This is a post to let regular readers know that Breaking More Waves is on a short unplanned break.
On November 27th I suffered a heart attack and have subsequently been in hospital, where I still am now. It was, to say the least, a complete shock to both myself and my family / friends. Since being in hospital it has been discovered that I was born with a heart defect, but nobody knew until the heart attack.
I will in due course have open heart surgery to fix me up and if everything is successful I hope to make a full recovery and return to normal life. However, until early 2019 the blog will be on hold.
Until that time keep an eye out on my Twitter as I will do the occasional tweet there now and then. (@BMWavesBlog)
Finally, to keep things tidy, normally at the end of the year I would write numerous posts on my favourite albums of the year. I hope I have sufficient excuse not to do that amount of writing this time, but for the record, in no particular order except alphabetical, here is my top 10, which is unlikely to change between now and the end of the year as I won’t be listening to anything new.
Breaking More Waves Favourite Albums of 2018
Confidence Man - Confident Music For Confident People
Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain
Erland Cooper - Solan Goose
First Aid Kit - Ruins
Fröst - Matters
Let’s Eat Grandma - I’m All Ears
Nils Frahm - All Melody
Suede - The Blue Room
Superorganism - Superorganism
Whyte Horses - Empty Words
Edit 1st Jan 2019
After much deliberation I have managed to put my top 5 in order. They are
1. Erland Cooper - Solan Goose. 2. Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears. 3. Confidence Man - Confident Music For Confident People. 4. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain. 5. Fröst - Matters
Friday, 7 December 2018
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #8 - Alice Chater
Alice Chater has pop music running through her veins. She’s all about big tunes, a big voice and big dance routines. Not only that, but she’s the only performer I know who brings a bath with her name on to gigs for the audience to sit in. Anyone who has followed Breaking More Waves for some time will know that this immediately endeared me to Alice; she takes the Breaking More Waves geeky obsession with pop stars in the tub to a whole new level.
Having originally been discovered through singing covers on You Tube, Alice has now released a number of bona-fide-big-bangers accompanied by a bunch of videos that place her in the ‘extremely good pop star’ category from the word go. Whether she is stealing a Human League sample and dancing like a loon (on Hourglass) or writhing around on a spider web telling us all that her name is Alice (on Wonderland) its all pointing to Alice’s form of classic pop (think Britney, Lady Gaga, Madonna as reference points) stimulating the ears further in 2019. One to Watch for sure.
Alice Chater - Hourglass (Video)
Monday, 26 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #7 - Lauran Hibberd
Here’s the next artist on the 2019 Ones to Watch list. It’s Lauran Hibberd. She's been a regular on Breaking More Waves since 2016 and I almost included her on this list last year, but it still felt a little too early. Now feels right.
Why choose Lauran? It’s for one simple reason – this woman can write songs and then some. Every time I’ve seen her play (and those times have been numerous over the last 2 and half years) she’s never delivered the same set. “Don’t tell me stories – I’ll write songs about them,” Lauran says on her Facebook. Clearly people have been talking to her. She’s always banging out the new ones.
But writing lots of songs is one thing – knowing which are the good ones is another – and Lauran knows. Tracks like the cartoonish and vibrant What Do Girls Want, the hyper energised shout along fizz of Call Shotgun and the scuzzy noise pop of Fun Like This are just 3 examples of Lauran’s ability.
Maybe it’s because Lauran started writing songs in a folk-pop style with a more acoustic bent that she’s been able to develop the craft of putting words and music together in a form that works; and now she has translated that to her cheeky, sometimes ironic indie. Maybe she’s just a natural. But whatever it is Lauren is now one of the new indie queens of cool, stomping her way round the country supporting the likes of Eliza & The Bear and Jealous Of The Birds and massing streams on Spotify –Call Shotgun already has over 400,000 plays.
What’s next for Lauran remains to be seen, but hopefully 2019 will see some of her own headline shows. If there are, take my advice. I’ve named her as One to Watch for 2019, so go and do just that and watch her when she plays a gig near you.
Lauran Hibberd - What Do Girls Want?
Lauran Hibberd - Call Shotgun
Sunday, 25 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #6 - Easy Life
Back in November 2017 I featured Pockets, the debut single from Leicester based 5-piece Easy Life, which was released through boutique label Chess Club. The first time I heard the song it was a must feature, it sounded so smoothly different to everything else out there. Now a year on, with the band having inked a deal with Island, I’m featuring them on my Ones to Watch list for 2019; and they’re still carving their own groove.
Taking elements of jazz, soul, indie and hip-hop Easy Life make music that suits their name. Easy Life are chill. But not in a lazy way. Because Easy Life make cleverly constructed pop songs. They’ve got hooks, they’ve got vibes a plenty and when you listen, before you know it, you’ll find yourself nodding your head, closing your eyes and immersing yourself in a sound that bears very little resemblance to the place Easy Life come from. If anything, the sound of Easy Life is a road trip with the roof off along the highways of West Coast America.
Having played the likes of Great Escape, Live At Leeds, Dot to Dot and Reading Festival last year, as well as their own headlining tour, Easy Life’s trajectory seems to be going in one direction only, and that’s upwards. If they can match the likes of Nightmares and Pockets in 2019 it will be a very good year for them and us.
Easy Life - Pockets
Easy Life - Nightmares (Video)
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #5 - G Flip
“Australia’s way cooler answer to Phil Collins.” That’s how I described Melbourne’s Georgia Flipo, who goes under the name of G Flip, back in an introducing post in April 2018.
OK, maybe that’s a disservice to the ex-Genesis man, who after all was responsible for In The Air Tonight, a song that if nothing else features one of the greatest air drumming opportunities in pop. But as far as singer / producer / drummers go Georgia is certainly ready to grab Phil’s crown off his baldy head.
Having originally whacked the skins in a band called Empra, Georgia spent most of 2017 writing and creating music for her own solo project. She uploaded her debut About You to Triple J Unearthed and was caught almost off guard in a whirlwind of musical excitement when the track went viral. Before G Flip knew it she was playing SXSW, 2 shows at Brighton’s Great Escape and a gig in London supporting Pale Waves where she won the crowd over, with some people declaring on Twitter afterwards that she was the best support band they’d ever seen.
About You (one of my favourite songs of 2018) was followed up with another pop gold earworm called Killing My Time and the future looked very bright for G Flip. However, since Killing My Time Georgia hasn’t rushed to push lots of tracks on line, playing a bit of a waiting game, hopefully getting the recordings and promotion of the next songs just right.
From what I saw at the 2 Great Escape Shows and the Pale Waves support I’m very confident that Georgia does have the songs under her belt to deliver in 2019 – and that’s why she’s on this list of Ones to Watch. In the UK she has a show at the Garage in London lined up for next May and has also been confirmed for Reading and Leeds festivals.
G Flip - Killing My Time (Video)
Friday, 23 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #4 - Flohio
As we begin to enter the season of tip lists for the new year (Breaking More Waves always goes early with this – it makes it more fun for me afterwards to compare with all the others that are published in December and January) you can take an educated guess, based on past history, that many of the UK based lists, especially the industry ones, will be fairly London-centric. This is because much of the media and record industry is based there, so artists tend to gravitate to London, but also simply because of the sheer volumes of population of the country living in London; statistically it’s inevitably going to have more artists represented.
This year is looking particularly good for South East London with Octavian highly likely to be featuring on those industry lists – he seems to tick all the right boxes, even if he doesn't tick mine, (if I’m wrong please pretend you never read this) and another possibility is Bermondsey's Flohio, a young MC who has featured on Breaking More Waves a number of times this year.
However, irrespective of if Flohio finds herself on industry lists or not (nothing is guaranteed, this is just guesswork on my part and this year there seems to be no really obvious choices) she’s 100% here on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2019. It should come as no surprise to regular readers. I pretty much told you she was going to be on this list back in July (see the bottom line of this post – click here)
Over the last few years Flohio (real name Funmi Ohiosumah) has collaborated with beat making duo God Colony, has been a finalist in the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, endorsed by Naomi Cambell for Vogue as one of 10 Women Changing Our Future and played the likes of Great Escape, Lovebox and Latitude.
What makes Flohio one of London’s most thrilling and fresh MCs is her incredibly quickfire, aggressively relentless yet cool delivery, combined with a mixture of industrial, trap, techno and hip-hop sounds that punch so hard they are almost overpowering. A great run of singles (Bands, Watchout, 10 More Rounds and Wild Yout) have paved the way to my rising excitement for Flohio, which has culminated in the recent Wild Youth EP. In late November and early December she heads out on her first small headline tour of the UK.
She’s told us to watch out. Maybe we she be watching out for her.
Flohio - Wild Yout (Video)
Thursday, 22 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #3 - King Princess
After a couple of bands it’s time to introduce the first of a large number of solo artists that feature on the 2019 Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list and also the first American artist (overall the list is once again UK heavy because that’s where I’m based). Mikaela Straus is King Princess and appeared on Breaking More Waves back in April after she had impressed with the songs 1950 and Talia from her debut Make My Bed EP.
1950 has become a sizeable pop anthem this year - it reached number 17 in Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and it has clocked up just over 150 million streams on Spotify, helped along the way with the support of Mark Ronson (Straus is signed to his newly formed Zelig label in the US) and Harry Styles tweeting out the lyrics of her songs, without reference, to his fans. As I pointed out in that April blog post, it’s easy to be cynical about the Styles tweets – Styles is on Columbia records and Zelig is an imprint of Columbia – but as a new artist you’re going to take all the breaks you can these days.
1950 and Talia have paved the way for King Princess to pick up a sizeable crowd of screaming girl fans – although perhaps not the same ones that Harry Styles had – her audience is a significantly LGBTI one. (1950 was inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, which was originally released under the pseudonym Claire Morgan as Highsmith didn’t want to be tagged as ‘a lesbian book writer’. It was later republished under the name Carol.)
Most recent single Pussy Is God, co-written with her girlfriend and actress Amanda Stenberg will inevitably cement that fanbase further as will her version of the Perfume Genius song Queen, albeit at the moment it is only a live cover rather than a studio release.
All of the songs from King Princess so far share one common strand; they are classy, modern, highly accessible pop tunes with all those classic ingredients of melody and hooks. Add to this the fact that King Princess can nail it live (watch her debut TV performance on Later With Jools Holland for the evidence of that by clicking here) and she was always going to be one of my Ones to Watch 2019 since that first post in April. King Princess rules.
King Princess - 1950
King Princess - Pussy Is God
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #2 - Another Sky
The 2nd One to Watch for 2019 on Breaking More Waves is Another Sky.
The band first appeared on Breaking More Waves back in March after I had become just a little obsessed with their debut track Forget Yourself and its accompanying surreal digital artwork video by artist Mikey Burey.
At that point in time very little was known about them except that they formed at Goldsmiths College in London and had a small number of shows lined up over the summer.
Since that time Another Sky have impressed me time and time again. First there was the powerful Avalanche, a song that showed a group with a social conscience that was prepared to bring some of the big issues of the day into their music, in this case toxic masculinity. They combined it with an impactful video (below) which garnered a positive response to every single person I showed it to.
Then there was Chillers, a song that hit me on first listen: “Why worry about the weather or nuclear weapons when they can eat for free on a black card at Nandos?” sang lead vocalist Katrin providing a questioning voice about the self-centred times we live in. A tour support with Breaking More Waves favourite and regular Laurel followed, with Another Sky playing under minimal lighting and dry ice – the focus clearly being on the sound they were creating rather than what they looked like. Then suddenly there they were on the TV with a slot on Later With Jools. As the year closes it really feels like Another Sky has got out of first gear.
The early part of 2019 will find the band heading out on a headline 20 date tour of the small venues of the UK. They’re probably hitting a town or city near you. Do try and catch them. They have certainly started out as one of the stand out new bands of 2018 and therefore have to be ones to watch for 2019.
Another Sky - Forget Yourself
Another Sky - Avalanche
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Ones to Watch 2019 #1 - Fontaines D.C.
If the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list for 2019 was purely about picking artists that were going to be commercially successful, then choosing bands for the list would seem like a bad decision. A quick scroll down the Top 40 biggest selling albums of 2018 in the UK so far will show you just how badly bands are doing in terms of being sales big hitters, and more to the point, how out of fashion new bands are: Arctic Monkeys, Abba, Little Mix, Fleetwood Mac, Oasis and Snow Patrol are the only acts listed.
But this list isn’t just about commercial success. It’s just about music that excites me. It’s why I’m starting my Ones to Watch 2019 posts with two new acts that are both bands. Both of them even use that most unfashionable of instruments; the guitar. One has already featured on the blog a number of times and the second, the first on this list of ten, I’ve featured just once, a few days ago.
Fontaines DC are from Dublin City, Ireland and are one of the most electrifying new bands I’ve come across over 2018. They’ve got it. I would have called it the X-Factor, but that word has been so polluted now due to Mr Simon Cowell and company I can’t use that description without squirming.
Fontaines DC are raw, slightly ramshackle and have an undeniable energy to their sound that is, to put it simply, bloody brilliant. Onstage they have a lead singer who possesses the characteristics of a caged pent-up animal unsure what to do with itself. They also have bags full of lyrics that are just ready to be shouted out by excited moshing fans at their gigs: “If you’re a rock star, porn star, it doesn’t matter what you are, get yourself a good car and get out of here,” from Boys In The Better Land is one of my favourites. It has a sense of escape that people can relate to whatever their position in life.
Here’s some of the reference points that have already been thrown at them: The Fall, post-punk, Joy Division, The Vaccines, The Pogues, vintage rock ‘n’roll, Shame, The Blue Aeroplanes. You probably get an idea where they’re coming from with that. Apparently they're big Beach Boys fans as well, which probably isn't immediately obvious, but they do have that surf-rock sound to their songs.
They’ve got a small handful of tunes on line so far, and every single one of them is a riot. They’ve been out on the road with Shame, and are also playing their own sold out shows in the UK this winter and some bigger gigs in April. Next year they’ll be playing SXSW in Austin Texas and touring with Idles in the US in May. Hopefully there will be an album as well.
I expect them to create a storm wherever they go. The best band out of Ireland for some time.
Fontaines D.C - Hurricane Laughter
Fontaines D.C - Chequeless Reckless (Video)
Ones to Watch 2019 - An Introduction
Starting today at 11.30am GMT I will be publishing the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list for 2019.
What the list is:
8 New(ish) artists that I predict will have a good musical year in 2019 either commercially, critically, or just releasing some fine music / playing some great shows (even if nobody else except me takes any notice). What’s ‘new’ is subject to debate, but each of the artists on this list won’t have got as far as releasing an album yet. A handful of singles and an EP or two is more likely.
The artists featured have (mainly) all featured on Breaking More Waves before, although there may be the odd curveball.
It's British biased. Because that’s where I’m based I tend to hear more new acts from there and get more opportunities to see those acts live.
What the list isn’t:
A complete list of artists that I think will be ‘big’ (some I hope will be, but others definitely won’t). Over the years of doing these Ones to Watch lists I’ve picked some artists who have gone on to be very commercially successful: Florence & The Machine, Lana Del Rey, Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding, Wolf Alice, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Charlix XCX, Haim, Chvrches etc. But in the same respect I’ve picked plenty who haven’t. Yet some of those who haven’t been commercially successful have still ended up on later album of the year lists of my own.
An opportunity for you to tell me I’m wrong. Go and write your own f*cking list rather than wasting time slagging off someone else’s.
An opportunity for you to tell me that you don’t like the idea of tip lists. Simple – if you don’t like them, don’t read them – let those of us who do like such simple pleasures enjoy them. It’s hardly like we’re murdering small children here. A tip list is not going to change the fabric of society, so why get worked up about it. Do something better with your life.
An opportunity for you to tell me that I go too early with this and therefore I can’t have possibly considered the acts I’ve chosen properly. Again, this is my blog, not yours, so stop telling me what to do without any knowledge about the time constraints I have, plus please note I think about new music all bloody year, so trust me this list is very considered.
When the rest of the list will be published:
I’ll be publishing the first artist today at 11.30am on the blog and then will be posting 1 further act for the following 9 days at exactly 8am each day.
Past Ones to Watch 2008-2017
Finally, here are all of the previous artists I’ve named on past Ones to Watch lists from the start of the blog in 2008. Come back at 11.30am today and every day after at 8am to see the 10 artists I’ve picked this year.
Alabama Shakes, Alessi’s Ark, Alice Jemima, Aurora, Avec Sans, Banks, Beth Jeans Houghton, Billie Marten, Cabbage, Charli XCX, Chasing Grace, Chloe Black, Chloe Howl, Chvrches, Clare Maguire, Clock Opera, Coasts, Confidence Man, Curxes, Dave, Declan McKenna, Dot Rotten, D/R/U/G/S, Delphic, Elderbrook, Ellie Goulding, Eva Stone, Foxes, Florence & The Machine, Flyte, Gabrielle Aplin, George Ezra, Grace Carter, Haim, Hazel English, Holly Miranda, Hurts, Iyes, Jade Bird, James Blake, Jerry Williams, Joseph Salvat, Jungle, La Roux, Lana Del Rey, LANY, Lapsley, Laura Doggett, Laura Mvula, Let’s Buy Happiness, Lianne La Havas, Little Boots, Liv Dawson, Loyle Carner, Lucy Rose, Luke Sital-Singh, Maggie Rogers, Maisie Peters, Majik, Marina & The Diamonds, Mura Masa, Nao, Off Bloom, Outfit, Pale Waves, Passion Pit, Pink Kink, Pumarosa, Queen of Hearts, Rachel Sermanni, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Ren Harvieu, Ryn Weaver, Seinabo Sey, Savages, Seramic, Sigrid, Skint & Demoralised, Skott, Sofi Tukker, Sons & Lovers, Sophie Jamieson, Spark, Spector, Starsmith, Stornoway, Superorgansim, The Blinders, The Milk, The Night VI, The Shires, The Staves, The Vaccines, Tom Odell, Unicorn Kid, Valerie June, Visions Of Trees, White Lies, Willy Moon, Wolf Alice, Xylaroo, Yes Giantess, Zyra.
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
New Music: Fontaines D.C. - Too Real (Video)
Fontaines D.C. are the sort of unruly rock and roll band that it’s very easy to fall for in a minute. For a start they’ve got lyrics that put a stamp on things. A stamp that is probably clad in a fairly hefty steel toe capped Doctor Marten boot: “An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking,” is just one of the killers from Chequeless Reckless, a tune that’s been finding its way into heads all over the place.
And there’s more. Their songs are scrappy and tough enough to carry an energy to them. Then there's the snarling half-sung half-spoken drawls from frontman Grian Chatten which unsurprisingly have already begun to be compared to Mark E Smith of The Fall. I’d put Fontaines D.C.in the ‘deadly vital’ category. They really are.
And now here’s their new song. Too Real. It features a big smack of guitar noise (the intro is one and half minutes long) and an intense and direct repeated mantra of “Is it too real for ya?” delivered by Chatten. You can imagine him craning into an audience and launching those words into their faces over and over. Uneasy listening of the most enjoyable kind. Let them hit you with it.
Too Real will be released as a double A-side single alongside another new track The Cuckoo Is A Callin' on 21st Dec.
Fontaines DC - Too Real (Video)
Monday, 12 November 2018
New Music: The Desert - Distract Me
The Desert, a Bristol based group formed from the song writing and production nucleus of Gina Leonard and Tom Fryer released their debut EP Playing Dead last year. However, it’s their latest track Distract Me that takes them to a higher level. Here Gina sings about knowing something isn’t right, and having to make a decision about it, but rather than doing so, trying and failing to lose oneself in distraction: “Distract me, so I get drunk, this heavy saturation, has left me sunk.”
Crafted from what sounds like undiluted magic, there’s something of the key artists from their home city such as Massive Attack and Portishead in the song’s sound. It embraces the same disquieting and claustrophobic beauty as those predecessors. Yet there are no hip-hop beats or dub grooves of those artists, instead you’ll find fragile late-night piano chords, ambient textures, soaring synths and some downcast beats that give the whole song a sense of shadowy menace. There is no verse or chorus as such, for this is a song beyond pop. It sounds like it’s glided in from the dead of night and frankly, Distract Me is bloody gorgeous.
The Desert - Distract Me
Friday, 9 November 2018
New Music: Salt Ashes - Go All Out (Video)
Long term Breaking More Waves favourite Salt Ashes has been ‘bubbling under’ for what seems like an eternity now – so long in fact that the bubble is now so gigantic that it must surely reach the surface soon. That expansion is helped even further by the fact that her latest two songs, the infectious club banger Girls and new pop anthem Go All Out are her best two songs yet.
Salt Ashes may be the queen in waiting of dark electronic pop but with Go All Out there’s a lot more colour in the sound. However, don’t expect the new video to find her leaping round on a rainbow in a technicolour jumpsuit waving glo-sticks – this is Salt Ashes we’re talking about – so there’s still plenty of black and an abundance of style, as we watch her dinner guests get taken over with her spells of dancing magic. The video appears to be a representation of the lyrics of the song with Salt Ashes exploring the idea of letting go, losing your insecurities and just being free with who you are.
Salt Ashes demonstrated just that philosophy recently when she played at Dials Festival, Portsmouth. With her band taken ill at the last minute Salt Ashes had too options – to pull out last minute or to bravely soldier on. Despite being out of her comfort zone she chose the latter, working out a solo set that despite the ‘difficult’ tea time slot got people moving on the balloon filled dance floor for the first time that day, showing that not holding back is a winning strategy.
Fingers crossed for some more live shows from Salt Ashes soon, but in the meantime lets go all out and dance like nobody is watching.
Salt Ashes - Go All Out (Video)
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
New Music: Nilüfer Yanya - Heavyweight Champion Of The Year (Video)
Nilüfer Yanya last appeared on Breaking More Waves blog ticking the ‘musician in the bath’ box earlier this year (here). This time she goes one further and as Friendly Fires once suggested we all do, jumps in the pool for her new single Heavyweight Champion Of The Year. And being an arty and credible sort of musician, she doesn’t jump in like the 20 million record selling Sabrina for her 80's 'classic' video Boys Boys Boys (complete with the infamous nipple slip) or even splash around in shades and swimwear on a lilo like George Michael in the 'classy' Club Tropicana video. In fact, if you watch those 2 videos (just click on the song titles) it might make you consider how less serious and self-conscious things were in the 80s compared to now.
Nilüfer’s video reflects our time. It has depth of idea. There's no 'let's just lark around at a pool party ' here. Nilüfer states that the piece was about the concept of performance and the relation to the individual: “We are never really sure who is the real me. This is because we are all in a state of constant performance, whether that be in everyday life or being in front of a camera. Even when we are not performing, how do we know we are not performing? Which is the genuine and which is the fake? Only in retrospect we can look back and realise ‘I wasn’t being myself.”
Maybe Sabrina did have those thoughts as she splashed around the beach balls and George perhaps pondered this concept as he sipped his cocktail? But even if they didn't the swimming pool (like the bath) certainly provides ample opportunity for the musician to conjure up all sorts of performance.
Nilüfer Yanya - Heavyweight Champion Of The Year (Video)
Monday, 5 November 2018
New Music: Poppy - X (Video)
Free of the shackles of commercial concerns pop music can do some pretty surprising, sometimes exciting, often downright silly things. And silly things in pop music can occasionally work out to be the best. A prime example? Take a look at Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, inspired by the Bronte novel of the same name. It was her debut single and was ridiculed by much of the hip 'serious music' press at the time. Yet it was a worldwide hit and remains as universally popular today as it did in the past. Many of the revered critics of the time got it wrong and had to rethink their views – yes it’s silly, but silly doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Sometimes there can be a lot of well thought out art behind silliness.
Which brings me to Poppy. If you don’t know about Poppy, it’s time to catch up. Maybe read about her on a previous post by clicking here. It's important to get a bit of context so you understand her world - a world that couldn't exist without the world wide web.
Yet despite her sometimes creepy, sometimes odd, sometimes funny, sometimes silly viral videos, when it comes to her recorded music it’s all generally been a little too synthetic, cheesy and bubblegum for me to really appreciate (even although her live show and the build up to it was certainly entertaining – again read about it on the previous post).
But now things are changing. Poppy’s new album features a collaboration with Grimes and this new song X. It is the most batshit mental thing you are going to see or hear all week.
Prepare yourself. I’m giving you no clues, except there's a very obvious reference to the film Carrie in it. Do not adjust your viewing or listening device. If we are living in a divided world then Poppy gives us both sides in a song of light and dark.
Silly? Maybe. But silly things are sometimes the best.
Poppy - X (Video)
Friday, 2 November 2018
New Music: Introducing - Déyyess
Hannah Butcher isn’t, to be fair, the best pop star name, so it’s a good idea that this Canterbury lass creates and performs under the moniker Déyyess. And if like me you thought that the name sounds like some sort of goddess you would be right – because apparently it is actually the phonetic spelling of goddess in French.
Déyyess first picked up some attention back in 2016 when her alt-pop track Guns got picked up by a bunch of music blogs and since then she’s been cropping up here and there playing support slots, including with Fyfe at Omeara in London. She's also gained support from BBC Introducing Kent. However, with Guns now seemingly removed from the internet it’s time instead to get to know her through new song Escher Heart. A serene piece of twilight pop with a widescreen chorus it bodes very well for her future. It was co-written by by Déyyess and production duo MyRiot (Rae Morris, London Grammar, Aurora and many more)
Déyyess certainly puts one in the back of the net with Escher Heart, which is appropriate considering that she did think about a career in football. She was once been scouted to play for Arsenal. Thankfully though she’s chosen music as her pathway. Keep an ear out for this one - she plays at The Lexington, London on 14th January alongside Breaking More Waves regular Emily Burns - that's worth putting in your diary now.
Déyyess - Escher Heart
Thursday, 1 November 2018
New Music: Alice Chater - Wonderland (My Name Is Alice) (Video)
Alice Chater is a very good pop star. Get caught in her web.
(This blog post is for everyone who says Breaking More Waves has too much waffle).
Alice Chater - Wonderland (My Name Is Alice)
New Music: Talkboy - Over & Under
Well this is bloody marvellous. It’s the second time this week that we visit Leeds (after the rather excellent Ørmstons on Tuesday) and this time it’s for the second song from Talkboy, the follow up to Mother, which you might remember from a past post (here).
Over & Under is like when you are excitedly packing your suitcase for holiday and you can’t squeeze the lid down, it’s so full. It’s a whirlwind of a tune rammed with many simple but brilliant ideas and a contagious frenetic energy. Sharp sparky riffs, hammered keyboards and a big anthem of a chorus are all present; it’s a song that could have been stolen from the stray bits of hundreds of great British bands over the years, but still vehemently manages to find its own space.
There’s some interesting lyrics in the song as well, with the band reflecting on the shallowness of some relationships, knowing people but not really knowing them, and despite the uplifting nature of the chorus, the words “lately I’ve been feeling so down that I don’t really care how this turns out,” tell a different tale.
Talkboy are shaping up to be something rather wonderful.
Talkboy - Over & Under
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
New Music: Introducing - Vegas Gold
Vegas Gold is an artist name that conjures up all sorts of exciting and evocative images of razzmatazz, glitz and decadence, yet here he is in a leather jacket standing in front of what looks like a flat roofed garage, which at a guess is on some suburban estate in a very average part of southern England. I’m pretty certain it’s nowhere near Vegas.
But that of course is the beauty of music – it can take you somewhere else and in the case of Vegas Gold’s debut tune that place is straight to the heart of the dance floor. For Control Of Your Love is full on strut your stuff club-pop. It’s deep, throbbing and sexy – a mantra that seems determined to coax you into releasing those carnal desires: “The body wants what it wants,” he sings. The rhythm is going to get you.
Before everything gets too raunchy, here’s some cold hard facts to keep you calm about Vegas Gold. Vegas Gold is a solo project from one half of the mysterious duo that was known as HOST who picked up a bit of blog traction, starting in 2014, with their slinky dark disco track Heartbeats In The House. Since that time Vegas Gold has worked with Grammy award winning producer Steve Dub (The Chemical Brothers) and thrown out some remixes, but is now ready to unleash his solo material to the world, of which Control Of Your Love is the first example.
You can find Control Of Your Love on the Breaking More Waves monthly playlist, which is updated at the end of the month with all the tracks that have been featured over the previous few weeks. As today is the end of the month that means there's a full refresh ready for you to listen to right now. You can find the playlist by clicking this link.
Vegas Gold - Control Of Your Love (Video)
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
New Music: Introducing - Ørmstons
If you’re the sort of person that likes indie music with choppy guitars and big choruses that make you glad to be alive then the chances are that Ørmstons are about to become your new favourite band. A four-piece from Leeds consisting of Jess Huxham, Bobby O'Hare, Josh Mason and Nathan Robinson, there’s something rather fetching about the noise they make; it’s rough enough around the edges but has a pop purity to its melodies. If bands like Anteros (who they have supported) or whenyoung are on your listening radar then you might want to add Ørmstons to that list.
The band has already played some headline club shows in Leeds and they have two songs on all the usual streaming services. The earliest of the two, Bridgewater Way is decent, but there’s a clear development in songwriting on current single Mexico City, the track that grabbed my ears and wouldn't let go. I think I played it twenty times on repeat when I first heard it. It’s a heartening exercise in old fashioned indie rock, with an opening guitar intro that reminds me a little of Babies by Pulp (a very good thing), it puts everything in the right place and never outstays its welcome.
It’s very early days for the band, but if they can write a few more blinders like Mexico City and get out and about round the country developing their live show and fan base they could be onto something.
Ørmstons - Mexico City
Sunday, 28 October 2018
New Music: Connie Constance - Fast Cars (Video)
Connie Constance was always going to get my attention, if only for the fact that one of my daughters is called Connie and my grandmother was called Constance. (Her real name is equally good: Constance Power). After the name the musical attention first started at Brighton’s Great Escape in 2016 where having watched her languidly gilt-edged set in a seafront club I tweeted: “Connie Constance is the new queen of cool.” Then a couple of months after that she put out a video for Lose My Mind and it was clear that Connie meant business. (For regular readers of the blog, click here, watch the first 10 seconds of the video and you’ll understand why I think that).
Now Connie raises the game again with new single Fast Cars (which is nothing to do with the late 80’s hit of a similar name by Tracy Chapman) and its accompanying video.
Connie’s musical upbringing was a mixed one, having hung out at school with all the indie kids listening to the likes of Blur, The Smiths and Arctic Monkeys and then outside of that she would be with friends who listened to R&B and hip hop. It’s the latter influence that seems more to the fore on this new single. It’s a love song that considers the often vacuous want of materialism: “You want fast cars and movie stars, but I want to train in the deep end,” she sings. The song is accompanied by a video that echoes the theme of the lyrics but also casts Connie and her friends as rich aristocrat, a Marie Antoinette type figure. The difference of course is the skin colour. “I wanted to create a universe where people of our backgrounds and skin colours would have lived in castles like Knebworth instead of being cut out of British history,” she says of the video.
With Jorja Smith having broken through with her mellow blend of jazz-soul-pop, given the right breaks Connie Constance could easily be following her as the next one on everyone’s lips.
Connie Constance - Fast Cars (Video)
Friday, 26 October 2018
New Music: Sigrid - Sucker Punch (Video)
Do I need to say anything more about Sigrid? After all, if you’re not convinced that she is anything more than a pop artist par excellence by now, you’re probably not going to change your mind.
But even if you’ve not signed up to the Sigrid Appreciation Society (I’m membership number 45,678) I hope you will agree that if you or I walked and danced down the street like she does in this brand new video we’d get some very strange looks. Yet when Sigrid does the same it seems not just normal, but dazzlingly cool. But this is what good popstars do. It’s their job to make the absurd seem brilliant. It’s one of the key factors that divides great pop from poor pop. Absurdity into brilliance is why artists are able to sit in the bath and have their photo taken for promotional purposes and to most eyes it seems perfectly natural. And although Sigrid hasn''t done the bath pic yet (it will surely come) she is very much making great pop. Sucker Punch with it’s rubbery synth verses and big belting chorus is (of course) another example of this.
Sigrid - Sucker Punch
New Music: George Ezra - Hold My Girl (Video)
Breaking More Waves raison d'être is primarily new music and discovery – the idea being that every now and then you’ll find something here that you haven’t heard before and fall in love. However, this is also very much a personal blog; it’s just me. I’ve always been very clear that I don’t want a team of writers or other contributors. It's just my voice (to the point that, like this one, some of the posts are spoken and dictated rather than written) and nobody else. Which is why sometimes I can feature a song or artist that pretty much every single one of you will have already heard or at least know of, because there’s nobody telling me I can’t. Or I can write waffling personal pieces about myself like this that ‘proper’ music websites wouldn’t allow as it wouldn't be deemed the correct way to do things.
Maybe then the real underlying raison d'être for Breaking More Waves is not discovery - but that it gives me the opportunity just to write about music I like, rather than bore my friends and family with an ongoing commentary on what I’m listening to (although to be honest I still do this as well). It's the classic 'if anyone reads it, that's a bonus'.
Today is one of those days. George Ezra featured a lot on Breaking More Waves when he was just a nipper in shorts up to 2014. Since that time he’s become a huge popstar in the UK and I haven’t really felt the need to post about him. However, Shotgun was one of the songs of my summer 2018 and it seemed a good proportion of the nation agreed, making it number 1 in the charts.
Today I’m featuring him again. Simply because I love this song. It's called Hold My Girl. If sweetly (some may say sickly) sentimental tunes with a message of faith and hope in someone are not your thing then turn off now, but for me there’s something beautifully touching about Hold My Girl. It’s going to be one of those mobile phone lights in the air moments on his arena tour next spring isn’t it?
This is a new video for the song, released today (so I'm still hitting the 'new' button to a certain extent) and for those who dislike George you might be hoping that this film is a reality – the ending doesn’t look good for him - as he gets in a bit of a deep water problem.
George Ezra - Hold My Girl
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
New Music: Another Sky - Chillers (Video)
If you drew a Venn Diagram that featured Radiohead and London Grammar, Another Sky could well be found highlighted at the intersection.
However, impressively hefty and unsettling new single Chillers slides much further into the Radiohead element of that Venn Diagram with added social bite from lead singer Catrin Vincent. It’s probably the only credible tune you’ll hear that mentions chicken wings and Nandos in the lyrics this year.
Added to this comes the band’s new video which features a young guy who works doing a low paid job at a car wash for a living. The divide between the haves and the have nots when it comes to money is made fully apparent. The film is perfectly edited to fit with the music and whilst it is completely different to their Avalanche video (which if you haven’t seen it you really should watch by clicking here) it really works well with the tune and words.
Following their recent support slots on Laurel’s UK tour (I caught the band in Portsmouth where the audience seemed 50% bewildered and 50% mesmerised – I was certainly in the latter half, being particularly taken by the bands excellent guitar work, and I’m not normally one for noticing technical excellence of guitarists so it must have been very good indeed) Another Sky are now heading out on their own UK dates in small venues all over the country. Full details can be found at their website.
Catch them whilst they’re still relative unknowns.
Another Sky - Chillers
Sunday, 21 October 2018
New Music: Erland Cooper - Simmer Dim
Over the years I’ve occasionally stepped away from the music blog to DJ at various festivals and parties. To be honest, there’s nothing worse than a new music blogger DJing. The dance floor isn’t the place for discovery. That’s why, in about 99% of the cases when I’ve stepped up to the decks I’ve not used the name Breaking More Waves and tried to do something different away from the blog and all other DJs.
This explains why I once went under the name DJ Hojo Hits (a ‘tribute DJ’ in a big wig and leopard print suit who originally played nothing but the hits of 80’s synth pop star Howard Jones) to the Sunday Best Forum Allstars (a collaborative effort bringing together a bunch of strangers off the internet and seeing what happens). Then there's my latest and most favourite project to date – Birdsong DJs – which is essentially an ambient DJ set allowing me to play the likes of Nils Frahm, Max Richter, The Orb, Brian Eno as well as tracks that stretch way longer than would normally be allowed - this year at Bestival I opened with a 45 minute piece of gentle French-synth ambient music. Over the top of the largely instrumental tracks I add lots of birdsong - which sounds especially effective when played in the heart of a forest.
At Bestival this year my quiet 'tweets-not-beats' set on the Thursday night set at The Frozen Mole stage created a quiet and relaxed space away from the carnage and full on dance party madness around the rest of the site. It was the only time I’ve ever DJ’d where I’ve had people come up to me and ask me what the tracks I was playing were called and thanking me for what they described as a beautiful moment. What started as a bit of a joke ended up being very special.
Which leads me on to Erland Cooper. Earlier this year Erland released Solan Goose, his beautifully calm and meditative album formed through and inspired by the landscapes and nature of the Orkney Isles and in particular the birds of the island. Its timing was perfect; two tracks on the record, namely Maalie and the title track now form some of the core of the DJ Birdsong set. If you haven’t heard this album yet, I’d recommend finding some time and quiet space to listen to it.
Now Cooper returns for autumn with what he describes as his late-night studio experiment. The Nightflight EP is an electronic reworking of the tracks Solan Goose, Cattie-Face and Shalder. From Orkney’s Simmer Dim (twilight), Grimleens (half-light) to Mirk (deep darkness) all three tracks are stunning. Taking graceful ambience as their starting point each track evolves into something painted with techno beats and electronic splashes of mind-melting colour. Fans of Jon Hopkins will no doubt approve, the EP possessing the same sort transcendent beauty, even when the pummelling gets hard, as it does on Mirk ,which sounds as if it’s heading towards destruction.
I’m already thinking of using one of these tracks to close out future DJ Birdsong sets. Play the EP for the up moments and then come back to earth with the Solan Goose album.
Simmer Dim (Video)
Thursday, 18 October 2018
New Music: Flohio - Wild Yout
It’s around this time of year that people like me, who like lists and fortune telling, get pretty excited about all the forthcoming tips for 2019 that will inevitably be coming our way over the next couple of months or so from various publications and organisations.
Personally, this year is probably the hardest to call for a number of years. Whereas last year Sigrid was an odds-on favourite to be on every list and previous to that there has always been a few artists that I’ve had a reasonable degree of certainty would be there or thereabouts on the likes of the BBC Sound of list, this year I can’t see an obvious front runner and from the discussions I’ve had with other interested new music aficionados this seems to be a common consensus.
Breaking More Waves will of course be publishing its own annual Ones to Watch list as it has done every year since the blog started around the end of November, but until then here’s one of those artists that I think has a small chance of getting on those industry lists and more to the point, I’d like to see her being given the nod.
Wild Yout (that’s not a spelling error on my part – but one of those trendy grammar gone wrong things that hip young fashionable types like to do in the same way as they like to tweet all in lower case or bands that like to spell their names wrong for Google optimisation) is Flohio’s new release. It’s the follow up to the excellent Watchout and 10 More Rounds is as glassily sharp and hard as they come. Sinister synths and beats provide the landscape for Flohio’s frantic delivery: “No excuses, I just do this. Find my own way through this bullshit,” she storms. This is a track, like all of Flohio’s material, that feels like it’s pushing things forward – there’s an energy to it that is violently exciting.
Flohio is out on tour in late November and December in the UK. Check the dates on her Facebook.
Flohio - Wild Yout
Monday, 15 October 2018
New Music: Introducing - Amanda Tenfjord
Sigrid and Aurora you will, of course, already be 100% familiar with. Yet the quality pop from Norway doesn’t stop there. Bubbling under is the impressive Halie (who currently seems to be focused on her own country) and now I’m adding another name to the list and that’s Amanda Tenfjord. Here's a fun fact: Amanda originally hails from a village also called Tenfjord and yes, it’s her real surname as well.
Having first appeared on Norway’s TV talent show The Stream where she fluttered a few hearts performing the ballad Man of Iron she’s subsequently released a small handful of high-end electronic based pop tunes that have hooks by the bagful. Early out of traps was the suitably titled First Impression and that was followed up with No Thanks. Now Amanda makes it three good ones in a row with Let Me Think. This one's her best yet. If you’re a fan of Sigrid you’re guaranteed to like Amanda. In fact, Amanda has co-written with Odd Martin who has also worked with Sigrid and Aurora, so you can see there’s a golden thread here.
Now all we need is Sigrid, Aurora and Amanda to get together and to form a supergroup. With all the collaborations going on in pop at the moment, it’s perhaps not out of the question. But for now, collect your thoughts and take a listen to Let Me Think which was released last Friday and if, like me, you're in the UK, start hoping she comes over to our country for some shows at some point.
Amanda Tenfjord - Let Me Think
Sunday, 14 October 2018
New Music: Lauran Hibberd - What Do Girls Want?
Lauran Hibberd has the art of writing a made-for-streaming-services indie pop hit down to a fine art. Essentially the golden rule here is no time wasting. No complex introductions are required – just get straight in with the verse and then punch home again with the chorus before the listener skips to the next track. Now you've got them hooked, keep it short, keep it sweet but always leave the listener wanting more.
The two minutes and forty-five seconds of fizz and fuzz of What Do Girls Want? does exactly that, packing enough cartoon sass and sarcasm into its short life span to make you feel like you’ve just downed a couple of double vodka and red bulls and are now pumped up enough to do it all over again, no messing.
So, what do girls want? Alas Lauran doesn’t give the answer. “Honey if I knew I still wouldn’t tell you,” she sings in a chirpy but unforthcoming manner. Again she's got this stuff sussed. Never give everything away.
So without Lauran to help, here are some suggestions provided by the women of Breaking More Waves HQ:
What Girls Want
A nice sit down and a cup of tea.
There you have it. A firecracker from Lauran Hibberd plus the answer to one of the big questions in life from Breaking More Waves. Your day is complete.
Lauran Hibberd - What Do Girls Want?
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