Monday, 25 July 2016

New Music: Introducing - BEL

This blog (in part) takes its name by way of a reference to director Lars Von Trier (his film Breaking The Waves) and today I’m introducing a new Australian pop singer with a single who also gives a nod to Von Trier (although probably completely unintentionally) with a song called Melancholia. 

Isabelle Rich, from Melbourne, goes by the stage name of BEL and her debut offering is a cool, slightly heavy, but highly palatable slice of electronic pop. However, amongst its weightiness there’s still the occasional space that allows the song to breathe. It adds to its pop credentials by not wasting any time, clocking in at around three minutes, and most importantly for regular readers of this blog, BEL has already done the pop star in the bath promo pic (here)* It looks like she jumped in the tub in her local bathroom appliance showroom for that one.

The song is officially released on 29th July.

*No idea what the popstar in the bath thing is about? Try clicking here for starters and then a whole raft of posts on this blog since then.

BEL - Melancholia

Sunday, 24 July 2016

New Music: ELEL - Animal (Saint Motel Remix)

This is a bunch of firsts. It’s the first time I’ve featured a remix on the blog in a very long while. It’s also the first appearance of a lead male vocal on a track I've posted in over a month. It’s also the first time I’ve featured an ELEL song on the blog since I introduced them way back in May 2014 with the totally tropical carousel hit kicker of 40 Watt.

The fact that I haven’t written about ELEL in the last two years since introducing them reminds me of something Justin from The Vaccines once said in an interview with The Guardian a few years ago: “If you're being talked about before release and you don't have a record's worth of songs then you've fucking blown it before you've begun. And blogs in particular are to blame for that. Every day they have to post a new band. Are they still listening to the band they posted three weeks ago?” Well actually Justin, the answer to your question is yes. I still listen to your band, even though I haven’t written about you for years. Likewise ELEL. It’s a note of caution to all artists; don’t assume that because bloggers aren’t writing about you they’re not listening. Most music blogs aren’t full time jobs, they’re hobbies fitted around busy lives. That means our greatest limitation is time and we have to be very selective about what we write about. We simply can't cover everything.

And besides, Justin was wrong. There are many examples of acts that have transitioned from a handful of demos written about by blogs to quality albums a couple of years later. For example the likes of Lapsley and Shura have recently followed this route. 

So back to ELEL. Recent single Animal was a big out of the box slice of feel-good pop, one that sat in my ‘to write about’ file for quite some time and never quite got out again. So now I can make amends for the internet version of 'gathering dust' by posting this remix (from Saint Motel) which fine tunes the track with some warm electronic wizardry, sounding a bit like what a rainbow would sound like, if rainbows made sounds. There’s an album coming via Mom + Pop Music soon as well, which rest assured even if I don’t mention ELEL on the blog for another two years, I will be listening to.

ELEL - Animal (Saint Motel Remix)

Friday, 22 July 2016

New Music: Julia Jacklin - Leadlight (Video)

Julia Jacklin’s name first cropped up on Breaking More Waves after I caught her live at Brighton’s Great Escape festival and named her as one of my 5 favourite acts I saw over the 3 days (the other 4 were French pop maverick Jain, Brighton’s own and Breaking More Waves regulars Black Honey, the creepy dark fairytale warped pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma and the soul rock specialist Seramic). 

Now Julia returns with a second track, the follow up to the song I featured previously - Pool Party. Leadlight is equally as good. What I particularly like about Jacklin’s songs is that she never seems to be trying too hard. It’s the sort of music where although nothing particularly dynamic happens it’s entrancing all the same.

For Leadlight Julia has a new video, which was shot in her old high school in new South Wales, Australia. Julia has explained that when she was at school she didn’t really think about the hall. It was just a place for long assemblies and exams. But when she returned she realised that it was actually a beautiful space – she loved the wood detailing and the dramatic red curtains.

Julia will be releasing her debut album Don't Let The Kids Win on October 7th.

Julia Jacklin - Leadlight (Video)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

New Music: Hannah Grace - Mustang

I first came across Hannah Grace when she was belting out big gospel and soulful sounding backing vocals as part of Gabrielle Aplin’s live band and then a few months after that front of stage as Aplin’s support act. Now she has her own new EP out there in the world and the title track, Mustang, is an absolute belter. 

This one makes no apologies; it rocks hard, and it’s a perfect vehicle for Grace’s powerhouse of a voice to really let rip. It’s the sound of a Friday night out, in a seedy forgotten downtown bar, necking hard whisky. Gutsy, gritty and with a lot of va-va-voom this is the sort of muscular song that your dad would probably describe as ‘real music’ and that ‘they don’t make anymore’. Well, I have a lot of issues with the term ‘real music’ which frankly I think is the most bollocks term ever, but dad’s right about one thing; this is dead good.

Hannah Grace - Mustang