Wednesday 31 July 2019

New Music: Husky Loops - I Think You're Wonderful

I’ve always hated the question ‘what sort of music do you like?’ This is because I don’t really like just one specific type of music and even within genres there is some music I like and some I don’t. So answering it is hard. The possible answer of ‘all types really’ is the sort of bland response that people who aren’t obsessive music fans give and saying ‘just good music’ is ridiculous because how many of us would say that we liked bad music? The question really stumps me. If anyone has a suitably good answer do let me know. 

One type of music that I know that I do like and am often attracted to is pop music, but pop music with (to my ears) a bit of a twist, something that makes it stand out. ‘Pop music for people that don’t normally like pop music’ is how someone once described it. The new Husky Loops single I Think You’re Wonderful is such a song.  

Taken from the London via Italy trio’s forthcoming album I Can’t Even Speak English (which will come with a customisable cover that fans can mark up themselves)  the track is something we could probably all do with now given these rather aggressive, uncompromising and sometimes hateful times; it’s a song with a positive message of love, empathy and resilience. It also reminds me a little bit of Passion Pit's Sleepyhead, which is fine by my books.

What I love about I Think You’re Wonderful is its quirky sense of playfulness; there are effect laden vocal samples that will bring a smile to your face, gentle breakdowns, an unexpected ‘woop’ in the middle and the feeling that Danio, Tommaso and Pietro wanted to write a song that didn’t take itself too seriously, whilst being serious about writing a good song.

Coincidentally, I’m told that Husky Loops find it hard to put a single label on themselves, so in the same way it’s best not to ask me what sort of music I like, it’s probably best not to ask them what sort of music they make, otherwise they’ll be stumped as well.

Husky Loops - I Think You're Wonderful

Monday 29 July 2019

New Music: Black Country, New Road - Sunglasses

Earlier this year when I introduced Black Country, New Road to the pages of Breaking More Waves it was already clear that they weren’t heading for the mainstream. A few days after that piece they released their debut track proper and as far as my ears could tell, the oddly apostrophied Athen’s, France didn’t quite live up to the hype that the band had picked up. It wasn't bad, but perhaps it wasn't as artily bonkers as I wanted.

Now however we get Sunglasses, an oddball mini-epic that clocks in at a Spotify unfriendly 9 minutes long. Ironically so far it has had more plays than the shorter edit version also released to the streaming platform. The track has already become one of the highlights of the seven piece’s live set; a sprawling beast that jumps from downbeat slo-mo post-rock to spacey sax interludes to cacophonous breakdowns to lip-curling pumping guitar riffage all topped off with wavering spoken word / shouted ramblings that reference Fonz from TV show Happy Days, Scott Walker and Kanye West plus posh Hampshire school Bedales. It’s utterly baffling but in the same stroke utterly brilliant. 

Black Country, New Road - Sunglasses

Sunday 28 July 2019

Introducing: Morning Midnight

He’s the singer songwriter coming from a more traditional indie rock background, she’s the one with leanings towards hip-hop and electronics. Together this new Glasgow based duo go by the name of Morning Midnight and their single Ancoats Junction is an enticing debut that is more Bruce Hornsby than Bruce Springsteen, but whoever it sounds like, it’s a boss tune. 

Continuing the reference points that begin with B there’s a hint of Bon Iver in there when Jordan Scott sings of saying goodbye and finding his own way home, hitting the high notes. Yes, Ancoats Junction is a song about separation, the end of a relationship, but it also signals the start of something new that has real possibilities. 

Morning Midnight is very much a band in its infancy having formed last year and seemingly having only played 2 shows (both in the last few weeks) one supporting Sorcha Richardson in London. Hopefully there will be more soon.

A lovey start.

Morning Midnight - Ancoats Junction

Saturday 27 July 2019

New Music: Salt Ashes - Into The Groove

Salt Ashes has shown her excellent taste in mid 80’s pop before with her cover of Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration back in 2013. Now she’s doing it again by taking on Madonna’s Into the Groove, the track which gave Madge her first UK number 1. 

Into The Groove is also hands down one of the best Madonna songs of all time, the others being Justify My Love, Ray Of Light, Vogue, Like A Prayer, Frozen and Papa Don’t Preach. No arguments please on this. If you disagree you are wrong (but I will allow you to have Holiday, Like A Virgin and I Want You with Massive Attack as close seconds). 

What Salt Ashes (real name Viega Sanchez) has done with Into the Groove is absolutely gorgeous. Given her penchant for dark disco jams, sensual beats and electronic pop it would be easy to expect her to simply maintain the original's club sound, adding perhaps a more modern gloss via production. Yet this isn’t the case. Instead Salt Ashes slows everything down bestowing the song a sense of intimacy and a sense that even if ultimately this is just a tune about dancing with some innuendo about shagging thrown in, it means so much more. Sanchez also grants the song even sharper colours with a vocal delivery that is absolutely to die for. 

Madge eat your heart out. Cover version of the month for sure.

Salt Ashes - Into The Groove

Thursday 25 July 2019

New Music: Lauran Hibberd - Frankie's Girlfriend

Breaking More Waves regular Lauran Hibberd’s music has gradually been getting heavier and grungier since her since folkish beginnings. We’re not talking Napalm Death, Motorhead or even Iron Maiden heavy, or not yet anyway; there’s still a massive pop sensibility in what she does. However, new track Frankie’s Girlfriend could certainly stand side by side with a tune like Buck Rodgers by Feeder and there’s an unreleased song in her live set that has distinct hints of Nirvana.

Following a tradition of Frankie’s occupying a space in pop music (Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Frankie by Sister Sledge, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons….er ok I’m struggling now but 3’s a start and Frankie’s Girlfriend makes it 4) Lauran continues to tell stories of characters and the human condition. In this case our lead is the super jealous girlfriend who really resents Lauran, a platonic friend of Frankie's since childhood.

“I heard you talking in your sleep about my boyfriend,” says the subject of the story. And as the envy builds further: “I saw you walking on the beach, he was looking at you the way he used to look at me.” It seems that someone needs to lighten up a little. 

The track is another rock-bop par excellence from the Isle of Wight’s finest musician / worst spaghetti eater with plenty of mighty yet trashy riffage.

Lauran is playing at Deer Shed and Camp Bestival festivals this weekend and after that you can catch her on tour in October (all the dates can be found on this link). Her new EP Everything Is Dogs is out soon. 

Lauran Hibberd - Frankie's Girlfriend

Wednesday 24 July 2019

New Music: A Few Favourites From The Last Few Weeks

Breaking More Waves has been on a rather extended break whilst I enjoyed a summer holiday and attended Glastonbury and Latitude festivals. Before I get back into regular posting let’s take a dive into a handful of tracks that nearly got away. Ranging from sultry disco pop to intense indie, these are the ones I’ve been playing out a lot.

Rosalía – F*cking Money Man

As the Guardian pointed out, Rosalía's ultra-modern take on flamenco has been embraced by ‘the kind of websites that make it their business to write earnest articles about the socio-political significance of pop stars’ and that those sites have indeed ‘begun writing earnest articles about her socio-political significance.’ There’s probably a whole bunch of reasons for this but most importantly it’s probably because Rosalía’s album El Mal Querer is rather bloody brilliant and that she’s become such a big star in Spain it’s impossible to ignore. She was as sharp as a blade at Glastonbury this year and now her latest track F*cking Money Man (released whilst I was basking in the sun by the pool in Torrevieja) piles on the sass. It’s also managed to upset a few language purists as she mixes a few ‘Spanishisms’ in amongst the mainly Catalan language lyrics.

Alice Jemima – Dancing in Love

Having been out on the road supporting Sophie Ellis Bextor recently, Breaking More Waves long term favourite Alice Jemima creates a new genre with new single Dancing in Love; I’m calling it soft disco. It’s played in the sort of club where you sit on extremely comfortable low-slung modular sofas, the music is never too loud to give you tinnitus and everything wraps up before midnight so that we get a good night’s sleep and no hangover. Trust me, this is the best sort of club. There’s no kebab on the way home either, just a healthy handful of berries and a small spoon of yoghurt.

The song is the opening track to Alice’s forthcoming second album Everything Changes (does anyone else immediately start singing that Take That song when they hear that title?) which includes a tune called Binge Love You, which I guess is better than binge drinking at least. She’s out on tour later this year and has more dates with Ellis Bextor (who co-wrote the track with Alice) in autumn as well.

Walt Disco – Past Tense

Glasgow based Walt Disco are one of the more interesting new wave bands out there. Are they goth? Are they pop? Are they indie? Are they New Romantic? Are we all bored of trying to put music into specific category boxes? Whatever they are, they’re magnificent. It’s why I booked them to play Dials Festival in Portsmouth this October on the same stage as other Breaking More Waves favourites The Blinders, Another Sky and Saltwater Sun (tickets for our tiny baby all day festival can be found by clicking this link – a bargain at £20). Much has been made of singer James’s Potter’s extravagant and theatrical vocals and correctly so. It’s nice to have someone singing with such gusto. The video features a girl coming to terms with the death of a friend, which leads me neatly on to the next selection (it's almost as if I planned this)...

The Murder Capital – Don’t Cling to Life

Whilst we’re talking of coming to terms with death, Ireland’s The Murder Capital give us the cheery title Don’t Cling to Life for their new single. One of the most intense yet strangely tender groups I’ve seen live in 2019 The Murder Capital matter. Clocking in at just two minutes and thirty-two seconds long, this is a demonstration of why.

Abbie Ozard – Heartbreak Radio

‘Heartbreak Spotify Playlist’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it as a song title does it? Radio is still more romantic.

I was pleased as punch to see Abbie Ozard’s newbie Heartbreak Radio sneak its way onto the Spotify New Music Friday UK playlist last week. Having posted Abbie’s tunes a couple of times on the blog (first back in 2018 with the song Average Disguise) it’s nice to know that someone else out there is taking notice. Heartbreak Radio is one of those snappy uptempo indie pop numbers that hammers along with a playful tunefulness and finds Abbie linking memory of past relationships to music. She’s improving with every release.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

New Music: Lara Snow - Swim Far

It’s been pretty quiet over at Breaking More Waves HQ the last month or so and will remain so for almost the whole of July whilst I’m on holiday and then hit up Latitude festival, but once we reach August it will be full steam ahead with new music posts.

However, before I take a break I want to highlight three things to you that may be of interest.

First is the Breaking More Waves Spotify playlist. It’s updated at the end of every month with all of the songs that I’ve posted on the blog in the previous month (assuming they are on Spotify of course). Due to the small number of posts last month the current playlist is under half an hour long – which I’m sure you’ll agree is much more manageable than those ridiculous 80 song long playlists you’ll find all over streaming services. You can find the playlist by clicking on this link (here) and at the bottom of this post. If you are so inclined you can follow it and enjoy the monthly updates.

Secondly, I’d like to draw your attention to a new music discovery festival that I help curate. It’s called Dials. It runs on one street in five small venues in Southsea, Portsmouth on October 5th and is in support of local mental health charity Solent Mind. In the 2018 I was the director for the event but I've handed over to someone else now, but am still involved this year in a booking capacity. 2019 will be the festival’s fourth edition and there are a number of confirmed artists on the bill that have featured on Breaking More Waves, including The Blinders (who played Glastonbury this weekend), Another Sky, Pocket Sun and another ‘sun’ band Saltwater Sun. The festival will be announcing a further 20 artists this Friday around 10am including at least a couple more that have been featured on this blog in the last month or so. One of them, Megan Lara Mae was sneakily announced here a few weeks ago. The festival is very small in size and excellent value at £20. Therefore if you’d like to come I’d recommend that you buy your tickets early to guarantee entry. You can buy tickets by clicking here

Thirdly, some music. That’s the point of this blog after all. Here is a song that I’ve had on repeat the last few weeks. It’s from an artist that describes their current location as Berlin / Tel Aviv on their Facebook page. I assume that means that she’s based between the two rather than that she has magic powers that enable her to be in two places at once. However, when it comes to pop music it seems that Lara Snow does possess some sort of magic, because her single Swim Far is a bewitching banger that has put me under a spell. If you like the sort of electronic pop that Chvrches do then you’re almost guaranteed to like Swim Far. In fact drop the almost. You are guaranteed to adore Swim Far. To paraphrase Kylie Minogue I can’t get this one out of my head.

Lara Snow - Swim Far

The Breaking More Waves Playlist