Monday 30 November 2015

Night Games - New Waves

This new London based duo came to us via an excellent post from Leigh at Just Music I Like blog, which not only dealt with Night Games’ music but some brief thoughts on the fickle characteristics of music sites who seem more concerned with a ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ approach to what they feature by getting a premiere on their site than anything else. 

Thankfully Just Music I Like (and Breaking More Waves) isn’t that sort of site. The bottom line from Breaking More Waves perspective is we will post and write about the music (if we like it) irrespective of if every blog under the sun has already written about it or if nobody else is writing about it; the offer of a premiere is pointless with us. It might be how the industry works, but we’re not part of that industry.

So on that note and before this turns into a blog / web rant on the ethics of blogging, let’s return to Night Games. There are three things we particularly like about them.

1. They look like a couple of young über-cool architects who have just nipped out of their sexy minimalist workpad to explore their creativity a little further by creating music as well as spaces. Call us pretentious but this is a look we can agree with a lot. Sure, this reason is not about the music, but then anyone who is a fan of pop will know that any music writer who says “it’s all about the music and nothing else” is usually in denial. As we’ve suggested before, you can usually start by asking music writers who say this why they feature pictures of the bands along with the articles they write (assuming they do), if as they say it’s only about the music.

2. They’re singer is called Constance. This is a great name (especially if shortened to Connie). The sort of name we’d give to our daughter. Oh, we already have.

3. They make good music. Remember that? That’s key. Anything else is ultimately fluff (but sometimes that fluff – context, discussions around the subject, humour, education – is important to us, that’s why we put it on the blog, it’s our blog not yours etc). 

They have two songs on their Soundcloud. Two pieces of exquisitely created electronic pop with sumptuous soft textures. The stand out of the two is the slow burner, Signals, which smoulders with a lonesome late night cabaret club moodiness. “He’s sending signals, signals to me, cannot work out what they mean,” Constance purrs, her vocal coating the song with a calming creamy effect, her tone capable of softly hitting the heights but also exploring the earthier depths. Consider us smitten.

Night Games - Signals

Sunday 29 November 2015

Claudia Kane - The Silence

Now we’re done with Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2016 list, (just before we get the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list tomorrow and the Blog Sound of 2016 next Thursday) we can for a moment pause and reflect on the new track from Claudia Kane, which popped up on a few blogs and websites last week whilst we were crystal ball gazing.

“None of my songs are about love, because I’ve never been in love,” says Claudia. Is that why we see her in the picture above sitting on her own at a table, with a couple of glasses? Maybe she’s readying herself for a date? Maybe it's a speed dating session? Maybe she’ll find love there and then when her head’s all a flutter with romance she'll write a sickeningly cheesy ballad and find fame and fortune with it? It seems to work for Adele.

Until that time, we’ll have this non-love song, from her new EP, which has been a long time coming. So long in fact that this time last year we were naming her as one we had considered for our Ones to Watch 2015 list (see here). Good things come to those who wait though and The Silence is very good, taking flight with adrenalized trip-hop beats and a spacious filmic backdrop of sound to create something vast within the context of a pop song. 

As Depeche Mode might say, enjoy The Silence.

Claudia Kane - The Silence

Saturday 28 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 #10 - Xylaroo

When we first wrote these 10 Ones to Watch posts a few weeks ago and pre-scheduled them so that we could take a bit of time off away from the blog whilst they auto uploaded daily, this final choice was going to feature Jack Garratt. However a couple of days before the post was due to go live we decided to delete Mr Garratt, who we commended for his superb all round ability, mesmerising one man shows, quality beard and general nice bloke appeal; we also compared him to the electronic version of Ed Sheeran. 

Instead, as our final tip, we’re making one recommendation of a duo that has never been mentioned on Breaking More Waves before (the other 9 tips all have).  The name of this two piece is XylarooAlongside Declan McKenna and Billie Marten, two of our other Ones to Watch, the members of Xylaroo are also too young to get served in a UK pub. Is their age relevant? Is it a bit ageist mentioning the fact that these acts are young? Well, we think it's relevant to mention the fact, because frankly if you subscribe to the idea that musicians have to learn their craft, then when someone is relatively young and very good that says something important about their natural talent. Correction - we've been informed by the band themselves that this is not correct and that they can get served in a pub. Apologies, our information was incorrect!

Oh, and the reasons for ditching sure-fire success Garratt for a bunch of unknowns on a small indie label?

1. Because to our eyes Jack doesn’t actually seem that ‘new’ or ‘emerging’ anymore. We’ve seen him a number of times live (first way back in June 2014 at Bushstock Festival which we reviewed here) and he had already developed a big online musical presence several months before that event. Maybe his label have held him back a little in order to stand a chance of being on the 2016 tip lists, but for us he was a 2014 going into 2015 tip.

2. He’s already been named as the BBC Introducing Artist of the Year, won the Brits Critics Choice award and there’s lots of talk about him being a highly likely contender for the BBC Sound Of 2016 list as well. Don’t expect to see him on the lesser known but just as interesting Blog Sound of 2016 list though, voted for by nearly 60 UK based bloggers, which we help run. The full longlist will be revealed on Dec 3rd, a few days after the BBC Sound of list - Jack almost made it on the Blog Sound of 2015 list but missed it by 1 vote, but this year didn’t get one single nod from voting bloggers, suggesting that just like Breaking More Waves, other bloggers no longer consider him emerging, which is what we believe these polls should be about.

3. Jack’s already playing Brixton Academy in April, so tipping him as One to Watch seems pointless – a lot of people are already going to watch him. 

So instead we’re choosing Xylaroo, a recent addition to one of the finest long standing indie labels in the UK – Sunday Best.

Who are Xylaroo? 

They’re Coco and Holly Chant and first met a number of years ago in a hospital in Hong Kong where they were introduced to each other by their parents. Yes, they’re sisters and follow in the footsteps of another Sunday Best sibling act, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, who started their musical careers as young whippersnappers on the label. 

And whilst we’d very much consider Xylaroo (a name that seems to have no meaning except for some warped cross between a xylophone and kangaroo – not something we could really explain) emerging, they seem to have been doing this for quite some time – they have an old redundant Myspace page (remember those?) and a Bandcamp with some rough and ready recordings dated back to 2009. However, unlike Garratt you’re probably not going to see their name everywhere in music industry music tip lists. But they're worth your attention; with their folky harmonies that remind us a little of early First Aid Kit we’re suggesting that they’re Ones to Watch for 2016, not because they’re going to have huge commercial hits or sell bucket loads of records (that’s probably unlikely) but simply because they can pen a decent tune that you might just enjoy. And that’s the most important thing.

Xylaroo - Sunshine (Home Session)

Friday 27 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #9 Majik

When we cast our memory back across 2015 and think of all the new bands and solo artists we’ve listened to over the year, one time that instantly stands out as a bit of a eureka moment was last February when we first pressed play on a brand new London two piece called Majik and a song called It’s Alright. At the time we called the song a ‘beautifully tempered piece of modern soothing pop’, a description that still seems entirely accurate. Comparisons with Daughter, The XX and London Grammar quickly attached themselves to Majik; this was languid, sweetly mellow stuff with just a hint of soul about it. Since that debut there was nothing more than silence until this autumn when the group released a second piece of singular sublime chilled-pop called Save Me, a tune that, despite the deluge of new music that fights for our attention, has stayed with us the last few months.

It's purely on the basis of these two songs that we're filing Magik as musical Ones to Watch for 2016. It's early days for them, but let's see how they do.

Majik - It's Alright (Video)

Thursday 26 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #8 Aurora

Compiling the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list isn’t something that we do in the flash of a pan one evening before publishing. It starts as far back as May 2015 when we opened a spreadsheet at Europe’s leading new music festival - Great Escape Festival in Brighton - and note down the names of any particular new acts that we saw that stood out.

As the year continues and we discover more new acts (often introducing them in our ‘New Waves’ pieces on the blog) we add the best to our spreadsheet. By November there can be anything between 20 and 50 names on that list (this year there were 26) and from those we select the 10 or 15 that we feel are most appropriate for our annual Ones to Watch list. Some that didn’t quite make it this year included The Japanese House, Anne Marie, RIVRS, Frances, Grace Mitchell and George Cosby.

This year at Great Escape three names stood out that even that early on in the year we were confident would be making our Ones to Watch. One was the artist we announced as the first act on the list (Nao) and the second was today’s choice; Norway’s Aurora. The third was Jack Garratt - but ultimately we decided not to include Jack on the list and we'll talk a little bit more about why on our final #10 post on Saturday, so check back then.

Until a few weeks ago Aurora was still relatively unknown in the UK outside of her small fan base and those in the know. However, whilst she was (apparently) slowly developing her musical profile with a number of sold out but still relatively low key London Club shows and a succession of fantastic slightly left of centre electronic pop songs, something was going on that caught us on the hop; the John Lewis Christmas advert.

We really didn’t see that one coming.

And so by now probably every person reading these posts (in the UK at least) is probably fully aware of Aurora. So why put her on this list?

The reason is that she’s still very much one to watch. The John Lewis Christmas advert has put Aurora in an interesting place – it’s great exposure, but could it come at a cost? Will it all backfire as she quickly becomes ‘that girl who did the Oasis cover’ and is then unceremoniously forgotten, or will she ride the storm? From the evidence we’ve seen at her endearingly wonderful live shows we have hope and believe that, rather like Gabrielle Aplin (who we also featured as a One to Watch in almost identical circumstances back in 2013 on a list that also included Tom Odell, another act that two years further on would have his turn on the advert), Aurora will be able to find her own space away from Christmas one hit wonders, with her own material, but only time will tell.

Aurora - Half The World Away (Video)

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #7 Pumarosa

Isabel Munoz Newsome, Henry Brown, Tomoya Suzuki, Jamie Neville and Nicholas Owen are Pumarosa. And they’re one of only three groups to feature on our Ones to Watch 2016 list (the other two follow on Friday and Saturday). They first appeared on Breaking More Waves back in February but it wasn’t until September that their profile really started to develop when they dropped the trance like indie-gothic dance tune Priestess, through Chess Club records (the second time we've mentioned that label in this years' list).

It’s the scope of ambition that is contained within Priestess that made us select the band. Priestess was no ordinary pop single. For a start it was 7 and a half minutes long. No radio edit. A statement of intent. Then there was the way it built hypnotically to a glorious body trembling sonic climax and yet still left the listener wanting more. It showed that it is still very possible to do something creative and exciting with indie guitar music. Add in a remix by Breaking More Waves favourite Shura who provided deeper electronic dance characteristics to the song and changed a lyric to give it a new sexiness ('come to bed'), a tour supporting Genghar, plus a slot at the London Calling festival in Amsterdam and things are looking very positive for this London based unit.

They’re due back in the studio in December to work with producer Dan Carey with a view to releasing a further single in the early part of next year. Let’s hope that they keep sight of their exciting musical vision and can take us even higher.

PumaRosa - Priestess (Shura Remix)

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #6 Loyle Carner

Loyle Carner (real name Benjamin Coyle Larner) is a UK spoken word artist who first appeared on Breaking More Waves in June 2015. He performs a chilled to the max, confessional and introspective style of music, with many of his songs being centred on his own family life. Take the emotional Cantona, written two weeks after his step dad died and named after his footballing hero; it’s openly personal and completely engaging. As is Tierney Terrace, which deals with his relationship with his real father: “All I wanted was a f*cking man, to tell the f*cking truth, hold my f*cking hand,” he explains, before he adds “I didn’t understand.” It’s this brutal honesty as well as his attention to detail that makes Carner stand out.

Having toured with Kate Tempest at the start of 2015, played the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury and then following that up with his own sold out tour, it seems that Carner’s engaging grooves and delivery are finding an audience. We’re expecting that audience to grow even further in 2016.

Loyle Carner - Ain't Nothing Changed (Video)

Monday 23 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #5 Billie Marten

After three acts whose music very much falls into the electronic production zone (plus one who doesn't - although Declan uses technology to create beats and loop his music live), we go elsewhere with our fifth choice on Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch for 2016 list. Billie Marten first cropped up on these pages in May 2014 with her song Ribbon which we described as ‘something pretty special’ and since then she’s made us want to repeat that phrase over and over again.

Billie’s profile has been slowly growing over the last 18 months with a handful of releases, each one lovelier than the previous. There was a stunning cover of La Roux’s In For The Kill, the tempestuous Heavy Weather, and more recently the utterly sublime Bird from her As Long As EP, released through purveyors of everything good, Chess Club Records. Each song is sung with a beguiling softness and beauty; inevitably the comparisons with early Laura Marling and Lucy Rose have come thick and fast. 

What 2016 holds for Billie only time will tell. Being so young she has time on her side and like Declan McKenna, our third choice, there’s a strong case for suggesting that she might be better placed on a Ones To Watch for 2018 list, but we’re excited to see where her journey takes her next, so here she is right now.

Billie Marten - Bird

Sunday 22 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #4 Zyra

Our fourth One to Watch for 2016 is Zyra. You might recognise her name from back in 2014 when she provided guest vocals on Seattle production duo Odesza’s song Say My Name, which hit number 2 in the iTunes electronic chart and was a huge online hit. However, if you’re really on the money, you might have heard Zyra before that. We first featured her on the blog way back in 2013 under her real name of Alex Cheatle when she was knocking out some ‘blissfully summery, infectiously breezy and sweetly sung’ mash-ups, as well as atmospheric ballads such as The Woods.

However, since that time there has been very little in the way of new music from Cheatle but a recent tweet from her has suggested that finally things are about to kick off. “I love that no one realises how much I produce. Everything will change soon,” she tweeted, so we guess that this means we’re finally going to hear what she’s been up to.

When she finally brings something to the table, if it’s anything near as good as her previous output, she has to be One to Watch for 2016. She appears to have an uncanny knack of knocking out infectious pop melodies, whatever the style of music. Let's hope we hear them in 2016.

Odesza - Say My Name (featuring Zyra - Hermitude Remix)

Saturday 21 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #3 Declan McKenna

According to his Facebook page, our 3rd One To Watch for 2016 is inspired by the Nolan sisters and one word South American countries/ religious pilgrimage points. It certainly makes a refreshing change from Oasis and The Libertines. Declan McKenna is very much one of those who fits into the ‘how can someone so young be doing stuff like this’ category. He’s scarily good and original with it as well.

Declan first came across the Breaking More Waves radar through this years Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition (which we helped judge), where he beat thousands of other entrants to win and is now signed to a major label (Colombia Records). He’s already charmed much of the blogosphere with his incredibly hooky football protest song anthem Brazil and his latest work, a warbling casio keyboard based pop nugget called Paracetamol is further and absolute justification for including him as Ones To Watch for 2016. It's an experimental and 100% engaging tune full of ideas, that suggests that whilst this guy is still finding his way to a certain extent (let's remember he's only 16), he has the potential to go on and make a really interesting debut album. The fact that we really can't compare him to anyone that easily (some have suggested Tom Vek but we don't fully hear that) is something to celebrate. One to Watch for 2016, but maybe for '17 and '18 as well?

Declan McKenna - Paracetamol

Friday 20 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #2 Mura Masa

If you follow us on Twitter (here) you might have noticed that we’ve been dropping subtle hints about a number of the acts that will feature on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2016 list over the last few months. A case in point is Mura Masa who we excitingly described as the sound of the future in October. Welcome to that future.

Mura Masa is an electronic producer (real name Alex Crossnan) who originally hails from Guernsey but more recently has been based in Brighton. He’s hit all the right ‘tastemaker’ blogs, had a feature in the Guardian’s New Band of the Week column, had the support of BBC Radio 1 and has collaborated with the likes of yesterday’s One to Watch Nao as well as Breaking More Waves favourite and BBC Sound of 2015 nominated artist Shura. But all of that means nothing if in the real world people don’t like his music – but they clearly do – and we do to. His set in the Invaders of the Future new acts tent at this year’s Bestival was the busiest we saw the place, and just a few weeks ago his gig in a dark sweaty basement club in Brighton already felt way too small for him. We could easily see Mura Masa ‘doing a Disclosure’ and taking his laptop generated music to much bigger spaces.

What makes Mura Masa so good? Take one listen to Firefly (one of the underground pop songs of 2015 - featuring yesterday's pick Nao) 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. He takes sounds that shouldn’t work together and bundles them together in one exciting flow of interest. It’s not often you’ll hear slow mournful strings on a dance track, but Alex throws them in alongside a command to ‘let me see your lighters’, and Shura’s beautiful vocal to create something that works on a whole variety of levels. If he can keep up this standard in 2016 he’s got to be one watch. That’s why he’s on this list.

Mura Masa - Firefly (featuring Nao)

Thursday 19 November 2015

Ones to Watch 2016 - #1 Nao

17th July 2015. A tweet from Breaking More Waves from a music festival: “If I was writing my Ones to Watch 2016 list right now Nao would be on it. She’s certainly on it at #Latitude15.”

Now here we are at the end of November and Nao is still on it. She’s a singer on fire. Funky grooves, maple syrup / helium injected vocals (yes, live her voice is just like the recorded version), dance moves, bubbly performances and the songs to go with it, Nao was never in doubt as being our number 1 One to Watch for 2016. 

From a love of Prince and Nina Simone, studying vocal jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, through to teaching kids to sing, then backing vocals with the likes of Pulp and touring with Little Dragon, Nao’s rise seems pretty organic – slow and steady. With a number of EPs under her belt, a starring role on Mura Masa’s incredible Firefly and vocals on Disclosure's album track Superego, Nao has already demonstrated why to our ears at least, she should be on every tip list for 2016 in existence.

OK, we’re probably getting a little over excited here, but Nao deserves the notice anyone takes of her.

Nao - Bad Blood (Video)

Nao - Zillionaire 

Ones to Watch 2016

That time of year is almost upon us. You know the one. The one where every blog, website, printed publication (what’s left of them) and media outlet rolls out their tips for 2016. Actually, we’re not quite there yet, but come December and January that’s what happens.

And as has become customary on Breaking More Waves we’re going out even before the B of the Bang, not for any particularly clever / savvy / get there first reason, but simply because this time suits us.

For the next 10 days we’ll be taking a stab at who we think it might be worth keeping your ears out for in 2016.

Last year’s tips were probably our weakest ever in terms of commercial success, with only 1 from our 10 selections (The Shires) going on to have a UK top 10 album, although of the other 9, only a further 2 have got round to releasing debut long players, one being a top 5 album in Sweden and the other having a top 30 record in the US. Of the other 7 none of them have got that far, let’s hope that some of them do so in 2016 otherwise we may find them disappearing in a cloud of obscurity.

Not that our Ones to Watch list is ever just about commercial success – it’s purely about artists that we’ve been enjoying, although past years have suggested that our taste is reasonably commercial to a point, with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Marina & The Diamonds, Mumford & Sons and more recently George Ezra and Wolf Alice all appearing on our lists. Of course there's been some misses both creatively and commercially in our picks, but let's move on and not mention the fact that we once thought Skint & Demoralised would be the next big thing.

So without further ado, let’s get started. We’ll be publishing one artist to watch for 2016 every day for the next 10 days at 8.30am, the first coming in fifteen minutes after this post goes on line. If you’re a regular reader of the blog most (but not all) of these tips will come as no surprise to you; many have already featured in past posts in 2015. In fact, this list is as much of a summary of the best of our past year or so of new music selections as it is a crystal ball for 2016. See if some of these crop up on other tip lists as we head into December and wish all the artists we’re about to feature in 2016 good luck – it’s getting harder and harder for new acts to develop any sort of long term career in an industry that some would suggest is seriously broken.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

George Cosby - State Of Undress

What is now blatantly clear is that George Cosby’s debut EP is all killer and no filler; 3 songs, each one different, but with some interconnecting veins that give life to each track. One of those veins is of course Cosby’s voice, which emanates from the gut, but has the sonic effect of reaching for the heavens. State of Undress is the latest and last track to be released from the EP, another gem pulled from the ether. This man might only be playing clubs right now, but this song is full of the scale of a stadium. Powerful, ambitious and full blooded – consider us impressed.

George Cosby - State of Undress

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Arthur Beatrice - Who Returned (Video)

Who returned? Arthur Beatrice just did. Oh gosh. This undoubtedly takes the band to the next level. 

This beautiful collision of a techno pulse, the graceful strings of the London Contemporary Orchestra and Ella’s commanding vocal will no doubt find London Grammar and Massive Attack fans nodding appreciatively. Whereas the group’s debut album seemed to be a closely guarded secret Who Returned stands at the top of the mountainside, arms aloft, wind in hair, screaming for everyone to listen. The performance video that accompanies the song is equally striking.

No slight return here. For once we're virtually speechless / wordless.

Arthur Beatrice - Who Returned (Video)

Wyldest - Dark Matter

The curse of the D-I-Y unfunded music blogger has hit Breaking More Waves and that curse is called spare time. If (like us) you read a number of other music blogs you’ll soon come to realise that the output (both in terms of quality of the music they stream, the quality of the writing and the regularity of which they post) varies. Spare time is the biggest reason. The most ‘on it’ blogs (unless funded) are generally not ‘on it’ because of some innate ability to find and discover the best music, but simply they have more time to listen and write. We’ve been doing this long enough now to see many of the so called ‘best’ and ‘coolest’ music blogs die a slow (or sometimes sudden) death when the journey of life adds something new to the mix – generally full time work, or even more so, the ultimate blog killer, children.

For the rest of us, we soldier on as best we can trying to avoid the effects of the curse, or living with it and fighting it, writing posts in our lunch breaks, late at night when the kids are in bed or early in the morning before everyone else is up. 

Why are we telling you this? Because that time curse has hit us hard the last week or so and we need your votes of confidence to keep us motivated. Consider it the internet version of a hug. Thanks.

Motivation to continue can come in many forms and one of those is by the way of good music. Wyldest supply exactly that, although rather like the RIVRS song Last Love we posted the other day this song has already featured on the blog, albeit in demo form, in May 2014 when the band was just a duo in its embryonic stages and known as Wildest Dreams. We're pleased our post gave the band their very first piece of exposure – it was nice to see the slow organic build of the track following that post and the subsequent interest from the music industry. 

So now we return to Dark Matter. Produced with Guy Massey (Idlewild, Palma Violets) it's been given a sound more sturdy and propulsive than the original demo, whilst maintaining its floating core and melancholy depth – watch out for the surprising change of pace halfway through. If Dark Matter had existed in 1984/5 no doubt it would have been released by legendary indie label 4AD, but instead this is 2015 and will be put out in 2016 by relatively new on the block indie Hand In Hive on a forthcoming EP. 

Wyldest play The Waiting Room in London on 27th November following a very well received set at Dials Festival in Portsmouth in October.

Wyldest - Dark Matter

Thursday 12 November 2015

Chløë Black - Novacane (Video)

It’s been relatively quiet on the blog this week, but we’ve created a tiny bit of space to post this. Following her outstanding cover of Kanye’s Runaway at the back end of last year, it’s time for another cover from the 100% marvellous Chløë Black. In fact you get more than your money’s worth (not that anyone seems to spend any money on music these days. Or do they? See the next paragraph) with a cover of Novacane by Frank Ocean with an added sprinkling of When Doves Cry by Prince. 

Let’s consider this video for a moment  more. A free video of Chløë at a keyboard doing a bit of Prince or an internet scrum down tomorrow for tickets for the man himself also at his keyboard, starting at around £55 and going up to £175 + booking fee in London. Oh and the Prince gigs will be filmed for future release as well. It’s up to you pop fans, but think about it. We once paid £5 to see Adele in front of 90 people. £3 to see The Stone Roses in front of about 150. You could spend £180 on about 20 small gigs and maybe, just maybe get see someone who goes on to be the next Prince.

Chløë Black - Novacane

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Hugh - Almost Done, Almost There

One look at Hugh’s latest posts on Facebook suggests that we’re going to like these dudes. 

They’ve recently played with blog favourites RIVRS (who we featured yesterday) and they’re currently listening to the Mura Masa / Shura tune Love For That

Sure enough new song Almost Done, Almost There is truly wonderful. Taking a languid spoken word delivery reminiscent of Ghost Poet, an undercoating of some chiming guitars, some slightly darker electronic sounds that wouldn’t be out of place on a Massive Attack record and some cooing pop female vocals from one Izzy Brooks (Is Izzy about to be the coolest name in pop in 2016? With the likes of Izzy Bizu and Izzy from Black Honey also delivering the goods right now it could be) Hugh don’t so much grab you, but gently coax you into their hazy womb. 

It’s not all gently does it though, as lyrics like “we go out, we get mashed up, we go loud and the place gets smashed,” will testify, but this one has something very cool about it. The word effortless often gets used to describe music, which we always think is a shame when clearly the band has put a lot of effort into their work, but this genuinely does sound so. 

Hugh - Almost Done, Almost There

ROCH - New Waves

She goes by the name of ROCH, which clearly is a stage name, and we suspect (although it's not been confirmed by anyone) that we’ve featured her two, maybe three times before on the blog under her real name (here). She certainly seems to like a lie down, whatever moniker she's choosing.However, most importantly the two songs that this 20 year old singer from London has released via this new project are absolute gems. 

Debut song Closer has a sparse intimacy that reminds us a little of Daughter, whilst latest release Kintsugi  is named after a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy of the technique is to recognise the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. This can be a metaphor for life; hence why she sings “we are broken pottery.” 

This combination of music, art and philosophy no doubt comes from the fact that ROCH is studying sculpture at Central St Martins in London.

She is currently working with Ben Christophers (Bat For Lashes), Leo Abrahams (Wild Beasts)  and Richard Frenneaux (Laura Welsh), who some of you may remember in the dim and distant past as being the main man in the band Red Light Company. 

ROCH plays the Old Blue Last in London on the 1st December which is a free entry show.

Sit back, let this one capture you – it’s very much headphones music, let ROCH take you somewhere else.

ROCH -Kitsugi 

Monday 9 November 2015

RIVRS - Last Love

If you’re thinking ‘I’ve heard this one before,’ it’s probably because you have. Originally featured on a Kitsuné compilation earlier this year as well as in an introductory piece in March on Breaking More Waves, we’re welcoming back Last Love the ‘new’ song from RIVRS. Why are we featuring it again? Simple - 2 reasons.

1. Because Last Love is a piece of impeccable and thoroughly modern pop music dealing with the obsessive nature of love, in particular your very first love. As the song glides with an almost frictionless beauty through space lead singer Charlotte sings of how her last love is her only love, her last kiss her only kiss. But of course we all know that the journey of love is far more complicated than that and that given time that last love will be just a distant memory.

2. The band are putting the song out again and so it’s a good excuse to stream it once more, although this sounds as if it’s a re-recorded crisper version of the song (albeit very similar to the original).

RIVRS - Last Love

Friday 6 November 2015

Aurora & The John Lewis Christmas Advert

If you’re a regular at Breaking More Waves (thank you!) you’ve probably seen us reference the Rules of Pop a number of times. Somewhere in an older edition of this hallowed tome there was a chapter (Chapter 15 to be precise) titled Selling Out. However, with the development of the internet, illegal downloading and streaming this chapter was slowly reduced in size, until in 2013 it was finally deleted completely. Why? Because it was finally deemed OK for artists to do anything that would earn them an income, even if it had nothing to do with music. More perfume ranges than days in the week for Katy Perry? Sure why not. A butter TV ad for a member of the Sex Pistols? No problem, that’s some more $ in the bank for Johnny Rotten.

The arguments of art vs commerce became less and less of an argument, because commerce won.

So it was with a certain sigh of inevitability this morning when we saw that one of our favourite new popstars, who we’ve been writing and tweeting about an awful lot this year, was announced as the singer on this year’s John Lewis Christmas TV advert, which as the Daily Mash has pointed out may well be about a perverted old man living on a crater on the moon who is given a telescope to spy on couples having sex or even worse, maybe he's just watching your kids.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise really, even although our money had been on an older band doing it this time round, someone like Texas. After all in the last few years, acts that we’ve written about in their early stages such as Tom Odell, Ellie Goulding and Gabrielle Aplin have all been chosen to record the Christmas advert cover. Whoever commissions the songs obviously has at least some similarity in taste to Breaking More Waves, which means that there’s still hope that Mura Masa or Aphex Twin might get to do it one day. Imagine that. 

So is Aurora’s cover of Oasis any good? It’s pleasant. It’s ‘nice’ in the way that pretty much every John Lewis Christmas cover is. Aurora's vocal is lovely and the instrumentation is straightforward so as not to offend the masses, except perhaps some hardcore Oasis fans. It's all very tastefully done. Yet we prefer her own songs. But then it’s hardly likely that John Lewis would use a tune about mercy killing (Murder Song) or returning to nature (Running With The Wolves) to front their Christmas campaign, so Half The World Away it is then.

Of course the sentiment (and let’s face it, every John Lewis advert is over the top f*cking sentimental) is on the face of it very sweet. “Show someone they’re loved at Christmas.” Yes, being lonely at Christmas can be pretty horrible. But isn’t this advert just cashing in on making people feel guilty? Possibly even a bit sad?  Of course it’s nice to be loved, but there’s 364 other days of the year as well and you don’t have to give someone a present to show them that. Breaking More Waves says show someone you love them far more than just at Christmas and in terms of music, wait till Aurora releases more of her own songs and feel the love for them then.

Aurora plays the Union Chapel in London on Tuesday 2nd February and will release her album next March.

The John Lewis Christmas Advert ( Aurora - Half The World Away)

Thursday 5 November 2015

Ary - New Waves

It’s been an all time (s)low on Breaking More Waves this week. Somehow the new music that has passed our ears just hasn’t connected. There’s been lots of reasonably good stuff, but for some reason nothing has 100% captured our imagination. So we've taken a step back and at that point we remembered Ary, one of those artists that we had fully intended to write about some time ago and somehow just never put whatever the internet’s version of pen to paper is. So in this drought let’s fill up the musical reservoirs. 

Ary is a Norweigian singer with roots in Trinidad who has a sound that sits very comfortably alongside the likes of two other scandipop singers from the same country, namely Emilie Nicolas and Aurora. She  has just two tracks on line, the first being Higher, which manages to capture some of the spirit and dance floor sensibilities of yet another Norwegian (Todd Terje) in its pulsing electro bass lines. The other, which we’re streaming below is the beautiful Telescope, a track Ary worked on with electronic artist Carl Louis. With its expansive spacey sound it manages to perfectly capture the scale and wonder of the night sky and the universe, developing from a glacial ambient soundscape to a pulsing piece of electropop that aims for and achieves the heavens. 

Ary plays Eurosonic Festival in Holland next January and by:Larm festival in Oslo in March. We can only hope and pray that someone in the UK is working to bring her over to our music loving shores as well (Great Escape organisers take note!).

Carl Lewis - Telescope (featuring Ary)

Monday 2 November 2015

George Cosby - Vacant Grace

Right from the off there’s something desolate and sad about George Cosby’s song Vacant Grace. “Please take your clothes and leave,” he begins, his lonely voice generating a stillness in the air, spectral guitars the backdrop for his tender bruised thoughts. Take a listen and you'll discover there's some seriously great downcast crooning going on here.

With debut track Ritual Blush Cosby knocked our socks off, now here he stops the show. This isn’t music to necessarily enjoy, but to feel, and when it ends, to play again and again. 

Vacant Grace is taken from George’s debut EP which will be released on the 20th November. He plays a handful of shows in London in the next few days.

George Cosby - Vacant Grace