Friday, 31 July 2015

Preview - Dials Festival 2015

Dials Festival, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth - 3rd October 2015

We’re pretty sure that we’re not the only music blog that has dreamed of curating its own festival or stage at a festival. So when the organisers of Dials, a brand new multi venue new music event based in our home city approached us asking if we’d be interested in hand picking some of the bands on their bill, we jumped at the chance.

Dials is a brand new collaborative festival taking place in 5 venues in Southsea, Portsmouth on the 3rd October 2015. It was originally set up when organisers heard that the well established new music festival Southsea Fest was not running this year and whilst hugely disappointed, decided the show must go on, in the form of their own show.

The name Dials comes from the concept that the festival is being run by a co-operative of venue owners, promoters and other music professionals and enthusiasts from the Portsmouth area, who are passionate about bringing exciting new music to the south coast, helping support local musicians, venues, businesses and the community in the process. 

Breaking More Waves is one of those enthusiasts. Others include iconic independent music venue the Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth cultural website and store Strong Island together with their offshoot record label Strong Island Recordings,  Hong Kong Gardeners Club, who have in the past propagated new music nights that included the likes of Everything Everything, Dan Smith (before he became Bastille), The Joy Formidable and Django Django  in tiny rooms before anyone had heard of them. Plus us, Breaking More Waves Blog. Hi. 

You can see the full list of artists playing in the poster below, which includes national touring acts as well as musicians local to the Portsmouth area. 

Of course what we’re really excited about is the handful of acts that Breaking More Waves has helped deliver to the festival. There's plenty of noisy rock n roll, indie and such like on the bill, but with our selections we've tried to inject something a little different. Here they are:

Alice Jemima

It was way back in April 2011 when we first featured Devon based singer Alice Jemima, a then unsigned songwriter, and ever since then we’ve been championing her music to anyone who will listen. We’re proud of the fact that directly because of that championing (and of course Alice’s fantastic songs) she landed a Radio 1 session at Maida Vale and since that time she has slayed the internet; her cover version of No Diggity has built up over 2 million plays on Soundcloud – more plays than all the other artists at the festival put together. The last year or so we haven’t heard that much from Alice, but with some recent support slots with Laura Doggett, a showcase for Sunday Best recordings at Brighton’s Great Escape, a new self penned song Diamonds & Bones getting an airing on Radio 1 courtesy of Huw Stephens and appearances at this year’s Camp Bestival, Somersault and Bestival festivals it seems that Alice is finally readying herself for something pretty special. We’re very pleased and excited to be able to finally bring Alice Jemima to Portsmouth. One not to miss.

Chloe Black

“We could have a star on our hands,” we wrote about Chloe Black in October 2014 and now that star shines on Portsmouth. Self-tagged ‘goth ‘n’ soul’ singer Chloe had a big online hit with her lyrically morbid tune 27 Club and all the reports we’ve received since have confirmed that she can deliver live as well with a potent vocal and bags of charm. Prepare yourselves to fall in love with Miss Black in the Wedgewood Rooms.

Black Honey

Furious frenetic feedback frenzies, pop melodies to die for and a captivating and dramatic front woman, Brighton’s Black Honey have it all. It’s probably why they were one of the most written about bands by UK Hype Machine listed music bloggers in 2014 and featured on the Blog Sound of 2015 long list – music bloggers version of the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list. As we all know though, being ‘big on the internet’ doesn’t necessarily translate to being a great live band, but Black Honey absolutely do. When we saw them earlier this year we were blown away by their rawness, their musicianship, their tunes and their power. Another must see, they’ll be headlining the Edge of the Wedge stage.

Lyza Jane

In contrast to Black Honey’s energy and forcefulness, London’s Lyza Jane creates languid sounding experimental electronic pop infused with modern trip-hop beats not dissimilar to the likes of Banks, FKA Twigs and Tricky. She’s already played Glastonbury festival twice, supported Alabama 3 and recently worked with reggae royalty Ranking Joe. There will be plenty of rock and roll aggression on display at Dials, so slip into something more comfortable for a while with Lyza Jane.


Glass are a totally new duo from London of which not much is known yet. You certainly won't find their songs streaming on Soundcloud, Spotify or You Tube. They describe their music as 'Pop Hip-Op Crance'. Those with good internet search skills might recognise them from previous musical projects. As Dials is very much a new music festival and that means discovery, don't play safe - make Glass part of that discovery. This will be their first show outside of London. Arrive early before they're gone.

Curxes / Jerry Williams / Wyldest

Whilst we’ve selected acts from London, Devon and Brighton to play, Breaking More Waves is also pleased to give a nod to some of the local and emerging talent from the Portsmouth area, or acts that have Portsmouth connections. Curxes, Wyldest and Jerry Williams are three artists that we’ve featured on the blog a number of times and all of them will be cropping up somewhere on the Dials bill. So if audacious dark electronic music (Curxes) chiming ethereal guitar pop (Wyldest) or catchy acoustic pop (Jerry Williams) are your thing, then go watch all of these.They’ll be giving some of the national touring bands a run for their money.

Tickets for Dials are on sale from today and available locally from The Wedgewood Rooms, Pie & Vinyl, Strong Island’s store. You can also buy them online from this link. 

We recommend buying early as the current £15 price tag is for early birds only.

Keep an eye out for a shiny website for the festival coming real soon and in the meantime, check the Dials Facebook (here) and  enjoy the playlist below of most of the artists so far announced. More acts are still to be added to the bill.

You can follow Dials Festival on Twitter here

Buy tickets using this link

Put 3rd October in your diary now. 

Dials Playlist

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hazel English - It's Not Real

The second piece of jangly power pop from Hazel English (not her real name – see our previous post about her here if you want some more info that probably no other blog told you) carries on where the wistful Never Going Home left off. In a world where stadium EDM builds and mellow R ‘N’ B electronic jams have become so common place, it’s almost become possible to forget that any other form of pop music exists, especially something like this. For It’s Not Real sounds so lo-fi, so D-I-Y, so old school indie that it’s very old-fashioned style sounds refreshing. It’s a song for people who dance in a slightly awkward, shy, ‘please don’t look at me in the corner’ way. Floppy fringes are probably involved as well. There’s lots of people out there comparing Hazel’s sound to things like summer and the beach (well, it was in the PR email) but we think it would work equally well on a grey wet day. It’s as much rainy Manchester or drizzling Glasgow as it is sunny California. Anorak music for anorak types – and that’s a compliment not a criticism.

Hazel English - It's Not Real

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Starling - Misfit

Alas not a cover version of the Curiosity Killed The Cat ‘banger’ and therefore no opportunity to start a beret revival, but still a rather fascinating song all the same. “You can tell all the boys I don’t want to play,” Starling sings defiantly on Misfit, the b-side to the drop dead beautiful Take It Down, which introduced her to the world last month. If you haven’t heard that yet, then your ears are missing out on a treat, click here. Words like ghostly and brooding were designed for Misfit, this piano based song existing in its own unsettling world that would probably consist of a shadowy underground space lit by a solitary candle.

Starling plays her first headline show at Servant Jazz Quarters, London on the 29th October.

Starling - Misfit

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

XYLO - Afterlife

5 facts / opinions / things about Xylo and their third song, Afterlife, which has just been released to the online world (we’ve already streamed their other two songs here and here).

1. That early Broods comparison we made in the two previous posts continues with Afterlife. That is to say it’s brother-sister created electronic pop but with a bit of an edge, a bite, a staring out at the world and feeling sad and scared streak to it.

2. Xylo look cool. Look at them. They look like they sort of people we’d like to hang out with in trendy bars and cafes and talk about all the unquestionably cool books, films and music that they almost undoubtedly know about, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re just not damn swell enough to even be in their presence. What does that have to do with their music we hear you serious ‘real music’ fans ask? Everything. If we need to explain to you why sometimes it’s important for pop stars to look amazing (in this case it looks like they've stepped out of some gritty Hollywood gangster film) then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. 

3. Apparently Zane Lowe premiered this on his Beats Radio show. We guess right now, in terms of popular culture, getting your song premiered on Beats Radio is about as good as it gets. 

4. Afterlife is very good. OK that last sentence isn’t going to get quoted on any future press releases by their publicity people, but trust us it is. What we particularly like is the swearing. Yes we know it’s not big or clever, but a pop song that features lines like ‘I need a f*cking holiday’ gives it that bit of weighty passion doesn’t it? Of course it also needs a good tune, and in this respect all the requisite things are there; hooks and melody are present and correct.

5. We don't normally do negativity on the blog, but this time feel that it has to be said. The ending’s a bit rubbish. It’s a fade. In the Rules of Pop Chapter 8, paragraph 7.2 specifically rules out the fade as a suitable ending in 2015. But then when you think about it, Xylo can do what the hell they want. They don't need an imaginary pop rulebook created by a blogger. Still, we think the ending is lacking. Sorry Xylo. Otherwise (we repeat) very good indeed.

Xylo - Afterlife

Jerry Williams - Cold Beer (Video)

Portsmouth is the home of Breaking More Waves and it’s also the home of singer songwriter Jerry Williams, who we first featured on the blog at the start of the year. Since that time Jerry has played shows at Brighton’s new music showcase The Great Escape and has also been out supporting Nathan Skyes on his sold out UK tour.

Next up comes a new offering from her forthcoming EP, due for release on the 21st August. 

Cold Beer has a glossier production than Jerry's earlier acoustic recordings, with some soft disco riffs entering the mix. Lyrically it rests a little against Kate Nash’s hit Foundations, with Williams singing about throwing up in the sink (rather than her trainers like Nash) so maybe at least a little easier to clean up!

The video itself is a whirlwind tour of some of Portsmouth’s local haunts, including Meat and Barrel, Clarence Pier, Lucile’s Creperie, Bandstand, Pie & Vinyl, The Garage Lounge and Tiger Tiger accompanied by her date - a man with a rather out of control afro. And the song you hear at the start of the video? It's a snippet of another one of Jerry’s songs, Boy Oh Boy.

Jerry Williams plays an EP launch show on the 20th August at Camden Barfly as well as Wilderness Festival this summer.

Jerry Williams - Cold Beer (Video)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

IYES - So Crazy

All credit to pop duo IYES, for in 2015, the year of the complete attention span deficit, they’ve just banged out a pop song that has an instrumental intro that lasts nearly a minute, and a tune that takes its full journey over the five - we predict a radio edit. That length might not seem much of an achievement, but trust us, there will be people reading this blog post who have already skipped the text, played 15 seconds of the song, decided it’s not for them and scrolled down to something else that they’ll probably spend less than a minute with. Imagine if you treated your love life like that? Oh hold on, that's called Tinder isn't it? Let’s all s-l-o-w d-o-w-n a bit shall we and take time to really enjoy something.

The song itself is called So Crazy. We’re beginning to think IYES are trying to tell us something having already issued a cover of Crazy In Love. This one is a thing of swirling computer game electronics, boy girl vocals, lyrics about 'delete our mutual friends' and 'just admit the record ends', and a chorus that builds to the heavens. It’s from a forthcoming EP called Part One, so we guess there will be more parts to follow after that.

IYES - So Crazy

Kiiara - Tennessee

The last time we can remember there being a bona fide piece of pop brilliance called Tennessee on the airwaves was from Atlanta based alternative hip hop group Arrested Development. Now we have another. Having already blown up on the world wide web a few weeks ago with her debut track Gold (which we featured here) Kiiara produces a second tune that goes straight into the collection labelled A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. It’s another scissor sharp piece of electronic production that’s as modern as it’s possible to get. “All those pictures on the internet,” she sings, “burn them up like a cigarette.” On the basis of the two tracks she’s now released Kiarra’s debut EP Meet Me In The Cornfield is going to be a must have. As she commands herself on the track - do it.

Kiiara - Tennessee

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Cloves - Don't You Wait

Continuing our current agenda of publishing the new music that other blogs delivered to you a day or so ago (full explanation of why on this link), here’s the second song from Cloves aka Kaity Dunstan to find its way online; unless of course you count the You Tube clips from her TV talent show past. 

Here are the 3 essential things that you need to know about this song:

1. It’s a beauty. Really that’s the only thing you need to know. 

2. It’s a sparse sounding torch song steeped in the pop classicism of the past. There’s a simmering understated passion to this one that finds us thinking of Lana Del Rey, Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star. Maybe a tiny bit of Amy Winehouse as well? It’s all rather gorgeous for sure.

3. The Soundcloud player tells us that Don’t You Wait was an i-D website premiere. Does anybody actually care about that fact? We certainly don’t. It could have been premiered on a cutest cat website for all we care. In fact that would have been far more interesting, just for the ‘WTF’ reaction from industry and blogger types. Not only would you have been able to listen to some quality music, but see some kitten pictures at the same time. That’s how to spend a productive day – right?

Cloves - Don't You Wait

Monday, 13 July 2015

NYTCLUB - New Waves

If you like day-glo slabs of synths, then the chances are you’ll like NYTCLUB. Yes, you’ll have to go beyond the slightly meh name of this new four piece, but trust us it’s worth it. Think of Prides, but from Liverpool rather than Scotland, with all the dials on the keyboards turned to the position HUGE and then some.

They’ve got the sort of sound we can imagine quite a few UK blogs going for (and quite a few people who don't write blogs as well), and yet at the time of writing, their debut song, Dressed Up has only 280 plays. 280? That’s criminal. Come on the internet. You can do better than this. Press play, feel that electricity surge through your body and get ready to travel to planet euphoria with NYTCLUB. Neon pop thrills a plenty.

NYTCLUB - Dressed Up

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Hana - Avalanche

Do professional music websites bother investigating / doing their own research before publishing an article these days? It seems not. Recently a new artist named Hana got a lot of attention on line, partly because of her associations with other acts (Grimes, Lana Del Rey, Blood Diamonds and Lorde all got mentions here and there) but mainly because her debut song Clay was a bit of a beauty. Yet the vast majority of pieces we saw written her Hana claimed that she was an artist shrouded in mystery or that nothing was known about her. Yet even an amateur blog like this was able to unearth some information about this ‘new’ artist. No longer such a mystery huh? 

Now of course you could argue that Hana’s identity and history aren’t important. But if that’s the case, why do websites, when they do start to learn facts about the artist, start to publish them? Why even bother with a picture of an artist if who they are isn’t important? In our view, these things are important – people become fans of artists for their perceived identity as much as the music. Don’t believe us? Ok here's a case for our argument - we wonder how many people would admit to being a huge fan of Gary Glitter these days? 

Minor rant over. The good news is that Hana has just released a second song. It’s called Avalanche and is a slightly downbeat, forward-thinking, minimalistic pop song, with a gentle nursery rhyme like melody. It’s all about control and not always saying yes to things and just like Clay worms its way inside the head on first listen. 

Hana - Avalanche

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Frances - When It Comes To Us (Featuring Ritual)

In June Breaking More Waves was lucky enough to witness relative newcomer Frances play an incredibly assured set under the stained glass windows of St Stephen’s church at London’s Bushstock Festival. Her music and singing was full of emotion, talent and power but was never swollen to a point of being over dramatic.

Whilst that show featured just Frances at a keyboard, this new tune, When It Comes To Us (featuring the electronic influence and vocal of Ritual) is a bit of a diversion from that piano balladry, with some distinct R n B flavours weaving their way into the production.

It’s a tune about a rare opposites attract relationship (we state rare because decades of scientific research will tell you that the vast majority of us seek out people who feel similar to ourselves) “It really shouldn’t work but it does,” Frances sings and you might find, like we did, a little shiver running down the spine.  If you want some reference points we’d say it sounds a bit like Rae Morris doing Pure Shores (what a tune!) by All Saints produced by recent blog favourites Oh Wonder. No surprises to find that it gets the full approval of this blog then.

When It Comes To Us features  on the Grow EP by Frances which is released on the all new global release day of 10th July.

Frances - When It Comes To Us (Featuring Ritual)

Sunday, 5 July 2015

An Important 'Musician In The Bath' Update

If you read / follow / digest / casually appraise / occasionally view Breaking More Waves you may know that we have a bit of a thing about pop stars in the bath. Seriously, this isn’t some warped perverted obsession, but a genuine fascination as to why it is that so many musicians feel the need to either get naked / semi naked or stay fully clothed and jump in the tub that may or may not be full of water and suds. Just some of the many examples of such popstars can be found on this link here, although we’ve posted a number of other times about this fascinating phenomenon, most recently with regard to the latest Lyza Jane track. We wish someone would provide us with a scientific explanation of it all.

Now here’s another and this one is impressive. Cosmo Sheldrake takes things to a new level, bringing his whole electronic kit into a thermal bath in Budapest. All we can say is that we hope his team carried out all the appropriate health and safety risk assessments on this one, otherwise ‘truly electrifying’ may have taken on its truest meaning.

If you’re a musician / popstar / potential popstar and have some weird urge to film yourself singing your song in a bath, don’t forget to let us know, and just as importantly, try to help us understand: WHY? We could start a whole new blog on this you know....

Cosmo Sheldrake - Pelicans We (Live in the Budapest Baths)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Oh Wonder - Landslide

“For  the next few months we might just be the blog putting the 'late' into latest music,” we said not so long ago (full explanation of why here) and today we’re doing just that with the latest track from internet-sensations-that-are-actually-people-in-real-life-as-well-and-not-just-something-fabricated-by-your-wireless-connection*  Oh Wonder, that we’re posting a little late. It’s called Landslide and we’re sorry, but all of you geology boffins are going to be a little disappointed, because the song isn’t anything about an earth movement that leads to the triggering of a ground failure in a downwards direction. Instead, it’s a soothing and infinitely pretty tune of comfort and friendship, effectively saying ‘keep your chin up,’ but in a rather more sensitive way than that.

You may well have already heard it by now (it has at the time of writing already hit 50k plays on Soundcloud, even although it has only been out a couple of days), but in case you haven’t, and you’re even later than us, press play (especially if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps) and your day might will just seem a little bit better. Then once you're feeling a little more cheery, smile even more with the news that after selling out their forthcoming debut shows, Oh Wonder has announced their album release plans and some further UK dates. Find all the info on this link.

(*We can 100% confirm this to be true – we sat opposite the duo on the London Underground the other day. We hoped that pivotal moment for the band might find them penning their next tune along the lines of  'didn't we have a lovely time the day we met a blogger' but it seems that sadly our influence didn't reach that far. Sad face emoji etc)

Oh Wonder - Landslide