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)