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

Monday, 29 June 2015

Equal Opportunities For Female Musicians - Are Bloggers As Bad As Festival Bookers?

Over the last year the subject of the number of female performers at UK festivals has been questioned time and time again. A recent analysis by the Guardian investigating the gender split of artists, calculating the number of male and female performers featured on posters advertising festivals, found that there were 2,336 men on stage at the major festivals in the UK this year compared with 270 women. Anyone with a sense of fairness would see that that something is quite clearly wrong here. However, just calling out the festival bookers is only the tip of the iceberg. We think that Emily Eavis of Glastonbury hit the nail on the head when she stated “the question of why there are so few women needs to be asked further back than us…. We also need those female artists to be pushed through – by record companies, radio and the media.”

We agree. The music industry itself needs to take a long hard look at how it operates and why so few women have opportunity. 

People often comment about how many female artists we write about on the blog, as if it’s unusual. Yet here’s a reality check. Of the 10 artists we’ve written most about in Breaking More Waves 7 year history (you can see the full list here), if you include all the members of a band where the artist is billed as band, rather than just a solo act, and not just vocalists you’ll find that only 45% of the acts we’ve written about are female. Not so good after all huh? OK it’s close to being equal, but if we’re perceived as being ‘female’ heavy, what of other blogs?

Last week we did a quick straw poll of other blogs we read and their posts from the last couple of months. The % splits were generally far better than the music festival results (shout out to Just Music I Like who bucked the trend and had featured 71% female musicians in the last month) , but it was clear that overall, the bands being written about still contained more male musicians than female. Solo female artists featured more often, and in some cases it was hard to know how many people were in the band and what sex they were, but as a very broad guestimate the split was 70/30 in favour of males. Interestingly, some of the blogs that have been quite vocal on Twitter about the lack of opportunity for women in music didn’t do any better in our quick straw poll analysis than other blogs.

Leigh from the above mentioned Just Music I Like went one further last week and tried to analyse why it is that maybe bloggers do write about music that has more male musicians as part of the act than women. He analysed his ‘supply chain’ of music submissions, namely his email in box, in a snapshot survey and found that male artists accounted for 78% of submissions and females just 22%, and this was made up of acts that were male only (60.5%), female only (21.4%) and mixed (18.1%). So whilst this isn’t conclusive it supports the theory that more males are making music, or at least more males are making music and submitting them to blogs. You can read the full results of his study here. The big question of course is why is this?

The answer of course probably isn't one simple black and white solution. There's probably a lot of work that needs to be done to change things. We’re a firm believer in action speaking louder than words - there’s been an awful lot of words on the internet about this lack of opportunity and whilst the discussions and tweets are useful to a point, so much more needs to be done. We think it’s up to everybody to consider and change their actions where necessary, not just festival bookers, but anyone involved in music, right down the supply chain, back to music education at schools.  “Equal opportunity” doesn’t just mean treating everybody the same. It means adapting our ways to give everyone an equal chance. Clearly this isn’t happening right now. 

Of course if you think that women are being given equal opportunity in the music industry as performers, do let us know, and if you think they are, why? We're interested to hear your views via Twitter or in the comments below.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Breaking More Waves Is 7 Today (And Why We're Slowing For A While)

Today Breaking More Waves is seven years old. Happy blog birthday to us etc.

Here in order are the artists we've posted about the most over the last 7 years. Whilst we like to support new acts, we also continue to write about more established artists that we've covered in their early days, when they release new material, if we like it and time permits. This isn't one of those automatic 'post the first two tracks and then lose interest' blogs. That's why Little Boots and Ellie Goulding are at the top - we've featured them from demo stage through to more recent work. Alice Jemima who was close behind in third may have only released a single self released EP and featured on a song on Laura Doggett's EP to date, but keep your ears out for Ms Jemima as this year (and next) progresses.

The Most Blogged Artists On Breaking More Waves from 2008-2015

1. Little Boots 
2. Ellie Goulding
3. Alice Jemima
4. Marina & The Diamonds
5. Hurts
6. Stornoway
7. Charli XCX 
8. Slow Club
9. Curxes
10. Chvrches

7 years old is pretty old in blog terms. Especially as a 1 man d-i-y effort. In that time we've written over 2,500 posts. Really this blog should have stopped a long time ago. It’s as dated and uncool as they come. We still use an old school Blogspot / Blogger template, we still like the idea of writing some waffle to go with the music and we still like the idea of that waffle being about ideas, opinions, context, emotion and sometimes just stupid old tomfoolery. All of that stuff seems pretty out of fashion these days - but then we didn’t start this to be fashionable or cool, we started it to have a bit of fun.

Whereas many other blogs / bloggers have ambition to be bigger and better, or a desire to expand their passion for music further, through shooting their own videos, creating their own record labels, putting on their own shows, making their own podcasts and the like, we don’t have any of that. We’re just happy doing what we do.

We often see music blogs ending because the site has become all -consuming in the author’s life,  or they don’t have the time / enthusiasm any more as they pursue other things that have now become more important to them (the raising of children usually being the killer). We’ve never really had to do that, despite having a family of our own. The reasons, we think, are something to do with not having ‘blogger ambition’, not letting the blog become too important and quite probably being pretty organised and motivated in life generally. We’re not the sort of person to have lie-ins or spend a week just chilling watching mindless TV. We like to be busy.

Having said all of that, for the next few months Breaking More Waves will be scaling things back a bit. First, because we’re off to Glastonbury Festival, so whilst we’re there the blog will be silent. Once we return, Breaking More Waves HQ is likely to be relocating and we need to take a bit of time out with everything that is associated with that. Building works don’t get done without some labour.

We’re not stopping the blog completely though. There will still be some spare lunch hours at work, so we anticipate posting at least once a week in July and August, a little more than that sometimes.

But as you notice a slowdown in output, please don’t think this is the beginning of the end. We have every intention of posting our 8th birthday celebration next year. We still get enormous pleasure in adding to the digital trash on the internet, and all the time we’re getting that, we’ll make some time for Breaking More Waves. However, for  the next few months we might just be the blog putting the 'late' into latest music.

Right we're off to Somerset tomorrow - some family called Eavis has arranged our 7th blog birthday party in a field there.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Hurts - Some Kind Of Heaven (Video)


Hurts, the 5th most blogged about band on Breaking More Waves have just released a video for their new quite poptatstic single Some Kind Of Heaven, to follow on from the previously released You Tube audio stream. Imagine if a band just popped the video up online and didn’t bother with a staged release campaign - who knows maybe they’d save some money on their marketing budget? But of course that's not the way things work these days.

Anyway, the video is suitably weird and beautifully shot, with an almost David Lynch like feel to it. What’s it all about we hear you ask? We have no idea. Our interpretation is that Theo is attempting to escape from ‘some kind of heaven’ that may or may not be death, and that there’s no escape, he’s always going to end up back there. Watch out for the clapping on the thighs bit, it’s the most sinister thing you'll see all day.

This is worth watching even to just enjoy another popstar besides Ellie Goulding running, probably something you wouldn’t expect of the usually stationary Hurts, although in Theo’s case he isn’t wearing Nikes and sportswear - he still keeps a shirt on.

Hurts - Some Kind Of Heaven