Wednesday 29 March 2023

NEW #72 Flip Top Head


How about a seven piece from Brighton playing jazz post rock with a hint of experimental punk? Well that’s today’s latest selection on Breaking More Waves.

Welcome to the world of Flip Top Head, who describe themselves as orchestral cult rock.

Their debut shape shifting song Seventh Bell Number was released back in February and has hints of Black Country New Road insofar as you’re never quite sure what it’s going to do next. Unpredictability can often be a mess, but in this case it works. The mix of beefy trombone, guitars and the wonderfully named Bowie Bartlett’s haunting vocal that sings of giving back his eyes mix well together. 

Yet this is only their first song, so who knows what comes next? The internet can provide clues of course, with live footage on YouTube showing that their other songs also feature the male vocals of the equally brilliantly named Bertie Beer.

Sitting far outside the mainstream, Flip Top Head certainly won’t be winning over lots of Ed Sheeran fans. But for those who like their music a bit more out there, they might just be your new favourite band.

Flip Top Head - Seventh Bell Number

Tuesday 28 March 2023

NEW #71 Nightbus


If you’re anything like me, the word Nightbus will fill you with some degree of anxiety. I’m talking drunken men shouting at each other, fighting, the waft of takeaway food, vomit and discarded beer bottles rolling round the floor whilst a girl near the front of the vehicle is crying, consoled by her friends: “He really isn’t worth it. You’re better than that darling.”

Thankfully this Nightbus, a three piece from Manchester (not to be confused with the ‘filter disco’ four piece of the same name from the previous decade) is a far more appealing proposition. From what’s been released so far I’d describe them as a darkly languid indie band with a heart of goth. With the likes of new artists such as Heartworms (who they recently supported in Brighton) currently getting a lot of attention, the kings of dark-pop The Cure being back on the road and night-queen Siouxsie Sioux set to return this summer, right now it’s a good time for new goth influenced bands to step out of the shadows - even if it means that a nasty bright spotlight might shine on them.

To pigeon-hole Nightbus as just goth is wide of the mark though. Their debut track Way Past Three is dreamy and gently ethereal and starts with a guitar sound similar to The Edge from U2, whilst new song Mirrors throws ghostly shapes not dissimilar to a less taunt Joy Division with its chugging bassline and haunting synths. What is certain though is that whilst their music would sound great on your headphones late at night on the sodium lit bus ride home, their world is not one of kebabs and drunk fighting, but one of moody indie-art-pop, ready to hypnotise you.

Nightbus consists of Olive Rees, Zac Melrose and Jake Cottier. You can catch them live supporting Iceage in Manchester tomorrow night.

Nightbus - Mirrors

Nightbus - Way Past Three

Tuesday 14 March 2023

NEW #70 Kingfishr


Remember ‘Nu-folk’? As the likes of Mumford & Sons found themselves headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, it seemed that every indie leaning musician out there was ditching the guitars, growing a beard, buying a waist coat, stomping round the haystacks and getting to grips with the banjo.

As with any musical fashion, that wave eventually broke. Even Mumford & Sons reinvented themselves as a rather boring stadium rock band and charity shops noticed an increase in waistcoat donations.

So, when a group comes along that could have quite easily fitted into that indie-folk gang back in 2009 you might give a little shudder. But don’t. Because Limerick three-piece Kingfishr make powerfully brilliant songs, and that’s what’s important, irrespective of genre, fashion or prejudice.

Kingfishr consist of Edmond Keogh, Eoghan McGrath and Eoin Fitzgibbon and they embrace Ireland’s love of traditional music that is passed down from generation to generation (banjo player McGrath is part of the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland). However, the band add the sort of muscle that rock fans will enjoy – their songs well up with the sort of punch the air euphoria that someone like Bruce Springsteen achieves.

This is best heard on the third and most recent song they’ve released – Heart In The Water, which is full of moving and sky scraping weight . Of the song the band say: “Resentment is a powerful emotion. Looking back at all the things you could have had had or done, and realising you won’t get those moments back is hard to take. Heart In The Water is about learning from paths not taken.”

Listen to Kingfishr below and once again celebrate the banjo.

Kingfishr - Heart In The Water

Thursday 9 March 2023

NEW #69 Bellah Mae


It’s been a while since Breaking More Waves has featured a potentially chart-bound pop musician on these pages. Recently the focus has been on louder, edgier alternative acts or left of centre singer songwriter types. So, let’s address that right now by waving hello to Bellah Mae who says of herself: “I overshare my life in all my songs and then let the world listen, so welcome to the Hot Ex Girlfriends Club”.

With a couple of singles under her belt, Bellah (short for Isabella) is already showing lots of promise as a potential hit maker. First there was break up jam Boyfriend Of The Year (a pop tune with a slightly U.S rock attitude and the only one where you’ll probably hear the mention of carbonara of in the lyrics) and then the follow up, the  Drama King, which finds Bellah singing to her slightly pathetic and obsessive boyfriend: “You follow Instagram models, one after the other, but god forbid I follow back my best friends brother.”

Whilst they’re both bops a deeper perspective on what Bellah is probably about can be heard on a different version of Boyfriend of the Year titled the (Sadder) version. Here there’s a nod to Taylor Swift in its style. Just like Taylor Bellah has a bit of a country background, having done some ground-work in Nashville when she was just 17 before signing a record deal.

If you’re a fan of Taylor, Olivia Rodrigo or Miley Cyrus you’ll find a lot to like here. As with virtually everything featured on these pages it’s early days, but I’m certainly not betting against Bellah Mae right now.

Bellah Mae - Boyfriend Of The Year