overexposure to three and a half days of music has numbed the soul and brain. It was time for bed. Goodnight Latitude 2010. The rapes, the canopy collapse, the Crystal Castles incident and the stinking toilets may have brought the festival down a notch or two in our ratings, but overall it was still an excellent event for lovers of music and the arts. We will probably be back at some point.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Latitude 2010 - Review (Part 2)

Saturday at Latitude 2010 brought a touch of early morning rain that disappeared shortly before the live music started. From thereon it was another day of sunshine rays and sunblock.

Pat Grossi aka Active Child may produce solemn frozen electronic hymns, but his engaging smile and greeting of “morning campers,” to those who had turned out early for his set at the leafy Sunrise Arena belied the idea that he was some sort of gloomy chill wave monster. Plucking at his harp whilst his laptop added beats and washes of weighty eighties influenced synth sounds, his eerie falsetto weaved its way through the trees during I’m In Your Church At Night, threatening to call out the forest ghosts. It was a devine sound and Grossi knew it - kissing his harp at the end in thanks. The music of Active Child may be coldly computerized, but his words are often warm, human and emotional, from “I’m so far away from the warmth of your body,” to “take shelter in my arms.” Finishing with When Your Love Is Safe, his icy sound managed to warm the soul.

Over at the Lake Stage 18 year old Rachel Furner was the latest young pop hopeful bashing out songs such as Human Nature - a ditty about how you can’t help who you fall in love with - on her keyboard. She was clearly enjoying herself, full of youthful positivity and big smiles. It’s hard not to like her enthusiasm, but easy to dislike her songs a blend of highly commercial X Factor meets Scouting For Girls blandness. She can sing, she’s sassy but she offered no delight other than mainstream hollowness.

Not everything mainstream need be hollow, as the next act - Clare Maguire (pictured above) - proved. One of our Ones To Watch 2010 Maguire positively boomed out her songs to the “crazy Latitude people,” as she described them, with a voice awash with soul and richness. Ain’t Nobody, Shield and the Sword and Last Dance were all incredibly potent, fully justifying the argument that real talent still counts in the music industry - Maguire having been signed to Polydor Records. She also helped continue the Fleetwood Mac revival following the emergence of Lissie and Florence and the Machine’s recent Glastonbury performance of The Chain, by delivering an immense version of Big Love. Forget X-Factor. Forget Britain’s Got Talent. The real deal is Clare Maguire.

“I believe in guitars, bass, drums, three minute songs, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and rock ’n’ roll,” Frank Turner passionately announced from the Obelisk Stage before getting the crowd to yell back “I believe,” to his own musical religious mantra. Turner may not be a patch on Presley or Springsteen - but his set is workmanlike, honest and full of conviction. His acoustic strum-thrashes delight those at the front who sing along to every word, and its hard not to be moved by the touching Long Live The Queen- a positive song about a friend of his that died.

The reformed James get things exactly right for their late afternoon slot. Starting with the song Bubbles the best track from their inconsistent album Hey Ma, their now bald and goateed singer Tim Booth sang gloriously “I’m alive,” and it felt like a new birth for the band. “We were going to do lots of new ones, but......,” he joked before leading his group through a greatest hits set that included Ring The Bells, Sound, Sometimes, Laid and inevitably Sit Down, which he performed off the stage (see video clip below). It was perfect for the time of day and became a joyous crowd pleasing celebration of the bands career. Booth danced like a madman, contorting his arms and body in a trance like state and during Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) pulled a John Travolta Saturday Night Fever pose as he sang a line about the actor. Good to have them to have them back as Bruce Forsyth might say.

Back at the Lake Stage Nedry brought something of a very different nature, their heavy trembling basslines and edgy beats getting heads bobbing. Lead singer Ayu was resplendent dancing childlike in in a pink shiny dress as she wailed and chanted playfully, her two laptop whiz-kids Chris and Matt rowing in rafts of post-dubstep illustriousness. Ending with a new slightly more techno-laced track than what they have produced before they no doubt won a few new fans.

Riot-electro-art-punks Teeth continue to divide opinion. With simply a single laptop, live drums and the robot-effect vocals of Veronica So their raw intense bleepy shouty d.i.y sound left some audience members shaking their heads, whilst others, at the encouragement of the band formed a circle pit - the kind of thing you would expect at a metal gig rather than a rather more sedate festival - although this circle pit did feature children and placid forty year old men - this was Latitude after all.

Back to the Obelisk stage, the festival was about to witness its most controversial performance. Alice Glass from Crystal Castles looked like a crazed vampire in a Smiths tour t-shirt. She vacantly stared at the audience, swigged from a bottle of Jim Beam and shrieked over the digital hardcore and dirty rave blasts that emanated from Ethan Kath’s box of electronic tricks, backed up by a live drummer. News of the rape that occurred on Thursday night had slowly spread around the site and Alice angrily urged that all rapists should be castrated before launching herself into the full-on mosh pit. After crowd surfing for some time she pulled back and shouted “You touch my tits, I kick you in the f*cking head,” before lashing a series of blows down on one audience member. From thereon Glass barely sang at all, instead she prowled the stage, knocked over a drum riser and exited to a number of boos from the back of the crowd. Provocative and with a performance more akin to Reading Festival than Latitude, if nothing else Crystal Castles know how to grab headlines.

Musically opposite to Crystal Castles, Obelisk stage headliners Belle and Sebastian brought a lot of love and fun to Latitude 2010. Playing their first show in four years the Scottish twee indie-pop heroes charmed with humour and great songs. Stuart Murdoch joked that he was going to take his top off, but “That would be like walking in on your dad in the shower.” Later he explained that the band had been having bad dreams about playing live again - that their guitars turned to jellyfish or his tongue into a cactus. Another dream involved Latitude itself and Murdoch turning to guitarist Stevie Jackson and saying “play Jumping Jack Flash.” They then turned the dream into a warped reality and rock out to The Rolling Stones number - a moment of surreal crowd pleasing. Wheeling out many of the classics - Funny Little Frog, Judy And The Dream Of Horses, Fox In The Snow, Legal Man, I’m A Cuckoo they then got a crowd of young fans from the front row up on stage to dance during The Boy With The Arab Strab. Whoever said that only big rock bands, anthems and huge light shows could work as a headline set at a festival begone. A victory for the small people.

From the sublime to the ridiculous the last musical entertainment of the night finished with Gaggle on the Lake Stage. Bearing weird colourful headpieces, face paint and banners that declare “This Is Merely A Distraction From The Inevitable” the 17 piece all female alt. choir spat out “How can tell if my mans a liar,” with venom, bemusing the crowd that had gathered to see them. Rather like other multi-member costumed bands such as The Polyphonic Spree, Gaggle are an interesting diversion because of their uniqueness, but this uniqueness is not particularly addictive. A ‘must see’ once - but that is enough. For now they remain a one trick pony.

With that Saturdays musical entertainment at Latitude 2010 was over. Until the next day where amongst others Mumford and Sons, The Antlers and Grizzly Bear awaited.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Latitude 2010 - Review (Part 1)

The attempt by Festival Republic to establish and market Latitude as a safe and family friendly festival took several steps backward this weekend. The horrific reports of two alleged rapes on the site, the partial collapse of the canopy structure over the Sunrise Arena stage (pictured above before collapse) on Friday afternoon, and Crystal Castles lead singer Alice Glass throwing punches at a member of the crowd during their Main Stage set on Saturday evening all spoilt what was otherwise a good natured and friendly vibe. It highlighted the fact that despite festivals ethos of love, peace and harmony, such events can be high risk environments.

Under sunny skies girls waltzed around the site wearing flower and leaf headdresses, people relaxed in deckchairs by the now famous multicoloured sheep adjacent the lake, whilst the cream of Central St Martins and Chelsea graduates displayed fashion shows. Despite a few regulars grumbling that the site was even busier than years past, that there was a more boisterous teenage element present (lured no doubt by acts such as Florence and the Machine, Crystal Castles and Vampire Weekend) and that the toilets were still the disgustingly smelly long drop types, overall Latitude 2010 still had a significant amount of chilled goodwill at its heart.

The ‘quiet opening’ on Thursday night got underway with a special midnight set in the middle of the woods by Tom Jones, performing songs from his critically acclaimed album Praise & Blame. With a full to capacity crowd and delayed by technical hitches, Jones arrived on the small stage to ask “Can you hear me OK?” and received a roar of approval in reply. However as his set progressed a significant portion of the crowd grew restless shouting for Sex Bomb and Delilah - hits that Jones had no intention of playing. This was no nostalgia trip, but an opportunity for Tom to display the essence of his talent - his remarkable voice; a soft mix of Presley and Cash - going back to his roots. With a band including Ethan Johns of Kings of Leon and Laura Marling production fame, that played upbeat rock n roll and gospel tinged ballads, Jones may not have delivered a typical crowd pleasing set, but for those who were prepared to listen with an open mind, it was sterling stuff.

The Sunrise Arena is a beautiful fern lined clearing in the woods, covered with a tent-like canopy for shade and shelter. It provided a safety related incident on Friday. Following well received sets from local acoustic singer songwriter Mathew P and the indie-folk-rock of Kurran and the Wolfnotes, a small lunch time crowd were waiting for country singer Delta Maid, when one of the heavy central support poles to the canopy dislodged and kicked out, falling to the floor, presumably from wind force pressure. Luckily because the space was relatively empty nobody was hit or hurt. With the canopy now partially collapsed security were quickly on hand to clear the area and the public asked to leave, the stage closed for the time being.

Over at the Lake Stage local band These Ghosts drew a young home crowd to witness their brooding, epic and passionate guitar anthems. “You are the most beautiful people. Thank you for making this the best day of our lives,” their overawed lead singer proclaimed in a believable way. Next up the sensual eyed ex-Pipette and every geeky indie boys pin-up poster girl Rose Elinor Dougall took the prize for biggest stilettos of the day. Her songs reference late 80’s / early 90’s indie and Casio keyed 50’s film noir. Come Away With Me sounded not dissimilar to The Sundays, the intro to Start / Stop / Synchro hinting at Broadcast. Less commercial than The Pipettes, these songs are likely to be significantly longer lasting.

The Lake Stage continued to push out varied new bands all afternoon. The bobble hat wearing welsh surf-guitar instrumentalists Y Niwl got a varied crowd dancing. Their sound may be obvious with it’s 60’s Hammond organ and garage-twang guitars, but it was perfect for the glorious sunshine - it wouldn’t have been at all surprising to find Quentin Tarantino running down the hill in Bermuda shorts signing the band up for his next film soundtrack,

“This is my sister, she spat water on my groin,” a member of Yuck announced from the stage. It certainly made a change from the standard “Are you having a nice festival / good time,” question that virtually every band used all weekend as their conversation piece with the audience. Squalling guitars, whiney vocals, fuzzy shoe-gazing pop, Yuck have got indie-rock-like-it-used-to-be down to a fine art and are appealingly good. They’re starting to give The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart a run for their money.

Gold is her name and it seems that Gold is her colour - for Alice Gold had either overdone it with the fake tan or has gone a few rounds sunbathing. Looking more like a Jordan wannabe than a rock star she belted out her MOR rock-pop with a big pair of lungs, to a small crowd of curious onlookers most of whom were passing by on their way to buy food or drink.

Sarah from The Good Natured first came to our attention as a bedroom-demo keyboard lass back in 2009. Now playing as a three piece band she’s ditched the keyboard, relying instead on a backing track. Displaying a girlish nervousness between numbers, her performance was entirely composite and confident during the songs themselves. She prowled like a hotpants and black eyeliner wearing tiger, thrusting her arms towards the crowd, throwing the microphone lead around her neck and dropping to her knees to sing in her strangely captivating flat tones. Sarah is certainly playing at being a ‘proper’ pop star, but possesses a darker edginess. Fortune Teller was a hooky swirling danceable beast and Your Body Is A Machine a deeper scratch below the surface.

The scratch becomes a darker wound with Esben and the Witch. The Brighton trio were primitive, experimental and powerful, the reverb laden female vocal more than ghostly, the drums, thrashing guitars, electronic beats and pulses of ambient noise not for the fainthearted, but all spectacularly good. One of the highlights of the afternoon at the Lake Stage for those who like their music a little eerie.

New bands led to more established artists on the main stage and then The Word sponsored 6,000 capacity tent, as day turned to night.

Laura Marling’s second album I Speak Because I Can may be bolder than her debut but would her songs transfer in the huge open space of the main stage, known as the Obelisk Arena ? The answer is yes, her hushed folk sound and quality musicianship only being slightly spoilt by sound bleed from the booming Wild Beasts set from The Word stage. Devil's Spoke and Rambling Man were authoritative and passionate, and when unadorned of her backing band she bears fruit with songs of beauty. Not so much the shy or humble girl she once was, Marling even engaged in some between song banter and got the crowd to accompany her on a whistling solo.

In the Word Arena Richard Hawley was un-typically quiet in between songs, which he finally explained was due a bout of bronchitis. Despite this however his lovelorn melodies were timeless and wonderful, particularly during Tonight The Streets Are Ours which was so romantic that if babies haven’t been created to its sound, there’s something tragically wrong with the world.

It’s left to The National to send folks back to their tents with the best set of the day. It’s powerful, weighty and intensely euphoric. Matt Berninger’s baritone is imposing, the bands music almost overwhelming, layered, lush and hugely emotional. They start with the slow build of the exquisite Runaway, and by the time they reach Bloodbuzz Ohio and Fake Empire grown men are on the verge of weeping. Mass singalongs occur. It’s that good. It’s that exhilarating. It’s moments like these that make you realise that, in the moment, music is that important. The National are now challenging Radiohead as the worlds best rock band. Even bigger stages surely beckon. Very special and the perfect way to end the first day.

Latitude 2010 Day 2 and Day 3 review posts will be published daily this week.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Teeth - See Spaces

This post is our last for about a week, as we take a break - our first since Christmas.

In the meantime we’d like to draw your attention to one of our favourite tracks of the moment - See Spaces by Teeth. Teeth are Ximon Tayki, Simon Whybray and Veronica So and we first wrote about them when we caught them live last June here. At the time their stage incarnation was a vigorous work-out of brawling punk-girl vocals and short spunky d-i-y electronics. In Veronica So Teeth had a highly charged aggressor of a front woman who seemed to know nothing except to go for it full tilt on every song. She was a grenade with the pin pulled - an explosion of violence, sexuality and dance.

Later in the year Teeth picked up a small level of fame after hacking into Lady Gaga’s Twitter account - the password unbelievably was the name of one of her singles.

See Spaces sees Teeth move forward to a higher level of sophistication than what has gone before. From riot girl electronics to a shimmery synth space anthem in just over a year, this is top level stuff. In what almost seems to be a statement of this new maturity Teeth have also dropped the three exclamation marks after their name - from Teeth!!! to just Teeth. Ultimately however they punctuate their name doesn’t matter - See Spaces is a supreme track.

See Spaces will be released on the 16th August 2010. The three piece will also be supporting the fantastic Sleigh Bells at a one off London gig at the Lexington in the same month. Based on our experiences of both bands live it has the potential to be one of the most riotous shows of the year. You can listen to See Spaces from the stream below - do it now, you won’t regret it.

See you in a week.


Ellie Goulding - The Writer

The role of a music blog and its editorial content varies from site to site. Some focus solely on new, often underground acts, others give emphasis to bands and events from a particular region, some are partially vehicles for the blogger to promote his or her record label / club nights, whilst others fix on the particular taste of the blog writer / editor irrespective of current popularity or status of the artist. Others - the lesser blogs - simply act as a PR machine, pumping out copy and paste press releases with no thought given to the content.

Breaking More Waves has always been, and will continue to be a blog that mainly concentrates on new music and artists (although not necessarily underground or lo-fi - we like our pop too much, we're not interested in indie / blog cred or cool - as we've said before cool is transient - this mornings cool is tomorrows naff - we just post what we like, wherever it comes from), plus festivals, gigs, and a wider sphere of debate and discussion - our recent piece on going to gigs alone being a prime example. These discussion pieces get significantly less hits than anything else we write, yet always attract more comments from readers – probably because such discussions are more engaging. Our style has always been to produce slightly longer text than the average new music blog – something we deliberately do almost as a unique selling point – not that we have anything to sell. We’re not interested in readers who just want to download the latest Don Diablo / The Knocks remix from Hype Machine. We’re more interested in the type of reader who enjoys the larger debate about all aspects of pop music (and we use the term pop in its widest context here).

Because Breaking More Waves is fundamentally a new music blog it sometimes means that we stop writing significant content about particular artists once they have become established. There are thousands of bigger, better websites out there who take over once the artist is well known. We’ll come back to revisit these artists from time to time, particularly where there is fresh content to write about that may not be covered elsewhere – for example a review of a live show – but we would generally rather focus on new acts and new material. So as much as we still love Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, Stornoway and Florence and the Machine, you are likely to see less of them here until year end than the last 18 months.

So this is moment of temporary closure. Back in February 2009 we first mentioned The Writer by Ellie Goulding. At the time it was nothing more than a sparse folk song with some rather disturbing lyrics that suggested that Goulding was just the type of girl we would want to avoid – the dreaded needy girlfriend - happy to relinquish control and change everything just to be with someone. Eighteen months on and the song has been completely transformed into a high gloss ballad. No doubt it will find its way onto the backing track of a number of teen romance dramas this summer. For now, we’re done with blogging Ms Goulding, there’s too much other good new music out there. However, it won’t be the absolute last time you will see her name on Breaking More Waves, of that we are absolutely certain. So this is more “See you a lot later,” than an absolute goodbye. We’ll be saying another see you later, in a second post later today. For now, after five hundred words of waffle, here's the video for The Writer by Ellie Goulding - the inevitable ballad to attempt to find a different audience as a follow up to the dancier pop Ellie has previously released as singles.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Spark - American Girl (Live)

We’ve never made any secret about the fact that we love all the tips / ones to watch lists at the end of the year, including our own which we publish at the start of December. Yes, there's nothing like a bit of self loving now and then.

There will always be arguments about the worth of such lists (we’ve written a number of times about lists such as the BBC Sound Of Poll including here, here and here) but essentially we love playing musical pin the tail on the donkey and hoping that our taste represents the mainstream. Inevitably sometimes we get it bang on, and others times, well, does anybody remember Skint and Demoralised ? We tipped him in our 10 Ones to Watch for 2009 list. Nobody can be right all of the time.

We’ve already got a ‘Potential Ones to Watch for 2011’ list on the go. No doubt by December we’ll have 30 or 40 names on it before we whittle it down to 10.

Although it’s very early days, it wouldn’t surprise us if the name of Spark crops up somewhere. She can hold a tune, has the looks ( which like it or not is essential in pop music - nobody wants a munter of a pop star ) and seems to have just enough quirkiness to appeal to those who prefer their popstars not be semolina bland.We first wrote about her here. To demonstrate a little of why we think Spark is showing great potential, have a look at the live footage below of a song called American Girl. Just don't mention Skint and Demoralised.

Kid Adrift - Drifting On A Boat Trip

When a new artist begins to break through, sometimes people try to figure out who or what that artist is and get a bit adrift of themselves. It seems that some people are getting very confused about Kid Adrift. Annie Mac on Radio 1 referred to him as an ex-member of Snow Patrol, whilst others are assuming that his name comes from an obsession with the Radiohead album Kid A. Even before the media started buzzing, way back in August last year, we gave a comparrison to Mozart gone mad with laptops (here), a quote which found its way onto the Kid Adrift Myspace

His website doesn't help either, stating " Are you currently experiencing headaches, pains and cold or flu like symptoms? Have you had a recent accident in your workplace? Are you experiencing less than optimum levels of satisfaction with modern life? Waking up in a cold sweat? Feel like your horizons are being continually cropped in to 16:9? Boxed into a cubicle, hissing like a kettle, sweating like a bitch in heat, white noise on the radio, apoplectic like the lightbulb, rendered anonymous by the appropriate footwear? Are 6 consecutive series of Strictly Come Dancing just not enough compensation for the damage done? Fear not for help is at hand. May we present: Kid Adrift."

So whilst people are making judgements and trying to work it all out, Kid Adrift has taken to getting away from it all. He really is out on his own boat. (See video below) The single Oxytocin with its lyrics of “Oxytocin in my blood, it is all that is left of you ? If all I feel breaks down to chemicals. In the midst of all the screaming you're losing the pieces of you. But what you are is not quantifiable,” is beginning to float around the airwaves of radioland and notice is being duly taken. We’re not sure what he’s singing about, but apparently all Kid Adrift songs are based around real events in lead singer Iain’s life.

If he's taking life experience for lyrical inspiration, maybe his next song will be a cover of The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene, complete with rock guitars, dubstep beats and furious computer punches?

Monday 12 July 2010

Lounge on the Farm 2010 - Review

There’s a very relaxed vibe to Lounge on the Farm festival, Merton Farm near Canterbury. The sun helps this atmosphere - it shines powerfully all day, but the new local authority licensing restriction that limits punters bringing their own alcohol onto site is also a significant factor. With the smell of cow pats not far away and a market area that retails only locally produced food (even the farm itself sells edibles made from its own livestock - a properly sustainable burger that hasn't travelled hundreds of miles in production) Lounge on the Farm has a welcoming local / village feel. Inflatable cows hang from the steel frame of the huge cowshed that forms the main stage and punters sit by the bandstand at picnic benches soaking up the rays and enjoying delicacies such as kipper in a bun and Russian stuffed vine leaves - not your typical festival food.

Whilst the majority were in attendance for the full three days, Breaking More Waves was at Lounge on the Farm 2010 for just one day; the motive being that Moshi Moshi and Wichita Records host the small Sheepdip Stage on the Saturday.

Things open at the Cowshed Stage with a sample from Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip’s The Beat That My Heart Skipped. As the words “I ain’t gonna take it no more,” boom out Liverpool’s Kids On Bridges plough through a short set of booming chest vibrating electro-pop. The band seem totally out of place with the general organic vibe of the event with members sporting a blue metallic hoody, bleached blonde hair, sportswear and shades. The skewered slabs of disco synth on Check Your Head add a sprinkle of gold dust, but it’s just too damn early for most. A case of wrong place wrong time.

Alice Gold fares a little better - flicking her golden locks backwards and forwards in a demented fashion to her blend of adult friendly FM rock - although her strong passionate voice loses something in the empty echoing heights of the cowshed.

A walk past the farms flag lined sweet corn fields leads to the sunflower covered bandstand where The Momeraths are giving a gentle lesson in everything twee and lower case. Xylophones, quietly cute vocals and summery girl-boy melodies, they’re like the long lost cousins of Belle and Sebastian circa Tigermilk, and go down rather well with the sun-kissed crowd who are busy consuming Kent ice cream and cider.

Heading under canvas, The Sheepdip Stage is where the too cool for school fashionista’s can be found. In sweltering and rising temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade there are kids here wearing retro jumpers - they’ve either left their brain in another field or have a very good deodorant. Veronica Falls try to bring the temperatures down by adding icy attitude with their lo-fi early 80’s U.S styled indie garage rock, complete with shambling guitars, flatly sung female vocals and pouting red lips. There’s a significant number of bands mining the C86 gone stateside genre right now, and Veronica falls are digging with the rest of them. One for the old-school indie elite.

“You’re such an attractive festival crowd - I thought you were all going to mingers,” announces the leopard print clad Elizabeth Sankey of Summer Camp with a smile as the band begin their experimental pop. No doubt after three days of sun and cider by Sunday evening there will be less beauty and more mingers. Summer Camp get only moments in before the sound cuts out. A few minutes of frantic action by sound technicians sort the problem and the band recommence their woozy Beach Boys influenced synth-layered pop. The band are motionless verging on invisible and it's left to Elizabeth to be the star of the show, her voice clean with an almost country-esque twang. There’s a charm to what Summer Camp do, even though occasionally they let muso cleverness get in the way of pop sensibility. If they can keep the shackles on they could be as beautiful as the audience.

Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit draw the biggest audience of the day so far -albeit it’s still bums on grass at this point - and are incredible. Johanna and Klara have a raw, enchanting quality in their live performance that as yet they have not fully replicated in recorded form. Using just delicately picked acoustic guitar, autoharp, keyboard and drums their sound is quietly romantic - their mournful harmonies sounding agedly ghostlike. When they sing acappella “I don’t know what I’ve done, but I’m turning myself into a demon,” on Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song it’s breathtakingly moving. Ending with rich majesty of I Met Up With The King, their voices in turn gravely and lullaby smooth, it’s no wonder that the crowd applaud for an encore.

Besides the pullover wearing indie boys Australia’s Sarah Blasko has also arrived in the Cow Shed from the school of inappropriate festival attire. Wearing a blue tartan dress and leggings she announces “I didn’t realise it could get this hot in England.” Despite her fashion fail she is quirkily engaging with her puppet-like dancing, unselfconscious marching and note perfect songs - the spectral wail on All I Want is particularly affecting, a snow capped misty mountain romance, even on this sweltering day.

It’s inevitable when the weather is this warm that this is going to be the main talking point of the day, and so it continues. “Has anyone got sunburn?” questions Rebecca from Slow Club as a packed Sheepdip tent slowly melts. Slow Club are never going to be a slick pop band - their ramshackle unpolished country-rock-folk -skiffle style is part of their charm. Today at least they manage to get through their set of both old and new songs without any of them breaking down halfway - that in itself is a result for them. From yelling gang hollers to sweet harmonies Slow Club have it easy - most of the crowd are ready to lap it up, even if Rebecca notices that one man in the crowd is screwing up his eyes and shaking his head negatively - she suggests he’s right though - “essentially, we’re shit,” she mocks. Songs such as Trophy Room with it’s acoustic thrash and pensive “Oh oh oh,” sighs oppose this argument -the single man in the crowd was wrong.

The top end of the site pays host to the Farm Folk stage, where a mellow crowd rests on hay bales under pink drapes. Looking like a younger David Bowie or James Dean, Alan Pownall and his band play a set of fine well crafted songs that are perfect for this near sunset moment. His sound is warm and mature, laced with violin and gentle percussion. Occasionally there’s a reggae lilt to his tunes, elsewhere they’re of the more heartfelt singer songwriter style. Explaining to the audience that he was late getting here due to traffic, it seems his journey was worthwhile.

As night falls the Sheepdip stage alters its musical direction from indie / folk / pop to vibrant electronic geekiness. The numbers in the tent dwindle, but it leaves more room for dancing. “At least my nails had time to dry,” jokes a member of Silver Columns after a late start due to the dreaded technical hitches. With flashing lights all over their microphones and kit, their relentless electronic burbles sound a lot like a humorous high energy Hot Chip, and on Brow Beaten -a song which really deserves a shot at the charts re-release -a modern day Bronski Beat. Bridging the gap between audience and stage, one of their number hauls a drum into the crowd and plays from the floor to the bemused faces of onlookers.

Gold Panda continues the geek-core dance revolution wearing a T shirt emblazoned with a Tampax logo. Waves of ambient noise give way to gentle electronic chimes, crackles and then stuttering jerky beats of brilliance. His futuristic flow gets the crowd dancing spaz-like - by the time he wraps things up with Quitters Raga the temperature has been cranked up a notch again.

It’s left to James Yuill to finish the small crowd who remain off. We’ve called James the thinking mans Calvin Harris before, and this seems to be truer than ever. The bespectacled high priest of geek electronica rolls out electro-pop / folktronica bangers by the bagful under a beautiful vision of kaleidoscopic slides. It may now be midnight, the temperatures may have cooled outside, but Yuill ensures that Lounge on the Farm continues to sweat it’s head off until the very end of the day.

Lounge on the Farm 2010 - what an absolute scorcher.

You can see more photos from Lounge On The Farm 2010 by clicking here.

Friday 9 July 2010

Kylie - Aphrodite

When you hear the name Kylie Minogue, what do you think of? Gold hotpants? I Should Be So Lucky ? Abba-esque Olympics ? Or the iconic Can’t Get You Out Of My Head –one of the most perfectly constructed pop songs ever ? Whatever it is, Kylie has unarguably produced a series of hooky, culturally resonant, image perfect classics over her twenty plus years in the music industry. The euphoric sounds of recent single All The Lovers, with it’s squiggly sugar-synth interlude and Calvin Klein meets Athena styled orgy-mountain video can now be added to that list of gems. With such a stock pile of songs stored in the Kylie warehouse, one day she’s going to export a brilliant greatest hits album.

Kylie is still the girl-next-door pop-princess, yet with this royalty status there are limitations. Pop music is largely about the delirious thrust of singles and individual songs. Albums fare less well. Come the end of 2010 you can guarantee there won’t be many out and out commercial pop records in the best of lists. The traditional rock press are ultimately incredibly conservative.

Even if pop did have more critical and commercial acclaim Aphrodite probably wouldn’t make the Top 50 of the year, but it’s still a good enough album to pleasure. It’s rammed full of immaculately polished radio-friendly dance pop, Kylie is nothing but professional and there’s little filler. Upbeat tracks rule on Aphrodite - and just as importantly it sounds fresh, contemporary and a hell of a lot of fun. Too Much, a song co-written with Calvin Harris and Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters shouts electro-hit all over, whilst Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) is a robo-pop disco celebration that gets the feet to the floor. However taking Aphrodite for what it is - an enjoyably lightweight pop album -there are a couple of minor criticisms. First there’s no real surprises. Maybe the Impossible Princess Kylie could sneak back into the room for a moment and announce that she’s going to write a song with someone we really wouldn’t expect her to again - maybe Laura Marling or The Big Pink for example ? Also a few songs feel just a little bit flat sounding - dot to dot electro pop where the numbers are all joined up, but the whole process lacks the true originality of an individual creation.

Kylie Minogue has come a long way since I Should Be So Lucky, and the fact that she is still pushing out chart-bound records has to be applauded. This record will sustain her career and will give pleasure to many fans. It may even find her a few new ones in the teenage market. We just hope that with such a constantly high level of commercial success that maybe the next album will take a few more risks.

Latitude 2010 - Preview

(Photograph Copywright Andi Sapey used courtesy of Latitude On Line Press)

“It’s more than just a music festival,” is the tag line for Latitude. This is undoubtedly true - Latitude has a fantastic range of cultural entertainment from comedy ( Emo Philips, Ardal Ohanlon, and Rufus Hound to name just three ), literature (Hanif Kureishi, Bret Easton Ellis, Julie Burchill and Garry Mulholland), to theatre, opera, poetry, film and cabaret. Yet even if it didn’t have all of these things, it would still stand up to scrutiny in terms of its musical line up. Not just because of the headliners (this year Florence and The Machine, Belle & Sebastian and Vampire Weekend do the honours) but because of its rich pickings of smaller acts further down the bill - more of those in a moment.

Set in Henham Park, Southwold in Suffolk, Latitude is run by Melvin Benn, who is also responsible for organising Reading and Leeds festivals, together with an input into Big Chill and Glastonbury. Latitude is his venture into the more artistic side of festivals - taking elements of smaller boutique festivals, moulding them with bits of Glastonbury but without the warped late night madness / truly alternative ‘anything can happen’ vibe. It has gained a reputation in some circles as a ‘festival for those who grew up at Reading and Leeds but now prefer reading The Guardian, drinking Cappuccinos and lighting barbecues instead of setting fire to gas canisters and portaloos.’ There’s certainly an element of this to Latitude - it lacks the energy and edginess of an event such as Reading, yet for those who want more than just a bunch of indie and rock bands in a field near an industrial estate, Latitude provides. From its now famous coloured sheep, the beautiful Sunrise stage set in the woods, the lake stage with the lily shaped lanterns that light up at night, to the unusual and unexpected - this year for example will see Tom Jones play a set at midnight in the woods on the opening Thursday night and Kitty, Daisy and Lewis soundtracking The Blues Brothers film; Latitude has a significant amount of care put into the curation of the performances.

But despite Latitude being about more than just music, Breaking More Waves will be mainly, but not exclusively, enjoying the performances of the bands and artists of a musical variety. We’ll be bringing a full review of Latitude 2010 shortly after it finishes, and if our wireless technology stands the test we will also be attempting to live tweet our way around the event. Follow us on Twitter here to catch those.

Earlier we mentioned the many new acts on the bill, and below we present Breaking More Waves Top 5 new acts to see at Latitude 2010.

With an album being recorded with Fraser T, (Tynchy Strider, James Morrison) Clare Maguire is a name that remains unknown to many. We first wrote about her at the start of January 2009 after hearing her collection of demos that displayed an artist with obvious talent - she has a hugely powerful and gutsy voice that stands the test versus pretty much anyone you could care to line her up against. So confident were we that Maguire has the voice to be a huge commercial success that we named her in our Ones to Watch List 2010. Yet up until now there has been nothing from Maguire, her record company keeping her quietly under wraps. Come Latitude 2010 we’ll be better positioned to judge if Maguire has fulfilled the early promise that her demos such as the sultry Strangest Thing suggested. There’s no You Tube footage to view, no music clips that we have permission to put out, but if you’re going to Latitude, head down to the Lake Stage when Clare Maguire plays. It could be something very special.

Morning Parade may not be creating anything particularly new or ground breaking, but what they do they do exceptionally well. Big rock tunes with indie /dance crossover, they seem to have arrived fully formed and ready to step up to the next level. You can grab a free download of their song Marble Attic which we featured a week or so ago here.

Since we first featured The Good Natured aka Sarah McIntosh on Breaking More Waves back in March 2009, she has been featured on the last Kitsune compilation, released Your Body Is A Machine as a single, played a number of gigs and bagged herself slots at various festivals including the Isle of Wight, V and of course Latitude. Slowly growing her profile rather than being exposed to huge hype, she seems to be bringing a darker edge to synth pop. “We are influenced by self love and benevolence, narcissism is overwhelming, vanity is quite exhausting, self indulgent, hedonistic, blame it all on your upbringing,” are not the typical lyrics of your modern day pop star. An intriguing prospect. Here's an acoustic arrangement of the single, the original video and song can be seen here.

Yuck have made fairly regular appearances at Breaking More Waves since the beginning of the year. Like all great noise pop bands, Yuck surge with fuzzy guitars, but under the racket have a neat line in melody. Their Camden Crawl set was one of our highlights of that event, and although their music may be more suited to sweaty dark basements, we eagerly anticipate their arrival on an outdoor stage. Here's the song Georgia by Yuck.

From ex-Pipette to indie credibility, to providing vocals for Mark Ronson, Rose Elinor Dougall has been on some journey since she offered up her first solo offering Another Version of Pop Song back at the end of 2008. With a debut album Without Why due for release at the end of August, Rose Elinor Dougall holds the unlucky status of being one of the miniscule number of artists we have interviewed for the blog, before deciding that interviews didn’t fit with what we were about. What does fit though is Rose’s rather wonderful dreamy melodies.

Latitude 2010 takes place on the 15th-18th July 2010 and is completely sold out.