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