Thursday 31 December 2015

MØ - New Years Eve (Vasco Loves Vera Remix)

That's all folks. Final post of the year. The shortest as well. There's been enough words on Breaking More Waves in 2015. See you on the other side. Let's make it a good one. 

MØ - New Years Eve (Vasco Loves Vera Remix)

Monday 28 December 2015

Why / How Breaking More Waves Blog Is Changing In 2016

2016 is almost around the corner and with it comes some changes at Breaking More Waves…

I’ve decided to make this blog a little more personal. Breaking More Waves has always been just me (Hi, my name’s Robin, in case you didn’t know, pleased to meet you) but since its early stages  I’ve written as if I was denoting not only myself, but others, using the royal ‘we’. 

That is until now.

I’m changing from ‘we’ to ‘I’. 

It might not sound like much, but it reflects a broader change in the future direction of Breaking More Waves. Here’s an explanation:

When I started writing Breaking More Waves I knew very little about music blogs. I didn’t know about Hype Machine, ‘tastemakers’, or that blogging was the new journalism, I just wrote it as a fun thing to do. I never expected many people to read it. It was just a hobby. 

Then over time the blog started getting recognised. I was asked to be a pundit on the BBC Sound of 2010 list, I was asked to participate on various features and shows on radio stations both local and national, my blog started getting quoted in the national press and I got asked to sit on various panels connected with the music industry as some sort of ‘expert’. Now arguably I do have expertise in pop music – I’ve been listening to the stuff for long enough now to build up a fair amount of knowledge. However, I never intended, expected or wanted the blog to be recognised in this way. And sometimes, with the blog being taken ‘seriously’ comes a loss of fun in its creation and a loss of being able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. The hobby almost became a small part-time job; and I already have enough work in my life. I don’t want any more.

So I’m taking Breaking More Waves back to its roots.

In 2016 Breaking More Waves will be more of a personal-public diary centred around music than just a source of discovery and recommendation. I’ll still be writing about new music (it is after all one of my main obsessions) but I’ll also be writing whatever I want, whenever I want. That means looking backwards as much as it means looking forwards. Rather than gaining focus, I’m going to lose it. 

There will be less posts, with more variation in what they cover. If I want to write about why the Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration albums by The Cure mean so much to me nearly 30 years after their respective releases, or why taking my 16 year old daughter to Latitude Festival in 2015 was my favourite weekend of the year and how it made me love her even more than I already did, or how I once followed one of Sweden’s  second finest pop exports The Cardigans all around the country on their UK tour I will. Likewise if I want to write 40 words or 4,000 words on why the new tune from the latest shit hot amazing hype band from Brooklyn is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G I will. There will be no rules, no boundaries. After all, I have no editor to please, no advertisers to keep happy, no one funding what I do, no desire to gain hits, no reason to be the coolest or most respected new music blogger, no rule book stating what a music blogger should or shouldn't do, no need to be bigger or better than anyone else - I’ve always been a blogger with no ambition, I have enough of that in the rest of my life. 

I just want to enjoy the process of creating Breaking More Waves, making sure it’s just a hobby, and this is my way of getting back to that.

Thursday 24 December 2015

How Much We Spent On Recorded Music In 2015

In 2014 we undertook a project to record exactly how much money we spent on live music, including the cost of tickets, travel and other associated costs including merchandise. The end result was pretty staggering – we spent £3,661.17 (you can see the full break down of costs using this link here).

In 2015 we’ve been carrying out a similar project, finding out how much we spent on recorded music.

Now just to be clear, our music consumption probably isn’t typical of a member of the UK public; we just don’t buy 1 album a year (Adele) and nothing else. 

But 2015 has been a year of transformation. Slowly but surely the lure of purchasing all music that we’re interested in in a physical form has begun to dwindle. Not fully, but now the use of streaming services (we mainly use Spotify premium and Soundcloud) has become our filter mechanism. No longer do we pre-order albums or rush to our local record store on the day of release to buy the album. Instead we log on to Spotify, listen for a few days or weeks before deciding if we want to add the record to our physical collection. Also our back catalogue listening has become ever more wide ranging. Streaming enables us to listen to virtually anything from the past. Hell, even The Beatles have given in, enabling a whole new generation of listeners to explore their albums in full.

However, there are 3 main reasons why we do still buy a physical form of the stuff we really like:

1 As a back-up copy, just in case in the future, streaming dies. Unlikely perhaps, but with its future not being 100% certain, we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket quite yet. We still have horrible memories of selling our vinyl to ‘upgrade’ to CD when everyone was saying vinyl was obsolete. It really is true that hindsight is a wonderful thing .

2. Because we still like that old fashioned idea of investing in artists we like and buying their product on the basis that it may help them record something else in the future.

3. That geeky thing of wanting to collect something. Showing someone your Spotify playlist just isn’t as exciting as showing them your rather impressive CD collection.

But 2015 has been the year that we’ve really begun to rely on streaming and stopped buying albums we consider to be average or crap. It’s also the year we’ve (possibly) purchased our last ever download – after all what’s the point of buying something that doesn’t exist physically when you can get it anyway by streaming it? That download was  Petite Meller’s Baby Love (our song of the year) and only because we wanted to help in get in the charts.

So what’s the net effect of this? We’re spending less on recorded music than ever before. Sorry music industry, sorry artists. But we’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones.

Here is the final breakdown, recorded from 1st January 2015 to 23rd December 2015 - in total we spent £617.84 on recorded music, this compares with the £ 3,661.17 we spent in total on going to gigs last year.


Physical format (CD & Vinyl) £468
Streaming Services (Spotify Premium) £119.88
Downloads (Bandcamp) £26
Downloads (iTunes) £3.96

Amazon 39%
Independent record stores 29%
HMV stores 12%
Band’s Own Website 10%
Other Online Retailer 6%
At Gigs 4%

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Our Most Read Posts of 2015 & The Slow Death Of Music Blogging (?)

Here's a quote from 2013 on our post titled Are Music Blogs Dying (One Year On)?

“Maybe if traditional MP3 blogs are slowly dying, it’s going to be a real long slow death?

After all everything ends at some point doesn’t it? Having said that, crystal ball gazing on the internet is near impossible, so we’ll stop now and promise not to revisit this topic again in another 365 days.”

Well here we are at the end of 2015, well over 365 days later, and we’re still here, as are a whole host of other blogs. As we suggested in those past posts, people will always want to write about music and so whilst they do, the D-I-Y music blog, on line fanzine or similar vehicle for writing about music will continue, irrespective of how many people read it. It might modify and change, but it will still be necessary for some to do it and for some to read about it. So maybe part of our title The Slow Death Of Music Blogging isn't quite correct.

However, evidence from the statistics for Breaking More Waves over the last year or so suggests that music blogs are not as popular as they were before. Or rather, this blog isn’t as popular as it once was. More to the point, traditional single track blog posts about new music aren’t as popular as they once were. The reasons for this have already been discussed multiple times online but this article (here) from The DIY Musician sums it up nicely - music discovery just isn't that important for most people these days. 

Take a look at the 5 most popular posts on Breaking More Waves in 2015. The key here is that only 1 of them is a traditional single track blog post (Burn by Lapsley). All the others are opinion / discussion / news pieces . Click on the title to visit the original post.

The 5 Most Read Posts On Breaking More Waves In 2015

8 Things We Leant This Weekend About Running A Music Festival

Equal Opportunities For Female Musicians – Are Bloggers As Bad As Festival Bookers?

The Blog Sound Of 2016 Longlist Revealed

Breaking More Waves Is 7 Today (And Why We’re Slowing For  A While)

Lapsley - Burn

Ava Lily - Merry Christmas Everyone

Helo pawb

Shaky from Wales, here. Just popped through the green door of this ole house to wish a merry Christmas everyone to one and all. Oooh, that reminds me, those tunes are still available on iTunes. Don’t be a miserable tightfisted wanker and stream them – go and buy them, give me your heart tonight and if you love me truly,  I’ll be satisfied. This is my letter to you, because I love you and you know that in your heart of hearts, it’s true love, and not just a feeble and desperate attempt by me to drop in as many of the titles and lyrics of my hit singles into a paragraph as possible. I’d never be that crass would I?

Oh sod it then. Here’s the link you need.

And whilst we’re talking, here’s a version of one of my tunes by the rather excellent Ava Lily. She's from Bristol, which is nearly Wales isn't it? So she's OK in my book.

Ava Lily - Merry Christmas Everyone

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Femme - Santa (Be Good To Me)

Howdy! Mariah here! Happy holidays everyone!

You know, there’s nothing I love better than Christmas. I love it all; the decorations, the presents, the good food, the steaming mulled wine, but most of all I love the music. Yes that’s right, because every Christmas it gives me the chance to listen to all those classic Christmas pop songs; and the one I love the most? Why of course, my very own All I Want For Christmas Is You!

Such a beautiful song, such a wonderful sentiment and another opportunity for me to dress up in a red party dress and dance around the Christmas tree with drunk old Santa. Hopefully there’ll be some mistletoe somewhere and we’ll get the chance for a cheeky kiss as well. He always tries to slip his tongue in - such a naughty old man, but you know, sometimes I let him, because I love him so much. Him and his big old beard. Oooh I could snuggle up to it all day and wrap it round me like a warm woollen scarf. So whilst I cuddle up with Santa, and we make even sweeter music together, why don’t you make sure you’ve purchased a copy of my record and then we can all share the Christmas love. Here it is below….


What do you mean ‘this is a new music blog and we can’t have All I Want For Christmas Is You being touted around again?’


Who the f*ck is this Femme lass?

Don’t call me a f*cking diva you asshole.

I only agreed to do this so that I could call myself the queen of blogs as well as the queen of Christmas.

F*ck you Breaking More Waves.

F*ck you Femme.

Where’s my manager? I want words…

Christmas can f*ck right off. It really f*cking can. 

Femme - Santa (Be Good To Me) (Video)

Monday 21 December 2015

Marsheaux - We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night

Bah humbug!

Christmas? Christmas? What sort of cursed celebration is that? Bah! All of this making merry and frivolity? I’ll be having none of that. What right do you have to be merry? What right do I have to be merry? Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!

What’s that I hear you say? A party? A party? Bah humbug. No one should have a party, especially not at this bleak time.

What’s that? A party with Bernard Sumner from New Order? And a song that has lyrics constructed from titles of his band's songs and albums? Taken from an album called Ghosts Of Christmas Past (Remake)? Ridiculous. Leave me alone. Let me keep Christmas in my own way. Be off with you. Bah humbug.

Marsheaux - We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night

Sunday 20 December 2015

Gabrielle Aplin (With Rachel Sermanni and Lucy Rose) - River

Ho Ho Ho!

Hello kidz. Howz it goin’? Santa ‘ere, takin’ over this blog-shite for a few days with me mates whilst the normal author is off being a right old fairy and sitting on top of the Christmas tree or somefink.

I’ve been enjoying the odd glass of sherry or 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 9 whilst ‘avin a look at this yearz naughty and nice Christmas list, to see who I’ve got to give wot to. And believe me I do like to give the naughties a bit of wot they deserve. Ho Ho Ho. Last year I remember one particular lassy who had been very very bad all year, so I slipped somethin’ inside ‘er stocking really appropriate. And then there was another bad lad who I gave a sackful of my Christmas joy to. He won’t forget that Christmas in a hurry. Mrs Claus wasn’t very happy with me, but I’ve got an important job to do, coming down all those chimneys and spreading the Christmas love and thatz how I like to spread it. 

Anyways, I’m not ‘ere to tell youz about howz I get sizzled on Christmas Eve and then spread the magic with the elves. No, I’m ‘ere to give you some good old Christmas tunez. Because there’s nothing better than some banging yuletide bangerz.

Except f*ck me backwards with Rudoplph’s red nose, what the f*ck is this? It sounds like someone got a copy of The Staves album and thought they’d have a go being Joni bloody Mitchell. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. But I’ve been left a note here that says something about the bloke who normally writes this drivel being a fan of Aplin, Rose and Sermanni and so I’ve got to embed it on this blog.

Well screw that, there’s only one sort of embedding I like to do and that’s getting Mrs Claus in the old bed for a spot of riding my sleigh and ringing my bell, but seems like I’m gonna have to do what Mr Breaking More Waves says for now, mainly ‘coz I’m too out of ma f*cking skull to find any other Christmas tunes. Mental. W*nker.

Happy Christmas kidz. Make sure you all get out on the lash, start a few fights and puke up in your hallways on Christmas Eve after a big old greasy kebab. Thatz the way to make Christmas special.

Gabrielle Aplin (With Rachel Sermanni and Lucy Rose) - River

Friday 18 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #1 Oh Wonder - Oh Wonder

Breaking More Waves’ favourite record of 2015 is the debut record by Oh Wonder.

If you scan the end of year lists there are certain records you’ll probably see the critics picking time and time again; Sufjan Stevens, Julia Holter, Jamie XX. But you probably won't see Oh Wonder that often, if at all. The only time we've seen their name so far is on big American blog Hillydilly at number 9.

Does that mean it isn’t ‘good’? Does that mean that our taste is ‘poor’?

Well that’s for you to decide. Taste is about judgement and each person makes judgements about another’s taste based on their own preferences, often informed by their own personal culture.

But we haven’t selected Oh Wonder as our favourite record of the year just because we think it’s good (although of course we firmly believe it’s a truly wonderful collection of songs). We’ve chosen it because, it’s by far and away our most played record of the year. The important thing here is to understand the reasons why it’s our most played.

Here’s the answer:

2015 has been a pretty tough time in places for us, particularly from around late September when this record came out. There have been some incredibly good times as well, but parts of it have been a real slog, emotionally, physically and mentally. We haven’t told many of our friends or family this, instead battling on, trying to carry out the multiple roles we have (partner, father, boss, friend) as best we can. It’s what people expect. It’s come as a bit of a shock to some when we’ve told them that not everything is right in our world. We’ve always been pretty good at being emotionally sturdy and dependable.

Oh Wonder’s record has carried us through that time. It’s a record with a sense of hope and beauty and romance and love and tenderness that we’ve needed as a crutch when everything hasn’t seemed so good. There’s something about the words that Josephine and Anthony sing on this album that have resonated with us more than anything else we’ve heard this year. “I know you’re sad and tired, you’ve got nothing left to give, but you’ll find another life to live, I know you’ll get over it,” might not be the greatest poetry you’ve ever heard, but those words, from the song Landslide have lifted our heavy heart many times in the last few months. We’ve referred to their tune Heart Hope as being ‘a wonderfully positive hug of a song’ on the blog before, and that’s exactly what it is.

It’s the one reason that, for us, Oh Wonder stands out head and shoulders over any other album of 2015. It’s also the reason why, we believe, many other people around the world, probably the sort of people who don’t write music blogs and end of year lists, love this record. This is of course ironic, when you consider that Oh Wonder first found their music getting exposure through websites and blogs. 

Oh Wonder’s album is one that as human beings, who all experience the ups, the downs, the trials, the tribulation and the weird emotions of life, we can all relate to. It’s a very compassionate record – a record that stands for living a better life rather than the narcissistic iGeneration attitude that modern pop seems to foster these days. There’s not many bands, who on their debut, can write a song about the thought of needing immunity from disease, sadness, hopelessness or fear, using the idea of white blood cells as a metaphor for love and support after meeting a fan who had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous brain tumour.

Oh and seeing as we’ve got this far, we’d better mention the music as well. It’s lovely. Of course, it’s not for everyone (what record is – even Adele has her critics), but if like us you’re a fan of boy-girl synchronised singing over tastefully classic mid-tempo songwriting formed from piano and soft electronics, then you’ll probably find an awful lot to love from Oh Wonder.

We fully realise that Oh Wonder’s album will never be considered a ‘classic’ by the rock journalist type. The reviews it received from critics were on the whole very average. But nothing, absolutely nothing, can take away how we feel about this record and the journey we’ve been on with it in 2015.

That’s why Oh Wonder is our album of 2015.

Oh Wonder - Livewire (Video)

Oh Wonder - Without You (Video)

Albums of 2015 #2 The Staves - If I Was

If there’s one theme running through Breaking More Waves’ albums of 2015 list it’s that many of these artists have already featured either on past album of the year lists or Ones to Watch lists. With their second album Watford’s finest singing sister trio The Staves deliver on the prediction we made back in 2011 when we named them as One to Watch for 2012. “If that album sounds anything like the beautiful Mexico ….. it wouldn’t be a surprise if it finds itself on quite a few end of year lists come next December.” 

OK, that prediction may have been made of their first record Dead & Born & Grown which ultimately was decent but not outstanding, but it actually comes good on their second. 

For If I Was is an immaculate collection of songs that finds the band growing broader and bolder with their sound. Whilst the delicate wispy harmonies are ever present (and ever more beautiful) and the music is sometimes as gentle as a patient lovers touch, this record is also full of ambitious sonic dynamics. Yes, in places The Staves even ROCK! 

The arrangements of every tune on this album are absolutely perfect, irrespective of if they contain crashing drums, horns, strings or just simple plucked guitars. Much has been made of Bon Iver’s involvement in this record and it seems that he has pushed The Staves beyond what we could have ever imagined they could do when we first came across them in 2011. It’s one of those rare long players where we don’t have a favourite song, because every single one is almost too perfect.

Back in January we published a post called Albums of 2015 – Our End of Year List. On it we listed newly released albums that we’d listened to that month and questioned if any of them would make it through to the end of the year as favourites. At the time, Charli XCX’s record Sucker was our most played. The Staves was our third. By the end of the year it’s just those two that made the final cut. If I Was finishes way above Charli, in second place overall, indicating just how many times we’ve played this wonderful body of work in 2015. 

The Staves - Black & White (Video)

Thursday 17 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #3 Public Service Broadcasting - The Race For Space

Here are the 5 essential things you need to know about Public Service Broadcasting’s Race For Space album, our third favourite record of 2015.

1. It’s a concept album and the concept is the US-Soviet space race of the late 50’s to early 70’s.

2. Thematically there are links to the ideas presented on the bands tune Everest – that of human endeavour and man’s desire to attain that which has been unattainable.

3. If you haven’t yet heard what Public Broadcasting do, this is a fine introduction. The band mix archive vocal samples, this time taken from the astronauts themselves in space as well as the control desk on earth, together with music. It’s a very visual album. There are no traditional songs as such, the closest you get to that is some ethereal atmospheric warbling from The Smoke Fairies as guest vocalists on one track, but it bears a closer relationship to film soundtracks.

4. The music fits the ambience of space perfectly – from the suspenseful The Other Side  where Apollo 8 orbits the moon and loses radio contact through to the controlled hyperactivity of the control room on Go!

5. It’s bloody marvellous, weirdly emotional and as far as 2015 releases go, unique.

Public Service Broadcasting - Go!

Albums of 2015 #4 East India Youth - Culture Of Volume

East India Youth’s second album, Culture of Volume, starts with one of the most incredible pieces of electronic music we’ve heard this year; The Juddering. It falls somewhere between the sound of a helicopter landing and a computerised version of the longest, most intense, orgasm you’ve ever had. Bursts of static whir around your ears as William Doyle piles on layers of skittering distorted sound and if you’re pummelling the track loudly enough through a set of headphones you’ll almost certainly shit yourself in a glorious ‘WTF’ moment. It sounds as if Doyle has come to destroy music forever. He hasn’t, far from it, but it’s a powerful opening that makes you wonder how intense this record is going to be. 

The answer isn’t what you think. From that point Culture of Volume heads off into a world of giddying pop music, informed by the Pet Shop Boys, Vangelis, OMD, Pink Floyd and techno (the speed laden loops of Hearts That Never remind us a lot of Underworld as does the insanely full on aggression of Entirety). This is a record that seems weirdly out of place with pretty much everything around it right now; it’s probably all the better for it. Yet at its heart (after The Juddering, which is brilliantly misleading to a certain extent) once you’ve stripped away the savage electronic pulses, distorted beats, melancholy washes of synths and computerisations, what you’re left with is Doyle’s top-notch songwriting. It’s that that underpins everything. Another victory for leftfield pop music.

East India Youth - Beaming White

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #5 Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

Yet another artist who has previously topped a past Breaking More Waves album of the year list returned in 2015 with a new record that once again sees her sitting pretty in our top 10. Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die was our favourite release of 2012, but 2014’s follow up Ultraviolence found us a tad underwhelmed. Honeymoon however hits all the right spots. If anything it’s less commercial than her preceding work, but it also feels that this is where Lana is most at home. She’s created her most cohesive body of music to date, full of gauzy, highly sophisticated 60’s-styled ballads, mainly soundtracked by languid orchestral strings and horns. Don’t expect any bangers on this one; the songs on Honeymoon make Video Games seem like a happy-clappy-dancefloor-anthem. This is a record that if played live would best suit a residency in a theatre or a showcase at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In concept (rather than its sonics) it’s very similar to the Grimes record Art Angels, insofar as it’s still very much a pop record, but it’s far removed from the standard knock ‘em out by numbers mainstream electronic club anthems that the vast majority of our modern pop stars are churning out.

When Lana Del Rey first arrived on the scene the internet got caught up in the ridiculous argument of authenticity, somehow spending as much time discussing Lana’s lips, as the music. Thankfully time has moved on and now people are beginning to understand what Lana Del Rey is and what Lana Del Rey does. Some of that is to provide characterisation through her lyrics, which sometimes hint at being the real Lizzy Grant, and at other times don’t. “We both know it’s not fashionable to love me,” she sings on the album’s opening lyric, is that Lana singing or Lizzy? Frankly we don’t care who it is and if it’s fashionable or not. This is a wonderfully focussed record for which the word ‘timeless’ was invented. Let it smoulder its way into your life.

Lana Del Rey - High By The Beach (Video)

Albums of 2015 #6 Grimes - Art Angels

Another album by another act that has featured on previous Breaking More Waves’ Album Of The Year lists, showing that in 2015 some of our favourite artists didn’t let us down. Art Angels is a self sufficient record that finds her steering away from the much rumoured mainstream top 10 pop album to something more innovative, more out there, and as a result, a far more exciting listening experience. Art Angels isn’t just a repeat of her last release which was very synthetic and electronic in sound. This time it’s a manic multi-instrumental piece that takes influences from absolutely all over the place. There’s J-Pop, indie, banging techno, cheerleader chanting, screaming and that's just the start of it. At times she crams in so many ideas into one song that it feels almost overwhelming. But if you stick with it, a few listens in you realise that it’s one of those enticing pop records that you need to keep going back to. It’s pop but not as we know it and that’s what makes it such a thrilling listen.

Grimes - Flesh Without Blood / Life In The Vivid Dream

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #7 The Unthanks - Mount The Air

The seventh record on our Albums of 2015 list is Mount The Air by The Unthanks. They’re another act (like Chvrches and Charli XCX - already featured on this list) who have had other long-players on past Breaking More Waves Albums of the Year lists, and like Chvrches have also topped it with the breathtaking Last in 2011.

Mount The Air is another remarkable body of work – and the emphasis is on the words body of work. For this is a weighty collection of songs, clocking in at over an hour, that finds the band expanding their repertoire way beyond their original folk roots to encompass jazz and orchestral sounds; it is dare we say it a progressive album. 

Brought together in The Unthanks’ own studio this record contains the band’s most ambitious and uncompromising song ever - the title track - which is an extraordinary thing of power and beauty that takes an arrow from the bow of the band Elbow and fires it high and soaring way beyond anything else they’ve done. It’s worth buying the record for that track itself. It’s not all grand and sweeping though, elsewhere there’s ghostly piano balladry (which sometimes harks back to a sound found on their third record, the Mercury nominated The Bairns, recorded as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset) vocal eerie minimalism (on the spectral Magpie), waltzes (The Poor Stranger) and tasteful twilight cinematic folk ambience on songs such as Last Lullaby.

Mount The Air adds to The Unthanks ever growing ever impressive back catalogue and suggests that with their next recording they really could go anywhere.

The Unthanks - Mount The Air (Short Single Version)

Albums of 2015 #8 Chvrches - Every Open Eye

Two years ago Chvrches topped our albums of the year list with their debut record, The Bones of What You Believe. In 2015 their second album might not feature quite so highly in our list, but it was nonetheless a sterling effort, confirming their reputation as the UK’s finest synth pop band. If Every Open Eye played safe, then it at least it consolidated and expanded their fan base, something which (arguably) comparable electronic acts such as Hurts and Little Boots failed to do (although here at Breaking More Waves we very much liked the second Little Boots album).

Yet whilst the template was more of the same, this record held its own by featuring a crop of songs that had punch and remained easily accessible, with just enough experimentation and oddness to ensure that their version of pop music didn’t become the homogenic paint by numbers blandness that litters up the majority of the charts. The songs on Every Open Eye still have something a little deeper to them, a little soul and bite, something that sadly another blog favourite, Ellie Goulding’s latest record lacked.

If the criticism of this album is that it doesn’t go far enough away from the first record, let’s remember this is only LP number two. Sure, if the band don’t slowly evolve and develop on future work there’s a likelihood we’ll all get bored, but frankly right here right now, when you’ve got songs as deliciously foot stomping and air punching as Clearest Blue or the delicious soft focus high energy disco pop of Empty Threat and banger after banger after banger, (when comedown track Afterglow arrives it feels really needed – a moment for rest and reflection ) you’d be churlish to complain.

“We will take the best parts of ourselves and make them gold,” Lauren Mayberry sings on fourth song Make Them Gold, and that is exactly what they have achieved on Every Open Eye

Chvrches - Empty Threat (Video)

Monday 14 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #9 Algiers - Algiers

The album at number 9 on the Breaking More Waves end of year LP list is probably one of two that may come as a surprise to our regular readers (or our followers on Twitter) as until now we haven’t mentioned soulful gospel post punk post-apocalyptic three piece Algiers at all except for one early morning tweet. Now is the time to change that though, for this debut is a record of some staggering intent. In a year when we struggled to be truly inspired by many rock records, this one manages it. If the rest of our top 10 albums seem relatively light listening to your ears (and we make no apology for that - this is our list, not yours), this one is the intense antidote.

Algiers isn’t always an easy listen. Despite the gospel reference it isn’t a record of uplifting praises to the heavens. In fact much of Algiers sounds black and oppressive, the sound of history struggling against itself. It’s not a record that you’ll be able to easily consume; for there are so many flavours to devour. From Franklin James Fisher’s bluesy political holler to the near gothic soundtrack that floods much of its layers to the electro beats on Irony. Utility. Pretext that sound as if they’ve been sampled off an old Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five track or maybe even the Pet Shop Boys.

Algiers sound like churches, whisky, blood and fear mixed into a cocktail of nightmares. If that sounds like a load of pretentious bollocks, take just one listen to this album and then you’ll understand exactly what we mean. Imagine Nick Cave, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, TV On The Radio and MC5 slamming their fists and instruments into the ground over and over again and you might be getting somewhere near this powerful piece of work. 

Algiers - Blood

Albums of 2015 #10 Charli XCX - Sucker

We start our top 10 run down with a record that in some parts of the world was released in 2014, but with an odd non-internet savvy strategy, Charli XCX’s label decided that here in the UK we had to wait until 2015 to hear the follow up to True Romance.

Charli’s previous album, our 6th favourite of 2013, had under-performed commercially, not getting anywhere near the UK top 40. The new LP did better, hitting number 15 thanks to Miss Aitchison finally getting some hit singles in the form of Boom Clap (no.6), Break The Rules (no.35) and Doing It (no.8), all of which featured on the record. 

But whilst True Romance was a blog friendly album of savvy electronic pop songs, Sucker took a different direction. It maintained the trashiness of its predecessor, but was in places bigger, bolder, brasher and more aggressive. There were some guitars, some swearing, lots of hooks and plenty of attitude, including songs about masturbation (Body Of My Own), getting wrecked (Break The Rules) and going out late and crashing a party (Famous). With Sucker Charli XCX put her name alongside a lineage of 90’s bands like Shampoo and Kenickie; female vocal pop bands with a bubblegum punk sensibility about them, but it also hinted in places at Britney Spears or the Spice Girls (who we first mentioned in connection with Charli when we first posted about her way back in 2009 here) with a slightly scissor sharpened edge. 

Sucker probably isn’t an album that will find its way on to anyone’s album of the decade list in 2019, it understands well enough that pop songs can sometimes be brilliant but ultimately throwaway, but certainly it’s formed a big part of our soundtrack to 2015. Which is why it finds itself at #10 on our end of year list.

Charli XCX - London Queen

Charli XCX - Break The Rules (Video)

Sunday 13 December 2015

Albums of 2015

Welcome to the bit of the blog that always happens in December where we write about our favourite albums of the year.

For the last few years we’ve listed 15 records that we’ve enjoyed from the previous 12 months but this year we’re cutting it down to 10. Why? Because the longer the list, the less it says about the records at the bottom. Would you really be interested in hearing someone’s 49th favourite record or their 87th of the year? We wouldn’t. What does it say about a record at number 50 in a top 50 list if the listener has only heard 60 newly released albums that year? Not a lot. We’ve listened to just over 80 albums released this year, so 10 from that amount seems reasonable to us. 

Of course some people object to putting albums in a numerical order, as they feel uncomfortable with the idea of turning music into some sort of competitive sport. We have no problem in doing this because every year there are certain records that we prefer over other ones and so a numerical order is a simple way to express that. Doing the 'here's a bunch of albums we enjoyed but we're not going to rank them' is a bit limp really isn't it? (Just don't ask us to name our favourite album of all time, because then we become a bit pathetic and mutter something about being impossible to choose / too much good music in a lifetime etc)

Our difficulty has always been defining what constitutes and defines a favourite. Is it just a gut instinct? If it is, then don’t gut instincts change over time? So an album of the year list based purely on instinct is only relevant on the day it was written. Or is a favourite record one you play a lot over the course of a defined time, possibly more than any other? Last year we calculated our ‘favourite’ by tallying the number of times we played the album and then adjusted the play count for the number of months since we first heard it. We played Dead by Young Fathers, Evergreen by Broods and the debut album by Honeyblood way more than any other record released in 2014 and so they topped our list. 

This year we’ve calculated our favourite again (if we’re going to make a numbered list, then let’s use numbers to calculate the list as well) based on number of plays, but then we’ve also adjusted the output figures by a gut instinct / emotional connection factor as well. It actually didn’t change the position of the top 3 records, but further down the list, some that have been played less often than others found themselves higher up the list, because sometimes these records only suit a particular time, place, mood or atmosphere and hence get played less even although they’re brilliant.

So tomorrow we start posting our 10 favourite records of 2015, two a day at 8.30am and 13.00pm GMT for the next 5 days. Of the records on our list, only 2 are debuts, 7 are UK based acts, 6 of the acts have featured on our previous albums of the year lists and 4 were on previous Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch lists.

Here’s a recap of our previous number 1s.

2014 - Young Fathers - Dead

2013 - Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe

2012 - Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

2011 - The Unthanks - Last

2010 - The National - High Violet

2009 - Blue Roses - Blue Roses

2008 - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Our 5 Favourite Songs Of 2015

Of course we know there’s still 22 days of 2015 left, which theoretically means that our favourite song of the year could yet to be released, but experience tells us that’s pretty damn unlikely (although Låpsley came close in December 2013 with Station). So without further ado, here are the 5 songs that have made us laugh the most, cry the most and most importantly, dance the most. There's been a lot of dancing.

Song Of The Year - Petite Meller – Baby Love 

What we said in January 2015:

“One of the brightest things about pop music is its occasional ability to dazzle by throwing in the unexpected and for it all to make sense and be utterly brilliant. Such is the new video and song from French singer Petite Meller, who up to now has been skirting around the edges but never hitting the bullseye. That all changes with new tune Baby Love which throws in giraffes, big hats, flamingo impressions, dancing and saxophone playing children and music that hits the ‘it’s good to be alive’ button with some force.

If you watch this and don’t feel deliriously happy afterwards then something is seriously wrong. We're handing the award for best pop video January 2015 to Petite Meller right now”

The Runners Up

Oh Wonder – Landslide

What we said in July 2015:

“We’re sorry, but all of you geology boffins are going to be a little disappointed, because the song isn’t anything about an earth movement that leads to the triggering of a ground failure in a downwards direction. Instead, it’s a soothing and infinitely pretty tune of comfort and friendship, effectively saying ‘keep your chin up,’ but in a rather more sensitive way than that.”

Mura Masa ft Nao – Firefly 

What we said in November 2015:

"Take one listen to Firefly (one of the underground pop songs of 2015) and you’ll understand. He makes crisp, glitchy, electronic dance music that has one eye on the dancefloor, one eye on the headphones and one eye on the pop arena. Oh, that’s three eyes, but that’s the point. Mura Masa does things just that little bit differently."

Oh Wonder – White Blood

What we said in June 2015:

"We live in an internet enabled world that seems to become ever more callous, ever more judgemental, ever more unhopeful. Listen to this song. Go and hug someone. Tell them that you love them. For without hope and love we’re lost. This tune will make you feel that love."

Public Service Broadcasting – The Other Side

What we said in August 2015:

"The Other Side just oozes atmosphere, with the mounting tension in Mission Control becoming the central force of the piece. Despite the professional and controlled delivery from the announcer, you can hear the joy in his voice as Apollo 8 re-establishes contact and the music perfectly matches that happiness as it gushes forward in celebratory style. Absolutely brilliant and surprisingly emotional."

Saturday 5 December 2015

Marie Naffah - Caribou / Honne / Florence & The Machine Mash Up

At first the name Marie Naffah didn’t ring any bells at Breaking More Waves, until we were pointed in the direction of a festival review we wrote way back in 2011, which demonstrates that this blog is as much of a musical diary to remind us, when the memory fails, of the past, as it is a projection of the here and now.

At the time we wrote “Marie Naffah charmed as the perfect bohemian festival singer-songwriter with a flower garland in her flowing hair, summer dress, acoustic guitar and soulful-folk songs about real life.” Now in 2015 here she is again and once more she’s charmed us, but with something a little different – a mash up of Caribou, Honne and Florence & The Machine. The first thing that strikes us is Marie’s voice. We’ll stick with that soulfulness we described before, but would like to add that it has a solid stirring depth to it; one of those vocals that could probably take on any genre and sound powerful with it. There's a hint of Florence there as well, although maybe that's just because part of it is a Flo tune?  Then there’s the mash up itself – not your typical electronic producer mash up with glitchy samples and warped beats, but instead just Marie’s voice and a guitar, making three songs sit naturally together as one. Consider us impressed.

It seems that whilst she’s been off the Breaking More Waves radar Marie has been grabbing a few other people’s attention, having won MTV Brand New Unsigned and joined the likes of Sam Smith and Ella Eyre on MTV’s 2014 Brand New shortlist. She’s also written and recorded a song called Blindfolded which she wrote in response to a conversation with her grandmother about her grandmother losing her site, and then recorded it with six blind and visually-impaired musicians, some of whom had never played in a group before. But for now enjoy her take on Caribou, Honne and Florence. You can download the track for free from Soundcloud below.

Marie Naffah - Caribou / Honne / Florence & The Machine Mash Up

Still Corners - Horses At Night

If pop music at its best is about expressing universal themes that we can all relate to, then heart break and heart ache are probably two of the most common. Still Corners new song, which sounds like a long lost tune from the Drive movie soundtrack, asks repeatedly to ‘stop breaking my heart,’ so expect some music lovers and romantics around the world to sigh and nod appreciatively. Pop that sounds sad and eerily beautiful at the same time is always going to find a place in our affections and Horses at Night, with its dark menacing electronics, breathy vocals and stadium sized guitar riff does exactly that.

Still Corners - Horses At Night

Thursday 3 December 2015

The Blog Sound of 2016 - Longlist Revealed


Back in 2011 3 UK based music bloggers, Andy Von Pip from The VPME, Simon from Sweeping The Nation and Robin from Breaking More Waves (hi that’s us) decided to create the UK Blog Sound of 2012, an alternative poll to the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list. The basic concept of the poll was simple; an experiment to see if UK bloggers were asked to pick their favourite emerging bands which ones would be the most popular amongst those asked.

That first year 33 bloggers cast their votes and amongst the 15 most voted for acts that formed the longlist were Bastille, Alt-J, Lucy Rose, Daughter (all of whom didn't feature on the BBC list) and poll winners Friends (who did). Since that time the poll has changed very little, except a slight tweak to the voting system. Each voting blog now chooses just 3 acts in order of preference, with the top act scoring 3, then 2, then 1 with any acts that tie the number of first place votes being compared – this is the same way that the BBC poll works. Also more blogs are now involved this year 58 participated, including 11 of the original blogs from the 2012 list. Also this year no artist that had already scored a top 20 hit (album or single) in the UK before the sixth November could be considered for a nomination.

This year’s poll follows the BBC list, which was announced on Monday, (you can see that using this link here) and there is some crossover. 5 of the acts on the Blog Sound longlist are the same as the BBC longlist. However there are also 10 different acts.

And so without further ado, here is the Blog Sound of 2016 together with a playlist containing 1 song from each act:


AQUILO - Calm sounding electronic male vocal pop duo from Silverdale, Lancashire.

AURORA - Norwegian singer who covered  Oasis for the John Lewis Christmas advert.

BILLIE MARTEN - Yorkshire based acoustic singer songwriter.

GEORGE COSBY - London based singer songwriter with a deep voice and brooding songs.

HAELOS - A band who describe their music as dark euphoria.

LISS - Four piece from Aarhus, Denmark who make slick sounding pop.

LOYLE CARNER - A spoken word artist with his own unique confessional style.

MABEL - The daughter of Neneh Cherry who is producing her own brand of soulful pop.

MURA MASA - An electronic producer and multi-instrumetalist originalLy from Guernsey.

MT WOLF - A reformed band who also featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 longlist.

NAO - Solo singer who mixes funk, soul and electronic sounds in her work.

PLEASURE BEACH - Indie rockers from Northern Ireland.

THE BIG MOON - London based four piece alt rock / indie band.

THE JAPANESE HOUSE - Amber Bain's solo project of electronic ambient songs.

YAK - Energetic rock group with elements of punk, garage indie and psychedelic blues.

The most voted for and top 5 acts on this longlist will be revealed on the 5th January 2016 


A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Buzz Unlimited, Cruel Rhythm, Chord Blossom, Daisy Digital, Dive, Details Of My Life, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Digital Shuffle, Echoes And Dust, Electronic Rumors, Encore Northern Island, Even The Stars, Faded Glamour, Get Into This, Get Some, God Is In The TV, I Love Pie, Just Music I Like, Kemptation, Killing Moon, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music: Love Life, Metaphorical Boat, Monkey Boxing, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, Music Umpire, Neon Filler, Not Many Experts, Popped Music, Pursuit Of Sound, Rave Child, Record Rewind Play, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, Synth Glasgow, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The VPME, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Too Many Blogs, What If I Had A Music Blog, When The Gramophone Rings



1. This year 142 acts received at least 1 vote from the 174 total votes cast, showing that the UK music blog scene has a wide range of taste. The voting was the closest and broadest ever – the winning act only received votes from 8.5% of the 58 voters.

2.The vast majority of the acts voted for are UK based, more specifically English. There are no Scottish or Welsh acts on the list, which there have been in past years – unfortunately the only blogs that we had direct refusals to vote from were Scottish based blogs and as many blogs tend to vote for acts within their region, this left the Scottish vote somewhat lacking this year. There are also no American artists, yet 3 of the past winners have been from the U.S.

3. In the past the Blog Sound list has been criticised (by ourselves as much as anyone) for being very ‘white indie’. This year there is a little more diversity. The poll will probably never be as well balanced as the BBC list – you have to bear in mind it is run by one person in the few spare hours he has and trying to create a fully balanced demographic of voters is nigh on impossible given the limited time resource.  

4. Some of you may have noticed the name Jack Garratt cropping up on an awful lot of all of the tips lists being published at the moment. He’s already won the BBC Introducing Award, the Brits Critics Choice award and is nominated for the BBC Sound of poll. He didn’t receive one vote on the Blog Sound poll, although almost made it on to the longlist last year. We guess this is because Jack is no longer considered emerging or new by bloggers, having first received acclaim for his songs on blogs as far back as early 2014.

5. For the first time ever all of Breaking More Waves choices made the long list. Can you guess who they are? If you take a look at our Ones to Watch tips (here) we picked 3 of those acts to vote for on this poll.

6. One of the selected acts (Aurora) has had a top 20 hit in the UK, but this was after the sixth of November, the cut of date stated in the rules.

7. This is Mt Wolf's second time on the Blog Sound list. They appeared on the 2014 list then immediately split up a day or so after. Their original split statement was published in the NME. In the statement they mentioned their Blog Sound nomination and this was the one line that the NME edited out. We think this says a lot about the NME's relationship with blogs, which is a shame, because the publication has failed to see that collaboration is the way to improvement, not ignoring what you perceive as competition. 

8. Of the 15 acts nominated for the Blog Sound of 2015 poll, only 1 of them (Soak) has released an LP in 2015, albeit a Mercury Prize nominated one. Let's hope more of the 2016 crop do so.

9. This is the 5th Blog Sound list. We're proud to be part of it and proud that it seems to create a sense of community and excitement amongst the bloggers involved - as we said in item 8 above, we believe collaboration is one of the best things you can do, and this poll gives music blogs a voice in the near deafening roar of end of year tip lists.

10. The previous winners of the Blog Sound poll are: Friends (2012) Haim (2013) Banks & Marika Hackman (Joint winners 2014), Lapsley (2015). No male act has ever won the Blog Sound poll.