Friday, 18 August 2017

New Music: Introducing - Maisie Peters

Listening to all of the Spotify UK New Music Friday playlist can at the best of times be quite an endurance test even for the most hardened of new music fans. However, this week there’s plenty that hits my buttons marked ‘Quite Good’, ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ amongst the dirge; a couple of those songs I’ve already posted (Pale Waves yesterday and Flyte earlier today) and there’s also the likes of Fickle Friends, Off Bloom and Anna Of The North that could all have all easily have found their way onto these pages.

One of the most intriguing songs on the list is right near the top. Alongside the as usual commercial high fliers such as Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus you’ll find the name Maisie Peters. Maisie describes herself as a 'singer songwriter from Brighton who likes writing songs with too many words in them and prefers the term vertically challenged'. Yesterday 17 year old Maisie picked up her AS-Level results (she got 3 As) and today she releases her debut single proper after a few years of developing an audience through You Tube. 

If you like early Kate Nash you're almost guaranteed to like those You Tube tracks such as Maybe (below) and Over You. The single Place We Were Made sounds like a breath of fresh air amongst the paint by numbers pop of much of the rest of the New Music Friday list. It's a delightful and evocative acoustic piece which finds Maisie singing of teenage life in a small town; fake ID, stealing gin from a friends dad, talking about boys, fires on the beach. There's still a hint of similarity to Nash's songwriting here, but Place We Were Made veers off in a folkier direction that defines Peters as very much her own artist.

Maisie Peters - Maybe (Video)

Maisie Peters - Place We Were Made

New Music: Flyte - Faithless

Here’s another old song that has become a new song, released today. Faithless by Flyte first got a mention on Breaking More Waves back in 2013. This is what I wrote at the time as I introduced them: “Here’s a band who know how to write a real corker of a tune, with all that basic stuff that so many bands forget; great melodies, harmonies, variety and an accessible inventiveness that draws you in further. We hear elements of Tom Petty, Orange Juice, Roy Orbison and Talking Heads in what they do, as well as The Beatles in this gorgeous song called Faithless.” Ah yes, the days when I used the royal 'we' even though it was only me and then realised that was a bit weird. 

Quite why Faithless has taken so long to get an official release is beyond me. (Possible answer – the music industry is a bit useless – but I’m sure there’s a better reason than that). Anyway, better late than never. Take a listen to Faithless below. It sounds utterly out of time and out of place with most modern music, and is so much better for it. What a song. On repeat x 1000.

Flyte - Faithless

New Music: Alice Jemima - Home

Appearing on streaming services today with no fanfare pop singer songwriter and long-time Breaking More Waves favourite Alice Jemima returns with a new song. Of course, what is new to the casual listener often isn’t new to the fan, certainly I’ve heard Alice play this one a number of times live. 

Home is the musical equivalent of a peach. It’s certainly a little bit fruity. It's all about desire. Here we find Alice singing of wanting to go back to someone elses place, trying to erase the memories of a ‘love I used to know’ from her head. But it goes further than that, with Alice singing of ending up in a romantic situation under the stars on a rooftop. “Hoping you feel this to, kind of thinking you do, by the look in your eyes, by the kiss you’ve just supplied.” 

Home wasn’t featured on Alice’s debut album, but this is far from some cast off / b-side material; with its hook that seeps softly into the brain and slinky mix of electronics and indie guitars that Alice does so smoothly and so well, this is as good as anything else she has released. It also does that classic singer-songwriter trick of opening the song with the line that will eventually become the chorus to place it immediately in your head even before you even realise that it is the chorus. Sneaky.

Alice has been playing a number of UK festivals this summer including Secret Garden Party, Boardmasters and Camp Bestival with The Big Feastival being her next stop.

Alice Jemima - Home

Thursday, 17 August 2017

New Music: Pale Waves - Television Romance

If you were to eat a piece of cake and the first slice tasted delicious you’d probably be tempted to have another. But would that second slice be more enjoyable, less enjoyable or about the same? And if you enjoyed it just as much, would you eat another slice and then keep going, slice after slice until you had eaten the whole cake? 

It’s a bit like that with the new Pale Waves song Television Romance for me. I really liked their previous tune There’s A Honey; it was an extremely hooky piece of indie pop. But.....Television Romance sounds an awful lot like that, particularly the chorus where you can virtually sing the chorus of There's A Honey over the top of the song and it doesn't sound wrong. So in theory I should like this just as much. But it's a dilemma. Because is that second slice really as good as the first? If I'd eaten the second slice without tasting the first it would have definitely been superb.

What I'm trying to say (badly) is that our tastes and perceptions of music are affected by what has gone before. It's not quite as simple as just listening to every song in isolation.

Let's continue this idea forward. What if the band released a whole album of songs that sounded very similar? Would I like that? Probably not. For me it's why a band like Oasis became ever less exciting with every album and why David Bowie always kept my attention.

If music is the food of love, give me excess of it, but make sure that it continues to interest me, challenge me and take me to new and exciting places, otherwise eventually the appetite will die.

So that’s a thumbs up for Television Romance,it is ultimately a good song (and yes, like the previous tune it sounds a lot like The 1975 version 2.0 / rebranded), but there’s going to have to be more variety in the future to keep me engrossed. 

Pale Waves - Television Romance

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Music: Dream Wife - Fire

I’ve always been a fan of groups of musicians who look the part. Bands not bland please. Some groups forget this. When you record a song you’re a musician, but once you go on stage you’re a performer. All the great bands have great songs, sure, but live they have identity and personality as well. 

Dream Wife seem to understand that. Their shows are fierce; lead singer Rakel prowls the stage with a look that seems to vary from contemptuous menace to knowing cool whilst Bella and Alice pummel their instruments with a real intensity and enthusiasm. They look like a unit, ready for war. I certainly wouldn't want to pick a fight with them, OK I wouldn't pick a fight with anyone, I'm a lover not a fighter, but you understand what I mean I'm sure.

For those who have been to a Dream Wife gig, new release Fire will already be familiar. It’s all about that surge, that rush, that emotion, that moment of connection, about dancing, screaming and holding each other tight. Of course, fires don’t last forever but let's enjoy the heat whilst it lasts. Three and a half minutes of edgy indie-art-pop that burns with a spike.

Dream Wife will be back out on the road this October. Dates can be found by clicking here. Fire will form the lead track of a new EP released on 29th September which will include three remixes of the song as well as previously released track Somebody.

Dream Wife - Fire

Sunday, 13 August 2017

New Music: Introducing - Morgan Saint

With a pristine and skeletal electronic production, a simple yet visually compelling video and a soothing vocal delivery New York singer Morgan Saint introduces herself to the world via her tender debut single You. It’s a pop song, but one of those pop songs for people who say they don’t really like pop music. Yes, it’s a little bit cool, with that coolness created through a minimalist backing that sounds effortless. That’s not to say that You was knocked out in five minutes, with no effort whatsoever, because Morgan needed to nip out of the studio for a pizza and a couple of beers; but sometimes making something sound so easy is actually hard work.

 “I could be looking for you, in all the wrong places,” Morgan sings and as she does so the song reminds me a little of early Jessie Ware or Kacy Hill. Not bad acts to be compared to. 

You is taken from Morgan’s debut EP 17 Hero which will see the light of day soon.

Morgain Saint - You

Saturday, 12 August 2017

New Music: Mausi - Famous

Pop music is an odd beast sometimes. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we’re not aware of. 

That seems to be the case with Mausi. Back in 2014 the group seemed to be on the cusp of something. Their hedonistic pop banger My Friend Has A Swimming Pool was getting quite a few people (including me) deliriously tipsy and as the track moved from online buzz to picking up some radio play it seemed almost inevitable that the house of Mausi was going to need a big extension. Or at least a loft conversion.

But that wasn’t the case. What happened? I have no idea. But everything just seemed to stop. The Mausi Facebook gives some clues: “We got carried away with the promise and excitement of the music industry. We were young. Now we’re free to do what we want. Release music the way we always wanted to. No compromises.”

So here we go with chapter 2. 3 years on and Mausi return with Famous. Don’t worry Mausi fans, they didn’t go away and rediscover themselves as new age hippie types playing soothing acoustic folk music. No. Famous makes it seem like those last 3 years (Trump, Bowie’s death, Brexit, Prince’s death, the Brangelina break up) never happened. Famous is another banger, that heads to the clublands with a full on hands in the air joy. “One day we will all be famous,” is the hook line, which when you think about it, isn’t really possible is it? But who cares? Pop music has never been just about reality. This lie will make you feel good.

Mausi - Famous

Thursday, 10 August 2017

New Music: Lauran Hibberd - Old Head Young Shoulders

Lauran Hibberd is blessed with one of those voices that just cuts through. Whether she is playing solo acoustic or with a full band, as she dissects her words, her vocal beauty is just instantly recognisable. It's for that reason (as well as having great songs) that I’ve been championing her a number of times on Breaking More Waves.

Lauran’s new tune Old Head Young Shoulders might start quite gently, but it soon unzips itself to reveal a buoyant and hugely enjoyable indie folk pop song. Once up and running it sounds like Lauran has been studying Usain Bolt, hammering along at some pace, although thankfully it doesn’t do a sub 10 second finish. Watch out for when the instruments drop and just the beat remains – live it’s sure to be a clap-along-with-Lauran moment for sure and the song as a whole will probably produce some twitchy shoulder, jerky arm dancing from the audience.

Lauran plays a gig in her homeland of the Isle of Wight this Friday as part of the Ventnor Fringe Festival, which is sold out. She will also be playing in Southsea, Portsmouth for Victorious Festival and at Lulworth Castle for Bestival in the next few weeks.

Lauran Hibberd - Old Head Young Shoulders

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

New Music: Gabrielle Aplin - Waking Up Slow

Here is a pop song that will make you want to stand up and cheer. And then have a crazy little boogie afterwards.

When Gabrielle Aplin utters the words: “I don’t see you like I used to, now I’m going back on the things that I know,” she might be singing about a relationship but then she could also be singing about music itself. But of course music is all about the relationships we have with it anyway, so all of these things are entwined aren’t they?

My relationship with this one is easy. It’s love at first listen. It’s like dancing on the clouds. It glides in from the heavens with pulses and hooks and melody and just makes everything about pop music seem worthwhile. It’s a song that will make you, like me, feel happy punch the air and shout YES!

Well done Gabrielle Aplin. Well done pop music.

Gabrielle Aplin - Waking Up Slow

Friday, 4 August 2017

New Music: Hannah Grace - Praise You

The chances are that if you are based in the UK you’ve already heard Hannah Grace’s reinterpretation of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, which in turn was derived from a sample of Take Yo’ Praise by Camille Yarborough. That’s because the song has already been featured on a TV advert for a bank and has also played out on BBC coverage of the 2017 London 2017 World Athletic Championships. Regular readers of Breaking More Waves also might be aware of Hannah’s music before that though as in 2016 I posted her gutsy, gritty punch of a song Mustang taken from her EP of the same name.

This version of Praise You is radically different from both the Brighton Big Beat DJ’s dancefloor filler, but maybe the cover isn’t as surprising as you’d expect – after all Hannah’s exceptional vocal is rooted in gospel and soul and she has also worked with Breaking More Waves regular Gabrielle Aplin, who also benefitted from gaining a wider audience with a piano cover version that became a TV advert (her version of the Power of Love).

However, despite the TV advert, the connections to Aplin etc, what really matters is the quality of the music and this version of Praise You is flawless; the vocals, the arrangement, the mood. Everything is just perfect. So, whilst in my country this cover may not be new to you, this is the world wide web and hopefully this post will bring Hannah’s take on the song to the attention to at least a few more people.

Hannah Grace - Praise You

Thursday, 27 July 2017

New Music: Thyla - Pristine Dream

The new song from Brighton band Thyla might initially sound like it has crawled spider like from the cauldron of the indie witching hour but it soon casts a magic that is far more anthemic than it is creepy. It hits you first time with a chorus that is big, bold and primal. There’s a touch of the dramatic here - the obvious reference point is the 4AD label in the eighties, alongside perhaps more modern bands like Pumarosa. With Pristine Dream Thyla live up to the early promise they hinted at when they first featured on Breaking More Waves seventeen months ago.

Thyla - Pristine Dream

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

New Music: Sofi Tukker - Fuck They (Video)

You may well recall before Breaking More Waves took off on holiday (with just the occasional post such as this one - normal service resumes sometime mid-August) I mentioned the forthcoming sweary new Sofi Tukker beast of a tune Fuck They. That animal is now out in the world and is positioned to assault your earlobes, with over thirty F-words in its three minutes of fingers-up-at-the-world dance attitude, if it hasn't done so already. Thirty is certainly a decent amount of potty mouthed foulness, although nothing compared with the Super Furry Animal’s The Man Don’t Give A Fuck which clocked in at over fifty. 

Whilst Fuck They has been streaming for a couple of weeks now, the video has only just gone live. Filmed in Toronto and directed by Mac Boucher, whose previous work includes videos for Grimes, HANA and Yukon Blonde it features a cameo by celebrity hairstylist and frequent band collaborator Danny Moon, a nod to Tucker Halpern’s past basketball life, the best carrot munching moment you’ll see this year, lots of head nodding, messy drinking and a whole lot more that will probably leave you uttering a few expletives yourself. Unleash your inner animal and enjoy the WTF colourfulness of Sofi Tukker.

For those (like me) in the UK who have been patiently waiting for the band to come back to our shores, you finally get a chance to see the duo when they play Oslo in Hackney, London on 1st October. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New Music: SKOTT - Mermaid

SKOTT, one of the world’s greatest hand in the air pointy finger singers and also one of Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch for 2017 has a new single. It’s called Mermaid. For those who have already seen her live you will already be familiar with this song, possibly to the point of thinking that Mermaid has already been released simply because it gets under the skin so easily; on listening it feels like a familiar friend.

If you haven’t, then dive in, and prepare yourself for an immersive pop treat. It’s the equivalent of an emotional 80’s power ballad dragged gently into this decade with its tinkling piano chords, sweeping strings, la la la backing vocals and heavyweight electronics. All it needs now is a moodily styled video with some shots of SKOTT floating around underwater and she’ll be fully in business – for this is a very good song.

Now come on radio people and playlist people – this one deserves to be on at least your B list / high up your new music Friday playlist or you are dead to me.

Skott - Mermaid

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

New Music: Introducing - Swimming Girls

Breaking More Waves is about to go (in fact it's already gone) into one of its quietest periods ever as I take a huge long summer holiday that started a few hours ago and doesn’t finish till somewhere around four weeks from now. Despite having been being lucky enough to get time off the day job to attend a number of music festivals, the reality is that I haven’t had a proper holiday abroad for over two years, so that’s what I’m doing this summer.

There will however be the odd post or two over the next month, but they will be extremely limited. I'll be back down to business as usual in mid-August.

Before the quiet though I’d like to introduce a band that released their debut single last month and it’s been never far from my ears ever since. Swimming Girls song Tastes Like Money is a dizzying indie guitar pop tune with supersaturated guitars straight out of the Cocteau Twins handbook and a vocal that has just enough lilt and drawl to make it stand out from the crowd. It is indebted in some respects indie records from the 80’s and perhaps a little bit of early 90’s shoegaze towards the end, but that’s fine when it’s done as well as this. Taste Like Money is a record to feel as much as hear. Let it run through your veins.

Swimming Girls are Vanessa, Roo, Jay and Max and are based in Bristol. However, they formed in nearby Bath as students put together randomly in order to “write a song” for an undefined musical project. Watch out for more material from the band coming soon.

Swimming Girls - Tastes Like Money

Monday, 10 July 2017

New Music: Jain - Dynabeat (Video)

By now the chances are that you’ve read an awful lot about Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury. You’ll also have read far less about a French popstar qui est absolument parfait, named Jain, but trust me, she played Glastonbury as well. 

At first her booking on the Sonic stage looked a little out of place, Sonic mainly catering for dance heads, but within a few seconds of her starting up the booking made absolute sense. Less a dance party more a crazy gymnastic hands-in-the-air workout, Jain pulled punters into the venue with one of those ‘what is going on over there ?’ moments. I think by the end of her set the ground in the venue had lowered a couple of inches with all the bouncing on it.

So now it’s your time to move your feet as Jain revisits a track from her album. Dynabeat is all about the dance of life: “Love it or hate it , but you have no other choice, you have to realise that we are all living on a beat.” The video, like all of Jain’s videos, is a little surreal, like a modern Magritte inside a TV screen. There’s plenty of detail and clever little effect pieces to keep you hooked. Oh, and the song? Well Jain is all about the hooks; she probably has a whole wardrobe full of them and she's got this one out for you today. A squelchy synthy neon-bubblegum tune to keep you going all night.

Jain - Dynabeat (Video)

New Music: Maggie Rogers - Alaska (Sofi Tukker Remix)

I can’t remember the last time I posted a remix on Breaking More Waves, it’s something that I just don’t seem to do that often these days. Here’s one I couldn’t pass on though. After all, at the back end of last year I named, as I always do in late November / early December, ten artists that I believed were Ones to Watch for 2017. Two of those artists were Maggie Rogers and Sofi Tukker*. So, when the two of them came together musically, there was an inevitably that the results were going to find their way on to this little corner of the internet.

So what’s the output? The results are perhaps not the pounding, riffing, weird-out, hip banger that you might expect from Sofi Tukker**. Instead they’ve taken the chilled soulful coolness of the original and whisked it off to Ibiza for a mellow sunset moment. Imagine a classy seafront bar / terrace, a cocktail and everything being right with the world, whilst this loops on repeat in the background. That'll do nicely.

*Footnote: The 10 artists I selected as Ones to Watch for 2017 were Skott, Maggie Rogers, LANY, Hazel English, Seramic, Dave, Sofi Tukker, Jerry Williams, Cabbage, Liv Dawson.

**Footnote 2: Keep an eye and ear out for Sofi Tukker’s forthcoming single out later this week. It’s very sweary, very good and you definitely won’t be hearing it on the radio

Maggie Rogers - Alaska (Sofi Tukker Remix)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

New Music: Introducing - Adal

Way back in 2013 I featured a new band from Brighton who went by the name Phantom Runners. Their debut single It Takes Me Away jangled with some full on groovy indie swagger and I was ready and prepared for the blogs to be all over the song. It didn’t happen. A few further releases (which to be fair a number of sites did get a little bit excited about) followed but it all seemed to fizzle out before the sparkle had really got going.

But in pop you need to be careful with sparks and embers, because sometimes they ignite something else and before you know it you’ve got a glow. In this case a neon glow of electronic pop gloss goodness.

For Adam Al-Hilali was the front man of Phantom Runners, but now he flies solo under the name ADAL, signing himself as a future pop collaborator / curator rather than just a producer and songwriter. His new project has been bubbling under for a while now but it’s his new collaboration with Copenhagen’s singer of pop bangers FREJA (they're both lovers of the capital letter clearly) that really hits home. Fire To You is a cinematic pop tune that could have easily featured on the soundtrack of Top Gun or Drive. It’s a flawless example of the slick soft synth song that will no doubt appeal to fans of M83 with its dark throb of a bass line, subtle electronic stabs and references to the American dream. Rather like his previous work with Phantom Runners Fire To You definitely looks over its shoulders with an eye on the past – this time the mid to late 80’s rather than the early 90’s – but it’s done so well it’s impossible not to be impressed. 

What did Bruce Springsteen say? You can't start a fire without a spark. From that spark here's Fire To You.

Adal - Fire to You featuring FREJA

New Music: Curtis Harding - On And On

Are you sitting down whilst reading this? Well if you are get ready to stand up and shake your tail feather, because Curtis Harding is going to make you groove, right from the moment the opening drums kick in. The former Cee Lo Green backing singer is moving on up after his debut album Soul Power with another slice of horn fuelled Philly strong stuff and on this one he lets everything fly. Sure, there’s nothing new in any shape or form here; On and On is the sound of someone who has studied the classics well, and mastered his craft to the point of perfect tribute, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth your attention. A good song is a good song. Not everything has to be about the new and progression.

Listening to On and On is like a discovering a super rare Northern Soul stomper in the bottom of your dad’s record collection. Seconds after that you’re dancing on the ceiling. Solid gold.

Curtis Harding - On And On

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Film: Lucy Rose - Something's Changing

I might be a bit tired so that's my excuse I'm using for admitting that I cried a little watching this film, but Lucy Rose's new documentary is hugely touching. I can't stress how important it is that anyone who reads this post watches it.

In 2016 Lucy Rose travelled to South America to stay with fans and play free gigs booked by them. The results, far away from London and the often very unkind music industry, were clearly life changing for Lucy, altering her view of the world and her music.

As Lucy says in the film: "Music is more than music." That's something I've always felt and I hope (because you read this blog) that's something you feel as well. It can connect people in weird, wonderful and beautiful ways that can alter our future paths and beliefs.

Take twenty minutes out to watch this documentary and then listen to Lucy's new album, which is undoubtedly the best thing she has recorded, and for me is the album I always wanted her to make.

Lucy Rose - Something's Changing

Friday, 7 July 2017

New Music: Jade Bird - Something American

Back in the Summer of 2016 I introduced an impressive new artist on the blog called Jade Bird and wrote that she was recording her debut EP in London. Now nearly one year on that EP has arrived. It turns out that the majority of it was recorded in Woodstock – but irrespective of location it was very much worth the wait.

The EP takes the classic sounds of country, folk, Americana and the delta-blues and frames them in the world of teenager in 2017 who has spent time in South Wales, Germany and Chesterfield. It’s a case of one foot in the past but one foot very much in the future as well. At points on the EP her music sounds hauntingly intimate whereas at other points, such as the bluesy holler of Ginnin’ In Your Face she sounds raspy bold and whisky swigging loud. The range of songs is strong but it all glues cohesively together.

Where Jade Bird’s natural audience sits is still to pan out. Certainly in the UK it’s easy to suggest an older Radio 2 crowd, but her youth and some her other songs that I’ve seen her play live could perhaps cross over to a younger crowd – so maybe Radio 1 is in her grasp as well. Irrespective of age though, one thing is clear, Jade Bird has bags of talent and her EP fully displays that.

Jade plays a number of festivals this summer (including Latitude next weekend) and has her own headline show at London's Omeara in October (tickets here) after recently selling out a gig at Servant Jazz Quaters also in London.

Hear the song Something American below and the whole EP on Spotify by clicking here.

Jade Bird - Something American

Thursday, 6 July 2017

New Music: Affairs - Gracious World

There’s something wonderfully widescreen and ambitious about Manchester’s Affairs and their new song Gracious World. It sounds like it’s got its sights set way higher than some grotty boozer in Shoreditch, Camden or anywhere else for that matter. A high-kicking and life affirming song soaked in the drama of the world and all that it has to offer, it heads straight for the indie rock jugular and then some; a chest thumping, fist pumping tune. This is the big music.

Affairs are out on tour this summer playing those grotty boozers I mentioned including a show at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch on Wed 9th August. Catch them there for now, before it’s too late. 

Affairs - Gracious World 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

New Music: Grandbrothers - Bloodflow

If you follow the blog very closely you’ll have probably noticed that besides all the indie, pop, electronic, folky and acoustic music I tend to gravitate towards I also have a very soft spot for instrumental sounds, particularly soundtracks and ambient music. It’s why SURVIVE’S RR7349 featured in a very high position on my end of year album list last year and why records by the likes of Nils Frahm, Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin as well as The KLF’s Chill Out all have a special place in my heart.

So today here’s a new favourite instrumental. It’s called Bloodflow and it comes from the German duo Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel, better known as Grandbrothers. Taken from their second album Open due on October 20th Bloodflow is structured in layers that are constantly repeating yet subtly shifting and mutating as they grow like watching ripples and waves on the sea from above. It makes for an immersive and meditative listen as the piece propels forward towards its final landing point. It’s six minutes long but it never feels like that. Beautiful stuff. Take a listen below.

Grandbrothers - Bloodflow

Sunday, 2 July 2017

New Music: Greta Isaac - Comfortable

Look at virtually any artist that has been in it for the long term and you’ll see one binding factor - development. Sometimes there will be radical changes in style, other times it might be more gradual twists and turns. But apart from a handful of exceptions most acts need to diversify creatively over time, not only for themselves but for their fans. Otherwise the rule book of pop suggests that boredom and stagnation sets in for everyone involved. Take a look at a band like Oasis for a classic example of ever decreasing returns by sticking to the same formula. Then look at someone like David Bowie for an example of an artist who was always pushing for change creatively.

Comfortable, the new single from Greta Isaac, shows how exciting development can be. From her initial mellow organic roots first featured on this blog in 2011, the 2017 version of Greta shows folk and world music reworked, reinvigorated and rebooted. The results are really interesting; organic sounds are chopped and mixed with a frenetic and futuristic fury as the newly glitchy Greta explores the ideas of turning a blind eye to everything - the trait of apathy and selfishness. 

A fine development.

Greta Isaac - Comfortable

Thursday, 29 June 2017

New Music: The National - Guilty Party (Video)

This weekend just gone The National played The Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. I’m a huge fan of the band and for me this should have been one of their crowning moments, but I'm sorry to say it felt like a wasted opportunity. Too many new songs left the audience where I was standing losing interest and the band’s mood, whilst humble, felt a little downbeat which didn’t really capture the atmosphere on site, which was positively upbeat. 

Menacing closer and new song Turtleneck felt wrongly positioned in the set, particularly with its rather abrupt ending. “So is that it?” seemed to be the shoulder shrug response of those by me after they finished. When Matt Berninger showed his phone to the crowd to ask them to call a US politician and stop a controversial healthcare bill in the US, it was an admirable thing to do, but felt misplaced given the band was playing in the UK which has its own very pressing political issues right now. It was all in all a little disappointing, especially after Katy Perry (who I've never particularly liked) put on a exuberant show immediately before them and became one of my (many) surprising highlights of the weekend.

That’s not to say there weren’t highlights though. An early appearance of Fake Empire captured my heart and England swelled with huge emotion as well, but it wasn't enough from a band that have previously moved me nearly to tears.

However, not every artist can be perfect every time you see them – it’s one of the realities of being a fan and seeing a band a number of times; some shows will always be better than others. Not to admit that is living a false reality.

However, all is forgiven when listening to the second rather gorgeous but sad song to be released from the forthcoming album Sleep Well Beast. It's called Guilty Party.

"It's nobody's fault. No guilty party. We just got nothing, nothing left to say" sings Matt, capturing exactly how many break ups feel. If you’re going through a tough time with a relationship ending right now, this song will probably feel like it’s written for you. Hopefully that might help with things a little. 

The National - Guilty Party (Video)

New Music: Confidence Man - Boyfriend (Repeat) (Video)

Australia’s Confidence Man is a band I’ve been banging on about a lot this year. In fact they’re my favourite new pop group of 2017. 

There’s a whole bunch of reasons for this. 

First the live shows; hyperactive danceageddon gigs with sassy don’t fuck with us attitude and a compulsive energy that's guaranteed to leave you with biggest smile on your face, even although the band themselves apply stern Paddington Bear (RIP Michael Bond) hard stares throughout. 

Then there’s the whole concept of the band; from the cartoonish names (Janet Planet, Sugar Bones, Reggie Goodchild, and Clarence McGuffie) to their strong visual identity – netting over the drummer and keyboard players faces to obscure their faces, overly tight pants and baby doll dresses. Confidence Man look like pop stars from the get go. 

Then there’s the songs - high energy relentless volcano pop that bubbles and explodes with dangerous regularity. Their whole reason for existence is to make you want to get high whilst getting down. They teach you how to feel alive.

As yet not many of these songs have made it online. So far there’s the delirious Bubblegum and the party time electro funk of Boyfriend (Repeat), which are out there on all the usual streaming services. 

Whilst we wait for more Boyfriend (Repeat) now has a video and it perfectly captures the essence of the song with a disturbingly funny idea that takes a bunch Kens (some dressed in ways you’ve probably never seen Ken dressed before) and subjects them to treatment by microwave, blender, saw, barbeque and pink plastic mallet to name just a few. Men be warned. When your girlfriend says: “My boyfriend wants to talk, my boyfriend talks to much,” this could be your fate if you don’t shut up.

Confidence Man - Boyfriend (Repeat) (Video)

Monday, 26 June 2017

New Music: Joy Crookes - Power

Earlier this month I made my annual pilgrimage to West London from the south coast for Bushstock Festival, a review of which you’ll find here. The highlight of the event came in the mid-afternoon in a Library Bar that forms part of the Bush Theatre. In amongst the books, on the tiniest of stages, London lass Joy Crookes wowed the packed silent room with a jazzy charm that had me getting a little bit hyperbolic on Twitter muttering names like Amy Winehouse and Billie Holliday. OK maybe I went a little too far, but it wasn’t so far from the truth. Crookes was utterly dazzling - the sort of artist that makes the roll of the dice of music discovery come up double 6.

One of the tunes from Joy’s rapturously received set that day was this new one, which she uploaded to the world wide web recently. Despite it's classic laid-back sound Power is no pushover over of a song.  There’s a strong message here, which needs no explanation, the words clearly speak for themselves: “You’re a man on a mission, but you seem to forget, you came here through a woman, show some fucking respect.” Then there's this one: “Melanin is not your enemy.” It’s Crookes who has the authority here. This is quality. 

Joy Crookes - Power

Friday, 23 June 2017

Breaking More Waves Is 9 Years Old Today - Here's A Blog Post To Celebrate

9 years old today. 9 bloody years I’ve been doing this thing. This blog. This record of some of the stuff I’ve been listening to. 

It’s fascinating to look back over that time and see some of the artists that I’ve introduced. Some of them have gone on to be a huge creative and commercial success. Others, absolutely nothing. 

Here are a handful of examples. Look at the picture below. Recognise her? That’s Charli XCX back in 2009 when I first wrote about her. At the time she was flaunting a bunch of songs like Neon Fashion & Glowstix and Francheskaar and I concluded that although her music appealed to me I found it hard to see any long term appeal. 8 years on and she seems to be doing OK. Her first 2 albums proper ended up being some of my favourites of 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Here’s another one. Recognise them? No, me neither. But apparently, they were a band called Look Stranger! I featured them on the blog once and that was all. I can’t remember anything about what they sounded like now, even having re-read my original blog post. I never heard of them again.

And here’s one more. This was Skint & Demoralised. I named him as one to watch many years ago. His music never set the world alight (albeit listening back to it now I still really enjoy it) but years on Matt Abbott the singer cropped up on this TV advert (click here), showing that he was one to watch, just not in the way I originally thought.

What I’m trying to say with all of this is that in 9 years of music blogging what I’ve learnt is that anyone who tells you that they are a tastemaker and can predict the success of any artist is talking out of their arse*. Some acts make it, some don’t. Nobody has the perfect crystal ball. Every time someone tells you about how they were one of the first to discover a particular successful artist, ask them how many others they discovered that never went on to light up the world. By the law of averages, the more artists a site writes about, the more chance there is that some of them will go on to be massively commercially or artistically successful. 

All I can do, and all any blog worth their salt can do is bring you some new music and new artists I like. The rest is unknown.

Breaking More Waves is 9 years old today. Right now I’m celebrating that fact somewhere in a field in Somerset at Glastonbury Festival, probably with a cider / wine / gin and tonic in hand. Maybe all 3. 

I always said at some point the blog will end and when it does I’ll make a definite point about it. There will be no gradually fading away. But a big full stop. But not yet. I’ve got a little bit more fuel in the tank yet. Maybe not a lot, but it's not time for ending quite yet. 

Thanks for reading guys, without you it would be fairly pointless.

*Footnote. Some other things I've learnt whilst writing this blog are:

1. When times are bad (death / illness etc) music can be a salvation. In fact this blog has been a real help for me during those bad times - the last year in particular.

2. I also run a twitter account associated with the blog. Twitter is a very odd place - a weird bubble where people reinforce their own views with others like them and castigate those who do things differently to their world view - with little or no nuanced discussion. (How can you in 140 characters?). 

3. There's only so much you can say about music before you start repeating yourself. 

4. Musicians are weird and like to promote their art by sitting in the bath.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

New Music: Introducing - Stereo Honey

Does anyone remember Geneva? They were a band from Aberdeen in the latter part of the 90’s who released a now much forgotten, somewhat flawed, but loved (by me at least) album called Further. They were the first indie rock band that I had ever heard with a male vocal singing falsetto and they absolutely blew me away. Even today Andrew Montgomery’s voice and range gives me goosebumps on songs like the jangly beauty of Into The Blue and the exquisite Tranquilizer with its soaring strings of perfection. 

From that point on I’ve always connected with male voices that reach for the heavens (this year Tom Adams’ debut Silence has captured my heart) and today I’m introducing a new act that continue the glory of seraphic vocal chords. 

London’s Stereo Honey have two tracks on line. The first, The Heart, which I'm featuring below, is a wistfully engaging piece of indie rock. There’s the aforementioned cherubic vocals of course, but besides that there’s impressionistic guitars that chime (with perhaps just a hint of mid 80’s U2 about them), a slight groove and a sense that this band is already 100% fully formed. The second song Where No One Knows Your Name deals with mental illness, namely anxiety, and shows that Stereo Honey are more than just a one trick pony with propulsive soft synths eventually giving way to explosive shrieking guitars. Two songs in and not a musical foot wrong.

Stereo Honey are Peter Restrick (Vocals and Guitar), Nicky Boiardi (Guitars and Keys), Ben Edwards (Bass), and Jake Black (Drums) and I’m filing them straight away alongside some other favourite Breaking More Waves honeys like Honeyblood and Black Honey. 

Stereo Honey - The Heart

Monday, 19 June 2017

New Music: Haim - Little Of Your Love

This weekend coming it’s Glastonbury Festival. Or to give it its full name The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. I’ll be there with a carefully planned timetable that I’ll try and stick to as much as possible, but Glastonbury has the habit of distracting you at every corner, so if I achieve 80% of what I’ve scheduled, I’ll be happy. 

There are however a few artists that are on my must-see list and no much how much hot (or cold) spiced cider anyone pours down my throat, I will not miss these.* 

One is Lorde (she’s arguably produced the best pop album of the year so far). Another is The National (simply because they’re The National). And a third is Haim. Why? Because having been at some of their early small sweaty club shows right through to one of their biggest – the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2013 – where it all went a bit wrong for them with Este being taken ill (due to her Diabetes) I want to  see them succeed at Glastonbury.

If their new songs are anything to go by, I think they will triumph. Their latest tune Little Of Your Love, released today, has a slightly retro sound. I’m thinking 50’s rock n roll and Huey Lewis & The News. It’s a bit of a hooky bop and catchy as the common cold. Roll on the album.

*For potentially strong cider fuelled tweets follow me on Twitter at Glastonbury by clicking here @BMWavesBlog

Update: This post has been edited from the original version as I received some complaints, which having given things some consideration I feel were valid. Apologies to anyone who was offended / a bit creeped out. That wasn't my intention - I have always felt that giving evidence to explain something was important. However, the temperature of a past gig probably had no relevance to the new song. My intention was simply trying to show how I was rooting for Haim to do well at Glastonbury having been a fan from the early UK gigs.

2nd update: I've received a number of comments (a couple below and elsewhere online) saying they didn't think the original post was creepy - it just stated some facts. Which I guess just shows that not everyone perceives things the same way. However, on balance although for me the statement I made about Este was wearing only underwear as it was so hot at the gig wasn't creepy (I live in a house full of women and I am the only man and we talk about things like this all the time) I can see how some people would perceive it as such, hence changing the post. 

Haim - Little Of Your Love

New Music: Introducing - Faye Webster

Sometimes Breaking More Waves features new artists that are so new that they have barely a half-formed demo to their name and less than 10 plays on Soundcloud. At other times these introducing pieces bring artists that have already put out quite a few songs, or in the case of Faye Webster a whole album. So, there’s plenty to dive into here.

Much of what I have read about Webster makes her out to be some sort of country and hip-hop hybrid. If that’s the case I don’t hear it at all. The country sound for sure, that’s loud and clear, or rather, I should say gentle and clear; but the hip-hop label seems badly misplaced. Maybe it’s because she’s friends with rapper / producer Ethereal or that her eponymous album has been released by Awful Records, a label associated with hip-hop, so there’s a connection. But I begin to wonder if the likes of Billboard, who said that “she flexes her hip-hop folk style” have even bothered listening to her record before writing about her?

For me, Faye Webster’s sound is deliciously languid country pop. Her song Alone Again could easily form the soundtrack to every sad alt-indie-emo romance movie made for Netflix. Her album is the sound of nearly forgotten 70’s summer glories, sweet vocals, road trips, intimacy, chasing dandelion seeds in the wind, slide guitars, soft drums, and nestling back in an open porch with a glass of red wine. There are hints of other styles and genres; indie, ghostly folk, subtle pop and old fashioned radio friendly soft rock perhaps, but the basis of her sound never really touches hip-hop. It would be like saying that Foo Fighters had an element of techno and rave to their music. She’s very much more straight out of Nashville than Compton.

Fans of Julia Jacklin and Caitlin Rose will no doubt find a lot to appreciate here, and the comparison with Jacklin seems particularly relevant as Webster will be out on the road with the Australian one this November. You can find her album on all the usual services right now. Grab that glass of wine and sit back whilst listening.

Faye Webster - She Won't Go Away

Faye Webster - Alone Again (Video)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

New Music: Fickle Friends - Glue

Pop music is great, isn’t it?

Fickle Friends are great, aren’t they?

Their new song Glue is great, isn’t it?

Breaking More Waves is great, isn’t it?

OK 3 out of 4 truths there.

Taken from the new EP (also called Glue) due for release on August 11th and produced by Mike Crossey (The 1975, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club) Glue is probably Fickle Friends sexiest pop song to date. “So what are we thinking, and what are we here to prove? It's stuffy in public, I guess we should get a room,” sings Natti. “Our lips are like Glue,” she adds. Saucy. OK calm down everyone. No actually don’t, because Glue is dance around your handbag and throw your hands in the air extreme pop fun. Fickle Friends are an indie band who seem to be ever honing their craft to create the perfect 3 minute dance pop banger. Or a pop band getting ever closer to creating the perfect indie dance hit. 

It’s party time.

Fickle Friends - Glue

New Music: Introducing - Yellow Days

I’ve always been fascinated by what a ‘genuine music fan’ is. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot but there never seems to be a concrete definition. Does a genuine fan have to spend money on their passion or can you be a genuine music fan with a Spotify free account and nothing else? After all you could certainly listen to a lot of music. Is that one of the criteria? To be a genuine music fan do you have to have heard a broad range of records or is it OK to just care for a few songs or albums deeply and only ever listen to them? Do you have to go to gigs? Do you have to know a lot about different musical styles and genres? And what about genuine new music fans? Do they have to know about every new band on the planet? Do they have to spend a certain % of time every day listening to music? I really don’t know the answers, but for me it’s something around commitment and passion for music, shown by your actions. It’s why I write this blog. 

But whilst I might be a genuine new music fan, I can’t keep up with everything. No matter how committed I am. It’s why until a week or so ago I’d completely missed George van den Broek aka Yellow Days from Haslemere, Surrey, who it seems has been getting approval from a significant section of what remains of the blogosphere for over a year now. It’s easy to see why. He stands out. Note to self: Read more blogs – after all why should I expect anyone to read mine if I’m not reading them?

What makes him stand out first and foremost is his voice. It’s untreated, untarnished, raw and real. It has soul. Then there’s his music, which is reflective, some might say indulgent, lacking regular structure and possessing a lo-fi feel and sound (listen to the hiss on the track below). There’s been comparisons to King Krule, which I fully agree with. There’s also been suggestions of greatness – which are probably a little premature, but there’s no doubt he’s hellishly good. With a big output already on Soundcloud and an acclaimed EP Harmless Melodies on all streaming services, his latest tune So Terrified Of Your Own Mind is a slice of smoky subdued spliffy late-night chill-rock that finally brings him to the pages of Breaking More Waves. I suspect it won’t be the last.

Yellow Days - So Terrified Of Your Own Mind