Thursday, 23 June 2016

Breaking More Waves Is 8 Years Old Today - Some Thoughts

Breaking More Waves is 8 years old today. I think that’s worth celebrating a tiny bit and hence this post – just to mark the occasion.

8 years of writing rubbish about music. It might not seem much of achievement, it’s certainly not climbing Everest or sailing round the world or helping people who have suffered in terrible atrocities, but as I constantly say, doing it against a background of a busy professional job, having 2 children, other hobbies, interests and social life, I think it’s still an achievement of sorts. Just being committed to doing it for that length of time, for no reward except the pleasure of doing it, I define that as a success. I’ve said this all before (possibly even a number of times at previous blog birthdays) but I think it’s worth saying again, even if just to myself for motivation. For certainly this year has, for a variety of reasons, been the hardest to keep Breaking More Waves going.

One of the things that has changed over Breaking More Waves lifespan is my relationship with recorded music (as against live music which has stayed pretty much the same).

In those 8 years the way that music is distributed has altered dramatically and because of it the way I and quite possibly you listen to it has also changed. On one hand, streaming has, for music fans like me, made the world an even better place. Now I can listen to more artists, more albums, more new releases, than ever before. Brilliant! Yet on the other hand I’m not always sure if this is quite so wonderful as it seems. In the past I may have purchased 30 or 40 new records a year and 5 or 6 of them would become true favourites that I would play over and over again for years and years. They’d become like best friends. Now, with streaming, I seem to find fewer best friends every year. Albums can become easily discarded and forgotten; there’s always something new to listen to. My relationship with music is in danger of becoming fickle.

It’s one of the reasons why when I stream an album and really like it I still buy a physical copy as well. There’s something about that act of purchase that creates a deeper relationship. I’m still not sure of the psychology behind it, but for me, it does.

But there’s another reason as well. Whilst streaming is undoubtedly the future, the future of streaming services is far from certain. None of them are making profits yet. It’s yet to be proven that they will. And if they don’t what will happen? This is the other reason I still buy physical copies. If streaming fails I don’t want to have a massive void in my music history. 

Total failure is of course highly unlikely but there’s a possibility that should the likes of ‘streaming only’ companies like Spotify fail we could be left with a smaller number who run as loss leaders to help sell other products their companies produce. (Apple for example).

It will be interesting to see where we are in another 8 years time and how the landscape has changed and how my listening habits of changed. 

And what of this blog. Will Breaking More Waves still be going in another 8 years? I highly doubt it. I’ve already scheduled a potential end date, when the blog will shuffle off to wherever blogs go to die, although that’s not in the near future.

So for now, all being well, this time next year I’ll be celebrating 9 years of Breaking More Waves, but for the next few days I'm taking a break, whilst I enjoy myself at Glastonbury Festival. Back soon!

Monday, 20 June 2016

New Music: Brika - You

This is one of those songs that the word jam was invented for. Following on from her Voice Memos album, which was released at the back end of 2014 Brika returns with her first original material since that time. You is just as you would expect from the Miami singer; sophisticated and soulful, with hints of Latin and jazz underpinning her smooth croon. It’s the soundtrack to the funkiest cocktail party by the pool where all the perfect beautiful people are hanging out. It positively grooves and then some. 

You is the first taste of Brika's new EP coming later this year.

Brika - You

Sunday, 19 June 2016

New Music: Introducing - Temples Of Youth

Talking about spirituality and pop music in the same breath can sometimes make some people a little awkward, so when a new band called Temples of Youth come along with a song called Churches you might think it’s best to skip on to something else. I’d advise not to though, because Paul Gumma and Jo Carson who make up this new UK duo from the Winchester area are creating some rather thoughtful twilight hours pop with a cinematic dreaminess that’s worth your attention.

Having already uploaded a small handful of songs onto their Soundcloud, Churches is the first of their self-released material that’s available to download. The song is about Jo’s experiences of prejudice; being made to feel initially welcome by a group of people who then completely changed the way they treated her when they found out more about her. It makes me think a little of the words that have echoed around the world following the horrendous murder of another Jo - British MP Jo Cox. “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.” If only everyone could have the clarity of vision to see things that way, the world would be a much better place. Thankfully, the world will always be a better place when we have musicians, entertainers and artists creating songs.

Temples of Youth will be making a donation to Equality Florida from the sales of downloads for Churches. Their next live show is supporting Declan McKenna on the 22nd June at Guildford Boiler Room. 

Temples of Youth - Churches

Thursday, 16 June 2016

New Music: Introducing - Maggie Rogers

There’s been a hell of a buzz on line about Alaska by Maggie Rogers, with her Facebook likes going into overload following a Pharrell Williams masterclass at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute where Williams was blown away by the tune calling it and her talent ‘singular’. Watch the normally expressionless face of Pharrell as he finds something connecting with him in a big way below (from around the 18.15 mark). It's worth watching just to see an old stager of the music industry being completely moved by something.

Maggie started out as a folk musician and banjo player but having taken time out in France she suddenly found the fire and energy of dance music. You can hear both elements in Alaska. It finally got a fully polished release on Soundcloud yesterday and has already picked up 200k plays. It is a truly is a beautiful piece of pop music that’s worth every bit of hype it’s getting. There are elements of someone like Beth Orton in the verses but with a celestial pop chorus - it's subtle and yet easily accessible. If you’ve read a number of posts on Breaking More Waves you’ll probably be able to guess that this one was going to grab me hook line and sinker. Just like Pharrell. It has.

Maggie Rogers - Alaska