Saturday 28 January 2012

The Saturday Surf #28

This Saturday Surf is a little different from normal. Rather than delivering to your screen and ears 3-5 MP3’s of gorgeous persuasion we’re posting the music in video form. There’s a reason for this and it’s to do with the first video / comments – but please enjoy the others as well.

Perfume Genius – Hood

Perfume Genius created one of our favourite albums of 2010 with Learning and also played one the of the most mesmerising concerts that we’ve seen in the last few years - so compelling and intimate was the performance of Mike Hadreas it left us feeling numb. By now you probably know that the short video advert for the second Perfume Genius album was removed from You Tube. You can see the advert here. Matador Records received the following explanation from You Tube:

“The ad has been disapproved because it violates our Adult Image/Video Content policy. Per this policy, video content, audio, static imagery, and site content must be family safe. Any ads that contain non family safe material are disapproved the overall feeling of the video is one of a more adult nature, including promoting mature sexual themes and what appears to be nude content. As such, the video is non-family safe.  In order to have this video ad approved, you will need to bring it into compliance with our policy.”

We’ve watched the video. It’s really not that different to this Lana Del Rey video on You Tube. Compare and contrast. Michael Stipe, lead singer of REM has blogged as a message to You Tube. “You were born of the 21st Century, now act like it.” We couldn't agree more.

Here’s the full song and video featuring porn star Arpad Miklos.

Laura Marling – I Was Just A Card

You’d probably think that it was impossible to dance to Laura Marling. You’d be wrong. This is captivating choreography.

Alabama Shakes - Hold On live on KCRW

One of our Ones To Watch 2012 delivering a top notch version of their song Hold On. Listen to the vocals - full of soul, rock 'n' roll and blues power.

That's this weeks Saturday Surf visual style. We're taking a few days break from the blog but will be back on February 1st.

Friday 27 January 2012

Alice Jemima - Today

Why write a music blog? Maybe you want to build up a head of hits and earn yourself some cash through adverts on your site? Maybe you want to create a portfolio of your literary elegance and social media skills to showcase to future employers? Maybe you want to use the internet and a blog to create a name for yourself and boost your ego? Maybe you want to use it as a tool for some future project like setting up a record label or a club night. Maybe you think it would be a ‘cool’ thing to do. Or maybe like Breaking More Waves you just want to tell the world about the new music that you love through process of discovery?

It’s that process that is the most deeply rewarding part of writing a music blog. Finding a new song or artist that you fall in love with and then shouting out to the world about it. Screaming “this is bloody brilliant and it makes me feel something,” and hoping that someone takes the time to listen to you and agree with you.

We’ve done exactly that with Alice Jemima. We fell in love with her songs back in spring 2011 and we’re as enamoured now as we were back then. A recent gig at Proud Galleries in London not only confirmed Alice’s ability to pen beautifully fragile yearning pop songs but also a shyly innocent charm that makes everyone in the room feel that little bit better about life.

So here’s her latest tune. Unlike offerings such as Red Coat and Catapult, Today has a more hushed intimate sound, forsaking pop hooks for a moment of fragile disclosure. It is of course, impossibly lovely.

It’s for moments like this that we write a music blog.

Alice Jemima - Today

Thursday 26 January 2012

Discopolis - Zenithobia

Discopolis (pronounced we understand in the same style as Metropolis) should by rights have featured on Breaking More Waves yesterday, what with it being Burns night and the band being Scottish. Perhaps though, that would have just been too clichéd to do, although if you heard us broadcasting on Portsmouth’s only radio station Express FM you would know that we quite enjoy a cliché and blasted out plenty of Scots bands in between our unscripted, unplanned chatter. One of the tracks we played was the aforementioned bands songs Lofty Ambitions, a spacious piece of electronic pop originally streamed on the blog last summer.

So now here’s the new single from Discopolis. Zenithobia sounds like the shimmering distorted haze created by the heavy heat of summer, where the electronic cool of Delphic mixes with the sweaty euphoria of Friendly Fires. It’s a confident out-there piece of electronic pop music that almost drifts into more experimental ambient or shoegaze territories, with a spirit not dissimilar to M83.

With Zenithobia officially lifting off on March 5th there’s a number of forthcoming tour dates including a free show in the vicinity of Breaking More Waves HQ, at Portsmouth’s Registry on Feb 2nd. Catch them before they journey upwards.

Discopolis - Zenithobia

Wednesday 25 January 2012

The Hall Of Mirrors - Transparent Love

Back in 2010 we featured Portsmouth based (now London) group The Hall Of Mirrors a number of times on Breaking More Waves. Since then they’ve been slowly gaining momentum with shows supporting Eliza Doolittle and festival slots at both Secret Garden Party and Southsea Fest. The Hall Of Mirrors also recently cropped up on Flying With Anna, one of our favourite blog buddies. Last, but not least, on a weekly basis the band have been naming their chair of the week on their website, with lead singer Jessica posing with the winner. Personally we like this one, although this one is quite good to.

Throughout 2011 The Hall Of Mirrors released a series of free download singles; Springtime, Say Goodbye, Transparent Love and Love Child. They will be following this up with a full EP in the early part of 2012 and so now seems as good a time as any to re-introduce the band with one of those songs from last year.

Transparent Love has a cigarette smoking, nylon wearing, groovy, easy listening sound that hints at The Carpenters or The Cardigans circa their Life album. It’s a modern take on the soft focus café culture songs of the 60’s that could provide the soundtrack to a whole new generation of psychedelia loving swinging indie dudes. What The Hall Of Mirrors do certainly doesn’t fit with any current fashion, instead they are making their own. They are all the better for it.

The Hall Of Mirrors - Transparent Love

Tuesday 24 January 2012

[Strangers] - Shout (Video)

Tears For Fears album Songs From The Big Chair isn’t one of those recordings that you see regularly cropping up on those Greatest Albums Of All Time lists. In fact ‘regularly’ is probably an over sell. It doesn’t really crop up on any of them, (although it did sneak into one of those 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die books).  Reaching no.1 in the US charts and no.2 in the UK it was a multi-platinum selling record, so somebody somewhere must have liked it. We did. We even had the limited edition extra tracks version on cassette. We could probably sell that on ebay for the price of a packet of crisps now given the devaluing of pop music since the invention of the internet.

Breaking More Waves regulars [Strangers] must also like it because they’ve recently put this cover version of Shout - one of the records highlights - up on line. Apparently they recorded it on a whim at a recording session recently. If you like it you can get the mp3 for free by emailing the band at

Monday 23 January 2012

The Concept - New Waves

Even if The Concept were singing about their parents dying their music would probably still sound resolutely happy. Because this Stockholm band follow in the tradition of acts like Alphabeat, Phoenix and The Wannadies in creating tunes that boom out smiles. We challenge you to listen to the invigorating upbeat songs below and not feel a little flutter of joy in your heart. The Concept make pop music – but it’s not the type of pop music that clogs up the charts like algae in a pond. This is the deliriously well-crafted kind that’s packed with melodic fizz and energy.

The Concept are David Larson, Filip Bekic, Frans Povel and Magnus Robert and they help us continue to write clichés that the Swedish, more than any other country in the world, have an innate ability to construct brilliant pop. They play a number of dates in Sweden in February but really it can’t be long before the rest of the world is dancing to the beat of their drum.

For now we don’t need to say any more than that. It’s the music you come here for. Time to press play, grab the downloads below and d-d-dance like no one is watching.

The Concept - D-D-Dance

The Concept - Gimme Twice

Saturday 21 January 2012

The Saturday Surf #27

The talk of the week has been copyright and piracy. First with the SOPA Blackout, followed by the news that Megaupload the planet's largest file sharing site has been shut down with its founder and others being charged with violating piracy laws.

Copyright of music has always been a difficult issue and at Breaking More Waves we’re very careful not to post any music that isn’t authorised by its owner. It’s why all of the Soundcloud embeds you’ll see on this blog are ‘official’ record label embeds, the bands own Soundcloud account or accounts owned by PR or management companies representing the bands. On occasion we will host a track ourselves but only where there has been consent from the band or representatives. It’s for this reason that in just over 3 and a half years of this blogs life we’ve only ever received one DMCA takedown notice and that was one which was served in error where a PR company had issued a track for us to host without getting full clearance from the US record label. That was one case where the phrase ‘not knowing their arse from their elbow’ seemed very relevant.

So here’s this week’s Saturday Surf. It consists of as usual a few legitimate streams that we didn’t have time to feature in our longer weekly posts and this week each of the artists has featured on Breaking More Waves a number of times before. No doubt the debate about copyright and ownership of music will continue for a long time yet.

Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid

The visceral dirty riffing Born To Lose marked the return of Sleigh Bells at the end of last year, and this new single has already been all over the blogs. Comeback Kid is weirdly cute even if it’s full of what you’d expect from the band – namely demonic beats and trashy noisy guitars on the rampage. Not exactly that different from the first album for sure, but still a hell of a lot of fun.

Jess Mills – Gabriel

Covering Roy Davis Jr’s soulful house anthem Gabriel may seem like a foolish move – after all this is one of the songs that was credited with starting the whole UK garage scene, but Jess Mills is brave enough to do so and turns it into a sultry, sexy sounding jam. The track will feature on the Pixelated People single bundle which will be available to download on Jan 29.

Trust – Sulk

Our final track in this week’s surf is from a Canadian group that we posted a track from yesterday and then an hour or two after that a new song popped up on Soundcloud. Sulk is full of moody disco synths that take you back to an era when the cool kids with floppy fringes shuffled self-consciously on the dancefloor whilst staring at their shoes trying to pretend they weren’t cool at all. This track is synthetic melodic minimalism that holds a haughty euphoria in its pulses – fancy a dance ? 

Friday 20 January 2012

Trust - Bulbform

Cast your musical fishing rod back into the dark waves of March 2011 and you may remember catching Canadian electronic pop duo Trust on Breaking More Waves. Now we’re reeling them in with Bulbform, a pulsing, groin thrusting piece of electropop that’s the musical equivalent of an erotically charged 80’s basement new romantic club, sweat pouring off the walls, with stripped pale bodies in the corner fornicating.

Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski, the duo who form Trust are finally due to release their debut LP through the Arts and Crafts label in early spring and this track has been floating around for a while now. If the LP is anything as lusty and arousing as Bulbform – a salacious mix of Crystal Castles and Pet Shop Boys shagpop then it’s going to be very difficult not to be gratifyingly pleasured by its full length.

Trust - Bulbform

Thursday 19 January 2012

Cloud Boat - New Waves

Yesterday we mentioned James Blake. Today we mention him again, because we first came across the immeasurably brilliant Cloud Boat at the start of 2011, supporting the man himself. Yet it’s taken us virtually a year to get round to featuring them on the blog, because until recently the tracks available to stream were inadequate – being either radio rips or truncated versions of the songs. It would have been like going to the cinema and only being allowed to see half the film, with everyone chattering over the beginning.

So, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to immerse yourself in this duo’s music. It’s a restrained journey through the world of future bass. Cloud Boat’s sounds are transfixing, bewildering and seductively enchanting. What they do is serene; despite the beats, listening to them is a calming experience. Yet never assume that just because their music is mellow that it’s boring. The devil is in the listening detail.

This is late night music. The pastoral simplicity of Bastion’s introduction gives way to reverb laden falsetto, come-down crashes and small-hours ambience perfect for dark 3am motorway cruises. With drum programming, disembodied vocal samples and eerie twilight atmospherics forming the basis of another track called Lions On A Beach fans of Mount Kimbie and Gold Panda will find a lot to become enamoured with. And if that all sounds a little beard-strokingly muso, don't worry Cloud Boat have a sense of humour as well - their video of a youthful Jean Claude Van Damme cutting some fine dance moves to Lions On A Beach is a bit of a giggle - even if it is very very wrong.

Cloud Boat is two unassuming looking men called Sam and Tom from London. Keep an eye (and ear) out for them. If they get as far as an album it could be a very rewarding experience.

Cloud Boat - Bastion

Cloud Boat - Lions On The Beach

Cloud Boat - Jean Claude Van Damme Dancing To Cloud Boat

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Gabrielle Aplin - Home (Beatnik Session)

Last week was pretty remarkable for Gabrielle Aplin. Her 3rd self-released EP nestled itself comfortably in the iTunes top 15 album chart, peaking at 10 and news began to come through that some dates on her March tour were sold out or close to selling out.

With all this heated excitement over what is undeniably one of the UK’s best new singer-songwriters here’s something to cool things down a bit. A cold wintery day by the river finds Gabrielle performing a live version of lead track from the EP Home (we featured the original video here) for the Beatnik Sessions. Despite the chills the track remains heart-warming.

Gabrielle Aplin - Home (Beatnik Session)

Seasfire - New Waves

We’d like to think that Seasfire spelt their name incorrectly just to satisfy Breaking More Waves thirst for everything coastal, but the chances are it has more to do with being unique and therefore easy to find on the internet. Yet ultimately whatever the name of the band is, it’s the music that counts. Right ? Yes, of course it is.

So here’s the low down on Seasfire. First of all, they’re good. There’s been a lot of chatter on the internet about rock music being ‘dead’ and certainly much indie rock music does seem to be playing safe these days, together with its leading media supporters that are desperately promoting distinctly average bands (Tribes, Howler) and waging unprofessional childish schoolyard name calling games on twitter with #edsheeranisshit campaigns. However irrespective of commercial potential there are a number of indie guitar bands out there taking a few bolder steps, not resting on nostalgia and attempting to create something that takes more modern influences. Seasfire is one such band.

Seasfire’s music is all about ghostly detachment and subdued sodium-flicker late night melodies. There’s haunting piano sounds, soft melancholy vocals and layers of both guitars and electronics that glide around together. We’re told that they formed in a bedroom studio listening to the 3 B’s: Buckley, Bunnymen and Burial. To that list we’d like to add another B influence – that of Blake. Because it certainly sounds like Seasfire have taken on  James Blake's modern imaginative influences and added it to their own palette. The difference here is Seasfire take some of Blake’s strategy for unsettling beats, but where he uses empty space they fill it with textured atmospheres.

The songs below represent an impressive start for a new band, without doubt. If you want choruses full of big hooks and punch in the air stadium anthems then go and listen to Oasis or Coldplay, but for something a little more subtle try Seasfire.

Seasfire will be playing the Communion Presents night at the Notting Hill Arts Club, London on February 5 2012.  

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Georgia Ruth - Through Your Hands

One of the biggest criticisms of new music blogs is their hype-laden over-eagerness to post about particular acts, until the latest new thing in town comes along and they drop their previous loves like stones into water, never to be written about again. It’s the bloggers version of humping and dumping, quite possibly because it’s the only chance they get to do it; after all they’re too busy staring at their laptops to actually have real sex.

Yet as anyone who is passionate about music and writes about it will know, this criticism is part of the inevitable connection that you develop. Not with your laptop we should add (although that’s quite big) but with songs. Music is all about relationships. Sometimes it’s a lustful, drunk, energy charged one-night stand that’s never going to work out, but you’re going to do it anyway. The conversation around pop music can’t always be thoughtful and long lasting, particularly when its just about one or two songs. Sometimes the heart has to rule.

So today here’s an artist that we could have been easily criticised of getting into bed with once and then leaving amongst the crumpled sheets having nothing to do with her ever again. The Welsh singer and harpist Georgia Ruth featured as a New Wave way back in May 2010, but today we’re reviving those old connections as she has a new 10” vinyl EP titled In Luna due on the 20th February. Recorded in Snowdonia, we’re streaming Through Your Hands from the EP, which certainly isn’t deserving of a one off dirty romp under the (musical) sheets. This is a much more absorbing affair with Georgia’s exquisite vocal, the brush of drums and the delicate sound of harp creating a soothing intimate backdrop. The tune is of course about love. “You cannot love unless it’s slipping through your hands,” she sings. 

A sophisticated song with perfectly pitched emotional resonance, this time we promise we won’t rush off and forget about Georgia Ruth. 

Georgia Ruth - Through Your Hands

Pepper - Wish It Away

On Saturday we introduced to you Katie Pepper aka Pepper with an acoustic version of her song Wish It Away.

Now here comes the full reveal with the studio version of the track. Somebody recently described it as having “frantic popped-too-many-pills beats, orchestrated disco-blisters synth lines and catchy as hell verse and chorus sung with real gusto.”  They also said that “Wish It Away is one of the best contemporary pop songs that you’ve probably not yet heard.” Oh, hold on, that was us wasn’t it?

Well, in that case all that remains to be said is we think this track is BLOODY AMAZING.  It’s got into our skin like a splinter, but without any pain. Now you can hear the track we've been getting stupidly, childishly, excited about.

This is the sound of Pepper – rivalling Nicola Roberts as the best thing to come out of a talent show; and in a strange coincidence we hear that once she came joint first in a holiday camp competition with the very same Nicola. Amazing fact. Amazing tune.

Pepper will be supporting Rizzle Kicks on their spring UK tour. See you down the front?


Pepper - Wish It Away

Monday 16 January 2012

Blaenavon - Denim Patches (Video) + Gods

Having premiered on Crack In The Road yesterday, recent new waves on this blog Blaenavon have revealed their debut video for the song Denim Patches. They have also uploaded another new track to their Soundcloud.

Denim Patches is an introverted piece, where despondent vocals repeat over and over “take this moment to think what might have been.” The simple but highly effective film featuring waves crashing against the rocks present a strong visual identity for the end of something. Take a meditative moment in your day to take in both the song and the visuals.

The newly uploaded song is called Gods. It’s another melancholic waltz that finally erupts in a distorted white light of guitars towards the end. It may only be a demo but like the majority of Blaenavon’s other material there’s something particularly impressive about its gravitas. Gods can be downloaded for free from their Soundcloud together with the rest of their work.

Foxes - Youth (Monsieur Adi Remix)

When we first posted about Loui Rose back in August it seemed that nobody was interested. Then suddenly a few months later when she appeared under the guise of Foxes with the patronage of Neon Gold records there was a small surge in interest towards our original feature and her name began cropping up on a number of blogs.

Today marks the release of Foxes debut single. It’s called Youth. The surname Rose is appropriate because Youth is what we (and quite possibly you) like to call a grower - not in a bad way like fungus or mould grows - but more akin to a beautiful flower slowly opening its petals. That is if a rose was a euphoric electronic dance pop anthem.

To celebrate its release we’re streaming this rather drumtastic remix from Monsieur Adi.

On the subject of appropriate names we wonder does Monsieur Adi actually have a first name?  If he does then why its non-use? The formality of ‘Monsieur’ seems more appropriate to a solicitor or an accountant than a French dance pop remixer. But then Mr Oizo (also from France) did it, didn't he? Then there was Mr Mister, who took the whole name-as-a-title concept to a whole new level that we’ll probably never recover from.

Foxes plays The Slaughtered Lamb in London on January 18th and the Old Queens Head a month later on the 16th. Have a listen to the remix (which is free to download) and ponder the many complexities of name, titles and pseudonyms in pop music as you listen.

Foxes - Youth (Monsieur Adi Remix)

Saturday 14 January 2012

Pepper - New Waves

Now that the music blogging world has got back to normal and all of the end of year lists are out of the way and tips for 2012 are done, we want to throw one last ‘tip’ into the pool.

She’s an artist that we mentioned in passing back on our introductory Ones to Watch for 2012 post back in November, but as we explained then, she wouldn’t be featuring in our Ones To Watch list because she had appeared in an X-Factor style TV show Sky 1's Must Be The Music in 2010. If you saw her on the show you will remember her in the duo called Pepper & Piano.

Since then a lot has happened. Katie Pepper (or Pepper as she is known) is now a solo artist and has formed a songwriting partnership with Nicholas "Cage" Detnon, Dizee Rascal’s manager and mentor, knocking out 14 songs in the first 10 days of working together. Dizzee Rascal is on board too and last year Pepper performed on stage at festivals with Dizzee.

The first studio version of any of Pepper’s songs we got to listen to was called Wish It Away. It was a bit of a revelation. Our immediate thought was “This simply cannot be a TV Talent show winner. It’s too damn good.” With its frantic popped too many pills beats, orchestrated disco-blisters synth lines and catchy as hell verse and chorus sung with real gusto Wish It Away is one of the best contemporary pop songs that you’ve probably not yet heard. The lyrics tell her story so far. But then we remembered Nicola Roberts. She made one of our favourite albums of the year. You see it is possible for a TV Talent show contestant to go on to make pop music that is both credible and vitally exciting.

This is why we’re featuring Pepper on Breaking More Waves. She’s our ‘secret’ one to watch. We’re hoping she won’t be a secret too much longer. It starts here, with this, a live acoustic version of Wish It Away. Watch this space for more. 

Pepper - Wish It Away (Acoustic Session)

The Saturday Surf #26

It’s Saturday. This is the Saturday Surf. The lazy blog post where we just throw up a few tracks we hoped to feature during the week but ran out of time to include in a full post. Consider it the blogging equivalent of us tidying up our work desk at the end of the day before we leave the office.

Just 3 tunes for you this week, from 3 genres that we regularly cover; indie, folk and electronic pop.

Zulu Winter – We Should Be Swimming

We first featured Zulu Winter in our ‘New Waves’ feature back in September and now the group has released We Should Be Swimming, which on a feature called The Saturday Surf on a blog called Breaking More Waves would be a watery crime not to feature. Zane Lowe has already made it his Hottest Record in the World, our friends over at The Recommender blog have tweeted “They're gonna be so h.u.g.e,” and Esau blog posted “ Och det här är faktiskt catchy.” We can’t speak Swedish at all but with that last word we think we understand what they’re saying. There’s the ghost of Reverend & The Makers somewhere in the music, but don’t let that put you off.

First Aid Kit – Emmylou

Talking of Swedish (see what we did there?) here’s a band that are actually from Sweden. It’s the lovely First Aid Kit who with Emmylou fully immerse themselves into the world of country music. An irresistible tune with a swooning chorus that pays tribute to a host of whole host of other country singers (Johnny Cash, June Carter, Gram Parsons are all mentioned) and of course Emmylou Harris herself. Heavenly, absolutely heavenly.

Saturday Night Gym Club – How To Build A Life Raft

To continue our tenuous links between songs and commentary then why not try this; if you’ve listened to Zulu Winter’s We Should Be Swimming but can’t swim or won’t swim then maybe you should learn How To Build A Life Raft. It’s an introductory track from Saturday Night Gym Club, a half English half Irish quartet who met at university whilst studying science. Now their applying their boffin like ways to creating super smooth electro pop like this, How To Build A Life Raft will be featured on their debut EP released on 6 March. Fans of the likes of Delphic may be interested or even impressed.

Friday 13 January 2012

In Defence Of...The Brit Awards 2012

Yesterday the nominations for the 2012 Brit Awards were announced. As with any other Brit Awards the critics were soon out in force, the main subjects of attack being the prince (or maybe king) of what journalist Peter Robinson has dubbed ‘The New Boring’, Ed Sheeran. Sheeran picked up the most nominations (4) for best male British solo artist, British breakthrough act, British single and British album of the year. Jessie J was second in the firing line, particularly as she was nominated for British female and the critics’ darling PJ Harvey wasn’t. Such criticism is rather like dissing marmite – it’s usually about taste and a pretty pointless argument, as  everyone  99% of people think their taste is the best. It takes a brave person an idiot (us) to admit that some of their taste is somewhat dubious. 

Interestingly very few people have laid into Adele – maybe acknowledging that irrespective of her huge commercial success Adele deserves to be there on artistic merit.

And there’s the point. The Brits are fundamentally about acknowledging commercial success and championing that success to the rest of the world. It’s a case of rewarding those who have done well with more media exposure and therefore  UK sales and then to say ‘hey rest of the world look at these acts, they sold well here, so maybe you’ll like them too?’ It’s why the Brits very rarely come with any surprises in the nominations. They’re not the bloody Mercury Prize.

This is one of arguments against the Brits - that the awards don’t really reward ‘the best’, just the artists that sell well. Yet ‘the best’ is highly subjective. So here’s one (highly subjective) attempt to quantify one definition of ‘the best’ in terms of a wider audience. It is quite simply this.


You may laugh at this argument and suggest that ‘but everyone knows that large sales don’t necessarily mean the best’, but that’s only from your perspective. Taking the public at large and gaining a consensus of what is ‘the best’ can only be done in a means that is quantifiable. Record sales are one such method. So although the record industry votes for most of the awards (a small number are voted for by the public), if they’ve voted on this basis then they are accurately representing what the biggest % of the record buying public of Great Britain thinks. Just because you don’t agree (and certainly in the case of Jessie J we don’t – she tricked us into thinking she was going to be good with the first single before revealing her true crimes against music as time went on) it doesn’t make the Brits wrong.

So if you’re one of the critics of the Brits calm down. Not everyone thinks like you and you’re no more right than anyone else. Nor are we. If we were right The Unthanks would be best British band and album and Nicola Roberts would win at least one award. We’re off for a marmite sandwich and a listen to Finley Quaye, winner of Best British Male in 1998. Remember him?

Maz Totterdell - New Waves

We’re not quite sure if in the early / mid 90’s somewhere down in the west country a local bye-law was created requiring parents to put certain additives in a girl babies milk and send them to guitar lessons before they were even out of nappies, but right now there seems to be an outpouring of youthful creative acoustic female song writers from the region that have plenty of quality. Spearheading the charge is Gabrielle Aplin, who at the time of writing is sitting pretty amongst the likes of Rihanna and Coldplay in the iTunes UK top 15 with her fully independently released EP Home. With over 6.5 million plays on her YouTube channel and more than 35,000 subscribers, 25,000+ likes on Facebook and 9,000+ followers on Twitter a major label deal seems almost inevitable – she comes as a rising star with a fully formed fan base. Next up is Alice Jemima. We’ve featured her refreshingly innocent music a number of times on the blog and although she’s yet to release a single or EP, she’s currently working with Andy Chatterley (producer of Kylie Minogue and Nerina Pallot) to flesh out her sweet sparse guitar songs. When Alice plays live she seems to be able to charm everyone in the room with her shy but utterly engaging performances.

So today as we’ve already covered Gabrielle and Alice and love them both we’re featuring another of these Bristol / Exeter borders singers. We stumbled across her on the bottom of the bill in a Kentish Town boozer on a dreary winter weekday evening a while back and she immediately brightened our world.

Maz Totterdell is from Crediton in Devon. The back story (according to Wikipedia) is that Totterdell started performing at open mic nights ran by her mother from the age of 9. Then in July 2007, when she was 10 years old, she reached the final of the UK Unsigned talent competition, which took place at the Hackney Empire, London. She’s picked up some fans at opposite ends of the musical spectrum with both Terry Wogan and Steve Lamacq giving her debut single Counting My Fingers a spin on their respective radio shows in the UK. We suspect however you’re far more likely to see Mr Lamacq propping up the bar with a pint of cider watching Maz play live than you are Mr Wogan.

Like many of her contemporaries you’ll find plenty of Maz on You Tube including the almost obligatory acoustic cover versions, but once she’s caught your attention with other artists songs it’s her own highly accomplished work that draws repeated listens. Maz’s tunes have a graceful nu-folk simplicity and straightforwardness that is really rather lovely, it’s fair to say we were smitten from pretty much the word go.

Maz Totterdell - Never Say Never

Maz Totterdell - Counting My Fingers (BBC Introducing session)

Thursday 12 January 2012

Alt-J - Fitzpleasure

There’s a school of thought that rests with some music bloggers that there’s little point in posting a song if a number of other blogs have already featured it, the suggestion being that the blog lacks voice and originality. It’s certainly a philosophy we’d agree with when blogs are simply posting the latest buzz band for a few hundred hits off Hype Machine with nothing else to say. Yet here are three reasons why sometimes it is important to post about a ‘buzz’ band, irrespective of how many other music blogs have written about it.

1. Not every visitor to a music blog reads lots of blogs. In fact (shock horror) sometimes they may only read one or may have never read one before.

2. Blogs by their very nature can work effectively as a pack. It’s all very well one music blog shouting that such and such a band are amazing / the next big thing / awesome, but the reality is that more often than not an individual blog won’t have that much influence (despite what the sometimes egotistical blogger may think). However as more blogs talk about a track that chatter becomes a noisy shout and there’s more chance of someone with bigger influence (radio producer, record label etc) taking note. A phrase that you’ll often hear is "X new artist is big on the blogs", not "X new artist is featured on (insert name of trendy blog here)"

3. If as a music fan we’ve discovered something that we adore then to not post about it just because every other music blogger has already posted about it seems to defeat the object of loving music. Imagine if we applied the same philosophy to gigs and decided that we weren’t going to see a particular band because lots of other people were going and we wouldn’t be original just standing in a crowd with everyone else. If everyone thought like that gigs would soon become a thing of the past.

At Breaking More Waves our criteria from day 1 has been simple. We don’t care if the artist has never been written about before or featured on 100 music blogs. We don’t care if they are on a major label or are unsigned. All we care about is if the music moves us in some way. This is our definition of good music and it’s what we feature here.

Fitzpleasure by Alt-J cropped up on a number of blogs over the last few days. It would be easy to decide not to feature the track because others got there first – we could be seen as just following the herd and have no true unique voice. 

However for the 3 reasons above, we’re posting it, albeit in a form that is really an opinion piece on our philosophy of music blogging with a track that justifies our views. 

Released as a double A sided single with another song Matilda on February 27th through Infectious, Fitzpleasure is a wickedly warped track. Dirty, rhythmic, packed full of invention as if it’s played and sung by a gang of South American gypsies or lost African tribes people - in fact anything but a bunch of guys from Leeds. Which of course is where the band originates from. Fitzpleasure is nothing but a pleasure. 

Colour Coding - New Waves

Do you remember an incredibly young band that back in 2007 had some success in their homeland of Australia and some minor UK popularity with a bunch of highly strung youthful indie rock songs that referenced Bow Wow Wow, the B 52’s and the Go-Go’s? They had tunes called Just A Song About Ping Pong, Get What You Want and Leave It Alone and went by the name of Operator Please?

It’s from Operator Please that today’s new wave have spawned, for Colour Coding are an offshoot of that Gold Coast group formed by two cousins Chris Holland and Tim Commandeur.

Colour Coding so far only possess a small clutch of songs, having self-produced and recorded a debut 5 track EP late last year called Proof. The first track to surface from the EP is Perfect. No, that’s not us describing the song, but simply its title, although it certainly is a gladdening and chirpy pop pleaser that sounds ready made for summer, awash with shimmering synths, uplifting melodies and the best hooky whistling on a pop song we’ve heard since Young Folks by Peter Bjorn & John. It’s the kind of thing that could appeal to fans of anyone from the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix, Friendly Fires or The Naked & Famous, not that Colour Coding particularly sound like any of those bands but it’s floating around those sorts of areas. There’s also another song lurking around the internet called Kick which is a little less happy-happy-smiley and instead weightier sounding, but it still manages to pick you up and make life seem a little better.

If breezy, positive, catchy, indie pop is your thing, you’ll enjoy getting wired up with Colour Coding. Go listen and dance.

Colour Coding - Perfect

Colour Coding - Kick

Colour Coding - Perfect (Baby Diego Remix)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Blaenavon - New Waves

Blaenavon are an entertaining lot. From their playful WU LYF referencing posts on Facebook where they state “B L A E N A V O N. WORLD HERITAGE UTD” to announcing London gigs in German, this so-called Brighton group seem to be having a bit of fun. We say so-called because Blaenavon are actually closer to Breaking More Waves HQ in Portsmouth than ‘the cooler city down the road.’ Their real home appears to be the sleepy Hampshire environs of Liphook and Liss, two places where golf courses and Jane Austen’s house are more in keeping with the vibe than sleazy rock ‘n’ roll oblivion. “Brighton for the brothers; Liphook for the lovers,” the band state showing a self-deprecating sense of humour.

Of course today location location location is less and less important. This is the internet and everything’s global.

So wherever you are in the world take a listen to Blaenavon. It’s early days for this very young band who have a bunch of demos up online for your listening indulgence. Swans is probably their stand out track at the moment, an impressively thought-out 7 minute rustic folk rock pilgrimage where guitars interlock with the Wild Beast’s school of falsetto. Denim Patches continues the world-weary organic pastoral feel of their music and fully justifies that old cliché of ‘mature beyond their years’, whereas another track Foes demonstrates a more indie picking nature that has a vague kinship to early Maccabees output. It’s the gentler subdued tracks that we prefer to the more generic indie tracks, but take a listen and see what you think.

Further tracks from Blaenavon can be downloaded for free from here. 

Blaenavon - Swans

Blaenavon - Denim Patches

Blaenavon - Foes

Paper Crows - Disarm

There are albums and bands that you come to late. Even the most passionate music fan has to discover records that they missed out on first time round. Sometimes it’s because you were just too young or not even born at the time and at other times it’s because you were too busy listening to something else or doing real life stuff like work, building a relationship or having kids. We came to The Smiths, The Clash and The Beatles late and there are probably some incredible records, classics even, that we’ve still not yet heard. Another band that has completely passed us by is Smashing Pumpkins. If we were pressed to name five of their songs we could blurt out Disarm, Tonight Tonight, Ava Adore and Today but after that we would be struggling. As far as we're concerned the Smashing Pumpkins Best Of could easily be a 4 track EP. We suspect we're probably wrong.

So here's a cover version of Disarm. This is good because we can’t be tricked into thinking it’s an original as it's one of the ones we know. (Ok, there’s some press blurb we received in our in box as well that explains the song is a cover but to be honest we don’t always read the press blurb, we just press play.)

Imagine if Smashing Pumpkins changed the sex of their lead singer, called her Emma, ditched the guitars and painted Disarm with smouldering, gloomily sexual synths played by a man named Duncan. Well you don’t need to imagine it, because the result would be this version by the highly agreeable dark pop duo Paper Crows. It’s free to download below. 

Paper Crows - Disarm

Tuesday 10 January 2012

In Defence Of.... The Ticket Tout

Gig ticket touts. Scum of the earth, right?

The arguments usually go something like this. “Ticket touts are evil, they’re ripping off genuine fans at over inflated prices.” Over the years artists have condemned the touts, most recently Ed Sheeran who asked the public via the BBC “If you buy my tickets just to sell on eBay then please don't.”

Ok, we have a confession. We have from time to time sold tickets for gigs on Ebay at a profit. Does that make us evil ? Hitler evil ? Satan evil ? We’ve never thought of ourselves as evil, but then Hitler probably didn’t as well. Most recently we sold a single ticket for an Example show at Brighton Centre. We sold it because having seen him earlier in the year we were bitterly disappointed with his performance (in front of an energetic festival crowd the majority of his set appeared to be a live vocal over PA backing track with his band miming parts). We put the ticket on Ebay for face value plus the original booking and postage fee (£19.50). The ticket sold for £51.50. We spent the profit on purchasing another ticket to see a new artist, Gabrielle Aplin play a pub gig and the rest went towards part payment for a ticket for the No Direction Home Festival this summer. Does this make us evil? Or, like a Robin Hood of music are we simply redistributing wealth in what could be argued as a more ‘fair’ way? Of course not all touts act in this manner. Many of them redistribute wealth and spend it on other things away from music.

Let’s look at this core argument in our defence of touts.

There is a presumption in our society that everyone should be able to afford to go to see cultural entertainment. It’s this presumption that leads the so called ‘real fans’ to complain that if they can’t get or afford tickets for certain gigs they want to go to ‘it’s not fair’.

So here’s a question. Who are ‘real fans?’ and what is ‘fairness’?

Let’s take fairness first. We live in a capitalist society. The vast majority of us purchase items that we demand, want or need. The retailers we buy these items from have bought them from wholesalers and suppliers. They have taken a form of speculative risk in purchasing goods, often in bulk in the hope that they can sell them for profit. Most of us see this as fair. Yet ticket touts do exactly the same. They still take a risk, particularly as the product they are selling has a limited shelf life (the date of the concert) and after that is valueless. Is that unfair? Or should we be asking, is capitalism unfair?

And who or what are real fans? How can we define who is a ‘real fan’ and who isn’t? Maybe bands should set up exam centres and before purchasing a ticket for a gig those who want to go should be subjected to an essay style question paper on the group’s music and history? But then the touts could revise and swot up like anyone else if they thought there could be a business case for suitable profits, or pay a ‘real fan’ to take the exam on their behalf. We jest, but we hope it helps explain the difficulties of categorizing a ‘real fan’.

Yet is it really only ‘real fans’ that go to gigs? If that were the case then what about a band that you’ve just heard of that are playing your local town, but you’re not yet a ‘fan’ of. Should you be sent to the back of the queue for tickets until the real fans have their share? If so how will bands ever develop new audiences? Internet sales of tickets mean that there is no queue, just a virtual scramble for in demand bands, the touts in the thick of it with everyone else. In the past, when people physically queued for tickets for in demand gigs it was just as easy for the tout to turn up early and get to the front of the queue, or pay someone else to do it, or stand next to the queue offering to buy tickets off punters as soon as they had collected form the box office.

So maybe these normal arguments of fairness for real fans aren’t actually valid. Maybe there’s a deeper underlying argument – that of work and taxation. Maybe the real issues with touts is that they can earn money without ‘doing any real work’ and then avoid taxation.

We’ll come back to taxation in a moment, because we believe that’s important, but first let’s discuss ‘real work’. What is real work? We don’t live in an age anymore where work is defined by hard labour, graft or time spent. If we did then we would have an equitable rewards system and the likes of bin men, farmers and construction operatives would be rewarded better financially than the likes of bankers or ‘celebrities’ endorsing a product. Work is far more intangible and the rewards do not necessarily link with what much of society would define as fair. Ticket touts, like any other person attempting to make money are doing work by taking risks and speculating. The time and physical effort to do this may be low, but this fits in with the modern definition of work.

The issue that does need to be addressed however is taxation. Whilst we’re defending touts we do think that it is not morally (or legally) right for them to avoid paying tax on the money they earn. It’s a principle of a good society to give something back to what has rewarded you.

Of course the issue of touting has become far more complex recently. With secondary ticketing agencies, tickets being personalised (making it difficult to sell on tickets for ‘real fans’ who for other reasons such as sickness are unable to attend) and tickets by ballot all adding to the mix. All these areas are worthy of their own debate – but for now, we’re resting our defence here and suggesting that maybe the practice of ticket touting isn’t quite as unfair as many think it is.

Maybe, just maybe, our current ‘have it all’ generation and mind-set needs to change and accept that we can’t go to every gig or festival we want to. If we adopted this less greedy stance the end result would actually be that touts wouldn’t exist as there would be no increased demand once the show had sold out.

If we can’t take this non-me-me-me approach then there needs to be an acceptance that the availability of some cultural entertainment will be more available to the rich than the poor and that there’s always going to be someone disappointed when a show is over subscribed. It’s a culture we’ve created.

As for the tout? Maybe we need to accept that they are just servicing willing customers with a private service where (taxation issues outstanding) there is no ‘victim’ to their ‘crime’ and unless we fundamentally change the way we act and the way our society operates, they aren’t going to go away. Maybe they're not scum after all. This lot are though...

S.C.U.M - Faith Unfolds (Silver Alert Remix)