Thursday, 30 April 2020
It’s the end of the month which means the Spotify monthly new music playlist I run has been updated. As the blog is (temporarily) now running again (during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown) the playlist contains a mix of tracks I’ve posted about over the last month and some that I didn’t but would have done if I wasn’t still doing a full-time day job. They all come recommended.
For those who don’t use Spotify, there is a list of the tracks on the playlist below as well as a couple of songs from the list streaming via Soundcloud.
For those who do, you can listen and follow for monthly updates by clicking here.
Gia Margaret – Body
Ren Harvieu – Spirit Me Away
Hazel English – Wake UP!
Other Lives – Hey Hey I
Tiz McNamara – April Fool
Mazie – No Friends
Jessica Winter – Sad Music
Coach Party – Space
TV Priest – House of York
Eve Owen – Blue Moon
Chløë Black – No Regrettes
Dizzy – The Magician
Mxmtoon – no faker
Charli XCX – forever
Kelly Lee Owens – Night
Moyka – Spaces
Eve Belle – Begging For Rain
Lauran Hibberd – Old Nudes
Abbie Ozard – Pink Sky (Endless Summer)
The Blinders – Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun)
Maggie Gently – Every Night
Courtney Marie Andrews – Burlap String
Flunkie – Everybody Feels
Phoebe Bridgers – Kyoto
Erland Cooper – Peedie Breeks
Lenii – I (Don’t) Miss You
mxmtoon - no faker
Hazel English - Wake UP!
Flunkie - Everybody Feels
Wednesday, 29 April 2020
It seems a little bit odd featuring Jessica Winter on an introducing piece at Breaking More Waves considering she first featured on these pages way back in 2009. At the time her name was Jessica Spencer and she was the lead singer of the band The Hall of Mirrors. Then she was making music that I described in a 2010 post as ‘sepia tinted sixties styled pop that reminds us of cult French films, Burt Bacharach and rainy days in bohemian Paris coffee shops’, which depending on your perspective probably sounded bloody fantastic or incredibly derivative. I went for the former.
Now let’s fast forward 10 years to the here and now. Jessica has been weaving her way through a variety of incarnations over this time including the much under-valued Glass who made succulent sounding underground synth pop and more recently the hipster-press touted Pregoblin. Over the last few months she’s also been striking out on her own with a breed of idiosyncratic electronic pop that has wormed its way into my brain.
2019 saw the her solo release of Let’s Keep This Shallow; a track that hits you with robotic vocoder vocals and a line that on first listen made me think Jessica had turned into an egg: “On second thoughts I wish you’d crack me open.” There was also Sleep Forever a slice of goth electronica that if it wasn’t for the heavy mournful electronic production would sound like something from a pretty musical. This year we’ve already had the wonky but brilliant Play and now Winter has just released something that wouldn’t sound out of place alongside The Knife or Fever Ray’s work. Sad Music is a redemption song of sorts – an I Will Survive for synth nerds: “When it hurts, it’s good to be reminded” she sings. And what get’s her through the pain? Sad music of course – it’s good to know that other people have been through what you’re going through.
Four tracks in and what is starting to become clear is that all of Winter’s experiences so far, both emotional and musical, are paying dividends. This is pop music of sorts, but it’s odd, interesting, and slightly leftfield. You get the feeling that if Winter wanted she could probably write and sing a bonafide mainstream banger, in the same way Charli XCX does now and then, but as yet she’s sticking to the slightly darker side. Jump into the shadows with her and dance to her despair.
Jessica Winter - Let's Keep This Shallow
Jessica Winter - Sad Music
Friday, 24 April 2020
As some regular readers might know, besides writing this blog I’m also involved in booking Portsmouth’s Dials festival, a small multi-venue festival that runs in 5 venues on one street in Southsea, Portsmouth in October. The festival is a little different than most multi-venue events insofar as all the core team volunteer for the event, it’s 100% independent and all profits are given to local mental health charity Solent Mind.
Obviously with the current pandemic situation and lockdown (albeit a rather relaxed lockdown compared to some other countries) a lot of festivals have already been cancelled and there is doubt over any live music happening at all in 2020. However, at this stage Dials is still planning to run - if you want to support the charity you can buy an early ticket by clicking here. We were due to have announced the first wave of bands including our main headliners in April, but because of the situation we have delayed that just for now.
The 2019 event was the first time in the four years since the festival had been running where I personally booked the all bands for the main stage at The Wedgewood Rooms, which was exciting but also rather nerve wracking. This gave me an opportunity to hand pick a number of acts that I’ve featured on the blog, including two acts that I’d named in earlier years as ‘Ones To Watch’ in my annual round up of tips for the next year. And so it was that hitting The Wedge were The Blinders, Another Sky, Walt Disco and Saltwater Sun.
The Blinders headlined and put on an electrifying show; raw, passionate and full of an angry energy.
Today saw the band release a new single that conveys that anger further. Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun) is a song that was written directly about the USA's separation policy and the resulting brutal images of children being placed in cages separate from their families. If you’re the sort of person that thinks that’s acceptable at any time or in any form then please take a good long hard look at yourself. The music is as fiercely incensed as you’d expect and although I wish the subject matter didn’t have to exist, I’m grateful for such a stimulating piece of music.
Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun) comes from The Blinders forthcoming album Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath due July 17th.
The Blinders - Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun)
Thursday, 23 April 2020
There comes a time in every musician or pop star’s life when a period of reflection and deep thought arises. It is at that moment, a point of immersive discovery of the soul and one’s very being that a single question of absolute importance will arise: “Why haven’t I joined the Musicians in the Bath Club yet?”
It’s an important question and one that Breaking More Waves has been regularly covering in its blog posts since 2014 when I featured the likes of Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, Prince and the queen of baths Mariah Carey all showing their membership photos of this exclusive and important club.
Since that time hundreds of new stars have got in the tub for your personal entertainment. Some fully naked, some clothed, some in water, some not, with everything from blood, beer and balloons being used as alternative bath fillings. One recent addition (Lynks Afrikka) even played an Instagram live show in his bath. Alas he was on his own, but I’m seeing an income opportunity here. Soon bands will be playing gigs in baths with the audience floating around in the suds with them – although they’ll probably need a bigger tub. Goodbye sweaty gigs and hello orange and cinnamon fragranced bath bombs and beautifully clean audiences. That doesn't sound too bad does it?
Today we have a new member of the club, one whom at those hot gigs has often noted from stage her high levels of sweating. So, bath gigs could really be a positive way forward for Lauran Hibberd.
Clearly during this pandemic lockdown Lauran has had some time to really explore her inner feelings, to examine herself and ask those big questions about who she is as a person and just why as a musician she has yet to do the bath thing.
Now she has the answer. The bath thing has become a reality. I wonder if she was influenced by fellow musician mate Zuzu who also did the in the tub thing fairly recently? Whatever, she’s now a fully-fledged member of this important club. Lauran Hibberd has arrived. You can see the results in the video below.
There’s a new song as well. Which as this is a music blog, I should probably mention rather than just rambling on about baths. It’s called Old Nudes.
Everyone has an embarrassing old naked photo lurking somewhere don’t they? No? Well someone does of Lauran: “He has a dirty photo of me, and he’s stored it on his iPhone 3,” she sings. Old Nudes displays Lauran’s ongoing ability to knock out a hooky melody so be warned that you’ll soon be singing it everywhere (yep, even in the bath). Lyrically she’s as sharp and funny as ever – you’re never quite sure if she’s telling her story, someone else’s or is just making the whole thing up, but if I could click 'like' on a lyric, it would definitely be on “You can see it by the look in my thighs.” Clever.
With the lockdown continuing, the video for the song is inevitably very low budget. Lauran gets to use her web cam. I’m hoping she ensured her electricals were no where near the bath if she decided to fill it after this shoot. Stay safe kids. Stay safe Lauran.
Lauran Hibberd - Old Nudes
Tuesday, 21 April 2020
This is the third track from Isle of Wight indie kids Coach Party and the third time they’ve been featured on Breaking More Waves. It’s becoming a regular thing, which is nice. Like we're all hanging out as friends in some weird internet blog party. The band can supply the music, now we just need some food.
'What do we have this time' I hear you ask?
It’s a song called Space.
There’s a cute video with a bunch of intergalactic cats, dogs and other animals.
Then there’s a rousing tune that on the music Venn diagram sits at the intersection between grunge, indie, slacker rock and pop.
It’s an angry relationship song: “I even let you in. And now you won’t get out. I gave you what I had and now I want it back.”
It will be out on all the usual streaming sites at midnight tonight.
There’s also news of their debut EP. Hurrah! (No the EP isn’t called Hurrah! That’s just me getting excited). It will actually be called...wait for it.... Party Food. Hurrah x10. Now we're sorted. It will have 6 tracks, including all 3 songs they have released. There will be another song on the EP which is called Puke. Here’s hoping that one’s a gentle and beautiful love tune ready-made for the first dance of many couples marrying the world over. I suspect not.
Coach Party has also been confirmed for Stag & Dagger Festival later this year (if we get any festivals at all given the current situation). Expect to see further announcements of further festivals they might play in due course.
It’s another corker from these caulkheads. And if you don’t know the word caulkheads just Google it along with the words Isle of Wight.
Coach Party - Space
Monday, 20 April 2020
We live in a social world. Most of us are so fully linked to each other that it’s not uncommon to describe ourselves in terms of our personal connections. “I’m John’s wife or I’m Belinda’s friend from college,” for example. That’s why when new stateside pop upstart mazie (yep, no capital M) sings that she has no “f*ckin’ friends,” it’s easy to shiver and feel a little odd. “If less is more then I’m doing the most,” she adds over a backing track that sounds like a quirky modern bubblegum take on psychedelic sixties pop covered by Superorganism. It’s probably one of the best sad but cute songs you’ll hear this year. Credit also to her neighbour now producer Elie Rizk who worked with mazie on the track.
Whilst no friends is mazie’s debut on streaming services, you’ll find a number of older tracks on Soundcloud. All of those are solid well produced pop but are a little less idiosyncratic than no friends. Less than 2 minutes long there really is no excuse to not press play on this several times. Let’s count this as her real starting point.
mazie - no friends
Thursday, 16 April 2020
Having already recorded and released one of the most beautiful songs of the year so far (March’s If I Told) Courtney Marie Andrews returns with another extraordinarily gorgeous piece of music.
Burlap String was written for what Courtney describes as one of the great loves of her own lifetime. “I reckon with grief in this love story, wishing things could’ve gone differently. This song is very special to me, and I hope it is for you too,” she says.
It seems that whatever happens with Courtney’s personal life, her music can do no wrong. As always her vocal possesses a vulnerability and sadness: “I’m a sceptic of love,” she sings; you’ll probably find yourself wilting immediately. It’s heart-breaking but oddly comforting and necessary as well.
The video for the song was shot in Arizona at a place called Young Blood Hill. The end of the video finds Courtney placing flowers on a memorial to two of her musician friends, Derrick and Amy who died unexpectedly within 24 hours of each other.
Courtney’s next album Old Flowers will be released on the 5th June and I’m already sensing that 2020 could be a good year for acoustic singer songwriters with Laura Marling having already delivered a wonderful piece of work that feels like a Mercury Prize nominee / end of year list possibility. Courtney could easily be next (for end of year lists anyway - she won't qualify for the Mercury). Did I say this was gorgeous? Well sometimes a message is worth repeating.
Courtney Marie Andrews - Burlap String
The whole reason I re-started this blog (temporarily) was essentially to give me something to do in the evenings to do after work during lockdown. In my spare time, I’ve never been a person for just slumping in front of the TV, so besides the occasional blog post, I've been busying myself in many different ways - just without going out.
Having read quite a bit about how people are turning to ‘comfort music’ at this time – stuff they already know – I have realised that that isn’t really for me. Instead I’ve started listening to one album per day (minimum of two plays) that I’ve never heard of before, sometimes by artists that I’ve never even heard a single song by. I’m trying to broaden my musical knowledge and purposefully not sticking in my comfort zones. Anything goes – any time period, any genre. This just wouldn't have been possible in the past, but now because of streaming it is - and all those articles complaining that there are too many choices in streaming and not enough time feel a bit silly to me right now. Especially now as I'm working from home, when I'm not in Skype meetings or on telephone calls I can actually play music - something I've never had the opportunity to do before when working in a busy office.
I’ve already mentioned I’m doing this on Twitter, but to enable myself to remember what I have listened to (and because I like lists generally), I am recording each record I listen to on this post and will update it daily until I stop doing this. So far (as of 16th April) I’ve yet to find anything that has truly blown me away or is likely to be on repeat in the future – but maybe that will come.
If you have any suggestions of records that you really think everyone should hear be they obvious classics or undiscovered gems – do suggest them to me via Twitter (@BMWavesBlog) or in the comments below (nobody uses the comments these days do they?) so I can give them a listen if I've never heard them before.
One final rule / note - on Friday there's always a plethora of new releases, so Friday will be the day when I listen to a new release that's right here right now. I may well listen to more than one new album then, but I'll only list one, the one I play the most that day.
Do let me know your recommendations!
The Never Listened List – Now Listened
12.04.2020 Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast (1982)
13.04.2020 BB King – Live In Cook County Jail (1971)
14.04.2020 Scheme – Black And Whites (1986)
15.04.2020 Neneh Cherry – Raw Like Sushi (1989)
16.04.2020 Molly Nilsson – Zenith (2015)
17.04.2020 Rina Sawayama - SAWAYAMA (2020)
18.04.2020 Art Blakely & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin' (1959)
19.04.2020 Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin (2004)
20.04.2020 Felix Kubin - Filmmusik (1998)
21.04.2020 Francoise Hardy - Tous Les Gracons Et Les Filles (1962)
22.04.2020 The Cars - The Cars (1978)
23.04.2020 Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill (1991)
24.04.2020 Atomic Kitten - Right Now (2001)
25.04.2020 Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy (2018)
26.04.2020 Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons (2002)
27.04.2020 Sister Sledge - We Are Family (1979)
28.04.2020 Lesley Gore - I'll Cry If I Want To (1963)
29.04.2020 Steve Roach - Structures From Silence (1984)
30.04.2020 The Birthday Party - Junkyard (1982)
01.05.2020 Goldie - Timeless (1995)
02.05.2020 The Manimals - Multiverse (2018)
03.05.2020 Chet Baker - Chet Baker Sings (1954)
04.05.2020 King of Woolworths - Ming Star (1991)
05.05.2020 The Field - From Here We Go Sublime (2007)
06.05.2020 Minnie Ripperton - Perfect Angel (1974)
07.05.2020 Rick Astley - Whenever You Need Somebody (1987)
08.05.2020 The Shirelles - Baby It's You (1962)
09.05.2020 World of Twist - Quality Street (1991)
10.05.2020 Wanda Jackson - Reckless Love Affair (1967)
11.05.2020 Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction (1992)
12.05.2020 Kajagoogoo - White Feathers (1983)
Wednesday, 15 April 2020
In the UK the number of feral shouty punk or post-punk bands that are in thrall to artists such as The Fall, Joy Division, Idles and Fontaines DC is almost ten-a-penny now, but this latest gang of newcomers from the outskirts of London have delivered a debut single that is really worth pounding your ears with. They are called TV Priest and the song they’ve just released is House of York.
House of York is a raw, lip-curling and violent piece of music that struts up to you and kicks you in the nether regions hard. Lead singer Charlie Drinkwater sounds like a drunk cousin of Ian Curtis and Mark E Smith, his words nearly folding and slurring into each other: “This is not my national anthem,” he intones as guitars rip into each other like a cocktail made from shards of glass, metal and red wine. It’s gloriously uninhibited and intense.
“House of York broadly addresses the approach to class and the philosophical and psychological impact a monarchy has had on our country. The idea of an ordained family, traditionally and historically appointed by ‘God’, has defined our country in both ways both good and bad.
We were interested in the less positive outcomes this sense of ‘leadership’ has had, how an individual is conflated with a national ‘cause’ or set of rights and macro actions. Can the UK ever truly be meritocratic with a principle like a constitutional monarch? Our guess is probably not,” says Drinkwater. It’s fair to say that House of York isn’t about us all getting jiggy in da club or chatting on your cell phone then.
If you like your music to sound angry, to sound cacophonous and to stir something inside you then they might just be your new favourite band.
TV Priest sound like carnage and are all the better for it.
Friday, 10 April 2020
It feels like things are really pushing forwards for Phoebe Bridgers as she moves towards the release of her second album Punisher. Having collaborated with big name artists such as The 1975 and Hayely Williams, she’s likely to be broadening her listener base much wider than the likely Pitchfork reading dude who goes (in the UK at least) to End of the Road Festival or Green Man festival and also enjoys Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Julia Jacklin.
Yesterday she released new song Kyoto, a tune with some rather lovely brass amongst a chirpy musical backing. Alongside Garden Song released back in February it’s my favourite Bridgers track so far.
Artists who have had some success and spent time on the road often end up writing about it. Some with creative skill, others drifting into a rut of mind-numbed complacency made by tour bus fatigue; performers sometimes find that touring life isn’t quite as great as they had been made to believe. “I wanted to see the world, then I flew over the ocean and I changed my mind,” sings Bridgers, perhaps alluding to exactly that. Thankfully though whatever negativity Bridgers has experienced in her mind she’s been able to channel it into a song that is impressively likeable.
Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto
Thursday, 9 April 2020
What I really like about Charli XCX is that despite flirting with a variety of styles over the length of her recording history they’ve always sat under the umbrella of pop, but it has always been pop with a sharper edge. She’s got the hooks but they’re darker, deadlier and more deviant than the output of much of her peer group.
And so it is with new track forever. Charli has always been prolific when it comes to writing and recording, and the recent lockdown finds her channelling her creative energies into making a whole new album. “I’m going to basically be making it live from scratch – there are a couple of ideas in the works, but basically I’m starting from nothing,” she explained.
forever contains everything that makes Charli XCX a great pop artist. There’s the aforementioned hook (which admittedly has a hint of Track 10 / Blame It On Your Love to it) but then there’s the warped weird production of the verses. Apparently A.G Cook of PC Music has a helping hand in it which could explain some of the more left of centre hyper futuristic ruffled glitter oddness. Listen to that dirty electronic sound at the beginning and the whooshing noise that might make you think of a heart murmur heard through a very powerful stethoscope. It's like Aphex Twin making a pop record. Almost. Then lyrically it’s just expresses some simple sentiments: “I will always love you, I love you forever, even when we’re not together.” It’s good stuff.
Charli is intending to bash out the album in the next few weeks and release it in May. Now there’s all sorts of arguments about quality control when projects are rolled out quickly like this, but personally I’m a big fan of this kind of idea. Over analysing something and putting it through a massive music industry machine can sometimes cement in all the cracks; often it’s the cracks that provide the life of a record. More of this please and less artists doing shitty quality Instagram live streams on their terrible wi-fi connection via their phone – those sort of performances don’t have cracks, but gaping ugly chasms.
Charli XCX - forever
Tuesday, 7 April 2020
Today I’m introducing a band that, in one release, has pulled the pin out of its musical grenade and caused an explosion with their raw punk energy. The name of the band is Panic Shack.
The song is Who’s Got My Lighter? It is a song about someone stealing your lighter on a night out. It’s simple, direct and blows the f*cking roof off. It might be brutal, but that force will persuade you. If it doesn't you might as well give up now.
Repeat after me; this kicks ass.
Panic Shack are from Wales. For now it is all you really need to know.
When some day we get back to normality I’m fully expecting Panic Shack to send bodies flying everywhere when they play live. Press play please and yell along.
Panic Shack - Who's Got My Lighter?
Sunday, 5 April 2020
In the same manner as Big Piig, another rising artist that has been slowly picking up traction over the last two to three years, Leeds born Nina Cobham spent some of her childhood in Spain and it’s informed her music; under the smooth coating of soft, silky jazzy electronics her soulful vocals take a bilingual approach. If you’re Steve from Bedford or Dave in Swindon and like to blast out Oasis from your white van telling your mates that Noel and Liam made 'real music' and that nobody wants to listen to 'foreign shit', then it’s likely Nina Cobham probably won’t be your cup of tea - even though, like Oasis, Nina is now a resident of Manchester.
Nina’s songs have the atmosphere of the post-club-comedown-taxi-ride-home experience nailed. It’s music to drift away to for three minutes or so, forgetting the troubles of the world, as the lights and sounds outside blur into an opaque haze. There's a hint of Clairo in what Nina does insofar as the songs have a certain languid style to them, although Nina's vocal seems to have more depth.
Previous single Te extraño, pero has already been played on BBC 1Xtra and latest track Sola (released just over a week ago) possesses a gorgeously distant and sultry sound, as if it’s been washed ashore from somewhere exotic. It's more than nice.
This is pop music designed as a blanket. Cuddle up to it and feel its comfort.
Nina Cobham - Sola
Wednesday, 1 April 2020
This new singer might have just three of her own tracks out in the world, but they are of such divine quality that there are high hopes for her debut album Don't Let The Ink Dry released on May 8th.
If Eve Owen is a name you recognise it might be because she’s just had a Radio 1 Hottest Record in the World on Annie Mac’s show (albeit hosted by Clara Amfo) or because of her association with The National, having provided vocals on Where Is Her Head from the album I Am Easy To Find. Eve also spent some time on tour with the band and Aaron Dessner has been working with Eve to produce her songs.
Eve’s music is gently enthralling; there’s enough space to allow it to breathe. Sometimes those breaths are gentle as if readying for sleep, such as on the piano ballad She Says and sometimes they're heavier, as you can find on the gritty and sparse guitar driven new track Blue Moon, a song of unrequited love. “Although my heart is a rambler, it stays so still for you,” she sings on her third of three Still For You. It’s delivered with a grace and unhurried charm that will no doubt emit gentle coos and sighs from audiences wherever she plays.
Apparently Eve is the daughter of actor Clive Owen so clearly the desire to perform runs in the blood; and with such gorgeous music as this, there’s bound to be an audience for her to do just that. Certainly Eve was top of my list to see at this year's now cancelled Great Escape Festival in Brighton. Hopefully there will be plenty more opportunities to see her in the future once this pesky virus is controlled.
Eve Owen - Blue Moon (Edit: New Soundcloud embed posted 29/4/20)
Eve Owen - She Says (Video)