Friday 31 January 2014

24 Hour Blogathon : Alice Jemima - Bloodsport

It’s been seven months since Alice Jemima has posted anything on line, in fact it seemed that the young Devon based singer songwriter had disappeared off the planet completely. However, there have been a few hints of new material a plenty and today the first of Alice’s new recordings appeared on line. Having achieved 360,000 plays on Soundcloud with her last cover (No Diggity) Alice returns to the game with a further interpretation of someone else’s song this time Raleigh Ritchie’s Bloodsport. Retaining all the elements that made us fall in love with Alice in the first place (THAT voice, the gentle guitar) Bloodsport shows how Alice’s skills in programming beats are ever improving.

Our love affair with this talented singer shows no sign of being abated. Beautiful.

Alice Jemima - Bloodsport

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Garden Heart - New Waves

There are many different ways in which we discover new music, but probably still our favourite is by the old traditional method of going to watch a band live and coming across a support band that surprise and delight. This is how Garden Heart come to make an appearance on Breaking More Waves, having caught the Brighton based group supporting new Breaking More Waves favourites Fickle Friends at a hometown show just over 24 hours ago.

Garden Heart are 3 girls and 2 boys who confuse and delight in equal measure. At times they seem like the indie version of The Staves with pretty harmonies a plenty at other times it seems like they want to be an out and out rock act, or a folk act or a pop band or a cool indie kids. It’s that lack of cohesion in their songs that marks them a possibility rather than the real deal at this stage. However, there’s no doubt that Garden Heart can sing (take a look at this acoustic cover of All I Want by Kodaline) and Water (streaming below) has a rip rollicking stomp that would work on any small stage at a festival this summer.

Garden Heart - Water

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Glass - Rae

Jordan Cohen better known as Glass has now put the whole of his Follies and Flames EP up on Soundcloud, following lead track Bed becoming a minor blog hit earlier this month. This U.S musician has produced a set of recordings that possess a warm relaxed electronic soul vibe that make us want to put our sunglasses on and bob our head like a turkey. Our favourite tune from the EP however (besides Bed) is the least songlike of all 6 tracks. Rae finds Glass at his most experimental and atmospheric, from the weird pitch-shifted vocal slices to the strange electronics that slide in and out and tap gently at the headphones. It’s a fascinating and oddly sexy piece of music, designed for the later hours.

“It’s pop with this infused sub-genre that I think really captures the zeitgeist of the times, like what Kanye West is doing and what James Blake is doing—just complete experiments,” Cohen recently told 18 Love Music. Listening through the whole Ep, we can go with that.

Glass - Rae

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Prides - The Seeds You Sow

First introduced to readers of Breaking More Waves last April, Scottish electronic popsters Prides are back with a big meaty slab of a tune. From the blurb that we have sitting in our in box we’ve learnt that according to the band  “The Seeds You Sow is about realising that the things that happen around you are a result of your own actions. It's about realising that the one you're with isn't the one, and the consequences that go with it. We wanted to make sure that it was loud, brave, and would grab people as soon as they heard it. The vocal hook is all about letting go, losing yourself, shouting as loud as you can, caution to the wind.” 

This one’s big, booming and from the word go the ‘yeay-yo’ hook screams ‘play me on the radio’. Whilst the musical style is somewhat different The Seeds You Sow reminds us a little of Bastille in the way that it’s pop music but has a bit more to it than most. 

Prides have a number of UK live gigs coming up including London dates on the 5th Feb (Birthdays) 20th (Lexington) and the 21th (Roundhouse). They’ll also be out playing at SXSW in March. The Seeds You Sow is out on the 10th Feb.

Prides - The Seeds You Sow

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Sophie Jamieson - Other

Blog Sound 2014 nominee (she was one of our votes) and Breaking More Waves One to Watch 2014 Sophie Jamieson recently sneaked a new song up on line. Titled Other the song was recorded for Sofar Sounds, who curate gigs in people’s living rooms (we’d love them to come to ours except for the fact that by the time we’d put a couple of musicians and their equipment in place there wouldn’t be room to swing a cat let alone fill it with an audience, unless perhaps the audience were tiny baby hobbits).

Other has a real weightiness to it, yet Sophie’s flawless vocal shines through the dense atmospherics. Other is a song to shut your eyes to and find another place. If she were to play it in our living room there’s no doubt the space would only be lit by candlelight and afterwards the audience would probably all feel that little bit closer to each other, having shared something very special. Maybe you're not in that room, but we hope as you listen you can feel something exceptional anyway.

Sophie Jamieson - Other

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Tears & Marble - New Waves

A few weeks ago a new Dutch act got the thumbs up from a number of our favourite blogs with an impressive chilled and almost sorrowful sounding cover version of  Haddaway’s What Is Love. It was a make-over that turned a bad song into good. Now they return with a new tune and the sentiments of this one are pretty downcast to match the heavyhearted moodiness of the electronic music. It’s called We Don’t Love You.

“Hit me with your broken hand, mother never liked you so,” a doleful female vocal begins and from there on in it doesn’t get any cheerier.

Having joined Facebook today (3 hours ago) and with apparently no other information about Tears & Marble on line at the moment, we’re just going to have to live with their anguished wrist-slashing pop music on its own without any other information, but that’s fine because despite the infinite sadness of their songs is rather lovely. They may not love us but we love them.

Tears & Marble - We Don't Love You

This blog post is one in a series as we blog non-stop for 24 hours for charity (Cancer Research). If you'd like to donate - thank you. Just click below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Blossomer - New Waves

Here is a new band called Blossomer.

Here are the facts that we know about them (which frankly isn’t that much at all).

1. Blossomer isn’t actually a new band. They’ve certainly been around at least a year, so point 1 above is technically incorrect.

2. We have yet to find any real evidence that Blossomer is actually a band either. It could just be 1 person in the studio recording lots of instruments and pretending to be more than 1 person on the internet. The only reason we think they are a band is because some other blogs say so, although none of them seem to have any evidence either, but we assume they’ve been told they are a band and aren’t just making it up. Remember folks, just because you've seen something on the internet doesn't make it real. Or does it. Is the internet real life and everything else a lie?

3. They are from Sheffield, or at least from the Sheffield area. We’ve found enough evidence of this on line to convince ourselves of that.

(Are you still with us here? Basically they may or may not be a band but probably are and are almost certainly from Sheffield and aren’t really new unless a band that have been around for at least a year are considered new. They’re new to us anyway.)

4. If Blossomer is a band then we suspect that two of their members are called Alex. 

5. There is a NAKED MAN in the video for their single To The Sea, who is quite literally walking to the sea. He’s not fully naked though because he’s still wearing shoes. At least his feet won’t get cold. (Although he does take them off before he goes into the sea, which is sensible)

6. To The Sea has a minimal, patient and hypnotic feel to it. We’re thinking Wild Beasts as a reference point.

7. We're wondering if You Tube will continue to allow a naked man's bottom on their videos. Let's hope they do eh?

Blossomer - To The Sea (Video)

This blog post is part of a 24 hour charity blogathon - if you enjoyed it please sponsor us for Cancer Research

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24 Hour Blogathon : Haze - True Love Will Find You In The End

Oh. It might only be two minutes and thirty seconds long but this is stunning. Haze (not to be confused with Angel Haze who is very different indeed) puts another cover version on line, we take one listen and swoon. Listen to that voice – a mixture of sweetness with something grittier underlying it; just perfect. Add a soft simple backing and you have the definition of beauty in your ears. 

“Cos true love is searching too, how can it recognize you, unless you step out into the light the light”

If you’re in the Reading area right now, you can catch Haze playing tonight at Club Velocity at the Rising Sun Arts Centre. Get thee there now music lover!

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below. 

Haze - True Love Will Find You In The End

24 Hour Blogathon : Why Musicians Can't Always Automatically Expect To Earn From Their Music

Some quotes and extracts from NME dated 11 January 2014:

“The thing is, though this isn’t impossible, doing the band. It’s just fucking expensive. We’ve had to move back home [to live], but I think my mum would have been more disappointed if I went to uni to be honest.” – Joel from Wolf Alice

On the band Eagulls who have recorded an album in between day jobs: “We’re in the house that Mark, George and Henry share. All three of them work in retail; so does guitarist Liam Matthews, whilst bassist Tom Kelly works in a bar.”

On Royal Blood: “The pair have been playing as a duo since December 2012 and only quite their day jobs (Thatcher worked in a bar, ran a quiz and did session drumming, Kerr was a chef) last March."

“In 2010, 60 per cent of chart acts in a given week in October were former public school pupils, compared with just one per cent in the same week in 1990.”

Now we all know that the musical landscape is constantly changing. The streaming / record sales / brand funded discussions have been done to death. But one thing we’ve noticed with the statements like those above is that today there are bands who are well known enough to be featured as one of the most important emerging artists of 2014 in a national magazine, and yet many of them can’t afford to sustain themselves without doing shitty day jobs or being funded by the bank of mum and dad. Is this right? Should musicians expect to be able to earn a wage to be able to live from their music, or should their music be treated as a hobby (or at best a part-time job) where they have to find other sources of income to support themselves?

From a business / income generation perspective and particularly with independent artists, pop music is an odd form of art. Whereas many other forms of art work on a client commissioning basis, pop music is speculative with no known client. In very simplistic terms, the artist creates the product (the song), often with no market research to see if there is a demand for the product in the first place, and then puts it out onto the market hoping that the market will value it and pay for it. Often very few people will. 

The internet and cheapening technology has created a saturated market place. Now for a few hundred quid anyone can make music on their laptop, upload it to Bandcamp, promote it using social media and email and potentially make some money. For this reason, apart from the very few talented / lucky / privileged most bands and performers will not be able to earn enough money from creating music they want to make. 

However if the musician is talented and skilled enough, it could still be possible to earn a living from being a professional full time musician if the mind set was different. By adopting a more commissioning based approach eg: writing and creating music for clients for TV adverts, film scores and the like, teaching music, playing in other bands such as wedding bands, acting as a session musician etc it’s possible for artists to do what they love (playing music) but just in a different way. They may need to take on a variety of commissions, but surely that has to be better than working a bar job that they hate or sitting around at home bored relying on the parents?

But here’s one of the problems with much of modern contemporary pop music. It’s often based around a notion of ‘cool’ and to a certain extent being able to do what you want with creative freedom. And playing for example in a wedding band, (which can earn good money) is not seen as either of those – it’s looked down upon as naff, and as if its somehow selling your soul. It’s a way of thinking that we suspect holds back many musicians from making an income from their talents. In fact being cool and being business like are often at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Yet artists can't have it all all the time. If they want to be creatively free to do what they want, they have to accept that they have no god given right to earn money from it. The bottom line is just because they think their art is good, doesn't mean that others will like it and therefore pay for it. 

So in summary, apart from a small handful, most musicians in this day and age can’t expect to make enough money to live on just through just writing, recording, releasing and performing their own songs speculatively. They need to decide if what they do is just a hobby or are they prepared to put their creative skills at others disposal? After all it’s what architects, painters, photographers, writers and designers do every day of the week. Why should musicians be any different?

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it (or even if you didn't) we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Blooms - New Waves

As we continue our 24 hour non-stop charity blog marathon we’d like to introduce you to a new act who goes by the name Blooms, who we discovered earlier today, ironically by way of a post from Alphabet Bands blog, our blog brother who is also participating in this 24 hour charity event.

What do we know of Blooms? Very little. She’s already received some early blog attention back in October, notably from Crack In The Road and Gold Flake Paint, two UK blogs who manage to deliver an extraordinary amount of new music nearly every day (today however, we’re winning that game - for once we have plenty of spare time).

But besides that all we know is that Blooms seems to be following the mystery artist route - we can't even find a website or Facebook for her, but we do know she is from the UK and was introduced by a mutual friend to Darragh from Sacred Animals and the two worked together and Blooms was 'born'. The mystery artist route is one that if we’re honest we’re becoming utterly bored of. (See rule 14 here). But thankfully Blooms redeems herself with a rather exquisite piece of pop music that is full on naked intimacy. “Come keep me company, I need your company, maybe your arms around me, maybe your arms around me,” she sings over a textured production of minimalist electronics and whispered beats. Skin is taken from Blooms’ debut EP titled If due February.

Footnote: This is the second song called Skin we've featured this month following the beauty from Rae Morris earlier this month.

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

Blooms - Skin

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24 Hour Blogathon : Farao - New Waves

Kari Jahnsen a Norweigan musician based in London and one time member of Like Spinning has now embraced a solo project that goes by the name of Farao. Whilst she’s had a number of songs up on line for some time now (we first remember hearing her music when she was nominated for the long list in the 2013 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition) it is only recently that she has announced her debut EP due on February 10th via Something Nothing Records.

From that EP comes The Hours, a gorgeous piece of work that couples wistful folk sounds with beats and a smooth near dreamy production - the kind of thing that Breaking More Waves loves. The track was recorded alongside Mike Lindsay from Tunng in Reykjavik. As Kari sings of the hours flying away we realise that we’ve still got another 18 of them to go on this 24 hour blogathon (oh help!), raising money for Cancer Relief. So why not help us keep the motivation up and sponsor us using the botton below? 

Farao - The Hours

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24 Hour Blogathon - Longfellow - New Waves

South London’s Longfellow produce music that sounds as if it’s both shooting for the stars but looking in the gutters at the same time, as there's a touch of vastness and melancholy to what they do. Their song Siamese Lover bears hints of bands such as Keane, Geneva and even early Coldplay which actually makes a lot of sense as both Keane and Coldplay put out their earliest releases through label Fierce Panda, who are also releasing Siamese Lover. Siamese Lover has a big jangly heart but there’s stadium ambition here as well, the repeated refrain of “standing on the edge of the world” hinting at the colossal and the dangerous, the song dealing the potential of losing your own identity in a relationship as you become so attached to someone. Remember everyone, no matter how incredible your partner / lover seems, no matter how much you want to be together all the time, as the years go on you’ll realise that relationships can’t last with that sort of intensity. Find some space for yourself as well. 

The video below deals with that kind of intensity, and reminds us a little of the film Heavenly Creatures where two girls become too close to each other with disastrous effects. 

Right that’s relationship advice corner over for the day. On with the music.

Longfellow is made up of Owen Lloyd on vocals, Tom Warhurston on drums, James Thomas on electric guitar  Isaac Shiman on bass and Ali Hetherington  on piano and synth. Siamese Lovers is released this week.

This blog post is just one of many we're publishing in a non-stop 24 hour blogathon for charity. If you enjoyed this music or the post why not donate to Cancer Research UK using the button below.

Longfellow - Siamese Lovers (Video)

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24 Hour Blogathon : Amy Lyon - Glory Box

Glastonbury Festival's 2014 Emerging Talent Competition gives new, unsigned artists from the UK and Ireland the chance to compete for a slot on one of the main stages at the world’s most famous festival. For the third time running Breaking More Waves will be helping the festival organisers with the initial round of judging, as the entries are whittled down into a long list and that part of the judging will be starting very soon.

Last year one of the three artists we picked for the long list alongside electronic pop duo Avec Sans and indie rockers As Elephants Are was Glasgow based singer Amy Lyon. Recently Amy uploaded a new demo of a cover of Portishead’s Glory Box to Soundcloud. Covering anything by Portishead is a dangerous thing to do, the bands songs being the definition of bleak consuming perfection, but Amy succeeds by stripping everything back to just a simple raw guitar and a vocal flecked with hints of jazz and soul warmth. Download it for free below.

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

Amy Lyon - Glory Box

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24 Hour Blogathon : Jagwar Ma - Uncertainty (Video)

Taken from our 5th favourite LP of 2013 Jagwar Ma’s trippy rotating six legged groove machine has released this new video for song Uncertainty. Don’t be put off by the relatively plodding start and the opening line of “I’ve got something boring,” this song is anything but that; it’s a pills and thrills journey of the highest order designed to make you dance in that narcotic lolloping style that was popular when all the indie and house-heads kids back in 1988/9 discovered that they could share common ground and common drugs. Despite the dayglo hands in the air grind of the tune the video isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, in fact it looks like Jagwar Ma are the last survivors at an empty post-apocalyptic rave.

If you enjoyed this post, why not donate to Cancer Research as part of our 24 hour hour non stop sponsored Blogathon using the button below?

Jagwar Ma - Uncertainty 

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24 Hour Blogathon : Breaking More Waves Interviews Alphabet Bands

So here we are just 3 hours into our 24 hour charity blogathon for Cancer Research and right now we're taking a short break for lunch and a stretch of the legs. (Don’t forget you can sponsor us here). Whilst we do so we’re publishing something that we haven’t done for around the last 5 years – an interview.

If you read our earlier introduction post to what we’re doing today you may recall that we’re not doing this blogathon alone. For over in the east of England our blog brother and all round good chap Adam from Alphabet Bands blog is doing exactly the same. A team effort seems somehow far easier than flying solo in this case and at least when we get to 4.30am we know there will be someone else we can chat to to keep the spirits up.

And talking of chat, here’s that interview and who better for a lunch time chin-wag with than the other member of this blogathon. Here we talk to Adam about music, blogging and if he’s ever seen a popstar naked in real life. And if you nip over to Adam's blog, with a bit of luck at the same time this post goes up there will be an interview with Breaking More Waves over there!

Hi Adam

First of all, can you tell me a bit about Alphabet Bands. How did it come into being and why you decided on the name? Also how often do you post?

Back in the day I used to write short fiction, just for myself but people I shared it with seemed to like it. I never did anything with it (though a little of it is viewable here) and I was quite lazy with it as well. As a writing exercise, to get me into the habit of writing regularly, I started a blog. I’d seen a few people online talking about finding a new band they’d never heard of for each letter of the Alphabet and, and with nothing else to write about, thought that would be a good subject for the blog.

So the site was originally called The Alphabet Bands Challenge. This was back in early 2010. From there I quite quickly got a job writing about music for an American pop culture site, 411 Mania and ABC died a quick but painless death.

After the birth of my second child in late 2011 I decided to give 411 a rest but still wanted to write. So I repurposed ABC as Alphabet Bands and decided to focus on new music rather than just bands I’d not heard of and here we are two and bit years later, posting usually once or twice a day Mon-Fri with the occasional weekly round-up or bonus article at the weekend.

From the music you post on Alphabet Bands you share at least a reasonable degree of similarity in taste to Breaking More Waves. Bloggers are deluged with new music and never have enough time to listen to everything, so how do you go about deciding what to post and what not to post? I’m interested if your processes are similar to mine as sometimes we both end up posting the same things.

It might sound quite flippant but I don’t have a process as such. Like you I get sent an inordinate amount of music each day and it can be pot luck as to which ones I get to or not. Recently I have tried to look more at mails from bands rather than PRs, though there are still some who I know will always send quality stuff so it’ll be worth listening to, and do try to give as much as possible at least one listen.

I don’t spend as much time as I would like to going though SoundCloud or Bandcamp looking for new acts, but I do find the ‘related tracks’ on SoundCloud to be a great source of new stuff. I also go by recommendations, be it from yourself or others whose opinion I trust and whose tastes are close to mine. 

Artists who I have formed a good relationship with will occasionally tell me to check people out, be it someone they know, work with or just think are great, for example. In fact, I need to get round to writing about a guy from the States who was recommended to me by A Weekend At The Feelies soon as well.

We’ve had conversations in the past about blog ‘size’ / traffic / hits etc. Most bloggers will say that if you’re doing it for traffic you’re doing it for the wrong reason. But there’s also an argument that says the ‘bigger’ your blog the more help you are to the bands that you write about which could be the right reason. Where do you sit on the ‘blog traffic argument?’

This is actually a difficult question to answer because I am quite schizophrenic when it comes to hits etc.

I do think that if you are doing it purely for hits then you are in it for the wrong reasons, and have said as much in the past. However, I do recognise that the more widely read you are the greater impact you can potentially have for a new artist. Also, it is nice to know that, when you have put a lot of effort into something, people are actually reading it.

Alphabet Bands is quite a small site, would I like it to be bigger? Of course I would but that doesn’t mean I am losing sleep over traffic or ways to generate more interest. It’s nice to know that people are reading it but it’s more important to me that I keep enjoying it (I do) and that it can help a new artist in some way.

I’d much rather get an email from a band saying thank you and telling me how much of a difference it has made. The other week a band I’d written about told me that not only had they got an increase in sales because of my post (people actually told them they’d discovered them on Alphabet Bands) but that they were also going to be working with another band they had found on my site themselves. That to me is worth so much more than thousands of page views.

Blogging can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but like me you have a career and a young family, so (I guess) like me you’re time restricted. How do you keep it going?

Caffeine and the constant exposure of new tunes to my kids throughout the day.

I tend to write in the late evening but will be listening to stuff during the day to help prepare what I want to say in my mind. Work is quite good about people putting headphones in so I can listen to a reasonable amount on my phone and I will have music on a lot at the weekend.

The kids don’t always like what I play mind you but thanks to my love of Public Service Broadcasting, my daughter knows more about Everest than any four year old really should.

As I said it can also be very rewarding. Looking back over the last few years, what have been the most rewarding things you’ve gained from writing Alphabet Bands?

There’s been so much, it’s hard to know where to start.

Thanks to Alphabet Bands I have met and got to know some incredible people, band, artists, bloggers, promoters and others connected within the industry in some way. I’ve spent time with some of my favourite acts in the world, put on a gig and curated a stage at an international music festival. I’ve been asked to go on the radio a few times and talk about tunes and been asked to judge talent competitions.

All of that is amazing but honestly, the most rewarding thing is when a band tells you you’ve made a difference to them. Just last week I had an email from an artist telling me he was about to play his first show and that he felt it wouldn’t have happened without me posting about his music a few months before. That and knowing that people are discovering and buying music because I have written about it is an incredible feeling and that’s what I am proudest of.

I’m always jealous of your writing on the blog. It’s very eloquent. A lot of blogs seem to just post a couple of lines (or even less than that) and then a tune, whilst you’re more wordy. What are your thoughts on content on blogs – how or what to write?

That’s very kind of you to say, thank you. I do appreciate comments like that because I do like to take some time when I am writing.

I’m of the opinion that good music makes you not only feel something, but see something too, and that is what I try to convey; emotions, sensations and imagery. When writing I just want to do the music justice and I’m sorry, but you can’t do that simply by embedding a track and saying ‘it’s great’ or in some instances, saying nothing at all. If you just embed a tune you’re not a blog, you’re just a third rate SoundCloud. It took a lot of effort to make the song, pay the artist some respect and at least say something about it.

I’m going to get a little bit ranty now and I apologise for that, but I do get pissed off by sites that post with next no commentary. Not because it is easy to do or because they get more traffic than Alphabet Bands does, but because these blogs have somehow convinced bands that not only is this approach acceptable, but it is a good thing.

It is not a good thing. Bands should not be posting links to two lines of text that say ‘here’s a new track by [band]. We really like it’ and talking about what kind/good/sweet/amazing review it is. But they do, time and time again and I think that is pretty awful really. That bands have been conditioned to not only be grateful for shitty no-content ‘reviews’ but be actually excited about getting them. That’s just sad. They deserve more and they should demand it.

There’s been a lot of talk about the death of the printed press over the last few years. Quite a few publications have folded and even once-giants like the NME are losing readers hand over fist. It can be argued that blogs are partly responsible for the death of the printed press. What do you think about this?

It would be churlish to suggest that music blogs have not had an effect on the printed press or music journalism as a whole. The best example I can think of to illustrate this changed world is when Radiohead released King Of Limbs and so many publications live reviewed as they listened for the first time because they knew they couldn’t afford to give it time and form a proper opinion. The reviews were poorly written and largely offered an opinion that would be changed a few listens after, but blogs were posting left right and centre and if the likes of The Guardian, NME and everyone else waited and did it properly, they’d get a small proportion of the web traffic they no doubt got.

That said, I think the NME in particular has to accept responsibility for its own downfall. It seems to believe in its legacy more than its relevance. They saw off the likes of Melody Maker and Select to be the last new music publication standing, but they act like they still are. No, there are hundreds of outlets now and they are constantly evolving and unearthing new music, while NME is sticking dead icons on the cover week after week and being forced into publishing ‘New Music - special editions’. Surely every issue should be a new music special because that is what they are supposed to be all about.

You can see that social media and online content is massive for NME, but they have embraced crowdsourcing to fill their articles, not to find and share music. Frankly, the NME is the last place I would look right now to find a new band and that is a pretty damming indictment really.

Do you read other music blogs? If so can you tell me some of your favourites?

Well, there’s yours obviously Robin. But there I quite few others I really like and will read when I can. An obvious passion for music is a must for me when reading blogs, which is why I go to people like We Listen For You, Von Pip, Gold Flake Paint, Poule D’or, Drunken Wearwolf, Some Of It Is True, Disco Naiveté, Just Music I like, I Found Music and A New Band A Day

There are others of course.

Do you have any plans to do anything more with the blog? Quite a few bloggers start record labels, gig nights and venture into other areas of music. Any plans for you to do so?

There are no plans for a label, enticing as it is, but there will be more Alphabet Bands Presents... gig nights, if only because Norwich still gets missed off tour schedules quite often and it is a way of getting to see bands I adore play live in my City. I’m talking to a couple of bands and hopefully there will be a couple of gigs in the coming months.

OK, enough talk of blogging let’s talk about music a little bit more. Something I’ve noticed is that for some people music is hugely important in their formative years (late tweens, early twenties) but as they get older it stops being so. Whereas certainly for me it’s as important, maybe even more important now than it ever has been. As you write a blog, I guess the same applies for you. So why do you think music is so important and why does it stop being important for others?

I don’t think it ever stops being important, I just think people don’t always have the time to devour it like they used to. In my teens I was all about music, reading magazines, going to gigs, sharing tunes with friends, listening to Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq on Radio1 etc etc. When I got older and got out to work, music started to play less of a role in my life but it was purely circumstantial. I never stopped loving it or wanting to hear new stuff, I just stopped having the time. In all honesty, I had a long fallow period which only properly ended when I started writing about music a few years ago.

Why is music important? Music has the power to affect you in a way that no other medium can. It can change or enhance your mood, bring tears to your eyes or joy to your heart. It can spark a memory and emotion, it can infuriate or excite, fill you with confidence, make you want to dance, to run or just to sit, relax and take it all in. Music can send a shiver down your spine and bring two people closer together. It can make a group of strangers have the best night of their lives and is a universal language that you will never forget.

I love it and a world without music isn’t worth living in.

Desert Island Discs Time – 10 songs you’d take with you please.

Don’t make me choose! No, seriously.

There are just so many that I love and couldn’t do without that it is too difficult to narrow it down to just ten. I could write you out a list and by the time you’ve finished reading it I will have changed my mind. What I can say though is that there are two songs that will always appear on my top 10; Sometimes It Snows In April by Prince and David Bowie’s Life On Mars.

You’re based in Norwich – what’s the music scene like there? (Admission – I’ve only ever been to Norwich once but I did go to the Waterfront to see Mega City Four play there!)

It’s vibrant, bustling, thriving and other clichéd adjectives of course. In all honesty though, it is. Norwich may be a small city but there is always a lot going on and we have some cracking venues like the Arts Centre, Open (with its club room and massive main hall for bigger shows), The Waterfront (go Mega City Four!), The UEA, The Bicycle Shop (which is great for folk tunes), The Birdcage, Olives and the Brickmakers and Hog In Armour for your more rock based stuff. There are many more pubs and bars that have the occasional gig night as well and even our independent cinema, Cinema City, has fortnightly acoustic shows.

Mind you, we have a fantastic amount of great bands and artists to play all these venues and the scene in Norwich is quite diverse. Acts like Olympians, Port Isla, Milly Hirst, The Wooden Arms, Mega Emotion, Raevennan Husbandes, Lisa Redford, Box of Light, Psalms and others are all getting national and international attention, recognition and airplay for example. And that is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

There are a number of small labels and promoters operating out of the city, and a couple of online music magazines too. Then of course there is our community radio station, Future Radio, which plays a lot of new and alternative music so all in all, we are quite spoilt really.

In fact, it is probably more difficult to find a night when you can’t go and see some fantastic music in one of our many venues.

How do you listen to music (I don’t mean with your ears!). More in what forms do you play music? Are you a vinyl junkie, or a laptop and MP3 freak?

MP3’s mostly, just because it’s easier to listen to them during the day be it on my phone at work (with a reasonable pair of headphones), or on the iPod dock at home. I can then copy them onto CD as well to play in the car when driving to and from work but when I have more time (and when the record player isn’t broken) I do like to sit back and listen to vinyl. I like having a physical thing to enjoy, sleeve notes to read and artwork to enjoy alongside the music itself.

And finally....

Do you like sardines?


What is the most interesting word you know?


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to sleep in a coffin?

No, have you?  (Er, no, not until I asked this question)

Have you ever seen a popstar naked?

Not in person, no.

And finally, as we’re doing this blogathon, and are likely to be pretty shattered, what are your top tips for staying awake later today / tonight?

Caffeine, regular mini breaks from the screen to prevent tired eyes, stretching, regular food intake and, hopefully, so much great music that the excitement and adrenaline keeps me up easily.

Thanks Adam for the chat, good luck with your Blogathon, see you on the other side!

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24 Hour Blogathon - Siobhan Wilson - Laugh + Die

If you’ve been following our 24 hour Blogathon for Cancer Research so far (if you have – make sure you’ve sponsored us – go on we don’t want to have to get like Bob Geldof at Live Aid and have to start shouting “give us your fucking money”) you might remember Rule Number 6 which was "not every post will be as long as our normal blog posts." This is one of those posts, because we want to slot it in before 13.00 GMT where we have the only prescheduled post of the 24 hours going up - the first interview we’ve carried on the blog in the last 5 years. (Can you guess who it is?)

So here’s a quicky. A tranquil acoustic tune from Scotland’s Siobahn Wilson. We know nothing about the song other than it just cropped up on our Soundcloud stream and that it’s a silky smooth delicate gem that made us feel a little bit gooey and in love within seconds of pressing play. It really deserves more words, but I'm sure Siobhan would be happy to know that her music and this bit of text is helping fight Cancer. That's what this is about today.

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below. 

Siobhan Wilson - Laugh + Die

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24 Hour Blogathon : Broods - Coattails

People (and by people we mean the people of the internet who write and talk about music, particularly new music) are getting very excited about New Zealand’s brother sister duo Broods. It’s easy to see why, they tick a lot of the boxes that people of the internet who write and talk about music like to write and talk about, including the fact that they’ve worked with man of the moment Joel Little of Lorde fame.

So let’s take a pause for breath and all calm down a bit shall we? We’ve seen the people of the internet who wr… (blah blah blah we don’t need to say that one again do we?) proclaim things like they’re on their way to international stardom and this may or may not be the case, but all we’re saying is let’s not get too worked up about things OK? Broods are undoubtedly good, but the Rules of Pop has a chapter called Barriers And How People In Pop Trip Up Over Them and right now Broods have only jumped the first couple and there’s a lot of them on this rather difficult course. Think of it as the Grand National for musicians with Becher’s Brook still in the distance. Sometimes it's the bands that are equivalent of Foinavon at 100-1 that come through to win.

With those cautious words over, we can now get to the music. Broods have recently posted their debut 6 track EP on Soundcloud, which includes Never Gonna Change which we previously streamed here and this one Coattails, another piece of rich and full bodied electropop which comfortably sits alongside their other small collection of tunes. We wonder what Georgia is referring to as she sings nonchalantly “our souls are meant to be sold, and our friends are only to hope, that I can't do what I'm told.” Is this a reference to the bands current flirtations with the music industry we wonder?

Broods - Coattails

24 Hour Blogathon : The True Cost Of Gig Going - Part 1

As part of our 24 hour blogathon we're launching a new series that we'll be posting once a month at the end of every month throughout 2014. Here's Part 1 of our report into the true cost of gig going.

The widely held view in 2014 is that artists aren’t making much money from recorded music and that live performance is where income can still be earned. Yet alongside this view is another – that many gigs are too expensive; with rising ticket prices, booking fees (which has recently been the subject of further criticism, this time from consumer group Which?) , travel costs, merchandise and over-priced drinks in venues, the full cost of attending a gig or a festival is becoming too expensive.

Here at Breaking More Waves we’re pretty big live music fans. Over the years we’ve probably attended over 1,000 gigs and festivals and probably seen in the region of 3,000 bands and artists play live. We’ve spent a huge quantity of money on our passion and continue to do so; pretty much every spare penny we have goes on live music. We’ve never understood why people are happy to go down the pub on a Friday night and spend £20 quid upwards on drinkS but think that spending £10 on a ticket to see three bands in a relatively small venue is too expensive.

But how much does it really cost to go and see a band? By the time you’ve added in all the extras, is it actually a very expensive form of entertainment?

To answer this question, this year Breaking More Waves will be rolling out a spreadsheet and recording all the gigs we attend and the total costs. We’ll be reporting on exactly how much we spend, what proportion of our spend is on the ticket and how much the ‘on-costs’ are at regular intervals.

Living in the south coast city of Portsmouth we’re lucky to have a variety of musical venues on our doorstep, so in theory transport costs should be negligible as all of the places where we can see live music are within walking distance. Yet many of the bands booked to play in Portsmouth don’t fit our musical tastes;  there’s a large number of tribute bands and electronic music (one of our core loves) seems to be largely ignored. We therefore find ourselves making regular trips elsewhere to cities that seem to be musically more like-minded to Breaking More Waves. Over the last few years, as touring for small bands becomes ever more expensive we’ve also noted that often a UK tour will only hit the biggest of cities; London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow live music fans count yourselves lucky. For the rest of us, this means more travel, more cost and therefore ultimately less money to spend on tickets. An ever decreasing circle is created, with only the fuel companies benefitting.

Some notes to our report:
  • In recording the cost of the ticket, we will be including the price of the booking fee. Where more than 1 ticket is booked the fee will be divided by the number of tickets.
  • Wherever possible we’ve tried to use the cheapest form of transport possible, but this isn’t always practical. For example where travelling directly from work to a venue some distance away we might have to use the quickest rather than cheapest form of transport to get to the gig on time and home again. Where using public transport we will where possible try to advance book or use economy packages such as Megatrain to get the best price. Where driving we have only included the cost of petrol, not wear and tear or depreciation of the vehicle.

  • No tickets will be purchased through secondary ticket agencies. All tickets will be face value.

  • For some shows that are some distance from our home we will stay over after the show. Where we cannot stay at a friend or relatives house or similar we will use hotels. The cost of hotels will be reported separately as sometimes the reason for staying in the hotel will not just be for the gig – we may be holidaying in the city or town the next day and so the cost of the overnight stay cannot be fully attributed to the gig.

And so to the first report.

January Report

Commentary : January tends to be a relatively quiet month on the live music front.

In total we attended 6 live shows. 4 in London, 1 in Brighton and 1 in Southampton

At the 6 shows, including support acts we saw 22 acts (1 of whom – Fickle Friends we saw twice)

1 of the gigs was a free show.

All of the shows were in relatively small venues ranging from capacities of 120 – 350

Total Money Spent £353.40

Tickets (inc Booking Fees) £62.95

Transport £96.30

Consumables at Gig (drinks etc) £35.50

Merchandise £0

Accommodation £158.65

% Spend on tickets as a total percentage of spend 17.8%

Average total cost / band £16

In January the average total cost of seeing 1 band play a (typically) half hour set of 8 songs was about the same as what it would cost to go to the cinema (including all associated costs)

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read it and enjoyed the content we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below.

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24 Hour Blogathon : Salt Ashes - Little Dove

It’s been nice to see a growing cluster of music blogs becoming acquainted and endorsing Brighton’s Salt Ashes, particularly with recent song Somebody, it’s dark disco throb finding love in all sorts of places. Now comes the b-side, which is a weird concept when you’re streaming music or downloading it from iTunes isn’t it? 

If Somebody showed a pop heart beating on the dance floor then Little Dove sounds like the walk home from the club after. The music has a sultry late night undertow, a hip grinding twang and a sense of distance and loneliness. Fans of the likes of Banks or FKA Twigs might be converted with this one. “I’ll be waiting for you to change me,” she sings. Well this tune’s certainly a change from Somebody not being as instantly accessible, but don’t let that put you off, in the longer term it oozes just as much quality.

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 to Cancer Research using the button below. 

Salt Ashes - Little Dove

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24 Hour Blogathon : Clare Maguire - Lilac Time

Clare Maguire has been uploading a number of cover versions and new songs online over the last few months. Each one has been stripped down, full of depth and a long way from the inflated pop fires of her debut album Light After Dark. The latest release recorded for Burberry's recent Menswear A/W 2014 Show is quite possibly the most beautiful yet. Lilac Wine is a cover of a song originally written by James Shelton in 1950 and has already been sung by the likes of Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Elkie Brooks and Jeff Buckley. From that list you can probably tell that this song is not one to be taken lightly and Clare treats it with just the kind of tenderness it deserves.

It was 2009 when we first featured Clare on the blog as a brand new unsigned artist. Since then we understand her journey hasn’t always been an easy one, but we’re incredibly glad that she’s still here, still singing from the heart and still creating goose bumps down our neck.

Clare's giving away a free mixtape which you can grab by clicking on the Soundcloud player below.

This blog post is one of a series published as part of Breaking More Waves non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If you have read this post and enjoyed it or the music we’d really appreciate it if you would donate £2 (or more) to Cancer Research using the button below. 

Clare Maguire - Lilac Time

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