Thursday 28 February 2013

A Letter Of Apology To Caitlin Rose

Dear Miss Rose, (Can we call you Caitlin? Hope that’s OK?)

Breaking More Waves would like to offer its most humble apologies to you. As a non-funded free thinking and fully independent music blog with no aspirations to become a record label / journalist / gig promoter / music industry hot shot we firmly believe that we might as well spend our time writing about new music that we love than anything else.

And we do love you Caitlin. Not in a creepy we’d-like-to-see-you-naked-obsessive-fan-boy way, but as a lover of your effortlessly pure and beautiful voice that makes us melt a little every time we hear it.

Yet despite this, we have a sad confession. We haven’t featured any of the songs from your new LP The Stand-In on this blog. This is a terrible crime.

Thankfully, other bloggers have not been so fair weather. Take Just Music That I Like, a blog that has been relentless in its adoration and has said pretty much everything we wanted to say. So in act of the ultimate in lazy blogging we’d like to refer you over there (by clicking this link) and reading the thoughts of someone who has remained loyal. Unlike us Just Music That I Like hasn’t let their ears wander too far astray.

We apologise for our other musical affairs, but hope that you’ll welcome us back with open arms. How we could have strayed when you’ve been offering such  temptations like those below we’ll never know. We’re sorry for being such a musical slut. 

Love Breaking More Waves xx

PS: If you hear of us writing similar letters to other artists we also apologise. Maybe musical monogamy isn't our strong point? Sorry.

Caitlin Rose - No One To Call

Wednesday 27 February 2013

AlunaGeorge - Attracting Flies

If an alien were to land in our hometown seaside city of Portsmouth right now and we tried to explain to him / her / it exactly what pop music in the UK sounded like in 2013 we’d probably put forward AlunaGeorge as an example. With a nod to r ‘n’b, a tip to slightly warped pop, a Frank Ocean cover under their belts, working with Disclosure (the other duo du jour) to produce a bona fide credible big hitter with White Noise and featuring on both the BBC Sound of 2013 and the Blog Sound of 2013 polls, AlunaGeorge are undoubtedly of the moment. Of course that could just mean that they’re a passing fad and if they are then that’s fine with us, not all pop music can last forever. In fact anyone who loves pop music will know that the joy of it is forgetting about all the other crap in our lives and finding happiness in a beat, a lyric, a chorus, a tune and just enjoying the moment. If we start cataloguing if the songs are still going to be relevant in a decades time or how they compare to ‘the classics’ like The Beatles or Bowie (although so far the new Bowie stuff is good isn’t it?) we’re in danger of becoming a dull music expert and that’s not very sexy is it? And we want our pop music to be sexy. We want it to make us dance.

And Attracting Flies makes us dance. That slightly wonky we haven’t really got a clue what we’re doing but we’re feeling it type dancing that everyone with no natural rhythm does, especially after a couple of drinks. And remember everyone – the rules of pop chapter 7.2 state that the way a person dances is probably similar to how they have sex. Girls, just remember that when you see the man of your dreams shuffling around in an embarrassed uncoordinated way on the nightclub dance floor.

Taken from the album Body Music forthcoming on the 1 July, Attracting Flies is released on March 10. 

AlunaGeorge - Attracting Flies

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Little Boots - Motorway

From Kraftwerk (Autobahn) to St Etienne (Like A Motorway) to bald rave funsters Orbital naming themselves after the never ending M25, motorways and electronic pop music have always had a pretty good relationship. Rather like a stolen road traffic cone in a student’s bedroom that statement may sound pretty pointless, but that’s sometimes the way music rolls. It’s irrelevant to some, but bloody important to others. Right now we’re that drunken college kid lugging home that traffic cone; it’s really significant to us.

Here’s why; because yesterday the Vickster aka Little Boots aka Victoria Hesketh grabbed the keys and put her foot down on a piece of automobile related magic. It was always going to come wasn’t it? After all this is a woman whose surname also applies itself to a 1970’s formula one racing car team. It’s basically in her blood.

Taken from her forthcoming May released second LP Nocturnes which has been produced with the likes of DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy, Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Hercules and the Love Affair’s Andy Butler, Motorway is a gorgeously subtle and hypnotic piece of perfect pop music. It reaffirms our love for Little Boots and having road tested the song in our car last night we can confirm that it works better than any of those dad-rock driving compilation albums you can pick up in your local petrol filling station store. 

Now the question is will UK radio actually bother to play this song? Despite putting out way better than average tracks during the lengthly build up to the album (Every Night I Say A Prayer, Headphones, Shake) the idiots gods of radio playlisting seem to have decreed that the Vickster is no longer worthy of our ears. They are of course very wrong. Right ?

You can download Motorway for free by clicking here and giving your email address.

Little Boots - Motorway

Loreen - Heal (Video)

A couple of weeks ago we posted some thoughts on this year’s Eurovision song contest. Amongst those ramblings we mentioned Loreen’s Euphoria, a tune that we believe to be the best song to come from the competition for a very long time.

In the UK the event gets a bad rap and isn't taken seriously and therefore any future release by Loreen is unlikely to get much attention, which is a shame because Heal and its accompanying video deserve it. It's the best pop video we’ve seen this year and has a strong message. If you can’t unravel it, it’s about how sometimes in relationships we sneak around the problem, but the solution is always within ourselves; watch out for the frozen elephants! They are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

Loreen - Heal (Video)

Monday 25 February 2013

Valerie June - You Can't Be Told

Breaking More Waves One to Watch for 2013 Valerie June has recently revealed her new single You Can’t Be Told. Co-written by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Kevin Augunas (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes and Florence & The Machine) the song is a raw slice of mellow rock and blues carried off by Valerie’s incredible Tennessee belle drawl.

At Breaking More Waves we’re not really from the school that believes that good music has to be ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ (partly because when you start drilling down, nothing is as ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ as it seems), but if we were, Valerie would be ticking a lot of those very boxes. Irrespective of that, this song has a strange earworm effect on the brain; expect to find it lodging there after a couple of plays.

Valerie June has been out on the road recently supporting 'Mr Authentic' himself Jake Bugg and on March 5 plays her own headlining show at the 100 Club in London. We highly recommend that if you’re anywhere in the vicinity you attend this show not just because of Valerie, but because also the support act that night is another one of Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2013 and general all round UK blog-babe, Alice Jemima.

Valerie June - You Can't Be Told

Thursday 21 February 2013

The Brits 2013 - An Apology To The Rest Of The World

Moaning about the Brits being bland is like moaning about it raining in the UK. It’s kind of pointless but kind of inevitable.

So, because we’re British, here’s our moan and an apology to the rest of the world….

The Brits are all about applauding / selling what’s great and successful in British music, right?

So what is it that makes great British music? Is it the new boring of Emeli Sandé, Ben Howard etc ?

We don’t think so.

What makes Britain great is the weirdos, the oddballs and the quirky characters in pop that spark influence across the world. They may not always sell well but their root is much deeper and long term. But the Brits is ultimately a ceremony that celebrates sales success. It has never been about great artistry or originality. The new boring at yesterday’s ceremony are just replacing the old boring. Their performances were to please the masses, just as it has always been. Yet with rose tinted spectacles we remember the glorious exceptions such as The KLF with Extreme Noise Terror, Bjork with PJHarvey and Suede’s arse belting, microphone spanking, shirt ripping sexy glamour in 1993. They were the show-stoppers that resonated with us far more than Chris de Burgh doing Lady In Red or The Beautiful South performing A Little Time. Do you remember those? Exactly, that’s our point; the best moments of the Brits always come from the freaks. 

One year at the Brits Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers wore a t-shirt that declared his love for hoovering. Here was one of those freaks making a statement about how his band had entered the mainstream and the blandness of it all in a way that only someone like Wire could. Again the point is we remember that t-shirt, just like we remember Gerri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress at the Brits. These were important pop culture moments. Now, who can tell us what Ben Howard wore last night? I wonder if we’ll remember that (or him) in ten years time?

If it hadn’t been for Adele getting cut short last year, the 2012 Brit Awards would have been a sleek, well-polished entertainment show. But that moment was the biggest 'highlight'. In 2013 we got the 2012 show with even the smallest of errors removed. Gone are the days of Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood not having a clue what they were doing or Jarvis Cocker showing his arse to Michael Jackson. These were moments when TV was infiltrated with the eccentrics we spoke of. But they’ve been ironed out for the sake of professionalism and the chance of appealing to the majority. It's the new boring of not just music but popular entertainment full stop.

On behalf of British music fans that really care, we’d like to apologise to the rest of the world. Not for who won the Brit Awards, not for the glossiness of the ceremony itself, because the Brits will always be that way, but for not demonstrating to you in even just one single up your arse firework moment of brilliance that amongst the bland we’re still capable of producing outsiders and mavericks full of crazy-pop eccentricity. 

We hang our heads in shame.

Stornoway - Knock Me On The Head (Video)

Stornoway are due to release their second album Tales From Terra Firma on March 11th in the UK. Of the album lead singer Brian says: “The title of the album conjures up for me, the romantic notion of an adventurer, exploring new lands and reporting on his experiences. Discovering what it is to be human and an enthusiasm for adventure, which I feel is true of me.” This theme continues through the music of the record which is more ambitious and polished than the band’s debut, with less of the wide eyed innocence that Beachcomber’s Windowsill possessed. Whether Tales From Terra Firma finds a special place in people’s hearts as much as their debut did remains to be seen, but for now here’s the rather jaunty Knock Me On The Head, the obvious choice for a single from the record.  

The video starts with a weather based theme with cloud, snow, winds and Brian in front of a weather map depicting the two places that obviously mean a lot to the band, their home town of Oxford and (of course) Stornoway. From there it heads off into the world of fantasy. 

Stornoway - Knock Me On The Head (Video)

Kate Nash - 3AM (Video)

The videos from Kate Nash keep on coming. Following the recent collaboration with Watsky, 24 hours ago around 3am Kate revealed the film for her own single, titled after exactly the same hour. So in tribute to those night owls amongst you, we’re sneaking it up on the blog at the same time. Judging from our daily twitter feed there’s an awful lot of insomniacs out there, the ‘Aaargghh can’t sleep’ tweet being almost as popular as the cute pet / here’s a food-porn photo of my lunch / expensive cup of coffee. Of course we all know that these food tweets are basically just signifiers of status aren’t they? Witness the hundreds of photos on Valentine’s Day of couples romantic meals, most of which appeared to be steak, cooked by a man. It’s his equivalent of doing a barbeque in the summer isn’t it?

Anyway, we digress. So here’s Kate. At 3am. Eating ice cream and decapitating teddy bears. Why? Because a relationship has gone wrong. It’s a warning to all of you who tweeted / uploaded to Instagram a photo of your Valentines meal. No matter how blissfully perfect everything seems now, it doesn’t always work out. 

Kate Nash - 3AM (Video)

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Laura Welsh - Unravel

You can usually guess when something is happening for an artist with a deal or contracts or management or boring music industry business stuff when their previously available songs on Soundcloud or Bandcamp suddenly disappear. This is exactly what happened last year with Laura Welsh. After both ourselves and a handful of our independent UK blog loves including Flying With Anna (she’s like our gorgeous much younger sister), The Von Pip Musical Express (our funnier, wittier but grumpier brother), The Blue Walrus (our cousin that we’ve never met) all started getting hot-under-the-collar-excited about Laura (who had previously gone under the name Laura and the Tears) and then a few others from around the world came on board, the magic internet wand was waved and whoosh, the music was gone.

Until yesterday when as a new spell was cast and new material appeared.

Unravel is co-written and produced by Dev Hynes, he of Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion and Blood Orange who also recently produced Solange’s Losing You. It finds Laura singing like a cup of velvety hot chocolate, all smooth and rich and not that removed from the likes of Jessie Ware. Of course too many cups of hot chocolate can be either too comforting or too sickening and with our table already full of similar mellow acts to drink up like Rhye, London Grammar and Jessie herself, Laura is going to have to excel to stand above the crowd if the rest of her new material is similar to this. Thankfully Laura has strong set of pipes on her and Unravel is as good as anything on Ware’s debut, so on this evidence there’s a strong chance.

Laura Welsh - Unravel

Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30

This post is probably our most overdue ever. Public Service Broadcasting aka the wonderfully named  J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth are a band (band doesn’t seem the right word - project seems to suit them better) that have intrigued and engaged us with their past releases such as the strangely moving War Room EP and Everest, yet they’ve never made it onto the blog. The closest they got was on a playlist we compiled for Skeletory Blog which you can see and wrap your ears around here. Their eccentrically playful concoction of samples from public information films and archive footage combined with distinctive guitar sounds, electronics and drums have won them plenty of plaudits including many of our favourite blogs (The Metaphorical Boat and Alphabet Bands in particular have been big supporters) and the likes of Tom Robinson from BBC 6 Music and Janice Long on Radio 2. Without giving away too much of how votes were cast we can also reveal that PSB (yes they share their initials with one of our favourite electronic pop duo’s – hi Neil, hi Chris) also very nearly made the Blog Sound of 2013 long list. Oh, OK, we’ll admit it they were just one vote away from inclusion.

So today we’re righting our wrongs and tipping our hat in apology to Willgoose and Wrigglesworth as we feature their latest offering Signal 30. This time the vocal samples are from US road safety films including The Bottle & The Throttle and None For The Road. The last time we can remember a musical connection to road safety was pop DJ Jimmy Saville and his ‘clunk click every trip’ advert and in hindsight young people in the car probably had more to worry about than just a seatbelt, so it’s good to see Public Service Broadcasting bringing the thrills of speed and music back together in a far less worrying but exhilarating way. Signal 30 powers its way through three minutes and twenty seconds of foot to the floor guitar work that bodes extremely well for the bands mammoth 46 date tour starting this Thursday in Winchester. Breaking More Waves will be in attendance at that gig (as well as their Brighton show in May) so watch out for tweeted excitement over here.

The album Inform - Educate - Entertain is released on Test Card Recordings (probably the most appropriate name we could imagine for their label) on May 6th. Certainly in our case its release is highly anticipated.

Public Service Broadcasting - Signal 30

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Watsky - Hey, Asshole ft Kate Nash (Video)

Kate Nash seems to have a habit of confusing people. From her debut single Caroline’s A Victim (an almost non-song with just some simplistic beats and anti-cool lyrics with a pretty and sweetly acoustic B-Side in Birds) to a pure pop moment that jostled with Rihanna for number 1 (Foundations) to another (Under-Estimate The Girl) non-song that screamed, growled and gurgled like grandma-grunge on You Tube, rapidly generating equal amounts of love and loathing. Next up is her forthcoming Pledge Music funded girl-gang album Girl Talk which from the live performances we’ve seen will take references from lo-fi surf rock, garage guitars, pop and riot girl, distancing herself from those who loved Foundations and likely to lead to development of  a smaller but more hardcore audience. Maybe Kate might even end up as some sort of weird art-chameleon cult singer if she sticks at it?

If you’re amongst the puzzled then her next episode, a collaboration with San Francisco rapper and poet Watsky (the only recording artist we know who is releasing an album that will feature packaging that folds out into a cardboard castle), certainly isn’t going to provide you with any answers. “Will the real Kate Nash please stand up,” you might expect Watsky to rap.

But there’s a simple explanation for all of this; it boils down to creativity and energy. Nash has oodles of both and quite simply can’t stay still. It wouldn’t surprise us if after the next album she goes and records a full-on Kraftwerk inspired electronic album (OK, that’s a Breaking More Waves fantasy of the highest order, but let us live and luxuriate with it, everyone has to have dreams, but Kate if you do, we will leave our girlfriend and children and come and propose marriage to you, er maybe, well we'll think about it at least). However, whatever Nash does she probably won’t be able to help herself from occasionally sneaking in a sprightly pop melody and a little bit of potty mouthed attitude as well. She’s certainly done it again on Hey Asshole, a song about taking life’s punches and finding the strength to get up and keep searching for that pot of gold even when as Watsky says “ I don't see a f*cking rainbow and my coffee's cold.” You've got to eventually find the colour of life, just like this video does.

Watsky - Hey, Asshole ft Kate Nash (Video)

Ruen Brothers - New Waves

“I've been to Southampton but I've never been to Scunthorpe,” rapped Tinie Tempah, which is a shame because if he had he may have discovered today’s new band there. They go by the name of the Ruen Brothers, a moniker which is half true as Rupert and Henry (not the most rock ‘n’ roll first names we’ll agree) are siblings. Despite keeping the first names what they’ve actually changed is their surname (Stansall) but then Ruen Brothers just sounds so more powerfully star-like don’t you think? Like a movie by Tarantino perhaps?

Bringing the polo neck and jackets back into fashion in one single swoop, this duo may channel nostalgia heavily (ask your mum, dad, granny or granddad to get out their Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley and Rolling Stones records and compare and contrast) but on their dynamite track Aces there’s also a hint of more modern bands such as The Killers (in the vocal delivery), Kitty Daisy & Lewis (listen out for harmonica) and The Black Keys. OK, all of these bands all pilfer from the past but as we’ve argued time and time again there is very little guitar music these days that isn’t doing anything but following tradition. The important point is that Aces is raw, exhilarating and really rather great. It’s time for some gritty old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll to kick you in the ears. C'mon everybody.

Ruen Brothers - Aces

Monday 18 February 2013

Humans - New Waves

Today we’re introducing a duo from Canada who describe themselves as a ‘dynamic  live indie electronic pop act in the vein of LCD Soundsystem, Jamie XX and Junior Boys’. Having first released an EP Avec Mes Mecs back in 2010 Humans are hardly a new act, but their profile in the UK, where Breaking More Waves is based is relatively low, so it seems about time that we attempt to raise that a little. It will probably be upped a little further when Humans hit the UK’s shores this May.

The song that first grabbed our attention and streams below is the rather dextrous Possession. With its syncopated rhythms, grooves, vocal yelps and chants it draws comparison to California’s Local Natives if that band had ditched the guitars and organic sounds and instead embraced keyboards and computers. 

In fact Humans use a lot of keys and computers.  Their website lists all of the technology they use to create their music, and whilst there is mention of a guitar the remainder looks like a geeky tech kids wet dream with microKORG synthesizers, Roland SPD-S samplers, Korg Electribe ESX synthesizer/sampler, a Roland MC-505 groovebox, an Elektron Octatrack sampler, and the microKORG vocoder all getting a mention.

Yet despite this technology the name Humans sits with the band very comfortably. For whilst there are pounding beats and electronic licks throughout their highly danceable music their sound is never robotic, instead it possesses a looseness that makes their music seem very, well…..human.

Human’s most recent release is a cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game which will feature on a forthcoming mini covers EP which will also include the Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen. Watch the video at your peril. Warning – it contains lots of tongues, kissing, fluids, puppets and er…substances. You might find it a little gross.

Humans - Possession

Humans - Wicked Game (Video)

Sunday 17 February 2013

IYES - Glow

Brighton based duo IYES impressed us last November with their debut track Lighthouse and it seems that we aren’t the only ones nodding our heads in approval, as the song slowly developed a wave of appreciation on blogs throughout the winter and into January.

Now Josh and Melis have revealed a second song and it very much demonstrates that they’re not just a one trick pony, hushing any critics who may have been suggesting that Lighthouse was too derivative of The XX. Glow mixes xylophone, big swathes of glorious electronic  pizzazz and male and female vocals to create something that sounds both intimate and crowd pleasingly euphoric at the same time. Consider our socks well and truly knocked off.

Furthermore, before the band begin to get a backlash for being ‘another one of those bloody mystery bands’ IYES have been getting out there, showing people who they are and playing some gigs in their hometown which our sources tell us have been very well received. For those of us who haven’t been in attendance they have also revealed what they look like on line as well. They don’t look so bad do they? We’re particularly liking the fact that Josh is giving a clue to his sex by his hat.

Next up for IYES are those supposedly all important London shows, which in reality are often grim and disappointing things playing to a half-arsed-staring-into-their-mobile-phones-too-cool-for-school-crowd, with overpriced drinks, a crap stage and poor quality sound. Hopefully if that is the case at least with IYES they’ll have some glorious music to thrill with. Catch them at The Shacklewell Arms on March 2nd and Village Underground with the Wave Pictures on March 26th.

IYES - Glow

Violet - Where The Wild Things Grow

Wow. Just wow. If you’ve been put off Pixie Geldof’s band Violet because, well, it’s Pixie Geldof, then it’s time to rethink your thinking. New track Where The Wild Things Grow is one of the most gorgeous string laden torch songs we’ve heard for some time. Although Geldof calls it ‘a rough demo’ believe us there’s absolutely nothing rough about this. There’s a cinematic and serene beauty in this song, capturing the essence of a certain Miss Del Rey and Mazzy Star without ever being a poor man’s version of either.

We’re posting this on a Sunday morning because its languorous loveliness seems perfect for that just waking up or just going to sleep weekend moment. Music isn’t just about listening to a song, it’s about feeling it. Immerse yourself in Where The Wild Things Grow and let it touch you.

Violet - Where The Wild Things Grow

Friday 15 February 2013

First to the Post – Our Perspective on New Music Blogging ‘Firsties’

Over the last few months we’ve read (and have voiced) criticisms concerning the speed-rush amongst bloggers to post about an act or a song. We’ve hinted and suggested that there are too many blogs scurrying to upload to the web with absolutely no opinion, no voice, nothing of any interest or context to say about the music and with nothing in the post to entertain or interest the reader. Why visit a blog if it’s not adding a little bit of value in some way? All the blogs we enjoy don’t necessarily post music that we like all the time (everyone has slightly different taste) but we still visit those blogs because we value their voice and words.

Yet today we’re almost contradicting ourselves and explaining why for us, in certain situations, being the first is still a little bit important.

This is our own personal take. But to get more than a tunnel vision of things we canvassed the opinion of music bloggers on Twitter for their thoughts on being ‘first past the post’. Their views were many and varied and gave us food for thought, but ultimately haven’t changed our own ideas which we’ve set out below.

Our view is this: Being first is sometimes important to certain blogs including Breaking More Waves  – but only in our case as long as we’re providing some commentary of value and the first is our own 'natural' discovery found without assistance. 

But readers for the most part don’t care if we’re first or fifteenth. It's just a personal thing for us.

For example this week’s most read post by a country mile was our piece on Chvrches new song Recover, which we posted after plenty of blogs had already written about it. The reason it was our most read? Because people liked what we wrote and shared it via social media platforms, increasing traffic way above what a high Google search place or being first on Hype Machine would achieve.

So why, despite this example, is it important to us to sometimes be the first to discover something? There are two reasons and a lot of it hinges on the type / method of discovery.

First there’s the ego. Ultimately our ego is pretty huge (basically we think we’re a.m.a.z.i.n.g, sexy and pretty damn great) so it really doesn’t need feeding, but a little top up is nice now and then. As a blogger dealing in ‘the new’ sometimes there’s a small sense of pride and purpose in being able to say “hey this is really new and I am the first person to bring it to a wider audience.” Building a sense of ridiculous self-importance is kind of fun, as long as it remains just fun and we don’t begin to arrogantly believe that we really are the world’s greatest champion of new artists. “Look at me, see how on the case I am. You don’t need to listen to anyone else, just listen to what I have to say because I am the new music game changer.  In fact I’m going to change my blog name to The Tastemaker.” Nobody likes that level of smugness. But every now and then being the first to discover a new act or song and write about it feels great for us. Not everyone feels that way, but we do. Sorry, we can’t help what we feel. It’s just built in to our personality. We liken it to how John Peel must have felt, playing a record that hardly anyone had heard before on the radio. It excites.

But here’s the key point. When we use the word discover, there are different routes of discovery. We’re not talking about being the first to copy and paste some code a PR company has sent and claiming to be the first to discover the band. That type of discovery doesn’t mean anything to us. It’s not really what we would classify as genuine discovery. Sure the music may be great and worthy of getting excited about, but in terms of getting a real buzz and sense of satisfaction we’re talking about natural, unforced, organic discovery of great new artists, through means that aren’t led by the music industry or the artist themselves. That’s what personally gives us a sense of pride. As several bloggers told us on twitter, long searches through Bandcamp and Soundcloud may be time consuming, but like mining, when you hit gold it’s a thrilling experience.

Of course such discovery takes time. We’ve said this before and will continue to do so for a long time yet, but it’s the reason why many of the best ‘discoverers’ of new music are either students, the unemployed or those paid to carry out the function. Time rich = more chance of great discovery. Basically the longer you fish the better chance you have of getting a bite. Most of the best new music discovery blogs don’t have some innate skill at discovering great new music; they just have a better chance statistically.

For the rest of us, it’s often just a case of striking lucky now and then. Two of our favourite discoveries of the last two years have been the sweetly gorgeous Alice Jemima and the abrasive electronic blitz of Curxes (although Curxes have a softer and equally gorgeous side that has yet to be fully revealed), both of whom we found by chance (not through the inbox) and started writing about only to find that slowly and surely a lot of other bloggers (particularly UK based ones) came on board as well, leading to both acts becoming two of the Top 15 most blogged acts on Hype Machine in 2012 by UK bloggers. This has meant exposure and opportunities for both artists, something which we’re hugely proud of having been part of at the beginning.

Also (and again this is largely due to the ego and pretty much everyone ultimately wanting to be liked) it’s great when you’re the first to post about an act and that act responds to you with huge appreciation. “There’s nothing better than a brand new band going crazy over the fact you’ve written about them,” Josh from the excellent Crack in the Road blog told me, and he’s right. In fact Crack in the Road is a blog that prides itself on new music discovery. “A fairly high proportion of Crack in the Road posts are ‘first discovery’ pieces, and that’s where most of the traffic goes to,” Josh explained. It’s therefore no surprise to find that Josh also says that he gets a kick from being the first to find a band; however he also explained to me that he doesn’t understand the hype around being the first to post something from an already established act. It’s an observation we’d agree with, but that’s because being the first to post on an established band is more about your ability to cut and paste code quickly than hours of trawling to unearth new treasures organically.

And so there you have it; some simple reasons why sometimes we like to be first. In summary

1. It boosts our ego. (Although it's already big enough)

2. It makes us feel like we’re good at what we do (discovering new music).

3. It gives us pleasure to see those artists that we were first to discover and write about then grow their careers.

4. But most of all we love the thanks that comes from those artists that we post first about.

Of course for the masses that don’t write a new music blog (and for some that do as well) who is first is irrelevant. As one of our twitter followers (@Colourofbone) told us in less than 140 characters “No one cares. It’s an irrelevant badge and most people think anyone who boasts that sounds like a knob.” But then maybe they don’t write a blog and don’t know the effort and therefore pride that goes into discovering something great and new. When someone’s proud of something it’s sometimes hard to be humble about it.

To finish here’s a tale from a few months ago. Rizzle Kicks, a duo who have had big commercial success in the UK and are an act that we supported when Down With The Trumpets was just at demo stage, tweeted us out of the blue to say that they had never forgotten our early support. That tweet gave us a warm glow for the rest of the day - it encapsulated all of the reasons why for us; sometimes being the first to discover and post is important*

 *Even though in this case we weren’t the first! According to Hype Machine A New Band A Day got there way before us with Rizzle Kicks!

Rizzle Kicks - Earl Grey

London Grammar - Metal & Dust

Appearing seemingly out of the blue on pretty much every blog under the sun, Hey Now by London Grammar was a pretty impressive debut especially when, as it now seems, the track was only the B-Side of their debut 7” single Metal & Dust, which is released on the 25th February.

So now here we go with the lead track. Initially it’s easy to feel somewhat deflated, for the first two minutes sound like a fairly pedestrian piece of gentle soul, the sort of thing you’ll find on any number of chill-out compilations. Then as the song builds momentum, Hannah sings  “we argue we don’t fight”, the sound of sumptuous strings glide in and suddenly something special happens; we’re in a world not that far removed  from the brilliant Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack. That’s the point of take off. Fact: Unfinished Sympathy is one of the greatest songs ever written and if you’re even remotely close to the sheer wonder of that then that’s got to be some praise. Heading towards your record collection, soon. You can grab it quick by clicking here.

London Grammar will be playing Elektrowerkz in London on March 27 and are also confirmed for Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle this summer so far.

London Grammar - Metal & Dust

Thursday 14 February 2013

Tom Odell - Hold Me (Video)

Here’s the new video for Hold Me from Brits Critics Choice Award winner and more importantly (well to us anyway) Breaking More Waves One to Watch 2013 #6 Tom Odell.

Take a second to remember where you were and how you were feeling before you pressed play on this one; it’s important. For it’s the point where you make the momentous discovery that Tom Odell has made a radical change in direction. As you watch the video on the device of your choosing you will almost certainly be overcome with emotions in the same way that Dylan fans felt when he plugged in an electric guitar rather than an acoustic. 

For this (dramatic pause for effect)……. is the moment when Tom Odell abandons the chair and stands up.

Yes as unbelievable as it is, Tom Odell plays piano standing up on this one; at least for some of the time. At certain points he seems to have difficulty remaining on two feet, instead  crawling around on the floor (1.59) and there are moments in the video (such as at 0.50) where he does try to compromise a little so as not to alienate his original fans by seating his bottom down, which is odd because at other points (0.25 for example) there’s nothing to sit on, suggesting that someone failed on the continuity factor when it came to the piano stool in this video.

But then really nobody cares about these minor technical details like this on Valentine’s day do they? All we really want on this day of love is Tom Odell bashing away, looking at you in the eyes with deep meaningful intensity and as he does so and asking you to hold him. It’s a beautiful thing and ends with Tom spent and exhausted on the floor. Lovely.

Tom Odell - Hold Me (Video)

Pawws - Outside

Ah, it’s Valentine’s Day. Romance is in the air. Our suggestion?  If you’re not doing anything tonight, nip down to your nearest restaurant, look through the window and shout “amateurs” very loudly at all the couples sat in rows at tables. Because we all know that as far as relationships go Feb 14th is for novices, right?

It’s once you get into the nitty gritty of being an item that you really find out if you’re made for each other or not.

We’re not at that really getting to know you stage yet musically with Pawws. That takes at least an album. In fact today is only our second date after having first introduced Lucy Taylor last October. So we have no idea how things are going to pan out yet, but for now it’s going well, particularly with new demo Outside. This is a track that pulses and throbs as if it has been transported in time from 1980’s synth Britannia days, harnessing a calmly cool version of Madonna singing over the top.

So we’re a little bit in love with Pawws (or maybe as it’s the second date we should call it the chemical rush of musical infatuation) but we’re fully aware it could all go wrong. That’s sometimes how pop music works.

And sometimes it’s how relationships work as well. Most of those couples in that restaurant will probably be thinking that everything is glowing and perfect, but the reality is that candle lit dinners are just superficial. When it comes to the day to day workings of love, sometimes things don’t pan out. Just listen to the lyrics of this song. “You only see what you want to see.” “You said you will never let me down. “ “I guess it just didn’t work out.” Happy Valentine’s Day from Breaking More Waves.

If music be the food of love, play on.

Pawws - Outside (Demo)

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Haim - Falling

For just the first couple of seconds of Haim’s new single Falling you could be mistaken for thinking that you’re about to hear a reworking of Ultravox’s electronic symphony Vienna before their trademark rock-pop-r'n'b Ariel Rechtshaid produced and polished sound kicks in, complete with breathing “ah’s” and grooves that, like Madonna, you just know you’re going to want to get into. Yet despite the three singing sisters chirpy-pop persona’s, Falling isn’t all about joy lyrically. “Into the fire feeling higher than the truth, I can feel the heat but I’m not burning,” one of them sings as she admits that “I’m a slave to the sad heaven.”

By now you probably all know the Haim buzz trajectory. From SXSW, to blog buzz to Forever to their transcendent Great Escape performances to the BBC Sound of and Blog Sound of list top placings. Haim have gone up the mountain very quickly and no doubt there are those who are waiting at base camp for them to come falling (ouch) back down again. But we can’t see it happening with this song. It’s on par with Forever in our book, so it looks like there’s still time for Haim to enjoy the view from the top. 

Haim - Falling

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Siobhan Wilson - New Waves

Today we’re introducing the music of Siobhan Wilson to the blog. It seems an appropriate time to do so as yesterday evening we went to to see Glasgow based Frightened Rabbit, a band whose stirring crossover album Pedestrian Verse is one of our favourites of the year so far. So why does this post on Siobhan feel so timely? The answer is that Wilson has worked with Gordon Skene from said band on her rather exquisitely crafted 6 track EP (it's actually 7 as there's a bonus track with the download) Glorified Demons. The EP (or is it a mini-album, we can’t keep up with the correct terminology these days?) was released last year and is still available from her Bandcamp – although if you want one of the CD’s jump in quick as at the time of writing there are only 6 left.

Siobhan’s music has a sense of fragile intimacy and simplicity that allows each song to paint its own subtle colour, from the jealous country blue of All Dressed Up “I’m all dressed up tonight but you couldn’t even care,” (Caitlin Rose fans will probably approve of this one) to the gritty yellow of Soldier of the Night “all the girls are dancing, all the girls are laughing.” There’s occasional hints of Laura Groves aka Blue Roses in some of the songs songs (Breaking More Waves favourite album of 2009) particularly on the track Car Crash Two, which features elegant piano arrangements to accompany the wistful vocal. It's a composition that seems to be more based in classical music than the pop / folk / country / roots genre’s it would be easiest to file Siobhan's songs under.

You’ll be able to catch Siobhan out on the road soon as in March where she supports Willy Mason on a variety of dates including in Breaking More Waves home town of Portsmouth.

Siobhan Wilson - All Dressed Up

Monday 11 February 2013

James Blake - Retrograde (Video)

Remember 2010? It was the year when it seemed nearly everyone was getting excited about James Blake. People were murmuring “Mercury Prize nomination,” even before they’d heard the album. Which was silly really wasn’t it? Except it wasn’t that silly because that’s exactly what James Blake got in 2011. Having said that a lot of those who had buzzed with excitement about Blake being the future of pop music and the first UK crossover dubstep influenced producer then mocked Blake’s album for being boring. We vaguely recall someone even calling him the new Gary Barlow. Judging by the picture above this comment hurt Blake a lot - he looks pretty pissed off doesn't he?

Here at Breaking More Waves we found Blake’s record a rather more immersive experience, his stripped back production forming a warming and intimate listen, the album cropping up at number 8 on our end of year list.

Now Blake returns with Retrograde, from his forthcoming second release Overgrown which is due in April. The song continues his evolution away from those dubstep roots, delivering a sweetly soulful work that sounds very 2013 rather than 2010. You’ll probably want to put it on repeat for the rest of the day. Is it too early to start those Mercury Prize nominations suggestions again? Certainly on the basis of this track we’d say it isn’t. Retrograde is a beautiful and brilliantly assured song.

James Blake - Retrograde (Video)

Sunday 10 February 2013

Some Thoughts About Eurovision 2013

We know all the arguments about how music is an art form and art shouldn’t be turned into a competition, but those arguments are for those who probably also think that unless you own every record by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix then you’re not ‘serious’ about music. And frankly we couldn’t think of anything more boring than always being just ‘serious’ about music, because at its best music should be life affirming, glorious and yes, sometimes even fun.

And Eurovision is a lot of fun. 

The trouble is that most of us Brits translate the fun of Eurovision into fun of an ironic sort (because we’re too concerned with concepts of artistic merit and cool) or nostalgically fun. It’s the way Brits think about Eurovision that is as much to blame for our lack of recent success in the competition than anything else. We need to understand that it’s possible to combine being serious about music with having fun in the purest sense as well. If we could grasp this concept then there would be a number of obvious candidates for the UK to enter and win (yes actually win) Eurovision, the most blindingly obvious being Hurts. But (probably) our island mentality will never allow this to happen. One look at the number of You Tube comments in European languages on any Hurts You Tube video gives a clue as to why they could have a chance.

Come May, we’ll be getting our score sheets out and settling down in front of our TV to enjoy the experience that is the Eurovision song contest from Malmö, Sweden**. Sweden hosts the event following their 100% deserved victory by Loreen in 2012, which we’d argue was the best Eurovision song and performance in the last ten years.

It’s still early days as not all the entrants have been selected by their national heats, plus there’s still the semi-finals to get through for those who unlike the UK don't buy their way straight into the final, but from what we’ve seen so far Eurovision 2013 will have a Scandinavian victor again. We’re not quite sure what they put in the water up there but we have to hand it to them, the Scandinavian’s know how to do this stuff.

So here’s our early predictions.

The Winner – Norway

They may be the country with most ‘null points’ in Eurovision history, but not this year. Margaret Berger’s I Feed You My Love sounds like Kelly Clarkson fronting a dark electro-rock soundtrack. It's rather good. It’s also co-written by Karin Park which explains an awful lot about its goodness. 

Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love

Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love (Performance Video)

The Runner Up – Denmark

Whilst Emmelie de Forest’s - Only Teardrops doesn’t have the balls out ooomphh of Norway’s entry and feels to a certain extent like a tick box exercise in capturing votes across the continent ( Titanic-movie Celtic penny-whistle solo, ethinc boho-chic look, drummers, flames etc  - all elements that we’ve seen from past 12 pointers) it’s undeniably a reasonably or even more than reasonably catchy tune. And by an obvious logic if it does capture lots of votes across the continent for having all the right elements in it then it will end up winning.

Emelie de Forest - Only Teardrops (Performance Video)

But then really, asking a British new music blog for their opinion on Eurovision is a bit like asking a vegetarian to make a brilliant bacon sandwich isn't it. So maybe we'll shut up now and get on with what we're good at, whatever that is.

** This bit is a actually a lie. We'll be in Brighton at The Great Escape Festival at that time, but we'll certainly be catching up the day after on repeat.

Vaz - Let It Rest (Video)

We’ve been waiting for quite some time now for something new from Vaz, since the 9th July last year to be exact.

Now here it is.

It’s called Let It Rest. The video probably ticks quite a few hipster pop boxes, what with its triangles and symmetry and Swedish pop ladies. Are triangles still hip though? Or was that all so 2011 or even 2012? 

Have a look and listen and ask yourself, would you be able to let it rest with all that tribal clattering going on? We certainly wouldn’t. Not that we’d want to mind you.

Breaking More Waves was lucky enough to catch Vaz at their debut UK show last year, somewhere near a forest by the sea. We’re hoping that 2013 will see their return to our shores. For the moment the duo are simply stating that their upcoming shows will pop up on their website soon. Keep an eye (and ear) out for Vaz.

Vaz - Let It Rest (Video)

Saturday 9 February 2013

5 Reasons Why We Love Chvrches (OK It's Actually 9 Reasons Disguised As 5)

Last Wednesday Zane Lowe of  BBC Radio 1 premiered Recover, the new single from Chvrches. Moments later it was released to the internet for streaming. What happened next was a phenomenal speed-rush of writing as bloggers and website authors tripped over themselves to upload the song as fast as their copy and pasting fingers would allow them. The result? 24 hours later the song was number 1 on the Hype Machine chart and had clocked up over 70,000 plays on Soundcloud.

Now before you think that we’re about to launch into some sort of angry tirade about hype, buzz and the bandwagon jumping of the blogosphere, think again. Because it’s when blogs and websites act a collective force like this then their real power unleashes, exposing a song like Recover rapidly to thousands of music fans. In all the time we’ve been writing Breaking Waves (and before that its paper based fanzine little sister Breaking The Waves - the only fanzine to carry a 24 page review of a festival) we’ve never met an artist who hasn’t been grateful for the initial exposure that the professional and d-i-y media bring.

We haven’t rushed to post about Recover. There’s a variety of reasons for this; we’ve been fully occupied with ‘real life’ away from the internet, we didn’t see the point in quickly lobbing two quick sentences out just to say the same as everyone else, we didn’t want to interrupt our series on bands from the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition which was pre-written the weekend before and uploading one post a day during the week and finally because we have been in the lucky position of being able to hear Recover for about a week before its official release to the world wide web and so the need to gush excitedly had been placated a little by time.

However, let’s be clear. WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT CHVRCHES. Probably more excited than we’ve been about a band for some time. It’s why we put them at number 1 in our Ones To Watch for 2013 list.

Maybe it’s because we’re getting close to Valentine’s Day, but right here right now, we’re ready to declare our absolute love for Chvrches. They are our 100% our favourite band in the world right now.

Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Music should never just be a tick box exercise, but if it was, rather like one of those dating websites, Chvrches would be our perfect match. Synths. Cute female vocals. Scottish (we have a big thing for Scotland generally). Pop. 80’s referencing but also very of the moment. Job done.

2. Phrases like ‘intelligent pop’ and ‘credible pop’ never sit comfortably with us, because we believe that the greatest pop isn’t about intelligence or credibility but just about great songs. But Chvrches are very much making credible and intelligent pop music. It’s accessible and hooky, yet it doesn’t fall into the trap of being the generic indistinguishable heap of piss-poor averageness that passes for much of today’s modern day chart pop music.

3. Chvrches make great songs. (This is probably the most obvious, but it’s also the most important)

4. Beyond great songs there needs to be something else to make you fall truly in love with a band. Yes of course the music is the most important thing, but people didn’t fall in love with The Smiths, The Clash, The Manic Street Preachers, The Cure or hell even someone like Take That just because of the music. There are other reasons why you fall in love with a band. Here are some of the other reasons why we're gushing like a teenage fanboy about why we love Chvrches a lot. One: Even although we’ve never met them we imagine (and pop music is about imagination as much as anything else) that they’d be the kind of band that we could happily introduce to the parents but could also go for a massive night out in Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s in Glasgow and have an absolutely mental time with. Two: Chvrches seem like a band. Not two producers with some pretty girl stuck in the front. This is important. It’s hard to love two anonymous producers. It’s easy to love a band. Three: Lead singer Lauren has written a master's dissertation on images of femininity in women's magazines. We’re hoping that as time goes on she’ll be able to subtly use her obvious intelligence to make a difference in pop music. Four: Chvrches seem to be dealing with the hype very well indeed. Scotland has a habit of keeping people grounded in reality and whilst the band are obviously excited about what’s happening with their music, they don’t seem to be getting carried away with things at all.

5. Recover is the perfect track to put out right now. The general first day consensus seemed to be that whilst it was good; it wasn't quite up there with Lies and The Mother We Share. Having lived with the song for a short while we’ve come to a different opinion. It’s what we all call ‘a grower’. A big one. We're not sure where the chorus starts and the verse ends, it all just flows so perfectly. Maybe the "and if I recover will you be my comfort" bit is actually a pre-chorus and the part that starts "I'll give you one more chance," bit is actually the main chorus? But ultimately who cares about structure? We'll leave that to the musos. All we know is that we need to recover from Recover, we're going for a lay down. Phew.

Here it is, just in case you haven't heard it yet. From our favourite new band in the world right now.

Chvrches - Recover

* Footnote : Remember back in September when we suggested that wouldn’t it be rather brilliant if in the interests of dictionaries and angry English teachers everywhere Chvrches got together with Curxes ? Well they have. The south coast blitz-pop duo has produced what is known as the 1996 remix of Recover. It will be on the Chvrches EP due March 25th. We’ve been lucky enough to hear an advance copy of it and all we can say for now is that by putting together two of the finest C-word bad spelling groups the result is nothing short of spectacular. Expect the sound of naked robots raving with lazer throwing ghosts in a gigantic industrial theme park before they all go home together and boff (yes boff - it's a good word, we should use it more often) each others brains out in an all night shagathon. It’s our favourite remix of the year so far.