With the ever-increasing trend for electronic producers to pitch shift vocal sounds comes a bubblegum and cartoonish quality to some of the music. From divisive output such as Hannah Diamond, whose Pink & Blue sounds like the type of daft nonsense a 12 year old obsessed with unicorns, old-school Nintendo console games and Froot Loops cereal would make, through to that CBBC-rave track Hey QT, a creation by Sophie and A.G Cook from PC Music, (if you haven’t heard it yet press play here and cast your own judgement), the sound of the nursery looks like it’s going to be hanging around for a while.
Which brings us to Feki, a producer from Brisbane, Australia who on his latest track Nothing Lasts Forever uses some vocal snatches that sound close to babyish / cartoon chipmunk sounding but unlike Hey QT his work is vastly more adult and deep – there’s no novelty here. It’s the quality of this tune, together with previous works such as the gentle Escape (which has more childlike vocal chops) and Get It Together (even more) that have convinced us that’s it time to introduce him as a New Wave on Breaking More Waves. Add in the multitude of remixes on his Soundcloud that he’s built up over the last year and already he has an impressive body of music behind him. Fans of fellow Australians Flume and Ta-ku will almost no doubt be straight into this – Nothing Lasts Forever is fresh, scissor sharp and worth immersing yourself deeply within.
Feki - Nothing Lasts Forever
We've been subscribing to the NME for a long time now - ever since we realised that pop music was more than just entertainment and a way of life. Like any relationship, we've had our ups and downs, we've even flirted and had affairs with others, but we've always come back, embracing the changes, from its ink-on-the -hands newspaper form to the smaller glossy cover magazine of today. We even survived the Conor McNicholas as editor era when the cracks really started to appear and the magazine seemed to place big names and self-importance over quality journalism. (Connor went on to edit Top Gear afterwards - we think this says all you need to know).
But the time has come for a trial separation. It's a case of "it's me not you," but whatever way we look at it, we've sadly grown apart.
In Roddy Doyle's book The Commitments the opening pages describe the character Jimmy Rabbitte, a man who is always on the pulse with the latest new music. “Jimmy knew what was what. Jimmy knew what was new, what was new but wouldn’t be for long and what was going to be new. Jimmy had Relax before anyone had heard of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and he’d started slagging them months before anyone realised that they were no good. Jimmy knew his music.”
We've always considered ourselves a bit like Jimmy. We're constantly excited by the new, how music changes over time and are constantly thrilled by those changes, be they in indie, folk, electronic, rock n roll, dance, whatever. The NME used to be a part of that thrill and knowing what was what. But now when it pops through our letter box every Wednesday morning we flick quickly through it, shrug and put it to one side.
What's changed? What's gone wrong? Why has our long term love affair waned over the last few years and died? Here's why. The reasons aren’t particularly a revelation….
1. We can get the thrill of the new elsewhere instantly in more than just words.
Every week we scan through NME's Radar section (the new music part of the mag). What we see is a bunch of bands that in the main we've already come across on the blogs (or written about on our own blog) in the weeks, months or even years before. But unlike the blogs we can't press play and listen to them right there and then. In today's on-the-go society that's needed. Plus the short paragraphs of text describing the music the NME use really aren't anything different to a typical blog post, so in effect these pages are just a weaker cousin of what's already out there – except you have to pay for it.
There's a certain irony that when bands get featured in the NME's Radar section that people seem to celebrate it as being important and giving the band some sort of credibility. Yet really what does it achieve for the band? In our direct experience through the artists we have talked to, with only 15,000 purchasers / week less people will go and listen to the band’s music because of an NME Radar feature than if a typical small scale blog like Breaking More Waves features the act.
2. The constant search for the next big white male indie guitar band bores us
Come on guys. Superfood? Really? Have they offered sexual favours to the writers of NME or something? They seem to get an awful lot of coverage for a very average band. But then that's just our taste - and that's the problem - maybe our tastes aren't as in sync these days.
Sure, we get it that the NME is meant to be the place to go for new white indie guitar bands but once again we can find about all these acts from blogs and websites if we want to (for free) - and whilst we hate the 'guitar music is dead' mentality, (Honeyblood for example have made one of our favourite records of the year) NME's over reliance on celebrating so many very average indie bands in an environment where our personal tastes are much broader means that we've begun to question why we buy it.
3. The journalism should be the star as much as the music. It isn't now.
As the words brand has become as important to the NME as band its journalism has become more and more corporate in style. It's not that's its bad journalism, in fact we'd argue the last few years (from the point where Krissi Murison took over as editor) have seen an improvement in the quality of the writing with some excellent long-form articles, but there's very little character in the writing. Which brings us onto point 4…..
4. Opening up the NME just doesn't excite anymore.
The NME used to be our leader through the exciting and turbulent seas of new music and indie rock spelt out by attitude laden, exciting voices. Now the leader has been overthrown by the masses online. It's that online mass that we, like many others, now turn to.
Fight The Fire by emotional pop singer extraordinaire Layla is sadly not a tribute to uniformed men in Scania P270s with their flashing lights, big hoses and sirens or even a lesson on the fire triangle (oxygen, heat and fuel) and how by removing any one of those three elements you can not only fight the fire but extinguish it. Maybe that will come later. For now however we’ll settle for this -a gentle and soft song that deals with the flaming mess that love sometimes can be. “Loving you isn't easy,” coos Layla and we can pretty much guarantee you’ll go a little bit gooey inside. It’s the musical equivalent of one of those romantic chick flicks, best listened to on an unhurried Sunday morning with a cup of tea or coffee in hand, under a big cosy duvet.
Fight The Fire is taken from the Weightless EP and will be available to pre-order soon.
Layla - Fight The Fire
You've got to admire Kate Bush - scheduling her first (and hugely over-subscribed / anticipated) gigs in nearly 35 years just at the time that two relatively new Breaking More Waves approved bands release cover versions of her songs to the internet. It's good to know that Kate is supporting new acts / music, although a little disapointing that she declined to mention these releases at the gig, although it's understandable, as she must have been a little nervous and maybe it slipped her mind.
The first is from Wyldest. It's one for fans of music that drips in lo-fi chiming guitar sounds, lost in the ether atmospherics and spliffy laid back vibes.
The second is from Avec Sans. This one's all about lush synths and smooth vocals. It shouldn't work but it does and it's a free download as well.
So we have the yin and yang of Kate Bush covers. Although we're only giving Avec Sans 9/10 for timing compared to Wyldest who get 10/10 for their track, which was uploaded to Soundcloud at pretty much exactly the moment Kate walked out on stage whilst Avec Sans delayed till today. Wily moves by both bands though. To everyone going to the shows, have a great time, we're having to wait until nearly the end of it all for our turn, so we hope Kate has the energy to keep going.
Wyldest - Cloudbusting
Avec Sans - Running Up That Hill
Slinger’s twitter claims he’s a ‘Coconut Entrepreneur’ from the Virgin Islands, his Facebook states that his hometown is Caribou City a deserted ghost hamlet, his logo is a lightning bolt that looks like it should be on a superhero costume and his colourful website gives no information whatsoever. But we’ll forgive him for all of this because the clutch of remixes he’s put out up to today have all been class 1 bangers. Prince’s I Wanna Be Your Lover, Pharell’s Brand New and Jess Glynne have all been given his sexy dance floor treatments and now it’s time for Bastille to get the going over with a remix that kicks off as if its arrived from the Big Beat scene of the 90’s (Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads etc) before heading into more cinematic territories managing to make this remix sound old-school but with a modern twist.
We'll be keeping an eye and ear out to see what this dude comes up with next.
Bastille - Oblivion (Slinger Remix)
It’s been a long time since Mr James Vincent McMorrow featured on Breaking More Waves, but a few hours ago he posted the following words on his Facebook page and grabbed our attention:
“I've been recording when I can over the summer, on the floors of festival dressing rooms, in hotels, I've been waiting for everyone to fall asleep so I can track vocals in the back lounge of the bus. Making Post Tropical definitely lit a fire. There's no plan for any of it, I have an album in the world and it is rightfully taking up a lot of my energy, but I've plenty energy to go around, I'd like to start putting out some ideas while the ink is still wet, I want people to hear them, to know what they are when we play them live during the autumn Euro and US tours.
Disclaimer. They're not polished, nothing recorded on the road ever could be, a lot of time spent removing crazy back ground sounds from vocals etc. That's the point though I guess, snapshots.
When I was in college I'd go out a lot, but I wasn't the guy that was the centre of everyone's attention, I was usually standing awkwardly in the corner. But just because you're standing in the corner doesn't mean you don't love to dance. That's what this song is about I guess, dance like no one's watching.”
So there you have it. Possibly our laziest blog post ever with a straight cut and paste job, but it said what needed to be said.
When I Leave might only be a demo, but it’s a fascinating one, starting from a slow synth soundscape then journeying to a soulful beat laden high. We can imagine this being a perfect set closer – it’s free to download.
James Vincent McMorrow - When I Leave
With New Zealand’s Broods’ debut album out in some parts of the world (the rest of us will have to wait until 2015 it seems, unless you import it or are a bit dodgy and download it illegally) here’s another offering from it, and what a lovely get-the-tissues-ready-you-might-be-about-to-have-a-tear gem of intimacy it is. With Georgia singing lines like “you know I told you that I wasn’t scared, well I lied,” and “I’m trying not to make you love me, but I don’t want to try too hard,” you can be assured that this is pretty open and confessional stuff. We’re pretty certain that anyone who has heard a love song in their life and thought ‘that’s how I want to feel about somebody’ will relate to Four Walls – a lovely piano based ballad given a modern electronic pop sheen that deals with some of the complexities of the heart. Love isn't always that simple you know.
Broods - Four Walls
Last weekend in the south of the UK, within 70 miles of each other, two large music festivals took place. One cost £205 and featured the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Blink 182 and Arctic Monkeys. The other cost £40 and had a line-up that included Dizzee Rascal, Seastick Steve and British Sea Power. The £205 event was set on some fields next to a non-descript industrial estate, the other was by the seaside, with the £40 ticket also giving access to an aquarium, a castle and a D-Day museum as well as the music.
Of course that doesn’t tell the whole story. Whilst Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival was undoubtedly much more affordable, it was also only over 2 days rather than 3 of Reading. Also it didn’t have camping included and the quality and consistency throughout the complete bill was lacking. The undercard at Victorious featured a raft of local bands that varied in ability and experience, novelty acts such as a Beatles tribute and X-Factor’s Lucy Spraggan, plus way past their commercial hey-day bands such as Razorlight (once Reading Festival main stagers themselves) and Scouting For Girls. The two festivals were also aimed at very different markets. Reading catered for the post GCSE hedonists and the vaguely alternative indie / rock lovers whilst Victorious threw its net wider – from locals who just fancied a day out, to families looking for bank holiday entertainment, to music heads attracted by the cheap price.
Following a move from its previous location at Portsmouth’s historic dockyard the 2014 edition of Victorious was bigger (a 40,000 sold out capacity on the Saturday, although somewhat less busy on the Sunday) and undoubtedly better organised than the year before. The site was more spacious, the staging and sound was generally very good and the relaxed crowd was free to roam across the different areas of the site that included a cocktail garden, a large boutique market, a silent disco, an excellent real ale festival, a large kids area and of course the main music stages themselves. There was also a distinct lack of large corporate sponsorship, the majority of partners being local, giving the festival a strong community spirit.
There were some issues with queues for the bars and toilets on Saturday, although with a smaller crowd on Sunday these were eliminated, but these were minor quibbles in what was otherwise a well-run and enjoyable event.
Our favourite stage was without doubt the Seaside Stage. Set in a bowl shaped arena unsurprisingly just yards from the sea there was something quite surreal about watching large cruise ships and ferries sail past just a few hundred metres away as the bands played. Highlights on this stage included Tom Odell who seemed genuinely honoured to be finishing his tour in a city just a few miles down the road from Chichester where he used to live. A sensitive version of Elton John’s Your Song and his own composition Grow Old With Me was enough to make anyone with even the tiniest spark of sentimentality feel emotionally touched and by the time he reached Another Love the audience was his choir.
On the same stage on Sunday Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip played their second to last gig ever together, complete with a mini-moshpit, Pip jumping into the audience to rap and Le Sac firing off all sorts of hard hitting beats and techno fizzes. Later that evening British Sea Power (what better named band to play a festival stage next to the ocean) played a soaring but enigmatic set that deserved far more time than the brutal half an hour that they had been allocated to play – the same length as some of the much lower quality local acts on the bill. It was a puzzling piece of curation.
Over on the main Castle Stage on Sunday there was more questionable scheduling with The Cadbury Sisters, Bristol’s answer to The Staves being given a mid-bill placement, despite the fact they’re a very new band. Surely they would have fared better at the same time on the acoustic stage?
It was the acoustic stage that provided our highlight of the weekend though. Slow Club (pictured above) found themselves stripped back to their original two piece and with that bringing heart-warming / breaking intimacy through beautiful soul / country harmonies and songs. Gone are the days of the bands twee ramshackle performances, now they’re a beautifully oiled song machine with bags of mature beauty. As Charles played solo to the crowd Rebecca stood to the side of the stage watching him with what appeared to be awe – two characters that seemed to compliment and respect each other perfectly, even down to the comedy facial hair Rebecca was wearing for the gig.
Of the best local acts we saw psychedelic indie rockers Kassassin Street (not to be confused with Tom Odell, although according to lead singer Rowan one punter was and asked ‘Tom’ for a photo) pulled a big crowd on the Seaside Stage and provided psychedelic groovy rock thrills a plenty after a slow start due to a poor sound mix, Megan Linford charmed the south coast with her gentle folk, Americana and country influences in DM boots whilst the melted candy tones of Eloise Keating wielded the prettiest mint guitar and found people muttering the word ‘future potential’ for her short solo set.
In an over-saturated and often over-priced festival market Victorious seems to have found something to separate it from the masses; a real value for money festival set in a unique location. May its reign be happy and glorious.
Imagine going to a school where Charli XCX was a pupil. That would have been quite A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Break times would have probably been spent listening to the Spice Girls, Shampoo, punk and rave whilst flirting with boys who would know that they just weren’t good enough.
Now you don’t have to imagine it at all because Charli has put the whole lot in a video (minus the Spice Girls, Shampoo, punk and rave records but at least there's some school). It’s super trashy, super glamourous and super attitude laden and features a guest appearance from Rose McGowan as Charli goes to prom and throws herself around in and on top of a school bus.
Charli XCX - Break The Rules (Video)
Remember when we introduced Zola Blood and gnashed our teeth a little about the fact that this new band had presented themselves as another one of those boring faceless acts? Well, we have news. They’re human and have real faces - although frustratingly two of them have been partially blurred out in the publicity photo we’ve been supplied with. We can only assume that this is because those particular individuals are horrendously ugly and a bit embarrassed by that fact. Or maybe they’re moonlighting from another band and don’t want their secret to get out? Now that would be a good reason to be a mystery band wouldn’t it? So if you’re in a group and have someone called Matt on vocals and guitar, Ed on synth, Sam on drums or a Rob on guitar, and hang around in the Hackney Wick area of London be warned, they might be two timing you.
After grabbing the attention of a good part of the blogosphere’s attention with Grace, Zola Blood return with not just faces but a second song, the title track to their forthcoming EP out via Pond Life. Meridian marries chilled indie rock dynamics with a soft electronic sound reminding us a little of first album Delphic; although whilst Delphic drew some comparisons to New Order, it wouldn’t surprise us if Zola Blood grab a few Radiohead comparisons. Meridian is one of those slightly floaty electronic pop songs that in less able hands would just drift away without ever being noticed, but Zola Blood do an excellent job of keeping the whole thing contained and well structured.
Zola Blood play their first live show on the 9th October at the Shacklewell Arms in London.
Footnote : Doesn't the one on the right look a bit like Yannis from Foals? It's not him two timing is it and they've obscured the wrong face by mistake?
Zola Blood - Meridian
“I am fucking to this,” says one of the comments on the Soundcloud player for OOO AAA by San Francisco’s boy girl pop duo Cathedrals. That’s probably a bit too much information for our liking, but we know where they’re coming from. Taken from their debut EP via Neon Gold, out digitally and physically including a black grape transparent 10″ vinyl on September 8th, OOO AAA gives us all the excuses we need to make references to religious eargasms, but really that would just be pop music writing cliché to say such a thing wouldn’t it? The trouble is, sometimes pop music clichés = truth.
Cathedrals = OOO AAA
Look, let’s just make this absolutely clear shall we? Forget your preconceived ideas. Sophie Ellis Bextor’s 2014 album Wanderlust is a wonderful example of brilliantly written songs and of content over style. Sure it’s not the most challenging record, but does everything in life have to be challenging to make it enjoyable? Try telling that to any parent of a new baby that won’t stop crying. “Oh but the challenge of the lack of sleep makes the whole think so much more enjoyable doesn’t it?” You’ll probably get a punch in the face in return.
Come on Mercury Music prize judges, pull a little surprise and amongst the likes of FKA Twigs or whatever on it sound of 2014 type artists you choose, put Sophie Ellis Bextor’s name in the hat as well please.
The Deer And The Wolf is the latest single to be lifted from the album and deals with the roles we all take in relationships. “On and on and on my love, agree to disagree, under the surface it’s role reversal, the opposites decree,” sings Sophie in her unique voicebefore concluding at the end that “we’re in this together, you’re the only one.” Lovely.
Sophie Ellis Bextor - The Deer And The Wolf (Video)
Chapter 12 ‘Visual Identity’ in the Rules of Pop is one that many bands skip 'because it's all about the music man.' They therefore end up failing. However, those that know, and we include in that category everyone from The Clash to The Pet Shop Boys, from Elvis to Lana Del Rey understand that a strong look does as much for a band as the music. This is particularly important for electronic music, where watching a band that only use computers and keyboards can have a distinct possibility of inducing shuteye, even when the tunes are fantastic.
Thankfully Avec Sans with their rack of Novation Launchpads (they're those square boxes of tricks with lots of flashing lights on them) know how to keep things colourful and stimulating on stage – it certainly makes watching a man touching his knobs in front of a crowd a bit more interesting.
Oh and of course Avec Sans sound good as well. That one’s so obvious though that it doesn’t need to even be written in the Rules of Pop (or really written about on this blog – you can just press play on new song All Of Time and determine that yourself.) But for those who want words, let’s try glistening high-order electropop ready to elevate you to cloud nine and beyond. That'll do won't it? Just press play and discover that yourself. It's free to download (here).
Avec Sans - All Of Time (Video)
For those (like us) who like their pop music with a sense of swelling cinematic drama then Claudia Kane (no relation to Miles as far as we know) is a name you should bookmark right now. Darling Is Not My Name (streaming below) is a fine introduction to this London based artist, taking as its sonic reference points Massive Attack, James Bond themes and the piano on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells to create a haunting and powerful song. On the basis of this one give her a couple of years and we can imagine she’ll be taking centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall.
Add to that two other high quality tunes on her Soundcloud, the unearthly night-rave of Residents of Darkness (the self-edited video of which you can see below) which reminds us a little of Lana Del Rey going clubbing and popping pills in hotpants (not that we’re in any way suggesting that Lana would be ‘in da club’ popping pills of course, she’s probably too busy putting on and taking off that red dress she’s always singing about) and the menacing Hungry and what we have in Claudia Kane is a singer who doesn’t just have potential, but sounds like she’s already fully realised it.
Claudia Kane - Darling Is Not My Name
Claudia Kane - Residents of Darkness (Video)
Anyone that has come across Laura Bettinson’s (aka Femme) live shows will know that they’re a hugely enjoyable feast of attitude, Paddington bear hard stares, cool as f*ck cheerleader style dance routines and modern DIY underground pop. They’ll also instantly recognise High, a track formed out of cut up vocals and some heavy bass sounds, the sort of tune that if we were ‘in da club’ would have us grinding and shaking our booty as if we were some sort of cool sex machine. We say ‘as if’ but that ‘as if’ would be in our heads only and nowhere else - the visual reality would be far more hilarious / repulsive / like a drunk dad at a wedding. That reality is
p robably certainly not what Femme needs for her live shows and is why if she auditioned for more dancers, we’d be strongly advised not to apply, although we're pretty sure we could bust a few good pom pom shakes on stage.
Femme - High
Imagine hair wars. On one side Rae Morris. On the other side Lorde. What a mammoth battle that would be and one that we really couldn’t take sides on.
Whilst we leave that epic struggle floating in your mind let’s turn to the music, reminding ourselves that the rules of pop are pretty emphatic that the better the hair, the better the music. Therefore the new Rae Morris song Closer is unquestionably and unequivocally good. Built around Rae’s piano tinkles and a hooky radio friendly chorus this one could easily sit on either the playlists of Radio 1 or Radio 2 – it’s one of those songs that we really couldn’t imagine anyone disliking.
Rae’s debut album (title not yet revealed) was in bulk recorded with Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend, Kylie) in the States and is waiting in the wings. If Closer is an indication of what it will be like, it shows that despite Rae’s whisperingly shy stage presence her recorded work can be as full-bodied as her hair.
Rae Morris - Closer
Wow. Just wow. Billie Marten’s stunning rework of La Roux’s big hitter is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine – if it doesn’t please check your pulse for you are surely dead. Taking In For The Kill from an energetic lusty synth pop pumper to the world of exquisite melancholy, the 15 year old singer from Yorkshire deserves every single piece of praise it’s possible to throw at someone for this. Haunting, bewitching, captivating and quite a lot of other superlatives that probably end in –ing, ladies and gentleman take note, this is pretty incredible.
If you’re going to Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend catch Billie Marten on the BBC Introducing Stage. Ribbon, her single (which we originally streamed in our introducing piece back in May here) is released on Sept 22nd. But for now just soak up this beauty.
Billie Marten - In For The Kill
Warning: This post is not about music and is very very dull unless you care for the detail of writing a blog and how we do it.
To a certain extent, reading (and writing) Breaking More Waves is the blog equivalent of a bowl of Bran Flakes every morning – we keep things regular. You can pretty much guarantee (95% at least) that when we post something it will go up like clockwork at 8.30am GMT. A few years back we posted everything at midnight, but then we changed to 8.30 with sometimes (time and good music permitting) a second or third post coming at lunchtime or in the evening.
Now, please don’t think that each day we’re sitting at our laptop waiting till exactly 8.30 before pressing post – far from it. At the time the blogs are posted we’re normally either busy doing the day job / travelling / sleeping / eating / having sex in fact doing anything but looking at the internet or anything blog related.
So why 8.30am?
1. Because an 8.30am post enabled us to have a target to aim for. Without that target it would be easy to put things off for a day or two and before you know it (especially when things in our life outside of new music blogging are busy) a day or two becomes four or five, four or five becomes a week, a week becomes a month and then suddenly the blog becomes inactive / dead.
2. Because we liked the idea of people in our own country travelling to work / college and seeing our daily post go up (maybe via our twitter autofeed) and being able to read / listen to it on the train or bus (if they’re driving a car then hopefully they wouldn’t be reading as they drove) on their commute.
3. Once we had decided on it we just stuck to it, even when it made no sense. For example we often pre-write posts several days in advance and then schedule them for 8.30am – enabling us to look regular even when in reality we’re not. The trouble with this is that because of the speed of the internet, a new music post we’ve written three days before isn’t that new by the time we post and people who are interested have probably already read as much as they need to about that particular song / artist elsewhere, so irrespective of how brilliant / original / thought provoking / different our blog post is from the usual ‘here’s a song, it’s brilliant’ type post that most blogs do, it doesn’t get read quite as much as it could have if we’d posted when we wrote it - and if we're going to write then it's nice to have people read it.
So because of 3 above and also because of the fact that sometimes the 8.30 deadline becomes hard work when we don’t sit down to the laptop till 2am in the morning to try and writing something half coherent after we’ve been up since 6am the morning before and have to be up in another 4 hours, we’ve finally decided to ditch the self-imposed 8.30am rule. We’re changing from Bran Flakes to Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, but sometimes might even have Sugar Puffs. Sometimes the obsessive regularity makes blogging hard work and this shouldn’t be work (or hard), it should be fun (although admittedly we get a weird kick out of achieving our self-imposed deadline through lack of sleep sometimes). Hell we even blogged for 24 hours non-stop earlier this year, although that was for charity.
So this post goes up dead at 8.30am.
We still might post at this time in the future.
But mainly we’ll be posting as and when we’ve written the post, or at a time that suits us.
Thanks for reading, whatever time of day it is where you are.
OK, back to the music…..
The iGeneration =
Short attention span / on-the-go click / swipe behaviour
Music as a one night stand
Not giving a f*ck
This is Charli XCX’s ‘not giving a f*ck’ song for the short attention span kids with endless choice who treat music as a one night stand. It’s the kind of song that Britney Spears should have released instead of releasing the truly terrible Britney Jean or the kind of song that David Guetta probably wishes he had released instead of doing all that silly standing in one spot and jumping up and down with his hands in the air stuff. It is basically a banger with stupid (in a good way) old fashioned lyrics about not wanting to go to school, getting wrecked and dancing.
It is of course inane and mindless, but then sometimes that is all pop needs to be. Break The Rules is from the forthcoming album Sucker – now there’s a title.
Charli XCX - Break The Rules
In the 6 and a bit years of Breaking More Waves life (the site is positively middle to old age by blog standards now) we’ve never featured an artist from Austria. In fact it’s a struggle to name any contemporary Austrian artist at all except of course for Falco (R.I.P). If you’ve never heard his album Falco 3, give it a listen and enjoy a bit of a bonkers musical education.
So today is a first as we introduce Vienna based electronic pop duo Lea Santee, who came to our attention by way of Hilly Dilly blog, although it seems others got there first.
Lea Santee is a project consisting of singer Lea Stöger and producer Manuel Hosp and they’ve been making electronic pop music together since 2013. There are a number of tunes on the band's Soundcloud and to a greater or lesser extent they’re all good ear-fodder. Dreams is a gentle rave-pop song in a similar vein to Emma Louise’s Jungle (remember that?), whilst Blue Eyes, an older number, is an orchestral-synth and piano ballad that sounds like if it was given a big budget studio and a real orchestra it really could be something.
The song that’s grabbed our attention the most however is Open Water. We like the way that Lea’s vocal, whilst strong enough, doesn’t sound like it’s been auto-tuned out of existence – it seems a little more live than some of the perfectly polished pop that comes our way these days. And of course there’s the nagging persistence of the tune with its three dimensional zooming in and out electronics and sampled vocal instrumentation that mark out Open Water as a very assured piece of pop. It's currently a free download from the Soundcloud player below.
Lea Santee - Open Water
Tropical sounding steel-drum synths have always found a place in the heart of Breaking More Waves from way back in the mid 80’s with Howard Jones’ song of international friendship Like To Get To Know You Well through to The Knife’s Pass This On or the subtler Tropical Chancer by La Roux and the more melancholy sounds of Eloise Keating’s Be My Ghost (The Green Light), one of the most impressive songs we’ve heard by an unsigned act this year. So it’s no surprise to learn that Open Arms by Brighton’s David Harks has caught our attention in the same way that earlier track We did back in May, because it's fully loaded with them. We’re thinking sunsets, palm trees, cocktails loaded with ice, gorgeous girls and boys, surf and smiles.
The track features a vocal sample from Jayden McKenzie, a child preacher from the Cayman Islands, who we find rapping about logical thought vs intuition. “One is the religion of the head, the other is the religion of the heart,” he voices before singer David Sanderson coos a contradiction: “There is no religion.” Add in some dance-floor friendly beats and some soul diva backing vocals and what you have is a song that gives you faith that the church of Balearic pop is in safe hands.
David Harks - Open Arms
Since the huge commercial success of Bastille’s debut album (Dan Smith seemingly still managing to remain completely unaffected and continue to be one of the nicest men in pop) it probably wouldn’t surprise anyone if the band took a bit of time out from the madness. But it seems that Bastille aren’t that sort of unit. Currently on a 40 date festival tour they’ve also been busy experimenting in the studio. Apparently new songs are forming with some sounding rockier in places whilst others sound more electronic. It seems that album two won’t just be more of the same.
That willingness to push themselves further can be heard on this new offering which is called Bad_News. No jokes about a new Bastille song being bad news please and yes, the underscore is meant to be there, but it has absolutely no relevance whatsoever. It’s a low key release recorded in just two days to form part of a limited edition (1,000 copies) 7" vinyl single together with the song Oblivion, just so that the band can get something out there again. Bad_News is still recognisably Bastille, but gone are the big jungle drums and ‘woh-woh’ chants (although there’s a bit of an oo-ooh hook in there), replaced instead with a slightly grittier feel and an edgy groove.
“Don’t turn your back on me, don’t bury your head deep just because you don’t know what to say,” sings Dan, reminding us all that in those situations where someone has received bad news, inaction screams a statement of not caring, even if it isn’t actually the case. Better to say something or do something than ignore someone. Imagine how it would feel if it happened to you. OK, how to behave lecture over. Take a listen.
Bastille - Bad_News
If you follow us on Twitter or have read every single blog post we’ve written over the last few months (thank you!) you might have noticed that whilst we were huge fans of Lana Del Rey’s debut record her latest album hasn’t really hit the spot for us, although interestingly it seems to have been much better received by American writers this time round than the first.
What we’d have liked from Lana would have been an album of gorgeously composed piano ballads / torch songs, with just the gentlest undercoating of orchestration and percussion, followed by some theatre residencies with Lana dressed in a black sequinned dress singing her heart out under a spotlight.
Whilst we hold on to that fantasy, Zella Day makes at least part of it real, only she’s Zella not Lana. We should shut up and let the music do the talking really rather than indulge you in our musical imagining shouldn't we? This one’s a beauty though.
Compass is available on Zella Day’s forthcoming EP which is released digitally and on 10” vinyl. If you store your vinyl in alphabetical order and by first name the ‘Z’ section could be about to become a lot more exciting.
Zella Day - Compass
Cast your mind back to near the start of this year and you may remember the sounds of Dali Bor and Pippo Vari aka CHPLN. Now they’re back with Jetstream Lover - a new song. This is the sound of the city at its best, namely in the summer when you can disconnect a little and let everything just ooze by you. “Waiting for the 7.55 forever, watching the world go by, lost in the moment, lost in the sea of suits and ties,” CHPLN sing against a backdrop of dreamy pulsing synths and flicks of guitar. It’s gorgeously smooth and seductive – if right now you’re stuck in an office somewhere overwhelmed with corporate life, spreadsheets, data and the like, kick back, shut your eyes and drift away to somewhere better with this.
Extra marks to CHPLN as well for the original promo picture.
CHPLN - Jetstream Lover
A bit of personal information for you – here at Breaking More Waves we like freckles. We also like Alt-J, but haven’t got round to posting anything from their new record until today, because as you probably all know there is TOO MUCH NEW MUSIC and our tiny filters / sieves can only deal with a tiny quantity of it.
But today we’re featuring the band and their new song Every Other Freckle, the first tune to mention freckles that we can remember since Kate Nash’s Mouthwash: “This is my face all covered in freckles.” It seems that these links go further than just freckles as well – mouths are involved in both songs as well: “I want to share your mouthful,” sing Alt-J in the opening line of this one before setting off on a road that if you were a fan of the first album you will undoubtedly love – it’s a journey with seemingly no map (or at least a map made up of hundreds of pieces of other maps stuck together) soundtracked by bonkers instrumentation that we can only assume must have been a hell of a lot of fun to create.
The album This Is All Yours from which the song is taken is released on September 22nd.
Alt-J - Every Other Freckle
The internet is weird isn’t it? It can change your perception of reality. After all if (like us) you follow very few people on Twitter (162 to be exact) and 20 of them tweet about the same subject it must be important, right? Irrespective of the fact that there are millions of people in the world who probably couldn’t give a flying fig about it. Your window on the world can be so easily distorted by what you choose to consume on the web and what you choose to see can be so easily altered and filtered b your own preferences.
Looking through our window Ryn Weaver is already a huge pop star. After all, probably 50% of the chosen 162 have tweeted about her, and she’s already had a bucket load of plays on Soundcloud for OctaHate and Promises. So surely she must be massive? Rather like the time we went to see a band who had already had two top 10 hits on blog aggregator Hype Machine and twenty people turned up to see them play live. That's probably happened more than once.
What we’re trying to say is that these days it’s very difficult to judge who is genuinely adored by the masses and who is just an internet 'like' click and then forgotten.
Ryn has certainly made a good start at heading towards pop stardom with her Promises EP, which in summary is four very good pop songs (yes, we weren’t impressed with OctaHate at first but damn, it’s got us now). So to celebrate the good pop we’re streaming another tune. Stay Low is modern, glistening and immaculately produced. Yet at the time of writing (quite a few hours before you see this post) has just over 1,000 plays on Soundcloud.
Maybe Ryn still has some way to go before the rest of the world is looking through the same window that we are.
Ryn Weaver - Stay Low
Things that are not news / not particularly interesting.
1. Posting pictures on Instagram of a cup of coffee from Starbucks / Costa.
2. Tweeting that you are tired.
3. Tweeting about your annoyance of someone’s actions near you. Eg: "To the noisy boy next to me on the bus, will you please shut the f*ck up.” Not only is this not interesting but it makes you look like a prize twat yourself. Why not actually speak to the person rather than tweeting everyone else?
4. Taking a photo of a takeaway pizza and posting a picture of it. (Why do people like this stuff on Instagram?).
5. Selfies. (There are occasional exceptions to this one though).
6. This blog post so far.
What is news and is slightly more interesting.
There is a new song from ex law student turned potential pop star Josef Salvat.
It’s been quite a long time since we’ve heard from him. Now he’s back with a big dark and dramatic pop song that triggers thoughts about 1. Hurts 2. Lana Del Rey 3. Johnny Hates Jazz (ok that 3rd reference might be a bit obscure and actually not that accurate, but if you don't know anything of JHJ you can hear them here and get up to speed) with its throbbing sexy synths, strings and lyrics about guns, girls and taking risks.
So put Instagram / Twitter etc down and listen to Shoot And Run on repeat, your life will be far more interesting for it.
*Footnote: If you are a parent do not trust Josef Salvat with your children. In the picture above not only does he have his potentially dirty feet on the wall, but he is in danger of pushing the chair backwards – this is an accident just waiting to happen. Let's hope he carries on being a pop star and doesn't jack it all in for a career in childcare.
Josef Salvat - Shoot And Run
In the over-crowded UK festival market any new entrants need to have a strong unique selling point. Victorious Festival, set in Breaking More Waves home city of Portsmouth has a pretty simple one – price. Early bird tickets retailed at just £15 per day before they were increased to £20 showing that it is seemingly possible to run a festival with some reasonably heavyweight names topping the bill (this year sees the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Seastick Steve, Naughty Boy, 2 Many DJs and Tom Odell) without charging exorbitant prices.
How does the festival achieve this? Some of the answers seem to include ramming in the punters, using plenty of cheap or unpaid local artists to flesh out the line-up and by the organisers maximising income by running the bars themselves rather than another company. And talking of alcohol let’s be honest here, Portsmouth as a city likes a drink; last year’s event just couldn’t cope with demand and if those in charge have any sense they’ll be increasing the bar lengths, numbers and staff for 2014.
Bars reaching capacity was just one of a number of teething problems the festival had in its first year as Victorious Festival (having previously run as Victorious Vintage) when it was held in the unusual setting of the historic dockyard in Portsmouth; food stalls had long queues and on the first of the two days it was reported that many of them ran out of food completely. Also the portaloo layout appeared to have been designed by someone with very little experience of festivals, meaning that servicing and queues became problematic. However, given the bargain price and general good-spirited nature of the event, these issues didn’t particularly detract.
However, 2014 finds the event relocating onto Southsea seafront, giving more space and more capacity for everything, hopefully ironing out the problems from 2013.
Being a city based festival Victorious will populated by many locals and its line-up and attractions are curated very much with a something for everyone ideology, but with a strong bias to b-list Brit-pop and beyond bands; Shed Seven, Menswear, Ocean Colour Scene, Razorlight, The Pigeon Detectives and Mark Morris from The Bluetones all appear. You’ll also find X-Factor contestant Lucy Spraggon, alt-rock from British Sea Power, electro hip-hop from Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip playing their second to last show ever plus Beatles and Rolling Stones tribute bands.
So you can take your pick from those or the many other artists on the bill, or you can try the headphone disco, watch skaters and riders demos in Southsea Skate Park, visit the nearby the D-Day museum, watch the sharks at the Blue-Reef Aquarium, explore Southsea Castle, visit the boutique market stalls, the real ale festival or the kids arena.
Alternatively you can try and catch the following Breaking More Waves approved acts. See you down the front for these? (Line up clashes permitting)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor : Castle Stage (Saturday)
She might be best known for her disco pop hits such as Murder On The Dance Floor, Take Me Home and Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) but Sophie’s 2014 Ed Harcourt produced album Wanderlust is the finest work of her career – an accomplished and mature record that takes in Eastern European folk, fairytale and mid-life crisis reference points and wraps them up into a captivating and enchanting listen. We suspect it will find a place on our end of year favourite album list.
Public Service Broadcasting : Seaside Stage (Saturday)
One of the great independent success stories of 2013, Public Service Broadcasting’s unique performances mash up video footage, guitars, vocal samples and a sense of humour to deliver a show that wins people over wherever they play.
Slow Club : Acoustic Stage (Sunday)
From their early d-i-y country folk outings to their latest record Complete Surrender, Slow Club’s music has evolved, boldly stepping into a new soulful world whilst retaining their gorgeous vocal interplay and tenderness. Watch out for the bands often comical banter with the audience and expect more than the odd goose-bump moment as Rebecca sings.
Kassassin Street : Seaside Stage (Sunday)
“Capturing Eastern mysticism, psychedelia and a free flowing looseness, this five-piece have an exhilarating vibrancy and energy to their sound.” That’s how we previously described indie rockers Kassassin Street. That sounds about right. What we didn’t say was that they are also quite possibly Portsmouth’s finest live band - expect grooves and noise.
Eloise Keating : Acoustic Stage (Sunday)
Local singer songwriter Eloise Keating picked up her first Hype Machine listed blog appearance on Breaking More Waves and has subsequently been featured on a number of respected sites site as Line of Best Fit and The Von Pip Musical Express with her Great Gatsby inspired song Be My Ghost (The Green Light). Since then she’s been taken under the wing by same people behind one of our favourite (and ever on it) boutique record labels Duly Noted (IYES, The Night VI, Black Honey etc) and is beavering away writing new material. Victorious Festival is a chance to hear Eloise road-test some of these songs in an acoustic form before fuller electronic versions surface as well as perhaps a cover or two.
We’ll be carrying a full review of Victorious Festival 2014 shortly after it finishes. It takes place on Southsea seafront on the 23rd and 24th August 2014. Tickets info can be found using this link.
When you were young and having a bath did you submerse yourself under the water and see how long you could hold your breath for? If you did you’ll probably appreciate this, the second video from Ibeyi, which was filmed in one take. Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz, the sisters that form the band, have dedicated the song to Oshun, a river goddess. It would seem that they’re coming from a different angle to all those artists who only seem to be able to dedicate songs to partying, not giving a f*ck and being in da club. Thank whatever higher beings there are out there for that.
River takes a very rhythmic lead, possibly a nod to the sister’s late father Anga Diaz who was a well known Cuban percussionist and compliments the stunning Oya, their first release. Both songs can be found on the debut Ibeyi EP which is released through XL - a label of incredible diversity and general good taste. Fans of Bjork and tUnE-yArDs may be particularly interested in hearing it. You can buy or stream the EP right now.
Ibeyi - River (Video)
We’re starting this week with a quick moan and a new video. A few weeks ago we posted the new Soundcloud stream of a Sohn produced song from the incredible Laura Doggett. It was the third time we had featured Laura on the blog having watched her gradual rise from being on Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition longlist in 2011 through to getting a record deal a few years later. Phoenix is a mesmerising piece of work, Sohn’s production holding Laura back vocally to give something that hints of the power to come but is yet unleashed.
Phoenix was featured on quite a large number of blogs, both high profile ones and smaller ones and in nearly every case the blogs stated something along the lines of ‘Laura Doggett has come out of nowhere,’ or ‘we know nothing about Laura Doggett.’ Yet a couple of quick Google searches would have revealed lots of information about Laura’s career so far including videos, interviews and features from the likes of BBC Introducing.
Now of course there’s an argument that says that context / history isn’t important anymore in pop music. That all that matters is the song, but as we’ve argued before, we believe that they are everything (here). The fact that these blogs can’t be bothered to do a few minutes research we find hugely disappointing – it seems ‘we know nothing about Laura Doggett’ translates as ‘the PR company didn’t tell us anything so we didn’t bother trying to find out ourselves.’
OK, rant over. Yesterday at midnight Laura released the video for Phoenix and you can watch it below. An abstract piece full of breaking waves (a bit like this blog) and flames (possibly representing the lyrics “cradling the flame till the fire beds” ) and a slow reveal of Laura’s face it suits the haunting atmosphere of both the music and the words.
Laura has also been confirmed to support Sohn at Shepherds Bush Empire and Brighton’s The Haunt in September. No that information didn’t come from a PR email either, but our own research. OK, we’ll shut up now.
Laura Doggett - Phoenix (Video)
It’s been a while since Jack Colleran aka Mmoths posted anything new, but word on the street (or rather the web, which is like a street only with more traffic) is that there will be an album sometime early next year. To show us what he’s been up to Jack has recently uploaded a new track called Santo, which fizzes with deep electronic ambience and a somewhat druggy unsettling ghostliness. This is out there, spacey, otherworldly music perfect for that 3am comedown after a big night out.
Mmoths - Santo
First there was Lady and the Lost Boys, and then there was Bluebell, now Annabel Jones, the front woman of both acts is, well, just Annabel Jones. There’s no Lorde, Lana Del Rey or other pseudonym going on here, just the real person and rather like Normal Heights the debut tune from Bluebell that stopped us in our tracks and made us shudder a little back in April 2011, so Magnetic does the same. It’s a bit strange putting Annabel in our introducing ‘New Waves’ section as she’s already appeared on the blog before, but as this isn’t Bluebell and marks a new start it seems mildly appropriate to do so at least.
Starting with the sounds of a wind up music box, computerised patterns then take over pitter-pattering underneath some pretty heavy lyrics in this fascinating song. “Baby I gotta let go, the drugs that you’ve taken are killing you so,” Annabel sings, her voice pitch shifting towards the end. “What if I could save you now, what if I get lost again?” she questions later. Yet despite the seriousness of the lyrics and the weird minimalism and lack of any beats in the track, with its oddly hooky melodies this is still pop. Not the sort of the pop that will find itself in the singles chart perhaps, but the sort of weird, intriguing pop with depth that draws the listener in demanding you to press repeat over and over.
Annabel Jones - Magnetic