Saturday 31 December 2022

Favourite Songs of 2022

Having posted my favourite albums of 2022 let's do my favourite 10 tracks of 2022 shall we?

All of these songs were very much 'in the moment'. Maybe in a year from now they'll mean very little to me, being just moments of musical infatuation. Or maybe the relationship with these songs will develop into a longer lasting love. Long term partners, with you forever or dirty passionate one night stands? Both have their merits. Time here is the key to resolving what happens and at the moment it's too early to tell.

So here's the list. No commentary on the songs except to say yes, there are 2 Harry Styles tracks in the top 10. To be honest I didn’t think as much of the album as some critics did, but these two tunes are the dogs b*llocks.

The top 3 could all really be 1st equal, but I’m putting Hazel English first, just because Hamilton has less streams on Spotify than the other two, and if even one of you reading this goes and listens to it after seeing this list, my job is done. That's a double for Hazel English now having previously topped my Albums of 2020 list.

Here is the top 10.

1 Hamilton – Hazel English

2. Ur Mum – Wet Leg

3. Die Together – Amanda Tenfjord

4. Friendly Sex – Caity Baser

5. As It Was – Harry Styles

6. Burning – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

7. Choreograph - Jessica Winter

8. Boy – Kathleen Frances

9. Music for a Sushi Restaurant – Harry Styles

10. Paramaniac – Abby Roberts

Hamilton - Hazel English

Favourite Albums of 2022

It’s the end of the year, so now seems the appropriate time to publish my list of favourite albums of 2022.

I'm not a fan of top 100 lists. To be blunt, if an album is only your 82nd favourite, it’s not really that much of a favourite at all is it? Even if your top 100 is a poll of a larger group of people, 82nd still doesn’t make me want to rush off and listen to it.

Which brings me to my list. 10 favourite albums of 2022. All killer no filler. In my opinion. Obviously. Yours may be and probably will be vastly different. 

Of course the other issue with these lists is knowing how many albums I’ve actually made my selection from and listened to. If these 10 have been selected from 11, it doesn’t really say that much about the tenth does it?

This year I’ve kept a list of every new album released this year that I’ve listened to in its entirety. Yes I know that's pretty geeky, but my memory is terrible; although generally I remember the ones I really like, as I tend to play them lots. There are a handful I didn’t manage to get all the way through as well; no names mentioned, but at least one of them has ended up being number 1 on a handful of critics polls, which demonstrates how varied opinions can be. So for full disclosure, I’ve listened to 78 newly released albums in full (excluding compilations) in 2022. Most of them had multiple listens. Some had just 1. These are my top 10, in order.

1st Rosalia – Motomami

The most inventive, exciting and (in places) bonkers pop album of 2022. There might be some obvious singles, but delve beyond those and you’ll find huge amounts of genre hopping experimentation delivered by an artist who seems to becoming bolder the more successful she gets. The musical version of the best tapas you've ever had. Superb.

2nd CMAT – If My Wife New I’d Be Dead

Witty, clever and full of acoustic country hooks. If My Wife New I’d Be Dead marks the full arrival of a hugely talented singer songwriter. She's dead funny and entertaining live as well, but that's not what this list is about.

3rd Amanda Tenfjord – In Hindsight

The Greek / Norwegian singer capitalised on Die Together, my personal favourite song from Eurovision 2022 with a very intimate and gorgeous collection of songs that might even make the tears well up a little. This is an album for those quiet, alone moments. A headphones album. She tours in 2023.

4th Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Isle of Wight caulkheads serve up the biggest dollop of cool, fun, firm and surprisingly nuanced scuzzy indie. The 2nd choice here that last year featured on my Ones to Watch 2022 list (the other being CMAT).

5th Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan – Districts, Roads, Open Spaces

Infrastructure design by way of Vangelis and The Orb, all wrapped up in a spacious electronic ambience – the best of the 3 albums released in this series. 

6th Suki Waterhouse – I Can’t Let Go

Ignore the actress / model tags. Suki Waterhouse made an album that almost out-Lanas Lana Del Rey and then some. Seems to have been missed by all the critics. Shame on them.

7th Kathryn Joseph – For You Who Are the Wronged

The 3rd record from the Scottish singer songwriter is a hushed thing of minimalist beauty. The musical equivalent of a single flickering candle offering a glow of warmth in a dark room. 

8th Just Mustard – Heart Under

The second Irish album in my top 10. A powerful, industrial, art-goth noise of a record that also contains layers of dreamy and ethereal sound. Not an easy listen, but then who said good things came easy? A rewarding record for those who dare.

 9th Suede –  Autofiction

The Suede renaissance that started with Night Thoughts then grew further with The Blue Hour continues to even higher realms with Autofiction, their best since Coming Up from 1996. A classic Suede record. One for the fans, but maybe they’ll grab a few new ones as well. (It also topped the recent #5albums22 poll on Twitter as well).

10th Plastic Mermaids – It’s Comfortable Not To Grow

The second record on this list from an Isle of Wight band, It’s Comfortable Not to Grow mixes some deep sorrows with uplifting tunes with a hint of Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips in the air.

If you really do want a longer list, I've relented a little on my refusal to acknowledge the bottom parts of long lists, and listed my 30 favourites (remember the one at 30th is 30th of of 78, so it's certainly not a 10/10 record, but then sometimes flaws and imperfections are good, right?)  on a Spotify playlist, with 1 track from each. You can find the full playlist by clicking here.

Rosalia - La Fama (Taken from Motomami)

Monday 5 December 2022

Ones to Watch 2023 #10 Nell Mescal


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: 16th July 2022

The 10th and final One to Watch for this year is Nell Mescal.

Nell is also the 5th of the 10 artists that has been featured on the blog in the past.

If you read that blog post (click here to read it and find out more about her) you’ll know that Nell is a singer songwriter from Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. What you may not know is that she’s duetted with Phoebe Bridgers at Brixton Academy (you’ll see how she managed that and the connection in the previous blog post) and she just finished a tour (yesterday) supporting Phoebe Green.

Like many of the artists on this list, she's still very new in terms of output. She’s released just 2 songs so far. One, Missing You in 2020 and Graduating in 2022. 

Nell is the second artist on this list that has recently signed for Q Prime Management (the other being The Dinner Party) and they join a small but perfectly formed roster in the UK that includes Foals, The Murder Capital and Declan McKenna.

With a beautiful voice and clear songwriting ability it’s clear that even after just those 2 releases Nell is going to be One to Watch in 2023. 

Nell Mescal - Graduating

Ones to Watch 2023 #9 Prima Queen


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: Not applicable

If you follow Breaking More Waves on Twitter (@BMWavesBlog) you might already know that there’s a lot of love in these parts for Prima Queen. They’re one of the bands I’ve seen most in 2022 (4 times) and the band released 2 of my favourite songs of the year.

First there’s the rockier Eclipse, a potent uplifting indie anthem with some of the most honest (possibly too honest for these easily shocked ears) lyrics you’ll hear all year: “You said the sky looked like magic, and we kissed in the half-light. We found the perfect view off trail, it was the first time I had sex outside,” being just one example.

Even better is the partly spoken-word story of Butter Knife, a song about a relative and their passing, which is made even more touching as the memories are of someone who is losing their own memory due to Alzheimer’s. It’s a sad, beautiful, open song and is truly touching. If the relative knew that a song like this was going to be written about them I’m sure they’d be incredibly proud.

Prima Queen is a band fronted by two friends, Louise Macphail from Bristol and Kristin McFadden from Chicago. They've already supported the likes of Wet Leg, The Big Moon, Dream Wife and Billy Nomates. What sets them apart from much of the indie crowd is that they are clearly super talented musicians; their songs are wonderfully composed and played with real skill,  If they continue to release tunes that are anywhere near as good as Eclipse and Butter Knife in 2023, they have to be Ones to Watch.

Prima Queen - Butter Knife

Prima Queen - Eclipse

Ones to Watch 2023 #8 Flowerovlove


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: Not applicable

Joyce Cisse is only 17 years old but performing as Flowerovlove she’s already turning heads.

Having released three songs in 2020, she’s now in to double figures. A few years back this wouldn’t have really classified her as a new artist anymore, but the trajectory for artists now is often longer, slower and harder. 

Her most recent EP A Mosh Pit in The Clouds gives a good idea of what Flowerovlove is about. It’s quirky, charming pop with an edge. It sounds like it was created live rather than through endless rounds of studio over production. It twists and turns and is full of ideas. Songs like I Gotta I Gotta and All The Same have a space to them that allows the songs to be much more direct. There’s a skippy cute lightness to what Flowerovlove does and it’s rather engaging.

Joyce has already been named as one of Vevo DSCVR’s Artists to Watch for 2023, and one of the key artists of Dork’s Hype List 2023 so she’s clearly getting some music industry backing. Now this little non-industry blog is putting her name down as One to Watch 2023 as well.

Flowerovlove - I Gotta I Gotta

Ones to Watch 2023 #7 Scene Queen


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: 14th April 2022

It’s very rare that metal is featured on Breaking More Waves. It’s even more unusual for it to be featured on the annual Ones to Watch list. In fact, this is a first.

But then Scene Queen is no ordinary metal act. She puts the the fun and feminism back into what can be a very male scene. There’s also a big pop sensibility to what she does and perhaps that’s why she’s on this blog.

Imagine Ashnikko if she let her inner rock beast out. Imagine a vastness of pink. Imagine a queer-metal-hyper-sex-agrressive-funny-over-the-top-queen-of-misfits. 

That is Scene Queen. Real name Hannah Collins from the USA.

The story so far includes a bunch of songs like Barbie & Ken, Pink Rover and Pink Panther taking off online and 2 EPs resulting from it (Bimbocore and Bimbocore Vol. 2). There’s been a recent tour of the UK supporting Wargasm. Some headline shows. A slot at The Great Escape festival. Some of the most entertaining lyrics you'll have heard in 2022.

What remains to be learnt is if Hannah sees Scene Queen as a short-term project or something more long-term. If it’s the later and more releases / tours follow in 2023 she’ll be one to watch.

Scene Queen - Barbie & Ken

Ones to Watch 2023 #6 Lovejoy


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: 22nd May 2021

For a relatively new band, the Spotify streaming statistics for Lovejoy are extremely impressive.

In 2022, with just a handful of songs spread over a couple of EPs and single releases (including a cover of Knee Deep at ATP by indie legends Los Campesinos!) they generated 263 million streams on Spotify, with 6.6 million listeners in 180 countries.

It’s not just online though. Lovejoy’s growing army of fans is a real physical thing. When the band took to the stage at their debut sold out gig at London’s Omeara a couple of days ago, all reports say that the place went ballistic. Certainly online clips show utter jubilation. A young screaming audience singing every word of every song with passion and joy in their hearts.

In 2021 I featured Lovejoy on the blog and so nearly put them on the end of year Ones to Watch 2022 list. A year on and this time it feels right. If you want to know who they are, why their chirpy indie tunes that sound totally out of sync with most modern hyper-produced pop is generating such a loyal fanbase and why it has enabled them to easily sell out their spring 2023 tour, read my original post (here) and listen to songs like One Day and Oh Yeah, You Gonna Cry. You'll find yourself bopping like you’re watching Jack Penate play Spit at Stars or Torn on the Platform with a firework up his arse or listening to the The Wombats Let's Dance To Joy Division at your local cider covered indie disco.

If they keep going at the rate they are Lovejoy is going to get a lot bigger yet. Keep an eye on them. They’re Ones to Watch 2023.

Lovejoy - Oh Yeah, You Gonna Cry

Lovejoy - One Day

Ones to Watch 2023 #5 Ellie Dixon


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: Not applicable

Let's face it, pop music can be great, but it can also be very very bad. At it's worst can be like a McDonalds burger: uninspiring beige and formulaic. Satisfying only if you want to play safe with something that you know exactly what it will be like.

Ellie Dixon makes very good pop music. It's easy to imagine if she cooked you a burger it would be full of ingredients you didn't expect, but somehow they work. Maybe she'd slap a bit of peanut butter in there. Or even broccoli. The bun would be coloured pink or blue.

I mention broccoli in particular as she mentions it in the lyrics of her song: "You're not an image or a product or commodity, you aren't worth more because you like to eat brocolli." It's these funny but endearing little lyrical phrases that Ellie has throughout her songs. My favourite? "Working hard is how it is, well excuse me I got bigger fish, got a business meeting with my fridge," she sings on CEO of Watching Television. I'm sure we can all relate at some point in our lives.

Ellie's tunes which she writes, produces and records herself are full of interesting little sounds (she's quite a fan of sampling domestic objects and turning them in to music) and quirky, catchy hooks. If you haven't heard her yet press play on the track Swing below and you'll get it. She'll make life feel better.

Having recently played her own nationwide tour of small venues and supported last year's One to Watch Sam Ryder as well as picking up play on Radio 1 (not to mention decent streaming statistics) hopefully 2023 will find Ellie releasing even more great pop that will make you smile even more. 

Whatever problems you have might be big, but Ellie Dixon's music will make you feel bigger - as big as Godzilla.

Ellie Dixon - Swing

Ones to Watch 2023 #4 The Dinner Party


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: Not applicable

It’s very rare on Breaking More Waves for the annual Ones to Watch list to feature an artist or band that has yet to officially release any material. The only times this has happened before was in 2008 with Marina and the Diamonds who already had a video of a song out, but didn’t officially released it until February 2009 and also in 2009 I picked Clare Maguire as One to Watch before she released her debut single in 2010. Clare ended up on quite a few tip lists as One to Watch (including the BBC Sound of List) at the end of that year (she also went on to make my favourite album of 2016 - Stranger Things Have Happened – a much over looked diamond in my opinion).

Now I'm doing it again. The 4th One to Watch selection for 2023 is The Dinner Party. 

Having caught them at Mutations Festival in Brighton my impressions are that The Dinner Party are an odd band and certainly not one that could ever be described as capturing the zeitgeist, unless we’ve returned in a Tardis to the 70s and glam is in vogue. However, their thoroughly non-modern music is all the better for it. Artists that came to mind when I saw them play included Kate Bush, Sparks, Queen, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull. Throw in a keytar, a confident front-woman, a song called The Feminine Urge, and references to being guided by their favourite Romantic poets and Gothic novelists to the mix and The Dinner Party are nothing if intriguing.

Having already supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park (yes really), played a number of multi-venue festivals and been confirmed as support for The Murder Capital’s tour next February it’s clear that they’ve got some weight behind them.

What we need now is some music to be officially released. Let’s hope 2023 brings it. Keep an eye (and ear) for them. The Dinner Party are Ones to Watch 2023.

The Dinner Party (Live at The Moth Club, London)

Ones to Watch 2023 #3 FLO


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: 25th March 2022

Cast your mind back to March 2022 when Flo released their first single. At the time I wrote: “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.”

As we reach the end of 2022 and look forward to 2023 I stand by those words. 

Since Cardboard Box Flo have continued to impress. An appearance on Jools Holland, praise from Missy Elliot and SZA, a debut EP in September, placement on the BBCs annual Sound of List (now called Radio 1's Sound of 2023) and a gig at Outernet in London next March already sold out, Renee, Stella and Jorja are in the ascendency. They’ve already been touted as the future of R&B and on the basis of their releases so far, it’s hard to disagree. Ones to Watch commercially, but also because of good songs and clear talent.

FLO - Cardboard Box

Ones to Watch 2023 #2 Priestgate


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: Not applicable

The 2nd choice on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2023 list is Yorkshire 5-piece Priestgate.

Having so far released 5 songs on streaming services between 2020 and 2022, the main reason for including Priestgate is for the band’s chaotically brilliant live shows that have been wowing punters across the UK - and with a tour lined up for February 2023 expect to see more people enthusing about their gigs. This is a band that fully immerse themselves in their gigs, with a shirt ripping, audience prowling, gothic new wave energy that is part Iggy Pop and part Walt Disco, but always totally brilliant.

There’s a searing energy to Priestgate that they are now beginning to translate into their recorded music as well; recent single Some Things Never Change is their most anthemic to date featuring some of the most elevating, cinematic and exuberant guitar sounds you’ll hear this year. If it’s any indication of where they are heading then not only will their 2023 gigs be must sees, so their recordings will become must listens.

Priestgate - Some Things Never Change


 Priestgate - Now

Ones to Watch 2023 #1 Caity Baser


First Featured on Breaking More Waves: 4th April 2022

It would be very easy right now for this list of 10 artists to just be 10 names that are / have been blowing up on Tik Tok, which after all seems to be the go-to platform right now for discovering new music. However, it won’t be – there are still plenty of other ways of discovering new music if you are prepared to look.

But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some Tik Tok influence here, particularly with this first artist - our most out and out pop act on the list.

Caity Baser’s Tik Tok success (over 30 million views and counting) is already translating well to other platforms. She’s picked up over 10 million plays on Spotify, received daytime play on Radio 1, played the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds Festivals, sold out a show at London’s Islington Academy and her last single X&Y even dented the lower reaches of the UK Top 100 singles for a few weeks,

But forget the stats and listen to the tunes. It’s easy to see why Caity is on an upward trajectory. Songs like the aforementioned X&Y, Friendly Sex, Haters and new single Kiss You are full of witty, sassy, couldn’t-give-a-shi*t-attitude lyrics set against hooky, danceable tunes that position her in the same arena as early Lily Allen and Kate Nash. Having seen her perform live, it's clear that her core audience right now is mainly teenage girls; but they are often a great cultural barometer, often being the first to pick up on things. The rest of us will follow.

If you like no bull pop-music with attitude. Caity Baser is one to watch in 2023. Give her your ears by pressing play below.

Caity Baser - Kiss You

Caity Baser - X&Y

Wednesday 16 November 2022

What Happened to our Ones To Watch 2022? A Recap


Every year since Breaking More Waves started way back in 2008, around this time, I’ve posted a Ones to Watch list, which has always been 10 (or for a couple of years 15) new artists that I think are worth looking out for. The reasons for their selection may vary; some may be commercial big hitters in waiting, some may be potential future critically acclaimed artists and others might be new acts that I think are worth seeing live.

In 2008 my list included La Roux, Little Boots, Passion Pit, Giantess, White Lies, Skint & Demoralised, Alessi’s Ark, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons and Marina & The Diamonds. Ironically at the time I suggested that Florence & The Machine was too quirky to have commercial appeal but included her because I really liked what she was doing. 4 UK number 1 albums and a Glastonbury headline slot proved me very wrong. Others on that list are probably now on the ‘where are they now?’ list, but even Skint & Demoralised became one many of us in the UK watched, albeit unknowingly, as he fronted a Building Society advert on the TV.

This year I will once again be publishing such a list. I normally try to do this before most of the big national lists such as the BBC Sound etc go live, but due to other commitments this year it will be a little later, currently scheduled for the 13th December. (Edit: Now expected 5th December) Do expect to see a selection of artists I’ve already posted about on the blog in recent months, together with some making their first appearance. 

Before all that though, I thought it might be fun to look back at last year’s selections and see how their musical year went. Crystal balls are never normally 100% clear and so it proved this year. Who would have thought that one of my selections would have ended up being the UK’s most successful Eurovision entry for ages? I didn't see that coming. Although my mention of Sam Ryder’s song Spaceman when I tipped him, said that it could shoot him to the stars. I guess I still have some fortune telling skills in my possession! 

These were the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2022. Let’s see how they did.

Wet Leg

If you still haven’t heard of Wet Leg now, where have you been in 2022? A number 1 album in the UK, Ireland and Australia, a Mercury prize nomination, four Grammy nominations, sell out tours and a huge crowd at the Park Stage at Glastonbury this summer showed that all the best things come from the Isle of Wight. Without question.


Gabriels debut record Angels and Queens Part One received widespread critical acclaim. “Could this be the album of the year?” asked Alexis Petridis of the Guardian in his five star review. For me the answer was no, but it was still a very fine record. However, where Gabriels truly excelled was with their live show. “Gabriels stun Koko – stardom seems inevitable,” said one review. “Endearing and uplifting,” said another. There were reports of audience members being moved to tears.

Pip Millett

In October 2022, after a series of excellent singles, Pip Millett released her debut album When Everything Is Better, I’ll Let You Know, which received very favourable reviews including an 8/10 mark from Line of Best Fit and 4/5 from Dork. She also played a UK tour which included a date at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Sam Ryder

When I picked Sam Ryder as One to Watch I highlighted him as possibly my most commercial choice, mainly because of his personality and a song I’d heard him play live called Spaceman. That song ended up being the UK’s entry for Eurovision and finished in 2nd place, a remarkable achievement considering how badly the country has fared in previous years. It ensured Ryder has a little part in the UK’s music history, whatever happens going forward, The difficulty for him now will be finding more songs as strong as Spaceman that connect with people, but for the time being at least, that song will ensure that he sells out shows across the UK.


“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.” Those words proved to be very accurate this year. If you didn’t go to a Lynks show in 2022 and dance your arse off, trust me, you missed out.


Earlier this year CMAT released one of the best singer / songwriter country pop albums of the year. Expect to see it somewhere on my end of year album list, published appropriately at the end of the year. It went to number 1 in Ireland. So at least Ireland was watching and listening. The UK still needs to be fully conquered though. Maybe album 2 will do that?

Hope Tala

2022 was a quieter year than I expected for Hope Tala with just 4 single releases, including most recently Stayed at the Party in October. As yet there has been no album, but she did feature on Barack Obama’s Summer 2022 playlist (!) 


For a while it looked like LVRA’s inclusion on this list was a mistake, with no new material except for some remixes of 2021 track In Your Blood coming from this electronic artist. Thankfully she did make it out to play All Points East festival this summer and has just dropped new track Look last week, confirming on her social media that she has been writing lots. Maybe 2022 was just a bit too early to put LVRA on this list and 2023 will be her big year instead? 


Vlure were another artist I chose for this list because of their phenomenal live shows and they have continued those this year with a UK tour supporting White Lies which will no doubt have helped gain them some new fans. They put out their debut EP Euphoria at the start of the year and new material is promised soon.

Rianne Downey

Yet another artist who seemed to have gone a bit quiet on us in terms of new releases. Following the excellent Devil’s Gonna Get You in March it took until November for Rianne Downey to release another wonderful song called Home. Rather like LVRA it feels like our One to Watch 2022 tip might have been a bit early – hopefully we’ll see lots more from Rianne in 2023.

Here's a track from Gabriels - the title seems right for an article about choosing tips for the future. Be sure to check back in December for the Ones to Watch for 2023

Gabriels - If Only You Knew

Thursday 3 November 2022

NEW #63 Siobhán Winifred


Today’s new artist is inevitably going to get a few comparisons to Holly Humberstone - who in turn I once compared to Phoebe Bridgers. One day I’m going to trace all these comparisons back and see if they all end up with just one artist. That person can then be truly named the mother or father of all music. 

The Holly Humberstone comparison is no bad thing though; melancholic singer songwriter types with soft vocals that have knack of writing sad introspective pop songs get the thumbs up in these parts. That means that Siobhán Winifred does as well.

Take her second single This House, released yesterday. It starts with the classic scenario of someone becoming besotted with a new love and forgetting their friends, but ends in sad separation. Debut single Black Hole, which picked up plays on Radio 1 and 6 Music and hit a variety of new music playlists, has the same sort of sad beauty: “I don’t wanna sing another sad song, I’m so sick of listening to me,” she sings displaying hints of Holly Humberstone (again), Phoebe Bridgers (again) and early Gabrielle Aplin.

Two pretty but lyrically downbeat pop songs under her belt, let’s see what comes next from this Dorset raised London living musician.

Siobhán Winifred - This House

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'ĂȘtre 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



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