Sunday 23 May 2021

NEW #26 - Scout


There are those who dismiss the 80’s as just a decade of Thatcherist deconstruction of society, yuppies and shallow upbeat synth pop. But anyone who even scratches the surface even just a little will find there was far more than that. However, it cannot be denied that the 80’s were key in the development of the synthesiser. As the technology got cheaper more artists embraced it – and just like any genre there were fast songs, slow songs and mid-tempo songs. There were songs that had deep meaning and there was stuff that was throwaway. There were songs about love and songs about heartbreak. Just as there probably always will be.

Which brings us to Scout. On their (or is it her?) debut single Never Fade Scout strongly references that synth pop; the sort of lush, cinematic glossy electronic sound that comes from the same 80’s family as Berlin’s Take My Breath Away. Lyrically it’s definitely in the sad-pop-heartbreak arena; after the break up and the misery comes the difficulty of disconnecting from the memories: “Every little thing reminds me of your face.”

It’s not just 100% retro though, the song itself has a very modern structure – the vocal delivery has hints of a downbeat Charli XCX and I could easily imagine Chvrches putting this in their set and nobody batting an eyelid. Scout is not totally new to all of this; in 2015/6 they were working under the name Kid Wave, a much more guitar-based project. You may remember the track Wonderlust which gained some decent traction. 

What comes next remains to be seen, but a debut EP is promised. If it’s as dreamy and sad as Never Fade, count me in. Let’s get ready to wallow in someone’s unhappiness.

Scout - Never Fade

Saturday 22 May 2021

NEW #25 - Lovejoy


Here’s an odd one. Press play on Lovejoy's debut EP Are You Alright? released a couple of weeks back and you’ll probably think you’re listening to something from 2005- 2007. Their blend of hooky pop tunes formed out of chunky energetic guitars punctuated by punchy brass riffs sounds far removed from much of today’s designed for Tik-Tok / You Tube influencer led pop music. 

So, it might come as a surprise to find that Lovejoy are already enjoying some success. After all, their sound certainly isn’t flavour of the month. A couple of the UK band’s tunes are already hovering around the lower reaches of the Top 100 singles chart, and the video for their song One Day has over 5 million views on You Tube. 

The reason for this seemingly very non-zeitgeist band doing so well? The answer is Wilbur Soot (real name Will Gold). The lead vocalist is an established UK based internet personality and Twitch streamer. Wilbur has over 5 million subscribers on You Tube and has already released some solo music. It seems that perhaps bands like this aren’t dead, they just have to work out how to engage with an audience in new ways. 

Of course good songs and personality help and there’s something really likeable and very British about Lovejoy’s tunes. If in the mid noughties you were listening to Jack Penate, Scouting For Girls, The Rumble Strips or Athlete then Lovejoy will probably bring a smile and sense of nostalgia to you. 

All credit to a band who start one of their songs with the line: “Stop! ‘Cos why did you have to kill my cat?” (on One Day), before continuing with Wilbur singing that “a toilet with the seat left up is closure like a deer in headlights.” Combine that with the aforementioned bouncy exuberant brass, stupidly frantic foot to the floor drumming, a momentum that sounds like they might fall apart at any moment and Wilbur’s existing online presence and you have all the ingredients of an old fashioned band that might just cut through.

Lovejoy - One Day

Sunday 9 May 2021

NEW #24 - Jayla Kai


This is the first post for nearly two weeks. Something was scheduled to go up earlier last week, but the new artist in question released a new (second) single the day before the post and it was an absolute shocker, so I just couldn’t stand by my post and it never went online.

It’s a simple lesson re-learnt; that pop music can be a fickle. Yesterday’s artist with potential can be today’s dodgy incompetent. Nobody has a crystal ball that is accurate. 

Whenever a writer blethers on about all the artists that they wrote about in their infancy that are now festival headliners, ask them which artists they wrote about that came to nothing. There were probably a lot of them. ‘Tastemakers’ memories can be selective.

With that in mind today I’m introducing Jayla Kai. She released her debut single I Can’t Lie just a few days ago. An extremely easy on the ear piece of  music that would sit comfortably in a record collection alongside the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Soccer Mommy, but manages to feed in some electronics and a pop sensibility as well: “I never thought I could have a song with a beat drop,” she says. “Now I love it. It’s authentic vulnerable, shamelessly unfiltered. It’s me.” I liked it so much I put it as the first track on the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist.

Kayla grew up in Woodstock and has benefited from the experience and positive approach of Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), when at the age of 15 one of her teachers put her in touch with him. Kieran has helped inspire and motivate her to the point where Kayla is now releasing music, with an EP to follow through new independent label Everybody’s Music. Of course, that EP might be garbage; but if it’s not and Kayla goes on to critical success and fame and fortune I will absolutely delight in telling anyone that listens that I was one of the first to write about her. 

Jayla Kai - I Can't Lie