Tuesday 30 November 2010

Don't Look Back In Anger Mr Blogger (A Blog Summary Part 2)

The continuation of a blog looking back at our year, with a picture of some waves, for no other reason than this blog is called Breaking More Waves. There's hundreds (well ok at least ten) reasons behind the name....

Part 1 was just before this....

As summer unfolded we managed to get away from geeky laptop blogging and out into the countryside for some superb summer festivals – possibly our best year ever in terms of outdoor live music. Latitude in Suffolk made us gush at newcomer Clare Maguire (here), long term stayers The National (here)and old timers James (here again), albeit the festival vibe was somewhat ruined by reports of rape on site. We also fitted in one day of the Mediterranean heat of Lounge on the Farm festival (here) and spent most of our time avoiding the sun in a sweaty tent curated by Moshi Moshi and Wichita. Elsewhere, we discovered that a Pitchfork buzz doesn’t necessarily lead to well attended gigs when we went to see Memoryhouse (here), one of a number of gigs we’ve attended on our own – something we wrote about in a well-received piece (here). Having already seen the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Latitude, they buzzed our brains in Brighton to finish the month of nicely (here). Oh and we got the first of two quotes from our blog this year in the Guardian New Band of the Day Column (here) when we wrote about the lovely Still Corners (here) An endless summer would have been quite perfect.

Things slowed on the blog in August whilst we were away on holiday, but we still managed to fit in Camp Bestival, which in its third year running was a resounding success and scooped Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards. (Read the full review by clicking on August 2010 on the blog archive). We also discovered great new music from Trophy Wife (here) and Paper Crows (here), the later getting our second Guardian New Band of the Day quote (here).

September found us as blogger turned DJ, playing a crazy opening set at Bestival, as the gates opened in the Big Top. We did it together with members of a newly formed collective known as The Sunday Best Forum All-Stars - in fancy dress. (Video clip here) It wasn’t all about camping and cider though, we enjoyed just the cider in our hometown for Southsea Fest, a one day multi-venue festival which included great sets from Revere, Islet, Run Toto Run, Let’s Buy Happiness and Bright Light Bright Light (here). We also got hot under the collar for Clare Maguire, about whom we first posted in 2009 and finally got to hear some of her finished material (here). The Breakage remix of her single was awe inspiring as well (here). We also discussed the perfect length for an album and suggested that music bloggers have a role as critics.

Manchester was our final destination for festivals in 2010, with In the City coming up trumps in terms of multi venue / single wristband events with phenomenal performances from the likes of D/R/U/G/S, (here) Let’s Buy Happiness (again) and Clock Opera (here) to name just three. Other highlights of October were James Blake’s (not to be confused with James Blunt – a terrible error to make for which the death penalty should be reintroduced) continued rise with the breath taking Limit To Your Love (here), Clock Opera’s Once And For All (here) and Hurts and Clare Maguire gigging together – a musical marriage that should it be consummated would have produced the most amazing children (here) And talking of amazing, we also wrote a response to Rawkblog’s 2010 Bands You Can Ignore list, entitled Why Not Being Amazing Is OK (here). In what was a good month musically we also gave coverage to some very under the radar bands such as Alpines (here), The Retrospective Soundtrack Players (here) and Labyrinth Ear (here) in our New Waves feature.

Which leads us to the here and now; November is at an end. We’re about to start publishing our ones to watch for 2011. Those expecting plenty of unknowns will be disappointed we suspect – in the majority of cases our list will be a summary of much of what has gone before on this blog, with just the odd newbie. More on that tomorrow. There’s been some pretty decent new stuff this month though that didn’t get on the list – Duologue (here) and Breton (here) in particular have all been licking our ears tenderly (or harshly in some cases, but it’s still been pleasurable.) Our Breton piece also gave good advice on the best way for a couple getting intimate to remove a bra and avoid the awkward schoolboy fumbling moment - we like to think we provide a service in other respects besides music blogging. If there's anything else you'd like to know just ask - we know the secret to making great mashed potato for example. All in all we’ve posted a significant amount of new music on this blog this year – as we said just a few days ago, maybe there's too much new music (here). It’s an ongoing debate.

Right are you ready for some lists? We are…

Here's a couple more tracks from some of the bands mentioned in this post. Get your ears licked.

Ice & Arrows by Alpines

Run Toto Run - Hater (Dance Toto Dance remix) by kidfarthing

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart "Heart In Your Heartbreak" by Slumberland Records

Ones to watch 2011 are ready to roll.

Don't Look Back In Anger Mr Blogger (A Blog Summary Part 1)

We’re nearly there. We can draw a collective sigh of relief because another year of music blogging is almost done. With just our ones to watch for 2011 and our albums of 2010 lists to go throughout December, it’s time to sit back and recall some pleasant memories, because despite the title of this blog, there's been very little to be angry about.

Then on January 1st we'll announce a few minor changes to the blog (one of which - The Music That Made Me feature has already been announced ) and then away we'll go again. But first let's cast our eye over our blogging year from January to June, the rest follows in twelve hours time.

As the snow in the UK was still melting away and our country was slowly grinding back into productivity we enjoyed Warpaint’s song Elephants (here) from their Exquisite Corpse EP. Then we had to wait till late autumn before their album finally dropped. Although the critics generally raved about it, it left us feeling a little disappointed compared with this earlier work – there’s one we can strike off our end of year list for starters. Likewise the Beach House album got all of the critics smouldering with glee but our review (here) was less positive, the record leaving us feeling “foggy and empty.” Possibly for the only time ever on Breaking More Waves we featured a song that would become synonymous with Joe McElderry – Donkeyboy’s Ambitions (here) – an unhealthily infectious piece of fluoro-pop that later in the year McElderry would cover and disappoint many of his teenage fans with. Probably the most sense we talked all month was in an essay on When Popstars Haircuts Go Bad (here), suggesting that Kate Nash’s new hairdo (see the picture above - she's the one on the left) may signal a creative and commercial failure for her forthcoming album.

February saw two of the best gigs we witnessed all year – Hurts at Wiltons Music Hall in London (here) and Stornoway at the Komedia in Brighton (here) as well as the first appearance of a band that we began to fall in love with on the blog called Let’s Buy Happiness (here). Seven months later we had the pleasure of putting the group up at our house when the band played our home city - and they turned out to be a very polite bunch of whipper snappers.

As spring began to warm things up a little in March we got on the blog bandwagon and wrote about buzz band Cults a number of times. (Such as here) Sometimes when a record is so immensely enjoyable you simply cannot ignore it. We also enjoyed Ellie Goulding’s debut calling it a skilful and highly enjoyable contemporary pop album (here), but much of the blogosphere and critics didn’t agree, distancing themselves from an artist they had once supported – seemingly it was too pop for most. By the end of the year critical support was probably the last thing on Goulding’s mind – over 300,000 sales in the UK seemed to suggest that she had the public on side. Elsewhere our worries over Kate Nash’s new haircut were confirmed at possibly the worst gig we’ve been to this year, (here) which left us feeling rather sad, Nash having previously been one of our favourite young female singers. And it would also be a sin not to mention Out of Time by NewIslands which we called amazing, no A.M.A.Z.I.N.G (here), and as a result developed a whole new catchphrase for ourselves.

April saw us getting our first ever internet exclusive review with our piece on Stornoway’s Beachcomber’s Windowsill (here) and a bucket load of hits, Unicorn Kid’s Dream Catcher pumped us up with heavy and dirty arcade machine excitement – one of our singles of the year (here), and Kate Nash’s album wasn’t quite as bad as expected, being a mixed bag, giving us some hope that if her label doesn’t drop her, we still may find something to love again, if only she’d get a decent hairdo once more (here).

Ignoring the UK general election, in the same way that Nick Clegg ignored almost everything he had said before the result was revealed, May was all about urban festivals with both the Camden Crawl and Brighton’s Great Escape keeping us on our toes (too many links to show all of the reviews, instead just click on May 2010 in the blog archive) – although both were to play second fiddle this year to Manchester’s In The City in September which 100% revitalised itself to be a superb urban new music event with no queue’s anywhere and a great selection of bands. We also talked a little bit about family friendly festivals (here) events that often make non-parents cringe until they actually become parents and then see the world in a different way.

As summer arrived we tried to avoid the World Cup as much as possible, but our resistance was futile, eventually posting the genius that was Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer’s World Cup Song (here) on the blog. Mr B was just one of the characters that we came across at the Wychwood Festival this month (here) alongside a pre I’m A Celebrity Shaun Ryder mumbling his way through a Happy Mondays greatest hits set. Some of the new acts that we featured in our new waves posts this month included Spark (here), Visions of Trees (here) and Lite N Dark (here). Oh, and we reviewed A VERY LOUD ALBUM by the band Sleigh Bells (here).It was indeed a treat.

Here’s just a small selection of the bands we mentioned for your listening pleasure, including a couple of tracks for your download. Wasn't a bad first six months was it ?

Walk Away by litendark

Let's Buy Happiness - Step 1 by letsbuyhappiness

Out Of Time - Active Child Remix by NEWISLANDS

Part 2 of our round up will follow later. Twelve hours, same place, let's make it a date.

Monday 29 November 2010

What Happened To Our Ones To Watch 2010 ?

“No one cares about your 'best of 2010' list,” Josh Weller recently tweeted. He may be correct, but that won’t stop hundreds of the things appearing throughout December and Breaking More Waves isn’t going to be any different. We’ll be running down our top ten albums of 2010 from the middle of December – but before that, at the start of the month we’re looking forward and posting our annual 10 Ones to Watch for 2011.

Prior to looking forward, here’s a recap of our 2010 selections from last year.

Ellie Goulding

We said

“With her quivering girlish vocal, an acoustic guitar, neat lyrical phrasing and stuttering laptop electro beats, Goulding could deliver commercially.”

What happened?

Goulding delivered commercially. A number one album in the UK, two top five hits and two further songs that went top thirty, sold out tours - it’s been a highly successful year for Ellie Goulding.

Ellie Goulding - Guns And Horses (Monsieur Adi Remix) by monsieuradi


We said

“….threaten to bring an ostentatious, stern, eastern European look back into fashion for bands.”

What happened?

It was Europe that really warmed to Hurts, with the band enjoying charts success in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Sweden and Finland and even an appearance on German X Factor. In the UK the band took a little longer to find their true audience, but by the time their album Happiness was released it achieved a very respectable chart placing of number four with mixed critical reaction (8/10 in the NME, 2/5 in the Guardian, 5/10 in Drowned In Sound, 3/5 in the Independent and most tellingly 9/10 by Popmatters), they also played one of our favourite gigs of the year way back in February at Wiltons Music Hall in London (here). By the end of the year they were playing sold out gigs, supporting the Scissor Sisters on their UK tour and next year are playing a tour of larger concert halls.

Beth Jeans Houghton

We said

“Quite where Beth Jeans Houghton will fit in 2010 we’re not exactly sure, but she has the voice and the songs to ensure that she can carve out her own space”

What happened?

Houghton toured with another of our Ones to Watch – Stornoway and played a string of UK festival dates. However she didn’t release any material. With her Ben Hillier (Blur, The Maccabees, Elbow) produced album now in the bag ready for release next year, Houghton can continue to carve her space in 2011.

Unicorn Kid

We said

“To the uneducated ears of an over twenty five year old or a solemn indie rock purist, the sounds of Unicorn Kid will just be considered bad music, but for his growing army of fans his electronic urgency is simply something that makes you happy.”

What happened?

In April Unicorn Kid released Dream Catcher a stunningly dirty, glitchy and energetic piece of work that became one of our favourite tracks of the year then followed it up in October with another track – Wild Life. An album is due in 2011 – it’s likely to make his growing army of hyperactive fans very happy indeed.

Unicorn Kid - Dreamcatcher - Last Japan Remix by Ministry of Sound


We said

“It is for this reason we have selected them for our ones to watch list. Not because of musical uniqueness or commercial crossover, but because we can imagine Delphic creating a perfect indie dance summer vibe in fields across the UK.”

What happened?

Delphic didn’t achieve massive commercial success – their album charted at number 8 in the UK, but then quickly disappeared. However as we predicted their moment really came in the summer – their storming set at Bestival hit all the right spots (see our review here).

Counterpoint by delphic

Clare Maguire

We said

If a 2010 release from Clare Maguire arrives and it comes anywhere near the quality of those demos, we predict she could win a lot of fans.

What happened?

It took a while but finally in October Maguire released her thunderous debut single Ain’t Nobody, that found extra love through the heavily spacious Breakage Remix. Having played Latitude this summer and supported Hurts and Plan B on tour this autumn, Clare Maguire will release an album in 2011.

Clare Maguire - Ain’t Nobody by UniversalMusicPublishing


We said

“Suitcases full of the most perfect melodies.”

What happened?

When Stornoway appeared on our ones to watch list they were still unsigned. After significant label interest they inked a deal with 4AD allowing them to open their suitcase and share their wonderful songs, releasing their debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill. The album surprised many (but not us) by sneaking into the UK top 20 album chart. They ended the year selling out the 2,000 capacity Shepherds Bush Empire in London, a far cry from when we first saw them perform to a small crowd at the Wychwood Festival in 2009. On a more personal note, Zorbing and I Saw You Blink are two of our favourite songs this year.


We said

"The dense ambient pulse-pop of the Mirrors reflects the sounds of early OMD"

What happened?

Having signed a deal with their hometown label of Skint, Mirrors released the singles Ways to an End and Hide and Seek and played a number of gigs including support slots with OMD themselves on their 2010 European tour. The band will release an album next year and in the meantime have packaged up their early singles into a mini album which is available to purchase directly from Skints website.

Mirrors 'Hide And Seek' by skintrecords

Holly Miranda

We said

“Her dreamily atmospheric guitar based songs are certainly not the kind of tunes that are going to infiltrate the pop charts, but provide for a smouldering and sleepy listening experience.”

What happened?

Miranda’s David Sitek produced album The Magician’s Private Library was seductively warm and as sleepy as a pillow and duvet set with titles such as Sweet Dreams, Every time I Go To Sleep and Sleep On Fire combined with even more shut eye lyrical content such as “Dreamt of you again last night,” from the slow burning trumpet laden Joints and “Wake up and you’re next to nothing,” from Slow Burn Treason.

Clock Opera

We said

"We love Clock Opera more than our own children."

What happened?

Clock Opera released a number of low key singles during the year including the transcendent Once and for All, toured with Marina & The Diamonds and hope to release an album in 2011. They remain one to watch.

clock opera - once and for all (little loud remix) by little loud

Friday 26 November 2010

Bleeding Heart Narrative - Perun

Records are like potential sex partners. With so many available (see previous blog) it’s easy to make snappy fast judgements based on initial impressions. Of course we all know that’s wrong don’t we? We all know that the best songs, like the best people, often sneak up on you and you’re left wondering why did you not see how amazingly life-changing they were in the first place? Right?

But here’s a confession. Sometimes we can be shallow. We hear a new song; the first thirty seconds leave us cold, so we give up and move on. This isn’t a case of a quick rummage under the duvet, more a case of not even shaking hands or looking them in the eye.

It’s why a great start to a song is so important; there has to be something to draw you in and at least get the relationship going. This is what Perun by London’s Bleeding Heart Narrative did the first time we heard it. The first few seconds intrigued us – a singular electronic bleep, heavy echoing rhythms and stately atmospheric instrumentation left us wanting more. What came after was something tribal, cinematic and earthy – the kind of instrumentation that Kate Bush was producing around the time of the Hounds of Love album.

By the end Perun had left us with a desire to listen again. It’s a very satisfying and dramatic piece of work. Maybe you’ll feel the same. Take a listen. If you like it, download it for free. Want more? Then head over to the bands Myspace (by clicking the bands name link above). If you don’t – remember sometimes first impressions don’t count.

Perun will be officially released as a full EP with remixes from Ali Renault, Mat Riviere and Neverest Songs on December 6. The band are also playing a special free lunchtime show at the Union Chapel in Islington, London on the December 11 together with the fantastic ukulele princess Misty Miller.

Perun from Tartaruga Records on Vimeo.

Perun by Bleeding Heart Narrative

Thursday 25 November 2010

Too Much New Music ?

Are music blogs too obsessed with new music? Every day blogs post up the latest band or artist they’ve found and use words like ‘incredible’, ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’ and ‘outstanding’ until the power of those words nearly loses all meaning. No wonder blog aggregator the Hype Machine takes the title it does.

“There’s too much new music out there for me to keep up with.” It’s a statement we’ve read on a variety of blogs and tweets this year – often by highly respected music bloggers who often (like Breaking More Waves) run their blog as a hobby, balancing busy work, family and social lives with their obsession and love of music, for no reward other than the pleasure of doing it. Even those who are more time spare such as students, the unemployed or part-time workers can find it difficult keeping a blog regularly active and up to date with new music, particularly when their personal circumstances change and life gets busier. Sometimes the blog writing and researching process stops being fun and becomes a chore.

As we’ve identified before, quality blogs can act as filters, posting only what they consider to be the great and good, or (in our case at least) what we consider to have some future potential. There’s a danger here though - the constant search for new music means that things get quickly passed over, the blogger moving on to the next thing, discarding or ignoring an artist or band that only six months ago they were raving about. A time limited new music blogger can become the equivalent of a guy or girl who simply cannot commit to a long term relationship – every new song or new album simply becomes a short term fuck buddy, and then its time to move on. It’s part of our disposable mass turnover culture we live in that rears its head wherever you look - from Primark to X- Factor to I Pod Shuffle facilities.

In the case of an artist that has gone from being blog celebrated to receiving mass media coverage this hump ‘em and dump ‘em attitude is not such a problem – the blogs have done their job of promoting the artist to a level where the mainstream media can take over and propel the artist onwards if their material is good and the public take to them. This year in the UK Ellie Goulding has been a classic example of this, receiving initial blog love a long time before she vaulted into the middle stream - but what of the good artists that don’t make that jump? Often the bloggers have moved on – like a hot-blooded bunch of nymphomaniacs looking for another new stranger to indulge in their orgy of musical let’s be friends for a while loving. The artist is left with their window of opportunity quickly having the curtains drawn and the shutters bolted. This short-termism is potentially leaving some great bands without the coverage they deserve, unless of course they go away rebrand themselves under a different name and refuel the bloggers music lust for the new.

Now of course there’s nothing wrong with an exciting one night stand now and then – pop music is full of glorious one hit wonders that bring us to a shuddering climax before being dumped hot, sweaty and slightly dirty feeling in the bargain bin, but without longer term relationships there will always be an empty feeling, no matter how passionate the moment was.

It’s something we’ve always been conscious of at Breaking More Waves. It’s why sometimes we will continue to post about a band that we believe in even when the majority of the music blogging community has moved on. We can’t cover everything we would like to – we’re very time restricted – but where there’s something we love, we try our best to continue to support those acts, although like any other person who enjoys the creative process, the pull of change, of something different, is always exciting.

However, from next January we’re changing things a little. In our own small way we want to counteract the danger of the short attention span relationship with music.

We’re starting a new feature from Monday 3rd January which will run weekly. It’s called Music That Made Me. Consider it a very personal and autobiographical trawl through the songs that we have established long term relationships with. If most of Breaking More Waves is the first hot date that may lead onto something more, the Music That Made Me posts are the moments where songs were found which we would bed down forever with.

So what creates a special long term relationship with a song? It’s more than just being a great tune. To continue the human relationship analogy if a song was a partner it may have a great body (sound / tune) and good personality (lyrics) and that would be fine for a while, but there needs to be something more.

That is why Music That Made Me will be full of memories, snapshots of our life and journeys (musical and otherwise). Its intention is to give you an understanding and insight into the cookbook of tastes, opinions and personality that forms Breaking More Waves. Each post will have a deeper sense of intimacy than our standard new music posts. They are intended to offer something a little different from the average new music blog.

Then after Music That Made Me on Monday we will continue business as usual blogging our way through whatever new music that’s tickling our fancy for the rest of the week.

We’re still obsessed with new music, but want to give at least a hint of the past as well – it helps give context to the rest of Breaking More Waves.


Last year The XX created one of our favourite albums and subsequently went on to win the Mercury Music Prize in 2010.

1980’s synth pop superstars Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are probably one of the most referenced bands on this blog, and last month we got to see them play the first date of their European tour (here).

Therefore it goes without saying that when this recently released demo by OMD covering The XX came to our attention we felt a thrill of synthtopian excitement run through our veins. Thankfully OMD have given the song just the right treatment, maintaining The XX’s sense of vulnerability, minimalism and restraint whilst adding their own distinctive synth sound. With The XX having cited OMD as an inspiration, OMD tip their caps back to The XX, and a neat little circle is closed.

OMD - VCR (rough mix) by 100% Records

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Kid Kasio - New Waves @ Breaking More Waves

Way back in April we posted a blog that asked the question Whatever Happened to The Modern? Their glamorous vamped up electronica was so out of step with the times, yet The Modern found an audience and strutted romantically into the charts for a while before everything went pear shaped.

Seven months later we can give at least part of an answer to the question. For Ex-Modern member Nathan Cooper is now solo under the name of Kid Kasio. Don’t be confused - Kid Kasio is nothing to do with Norwegian electro-pop ensemble Casio Kids, although musically he’s not so far distant; as his self-explanatory strapline on his Twitter states ‘I make synthpop!’

A clue to the type of keyboard kickers that Kid Kasio makes can be found in the picture above. Compare and contrast it with this cover art (here) from another past electronic pop wizard and you’ll see a striking similarity. White background, hands in pockets, turn-ups and keyboard on the floor – we’re talking quintessential mid 80’s referencing synthtopia – not in reality that far removed from what The Modern used to do, Kid Kasio certainly hasn’t gone shoegaze or chill wave.

Apparently there’s a whole album recorded, but for now we’ve heard just two songs – both of which you can find below. Living My Life references Steve Winwood’s 1986 top twenty hit Higher Love with its opening synth riff doing a warped line in mimicking the songs hook line. It’s not difficult to envisage it being passed off as a distant cousin of Popjustice favourites Bright Light Bright Light. Better than this though is Not For Turning, which makes us want to don oversized shoulder pads, legwarmers and a pastel jacket before dancing to the funked up pulses of electro-disco groove that owe a debt to the mid 80’s sounds of MTV videos, the Thompson Twins, the Brat Pack, Chaka Khan, Georgio Moroder, Thomas Dolby’s Hyperactive and Smash Hits. In terms of self-confessed influences his Facebook suggests that he is informed by Hurts, La Roux, Duran Duran and Mirrors, which regular readers of Breaking More Waves will know puts him in high regard in terms of our own synth-pop preferences.

Kid Kasio can take you back to the future – it’s a sparkling and electric place to be. Why not join him ?

Living My Life by kidkasio

Not For Turning by kidkasio

Ellie Goulding @ Brighton Dome

Ellie Goulding possesses star quality, but not in the hugely overwhelming sense that so many of today’s modern pop crop do. There’s no performance art costumes, no hugely powerful vocal, no over inflated ego. Gaga, Florence or Kanye she is not. Admitting that she misses her home town “where nothing ever happened,” and appearing astonished at the size of the audience, which she describes as “insane,” Goulding is a star because she’s the slightly awkward-girl-next-door-turned-good that every teenage girl in the room screaming her name can identify with. She represents the hopes and aspirations of the ordinary and is evidently thankful for her success; at one point in the show a huge screen shows a film of Goulding, with her spoken words announcing how grateful she is, how all this has happened to just a normal person.

Yet Goulding is not normal – she has talent that puts her a long way from the middle of the bell curve. It’s an ability to write simple, honest, hooky songs and a sweet wispy vocal that flutters and floats over whatever she plays; from the electronic dance pop of Lights and This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) to the lampshade lit solo-acoustic mid set interlude of boy-hating The End. It’s the simplicity of these quiet moments - just a girl, a guitar and some emotions, the kind of emotions everyone feels - love, hate, fear - that work the best. “I would give my life to be human,” she sings later on new song Human, and irrespective of her artistry you have to wonder if maybe Ellie would prefer to be at home with a cup of tea, her songs and a cosy duvet rather than all this pop star shenanigans.

This is not to say that Goulding’s endearingly real and pure character on stage means that she’s not capable of a bit of showmanship when required. The set opens with her at the back of the stage, beating out the opening rhythm of Under the Sheets with fervour on drums. Later during her pleasurable but hardly inspiring John Lewis approved cover version of Elton John’s Your Song she sings the line “this one’s for you,” whilst pointing at the audience, eliciting big screams from the excitable pit. For the encore and Starry Eyed she even gets a bit naughty-girl sexy, hip-grinding and shaking her booty across the stage.

Success has brought an increasing confidence to her performance– she’s gone a long way since she first played to a half empty basement in Brighton just over a year ago (here). It’s been a golden year for Goulding.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

The Cordelier Club - Don't Let It Go By

Despite the incredible speed at which our internet fuelled society works, the world of music can still appear to be lazily slow sometimes. We first posted about The Cordelier Club way back in April 2009 (here), yet only in December 2010 will the band release their first single – the chirpily upbeat Don’t Let It Go By. Like nearly all of the bands material it’s defined by their knack of writing mainstream radio friendly vocal hooks that sit comfortably alongside references we’ve quoted before when posting about the band – namely the likes of Revenge era Eurythmics or Fleetwood Mac in their higher pop moments. Also floating round the internet there’s a Pina Colada flavoured dance version of the bands We Can Dance remixed by Royal Palms which has a distinctly soft focus disco flavour to it. You can find it here for starters. There’s also a video to come soon for Don’t Let It Go By, which the band have been shooting part of in Dungeness, Kent.

Named after ‘Le Club des Cordeliers’, a group of French populist political activists, the brother sister duo of Richard and Alice Smith that make up The Cordelier Club write and record all of their own songs, but when we’ve seen them playing live they are supplemented by other musicians. The only confirmed date at the moment for the band is on November 29 in London’s Kings College Student Union, but we’re pretty sure further dates will follow in due course.

The Cordelier Club - Don't Let It Go By by Sainted PR

Monday 22 November 2010

Family of the Year - Stupidland

A couple of weeks back we posted the perfect end of summer lullaby from Family of the Year. Now the band has released its debut music video for Stupidland, a song taken from the album Songbook. The sound Family of the Year is road-trip nostalgic, full of wonderful harmonies and classic song structures that have that rare characteristic of being both instantly memorable and long lasting.

The band have self-released their album and you can buy it on a name your own price basis for the digital download, or order a physical copy on CD for $15 (that’s about £9.65 for those in the UK). Go on – treat yourself – it’s nearly Christmas after all - you can order it by clicking on the band link in the paragraph above.

“The video utilizes a stop-motion technique called pixilation where you basically use people (in this case, the members of Family of the Year) to create animation one frame at a time (like claymation with humans),” the director Christopher J Ewing explained to Breaking More Waves earlier. One question we’d love to know the answer to though is why the Welsh flag in the background?

FAMILY OF THE YEAR: Stupidland from Christopher j Ewing on Vimeo.

Zola Jesus - Poor Animal

Zola Jesus – possibly the only Zola to come to our attention since the politically controversial bare footed Mary Decker felling runner Zola Budd releases a new single today that follows on from her recent UK and European shows. It’s a double A-sided beast featuring a new track Poor Animal as well as I Can't Stand which is lifted from her excellent album Stridulum II. The single comes through Souterrain Transmissions and is released on 7” only as a limited edition of 500 and with special, hand-printed gatefold packaging.

Starting like a rave on slow motion with slithering snakes invading the speakers Poor Animal continues the upward ascent of Zola Jesus in to ever more accessible territories. Even although Nika Rosa Danilova has tried to deflect the ‘goth’ tag that she has attracted, because of her hugely impressive vocal and general air of gloom in the music she will probably find this label around her neck for some time; but let’s forget about the genre and just enjoy the song - because ultimately that’s what counts.

Zola Jesus - Poor Animal by souterraintransmissions

Sunday 21 November 2010

Labyrinth Ear - White Gold

Featuring the puppet work of the late Czech animator Jiri Trnka, this new video was released by Labyrinth Ear just a few hours ago to accompany the noteworthy White Gold, taken from their free Oak EP available to download here. White Gold has a rather sinister yet sophisticatedly sweet sounding sonic spectrum – ghostly electronic atmospherics sprinkled with frostily soft vocal kisses. It sounds a little like something iamamwhoami may have created if she had actually got round to issuing her work as a formal download / cd /dvd release rather than getting so wrapped up in creating viral video campaigns and confusing the hell out of us all with films like this.

Having first featured on Breaking More Waves last month the London duo are already becoming regulars here and fit in very neatly with our aesthetics. With a significant amount of Hype Machine love, things are bubbling along nicely for Labyrinth Ear right now, with more gigs in the pipeline following their debut at In The City. The question now is can they turn free giveaways and blog love into commercial reality?

We suspect this won’t be the last piece that you read about Labyrinth Ear on this blog and for that we make no apologies. This is White Gold.

White Gold by Labyrinth Ear

Thursday 18 November 2010

Chromeo - Hot Mess Featuring Elly Jackson

Since La Roux’s debut album vaulted its way into our top 5 albums of 2009 Elly Jackson seems to have got the funk. From performing a duet with Heaven 17 on a cover of Sign Your Name by Terence Trent D’Arby (a man who released an album with possibly the worst title ever – Neither Fish Nor Flesh) for BBC 6 Music and at Bestival to citing Prince and Michael Jackson as inspirations, all the signs are that the second La Roux album won’t be a rehash of more 80’s inspired synth pop – in fact Jackson has been quoted as saying that she wants the next album to sound more “human.”

Further signs of Miss Jackson getting her groove on come with this new track from ChromeoHot Mess, which features the red haired one on guest vocals. With a hot and crispy production, there’s no doubt that Elly’s vocals raise the track to the next level and likewise raise our expectations a little bit for that second album.

The track, which is released mid January streams below, together with the video of the original version of the song (without Elly).

Chromeo - Hot Mess Featuring Elly Jackson by Chromeo

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Starsmith - Give Me A Break (Starsmith Remix)

Woo-hoo-baby! All you disco boys and girls get down and shake it – c’mon gang – hands in the air and swing those hips! Are you feeling some boogie-woogie-get-down-on-the-floor dance action with the one and only Starsmith? Do you want to pump and grind and throw out a big sweaty gurning hyperactive smile to everyone in clubland ? Then may we suggest that his very own remix of his own single, Give Me a Break which we featured on the blog back in September may be just the thing you need. “Made this up a few weeks ago to play out at the single launch for Give Me a Break, now it's time to spread the love and let you all have it,” says the man himself. So grab a bit of an education from Starsmith and download the free remix below. Yee-ha ! Perfect for partying your backside off to.

Then once you’ve calmed down a little why not download our previously posted Starsmith instrumental We Leave Tonight (here), which bizarrely still seems to be a bit of an exclusive to this blog on Hype Machine.

Give Me A Break (Starsmith Remix) by Starsmith

Tuesday 16 November 2010

The Vaccines @ Brighton Audio

Cast your eyes across this weeks UK top forty singles and album sales charts and it’s very easy to draw the conclusion that as a commercial force, rock music and in particular new indie rock music is commercially obsolete. Back at the start of the year we asked the question of what had happened to the fashionableness of its sound (here) and our conclusion was that for the time being it was out for a long lunch and possibly dessert as well.

Most of the 00’s saw UK record labels falling hand over fist to sign the latest bunch of lads with guitars in their hands and songs in their hearts. The lineage from The Strokes to The Libertines to The Arctic Monkeys to the fallout that became known as landfill indie is well documented and since then pop, r ‘n’ b and X-Factor have dominated.

This weeks singles chart features only one predominantly guitar based band – My Chemical Romance – at number thirty one and there are less than ten guitar based LP’s in the UK top forty – most of which are re-issues or recordings by older established acts such as The Beatles, Bon Jovi and Ray Davies.

So when The Vaccines – a band who have been much blogged, championed by the NME, Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and featured on the BBC’s Later With Jools Holland programme – take to the stage at Brighton Audio, it would seem grossly unfair to accuse them of selling out and doing things purely for commercial gain by choosing the route of rock ‘n’ roll oblivion. Such accusations would seem even harsher when consideration is given to their lead singer Jay Jay Pistolet (real name Justin James Hayward-Young). Pistolet was once associated with the new folk scene that has spawned the commercial successes of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling. The last time we came across Pistolet in Brighton he was supporting those two plus Noah & The Whale just a few hundred yards down the road in a university theatre, yet with The Vaccines he seems to have musically turned his back on the genre – preferring something else based in tradition – but this time a tradition that harks back to rock 'n' roll from yesteryear with reference points being The Strokes to The Ramones to The Beach Boys.

Having bagged the prestigious fourth on the bill slot of next years NME tour, a slot previously held by the likes of Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs, Florence & The Machine and The Coral and a high chance of featuring on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 list, The Vaccines star is rising and now there’s a hint that gritty, raw indie rock ‘n’ roll could be starting a new fashionable and commercial ascendancy. Maybe Justin's choice of change of musical direction wasn't quite so unsavvy and unfashionable after all.

Discarding the sales figures and hype, the question that is on everyone’s lips is “are they any good? Does the art back up the hype?" The answer is partly, yes, but partly no. The Vaccines are a blast of bawdy, primal, driving guitar work that owes much to the aforementioned Strokes and their first album. Visually they look a little like a bunch of 50’s preppy US college kids as well as a hint of Doherty and Barat of The Libertines in their heyday when they occasionally jostle for stage position and rub against each other playfully. It’s easy to imagine a number of the fuzzy tunes they play tonight being hollered out in celebration by drunken men at summer festivals – particularly Reading or Leeds. They have some cracking titles for songs; Post Break Up Sex and Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) sound like classics before you’ve even heard them and the results are vigorous shots that recharge the batteries of the worn out Brit indie guitar brigade. However one of their problems, like many new bands that are thrust into the limelight, is that they simply don’t have that many songs to play yet and the songs they do have are all largely similar. “We don’t play for long so you won’t be here late,” Justin announces from stage.

But accepting that such things are almost inevitable for a new band then The Vaccines have enough growling edge, layers of noise and bounce-a-long guitar guts to stick two fingers up at the last few years of music and turn things back into reverse direction. Whether this is a good or bad thing and whether it’s just an example of rock music hitting middle age and creeping towards its pension book only punters and future history will be able to decide. For now though, The Vaccines are surfing the wave - the splash they made in Brighton was enjoyable enough - without soaking us through.