Wednesday 29 April 2015

Grace Sarah vs Goldstar - Never Felt Like This

Cast your mind back to March 2014 and you might recall a song called Generics by an unsigned singer called Grace Sarah that we described as ‘sickeningly good’. Now one year on and here she is again, creating all sorts of nausea, but in a good way.

Teaming up with Cambridge based producers Goldstar, Never Felt Like This is an affecting and sophisticated pop tune, the musical equivalent of a champagne bellini being served at the top of a glass penthouse apartment overlooking the city. “I never felt like this, till you walked into the room,” Grace sings and you can almost hear the heart beginning to pulse a little quicker, despite the ultra-cool production and chilled vocal delivery. In places this reminds us a little of recent internet sensations Oh Wonder with its spacious sound and that’s certainly no bad thing.

Never Felt Like This is an expertly executed piece of pop music, the first song from the first of 3 EPs Grace will be delivering in the near future, so keep listening.

(This is the last post on Breaking More Waves for a couple of days whilst we take a short break. We'll be back in a just a few days - in the meantime follow us on Twitter to see what musical activity we're up to whilst we're away - by clicking here)

Grace Sarah vs Goldstar - Never Felt Like This

Tuesday 28 April 2015

MK Grands - Pinnacles

Sydney based producer, writer and singer MK Grands returns with new song Pinnacles, and this one’s intense. In the space of four minutes this track journeys from gentle ambient electronics, soft piano chords and a cotton wool vocal croon to a very different place with harsh stabs of immense rave synth and Daniel Cartisano singing: “Talk to me baby, it won’t stop till love chokes you girl, you can drive me crazy, and maybe one day you will fuck me sane.” Blimey. Less of a song, more a piece of drama through sound. Probably not one to play to the grandparents.

MK Grands - Pinnacles

Avec Sans - Resonate

In the restaurant of pop music where every song and artist is a meal, indie-lad rock would be the meat and two veg, folk music a vegetarian quiche with hummus and salad, and most chart based pop music would be a takeout burger from McDonalds that's been slightly overcooked. 

However, Avec Sans would be a delicious chocolate and chilli ice cream dessert – fire and ice in perfect harmony. Want an example? Take their new song Resonate. The synths are dark and dangerous, brooding with a steely coldness, but lead vocalist Alice is singing of the sky falling away, and your heart bearing her name – pretty passionate and fiery stuff.

Resonate is available to download from the Avec Sans Facebook page (here). Tasty.

Apparently the group was also named band of the year by Dolce and Gabbana, which is kind of cool. Let’s hope they got some free handbags, shoes and perfumes from that that they could flog off on eBay and actually make some money to live on via their music.

Avec Sans - Resonate

Monday 27 April 2015

Wyldest - Danish Longball

Brit pop is often cited as destroying the original idea of ‘indie’, with the likes of Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp turning the concept of such a band getting into the top 10 and being played on daytime radio from a pipe dream into an everyday reality and necessity. Ever since then indie has lost much of its identity, the internet changing that even further, disseminating the tribes to the point where your local town’s ‘indie disco’ night is just as likely to be frequented by lager fuelled Top Shop lads in smart shirts with neat haircuts dancing to The 1975 as it is awkward floppy fringed kids who’ve spent the week sat in their bedrooms listening to Joanna Gruesome.

However, relatively new indie trio Wyldest (previously duo Wildest Dreams when we introduced them to the blogosphere here) with their atmospheric and melancholic music sound very much pre-Britpop and pre-indie-is-for-everyone. Take new song Danish Longball (streaming below). There’s no punch the air chorus, no beery yell along a moment, but instead it sketches out a chiming twinkling space of its own. 

"The song is about an unlikely Scandinavian love affair; listeners can groove or simply reflect on the sadness of the lyrics," explains lead singer Zoe Mead. Take a listen below.

Wyldest - Danish Longball

Arctic Lake - Only Me

Things have been going rather well for Arctic Lake of late. Their song Limits found favour with a fair few blogs (including Breaking More Waves) earlier in the year and then just a week or so ago the song made it to daytime Radio 1 playlisting via the BBC Introducing route.

Now comes the next chapter, and Only Me is a piece of misty eyed beauty. It’s the next late-night pop anthem for the post-xx generation. Spacious and soft, Only Me’s restraint just gives it a greater power. At worst it will find itself on all those ‘Chillax’ albums and playlists, at best it will be a song to which couples confront their own vulnerabilities and make babies to. 

Open up and find a space in your heart for Arctic Lake. 

Arctic Lake - Only Me

Friday 24 April 2015

Iris Gold - New Waves

“Remember when hip-hop was fun?” Iris Gold asks as her tag line on her Facebook page. She has a point doesn’t she? Hip-hop has become a bloody serious business. And whilst that’s sometimes a good thing (we’re in agreement with the critical mass that Kendrick Lamar’s album is a rather brilliant listen – dense, absorbing, complex, not an easy ride) sometimes what we want music to do is lift our spirits and make us dance our ass off and nothing more. Salt ‘n’ Pepper made us do that. Betty Boo made us do that. Charli XCX makes us do that. And somewhere in between all of those fits Iris Gold. 

She has three tracks on line and each of them is packed with grooves, ideas and a cartoonish sense of fun. Our favourite is her most recent upload WOW! an incessant hook-filled piece of bubblegum funk that stomps along with a sass and radio ready shoutiness – we’re streaming it below. 

As another one of Iris’s tag lines suggests, clear a path for her, she’s coming through.

Iris Gold - WOW!

Thursday 23 April 2015

Hazel English - New Waves

Words like summery, hazy, wistful, dreamy and nostalgic are probably going to crop up a fair amount when it comes to Hazel English and her debut song Never Going Home. In fact nostalgia and the old fashioned seem to surround the way Hazel has chosen to present herself and her work, from the sun-drenched polaroid picture by Brandon Long of The Only Magic Left Is Art, to Hazel’s style, which has a casual near-preppy easy going vintage look to it. 

So who is Hazel English? We know for certain that she’s from Oakland, California although she originates from Australia. We think (if we’ve got our facts right) that her old fashioned sound and image permeates right the way through to other aspects of her life (she owns a vintage store), she may have another folkier sounding musical project under a different name, and even her ‘real’ name Hazel English may not actually be her real name. Of course, we can’t be sure about any of that, Google / the internet isn’t always the truth, but the ten minutes of digging we did, if correct, revealed that Hazel is quite the creative type.

But what is certain truth is that Never Going Home is a sweetly jangling, chiming piece of indie pop with a reverb laden tunefulness that wouldn’t have sounded that out of place on the famous NME C-86 cassette from the eighties, and is, in its own small scale way, rather lovely.

Hazel English - Never Going Home

Embrz - Silent ft Amy Rose

Make Your Way, Slow Down, and remixes of Dive In and Ellie Goulding; those are 4 of the silky electronic productions that have established young Irish producer Embrz aka Jack Casey as being very much one to watch. Now finally there’s new material and it’s dreamy and as delightfully gauzy as you’d expect. Featuring Australian singer Amy Rose (who picked up plenty of blog attention in her own right for the song Awake Alive last year) Embrz adds the sound of strings to this softly coated tune, the vocals drifting across the track almost as if they’re another instrument in their own right. This isn’t a song with a big killer chorus, a big build or drop, but something far more graceful. You won't forget this one, you'll remberz where you first heard it (sorry).

Embrz - Silent

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Rebecca Clements - Boys Don't Cry

The last time we featured Rebecca Clements we wrote: “If you’re a fan of chiming guitars and stumbling clattering drums with a real live feel to them, (take a band like The Cure as a reference point) then Pure Wasted is one to add to your library of music.” It seems that reference to Robert Smith and chums (happy 56th birthday yesterday Robert) was entirely accurate, as now Rebecca has uploaded a stripped down version of the band’s tune Boys Don’t Cry. She's also gone public with the fact that The Cure are indeed a big influence on her song writing. So thumbs up to us for well honed listening skills and thumbs up to Rebecca for having such excellent taste. Of course we’re not sure if Robert himself would approve of a cheesy thumbs up, he’s more of a grab the head as if there’s something gnawing away inside your brain man on stage, so maybe we’ll leave the thumbs up fun to Paul McCartney - he's the master of that (Google image search it you don't believe us).

Rebecca Clements - Boys Don't Cry

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Laura Doggett - Night Girl (ft Alice Jemima)

Musical Maths (Paper 1) - Breaking More Waves Exam Board - (2 minutes duration)

Take one of our Ones to Watch for 2013.

Add to that one of our Ones to Watch for 2015.

Then divide nearly 3 million Soundcloud plays between the two of them, although not necessarily in equal share.

Take away absolutely nothing.

What’s the answer? 

A Sometimes we have to run with the night, even when there’s a monster waiting in the morning.

B A beautiful dreamy sounding acoustic pop duet that brings together two completely different vocal styles that somehow compliment each other and that has an underlying sense of something a little darker.

C All of our dreams come true.

(Answer = All of them - you can't go wrong with Laura Doggett and Alice Jemima)

It’s great to have this song, and after what has seemed like an impossibly long hiatus, it’s even better to see the re-emergence of Alice Jemima (Was it really 2011 when we first wrote about her? Yes it was.)

Night Girl is taken from Laura's forthcoming 4 track Into The Glass EP, due May 10th, Laura plays London's Xoyo on the 13th May (here). Alice Jemima recently supported Laura on her mini tour of the west of the UK and the tweet below suggests interesting times ahead for Alice.

Laura Doggett - Night Girl (ft Alice Jemima)

Sarah Cracknell - On The Swings

It was with a certain sense of trepidation that we approached the first track from Sarah Cracknell’s forthcoming album Red Kite. After all here is a woman who is partly responsible for three of our favourite records of the 90’s; namely Foxbase Alpha, So Tough and the much under rated Tiger Bay, with her band St Etienne. They’re a group who utterly understand pop. Thankfully we needn’t have worried, for On The Swings is gorgeous. It may have taken her 18 years to get round to recording a second solo body of work, but it seems as if it has been worth the wait. 

On The Swings is a wonderfully soft focus, pastoral sounding piece that sounds as if it’s floated dreamily in from the first summer of love. Sarah’s breathy vocal sashays gently over the top of the retro dream-folk backing that flourishes with references towards easy listening, Marianne Faithfull and Twin Peaks production, immediately casting a golden spell as she sings “she’s never gonna stay in your arms.” Oh, so lovely.

For those of you in the UK, there are a number of opportunities to see Sarah this year. First on a short UK tour in June (dates here) and then St Etienne themselves will be performing the whole of Foxbase Alpha at End of the Road festival in September. Breaking More Waves will of course be in attendance for both. Red Kite is released June 15th - it also features a guest spot from Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers on a song called Nothing Left To Talk About.

Sarah Cracknell - On The Swings

Aurora - Running With The Wolves

Now that we’ve got the likes of SXSW and Coachella out of the way, those of us based in the UK can start to get excited about our own spring and summer music festivals. Of course we’re already up and running, with last weekend’s Are You Listening? Next up for Breaking More Waves (and a fair few bloggers that we communicate with via the power of the interweb) is Europe’s leading festival for new music – The Great Escape in Brighton. We’ve already previewed the 2015 edition (on this link), take a look at that to find out why we return every year. This will be our ninth out of ten.

For those who, like us, spend hours planning and scheduling artists to see, and calculating walk / run / sprint times between Brighton's venues, you’ll have probably already got a small list of ‘must sees’ that you’re building your programme around. Sometimes this means forsaking catching artists that we love, but have already watched live a number of times, to see those that we have yet to experience in flesh and sweat. High up on that list is Norway’s Aurora Aksnes who releases her debut EP Running With The Wolves on the 4th May via Decca. Yesterday Aurora revealed the title track to the EP, a song that shows it’s possible to make electronic pop sound as human and organic as a folk singer with a guitar. In fact this mantra to letting go a sounds almost spiritual in the rousing chorus, which Aurora belts out with some gusto. 

Coalition, May 15th, Great Escape, Brighton 20.15 – 20.45. See you there perhaps? But if not, you can also catch her in London on the 11th June (tickets here).

Aurora - Running With The Wolves

Monday 20 April 2015

Are You Listening? Festival 2015 - Review

The FA Cup probably wasn’t something that the organisers of Reading’s Are You Listening? Festival had taken much notice of when they confirmed the date for their third ever event. Little would they have known at that stage that the town’s football team would have battled its way through to the semi-finals of the competition for a show down with Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on the same day as the festival. Thankfully it seemed that not everyone loves football, as the venues on this wristband access festival were relatively busy, with music fans catching emerging local talent together with a number of higher profile national touring artists such as Pulled Apart By Horses, The Computers, Smoke Fairies and Dan Le Sac, whilst raising money for local charity Reading Mencap.

Although the football team may have lost on Saturday, Are You Listening? Festival was undoubtedly a winner. Venue hopping in the sunshine was an ease and unlike some other multi-venue urban festivals we saw no evidence of lines of disgruntled punters snaking around buildings unable to get in to see the acts they wanted. Stages seemed to run largely on time and as an added bonus all the staff working the festival seemed to have a smile on their faces. The bargain ticket price of £10 for an early bird ticket also made this quite possibly the best value UK festival of 2015.

So with Reading well and truly rocked over the course of 12 hours, here are our five favourite performances of the festival:

Tiny Giant at The Bowery District 

The Bowery District is a probably the only nightclub we know of with an incongruous bookcase stuffed with the likes of Alan Tichmarsh paperbacks, a photobooth and pulled pork buns ready to be ordered from the bar (named Pulled Apart by Porkies in celebration of the evening’s headliner). There was nothing odd about Tiny Giant though, a new band fronted by ex Pure Reason Revolution woman Chloe Alper, who followed the classic format of four people, some guitars and a lot of atmospheric riffs. In the home of festivals that are noisy and guitar based, Tiny Giant made a lot of sense.

Robyn Sherwell at Milk

Another unusual venue is Milk. A first floor cocktail bar with fair faced brickwork,exposed  trussed rafters and plenty of spirits of all kinds, Breaking More Waves favourite and blog regular Robyn Sherwell delivered sumptuous tender songs with a soulful tone set against a backdrop of keys, looped vocals and acoustic guitar. It’s not all sweetness and beauty though, there’s an underlying sturdiness to Sherwell: “I wrote this about an ex of mine. What a twat,” Robyn joked as she introduced the rather lovely sounding Portrait. 

Sophie Jamieson at South Street Arts Centre

With dense whispers, nearly claustrophobic in their intimacy, Sophie Jamieson and her band sent tiny shivers from the stage with her ghostly soul music. That’s not soul music in the traditional sense, Jamieson’s sound owed more to the likes of Daughter and Laura Marling than Sam Cooke or Aretha Franklin, but it was certainly from the soul – Jamieson’s face visibly feeling every word she was singing. Powerful stuff that shows that to sing play with passion you don’t have to shout, holler and possess a Florence / Adele etc pair of lungs, sometimes it can be much more understated, but the soul comes from within.

Hart at South Street Arts Centre

From the moment Hart aka Daniel Pattison opened his voice, it was clear that something very special was happening. It takes a lot to silence a room of festival goers, many of whom have been hard at it all day, but Pattison managed it immediately. His first gig under this name had some minor technical problems, but in a set that progressed from near ambient-folk tranquility to thudding techno-lite, Hart’s cherubic pitch-perfect falsetto voice carried an utterly sublime elegance to it, like Bon Iver, or  Andrew Montgomery from Geneva (anyone remember them?). Whether the songs were actually any good we couldn’t tell you, so blown away were we every second that Hart opened his mouth. The discovery of the festival.

Smoke Fairies at South Street Arts Centre

Finishing off a night of bewitching music at South Street Arts Centre, before a dash across town to take in the raucous indie rock racket that was Demob Happy, The Smoke Fairies sombre mix of twilight Americana, mystic rock and blues certainly wouldn’t win any awards for punch the air euphoria or sing-a-long moments of jubilation, but their sound was deeply immersive. Hats off to them for wickedly sparkling silver dresses, challenging the norm that ‘serious’ musicians can’t have a bit of fun dressing up when they get on stage.

We look forward to the return of Are You Listening? Festival In 2016 – an event that punched well above its weight in terms of quality and organisation for 2015.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Samm Henshaw - Redemption

Here at Breaking More Waves we don’t really have an authenticity button when it comes to music. We refuse to discern between ‘real’ and ‘manufactured’, only concerning ourselves with the ‘good’ and ‘bad’, these two categories being completely subjective of course.

Samm Henshaw will no doubt find favour with those who have the authenticity button firmly implanted and switched on to maximum in their brains, but really we’d like to think that anyone, from the snobby self-righteous d-i-y indie kid who refuses to listen to anything that has the potential to sell more than a couple of hundred copies and always believes their way is the right way, through to the plastic technicolour pop fan who just likes something they can sing or dance to, would be able to acknowledge Henshaw as a purveyor of good music. 

Having recently introduced you to Samm by way of the soulful Only Wanna Be With You last month, now we’re streaming the fantastic Redemption, a mix of gospel, soul and blues that puts this London based singer firmly in the category that’s almost becoming a bit of a cliché –  the ‘older than his years’ one - alongside the likes of George Ezra and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. Redemption is the second track to be taken from Henshaw’s debut EP which is out on the 13th July. Samm  has been confirmed for this year’s Bushstock Festival on the 13th June.

Samm Henshaw - Redemption

Saturday 18 April 2015

Coasts - Modern Love (RAC Remix)

We’ve said it before, but CoastsModern Love is a bit of a BANGER. The good news is that you will soon be able to get a bit of that in your life when it’s finally released for your retail pleasure on 27th April.

To celebrate the fact, the band has enlisted RAC to remix the track. Coming soon remixes by the AA and Green Flag perhaps? Apologies to anyone who has no idea what we’re talking about, hopefully this will explain (here). For those expecting the banger-a-thon to continue, you might be a little disappointed; but then could Modern Love get much bigger than the original? We doubt it. Instead you get a slice of ebullient dance pop served up complete with some cut up ‘oh-oh-oh’ vocal samples similar to something you might hear on a Chvrches or Purity Ring record – and that’s perfectly agreeable with us.

In addition to their London Koko show on June 20th the band has just announced a new tour. All the dates are in cities or towns by rivers or coasts. You’ll find them in Sunderland, Hull, Liverpool, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Ramsgate and Southend, full details on this link.

Coasts - Modern Love (RAC Remix)

Friday 17 April 2015

Skinny Lister - What Can I Say? (Video)

In the live setting Skinny Lister is probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on, dancing to their rip roaring adrenalin (and rum) fuelled tunes that romp gleefully round the room like a drunken sailor. But with new track What Can I Say? the group offer something a little more tender. With Lorna Thomas taking on lead vocal duties, What Can I Say? is a gentle contemplative acoustic ditty accompanied by a video that takes a simple concept, before adding a sweet and regretful ending.

What Can I Say? is taken from the forthcoming album Down On Deptford Broadway, set for release on 20th April 2015 via Xtra Mile Recordings.

Skinny Lister - What Can I Say (Video)

Kassassin Street - To Be Young (Video)

Every time we listen to To Be Young by Kassassin Street we become more convinced of its brilliance. Whether it’s the driving Motorik beat, propelling the song forward towards relentless oblivion, the slowly spreading musical uplift or just that line about “we should have been someone, oh to be young, to be young,” something that probably 90% of the population over 25 could relate to, it hits home deeper every time we hear it. 

So now here’s another opportunity for you to latch on to the band, with their slickest video to date. A dark and disturbing tale of violence and danger, it fits perfectly, particularly the opening scenes of roadways and travel, which hark back to those propulsive trance inducing ideas of the likes of Kraftwerk on Autobahn.

If you're in London tonight and looking for something to do, Kassassin Street play live at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes for a special Remix Show 15th Anniversary party for XFM. Plenty of summer festivals are on the horizon as well.

Kassassin Street - To Be Young (Video)

Thursday 16 April 2015

Honeyblood - The Black Cloud

This isn’t really a post about Honeyblood, it’s a post about preconceived ideas and judgements and how we think the internet has made us all a little too quick to make them, plus some stuff on image and sexuality in pop music. If you don’t like these random waffling unedited  stream of consciousness posts we occasionally write, just skip to the bottom paragraph and read that and press play. OK?

“Normally I’d say @yumhoneyblood are a cool band. Tonight they (and the venue) was hot.” That was something that we tweeted following a Honeyblood gig last year. The resultant tweet was met with a response of “gross” from one person that read the tweet. When we asked why we were told: “Seems a bit creepy and pervy to me,” and “Male bloggers shouldn’t be focussing on female artists’ sexiness of appearance over their music.”

Here lies 1 of the problems with Twitter and the internet generally. There are too many people making judgements about people’s thoughts based on a few words, without trying to have a conversation to establish and clarify if their assumptions about the words are correct. 

Admittedly in hindsight our words were poorly chosen  – but the word ‘hot’ is one that is used in an abstract as well as concrete sense and can mean very different things. In this case it was related to the heat of the venue and the sh*t hot performance of the band. Unfortunately the aggrieved person on Twitter didn’t agree, suggesting that we wouldn’t have eluded to the band being ‘hot’ if we were talking about Royal Blood (he was right, but only because we don’t like Royal Blood – but he was wrong about other male acts we do like the music of). 

So, because we felt we were being judged incorrectly, we asked why he thought this. He clarified that his judgement was based on our Twitter feed which in his words “consistently seems to leer on and make weird comments about female artists”. There’s no doubt that here at Breaking More Waves we do write about ‘sexy pop’ and make comments on artists appearance – but always with a context (and also importantly we write about men as well as women when talking about such things). This is because pop music is a visual medium as much as it is a musical one. It’s why Lady Gaga, David Bowie, FKA Twigs and Mumford & Sons appear the way they do. They’re giving definition of themselves and the artistic space they occupy by their visual image as much as their musical one. Otherwise why have promo pictures? Why have videos? If music as an art form was just about sound these things wouldn’t be required. 

We believe that sometimes it’s right to talk about that image and appearance – but we try to keep a context. For example we once wrote about George Ezra’s lips because we were making a point that no music writers mentioned his large lips as they did when Lana Del Rey first appeared. Why was that? We’ll leave that for you to ponder over.

There’s also a lot of pop music that deals with sex. Many many pop songs are about sex or allude to sex in the lyrics.  Therefore once again we think that this is perfectly acceptable to write about these things, with that important word again – context. So for example when you see us tweet “Liking freckled musicians, cooking bolognaise by accident + pop stars butt cheeks,” and linking to this article here, please don’t make judgements just on the tweet, but read the article and see why we tweeted that. (It was actually an article about a theory that all sorts of other factors influence decisions on if we as human beings press play on a piece of music or not – and to exaggerate the point we used the most ridiculous factors such as the initial of the artists name, her freckles, pretentious PR statements to make that point – the article was an attempt to build some humour into a relatively serious piece – maybe it didn’t quite work, but hey, at least we had a go at trying to tackle the subject and make people giggle at the same time.)

So here’s the bottom line. We live in a world where not everything is always black and white. There’s a lot of grey. It’s why sometimes we think it’s OK to write about pop music, image, appearance and sex and sometimes it’s not. Context is everything. Interpretation is complex.

So here’s the new Honeyblood song. It's called The Black Cloud. It’s pretty hot good. And here’s the bit where this time we do mention the bands' physical appearance rather than the music or temperature. In the picture above drummer Cat Myers is wearing a Pie & Vinyl vest. This is important and relevant – it’s our local record store. It’s also Record Store Day this Saturday and this song is out then on a 7” vinyl backed by another Honeyblood song No Big Deal, limited to just 750 copies.

Honeyblood - The Black Cloud

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Aquilo - Better Off Without You

Back in March 2013 a brand new band from the North West of the UK called Aquilo dropped a song into our Soundcloud feed and it fitted perfectly with the lost morning feel of that particular rainy Sunday, so we posted it immediately. That song was called Calling Me. Two years on and Aquilo are preparing a new EP, also titled Calling Me, and from it comes this new peach titled Better Off Without You

Like everything else that Aquilo have done before, Better Off Without You oozes class. Late night sax and warm creamy electronics provide a sort of sad sophisticated and luxuriously languid backing that in lesser hands could just wash over you with a sense of nothingness, but here Tom and Ben make every moment count. 

How do we define Aquilo’s sound?  Ambient pop? Soft electronica? AOR for the James Blake generation? Who cares? We’ll just call it beautiful.

Aquilo - Better Off Without You

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Why We Won't Be Visiting Our Local Music Store On Record Store Day

If you’ve come here because of the title of this post, expecting to see some sort of indie-minded rant about how the involvement of major labels has excluded small labels from Record Store Day, ebay profiteering, the overloading of poor quality re-pressings, or even a long winded moan about what Record Store Day should or shouldn’t be about, sorry, you’ve (mainly) come to the wrong place. Yes, the title of this post is unashamedly click bait, and yes there’s definitely been a slight waning of enthusiasm for the day in some quarters, but there’s a very simple reason why we won’t be in the queue at our local store trying to grab one of those limited edition Ah-Ha singles or such like....

We’re doing something else.

So sorry, we’re not on a high horse here, it’s just practicalities keeping us away from the consumerist fun. But a massive shout out to our favourite local store anyway -  Pie & Vinyl - you should really check them out, here. Grab a pie, buy some records, then go for a walk along the seafront just over the road. Lovely. 

So what are we doing that's keeping us away? Whilst some of you are setting the alarm super early to get your space in the queue, we’ll be travelling to Reading, Berkshire to attend a music festival. Not that Reading festival of course, that’s in August, but instead we're going to Are You Listening Festival – a one day multi-venue wristband event for charity. Depending on how long our journey takes in the morning, we might even nip into Sound Machine, Reading’s record shop, after the queue has died a little, before we catch some live music, which will hopefully include the likes of Robyn Sherwell, Sophie Jamieson and Smoke Fairies.

So now you know the answer and you’ve got this far, what’s this post about then?

No doubt on Saturday many music lovers will be posting excited tweets and Instagram photos about what they’ve purchased, but the reality is that Record Store Day is just the icing on the cake, or even the cherry on top of that. It’s a cliché to say, but it’s true, that if you’ve got the money you can buy physical music 365 days of the year. 

And we do. 

How much? 

That’s something that we’re determined to find out for 2015. 

So throughout the course of this year we’re recording every single one of our music purchases, be it vinyl, CD, cassette, MP3 or the use of a streaming service. We’re also recording where we buy from – an online store, a real life one, from the artist directly or a car boot sale. At the end of the year we’ll add it all up and be able to see exactly how much we spend on recorded music. We did something similar for live music last year. You can see the results for that by using this link.

So whilst you’re splashing the cash this Saturday on vinyl, here’s where we’ve spent our money on the rest of the year:

Music Purchases for 2015 – Key Facts

1. Everyone knows that streaming is changing the way we consume music and there’s no doubt that it has changed our behaviour. So far we’ve listened to in the region of 25 new albums that have been released in 2015. Yet of those 25 records we’ve only purchased 12 of them to own. 19% of our spending so far this year has been on streaming, yet 50% of our listening is accounted for in this way (yes we've also been recording what we've been listening to and where).

2. The vast majority of our spend is for physical forms that are purchased online (63% of spend)

3. Streaming is killing our download purchasing. Whereas we are still buying albums of artists we like the most physically (not in that sense - the boys out of Public Service Broadcasting do nothing for our sexual attraction buds), this year we’ve only spent £10.14 on downloads – the majority of it via Bandcamp. iTunes is losing our custom to Spotify.

4. Bands: Selling your music at gigs still works – we’ve brought several physical EPs and singles after seeing new bands live (and then sometimes have come home and written about those artists on the blog).

5. Our total spend on recorded music in 2015 so far is £174. Far less than we’d spent on live music at this point last year, which was around £ 800 at this stage (including travel and other associated expenses).

6. And the record store? Sadly only 6% of our spend so far is in that location. Maybe that’s why Record Store Day is important after all – forget the indie vs majors debate, the ebay profiteers and the like. There are people in these stores who have salaries to earn to keep a roof over their head just as much as the online guys. After all this isn’t ‘indie label day’ – this is about the stores and the people who work there themselves.

Jones - Indulge

Remember new soul / pop singer Jones? She first popped up here last September with her debut song Deep, which got all the blogs a bit flustered. Now she’s likely to do it all again with Indulge, the slowly sizzling spacey lead track from her debut EP. It seems that it’s not just blogs that are getting a bit jittery though, as Jones (full name Cherie Jones) is also getting a bit hot under the collar about someone. “You could say I’m obsessive,” she sings with a sweet sharpness. Yep, when you’re singing about being addicted to the way that someone stares and being unable to resist the way they breathe, that certainly does come across as being borderline over infatuated. Lust muddles with the brain though doesn’t it? Even the simplest of things that we all do can suddenly seem very sexy on someone that you've decided is the one for you.

Enjoy her red-blooded state of mind, because it’s enabling her to make rather silky, sparse high quality pop. Her EP is available to pre-order now from 37 Adventures. Go on, treat yourself (pre-order here)

Jones - Indulge

Monday 13 April 2015

Florence & The Machine - Ship To Wreck (Video)

The visual treatments that have emerged for the songs so far released from Florence & The Machine’s third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful have been completely stunning. Now adding to the collection is Ship To Wreck, which was filmed in Florence’s own home. “Did I drink too much, am I losing touch, did I build this ship to wreck?” Florence belts out, the song dealing with the idea of destroying the wonderful things you’ve created. Florence's  house looks exactly as we'd imagine it to be, although the song is a little surprising, lacking the bombast that much of her previous material has. Take away Florence’s vocal and its jangly chirpiness could almost be mistaken for something that Belle & Sebastian might have written. 

Florence & The Machine - Ship To Wreck (Video)

Sunday 12 April 2015

Declan McKenna - Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition Winner 2015

Yesterday in the UK there were 2 important competitive events, both beginning with the letter G. The first was the Grand National, but it was the second, the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, which music lovers would have probably been more interested in. The competition represents an opportunity for new and emerging artists who aren’t signed to major labels an opportunity to compete for a slot on one of the main stages of the world famous festival. The winner of the free to enter competition is also awarded a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize, with two runners up receiving £2,5000 to enable them to help their develop their music even further. 

For the last four years Breaking More Waves has acted as one of the first round judges, helping compile a long list of 120 acts from the 6,000 or so that entered. From those 120 a judging panel that includes festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis selects a final 8 who each play a short 10 minute 2 song set at Pilton Working Men’s Club before a winner is determined by the panel. Breaking More Waves was in attendance at the final last night.

If you were a betting man or woman you’d have probably already had a flutter on the National (the sporting event not the band) but if you had wanted to continue there were 2 clear favourites for the Emerging Talent Competition. One was Shields, a Newcastle band we first introduced back on the blog way back in 2012, who are already reasonably well established and known for being a slick live act having supported the likes of Placebo and played the BBC 6 Music Festival. The other was Declan McKenna, who whilst only being 16 years old has already picked up support from many of the usual early adopter websites, has been chased by many a label / publisher and has received play on Radio 1 with his hooky looped guitars, keys and beats football protest anthem Brazil.

The form book came good and last night it was Mckenna that charmed the judges with his idiosyncratic one man band set, with Shields coming second, with a blistering last performance of the evening. Third place went to the bizarrely named K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade, a brilliantly tight and infectiously groovy afropop / soul / funk 9 piece who despite being first on got the crowd dancing in their allotted 10 minutes – that’s no mean feat. A quick mention also to Surrey based Princess Slayer a group that we’ve caught live in the past and hadn’t been impressed with but have come on leaps and bounds with their crowd pleasing mix of heavy electronic pop and indie. If there was a fourth place we’d have given it to them.

At the end of the night when McKenna was announced as the winner there was good news for all 8 finalists as they were told that they would all be offered a slot somewhere at the festival, so nobody went home disappointed – including us, for what was another very special night. The Emerging Talent Competition always delivers.

Hear McKenna’s Brazil below. We’re looking forward to hearing this again in a (hopefully) sunny field in Somerset this summer.

Declan McKenna - Brazil

Friday 10 April 2015

Bully - Trying

Rather like the internet, pop and rock music sometimes provides a shield for those who want to share things that they probably wouldn’t walk into a room of strangers and tell immediately*. Alicia Bognanno of rising Nashville group Bully takes off her invisible handcuffs in the groups new indie / grunge rocking song Trying from the start: “I’ve been praying for my period all week and relief that I just can’t see. I question everything, my focus, my figure, my sexuality and how much it matters,” she sings before the guitars are dirtily ramped up like a modern day L7 or Hole and she yells “I am trying to hide from my mind, I am trying all the time, I am.” If these words were the first that Alicia spoke to you if you met her in the street, you’d probably find it way too intimate and totally disconcerting; but rasped out in a song, broadcast to potentially the whole wide world, it seems totally natural.

Bully’s debut album Feels Like is out June 23rd with forthcoming dates in Breaking More Waves' home country of the UK in May including The Great Escape, Live at Leeds and London’s Lexington.

*Footnote - thankfully unlike the internet pop and rock music doesn't allow artists to share pictures of what they're having for their lunch or cups of coffee they're drinking. 

Bully - Trying

Ryn Weaver - The Fool

One of Breaking More Waves’ Ones To Watch 2015, Ryn Weaver got in to a bit of trouble the other day when she was accused of throwing shade at Beyonce (here), even though she quickly deleted the tweet and affirmed her love for Queen Bey. It seems that these days the internet has decreed that it is not acceptable to even question anything about Mrs Knowles-Carter – possibly a dangerous thing?

Thankfully there’s no trouble or question with Weaver’s latest song*, a taster from what we can expect from her debut album, released in June via Mad Love / Interscope (in the USA at least).  This one has a real ‘moment’ just after the three minute mark, trust us. The Fool (which is the title track from the long-player) ticks and links all the pop boxes marked Passion Pit and Marina & The Diamonds (a good thing). Ryn’s also playing her debut UK show on June 3rd (full details still to be announced), which will inevitably be in London, because that’s how the music industry works; but wouldn’t it be fantastic if she decided instead to debut at Exeter’s Cavern or maybe the Adelphi Club in Hull? 

*Footnote – we’d normally stream via Soundcloud, where there isn't a visual to watch on You Tube, because Hype Machine would pick up the track and there’s the possibility for a lot more people to hear the song using that mechanism, but alas her label has uploaded a 1 minute 30 second snippet of The Fool to Soundcloud rather than the full version on You Tube, which is a bit useless to everyone really.

Ryn Weaver - The Fool

Thursday 9 April 2015

Cold Courage - Brother

Cold Courage wowed us from the off with his debut track Her and if that one was the foreplay, then with second track Brother it’s a case of diving straight in to fourth base, no messing around.

There’s skewed voices, a propulsive fists in the air beat and a trajectory that heads in one direction - and that’s upwards. Who needs drugs to lift you on the dance floor when you’ve got this? Music is the drug. A wonderful wordless anthem that will probably invoke a few more Jon Hopkins comparisons, but is that really such a bad thing to overload on? The answer is simple, the answer is no.

Cold Courage - Brother

Meg Myers - Sorry (Video)

You can always rely on Meg Myers for a good quality piece of angry / emotional / scary / mentally unstable video footage to accompany her songs and so as soon as she appears in the video for Sorry, walking through a dark wood alone at night with a baseball bat over her shoulder, you pretty much know that shit is going to go down. And it does. 

“Sorry that I lost our love, without a reason why. Sorry that I lost our love, it really hurts sometimes,” Meg blasts out in the big hooky emotional chorus whilst having a rather er...'smashing' time. 

Relationships eh? They’re rubbish sometimes. There you both are, like happy little lambs skipping around the green grassy fields in springtime, then without knowing why you’re in the slaughterhouse and everything has been ripped apart. The video takes a different track though. Rather than finding Meg portraying the a love interest gone wrong it shows an apparently happy family home that as an adult Meg, for an unknown reason, seeks to destroy. Sad but stirring stuff.

Meg’s now signed to a major label (Atlantic), so let’s keep our fingers crossed that at some point they’ll throw some money at her and she'll come and deliver her jagged little pill of rock and emo-pop music to UK audiences as well as those in the USA. 

Meg Myers - Sorry (Video)

Wednesday 8 April 2015

The Japanese House - Teeth

Despite having only put 3 songs out onto the internet (the first Still we posted here, the second Pools To Bathe In we didn’t and this is the third) Amber Bain aka The Japanese House has already built up a sizeable Twitter following in a relatively short space of time. The reason? The 1975 influence and support; the two acts share the same label and George Daniel & Matthew Healy of the band helped Amber produce these songs. A quick look at those growing Twitter followers will find that a large number of them are tweeting an awful lot about The 1975.

So with that leg up, how’s the music standing up? Pretty well actually. Teeth is a slightly experimental electronic piece that manages to feature a sleepy, end of journey ambience, snatches of a guitar riff that sounds like its bursting from the ghost of some damaging 80’s hair metal band and some light R’n’B flavours to ensure that it captures the zeitgeist. If that all sounds a little weird, in the whole, it isn’t; it works. It may not be obviously commercial but there’s a warmth to the electronic sound that’s slowly appealing. 

The Japanese House - Teeth

Black Honey - Spinning Wheel

Black Honey just uploaded what only the coolest of bands could put out there; a song that sounds like something from the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino movie with an indie Nancy Sinattra on vocals. Damn, it’s good; from Izzy’s hollering shriek to those deep spaghetti western twangy guitars, Black Honey has got this stuff down to a fine art. 

The song has a title of course, and that title is Spinning Wheel. If the whole thing sounds familiar, then well done - you’ve been paying attention, because it’s already been featured on the blog just 2 days ago, by way of a crowd sourced video, in our recommendations of bands to see at this year’s Great Escape. Although the chances are that most of you missed that, because as far as we can tell (90% of you) who visited those posts just scanned through quickly to see who we had chosen as our tips and then skipped off elsewhere without pressing play. Such is the ADD disorder that the internet creates.

Let’s hope that this time you stay for the 3 minutes and 25 seconds of this glorious and supremely confident song that pumps and hollers with energy and retro style.

Spinning Wheel forms the other half of the group's new double A side (the other half being the equally excellent Madonna). Black Honey support Superfood in Birmingham tonight (8th April ) and in London at Heaven tomorrow (9th April)

Black Honey - Spinning Wheel

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Billie Marten - Heavy Weather

Falling in love, the English Winter, the grey skies, the red pounding heart. There’s something romantically evocative about the rain - after all the thunderstorm can be one of the biggest metaphors for passion. It’s delivered here by Billy Marten, albeit with a weighty calmness in her vocal performance. “Come on lighting, try to strike us. We might be frightened, but we won’t run, we’d be so happy if we were fearless.” The zeal here is all in those tempestuous lyrics which take you deeper and deeper into this beautiful song.

Heavy Weather is due for release May 25th via Chess Club Records. It will be accompanied by a cover of Royal Blood’s Out of the Black. Fans of Laura Marling and The Staves will probably be smitten from the start. Her finest tune to date. Absolutely wonderful.

Billie Marten - Heavy Weather

Monday 6 April 2015

The Great Escape Festival 2015 - Preview (Part 5 of 5)

We reach our final 4 Breaking More Waves recommendations of acts to see at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival for 2015. Whilst we’ve narrowed our choices down to just 20 we could have quite easily listed 50 or 60 artists and no doubt there are others that are as yet unknown to us, waiting to be discovered. But choose we must, and so here are our final 4.


17. Fickle Friends

Their Alt-Escape show last year at the ‘Blog-Up’ promoted gig at The Mesmerist drew a big crowd, and with their indie / pop / dance cross breeding songs such as Swim, Could Be Wrong and For You all gaining some serious internet love, local kids Fickle Friends should be guaranteed a decent audience for 2015.

18. Tears & Marble

Tears & Marble consists of Cris Kuhlen and Bella Hay from the Netherlands. As far as we can remember, they’re only Dutch act to ever appear on Breaking More Waves (they were first introduced back in January 2014 in a sleep deprived blogging charity marathon). Great Escape will be this duo’s UK debut performance. If you like slightly off-kilter melancholy atmospheric electronic pop then they could be the ones for you.

19. Beach Baby

A promising UK four piece who met at Goldsmith’s College (following in the footsteps of Blur). They have recently released their debut single Ladybird through Chess Club, a distinctly hazy mid-fi sounding piece of rock music that channels the spirits of both the 70’s and early 90’s (if that’s possible).

20. April Towers

Alex Noble (vocals, keys), Charlie Burley (keys, guitars, samples, backing vocals) form the duo known as April Towers. They’re from Nottingham and are making predominantly electronic based pop music that recalls the likes of The Pet Shop Boys, New Order and OMD in places. If those references tick your boxes, then they’re a must see.

And there you have it - 20 acts on our 'to see' list, although the likelihood is that with line up clashes and the as yet unreleased Alt-Escape line up still be revealed, we'll probably end up only catching half of these.

20 not enough? Then why not also try these 10 more: Jack Garrett, Rebecca Clements, Ibeyi, Casi, Cosmo Sheldrake, George Maple, Shannon Saunders, Yak, Thomston, Clarence Clarity.

Who are you intending to see? What absolute 'must sees' have we missed? Let us know via Twitter or the comments section below.