Monday 30 July 2012

Camp Bestival 2012 - 10 Things We Learnt (A Review)

Rob Da Bank’s warped but wonderful brainchild, the family friendly Camp Bestival pulled out all the stops this weekend as the festival at Lulworth Castle, Dorset turned itself into something akin to a huge village fete with Hot Chip, Rizzle Kicks and The Happy Mondays being amongst the house bands. Breaking More Waves was in the thick of it, tweeting for The Guardian (see here), liberally applying sun block (yes a UK festival with no mud) and DJing the Silent Disco on Friday night, which as we pumped the set up with everything from Azealia Banks to Nirvana had an atmosphere more akin to a rock gig than a disco, complete with stage invasions, moshing and crowd surfing. Best festival of the summer so far? We think so. Here’s our Camp Bestival 2012 review, or rather 10 things we leant about the festival…

1. Good Music Is Important At Festivals, But It's Everything Else That Makes Them Truly Great.

It was the ‘everything else’ that made this the perfect weekend. The long overdue British summer finally arrived with scorching weather, an aesthetically remarkable site was rammed with an abundance of beauty  - hundreds of flags, bunting, lights, colourful sunshades, hand created artworks and of course a castle, there were clean toilets, a chilled (and child) friendly atmosphere, well planned infrastructure, plenty of camping space and so much other entertainment for all ages that it was impossible to see and do everything from literature talks, comedy, dare devil wall climbing motorbikes, silly sports, old fashioned fairground rides, crazy golf, watching jousting, comedy, theatre and much more.

2. Delilah Doesn't Sweat

Despite the heat, Delilah sported a tight fitting leopard print catsuit for her main stage set early on Friday afternoon. Several dads and teenage boys suddenly seemed to get very excited at this. Yet the woman must be ice cream cool, because as hard as we looked (probably a bit too closely) we couldn’t see one tiny underarm sweat mark at all.

3. B & Q Probably Sold Out Of Pull Along Trolleys Last Weekend

At night the main stage area at Camp Bestival was bumper to bumper with pull along trolleys packed with duvets and sleeping kids. In what appeared to be a game of one upmanship every trolley seemed to be decorated in a more and more elaborate style, from twinkling fairy lights to union jack flags, to a fairy palace. The gold medalist however surely has to be the trolley decorated as the Olympic Stadium.

4. Jamie N Commons – Great Music – Bad Hat

Every picture we’ve seen of this impressively good blues / rock / folk singer shows him wearing this hat. In real life he wears it as well. It’s not a good look. But maybe it’s to hide his long, limp and terribly languid haircut. It doesn’t matter how great your music is, it’s a well-known scientifically proven fact that to be a commercially successful musician, your fans have got to want to run their fingers through your hair. Chris Martin of Coldplay got his curly mop cut shorter and sexier and instant fame arrived and let’s face it, irrespective of what you think of her music, we bet you’d like a swish through Katy Perry’s mane. This explains why Commons was playing to a Big Top that was less than half full at Camp Bestival. Great music. Bad hat. Bad hair.

5. Most (But Not All) Parents Fall Into A Stereotype

The core audience of Camp Bestival (parents and their under 10's) settled by the main stage with their picnic blankets and pull along trolleys, hungry to lap up nostalgia with Chic, Adam Ant and The Happy Mondays. Don’t think that this was a 100% genteel ‘no sex we’ve been married for twenty years’ audience though - we also noted a number of kids with t-shirts proclaiming that their dad was single / divorced – hinting perhaps that the free love spirit of the 60’s was still alive at Camp Bestival only using different channels to make itself known.

But some parents took the challenge and investigated the new or newer; the Bandstand provided sublime and well received sets from The Slow Show, Jenny O, and Gabrielle Aplin. Irrespective of the mums and dads Aplin in particular pulled a large crowd of teenage girls hinting that with a major label deal now in place she’s going to be one to watch in 2013. Certainly her acoustic based music has depth and quality and her voice a purity that suggests this may be the case.

6. Artists Love A Cover Version At A Festival

During the weekend we saw Adam Ant do Get It On, Stooshe cover TLC, Delilah take on James Blake, Hot Chip play Fleetwood Mac’s I Want To Be With You Everywhere, Gabrielle Aplin sing Bob Dylan, Rizzle Kicks (who performed to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend) knock out a whole host of covers including the James Bond Theme, Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes and Lovin’ Spoonful’s What A Day For A Daydream, Duke Special play Love Will Tear Us Apart and Video Killed The Radio Star, Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo singing Neil Young, The Slow Show doing Springsteen’s Born To Run (streaming below), Lianne La Havas performing Scott Matthews song Elusive, and Ren Harvieu caressing The Beatles Something.

7. Open Up Your Arms By Ren Harvieu Is A Thing Of Potent And Emotive Beauty

We shed a little tear during that one. If we could marry her music we would.

8. How To Keep A Festival Site Clean And Tidy

Make half the audience children. Charge 10p return on all plastic glasses and cans. Watch the adults throw them on the floor. Watch the children in true green entrepreneurial spirit pick them up, bagging themselves a fortune in refunds. Who needs employed litter pickers?

9. Druids Don't Bake Their Own Bread

Early on Thursday evening Breaking More Waves found itself somehow involved in some sort of of druids opening ceremony of the festival. Thankfully this didn’t involve stripping naked and making love to a tree, but did involve chanting, mead drinking and eating bread handed out by a druid lady. Disappointingly the bread looked like it was a loaf from Tesco rather than something she’d crafted with her bare earthy hands.

10. The One Word We'd Use To Describe Camp Bestival 2012 is...

Magical. More than any other festival we’ve been to this year, Camp Bestival really does create an enchanting world to escape to for a weekend, where you really can put real life on the shelf for a while and forget the stresses and demands of modern living. The festival of 2012, maybe not so if you're a teen or twenty something looking to get your rocks off and be seen to be cool by your peer group, but for anyone else, as we said, magical.

The Slow Show - Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Churches - Lies (New Video)

Back in May a new band banged its way out of Scotland with a predatory piece of electropop that was so glorious, so unmerciful that we almost lost control of everything. That group was Churches and the song was called Lies.

Sometimes we’re so convinced of a songs brilliance that we’re damn sure that everyone is going to love it as much as we do – particularly our online peer group within the new music blogging community. Sometimes it does happen, almost immediately, with a herd like mentality that sees everyone getting carried away in the giddy ga-ga rush. Other times it takes a little more time with a slowly rising trajectory gently gliding rather than rocketing to the stars. Then there are the times when we’re left scratching our heads wondering why nobody is picking up on some of the songs we love. A recent example of this would be the King by Sons & Lovers of which to date Breaking More Waves is the only Hype Machine listed blogger to have posted.

Thankfully Churches seem to be getting noticed. Blogs are picking up on them left right and centre, they’ve been mentioned by the NME, got the Guardian New Band Of The Day treatment in June and some decent radio coverage, all on the basis of just one song. The cynics are already moaning that Churches seem to have picked up astronomical coverage because of management connections they have within the music industry and this is unfair on other bands that maybe haven’t established such connections. We have some sympathy with this view, but two points need to be made absolutely clear. One, the music industry is called an industry because you have to work hard at things and that includes developing relationships with those who can support getting your music heard. Of course there’s some luck in it, but artists can improve their own chances through hard graft. Secondly it doesn’t matter how many people you know, how good your contacts are, if the music isn’t up to scratch you’re going nowhere. Nobody that commands respect in the music industry will put their backing to a fart of a tune.

Yesterday Churches uploaded this footage of their performance of Lies from their show at Glasgow Art School from earlier this month. Unfortunately you don’t get to hear the bands live sound here, the audio being the studio version. However the reports we’ve seen suggest that Churches completely nailed it (read this informative review and interview with Scottish blog The Pop Cop and this review from Everything Flows blog) and are the real deal. Certainly the band look great in this performance and lead singer Lauren (remember at the back of last year we predicted it was a good year to have a name beginning with L ?) wins the award for most bewitching eye make-up we’ve seen all year.

Take a peek yourself below.

Churches – Lies – Concert Video

*This is the last post on Breaking More Waves for a few days as we take a break for Camp Bestival festival. Then come August we’ll be posting far more infrequently as we take a bit of a holiday before ramping up to normal service in September again.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Bat For Lashes - Laura

Laura is Bat For Lashes tear-jerking mini masterpiece. Warm minimalist piano chords, deeply sad sounding strings and a melancholy brass backing create an atmosphere of stillness and glamour that is equal parts light and shade. “You’re the train that crashed my heart, you’re the glitter in the dark, Laura you’re more than a superstar.” Natasha sings, her vocals dripping with soft tantalising beauty. This is a song that deserves to be played over and over again; utterly compelling and finely honed Laura takes Natasha Khan’s songwriting ability way above anything she’s done before.

Laura is the first track to be released from the third Bat For Lashes album The Haunted Man which is already causing a bit of a storm amongst certain quarters because the cover art is a picture of Natasha de-robed with a similarly naked skinny man draped over her shoulders (above). We assume when she tours later this year she’ll put some clothes on, but if not we’ll report back as we'll be catching her at both Bestival and at one of her UK concerts.

Bat For Lashes - Laura

Monday 23 July 2012

Eddi Front - New Waves

Eddi Front is Eddi Lines is Ivana XL. This is all very confusing. She’s a 'new artist’ yet with one simple You Tube search you can find footage of her performing from four years ago under the Ivana name.

Certain sectors of the internet and blogosphere have already been chattering about the fact that Eddi has more than one musical identity plus a past and already a few authors have voiced their suspicion about the extent to which she has industry backing. Lana Del Rey has been referenced as a contextual similarity and it’s almost possible to hear the dissenters army gathering,  angry that an artist should dare to adopt a nom de plume or become a project, destroying the sine qua non of what they believe artistry should be about – authenticity.

But for those of you who either enjoy an artist adopting a role, from the visual mysteries of iamamiwhoami to David Bowie’s more obvious Ziggy Stardust persona, or for those who just couldn’t care less as long as the music’s good, why not take a chance with Eddi Front, whoever she is.

Take Gigantic, a low-spirited tune that chronicles the end of a marriage. “I’ll crawl out of this hole soon enough, take my ring off, sell the car,” she sings. You’ve no idea if she’s singing from personal experience or is just acting, but it doesn’t matter, because this troubled song is so impossibly blue, so richly affecting, that you’re going to feel its emotion anyway. Gigantic is pure beauty formed from sadness.

Eddi Front - Gigantic

Sunday 22 July 2012

Blood Diamonds ft Grimes - Phone Sex (Unicorn Kid Remix)

We’re not sure when the Grimes backlash is going to begin (isn’t that the way these things work?) but on the evidence of this, it isn’t going to happen yet. Because here’s the deal; Unicorn Kid has grabbed Blood Diamonds ( aka Los Angeles-based artist Michael Diamond ) collaboration with quite possibly the lady of 2012 (she’s tussling with Lana Del Rey for that spot) and pumped it up to a truly colossal scale. You’re left not just dancing on the ceiling but dancing in the clouds with angels.

This is what the dictionary of dance music chapter 3.7 defines as a proper banger, albeit a banger with ethereal baby girl vocals on it. Truly amazing. 

The Phone Sex EP is available to purchase now with this remix, a Jensen Sportag remix and another track called Ritual as well as the original of Phone Sex.

Blood Diamonds ft Grimes - Phone Sex (Unicorn Kid Remix)

Saturday 21 July 2012

The Saturday Surf #36

Some music bloggers are so time rich that they are able to sit at their laptops and see music drop into their inbox or other feed sources and post about it instantaneously. Breaking More Waves is not one of those. It’s why we post the Saturday Surf. It’s a chance for us and maybe you to catch up on a few musical beauties that would have otherwise slipped away from our ever fast blog super highway. Here are this weeks.

Curxes – Spectre (Strangers Remix)

Take two electronic acts, let them romp around for a while together and soon they’re making babies. [Strangers] have created this one, a remix of Curxes forthcoming single Spectre. It’s like some sort of ketamine fuelled intergalactic bank robbery with its crashes, sirens and spacey pulses. Look out for a forthcoming animated video from Curxes that mixes architecture and music in equal measure.

Ren Harvieu – Tonight (Alice Ant Remix)

Our love of Ren Harvieu just keeps lifting us higher and higher, so this Alice Ant (that’s Alice not Adam) remix is perfect for bringing us back down to a calmer state, with its trippy electronic repetitive groove and Ren’s voice floating around like some sort of sexy washed out ghost.

The XX – Angels

For those expecting that the group’s new material would be a Jamie XX takeover and full of beat bludgeoning dance floor fillers Angels suggests that those expectations could be off mark. For this is a stripped down, restrained love song that should silence every room it’s played in. Beauty can never be understated but this is understated beauty. Angels is taken from the forthcoming album from The XX which drops on September 10th.

Delphic – Good Life

Another band returning to the fold is Delphic, who have shifted direction a little with Good Life. Unfortunately it isn’t some sort of 2k12 banger reminiscing about just how great Felicity Kendal’s garden allotment was (it’s a 1970’s reference kids – Google it) but instead a catchy Passion Pit-esque pop song, which is certainly no bad thing, but it will never be as good as Felcity’s fruit and veg. Yum yum.

Friday 20 July 2012

Arp Attack - Devil's Drop

Having signed to Hype Music, a collaboration between Extreme Music Publishing and MTV Networks, indie electro pop wonderkids Arp Attack return with a new EP called Devil’s Drop. Recorded and produced in the bands own attic studio the EP finds the trio exploring the more quirky but still danceable regions of pop music. It’s not as instantly accessible as previous release Follow The Rhythm but give it two or three plays and its charms start to become apparent; it's all jerky and rhythmic and not quite sure what’s coming next, like a death row inmate raving in the electric disco chair, readying themselves for the full voltage. With lyrics about devils on her tongue, being the one you dream of and some sort of silent swimming we really haven’t a clue what lead singer Frankie is singing about, but with all these beats, pulses and hip thrusting grooves Arp Attack aren’t setting out to be the next Springsteen or Dylan. Just shake your booty and put your hands in the air and everything will be OK. OK?

You can purchase the Devil’s Drop limited edition CD from the Arp Attack Bandcamp page here.

Arp Attack - Devil's Drop

Thursday 19 July 2012

Music Robot

The UK new music blogging scene has always been dwarfed by its American counterpart, partly because of the respective sizes of the countries but also because the UK is lucky enough to have state funded radio (the BBC). BBC stations are able to make broadcasting decisions that are not so reliant on commercial factors and still remain sustainable. This gives 'Aunty Beeb' the opportunity to provide output that supports niche and emerging talent, something that commercial stations by and large just couldn’t risk. In the U.S.A  broadcast opportunities are more financially driven and therefore new music blogs as well as bigger sites such as Pitchfork can fill the gap.

However the last few years have seen UK new music blogs become more prominent, with a number of them emerging as influencers and tastemakers. The number of readers of these sites may be relatively small but they are now acting as a first step for grassroots promotion and development that can then lead to more widespread mainstream media coverage.

The last week or so has seen two developments for UK music blogs that recognise and publicise their standing away from their U.S cousins.

The first is that Hype Machine, the biggest and most well-known blog aggregator which sources and streams music from over 900 active music blogs worldwide, changed its front page for UK users. Now when you hit Hype Machine when residing in the UK what you get first is a stream of music from UK or mainly UK based sites. We’re not sure what impact this will have yet, it certainly hasn’t increased or lessened traffic to Breaking More Waves and at the moment doesn’t seem to have radically affected the number of plays any particular track gets through Hype Machine, but it should mean that for UK users the tracks they see are more relevant to their own country and culture.

The second is the start-up of Music Robot. Music Robot describes itself as ‘a fresh style of music website that shares the genes of a blog collective and an aggregated music chart.’ It curates music posted by a small number of the more established UK music blogs including Breaking More Waves. It’s currently in Beta form and we understand that it is still undergoing development, but if you want to hear what some of the UK’s key music blogs are posting, in one aesthetically pleasing space then now’s your chance to hop on over to the site. Whilst Music Robot’s chart is open to the dangers of any open public vote system  (becoming an X-Factor style popularity contest with bands or even the publishing sites galvanising fans to hype their song into the top 25 ) it certainly provides an alternative to the UK singles sales chart and the Hype Machine chart. In fact at the time of writing not one of the top 10 tracks on Music Robot currently features in the Top 50 on Hype Machine. Go have a look and see what you think.

We’ll be watching with interest to see if visitors find Music Robot of value and if it can sustain itself in the longer term – it certainly seems to have been well received so far. It’s an interesting and neat looking addition to the scene, throwing a welcome spotlight on UK new music blogs.

Here’s a track that we discovered through the Music Robot chart. It’s called Earthquake by American / French duo Freedom Fry. It’s deliciously hooky, cute and summery. Hats off to Cougar Microbes via Music Robot for this one.

Freedom Fry - Earthquake

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Sons & Lovers - New Waves

Sons & Lovers, who possibly take their name from the D.H Lawrence book of the same name make the sort of instantly accessible melodic songs that would sit very nicely on the radio. We’d fit them into the same bracket as the likes of Bastille or Ellie Goulding; artists that understand that in contrast to the perceived wisdom of much of the UK indie blogosphere that often the best pop doesn’t have to be ashamed of itself, isn’t worried about being cool and is made from the substance of something called a tune. Ironically among Sons & Lovers number is one ex-sonic terrorist called Tim Hillier-Brook who used to be in Brighton UK metal core band Architects – a group for whom the word tune was quite possibly an insult.

Yet Sons & Lovers have real tunes. We’re streaming two of them below. Set Your Heart On Fire first cropped up on Neon Gold last year and now it has arrived on Soundcloud ready to stir your soul and soundtrack your summer. King meanwhile is a euphoric clarion call to letting yourself go and enjoying the here and now. “Let’s get lost, lose our heads, turn our alarm clocks off, live a little for the moment,” the vocal commands.

These two songs represent a very promising start for this new band and for the time being that’s more than enough. 

Sons & Lovers - King

Sons & Lovers - Set Your Heart On Fire

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Camp Bestival 2012 - Preview

What other music festival could you find Hot Chip, a panto, thousands of people dressed ready for a sports day hosted by Bluecoats, a comedy club for kids, The Happy Mondays, the English National Ballet running workshops, Gabrielle Aplin, bonkers electro-pop man Kid Carpet with a gorilla and a hedgehog, Jimmy Carr, an opera of Roald Dahl’s classic Fantastic Mr Fox, Spector, Mr Tumble, Rizzle Kicks, a circus, Adam & The Ants, Dick & Dom, DJ sets from the likes of The Nextmen, the Olympic opening ceremony on a big screen, Howard Marks reading kids stories, a headphone disco, Ren Harvieu, a freestyle sports park, boutique camping, an inflatable church, medieval jousting , fearless wall of death motorbikes and an epic firework display over a castle near the sea ? The answer is of course Camp Bestival, near Lulworth cove in Dorset.

Rob Da Bank’s baby brainchild of its bigger brother Bestival started in 2008 and has now established itself in a unique position within the festival market. Many similar events claim to be family friendly, but how many seamlessly merge the wants of adults and kids where both can be kept fully entertained for three days of magic so well? With a beautifully decorated site and a happy relaxed atmosphere (that is as relaxed as it can ever be when several thousand under 10’s converge on a field in Dorset) the main thing to remember to bring with you to this festival is a child; because there are thousands of them at Camp Bestival. Although don’t get yourself arrested by abducting someone else’s, many people do come without kids and enjoy the safer more family orientated atmosphere without a small person in tow. Expect a camp site packed with huge family sized tents, hundreds of pushchairs and trolleys decked out with fairy lights and blankets and the likes of Dick and Dom and The Gruffalo pulling headline sized audiences to the main stage first thing in the morning. (Let's just hope that this year they don't make a young child cry) You won’t get that at Reading and Leeds.

Camp Bestival 2011 - Video

For 2012 Breaking More Waves will also be playing a small part in the festival. Together with two other Bestival / Camp Bestival regulars we’ll be grabbing our headphones to DJ in the Big Top Silent Disco late on the Friday night between 1.30am and 3.00am in a versus against some of the Camp Bestival crew themselves. Expect plenty of songs that involve singing along like no one can hear you before you hit the sack. Here’s a clip we shot from stage last year at our early afternoon not so silent Bollywood set.

Camp Bestival 2011 - Sunday Best Forum Allstars Crowd

 Camp Bestival takes place on July 26th to July 29th at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Tickets are still available from this link here and although many UK festivals have been a mudbath in 2012 so far, the long term forecast looks reasonably optimistic. Here’s a two Breaking More Waves favourites and recommendations of artists to see.

Gabrielle Aplin – Home

Since we first featured Gabrielle Aplin as a new wave on the blog about a year ago she’s played sold out gigs, put out a self-released EP that went top ten on iTunes and bagged herself a major label record deal. An album will follow either later this year or the beginning of next. This song, Home has now had over 1 million views on You Tube. Big things are expected from Gabrielle Aplin, catch her whilst you can at Camp Bestival.

Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump (Vato Gonzalez Remix)

Back in November 2010 when we suggested that the demo version of Rizzle Kicks Down With The Trumpets sounded like a hit in the making we had no idea how successful they would go on to be. With hit singles galore and a top 5 album in the UK, Rizzle Kicks will almost undoubtedly be one of the big draws for both the young and old(er) at Camp Bestival in much the same way that the likes of Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Katy B and Example have been in previous years. These are some of the UK’s genuine popstars – not underground bands that only the few have heard of – but proper chart stars who appeal to teenagers and their parents. Now as Camp Bestival is a family friendly festival 2012 will really be the time to see Mama Do The Hump.

Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments (Black Cab Session)

Even before Jessie Ware’s album has been released, Paddy Power bookmakers have installed Devotion as one of the front runners in their betting odds for the Mercury Music prize, behind Alt-J, Florence & The Machine and Richard Hawley. Jessie certainly seems to have found favour with many of the critics and buzz blogs. We’re a little surprised about the blog positivity – not because Jessie doesn’t deserve it but because her music is more akin to a comforting warm duvet than the sort of semi-edgy underground cool that you’d expect those blogs to get excited about.

Jessie has recently filmed a Black Cab Session and the film allows her to demonstrate her soulful vocal chords and together with her band her lack of regard to health and safety legislation. Just where are their seat belts?

Jessie Ware - Wildest Moments (Black Cab Session)

Monday 16 July 2012

The Slow Show - New Waves

Alt American folk rock with shades of The National and Other Lives, straight out of rainy Manchester, UK ? You’ve just been introduced to The Slow Show. Here’s a band that seem to have arrived sounding fully formed and threatening world domination, or at least grabbing the interest of a few hundred people in a bar in some northern town.

What sets The Slow Show apart from the likes of The National and Other Lives though is something very British – the use of brass. Not the jolly toot toot brass of ska, reggae or pop but a sound that conjures up images of colliery bands and still sky-grey cobbled streets in winter. You can hear this beguiling mournfulness on the song God Only Knows which streams below. There’s a beautiful serenity to the song that touches the heart. A real stop you in your tracks moment. We might have just found our new favourite band.

With 2 EP's to their name - the debut Midnight Waltz and the near perfect Brother, both of which are available on i-Tunes - The Slow Show are steadily building an audience. Their next show in Manchester on the 23rd July is completely sold out. After that your chances to see them are at Camp Bestival festival in Dorset on the 29th July and a lunchtime session at the Union Chapel in London on the 8th September. If you get even half the chance to attend one of these shows, then cancel everything else you’re doing, it’s a must see. This is why we love music and write a blog. To discover stuff like this.

The Slow Show - God Only Knows

The Slow Show - Brother

Saturday 14 July 2012

The Saturday Surf #35

This weekend Breaking More Waves home city of Portsmouth will see thousands of people watch a man (or woman) run along its streets with what looks like a giant cheese grater on fire whilst Rizzle Kicks jump around on a stage a bit. All of this will happen near the seafront where there will probably be some waves breaking and maybe even someone attempting to surf. This is our attempt at internet surfing, we call it the Saturday Surf. Our weekly round-up of new music we nearly missed or didn't find time to post, but never more than five songs.

Plant Plants – Embrace The Real (Vision Of Trees Cold Skins Remix)

Plant Plants is London-based electronic duo Stuart Francis and Howard Whatley. The original version of Embrace The Real from their sample driven EP2 was smart enough as it was, but we’re fancying this remix from Visions of Trees even more. Sounding partly like a lost Grimes track with the recognisable tinkles of Visions of Trees raindrops electronica this remix is exotically underground and pleasure giving.

Ellie Goulding featuring Tinie Tempah

Back in 2010 Ellie Goulding guested on Tinie Tempah’s Wonderman. Now Tinie repays the favour on Ellie’s cover version of Active Child’s Hanging On. Our initial thoughts were ‘meh’. Three days later we can’t get enough of it, although we still have some reservations about Mr Tempah’s part. However we’ll forgive him because Ellie’s vocal is just come to bed sumptuous. We still heart Ellie Goulding and it seems America does as well, with Lights recently entering that countries Top 5. 

San Zhi – Towards The Sun

Out of Egypt and Bournemouth San Zhi are a boy girl band consisting of Suraya and Peter, who sing intimately of ripping each others throats out, over a gentle keyboard led melancholy dreamy Sunday pop backing. Nice. They’ve named their band after an unfinished futuristic pod-village resort built in Tawain, which if you want to take a break from music for a while you can read about and see some fascinating pictures of on My Several Worlds.

Friday 13 July 2012

K.I.D.S - All My Evil

This is interesting. K.I.D.S came to our attention (and therefore hopefully yours) a few days back with a mesmerising and metronomic song called Ragged Old Angels and not a lot of other information. Now we have a second track and a smidgeon more facts.

Let’s do the facts first. According to Richard Thane of The Line Of Best Fit K.I.D.S are Rosanna (originally from Stockholm) and Charles (from London) and have been working together for some time with an album almost ready for release. Line Of Best Fit also say that they have an exclusive interview with the band coming soon which as we suggested in our previous post  suggests that some industry types know more than they’re letting on and the whole mystery band approach is just an attempt to generate interest before the full reveal. Unfortunately in the world of pop the full reveal is often mildly disappointing – let’s hope in this case it’s not. Hopefully Rosanna and Charles have something interesting to say, or if they haven’t that at least they are outrageously good liars. We’d like them to reveal that before music Charles was a pest control officer with a local authority with an undisclosed drug addiction that he funded by starring in hardcore porn films whilst Rosanna was a political activist who once ended up naked and covered in foam at Katy Perry’s house, whilst Katy rode round the room on a camel. That would be a good reveal.

So now the music. Despite the menacing horror movie title of All My Evil, this second song sits much further in the not quite so scary electronic blog-pop spectrum of which we're rather fond of than Ragged Old Angels. Like Kylie being classy, Little Boots abandoning the disco or Grimes getting all straight-laced, the girlish vocals and cascading synths are a pleasure and not a guilty one at that. It’s now a case of watch this space for more facts and music. Let’s hope both are exciting.

K.I.D.S - All My Evil

Vince Clarke / The Good Natured - Ghost Train

Take an old stager who has in his time been part of Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, The Assembly and VCMG and match him up with young upstart but old Breaking More Waves favourite Sarah McIntosh (aka The Good Natured) and the result is Ghost Train. Juxtaposing the very human passion and excitement of youthful love / lust “you drive me wild with your touch,” with an almost robotic emotion free vocoder treatment to Sarah’s voice, Ghost Train is a curious yet oddly compelling pop tune. Drinking games in the moonlight, kissing in the dark, popping red balloons and letting the music play all make up what Sarah describes as “a magical time when we ride through the night, silver stars in our eyes, on the ghost train of love.”

Let the music commence, the computers throb, the electronics pulse and enjoy the journey with this new electro-geek twosome, brought together through musical marriage. 

Vince Clarke & The Good Natured - Ghost Train

Thursday 12 July 2012

Why Bands Should Be Fans Of Fan Blogs

A few days ago Sean Adams from Drowned in Sound website asked a question on twitter. “Websites/blogs, what do you want? To give the music scene acupuncture with tiny flags or for fans to take notice of a few acts you love?”

We thought this was an interesting (and very valid) question and we’re taking a few moments to explain where we see ourselves and our relationship to bands.

Breaking More Waves is very much a ‘fan blog’ – we’re determined to post multiple times on certain artists we love. However there’s so much music we get a crush on and an ever flowing abundance of great new performers to discover, that inevitably the blog won’t just focus on a small selection of artists. If you have read Breaking More Waves for any period of time we hope that you’ve gathered a sense of the type of the music we enjoy and the artists we adore. We also hope that sometimes you take notice of those acts. 

In our ideal world we’ll introduce an artist under the title ‘New Waves’ or in one of our Saturday Surf features, then follow it up with a number of other posts as the artist releases more material, before somewhere down the road the masses agree with us, the artist becomes commercially and / or critically successful and our taste is vindicated as being ‘good’. It’s at this point that we’ll probably stop posting about the artist a lot, simply because our job is done and anything or everything we want to say about the artist can be accomplished quicker and with a wider audience by the professional media. But in our own small way, through our reasonably well read and networked fan-written blog we’ve helped give the artist some of their first exposure to a worldwide audience.

There’s something rather exciting thinking that through a blog like this, which is based in the UK,  an artist’s music may get heard in Australia, Finland, USA or Brazil. This is why it pays for bands to be fans of fan blogs – it’s called the world wide web for a reason and we have regular readers and subscribers in all those countries. Plus chances are if we love an artist we’ll post about them time and time again until someone takes notice. This is something that the acupuncture blogs Sean referred to are less likely to do, as they’ve got other tiny flags to put down. Fan blogs will keep flying the same flag as long as they possibly can.

A note of reality at this point though. It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes we post about an artist once as a new wave, they release more material and it doesn’t click with us. Other times, because we’re time limited we just don’t get round to writing about the artist as we would like to – this can be because we can’t find the free time or the band’s next release slips under our radar. (Note to artists – part of your job, if you want us to keep writing about you is to help us by keeping us informed of new releases and providing the relevant links. It’s also important to develop a friendly relationship with us. We don’t ask a lot, but for the time we put in finding your music and writing about you for no pay, a thank you goes a long way.)

Which brings us to Noosa.

We introduced Noosa aka Sky Barbarick and Matt Buszko on the blog last Saturday. And now we’re writing about them again. There are two reasons for this. The first and most important is because we love their music. But secondly it’s because they’re doing what we believe is the right way to convert us into a fan - they’re doing more than just good music – they’re engaging with us.

Shortly after we posted about Noosa on the Saturday Surf the duo sent us a thank you on twitter. It was polite and made our work feel appreciated. Then a few days later, zapping into our in box was an email from the band. It wasn’t full of hyperbole or pretending that they were big fans of the blog, but just simply another thank you (using our first name rather than a generic ‘hey blogger’ showing that they’d taken time to look this up) and the information we required. That information was that Noosa have put out a new single, with some links to a Soundcloud stream, a link to download the track and artwork to use in any blog post if we chose to write about it. It was simple but perfect and followed all of the rules that we suggested in this piece we wrote for bands about how to get music on blogs. But most importantly the music was great too. It’s called Heartache.

Heartache is a hip-swinging synth sizzler, full of disco groove flavours that takes you away from the hum-drum and onto a neon flashing dance floor in a rocketship to the stars. If this song was a food it would undoubtedly be a big slice of cheddar, but that’s a good thing, because it’s tasty and good for your bones.

We’re joining Noosa’s fan club.

Noosa - Heartache

The Very Best - Kondaine (Unicorn Kid's Space Drift mix)

Whilst we’re standing here with arms folded, looking anxiously down at our watch and asking ‘when exactly is that Unicorn Kid (pictured) album going to arrive,’ (answer – October possibly) we’ll make do with this. Make do makes it sound like second best, but really this isn’t. This remix of The Very Best’s Kondaine is all rave-space synths and uplifting steel drum sounds that make the song sound like the lost track from the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s film The Beach. This is parallel universe music and it’s a good place to exist for a while.

The Very Best - Kondaine ( Unicorn Kid's Space Drift Mix)

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Curxes - Spectre

Having declared themselves as channeling the ghosts of discotheques past and with previous single being named Haunted Gold, it’s pretty fair to say that there’s something spooky going on with Curxes. They’ve even recently played a couple of dates with the band Ghxst. Coincidence? We think not.

Now Breaking More Waves favourite dark pop boy girl duo (yes we probably say that to every dark pop boy girl duo we come across - we're the cheap tart of music blogging you see) return with a brutal and brilliant new track called Spectre. Vanishing churches, the death of someone brilliant, fake rivalries, on stage burials and towns turning in on themselves seem to be some of the lyrical themes, but frankly singer Roberta Fidora could be singing about riding a giant snail and we’d succumb to her bolshy power box of a voice. There’s a certain hard-hitting end of everything euphoria to Spectre that makes us want to scale mountains; from its dirty gnarly I’m-going-to-fuck-with you bass to its colossal synth stabs that will quite possibly take you over the edge. Come with them and take that jump, for this is about as dramatic as it gets, no over exaggeration.

Spectre will be available to download from Friday 10th August 2012 or as a special limited edition 7″ vinyl (all individually numbered) with a remix from the Breaking More Waves approved [Strangers].

Curxes - Spectre

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Arthur Beatrice - New Waves

Arthur Beatrice sit somewhere between art and the mainstream, somewhere between groove and tranquillity, somewhere between male and female. 

This London group has picked up a lot of attention on-line from many of the more indie-centric blogs and websites since they first appeared in 2011. At first glance they sounded perfect. There were references in articles written about them to Kate Bush, The Sundays,  The XX and The Smiths - all bands that Breaking More Waves upholds in the highest esteem.

Then we pressed play and found ourselves disappointed – because we didn’t hear any of these references at all. Sometimes expectation leads to being let down and we found ourselves shrugging our shoulders. So we filed Arthur Beatrice away and nearly forgot about them, until recently when we heard their debut release Midland again.

Without any context, without those references it sounded sophisticatedly wonderful. This was warm enthralling sounding musicianship that slowly grew into an uplifting guitar based groove. Ella Girardot’s vocal may begin modestly and gently enough, like a distant cousin of Trish Keenan of Broadcast (R.I.P) or Tessa Murray of Still Corners but before the songs out it has changed direction and reached for the stars. “I’ll never move I’ll never move I’ll always be so still,” she sings and as she does you might feel your knees going a little bit weak.

Add to this the six minute long What We Hoped To Achieve (see the extremely accomplished live performance below) and maybe you’ll understand why Arthur Beatrice have been getting tongues wagging. And if you don’t, don’t discard them yet. As we’ve said before and as we’ve just proved to ourselves, the most important ingredient of music is time.

Arthur Beatrice - Midland

Arthur Beatrice - Not Without Thinking

Arthur Beatrice - What We Hoped To Achieve (Live Video)

What We Hoped To Achieve (Recorded Live at Flesh + Bone) from Arthur Beatrice on Vimeo.

Monday 9 July 2012

Vaz - New Waves

Oh Sweden. You’re just so good at this pop music thing aren’t you? So for those of us not so lucky to be able to breathe whatever it is that makes you so top of the league at it, let’s introduce your latest export as we say hallĂ„ to Vaz; two sisters who take carnival flavoured beats and rhythms to make danceable dramatic pop.

We first stumbled across Vaz when they appeared with Mash Up International, a DJ/producer trio from Uppsala, Sweden, consisting of Robert Dinero, Uffie Ice and Mats Norman where they were providing some vocals on their booty shaking track Lava Cabeza (streaming below). From there one quick skip on the internet brought us to Vaz’s own single, the infectiously rumpus Miss Frost. Fans of Niki & The Dove and the first Lykke Li album are well advised to press play. It’s a drum parade of satisfying melodies and tribal beats, combining Vaz’s roots in Cape Verde with the inevitable Nordic pop brilliance.

Sweden wins again. 1-0 Vaz.

Mash Up International – Lava Cabeza (feat Gnucci, VAZ and Timbuktu)

Vaz - Miss Frost (Video)

Sunday 8 July 2012

K.I.D.S - New Waves

The hardened cynic could suggest that when a handful of industry bloggers and websites all pick up on the same demo by the same band within the course of a few hours that there’s some sort of insiders network / contacts / tipping off going on here. But does that matter? Not one iota if the music is good; and this demo by London group K.I.D.S made our ears prick up the moment we heard it. With a propulsive chugging bassline that sounds like a female fronted Horrors covering Kraftwerk, Ragged Old Angels is a highly repetitive stretched to the length opus that only disappoints in the closing few seconds when it fades without any full on climax. We’re sure there’s a few of our female readers out there who probably understand that disappointment, but let’s not forget the six and a half minutes of driving dark storminess that precede it.

So what do we know about K.I.D.S ? Absolutely nothing – their website simply contains Ragged Old Angels and nothing more. However, the mystery band approach is now becoming passĂ© in terms of generating real excitement, giving very little for potential fans to buy into, so we’d suggest the quicker K.I.D.S let us know something about them, the better.

K.I.D.S - Ragged Old Angels

Saturday 7 July 2012

The Saturday Surf #34

As much as we love outdoor music festivals and would recommend that you get out there and experience as many as you can possibly afford, this weekend if you’re in the UK, with some weather forecasts predicting a month of rain in 24 hours, we suggest that you stay in and soak up some music in the dry of your own home.

So why not start with this – The Saturday Surf, our once a week lazy post where we keep the words to just a few sentences and let the music do the talking.

Noosa – Walk On By

New York multi instrumentalists Sky Barbarick & Matt Buszko have recently released their debut EP and it’s this track Walk On By that has been nuzzling our headphones the most. A mini-epic that combines piano, strings, guitar and female vocals to make the sort of stately pop song that spins inside your head like a whirlpool, it’s a very impressive start from Noosa.

[Strangers] – Safe / Pain

Yesterday we featured the lovely Alice Jemima’s cover version of Safe / Pain by [Strangers], so today to enable you to compare and contrast, here’s the original, which has only been on line itself for a few days. Warning, this song features a stratospheric electropop chorus. Safe / Pain deserves to be adored. [Strangers] best yet. It's released on August 20th. Alice Jemima's version is free to download from the link on her name above. Big.

Lewis Watson – Windows

The next Ed Sheeran? Possibly. There’s an incredibly similar softness to Lewis Watson’s voice and he treads the same gentle acoustic path, although this time it winds out from Oxfordshire. Considering the success that Sheeran’s had it wouldn’t surprise us if this lad finds himself the subject of some interest in the next year. 

Friday 6 July 2012

Alice Jemima - Safe / Pain

We’ve already named her as one of the Golden Girls of Breaking More Waves (more of who those other Golden Girls are soon). Here’s another reason why; Alice Jemima is breaking many of the rules. The perceived wisdom by industry types is for new artists to hold material back and not put too much on line at any one time. But this wisdom assumes that the artist only has a small clutch of songs and that their painstaking creative efforts will take months to deliver. Alice Jemima is different. Her ability to knock out a tune is more in spirit with the days of early The Beatles, where the group could write and record an album in just a few weeks (they released four number one albums in just over a year and a half in 1963-64) with the quality of the songwriting and power of the performance remaining exceptionally high. Even if the records had a bit of hiss or crackle on them, nobody cared because they were simply brilliant songs; She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day’s Night and many more were all created at that time.

So it is with Alice who last week released five new songs to the internet (recording on either Soundcloud or You Tube each day) and this week she’s uploaded a cover version of Safe / Pain by Breaking More Waves electronic favourites [Strangers]. It is dazzlingly intimate and perfectly formed in every way. “I want to feel safe in your arms but don’t know if I should,” she sings; as she does so our insides melt a little. 

Alice Jemima - Safe / Pain

Thursday 5 July 2012

Ren Harvieu - Tonight (Video)

This year nearly all of Breaking More Waves favourite albums fall into one of two very distinct categories. The first is a slightly quirky, experimental but still accessible sort of pop album that never forgets the song even when it’s being a little bit out there. Examples of this are Alt-J, Django Django and Grimes. The second is something that is richly nostalgic, often very warm and evocative, transporting you to somewhere far removed from modern pop culture. The likes of Crybaby, Michael Kiwanuka and the gorgeous Ren Harvieu are fine illustrations of this.

If Jimmy Saville (allegedly the first DJ to ever use twin decks) was still alive and if he was still presenting his TV show Jim’ll Fix It we would have written to Jim asking if he could fix it for us to recline on a chaise lounge, drinking fine red wine, surrounded by candles whilst Ren Harvieu stood in the room and sang just for us. It would be a beautiful moment – rather like her new video, which features the late night, brassy big band, sultry perfection of Tonight. It’s absolute love for Ren Harvieu.

(Footnote – if any of Ren’s ‘people’ read this and in the absence of Sir Jim, if Ren isn't too busy, if you could fix it for us instead that would be absolutely lovely. Thank you.)

Ren Harvieu - Tonight (Video)