Friday 27 February 2015

Purity Ring - bodyache

The biggest difference to Another Eternity, the second Purity Ring record, from the first is that this time round Megan and Corin worked in the same room rather than by correspondence. Sonically however, little seems to have changed – there’s no ditching of electronics for guitars for example. Dropping  their trademark sound would have seemed odd at this stage in the band’s career though, a bit like splitting up with a perfectly great boyfriend or girlfriend just because you fancied a change.

And new song bodyache (yes, no capital letter) is the musical equivalent of that very good boyfriend or girlfriend – managing to combine the bands alt.pop alien cute oddness with a sound that nearly approaches the area of widescreen radio pop banger. Stream that below and listen to an advance stream of the album via NPR here.

Purity Ring - bodyache (Video)

Thursday 26 February 2015

Blooms - Fall

According to Last Fm there are two acts called Blooms. One of them is a nu-metal band from Russia. The other is Louise Cunnane, a London based singer who performs unhurried sounding electronic pop songs that suggest what we imagine getting lost in Bensons for Beds or Dreams would sound like. 

Streaming below is a new track from one of those two acts. See if you can guess which one.

Clue: Fall (yes, in a timely manner following on from a track we posted yesterday called Madonna) is the sound of the small hours slowly sliding out from behind a smoky haze as the singer questions the nature of a relationship and if it’s time to leave. It’s a slow burner that (to continue that furniture store analogy) would definitely be a deep leather sofa that you could sink right back into if you were rummaging around in DFS or IKEA. Bigger clue – there are no heavy guitar riffs, there’s no shouting and nobody is singing “Давайте рок Россия.” 

This one's sophisticated, highly listenable and worth your time.

Blooms - Fall

Clare Maguire - Don't Mess Me Around (Video)

Amongst a sea of glittery dresses Clare Maguire pounces out with a new video for Don’t Mess Me Around, a raw soul r’n’b (and we mean r’n’b in the older sense of the 50’s and 60’s definition) belter that’s driven forward by the rhythmic backing vocals, bass, drums and of course the thing that grabbed us in the first place way back in 2009 when we first featured her on the blog - Clare’s remarkable voice. 

As far as we can tell Clare’s been through a bit of a topsy turvy time, but this song, with its back-in-command bluesy holler, finds her on full form. It reminds us of her earlier songs that came before her Light After Dark LP material. Don’t Mess Me Around would work particularly well in a low-slung ceiling small sweaty club with some serious audience arse shaking going on – let’s hope that Clare ventures out to the nation and gets punters doing just that soon.

Clare Maguire - Don't Mess Me Around (Video)

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Black Honey - Madonna

You know how at school there was always a bunch of kids hanging round in the corner who were far cooler, far more knowing, wore all the best clothes, had the best haircuts and always won any playground fights? Black Honey’s new song Madonna is a bit like that. Ferocious twangs, filthy dirty snarling riffs and underneath it all a big smoking killer chorus show that this is a band not to be messed with and who know exactly what they’re doing. Having now seen them live three times (albeit two of those times was under their previous moniker) we can confirm that they are a rather thrilling experience in the flesh as well.

Black Honey is taking a rather novel idea to retailing their next single, which will include this song and another (Spinning Wheel) on CD. The first five copies will be available via bidding on eBay meaning that a lucky few punters outside of the UK will be able to get their mits on them. Let the bidding war commence. For those who like us here at Breaking More Waves are based in the UK you can pre-order the CD via text on 07578533359. We’re not quite sure how that is going to work, but we’ll be giving it a go ourselves. 

Black Honey - Madonna

Public Service Broadcasting - Go! (Video)

Public Service Broadcasting have wasted no time in delivering their second (not sophomore damn you – we’re British) album, The Race For Space. It's a record that finds the band developing their found sound concept to the Moon and beyond. It’s an absorbing listen, perfectly capturing the spirit of human endeavour and adventure above the clouds. Our two favourite tracks from the record are the gently euphoric The Other Side, which soundtracks Apollo 8 orbiting the Moon, losing contact on the far side and the silent painful wait for it to reappear, and Go an upbeat tune that already has us doing the moonwalk (either Neil Armstrong or Michael Jackson style).

Now there’s a video for Go, which you’ll find below. The track features archive sound from the control desk and flight of Apollo 11, the first spaceflight that landed humans on the Moon. We dare you not to want to jig around a little and punch the air as the voices exclaim the word “go” like hyped up robots. Describing how the track came together J. Willgoose, Esq. of Public Service Broadcasting says: “The first time I heard the call-outs and the replies, there was such excitement and frenetic-ness to it. It was obvious to me that this was going to be a fast-paced song and it was going to be called ‘Go!’”

Public Service Broadcasting - Go!

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Rag 'N' Bone Man - Disfigured

Here he is again, our favourite gospel, soul and blues man of the moment. Brighton’s Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, one of our Ones to Watch for 2015 (here) returns with the transcendent Disfigured, the title track from his forthcoming EP, due for release on the 9th March via Best Laid Plans. This time Rory takes us on a musical journey that sounds as if he’s taking us to church (hi Hozier) via the wide open spaces. It ends with him launching us higher than he has ever before, even if lyrically things are a little darker: “There’s no kiss goodbye, only the end, only the night.”  Rag 'N' Bone Man makes the likes of George Ezra seem like little boys trying to get a hard on and failing. Just stunning.

Rag 'N' Bone Man - Disfigured

Monday 23 February 2015

XYLØ - New Waves

“Dark pop bordering the lines of Broods and Lana Del Rey,” was how XYLØ was first described to us. Cue immediate excitement, because in 2014 Broods' debut Evergreen was our second most played new release of that year and two years before that Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die has been crowned our number 1 of 2012.

XYLØ don’t let us down. Debut song America is exactly that. Dark. Pop. Bordering the lines of Broods and Lana Del Rey. But it's not just its atmospheric sound - there's a lot of moody, black, sulking pop floating around - this one has a great song as well. You might have even heard the track before, an excerpt of it was used in this advert (here). 

XYLØ is L.A based brother sister duo Paige and Chase Duddy and it seems that they’re a little cynical and untrusting about the world they live in: “Real life is make believe, all that glitters isn’t gold to me,” Paige sings. “They say we can stay in America, you can be free in America, but I’m sick of listening to everyone.” It seems that this cynicism has a reason though, according to Paige America is "a love song about a country forcing two people apart." It’s all soundtracked by majestic menacing synths and reverb heavy drums that give the whole thing a world-weary, downtrodden feel to it. This is sombre weighty brilliance, we can’t wait to hear more.

XYLØ - America

Percival Elliott - New Waves

Considering the whimsical and delicately appealing melodies of today’s new band, it seems pretty remarkable that one of this south coast duo has a past history with heavy rockers Dead PinUps. But Samuel Carter- Brazier, together with his musical partner Olly Hite, writing and recording as Percival Elliot has created something that is the equivalent of an aural hug – not something you’d have ever associated the Dead PinUps with.

With Meant To Be Percival Elliot capture the same fragrantly romantic musical essence that the likes of Stornoway have been bottling for some time now - no wonder the song was released on Valentine’s Day. In fact the word romance is a little unfair, for this is a song about real love, not just flowers and chocolates. “You got me, I got you, we’re meant to be,” could easily seem like a cheesy throwaway line in the wrong hands, but here it’s sung with such honesty that you can’t help but feel a rush of goose bumps and comfort. Add in a sweetly touching video shot by Paul Thurlow on Southsea’s bandstand with an ending that will make even the hardest heart flutter and you’ll probably feel a little better all day for having listened to Percival Elliot.

Percival Elliot's debut EP, which includes Meant To Be is available now from iTunes.

Meant To Be - Percival Elliot

Saturday 21 February 2015

Salt Ashes - Raided

“How about a new single tomorrow?” rising dark-disco pop singer Salt Ashes asked on her Facebook on Monday. It’s just as well Veiga Sanchez (for she is Salt Ashes) is a pop singer not a piece of public transport, because there would have been a hell of a lot of complaints when ‘tomorrow’ turned out to be 3 days later than expected. Thankfully in the world of pop, most of us are pretty patient sorts and won’t be tweeting angrily that Salt Ashes has ruined our day / plans by being late. In fact, quite the opposite; pop music, like sex, is often as much about anticipation as the actuality.

Thankfully though we’re not left waiting on the musical platform any longer as Raided is here. It finds Salt Ashes very much ‘in da club’ but still very much with a tune over the top. This one’s very deep, the electronic pulses sounding as if they’ve emanated from some Friday night House basement, contrasting nicely with Viega’s sensually airy vocal. The musical equivalent of tight fitting black leather studded with jewels. It might just turn your hips to liquid.

Salt Ashes - Raided

Cold Courage - New Waves

There’s a significant amount of Jon Hopkins vibes about Her, the debut track from London’s Cold Courage. Not that this is a bad thing at all, after all Hopkins’ Immunity was one of our favourite records of 2013. 

But Her really does have that same sense of relentless propulsion about it. It’s tropical techno. It’s the soundtrack to entering the club. Yet it's also dance music for those who don’t like to dance. Vigorous head nodding and chin / beard stroking? Yes that could be part of the brief. Be careful as you listen though, because as the track develops you might just find your body crazy dancing on its own accord, jerking round the room as if you’ve been electrified. 

Her sounds like it’s the start of something good, and there’s further evidence to suggest this on his remix of Hugh’s I Don’t Like You.

A debut EP is forthcoming and Her is currently available as a free download.

Cold Courage - Her

Friday 20 February 2015

Robyn Sherwell - Tightropes

If you look up the word beautiful in the dictionary, there’s a new definition. It simply says “Robyn Sherwell’s song Tightropes”. 

This one’s a gently chiming ballad that compares a relationship to walking on an unsteady wire far from the ground: “You were my earth and I would float along never looking down, only able to see blue skies shining all around.” Uh-oh, you just know it’s all going to wrong don’t you? And as we’ve said many times on this blog, as cruel as it may be, when young love goes tits up there’s a brilliant emotionally heavy pop song just waiting to be written. Of course, for listeners that’s all the better for us. Take a listen – you’ll be hard pushed to find another song so gorgeously reflective and melancholy this week.

Tightropes is taken from Robyn’s forthcoming EP due March 30th which will also feature previously blogged songs Islander and Pale Lung. She plays the Lexington in London on the same date and had various festival slots already announced.

Robyn Sherwell - Tightropes

Thursday 19 February 2015

Prides - Higher Love (Video)

Besides the obvious things like big synth riffs and songs that you can shout along to, the thing we like most about Prides is their drummer. The reasons?

1. The haircut.

2. He hits the drums hard.

3. He knows how to pull a proper drum pose. Even though he’s at the back, he grabs the spotlight and makes it count. For an example have a look around the 1 minute 31 seconds spot. See? Look at that hand that’s doing nothing – it’s making itself important. 10/10 for this.

We also like the fact that the lead singer wears spectacles. It may not be rock ‘n’ roll but we like it.

This video for Higher Love is fun as well. Not everyone can win at Bingo, nor can every gig be victorious. Still, Prides’ booking agent probably has a lot to answer for.

Prides - Higher Love (Video)

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Pawws - Turnaround

Lucy Taylor aka Pawws may sing with a pretty and demure voice, but there’s something quite cutting underneath. Take new song Turnaround which is featured on the Kitsuné New Faces II LP. “I really hated you for a while,” she starts off, but then later comes the killer blow: “Met a boy, he’s pretty cute, takes my mind off all the shit you put me through, sort of looks a bit like you.” That’s how to make someone feel a bit mixed up about things.

No mixed feelings about the musical delivery here though, which is all soft focus throbbing synths and gentle washes of 80’s style electronics – reminding us a lot of much loved pop trio Saint Etienne. So whilst Lucy puts together the pieces of her broken heart, enjoy her misery, because she has turned it into a sweetly affecting pop song.

Pawws - Turnaround

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Jerry Williams - New Waves

She sings songs about being the obsessive stalker type and trying to make someone love her when they don’t, but despite the slightly scary over clingy girlfriend possibilities, there’s a lot to adore about Jerry Williams, a relatively new Portsmouth based singer songwriter. First and foremost there’s her voice. She has a light chirpy tone that's almost cheeky and delightfully sugary in its nature, but she can do sadness as well, turning a cover of Mr Probz's Waves into something a little bit teary.  Certainly her vocal couldn’t be confused with her namesake, Swedish rock ‘n’ roller and actor Jerry Williams.

Secondly there’s her sense of enthusiasm and eagerness to perform and play. You can see it on her SBTV performance of her song Boy Oh Boy, a track that was co-written Jim Duguid (Paolo Nutini and Alex Clare), and by the fact that at one music festival last year (Victorious) Jerry managed to rack up five performances on different stages during the course of the weekend. This keenness as well as her talent is winning her some recognition; she romped home with her local paper’s best solo artist award last month (runner up was Breaking More Waves championed Eloise Keating) and has already completed writing sessions with the likes of Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Nick Mulvey, Bat For Lashes), Newton Faulkner and Carey Willets (from Athlete). Now she gets the Breaking More Waves treatment and introductions.

Now you can find Jerry uploading a series onto the internet called The Portsmouth Independent Sessions where she plays in her favourite independent shops and cafes in the Portsmouth area. From those sessions we’re streaming her latest, the rather pretty Film Noir, which was shot in an antiques emporium.

It’s still very early days for this singer songwriter, but with a vocal so charming and a developing catalogue of songs, we’d be silly not put her name in the top drawer marked one to watch.

If you’re in London this week you can do that watching yourself as Jerry Williams plays The Old Queens Head in Islington this Wednesday.

Jerry Williams - Boy Oh Boy (SBTV)

Jerry Williams - Film Noir (Portsmouth Independent Sessions)

Passion Pit - Lifted Up (1985)

Back in 2008 when Breaking More Waves was just a blog babe in arms we named Passion Pit as one of our Ones to Watch for 2009 and then blogged the hell out of them throughout that next year. (Even now Sleepyhead sounds such a brilliant wonky pop song). Maybe it was blog burn out, but more likely than that after the release of debut LP Manners Passion Pit’s follow up material didn’t really hit the spot for us and hence hasn't featured on the blog since. Until today. For Lifted Up (1985) is a celebratory technicolour pop triumph.

“1985 was a good year,” sings Michael Angelakos in that squeaky falsetto.  Well, in the UK the likes of Madonna, Dead or Alive, Eurythmics and Paul Hardcastle all had number 1 hit singles then, so that was pretty decent, but then we had to endure Jennifer Rush, Shakin’ Stevens and Elaine Page & Barbara Dickson as well, so swings and roundabouts really. But frankly Angelakos could be singing “I ate stinky cheese for my tea,” for all we care because this one is a deliriously feel good stomping anthem of the highest order. Welcome back to the blog Passion Pit. The new album Kindred is out in April.

Passion Pit - Lifted Up (1985)

Monday 16 February 2015

Champs - Vamala

The last time we featured sibling duo Champs on Breaking More Waves was way back in July 2013. Time flies. Now here they are about to release their second album and from it we’re streaming the title track and new song Vamala. What or who is a Vamala we hear you ask? Well a quick sniff around the internet suggests that it’s just a made up word. ““I was demoing a song, and I was just mumbling, trying to get a good melody to go over the top, just shouting different kind of phrases which were basically just gobbledigook,” Michael of the band told Yoppul website in an interview (here).

Starting with just a sparse drumbeat Vamala really kicks in when it gets to the chorus, with a floaty falsetto providing a hook that will get inside your head after just one listen. If you like it then save your pennies / dollars / euros or whatever currency you use to purchase their album from the 23rd February. Then if you have any change catch them on tour as well (dates here).

Champs - Vamala

Aurora - New Waves

In the dim and distant past Aurora AFX was a slot system motor racing game. In 2015 Aurora is a Norwegian pop singer and AFX is better known as Aphex Twin a maverick techno and electronic artist. As far as we are aware, we’ve yet to have a singer called Scalextric, but maybe that will come.

It’s the Norwegian pop singer that we want to focus on though, rather than plastic cars. After all this is a music blog.

Aurora Aksnes is an 18 year old from Bergen and has already proved pretty popular on the internet with her songs Under The Stars and Awakening, both of which featured a fascinating combination of keyboard led instrumentation and Aurora’s arresting voice which rises and falls as if she was singing a traditional folk tune, but with a pop melody. We also hear rumours of some amazing non-choreographed dancing at her live shows, which if you’re based in the UK you may be able to witness at this year’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton this May and the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton, London on the 24th February.

New online is Aurora’s latest tune, the magical Runaway. Described as being a song ‘for all the people who have been lost in this world,’ Runaway is a touching and beautiful piece of work, one that demonstrates that when performed with heart and conviction, electronic music can be just as emotive and tender as any other genre. Truly wonderful.

Aurora - Runaway

Flower Fellow - New Waves

“It’s all about the music.” It’s one of those statements that a lot of writers / fans make to affirm their lack of prejudice. Yet when you start digging a little deeper you’ll probably find that most of us have some sort of fixed ideas about what is good and bad and often those judgements are made just as much on aspects of presentation and marketing as they are the music itself. And do you know what? There’s nothing wrong with judging a book by a cover in the world of music – it’s just using intuition and experience to filter things to make life manageable. Right? For example if you came across a band called Doomgrave would you still have an open mind about their music before you pressed play? What about an artist whose promo pic showed them wearing gold sequined hotpants a tiny black bra and nothing else?

So when we first came across Flower Fellow, our intuition kicked in and we almost didn’t press play. Why? It’s that name. Flower Fellow. It sounds like the sort of moniker someone might use in the early seventies as they tripped their way down to Glastonbury in a rainbow painted hippy bus, ready to offer from love, peace and karma whilst dancing naked in the sunset. We were expecting some horrendously dated sounding folk music, possibly with a ten minute didgeridoo solo and some improvised wailing. The hair garland in the picture didn't help either.

Then we remembered the time when we passed Lorde by the first time (here) simply because of a horrible promo pic and thought, hell, why not? We should still give it a listen. (Yes, we've written about this subject before, well spotted regular readers). Prejudice was blown out of the water.

White & Blue is a stirring cinematic ear-turner blessed with power and tenderness that’s sung with impressive vocal prowess, which however clichéd it is to say, shows Flower Fellow has a voice way beyond what we’d expect of most 17 year olds. But then that’s just prejudice again isn’t it? This post is going well isn’t it? Cliché and prejudice all rolled into 1. Oh dear.

White & Blue is taken from The Rabbit EP which is released in May. We suggest you just listen without any preconceived ideas. The song is released on iTunes today. Which is handy. 

Flower Fellow - White & Blue

Sunday 15 February 2015

Frankie - New Waves

‘Frankie, do you remember me?’ Sister Sledge once sang. Now here’s a new Frankie that maybe you’ll remember alongside her from The Saturdays, them that went to Hollywood and him with the Four Seasons who a new generation in the UK may have come to have know recently due to his impersonator's winning performance on ITV’s show Stars In Their Eyes. a program which has been given a refresh due to Harry Hill’s lunacy and embedded piss-taking of the likes of X-Factor, or him that went off the road after X-Factor.

This Frankie doesn’t have a surname though; it's just Frankie. It’s a statement of intent to go just by your first first name. Madonna was always just Madonna, Adele just Adele, whereas Kylie took a fair few years to drop the Minogue. Sam (Smith) might struggle if he ever decided to just become Sam, despite the fact that Smith is the most common surname in the UK.

So say hi to Frankie. She has two songs online right now. Blackout is a relatively straightforward piece of bubblegum studio fare, but new song Problems Problems with its hooky chorus, ‘baby baby’ Motown nod and modern glossy production is top-pop ear candy that sounds made for radio. It's already doing well on the Hype Machine charts, no doubt helped by the fact that Frankie is giving away the song as a free download, but only if you send a screenshot to showing that you've "hearted" the song - a clever little way of building the plays and exposure for your tune.

Taken from her forthcoming six track EP Dreamstate it’s impossible to tell right now if it’s the sound of a pop rocket about to be launched or just another fleeting moment in pop's long history of rapidly fading stars. But for now let’s not worry about careers or longevity and if we will be asking 'Frankie, do you remember her?' Just enjoy it right here, right now.

Frankie - Problems Problems

Frankie - Blackout (Video)

Friday 13 February 2015

MΛJIK - New Waves

Whereas pop music of previous decades has largely been connected with displaying the adrenalin fuelled and pent up energy of youth it seems that the current generation of music makers are often more content to produce something slow-burning, soft and languid than something that is going to stick its sharp musical teeth into what has gone before. The roll call of blissed-out, mellow delicate souls who sound like their music was made on a Sunday morning underneath the duvet is ever expanding; James Blake, The XX, London Grammar, Banks, Jesssie Ware, The Weeknd, Daughter, Aquilo, Låpsley and even newcomers such as recently featured Arctic Lake are all producing music that would make ageing punks growl with anger.

Of course here at Breaking More Waves we’re very partial to something a little melancholy, a little sultry and a little downtempo as long as we mix it up with something barbed and jagged from time to time and today we’re adding another such act to that list. MΛJIK is a duo from London who originally met at a chance house share in Leeds. Their debut track It’s Alright appeared on line earlier this week and is a beautifully tempered piece of modern soothing pop with guitars that capture the essence of the likes of The XX and Daughter, whilst a warm spacey electronic production provides the perfect backing for the soulful vocals as the as yet unnamed vocalist asks to “take me to that place now, ‘cos I’m feeling I’m feeling you.”  Let MΛJIK steal your feelings with this song.

MΛJIK - It's Alright

Thursday 12 February 2015

Florence & The Machine - What Kind Of Man (Video)

Florence is back. Album 3 How Big How Blue How Beautiful is on the way (June 1st) and today we get to hear What Kind Of Man, which received its first play on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show a couple of hours ago. It's a big fiery riff heavy tune that bodes very well for the third record. 

The song itself has been quickly followed by the video, which is directed by Vincent Haycock and choreographed by Ryan Heffington. Our immediate reaction upon watching it was simply: "HOLY SHIT!" It's many different things: beautiful, violent, sensuous, thoughtful, disturbing and will probably leaving you feeling a bit 'wtf just happened there'.  It certainly finds Florence doing her most brilliant visual performance so far.

It’s very good to have her back. Come on Eavis, let her headline Glastonbury.

Florence & The Machine - What Kind Of Man (Video)

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Brika - Moon

We’ve often (well, occasionally) wondered what the average user of blog aggregator Hype Machine looks like. On one hand we’d like to think that they’re the kind of ultra-cool dude that is just always on it in every way; music, fashion, art, the works. The sort of person that just exudes charm, sex appeal and has the most incredible music collection you could ever imagine. People just like us. On the other hand the reality is that they’re probably some sort of greasy haired spotty geek who doesn’t know how to use a deodorant who spends 50% of their time wanking off to the latest Kanye Hype Machine chart topping remix and the other 50% to porn.

However whatever they look like, you can’t deny that every now and then the typical user of the Hype Machine knows a good tune when they hear one. You’ve only got to look at the impressive amount of love shown for Miami’s Brika on the site to know that. This lady uploaded multiple eargasms to the internet last year and we’re glad that Breaking More Waves was in the mix, posting a number of her songs for both the beautifully hip and the goofy geeks to salivate over. 

Here’s another one. Taken from her album Voice Memos, the end product of a three-year musical relationship with songwriter, arranger, pianist and producer Julio Reyes Copello, Moon is an exquisitely produced piece of pop with a heavy downtempo feel to it and an aggressively powerful chorus. If you’re a fan of the likes of Banks or Indiana we highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of this album. 

Hype Machine listeners, whatever they look like, are sometimes on the money.

(You can find Breaking More Waves on Hype Machine here - follow us if you like, then you can just listen to the tunes and cut out all the crap we write.)

Brika - Moon

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Petite Meller - Baby Love (Kiwi Remix)

If you’re going to a dance remix, this is how to do it:

1. Take a rather brilliant pop song (one of our favourites of 2015 so far) with a rather brilliant video.

2. Find the essence of it. 

3. Distil that essence back until it’s the musical equivalent of being buck naked.

4. Add some fluid repetition. 

5. Think and listen to Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and The Pet Shop Boys.

6. Top your thoughts off with a gradually building sense of blissful euphoria.

7. Job done.

Or otherwise just ask Alex Warren, aka Kiwi to do it for you.

He knows.

Petite Meller - Baby Love (Kiwi Remix)

Marriages - Skin

Disintegration by The Cure is one of our favourite, if not our absolute favourite albums of all time.

Why do we mention this? Because it gives an obvious explanation why we’re posting Skin by Marriages, a track that certainly shares a similar brother / sisterhood in terms of its gloomy tumbling drum sound, claustrophobic chiming guitar work and eerie desolate synths. There’s no Robert Smith here yelping as only Smith can about spiders, rain, Christmas, sadness and desperation though. Instead we get the impressive vocal prowess of Emma Ruth Rundle, her voice ranging from the tender and intimate to big lofty howls. To a large extent Skin sounds as if it has stepped straight out the late 80’s indie rock scene in its long grey overcoat or black leather jacket and we immediately found ourselves trying to draw from memory which dark, grey, rainy, gritty UK town Marriages hailed from. Bradford? Cardiff? Dundee? Our own home of Portsmouth? No, it’s Los Angeles, which in a way makes Skin even more remarkable.

Skin is taken from the band’s forthcoming LP Salome released on April 7th (which you can pre-order now, from here). It’s the follow up to their Kitsune EP released back in 2012. If the rest of Salome is anywhere near as good as Skin, then it has end of year list potential.

Marriages - Skin

Rag 'N' Bone Man - Bitter End

In a world saturated with the short lived songs, what makes something memorable? Does the time and place that you first hear a song have a bearing or is it the quality of the work itself?

For us, assuming that the new track from Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, one of the artists we named as One To Watch in 2015 (here), does stick around in the memory, we’d suggest it was a combination of both. The time was a long late night car journey full of challenges and diversions, the quality being Rory Graham’s stand-out voice - it's one of gritty gospel and brawny blues that impacts from the moment you first hear it. Bitter End continues where his previous work on the Wolves EP left off, bringing a powerful emotional resonance as he sings of a relationship breaking down: “Have we come to the bitter end?”

Bitter End is the first track to be released from Rag ‘N’Bone Man’s forthcoming Disfigured EP. He plays a small number of shows, with a full band in the UK this March.

Rag 'N' Bone Man - Bitter End

Monday 9 February 2015

Kafka Tamura - No Hope (Video)

It’s been a long time since Kafka Tamura captured our imaginations with the mesmerising sonics and visuals of Somewhere Else (way back in October 2013 to be exact). Since that time they’ve signed with independent German label Lichdicht Records (which is also the home for Milky Chance) and finally our patience is rewarded with some new material. No Hope is masterfully restrained, full of gently picked guitar lines and simple keys that allow the almost stern voice of Emma Dawkins and slow-dance electronic bass to drive the song forward. The video itself mixes beauty with something dark and sinister, a black inkiness threatening to destroy everything.

Kafka Tamura are touring Europe with their new label mates Milky Chance right now.

Kafka Tamura - No Hope (Video)

Sunday 8 February 2015

Floella Grace - New Waves

With its zig-zag road, botanical gardens and unusually sunny microclimate, Ventnor in the Isle of Wight was a popular seaside destination for Victorian holidaymakers of the past and maintains a uniquely old-fashioned charm to this day. It’s the sort of place that could inspire musicians, especially those working in the more traditional end of the music spectrum, if by doing nothing else other than firing up their imaginations.

Hailing from that very town comes today’s new artist - Floella Grace - and her tunes very much fit that category.

Floella has been making music for some time now; her Soundcloud is full of sketchy, somewhat humble sounding ukulele based songs, which to date have shown some promise but have perhaps been a little underwhelming. However, new single ODSM finds her pushing things further. Featuring members of Plastic Mermaids - another Breaking More Waves featured Isle of Wight band-  ODSM is a sprightly shanty like song, with added brass and some Bontempi styled beats. “Better off without me, I’m better off alone,” sings Floella with a skippy melody that sounds chirpier than the lyrics suggest, the tune given an extra robustness by some sturdy backing vocals. This one's a little bit good. 

Whether or not ODSM takes any influence from the garden isle we’re not sure and neither are we sure what ODSM stands for, but what we do know is that this is a highly likeable piece of folk-pop.

You can buy ODSM on a pay what you want basis from Bandcamp right now using this link.

Floella Grace - ODSM

Puma Rosa - New Waves

Having looked at Puma Rosa’s past history it was inevitable that at some point their musical path was going to cross with that of Breaking More Waves. After all this is a band that in a previous guise (Ada) supported the likes of The Night VI and Alessi’s Ark (both acts we’ve blogged furiously and passionately about) and then under their new name recently played a show in London supporting another of our favourites – La Roux.

So now that we’ve found each other, let us introduce you to the band and their music. Puma Rosa is Isabel Munoz Newsome, Henry Brown, Tomoya Suzuki, Jamie Neville and Nicholas Owen and they have two demos on their Soundcloud that show some promise. First there’s Red, which we’re streaming below. It finds Isabel’s vocals sweeping sky high over tightly coiled mid-tempo rhythms before the whole song springs forward urgently to catch up with her voice at a clattering pace. It sounds like a set closer. Then there’s Dragonfly, a tune that wades in atmospherics, slowly drip feeding its meticulous indie sound in a way that suggests that Puma Rosa have been doing this for some time; which of course they have.

But this is a fresh start and it’s a good one. Let’s keep our eyes and ears out for them and see what happens next.

Puma Rosa - Red

Saturday 7 February 2015

Claudia Kane - Residents Of Darkness (Video)

Since we introduced Claudia Kane last August there’s been diddly squat in terms of new material until now. Not that Residents of Darkness is 100% out of the wrapping new – we featured the original video back in that previous post when we described the song as ‘unearthly night-rave’ and suggested it was a bit like Lana Del Rey going clubbing and popping pills in hotpants, which would make a change from that red dress she keeps taking on and off in the lyrics of her songs. No red dress for Claudia though, we imagine if she was wearing a dress it would be black, maybe with the odd silver sequin.

This new humping, pumping dark disco video features plenty of twitching shoulders from Claudia’s dancers and lots of atmospheric backlighting. The song itself presses the better-than-decent-pop-that-you-could-dance-to ‘in da club’ button with some firmness. It’s one of those tunes that screams 'dance remix frenzy coming soon', although right now there only seems to be the one (the sharp fist pumping T.O remix) which we’re streaming below, which for some reason reminds of something from Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration LP given a modern reworking. See what you think and give it a play, pushing its figures up from the woeful 5 plays it has on Soundcloud right now.

Claudia Kane - Residents of Darkness (Video)

Claudia Kane - Residents of Darkness (T.O Remix)

Oh Wonder - Lose It

A week in new music blogging seems like an eternity. Such is the pace that songs are uploaded, disseminated and analysed. So having taken just over a week away from the blog, posting the latest song from Oh Wonder after it has been online for 7 days and hit number 1 on the Hype Machine chart may seem a bit off the pace to some. Thankfully being fully unfunded and independent means we can post what the hell we like when we like. Tomorrow expect something from buzz band The Beatles perhaps? We hear that Kanye’s latest guitarist has something to do with them.

Just in case you haven’t come across Oh Wonder yet, here’s a quick summary:

1. They’ve been releasing 1 track a month and plan to release an album exactly 1 year after they released their first track in September.

2. All of the songs they have released have found much favour from the blogs. There’s a simple reason for this of course – they’re very good. Our favourite is still The Rain, but the latest Lose It is not far behind.

3. Until recently Oh Wonder hadn’t revealed very much about their identities, although in our previous post (here) we’d hinted that previously featured Breaking More Waves starlet Layla (who had in the past released under her real name Jose Vanders)  may well be one of the vocalists.

Confirmation came with the release of Lose It, Jose’s vocal being ever more distinctive, the song structure being undeniably similar to some of her past work. When we tweeted that we thought it sounded very similar to Layla last week (here) Oh Wonder favourited the tweet. Then came the biggest give away of them all, the names ‘Anthony & Josephine’ appeared on the members section of the Oh Wonder Facebook page (Anthony being Ant West, who has collaborated with Jose before and has a past history with bands such as Futures and We The Wild as well as various songwriting / production credits). This was followed by the press pic (above) appearing on Twitter, fully confirming what was already 99.9999% certain. It was Jose and Ant.

So now we all know who they are we can get on with the really important stuff, and that’s enjoying the music. Lose It (an appropriate title considering Jose lost some front teeth a while ago and is now having some pretty hefty dental work) is another peach, perfectly conveying that special feeling of dancing into the night with someone new and the electric space between the two of you.

Oh Wonder - Lose It