Wednesday 31 December 2014

12 From '14 - Some Of The Best Songs On Breaking More Waves This Year

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to another year and here at Breaking More Waves it’s been a very successful one. 

How do we define this success? In three simple ways:

1. We’re still doing what we do. That might not sound a particularly impressive statement, but to continue to keep Breaking More Waves running, this year posting nearly 50 more times than any previous year and hitting over 500 posts in total, against the pressures of a demanding full time job and family is success in itself. 

2. To still get huge pleasure and enjoyment out of doing what we do.

3. Having cheekily asked on Twitter if anyone would be prepared to pay to read our blog posts and getting a few positive answers, in January of this year, alongside another music blogger Adam from Alphabet Bands we put this to the test and participated in a non-stop 24 hour Blogathon to raise money for Cancer Research asking readers (as well as friends and family) to sponsor us. We were stunned by the reaction from readers and their generosity, eventually raising just over £1,500 between the 2 blogs in the 24 hour period. Receiving £50 donations from complete strangers who were reading our posts was an incredibly humbling experience and without doubt the best and most valueable thing we have ever done in Breaking More Waves 6 and a half year history. 

Goodbye 2014.

We’re closing our year by featuring 12 of our favourite songs we've featured this year, each one in video form. For once, we 're providing no commentary on the individual tracks, we think we've said all we want to say for one year.

This isn’t a definitive list as we’ve chosen 1 song from each month, meaning that on really good months a number of great songs have had to be sacrificed and some songs that we adore haven’t made the cut as they never had a video. We've also chosen 12 different artists.

See you in 2015.


Låpsley - Station


Indiana - Solo Dancing


Jungle - Busy Earnin'


Zella Day - Sweet Ophelia


La Roux - Let Me Down Gently


Broods - Mother & Father


Laura Doggett - Phoenix


Charli XCX - Break The Rules


Seinabo Sey - Pistols At Dawn


Clarence Clarity - Those Who Can't Cheat


IYES - Glow


Young Fathers - Get Up

Tuesday 30 December 2014

The 5 Most Read Posts On Breaking More Waves In 2014

Traffic is something that at some point most people who run a website or blog will give at least passing thought to. For sites that rely on hits to make money traffic is pretty much everything. For those who want to build their site for other status / career / ego purposes it’s usually pretty important. But for the rest of us it’s of less consequence. However, that’s not to say that we have no interest in how many people are visiting Breaking More Waves. It would be pointless writing the thing if nobody visited. Thankfully over the last few years quite a few people have returned to read the crap we shove up on line. Some people even seem to enjoy it. 

The reasons why people visit Breaking More Waves are pretty varied. We still get people finding the blog searching for ‘Lana Del Rey’s lips’ (that search is so 2011) and ‘Ed Sheeran’s girlfriend’ as well as image searches for various pop stars naked. Maybe we should just call every blog post we write Miley Cyrus naked pics and increase our traffic no end? However, being a new music blog we’d have hoped that the posts that receive the most amount of traffic are the ones about new music. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case.

This year, more than any other, what we've noticed is that the majority of page views ‘big hitters’ tend to be the occasional pieces where we’ve offered some sort of discussion rather than focussing on particular pieces of music.  It seems that people prefer to read what we’re thinking about than the music we’re listening to. It's these posts that get shared far more. 

So without further ado, here are the 5 most viewed posts on Breaking More Waves this year. Ironically the very first thing we posted this year is by far and away our most read. It’s been all downhill since then.*

1. Jan 1st - 20 Things We Want To Happen To Music And The Internet In 2014 (See original post here)

2. Apr 30th -  Lorde vs Complex : Is Blog Positivity A Bad Thing? (See original post here)

3. Dec 2nd -  The UK Blog Sound Of 2015 Results (See original post here)

4. Jul 17th - Why Do So Many Online Music Writers Ignore Lyrics When Writing About Music? (See original post here)

5. Feb 10th - Lapsley – Painter (Valentine) (See original post here)

*Not fully downhill though - 2014 has seen the blog have its largest number of page views, but this on its own is no surprise, after all we've posted more times this year than any other. 

Monday 29 December 2014

Seafoal - New Waves

Whilst we’d like to think that here at Breaking More Waves we have a pretty open mind to all sorts of music, the chances of finding a song by Bring Me The Horizon mentioned on this blog are pretty limited. That is until today as we introduce lizard appreciating and tattoo adorned ambient folk singer Siana Sweeney, who performs as Seafoal. The reason? A bedroom cover that has gone semi-viral; Seafoal’s version of Drown has hit over 450,000 views on You Tube since it was uploaded at the end of October. (You can see it here).

What’s even more impressive though is her own songs, particularly on her recent Lucid Living EP from which we’re streaming Fading. It’s a beautifully melancholy song that falls somewhere between the acoustic pop sensibilities of Gabrielle Aplin and the lusher atmospheric spaces occupied by a band like Daughter. “Turn it around, I've found that I'm lonely. Kick it down a notch to only see that we ran out of everything we dreamed,” she sings with a melody that drifts exquisitely over the simply constructed but totally bewitching musical arrangement.

Seafoal will be heading out on tour in early 2015. Bizarrely The Lucid Living EP is released through metalcore loving Negative Reaction records. You can order physical copies here.

Seafoal - Fading

Adria - New Waves

“I don’t want to fear no more, can you make me beautiful?” 

Those are the questioning lines that Adria opens her musical account with and from there on we’re headlong into an elegant and sensuous piece of pop. Produced in London by Matthew Wiggins who has worked on music by the likes of Lorde (Yellow Flicker Beat), Adele (Skyfall) and Rosie Lowe (Water Come Down) Adria co-wrote Pull Me Under, her debut release, with Viktor Balter-Lundin who has creations with Lykke Li and Doe Paoro on his CV amongst others.

It seems that this Australian lass has (rather like Breaking More Waves) a big connection with water. Not only do the lyrics talk of rain and oceans, but the black and white video accompanying the song is a very wet affair. It goes further than this though, even Adria’s name comes from the sea, as she was named after the Adriatic.

Pull Me Under has certainly grabbed us. Press play and see if she makes a splash with you. 

Oh, and go on, let’s get it over and done with now, after all we referenced one particular singer a couple of days ago in relation to another artist, so  let's do it again; based on this one song Adria could well be Australia’s answer to Banks.

There, we’ve said it, now let’s move on.

Adria - Pull Me Under (Video)

Sunday 28 December 2014

The True Cost Of Gig Going Project (2014) - The Final Results

This year we’ve spent £3,661.17 travelling nearly 6,500 miles to attend 65 gigs and festivals at which we've seen 324 different live performances.

We’ve always known that the vast majority of our spare cash goes on live music, but we’ve never known exactly how much. So throughout the course of 2014 we’ve recorded every gig, concert and festival we’ve attended, every ticket we’ve brought, every mile we’ve travelled, every drink we’ve drank at the venues and every bit of merchandise we’ve purchased. Each month we’ve reported back via the blog on our gig expenditure and now just a few days after our final show of the year (The Cure at Hammersmith Apollo - a show that certainly offered value for money with over 40 songs played in a set that lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes) we can bring you the full results of our survey.

What we included:

Ticket costs: All booking and postage fees as well as the cost of the ticket itself.

Transport: Costs of petrol (if driving) but not wear and tear on the car. Parking charges. The cost of using public transport - wherever possible we tried to find the cheapest option eg: £1 megatrain to London from Portsmouth.

Accommodation: Costs of any hotel accommodation where staying overnight away from home due to longer travel distances. This was generally budget style Travelodge / Ibis Budget / Easy Hotel style hotels. 

Drinks: Any drinks purchased within the venue itself or at the festival. We discounted drinks purchased before the gig in other places, such as a 'pre-gig' drink in a nearby pub or bar and drinks we brought to festivals ourselves. Food was not included.

Merchandise: All merchandise purchased at the venue (t-shirts, CD’s, etc). We didn’t include albums purchased by the artist before or after the gig from other retailers away from the venue.

The full breakdown:

Tickets £1048.17

Transport £998.50

Accommodation £818.15

Drinks £734.45

Merchandise £62

Average cost of a gig taking into account all of the above £ 56.32

Average cost of watching a band perform at a gig or festival £11.29

Average price paid for a ticket for any gig or festival , including fees £16.13

Ticket purchases = 29% of total expenditure.

Cities visited to attend gigs (from home city of Portsmouth)

London 23 visits (36%)

Brighton 18 visits (28%)

Portsmouth 12 visits (18%)

Southampton 2 visits (3%)

Guildford 2 visits (3%)

Pilton 2 vists (3%)

Others (1 visit each) (9%)

Note : 1 Gig was in San Francisco but we deducted all travel and hotel costs as our primary reason for being there was a holiday. We only included travel costs from the hotel to the venue and normal drink / merchandise costs.

So what have we learnt from all of this?

Essentially what we’ve learnt is that we spend a huge amount of money on gigs. If we reduced our gig going expenditure by half or only went to gigs that were within a 20 mile radius of where we live for a year we’d be able to afford a very expensive holiday or a luxury piece of kit like an Apple Mac, or iPads for every member of our household. Instead we continue to create this blog on an old battered laptop so that we can experience the thrill of live music as often as possible.

Yet, the ‘thrill of live music’ isn’t always that. Of the 65 gigs and festivals we’ve attended this year probably a handful or so were genuinely incredible. Most were good or average. A few were terrible. The incredible ones included Kate Bush, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, La Roux, Todd Terje, The Cure, James, Arcade Fire, Jungle and MØ. But our huge amount of spending on gigs is like an addiction – even if the drug isn’t always the greatest we can’t stop. 

Back to expenditure; if we halved our gig going we’d be able to buy around 180 additional albums a year to listen to. Far more than we could actually ever manage. But would we do this? Almost certainly not. For a start we’d soon run out of space to store them, and these days when we can pay £9.99 a month and have unrestricted access to pretty much every album we’d want to listen to on Spotify, why would we do that? It’s a question we’ll be looking at in a new project next year as we keep records of our total spend on recorded music be it physical, downloaded or streamed forms.

We’ve also realised that we ‘waste’ a fair amount of money buying drinks at gigs. We don’t drink excessively and often we don’t drink alcohol (due to being the driver 98% of the time), but we still managed to spend over £700 on drinks at venues and festivals. Part of this is because we feel somewhat obligated to buy a drink or two, after all its this that helps keeps some of the smaller venues that we love alive as much as the ticket that we buy. So maybe it isn’t a waste after all?

And its small and medium sized venues that we fear for. We all know these places are vitally important to the music industry. Yet we continue to hear stories of them shutting down whilst enormodomes like the O2 in London continue to rake in the cash. This article (here) on Echoes and Dust discusses the issues in detail and is very much worth a read. 

One thing we've noticed over the last few years of going to gigs is that more and more medium to large sized acts are choosing to play 3 or 4 bigger shows in key towns such as London, Manchester and Glasgow rather than playing a longer tour of say 10-20 shows in regional cities using smaller venues. We can understand why bands choose to do this - it's easier and they can make a bigger profit as there's less expenditure. However, in the long term this model might backfire. Because whilst bands save on expenditure, punters end up paying more, with increased transport costs for those living outside the immediate locailty. The net result is that they will attend less gigs and slowly but surely gig going could stop becoming a habit and go out of fashion. If more quality bands played closer to our home town rather than London (a three to four hour round trip) our yearly transport costs would be halved. It's likely that some of that money would be spent going to more gigs locally.

One further hope in carrying out this analysis was to gain a better perspective of which represented better value - single gigs or festivals. Unfortunately we've been unable to really make any conclusion. This is partly because the festivals we attended were so variable. For example a number of them we didn't have to pay for a ticket due to getting a press pass. The accommodation was also widely different for each type of festival - some it was included in the ticket (camping), others we traveled daily from home, whilst some were located in urban areas with no camping and we stayed in hotels. Also as part of this survey we didn't include the cost of food, which is one factor which would need to be taken into account if comparing against standard gigs. Also this survey took 'value' as being represented by the number of bands seen. But often festivals have a much broader ranger of experiences (theatre, comedy, literature etc etc) that add value and so the comparison would be unfair. However, based purely on the factors that we recorded, it would appear that both types of event offer about the same value for money.

So that concludes this project. As always if you want to share your thoughts or experiences about going to gigs, your spending, travel etc please do so in the comments below or via Twitter (you’ll find us @BMWavesBlog)

Saturday 27 December 2014

Kloë - New Waves

Whilst we’ve been busy with our traditional end of year Ones to Watch 2015, Albums of 2014 countdown and Blog Sound of 2015 / BBC Sound of 2015 posts in the run up to Christmas (and a handful of new music posts as well) here's one new artist who cropped up on our radar who we couldn't let slip by.

Meet Kloë. She’s 18 years old and hails from Glasgow. Her opening gambit kicks in with some pin-pointedly of the moment production from Lewis Gardiner of Blog Sound of 2015 nominees Prides (Banks being an obvious reference point to the sound) and some attention grabbing lyrics: “It’s just you’ve fucked every girl in the room.” Kloë certainly isn’t holding anything back lyrically on this one, it’s very open book and confessional: "Everything's easier in the dark with you." It sounds like the sort of song that would be big on the blogs and sure enough it already has been earlier this month. It’s a pretty promising start then. Let’s see what 2015 brings for this new kid on the block.

Kloë - Grip

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Rae Morris - Stay Another Day

Aye up. Snowman ‘ere. Keeping it chill. I’m the coolest dude in town. Yep, I’m a snowman hipster. 

All right stop, collaborate and listen, ice is back with a brand new invention. It’s another Christmas tune, the final one on Breaking More Waves this Christmas Eve; a crisp version of East 17’s Stay Another Day by Rae Morris, incorporating a little bit of carol Silent Night for extra Christmas flavour. Rae’s a good lass, after all she’s already had a song out called Cold. Anyway, this one is pretty enough to melt even the most cynical heart, or even a snowman. Melt? What? No….help…… Bloody global warming.

No more ice ice baby. Happy Christmas.

Rae Morris - Stay Another Day

Lovestarrs - Tinsel

What you looking at? Stop f*cking laughing at my f*cking red nose you fucking c*nts. Haven’t you ever seen a f*cking red nose before? Haven’t you heard that it’s f*cking Christmas eve tonight and that I’ve got to f*cking get tied up with the stupidly named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen and go and pull a f*ckin’ ridiculously heavy sleigh with a fat man in a red coat sitting on top of it all across the f*ckin world? Someone should call the RSPCA.

Actually I quite like the name Donner. Not as good as Rudolph of course (yeah you can call me Rude-Oaf if you want, just like the poxy elves do). Donner reminds me of a kebab and to be really f*ckin’ honest I’d rather be out down the high street getting lashed with the other reindeer lads in a pub, getting in a drunken fight and then scoffing that kebab before I’m sick than doing this present delivery shite, but you know, it’s tradition and all that.

So think of me tonight whilst you’re all having fun on Christmas eve.

Oh yeah, I’m meant to be choosing a Christmas tune to feature on this blog. F*ck it here ya go. This one's pissing good - synths and sax. Have a bleak f*cking Christmas.

Lovestarrs - Tinsel 

Billie Marten - Winter Song

Hello everyone, it’s Santa’s favourite helper here. That's a (s)elfie of me above. Tee hee. I’ve been very busy the last few days. There’s all the boys and girls presents to be wrapped and loaded into the sleigh and the reindeers have to be made presentable so that they’re all ready for the big day. Oh that Rudolph, he’s a troublesome one you know; more from him later today, be warned he didn’t get his nickname Rude-Oaf for nothing you know. Anyway my loves, I’ve got a gorgeous Christmas tune to get you in the mood for the day. It's from Billie Marten, an artist I first discovered back in May whilst reading this very blog. If you haven’t heard her beautiful version of La Roux’s In For The Kill or her own composition Ribbon you really are missing a trick.

Anyway my beauties, this one has got my pointy ears stretching to the sky. 

Winter Song is taken from a rather wonderful charity Christmas album called It’s Coming On Christmas, which I heartily recommend you download from here. It contains tracks by many Breaking More Waves favourites, including Rae Morris, Lucy Rose, Alice Jemima, Gabrielle Aplin, Luke Sital-Singh, Rachel Sermanni and of course Billie herself. All proceeds from the album go to Coppafeel, a charity that helps prevent Breast Cancer by reminding women to check their boobs. A very worthwhile cause and they've already raised over £5,000 through download sales, so if you've got some spare cash, please do buy it. It's really really good.

Right my lovelies, enjoy, I’ve got to go and get ready. We’ve all got a big night ahead of us. Happy Christmas!

Billie Marten - Winter Song

Dent May - I'll Be Stoned For Christmas

Alriiighhhht kidz! Santa’s here, drunk again, gearin’ up to slide down yer chimney and slip somefink nice in yer stockingz again! But before all that Christmas shite getz well and truly underway I’ve sneaked onto Breaking More Waves just loik I did last year to raid their sherry cabinet and lay down a phat Christmas tuuuune for yer all. I’ve brought a few friendz as well, and they’re gonna be playin’ their own choices on the blog later today. So check back.

Roight, time to grab a mince pie, another drink and enjoy. Have a cool yule kidz and look out me reindeers, coz I’ll be drunk drivin’ them later, so keep your distance.

Happy high-lo-days (geddit?) with Dent May. Get ready to sing-a-long kids and wave yer hands in the air, this onez a classic belter.

Dent May - I'll Be Stoned For Christmas

Tuesday 23 December 2014

The Geeky Science Of Creating An Albums Of The Year List

Warning: This post is pretty geeky. We've been thinking about end of year lists far too much. 

Fundamentally there are 3 types of end of year album list*:

1. The 'best' albums of the year.

2. Favourite / most liked albums of the year.

3. Most played albums of the year. 

Each one is subtly different. 

*(Of these 3 types some end of year lists are presented in some sort of numerical order, some in alphabetical order and some in no order whatsoever. Each one probably says something about the psychological make up of the list maker, but let's face it, whatever way they've chosen to present it, it's a list.) 

‘The Best’ is the most subjective, based on some sort of critical appraisal. It also has a certain sense of arrogance - 'our taste is better than yours'. 

‘Favourite / most liked’ is less subjective. The question here is that the list is decided in a snapshot in time and sometimes over time favourites may change. (Question for all list makers - of your favourites of 2013 are you still playing them now? If not, are they still your favourites?)

‘Most played’ has the potential to be factual. It is what it is. A record may not be what you consider your favourite but you still might have played it more often than the favourite. Yet often this factual list isn't as factual as we think.  Because people who create most played lists sometimes don’t actually count how many times they’ve played a record – they just take a guess. Then there’s the timeline. A most played list is statistically more likely to contain many records from earlier in the year than later in the year as there’s been more months to play them. Yet often they don’t. 

It’s why in producing our end of year list (a most played type) we took the geeky / slightly more scientific approach of recording each time we played an album over the course of a year (physical, digital or streamed) on a spreadsheet and then at the end of the year divided the number of times played by the number of months from when we first heard it to give an average plays per month. 

Of course even this method isn’t 100% foolproof. 400 mile journeys in the car may have been soundtracked by the same album on CD on repeat. By the time we got home and recorded we had lost track of how many times we played it and had to hazard a guess. Those car journeys may have also included choices of music played by other members of the Breaking More Waves household. The question was then should we include them on our list? We decided we would. Also the very fact we were recording created an almost experimental false condition which could have influenced our behaviour in what we chose to play, attempting to bump certain records further up the list. And what about the question of part plays? What if we just played 4 songs from an album and then moved onto something else? For this we decided to record it as a fraction. So if it was a 12 track album and we played 4 songs, we recorded it as 0.33. However, we didn’t include single tracks or when tracks were played on shuffle – the tracks had to be played as they were intended in the order on the album. Those were the rules.

This was all rather excessively geeky but at least when we look back at our list of albums of 2014 we can say with a near degree of certainty that they were the ones that soundtracked our year. It’s why for instance Broods, an album that appears on just a few UK end of year list is at number 2. 

It’s also important to note that this year we listened to just 74 new albums that were released this year. A good 30% of them we only listened to once (streaming is to blame for this). It’s why we don’t produce a Top 50 or Top 40 like many other blogs. If we did, to be honest the record at number 50 would be one that hadn't really engaged us in any way.

Having said that, ironically if we’d put our ‘critic’ hat on and simply ranked these records in order of subjective artistic quality the list wouldn’t be that different – perhaps Honeyblood would have been a little lower on the list, Todd Terje a little higher, but we figure that if we’re recommending records to readers (which is partly what this list is about, as well as being a diary entry of sorts for our own personal satisfaction) we prefer to recommend records that we’ve played lots and not tired of rather than anything else - after all an album is a friend for life.

In posting about these records it was also important for us to create 15 different blog posts and write more than just a couple of sentences on each one and upload one each day. This was for a variety of reasons. First we haven't reviewed albums on the blog for a number of years now, so in some cases this is the first time we’ve written about a particular artist and their work, and we want to give some context or at least a decent description of the album. A second reason was that we find no value or help in blogs / websites that simply list their favourite records of the year with no information about them. Thirdly, we kept our list relatively short (15) for the reasons explained earlier. Finally, the other reason for doing things the way we do and not just upload 1 albums of the year post was because all the posts can be pre-written a week or so before the series commences which then gives us a couple of weeks off from writing the blog at a time when we're very busy doing other things away from the internet.

So we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the LPs we’ve been wallowing in the most this year. Female vocalists have taken nearly all the higher places in 2014 (except no.1) and for the second year running a Scottish act has found itself at the top of the pile, Young Fathers (pictured above) taking over from Chvrches last year and joining a list that also includes Bon Iver, Blue Roses, The National and Lana Del Rey.

Finally, to conclude this year’s Albums of 2014, if you’re the sort who really can’t be bothered taking 3-5 minutes to read a blog post (in which case you’re probably not reading this) we’ve summarised the whole of our end of year list below, click on the album name to read the original blog post.

1. Young Fathers – Dead

2. Broods – Evergreen

3. Honeyblood – Honeyblood

4. Kate Tempest – Everybody Down

5. La Roux – Trouble In Paradise

6. Sophie Ellis Bextor – Wanderlust

7. Slow Club – Complete Surrender

8. FKA Twigs – LP1

9. Taylor Swift – 1989

10. Chet Faker – Built On Glass

11. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos

12. Lykke Li – I Never Learn

13. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

14. Morrissey – World Peace Is None Of Your Business

15. Jungle - Jungle

Orla Gartland - New Waves

The Irish Taylor Swift? That’s a comparison thrown at Orla Gartland more than once now and it’s not a bad comparison. Certainly Orla knows how to pen a song like Taylor does and she has a similar vocal pitch as well. And whilst we’re playing the ‘if you like this artist you’ll probably like Orla’ game let’s add Nina Nesbitt into the mix. The people of the internet also seem to be suggesting Haim, but we don’t hear that one yet.

Orla describes her music as ‘wacky guitar pop’, and whilst we’re not so sure about the wacky element, there’s a definite pop-songcraft to be found in her easy on the ear tunes. She’s also played a redhead festival (yes seriously - mind you it could have had some strong headliners like Ed Sheeran and Florence And The Machine, so we're not knocking it) which does sound a little bit wacky, so we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one for now.

Gartland is taking a similar route to the likes of Gabrielle Aplin (who Orla has supported) in finding a big fan base through You Tube covers (she has over 90,000 subscribers) before releasing her own 4 track Roots EP last year, which found its way to number 1 on iTunes with its breezy blend of acoustic-folk-pop. Now this Dublin lass is stepping up the ladder a rung or two higher with a second EP which features the radio friendly song Lonely People (streaming below) and has a tour of the UK and North America booked. If you’re a fan of the likes of Aplin, Nesbitt, Aquilina and the like you probably already know all about Orla Gartland, but if you don’t, it’s time to add her to your new favourites list. The Lonely People EP is released on January 18th. 

Orla Gartland - Lonely People

Orla Graland - Roots (Video)

Monday 22 December 2014

Pop Stars Having A Bath

We apologise for somewhat going over old ground here, having written about this growing phenomenon before, but we think it’s worth bringing to your attention again in the light of some recent developments. 

It’s the growing trend for pop stars posing in the bath.

And pop stars being pop stars (and therefore a little bit bonkers) sometimes have a bath with their clothes on. Call us boring, but this seems a little impractical. Maybe they can’t afford washing machines.

Here’s some examples

Charli XCX had a go and tried to make it look edgy:

She had another go here as well. Silly. Fully clothed:

Lady Gaga has made a habit of it. Here:

And here:

At least she took her clothes off here (then bathed in beer):

It’s not just women doing it though – Naked On Drugs have got in on the act as well. Naked and quite possibly on drugs by the look of things:

If there was one artist guaranteed to get naked it would be Prince:

Denny Doherty, former lead singer of popular 60’s musical gang The Mamas & The Papas shows why the drugs in the 60’s really did affect people’s brains and got it totally wrong. More of a pig feed trough than a bath really:

Lily Allen (who is obviously a woman not a man - just to be clear) had a go as well. We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is both water in the bath and that she is indeed naked:

And the last time we mentioned the bath club was when Holland’s Bea jumped in with a body suit on:

Our favourites? Hi Mariah. Two truly wtf pictures:

Yep, she really loves a bath (and so does her dog):

Ok, we get the idea:

Now here’s a new addition. Breaking More Waves regular and favourite Laurel does things properly for her new single Memorials. She is clearly naked, has water in the bath and it seems that she’s put a nice fragrant Lush bath bomb or some other type of bath salts in as well. This has the advantage of colouring the water so that the video remains safe to watch at work and making her smell fragrant afterwards. Well done Laurel. Other potential bath pop star types take note – this is how to do it properly. A decent song too.

You can watch the full video below.

Laurel - Memorials (Video)

Laura Doggett - Old Faces (Video)

Whilst many UK based music bloggers are currently putting on their ‘Out of Office’ emails and heading for destination Christmas oblivion, Breaking More Waves is soldiering on right up until Christmas Eve, where we’ll be introducing a few guest bloggers for the day. 

Next up is the new song from an artist we named one of our Ones to Watch 2015Laura Doggett. However, we suggest you start watching (and listening) now rather than leaving it till next year. In fact you may have already done so, as her new song Old Faces (which you’ll find below) features in the trailer of the new series of Broadchurch on ITV so you may have heard a snippet of it without even realising.

Old Faces is a song about dreams and ambitions and finds Laura tackling the subject of those who ‘laugh at you for trying to change the world’.  Starting with some soft piano Old Faces gradually swells into a magnificent string laden ballad. It’s pretty easy to understand why the producers of Broadchurch would have wanted to use this, Laura’s sultry deep pitch vocal is impeccable and the song is rich in its power.

In the flesh Laura's vocal is as good as it is in recorded form. If you want to experience it for yourself she plays a concert by candlelight at the fantastic Jacobean styled Wanamaker Playhouse in London on January 19th and then follows it up with a small tour of the west country in March. Tickets for London are here, other dates are here.

Laura Doggett - Old Faces (Video)

Albums of the Year 2014 #1 Young Fathers - Dead

“This year’s Mercury Prize list was pretty good all in all wasn’t it?” 

Those were the words that we opened our run down of our favourite / most played albums of 2014 and those are the words that we’ll also finish with, as we name Dead by Scottish group Young Fathers as our most played and favourite album of 2014. It’s the fourth record from the Mercury Prize list in our top 15 records of the year, and if we extended these posts to 20 a fifth would have appeared. 

Of course Dead didn’t just get on the Mercury Prize long list, it won it, bringing the record to a wider public consciousness than the relatively underground following it had before; Dead reportedly had the second lowest sales figures of the nominated records before the Mercury, with just a few thousand copies sold.

Likewise Dead wasn’t a record that was immediately on this music blogger’s radar. In fact the first time we heard of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham Hastings was in November 2013 when compiling the Blog Sound of 2014 poll votes and another blog Music Like Dirt, put forward their name as one of the blog's votes as a favourite emerging artist. Then come March 2014 we put out a tweet asking our followers what records they’d most enjoyed in the first quarter of the year and a number of people answered back stating Young Fathers. It was time to investigate further. One listen and we were immediately drawn in by the album's raw soulful inventiveness. 

Dead is a record that defies genres. There’s elements of hip-hop, trip-hop, electronica, world music,and soul that clash headlong with weird rhythms, clattering percussion, chanting and disorientating drones. Yet accompanying all of the oddity there’s a surprising number of pop hooks. Get Up even sounds like a party pop hit in the making. If we were going to draw one comparison it would probably be with Massive Attack, but a Massive Attack that weren’t afraid to throw anything and everything into the cooking pot. 

As we said, this year’s Mercury Prize list was pretty good all in all wasn’t it? But the winner was even better. Dead by Young Fathers is our album of the year. It's dead good.

Young Fathers - Get Up (Video)

Young Fathers - War

Sunday 21 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014 #2 Broods - Evergreen

Our second most played album per month this year is Evergreen from New Zealand electronic pop duo Broods.

Despite the album achieving number 1 in the charts in their home country and number 5 in Australia, in the UK Broods hardly made any sort of dent in the public consciousness due to a promotional campaign that appeared to focus largely on Australasia and America rather than Europe. This is a shame, because with Evergreen Broods conjured up a record of swelling atmospheric synths, polished production (from Joel Little of Lorde fame) and most importantly some excellent melodic, hooky, memorable pop songwriting that has been the soundtrack to the second half of our year. Given the right exposure in the UK its commercial success elsewhere could have been repeated here.

There are moments of euphoria, melancholy, tenderness and sentimentality on this record that are touchingly brought to life through the simple joys of a pop song. Little’s production works perfectly, in the same way it did with Lorde’s debut;  he keeps things relatively sparse, the electronics sounding crisp and with a feeling of contemplation that suits lead singer Georgia Nott’s icy and subtly sensual tones well.

In 2013 Chvrches’ The Bones Of What You Believe was our album of the year. In 2014 Evergreen was the closest thing to that - a record that whilst being pop was underpinned by a darker more mature sound. It really should have been a worldwide hit, but if (in the UK at least) it’s the one that got away, we’re very glad that we found it.

Broods - Mother & Father

Saturday 20 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014 #3 Honeyblood - Honeyblood

“I will hate you forever, scumbag sleaze, slimeball grease. You really do disgust me!” sings Stina Tweedale on Super Rat, a hate fuelled anthem and in a nutshell we have what this album is all about; plenty of bitterness and garage guitars that make a good old fashioned scuzz-pop sound. 

There’s quite a few obvious comparisons that get drawn out of the bag when talking about Honeyblood, plenty of them American, even though the band are from Scotland; Throwing Muses, Best Coast, Juliana Hatfield and The Breeders and we wouldn’t disagree with any of those. But what makes Honeyblood such a success is the songs. There’s hooks, melodies, harmonies and something quite euphoric about many of the vitriolic tunes contained on this record. It’s a record to throw (and flop) yourself violently around to on the indie disco (or bedroom) floor, particularly on the energetic and fiery Killer Bangs or opening mosher Fall Forever. Yet whilst Honeyblood is an angry sounding record it never becomes either overbearing or too inward looking; it gets the balance right, the songs are kept short, sharp and exciting, the guttural guitars simple. 

Honeyblood takes third place on our Albums of the Year 2014 list. Not only is this a thrilling indie rock record but it suggests that Honeyblood could be a name for a future as well.

Honeyblood - Super Rat

Friday 19 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014 #4 Kate Tempest - Everybody Down

She once described it as just a crazy idea that she had, but Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down has probably exceeded the rapper / poet /playwright and author’s dreams in terms of the public recognition that it’s received, culminating in a nomination for the 2014 Mercury Music Prize. As we’ve said before, this year’s prize list was a particularly good one – Kate’s record is the third to feature on our albums of the year countdown from the nominations.

In case you haven’t heard Everybody Down or know very little about it, this is a record that shares some similarities with The Streets A Grand Don’t Come For Free, in so far as it’s a story and tells the tale of a bunch of characters whose lives interweave with each other. That story is centred around a dancer, masseuse and student called Becky. Think Trainspotting but told from a female London perspective.

Recorded with producer Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Hot Chip) the album starts with Becky meeting Harry, a drug dealer to the higher classes in a bar filled with ‘industry slimeballs, showbiz big-deals, the cool new band with the retro feel’ with Harry immediately falling for Becky, but Becky leaving with her friends in a cab, seemingly not interested. 

From there the narrative develops and within it Tempest manages to deliver mini-philosophies on life as well as a fair degree of sentiment, ending with an idea that is sweet but never feels sickly in her hands; that love can win through and help save us.

Carey’s electronic and techno computerised production, with snatches of guitar matches well with Tempest’s excellent wordplay, shifting in style and atmosphere depending on the part of the story, giving the whole thing a real sense of being believable. 

Kate has come a long way in the last 10 years. Her previous album with the band Sound of Rum wasn’t particularly well received in all parts, the NME suggesting her lyrics were ‘emblematic of everything bad you heard about poetry slams,’ but with Everybody Down there’s been  little critical negativity.

This is very much a complete album - individual tracks sound weaker when listened to on their own. It’s only when you fit the whole thing together and listen to it from start to finish in one go that you feel its density and everything falls into place. Like all the best stories it’s also one that needs far more than one listen to get everything out of it, probably why we've played it so much since we first heard it. That's why it's no.4 in our list of most played records of 2014.

Kate Tempest - The Beigeness

Thursday 18 December 2014

Albums of the Year 2014 #5 La Roux - Trouble In Paradise

By now pretty much everyone knows the backstory to La Roux’s second album Trouble In Paradise; the five years it’s taken since Elly Jackson’s debut, her anxiety attacks, the false starts, the departure of co-writer and producer Ben Langmaid, the lack of support from BBC Radio 1 and then on its release the relative lack of sales, with the record free-falling in the UK charts.

But put all that aside, when listening to the music, this is an excellent pop record, albeit a pop record that seems out of time and out of touch with the majority of current pop trends. It would have been so easy for La Roux to have developed the 80’s tinny synth sound from the first LP to embrace smoochy R’n’B and had a go at becoming the UK’s version of Banks perhaps, or alternatively to have sidled up alongside the likes of Calvin Harris and produced some formulaic massive high-charting synth-pop bangers that would have guaranteed that the bank manager would have been happy. 

Thankfully La Roux chose a different route. Trouble In Paradise is a step to the left, grasping choppy funk, the later years of disco, Grace Jones, Nile Rogers, Amazulu, tropical pop, Tom Tom Club, Love Is The Drug by Roxy Music and Duran Duran. The instruments are far warmer sounding, Elly’s vocal less shrill, the production beefier and easier on the ears. Most importantly though the songwriting is generally excellent (with the exception of distinctly average closing track The Feeling which sounds like a b-side thrown on to make sure the record is a full album). Lyrically there’s plenty to dive into as well, Trouble In Paradise possesses an open vulnerability to it; Silent Partner seemingly addressing Elly’s relationship with Langmaid, whilst Let Me Down Gently, the track that bridges and connects first album La Roux to second finds Elly singing of wanting to be turned “into someone new, that’s what I really need.” 

Many pop albums don’t stand the test of time. They consist of a few hit singles and an awful lot of filler. Trouble In Paradise isn’t one of those albums – the good and great outweighs the bad by 89%. It’s a pop record to return to again and again and never tire of. 

La Roux - Tropical Chancer