Sunday 31 March 2019

New Music: Georgia - About Work The Dancefloor

Do you Remember Georgia Barnes? She first came to the forefront in 2014 with the release of her EP Come In following a few years of drumming for the likes of Kate Tempest, Juce and Kwes. The daughter of Neil Barnes from Leftfield (if you’ve never heard Leftfield’s brilliant album Leftism or seen the Guiness advert that featured their track Phat Planet (here), that’s your homework for today), she styled her name as GEoRGiA and released her imaginative debut self-titled album in 2015.

Roll on to 2019 and Georgia appears to have fixed her Caps Lock keys and is now producing her most accessible and poptastic music to date. We’ve already had Started Out which picked up plenty of plays on BBC Radio 1 and now there’s the Robyn-esque About Work The Dancefloor, which frankly is bloody brilliant. Big 80s robotic synth stabs? Check. Pulsing Moroder like synths? Check. A hook that’s spoken not sung so those of us who really can’t sing can join in easily? Check. Oh and a video that features a house that’s converting to a night club so hard that it’s on fire. Check.

Add it to your playlist now. Like I have. Because it’s the end of the month and that means it’s time for an updated playlist with every song featured on Breaking More Waves from March. You can find the playlist by clicking this link here.

Georgia - About Work The Dancefloor

Thursday 28 March 2019

New Music: BASH! - Indecisive

Last month I introduced Southampton’s finest new band to the pages of Breaking More Waves. (Here) They were and still are called BASH! Now they’re back again with a new song. Hurrah.

As soon as a group mentions the F-word (that’s fun by the way) music snobs sometimes turn away. Imagine if for example Radiohead had described themselves as ‘some kids having fun.’ A certain type of Pitchfork reader would have instantly dismissed them. How can they write good songs when they’re enjoying themselves? Well, that's how BASH! describe themselves on their Facebook page and to use a cliché, the music snob's loss is our gain, because it means more room on the dance floor for us. Two fingers up to you Mr Making Music Has To Be Serious For It To Be Good. 

And BASH! are good. And fun! And they love an exclamation mark as well. Imagine Radiohead’s Creep looking like this: CREEP! Isn’t that more exciting?

Anyway, Indecisive rocks. It’s a little heavier than previous song Wild – although don’t expect anything that sounds like Metallica. The lyrics go a little deeper as well. Just press play on the song below - you don't need an essay from me describing every bloody guitar riff and drum beat.

BASH! will be supporting Girli in their home city on the 11th April. Keep an eye out for more live dates soon.

BASH! - Indecisive

New Music: Rosalía - Con Altura

Rosalía’s El Mar Querer didn't make it into my Top 10 Albums of 2018 list, but if I wrote that list again now it would have done. It's been a bit of a slow burner for me,

Already a huge star in some parts of the world, here in the UK, after two records, she very much still a rising artist. I could imagine her pushing her trolley around your local supermarket and nobody recognising her. In fact, even though I listen to a lot of music, it wasn’t until a holiday in Rosalía’s home country of Spain last summer that I came across her songs.

El Mar Querer is a mind-blowing long-player mixing traditional flamenco with R&B pop and exciting synthetic beats. If that sounds like an awful idea, it isn’t. Rosalía pulls it off 100% with her incredibly expressive and beautiful voice and some exciting ultra-modern production. It shows that pop can still do something unusual and exciting even if as a genre it has reached middle age.

Since the album she has also cropped up on James Blake’s rather good fourth record Assume Form on the song Barefoot In The Park (one of the highlights of Assume Form) and has been teasing the fact that she has collaborated with Billy Eilish. This summer Rosalía heads to the UK and besides a show in London at Somerset House will be hitting Glastonbury Festival. For anyone moaning that The Killers are an uninspiring choice of headliner, may I suggest you take inspiration in Rosalía instead. Glastonbury is about way more than 10pm Saturday Night on the Pyramid stage.

Today Rosalía released a new track and it’s a bit of a surprise. In the same way her debut album was a big stylistic jump to her second, now she’s releasing a reggaeton tune called Con Altura with another collaborator J Balvin. Apparently Rosalía listened to quite a lot of reggaeton when she was younger and so for her this is a natural progression. Even if like me you only know a little Spanish (living fast is mentioned in the lyrics so I’m guessing the song is something about that) it doesn’t really matter – the hook will grab you anyway. And being Rosalía the video, like all of her work, is a lot of fun, taking some more traditional dancing and bringing it fully up to date.

Check out the video below and if you haven’t done so, treat yourself to a listen of El Mar Querer - one of the best pop records of 2018.

Rosalía - Con Altura

Monday 25 March 2019

New Music: Mosa Wild - Night

With hints of The National, Gang of Youths and a more introverted and quieter Springsteen, Mosa Wild flawed me with Smoke, their debut release, in 2016. That was quickly followed by some support slots with Maggie Rogers and so 2017 seemed to promise an exciting year of releases and shows from the band. 

It didn’t happen. 

In fact it seemed for some time that Smoke was the only output we’d ever get from Mosa Wild and they’d become one of those ‘whatever happened to….’ bands, building up 8 million streams on Spotify in the process. 

Then out of the blue the wheels have been set back in motion. With a show at the Waiting Room in London confirmed as well as slots at Great Escape and Bushstock Festivals, Mosa Wild can be taken of the notice board labelled 'Missing Presumed Dead'. It was just a rather long intermission, which makes sense given that when the founding members of band got together they called themselves The Intermission Project before changing to Mosa Wild.

To fully confirm their return there is also a new song. It’s called Night and was produced by Jim Abbiss of Bombay Bicycle Club and Arctic Monkeys fame; but this time there’s the promise of more as there is an EP on its way called Talking In Circles which will be released through Glassnote.

Night is a call for support set against widescreen stage straddling indie rock guitars: “This night is long, my fire is burning out, help me be strong,” sings vocalist Jim Rubaduka and it only takes a couple of listens to confirm that it’s a potential anthem in the making. Amongst the abundance of gangs of indie boys with guitars, Mosa Wild is a cut above the rest.

Mosa Wild - Night

Friday 22 March 2019

New Music: Rosie Lowe - Pharoah

For the first forty-five seconds of Rosie Lowe’s new single Pharoah you could easily be forgiven for thinking that her evil guitarist had secretly locked himself in the recording studio, flicked all the recording switches on and was preparing to have a self-indulgent jam session whilst nobody was around. Thankfully it doesn’t last long. Then BOOM, a big saucy bass bruises the ears in a most delightful way and we’re slipping off down to slow groove funkytown, with Rosie celebrating her strength:  “Power in my arms, power in my legs, power in my mind , power in my imperfections that make me, a power in my knowledge, power in the magic I do.” From this we can perhaps deduce that Rosie is a member of the magic circle and will soon be doing some David Blaine or Houdinni like tricks for us all when she's bored with the music. 

Then there’s the video. There’s probably some deep meaning here, but frankly it’s late at night and I have absolutely no idea what I’ve just watched. Your suggestions and answers on a postcard please (for the old people) and via Twitter (for the middle aged) and via Snapchat (for the young ‘uns) for what it all means / is about. 

More oddness abounds where, at the time of writing, Pharoah isn't on Spotify, so no New Music Friday positioning for Rosie at the moment, which is a shame. For this deserves to be heard in as many places as possible.

Update: A few hours after I posted this piece the video was taken down from Rosie's channel. This might explain the oddness described above - it looks like there was some sort of upload timing error. No doubt it will be back. Until then you'll just have to imagine what it might have been.

Update 3rd April: It's back online.

Rosie Lowe - Pharoah

Thursday 21 March 2019

Glastonbury 2019 Emerging Talent Competition Longlist Announced (And My 3 Selections)

Every year since 2011 I have been one of the judges for the opening round of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition, the winner of which gets to play a main stage slot at the festival and receives £5,000 from PRS Foundation to help take their songwriting and performance to the next level.

This year was no different and today the festival has announced the 2019 longlist from which a shortlist of 8 will be chosen.

How It Works

Every year there are thousands of entries for this competition. Whittling them down to an eventual winner is a three-stage process and my involvement is in the first stage alongside 29 other judges. 

Each judge is sent an individual list of around 170 acts that have entered the competition. I’m required to pick three acts from that list that are then placed on the shortlist. Each judge can request to listen to specific genres or take a selection of acts from all genres. I take this second option, mainly because it makes the judging process more fun; the thought of listening to 170 indie rock acts for example could become hard work. Each artists submission is a recording of their music on Soundcloud together with a video of themselves playing live and that’s what I use to pick my three acts. Their online statistics, if I’ve heard of them before and other such factors are discounted. My choice is based purely on what I consider to be the acts with the most talent, what moves me the most and which live performance videos show that the artist is ready and able to play a main stage at Glastonbury – as that is the eventual prize.

For 2019 my experience was that the quality of artist submissions was higher than ever before. I really struggled to choose my final three – I could have easily chosen nine or ten acts that were worthy of the longlist. You can see (and hear) my choices below.

Once the longlist of ninety has been selected another panel of judges from the festival whittle those acts down to a shortlist of eight who are invited to come and play at a live final at Pilton Working Men’s Club in April infront of an invited audience. It’s based on that live performance that the eventual winner of the competition is chosen by a panel representing the festival.

For further information on the competition, including the full longlist, hop on over to the official Glastonbury website by clicking here and do take a listen to my three choices for 2019 below.


Amahla has an effortlessly beautiful tone to her voice. She sings the most gorgeous and soulful songs, marking her as a huge talent for the future.

Amy Vix

With elements of country, Americana and rock incorporated in her music, Amy Vix also possesses a wonderful pop sensibility, displayed in radio friendly songs like Over The Wreckage, which has some similarity to Taylor Swift.

Anoushka Lucas

It takes just one listen to the warm elegant vocals and jazzy atmospherics of Anoushka Lucas to be impressed. Superb stuff.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Introducing: Megan Linford

It’s some time since I’ve featured any folk music on Breaking More Waves, but today I’m making amends with an artist from my home city of Portsmouth – Megan Linford. Megan has been bubbling under for some time now, but over the last year or so her profile has been gradually rising. Now seems the right time to introduce her here.

Megan played the 2018 edition of Portsmouth’s Dials Festival which I helped curate and direct and this year nabbed the prize for Best Solo Artist in the local newspaper's Portsmouth Guide Awards, a category for which she was first nominated for in 2013 when she was just 16. Incidentally, another previous winner was Breaking More Waves regular Jerry Williams, who is now getting national and international recognition – showing that despite Portsmouth’s reputation for producing nothing but generic meat and two veg man-rock there’s more to the local scene than that. 

This Friday Megan plays The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, a building that was first constructed in 1494 and is undoubtedly one of the city's most unusual and interesting venues. It's thick stone walls sit overlooking the sea and inside it's decorated with coats of arms displays and massive exposed timber joists  The gig is already sold out.

Now comes Megan’s new single, a beautifully crafted piece called First Day of Spring. It’s a song that has gentle earthy tone to it that will please fans of Laura Marling in particular and perhaps The Staves. First Day of Spring is a song of new beginnings; from the opening sound of water and hauntingly eerie vocal sighs we find Megan coaxing an organic beauty out, singing of being in Winter’s grip, how nature can give a feeling of safety and being alone. The video finds her in some equally cold and snowy settings as well as the shingle beach close to where she’ll be playing live this Friday. Truly gorgeous stuff.

Megan Linford - First Day of Spring

Tuesday 19 March 2019

New Music: Patawawa - All The Time

Time to strut. Lizzo and Janelle Monae have been funking their stuff hard recently, but its not just American acts who are getting the hips thrusting. The UK (in places) is at it as well.

Derbyshire isn’t known as the centre of disco, but Patawawa are continuing to make it just that. New single All The Time whips up the delights of the groove and throws it all over the dancefloor with a little help from the ghost of Prince.

“Forget about my counselling, forget anxiety, when I look into your eyes our prescription is for me,” sings Beth Garrett as the nation suddenly decides it’s John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and there’s some serious dirty dancing going on. Or at least that’s what should happen when you hear Patawawa. Time to get lost in music. We're caught in a trap. This feels good.

Patawawa - All The Time

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Introducing: Gracey

The chorus of newcomer Gracey’s debut single is a killer. With an effect laden voice reminiscent of Imogen Heap’s Hide & Seek or Laurie Anderson’s Oh Superman it stabs deep: “We just want different things, we want different things, I only wanted to love you, but you made it fucking hard to.” It’s soulful, spacey and a rather special pop song. If she has anything else as good as this get ready to read her name a lot.

Gracey’s not 100% new to this pop business though. Remember By Your Side by Jonas Blue and Raye? Gracey has a writing credit on that (under her full name Grace Barker). Ditto the Sub Focus track Don’t You Feel It (featuring Alma). 

Gracey comes from just down the road from this blog’s location in Portsmouth, namely Brighton, which means that she’s the second very good singer called Grace from there in recent times, the other being another Breaking More Waves approved act - Grace Carter. So perhaps the change to the more popstar like name of Gracey is a sound one, after all two Grace’s from Brighton could be confusing for those of us with lesser minds.

Gracey’s debut song is called Different Things – and no it’s not about UK politics and Brexit and how the politicians seem unable to agree on what to do  – but a romantic relationship that just was never going to work out. Different Things is on streaming services now and there’s a simple introductory video to accompany the song as well.

Gracey - Different Things

Monday 11 March 2019

Introducing: Pocket Sun

When this blog was in its infancy dreamy, blissful, spaced out electronic pop seemed to be everywhere, but particularly in America. Times have changed since that time, but every now and then a new artist or band will crop up who could have very easily fitted in with those lavish sounds of 2009-2011. 

Today I’m introducing one such act. Except this lot aren’t from some laid-back Californian town, instead they’re from Bristol, UK.  They’re called Pocket Sun and they use synths and electronics to make songs that sound like the computer techies in the office have been on a holiday to a sun-drenched resort and come back with a bit more of a relaxed groove about them. If the sound Pocket Sun make was the blog sound of 2010, with a few years removed and less hype it still sounds celestially lovely. 

Debut single Plastic is a technicolour pop song of perfection. It doesn’t leap out and shout in your face; it’s more subtle than that. But once the “sending signals into the sky” hook and melodic charms weave their way into your head you’ll probably want to float away somewhere all together more astral as well.

It’s very early days for Pocket Sun – Plastic only came out on Friday – but once their debut EP (due for May release) is out and everyone has heard more of their warm, bleached out electronic songs it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we’re all drifting away with them. A fine way to start your musical week.

Pocket Sun - Plastic

Friday 8 March 2019

Introducing: Kings

If you’re a fan of modern of the moment slow-burning electronic pop with strong vocals then you need to take a listen to today’s new artist. She goes by the name of Kings and shouldn’t be confused with late 80’s Dr Martens sporting King who gave us Love and Pride and some others that nobody can remember, or any of the other rather large crop of bands with Kings in their name, from that Sex on Fire lot to the Kings of Convenience. Or even this group (click here) who I introduced a couple of years ago that had exactly the same name. No this is just Kings, even although there’s just the one of her - which is somewhat confusing.

Kings is not her real name, of course, which is in fact revealed on her Facebook as Aniya. If that name rings a bell it’s probably because there was a singer called Aniya who after moving to London from her native Switzerland put out a couple of really good tracks in 2017 called Demon and Demon Part II In Praise of Folly. Those tracks did pretty well on You Tube and then after that, it seemed to go a bit quiet.

It appears that these two Aniyas are one and the same. Recently Aniya, under her new name of Kings, supported Lewis Capaldi and Nina Nesbitt at a sold out show in Switzerland and played her own smaller headline gig Iin Zurich which she also sold out. Colours is her debut song as Kings and was released today; it’s easy to imagine this one picking up some airplay in the UK on Radio 1. It sounds a little bit like a cross between Dua Lipa and Little Mix, so it really is one for the pop kids. An impressive and accessible start – keep an eye and ear out for Kings.

Kings - Colour

Thursday 7 March 2019

New Music: Angie McMahon - Pasta

Well, this is very good isn’t it?

It’s a song called Pasta from a forthcoming album called Salt. I’m secretly hoping that the rest of the album will contain other food-based song titles that will, when combined, make a delicious recipe.

Angie McMahon is the sort of artist that people who argue that music is only worth listening to if it’s ‘authentic’ and ‘honest’ and ‘real’ will like a lot. I really don’t care for any of those things. It's so limiting to your enjoyment of all types of music but is also an argument often built on a lie. Anyone that has watched Bruce Springsteen’s On Broadway will understand. After all Springsteen is one of those artists that people attribute all of those qualities to with regularity and yet there he was on stage revealing how so much of what he does is fraud. He is after all a man who sings songs of the workers in the factories. “I’ve never seen the inside of a factory, and yet it’s all I’ve ever written about,” he tells the audience. “I’ve never worked 9 to 5. I’ve never worked 5 days a week.”

But I digress. This isn’t a post about Springsteen – although ironically Angie McMahon names him as an inspiration alongside the likes of Lianne La Havas, Big Thief and Tom Waits. This is a post about Pasta.

Watch the video below which essentially finds Angie doing nothing. OK, this probably doesn’t sound like the most inspiring concept for a video, but it weirdly works and gives you plenty of time to focus on Angie’s wonderful low-range vocal delivery and raw guitars that eventually let loose, just as you think the song is going to drift towards a finish. This is strong.

Angie McMahon - Pasta

New Music: Saltwater Sun - Blood

Blood by Reading band Saltwater Sun is undoubtedly my favourite tune that the group has released so far. 

Whilst positively raining with gorgeous guitar chords and uplifting sounding melodies the track deals with much more personal issues; for Blood is about family and the legacy we leave behind, written as lead singer Jen Stearnes thought about her father who died a number of years before. Most people would probably like to think that we will get through life to see some of those big moments that mark the life of a family – anything from graduations to weddings to special holidays to the birth of new children – but the reality is that unfortunately some of us will pass away early, and Jen sums it up with this line: “Is it tainted now by the agony of all you had to miss?” 

Whilst the song was released a month ago, the band have just put out a video to accompany the tune which is the classic ‘shove a camera in their faces whilst we’re driving along the motorway’ tour footage piece which if nothing else you can learn that last year the band played a BBC Introducing Stage at a rainy festival, supported Jimmy Eat World and had some fun.

Blood is taken from a forthcoming EP due for April release with the promise of the band playing a number of festivals in 2019. 

Saltwater Sun - Blood (Video)

Sunday 3 March 2019

Introducing: Moyka

Over the last few days Oslo’s By:Larm festival took place – one of a number of larger emerging music festival’s that happen across Europe at the start of the year. Alongside Eurosonic it’s one I always pay close attention to, as it’s a good way of picking up on exciting new talent from other countries – even if I haven’t attended. These days discovery is so easy, with line ups published way in advance and streaming services making access to artists music so simple.

You might remember that last year I wrote about a new Norwegian artist called Halie - someone that I part discovered through By:Larm. Today I’m doing virtually the same and introducing to Breaking More Waves readers this year’s By:Larm discovery and yes, it’s another electronic pop artist from Norway.

Moyka is Monika Engeseth, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter and producer who has, in the last few years, been based in what seems to be the capital of banging Nordic pop: Bergen. There’s just 1 track on her Soundcloud, a demo of a song called Colder (updated 11/3/2019 - now replaced with a full version as the demo has now been removed) , but it’s way better than 99% of the demos you’re ever likely to hear – it sounds like a fully-fledged tune to me.

Big pulsing electronics, strong slightly ethereal vocals and a sense of weightlessness, calm and space are the things that immediately stand out with Colder. If you’re a fan of Aurora and Sigrid the chances are you’ll quickly fall for this, a song which finds Moyka singing ‘I love when it hurts, drag me under,” which to be honest doesn’t sound like a lot of fun from my perspective, but it certainly makes for a good other-worldly electronic pop tune.

Moyka - Colder (Demo)

Friday 1 March 2019

New Music: Ellie Goulding - Flux

It’s funny how the course of pop music runs. On Wednesday I posted a track by Sazzie, a new project from Sarah McIntosh, an artist that I first wrote an introducing post nearly 10 years ago when she was doing a another project. Fast forward to now and she still isn’t any sort of household name. This isn’t ‘failure’ just as becoming very well-known isn't necessarily ‘success’, although society generally views popularity and commercial gain in this way. However, the pressures of that so called 'success' and becoming a public figure can bring their own personal difficulties which aren’t for everyone and might lead them to questioning if it is all it’s made out to be. 

Within a few days of the Sarah McIntosh post all that time ago I also ran another introducing piece on a new artist. In that blog post the picture of the artist shows her standing in a simple vest top, wearing glasses with long brown-ish hair. If books were judged by covers then she didn’t look like a typical popstar at that time; certainly the piece I wrote  talked of her acoustic roots and the fact that she had started to introduce electronic elements to her music. Her name was (and still is) Ellie Goulding

You’ve probably heard of her. 

At this stage I could probably roll out a bunch of clichés about her ‘journey'; something which so many musicians and journalists talk about in interviews I roll my eyes. Please musicians stop talking about your journeys - everyone has a 'journey' - it's just what you've been doing in life. 

Instead let’s just take a listen to her new tune.

Here are the key facts you need to know:

1. It’s called Flux, but it isn’t a cover of the only really good song Bloc Party put out after their first album.

2. This one is more Freya Ridings than Diplo. It’s a piano ballad, so arguably has more in common with her acoustic singer songwriter roots than her electronic pop, although of course in the UK one of her biggest hits was a cover of a ballad (Your Song).

3. In the video she wears an amazing dress. The sort of thing only popstars and celebrity types can get away with wearing without anyone calling them ridiculous.

4. The “I’m still in love with the idea of loving you, it’s a state of Flux, but it’s not enough,” line will get in your head.

5. If you go back and listen to her music from when she started her career you can hear how her voice as changed – it’s less thin sounding and slightly lower than it used to be. 

6. Flux is my favourite Ellie Goulding song for some time. It’s majestic, enchanting and rather lovely.

Ellie Goulding - Flux