Monday 31 March 2014

First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining

Get your stetsons, neckties and cowboy boots on because we’re going for a ride with First Aid Kit. My Silver Lining is the first song to be taken from the sister-duo’s third album Stay Gold which is released on June 10th. It’s a mantra of perseverance and a message to all those who procrastinate about things without just getting on and doing something. “Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road, can't worry 'bout what's behind you or what's coming for you further up the road,” they sing. How can you get anywhere if at least you don’t set of on some sort of journey in the first place? To this philosophy they add Wild West meets country instrumentation, weaving in delightful orchestral strings to give the song further substance to Johanna and Klara’s ever perfect vocals. It’s good to have them back.

First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining

Ellie Goulding - Beating Heart (Video)

Here’s Ellie Goulding who it appears is popular with both the teens and the dads.

Beating Heart is from the movie Divergent which is a teen movie based on a book of the same name. Kate Winslet stars in the film, so that will keep the dads happy. Like nearly all teen films these days it’s a trilogy for ‘people who liked the Hunger Games’. The Hunger Games starred Jennifer Lawrence who we understand is also popular with both teens and their dads.

Next up : The Maze Runner. As Ellie had the song Mirror in the Hunger Games (Catching Fire) will she make it a hat-trick with one in The Maze Runner? And what will there be for the dads to enjoy about it all? Success may rely on these factors.

Ellie Goulding - Beating Heart

Fickle Friends - Play

A music blog is like a public diary, enabling anyone to rifle through the pages of events of yesteryear and discover past lovers. For instance, turn back to 2008 when Breaking More Waves was just learning to crawl and you’ll find us predicting one of our Ones To Watch 2009 as Skint & Demoralised. Then just a few months later, when we were still carrying live reviews, we said of Skint & Demoralised: “Unfortunately, Breaking More Waves prediction last year of Skint and Demoralised being one to watch seems just a little misplaced for now.” (Here) It’s a topsy-turvy unpredictable world out there. Sometimes things don’t work out and our relationships with particular artists is a bit like being fickle friends.

Sometimes things do work out though, even for fickle friends. Or in this case Fickle Friends, the Brighton based five-piece who have well and truly hit the buzz button hard. Since our first post on them last December, when their song I Want / You Want captured our attention (here), things have been on an upward trajectory. They’ve gone from just a couple of thousand plays on Soundcloud to over 370,000 in three months and today within seconds of new song Play being unveiled you can almost hear the tap-tapping of bloggers keyboards as they rush to be one of the first to get the song on line. No doubt by the time you read this it will already be on some sites, but we’re so damn f*cking excited about their songs that, we’re jumping in and posting relatively early after the track has been released. 

Play is a tune that once again musically sets the heart racing with a giddy pop bounce, even if the lyrics aren't all about bunny rabbits, sunshine and rainbows. “Play is about seeing someone who’s losing their passion. It's a continuation of the characters from Swim. She’s getting nostalgic as he becomes less interested in everything,” says lead singer Natti. “Baby you don’t play it like you used to,” she sings on the chorus. Well,we’re still playing big for Fickle Friends, there’s no diminishing passion here at Breaking More Waves.

Fickle Friends next live date is in London at The Shacklewell Arms in London on April 9, with plenty more live shows throughout spring and summer including slots at festivals such as Sound City, The Great Escape, Leefest, Truckfest and Secret Garden Party. Play is available to buy on iTunes right now. Do it. The music of Fickle Friends will make your day that much better.  

Final thought. #FF on twitter was named as such because of Fickle Friends – TRUE FACT.


Fickle Friends - Play 

Halsey - New Americana

A sense of familiarity and a big earworm of hook are pretty much essential components of a pop song. Add in a dash of controversy and attitude and front of the pack status is close to guaranteed. Having already achieved all of this once with her bad-girl electropop tune Ghost (here), Halsey’s doing it all again with the no holds barred New Americana. “We are the new Americana high on legal marijuana,” she sings, a lyric that’s bound to raise a few eyebrows, but it’s the whole heavy tune as much as the lyric that marks Halsey out as one to watch. Fans of Broods, Chvrches, Indiana and Ellie Goulding (basically the kind of pop that we post a lot of on Breaking More Waves) will be impressed and quite possibly instantly converted.  It’s a free download as well. What more could you ask for? 

Halsey - New Americana

The True Cost Of Gig Going (Part 3) - Q1 Report

Three months ago we started recording our total spend in attending gigs.

Here’s the key headlines from the end of the first quarter:

  • We’ve attended 17 shows and seen 51 bands play.
  • Of those 17 gigs only 2 have been in our home city of Portsmouth.
  • 13 of the 17 shows have involved a round trip of 100 miles or more.
  • 59% of our total spend was on travel and accommodation.
  • We spent only £5.25 on average at the venue on drinks and merchandise.
  • The total average cost of a gig (which varied in size from 100 capacity to 2,500 capacity) including tickets, travel, accommodation and merchandise was £43.35.
  • We’re expecting an increase in our % total spend of tickets in September – at nearly £100 Kate Bush’s residency at Hammersmith Apollo was the most expensive ticket we’ve ever purchased for a one off gig (excluding festivals).
  • The most popular city for us to attend gigs in this quarter was London, closely followed by Brighton.
  • Our total spend on gigs including all costs was £736.90. If we’d saved this money and spent it on buying albums we could have purchased in the region of 80 LPs.
We'll continue with our monthly reports at the end of April 2014. 

Sunday 30 March 2014

Plastic Mermaids - New Waves

Plastic Mermaids hail from the Isle of Wight, so inevitably since they first cropped up on a handful of blogs at the end of 2013 they’ve found writers trying to make links to their (relative) geographic isolation and the music. Certainly this band don’t sound deeply try-hard fashionable or of the zeitgeist, something which could also be said of the garden isle itself, despite it hosting two of the UK’s premier festivals every year, one of which has attracted the likes of The XX, Grimes and James Blake.

However irrespective of location and fashion what we’re convinced of is that Plastic Mermaids sound pretty inspiring. This probably sounds like pretentious bollocks but it’s the kind of music that makes us want to go out on a cold cloudless night and watch our breath float up to the stars. 

The two songs we’ve heard from the band’s debut Drømtorp EP (which is released tomorrow) are silky and cinematically gorgeous.  On Polaroids we love the way the weary warm vocals mix with swelling strings and keys to create something quite stirring by the end. Add to this the surreal stop motion video with Crayola rockets and weird sea scenes - one of the most inventive we’ve seen for some time - and you’ll probably (like us) be convinced that this is a band with bundles of imagination. Title track Drømtorp itself is a lesson in top-notch songcraft, never over-reaching itself, yet still attaining a crowning choir coated glory. It’s intoxicating stuff.

Douglas Richards, Jamie Richards, Chris Jones, Tom Farren and Chris Newnham are the men who form Plastic Mermaids. They play London tomorrow (sold out) but you can also find them at Sixty Million Postcard in Bournemouth in April, then Bristol’s Dot to Dot festival in May with further dates following. The EP can be ordered from here on either digital download or blue vinyl.

Plastic Mermaids - Drømtorp

Plastic Mermaids - Polaroids

Thursday 27 March 2014

Thoughts On Blog Post Frequency (+ Kyla La Grange's New Song)

“I swear to god as soon as online publications realise they don’t have to publish every day it will be as revolutionary as the printing press.” That was a tweet we spotted yesterday from one Adrian Chen, a writer and editor at The New Enquiry, a subscription based online publication.

He has a point. Nobody has to do something every day if they don’t want to. Tomorrow we could all just stay in bed, not go to work and have wild passionate sex with someone we fancy (assuming they want to). But these actions have consequences. If you’re employed you might find yourself out of a job. There might even be a baby boom as well. And likewise if you are running an online publication to keep a roof over your head and rely on advertising income you might just find you can’t pay the rent / mortgage at the end of the month. For many sites, page views = income.

However, the perceived wisdom is that the majority of mass content / numerous posts a day / link baiting sites are low in quality, especially if they're run by a small team or individual. But hits are incredibly important unless you do things another way such as the subscription model that The New Enquiry uses. With that model as long as you haven’t agreed with your customers to produce daily content, you don’t have to, and the consequences are less. If your customers are happy with the slower production rate and don’t cancel their subscriptions, you are operating in a very different arena. Quality suddenly goes higher up the agenda. You can possibly even stay in bed all day and make a baby. Although if you do you might need to up your subscribers in the future.

Here’s a another tweet, this time from Sean Adams, founder of Drowned In Sound website: “My job would be 98% easier if I was more forgiving and liked more music, but our website would probably be 6000% less good. #science."

We guess what Sean is alluding to is what he calls the ‘churnover’ of artists, bands, news, reviews, songs and suchlike that music websites create every day. The endless ‘here’s a song, right we’ve forgotten it already let’s move on to the next thing,’ culture that the internet has helped create. Sean’s talking about curation and selection, providing stuff that you believe in (and continue to believe in) and hope your audience will too, hence developing readership loyalty, something that endless “10 greatest guitar poses in rock” features probably doesn’t do. And the argument is that selection and curation requires time, which brings us back to Adrian’s point about not having to publish every day.

So why are we writing about this? Because we want to add the voice of the amateur to these statements and because we're shockingly amateur with words we couldn’t fit it in a 140 character tweet. 

So here we go.

The discussion about volume of posts, quality and funding models whilst interesting, ultimately has no relevance to unfunded music blogs like Breaking More Waves. Why? Because we don’t generate income, the likes of traffic and page views becomes irrelevant. Sure it’s nice for the ego to know that someone reads the crap we upload (every blogger likes an audience, no matter how small – otherwise why put your posts publically on line?) and it’s good for the artists we write about if there’s some traffic, getting them a few more plays and possible interest in their music. 

And yes, we want to produce the best quality we can, as we’re a little bit proud of our humble blog and what we’ve done with it over the last 5 and three quarter years, but we’re realists; we don’t have huge amounts of spare time to produce the thing. If quality = time we have to let the quality go a little. That enables us to rattle out our posts in the spare half hour we have here and there, often writing and scheduling over a sandwich at lunch time at work or burning the midnight oil late when the family are all in bed. 

“Why not slow down and increase the quality?” you may ask you ask. Especially when we’re not being paid.

The answer is because unlike Sean we love A LOT of music; indie, rock, pop, disco, electronica, folk, dance, hip-hop, soul – (sorry heavy metal types, we just can’t get into your groove), and we want to gush uncontrollably about as much of the stuff that we adore as we have time available, without ever just becoming a lowest common denominator ‘this song is good’/ then post the track blog. (We still have some standards!). This to our minds is what music fans do, they talk and obsess about music more than anything else; even more than thinking about practicing making babies. 

That’s why whilst we agree with Adrian that we don’t have to publish every day, with some exceptions (holidays, the odd Saturday or Sunday and right now for the next three or four days *), we continue to do so. Because like a teenage couple in the first flourishes of excitable romance – we want everyone to know about our passion. Our love affair of music doesn’t stop - this is about love not money.

Oh. We almost forgot. This song is good (DAMN!)

*Yes this is possibly the longest blog post ever to get round to saying we’re not posting anything for the next three or four days whilst we take a bit of time off away from the blog. Sorry we got carried away. 

Kyla La Grange - The Knife

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Fear Of Men - Luna (Video)

Here’s another band that we haven’t featured for a long time on Breaking More Waves (last seen in Camden in 2012) so let’s make things right. Here are some facts:

1. The new single from Fear Of Men is called Luna. Lead singer Jess looks very serious in the video, but that’s probably because she’s holding a live snake. Dance routines probably weren’t an option.

2. To be fair Fear of Men don’t sound like a band who would do dance routines. Their music isn’t exactly full of four to the floor beats, instead it mixes a gentle pop etherealness that harks back to a day when indie music was somehow purer and only for the alternative kids; 90’s 4AD label etherealness combined with a chiming and charming guitar pop nuance would be our summary. 

3. Whilst she might not be much of a dancer, it appears Jess likes to live dangerously. When she’s not got a snake coiled around her neck she’s standing inches away from having an arrow shot through her heart, an idea taken from artist Marina Abramovic and her performance piece Rest Energy, which is about placing yourself in a vulnerable position. We hope that if Jess is to continue this line of performance in her videos that she has carried out a suitable risk assessment (otherwise the Health and Safety gang will be out) and has valid insurance cover in place. 

4. Maybe next time the band will be inspired by Abramovic’s 1976 piece Relation In Space, the concept of which was two naked bodies running and hitting each other frontally and increasing the speed for one hour. We’ll let you know if the band get in contact with us and ask for volunteers.

5. Fear of Men will be out supporting another old school indie band The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart in April and May, which makes a lot of sense musically, and have a few UK shows to warm up for that. An album, Loom, is due on the 21st April which you can pre-order now from here.

Fear Of Men - Luna (Video)

Alice Boman - What

Without doubt one of the loveliest things we’ve come across this month. Alice Boman’s raw and fragile Waiting stopped us in our tracks last year and now she’s doing it all again with a new song. The eerie and ghostly sounding What is about as plaintive and melancholy as you can get musically, yet amongst the midnight glow of restfulness there’s a passion in the lyrics. “Take me out, take me out tonight, come light the fire,” she sings in her honeyed and tender tones.

Just devine.

Alice Boman - What

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Rae Morris - Do You Even Know (Video)

Today Rae Morris returns to the pages of Breaking More Waves with her gorgeous new single Do You Even Know, due for release on May 6th.

The follow up to Skin is one of the more upbeat songs in her current live set. That’s not to say that it’s an all guns blazing disco-ball frenzy, but in the same way as a songwriter like David Gray put a few subtle late-night clicks and taps onto the likes of Babylon in 1999 to find his songs on a radio-bound journey, Rae’s finespun beauty benefits from the baby beats. Hopefully with her profile rising through her recent Bombay Bicycle Club support dates and another forthcoming headline tour in April and May (which includes a date at the decrepit but wonderful Wilton’s Music Hall in London) radio playlisters will take note and give this lovely song some air time.

"I wanted people to be able to feel the discomfort and awkwardness of feeling misunderstood. I wanted people to see me as a mannequin shining on the outside but with the inside well hidden,” Rae said of the video that accompanies this song which deals with solitude and how people never really know who you are. Engaging and exquisite pop.

Rae Morris - Do You Even Know

Slow Club - Complete Surrender

If it wasn’t for the fact that the band’s name was at the top of the player, we’d have had no idea that this song, Complete Surrender, was Daniel Radcliffe’s favourite purveyors of rollicking ramshackle indie-acoustic-rock. It’s certainly a long way from songs like Giving Up On Love, but that’s the point isn’t it? We’ve already got that, so another one would be a pointless exercise. A new direction is better than one direction in this case (sorry Harry Styles).

Remember when people called Slow Club twee? Not anymore. This is the sound of a band upping their game, aiming their souls for the sky and building to a string led stratospheric climax. Listen to Rebecca as she 100% sings her socks off in the last minute then get your best glittery dress or jacket and shirt on, because very soon you’ll have your arms outstretched in front and hips wiggling as you practice your best Three Degrees / Four Tops dance routines. If Complete Surrender was a night out on the town, it would be getting its coat by now, because it’s pulled.

Slow Club - Complete Surrender

Monday 24 March 2014

IYES - Breathe

IYES know how to write a pop song don’t they? Take Breathe. It’s got a pristine modern sounding production (helped out by MNEK), there’s some atmospheric ghostly synths and light beats at the beginning before the tune swells to totality, indie-pop poster girl in waiting Melis sings a pretty melody, there's a weird arty vocal breakdown in the middle where the title is repeated over and over like Laurie Anderson’s Oh Superman in a monastery plus it describes the intensity of love by using the word crazy multiple times. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Going mad bonkers crazy for love is vital in pop. Of course IYES already know this. The evidence? Well, they’ve already covered Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love and Britney Spears has a song called You Drive Me Crazy - it’s those words once uttered by Britney that Melis sings multiple times during Breathe. Let’s also not forget that Carly Rae Jepsen sang that ‘this is crazy’ as she gave out her number to a new infatuation and had a global number 1 hit in the process and before that Gnarls Barkley and Seal both recorded C-word songs and bang, chart-toppers were formed.

IYES - Breathe

Holly Miranda - Desert Call

The Soundcloud for Desert Call by Holly Miranda has two notes of interest. “Featuring Kelis on backing vocals,” is the first. “Released Oct 2013,” is the second. Yet this song and another (Everlasting) only found themselves uploaded to Soundcloud five days ago; which is why we’re featuring the song now. 

Holly Miranda first cropped up on this blog back in 2009 and has featured in dribs and drabs ever since, the last being in 2013 when she provided guest vocals on Mmoths trippy distorted electronic tune All These Things. Since then she appears to have spent quite a lot of her time on Facebook posting pictures of cats and the occasional dog.

Desert Call has a sleepy lazy day Sunday feel to it, combining elements of classic 60’s soul and tender country balladry. We can imagine this one being played out as the hero of a film slow dances with his lover clutched in his arms in a velvet curtained neglected nightclub, before he slowly drops to the floor, bleeding from a bloody and fatal gun shot wound he sustained from an enemy earlier, his eyes rolling to the heavens as he takes his last sad romantic breath and Holly croons “Hallelujah,” over the closing credits.

Holly Miranada - Dessert Call

Saturday 22 March 2014

The Colourist - We Won't Go Home (Video)

Californian quartet The Colourist smashed the internet last year with a bunch of blog adored songs such as Little Games, Fix This and Yes Yes (including some appreciation from Breaking More Waves). Now there’s a video for the song We Won’t Go Home which was originally included on the bands Lido EP. It  features the band playing in front of some faded and hazy scenes whilst blasting out their indie-power pop.

We Won’t Go Home is muscular enough to stand the test against rock dudes, but full of the sort of perkiness and lyrical simplicity to stand a chance with the pop kids as well (not of course that all pop songs have to have simple lyrics). Oh, and any band that has a singing drummer in the style of Phil Collins (although not as bald) gets our vote. 

For now The Colourist don't have any UK gig dates scheduled (can someone sort that out please?) so we'll just imagine how joyful this song would be as a set closer, all bouncing, moshing and frugging at the front but still plenty of vigorous head nodding and occasional bursts of dancing at the back, before everyone joins in with the final chanted chorus as the band leave the stage. 

The Colourist’s LP is released by Republic Records on March 25th but you can stream it by clicking here right now. If you're a fan of this sort of spiky spunky US indie pop you won't be disappointed.

The Colourist - We Won't Go Home (Video)

Friday 21 March 2014

Ms D - My Pen

The second solo track from Dayo Olatunji aka Ms D, following the exotic sounding Shoot Me With The Truth is My Pen, a song which may or may not be about a biro. Injected with moments of tight slamming drum and bass beats, soulful depth in the vocal and a pop sensibility (those woah-oh-oh’s sound a bit Rihanna like perhaps) this sounds like a potential radio big-hitter. In fact it’s already made its way on to the BBC Radio 1 Xtra playlist and we could quite easily see this cross over onto daytime Radio 1 itself. Ms D claims influences as far ranging as Imogen Heap and Taylor Swift to Rascal Flatts and Brandy and on the evidence of the two solo tracks we’ve now heard from her (as well as previous songwriting efforts with the likes of Wiley and Iggy Azelea) it’s clear that whilst soul may be her roots, she spreading her musical branches far and wide when it comes to creating her sonic palette.

If you fancy seeing Ms D live your next chances are at Gold Dust club at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen on March 27th, alongside Gossling, or in April where she’s out supporting Angie Stone. My Pen is taken from taken from her forthcoming Resonance EP on Killing Moon Records.

Ms D - My Pen

Broods - Bridges (Video)

The song that introduced us all to Broods was Bridges, just one of the tracks you can find on their debut EP. Yesterday the New Zealand duo released this video for the song. Here’s all you need to know about the plot:

The son of Dr Spock from Star Trek and one of The Inspiral Carpets is sad. (0.07) Well, wouldn’t you be if you had two fathers and had inherited their looks? He’s also a vampire and that pisses him off as well because he really fancies chicken kiev but that’s full of garlic. So he hangs out with Marika Hackman’s sister who is advertising happiness lessons to cheer himself up. (0.12) After a naughty cigarette (0.22) Marika’s sister (let’s call her M-Sis) admires the large testicles of professional footballer Ryan Giggs (0.33) albeit on a figurine rather than the real thing. Spock-son is jealous of Giggs and his unfeasabily large testicles so when he sees him walk buy, he discharges a big load of gob over him in anger. (0.49) Next whilst M-Sis dreams of spiders (0.59), Spock-son dreams of blowing her brains out (1.08). M-Sis thinks that Spock-son needs help with his violent and angry tendencies and so takes him to church where to make him more balanced she teaches him some gymnastics (1.24) and a spot of drama where they act out parts of Titanic.(1.32) Spock-son is let down though as M-Sis refuses to participate in the scene where Kate Winslet is drawn naked and further disappointment ensues when M-Sis refuses to pole dance in her underwear, despite Spock-son promising a large amount of money to her. (1.38 ) So they fight, with pillows, and during this fight Spock-son reveals his true vampiric self (2.00) only to greeted with the revelation that she is also a vampire and one of higher status than him. (2.03) After taking a nice juicy bite (2.10) but refusing him one M-Sis leaves to go back to Vampire Queen Marika Hackman (2.31) and write a song about her experiences, (quite possibly called Itchy Teeth) whilst Spock-son goes looking for Lorde who because of her goth-teen looks he suspects may also be a vampire of equal stature. Entering a room with dry ice and pot plants he may have stumbled upon the end of Lorde’s Team video and so can finally can declare himself a Vampire Lord. 

On the other hand, maybe this is just the classic boy / girl friendzone situation and poor old Spock-son is left lovelorn and lonely. He certainly burned his bridges here.

Broods - Bridges (Video)

Thursday 20 March 2014

Zella Day - New Waves

Once upon a time the SXSW festival was known as the place to discover new music. These days of course, for those with the time and inclination you don’t need to get on a plane and fly to Austin, Texas to carry out that discovery, you can do it just as easily from the comfort of your own home as long as you have an internet enabled device. Of course nothing beats the visceral thrill of seeing a band up close and in the flesh at a sweaty club gig, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to achieve that than Austin’s big festival.  So here’s one of our discoveries of this years event; we found her whilst staring at a laptop on our dining room table and drinking tea. Her name is Zella Day.

The SXSW website tells us some facts about Zella that you may or may not find interesting whilst you are consuming her tunes. For a start during her childhood her family owned the only coffee house in the town where she lived that had live music. At least we assume it was live music, SXSW tells us it was ‘life music’ which sounds pretty weighty and deep, but we have no idea what that it is. It also tells us that she now resides in Los Angeles and incorporates her simplistic roots and blends them with the eclectic sounds of the West Coast. You can hear that on her cover version of The White Stripes Seven Nation Army on her Soundcloud, but her other two songs, Sweet Ophelia and 1965, (both released on her debut single on April 7th via B3SCI Records) have a bigger pop nous. 1965 is actually the b-side of the record but is our favourite of the two - a swoon worthy epic with wild west twangs and touches of Lana Del Rey all over the shop. It's a crushingly beautiful pop ballad.

Zella Day - 1965

Cuckoo Lander - New Waves

We mentioned the other day that we’re always a little bit sceptical when a popular musician suddenly tweets about their new favourite song or artist, particularly when it’s one that’s virtually unknown (in this case one with 45 followers on Twitter and 346 likes on Facebook). It suggests some sort of label / management / industry connection. After all some artists don’t even manage their own twitter accounts (even if it appears it's them tweeting) so it would be pretty easy for their on-line PR company to access their account and tweet a quick plug for another artist they’re working for. 

So when we spotted a tweet from one of our favourite pop people Charli XCX  stating that her favourite song was by a new artist who goes by the name of Cuckoo Lander our initial reaction was the same as someone telling us that unicorns were actually real. 

Then we pressed play and our cynicism was blown away. For Cuckoo Lander’s debut song Dumb Dee Diddy Dumb has a pop sensibility and vocal structure not that dissimilar to Denmark’s MØ, but in this case the punchy aggressive electronics are mainly replaced with gnarly devlish guitars that riff ‘n’ roll around with a teeth clenching dirtiness that make us feel grubby but giddy, and we like that. 

So who is Cuckoo Lander? Come on now, you know how this works with new artists these days; we’re meant to have no idea. The black and white video (here) which features people doing weird moves with pillows at least shows us what her face looks like and her Facebook goes as far as telling us she’s based in London. That’s probably what most blogs will tell you. However one quick search on Twitter shows us that Cuckoo Lander is one Holly Hardy and that she’s played in who else but Charli XCX’s band. Connection made.

Cuckoo Lander - Dumb Dee Diddy Dumb

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Lykke Li - No Rest For The Wicked

Lykke Li is due to return with her third album in May 2014. We’re wondering if it’s already lining itself up for a place on our end of year list, after all her 2008 debut Youth Novels hit number 7 in our top 10 and the 2011 follow up Wounded Rhymes sneaked in at number 9.

Following the release of Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone the first track to be heard from the album we get No Rest For The Wicked. It’s another piece of classic despondent pop, a modern power ballad of sorts with echoing drums and crystal-bright piano and finds Lykke Li singing despairingly how “I let my good one down, I let my true love die, I had his heart but I broke it every time.” On the basis of the lyrical content of this song, Lykke Li’s probably not one to invite round if you fancy a big old disco party, but if a melancholy night of low-spirits and emotional wretchedness is more your thing, then wallow in this lovely tune. 

Lykke Li’s third LP will be titled I Never Learn

Lykke Li - No Rest For The Wicked

Allie X - Prime (Video)

After introducing Allie Hughes in February with her debut song Catch under her new pop star monicker Allie X, yesterday her second tune Prime was uploaded to the internet. Here are 5 simple facts that you need to know about this song and the lady in question if you haven’t heard it yet and are about to press play. 

1. The You Tube stream below features a looping GIF style video that we managed about thirty seconds of watching before realising that this was not good visual stimulation for our eyes.

2. The song sounds just a little bit bonkers, with Allie X singing in a ‘me, I’m slightly crazy’ style that quite a lot of pop ladies from the 80’s used to do – everyone from Toni Basil to Kate Bush to Toyah for example. 

3. There’s also a vague comparison musically with The Knife before they went fully art-pop.

4. Apparently Katy Perry tweeted about Allie X’s Catch. We’re not sure if this is really news as quite often there is some sort of label or management connection when established pop stars tweet about relatively new acts, but we’ll give Katy the benefit of doubt – maybe she was reading Breaking More Waves and found out about Allie X there?

5. This song is pretty damn hooky and despite being a pure pop record seems to have met with the approval of plenty of indie sites that we wouldn’t expect to see posting about pop music, which we guess means she's currently a 'credible' pop star, whatever that is.

Allie X - Prime (Video)

The Night V1 - Sienna

There was a time in the not so distant past when this blog, despite receiving way less traffic than it does now, got quite a few comments at the bottom of each post. We guess it says something about the way that the internet has changed, where often readers and listeners click and swipe between sites so quickly that pausing to leave a comment just isn’t ‘the thing’ anymore. In fact we get more comments about our blog posts via Twitter than we do the blog itself, which is a shame in some ways as there’s only so much you can say in 140 characters.

For example this comment certainly wouldn’t have fitted on Twitter:

“the person that writ this blog, needs to go back to mcdonalds. incredibly annoyingly writ, un funny, un entertaining, bull shit. talk about the band, the music, not 3 paragraphs of nonsense, then a sentence explaining that the band, are in fact, quite good. people like you do not deserve to write things on the internet for poor, innocent eyes to read. go back to school, and learn how not to be a dick.”

We had a good chuckle at that one. 

It was in relation to our first blog post on The Night (now known as The Night VI) way back in August 2012. So we hope that ‘Anonymous’ with their bad spelling and grammar isn’t reading this post either because as you can see we’re writing once again about issues that aren’t directly about the band or the music. Why? Here's a simple explanation that underpins this blog:

This blog is our own personal blog – a hobby blog if you want. It’s not intended to be a tool for journalism, music criticism or a source for A&R - it's just the inner workings of our brain. (We had a go at criticism a few years ago and decided that if we weren't getting paid, spouting negative opinions in long articles was a pointless activity. We’ll leave that to others and spend our spare time spreading positivity about the music we adore.) If you don’t like it that’s cool, go and read one of the 100’s of other new music blogs who just write about the music and the band every time. That’s not what we always do. Call it a unique selling point if you want. We’re beholden to nobody and the day we start compromising what we write about or what we feature because it’s what we’re ‘meant to do’ in the eyes of others is the day that we lose any pleasure in writing it and if it’s not enjoyable, we might as well give up.

So rant / waffle / blog-navel gazing piece over here are The Night VI  with their new song Sienna, a beautiful but quite sad song where lead singer Sophie politely wishes happiness for an ex who has found a new love; and there lies one of the lessons of the heart - you can never quite tell what the future holds – wishes of getting married in that orange grove just may never occur. Sienna makes heartache sound unbelievably lovely. The Night VI are obviously just very nice people. (Unless of course we find that the next single release is called You're A Sh*t And We Hope You Die Horribly.) Released through cool new boutique label Duly Noted (who were also responsible for releasing Iyes single ‘Til Infinity) on 28th April the track can also be purchased on iTunes right now.

Please feel free to leave comments about how incredibly annoying this blog post was, but also press play, enjoy the music and if you do like it buy the record. 

The Night VI - Sienna

Footnote : You might also want to leave a comment stating 'what dick posted this' after the original post contained the wrong song - bloody amateur bloggers.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Lo-Fye - New Waves

The ‘bedroom producer’ scene might be very different sonically to that of punk, but there are some similarities in character; from its D-I-Y values to the way that it has a tendency to alienate certain audiences (including some ageing punks) who proclaim that it’s not ‘real music’ and ‘there’s no nice tune there’ or that ‘it doesn’t take any talent to make that’. Of course there are some huge differences as well, for this electronic music has no real voice, nothing to say, no anger, it exists passively and is designed purely to lose yourself to. It doesn't make you think about the world or your own values.

So let’s get lost with Lo-Fye, another one of those horrendously young (17 years old) UK producers who makes anybody over the age of about 23 feel particularly worthless. His debut EP Chime (released through Bandcamp here – you can get the whole EP for free) takes elements of downtempo, ambient and gentle synth-wave and beckons you to dive in by adding an ethereal ghostly touch. As the world of music continues to dictate that it will spin at a speed so fast that even double bolted seatbelts won’t stop music being lost within just a few days, Lo-Fye is the kind of person that is required to just help slow everything down a little.

Lo-Fye - Outside

Monday 17 March 2014

Laurel - To The Hills (Video)

Today Breaking More Waves is ripping up it's own self-written rule book (The Rules Of Blogging Version 1.0) about only posting once or twice a day  and instead throwing double the usual number of posts at you, because quite simply there’s so much great new music we want to bring you and like a 5 year old at Christmas we can’t wait.

Here’s our final one of those four posts. It features sultry pop star in the making Laurel, who has today released her finest song to date. To The Hills (which thankfully isn't a reinterpretation of the Iron Maiden song Run To The Hills) is a grand piece of brooding and valley straddling magnificence that deserves your repeated attention.

“Into the hills, cry the tears of the crocodiles. Lost feet on the road, said I love you so I don't have to be alone,” Laurel begins before pulling us into a journey of dramatic and grandiose orchestral pop. Big doesn't always mean best but this is one is. Highly impressive – let Laurel take you into the garden of angels.

Laurel - To The Hills (Video)

Flyte - We Are The Rain (Video)

Flyte’s We Are The Rain has already brought it’s toe -tapping tunefulness to Breaking More Waves via the wonders of Soundcloud – now there’s some visuals. All we can say is it looks a bit parky to be stripping down to your underwear (at 0.20), but the rest of this homemade shoot with its glitterballs (rather than frozen balls), union jack sunglasses, kaleidoscopic visuals, dancing and slightly disturbing shrine to Desert Island Discs Kirsty Young looks like warm vibe spreading fun. 

Flyte are currently out on the road with Bombay Bycycle Club and also have a confirmed appearance at this year’s Great Escape festival for which they have a song that bears the same name as the event. Maybe by that festival (in May) it will be warm enough for the band to get half naked if they want.

Flyte - We Are The Rain (Video)

Anna McLuckie - Get Lucky

Joanna Newsome doing Daft Punk’s Get Lucky? Nearly….

It’s not very often you’ll find a song from a UK TV talent show being featured on Breaking More Waves, but as the lines between art and commerce become increasingly blurred (hi all the 1000’s of artists who performed at last week’s heavily branded and corporate SXSW) sometimes it’s necessary to distance oneself from the ever increasing stranglehold that big-money business evil-endorsement has and just focus on the music. 

This is where the delightfully named Anna McLuckie daintily skips in with her harp-tastic version of one of the most ubiquitous songs of 2013 (well done her parents on even managing to give her a surname that matched the song). Her performance of the tune on The Voice (which because of the unique way the BBC is funded is free from the likes of Dorito whoring that occurred at SXSW)  has now received over 4 million views on You Tube. Today, after being knocked out of the competition, Anna has uploaded a full recording studio version of the song to Soundcloud. There’s a beautifully innocent charm to this show stealing song and that’s why irrespective of if Anna had appeared on The Voice or we’d discovered her in some half empty pub playing to a disinterested crowd on a rainy Tuesday night we would still be featuring this song on Breaking More Waves.

Anna McLuckie - Get Lucky

Bridie Jackson & The Arbour - We Talked Again

With the 2014 Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition final just a couple of weeks away, today we’re delighted to welcome last year’s winners Bridie Jackson & The Arbour back into the fold. We Talked Again is the band’s first single to be released from their forthcoming album New Skin

The label ‘eagerly anticipated’ is often thrown around when a band ready themselves to release new material, but certainly this is a record that has been the subject of much impatience in Breaking More Waves HQ.

We Talked Again will already be familiar to existing fans as an earlier take of the song can be found on their Bitter Lullabies LP and a live recording on their Prolong single. This is a totally reworked version though - a bold and expressive piece of music that manages to bring an almost chest thumping stir with its cellos, strings and choral harmonies one moment and then attain a beautiful lullaby intimacy the next through its use of bell chimes, piano and Bridie’s magical vocal. It’s not often we throw around words like unique, but this is getting pretty damn close to it. Imagine this played in a candle lit chapel; that would be pretty special.

Extra marks to the band as well for wearing proper boots that look like they’ve seen some life in their photo shoot. Bridie Jackson & The Arbour are girls after our own heart.

Put it in your diaries now - We Talked Again is released on the 7th April. The band are also out on tour, full dates are here.

Bridie Jackson & The Arbour - We Talked Again

Saturday 15 March 2014

Chasing Grace - Free

Things have started to move into a higher gear for Chasing Grace in the last few months, culminating in a February residency at London’s The Social billed under the name ‘Chasing Grace and Friends’ which saw the likes of Naughty Boy, Lauren Aquilina and a secret acoustic guest spot by throaty warbler Jessie J (yes it seems that Chasing Grace have some friends in high places). 

Next up comes Free, a tune which sees the band drop the soul aspects of their sound and go full-on in trying to rival Avicii’s Wake Me Up. Packing a big ‘woah-oh-oh’ chorus, propulsive speed-strums, strident piano and the bands trademark boy / girl vocals it’s the duo's most radio friendly morsel to date and allows them to add their name to all the ‘legends’ that have recorded songs entitled Free that include Curiosity Killed The Cat, Ultra Nate and DJ Quicksilver. The band play London’s Lexington in March and have so far been confirmed for this year’s Live At Leeds and Barn On The Farm festival. Our stab at naming them as Ones To Watch for 2013 back in 2012 (where at the time we called them Slow Club jamming with Ben Howard) may have been a little premature (the band even tweeted about it themselves at the tame saying that it was a surprise) but maybe 2014 is their's for the taking?

Chasing Grace - Free

Friday 14 March 2014

Grace Sarah - New Waves

Age shouldn’t make any difference in pop. Irrespective of if you’re making it or listening to it – after all we’ve all got ears, senses, feelings and emotions – the stuff that enables us to connect with music. Yet when you become aware of a singer-songwriter who is just 15 years old it’s difficult not to experience some sort of prejudice, simply because how on earth at that age can someone have learnt all the skills to make great music? Of course that prejudice assumes that pop is something that is learnt not innate.

Which is where Cambridgeshire’s Grace Sarah (full name Grace Sarah Shelley) comes in to the fold, for either Grace has learnt quickly or has an instinctive and natural ability, best displayed by her latest song Generics. Introduced to us by our big bad blog-bro Andy from The Von Pip Musical Express earlier today, Generics is sickeningly good, carrying a massive pop sensibility, cute-could-kill vocals and beats designed to carry you to a higher place. Think first album Ellie Goulding with a 90’s dance floor touch and you wouldn’t be far off. “We are generic little children, with generic little lives, just trying to figure out if there's a greener side,” she sings – words that could easily be an anthem for anyone living in our increasingly homogenised and bland society.

Grace Sarah is no one trick pony or Goulding copyist though. Elsewhere on her Soundcloud you’ll find a number of graceful piano ballads – Sunrise in particular is lovely and near spellbinding and many of the other songs possess the bare bones of something pretty special. This new kid on the block has made a mark on us, forget the age and set your mind free with Generics.

Grace Sarah - Generics

Bea - New Waves

What is it about musicians and baths? We’ve talked about this before, but there’s a definite trend of pop people thinking that it would be a good idea to get in the bath and have someone take photos of them. This Charli XCX one (here) was quite good (she still managed to look cool even though what she was doing was ridiculous), in fact Charli has a habit of getting in the bath with her clothes on, she did it again here (that one isn't quite so great). This one from Naked (On Drugs) was at least practical and related to their name in that they were naked (no comment from us on the drugs bit). And then of course there’s Lady Gaga (here) (here) and (here) who makes a constant habit of it.

Now we’re introducing another singer who is starting her career by jumping in the bath, this time with a body suit painted with muscles on it, as you do. Her name is Bea. We know very little about her except that she lives in Amsterdam, is 22 years old and she shared her debut song Breadwinner today. 

Bea’s vocal is the centre point, starting with a low drawn out warm languidness before developing into something more ethereal and choral. There’s a graceful solemnity to the synths, keys and beats here, a subtle celestial loveliness that grows on each listen. If you’re a fan of big choruses, massive drops and banging beats Breadwinner won’t be for you, but if you want to lay back, dream and let the world drift by a little, there’s pleasure to be gained.

Bea - Breadwinner

Soak - Blud (Chvrches Remix)

We’ve been holding back on this remix one for one simple reason - today Chvrches play the first of two shows at London’s Forum, with 17 year old Derry songwriter SOAK, aka Bridie Monds-Watson in support. It will probably come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that Breaking More Waves will be in attendance, Chvrches being our favourite new band of the last 22 months.

So it seems appropriate to post this today, signing off the first chapter in the book of Chvrches. With the band currently A-listed on Radio 1, running their own record label (of which SOAK is the first release) and selling out two nights at the Forum (and let’s not forget the fantastic album) the band have achieved more than we could possibly imagine when we first heard Lies in May 2012 (although we knew it was a great song even then.) The band have spoken in the past about how the internet was an incredibly potent tool in enabling their success, with the likes of social media and fan-run DIY blogs like this being essential in spreading the word about their music. If our posts and sometimes over the top gushings about the band have helped in any small way to help them find an audience it’s made it all worthwhile.

If you’re going to see Chvrches tonight, come and celebrate their success with us. We’ll see you down the front.

Soak - Blud - (Chvrches Remix)

Thursday 13 March 2014

Laura Welsh - Betrayal (Video)

Welcome to today’s musical cookery lesson. Today we’ll be learning how to make the song Betrayal in the style of Laura Welsh, which is not an ‘official single release’ which we guess means that although it is a single song and has been released officially to the internet, it’s probably not going to be available to buy.

Here’s the recipe:

1 large mug full of the pianos from Adele’s Hometown Glory and Someone Like You

1 spoon of Jakwob producing

Plenty of video clips that look like found footage 

100g of Emile Sandé sounds

1 pinch of Florence & The Machine drum bashing atmospherics

Place all of the above into a mixing bowl and stir vigorously, apply a tiny bit of heat, then when the correct balance has been obtained pour onto the internet and press play. Delicious.

Laura Welsh - Betrayal (Video)


A tale concerning hair dye, Shazam and Banks.

One of the attributes a new music blogger is supposedly required to have is good taste, which is frankly a ridiculous notion because taste is a very personal thing. Imagine if there was just one set of music that was defined as good - the world would be a very boring and homogenous place wouldn’t it? For want of a better analogy it would be like all the heterosexual men only liking 5’ 4” brunettes. Imagine the consequences. There would be a lot of polygamous relationships for a start with not enough 'good' women to go round and a lot of unloved blondes. Hair dye sales would also probably increase, leading to further homogenisation, until everyone had forgotten what good taste was in the first place. 

Of course the second attribute that you have to possess as a blogger alongside taste is an ego, because to a certain extent you have to think your taste is good – otherwise why bother writing about the music you love, especially if (as in the case of most blogs) you’re not paid for it? The aim of the blogger is to inflict their taste on the world, because they believe it’s good and they want others to know – effectively they want the world to embrace their love of redheads / blondes / brunettes etc (delete as appropriate), that is if music was a hair colour.

The third attribute and sadly one that often seems to be lacking in some music blogs is knowledge. We’re firm believers that having a good knowledge of music and its history helps in forming opinions and emotional connections. To use the relationship analogy again, when you have your first boyfriend or girlfriend love stabs chemicals into your brain and everything is a bit giddy, but (for most people) that first love doesn’t last forever and as you have more relationships and get that bit older you get better at spotting the sort of person who suits you. You don’t get it right all the time of course, but knowledge and experience help. It’s why when we look back at the artists that we’ve written about over the years on Breaking More Waves, for the most part we still enjoy the music that we posted then and have a long term relationship with a lot of it. Of course there’s still the odd one night stand moment, but they lessen. Most of us however probably purchased some sort of deeply embarrassing first single. Tastes often change with acquired knowledge.

It’s that level of knowledge that has from time to time turned us into a form of human Shazam. No need to hold your smart phone up in the air when you’re out and hear a great song on a tannoy system – just ask us, we’re pretty good at naming that tune.

Yet today we have a confession. A few days ago on the radio we heard a fantastic song. It had immaculate production, lyrics that give two fingers up to a man who thinks he’s so smart but isn’t “I can see you struggling, boy, don’t hurt your brain, thinking what you’re gonna say,” and an epic chorus designed to upend rafters. “What is this song?” we questioned. There was only one way to find out. The real Shazam was activated. The answer: Brain by Banks. A track we’d already featured on the blog. Face palming ensued.

Sometimes, even those with vast knowledge have gaps and lapses. This was one of them.

So today we’re reinforcing that knowledge to ourselves with the new video for Brain, released yesterday. Shot mainly in black and white with just the odd flash of colour this Barnaby Roper directed film (Kanye West, Dior) gives the song an added layer of mysticism and vulnerability. It is our favourite Banks track to date (that’s our taste bit) and if you don’t agree you’re wrong (there’s the ego).

Banks - Brain (Video)