Friday 29 January 2021

NEW #8 - Kynsy


“Rowdy pop for all the family.” That’s how Dublin based newcomer Kynsy (real name Ciara Lindsey) describes her music. But take a listen to her debut EP Things That Don’t Exist (released yesterday) and initially you could easily think that this 23 year old doesn’t know what rowdy means. For it all starts with some disjointed synths and a throb of pulsing bass reminiscent of OMD's Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) that sounds more calming than disorderly, but give it a few more seconds and things really get going. For this is a collection of really good kooky songs that boom with life.

From the Strokes referencing Happiness Isn’t A Fixed State where Kynsy sings of how she has so much left to feel, to the wonky pop of Dog Videos (which you’ll find on the latest update of the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist - click here), Things That Don’t Exist is all about earworms and melody. Yet residing within her good tunes there’s a bunch of idiosyncratic ideas and oddball experimentation that make them stand out. The songs were all written and co-produced by Kynsy herself and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (Interpol / Parquet Courts) and Barny Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys / MIA / Bombay Bicycle Club).

The blurb that accompanies the release of the EP finds Kynsy saying of it: "A lot of the songs are based around the idea of how we as people are either being followed or chasing after things that don’t exist. We are followed by the things we see through technology, television, the news - things that derail and confuse our sense of reality.  We also chase things that don’t exist.  We ignore the fact that things could change in a blink, or chase idealistic dreams of the future based on things we've seen on TV or on phone screens."

I’ve seen the EP described elsewhere as genre-hopping, but taken as a whole it doesn’t feel that way to me. There’s variation in the instrumentation used, but it’s a complete package. It’s just the sound of Kynsy.

Rowdy pop for all the family nails it then.

Kynsey - Dog Videos

Friday 22 January 2021

NEW #7 - Jessica Luise


With the UK still in what appears will be a relatively lengthy lockdown there’s been plenty of time to listen to music and the last few weeks have found me veering off at tangents from the sorts of things I’d normally listen to. Traditional Chinese, Japanese jazz fusion, Moog exotica and Russian pop have all been on the agenda, but ultimately sometimes you just can’t get away from the fabric of the familiar and new artist Jessica Luise’s music is one such example. 

New song Nice Try chimes and charms with the sort of indie guitar loveliness that always seems to find a place in my heart. Having previously released three songs between 2019 and 2020 with a slightly more organic folksy feel, Nice Try feels like a very real and very certain progression. Comparisons have been drawn with The Sundays and Wolf Alice and this tune definitely drifts over you in the same caressing and wonderful way that The Sundays songs did. 

It seems Jessica herself acknowledges this development as well: “This song is the one that helped me blossom as an artist. The simplicity yet rawness of the lyrics made this song quite cathartic to write and record.” Those words that Jessica mentions deal with the battle between the head and the heart of falling for someone you shouldn’t. However, thankfully there’s nothing wrong with falling for this song. If you like your indie music a little bit poppy, a little bit dreamy and a little bit lovely, keep an eye on Jessica Luise.

Jessica Luise - Nice Try

Monday 18 January 2021

NEW #6 - Rooue


Fontaines DC, The Murder Capital, Silverbacks…. If you’re based in Great Britain it’s easy to think that the Irish music scene is just full of serious young men with guitars making intense post-punk influenced records. However, take even the slightest wider look and you’ll discover there’s a whole range of great new artists coming out of the third largest island in Europe that sound nothing like them.

Today’s new band is one of those. It consists of two twins, but don’t worry there’s only one connection to Jedward; the duo’s moniker. For just like John and Edward, Rooue are called as such because of the two sister’s names, Ro and Lou. Oh, and don't confuse them with La Roux.

There’s no silly haircuts (something that Jedward and La Roux managed) or covers of Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) here though. Instead Rooue make highly proficient and dopamine inducing pop music. 

If you follow the Breaking More Waves Weekly New Music playlist (here) you’ll have already heard the second of the two songs they have released so far, the sharp shooting future nostalgic funky disco-pop of Flavour. Fans of Dua Lipa will no doubt approve. It’s got grooves, it’ll make you move and the vocal delivery is silky smooth. 

Previous song, the debut single What You Want comes from a slightly different place, with an electronic R & B pop sheen to it. It’s a tune about someone having unrealistic expectations of someone and the negative effect that has on them: “You steal the fight from me.” Rooue have explained that the song stems from their experience of studying music in college and the pressures to conform.

So like all the best pop music, there's a bit of depth to the thinking in the song, it's not all just oo-baby do you love me's. However, the music itself is all about getting the body moving. Are you dancing? Because Rooue are asking.

It's time to get your shimmy on without an indie rock lad in sight. This is Rooue.

Rooue - Flavour

Tuesday 12 January 2021

NEW #5 - ppcocaine


Today’s new artist is a potty-mouthed rapper from the USA who has gone viral on Tik Tok and has one track that has over 50 million plays on Spotify. Yet if you’re over 25 there's a high chance that you'll have never heard of her. 

Meet ppcocaine, an artist who makes Megan Thee Stallion or Cardi B seem like a beige Gary Barlow. She makes the sort of hyper-sexualised pop-rap that you really shouldn’t play to your parents. 

Take her track DDLG. It might start out with a simplistic nursery school notation of I’m A Little Teapot, but when ppcocaine lets rip mum and dad will almost certainly be blushing and / or tutting with disapproval: “I’m a little cumslut short and loud, bend me over and I will shout.” It doesn’t get any cleaner as it goes on. Take recent December release S.L.U.T which continues the confident feistiness and reminds me of a more intense take on Daphne and Celeste’s U.G.L.Y: “S-L-U-T, yes, I'm a slut, they all wanna fuck me (Fuck me), S-L-U-T, yes, I'm a slut, nigga, wanna wife me? (Wife me).” There’s a similarity in ppcocaine’s tracks to Breaking More Waves One to Watch 2021 Ashnikko as well, but this is X-rated cartoon lewdness taken to the extreme. You probably shouldn't enjoy it. But you probably will.

Previously known as trapbunniebubbles, ppcocaine is actually 19 year old Lilliane Catherine Dixon. She’s only been releasing music since June of last year, but has already found a big audience. The difficulty might be translating this into something more long term. (But then remember I said that about Charli XCX over 10 years ago and look what happened there). But maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe this is just about the here and now? Maybe just press play and go with it. 

ppcocaine - DDLG (Video)


 ppcocaine - S.L.U.T

Friday 8 January 2021

NEW #4 - Police Car Collective


Tomorrow what used to be the Breaking More Waves Monthly playlist becomes a weekly playlist, showcasing some of the new releases that have been getting some time and love at Breaking More Waves HQ over the last 7 days or so.

Taking top spot on the list tomorrow you'll find new duo Police Car Collective from Liverpool, although delve a little deeper and you’ll discover there are American roots here. Police Car Collective have just one song on Spotify titled ALLTHETIME which was released on New Year’s Day. It’s a tune that seems totally disconnected from the rules of pop (2021 version). For a start where the rules demand that 3 minutes is plenty long enough and that anything over 5 minutes is the enemy of our attention spans, ALLTHETIME clocks in at a glorious 7 minutes and 5 seconds. Police Car Collective have clearly signed up to the school of thought that marathons are more rewarding than sprints.

It goes further than this though. 

Whereas the rules say that guitar solos are a complete no-no and that hip hop beats and R&B flavours are a must, ALLTHETIME puts two fingers up at all of that and delivers a rousing anthem that aims for the stars in a rocket powered by nostalgic sounds; chiming chords, big sweeping synths, butt clenching guitar riffs and melodies that the likes of Noel Gallagher would kill for. Finally ALLTHETIME avoids the recent trend for trying too hard to get played lots on TikTok and instead opts for something beautifully sentimental and sweet. It’s really quite comforting to hear someone sing words like “you are the reason I get up in the morning” in these harsh times.

Police Car Collective is Simon Joseph Callum Quigley and Tyler Daniel Plazio. ALLTHETIME deserves all 7 minutes of your time. Let's see what else they bring us in 2021.

Find the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist, updated every Saturday by clicking here.

Police Car Collective - ALLTHETIME

Monday 4 January 2021

NEW #3 - Ashwarya

Her Facebook describes her simply as a singer/songwriter from Melbourne. This may well be true, but this description doesn’t do justice to Ashwarya. I’d prefer something along the lines of a fresh and fearless musician who makes multiple sonic-personality pop music. 

With its hushed vocals and minimal beats, debut single Psycho Hole certainly has a whiff of Billie Eilish about it, but if you delve a little deeper there’s a whole host of influences and cultural references to her work. You can hear it on her third and most recent release COMIN@ME. It’s a shape-shifting piece that flits from classy r ‘n’ b pop to bhangra beats like a ball bouncing off walls in a squash court. If you suffer from short attention spans this is for you. 

She’s the first signing to new label NOiZE, which is headed up by Australian producer Jarrad Rogers (he’s worked with Charli XCX, Lana Del Rey and Foxes to name just a few) with both artist and label stating that they wish to challenge the modern pop landscape. She certainly does this on Biryani, which is her other tune out there at the moment; it not only switches tempos but languages as well.

Ashwarya is making commercial pop that sits at the more interesting end of the spectrum. All she needs now is that big crossover track or that blow up moment (Tik Tok are you listening?) and then she could be everywhere.

Ashwarya - Psycho Hole 


 Ashwarya - COMIN@ME

Sunday 3 January 2021

NEW #2 - Kali


The last few years have seen a noteworthy rise in young artists making pop music that has its roots in lo-fi diy production. Whilst many of them fall by the way side, the cream sometimes rises to the top and so it is that we now have the likes of Girl In Red, Clairo and Beabadoobee all commanding positions way beyond their small bedroom beginnings, often then producing glossier and more heavily produced work.

It’s very early days, but Kali Flanagan (who goes just by the name Kali) could well be the next musician to join that group. 

Having taken up songwriting in her teens and formed an indie-surf-rock band called the Big Wednesday (named after the 1978 film) where she wrote and taught the band all the songs, Kali has now turned solo. Last November she released her debut track Back To The Start, which made that jump of being beyond lo-fi. It's a dreamy pop tune with a hooky guitar riff, restrained vocals and even some strings to flesh out some swooning drama of a relationship that just won’t let go: “You led me to think things were real, then I moved on, and now I’m back here,” she sings. 

This 16 year-old from Los Angeles is sprinkling her blissfully cool riffs and melodies with a dusting of magic. Now let's watch her grow.

Kali - Back To The Start

Saturday 2 January 2021

NEW #1 - For Those I Love


As Breaking More Waves starts 2021 with a revised objective of just introducing new artists, proceedings get going with one that missed out being included in my Ones to Watch 2021 series last November and December by a fraction of a millimeter. If the Ones to Watch list had been 15 long he would have certainly been included. Instead For Those I Love is the first musician in a feature that simply goes by the title NEW, which I hope will run all year (see an explanation on yesterday's blog post by clicking here)

For Those I Love has already appeared on the BBC’s Later and been tipped by the Guardian in its 30 for 2021 feature after releasing just two tracks. However, take one listen to his debut I Have A Love and you’ll understand exactly why. There’s a unique personal poignancy and poetry to Dave Balfe’s words, which is delivered in his charismatic Irish accent. The spoken word styling reminds me a little of Endless Art by A House for anyone who remembers that.

Balfe was previously a member of rock collective Burnt Out. If that name isn't familiar, but have seen The Murder Capital live, you may well have heard one of their songs without realising it. It’s called Dear James and is played out as the band take to the stage at their gigs. 

Sadly Dave’s Burnt Out band mate, poet and friend Paul Curran passed away from suicide in 2018. As a result the forthcoming debut album from For Those I Love in part plays tribute to his mate, stapling together many of his memories whilst also exploring experiences of growing up in working-class Dublin. 

There have already been some comparisons with the first record by The Streets, as I Have A Love takes a journey from haunting piano chords and stillness to late night club culture. It’s an impressive and powerful piece of work that feels, despite the subject matter, both exultant and calming. The album should certainly be one to keep an ear out for.

For Those I Love - I Have A Love

Friday 1 January 2021

New For 2021

As we all know 2020 wasn’t the year most hoped for. Boris Johnson’s “This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain,” tweet on January 2nd 2020 at least showing us that nobody knows exactly what the future will hold - even if you're the leader of a country.

But despite this, looking to the future is exactly what Breaking More Waves is going to be about in 2021. This year I’m going to be doing nothing else on the blog but introducing new artists. So let's hope it's going to be a fantastic year for them.

Since I started Breaking More Waves I was always a fan of the likes of Paul Lester’s Guardian New Band of the Day column (read how it ruined his life here) and Joe Sparrow’s A New Band A Day blog which managed 10 years before having an extended rest. 

On Breaking More Waves I’ve always run new artist type posts, be it under the heading New Waves or just plain old Introducing; the difference for 2021 is that's all I’m going to do. I won’t be posting daily, nor will I have a schedule. I might post three things in a week, then nothing for a month. I might write ten words or ten thousand. There will be no follow ups or no long-term support via the blog (sorry artists - but I will buy / stream your music, come and see you live and talk about you on Twitter here) I’ll also be updating my new music playlist on Spotify, not just with brand new artists, but with any new releases I like and come across, from established as well as new acts, although the playlist will no longer be monthly, but weekly, usually updated and refreshed at the weekend.

What is new and what isn’t is debatable of course. Not every artist I feature on the blog will have just released their debut song. A good example is Ashton Nicole Cassey, better known as Ashnikko, who released her first official material in 2018, but had tracks like Damsel on Soundcloud as far back as 2014. Yet I didn’t feature her as a new artist on Breaking More Waves until early last year; her debut long play mix tape due in the next month or two.

So that’s the plan. 2021 is all about the new. In summary – there will be a weekly new music playlist on Spotify, starting once new music really gets going (click here for the current monthly playlist which will become the weekly playlist) and irregular introducing posts here on the blog, imaginatively titled ‘New’. 

Let's hope 2021 is better than 2020, but let's all also remember this is a marathon not a sprint.