Friday 28 February 2014

Slow Club - Tears Of Joy

Oh Slow Club. Yes, Rebecca and Charles, the finest purveyors of indie-acoustic folk-pop return with….hold on what’s this? It’s not indie-folk pop. It is (gasp) a CHANGE IN DIRECTION. How could they? What does this mean? Is our love affair over? Will there be tears of sadness? 

No not at all. 

As the lyrics suggest, if tears are to be shed they are tears of joy, because Slow Club have gone all soulful and sultry while remaining splendidly melancholy. Besides being everyones favourite bit of Sheffield indie duo eye and ear candy ( OK maybe it's just us?) they have also always been one of those bands who from the evidence of their live gigs have threatened (in a good way) to develop and change. Certainly this tasty morsel suggests a metamorphosis is occurring, although we’ll have to wait for further new material before we can make any firm conclusions. For now though just suck this one in.

Slow Club play London’s Village Underground on the 13 May and this song is available for free download from the bands website (here)

Slow Club - Tears Of Joy

Thursday 27 February 2014

Moonrags - Kings & Queens

If someone had told us to press play on Kings & Queens the new song from London duo Moonrags without any information we’d have sworn that AlunaGeorge had just sneaked a new single out under a different name. For as you will hear, there’s an undeniable similarity in Cari’s sweet creamy petal of a voice to Aluna’s – and that’s no bad thing.

With its carefree old-school 90’s jazzy vibe Kings & Queens sounds like music and urban summers rolled into one. Listen to the way that Cari sings “I think that he knows,” and find yourself melting more than just a little. It makes us dream of chilling with friends in the park, forgetting about the worries of the world.

Moonrags will be playing a free gig on March 4th at Cafe 1001, Brick Lane, London. We surely don’t need to tell you that if you’re in that neck of the woods that’s where you should be do we?

Moonrags - Kings & Queens

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Huntar - New Waves

Another day, another ‘mystery’ artist. A name, a picture (that may or may not be of himself standing by a circular gas tower) and a song. That’s all we get. It’s probably not the sort of approach that is going to create instant levels of One Direction fan excitement, but of course that’s probably not the aim here. 

So with no facts, tit bits, attitude or anything else we'd better focus on the music.

Expectations is a dusky sounding piece of electronic based pop formed out of doomed synths and vocal samples, solid drum sounds and lyrics about crawling until you walk then running until you break away. Perhaps he's plotting the course of infant to child to adult? Although frankly we have no idea, it could be something far more deeply profound than that and we’ve missed it. What we particularly like in Expectations is the moment near halfway through when you hear Huntar say “3,4” as if this was a fully live band he’s counting in when clearly it isn’t. We're also enjoying the part where two thirds through, just as you might be feeling a bit ‘Delia Smith’ and wanting to shout “come on let’s be ‘avin you,” Expectations gets a bit more sprightly, throws off its low-key cloak and puts its metaphoric hands in the air, aiming for the land of bliss. A confident and intriguing start. 

Huntar - Expectations

Maths Time Joy - Atlantis

Last year Maths Time Joy’s remix of Ellie Goulding’s Burn became the most viewed post of the year on Breaking More Waves. Now Timothy James Worthington (for he is Maths Time Joy) crops up again but this time with his own material.  Atlantis is a piece of warm electronic music that slides into the ears with a comforting downtempo sensuality. File this one under the erection section, for this is a libido raising tune that effortlessly purrs and arouses. Mmmmm.....

Atlantis was released yesterday on Tigermilk Recordings, so there's no excuse for going and buying it right now.

Maths Time Joy - Atlantis

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Cousin Marnie - New Waves

Looking at a music blog is the internet’s version of musical speed dating; a speedy and potentially efficient use of your time in sourcing the best in new music without any beating around the bush about what you want. And so today, whilst you’re with us for two minutes or so, let us introduce you to a new potential musical girlfriend. Her name is Cousin Marnie. Here are the facts that you need to know to decide if you want to take it further. (Sorry we don’t have her number if you do.)

1. Cousin Marnie isn’t actually called Cousin Marnie. Her real name is Julie Ann Hartigan.

2. She’s already been around the block a bit, having been putting tracks on Soundcloud for the last 11 months.

3. Referencing the biblical story of Cain and Abel, her new track (streaming below) is the sort of ghostly pop noir that we’re big fans of at Breaking More Waves. 

4. Cain was produced by David Kosten who has worked with the likes of Bat For Lashes, Josh Record and Everything Everything. You can imagine Bat For Lashes having a crack at this one.

5. Her debut EP, Is Sleeping featured four covers of The Carter Family who apparently were a big influence on her whilst growing up. 

6. Her twitter tagline is “My karaoke song is, and always will be, Stand By Your Man.” We refuse to do karaoke so in terms of a speed date maybe this isn’t going to work out, although we love her music. For the record our karaoke song if we were drunk or bribed enough to lose all sense of dignity would be New Song by Howard Jones. 

7. She’s playing the Sebright Arms in London on March 10th which we would recommend attending (it could be your first date proper after this speed dating session). 

8. She appears to like cats (see above) and bunny rabbits (see here)

9. She once dressed up as one of the twins from The Shining.

Speed date over. Time’s up. Based on these 9 facts and the music below, we’d suggest this is unlikely to be the last time we feature Cousin Marnie. Particularly because of The Shining dressing up episode.

Cousin Marnie - Cain

Cousin Marnie - You've Been Fooling Me Baby

Monday 24 February 2014

Florrie - Seashells

Imagine pop music being a weird housing estate where some roads are lined with gold and others are flowing with sewerage. There you’ll find everything from small two bedroom Victorian terraces (Sam Smith has just been given his key and moved in after initially shacking up on Disclosure’s sofa) to mansions (mainly owned by Beyoncé) with extravagant marbled floored basement swimming pools. 

It’s on the streets of this estate where the homeless pop people and pop wannabees also lurk. Some were once comfortable in standard three bedroom semis but have now been kicked out after failing to pay the rent / mortgage and are now having to self-build their own (they call them Kickstarter and Pledge houses), whilst others are sleeping rough trying to find a door or even a window to sneak through. It’s impossible for everyone to get through these windows or doors, often the landlords of pop only keep them open for very short spaces of time. 

It’s why Florrie is somewhat an anomaly, having been bashing on them for a number of years, never finding them fully closed, but as yet not having prised one open enough to get her own pad. 

2014 finds Florrie once again trying to rip the shutters apart. She returns with Seashells, a song from her new Sirens EP. It booms and bounds along with Bollywood instrumentation, repeated tongue twister repeated chanted lyrics and plenty of door kicking enthusiasm, which works rather well. Maybe there’s still a chance of her finding a place.

Florrie - Seashells

Starsmith - Be My Love ft Tawiah

At the back end of 2010, prompted by his production success on the debut Ellie Goulding album we named one of the tallest men in pop, Fin Dow-Smith aka Starsmith, as One to Watch in 2011, suggesting that he was about to break through as an artist in his own right. That didn’t really happen, but that’s not to say that he’s fallen by the wayside. Instead he’s been focussing on production, remixes and songwriting, which has included working with the likes of Take That’s Mark Owen, Py, Fenech-Soler and most interestingly Charli XCX (Charli and Starsmith wrote something for Britney Spears although it didn’t see the light of day on Britney’s eighth and frankly terrible LP Britney Jean).

But now here he is on his own terms with the first single proper to be released from his solo project, albeit the song features guest vocals from singer Tawiah who has previously been a backing vocalist for the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae, The Guillemots and Mark Ronson. Be My Love very much fits into the pop music that has sneaked into ‘da club’ bracket, maybe by hiding in Katy B’s handbag. Tawiah’s vocals have that soulful edge and together with Starsmith’s electronic production the whole track has a hands in the air white-wine spritzer Friday night on the town everybody’s free to feel good vibe about it. Lyrically it’s not going to win any prizes for originality, but sometimes just having a dance around the handbag (be it Katy B’s quite expensive one or your mate Hannah from the Accounts Department) is good enough.

Starsmith - Be My Love ft Tawiah

Saturday 22 February 2014

Ellie Goulding - Hanging On (I See Monstas Remix)

With its divided futuristic dystopian society and lead teenage female character, if you’re a fan of the Hunger Games films and books then Divergent is another must see / read. The similarity between the two stories doesn’t just end with plot, background and genre though, with both movies sharing some musical personality as well, namely Ellie Goulding. With her British female Brit award under her belt (totally deserved) Ellie shows no sign of stopping her global takeover and silencing all the doubters who said that her move from her early acoustic direction on some of her first demos to full blown electronic goddess was a mistake. On the Hunger Games soundtrack Ellie featured with the song Mirrors and on the forthcoming Divergent one she gets all pitch-shifted and screwed up (in a good way) by London trio I See Monstas. As you would expect the track is suitably brain distorting, but weirdly beautiful at the same time.

Ellie Goulding - Hanging On (I See Monstas Remix)

Friday 21 February 2014

The Night VI - Thinkin Bout You (A blog post that's actually about it being OK to miss out on things)

Having already released a number of covers last year The Night VI return with another one and it's free to download. This time they have a crack at Frank Ocean’s Thinkin Bout You. Now of course the obvious thing to do here is give a comparison with the original, but guess what?  We’ve only ever listened to Frank Ocean once in our entire life and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe we’ll try again one day, maybe we won’t. 

Some people think that as a ‘serious music fan’ that it’s rather odd that we haven’t spent more time with Frank’s music, but we’re old enough and wise enough to realise that there’s nothing wrong with missing out on something. The expectation of being pretty knowledgeable about music (we've won a fair few pop quizzes) is that you’ll have listened to and know everything that is considered 'classic' or 'relevant', but that just isn’t possible. In this modern era of Spotify, Twitter and instant access to pretty much all music, trying to keep up with the Jones’s seems to bring out panic in even the coolest and most grounded of people. Haven’t you heard the new St Vincent yet? The new Boots? The new buzz band that is so new they haven’t even formed yet? No we haven’t. And that’s fine, we can live with that. Sure sometimes we’ll latch onto something early (rather like when we wrote about the lead singer of The Night VI back in 2010 before her band became more than a solo project) but it’s never bothered us if we don’t; we’ve probably been listening to something equally brilliant: Protection by Massive Attack or The Cure’s Disintegration from the past maybe or the rather excellent Kate Miller from the now and possible future.

So here’s The Night VI covering Frank Ocean, apparently an iconic R & B tune. Well, we don’t know about that, but this version is quite nice. Yes, that’s as much journalism as you’re getting from us right now. ‘Quite nice’. Maybe they can use that quote on their next press release.

The Night VI - Thinkin Bout You

Thursday 20 February 2014

Aquilo - You There

It’s been a long wait, but it’s been worth it. This is beautiful.

Back in March 2013 on a lazy Sunday morning we stumbled across a song on Soundcloud that a new band called Aquilo had placed in our drop box. It was one of those perfect discovery moments; a brand new group, with (apparently) at that stage no management, no label and no help from the music industry, just sharing their music and our ears becoming instantly charmed. We posted and then tweeted about the song and within the hour a number of other blogs had been in touch to say what a great find it was. A few days later, due to the collective power of blogs Calling Me was all over the internet and even getting played on BBC 6 Music. It seemed like this was the start of something…..

Then nothing; absolutely diddly-squat. 

Until today. Eleven months on.

This time some things are different. There’s some people working with the band to help them get their music heard. They have a new Facebook page and Instagram accounts. The band themselves have reverted to a two piece of just Tom and Ben.

But what isn’t any different is the beauty. You There, Aquilo's second song is worth waiting years for.

This is an exquisite and spacious ballad that taps into a deep vein of melancholy and thoughtfulness. Is it better than Calling Me? We couldn’t possibly say, that would be like saying that one of your two children was better than the other. They’re both equally perfect in their own ways. But what we do know is that this beautifully arranged piece formed out of slow sparse piano chords, cotton wool vocal tenderness and the softest of back coatings is utterly absorbing. It’s a song to pause and reflect for just a moment in your day. 

Aquilo - You There

Jungle - Busy Earnin'

Jungle have got the groove. They’ve got it bad. So bad that after previous funk-laden singles Platoon and The Heat they’re back for more*. This one’s called Busy Earnin’ and besides that groove it’s got the most sinfully good disco vocals, squirmy synths and a whole load of dangerous dancefloor bass. This is sex music, or at least it’s music for us to dream up every porn-pun and dirty double-entendre that we can think of. Busy Earnin’ is the sound of red light district nightclub sweating with seduction. It’s the sound of The Scissor Scissors having a complete makeover by Quincy Jones, Jam and Lewis and Keith Diamond. It’s the sound of the cools kids on a hot summer night, cruising the streets in a convertible, stereo blaring out loud.

Busy Earnin’ is released in April. The band has now signed to XL Records, so we can expect an album later in the year. Expect the limited number of shows they’ve currently announced to be hot tickets and watch them apply the funk to festivals this summer as well.

It’s time to get lost in the Jungle groove.

*Footnote : A word of caution as everyone on the internet gets over excited about Jungle. Whilst this is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G it might seem less so if when an album drops it contains another 7 or 8 versions of this song. Variety might be key here.

Jungle - Busy Earnin'

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Prides - The Seeds You Sow (Video)

We’ve already posted The Seeds You Sow, the new single from Scottish newcomers Prides, but as there’s now a video to go with the song we reckon it’s worth a second stab. The concept for this one is pretty simple; take the band, put them in front of the façade of a castle structure at night and add some nifty lighting effects onto the castle. It’s a lot like something they do every year at Dorset's Camp Bestival festival except without a band and more fireworks. But compare and contrast this one (here) with the one below and you’ll see what we mean.

Prides - The Seeds You Sow (Video)

Kate Miller - New Waves

Imagine you were a record company type and were looking for the dreaded ‘next big thing’. Then imagine that whilst you were looking we came along and told you that we had another one of those big-lunged British female singers who had one song that sounded like a subtler soulful version of Florence & The Machine and another one that was a tiny bit like Banks, with a few Bastille like ‘oh-oh’s’ on it. Then we’d mention that this artist has also recorded a version of Keane’s Everybody’s Changing that is far stronger than Lily Allen’s wet blanket of a version released for that John Lewis advert (and sounds quite Christmas-like to boot). We’d probably also tell you that her two original songs have a brooding pop magnificence and that the artist in question names the likes of maverick lady Tracey Emin and Greek painter, performance artist and sculptor Jannis Kounellis as inspirations.

You’d probably be pretty excited wouldn’t you? You might even sign her right away. Ok, you'd probably take a listen to the songs first, but after that you would be convinced.

Well here she is. Her name is Kate Miller. We quite like the fact she's called Kate Miller, because it's a nice straightforward name rather than one of these artist nom de plume's that seem to be all the rage these days, from Lana Del Rey to Lorde. She’s 19 years old, and has been working with the likes of Julian Emery (who has written for Lissie and McFly) and Ed Harcourt (if you haven't heard Ed's recent work with Sophie Ellis Bextor you're missing a lovely treat) and is due to release a yet-to-be titled debut EP later this year. Is it too early to start talking about Ones to Watch for 2015?

Answer = no. 


Hear one of her original songs below or both here.

Kate Miller - Collar Up

Kate Miller - Everybody's Changing (You Tube Stream)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Zhala - New Waves

Last year at the 10th Bestival on the Isle of Wight one of the more WTF performances we witnessed was from Swedish experimental pop lady Zhala. Her set consisted of crazy pumping rave pop and a crutches wielding, knicker flashing co-dancer who wriggled around on a bed with the singer. It left most of the small crowd watching baffled, but almost everybody smiling - a performance that if nothing else had a bag load of enthusiasm and theatricality.

You might recognise Zhala from way back in 2012 when she released just a single song, Slippin’ Around which circulated on the blogs - it had a suitably eccentric druggy dreams video (below). Since then apart from a handful of live shows (including that Bestival one) things have been very quiet, until now, as Zhala she returns with a new EP, released through fellow Swede Robyn’s Konichiwa Records. From it comes the deliriously crazy tune Prophet. Prepare yourself for madness because after the first minute of pulsing misty atmospheric synths the tune suddenly morphs into what can best be described as a happy hardcore track that gradually puts its foot on the accelerator and becomes giddily ridiculous in every way possible. Is it pop? Is it dance music? Is it bonkers? Yes, but we can’t help but like it.

Zhala - Prophet

Zhala - Slippin' Around (Video)

Eloise Keating - New Waves

If you read Breaking More Waves on a regular basis you’ll know that much of the backbone of the blog is formed by music that ticks the boxes of female vocal / electronic / pop with an edge and that a large percentage of what we feature hails from the UK. So today we’re introducing an artist that fits perfectly into the blog’s core, but this time has the added bonus of hailing from just outside our own home city of Portsmouth. Ironically, despite having played at plenty of venues in our home town, we found her via the internet.

Her name is Eloise Keating.

Having posted a number of acoustic cover versions on her Soundcloud, it’s Eloise’s own composition that has found us getting a little lost in her music. Be My Ghost (The Green Light) may only effectively be a demo but there’s a remarkable depth and cinematic maturity in the song writing. Inspired by The Great Gatsby the tune finds Eloise’s alluring tones wrapping themselves around a backing that includes the unusual addition of a steel drum sound, an instrument that usually has connotations of carnivals, summer and tropical jovial pop. Thankfully on Be My Ghost (The Green Light) the jollity (if any) is very restrained. 

It’s very early days for Keating, who is only 17, unsigned and still at college, but she’s already attracted the attention of BBC Introducing (South), local press and south coast promoters. Now we’re pushing her music a little further out there in the hope that she can follow in the footsteps of other south-central coast girls such as Laurel and Roberta from Curxes, both of whom have embraced electronics, found themselves featured on Breaking More Waves in their embryonic stages and scored love on the internet.

Eloise Keating - Be My Ghost (The Green Light)

Monday 17 February 2014

Lowell - The Bells

We probably go on about ex-Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts a bit too much on this blog, ( several hundred heads nod in agreement) but forgive us if we commit the sin just once more whilst we’re streaming this track from Canada’s Lowell. For Lowell is making the kind of music we’d really like Nicola’s second album to sound like. She’s got that blog friendly experimental edge but her sound is still immediately accessible; there’s enough icy cool but there’s also a fiery spark. It’s sung with an air of nonchalant sweetness but there’s also some shoutiness and attitude behind it. Basically it’s very good.

Having already worked on the Apparatjik collaborative project with Magne Furuholmen from A-Ha, Jonas Bjerre from Mew, Guy Berryman from Coldplay and Swedish producer Martin Terefe to produce the If You Can, Solve This Jumble mini album, now Lowell is gearing up to release her debut album in full through Arts & Crafts. The Bells is a taster from that record; it’s a ding-dong hook laden mid-tempo pop tune that’s getting a lot of rotation in Breaking More Waves towers, just with no Quasimodo in residence.

Lowell - The Bells

Go Swim - New Waves

Today we’re introducing plucky indie guitar band Go Swim from Belfast, Northern Ireland who according to that land’s champion new music blogger Chris from The Metaphorical Boat formed in 2013 and include members from the remnants of various other musical projects such as Nakatomi Towers and Parachutes Over Paris. Having released the heartening sounding Halo (not a Beyoncé cover) last summer the band now have three tunes up on their Soundcloud and it’s their most recent track Call Sign that’s really grabbed our attention. There’s a sense of urgency to the song, with its exciting propulsive guitar work, which is further intensified by the male-female vocal interplay. The obvious reference point here is Foals – but more subtly The Cure – that is if you’d put a Cure album on at 45rpm rather than 33 and pressed the joy button rather than the sadness one. Go Swim are a little bomb of indietasticness; go play.

You can download all the bands songs for free from their Soundcloud here.

Go Swim - Call Sign (Video)

Sunday 16 February 2014

Blooms - If I

On New Year’s Day we published a list entitled 20 Things We Want To Happen To Music And The Internet in 2014. Since then it has become the most viewed / read post in the blog’s five and a half year history.

Rather like backing every horse in the Grand National and then claiming you picked the winner, of those 20 items we’ve already seen a few of them come true. Well done America for scrapping X-Factor and partially ticking off want number 2 (hopefully the UK will follow suit soon) and we’re very pleased to announce that the sponsored 24 hour Blogathon we completed with Alphabet Bands blog raised just over £1,500 for Cancer Research, so number 15 on the list was well and truly hit. No sign of that 2nd Nicola Roberts album though, so items 19 and 20 remain unfulfilled. 

Item 14 on the list related to our boredom of artists that launch themselves to the world shrouded in mystery, with no identity, image or anything other than music.  ‘Even better let's forget this 'mystery artist' idea – it’s only something that (mostly) the industry and media care about,’ we wrote.

So praise be to Louise Cunnane who launched her musical project Blooms with the heavenly Skin as another bloody mystery artist, but has quickly removed that veil and not only told us who she is, but shown who she is (picture above). Good, now we’ve got that over and done with we can get on with the important bit and listen to the music.

If I is the second track to be revealed from Blooms. It’s a slow flowering introspective beauty that drip feeds layers of subtle beats and glossy downbeat electronics whilst Louise’s warm sigh wafts around over and over. Together with Skin it bodes very well for a graceful and melancholy debut EP, even when Louise isn’t being ever so secretive about her identity.

Blooms - If I

Eva Stone - Runaway Lover (Live Session Version Video)

Every year since the blog's birth, come late November / early December, Breaking More Waves publishes its own Ones To Watch list for the forthcoming year. We’ve always gone much earlier than many other blogs or websites, partly to avoid any accusation of copying others should our choices be the same, particularly if as usually happens a few of our selections crop up on the likes of the ubiquitous BBC Sound of List or its smaller distant cousin the UK Blog Sound of List, which we help compile. 

This year more sites than ever before seemed to publish Ones to Watch / Hopes for 2014 lists, some of them verging on the ridiculous – we saw lists of 100 and even 214 acts being published, often with no commentary as to why they were included on the list. Frankly who has the time to sit and listen to 214 bands? That’s over 10 hours of listening. It’s why we’ve always kept the format of our list to 10 or 15 acts and published one a day, with some text to explain why we think they’re One to Watch for the forthcoming year. Of course we don’t always get it ‘right’ but that’s all part of the fun isn’t it? 

Amongst the acts we list we’ve always tried to find one or two that we guess are unlikely to crop up on many other lists, not because they’re not worthy of inclusion, but because they’re probably a little too under the radar at that particular stage.  In previous years amongst this category we’ve included the likes of Clare Maguire and Marina & The Diamonds (both a full year before the BBC Sound of List). Of our Ones to Watch for 2014 probably Eva Stone is the artist who most easily fits that early-doors category, having yet to release a single or EP and with just the smallest collection of songs online.

We’ve written before about Eva’s voice which oozes classic blues and soul references, allowing us to use the words Britain’s got talent without thinking of Simon Cowell. Now here’s another display of those vocals on a session version of a song called Runaway Lover (which was previously titled just Runaway, see an earlier version here) which was premiered on Line of Best Fit on Friday. The song is formed around a gritty rootsy riff and once again places what comes out of Eva's mouth central stage.

Eva Stone - Runaway Lover (Live Session Version Video)

Saturday 15 February 2014

Laurel - Crazy

Covering an all-time classic like Patsy Cline’s Crazy is always going to be a risk, because how can you better or even get slightly close to something that is perfection? Thankfully Breaking More Waves favourite and regular Laurel doesn’t try to compete with the original and instead pushes the song into her own post Valentine’s downer of a world, giving the lonely lyrics plenty of space to breathe through the softest of beats and desolate love-torn keys.

If you’re feeling a bit blue right now, this probably won’t cheer you up, but it might help get you through the day. Sometimes abandoned stillness can be comfortingly beautiful. 

Laurel - Crazy

Friday 14 February 2014

Lovestarrs - Stupid Cupid

Today is the day where (if judging by last year) many men will be cooking their girlfriends steak to show them that: 

1. They’re manly, because steak is a very manly thing.

2. They can cook.

3. In the UK at least, it’s too cold for a barbeque (if Valentine’s day was in July in the UK all the ladies would be getting burnt sausages).

4. Last year wasn’t a one off. (By year 3, if it's still going strong they'll have probably given up with that idea though and will instead suggest 'going down the pub with my mates' would be a suitably romantic gesture or maybe a loving gift of two tickets to the football on Saturday.)

Their girlfriends will then proclaim the cooking of the steak to be the most romantic thing ever (particularly if the man also purchased some over-priced red roses to thrust at her, hoping that he’ll be thrusting something else in her later).  She’ll then post a photo of it on Instagram. For that (apparently) is a sign of true love.

In the meantime, while that’s going on we suggest playing this song. The second track from Lovestarrs (whose debut track Get Your Sexy On we featured here and could probably be played after the steak) seems appropriate today. It’s called Stupid Cupid. “Do you ever feel like cupid is a bitch?” the band state. Well if the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection is the reason this free download got created, he can’t be all that bad can he?

Lovestarrs - Stupid Cupid

Thursday 13 February 2014

Mø, The Spice Girls & How The Internet Has Changed Music Taste

Back in the late 90’s we attended a ‘secret’ Blur gig at London’s Astoria. It was just around the time where they steered completely away from Brit Pop and had begun to produce a sound that some people were comparing with Pavement. We have 3 main memories of the show:

1. Queuing from 3am in the morning for tickets.

2. Allowing a girl who we’d never met before to sit on our shoulders so she could get a better view for one song.

3. As the gig finished and the lights went up seeing The Spice Girls sitting on the balcony waving at everyone like royalty. However they didn’t get the welcome they probably expected; angry fingers were shown and bottles and glasses (plastic) were thrown at them.

For in those days The Spice Girls, 5 juggernauts of pop marketing, were treated with disdain by much of the indie and brit-pop crowd. They certainly weren’t cool and we’d guess that if music blogs had existed then they would have been given wide berth, in much the same way as you’re unlikely to see the likes of One Direction cropping up on them now.

Yet somehow things have changed. There’s a number of edgy blog loved pop stars or potential pop stars out there who are very clearly inspired and influenced by The Spice Girls. It’s almost as if its now OK to confess to owning a Spice Girls LP. (Yes that includes us – we own the first 2).

Charli XCX has spoken of how she grew up listening to The Spice Girls and dreamed of being them, Chlöe Howl has the same feisty attitude in her songs, and has quite clearly been influenced by Sporty Spice in her image. (Fun fact : The video for her song XXX 88 featured a Spice World promo poster on her bedroom wall.)

It’s interesting to see how blogs and the so called alternative music press have been so quick to embrace the likes of Mø  and are quite happy to feature her singing a Spice Girls song. It’s cropped up on a whole bagful of indie sites today (from Sterogum to This Is Fake D-I-Y) and it's not exactly as if Mø's treatement is particularly radical - if anything it plays it safe, just giving it a new paint job for this decade.

It seems that the internet has fully blurred the lines between the mainstream and the alternative and nobody cares any more. We’re not saying this is a bad thing per se (after all here at Breaking More Waves we’ve always loved and embraced both mainstream pop and more alternative forms of music – to our ears it’s all just music) but do wonder what the long term lasting effects of this homogenisation will be and hope that somewhere there will always be those who sneer against the mainstream, for the greatest creativity usually comes from there.

Say You'll Be There is free to download. 

Mø - Say You'll Be There 

As Elephants Are - Hand Prints

Well this is glorious. Trumpet coated indie from As Elephants Are, a band that last year we selected as one of our 3 choices for the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition long list. Whilst there was the inevitable hiss of ‘they were robbed’ when the band didn’t make it through to the short list (to be fair Bridie Jackson & The Arbour the eventual winners were stunning and fully deserved the final judges votes) at least vindication for our choice is on display here. 

Hand Prints is the new song and it's the lead track from the band’s debut 4 track EP due for release on the 31st March. It zooms with a towering magnifence that will make you want to throw your head back and reach for the stars. OK, we’re probably getting a little carried away there, but hell, if you’re going to do indie rock, do it right, and this is right.

As Elephants Are - Hand Prints

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Little Daylight - Siren Call

There’s a bit of a Chvrches thing going on at Breaking More Waves right now. (Correction: There's always a thing going on for Chvrches at Breaking More Waves). Earlier today we introduced our latest new crush Halsey and compared her single Ghost to our favourite Scottish synth popsters. Now we’re bringing back to the blog a band who we originally introduced as being ‘like a neon multi-coloured alcopop-giddy version of Chvrches.’ We promise for our next post we’ll move onto something different, but for now we’re sticking here.

However, Siren Call, the new song from Little Daylight doesn’t sound anything like Chvrches. OK, if you’re comparing the tune with Metallica or Queens Of The Stone Age then it probably does bear more similarity to Chvrches, but in the world of female fronted electronic pop music Siren Call isn’t that near. It's not even a distant cousin.

Taken from the Brooklyn trio’s forthcoming album Hello Memory, Siren Call is all about the hesitation of committing to a relationship.  “You’re afraid you’re going to fuck this up, feeling like you don’t deserve this love.” Throbbing with choppy synth riffs and a mountainous “oh-oh” hook it’s pop with just a bit of an edge. Just how we like it.

Little Daylight - Siren Call

Halsey - New Waves

Ghost is the debut single from potential US pop starlet in the making Halsey; a percussive and pulsing parcel of electropop that makes its mark immediately with its bad girl lyrics and impressive production.  “I don’t like them innocent, I don’t want no face fresh. Want them wearing leather, begging ‘let me be your taste test’. I like the sad eyes, bad guys, mouth full of white lies. Kiss me in the corridor but quick to tell me goodbye,” she opens with.

It’s somewhat different to her Harry Styles / Taylor Swift parody tune entitled The Haylor Song which caused a bit of a rumpus with One Direction fans when she uploaded it under her real name (Ashley Frangipane) in 2012. (Halsey is an anagram of Ashley of course.) However, since then she’s made some major strides musically.

Halsey / Ashley seems a pretty internet savvy sort of lady, having already amassed 20k followers on Twitter (not bad for a supposedly ‘new’ artist - but then maybe they're all 1D fans?) and already a couple of our favourite pop blogs from overseas such as relative newcomer Oblivious Pop (the new Neon Gold blog?) and established blog biggie Hillydilly have posted the tune. “Ghost where’d you go? I can’t find you in the body sleeping next to me,” sings Halsey and just like Hillydilly we immediately hear a vocal similarity to Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches, on this particular tune at least. This is a high quality, utterly contemporary, promiscuous piece of pop. Watch this one do the rounds.

Halsey - Ghost

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Chet Faker - Talk Is Cheap

It’s been too long since we got sweaty with Chet Faker on Breaking More Waves, the last time being in May 2012 when we proclaimed his take on No Diggity 'cover version of the weekend' at Brighton’s Great Escape in 2012. It was a blinding show that also featured Haim, St Lucia and Foxes on the bill – smug faces all round if like us you were in that sauna of a basement that night.

Now he’s here again with new song Talk Is Cheap, his first single from the debut album Built On Glass which is due on April 11 via Future Classic / Downtown Records. On the Soundcloud player Talk Is Cheap is tagged as simply ‘sex’, and whilst thankfully it’s not actually the sound of Chet doing the business, it’s pretty much the musical equivalent of it. There’s a saucy saxophone, there’s what at first sounds like a creaking bedspring which gradually morphs into a vocal sample, there’s low-key sultry late night beats,  there’s smouldering keyboard vibes that pretty much say ‘it’s time to get naked’ and there’s Chet’s smooth croon  which gives warm thrills in all sorts of places. 

Ladies and gentlemen, forget that Barry White seduction album. It’s time to do it with Chet.

Chet Faker - Talk Is Cheap

Nevermind - New Waves

Remember t.A.T.u? The faux lesbian pop band from Russia who conquered the UK charts in 2002/3 with hit singles All The Things She Said and Not Gonna Get Us, covered The Smiths, then courted further controversy by both going fully topless and showing a pregnant Yulia being shot dead in the video for Beliy Plachi? Or maybe you remember them from just a few days ago as they were one of the acts chosen to warm up the chilly crowds in Sochi before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic games?  Well, today we’re introducing a UK pop group that may not be quite as controversial as t.A.T.u but there’s a semblance of similarity in some of their songs, not necessarily in the sound, but the atmosphere they create. 

For Nevermind (a band who despite the name seem to have very little to do with Nirvana) create the same sort of troubled pop with dark synths and brilliant big crashing drums, but with a lighter vocal touch, like t.A.T.u did at their best. Want a more modern reference point? Ok, add in Kyla La Grange’s recent single Cut Your Teeth or New Zealand’s Broods who both share a similar space.

Nevermind are a four piece pop group who consist of Megan-Lilly, Coco LLoyd, Rio Hellyer and Lexi Clark. Their Facebook has one of those long wordy blurbs that manages to say very little. “Piecing together Nevermind was what we have described as the veins of fate,” is one typical sentence. We’re not sure exactly what that means but we’d hazard a guess that it involves a certain amount of music industry manufacture, but they don’t really want to tell us that. Not that we have anything against manufactured bands – when push comes to shove very few artists who achieve any level of commercial success are 100% autonomous - but if you recognise the name Coco Lloyd the chances are it’s because in her younger years she was a topless model (so she’s keeping up with t.A.T.u on that one) and was also a member of X-Factor flops Kandy Rain. Likewise drummer Lexi Clark has a musical past, in the rock group Hearts Under Fire.

But let’s not judge Nevermind on their past or how they may have been brought together. After all Girls Aloud are one of our favourite pop bands of the last decade and they didn’t spend their formative years slogging round the cider stained indie venue circuit did they?

Let’s instead focus on the music.

Nevermind’s debut EP Wide Eyed (which you can hear here) features dark  power-pop in tracks like Drinking Alone (with a ‘voices in my head’ chorus that brings those hit ‘em hard drums to the fore), sweeping fists in the air t.A.T.u dramatics and sexiness in the form of Get Wrong and a gentle piano ballad (which doesn't really hit our spot) in closing track Heaven. Then there’s our favourite song, 2 Lines, which has an arty black and white video (below) and a electronic rock pop structure which (once again) has big big drums that sound like they’ll soundtrack every air drumming session we’ll ever have until someone puts on Phil Collins tune In The Air Tonight

Throw off your mental chains, forget the past and listen to Nevermind.

Nevermind - Get Wrong

Nevermind - 2 Lines (Video)

Monday 10 February 2014

Låpsley - Painter (Valentine)

Over the last few years there’s been a subtle shift in the paradigm in terms of how musicians present themselves. No longer it seems do new artists have to have charisma or stand for anything but the music they make. Releasing via the internet as a ‘mystery artist’ or an alter-ego is almost de rigueur these days – the statement ‘it’s just about the music’ seems to crop up time and time again. Pop music has resorted to the same traditions as both classical and folk music have done before, bringing a new conservatism where doing anything that could be seen as detracting from the substance of the song itself is pooh-poohed by the new tastemaker elite.

It’s why somebody like Låpsley fits perfectly in. Now don’t misunderstand us, this isn’t a criticism of this young singer / songwriter / producer who has started to weave some quite brilliant material; far from it. It’s just a fact that she’s operating in a way that many iGeneration artists are right now – with some affordable technology, an electronic alter ego and with little flamboyance, extravagance or pretentiousness about the way she presents her art. 

What little we do know of Låpsley is that she’s 17, lives in Liverpool, loves sailing plus photography and after a number of early acoustic attempts and electronic dabbling has left many listeners breathless with her beautiful song Station. It’s a tune that without any label backing became a word of mouth (or should that be blog to blog?) hit since it was first uploaded in late December, including on Breaking More Waves.

Now Låpsley follows up Station with what feels like its natural sibling. Painter (Valentine) bathes in soft electronic hues of loveliness. It’s the musical equivalent of a cuddle when you’re at your most vulnerable from someone who really cares. It’s a song that reshapes, twists and distorts reality and makes everything seem OK. It’s the stuff of dreams, dreams that are magnified by the lyrics: "Come paint these wings and make me fly."

It is, we hope you agree, just gorgeous. 

In this case being 'just about the music' is 100% enough.

Låpsley - Painter (Valentine)

Sunday 9 February 2014

Meg Myers - The Morning After

Here’s the flip side of Meg Myers. Whereas the likes of Monster and Go displayed an unsettling intensity that was unusually raw in this age of musical play-safe, now we’re at The Morning After

“Baby, I want to fuck you, I want to feel you in my bones,” Meg belted out lustily on Desire, but now there’s the reflective regret. Backed by a gentle acoustic waltz she sings “I can't tell anyone the morning after you.” It’s still raw lyrically, but the music is quietly understated and would surely be the perfect set closer to her live show after some of the sonic aggression that has gone before. Now we just have to hope that Meg makes it onto a stage in the UK at some point this year.

The Morning After will be featured on Meg’s forthcoming EP Make A Shadow.

Meg Myers - The Morning After

Saturday 8 February 2014

Lovestarrs - New Waves

Big pop hook alert.

Getting dropped by your record label can be a kick in the teeth for any artist, but probably even more frustrating is not being allowed to release your music after the event. Such was the fate of The Good Natured, who it seems didn’t have the greatest music industry version of a pre-nuptial and couldn’t claw back the masters of their debut album Prism for an independent release. However as the saying goes, once shit happens you have to turn it into compost and since last July The Good Natured have grown into Lovestarrs.

The first flower from their new garden of music is Get Your Sexy On, a title that we’re sure the likes of Justin Timberlake would be immensely proud of. Before we’d even heard a note we’d already conceived visions of the band writhing around provocatively in their underwear to a steamy backing of ridiculously hot dirty electronic  r ‘n’ b, quite possibly in front of handcuffed and gagged record industry executives.

We were wrong. It’s better than that; Get Your Sexy On is a pop song of multiple orgasms. Like a teenage boy in the sack it might only last two minutes and fifty three seconds, but in that time the chorus explodes again and again until by the end you’re left feeling spent, blown out and wanting to hear it all again. Phew, we're going for a cold shower after this.

Lovestarrs - Get Your Sexy On

Friday 7 February 2014

D/C - Devil On My Shoulder

This is the 2000th post on Breaking More Waves. To celebrate here’s a free download. It’s a song we’ve featured once before on the blog, albeit at that stage the track was just a live version. Now D/C’s Devil On My Shoulder gets the full blown studio treatment complete with cellos, keys, guitar picking that sounds like raindrops and D/C’s soulful voice. His gritty languid earthiness gives his music the same sense of downbeat spliffiness that the music of Ghost Poet has. 

Whilst still relatively under the radar D/C’s recently been working with Gorgon City, has been name checked by Chase & Status “some exciting new talent right there” and is due to release a debut EP soon. He’s also been confirmed for Britain’s finest new music festival – Brighton’s Great Escape. For now, press play, download for free then press play again and again.

D/C - Devil On My Shoulder

Thursday 6 February 2014

Mononoke - Bones & Glory

When we posted Mononoke’s debut song Alice last year we noticed a real reaction to it, all of which was positive. The tweets rolled in: Where had we discovered the song from? What a mesmerising tune. Who was the mysterious* Mononoke? Even the former deputy mayor of New York got in on the act stating that “I was looking for Mononoke's Alice all year,” after finding the song on these very pages.

With Alice hitting the spot so perfectly, come the end of the year we listed Mononoke as one of our 10 Ones To Watch for 2014 – a risk, having only heard just the one song. 

Now there are two. Bones & Glory doesn’t possess the same instant butterflies in the stomach power of Alice, but spend some time with it and it unfurls into an evocative free spirited beauty. “They can never tame us, can’t contain us now, we’re weightless, bones and glory blown to sundown,” Mononoke sings tenderly against a musical backdrop of twilight-hour soft focus electronics. It’s the musical equivalent of that post-coital moment; come and enjoy it.

*And for those who want to know who Mononoke is? Well, we’re not going reveal the mystery quite yet, although when her cover gets blown (as it inevitably will, as we managed to find out who she is with just a couple of Google and Twitter searches) expect a sigh of anti-climax as you realise she’s nobody you’ve heard of before. We thought we’d just put you in the picture with that one.

Mononoke - Bones & Glory