Thursday 23 June 2011

An Intermission - Back Soon

It’s time for Breaking More Waves to take a short holiday – we’re at Glastonbury Festival.

After the festival finishes the blog is taking the rest of the month off to recharge its batteries, but we’ll return with a rather belated review of the biggest festival of them all, Music That Made Me, The Saturday Surf and all the other new musical goodness that Breaking More Waves provides at the start of July.

In the meantime we’ll leave you with an appropriately named piece of music – Intermission by Morphixx. See you on the other side.

Intermission by Morphixx

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Kid Kasio - Over And Over (Video)

Here is a new video for a new song by Kid Kasio. The words ‘new song’ are important here, if you’re a connoisseur of 80’s electropop. Wait for the first moments of bongo percussion to kick in and you will recognise the beat as a sample from New Song by Howard Jones; a big chart hit from the decade of outrageous haircuts and big shoulder pads. Kid Kasio delightfully digs into this period and finds pop synthtopian gold with perfect production and a terrific song.

Over and Over also shows a similarity to Jones in that despite the perky synth riffs which permeate the tune there’s an underlying melancholy to the piece, that the video also possesses, shot on location in an abandoned ghostly theme park.

Although there are no live dates announced for Kid Kasio yet these will follow at some point in the future. We very much hope that ‘the kid’ (real name Nathan) can produce the goods with a bank of synths live just as Hojo did and still occasionally does.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Emily & The Woods - Eye To Eye

An article by Scott Creney on Collapse Board the other day gave a thought provoking rant on music criticism and music journalism, its fundamental point being that much music criticism has lost its way. “You don’t need someone to tell you what this music sounds like. You don’t need someone to tell you where it comes from. And you damn sure don’t need someone to tell you whether or not it’s any good,” Creney argues – in the fast moving world of today we can click on a button, press play and use our own intelligence to decide if something moves us or not. A musical encyclopaedia is not required to determine or teach you feelings.

To a certain extent we agree with what Creney says, although with some reservations. Read on.

We’d agree that there are too many writers out there at the moment producing verbal wordy diarrhoea describing how the music sounds and its reference points; it has become writing churned out from the factory school of sameness. These pieces of journalism often become rather dull to read and smack of an author trying to score points about his / her vast musical knowledge, even although the reality is they are probably just trying to help their readers get a feel for the music. However, sometimes, as a one of the comments on the Collapse Board article from someone called Charlotte suggests “I actually like to read articles that describe the music – its quicker to read a review than listen to a whole album, and some text telling me about what I might hear is useful.”

So, here’s our view. It’s about balance. The best modern writing not only informs but entertains and excites. Sure, any monkey with a thesaurus and a bit of time on their hands can sit and dream up elaborate prose that actually says very little; something that could have been said in a sentence. Websites like Pitchfork have a lot to answer for in their influence of modern journalism / criticism both professional and amateur, and we're not certain it's all for the best.

So we come to Emily and the Woods. Her music is acoustic folk, although sometimes it has a jazzy tinge to it as well. A reference would be Laura Marling. That is all you really need to know. Now press play.

What is important is how music makes us feel. So let’s explain. If the music of Emily and the Woods were a real living breathing thing (and it’s not far off) we would marry it instantly and probably spend the rest of our time trying to make babies. This is a feeling called L.O.V.E. There’s something about her work that creates spine-tingling sensations. This is beauty. It gets you inside. This is why we adore music. Why don’t you fall head over heels for it too?

Eye to Eye is the title track from Emily’s new EP. We have previously featured the video for another song from the EP Steal His Heart. Emily plays the acoustic stage at Glastonbury this weekend. You can buy the EP here.

Eye To Eye by Emily and The Woods

Glastonbury 2011 - Preview

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention, and if it has it won’t do for much longer, that from this Wednesday the mother of all music festivals – Glastonbury – will open its gates again. Media over exposure will soon commence.

Writing a preview of Glastonbury is akin to trying to summarise War & Peace in a 140 character tweet on twitter. The size and scale of the festival is impossibly huge; the numbers of people that attend are equivalent to the totality of Breaking More Waves home city of Portsmouth debunking to a farm in Somerset and setting up a village of canvas. Glastonbury is super-enormous.

It’s because of its huge scale that a short blog post simply can’t cover everything that Glastonbury has to offer. With over 50 stages and 1000’s of performers everyone’s Glastonbury will be very different, but one thing is assured; no matter how much rain, mud, sunburn, or hot spiced cider induced hangovers you incur, Glastonbury will leave you with more memories, more moments of life affirming goodness than you could ever have just going to gigs and concerts.

“Leave the Wellington boots on the farm and try espadrilles, flip-flops or deck shoes,” was just one appalling piece of advice recently given by a Daily Telegraph journalist in his recently published Top Ten Festival Tips article. In response to this, rather than attempt to give a complete summary of the Glastonbury festival below you’ll find Breaking More Waves top tips for making Glastonbury one of the best experiences of your life. However if you want the ultimate guide, filled with loads of useful information and brilliant photos that capture every aspect of the festival why not go to Glasto Earth website. They even have pictures of every campsite to give you an idea of how quickly they fill up and the good and bad features of each. Like the festival itself you won't take it all in but the advice and facts it gives is the best out there.

Ten Tips For Glastonbury

1. For most festivals Breaking More Waves would always suggest the approach of organising your timetable in advance in order to get your best value for money and seeing as many bands as you can. However the 1,100 acres of Glastonbury means that running between stages in five minutes is just not feasible. The crowds and the endless distractions mean that exact planning is nigh on impossible. If the site gets muddy things take even longer. For this reason the best way to do Glastonbury is to pick two or three ‘must sees’ each day and then just let the festival take care of the rest. There’s always something unexpected, often hilarious, waiting to greet you round the corner – and it won't necessarily be music.

2. Get there early and camp high. Inevitably the biggest queues to get in are on the day that gates open (Wednesday) but it’s worth enduring them to secure a decent spot. If there are heavy rains common sense says that camping at the bottom of a valley is risky. And despite what the Telegraph says always take appropriate footwear - it doesn't take a lot of rain to make the main roadways and access points a bit messy as the video below (shot last weekend) shows. As the commentator says "There's some prime mud here." Hopefully there will be good weather as the week progresses, but even so go prepared as there's always a chance of rain.

3.Without wanting to sound like your mother or father and as organisers suggest, a field of tens of 1000’s of people is not the place to start experimenting with drugs. If things go wrong the results could be disastrous. The best Glastonbury we’ve ever been to was when we were on a very strict budget and didn’t even drink a pint of cider all weekend. The myth that you have to get mashed up is just a myth – providing you’re prepared to leave your preconceived ideas at the gates and be open to experience.

4.We’re now going to contradict ourselves and recommend that whilst you’re at Glastonbury you drink some cider – nothing out of a can though – try the Cider Bus, but beware it’s very easy to become one of the famous ‘cider bus casualties’ who can be found lying around vicinity of the bus looking somewhat worse for wear. You could even play cider traffic lights. One thing that makes Glastonbury different from every other large festival is that once you're through the gates there's no fenced off arena area, meaning that you can take your own drinks with you and take them round with you all day - no sneaking a hidden can of lager in required.

5. It’s inevitable that at Glastonbury, like any other festival, crime and in particular tent theft exists. Protect yourself by not bringing anything you can’t afford to lose, spread your possessions around your tent as messily as possible to make it harder for thieves and when you go to bed make sure you put all your valuables such as cash, mobile phone etc. in your sleeping bag with you. Don’t lie awake at night in fear though – despite what the press lead you to believe, for an event of this magnitude crime rates are still very low.

6. Go and see some new music – something you’ve never heard of. The main stages are fine for satisfying those ‘must sees’ but some of the best Glastonbury moments can be found stumbling across something unknown. This year Breaking More Waves was involved in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and all of the finalists in the competition have secured slots at the festival. Our personal favourite was Emily and the Woods who will play the Acoustic Stage at 4pm on Saturday. A live recording of her song streams below. The BBC Introducing stage also features a number of new artists that Breaking More Waves has featured in the last year or two including the taught robotic beats and guitar moodiness of Worship and the dark electropop of The Good Natured who also streams below.

Old House (Live) by Emily and The Woods

The Good Natured - Wolves by The Good Natured

7. On the subject of new music, one must visit tent is Chai Wallah’s “Where all good things come together.” Have a look at the video below, it explains better than words the vibe of the place and this year has a brilliantly eclectic but enjoyable selection of music from the likes of rising star and Breaking More Waves featured Ed Sheeran who is possibly the busiest man at Glastonbury, playing what seems like almost every small stage on the site, to the funky brassy summer grooves of Smerins Anti-Social Club.

Chai Wallahs 2010 Festival Highlights from Bright Black Film on Vimeo.

8. Another contradiction – besides some new music make sure you catch at least one big act on the Pyramid Stage. Hell, you’ve paid nearly £200 for your ticket so make your money worthwhile. It could possibly be the only chance you’ll get to see U2, Beyonce or Paul Simon so why not try at least one of them? There’s still something pretty special about standing in a field with about 90,000 other people and feeling that mass sense of belonging.

9. If you are going to enter the full hippy ideal of free love and nakedness at Glastonbury then we suggest that such amorous encounters happen as early as possible in the long-weekend, as let's face it, personal hygiene goes out of the window after a couple of days and waking up with a smelly, stinky, crusty cider-breathed dust or mud coated naked stranger may not be the highlight you were looking for. As for the nakedness, our money is on somebody getting into the spirit and taking their clothes off at the Spirit of '71 stage quite early on Friday.

10. Finally, have a great time. Glastonbury really is one of those ‘must do at least once in your life’ experiences. This will be Breaking More Waves sixth. It’s a cliché but it really is true there’s something very special, verging on spiritual about Glastonbury, providing it isn't horrendously muddy. Prepare to be moved.

Monday 20 June 2011

Deep Cut - New Waves

Later this week 190,000 people will converge on a working farm in Somerset for the biggest music festival of them all – Glastonbury. You can read our preview / tips for the festival tomorrow. Whilst the masses will be enjoying giants such as U2 and Coldplay, Glastonbury also plays host to a huge number of lesser known artists, some of whom may be hoping for the festival to be a step on the career ladder to greater public awareness, whilst others perform with no major plan other than to play together. Deep Cut is one such band who adopt the latter approach. “This is all about being creative and making music that resonates with us and others, rather than chasing some elusive notion of fame. It’s about making music that we are proud of, rather than something that fits into a scene,” their songwriter and guitarist Mat Flint states.

Whilst we’re featuring Deep Cut as a new wave, they’ve actually been around for a number of years. The band formed in East London in 2006, following the break-up of Mat’s previous band Revolver. For a short while Revolver were NME and Melody Maker darlings, lumped in by the press with Slowdive and Chapterhouse to create some sort of shoegaze scene, but they never had any long term commercial success and were quickly dumped by the industry. It probably explains a lot about Mat’s comment about not chasing fame.

Deep Cut is very much a family affair; with Mat’s wife Emma on vocals and his brother Simon on bass. They have already released My Thoughts Light Fires, their debut album and have a follow up Disorientation ready to go in September. The band’s sound is a trashy yet classic mix of indie guitar with female vocal melodies all struck with an essence of harmonic psychedelic pop that references bands such as Sonic Youth, The Primitives, Husker Du, The Joy Formidable, Lush and The Byrds. If Creation Records were still a going concern we could imagine them fitting very neatly on their roster alongside Teenage Fanclub, Ride and The Boo Radleys. Whilst Deep Cut is never going to be fighting with U2 for top of the bill, their abrasive tunes slash their way through the air very sweetly indeed. If you're at Glastonbury why not make an early call to the BBC Introducing Stage and catch them on Friday at 12.45 ?

Dead Inside Your Heart by Deep Cut

Music That Made Me #25 - Jim Jiminee - Hey Day

I met my first real love through music. This should come as no surprise.

Not much happened in Fleet, Hampshire where I was living at the time. This was pleasant middle class suburbia, just a short train ride from London, where the biggest thrill came from phoning the local fast food takeaway shop and lusting at the sexy intonation of the girl who always picked up the phone. Even this moment of excitement was killed once you’d picked up your order though.

So when local band Jim Jiminee started getting played on Radio 1 it was the most exciting thing that had happened in years. Their gigs at local pubs and the town football team’s clubhouse were sweaty, out of control things where the band mixed it up with a blend of soul, pop, skiffle and indie with songs about dole life and wanting to work. They felt like being on the edge of something, a ground swell of exhilaration.

Sometimes I’d go to the shows alone, other times with friends, and it was at one of these gigs where somebody who I worked with brought along a pretty, delicate and incredibly attractive girl. Everything about her seemed perfect, particularly the way she seemed utterly composed in amongst the chaos of the gig. We talked a lot that evening, sensing something between us, although she had a boyfriend. A few days later she invited me to another concert in London with her. It was obvious that even if she had been single she was out of my league. She was too attractive, too stylish, too intelligent and attended northern-soul clubs that I’d never even heard of. She was a cool heavenly dream. Her boyfriend was also incredibly good looking and immaculately dressed, although it did seem that he was a little dull. At the gig in London the two of us found ourselves chatting the whole time as if we’d known each other forever whilst he just stood there looking vacant.

A few weeks on and I heard through the grapevine that they’d split up. A day later we met up again at another Jim Jiminee gig. Nothing happened that night, but you could sense it in the air. There was a buzz of electricity running between us, chemicals rushing in all directions. I was trying to keep my nerve and not spoil things; the band made a welcome diversion for my brain that was sprawling and pounding with impulse. A few weeks later and we were together.

Jim Jiminee never made the pop charts; they’re now largely forgotten. You never hear their songs played on the radio; nobody quotes them as an influence and you certainly can’t kind find their music in the shops, on iTunes or on Spotify. But although they may not have left much of a legacy, they performed an important part of my life; as an audience member I felt part of their gang and more importantly they were responsible for meeting my first adult love. Songs such as Town & Country Blues, I Wanna Work and Do It On Thursday are all remembered fondly by me, but the track that stands out was a song from their debut album Welcome to Hawaii called Hey Day, which captures the clattering spirit of the bands gigs and the frenetic energy of falling in love for the first time perfectly.

Saturday 18 June 2011

The Saturday Surf #8

If you happened to be listening to BBC6 Music yesterday evening and in particular the Now Playing show, you may have noticed that some of the new music recommendations on one of the two guest blogger spots came from Breaking More Waves (the other was from the exceptionally good A New Band A Day). If you missed it, then for the next seven days you can listen again by visiting the BBC6 Music Now Playing website and hear our choices. If you don't want to listen to the whole show (you really should) the Breaking More Waves slot is on from around the 19.45 mark. You can also read the special piece that we’ve put together for the shows own blog entitled How The Internet Is Slowing Change In Pop Music.

The Breaking More Waves recommended artists were the sexy dark synthtopia of Curxes, the brassy playfulness of Rizzle Kicks, both of whom have been featured a number of times here. Our lead choice was a song that we considered to most fully represent this blog – the soft, subtle pop of Alice Jemima. You can find the tune played -a demo called Red Coat -here. Today on the Saturday Surf we’re featuring another of Alice’s songs – Psychedelic Bacon, which she entered into Radio 1 DJ and Bestival curator Rob Da Bank’s Song In Seven Hours competition and came out victorious, bagging 2 Bestival tickets. So now Alice will have the opportunity to see the Breaking More Waves alt-ego DJ collective The Sunday Best Forum Allstars when we whack out some tunes at the festival in the 10,000 capacity Big Top on the opening Thursday night. More of that later this year, but for now here’s Alice, this year a Bestival punter, but come on Mr Da Bank - how about at least a bandstand booking for her next year?

Psychedelic Bacon by Alice Jemima

As is customary on a Saturday, having surfed the waves of the internet all week, we pick a small number of tracks that didn’t quite get a full blog post treatment this time round but are still most firmly endorsed for your listening pleasure. This week, there are just two pieces of aural splendour.

There was a time, before the ecstasy laden second summer of love when indie kids didn’t dance. To be ‘indie’ invariably involved skulking round in a darkened room, having your ears annihilated by a fuzzy guitar and moaning wailing vocals that sunk below the mists of feedback. Yet now ‘indie,’ is a genre that’s bandied around in the same way that music bloggers declare that the track they’re posting today is the best thing they’ve heard all year – it has become almost meaningless. So reluctantly we describe Nightbox as indie-dance. But forget genres and simply enjoy this Canadian five-piece’s romp of rhythmic make-your-way-to-the-dancefloor goodness. It’s called Pyramid. If you're in the UK you can catch them at Reading and Leeds festivals.

Pyramid by nightbox

Our final track comes from Ghost Estates, a group from Dublin, Ireland who formed in 2010 from the remnants of SickBoy and 8Ball. After one year of writing and recording they have emerged with a self-produced 11 track album mixed by Marc Carolan, who has worked with the likes of Muse and The Cure. There’s some XX style guitar here, some Delphic style vocals there and even some saxophone, an instrument that after a lengthy lay off appears to be making resurgence in pop music with everyone from Lady Ga Ga to Dog Is Dead incorporating it in their songs.


Friday 17 June 2011

Other Lives - For 12 (Video)

Back in April we wrote of Oklahoma orchestral folk masters Other Lives - we suspected that there would be many more posts about the band. Now let’s keep that promise.

Other Lives first UK single from their forthcoming brilliant end-to-end listen second album Tamer Animals is For 12. The song is a majestic slow motion gallop full of lush strings and ear caressing melodies evoking imagery of vast landscapes. It’s a tune that picks its way gracefully across the desert of musical averageness and forms its own little oasis; absorbing stuff of the highest quality.

This theme was part of the inspiration for the video as director Nick Davidge explains. “The first time I heard For 12 it really took my breath away, it was just such a beautifully haunting melody. It instantly started me thinking about these vast lonely landscapes and led to this idea of trying to visualize the most isolated human experiences, finding a situation that really captured the feeling of being utterly separated from humanity.”

Besides the release of this video, Other Lives have also announced some UK shows. The group will play 3 festivals – Summer Sundae, Green Man and End of the Road as well as dates in August at Manchester Deaf Institute and London Lexington.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Tasseomancy - Soft Feet

Do you love playing musical family trees? Joining the dots as bands split, former members reform and new personnel from other groups join, only for these bands to break-up later and do it all over again? “So where did you guys first meet and get together?” can often lead to rather convoluted answers for many groups. The answer to this question, if you were to ask it of Tasseomancy, gives an even stranger response – in the womb. Yet even although these two twin sisters have spent their lifetime together their history as a group is not straightforward.

Cut back to March 2010 and you’ll find a piece on Breaking More Waves concerning a Canadian band called Ghost Bees. They also consisted of two twins and had in 2008 released a mini album called Tasseomancy. This of course is no coincidence for Tasseomancy are the same Romi and Sari Lightman, re-branded or re-banded using their old albums name, marking the progression of their music influences which includes ancestry, death ritual and mythology. It’s certainly more intriguing than The Kooks who recently have announced that they wanted their new album ‘to sound more modern’ and decided that the way to do this was ‘to use synthesisers’. Yes that’s synthesisers – those instruments that have been around since the 1970’s.

So whilst the masses are being inspired (or not as the case may be) by the Kooks, we’re happier celebrating Tasseomancy who have a new album entitled Ulalume (quite possibly named after the Edgar Allan Poe poem about the narrator's loss of a beautiful woman due to her death) due on August 29 through Turf Records. Soft Feet is the first single, it in no way sounds modern. Maybe in two years time you can expect to see their next project taking Ulalume for its name, and maybe the Kooks will have split up with no hint of reforming are renaming themselves, allowing us to throw their musical family tree in the bin.

In between Ghost Bees and Tasseomancy Romi and Sara have also formed an integral part of Austra, acting as backing singers and dancers during live shows, which helps expand the musical family tree a little more. It’s probably also worth mentioning their connections to Timbre Timbre here, who they have toured with in the past and who features on Ulalume.

Enough of the histories though, let’s listen to some music. Tasseomancy and Soft Feet sits comfortably alongside the darkly-tinged folk sounds of the Smoke Fairies, their sounds being all wrapped up in heavy mysticism from another distant age. It’s an acquired but awfully good taste. They play a one-off UK show at Dalston Roof Gardens, London on June 27.

Soft Feet by tasseomancy

Wednesday 15 June 2011

The Retrospective Soundtrack Players - Real Cool Hand (Video)

Blame Edwina Currie and her salmonella scaremongering a few years ago, but eggs have received some pretty poor press in the last few years. So here’s some good news for all you egg lovers. First a recent report in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition has stated that one of the benefits of eggs is that they make you feel fuller for longer and can prevent snacking. Second and probably more important for readers of this blog is that those fifty-egg-munching-town-and-country-scamps The Retrospective Soundtrack Players have released a new video for their song Real Cool Hand and yes, there’s plenty of egg gulping in the scenes. You can also see some pictures of those at RSP gigs who have taken up the bands fifty egg challenges here.

The band have recently put out their debut album Cool Hand Luke and following gigs with the likes of Frank Turner, Beans On Toast and My First Tooth are due to support The Walkmen in their (and Breaking More Waves) home town of Portsmouth at the end of the month before marching on to the 2000 Trees Festival in July.

Wintercoats - Delicate Position (Ft. Sea Oleena)

Some of you may remember Wintercoats aka James Wallace from Ballarat, Australia who we first introduced back in January. He’s an artist who carefully creates hushed works of minimalism that envelope you with their ambient tones.

Since then James has released a cover version of TV Personalities Someone to Share My Life With and now recently surfacing is this genteel lullaby called Delicate Position which features the vocals of Montreal’s Sea Oleena. The light touch of the female voice together with the plucked violins work to create a quietly heavenly atmosphere that adds to Wallace’s growing collection of meditative songs. You won’t hear these pieces banging out of heavy club or festival PA systems this summer, but find a quiet space somewhere, put your headphones on and let Wintercoats kiss your ears.

Delicate Position (Ft. Sea Oleena) by Wintercoats

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Active Child - Playing House

Pat Grossi aka Active Child produced something pretty special with his Curtis Lane EP last year and since then he’s been beavering away on his debut album You Are All I See which is due for release in August via Vagrant records. The first public fruits of his labour come with the track Playing House, which whilst retaining the ghostly electronic beauty of his previous work adds in a new R & B flavour, courtesy of How To Dress Well. Subdued and slow burning Playing House broods with a plaintive melody that despite its computerised base sounds warm, human and emotive.

Rather like James Blake who Active Child played dates with last month in the U.S, Grossi is making music that is engrossing, slow burning and yet accessibly modern enough to appeal to more than just the underground. Do what we’ve been doing and play it over and over again. It’s heavenly out of this world stuff.

Active Child - Playing House (Ft. How To Dress Well) by

Monday 13 June 2011

Music That Made Me #24 - U2 - C'mon Everybody

In the mid 80’s I became an obsessive collector of unofficial bootleg tapes of concerts of my favourite bands. It wasn’t just enough to have all the albums, the singles, the t-shirts, the books – I needed to hear more. These unique documents of gigs, many of almost unlistenable quality, often recorded in the audience with a tiny microphone, gave a rare insight to shows I had no possible chance of attending. The most exciting ones were those where the band did something different on one particular concert – a cover version, a new song or said something unusual from the stage.

When one of my favourite groups had started a new tour in another part of the world it would be time for me to contact bootleg suppliers and then yearn for the moment when the postman would drop a little spool of magnetic tape through my letter box with a full length recording. This sense of anticipation was something the instant accessibility of the internet and You Tube has destroyed. The tapes would come with a poorly photocopied black and white inlay card complete with track listing, date, location and a picture of the band stolen from the NME or Melody Maker. The suppliers of these tapes often produced detailed catalogues, with notes about each gig and the quality of the sound.

Some tapes were a little easier to digest – recordings from foreign radio stations, TV shows or better equipment had been smuggled in to make the bootleg. It was one of these, a recording of the Self Aid concert in Dublin –a huge gig arranged to highlight the chronic state of unemployment in Ireland where I first heard U2 covering Eddie Cochran’s C’Mon Everybody. At the time it sounded raw, edgy and impossibly exciting - a long way from their ‘big music’ that they were becoming known for. Not only did the song cement my love for U2 but it instigated me investigating the back catalogue of Cochran and savouring the original version as well as the likes of Summertime Blues and Somethin’ Else.

Listening back now U2’s version doesn’t sound anywhere near as great as I thought it did then. It’s rather like looking back at photos of an ex-girlfriend and wondering what you ever saw in her in the first place. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment. Listening to the announcer of the concert shout "Do you want to see a band from Dublin ? Do you want to see a band that you know and I know to be the greatest live rock band in the world?" and the deafening scream that followed it, it's easy to see why I did. It’s part of the adrenaline buzz of live music - moments that will be, for better or worse, part of the music that made me.

Get Loaded In The Park 2011 - Review

Welcome to the British summer festival season. We’ll be bringing a number of reviews of festivals over the next few months, focussing not just on the music, but all the other stuff that makes the event life-changing or soul-destroying or everything in between. We start with our review of Get Loaded in the Park which happened yesterday. As you can see from the picture above it wasn't the brightest of affairs weather wise.


Tickets for Get Loaded in the Park were £35 + booking fee – early birds at slightly cheaper prices were also available.

The Weather

A disagreeably damp, grey, cold and showery day, but things never got horrendously muddy and there were no tents to be flooded out, as the event is only one day long.

The Site

Functional rather than pretty. A fenced off section of Clapham Common hosting all the basic requirements for an event such as this – main outdoor stage, 2 smaller big top style stages, a few food stalls, a few funfair rides and two large bars and that’s about your lot.

The Punters

Rather like the site, functional rather than pretty, in the main. The vast majority of those there were 18-20 something indie kids, togged up in tent like ponchos, macs and boots. Full marks to those who still endeavoured to appear cool even although the reality was that they looked like imbeciles dressed in their straw hats and shades. They may as well have worn a sign stating 'twat' on their back.

The Toilets

Bog (bad joke) standard plastic portaloos and urinal clusters in one central hub at the rear of the site. They seemed to do the job though and the queues were never significant.

The Queues

The only real queuing seemed to be for the food stalls at peak times. The site had plenty of room and we think the organisers should have considered a few more of these perhaps ?

The Organisation

We didn’t really spot any major mishaps. The stages ran reasonably to time, although some sets were cut short due to bands not being given enough time to set up. There was plenty of space on site for flows of pedestrian traffic. Security was present although not overbearing, bag searches were mandatory on the way in. The two big top stages were not clearly identifiable on the outside and could have done with a sign post saying which was which, but this is a minor criticism. The sound on the main stage was below par compared with other festivals, but the organisers had to cope with poor weather conditions and strict licensing rules from the local authority which are more strenuous than some other areas as Get Loaded is set in a residential area.

The Food

Hardly inspiring, but neither was it poor. The range of stalls included Chinese, Mexican, toasties and various burger / steak outlets. We felt particularly sorry for the ice cream man. With the weather as it was this really wasn’t going to be his day.

The Vibe

A little more downbeat than many festivals due to the rain and the event taking place on a Sunday, but as the beers were drunk and the music lifted spirits Get Loaded finally got into a bit of a swing, albeit a relatively sedate one.

The Music

Rather like the weather at UK music festivals, the music was a lottery. Whilst we avoided headliners Razorlight, the main stage sound meant that bands such as British Sea Power who we’ve seen play ludicrously good and sonically dismembering shows came across as rather underwhelming. Yet elsewhere underdogs such as O Children were desolately vast and majestically gloomy with their take on the classic goth template, even if their giant of a lead singer Tobi O’Kandi was wearing a white cardigan. Other fashion moments of note included Fred Macphearson of rabble rousing newcomers Spector sporting a fine pair of thick rimmed glasses as his band played a set of powerful indie pop tunes that ensured that they remain in the one to watch drawer. Immediately before them Alpines powerful pounding melodrama showed that their Bat For Lashes meets Zola Jesus atmospherics worked just as well in the daytime as it could at night plus lead singer Catherine received extra fashion points for wearing an Indian headdress. The highlight of the day however was French cute electropop trio Yelle (streaming below). “Are you ready to shake your ass for real now?” the group asked, and the crowd obliged with the bands red catsuited lead singer bringing infectious enthusiasm, energetic dancing and cowbell to the bouncing audience. It was the one moment when it really felt like summer had arrived.


With a 9pm curfew, the poor weather and a mixed bag in terms of musical quality this one day event was never going to match up to the experience of summer togetherness that the best music festivals can offer. Yet for a diverting attraction that doesn’t require too much effort on behalf of those attending, it’s a better way to spend a wet Sunday than watching telly or going to B & Q.

Safari Disco Club by YELLE

Saturday 11 June 2011

The Saturday Surf #7

Take a ‘semi-ironic’ hipstamatic photo of the sea / waves / beach / surf (we’ve yet to feature girls in their swimwear – possibly the most chosen photo of any ‘cool’ blog out there), a little bit of text and a handful of tracks that didn’t quite make it onto the blog this week and what have you got? Yes, it’s Breaking More Waves Saturday Surf, a fundamentally lazy blog post. So without further ado, here are a small handful of songs that we didn’t want to get swept away in the on-going tide of incoming new music and so are bundling together in one buy one get three free posting at the end of the week.

How many times have we posted about Rizzle Kicks on the blog? Six actually. So let’s make it seven with this choppy and banging re-invention of Down with the Trumpets by Star Slinger. “If you feel like embedding it on your blog that would be wickedddd,” state Sylvester and Rizzle on their very own blog. Consider it done boys.

Down With The Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix) by Rizzle Kicks

Next is electronic pop chanteuse Florrie, who has written a fascinating blog post on how she funds what she does. It’s great to read an artist being so open about how and where the money comes from and is lost; for instance Florrie reveals that she loses approximately £450 for every gig she plays, yet still makes more money than she loses, mainly from synchronization rights. Taken from her new 6 track EP Experiments which is released on June 14, this song Experimenting with Rugs is probably the best thing she’s done so far. There’s also an incredibly stylish video for the song which you can see here.

Experimenting With Rugs by Florrie

For your further consideration, here's some synth pop that sounds like it's 100% designed for a Kitsune compilation. Sleepy Age, a three piece from New Zealand, fall just on the right side of seaside pier gaudiness with this song Decor, which has enough infectious synth riffs to accompany the hooky fantasy line of "girls look better in your head than they do in your bed."

Sleepy Age 'Decore'

Finally meet Ronika, from Nottingham, who is bringing back electronic-disco flavours last heard back in the mid-80’s – the influences seem to be debut album Madonna and even more specifically the song Who Found Who by Jellybean featuring Elisa Fiorillo – now there’s a classic we haven’t played for a few years. The track we're streaming Forget Yourself is her new single and is released on Monday. Right we’re off to dig out our old Shalamar LP’s

Ronika - Forget Yourself

Friday 10 June 2011

Jess Mills - Live For What I'd Die For

Mixing powerful epic electronica that has elements of the euphoric rush of clubland but then slowed down to create music that is both late night and ear friendly, Live For What I’d Die For by Jess Mills ticks all the relevant boxes on the Breaking More Waves checklist of good music. It’s a tune that exudes spaciousness and stacks of voltage.

Live For What I’d Die For follows on from the Vultures EP which we featured in April, her brilliant cover version of A Forest by the Cure and Fighting Fire. This new single has already received support by Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 and now we’re giving it the big thumbs up as well.

If you're new to Jess and her history, have a look here to see her previous band - then after that it's time to press play.

Jess Mills - Live For What I'd Die For

Thursday 9 June 2011

In Defence of Pop

Last week we started tweeting with gushing excitement about Nicola Roberts - you know her - the pale, skinny ginger one from Girls Aloud. It was all because of her debut solo single Beat Of My Drum, a song that we claimed in a previous blog posting was an edgy and choppy mix of Daphne & Celeste, Diplo and CSS (there was a big slab of Justice in there as well). We’ve been playing it virtually non-stop all week. It’s that good. No, it’s that A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Since we started hyperventilating our praises we’ve lost a number of followers on twitter (which may of course be unrelated and be more to do with a number of porn / hot lady 'bots' that seemed to have decided to follow us for a few days and then unfollowed when we didn't respond to their hot lovin' come-ons) and also received a couple of emails /comments from so called ‘music fans’ who infer that by loving Beat Of My Drum we’ve somehow sold our sold to the devil and lost any credibility we once possessed – that somehow as a music blogger you’re not allowed to like pop music because it shows an inherent lack of taste and intelligence. That somehow pop is evil. Of course, we disagree. Just because we may have different taste to those who don’t like Nicola’s beat laden boomer, doesn’t make our taste better or worse – good and bad music is after all a matter of subjective opinion.

The arguments that haters put forward are often that pop music is ‘not real music’ and those who make it are false, untalented and doing it for ‘the wrong reasons’. Generally when people mean ‘the wrong reasons’ they mean ‘not the same reasons as what I believe are the right reasons’, yet as far as we are aware there is no rulebook for music. If there was then everything would sound the same, everything would look the same and life would be utterly boring – like having sex with the same partner, in the same place, at the same time in the same position once a week for the rest of your life. That might be fine for some, but we suspect that the majority of people want far more than that.

It’s the ethos of the indie elite – they construct in their heads a set of rules about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways that music should be presented, played and performed and judge all other music within these constructs. What is ‘cool’ and what isn’t become over important. We’ve been (and no doubt at some point will be again) guilty of this way of thinking ourselves – we suspect everyone is from time to time, but ultimately this intellectual prejudice puts up barriers to the most important aspect of enjoying music – emotion.

It’s emotion – the way a song grabs you and makes you want to dance, sing, laugh, cry or f*ck that is the biggest power punch that music can provide. Every time we hear Beat of My Drum it makes us feel stupidly happy. We don’t need to over analyse it, decide if it sits on any barometer of cool or not or visit a musical psychiatrist – we just accept the emotion and celebrate it. Yes of course it’s ‘manufactured’, of course it was all made on a computer, of course Nicola’s role in the song may not have been quite as involved as when the likes of the Fleet Foxes got in a studio together – but that’s not going to stop us enjoying this brilliant, edgy, unadultered pop song.

As we said in a previous post – deal with it.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Trouble

The last (and up and till now only) time that Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs was mentioned on Breaking More Waves was way back in February 2010 when we saw him play at some weird little afternoon rave. We shamefacedly admit that this lack of coverage is totally sinful and to make amends we’re posting right now the oddball video for his new single Trouble, a track which has the same lolloping grooves that the likes of Hot Chip and Caribou do so well.

Unlike many Apple Mac knob-twiddling dance geeks T-E-E-D delivers a proper one man laptop-keyboard-sampler-drum machine show, complete with elaborate headdress and bounding energy; like a Howard Jones or Moby for rave kids of today. He’s out to play all this summer, at the likes of Beach Break Live, Glastonbury, Lounge On The Farm, Wakestock and Bestival so let him put some summery goodness in your dancing feet if you’re attending. The single comes with a bag of remixes from the likes of Jamie Jones, Chad Valley and one from Lapalux who gives the track a bubbly, disjointed makeover – we’re streaming that one below as well.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Trouble (Lapalux remix) by T-E-E-D

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Kyla La Grange - Been Better (Video)

When we originally posted Kyla La Grange’s searing second single Been Better we noted that it was somewhat fiery. Now here’s the video and guess what, there’s actual real burning in it. This means we can use the fiery word again and also throw in other fire related terminology such as noting the seriously large amount of smouldering staring going on here. If we continued in this way (which obviously we're going to do) we could also mention that when that guitar riff crackles in (particularly from 2.25 to 2.39) things move from fire growth to flashover pretty quickly. It’s a smoking track that’s for sure; but really that’s enough bad flame related analogies for one day, we’re off to calm down and squirt an extinguisher all over ourselves.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Neighbors - New Waves

It’s an (unoriginal) thought that we return to often, but either the number of true creative types is drying up or there simply are very few new ideas left. Every note, every sound has been created before. Like cinema or theatre, pop music has now become an art form that can no longer makes radical strides forward, instead slowly evolving by rolling around in the muddied waters of the sea of influences. These days it’s not so much an equation of originality but the sum of the references that determines if a song is worthy of attention or not.

Which brings us to the subject of this new wave; Neighbors. We’re not talking about the people who live next door to us, nor some Kylie and Jason tribute band, but instead the vehicle for Brooklyn’s Noah Stitelman and his songwriting talents. Noah is assisted by four others - Evan Johnson, Brian Harney, Steph McParty and Anne Mino, and they make songs that may not be stunningly original (what is these days?) but have spot-on reference points. They've swam around enough in it all to create something just a tiny bit different – and these days that is really all you can ask for.

Listen to their best song Watergun and you’ll probably immediately think of a lighter version of The National in terms of Matt Berninger’s deadpan baritone vocals and melodic structure, but with musicianship that resembles OMD, Visage, or more recently James Yuill. Having worked with Kyle “Slick” Johnson (Modest Mouse, The Hives, Rogue Wave) Neighbors has created an odd mix, but it works. It really does. Elsewhere an older track Hooligans displays a weedier vocal that sits somewhere alongside Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys but the music has a more muscular hazy-electro-indie flow to it. We could go on citing these reference points to describe the music, but let’s get real here; there’s nothing duller than a show off and in particular a music blog showing off an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop music reference points. You’ve probably switched off already and just pressed play below.

So the discovery of this band is down to you – and you may find you like them. As someone once said “That’s when good Neighbors become good friends.”

Many of Neighbors songs (including Watergun) are available for free download from the bands website which you can find here.

Neighbors - Watergun

Neighbors - August

Neighbors - Hooligans from Paper Brigade on Vimeo.

Julia Stone - In The City Of Lights (Video)

The Chocolates and Cigarettes EP and the Heart Full Of Wine EP by Angus & Julia Stone are two of the most treasured recordings we own, and have endeared us to both artists ever since. There’s something about the sheer simplicity of the songs that is utterly beguiling. In the same way that the most beautiful women require no make up for a beholder to admire their loveliness, the music of this Australian brother sister duo is best enjoyed unadorned of production and complication – just two voices, a guitar or piano and a lightness of touch with other instrumentation. So it is with this song, City of Lights, performed by Julia Stone – a short homespun thing of delicacy.

Angus Stone is the boyfriend of actress and activist Isabel Lucas, probably best known for her role in Aussie TV soap Home and Away between 2003 and 2006. Now she is an ambassador for Protect Our Coral Sea and the two of them have created this video to accompany Julia’s song. They say "Protect our Coral Sea gives everyone a 'don't it always seem to go 'til you don't know what you got 'til it's gone' opportunity to protect our precious Coral Sea for our children's children to enjoy. We believe it is our duty, together, to protect & love these beautiful sea creatures and their ecosystems living in this great oceanic garden. Please sign the petition - it's quicker than brushing your teeth! We hope our video inspires you to help make the Coral Sea a safe haven for marine life. Thanks for your support!” Spend two minutes watching the video, a minute signing the petition (here) even if you live outside Australia and think that at least for three minutes today you’ve done something worthwhile.

Isabel Lucas and Angus Stone's Coral Sea Love - share with your friends! from Protect Our Coral Sea on Vimeo.

Monday 6 June 2011

Music That Made Me #23 - Propaganda - Duel / Jewel

This choice in the series of Music That Made Me is not one, but two songs, but they are linked in a symbiotic relationship that demands that both are played together.

Propaganda’s A Secret Wish is one of the great (forgotten) avant-synthpop recordings of the 80’s, with Duel and Jewel forming important cornerstones of that record.

Once described as “Abba in hell” the two boys and two girls from Germany that were Propaganda made the very notion of two opposite couples true with this double edged song. On the A Side a light piece of hummable radio-friendly polished pop music, whilst on the B side a frantic and sexually tribal piece of percussive experimentation. Jewel was Duel’s evil cousin, formed from the very bones of its lighter half. Musical ying and yang if you like.

I first came across Propaganda on ‘youth’ music show The Tube on Channel 4 – essential viewing for any teenager with a passing interest in alternative pop music at the time. Probably 80% of the music I listened to then was British, with the only other European acts making a mark on my radar being Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre. Propaganda prised the cracks open a little wider. A super cool art school band that weren’t afraid to recite Edgar Allen Poe on their track Dream Within A Dream and appear enigmatically elegant in their photo shoots. In this day and age they’d probably be considered pretentious and false, but in the 80’s when naïve glamour and intelligence was a commodity to be celebrated, they were brilliant.

My memories of Propaganda are not of another person, relationship, romance or friendship, but of a time. That time was sitting in my bedroom alone, full of all the insecurities and worries a teenager has doing schoolwork, reading books and losing myself in this crazy, industrial sounding pop music and wondering how on earth Propaganda had constructed it all. Yet that period has become timeless, with Jewel / Duel and the whole of the A Secret Wish album still being something that gets me 25 years on. Not just because of nostalgia, but because of something more primal. If you’ve never heard it before, listen in particular to the last minute and a half or so of Jewel – it’s warped mechanical crashes, bangs, yells and lush synth work sound like some sort of glorious chaos.

Saturday 4 June 2011

The Saturday Surf #6

In a week when, depending on your perspective, you either stifled a big yawn or shed an excited tear over the fact that both Coldplay and the Kaiser Chiefs both aired new material, the musical event that got Breaking More Waves most excited, for at least 2 minutes anyway, was the first play of Nicola Roberts new single. Only 2 minutes? Well, the internet is a fast moving place and we all know that bloggers hump and dump tunes as if they were shafting easy whores. We’re basically the attention deficit disorder sufferers of the music scene aren’t we? Don’t answer that, we’ve already turned off and are thinking about something else.

For now though we’ve 100% signed up to Team Ginge, members of whom were thoroughly wetting their pants as Nicola’s debut single Beat Of My Drum got its first airplay last Thursday and revealed itself to be a slightly edgy and choppy mix of Daphne & Celeste, Diplo, CSS and Justice. We always knew that Nicola was the best member of Girls Aloud and this song 100% proves it. Those who frequent Breaking More Waves for cooler than thou indie, soothing organic folk or leftfield electro will despair of our love for pop music like this, but the world be a boring place if we were all gang banging LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and whatever lo-fi buzz band the likes of Gorilla vs Bear and Transparent were kicking out this week. Beat Of My Drum is stupidly unadulterated, insanely fun pop music. Deal with it.

Watch the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere this week, when we weren’t listening to Nicola Roberts, which to be honest wasn't a lot of the time, these tracks nearly but not quite got a full blog post. They form our weekly round-up that goes by the name of the Saturday Surf.

First up D/R/U/G/S is an act that we’ve been championing for a while now, putting the name in our 10 Ones to Watch for 2011. This remix of Love Lust by Family takes the original and subtly blasts it with scraps of white noise, roughing the track up like sandpaper. Nice.

D/R/U/G/S - Love Lust (FAMILY Remix)

Next is something from the other end of the musical spectrum. Last Sunday Bestival head-honcho Rob Da Bank ran a competition to win 2 tickets for his (nearly now sold out) musical extravaganza in September through twitter. The idea was simple; he posted the title of a song and anyone who wanted to enter then had 7 hours to write, record and post a tune with that title back to him. Devon based singer songwriter Alice Jemima, who we've been charmed with a number of times already took up the challenge of writing something called There's A Bee In My Lemonade. She ended up as runner up, but this simple little beauty has a sense of intimacy and charisma that should have rightfully put her in first place. Extra marks as well for incorporating bee and lemonade sounds at the start of the piece. Keep an eye out on the Da Bank twitter for another 'Song In 7 Hours' this Sunday - and your chance to grab some tickets for one of the best times of your life. (Hint - There really weren't many entries last week so you stand a good chance.)

Theres a bee in my lemonade by Alice Jemima

Finally for this surf, we've always longed to hear Ex Lightspeed Champion and Test Icicles man Dev Haynes rumoured unreleased album of Killers cover versions, but this Prince influenced jam, produced under his new name of Blood Orange is good enough to make us forget about that. It’s that attention deficit disorder again.

Blood Orange - Dinner