This Scottish singer songwriter’s emotional torch songs sound like the soundtrack to a gothic Wild West movie, and they’re utterly immersive. Welcome to the world of Laura St Jude.
This relatively new chanteuse from Glasgow, provides an interesting alternative to the vast majority of breathy ethereal singer songwriters that hit our earwaves these days. For Laura’s voice is sad and spectral, her twangy songs like a modern day version of Nancy Sinatra singing Bang Bang; and that is a very good thing.
Having already released her debut Fatal EP, Laura uploaded three new songs to Soundcloud on Sunday and it’s these tracks that grabbed our attention. There’s the haunting Mother, the seductively rich Devil’s Daughter (which streams below) as well as Town, which takes lyrical reference to Sparks as Laura sings “this old town just ain’t big enough for the two of us.” They’re all gorgeously melancholic and incredibly powerful without the need for Laura to express herself as one of those ‘big voiced’ singers like Adele or Florence. Laura’s songs create a subtle and majestic atmosphere; they have a shadowy flickering beauty that we could imagine being played in a dark candlelit chapel.
Laura St Jude will be playing the Great Escape Festival in Brighton on Thursday the 16th of May as part of a Showcasing Scotland show at the Dome Studio at 13.30 and on The Metro Hub Stage at the Festival Hub at 12.00 on Friday 17th. If you’re going, why not take yourself along and be prepared to be cast under her spell?
Blog Sound of 2013 long list nominees Seasfire returned to the fray this week with new single Oh Lucifer and it’s a bit of a devil. Less dreamy and lights turned down at 3am than their previous work, Oh Lucifer assaults with frazzling guitar riffs that get closer to the territory of bands like Muse or parts of the second (rather disappointing) Hurts LP. The electronic throbs and pulses are still there but with Oh Lucifer they’re taking a backseat.
Thumbs up to Seasfire for taking looking like a rock band seriously as well; leather jackets and fancy skew-whiff haircuts appear to now all be present. They’re not quite there yet though; Seasfire still need to get their shades on, whatever the weather, to become true connoisseurs of stereotyped rock cool and lead singer Josh is going to have to look less happy and more serious in these photo shoots. Josh, we know the ladies love a glint in the eye and the hint of a smile, but we're not here for that Ok?
If you want your ears pulverised by these riffs there are a couple of opportunities coming up. Seasfire play sexy Madame Jo Jo’s in London’s Soho alongside Curxes, Tourist and The New Union on the 7th May (grab your tickets here now) and they have also been added to the bill of the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, playing a late night set at Coalition on Friday 17th May at Coalition with Clean Bandit and Rainy Milo.
On Saturday 27th April the UK festival season kicked off properly with the inaugural Are You Listening? Festival in Reading, Berkshire. The polar opposite of the ‘other’ festival held at the end of August in the same town, AYL is an intimate multi-venue event featuring mainly local bands or artists having a connection to the area. At a price of just £10 for the whole day with all profits being donated to charity (Reading Mencap) it provided excellent value for those who can’t afford the exorbitant prices of the behemoth summer festivals.
Carrying on in a similar manner from last year’s festival coverage on Breaking More Waves here are 10 things we learnt about this new event:
1.Small is beautiful
Festivals often become victims of their own success. Bigger multi venue events can find punters spending nearly as much time in queues and having to plan rigorously ahead to avoid them. As a new kid on the block AYL suffered none of these problems, retaining the concept of how these events should work, with punters free to roam between the 7 venues with no at capacity issues. Yet getting a good balance of ticket sales versus capacity everywhere still felt busy enough to generate an atmosphere.
2.The stars were out in full for AYL.
We spotted Bono, Whitney Houston (back from the dead?) and Peter Andre during Bloom’s noodly indie set in The Purple Turtle. OK, they were on a TV screen showing videos to the side of the stage, but they were there in spirit, doing their bit for charity. Extra points to the birthday boy guitarist in Bloom who sported a rather fetching headband. Maybe he received it from his aunty for his birthday and had to reluctantly wear it to show his ‘appreciation’.
3.Reading appears to be in a drinks price time-warp
Was this 1998 again? £1.95 for a pint of cider in one venue. £2 for a pint of lager. We can’t imagine drinks being that price at the other Reading Festival.
4.Milk isn’t always necessarily healthy
If you fancied something more expensive to drink then the venue known as Milk was serving cocktails in glass milk bottles with a straw. We’re not sure if the other Reading Festival could compete with this either.
5.Bands often state the blindingly obvious
“Find us on Facebook and the internet.” It appears that the law is that every band in the country must say this during a performance. Come on bands, let’s have some more interesting banter or otherwise say nothing at all please. You think a lot about what and how you play - give some attention to the space between as well.
6.When it’s for charity nothing matters too much
Despite a few cancellations, including two of the bigger names on the bill (The Good Natured and Mt Wolf) nobody seemed to really mind. After all, it was all for charity, spirits were high and the organisers did a pretty decent job of communicating the cancellations (better than some larger well established festivals) and finding replacements to fill the slots.
7.Boys in the band indie rock dominated at AYL
As Elephants Are widescreen guitars were the metaphoric equivalent of a sonic air-raid, trying to find a bigger place, whilst Coastal Cities (pictured) off key yelps found a hooky charm when combined with synth subtlety and jittery hip-shaking guitars. In fact everywhere we looked there were men with guitars.
8.Tweeting about the weather at a festival is a risky business in the UK
“What a lovely sunny day at a festival.” Don’t ever tweet things like this. Two minutes later it will rain. (Thankfully it was only for a few minutes).
9.When there’s no danger of a queue at this type of event it’s fine to turn up just as an artist is about to start
Ex-My Luminaries man James Ewers’ new project is known as Lonesound and for a while it looked like the name couldn’t be more apt. Five minutes before he was due on stage the total size of the audience numbered two. Thankfully there was a last minute rush and Ewers demonstrated depth in lyrical delivery and his ability to pen a tune as he performed to a hushed appreciative crowd in the Reading International Solidarity Centre.
10.Despite all the male dominated indie rock at AYL, there were subtler softer delights to be discovered.
The gentle tones of Haze’s lounge pop provided a moment of respite against all the bluster. Imagine Nina from The Cardigans cooing at a keyboard and vocally you’d be getting close to the mark.
If AYL is to become a regular event or simply a one-off, we don’t know, but we can’t fault 2013's for starters. Value for money, raising cash for charity, highly enjoyable, with a relaxed unpretentious friendly atmosphere and some great music; Are You Listening? is a welcome new addition to the festival calendar.
Here's one of our discoveries from AYL. The lovely Haze.
Is Laurel Arnell Cullen Britain’s answer to Lana Del Rey? Certainly there’s no denying that her song Blue Blood, the first new material since we introduced her almost a year ago with her song Next Time (here) carries many of the hallmarks of Lizzy Grant. From the way she sings “now we're filthy rich, sitting on the tail end of love,” in that same breathy coy girlish voice that the American songstress has used to some effect, to the haunting strings, pianos and beats, the similarity is obvious.
But irrespective of if the south coast singer is simply bandwagon jumping or not, Blue Blood is rather good; it’s full of emotional charge and musical restraint. “You made me feel again, made me dance circles, round the pieces of your heart,” coos Laurel of her beau. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another year for a further song, but it seems not, more new material may be on its way. Apparently she only wrote Blue Blood last week, produced it herself and uploaded it in what seems to be a moment of unbound spontaneity.
However, in the year that has passed from when we first featured her on Breaking More Waves a lot does seem to have happened. She inked a deal with Turnfirst Recordings, has been beavering away under the radar writing and recording and has played a few low key London shows. Also rather amusingly she was featured in The Sun newspaper as a ‘mystery blonde’ alongside Conor Maynard (another Turnfirst artist). Thankfully though Blue Blood is a long way musically from anything Maynard has released.
Although the band themselves may or may not be maestros of the dance floor boogie, their name isn’t one you’d associate with being ‘in da club’ really is it? Maybe in some warped other-world Bridie hangs out with David Guetta or Skrillex, just next to where we’re writhing about semi-naked in a foamy hot tub with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on a terrace in an expensive minimalist architect designed villa halfway up a mountain. But this is the internet and the internet is real life isn’t it? We’ll let you decide on that one.
But there’s some new music (of sorts) out there and it’s a bit of a surprise, it’s a remix. Taking the marvellous Please Forgive Me My Human Ways, an acapella track from the band's long player Bitter Lullabies, we were expecting a travesty. Bridie Jackson’s sound is arguably not one to be messed with, its purity and sparseness in danger of becoming soiled by adding anything at all.
But wait, this remix works. Why? Because it doesn’t take the obvious route of adding some glitchy beats and of the moment samples, but instead develops the original giving it an electro-blues feel. It’s not the sound of being in a club but the heavy night gone wrong walk home afterwards.
You can buy it from Bandcamp here, alongside the original and a live version of their song Mucky for less than the price of a pint of beer (or possibly even a half if you live in London). Bargain.
Bridie Jackson & The Arbour - Please Forgive Me My Human Ways (Roxby's Wonky Remix)
Everything these days has to be an ‘experience’ doesn’t it? We’re bombarded with the word. Marketing men have us believe that nothing we do can be done unless it is one. Having a cup of coffee is no longer just having a cup of coffee but has been elevated to the heights where companies exist to claim that their “whole life revolves around creating a unique coffee experience for the customer.” We no longer talk of going to the shops, but a “shopping experience.” Even music festivals have become part of the experiential marketing trick.
So it’s easy to be cynical when we say that going to see Arrows of Love live is an experience. But it is.
An Arrows of Love show is a noisy, chaotic, trashy, sexy, loud, intense, dark, not-sure-what's-going-to-happen-next, art-punk riot.
Arrows of Love is a band that appears to play for kicks and nothing else.
Arrows of Love is like a cartoon band that came to life but they’re 100% real as f*ck.
Arrows of Love is the sort of band that if you invited them to meet your parents would dive straight in and have full-on screaming orgasm drug-laden sweaty sex with each other whilst mum and dad were cooking Sunday roast and then they'd have them join in for pudding. (Actually they’re probably really quiet clean cut chartered accountants outside of the band, but that’s what we imagine.)
Arrows of Love don’t do dextrous musical proficiency, soft melodies and laptop driven glitchy beats. They probably drink from the bottle not the glass. (We're talking wine here)
Arrows of Love have a drummer who looks like he’s stepped out of time capsule that states ‘1970’s rock band,’ and he’s fantastic.
Arrows of Love have two women who you just know were the two coolest kids at school; and still are now.
Arrows of Love appear to teeter on the edge of everything, but that’s what makes them so compelling. Arrows of Love don't just use the stage they use the venue.
Arrows of Love are not for the faint hearted.
Arrows of Love will chew your ears off and you’ll love it.
Arrows of Love play the Great Escape in Brighton at The Hope on Saturday at 21.45 (so if you can’t get in for what is bound to be an oversubscribed show by Chvrches at the same time, here’s something different to consider.) They're also on tour right now.
Arrows of Love are an experience.
*Footnote – do not be misled by the gentle sound of most of The Knife. Listen to the lyrics and wait for the song to explode.
Arrows of Love - The Knife
Arrows of Love - Illusionist (Live)
This was our final post on artists that are playing this year's Great Escape that we've never featured before.
Yesterday we featured one soulful songstress who you’ll be able to find at this year’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton (Lulu James) and today we featuring another. And guess what? She’s rather good indeed. Her name is Moko, take note of that. Not to be confused with Brian Molko of Placebo or with Moloko, probably most famous for their disco hit Sing It Back, often thought of as being called Bring It Back.
Although Moko does bring it back; to the early 90’s to be precise. That period is painted all over the rather fantastic Freeze, the song paying a huge amount of homage to Massive Attack and their classic debut album Blue Lines. You can hear the same brooding soulful melody, gentle chords and (as the song progresses) reach for the sky beats as the Bristolian legends used to purvey. Add to that the equally perfect Summon The Strength and we’re already stamping ‘big things will happen’ on this 21 year old from the New Cross area of London, as bloggers like to do.
Besides the Great Escape, where Moko plays at seafront club Coalition on the Saturday night, she has two other confirmed dates on May 2nd at XOYO, Shoreditch, London and May 3rd at the Green Door Store also in Brighton.
Featuring Lulu James in our introducing section of the blog that we call New Waves seems like a misnomer. After all this is an artist that first cropped up on our radar at the back end of 2011 and we caught live in 2012 - she's hardly fresh out of the box now is she?
However,the remainder of this week’s blog posts feature artists playing the 2013 Great Escape Festival (which we previewed yesterday) that we recommend but have never featured on the blog before. In fact Lulu played the Great Escape in 2012 and we nearly posted about her then, but we weren’t fully convinced at that stage. Her 21st century soul voice has always been powerfully creamy but her early material such as The End and Rope Mirage whilst being sleek and sophisticated productions, just didn’t quite deliver in the tune department. Music industry types would probably suggest that she was an artist ‘still under development’.
Yet if that was the case, now it feels and sounds like that development is complete. The midnight smoothness of Be Safe, released through Black Butter Records matched unquestionably spot-on contemporary production with a lovely melody that stuck around in the brain even when the song had finished. Then the electronic-disco of recent track Closer stepped things up several levels and took us to the dance floor with a very mid 90’s soul-pop groove. With these two songs and a fully assured performance in a candlelit chapel at the end of last year, we were left in no doubt of Lulu’s talent. A blog post has been overdue ever since. So with this Geordie lass taking to the boards alongside one of our biggest blog crushes Chvrches as part of the Neon Gold / Chess Club showcase at Digital on Brighton’s seafront as part of the Great Escape, it makes sense to finally feature her on Breaking More Waves without it feeling like a misnomer at all.
If you love new music and are based in the UK, then Brighton’s Great Escape is undoubtedly the festival to attend. The single wristband multi-venue event was established in 2006 and has grown and developed to become the largest of its sort in Europe. This year it encompasses performances by 350+ emerging national and international artists, as well as a full supporting music industry convention.
In past years Breaking More Waves has witnessed the likes of Adele playing in a small coffee shop to no more than 100 people, Mumford and Sons on a bill that also included Laura Marling, Noah and The Whale and Jay Jay Pistolet (Justin from The Vaccines former solo effort) and one of Haim’s first UK shows in a brutally sweaty nightclub basement. This festival provides a great opportunity to catch tomorrows stars today plus a small number of more established acts which this year include the likes of the Klaxons, Billy Bragg, Everything Everything and Bastille.
The Great Escape can for the uninitiated be a minefield. There are so many bands on the bill, many of whom even the most ardent new music enthusiast won’t have heard of. Then, because of the event's popularity there's the potential of getting stuck in the queues. Every year we hear moans of punters being left outside unable to get in to a venue as they reach capacity. However with a bit of advance planning these problems can be avoided.
Step 2 is to start planning. Unlike many festivals The Great Escape publish the timetable for all stages and well in advance. You can see the timetables here.
Bear in mind that with the exception of the Dome (for which an upgraded ticket is required) and the Corn Exchange many of the venues are small and once they are at capacity you’ll find yourself queuing until someone comes out. So if there is someone you particularly want to see and they’re an act that have had lots of media coverage and on line buzz, arrive in plenty of time. Last year for the likes of Grimes, Alabama Shakes and Friends if you weren’t in the queue for doors opening you risked missing them, left on the streets outside. This year we'd put money on the likes of Tom Odell and Chvrches being in the same position - don't say we didn't warn you if you are planning to see these acts. Also allow enough time for travelling from venue to venue. It can take 15-20 minutes to walk from the more northerly venues such as The Green Door Store to those on the seafront such as Digital.
We also recommend that you follow Great Escape on Twitter and set your phone to receive text notifications of their tweets during the course of the event. In previous years the Great Escape operates a text update system which is a useful tool to subscribe to, although this hasn’t been announced yet this year. It's one way of finding out last minute line-up changes and when venues are at capacity. There's also a free app which you can store your timetable on and share with your friends. We'll be updating our timetable as we get closer to the date but if you want to see what we're planning on seeing go to the friends section of the app and add Breaking More Waves. Alas the app doesn't include the Alt Escape acts only the core programme so you will see big gaps in our schedule!
For the rest of this week Breaking More Waves will be featuring some acts that are appearing at Great Escape that may be worthy of your attention. All of these acts haven’t featured on the blog before and hence will be the subject of one of our regular New Wave features. Of course there’s a plethora of bands playing the event that we have already featured and they all come recommended by us. These acts include Chvrches, Misty Miller, London Grammar, Curxes, Chasing Grace, Josh Record, Indiana, The Other Tribe, No Ceremony ///, Embers, IYES, Bear Cavalry, Fear Of Men, Deap Valley, Nina Nesbitt, Fight Like Apes, Wall, Luke Sital-Singh, Duologue, Eliza and the Bear, Halls, Chloe Howl, Sons & Lovers and Night Engine to name just a few.
Today’s recommendation comes from Scotland. Holy Esque is a Glaswegian four piece and stand out from the majority of the guitar toting crowd by virtue of Pat Hynes’ unique rasping vocal, majestic layered riffs and gargantuan sonically shattering tunes. They are playing at the ridiculously early time of 15.30 in the afternoon on the opening Thursday at the Dome Studio, or for late nighters 00.45 on the Saturday night at the Blind Tiger. What better way to start (or finish) your weekend? Goosebumps may come early (or late) depending on your situation.
The Great Escape takes place between 16th-18th May tickets are available here. We'll be tweeting from the event on our twitter and will be posting day by day reviews shortly after they've happened.
First there was Chvrches, now here’s another Scottish three piece demonstrating that stereotyping our friends from Alba of only being capable of kicking out nothing but great indie guitar / rock bands is way off the mark. Prides, a three piece from Glasgow hit hard and hooky with their debut track Out of the Blue. It’s a rewarding mix of raw synth pop and chanted vocals that to paraphrase LCD Soundsystem sounds like Prides would be singing “Well Yazoo is playing at our house, our house.” At the time of writing it has about 700 plays on Soundcloud. Probably 100 of those are due to Breaking More Waves going at it on repeat like a synth starved monkey. Our neighbours are probably getting very annoyed – we’ve been playing this one loud.
So who are Prides? A little bit of digging (one quick Google search) suggests that two of their number are Stewart Brock and Lewis Gardner who previously went under the name Midnight Lion, but now they’re a three piece with Stewart and new member Callum sharing vocals. Having launched just a few days ago the band have a small number of shows in Scotland lined up (the brilliantly named Brew At The Bog in Inverness on 4th May and then Stag & Dagger in Glasgow on 18th May) but for those of us down south we’ll just have to wait a bit, but hopefully those gigs will come. Until then, we'll just keep pressing play on this one. "Well Prides is playing at our house, our house."
Baz Luhrman’s version of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a tale of garish American society in the roaring 20’s starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan is undoubtedly going to be one of the major cinematic blockbuster releases of 2013. From a musical perspective it comes with a big hitting soundtrack as well, including the likes of Jay-Z, The XX, Jack White, Florence & The Machine, Sia and the wonderful Lana Del Rey who today revealed her contribution Young & Beautiful in full.
Young & Beautiful is classic Del Rey – seductive sultry vocals and a sound that just oozes class. When we first wrote about Lana back in May 2011 (a post which has gone on to be one of our most read in Breaking More Waves near five year existence) we wrote this: “Listen to her songs and you’ll probably be struck with the imagery of cocktail parties, cool looking men dancing with even cooler looking girls, jazz clubs, gangsters, fashion shoots for high-class magazines, drug deals and sad lonely Hollywood film stars.” Now with the arrival of The Great Gatsby most of that imagery is about to become a reality.
Equally breathtaking is the alternative orchestral version of the song. You know that situation when your friend meets a new partner and selfishly declares to you that they’re not going to be able to see you as much now because they’re going to concentrate on their new relationship? Well it’s a bit like that for us and our music collection; right now we’re just playing Young & Beautiful and really don’t have time for anything else – sorry other bands and music in general, but this is just drop dead gorgeous.
Lana Del Rey - Young & Beautiful
Lana Del Rey - Young & Beautiful (DH Orchestral Version)
Today we start our festival previews for 2013 and what better way to start with than the Reading Festival? No, not THAT Reading Festival, but the altogether smaller, easier to survive, all for a good cause Reading Festival that is known as Are You Listening?
Are You Listening? is a brand new one day multi-venue event that will take place on Saturday the 27th April in 6 venues within Reading town centre with all proceeds being donated to Reading Mencap, a charity for children and adults with a learning disability.
The event showcases a variety of local artists as well as a few bigger names, a number of whom have featured on Breaking More Waves in either the recent or distant past.
As with all multi-venue one day events all the loathsome parts of traditional outdoor camping music festivals can be thrown out of the window. Everyone will be clean, look pristine and smell good, queues for portaloos won’t be a consideration, nobody will care about the weather and afterwards punters can all retire to a warm, safe bed for an undisturbed night’s sleep rather than finding some loved up drug loon blabbering small talk at the top of their voice two feet away from your tent all night.
Are You Listening? acts as a gentle warm up for some of the bigger multi-venue festivals that hit the UK over the next couple of months such as Great Escape, Sound City and Dot to Dot. What better way to spend £10 than catch a days’ worth of live music safe in the knowledge you’ve also helped a charity? Some of the bands on the bill would be near the ticket price just to see on their own, so this really is a bargain. Last week the organisers announced they had sold 100 advance tickets so far. We’re pretty sure that both they and Mencap would love plenty more sales than this, so if you’re free and in the Reading area on Saturday 27 April why not grab your ticket here.
Update: The festival now has a new website here where stage times can be found.
Acts include As Elephants Are, Dan Le Sac, Perfect Life, Mr Fogg, Stagecoach, Haze and Tripwires as well as these 3 recommendations from Breaking More Waves.
The Good Natured
Anyone who’s had the opportunity to see The Good Natured live recently will know that lead singer Sarah has become quite the front woman. Expect arms aloft crazy dancing and pop tunes that bubble around the edges like 5-HT below.
Mt Wolf mix gentle acoustic sounds with electronics and beautiful female vocals to create eye widening and inspiring songs. They created significant on line buzz last year with their debut EP Life Size Ghosts and have just followed it up with a second - the rather wonderful Hypolight EP.
If indie rock is your thing but you’re partial to a bit of twitchy hip thrusting on the dance floor then Coastal Cities will be your thing. For fans of Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, The Drums and the like.
As with all festivals that we preview, we’ll be bringing a review of Are You Listening? shortly after it finishes. You’ll probably also find us doing some as it happens tweets here.
Jess Higgs, better known as George Maple follows up the rather seductive twosome of Fixed and Uphill (featured here) with a new collaboration with North London producer Snakehips. The song’s blissed out after-club electronic r’n’b atmosphere and soulful vocal delivery bring an immediate comparison with Jessie Ware but with the sound of an old school console game blasting away giving it a slightly trippy electronic feel. It’s as if Snakehips has been soaking up sun-drenched good times down on the beach and the seaside attractions then taken them home and fingered them into his laptop. Give it six months and it will probably be cropping up on all those horrendous chill out compilation CD’s they sell in garages and we’ll be sick of it, but let’s just enjoy the ride for this moment and not worry about the future. This billowing beauty sounds fabulous.
The Scottish Ellie Goulding? Well, certainly Eilidh Hadden’s song Close To Home is going to draw comparisons, but as far as tunes go this is a blinder. It’ll take about twenty seconds of listening before you’ll be calling a surgeon, because the ‘ha-oh’ hook that Eilidh chants will be lodged so dangerously deep in your brain the only way of extracting it will be to cut it out. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
So who is Eilidh Hadden? The little we’ve been able to find out so far indicates a musical family background and some early recordings as part of Creative Scotland's Youth Music initiative with producer Andrew Mitchell. Eilidh was invited to record three songs at An Tobar Studios on the Isle of Mull, the results of which (Between Those Lines, Never Be Your Home and Cannibal) found their way onto her debut EP last year. There’s also a couple of cover versions on You Tube, but it’s with Close To Home that Eilidh really begins to take on the world.
It seems that it isn’t only our ears that are pricking up to Close To Home, the song having received airplay via Amazing Radio and Radio 1 via the BBC Introducing route, it has also somewhat bizarrely been on the TV during an episode of Made In Chelsea as well as getting some words via the Edwards The Confessor blog, who originally brought Eilidh to our attention.
OK, get ready stomping drums and perfectly placed electronics, here comes Eilidh Hadden.
One of the things we love about Savages, one of Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch for 2013, is they’re a band that present a set of beliefs through their art. Their manifesto includes the notion of determined focus in a world that is full of stimulations and distractions. From their requests to punters at gigs not to take film or pictures with mobile phones (see above), to their singularly intense music, Savages are practicing what they preach.
The newly released film for the song Shut Up spells out Savages rhetoric further. Watch, enjoy and take note.
The band’s debut album Silence Yourself is released May 6th.
Today we’re introducing a new band called Lexy & The Kill. Here are 10 facts / opinions / things we may have elaborated about them that you need to know.
1. Lexy & The Kill hail from Glasgow but like Dick Whittington and his cat headed to London where the streets are paved with gold to seek their fame and fortune.
2. Unlike Dick Whittington there is no cat in the band. But the bit about London and the gold really is true, especially in Hammersmith. Honestly.
3. The group has already supported Paloma Faith and We Are Scientists. We assume that this fact means that they have played live with these artists, not that We Are Scientists were about to fall over and Lexy & The Kill built a scaffold to keep them upright or that they cupped Paloma’s bra-less breasts to stop them looking like udders.
4. They have just released a new video for their song We Can Dance Alone which is about unrequited love and was produced by the Nexus (who has worked with Lana Del Rey and Hurts). If you don’t know the Nexus, wait for it...... one of them is David Sneddon, the winner of the BBC’s Fame Academy show in 2002. Don’t let that put you off though, Sneddon has developed a career away from the limelight as a very successful songwriter.
5. We Can Dance Alone is a stomping, ballsy number and we’re guessing would sound toweringly good live, especially as Lexy has a fine set of vocal chords on her.
6. The band’s music isn’t all full throttle fist pumping rock pop though. Black Dog, the song we’re streaming below via Soundcloud nuzzles more gently against the ears.
7. They sign their emails to bloggers “Lots of love Lexy and the Kill xox.” Which is nice. We can’t imagine Jay-Z doing that can you? But then he’s a busy man and probably doesn’t spend his time reading or writing to music blogs.
8. The promo picture we received for Lexy & The Kill only features Lexy. We assume that either The Kill are very shy, very ugly, very busy and couldn’t make the shoot (maybe they were hanging out with Jay-Z?), or maybe Lexy has murdered them hence the band name.
9. Just to check our statement about the cat earlier we did five seconds of detective work on Google searching for Lexy & The Kill Cat to see if we could find if any of their number owned one, but that simply led us to watching video streams of this bunch of dodgy misfits.
10. If Paloma Faith's breasts ever did look like udders, the same elongated sag could happen to Lexy's ears if she continues to wear earrings like the ones in the picture.
Last night London Grammar’s new song Wasting My Young Years was made public to the internet. Ten minutes after release we witnessed the usual blog scrum that occurs when a band with a deafening internet buzz uploads new material. Sometimes it’s the volume of the buzz that is the problem, with too many bloggers cutting and pasting code for quick hits and ‘firsty’ status rather than giving themselves time to really get to know the music which can then turn out to be distinctly average.
So we’ve lived with this one for a few hours to make sure. We’ve let it breathe and take us on a journey and yet ultimately at the end of the road we've come to exactly the same conclusion as those who posted within seconds of hearing it.
Wasting My Young Years is less pop than either Metal & Dust or its b-side Hey Now, but if anything is more dramatic, confident and atmospheric than their debut single. It’s a song that manages to sweep in introspection and soar with beauty; Hannah’s striking voice the focal point being full of both soul and mysticism. Consider us knocked sideways.
Imagine this played in a church by the seaside. How glorious would that be? Well, London Grammar will be doing exactly that next month at Brighton’s Great Escape festival. We’re expecting that one to be oversubscribed. See you near the front of the queue if you’re going. That won’t be a waste of your young (or old) years.
Yesterday was a pretty exciting day for fans of new music as Brighton’s Great Escape unveiled a crop of new additions and its timetable for the event. You can find that here. We also have an unofficial downloadable spreadsheet (created by our DJ buddy and all round good guy JC Carter) which includes easy to use tabs for artists, venues and day timings which you can grab here.
The Alternative Escape compliments the core programme of the Great Escape and squeezes even more live music into the schedule, with further gigs, club nights and one off shows taking place across an additional 15+ venues. The 2013 Alternative Escape finds a number of blogs, festivals and promoters putting on their own shows and features a wealth of talent on its own. Acts playing the Alternative Escape include Curxes, Fear of Men, Mt Wolf, Bear Cavalry, Duologue, Night Engine and Fight Like Apes all of whom we have featured before.
It was during the course of listening to some of the artists on the Alternative Escape bill that we weren’t familiar with that we came across today’s new wave, London’s Josef Salvat (who has a Google friendly name - we wonder if its his real one?). It seems that we’ve completely missed the boat with Salvat, Hype Machine revealing that he’s already been picked up by a number of big influential blogs since the beginning of the year. A quick peek at his Facebook also tells us that Salvat has a big PR company working for him, so actually it’s no surprise to find that he’s already made it on the blogs. So we fail at this blogging game, at least a bit. This is the price we pay for only reading about 2% of the 100's of weekly emails we receive. Yet irrespective of PR company or other blogs we pass as well, because Salvat stood out amongst the acts we hadn’t heard of before in our hours worth of listening of Alternative Escape artists we didn’t know.
*A subsequent check of our in box today reveals an email from Salvat’s PR company – it’s funny how things come together isn’t it?
So, (finally) to the music. Salvat sings the kind of songs that Hurts might have made if they’d done downers and ditched the guitars. It’s heavy-hearted pop, another example of what Pop Justice would call pop music for people that don’t like pop music and although we understand what Pop Justice means we think they’re wrong. It’s more a case of differentiating between good pop (Chvrches, Little Boots, Girls Aloud, Lana Del Rey, Charli XCX, Bastille) and bad pop (Olly Murs, The Saturdays, The Wanted, The Script) (although arguably The Script are so average and so boring they don’t really classify as bad pop just average no-point pop-rock which is actually worse than being bad pop in many ways). So there you have it; Salvat is good, albeit melancholy. There’s a danger he could become part of the new boring set pretty quickly, but his new song Hustler is positively compelling. We couldn’t imagine Ben Howard singing “I’ve got the body of a lover with a masochist's brain,” for example.
Josef Salvat plays The Fishbowl pub as part of the Alternative Escape on the Friday afternoon at 3pm. We’ll be previewing the Great Escape in detail in the next few weeks. Josef Salvat - Hustler
Born. Crawl. Walk. School. Sing. Play. That’s the simple biography that Brit-synth duo Thief ration us with on their Facebook page. In fact Thief appear to be to be keeping everything contained, from the minimal information they give away about themselves on the internet to their alluring icy synth pop tunes. Sung with a cool and slightly expressionless tone like a Lykke Li 2.0 in training, the sound of Thief is dominated by big slices of back to the future pulses and keyboard kisses. It might not sonically be full of the dirt and heat of rock ‘n’ roll but then neither were Kraftwerk; the man (or woman) machine can still be very seductive without the sweat. Plus let's not forget the words being sung, Friend / Lover is at a very primitive level about wanting sex.
Based in Holloway, London, Thief is Charlotte Mallory and Fin Munro (Londoner's may recognise Fin's name as the founder of the Bad Sex Club night at Camden's Proud).We first came across them a few days ago thanks to the ever flowing mine of new music discovery that is Crack In The Road who get their second mention on this blog in just a few days after we reported that Josh from the site was the first to find the Jai Paul unauthorised Bandcamp leak. You can read a recent interview with Josh about his views on blogging here – his obsessive cataloguing of new bands via an Excel spreadsheet takes new music blogging to even higher levels of geekiness. So many thanks to CITR for another discovery and making it easy for us to pass Thief on to you. Let's just hope that this Bandcamp stream, unlike Jai Paul, is fully authorised.
Whilst Breaking More Waves mainly deals in the currency of new music the other two areas we focus on, although to a lesser extent, are slightly more discursive articles and coverage of summer festivals.
2013 has already been a tough year for UK festivals with a number of small to mid sized events that we've attended in the past including Summer Sundae, No Direction Home and Festi Belly all announcing they are taking a year out. There has also been wide spread criticism that many festivals are playing safe and booking established heritage acts for headline slots rather than letting newer bands step up to the next level. However when festivals do so they are often derided for their choices. For example witness the backlash against Mumford & Sons headlining Glastonbury. The reality is of course that in difficult economic times festivals are less likely to take risks. With fierce competition between festival bookers for expensive big name exclusives and with punters generally having less money to spare it wouldn't come as a surprise to us if one or two of the bigger more well established UK festivals struggle again this year, especially if the notorious British weather causes havoc on some of them. So as we dig out our wellies and sun cream, this short post (rather like one we did around this time last year) acts as an index to all of the music festivals Breaking More Waves will be attending in 2013. We'll be publishing previews and our post-event thoughts on each one as the year goes on and we’ll update this post with links to every piece.
Also wherever possible we’ll be tweeting from each festival, so follow us on Twitter (here) to get all the action in 140 characters as it happens.
Our first preview of the first event in our calendar will follow later this week.
A second post about the Jai Paul Bandcamp Album which was released today. Get it here if you want to know instantly what it is like. Alternatively read our opinion..... Earlier today a certain sector of the internet based music community went a little bit crazy. The reason? Because elusive London producer Jai Paul put out an album. Boom. Just like that.
Or rather there was a Bandcamp page with his name on it and a collection of fully formed songs and some shorter interludes / half ideas. Each track was simply named numerically ‘Track 1, Track 2’ etc.
For many of those who pay a lot of attention to listening and writing about new music this was A BIG MOMENT. In fact the moment seemed far important than the music itself. We wrote about this ever growing phenomenon of 'event moments' a few hours after the release of the album or whatever it is here.
So what happens now? Well, in the olden days the press were sent copies of the album to listen to a number of weeks before it was released. That way traditional journalists could fully explore the depths of the record and give a carefully considered opinion before publishing a review shortly before the record came out. It helped consumers decide if they might purchase the album they hadn't yet heard.
But with more and more artists beginning to adopt the model of just putting things out there the old fashioned media reviews are being made redundant. Who needs a review when you can just stream or download yourself and form your own opinion? And if the media try to keep up they get punched; the Guardian attempted to publish their review of King Of Limbs by Radiohead the day it was made available and was then heavily criticised for dumbing down journalism.
Yet what was interesting today was that although twitter was awash with the likes of bloggers (including ourselves) and websites (including big sites like Pitchfork) turning the release of the Jai Paul record into an event, very few people were commenting on their initial impression after listening. Maybe it was in part because people are now wary of giving an early opinion and like the Guardian being criticised for that or just worried about getting it 'wrong', which is a bit ridiculous because how can your own opinion be wrong to you? Plus we all have initial impressions about things don’t we? When you meet a new person for the first time you make some first judgements based on how they present themselves or speak. A month or year later you may have a very different perspective about that person. It’s the same with music. It’s OK in our book to make that judgement and quite OK to change your mind later on.
At Breaking More Waves we don’t review albums anymore. We used to a little, in fact this review of the debut Hurts record is one of our most read pages ever. But as an amateur unpaid / unfunded blog with no journalistic skills we have better things to do with our time than attempt to be a critic. We don’t particularly like negativity and prefer to leave that to those who are paid to listen and critique records that they may not enjoy. Instead we act as a curator of the stuff we think is good. By implication the bad stuff gets left out and hopefully if your measure of quality and what is good is similar to ours you’ll begin to trust our opinion.
Which brings us back to the Jai Paul Bandcamp thing.
We've said we don’t review albums, the LP is already out there and so any review is pretty pointless really, except for drawing your attention to the fact that the album exists, which we guess is why today's release became an internet event of sorts.
The event was actually more important than what people thought of it. Which is a bit sad, but probably true.
But because we like the idea of doing pointless things and had some spare time today, we’re sharing our listening experience so far with you. This isn’t a review as such, just some thoughts. In publishing our thoughts we asked Twitter a very important question. That question was 'what's the earliest time it's OK to offer an opinion on a record?'
Thanks to Chris from the Metaphorical Boat blog who clarified that it was three listens, once with laptop speakers, once with headphones and er....once whilst driving around in a Ford Mondeo. So taking his wise advice, off we went:
Stage 1 – Download from Bandcamp.
Stage 2 – First listen via laptop whilst burning onto CD for enhanced listening later. Note the use of a cheap Asda CD because it quickly becomes apparent through the first laptop listen (and information via our twitter feed) that this album is not high in sound quality; it appears to be akin to a collection of demos.
Stage 3 – Second listen via headphone speakers (Sennheiser) played via a Cambridge Audio CD player
Stage 4 – We don’t own a Ford Mondeo, but our Toyota Auris is nearly as boring.
Job done. Time to offer an opinion.
Our conclusion after these three listens: The Jai Paul album is quite good. That’s non- journalism for you. But is quite good, good enough? Or is quite good actually quite bad ?
We need to clarify. On our laptop it was quite good.
On our headphones and CD player despite the slightly muffled heavy sound it became better than quite good especially when played incredibly loud. Track 2 with its Asian beats, video game effects and stop start samples is truly A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. One of the best tracks we’ve heard all year. Apparently it's actually called Str8 Outta Mumbai.
But in our car it didn’t sound so good at all even Track 2 /Str8 Outta Mumbai. Maybe it was because we used a Toyota not a Mondeo. But the lack of enjoyment was more to do with the piss poor sound quality than the tunes. If we paid £7 for this (which we did) on a CD we'd have thought it was faulty.
So there you have it. Jai Paul’s Bandcamp Thing : Quite good, but would have been very good if it was better quality sound. However, if you drive a Toyota we'd suggest you hold on until a properly mastered version comes out, if it ever does.
Let’s see how it pans out over the next few months.
Update (15/04/13 @ 8pm GMT)
Today Jai Paul’s twitter account did its first ever tweet.
It wasn’t “Testing” or “Hello Twitter”.
But this : “To confirm: demos on bandcamp were not uploaded
by me, this is not my debut album. Please don't buy. Statement to follow later.
Thanks, Jai” The offending songs have now been removed from Bandcamp although for the time being they are still streaming from websites, which Tim from The Blue Walrus tells me at a guess is probably because "it's cached on different servers."
According to Twitter and various blogs it is being
reported that Jai Paul had his laptop stolen and this is where the tracks were
sourced from. However if this is true the gossip on the internet is full of
suspicion, with the following two questions being asked:
1. If these tracks were taken from a stolen laptop, why did Jai
Paul’s record label XL take so long to get the tracks removed from Bandcamp for
download? XL normally have a reputation for being very quick to action illegal
uploads, so were they actually behind the release in some way in what could be
a very clever publicity campaign. Or did Jai Paul get someone to upload the
demos for him to make some quick cash? He’s been reported in the past to be a
bit of a maverick when it comes to working with.
2. Somebody who has already stolen a laptop and then sells
tracks that they don’t own is playing a very risky game. The chances are that
the financial transactions will be traced back to them at some point. Normally
album leaks are simply leaked for free so that tracing back becomes harder. So why risk it unless you actually owned the tracks?
We'll probably never know the answer to either of the above.
Anyway the net result of all of this is that Jai Paul has increased
his profile no end and those who have downloaded the tracks have got an idea of
how the final properly mixed and mastered album, whenever (if ever) it is might sound. It seems like it might sound great. Even when listened to in a Toyota Auris.