Tuesday 30 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #8 - VLURE


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: March 2021

The eighth Ones to Watch 2022 and only third (and final) band on this list so far is VLURE.

VLURE (like Lynks, also on this list) are a band to go and see live. You don’t just watch and listen though. You feel them; VLURE is intense, passionate and devastatingly cathartic. Formed in Glasgow, Scotland VLURE capture elements of 80’s goth, industrial, punk, rock n roll and 90’s euphoric stadium rave and mould it into something vital. 

Whether they’re covering the Faithless classic God Is A DJ (complete with lead singer Hamish dancing as if summoning the gods) or blasting out their own heavy hitters such as the pulverising Heartbeat or the emotive Shattered Faith, the VLURE live experience (and it really is an experience) feels like some sort of therapy. You'll probably come out of a VLURE gig shaking or crying with happiness.

VLURE’s debut EP Euphoria is set for release on January 14th through independent label So Young. Go see them if you get the chance and lose yourself.

Vlure - Desire

Vlure - Shattered Faith

Monday 29 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #7 - Hope Tala


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: N/A 

The seventh artist on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022 list is Hope Tala. A Londoner and ex English Literature student who mixes R&B with bossa nova sounds. This artist almost appeared on last year’s Ones to Watch list after the release of her track All My Girls Like To Fight from her Girl Eats Sun EP (which incidentally made Barack Obama’s favourite music of 2020 list). It took minimalist string sounds, acoustic guitars and clicky beats to create a song that sounded like washed up beauty on a paradise island.

However since that EP, Hope Tala kept the first few months of 2021 pretty quiet when it came to new releases. She returned in June 2021 with Mad – a track that cemented her style; like Astrud Gilberto recast for the 2020’s. It’s easy to understand when listening to this tune why when searching on Google, one of the most asked questions about Hope is ‘Is Hope Tala Brazilian?’

Recently Hope has released a new song Tiptoeing, which adds a hint of Lilly Allen / Kate Nash to her signature sound, all suggesting that if an album comes in 2022 it could be a very pleasurable ear-kiss.

Hope Tala - Tiptoeing

Hope Tala - Mad (Video)

Sunday 28 November 2021

Ones to Watch #6 - CMAT


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: N/A 

CMAT might be getting a little on the hype train when she proclaims herself as a global pop star on her bio, but a very good pop star she is all the same.

CMAT’s take on pop isn’t perhaps what you’d expect though. It isn’t synthetic, glossily produced and autotuned. Instead it’s a much more old fashioned, traditional and organic take; great melodies underpinned with sounds that are painted by shades of Americana, country and acoustic music – although you might still find the odd squelchy synth here and there.

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, CMAT (real name Ciara Thompson) is a fan of Dolly Parton and has written a song about chicken – Another Day (kfc). After a string of excellent singles such as I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby! and No More Virgos her debut album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead is scheduled for release in February 2022.

CMAT - I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby! 

CMAT - I Don't Really Care For You

Saturday 27 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #5 - Lynks


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: March 2020

When choosing artists for the annual Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list, sometimes I mean just that; artists that you must go and watch live irrespective of if they have any commercial or critical success. Lynks is one such artist. Despite the gigging scene of 2021 being someone squashed due to Covid, I’ve managed to see Lynks 4 times this year and every show has been a euphoric blast from start to finish.

Lynks (formerly known as Lynks Afrikka) is a queer-pop artist who brings it all. Energy. Performance. Wit. Humour. Intelligence. Dance routines. Leigh Bowery aesthetic. Lyrics that you won’t hear on any other pop song: “Everyone’s sexy and I’m Dexys Midnight Runners on a Thursday night.” Lynks is the anti-Oasis. Lynks is the ultimate underground raver. Lynks will get you in a lather. Lynks is one to watch.

This is an artist who brings back the silliness into pop music in the same way that Confidence Man has done and Wet Leg (Ones to Watch #1) are doing with songs like Chaise Longue. It’s unsurprising therefore that Lynks covered Chaise Longue for Radio 1 and has been dropping it during live shows. However, put aside the silliness for a second and you'll find Lynks is talking about gender politics, stereotypes and sexuality.

Right now, with the sh*tshow of Covid-19, it feels like the right time for colour, glamour and ultimately fun to be back on our stereos and in our venues. Lynks provides all of that.

Lynks is the alter-ego of one Elliot Brett and together with the Shower Gel (and not forgetting Barbara the table – a trusted er…table that they have on stage with them) they are here to bring the joy. 

Lynks - BBB

Friday 26 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #4 - Sam Ryder


First Appeared On Breaking More Waves: February 2021

When I introduced Sam Ryder on the blog this February he had 2.6 million followers on Instagram. By November that figure had risen to 3.5 million. To give some context that's the same number of followers as Charli XCX and she's been doing music for over 10 years.

It’s easy to see why. His posts are incredibly engaging, his personality clearly huge. But most of all the reason why people lap up his social media like he’s new music’s version of Kylie Jenner is because of his incredible vocal talent; the man can sing the underwear off a celibate and he loves showing off that skill on his posts. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t actually make people’s clothes fall off that really would be an odd skill). It’s starting to transfer to real life as well – his UK tour in January is completely sold out.

Take a listen to his vocal on his version of his song More recorded in the V&A in London. It covers all bases. From angelic choirboy, to mellifluous boy-band balladeer to gritty rock star in the making. He makes music that is broad and could have Capaldi like mainstream appeal if he releases the right song and gets the right support, but his sound is (just) flecked with just enough edge to not make it schmaltzy. 

With one EP (The Sun's Gonna Rise) released in September and a new single called Spaceman due in January, Sam could easily be shooting for the stars. Not every act on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list has commercial appeal, but Ryder could be one that has.

Sam Ryder - More (Live at the V&A)

Thursday 25 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #3 - Pip Millett


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: N/A 

The third artist on this year’s One to Watch list is Pip Millett. (Her real name is Georgia, but Pip has always been her nickname and Millett is her mother’s maiden name)

Pip has been drip feeding music since 2018, including 3 Eps: Do Well (2019), Lost In June (2020) and the recent Motion Sick (2021), growing her audience to the point where she is now able to play a sold out tour - unfortunately a number of her recent dates had to be rescheduled to January due to laryngitis. She’s also appeared on the most recent series of Later…with Jools Holland on BBC2, performing in an empty swimming pool. (People who have followed me on Twitter will probably realise that I think this is essentially a case of #musiciansinthebath on a bigger scale)

However, irrespective of empty bathing facilities, her music, which is what we are focussing on, is beautifully chilled and soulful; fans of the likes of Joy Crookes and Jorja Smith will relish what she does. And just like Crookes and Smith, the most appealing quality about Pip is her voice. It’s warm late at night creaminess is gorgeous and could work its way into a lot of hearts if her future songs connect with people. 

Pip Millett - Hard Life

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #2 - Gabriels


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: n/a

The second artist on this year’s Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022 list is Gabriels

Who are Gabriels?

They’re a LA based outfit fronted by the incredible Jacob Lusk who sings with a soulful voice that reminds me a little of Anohni and Nina Simone. That goregous voice is then carried by a luscious orchestrated backing. The songs and the sound are truly beautiful. The first time I heard Gabriels was a complete stop-me-in-my tracks moment. A wow moment. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Back in October Will Orchard, director of Blue Dot and Kendal Calling Festivals tweeted: “Truly, I’ve never seen a gig as extraordinary as Gabriels at The Social, London tonight. Their first ever show. It felt like a privilege to see a band that are clearly going to be absolutely, deservedly, huge in such an intimate space. Their unreleased stuff is phenomenal.” 

With a 12" vinyl single released almost a year ago selling out on Bandcamp, Gabriels have been picking up support from the likes of Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music - he was an early champion of Sault as well, who in terms of their retro-modern sound share some similarities to Gabriels. And if you do love Sault then make some more room in your heart because you're going to need space to adore these guys as well. 

Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll agree. Gabriels absolutely have to be Ones to Watch for next year as they release more new material and play shows. Their new EP (Bloodline - title track below) is due December 3rd. I have a full expectation of them being the ones to see at all the best festivals in 2022 and (hopefully) releasing one of the albums of 2022.

Gabriels - Bloodline

Gabriels - Love  and Hate In A Different Time

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 #1 - Wet Leg


First appeared on Breaking More Waves: June 2021 

Heading up this year’s Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list is Isle of Wight indie-pop powerhouse Wet Leg.

They follow on from other recent choices from the garden isle, with Lauran Hibberd (Ones to Watch 2019) and Coach Party (Ones to Watch 2020).

From the first time I pressed play on the video for Chaise Longue with its hooky, comically absurd lyrics, simple propulsive guitars, cottage core fashion, dead pan stares and high kicks it was clear that Wet Leg were likely to be ones to watch for the future. Chaise Longue gave me the same sort of buzz that tracks like The Modern Age by The Strokes, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys and Bros by Wolf Alice (Ones to Watch 2014) gave me when I first heard them. 

Wet Leg demonstrate that, despite some commentators opinions, bands aren’t dead. They just need good songs.

Cut forward one month after the release of Chaise Longue and Wet Leg could be found packing out a small tent at Latitude festival to absolute capacity - one of the musical moments of the year. People might have come for the one song, but they went away having witnessed Rhain Teasdale and Hester Chambers grinning from ear to ear as they stormed through a set chock-full of catchy tunes; from the likes of the sexy lobster pop of Wet Dream to Supermarket, Wet Leg’s lockdown-dating song, which found Rhain singing of hooking up in supermarkets because it was the only place you could go. Of course, it was always clear Rhain was talented (I’d previously featured her as a solo artist on the blog in 2016) but I certainly didn’t expect this; and judging by the band’s reaction at Latitude, I’m not sure if they did either.

A further month later and I saw them do it all over again at Green Man festival. As the first band of the first day Rhain jokingly announced that they were running the festival in opposite order this year so they were headlining. It was a set that once again confirmed that they have plenty more good songs under their belts. It will undoubtedly be the final time they are bottom of the bill.

Now with shows selling out faster than a speeding ticket and talk of an album, next year is almost certainly going to be a good one for Wet Leg. They have to be Ones to Watch for 2022.

Wet Leg - Chaise Longue

Wet Leg - Wet Dream


Monday 22 November 2021

Ones to Watch 2022 - Introduction and 2021 Recap


Over the next 10 days I’ll be posting my annual tips list of Ones to Watch for 2022. Some of them will be of absolutely no surprise to anyone that follows new music or reads this blog. Others may be.

Here’s a recap of last year’s picks for 2021:

1. Ashnikko

2. The Lathums

3. Holly Humberstone

4. Ivorian Doll

5. Olivia Dean

6. Hallan

7. Baby Queen

8. Christy

9. Yard Act

10. Skullcrusher

And here’s the list of every artist I’ve put as ‘One to Watch’ since the first year of the blog in 2008

Alabama Shakes, Alessi’s Ark, Alice Chater, Alice Jemima, Another Sky, Arlo Parks, Ashnikko, Aurora, Avec Sans, Baby Queen, Banks, Beth Jeans Houghton, Billie Marten, Black Country New Road, Cabbage, Celeste, Charli XCX, Chasing Grace, Chloe Black, Chloe Howl, Christy, 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, Hallan, Hazel English, Holly Humberstone, Holly Miranda, Hurts, Ivorian Doll, 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, Olivia Dean, 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, Skullcrusher, Sofi Tukker, Sons & Lovers, Sophie Jamieson, Spark, Spector, Starsmith, Stornoway, Superorganism, The Blinders, The Lathums, 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, Yard Act, Yes Giantess, Zyra

Looking back at that list certainly tells you one thing – no tips list ever get’s it right every time. But if you tip enough times, sometimes you will. Some artists will go on to have huge commercial success, others will get critical acclaim and others won’t. For every Florence & The Machine there’s a Unicorn Kid. For every Lana Del Rey there’s a Spark. Pop’s crystal ball isn’t always clear. But it’s fun having a go at trying to predict what the future holds.

Let’s have a go shall we? 

Check back here from 8.30am tomorrow and every day after that for the next 10 days for the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022.

For now here is one from 2021. 

Ashnikko - Panic Attacks In Paradise