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)