Thursday 31 December 2020

The Breaking More Waves Top 30 Albums of 2020 List


As I say every time around this year, by now you’re probably sick of end of year album lists, but the fact that you are here shows that you still have at least a tiny bit of stamina for more, so thank you for visiting. 

So these are my favourite albums of 2020, in order from 1st to 30th. 30 is too many really. Why anyone would be interested in my 26th favourite album of 2020 I have no idea. But at least it’s not a top 50. Ideally I would have stuck to 20, even if just so that I could have had a headline that read '20 from 2020' but I’ve listened to so much music this year I just couldn’t cut it down to that number without feeling that there were some good ones missing. It’s like inviting friends to a party – if I don’t invite certain people I’m going to feel really awkward about it.

Like the previous few years there’s no big write up, because my guess is all you want to do is have a look at how my list compares with yours and then bugger off again. If it's good enough for Barack Obama to throw his album list up on line with no commentary and get thousands of views, it's good enough for me. 

If there’s something here you haven’t heard, why not give it a try. By way of introduction, I’ve made a playlist with one track from each record. Find it by clicking here. That means you get 2 Sault tracks and 2 by Taylor Swift as they both feature twice. Also, something that may be a surprise to those who saw my 2019 list is that there’s no Fontaines DC on this list (they produced my favourite of 2019). Sorry guys, I just didn’t feel the second album as much as the first. 

For the first time ever I couldn’t decide on an overall number one and so two records share the top spot. Another Sky’s I Slept On The Floor and Wake UP! by Hazel English have been not only my favourite records of this year, but my most played. Both these two records seem strangely out of fashion and yet are weirdly and brilliantly all the better for it. 

Another Sky’s record is the most complete album I have listened to this year. It feels like every track sits in the perfect place – there’s an ebb and flow that makes it the complete start to finish listen. It’s a record that I discover more every time I play it both musically and lyrically. It’s bloody brilliant. Wake UP! by Hazel English is a record that is just chock full of gorgeous sixties referencing indie pop melodies that won my heart on first listen and has stayed there ever since. It’s a record that makes me feel like I have a teenage crush on it.

Close behind these 2 wonderful albums is Sault’s much acclaimed Untitled (Black Is). It’s a record for our times; an essential statement that mixes R&B, funk, soul against the background of the Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd. It’s a hugely powerful piece of work on many levels. 

Add to that Phoebe Bridgers' sublime reality-core songwriting on Punisher, Dua Lipa’s all killer no filler mainstream pop album that hugely improves on her debut, Charli XCX’s lockdown computer bangers, Georgia’s Mercury nominated electronically enticing Seeking Thrills, Erland Cooper’s closing record from his Orkney trilogy, Pottery’s riotous party punk funk of Welcome to Bobby’s Motel and E.M.M.A’s cinematic soundtracks to the top 10 and all in all it’s been a very good year for new music.

These are the records that I have listened to excessively, the ones I have lived and breathed and the ones that have got me through the year. Thank you to all these artists for doing what you do. I love you.

1= Another Sky - I Slept On The Floor

1= Hazel English -Wake UP!

3 Sault - Untitled (Black Is)

4 Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

5 Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

6 Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now

7 Georgia – Seeking Thrills

8 Erland Cooper – Hether Blether

9 Pottery - Welcome To Bobby’s Motel

10 E.M.M.A – Indigo Dream

11 Taylor Swift - Evermore

12 Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song

13 Nat Vazer - Is This Offensive And  Loud?

14 The Blinders – Fantasies of A Stay At Home Psychopath

15 Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter

16 International Teachers Of Pop - Pop Gossip

17 Ren Harvieu – Revel In The Drama

18 Mary Lattimore – Silver Lakes

19 Other Lives – For Their Love

20 Sault – Untitled (Rise)

21 Porridge Radio – Every Bad 

22 Oh Wonder  –  No One Else Can Wear Your Crown

23 Emily A. Sprague – Hill, Flower, Fog

24 Taylor Swift - Folklore

25 The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You

26 The Budos Band - Long In The Tooth

27 Lady Gaga - Chromatica    

28 Rosie Carney – The Bends

29 Baxter Dury – The Night Chancers

30 Gia Margaret – Mia Gargaret

I'll be back tomorrow with news on what I'm doing with the blog in 2021.

Here are two tracks from my two (equal) favourite albums of 2020

Hazel English - Milk and Honey

Another Sky - Tree

Friday 4 December 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #10 Skullcrusher


The final artist on Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch for 2021 list is one Helen Ballentine who goes by the artist name of Skullcrusher. As I (and quite possibly every other person who has written about her this year) noted on my Introducing post about her in May, whilst the name probably brings to mind some sort of violent doom metal band, the music of Skullcrusher is far from that. With a debut EP released in July and a follow up single Farm shared in October, this L.A based singer songwriter creates soft, spectral acoustic songs that cast their spell on you so subtly that you probably won’t even notice you’ve been caught up in them.

This is not just some winsome bedroom project that has no ambition to be heard however. Skullcrusher’s songs are being released via Secretly Canadian, a label with a good track record with artists such as Faye Webster and Jason Molina coming through them. If 2021 finds, at some point, artists touring again, expect to see Skullcrusher out on the road with possibly some shows in the UK as well.

Skullcrusher - Trace

Thursday 3 December 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #9 Yard Act


As I intimated in a previous Ones to Watch 2021 post on Portsmouth group Hallan, this year I’m selecting two bands that broadly fit into the category of ‘sneering post-punk’ and that second band is Leeds four-piece Yard Act. Featuring members of Post War Glamour Girls and Menace Beach they first appeared in April 2020 with The Trapper’s Pelts Yard, throwing out social commentary that is scathingly caustic and hilarious in equal parts. 

Take Fixer Upper, a take on a fictional conversational with a neighbour where we get to meet Graham and his smug provincial second home owners view of the world: “I’m not from round here, but I am.” Satire can be hard to do in music, the results often sounding pompous and a bit too clever, but Yard Act seem to be getting it about right – Graham sounds like a real idiot - unfortunately we probably all know someone a bit like Graham.

The big question with such a small number of tracks out there is if Yard Act can maintain their momentum or will their somewhat Marmite ‘bloke talking over guitar riffs and grooves’ sound soon lead to them becoming a novelty themselves and run out of steam? Based on what has come so far I’m hoping for the former - Yard Act are offering something far more entertaining lyrically than a lot of artists out there at the moment.

Yard Act - Fixer Upper

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #8 Christy


The only male solo artist on Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list for 2021 is Glasgow’s Christy O’Donnell. This twenty-something singer songwriter keeps things simple just going by the name Christy. That simplicity also flows through to his gorgeous songs. His debut EP Homegrown (released in August through Made Records) contains five of them. It’s a concept EP of sorts, following the lives of a family in one house in Glasgow from the 1920s to 2020s. 

There’s something very comforting about Christy’s sound – it’s easy to imagine his music cropping up on all of those Chill Out playlists. In fact a quick scan on Spotify shows that he already crops up on ‘Easy’, ‘Mellow Pop’ and ‘Your Coffee Break’. 

Christy is a former busker (why do I never hear buskers as good as this?) who has also appeared in the Disney drama Find Me In Paris but now he is focussed on music. If he can continue the excellence of his debut EP he will definitely be one to watch in 2021.

Christy - Pictures

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #7 Baby Queen


Baby she’s a queen. Baby Queen. Real name Bella Lathum. 

I first introduced Baby Queen to readers of Breaking More Waves this summer when she had just 2 tracks on line. Since then she’s released her debut EP and alongside Holly Humberstone’s (featured in an earlier One to Watch post) it has quickly become one of my favourite pop debut’s of 2020. 

The internet, narcissism, depression, obsessive love, sex and medication. This is the basis of that EP. Lyrically it’s very much a record of these times for dispirited twenty somethings. “I met a boy on the internet, now I can make him up inside my head,” she sings on Online Dating. “I get more likes when I don’t look like me; well fuck my life!” is a line from Pretty Girl Lie. And then there’s Medicine, the anti-depressant anthem of our times: “Thank god for my medicine, I feel so apathetic, when I take my medicine.”

But despite the somewhat depressing nature of the words, they lodge in your head and stick. If you like your pop a little edgy but still very accessible, Baby Queen could soon be your new right royal favourite. (And for regular readers – need I say anything about the fact that she’s already joined the musician in the bath club?)

Baby Queen - Internet Religion

Baby Queen - Pretty Girl Lie

Monday 30 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #6 Hallan


Looking back at the Breaking More Waves One to Watch lists over the last 13 years I’ve managed in that time to pick a number of commercial big hitters. However, the reason this has always been called Ones to Watch is because some of the chosen acts are probably never going to headline Glastonbury or have a top ten album – but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth watching for other reasons – a fantastic live show or just producing some cracking singles  even if they never get played on the radio or only have a few hundred streams on You Tube. Having said that the crystal ball is very foggy - when I selected Florence & The Machine as One to Watch in 2008 I suggested that her music was too leftfield to ever be commercially successful.

It’s why, over the years, when there has been an artist local to me that I feel is deserving of attention I feature them on the Ones to Watch list. Whilst Breaking More Waves has never been a local music blog, where there is great new music coming out of my local scene (Portsmouth and the surrounding area including the Isle of Wight) I feel it’s important I highlight it. This is why previous Ones to Watch lists have included the likes of Curxes, Jerry Williams, Lauran Hibberd and Coach Party and this year I’m including Portsmouth band Hallan who are without doubt the most exciting band to come out of Portsmouth over the last year or two.

First featured on Breaking More Waves this March I described this four piece’s music as growling with a monstrous amount of atmosphere and punkish strut. They’re part of the growing number of UK bands that have been energised by the shit show that society has created over the last few years, delivering deadpan observational storytelling in a menacing drawl whilst guitars and drums sneer in the shadows (there’s another one to come on this list in a few days time). 

With three singles on streaming services, the most recent of these, Modern England released through Nice Swan records found the support of BBC6 Music even achieving playlist status. They were also a band that I had booked in for what promised to be a packed, frantic hometown show at Dials Festival 2020 until Covid-19 stamped on the live music industry. Portsmouth has always struggled with an island mentality with it's music scene but with Hallan it already feels that they're taking steps to expand way beyond the south coast. Let’s keep everything crossed for 2021 and that Hallan can deliver some more post-punk bangers and that they are able to play some throbbing, sweaty gigs soon. 

Hallan - Modern England

Sunday 29 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #5 Olivia Dean


The next artist on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list for 2021 is Olivia Dean. A UK soul artist from Walthamstow, East London, she’s a Brit-School graduate who has been slow trickling a series of gorgeous songs out online over the last couple of years.

Her music sounds effortless, which could be taken as a criticism (as if no effort was put into it) but that’s not what I mean. For Olivia’s sound is full of warmth and a caressing smoothness as if it just comes naturally. It’s pop, but it’s grown up sophisticated pop. Take a listen to October release Echo for a perfect example of this. You can hear references to many classic artists; she’s talked of love and influences such as Al Green, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin and Carole King, but there’s a distinctly modern sound to the production of her music as well. The video for another track The Hardest Part references Diana Ross & The Supremes. 

Having already joined Rudimental when they headlined V Festival in 2017 to sing on one of their songs, Olivia has already had a taste of the big stage spotlight; but I can imagine her elegant sound fitting equally at home in a small club. Wherever she eventually plays in 2021 and beyond, it’s highly likely that Olivia Dean will be melting hearts.

Olivia Dean - Echo

Olivia Dean - The Hardest Part


Saturday 28 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #4 Ivorian Doll


If you take one look at some of the comments on Ivorian Doll’s rather brilliant and fiery Body Bag video and you’ll see that I’m not the only one to think she’s one to watch for 2021:

"This should have a million views by now." (Note: It almost has 3 months later)

"This girl is not playing."

"Minute of silence for those who are sleeping on her."

"She could be as big as Nicki Minaj the UK just gotta be behind her."

All of these comments are 100% correct.

Watch the video and you’ll see why Ivorian Doll could quite possibly be the UK’s first female drill-pop crossover artist. Even if you’re not a fan of rap you’ll see that she has the personality, lyrics, flow and style to blow up and become a star. She doesn’t hold back – she goes hard – and is happy to let us know that she’s in charge.

So who is Ivorian Doll? She’s one Vanessa Mahi, a UK based You Tuber turned rapper who started her career by collaborating with Abigail Asante and then in 2019 released a statement of intent in the form of single Queen of Drill. Since then her April 2020 release Rumours, which contains lines like “they said I'm leaking from the STDs that I got,” received a lot of internet love (over 4 million Spotify streams and 5 million You Tube plays for the school classroom video - a Britney / Hit Me Baby video for 2020) and Ivorian Doll was out of first gear with her foot on the accelerator. 

With her combination of heavy drill intensity but with a pop sensibility Ivorian Doll is one to watch for 2021. She's on fire. It's time to get invested.

Ivorian Doll - Body Bag

Friday 27 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #3 Holly Humberstone


My third choice on the 2021 Ones to Watch list has been pretty much certain for some time now. In fact I hinted that Holly Humberstone would be on this list as far back as March this year when I wrote of her 2nd song: “So that’s 2 out of 2 so far for Holly Humberstone. One to watch.”

Since that song Holly has been slowly slicing her way through the musical jungle with one quality pop song after another. They all ended up on her Falling Asleep At The Wheel EP. From the raw, introspective and weightily strong Deep End, a tune that hints at the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, to the classy snappy pop of Vanilla, Holly knows how to make a good tune. That well worn expression all killer no filler comes to mind. Add in her beautiful cover of Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees (not on the EP) to her small collection of songs released so far and she begins to mark herself as a definite contender. She's 50% classic songwriter and 50% pop star. But either way she's 100% magic.

If Holly is still new to you, I’d thoroughly recommend watching her 15-minute piece On The Run which finds Holly performing a number of her songs acapella and in raw stripped back form in a paper mill. It’s beautifully shot and importantly shows the talent behind the more polished pop moments.

Having already played Glastonbury (the BBC Introducing tent before she’s released anything at all), supported Lewis Capaldi on tour, performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live (a performance that shares some similarities in style with On The Run), been named as Apple Music's Up Next Artist and recently nominated as One of Vevo UK’s Artists to Watch for 2021 I’m clearly not the only one who’s been impressed with Holly Humberstone.

She put out one of my most played EPs of 2020. I’m excited to hear what’s next in 2021.

Holly Humberstone - Overkill

Holly Humberstone - On The Run


Thursday 26 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #2 The Lathums


Indie rock male 4 pieces with guitars are dead, blah blah blah.

Well, if you think that you haven’t met The Lathums

If you’re a fan of Arctic Monkeys, Last Shadow Puppets, The View, The Coral, jangly guitars and strong melodic songwriting, you’re going to love this lot. 

The Lathums (not pronounced The Laithums) from Wigan came together as a college project and quickly went from playing their first gig to getting signed, to sold out shows. Then came Covid-19 and lockdown and for a band that seemingly thrive in the live arena it didn’t look so good for The Lathums.

However, their third EP, Ghosts, released at the end of October 2020 sent out a big statement of intent. “People have got too comfortable and think they have us sussed, hopefully this EP shows people there’s a lot more than meets the eye because there is no limit on how far this can go,” the band said on their Facebook page and they’re not wrong. I See Your Ghost is the sound of the Arctic Monkeys doing ska with a slice of frantic twangy psychedelia all laced with adrenalin boosted vocals, whilst Foolish Parley is all 60s influenced indie. Best however is a the first song that lead vocalist Alex Moore ever wrote; All My Life is a lovely quietly affecting ballad with a gigantic good to be alive chorus. It’s a song to fall in love to. 

Indie rock may be totally out of fashion, but I suspect that will suit The Lathums fine. Their quality songs will count more than anything else. Ones to Watch for 2021.

The Lathums - All My Life

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021 #1 Ashnikko


The first choice on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2021 list is the one that I debated the most in terms of her inclusion. Not because she isn’t good (she’s great) but because with one UK top 30 single already under her belt, over 100 million streams of her track Stupid (featuring Young Baby Tate) on Spotify and tracks dating back to 2017 on the streaming service, she doesn’t feel particularly ‘new’ any more. Yet she meets the criteria I set out in my previous post and has still yet to release any sort of long player; a mix tape comes early in 2021 though, which at 10 tracks long should surely be considered an LP?

If you haven’t heard her yet, here’s the low down. 

Ashnikko is Ashton Nicole Cassey and she’s described her exciting music as “angry, punk, hip-hop, sad-girl-feminist, bubblegum, poo-poo music.” She’s collaborated with Grimes and Brooke Candy. If you’re a fan of Charli XCX, Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj and even Avril Lavigne (she’s reworked  Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi into a song on her mix tape called Later Boy) then it’s time to get listening. 

With her colourful, hyper stylised looks and hooky, contemporary sound Ashnikko is undoubtedly the artist on this list most likely to be continuing the commercial trajectory she’s already started on – not only with her music but her merchandise as well. Tentacled penis candles anyone? Yep Ashnikko’s probably the only musician out there flogging those. She was really one to watch in 2020, but even more so in 2021.

Ashnikko - Stupid (ft Young Baby Tate)

Ashnikko - Daisy

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Ones to Watch 2021


Welcome to the Breaking More Waves annual tips list of new artists. I call it Ones to Watch and I’ve been doing it every year around this time since 2008.

This year it is harder than ever to choose 10 new artists that I believe will be worth keeping an eye on in the next 12 months. The effect of Covid-19 on new music has been catastrophic. The route of gaining a loyal fanbase by playing live gigs through the likes of support slots and smaller stages at festivals has been totally wiped out; plus the ecosystem that the touring industry supports is also being badly affected, from sales to streams to radio play to exposure. With much of the music industry on pause or even a tragic full stop, breaking a new artist appears to have less priority than in previous years, even with the possibilities the world wide web gives.

However, that hasn’t stopped me choosing 10 new acts – doing my small bit to help support new talent not yet fully established - and I will be featuring them over the next 10 days with 1 blog post each day for the next 10 days at around 8.30am. It starts tomorrow.

In considering who is eligible for inclusion and who isn’t (or to put it another way how do I define new music?), I’ve decided to use the criteria that the BBC used last year for their 2020 Sound of list as a starting point. That was as follows:

Artists from any musical genre and country are eligible, whether or not they’re signed. They must not have been the lead artist on a UK top 10 album and had no more than one UK top 10 single by mid-October as well as not already widely known by the UK general public.

The ‘not widely known by the UK general public’ is very open to interpretation of course. In addition I’ve added an extra clause which is that the artist must also have not released any album, otherwise arguably many smaller indie bands that have been treading the boards for years could qualify.

This does mean that at least one of the artists on this year’s list has already had some commercial success having achieved a Top 30 hit single. But with no album out yet I still think the artist is deserving on inclusion.

Check back here tomorrow for the first of my 10 choices – in fact it’s the one who has already had that hit. Can you guess who it is?

In the meantime, here’s a list of all the previous artists I’ve selected as Ones to Watch since I’ve been doing this in 2008, from future Glastonbury headliners to those who didn’t really get going at all. There's also a track by Arlo Parks, who was one of my tips for last year and has had a pretty fine musical 2020 all things considered. Do let me know your tips for 2021 on Twitter @BMWavesBlog

Past Ones To Watch

Alabama Shakes, Alessi’s Ark, Alice Chater, Alice Jemima, Another Sky, Arlo Parks, Aurora, Avec Sans, Banks, Beth Jeans Houghton, Billie Marten, Black Country New Road, Cabbage, Celeste, Charli XCX, Chasing Grace, Chloe Black, Chloe Howl, Chvrches, Clare Maguire, Clock Opera, Coach Party, Coasts, Confidence Man, Curxes, Dave, Declan McKenna, Dot Rotten, D/R/U/G/S, Delphic, Easy Life, Elderbrook, Ellie Goulding, Eva Stone, Fontaines DC, Foxes, Flohio, Florence & the Machine, Flyte, G-Flip, Gabrielle Aplin, George Ezra, Grace Carter, Haim, Hazel English, Holly Miranda, Hurts, Iyes, Jade Bird, James Blake, Jerry Williams, Joseph Salvat, Joy Crookes, Jungle, King Princess, La Roux, Lana Del Rey, LANY, Lapsley, Laura Doggett, Laura Mvula, Lauran Hibberd, 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, Master Peace, Mumford & Sons, Mura Masa, Nao, Noisy, Off Bloom,Outfit, Pale Waves, Passion Pit, Pink Kink, Pumarosa, Queen of Hearts, Rachel Sermanni, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Ren Harvieu, Ryn Weaver, Sam Tompkins, Savages, Seinabo Sey, Seramic, Sigrid, Sinead O’Brien, Skint & Demoralised, Skott, Sofi Tukker, Sons & Lovers, Sophie Jamieson, Spark, Spector, Starsmith, Stornoway, Superorganism, 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, Winnie Raeder, Wolf Alice, Xylaroo, Yes Giantess, Zyra

Arlo Parks - Green Eyes

Saturday 31 October 2020

Monthly Playlist : October 2020


Here’s a short monthly post to alert you to the fact that the latest Breaking More Waves new music monthly playlist has been uploaded to Spotify. Full tracklisting below. You can find it on Spotify by searching for New Music Monthly (Breaking More Waves 2020) or clicking here

Next year I’m thinking of making this playlist weekly. I’ve always resisted this as it seems to be what every other new music playlist does, but the trouble with doing just a monthly one whilst trying to keep it to a reasonable length is that I end up missing off a lot of stuff that I’d really like to share.

So, after the inevitable Christmas lull, I’ll be transferring to weekly playlists, published on a Saturday which will be in the region of about 1 hour long.

Here’s October’s best of:

Spa – Icona Pop & Sofi Tukker

Haunted Sea – The Budos Band

Acting Normal – Blackstarkids

Meal Deal – King Hannah

Bureau de Fatigue – Laundromat

Monsterpiece (Joe Goddard Remix) – Raf Rundell

Boy Bye – Lauran Hibberd

Faith Healer – Julien Baker

Swear – Bruch

Headfirst – Megan Lara Mae

Bad B*tch Energy – Stay Home Sound Machine

Apricots – Bicep

Altitude – Avec Sans

Block Your Number – Maude Latour

Cut You With A Kiss – Salt Ashes

Mork n Mindy – Sleaford Mods & Billy Nomates

Revolution – Greentea Peng 

Really OK On My Own – Coach Party

Just Move – Pixey

Dry Fantasy – Mogwai

Mary Lattimore – Til A Mermaid Drags You Under

Here are three choice cuts from the full playlist; one of the bangers of the year, a beautifully epic and intricate ballad plus some fruit related electronic dance.

Spa – Icona Pop & Sofi Tukker

Swear – Bruch

Apricots – Bicep

Sunday 4 October 2020

24 Hour Blogathon - The End

This is the end.

It is now 9.15am on Sunday.

I started this challenge at 6.15am on Saturday running 10 miles in a time of 1 hour 30 minutes. It was surprisingly OK – the wet weather helped keep me cool although by the end I was absolutely saturated and my running shoes are still soaked now.

Then after a break I sat down and began to blog. The first few hours were easy – I quickly put together a list of tracks I wanted to post and a couple of other articles about mental health and running, as the challenge was related to both of those.

However, as the day went on and into evening the blog became hard work. I ran out of things to write about. My body began to tire from lack of sleep and the run. And staring at the screen for most of the day caused my vision to blur and give me a headache. Over the course of the 24 hours I also lost WiFi 3 times. So I wrote less posts than I hoped. But at least I managed to go through the 24 hours.

But if a challenge didn’t involve some form of pain, there wouldn’t be any gain. And I’m very pleased to confirm that at the current time I have raised £745 for Solent Mind. My original target was £150 and even when I hit that early on I never expected to get above £300.

Before I sign off I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated, offered words of support or spread the message about what I was doing using social media. It’s been wonderful to see everyone being positive in a year that hasn’t had much to cheer about.

If you haven’t donated and fancy doing so now I’ve finished the challenge, just click here.

The blog will now go back to being dormant except for an end of month playlist each month.

I really hope I don't have to do this again and that next year we can put on Dials Festival and raise even more money for Solent Mind that way. 

That's all folks. Over and out. I'll leave you with the band that would have headlined this years Dials Festival and got the room dancing like loons.

Robin @ Breaking More Waves

International Teachers Of Pop - I Stole Yer Plimsoles

24 Hour Blogathon: Introducing - Cat & Camell

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link.

In this post I’m introducing a new pop duo from Sydney who probably won’t be getting much play on the radio for their debut single. Not because it’s not good (it is) but because of its title; dumbshit. If it wasn’t for that this could easily be all over the airwaves, particularly because of its anthem-like gang chorus.

The song celebrates the invincible feelings you have when you’re young; not treating anything seriously and just taking things on the chin when they go wrong and come back to bite you. "We'll burn all our bridges, still young and reckless." The visuals for the song also take on board the fun and stupidity of teenage years matching the lyrics perfectly. 

Both in their early 20s, Cat spent her childhood in China and moved to Sydney as a young teenager. Calmell was born and raised there. If they have more songs in the bag as good as dumbshit then their stars could easily rise.

Cat & Camell - dumbshit

24 Hour Blogathon - Zig Zag - Do Better

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link. 

As I’ve now been awake for 25 hours and have also done a 10 mile run in that time period I’ve reached the stage where I’m not really sure about anything anymore. But what I do know is that to keep me going I need something hell-raising, rowdy and loud. 

Which is where this Australian band called Zig Zag fit in. Are they any good? Right now I really don’t know. I think they probably are, but everything seems a little off centre in my sleep deprived brain so I can’t fully trust my judgement. Press play and make your own mind up, but they’re certainly helping wake me up.

Zig Zag - Do Better

24 Hour Blogathon - Romy - Lifetime

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

As I get towards the end of this 24 hour Blogathon it’s becoming quite a struggle. Not to stay awake, but to find new music that I can stand behind and post with full support.

It’s why the posts are slowing down.

However, I’ve only just realised that an obvious banger that I wanted to post has somehow slipped through the net. But better late than never, here’s the new solo single from Romy Madley Croft from The XX - now going just by the name of Romy. There’s an important distinction here. Romy’s positioning herself in the same arena as Kylie, Adele, Beyonce etc – those artists that are big enough to not need a surname because we the lowly public still know who they are.

And guess what? With Lifetime Romy absolutely justifies it. This could have so easily been a step back, a sub rate version of The XX – all gloomy minimalism but without Jamie XX’s beats. Instead Romy heads straight for the dance floor and smashes it with 100% confidence, with just the right amount of euphoria without it ever turning into a cliché. Forget the black clothes and shy furtive looks, this is all strobes, lasers, flashing lights and glittery covered smiling faces shimmying and swaying to the bass and beats. 

Romy - Lifetime

24 Hour Blogathon - Stay Home Sound Machine - Bad B*tch Energy

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would sponsor me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

As the world went into lockdown earlier this year, you might have thought that it probably wasn’t the best time to form a new band. Enter Stay Home Sound Machine. Kieran Jones, Sandy Buglass and Andrei L’vov-Basirov formed the collective as a way to stay creative in socially distant times. Together they wrote and recorded an EP remotely which brought together artists from a number of continents.

Taken from the EP is lead track Bad B*tch Energy which mashes up a collage of influences that collide to provide a vibrant and exciting pop tune that clocks in at less than 2 minutes long. Imagine the Go Team having a dance off with Sofi Tukker whilst some hip-hop DJ’s hang around in the background and you’ll be getting somewhere close to Stay Home Sound Machine’s sound on this track.

A full EP was released to streaming services on Friday.

Stay Home Sound Machine - Bad B*tch Energy

24 Hour Blogathon - G Flip - You & I

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link.

Australia’s G-Flip arrived in a whirlwind of excitement a couple of years ago and in her homeland, she’s done pretty nicely thank you with a top 10 album in 2019. Yet in the UK she still very much sits in that ‘underground pop artist’ category.

This week she’s shared a brand new track. You & I is a love song. When she wrote it, to quote Beyonce, she was crazy in love, but alas since then there’s been a break up. It must be strange to put your heart publicly on its sleeve with lyrics such as “now I can’t see life apart,” and then have to explain that the situation has changed. 

Like all of G-Flip’s songs You & I is an easily memorable, hooky pop tune. It would be nice to hear it on UK radio one day.

G Flip - You & I

24 Hour Blogathon - Drew Citron - Summertime

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link.

It’s that point on this 24 Blogathon when everyone has gone to bed and it feels like I’m posting this for absolutely nobody. Which is a shame. Because this song is a dreamily beautiful. 

You might know Brooklyn's Drew Citron from Public Practice who released the album Gentle Grip this May. But now she has a solo record and this song, Summertime, will be on it. 

“I don’t want to feel you say goodbye,” Drew sings and you’ll probably find your heart fluttering just a little with the sadness of it all. 

Watch the video below which takes reference to the 90’s film King Of New York.

Drew Citron - Summertime

24 Hour Blogathon - Here Are Some Really Good Albums From 2020 So Far

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

Everything I’ve posted so far in this 24 Hour Blogathon has been relatively new – released either this week or in the last few weeks. All the songs have also been singles. However, I’d like to press pause for just a moment and draw to your attention 5 albums that I’m pretty damn sure will end up on my end of year list. The records that I really think deserve a listen from start to finish.

For this post I’m providing no commentary, just the name of the artist, a song title and the album it is drawn from in brackets.

Another Sky – Brave Face (I Slept On The Floor)


 Hazel English - Shaking - (Wake UP!)


 Other Lives - Lost Day (For Their Love)


 Charli XCX - forever (How I'm Feeling Now)


Erland Cooper - Longhope (Hether Blether) 

24 Hour Blogathon - Bull - Bonzo Please

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

York's Bull made a fleeting previous appearance on Breaking More Waves on the August monthly playlist, so with more posts in a day than ever before, now seems a good opportunity to introduce them a bit further with their third song. Bonzo Please follows up previous releases Disco Living and Green. Whilst this song is supposedly their third, if you do a quick internet search you'll find that Bonzo Please has actually been kicking round for years. There's an earlier version on Soundcloud from 5 years ago!

When I first read that Bonzo Please was ‘a song about writing songs’ I almost switched off. There is nothing that I find more boring in music than a writer talking about writing a song. In 99.9% of the cases it always falls into the same tired old cliches. If you had a musicians buzzword bingo card you’d just be waiting for the words ‘journey’ and ‘inspiration’ to crop up I can assure you. I mean does anybody care for instance if the music came before the lyrics or vice versa? It still forms a song doesn’t it? Yet artists and interviewers seem to find this stuff really interesting. 

Thankfully Bonzo Please is an enjoyable effort. It’s a wind the windows down, feel the breeze flow through, we’re going on a road trip, type of song. Apparently it’s also inspired (see there’s that word you can’t get away from it) by the modern day preoccupation with staring at your phone/ and TV constantly watching other people.

Bull - Bonzo Please

Saturday 3 October 2020

24 Hour Blogathon - Chai - Donuts Mind If I Do

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

If I was to write a ‘Top 10 bands that are just a whole lot of fun to see live’ list (which I could easily have done over the last three quarters of an hour whilst my Wi-Fi was down), then Japanese pop band Chai would undoubtedly be on that list. With one of best song titles so far of 2020 Donuts Mind If Do isn’t what you’d normally expect from Chai. This is chill-Chai rather than party-Chai. This is languid as you get, verging on easy listening Chai. It’s all ready for a lazy summer evening. The statement that accompanies the video is still very much what you would expect from the band though: “When you’re feeling vigorous, when you’re feeling sick, You like what you like! No changing that! Even if what I like is as simple as a donut.”

OK. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the weird sugary cake things myself. But I still recommend that if you go and get the chance you should go and see Chai live. They’re guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The song is from Chai’s forthcoming Donuts Mind If I Do / Plastic Love double A-side single. The second track will be available on November 6th. Both songs will also be released together as a limited edition 7”.

Chai - Donuts Mind If I Do

24 Hour Blogathon - Griff ft Honne - 1,000,000 x Better

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link

"You make me feel a million times better when I'm with you."

It's such a simple sentiment but in these weird screwed up times it can really help telling someone how important they are to you. Here half-Chinese and half-Jamaican Londoner and relatively new pop starlet in the making Griff teams up with Honne to sing of that love for another human being. The music is perfectly matched – uplifting, picking you back up, making life seem better again. When you're not even meant to be hugging your friends at least tell them this.

Griff ft Honne - 1,000,000 x Better

24 Hour Blogathon - Lia Lia - Night Call

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link.

Lia Lia has been drip feeding singles since 2017, but Night Call is the first time I’ve featured her on Breaking More Waves.

With a video inspired by Chinese fairy tales and Japanese anime, we find Lia Lia stuck at school alone (there are shades of Britney Spears  Baby One More Time here) and conjuring forth Ryū — a water dragon spirit in human form from her loneliness. 

The song is full of deep synth electronic pulses - fans of the likes of Grimes and Chvrches may well find much to satisfy them here. The song was mixed and mastered by Geoff Swan (Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, Ashnikko) and both the song and the video are undoubtedly Lia Lia’s strongest work to date.

Lia Lia - Night Call

24 Hour Blogathon - 12 Hours In


12 hours in. 12 hours to go. I’ve had a bit of a break.

This is where it gets hard.

Having got out of bed at 5.30am, run ten miles and then sat at a laptop and PC virtually all day (a few technical problems meant I had to switch IT earlier today) has left my body feeling rather strange – hazy almost.

The biggest issue right now though is the music. Earlier today I wrote a list of tracks that had been released in the last few days / weeks that I wanted to feature. That list is now complete. For the next 12 hours I have to go searching and researching.

That means the posts are going to slow. But I’m still here. This is all part of blogging.

And the money that people have donated is massively spurring me on.

Let’s do this!