Friday 29 November 2013

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Young Blood (Video)

If you follow Breaking More Waves on twitter you’ll know that we have a rather soft spot for the music of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. It’s easy to tag Sophie as a Strictly Come Dancing contestant or the daughter of a Blue Peter presenter, but let’s not forget that she’s also a singer and one with a distinctive voice as well. Early in 2014 Sophie returns with a new album called Wanderlust and it finds her moving away from her mainstream dance pop sound, to a more classic, sophisticated and dramatic style.

The first track to be released from the new long-player is Young Blood, which was originally given away to fans in demo form as a free download earlier this year, and if anything it harks back to Sophie’s work with the band she was originally in; theaudience (yes no capitals or gap). In particular anyone who owns the band’s debut album may remember there was a limited edition 2 cd set and on the 2nd cd there were a number of piano versions of songs. Young Blood comes close to those tunes in style, although Sophie's vocal delivery has improved with age, being lighter and dare we say it more in tune, whilst the song itself surpasses pretty much anything from that record.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor will be out on the road next year with a one off sold-out date at Bush Hall in London in January followed by a full UK tour in April which includes two dates at the Union Chapel, also in London. We can only assume with choices of venue like that the chances of her whopping out her disco pumpers and shimmying like a beast on stage to tunes such as Groovejet, Murder On The Dancefloor or the rather naughty Fuck With You in their original forms is really quite unlikely.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Young Blood (Video)

Thursday 28 November 2013

Ulla Nova - New Waves

“Come on put your face back on, we’re gonna have some fun,” opens new lady on the block (and wearer of big hats) Ulla Nova with her debut single Kid From London. It’s the kind of street smart electronic pop music that we’re big fans of on Breaking More Waves. Mixing the attitude laden coolness of Charli XCX with waves of textured big synths and some ‘Oh oh’ vocal snatches that reference Chvrches The Mother We Share, Kid From London does the business. 

What we’re also particularly liking about Ulla Nova besides the big hats and big tunes is what appears to be a very well maintained Citroen 2CV in her publicity photo. For those who lack automobile knowledge, this ‘classic’ car had a design brief that was for a low-priced, rugged “umbrella on four wheels" that would enable four small farmers / or peasants to drive 50 kg (110 lb) of farm goods to market at 50 km/h (31 mph). The gearstick was often in the dashboard and the handbrake under the steering wheel. If you could drive one of those babies you could drive anything.

However we digress, what you really want to know is more about Ulla Nova. Right now we can't supply that much information, except that she’s worked with ex Red Light Company singer Richard Frenneaux and has supported Bipolar Sunshine. Ulla also played her debut headlining show at the Servant Jazz Quarters in London recently. Let’s hope that for future gigs she’s not relying on that 2CV, they’re old bangers now and liable to break down. We prefer her fresh new banger of a song.

Ulla Nova - Kid From London

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Ones To Watch 2014 - #10 IYES

At the start of our Ones to Watch 2014 series we suggested that this year it had been harder to pick the ten artists that we were going to feature than previous years and that there were many acts out there who we could have easily chosen instead. For example, some of the acts that we eventually decided not to feature included Danish pop singer Mø (even though 2014 could well be her year, having already featured on last year’s Blog Sound of 2013 list we felt that her inclusion was a little late to the party), FKA Twigs (very close to getting on the list – would have been number 11), Clarence Clarity (who has released 1 EP but we have no idea if he plans to release anything more or if the EP was a one off), Sivu (would have been number 12) and Eliza and the Bear. So if you want call that the reserves bench, or maybe just 11-15 if our list had been 15 rather than 10.

However, eventually our tenth choice, Brighton based duo IYES, has been chosen on the basis that they make the sort of music that is closest to Breaking More Waves heart; that is pop music that isn’t fully orthodox, but is still full of melody and has at least a hint of commercial potential. In fact 2013 has been a very good year for this kind of pop music (see our forthcoming albums of the year posts that start in early December for more details of this) and if we’re looking for some new champions to carry this on throughout 2014, we’d fancy a little flutter on IYES. They've recently been working with pop wonderboy MNEK (who has worked with Rudimental) on a future release and have been gaining plenty of online attention, so it feels right that things should be ramping up for Josh and Melis in 2014. 

Today is the 27th of November. One year ago on the 28th of November 2012 Iyes made their first appearance on Breaking More Waves in our New Waves feature, shortly after we’d posted our Ones to Watch 2013 list. Now we’re making them our final Ones to Watch for 2014.

Iyes - 'Til Infinity

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Ones To Watch 2014 - #9 Eva Stone

Our penultimate one to watch is Eva Stone. Eva has a voice that doesn’t just make us go weak at the knees but makes them crumble to dust. 

She’s appeared on the blog before, but you may not recognise her name; the sharp eared amongst you will however find a strong similarity to this lady, because Amy and Eva are one and the same. So why the name change?

“I’ve had this question many times…I think people struggled with it a little at first because I’d been so, present, should I say, with my real name. But this decision wasn’t whimsical or sudden. I’ve always wanted to change my name, and it was my decision alone. I mean, stage wise, people hear it and remember it more. The timing of the change really represented where I was at too, what with my move to London, to writing and developing my songs to something that people maybe aren’t too familiar with (for me). It wasn’t a change in my music though, or in myself. The name is more of me becoming who I want to be,” she recently told Hunger TV.

Irrespective of if Eva is called Amy, Julie, Barbie or Scrubber, we really don’t care – she has the voice, a full bodied and magnificent voice that creates magic. Now what we have to hope for is that she can deliver the songs. She's certainly made an impressive start with This Is and it's for that reason that we’re naming her as One to Watch for 2014. Prepare to be wowed with both the beautiful piano version on Soundcloud and an acoustic guitar version on You Tube.

Eva Stone - This Is

Eva Stone - This Is (Video)

Monday 25 November 2013

Ones To Watch 2014 - #8 Banks

Los Angeles' Banks (her first name is actually Jillian but she never mentions that) is the next artist on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2014 list (and not to be confused with potty mouthed rapper Azealia Banks). Despite their being some fantastic new pop music hailing from the U.S, Australia, New Zealand and Scandanavia right now, we've decided to keep this list mainly UK based (after all that's where we're from), but we're making a sole exception with Banks. Regular readers will probably be quite surprised that we’ve never featured her until this point, as the style and sound of her music is analogous with much of what we choose to post. We’ve even seen her play live prior to this, which in the days of get it online before they’ve stepped on a stage / high speed internet blogging is quite a rarity.

Banks makes seductive, sultry electronic soul music that joins the dots between The Weeknd (who she’s supporting this week) Jessie Ware and James Blake. It’s all dark synths and nocturnal beats, it’s music to shed clothes to, it’s music of the twinkling sophisticated city, ready to lure you into bed.  

Having worked with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, SOHN, Jamie Woon and Lil Silva the production of Banks’ songs is super slick and has found huge amounts of love on the blogs in 2013. The question now is can these sensual synth ear kissers progress to the stage of an album that people will love for the long term, rather than just creating the soundtrack for some quickie bedroom action. 

Banks - Waiting Game

Banks - Warm Water (Video)

Sunday 24 November 2013

Ones To Watch 2014 - #7 George Ezra

George Ezra could probably sing about sitting on the toilet or doing the washing up and it would sound fantastic. The phrase that crops up time and time again is that classic cliché “a vocal beyond his years,” and really, whilst it is a cliché it’s fully justified in the case of Ezra. His crooning, weather-beaten, warm soulful tones are show stopping and seem even more stunning when you see what Ezra looks like – just a regular looking guy with almost boyish looks.

Ezra first came to our attention with the hushed and melancholy It’s Just My Skin uploaded to Soundcloud about a year ago and since then has busked his way round Europe, played to a packed BBC Introducing tent at Glastonbury and supported the likes of Stornoway and Tom Odell. His debut EP Did You Hear The Rain? released this autumn picked up plenty of evening radio play on BBC Radio 1 (as well as blog support, including of course from Breaking More Waves) and with a London show next January already sold out, Ezra’s star is undoubtedly rising – and deservedly so.

George Ezra - Did You Hear The Rain? (Video)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #6 Mononoke

Today’s one to watch is the mysterious Mononoke who appeared just last month on Breaking More Waves and a whole host of ‘tastemaker’ blogs such as Neon Gold, Disco Naïveté and Listen Before You Buy shortly afterwards.

So who is Mononoke and what else do we know about her? The answer is very little, although of you're really clever with your Google searches you can find out her real name. We're naming her as one to watch for 2014 on the basis of just the one song we've heard - always a dangerous strategy - but when that one song (Alice) is so good, she becomes one to watch even if only to see if she can keep the standard up with her next release.

It seems that Alice is a taster for a debut EP due early next year and that an album, recorded in a church, is or is nearly complete. For now just wallow in this beautiful and sensitive modern ballad and look forward to more from Mononoke in 2014.

Mononoke - Alice

Friday 22 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #5 Flyte

“They might have just become our new favourite band. Cancel that - they have just become our new favourite band,” were our excited words back in August when we first introduced Flyte. Since then they’ve released their debut EP, played a small handful of headline shows, supported MS Mr on tour and de-camped to an isolated part of Wales to write and record plenty of new material. If these songs are anything like the ones that we saw them perform in Breaking More Waves home city of Portsmouth at Southsea Fest 2013 (their first ever show outside of London), then your ears will be in for a treat. For Flyte take the good old fashioned sensibilities of classic pop songwriting, harmonies to die for, add an indie / new wave jangly twist and deliver it in a way that is simple and without pretension. It's chirpily life affirming too.

Flyte are unusual in so far as they challenge the modern and commonly preconceived idea about how a band needs to develop an audience and market themselves before they stand any chance of getting signed by a major record label who these days aren't prepared to fund initial marketing and devlopment. Signed by Island records in September despite having less than 400 followers on Twitter, 200 followers on Soundcloud and 10,000 views on You Tube, it’s the band’s ability to pen a good tune rather than internet statistics that has put them ahead of the pack and found them inking a deal.

As we move into 2014 expect those statistics to creep in an upwards direction, as Flyte and their music soar and er.... take flight.

Flyte - Over & Out

Thursday 21 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #4 Jungle

Jungle’s debut EP The Heat got a lot of tongues wagging a few months ago; and rightly so. The funk, electric soul, slick grooves, falsetto intimacies and retro cool that flowed from the recordings is 100% immaculate and guaranteed to get hips gently swinging. There’s a retro-classic pop sensibility, effortless style and laid back club-warmth to the songs with (initially) no information about the musican(s) at all. Add to this two mesmerising linked theme videos featuring some bad-ass dancing from a tracksuited kid (Platoon) and two roller-skaters (The Heat) and what you have is one of the most intriguing new bands of 2013.

There have been hints and statements that this was a one man solo production effort, but a handful of regional UK live shows have now revealed Jungle, the live experience at least, to be a complete 7 piece band fronted by two individuals known only as “T” and “J”. Jungle have yet to play London, although a date is forthcoming and they’ve already been confirmed for next years SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Expect the heat to get turned higher. Here come Jungle, without doubt Ones to Watch in 2014.

Jungle - Drops

Jungle - Platoon

Jungle - Platoon from Jungle on Vimeo.

Jungle - The Heat

Jungle - The Heat from Jungle on Vimeo.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #3 Sophie Jamieson

Sophie Jamieson is a singer songwriter based in London who has currently released just 1 record, the sublime and beautiful Where EP, and was introduced to Breaking More Waves readers in August.

The comparisons that have been thrown at Jamieson mainly concentrate so far on Daughter and Laura Marling. It’s easy to understand why; Jamieson’s songs are understated, restrained and full of atmospheric melancholy beauty.

Jamieson’s musical career started out as a solo project, gigging at university open mic sessions in Cambridge where she was studying. Since then she’s moved to London and has begun to flesh out her sound with a band and has talked about making her music distinct, hinting that her future sound may develop further away from traditional folk sounds.

Of the artists we’re selecting as our Ones to Watch 2014 Sophie Jamieson is probably one of the least likely to be lighting up the top 40 in the next year. However, on the basis of the slow burning, cinematic beauty of her debut EP and with a future double A sided single in the pipeline, maybe over time Sophie Jamieson could follow in the footsteps those she’s been compared to – she certainly seems to have the talent to do so.

Sophie Jamieson - Ode To The East

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #2 Chlöe Howl

Chlöe Howl has been bubbling under for the whole of 2013, ever since the bouncy attitude laden tune No Strings kicked a few doors down with its Foster The People musical references last winter (we first featured here in January here). Since then she’s done the groundwork; the internet approved low key singles, the increasingly buoyant gigs, the low on the bill festival slots, support shows and most recently the colourful and clever dump your boyfriend video for Paper Heart, complete with dancing tap men, a donkey and carnival dancers.

Chlöe Howl does pop but it’s POP in capitals, full of strutting shimmying confidence, good tunes, fiery spark and lack of sugar coating lyrically. She's been dubbed the new Lily Allen, although she's not courting as much controversy as Lily has recently, but there's certainly a bit of belief to her songs. Her live shows indicate potential singles in the waiting a-plenty, including the energetic and hooky This Song’s Not About You and the punchy Drop In The Ocean. Of course pop can be a fickle world, especially when you’re on a major label, but Chlöe has enough in her bag to suggest that she doesn’t have to worry too much about that for now.

Chlöe Howl - Paper Heart (Arches Remix)

Chlöe Howl - Paper Heart

Monday 18 November 2013

Ones to Watch 2014 - #1 Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice are a four piece indie rock group consisting of Ellie Rowsell, Joel Amey, Joff Oddie and Theo Ellis. Following the release of two singles, Fluffy and Bros, earlier this year and the Blush EP this autumn there’s a definite sense of this band growing an increasingly forward momentum. Their live performances are becoming gutsily more confident and their song writing skills are developing at some pace; the title track off the recent EP is one of the most vital and well-formed tunes that any indie band has released this year. If they can continue to develop in this manner (and the signs are there that they will, having recently confessed to a magazine that they figured out when they were on tour that Bros didn’t have any choruses, so they wrote some, but those aren’t on the Blush EP) they’re likely to make the jump from toilet circuit venues to bigger clubs at least and who knows, maybe even further than that.

For anyone that’s still being boring and going on about indie rock music being dead, Wolf Alice is one punchy argument fully against that. That’s why they’re the first of our Ones to Watch for 2014.

Wolf Alice - Bros

Wolf Alice - She (Video)

Ones to Watch 2014

Over the next 10 days Breaking More Waves will be posting our Ones to Watch for 2014.

This feature is run in the same format every year since the blog started. The artists chosen represent the tastes and output of the blog rather than necessarily being a list of what we think will have critical or commercial success. However, each year we’ve published this series some of the acts featured have gone on to light up the singles and albums charts or had some degree of acclaim. This hasn't always happened in the following year; Marina & The Diamonds cropped up on the BBC Sound of list a year after our Ones to Watch tip and then went on to have success, likewise Foxes recently scored a top 10 UK chart hit but featured on our Ones to Watch for 2012. 

Others of course have been forgotten; sometimes this is for the best, but sometimes their music keeps a fond place in our heart even if the rest of the world didn’t agree. Such is the unpredictability of pop music – nobody has a fully functioning crystal ball and anyone that claims that they know 100% what lies ahead is very deluded.

The two previous years we've published 15 artists in this series, this year we've reverted back to 10 (but come our albums of the year list in December we'll be expanding that from 10 to 15 - more on that later).

If you follow new music closely and have been reading Breaking More Waves (as well as following us on Twitter) many of the artists on this list will come as no surprise. This isn’t 10 totally unknown acts that we think we might be writing about next year – we don’t know who those acts will be yet, they’re still waiting to be discovered. Instead this list celebrates relatively new artists we’ve featured in 2013 that will hopefully go on to bigger and better things artistically in 2014 as well a few new ones that have yet to be featured on Breaking More Waves.

No doubt as we head towards December and New Year every blog, website and magazine will be publishing something like this, but as we've done the last few years, we're going early, more for practical reasons revolving around life away from the blog than anything else.

This year it has been harder than ever to pick our 10. In 2012 we were already convinced that Haim was going to sparkle, having had the opportunity to see them play live a number of times, and Chvrches similarly seemed to have a bunch of great songs up their sleeves. Both bands deserved the buzz they attracted. This year however there doesn’t seem to be that singular gigantic gem, but a bag of smaller ones. We’re going to dip our hand in and pick out a few and hope that as 2014 goes on they’ll begin to grow and shine even brighter.

But before we get underway with the Ones to Watch 2014 posts, let’s remind ourselves of who we picked in previous years. Whatever did happen to Spark and Visions Of Trees?

Ones to Watch 2009

La Roux, Little Boots, Passion Pit, Yes Giantess, White Lies, Skint & Demoralised, Alessi’s Ark, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds

Ones to Watch 2010

Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Beth Jeans Houghton, Unicorn Kid, Delphic, Clare Maguire, Stornoway, Mirrors, Holly Miranda, Clock Opera

Ones to Watch 2011

Clare Maguire (2nd nomination after failing to release anything in 2010), James Blake, Misty Miller, The Vaccines, Starsmith, Let’s Buy Happiness, The Milk, D/R/U/G/S, Visions Of Trees, Spark

Ones to Watch 2012 (Expanded from 10 to 15 artists)

Lucy Rose, Spector, Alabama Shakes, Foxes, Dot Rotten, Lianne La Havas, Lana Del Rey, Willy Moon, Michael Kiwanuka, Queen Of Hearts, The Staves, Ren Harvieu, Outfit, Charli XCX, Rachel Sermanni

Ones to Watch 2013 (Expanded from 10 to 15 artists)

Chvrches, Haim, Gabrielle Aplin, Savages, Chasing Grace, Tom Odell, Sons & Lovers, Avec Sans, Laura Mvula, Curxes, Matt Corby, The Night VI, Luke Sital-Singh, Valerie June, Alice Jemima

So without further ado, for the next 15 days keep an eye and ear out for our Ones to Watch for 2014. We'll be posting our first at 6.30pm GMT today and then at 8.30 every morning thereafter for the next 9 days. Until then here's a new demo from Misty Miller, one of our selections from our 2010 Ones to Watch for 2011 list, who is still pushing out new material and still probably considered one to watch for the forthcoming year.

Misty Miller - Petrified (demo)

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Back Soon....

Breaking More Waves is taking a short break for a few days, but we’ll be back on Monday the 18th November when we’ll be starting our annual Ones to Watch posts, looking forward to 2014. Then when that’s done and dusted we’ll be revealing (together with some of our UK blog peer group) the results of the UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll, followed in quick succession with a countdown of our favourite albums of 2013. There’ll be an occasional standard new music post slotted in between all of this, but it will mainly be about tips and recommendations from the last 12 months and then looking forward to the next 12.

In the meantime, we start our time away from the blog tonight with a trip to see the band that produced our favourite album of 2010, so rather appropriately here’s a stream of their recently released tune Lean from the second Hunger Games film, Catching Fire.

The National - Lean

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Lily Allen - Hard Out Here (Video)

If like us you felt a massive stab of disappointment when you heard that Lily Allen was marking her return to the world of pop with a cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know and then felt like slashing your wrists when you heard the delivery of the tune, which sounded even lamer than you could imagine – fear not – that appears to be just a decoy.

Because today Lily put a new song on line and she's back to her best – courting controversy with a scathing video, adding her piece to the debate that seems to be fuelling pop culture right now. See if you can spot the references to the likes of Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Rihanna and laugh at Lily’s use of auto tune (which we assume is meant to be satire, after all Lily can sing rather sweetly). Some of the messages in the chorus are a little mixed , but maybe that’s to help to help the debate along. Lily by now is old and wise enough to realise that many issues in the world are shades of grey (not necessarily fifty though) and so her lyrics reflect that a little.

Well done Lily Allen. After making babies, she’s back to making music. Let's ignore the false start with the advert that we will never talk of again; she’s out of the blocks bashing down the doors of pop and taking the piss brilliantly with this one. We await the lengthy think-piece articles in the quality press (there's a strong argument here that the video is racist for example) but whilst we have a think about that, at least let's enjoy some proper pop music.

Lily Allen - Hard Out Here (Video)

Avec Sans - Shiver (Video) + Ecstasy Remix

Here’s a pop video of the song Shiver by the electro pop duo Avec Sans, following the original Soundcloud stream of the song which we featured a few days ago

For your entertainment and information we present five facts that you probably won’t know until you’ve either read this post or watched the video.

1. Jack St James (he’s the one not doing the singing just in case you didn’t realise) could do a pretty decent job as a stand in for a member of Chvrches (the non-female member that is), particularly with that cap on his head.

2. The lead singer Alice Fox once slept in one of the bedrooms at Breaking More Waves HQ and ate a Shepherd’s Pie there. (Let’s call that an exclusive shall we) Actually, to clarify the exclusive, the pie was eaten in the dining room not the bedroom. This is the second time we have 'exclusively' revealed that a potential pop star / musician has both slept at our house but more importantly eaten Shepherd's Pie (here's the first). If any other musicians fancy nipping over for a kip please note that other meals are available, but we advise booking in advance.

3. This video looks much better on a decent computer screen than it does a mobile phone screen. So if you’re reading this on the mobile, put it away and try again later.

4. An egg is dramatically wasted for artistic effect at 3.35 – but who is the egg waster? The clue is in the watch on the wrist. Don’t trust him baking a cake for you, that’s all we’re saying.

5. There’s also a new remix of the track by Ecstasy which sounds even more lushly thumping than the original and we're streaming that as well.

In other non video / remix news Avec Sans will be supporting Little Boots in London on Thursday 28th November, which is pretty much our female fronted electronic music dream, especially as it takes place at a venue named Heaven. 

Now watch and listen....

Avec Sans - Shiver (Ecstasy Remix)

Avec Sans - Shiver (Video)

Monday 11 November 2013

Snowbird - New Waves

Back in 2007, when Breaking More Waves was just a twinkle in the internet’s eye, we fell in love with the ethereal, ghostly and magical Stephanie Dosen and her album A Lily for the Spectre which was released through Bella Union. So when last week a song called Porcelain by a band called Snowbird appeared we gasped a little sigh of happiness, because the gossamery vocal tones on the song came from Stephanie herself. For a while at least it seems that she's having a break from Tiny Owl Knits.

Having lived with the song for a few days we can categorically say that Porcelain is a thing of exquisite beauty, and makes us question if Stephanie is actually an elf from Rivendell. What – Middle Earth isn’t a real thing? Don’t be silly. 

Snowbird is a new project formed by ex-Cocteau Twin and head of Bella Union records Simon Raymonde together with Stephanie. The two previously worked together on A Lily for the Spectre which Simon produced together with Billy Newsome. An album called Moon will follow early next year and will feature the likes of Phil Selway  and Ed O'Brien from Radiohead, Eric Pulido and McKenzie Smith of Midlake and Jonathan Wilson, and Paul Gregory of Breaking More Waves favourites Lanterns on the Lake.

It’s on our records to buy in 2014 list already. Is it on yours?

Snowbird - Porcelain

Sunday 10 November 2013

Elderbrook - New Waves

Ever since the likes of James Blake and The XX arrived on the scene, minimalism has found its space back in pop music again. Less is more is very much back in vogue, with the likes of London Grammar and Lorde being recent additions to the growing pop arsenal of successful acts who keep things simple to find success.

Today we’re introducing Elderbrook (real name Alex Kotz), a UK based singer songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from the fair city of Bath, Somerset, who has caught our attention with a couple of downtempo smackers he’s uploaded to his Soundcloud titled Going and Rewinding. Like all of the above named artists Elderbrook never over stuffs his music, although there are bags of ideas going on in what he does. 

Imagine Alt-J if they’d been gorging on hip-hop records and soul in the midnight hours and you’ll be getting somewhere close to his sound. Elderbrook is very much another musician showing just what you can do these days with modern technology – his Facebook quite clearly showing his music recorded at home – sweet-tempered vocals recorded in the bathroom, snappy skittering beats on his laptop in the lounge. Who needs expensive studios and a team of music wizards behind you to create good music? All you need is a creative brain and the tools to be able to express your ideas. Elderbrook has this package.

Elderbrook - Rewinding

Saturday 9 November 2013

Meadowlark - New Waves

“Is this the new single from Gabrielle Aplin?” someone asked us the first time we played Meadowlark’s I’ve Got You to them; it’s easy to understand why. With a similar acoustic tone and easy on the ear female vocal Aplin is no doubt a comparison. To add confusion, on the day this post is published Meadowlark will be out on tour with Miss Aplin, tonight in Leeds, before they continue through to Cardiff, Bournemouth, London, Nottingham and Oxford.

Meadowlark are Kate McGill, Carl Jones and Daniel Broadley. You might recognise the name of McGill, who after dropping out of her second year studying theatre and performance in Plymouth to pursue her music found You Tube fame with a series of cover versions of songs by artists such as Adele and The Killers - it gradually brought her huge numbers of subscribers (again a  similarity to Aplin). From there her own material followed and a debut album Replaced was released following a deal with One Click. Then to the dismay of some of her fans in November 2012 McGill released her last ever You Tube video explaining that she didn’t want to be known for just doing covers on You Tube and would be doing something new, working with other people. The result is Meadowlark. 

Take a listen to her new project below – McGill’s voice has a certain pretty purity to it which we’re absolute suckers for at Breaking More Waves and the peaches and cream acoustic pop her band creates is instantly likeable, particularly on the aforementioned I’ve Got You which builds up some head of steam by the end complete with rousing repeated chorus. Breaking More Waves will soon be publishing it's Ones To Watch for 2014 list (starting on the 18th November) - Meadowlark could be ripe for inclusion perhaps?

Meadowlark - I've Got You

Meadowlark - Forlorn (Corridor Session Video)

Friday 8 November 2013

Haze - River

Yesterday was Joni Mitchell’s 70th birthday. So by rights we should have featured this song then, but unfortunately it only came across our radar last night when the blog had been put to bed. But really it doesn’t matter, because despite the way that music blogging appears to sometimes work, with one artist / song / album quickly being discarded for the latest shiniest new thing, the best music isn’t just about one day, it’s about a lifetime, and Joni’s song River, is not only one of her most famous, but also a piece of work that has stood the test of time. So the fact we're a day overdue here means absolutely nothing.

When Berkshire lass Haze (you may remember her from our write up of Are You Listening Festival in April) fired this one across to us there was a sense of uneasy trepidation; covering a classic tune can be fraught with peril. Thankfully we needn’t have worried. Haze’s version is full of everything that makes music perfect. Just listen and be consumed. 

If we were a record label, we’d sign this up asap, rush release it for December and bag ourselves a Christmas number 1. But we don’t have to worry about that because it’s only bloody free to download, isn’t it?

Haze - River

Thursday 7 November 2013

Wolf Alice - Blush (Video)

Here’s today’s news headline:

Indie rock four piece create beautiful sounding song. Nearly makes a blogger cry when they play it a gig. 

That is all.

Watch, listen and love.

Wolf Alice - Blush (Video)

Young War - Rose Gold (Pablo Nouvelle Remix)

If there’s one thing that doesn’t generally work it’s the remix of an acoustic based artist. With very few exceptions the drum n bass rework of your favourite folk act or the dubstep DJ mash up of a traditional singer songwriter’s song is (with the odd exception) the musical equivalent of challenging Usain Bolt to a sprint race and the loser giving all his possessions to the other. Eg: A very bad idea that shouldn’t have even been entertained.

Whilst Manchester based recording artist Young War isn’t a fully acoustic act, his tunes have a very natural and soulful feel (think along the lines of Michael Kiwanuka perhaps) and that means that the tunes don’t scream ‘come and remix the f*ck out of me’.  They don’t even whisper it, which if they did would have least sounded sexier than yelling. Luckily the choice of chilled r’n’b / indie / pop musician Pablo Nouvelle as a remixer of Rose Gold makes a lot of sense. There’s no attempt here to create a banger, no talk of waiting for the drop or layering the song with thousands of bat shit mental beats. Instead Pablo keeps the soul intact and makes everything smooth, mellow and creamy, which rather sounds like he’s created an advert for a chocolate bar or a bottle of Baileys. Either way it’s rather delicious.

The remix of Rose Gold is free to download. 

Young War - Rose Gold (Pablo Nouvelle Remix)

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Iyes - 'Til Infinity

“Isn’t it about time that Brighton duo Iyes actually put out a proper single rather than fannying around with the occasional Soundcloud demo?” you may be asking. After all that’s what bands who know what they’re doing do.

Well it seems that Iyes do know what they’re doing. Because not only are they putting a single out (it's on iTunes now), but they’re releasing it via a new London based boutique label called Duly Noted. Even more important than that and the ultimate proof in the pudding, ‘Til Infinity is a very good song indeed – even better than previous demos Lighthouse and Glow, which we liked a lot.

Here are some of the things we particularly like about ‘Til Infinity:

1. The sombre drums that lead off are a bit of a trick. You could be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to listen to some sort of emo rock band, but don’t worry, you’re not.

2. Melis Soyaslanova’s vocals. They’re gorgeous, as in ‘we wish you could sing to us all day to the exclusion of all others’ gorgeous, as in hearts-melting gorgeous, as in we surrender now gorgeous. We think you get the point.

3. Although they’ve been banded around as an electronic pop group, there’s actually far more going on than just electronics.

4. They’re obviously a very clean and tidy band as part of the song involves singing about not spilling the wine. 

In summary: Good tune – clean and tidy – gorgeous - emo drums.

Iyes - 'Til Infinity

Avec Sans - Shiver

An electronic pop song called Shiver? Go on then, who is going to be the first clichéd journo type to write lots of words about icy synth sounds, glacial pop and shoehorn the word winter into the text somewhere? Actually, we probably would have ourselves (we secretly love a good cliché) if it wasn’t for the fact that somewhere around the 3 minutes 10 seconds mark there’s a rather warming hum / buzz which for the musos amongst you we’re reliably informed by the band themselves is a Juno.

Here at Breaking More Waves we’ve never really done muso -we don’t really get our kicks from being able to tell you what drum machine is used on a particular track or what sequencer is creating a particular er… sequence. Instead we like to explain how music makes us feel. So here we go with Shiver by Avec Sans, which incidentally isn’t an electropop cover version of Coldplay’s debut minor hit single.

Shiver makes us feel exhilarated. Not in an instant fist-in-the-air BIG YES way. It’s a bit too cool (oh, nearly a cold cliché there) and complex for that at the start. But as it progresses and takes flight we feel ourselves getting just a little bit carried away. Those hands that were by our sides have slowly risen to touch the sky, our eyes are shut and in our imaginations we’re dancing on clouds. Shiver is absolutely glorious. BUY IT. (Oh hold it’s absolutely free to download. Wow).

Avec Sans - Shiver

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Isobel Anderson - Little Sounds Of Pain

Tinnitus, the term used to describe a sound a person can hear from inside their body be it buzzing, whistling or humming, is something that those who play in noisy rock bands are extremely susceptible to. Yet you probably wouldn’t expect Isobel Anderson, a quiet acoustic singer songwriter, who we’ve featured a number of times on the blog, revealing that she suffers from the condition.

Taking those sounds in her ears Isobel has put music and words together to sing about her affliction in this song, Little Sounds of Pain. “Should I sing it out? Would it free me?” she questions in her warm soulful voice against a backing of plucked strings and violin. 

Alongside Gentleman (previously blogged here) Little Sounds of Pain sets a very high watermark and suggests that Isobel’s forthcoming album In My Garden is definitely not going to be full of bangers about being ‘in da club’ (hurrah) but instead a lyrically engaging work full of melody and musicality.

100% of all download sales of this song go to The British Tinnitus Association, so you can support the work they do by buying the track here.

Isobel Anderson - Little Sounds Of Pain

Rosie Lowe - Right Thing

If Sade got together with Portishead late at night somewhere in a smoke-stained purple velvet lined recording studio, the results might well be something to akin to Right Thing, the second spaciously inviting track to be revealed from Rosie Lowe’s debut EP of the same name. It’s lovely downtempo stuff with Rosie singing about how she feels a bit of a fool for letting a beautiful ex-lover go. Come on Rosie, plenty more fish in the sea etc.

The EP which was produced by Kwes and Dave Okumu (of The Invisible) is released on December 2nd via 37 Adventures on both 12” and digital download. The black and white video to the song was directed by Kieran Gallear better known as Ninja Tunes artist DELS. Rosie will be playing a small number of shows over the coming months, including Birthdays in London on December 3rd.

Rosie Lowe - Right Thing

Chvrches - Lies (Video)

Back in July 2012 we posted a concert footage video of new upwardly rising Scottish band Churches (before they got the bad spelling makeover to Chvrches) having first featured the Soundcloud stream to their song Lies back in May of that year. At the time we raved ecstatically about them based on one factor and one factor only; what we saw as the brilliance of the song. We also voiced some disagreement about how certain cynics were already moaning on the internet that Chvrches were getting blog love because of previous connections they had in the music industry. 

The two points we made then we still believe are very true now and we’re pretty sure that they will be included in the latest Christmas edition of the Rules of Pop (Chapter 18 – Getting Your Songs Heard), so we thought they were worth reiterating:

1. The music industry is called an industry because you have to work hard at things and that includes developing relationships with those who can support getting your music heard. Of course there’s some luck in it, but artists can improve their own chances through graft. Sitting back and complaining that nobody is listening to you is probably either because you haven’t worked hard enough at getting people to listen to them or 2 below.

2. It doesn’t matter how many people you know, how good your contacts are, if the music isn’t up to scratch you’re going nowhere. Nobody that commands respect in the music industry will put their backing to a fart of a tune.

With that little rant out of the way we come back to Chvrches. A year and a half later, they've toured internationally and have released an album and there’s not one of those farts we mentioned on it. It is quite categorically one of the best pop albums of 2013. 

And now there’s a new video, which takes a sci-fi virtual reality romance theme to visually accompany the song that started it all off.

From blog hype / love to the Bones Of What You Believe Chvrches haven’t let us down.

Footnote : So often have we mentioned Chvrches this year to people that our predictive text on our phone now spells Churches Chvrches.

Chvrches - Lies (Video)

Monday 4 November 2013

RSS Feed Problems For This Blog

Apologies but we're having some issues with our blog feed right now and this is a simple test post as part of correcting the issues.

If you subscribe to the blog and receive this then hurrah - it looks like the issue is resolved and we can continue blogging as normal (and this post will be deleted from the main blog).

If you don't subscribe but have visited the blog directly - apologies, we hope to resolve the issue soon and hope that we can get back to normal as soon as possible!

Update 4/11/2013 20.40 : The RSS feed is now working again, although Google's Feedburner does appear to be working somewhat eratically at this time. We've decided to leave this post up for posterity's sake. Normal blogging continues tomorrow.

The Night VI - Music Sounds Better With You

Got your disco shoes on? Ok, let’s dance, because to re-word a Los Campesinos! lyric, there’s nothing better than you, us and dancing. OK, we’ll admit that in the Breaking More Waves camp food and sex are pretty splendid as well, but this is a music blog and despite our sometimes desperate attempts to shoehorn those two subjects into every analogy, metaphor and pun we can think of, ultimately we’re here to add to the conversation about music, not writing about stuffing our faces and shagging. As Shakespeare once said, if music be the food of love, play on.

So here’s today’s tune to dance to. It’s by previous Breaking More Waves Ones To Watch 2013 The Night VI and it’s the third in a series of six covers that the band are releasing to the world. It’s one of our favourite disco tracks – play this alongside Spiller’s Groovejet and all sorts of mayhem will break loose from our hips down (oh - back on those sex references again). With Daft Punk and Chic & Nile Rogers back in currency (blimey – who ever thought you’d see Nile on the X Factor supplying the riffs for Dermot O’Leary’s dad dance moves?) this version of Music Sounds Better With You is perfectly timed.

This song was chosen by harpist, vocalist and visual artist Anna who states: “From 1998's summer all I can remember is France winning the World Cup against Brazil (trois-zero) my tough big brother crying when Colombia got disqualified and French supergroup Stardust topping the charts with their one off hypnotic and sublime dance track Music Sounds Better With You. She then goes on to explain that in choosing to cover the song the band was faced with a dilemma. How did they take a song with no verses and translate it for a band who don't play house music? The solutions was to incorporate some of Stardust’s sampled inspiration - Chaka Khan's Fate. Thus they end up with a Russian doll arrangement - a cover within a cover.

The Night VI - Music Sounds Better With You

Broods - New Waves

Welcome to the Lorde effect. When a country with a population far less than our own capital city of London suddenly produces one of the most interesting new global popstars of 2013, it’s inevitable that our eyes and ears start twitching and wondering what other musicians are waiting to be unearthed on the other side of the world. (You may remember we also featured New Zealand artist FFFRRANNNO in October.)

One answer comes in the form of Georgia and Caleb Nott, a brother and sister from Auckland, who as a musical duo adopt the name of Broods. Both Georgia and Caleb were formerly members of the now disbanded group The Peasants who produced the rather pleasing pop / rock tune Letting Go (video here).

Broods debut track is Bridges, a song that sounds utterly contemporary; with its simple piano, big sweeping synths, gentle electronic drum sounds and soft vocals courtesy of Georgia, it glides into a world of comfort and hypnotic sighing pop beauty. Sometimes things come to an end and ties have to be severed, and when that happens this is the perfect tune for that moment. “Now we’re burning all the bridges now, watching it go up in flames.”

Oh and guess what. Bridges was produced by Lorde collaborator Joel Little. That man seems to be helping craft some of the world’s most adorable pop right now.

Broods - Bridges

Sunday 3 November 2013

Laurel - Fire Breather

Singer (and according to her Instagram account star baker) Laurel Arnell-Cullen has been slowly revealing her charms to the blog brigade ever since we introduced her to the world of Hype Machine love hearts with the stunning Next Time back in May 2012. Since then she’s released Mankind and a demo of a song called Blue Blood which for a few days went a little bit super nova on the internet.

Laurel’s been promising a new song for a few weeks on her Facebook page and today she finally posted it on line. It’s called Fire Breather and thankfully it’s not some warped love child of The Prodigy’s Firestarter and Blu Cantrell's Breathe nor is it a song about Laurel wanting to join the circus. No it’s better than that - with stern drums and eerie synths Fire Breather sounds shadowy, ominous and full of foreboding, Laurel’s vocals sound deeply smouldering as she sings: “What does he want from me?” 

There’s something about the letter L. Imagine Lana + Lorde and take them to London. The result (on this song at least) is Laurel. Woah.

Next up for Laurel is her biggest show to date, supporting gold pop Americans Ms Mr at Shepherds Bush Empire in London. This song is available for free download. Get it.

Laurel - Fire Breather