Thursday 17 June 2021

NEW #30 - Wet Leg


Two things that I’m a big fan of are musicians in the bath* (so many of them do promo pictures this way but nobody can explain why) and slightly idiosyncratic singers. Often the two go hand in hand as they did back in 2016 when I wrote about rising Isle of Wight musician Rhian (here) Since that time we haven’t heard a lot from her (she released the songs Time Traveller and Solid Gold in 2018) although she has popped up singing with fellow islanders Plastic Mermaids at some of their live shows.

However, now Rhian (full name Rhian Teasdale) returns alongside jeweller / musician Hester Chambers with a new project Wet Leg. Their debut is a gem of an indie pop anthem called Chaise Longue. It’s totally different to her solo work (the vocals are less Joanna Newsome and more in the vein of the current trend of spoken ASMR pop) and will get you on first listen. It does it with a simple but propulsive backing, sharp guitar riff and quick to absorb lyrics that will undoubtedly find audiences chanting along with them. Phrases like “I got the big D” and “Excuse me, what?” deserve to be shouted back at the band in sweaty rooms across the country. Chaise Longue is undoubtedly the first time I’ve ever heard someone ask “Is your muffin buttered” in a pop song and “I’ve got a chaise lounge in my dressing room and a pack of warm beer that we can consume,” is one of my favourite amusing or is it just real life (?) lyrics I’ve heard for a while.

Then we come to the video. Which is simple, but brilliant. Dressed in old time country dresses and hats Rhain delivers the words deadpan whilst Hester lurks around being somehow sinister and comical at the same time (watch out for the high kicks) her face covered by her hat. It doesn’t sound that interesting but by the end it will have you in giggles and in love with the song.

With the Isle of Wight already bringing us Plastic Mermaids, Coach Party, Lauran Hibberd, Champs and Roberta Fidora it’s a highly fertile breeding ground for new music. Soon they’ll be able to run their own festival with no mainlander artists at all.

Wet Leg are the latest newcomers to that list and on the basis of this debut they’re a very worthy addition. 

* Don't forget to have a look at the #musiciansinthebath hashtag on Twitter

Wet Leg - Chaise Longue

Friday 11 June 2021

NEW #29 - Modern Woman


Modern Woman, the latest band to be introduced on Breaking More Waves are purveyors of leftfield experimental art rock. Then they throw in the surprising addition of supple vocals that you’d probably expect to hear in a traditional folk group rather than a band that are about to embrace a series of dates that include shows at various alt-rock / psych / indie festivals, including End of The Road Festival.

In fact End of the Road Festival is important here as Modern Woman are the first signing to End of the Road Records, a label set up by the festival. Simon Taffe, the founder of the event has said of the band; “As soon as we accidentally stumbled upon a Modern Woman live show, we were obsessed. They were so fully formed. We were stunned to discover they hadn’t even recorded a song.” 

Now they have. 

Let’s be clear here – Modern Woman are very much on the avant-garde side of things. They’re not searching for a hit. They prefer to explore areas such as free-jazz, noise and post-punk. They’ve also been known to create percussive sounds from instruments they have created themselves, such as an old table with a metal colander nailed to it. Their debut single is about desire and a voyeur leaving offerings for their neighbour. It’s edgy, weird and all over the place. The closest comparison I can think of is PJ Harvey going completely off-piste or perhaps Black Country New Road or Squid after a big night out.

Modern Woman make music that is uneasy listening. In places their sound is brutal. But Offerings is an intriguing start.

You can find Modern Woman on this week’s Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly Playlist, which you can find by clicking here.

Modern Woman - Offerings

Wednesday 9 June 2021

NEW #28 - Alice Low


We all know the rules of pop, right? Don’t make your song more than 3 minutes long, because modern attention spans just can’t cope with any more than that can they? Especially if it's your debut single.

Alice Low, from Cardiff, clearly hasn’t read the rules. Debut single Ladydaddy clocks in at a superbly absurd 14 minutes long. Of course, there’s a shortened radio edit but forget that. You need to dive fully in, if only to hear the opening lines “Trying to work out what it takes to turn a man into a doll, go into town with my best fuck me face mask on.”

What Alice Low does is ridiculous but brilliant. Ladydaddy is a bewildering journey into weird 70’s pop via the world of an acoustic bar room singer, sax solos, Bowie, glamorous excess, camp stomp, and ideas that dart and propel themselves around like an energised pinball. You never know what's coming next, but you can be 100% certain it won't be like Lewis Capaldi. Think Sparks at their most eccentric and you’re possibly getting a little closer. Ladydaddy sounds so completely unlike anything else from 2021; it’s gloriously refreshing and inventive, if also a little perplexing at the same time. You won't be finding this played on daytime radio (although I can imagine the radio edit sneaking onto BBC 6 Music).

Ladydaddy was released a couple of weeks ago via Clwb Music. Truly bonkers pop music that doesn't play safe. 

Alice Low - Ladydaddy

Tuesday 8 June 2021

NEW #27 - rainbow frog biscuits


Today’s new artist has just one song online, but it’s such a pretty and melodic thing that its soft impact feels ready for writing about at this early point. The song in question is Attention. It’s by Amber Louise, a teenager who hails from the Leicestershire region and performs under the name rainbow frog biscuits. It will charm rather than punch you into submission and yes, there’s an element of tweeness about it, but twee unfairly gets a bad name sometimes. 

If you’re only into lad-rock you’re probably not going to be jumping up and down with excitement to rainbow frog biscuits, but at least Amber can’t face any criticism from the dreaded ‘real / authentic music’ fans who think that anything that is generated from a computer isn’t good. Her plucked guitars and gentle cooed harmonies are about as organic and natural as you can find – you can easily imagine her playing this song in a shaded glade at a festival in the woods to a hushed adoring crowd.

Of course, it’s the de rigeur for new artists to develop a following on Tik Tok these days and here Amber is doing rather well, with 1 million followers and 17.4 million likes. But away from that, Attention, a song about the classic teenage insecurity of having a friend that you think is way better looking than you, stands tall on its own, whatever platform you first discover it on.

“I just wanna make some quirky groovy tunes about quirky groovy things, you know?” she explains on her Spotify bio and the playlist she has curated there spells that out from the start; after her own song twelve Kate Bush tracks follow. Unsurprisingly the playlist also features a Dodie track (probably the most obvious reference point) but the inclusion of George Benson, Tears For Fears and Chris De Burgh may not be what you expect.

What we can expect next from Amber is a mystery at the moment. But if her songs are anything near as endearing as Attention, those play counts on streaming services are going to be shooting up.

rainbow frog biscuits - Attention