Sunday, 25 September 2022

NEW #62 Al Costelloe

 

What is ‘new’ in the context of new music and specifically new artists?

It’s a question that any writer or writers of new music blogs or websites will probably ask themselves at some point. 

“Produced, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time; not existing before. For example, the new Madonna album” is one definition that a quick Google search throws up.

The big query that then follows is produced, introduced, or discovered by whom? For example, if a writer had only just discovered Madonna, then she might be new to them, but it would be somewhat stretching it to label her a new artist to most people when she has already had a 40-year career in pop.

And as, for the time being at least, the raison d'être of Breaking More Waves is to introduce new artists it’s important that what is featured is, for most people, viewed as new.

If I posted about Wet Leg today it would be way behind the curve of newness, but when the band uploaded Chaise Longue to You Tube on the 15th of June last year and I posted about them 2 days later on the 17th, ‘new’ seemed the right tag. But even then, there was a nagging doubt – after all Breaking More Waves had previously featured vocalist and guitarist Rhian Teasdale back in 2018 as a solo recording artist.

And so it is with today’s new artist. Al Costelloe might have only released 2 tracks so far and currently have 1,281 monthly listeners on Spotify, but she was formerly half of two-piece Big Deal, who released 3 albums, and toured with the likes of Depeche Mode and The Vaccines. She’s also played as part of Superfood and VANT live, so is hardly a newcomer. But I’m featuring here as new, because I get the sense that her name will still be new to many people, this is a new artistic project very different to her previous output and this is my bloody blog so I can do what I want with it; which includes writing rambles about the internal debates in my head on how to define new and then one short paragraph to actually introduce the artist. If you want professional journalism you’re in the wrong bloody place.

So, let’s welcome Al Costelloe. Her two songs out in the world have a smoky, dreamy Americana ambience to them with a gauzy touch of indie over the top. As here in the UK we rapidly head towards winter, they offer the last rays of warming yellowed sunlight through the blinds of the window and as such are rather lovely. Most recent single The Other Side is a blissful peach, with its pretty melodies and glowing chorus of hope: “I was down for a while, thought I’d never smile again, but now I’m out on the other side.” In a world that seems increasingly hostile, uncaring, and divided in many ways, the words “good times are coming,” that Al sings offer some much-needed positivity.

Al Costelloe - The Other Side



Al Costelloe - California

Thursday, 22 September 2022

NEW #61 KIDS

 

Today’s new kids on the block (no not those new kids on the block) are called KIDS.

They released their debut single Alcohol & Cigarettes last Friday and no, it’s not some back to front version of the Oasis song with a similar name. Instead, KIDS swagger into view with a pop-roots-folk-rap-indie-blues tune that owes some debt to Beck, Gomez and Jamie T. Essentially it’s full of the good stuff and if you don’t like it, then it’s time to nip down to Specsavers or your doctor and get your ears syringed.  

KIDS, as far as I can tell, is a fully formed band who has played just a handful of shows so far.  The man who seems to be at their core, Beau Blaise, has been working in the music industry for a while, and also has a another more electronic project called NOLOGO, but it’s this KIDS song that has really grabbed me. His partner in crime for KIDS is one Alex Harvey (and again no, not that Sensational Alex Harvey - he died in the 80s).  “It’s about trying to have a good time during the bad times,” say the group.

The band are gearing up for some multi-venue new music festivals in the UK this autumn (including Live at Leeds and a new event called Made Me Like It in East London at the start of October) so if you get the opportunity go and check them out and claim your bragging rights for seeing them early before (almost) anyone else.

KIDS - Alcohol & Cigarettes

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

NEW #60 Indy

 

Siblings in pop is not an unusual thing. Sometimes they come as a package (Jackson 5, Bee Gees, Sparks and Haim to name just a few) sometimes they have other members attached (Oasis, B*Witched and All Saints) and sometimes they fly solo (Kylie and Danni Minogue, Beyonce and Solange Knowles).

Today we’re introducing a new solo sister. Her name is India Yelich-O’Connor and she is the sister of Ella Yelich-O’Connor, who we all know better as Lorde. 

India goes by the name of Indy and released her debut song proper Threads last week, The very observant amongst you may remember that she put out some music in the dim and distant past on Soundcloud, including a rough around the edges piano cover of A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s Say Something in about 2014.

Having a big sister who is already a global force in pop must be fairly daunting, but Threads is a promising proper start, and yes, it does sound a lot like Lorde. In particular, Threads will remind you of Melodrama era Lorde with some nice stabs of Vangelis style synths thrown in for good measure towards the end.

You can hear the song on all the usual streaming services and it’s also one of the featured songs on the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist (here).

Indy - Threads

Friday, 9 September 2022

NEW #59 Joe Unknown

 

“I like my life in halves, half full’s going to look half empty at times, but thanks to the later licensing laws it’s somewhat easy to get a top up.” 

That’s a selection of just one of the many blistering and heavily quotable lines spat out by Joe Unknown, an artist who blends spoken word with a very British no-holds-barred punk attitude on his debut single Ride from last year.

Think Slow Thai, think The Streets, think Sleaford Mods, think Lady Bird, think Bob Vylan. Then add the driving bass riff from Neat Neat Neat by The Damned and you’ve got yourself a relentless underground classic. It’s easy to imagine this one going off live in a particularly pumped up and rowdy way .

Since that debut in 2021 Joe Unknown has been pretty quiet, but last April he dropped Silent, his  second track. Once more it featured a nonstop barrage of sentences.  If you want hooky choruses Joe probably isn’t your man. But if you want something with mosh pit energy, based on these two tracks, sign him up.

Joe’s been spending the summer touring the small stages at this year’s big festivals such as Latitude, Secret Garden Party and Reading, slowly spreading the word (he has lots of them). As we go into autumn and winter expect a whole bloody dictionary.

Joe Unknown - Ride

 

Joe Unknown - Silent

Thursday, 8 September 2022

NEW #58 House On Fire

 

It’s time for another addition to the slowly growing roster of artists that feature on Breaking More Waves under the title of ‘NEW’ because, quite obviously, they’re new.

This year has been the slowest year on the blog ever, but there’s still been some gems. From the punk-funk-disco-punch of The Queen’s Head (recently played and interviewed on Radio 1’s Jack Saunders show) to the sassy-r’n’b-pop of Flo who have now dropped their debut EP, to Southampton’s Caity Baser who recently sneaked into the UK top 100 singles, played Reading Festival on the BBC Introducing Stage and could (I think) easily become a regular on your internet streaming service of choice and radio.

According to Spotify our latest new diamond selection has just 239 monthly listeners. This is criminal. They deserve more. 

Why? Because House on Fire are purveyors of the sort of modern hooky pop the likes of Glass Animals make so successfully. Based in Liverpool, House On Fire consist of Tom Murray (vocals and programming), Josh Gorman (drums) and Jan Frost (guitar).

Their most recent single, Neighbourhood, one of only two they have on streaming services, is a slinky, buzzing, uplifting earworm that takes about one minute of playing to confirm its ear kissing friendliness. I had to check the writing credits to make sure it wasn’t a cover it sounded so familiar.

Geronimo, their debut, is more dancefloor friendly, with elements of electropop, funk and a hint of Years and Years in the sound as Tom sings of being ‘a keyboard warrior – modern day Geronimo’. 

Both songs are both rather good, but the question is, why is there so little online about them? There’s a tiny scattering of low-key blog posts |(including this one here) but otherwise nothing. They don’t even appear to have any social media (although there’s evidence of  now deleted Soundcloud and Instagram accounts). The only picture I can find of them is the one above – a poor quality shot taken in a pub somewhere. In fact, the only concrete thing I can find about House on Fire still existing as a going concern right now is that they are playing at Live at Leeds In The City festival in October. 

So maybe there’s more to follow? Keep your ears peeled.

House On Fire - Neighbourhood


Wednesday, 10 August 2022

NEW #57 Cruel Sister

 

It’s time to introduce a new artist who you’ll probably find adjectives such as swirling, shimmering, ethereal and blissful thrown at more times than 10 Downing Street (now known as the Tory Hacienda) had parties during lockdown (eg: quite a bloody lot). Why? Because Cruel Sister (real name Faith Nico) from Dublin does a nice line in the sort of shoegazey noise-pop that was once the domain of the likes of Curve and Ride and more recently has at least in part been rejuvenated by Wolf Alice.

Having put out a couple of tracks last year, Cruel Sister’s third release shows there’s still life in guitars, reverb, distortion and delay combined with some pretty vocals. The song in question is called chihiro, named after the lead character in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (Faith’s favourite film) and is taken from her debut 5 track EP released this September. 

Lose yourself in this artist's dark but beautiful wash of sound. There's a claustrophobic video as well which has shades of The Cure being stuck inside a wardrobe on Close To Me (view here) and Chihiro can also be found on this week’s Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist (here).

Cruel Sister - chihiro

Saturday, 16 July 2022

NEW #56 Nell Mescal

 

If you’re the sort of person that likes to watch Normal People, listen to Phoebe Bridgers and generally get a bit emotional, then Nell Mescal may be the artist you’ve been waiting for.

This 19 year-old singer songwriter from Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland (who has now moved to North London) has just released her second song ‘Graduating’. It’s a rousing coming of age and growing apart ballad, one that quickly builds from a simple piano intro to a swirling, arms aloft at the top of the mountain blockbuster of the highest order. It adds to debut track (and another ballad) ‘Missing You’ that was released way back in 2020 and Nell's recent performance at Barn on the Farm Festival.

The references to Normal People and Phoebe Bridgers are specifically chosen here. The link being Nell’s brother Paul who played Connell in the TV adaptation of the story and whom is currently dating Phoebe Bridgers. However, don’t let these celebrity connections put you off listening to ‘Graduating’. It stands on its own merits – an intimate and yet full-bodied tune that suggests Nell Mescal could well be one to watch.

You can find ‘Graduating’ on the current edition of the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist (here) and watch the video below. 

The song was produced by Steph Marziano who has worked with the likes of Bloxx, Claud and Millie Turner.

Nell Mescal - Graduating 

Thursday, 23 June 2022

NEW #55 Mickey Callisto

 

On this day fourteen years ago I uploaded my first post on Breaking More Waves. 

Now here we are in 2022. With another. It's my 3,762nd. Wow. I guess that's a marathon not a sprint.

Today's new artist is the antidote to all those Ed Sheeran / Lewis Capaldi / Sam Fender / George Ezra bloke types. His name is Mickey Callisto and he does interstellar space age sizzlers. 

Just don’t expect Mickey to be standing behind a keyboard, distant from a crowd, looking bored when he plays live - because Mickey is a performer. An arse slapping, strutting, body popping, hands in the air, hip thrusting joy of one. Think electronic pop bangers with Freddie Mercury in a club. If you don’t have fun at one of his shows please check your pulse – you are probably dead.

Mickey only has two songs on line: there's the glossily neon sounds of Destructive Love and the hyper-synth-active This Is The Real World, a tune aimed at over privileged who don't understand how regular people live. It's on this one you can hear a hint of Freddie Mercury in the vocals. 

If you want some colour in your pop and that colour is gold, listen to Mickey Callisto. If Breaking More Waves was having a birthday party today, Mickey would be our choice of entertainment. Expect some more bangers from him soon.

Mickey Callisto - Destructive Love

Monday, 30 May 2022

NEW #54 Medicine Cabinet

 

In the dim and distant days when music blogs were a force to be reckoned with and every fledgling band wanted their debut demo up on a tastemaker site, the idea of the ‘buzz act’ was commonplace. These days however, the buzz, if that is still the right term, seems to sit on TikTok, but the concept remains the same; if you can get people talking about you, greater things and opportunities may await.

The last band I remember there being a fair amount of buzz-chat on music blogs prior to the band releasing anything was Black Country, New Road (I joined in on the act in this post here), but more recently I’ve noticed a small amount of revival for the blog-buzz.

First, with what seems like an almost too heavy load of expectation, is The Dinner Party, a six piece that have yet to release any material but are already scheduled to join The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, London this summer. Second is today’s new band, albeit the internet tongue wagging going on for this lot is a bit more low-key.

They’re called Medicine Cabinet and they’re from Scotland.

Like The Dinner Party they have, until very recently, not released any music, but earlier this month their debut single The Signs dropped on streaming services. A mix of danceable pop and bum-wiggling retro indie The Signs pays tribute to bands such as Blondie and Altered Images, reminding us all that guitar bands don’t just have to be shouty angry lads wanting to be the next Idles / Shame / Yard Act / Fontaines DC and that it’s ok to be a bit bubblegum and fun. 

I caught the group at this year’s Great Escape festival and it struck me that their approach is as much visual as  the music. There’s no normcore down-styling here. Medicine Cabinet seize your eyes and take me back to a place when I first set eyes on bands like Manic Street Preachers and White Stripes – bands that wanted to stand out with the way they looked as much as the music. Medicine Cabinet are glamourous, cool and look like they’d be a lot of fun to go shopping with. They have the haircuts, the cheekbones, the shades, the clothes. 

And there’s the music as well. Live it all comes together. Sometimes model and now lead singer Anna Acquroff is a tiny ball of energy on stage and their songs already seem to be fairly well formed. They're not a band who are getting noticed just because of their style.

Now with a single out, what they need is a hit. Over to you TikTok perhaps?

Medicine Cabinet play the Windmill, Brixton on 6th July 2022.

Medicine Cabinet - The Signs

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

NEW #53 KID 2



If you follow me on Twitter (click here), you might have noticed that last weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to the Great Escape Festival, Europe’s largest New Music Festival, which takes place in a multitude of venues in Brighton, East Sussex. Despite hearing the normal grumbles from some punters about not being able to get in to see certain gigs as venues reached capacity and seeing the odd complaint on social media from artists on the way they were treated at the event (like this – although I don’t really understand the ‘no water’ complaint – was there not a tap in the venue that artists could fill up a reusable bottle from?), from my perspective Great Escape remains a joy. 

Where else can I see 39 full performances by mainly new bands and artists from all over the world in mainly small space for a £45 ticket? I saw acts from South Korea, Australia, The Netherlands, USA, Ireland, and Denmark to name just a few, as well as a whole host of acts from the UK. Not only that but since I first attended in 2007, I’ve seen Great Escape evolve from a mainly indie-guitar-centric festival to one which embraces diversity not only in the music but also in the characteristics of artists it features (the festival has been hitting high quotas of female and artists of colour for a long time). So it’s a festival you can never get bored at. And this year the App that Great Escape used included a venue capacity gauge giving you an indication of if there was a queue outside or not. 

With Great Escape in mind, the next couple of posts on Breaking More Waves feature new artists that I came across at the festival that I knew little or nothing about prior to.

The first is KID 2 a Norwegian singer-songwriter who is currently based in Brighton. I caught her playing in a garage at a free Alt-Escape show at a small sun kissed courtyard just off Middle Street near the seafront.

She has released just 2 songs to date. Debut Leave Me Out in 2020 and August Morning in 2021. Both are tenderly unhurried pieces that will make you drift away, leaving you feeling a little bit melancholy and meditative. Club bangers they are not. But for those of you who want something calmer, performed with an air of confident serenity they’re worth a listen. 

There will be more material from KID 2, but much like her music, it won’t be rushed. Expect something coming later this year. 

Tickets for Great Escape 2023 are on sale now here. (Unfortunately they have now gone up to £70 after the 'secret' early birds at £55 and the super early birds at £60 sold out within a day or so)


Wednesday, 27 April 2022

NEW #52 Supersaurus

 

Today’s new band claim to have a songwriting style that takes inspiration from Carly-Rae Jepsen and Chvrches. Yet on debut single Alice they sound a lot like early The 1975 circa 2013. Of course, it’s dangerous to start making comparisons when a band only has one single out; take Pale Waves for example who I threw exactly the same comparison at on their first official release, but now I’d compare with Avril Lavigne. We’ll all need a few more songs to make a better judgement, but this is a new music blog so sometimes super-early commitment is required.

The band in question is called Supersaurus, and a quick Google will tell you that they are a top UK wedding and party band available for hire, who are renowned for filling dance floors. Which just shows that you need to be careful with the internet. For that Supersaurus is a totally different band of the same name. Although maybe this lot could also soon be renowned for filling dance floors at your local indie disco perhaps?

So this Supersaurus, the one you need to focus on, is made up of Benji, Tay, Lauren and Becca. Their aforementioned debut single was released earlier this month. It’s a jubilant sounding piece of guitar pop, although if like THAT famous song you're asking who the f*ck is Alice, the answer is not exactly clear. One of the first lines is: “Hey Alice, I think I could have loved you, but you’re not real, no you were never real.” Elsewhere there are lines about: “It was all in my mind, all the beautiful things, that are lost in another timeline.” Is Alice just someone that Benji saw on line? Perhaps. Maybe she was just a dream? However, what is clear is that Alice (the song) swooshes with a guitar laden melody that would sound great on the radio. It also contains some great 'Hey' shouts, which anyone who has studied the Rules of Pop* will know is always encouraged. 

Warning: Earworm alert.

*Any version of the Rules of Pop - it's in Chapter 4 just after the section on singing La La La

Supersaurus - Alice (Video)

Friday, 22 April 2022

NEW #51 Orchid

 

Orchid’s Insta bio describes her as a Goth Pussycat Doll. Her Twitter says she’s a Worldwide Quirky Girly. I’m going to add a far less witty three-word slogan and just describe her as Really Quite Good. 

You’ll probably agree with me on the Really Quite Good part when you hear her track Like Thunder which is taken from Orchid’s (aka Orchideh Vishkaiy) EP of the same name and it’s been pricking up ears over the last few weeks. It’s a minimalist piece of left of centre pop that crackles with the same sort of perfectly controlled yet still deviant experimentation that the first FKA Twigs album possessed. The accompanying visual also shows that it’s possible to shoot a video in a swimming pool without resorting to tackiness (anyone remember Sabrina’s Boys Boys Boys? Let’s not go there, OK?)

One listen to the whole of the EP, released a couple of weeks ago, will confirm two simple facts. First, Orchid isn’t a one trick pony. Second, she’s clearly in love with modern contemporary pop. Doe Eyes is the part of the Venn diagram where UK garage intersects with Britney Spears. Then there’s Later, which is a tempo shifting jam that hints at Ariana Grande and punches pretty hard with a radio friendly chorus. 

Of course, one of the things that sets the big names in pop apart is that they can do it live with venom and charisma. It’s early days for Orchid on that front and as yet there don’t seem to be any gigs announced. However, a little bit of internet searching reveals an artist of the same name supporting Glassio at The Old Blue Last in August. Could that be her? Quite possibly.

For now, let’s live with the recordings. Really quite good probably wasn’t up to scratch as a description, was it? Maybe instead let’s amend that to Quality New Pop-Star.

Orchid - Like Thunder (Video)


Orchid - Doe Eyes

Thursday, 14 April 2022

NEW #50 Scene Queen

 

Scene Queen, born Hannah Collins in Ohio USA, is the latest addition to a crop of artists who are taking the sounds of RAWK, primarily the sound of nu-metal and industrial before mashing it up with hip-hop beats, nursery rhyme hooks and venomous spoken-word lyrics that go straight for the jugular of crap men.

“Pink rover, pink rover, please send the coward over. And if that bastard whistles, put a knife up to his boner,” Hannah narrates on Pink Rover as she brutally lets men know what she’s going to do about inappropriate harassment if they dare try it. In its 2 minutes of existence it rages hard. This isn’t punk rock, but pink rock as exemplified on three of the four songs she has released so far; Pink Bubblegum, Pretty in Pink (not a cover of the Psychedelic Furs song) and the aforementioned Pink Rover

Scene Queen brands her style of music as Bimbocore and if you like Ashnikko, Poppy and Poutyface then Hannah is going to be right down your kick-ass street.

Scene Queen releases her debut EP on April 29th. If you are in the UK watch out for her debut UK show at Great Escape festival this May.

Scene Queen - Pink Rover


Scene Queen - Pretty In Pink (Video)

 

Monday, 4 April 2022

NEW #49 Caity Baser

 


Next month Europe’s largest new music festival, Great Escape, once again hits Brighton’s shores. Often touted as the festival to discover ‘the next big thing’ (acts I’ve seen at the festival in the past include early outings for Adele, Haim, Foals, London Grammar, Mumford & Sons, Celeste, Years & Years, Rag N Bone Man and Bastille before Dan Smith was playing under that name) it has struck me that this year, probably more than any other, becoming that ‘next big thing’ is a bigger and harder task that at any point before. 

Amongst this year’s bunch of musicians, it’s also noticeable that, reflecting the times, solo artists make up a bigger % of names treading the boards. A quick bit of detective work will also show you that a fair number of these have already found some degree of prominence on TikTok. Of course, it’s too early to really see if starting a career on Tik-Tok leads to long term success. Will today’s stars of Tik-Tok be the big festival headliners of tomorrow or will they be flashes in the pan as technology coaxes music consumers into developing ever shorter attention spans?

I mention both the Brighton festival and TikTok because today’s new artist is currently residing in Brighton, having moved there from another south coast city Southampton. She first got noticed on TikTok when her fan base exploded after she sang some lyrics and melody over a jazz guitar loop. Ironically though, Caity Baser (this is Caity B not that Katy B) hasn’t been added to the line up for Great Escape this year. Maybe it’s a bit too early for her to replicate her studio sound yet?

And a great sound it is as well. If Lily Allen was part of the My Space generation, then perhaps Caity is the Tik-Tok equivalent. The bold, chattin-shite late-teens relatable songs such as Slut Shaming, Haters and STD with its hook-in-your-head chorus of  “I heard you got an STD from sleeping with Molly, Libby and Sophie, you had the nerve to cheat on me, karma’s a bitch and now it’s out of your league,” roll along with reggae and dubby grooves, brassy punches and dance beats that sound a little like something you might have heard in the early 90’s on Boomania or World Clique

But this isn’t just a nostalgia trip. Caity’s sometimes gobby lyrics are timestamped with a very ‘now’ flavour. You’ll get a flow full of Google, Whats App, phone issues and student debt in her songs, the most recent of which, Friendly Sex, is the best tune you’ll hear about shagging your friend with benefits this year, mixing her chatty rap style with clicky garage beats and acoustic guitars. Expect it to be soundtracking a lot of TikTok videos soon. Elsewhere, another track from her Lil CB mix tape called Say It Like That delivers a chirpier pop sound not that far from someone like Baby Queen. She can do piano balladeering as well as she does on Virtually, demonstrating that she’s no one trick pony.

Could Caity Baser be the next big thing then? Well, that's a little pre-mature, but she’s certainly got the songs and the social media engagement to grow an audience. She might have a song called Average Student, but she’s clearly better than that.

Caity Baser - Friendly Sex


Caity Baser - STD (Video)

Friday, 25 March 2022

NEW #48 FLO

 

The raison d'être of Breaking More Waves is new music. Pop music, indie music, folk music, electronic music, dance music, any music. As long as it’s good music.

Of course, what is good is entirely subjective, but for those of you who don’t like an occasional dose of commercial mainstream major label pop, stop reading now.

Still with me? Ok good. Today let’s say hi to FLO. Their debut single Cardboard Box is out this week and it’s a big smooth and sassy slice of hooky 90’s referencing R&B pop that’s catchier than Covid. They sound like a modern day equivalent of Destiny’s Child, En Vogue, TLC. Who knew that a song called Cardboard Box, which on the face of it sounds less than inspiring, could tick the good music box.

The cardboard box in question is the box that a cheating boyfriend is going to find his stuff in as FLO announce they’re “changing my number and I’m changing my locks.” How do we know he’s been cheating? “There’s no room for questions, I saw her panties on the bathroom floor,” they open with. Ouch.

FLO consists of Renee, Stella and Jorja and this single is produced by the ever successful MNEK who has worked with the likes of Dua Lipa, Mabel, Anne Marie and Little Mix.

You can hear Cardboard Box below but it's also included on the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlist (here), which is updated each Friday. It’s one hour of my favourite new releases from that week curated to be played in order, like an old fashioned mix tape. It's full of good music.

FLO - Cardboard Box

Sunday, 6 March 2022

NEW #47 Lemondaze

 

Remember shoegaze? The term might have started as a journalistic insult for the type of band that mixed noise-laden hypnotic guitar sounds with blurry languid vocals all created through a mass of  pedals that led the musicians to stare downwards at their shoes while playing on stage, but it soon became adopted as a defining sub-genre of indie rock championed by some of the floppy fringed groups that came from the late 80’s / early 90’s music scene.

Today’s new band very much fit into that shoegaze genre and whilst their debut EP from 2021 might take the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to the original sound, they’ve done a sterling job with it.

Lemondaze has only just surfaced on my radar, thanks to an announcement that they’re playing the 2022 Green Man festival in Wales. However, they formed in 2016 in Cambridge. Initially they were a three-piece but the group has now expanded to four - Isis, Rosie, Jonty and relatively new recruit Finn on drums.

Whilst I don’t normally feature bands under this NEW title that have been in existence for 6 years, Lemondaze only released their first single Neon Ballroom in 2019 and subsequent EP Celestial Bodies (a very shoegazey title if ever there was one) came out in 2021. It only has a few thousand plays on Spotify, and with just five songs out there it doesn’t feel so wrong to be introducing Lemondaze as a new act at this juncture. They’re still fresh and just out of the packet to most people.

The Celestial Bodies EP darkly dazzles and shimmers in all the right places. Opener Twin Paradox is all swirling euphoric guitar assaults and other-worldly vocals. Its psychedelic wall of sound verges on stadium shoegaze (with perhaps just the smallest hint of Sproston Green by The Charlatans buried in there as well) and it sets the band’s stall out perfectly; I can imagine a few guitargasm faces being pulled to this one. Elsewhere Art Form goes off at a more narcotic and hazey pace but builds with immersive textures to create something rather spellbinding. Even better is the track io, which rockets to the stars with added reverb in it's 5 minutes of noisy bliss.

The list of references comes in two parts. First there are the shoegaze originators such as Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse and Curve, but there’s also a hint of something a little more modern as well. Members of the band are apparently fans of Wolf Alice and you can tell. Take a listen to a track such as Heavenward to hear the influence. (Sidenote: Theo from the band talked about fans in an article in GQ magazine and mentioned a long-time fan who is now a singer in her own band. Yes, that band is Lemondaze). 

From everything I’ve read the Lemondaze live show is even more powerful than the recordings and if that is the case, please can someone in my home city of Portsmouth book them to play please before I have to do it myself. If you like shoegaze (or dream pop as I believe the kids know it these days), you’ll love this lot.

Lemondaze - Twin Paradox

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

NEW #46 The Queen's Head

 

Here’s another slice of new music for you, once again initially served up on the Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly Spotify playlist (which is generally updated for your listening pleasure every Friday and you can follow by clicking here).

This one is a new band called The Queen’s Head. There’s a lot of shouty post-punk bands around at the moment and there’s a growing argument from those of us who believe that to keep music exciting it needs to constantly evolve. The Queen’s Head display that evolution; they are a bit different. Amongst the punk, their debut single contains a big healthy dollop of disco and funk. This isn’t music to mosh to, it’s music to dance to, albeit with a certain snarling swagger. A modern day version of The Clash perhaps?

The band follow in the occasional line of groups who self-title their songs; The Monkees, Icehouse and The Frank & Walters immediately come to mind.

The reason for the title? The band have explained that they wanted to write a theme song for the project: “A band, a fictional pub floating through the cosmos, a musical space where you can explore your desires to dance, have a drink or to cry. After all, where does Britain take its sadness, if not the pub.” It's either that or on social media.

The Queen’s Head are Joel Douglas (Vocals and guitar), Tom Butler (Vocals and bass), Robbie Cottom (Keys), Mike Hendry (Guitar) and George Thompson (Drums). The eagle eyed amongst you may recognise them from the band The Bulletproof Bomb. More material is to follow shortly.

The Queen's Head - The Queen's Head

Friday, 18 February 2022

NEW #45 Lexie Carroll

 

If you’re a hardcore follower of the Breaking More Waves presence online (hi Mum) then you may have already clocked that today’s new artist has already featured on past Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly playlists. Today, with the latest update to the playlist you’ll find her there again with her latest release. With that in mind, it felt like Lexie Carroll was overdue a blog post.

Who is Lexie Carroll? She’s a 17 year-old singer songwriter from the outskirts of London whose music is quietly honest and heartfelt. Lexie doesn’t do bangers. Her songs are the stuff of wholesome soft snugness; all gentle acoustic guitar, strings and piano that back her pretty pastel tunes. 

Her song racing raindrops (which was featured on the New Music Weekly playlist back in January) is a song about childhood friendships and how relationships change as you grow older. The music reflects that perfectly with a purity and innocence that can only be achieved when you’re young. Keeping it 100% organic and natural you’ll also hear some birdsong in the background as Lexie plays.

New track do you wanna leave this city is another twinkling romantic gem that reminds me a little of very early Maisie Peters - who is now playing stadiums supporting Ed Sheeran. So maybe there’s a space in that quiet pop setting for Lexie? Describing the song as about ‘hating the city and falling in love with complicated people and being incapable of hiding your feelings’ you can hear it streaming below. And yes, Lexie is clearly not bothered about capital letters.

With an EP to follow soon, I’m not expecting any glitchcore remixes to feature anytime soon in Lexie’s repertoire, but that’s fine, her music is adorable just as it is.

Lexie Carroll plays a show in London at the MAP Studio Cafe in London on 25th March. 

The New Music Weekly playlist from Breaking More Waves can be found by clicking here.

Lexie Carroll - do you wanna leave this city?

Sunday, 13 February 2022

NEW #44 Kathleen Frances

 

Kathleen Frances is an artist that has been bubbling under for a while now since she released her debut single Define in 2020. Since that time the likes of BBC’s Fresh on the Net, Radio 1 and various websites and blogs have given their support and in 2020 she made the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition final 8 shortlist. Now it’s time for Breaking More Waves to join her fan club with her most recent single Boy heading up this blog’s New Music Weekly playlist (you can find that by clicking here if you fancy following it)

Kathleen has form when it comes to Glastonbury; as a member of the Bristol based band 4th Project, she was nominated for the Emerging Talent longlist in 2016 by this very blog. As a side note, one of the other artists I chose for the longlist in 2016, Ajimal, also made the short list in 2020 and went on to be runner up in the competition. If you don’t at first succeed etc etc…

But now to Kathleen’s solo stuff. This is music that hits you deep. There’s something soulful and almost otherworldly about this singer’s voice. If you are a fan of Anohni or Hannah Reid from London Grammar, then press play now. The aforementioned Define has elements of a midnight piano torch song, but the gentle clatter of percussion that accompanies the chorus could easily fit the song neatly onto Massive Attack’s Protection album. Her cover version of Electric Youth and College’s A Real Hero is swathed in cascading piano that rains elegance throughout. Then there’s new song Boy. Taken from her forthcoming debut EP Through the Blue it’s a desolate stop-you-in-your-tracks break up song that wrestles with moving on and letting go; sometimes no matter how sad it is, people change and have to leave. “I am not the same as before, and he knows it, letting go is hard,” she sings - your goosebumps and tears may possibly follow.

Kathleen has already been confirmed for this year’s Great Escape Festival and Green Man Festival. If you’re going to either, be like me and put her on your ones to watch list. She also plays her own headline shows in Manchester, Bristol and London in March.

Kathleen Frances - Boy

Sunday, 6 February 2022

NEW #43 Tenderhost

 

If you listen to the latest instalment of the New Music Weekly playlist from Breaking More Waves (here), among some of the pop big-hitters and more played artists you’ll find a track from Tenderhost. 

The Descent doesn’t really sound like anything else on that playlist. Sliding in like a furtive villain from a black and white cop movie set in smokey New York City at midnight, there are elements of jazz, blues and rock here. It verges on the side of uneasy listening, but is all the better for being such a tensely ambitious piece of work. My only criticism is that it seems to end far too soon. Clocking in at a streaming friendly 3 minutes it feels like a radio edit of something that is ready to go the full hog at 8 or 9 minutes, ending in a cacophony of noise. Maybe that will be reserved for the album?

Who are Tenderhost? Formed last year by songwriter Gabriel Levy he’s joined by Tara Cunningham (guitar), Jonny Wickham (bass), Nat Phillips (saxophone), Nathan Ridley (drums) and Alex Parry (keys) They work from a North London studio / rehearsal space and The Descent is their debut song.

Whilst Tenderhost only formed last year the song was written before the pandemic, in 2019; a difficult year for Gabriel’s mental health where he started to become afraid of leaving the house and stopped getting public transport in order to avoid large groups of people. We can be pretty sure that by April 2020 this was actually common practice for a lot of the population!

The Descent is a fascinating opener from Tenderhost. You can catch them live on March 24th at the Sebright Arms in London for a free show.

Tenderhost - The Descent

Sunday, 23 January 2022

NEW #42 Abby Roberts

 

If, like me,you can be a bit of a music snob when you read of the latest Tik Tok / Instagram / You Tube ‘influencer’ who has decided to have a go at pop music then it’s very easy to choke on your own spew of cynicism. 

That’s certainly how I felt when I first learnt that Abby Roberts was releasing music. Yes, that Abby Roberts. The make-up / transformation artist who has 17.4 million followers on Tik Tok. Of course, there’s a reason why she has so many followers; what she does on social media is extremely creative and way above the norm. However, that doesn’t mean that a transition to another art form will automatically be as brilliant. Then there's the matter of having the luxury of a huge following on a number of platforms being seen as an unfair advantage over other new musicians.

But that distrust and jaded negativity got thrown in the bin as soon as I heard Abby’s debut song Paramaniac. It’s a delightful swirling, chiming indie guitar piece with airy vocals that remind me of Beabadoobee, Clairo and many late 80’s / early 90’s indie rock bands. As you would expect from someone who has grown up in the public gaze on social media the song is very self-aware: “I wish strangers liked me more, social media’s a bore, might be best if I just quit, does that make me a hypocrite?” she sings at one point. It reminds me a little lyrically of the likes of Baby Queen and Wallice, both whom have featured on Breaking More Waves. However, despite those reference points it also stands alone. After hearing it once I played it at least ten times non-stop it’s that good.

There’s a full EP on the way as well, with Abby not shying away from dealing with her life and the filtered façade of what she does on line, together with the personal struggles and pressures that her job brings. If it’s anything as wonderful as Paramaniac then the switch to music can only be applauded; this is a superb start.

Abby Roberts - Paramaniac


Friday, 21 January 2022

NEW #41 Amelia Moore

 

Today there’s a new addition to the Breaking More Waves NEW list; Amelia Moore. She’s an artist that makes the sort of edgy pop that sounds like the future, only in the here and now. 

If this is the future it also looks like condiments and sauces could play a big part; after all Amelia’s debut single from late last year was titled sweet and sour (yes it has the almost obligatory modern stylings of using no capital letters) and now her new one, released today and featured on this weeks' Breaking More Waves New Music Weekly Playlist (here), is called vinegar. If the next one is called mayonnaise or ketchup then we’ve got her sussed, right? 

Besides the sauciness it also seems that Amelia is a big fan of the most under rated of colours – orange. ‘Orange universe loading’ says her bio on Spotify alongside a playlist with tracks by Rex Orange County and Blood Orange called Orange Only. It doesn’t take a genius to guess the colour of her hair, even without the picture above. 

Now to the songs. The music that makes up sweet and sour shows how perfectly the tune is titled. It’s a mix of angelic honey coated modernism but there’s also a darkness, particularly in one of the dirtiest, minimal breakdowns you’ve probably heard for some time. It’s a moment to turn up really loud and make your neighbours wonder what the f*ck is going on next door. “I’m an angel till you cross the line, good girl but I’m doing time,” she sings. 

New song vinegar, out just a few hours ago might have elements of a standard mid-tempo ballad, but the chorus sways towards the leftfield in an agreeably synthetic manner as Amelia sings: "Vinegar pour it in my body, where it hurts like a pity party." 

It’s very early days for this artist, but to paraphrase a very old-school mobile phone network advert - her future seems bright, the future’s orange. 

Amelia Moore - sweet and sour

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Sunday, 16 January 2022

NEW #40 - Tits Up

 

The last month or so has seen pretty much every music publication give a run-down on their predictions for 2022; from buzz bands to future hip-hop stars to the next Ed Sheeran wannabe. The crystal balls have been out in full force. Breaking More Waves was no exception, posting an annual Ones to Watch list in the later part of December and early November (here), mirroring the idea of the BBC Sound of list by choosing just 10 artists – albeit the lists choices only matched with one act (Wet Leg), albeit two of the artists on the BBC list (Yard Act and Baby Queen) appeared on the Breaking More Waves list a year earlier in 2020 – hence allowing a gentle brag that Breaking More Waves is still ahead of the game.

Now that hype season is over, it’s time to get back to introducing a bunch of new exciting artists. Some may eventually reach the dizzy heights of pop stardom, whilst others will release a couple of songs that burn brightly and then fade away. That’s how pop works. That’s also how Breaking More Waves works. It’s not about finding the next big thing, it’s about highlighting the good stuff. Often the good stuff doesn’t stick around forever – but sometimes we’ve just got to enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Let’s kick things off with Tits Up. A brand new band from Liverpool who released their debut EP on January 1st 2022.

Tits Up are Evie (vocals and bass), Jess (guitar) and Amanda (drums). They do speed punk with a slap of Riot Grrrl and rowdy old fashioned rock n roll. It’s direct, it’s frenetic it’s fierce. They are the sort of band that will probably have audiences throwing their sweaty bodies around in tiny clubs. The tunes are energetic and in your face, the vocals shouty and guttural and you can find 5 of them on the aforementioned pun(k)tastically titled debut EP Greatest Tits.

Given the way that some part of society tends to think of / be offended about certain body parts, Tits Up are probably not going to be mentioned on the radio that much. The band admitting as much on Twitter: “No one’s allowed to say our name on radio and we have one radio friendly song. We didn’t think this through did we. Smashing it,” they tweeted recently. Of course, there’s a whole debate to be had there about why the word tits is often censored and yet other bands with names that include body parts aren’t. Is it about sexualisation – well if it is I don't see the band Feet not being named and some people have a foot festish.

Tits Up are the sound of straight-up no-bullshit raw DIY music. Gig promoters – you’d better have good security in place when they play Get Ya On, a sneering 100mph riot of a track, as bodies could be flying. However, there is a measure of respite on Baby which starts with a slower trippy rock groove before exploding with a throat wrenching squall. Macho Bullshit meanwhile gives a big clue to its lyrical nature in its title, the chorus ringing out: “Your Macho Bullshit don’t fool me, your macho bullshit is kinda cringey.”

Tits Up are far removed from the world of hype lists and end of year Ones to Watch polls. But if you like your music unprocessed and unapologetic, tune into their world.

Tits Up - Get Ya On