Wednesday, 10 February 2016

New Music: Grace Sarah - Underwater

Dance music doesn't always lend itself to being described as pretty, often concerning itself with banging basslines and going for the drop in quite vulgar ways, but this new song from Grace Sarah is far removed from that. It's a dreamboat of a track that manages to convey much of the singer's first name in its delivery and then some. In fact it's probably wrong to describe Underwater as dance music at all, for although there are beats, it owes as much to pop and ambient music as it does the rave or club. It's light, airy and floats with a sunset beauty that will probably make you want to tell everyone you know that you love them.

Without doubt Grace's finest song to date, and if she continues at this rate it wouldn't surprise me at all if record labels start paying some attention.

Grace Sarah - Underwater

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

New Music: Let's Eat Grandma - Deep Six Textbook

As a father of two teenage girls I can fully appreciate the term ‘wasted youth’. What worries me is that my own wasted youth (listening to far too much pop music, gorging on movies and sampling the delights of alcohol with friends) seems to have drifted into adulthood without much change. If my daughters follow suit then expect conversations with their future partners to mainly revolve around cute cats and dogs they’ve seen on Instagram and The Hunger Games.

Thankfully it seems that not every teenage girl spends her life clicking ‘favourite’ on Jifpom videos. For example take Rosa and Jenny from Norwich, aged 16 and 17 respectively. They’ve spent the last few years occupying a very different world that they call Let’s Eat Grandma. You might remember that I introduced the duo back in August last year, describing their music as ‘idiosyncratic, scrappy, kooky, eerie yet charming out there multi-instrumental pop music with a sense of its own identity and originality.’

Let's Eat Grandma have until today seemed like a special left of centre secret that just music obsessives like me have known about. Now that’s all changed, with news that the band signed to Transgressive Records and have released their debut video proper for the song Deep Six Textbook (streaming below). It’s available on iTunes and will be released on limited edition coloured 7” vinyl on March 18th (pre-order it here). Also, quite bizarrely and brilliantly, the band’s name started trending on Twitter this afternoon, albeit half the tweets seemed to be simply asking ‘why are the words Let’s Eat Grandma trending?’

Hopefully, some of those asking the question went on to find out why and discovered the band for the first time. What they will have heard is a heavily downbeat pop song, cast from the shadows of both the schoolyard playground and the haunt filled spaces between this world and the next. For those who want their pop music instant and throwaway, this won’t be your thing. However, for those who are prepared to let things sink in a little, prepared to get addicted.

Let’s Eat Grandma’s debut album will be released this summer.

Let's Eat Grandma - Deep Six Textbook (Video)

New Music: Dua Lipa - Last Dance

If you like pop music and unless you’ve been hiding in a dark cave for the last few months you cannot have failed to have noticed Dua Lipa. She’s one of those artists who has been carefully seeded by her label / PR people with all of the tastemaker types and as a result found herself on the BBC Sound of 2016 longlist. I’ve not featured her on the blog before, because whilst her releases so far have been good enough (particularly online hit Be The One) they haven’t to my mind stood out way above the multitude of commercial sounding pop music that comes my way. However, that’s not to say I’m not intrigued by Dua Lipa, if only for the fact that she’s originally from Kosovo and her name actually is Dua Lipa and means ‘love’ in Albanian. 

So having got to step one on the ladder of pop the question was (and still is) can she climb higher? I decided the only way to make some sort of informed decision on this was to go and see her live. So off I trekked to The Hope & Ruin in Brighton, where a dark room above the pub, probably more suited to sweaty, unwashed indie bands in skinny jeans and leather jackets, provided the location for one of her shows. Let’s not forget though, that I once saw some lass called Adele play in the same room (when it was half the size it is now, following a revamp) for £5 and she did OK didn’t she?

What I learnt at that gig was several simple things. First, that Dua Lipa can do it live. She can sing, she can move and she’s got enough confidence to know that she doesn’t have to over try. Girls love her and so do the boys. The second thing I discovered was that she’s got a bundle of songs waiting to go that are better than Be The One. If she gets the radio play with them (and given her BBC Sound of vote, there’s an increased chance of that) they could actually be bona fide hits. 

First out of the blocks of those potential hits is Last Dance, which finds Dua Lipa singing of grabbing the moment: “We could burn and crash, we could take a chance, holding nothing back, like it’s our last dance” she sings as the world explodes in a firework of pop glory. This one will make you oo and ah in exhileration. Embrace it.

Dua Lipa - Last Dance

Monday, 8 February 2016

New Music: Introducing - RHAIN

Before I even get to the music there's a couple of points that need to be addressed in connection with RHAIN (real name Rhian Teasdale). First I'm not exactly sure where she's from. A recent feature on Drowned In Sound suggests Bristol, but her Soundcloud states the Isle of Wight. However, as The Stone Roses once suggested, it's not where you're from, but where you're at and Rhain is certainly at a good place musically.

Secondly, I have to mention the bathtub. If you've spent any time on Breaking More Waves you'll know that I've spent a lot (some would say too much) time pondering why it is that so many musicians have a desire to promote their music by having a photograph of themselves in the bath (for example this post here is just one of many). The only conclusion I've come to so far is that it's because they're bonkers, but I suspect there's some deeper underlying psychological issues going on here. RHAIN has very sensibly gone for the taking her clothes off option (important if you really do want to get clean) but alas has forgotten to put any water in, as well as the fact that the bath is outside and therefore somewhat exposed, both visually and in terms of the cold windy weather. It seems that musicians like getting in the tub but very few of them understand the concept of bathing.

So now to the music. It's good. Very good even. Humdrum Drivel is the first song on her Soundcloud. It's an otherworldly piano ballad that falls somewhere between Regina Spektor and Joanna Newsom in terms of its crisp idiosyncratic vocal delivery, sung with every word perfectly formed and enunciated. It's pretty special and benefits from its sparseness and haunting oddity. You can see why she's already caught the attention of a variety of gig promoters, having picked up support slots alongside fellow Isle of Wight boys Champs, tUnE-yArDS and Olof Arnaulds to name just a few.

RHAIN - Humdrum Drivel