Wednesday, 31 January 2018

New Music: Let's Eat Grandma - Hot Pink

With it being the end of January it seems like a good time to draw to your attention that I run a playlist with all the tracks I’ve featured in the previous month on Breaking More Waves on Spotify, assuming of course that the songs have been uploaded to the streaming service. If you want to follow it, as some of you nice people have, you can find it by clicking this link here. I update the playlist at the end of every month, so if you go there now you’ll find everything from January (excluding songs featured in previews of festivals), including the track I’m posting today, which is the new single from Rosa and Jenny aka Let’s Eat Grandma.

Let’s Eat Grandma served up one of the more off-kilter experimental pop records of 2016 as well as some of the more memorable mindf*ck gigs; there aren’t after all many bands that have a little lay down for a bit halfway through a song seemingly oblivious to the audience. Thankfully they didn't fall asleep as things could have become very awkward.

Fast forward to the here and now and there’s a new song. It’s called Hot Pink. The band state the song is “About the misconceptions of femininity and masculinity and the power of embracing both of them. It’s about self-expression and appreciation for an underrated colour.” It’s also a bit of banger. OK, it’s not a banger in the same way as say someone like David Guetta or Calvin Harris might make a banger, but it’s a banger all the same. Just one with a dirty harsh metallic clanking chorus. SOPHIE was involved as producer and you can hear the influence.

Hot Pink is one of those pop songs for people that don’t normally like pop music and people that want their pop music to take a step or two to the left. It’ll probably gain them some fans, but lose them some as well. “I don't think I've ever lost interest in a band so quickly. The debut album was beautiful and weird. This just sounds like Talyor Swift,” says one commentator on You Tube. He clearly hasn’t read the rules of pop Chapter 3, which clearly states do the really weird album first. Then the underground pop one. Then for album three go for the mainstream and worldwide success whilst retaining elements of what made you special for albums one and two. Maybe Let’s Eat Grandma have read the book? Time will tell…

Let's Eat Grandma - Hot Pink

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Preview: Icebreaker Festival 2018

The next time you hear someone start to talk about ‘festival season’ as we get into late Spring, give them a long hard stare. Because, contrary to what certain commentators might tell you, it doesn’t exist. If you’re in the UK and ever listen to Radio 1 you’ll know that their DJs are the worst, with their hyped up in a bubble statements like “Festival season starts here!” as they advertise their own Radio 1 event.

The reality is that music festivals, of various sorts, happen all year round. Of course, in the UK you won’t find any events that involve camping and music under open skies in January, nobody is that unthinking, but there are plenty of other events that involve bringing a bunch of artists together to create some sort of community in one or more places. 

Just a couple of weeks ago Rockaway Beach brought the likes of The Horrors, Wild Beasts, Honeyblood, Yonaka and Pater Hook & The Light together at Butlins with punters staying in cosy warm chalets and having the opportunity to attend an indie pool party complete with inflatables, wave machines, water slides and very loud booming guitar music. It was very good. Now, next up on the south coast comes Icebreaker 2018, which is situated in Southsea, Portsmouth, the home of Breaking More Waves.

Now in its fouth year Icebreaker festival has firmly established itself in the local Portsmouth scene. The concept is simple. Icebreaker isn’t about big names or expensive ticket prices. It’s about allowing unsigned and independent musicians from Portsmouth and the surrounding areas to perform in front of large crowds across multiple venues in Southsea and subsequently gain attention to their music from both punters and media. It has taken over as Portsmouth’s main multi-venue festival after the demise of the long running Southsea Fest and let’s not forget Dials, which I helped curate, which took the place of Southsea Fest when it took a years break. Dials has recently reactivated its social media accounts. Watch this space.

For 2018 Icebreaker is extending from its traditional Saturday takeover to add an additional Friday night. 152 acts will play over 8 locations on Friday 2nd February and 13 stages on Saturday 3rd February with one wristband giving access to all venues, subject to capacity. 

Of course given that the artists playing are selected from a relatively small geographic area, it’s fair to say that not everything is going to be the highest quality, although the organisers work hard to sift through the 100s of applicants they get to play the festival. In terms of music on offer, given Portsmouth’s apparent ongoing love affair with all things guitar you’ll also find that a high percentage of the bands playing are of the meat and two veg indie and rock variety. However for those prepared to dig a little there’s all types of music on offer, from country to a jazzy hip hop act and alt-electronic pop. It's all located on just a couple of roads in Southsea as well, so your pedometer won't clock up too many steps during the day.

So if you want to get your ‘festival season’ off to an early start and prove to Nik Grimshaw et al. that these events exist outside of the big corporate summer adventures, get down to Southsea this weekend. Tickets are available from the link at the bottom of this page.

To help you through the huge list of names that may well not be familiar to you, let Breaking More Waves be your guide. Having listened to virtually every band on the bill, it’s time to give you six recommendations.

Friday - Lily Garland – Wedgewood Rooms 20.55-21.25

If you like country music then Lily Garland is for you. She has been nominated for two UK Country Music Awards in 2017 and won Best Solo Act in the Portsmouth Guide Awards 2018. Her second EP reached number 5 in the iTunes country music charts.

Saturday – Grief Daddy – The Deco 12.45-13.15

An early start might be required to catch the Icebreaker ribbon cutting ceremony with Grief Daddy but it will be worth it. Winners of the Wedgewood Rooms Unsigned Showcase 2017 (of which I judged their semi-final heat) Grief Daddy describe themselves as ‘a leading provider of music entertainment worldwide.’ Hop over to their Facebook page (here) and watch their videos to get an idea of what their ‘brand’ is about. Enormously entertaining and often hilarious, if you think Sleaford Mods are a little too slick, catch Grief Daddy and expect all the messy ‘hits’ including Hot Shit (Pricks), Poverty Tourist and more.

Saturday – Sad Palace – One Eyed Dog 14.45-15.15

Fact fans may be interested to know that Sad Palace appeared on the 3000th blog post on Breaking More Waves. Music fans would probably rather know that this Gosport based group formed from the ashes of Bear Cavalry, and that both bands have achieved a little bit of traction online mainly due to their well-crafted, loose indie rock jams that offer much more musical depth for return listens than your average white boy indie four piece.

Saturday – Devin Jade – Wine Vaults 17.45-18.15

Still only in her mid-teens Devin Jade could well turn out to be Portsmouth’s next One to Watch, following in the footsteps of the likes of Jerry Williams. With a distinctive voice that has already found her getting through to a studio TV recording of The Voice and with support from her local BBC Introducing station, Devin Jade is already starting to get noticed. It’s very early days for her as she develops her sound, but her pretty songs might just win you over. 

Saturday – Barbudo – Wedgewood Rooms 20.05-20.35

Unsurprisingly the cream of the crop at Icebreaker can all be found playing on Saturday night at The Wedgewood Rooms, the festival’s largest venue. Havant’s Barbudo describe their sound as Nu Eyed Soul and having featured on last year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition Longlist (another event I helped judge) they’re bound to bring bags of warm laid-back retro grooves.

Saturday – Is Bliss – Wedgewood Rooms 22.35-23.35

Headlining the Wedgewood Rooms and finishing Saturday night off in style are Is Bliss. Expect exotic rock with a heavy dose of psychedelia. The place will be swimming in tripped out vibes (and probably spilt pints of lager and cider if a normal night at the Wedge is anything to go by) by the time they’ve finished. 

Icebreaker takes place Feb 2nd and 3rd 2018. Single or both day tickets are available. All ticket information can be found by clicking this link.

Monday, 29 January 2018

New Music: Introducing - Philip Whitehead

Nearly all of us are affected by the change in seasons. Longer and sunnier days tend to lead us towards having a more cheerful disposition and feeling more energetic, yet as the light vanishes and is replaced by the black of winter many of us will tend to sleep more and be more lethargic. Yet for some this change is heavier and more impacting that that. Those affected by Seasonal Affected Disorder experience the symptoms of depression and may find them suffocating and bleak.

In his new song Winter singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Philip Whitehead offers up his own beautiful and hymnal take on his own experiences with Seasonal Affected Disorder: “Let’s sleep now till the summertime, turn the lights down all the way,” he sings, reminding himself and the listener that at least it doesn’t last forever. The sun will emerge again.

Seductively honest Winter is subtly alluring in its beauty; the sort of song that would probably fit very well on a record label like Communion, yet surprisingly the song is self-released. There’s a sense of soulful isolation in the music, yet it could speak to many affected by SAD. 

Whitehead only started releasing music last year and over on his Soundcloud there are three other songs A Little Bit Real, I’m Gone and Paper Man’s Blues all of which straddle the folk / rock / singer songwriter genres (with a hint of gospel in places) with some powerful effect, although Winter is his best so far. Fans of artists like Matt Corby or Lewis Capaldi will find a lot to like here. Take a listen below.

Philip Whitehead - Winter

Friday, 26 January 2018

New Music: Swimming Girls - Back Of Your Car

Earlier today I posted James Blake’s If The Car Behind You Moves Ahead and now here we are with Swimming Girls Back Of Your Car. Is it national pop stars in cars day? Did I miss something?

The band’s third song to be released comes with (of course) a promo picture featuring some of the group sitting in the back seat of a car, but it looks like there wasn’t room for all of them. Perhaps this explains why they all look pretty sad about the whole affair. Or maybe it's because they're not wearing seatbelts and are concerned about their safety, especially as it appears the driver is not looking where he is going?

The band really shouldn’t be looking sad though. After all what they have created here is what is known in the trade as a bit of an indie banger. It’s all synths and guitars and hooks and lyrics about setting suns, sea, sand and sweet lemonade. In other words, it's very good.

A few weeks ago I caught Swimming Girls supporting Pale Waves at The Lexington where they were very well received, so on the basis of that and the fact they now have three good tunes out there, I’d expect their next gig at The Lock Tavern in Camden on 31st March to be a pretty popular affair. 

Oh, and finally, regular readers will probably remember that I was getting pretty obsessed with the phenomenon that was (and still is) musicians doing photoshoots in the bath. Well take a look over at Swimming Girl’s Facebook page to see if they have joined the club or not (here)

Swimming Girls - Back Of Your Car

New Music: James Blake - If The Car Behind You Moves Ahead (Video)

The last time James Blake featured on Breaking More Waves he was offering us all something rather straightforward, but rather lovely – a cover version of Don McClean’s Vincent - a song about a painting by an artist who is now perceived as a misunderstood genius. Today he goes to the other end of the spectrum with his latest release If The Car Besides You Moves Ahead and you could perhaps argue that the misunderstood genius tag applies here. 

For this is the sort of pop music that I would imagine aliens from outer space make; weird, experimental, glitchy with vocals that are cut up and pitch-shifted to the point where the song becomes less of a song and more of a collage of sound. It’s the sort of jam that a lot of people are probably going to play 30 seconds of and then press skip, but for me there’s something about its whole oddness that I really like. Somebody on You Tube commented that the song was both strangely relaxing and anxiety inducing at the same time – and I think that’s about right. Somebody else also commented that the song was a total mess. I also agree with that. But I hear the mess in a positive way.

James Blake - If The Car Behind You Moves Ahead (Video)

Thursday, 25 January 2018

New Music: Introducing - Hatchie

As a new music blogger, writing about 'new' artists can sometimes feel a little bit perverse when they already have over a million streams on Spotify. Yet statistics can tell a lie. A music maker can find themselves on a couple of Spotify Official playlists like ‘Dinner with Friends’ or ‘Your Favourite Coffehouse’ and rack up the plays so quickly it can make them seem as if they're established and well known. Yet go and watch them play in a small club to a half full audience and you’ll quickly realise that the internet creates a different reality to real life. For every active engaged listener there will be many using playlists for passive background listening and never going beyond that. And the chances are even when a song has found some 'real' fans, there will be many more music lovers out there who haven’t discovered the artist yet. 

At least that’s my hope in writing about Australia’s Hatchie, otherwise she's not really new to anyone. She's hit over a million plays with her debut single Try and followed it up relatively recently with the hooky and melodic dream pop of Sure, a song about an indecisive relationship break-up: “You say you want it to be over, but is it ever really over?” she questions on the song, which falls somewhere between the more mellow parts of Wolf Alice’s output, the jangly guitars of The Cranberries (RIP Dolores) and lots of indie bands from the UK in the 80’s such as The Cocteau Twins. It’s rather lovely. More than lovely in fact. It’s been on rotation at Breaking More Waves HQ for the last few weeks and I keep coming back to it.

Hatchie (real name Harriette Pilbeam) lives in Brisbane and also plays in the band Babaganouj. Her debut EP Sugar & Spice is due this year, she’ll be playing SXSW festival in Austin Texas and readers in my home country may also be interested to know that she’ll also be coming to the UK for a number of shows in Spring.

Hatchie - Sure (Video)

Hatchie -Try

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

New Music: Introducing - Motherhood

Liverpool’s Motherhood is a four-piece indie-pop band with the emphasis very much on the pop. 

Having emerged last year on a number of blogs (although it seems they've been around the Liverpool scene since 2016) with the playfully upbeat Save Me they attracted some inevitable likenings; one publication suggested that ‘lazy comparisons would include The 1975’, but then didn’t offer any non-lazy comparisons of their own, which seems even lazier does it not? 

To my ears The 1975 wasn’t a lazy comparison at all, Save Me had some similar sounds to Mr Healy and co and it was the reason why I didn’t feature the band when other blogs with similar tastes to mine were getting excited about them. I was worried they were too similar to The 1975. There were other resemblances as well - there were some suggestions that Two Door Cinema Club fans would enjoy Motherhood as well. You can get a feel for the musical ball park we’re in here.

Now Motherhood return with a new track Hey You but this one is less likely to draw those comparisons. Hurrah! It seems they are more than just a one-trick pony, albeit a pony that seems to be comfortable in the indie-pop stable. Sadly, this Hey You isn’t a cover of The Cure’s brassy saxy sassy song of the same title, one of fat Bob and the goths finest pop moments that was never released as a single, a song that really only has a chorus and no verse, or a verse and no chorus depending on your perspective. 

But I digress, this isn’t about The Cure but Motherhood. Their tune Hey You is musically pretty perky even if the lyrics are a bit more introspective with lead singer Evan Torrente contemplating a drunken late night phone call to an ex, before examining his own shortcomings that got him into the situation in the first place. “Not as mature as I think, I can’t handle my drink,” he sings. 

Let’s do some more comparisons. This one reminds me of Fickle Friends. Not so much in its overall sound but the way the song is a bit self-analytical and deep but you almost don’t notice because of the catchy riffs and colourful pop sensibility. To add weight to this comparison the track was produced by Sam Winfield who has also worked with Fickle Friends.

Two songs in and Motherhood are showing lots of promise. Indie pop's latest worthwhile listen. So ready your ears and press play below.

Motherhood - Hey You

Monday, 22 January 2018

New Music: Introducing - Art School Girlfriend

Meet Polly. She’s from Wales but lives in Margate, famous for amongst other things Dreamland and the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. And art is relevant here as Polly goes by the name of Art School Girlfriend when she's making music. 

You may have seen her name crop up on a few websites here and there following the release of Measures, her debut EP, released last year, which is a very er…. measured affair full of languid and calm stately melodies that will appeal to fans of Bat For Lashes and Daughter. If you follow Breaking More Waves on Twitter (here) or Instagram (@breakingmorewavespics) you might have also seen me mention her before when I caught her playing live earlier this month at the Line of Best Fit’s rather excellent 5 Day Forecast series of gigs at The Lexington (arguably one of the best pub venues in London) which included the likes of Pale Waves, Grace Carter, Poppy Ajudha and Swimming Girls.

Today Art School Girlfriend gets her official introduction on Breaking More Waves proper following the unveiling today of a video for the title track of the EP. It’s not my favourite song of the four she has released (that song goes to the fluttering rhythmic pull of Bending Back which I've also included in this post) but all the tracks on the record blend together to create a rich soothing body of eventide-ready pop. You have to give some time to it, to allow it to really soak in, it's that sort of listen. It's certainly not an instant banger. 

The video itself was directed by French-born, Amsterdam based artist Kevin Bray, the images you see consist of a 3D mapping exercise of Margate sea front, giving the whole video a rather surreal feel that suits the contemplative mood of the music.

Art School Girlfriend is the latest signing to Paul Epworth's Wolf Tone label and she joins a rosta that includes Glass Animals, The Horrors, Rosie Lowe and Elle Watson; namely artists that are doing something just that little bit different, a little left of centre and Art School Girlfriend fits that description nicely. 

Art School Girlfriend plays a headline show in London in March at the Sebright Arms on the 13th March and follows that with a show at Liverpool's Sound City on May 5th.

Art School Girlfriend - Measures (Video)

Art School Girlfriend - Bending Back

New Music: Introducing - PBSR

The first forty seconds or so of Pablo Serrano’s debut track Volcano feature some sparse plaintive piano chords and nothing else. It doesn’t really prepare you for what’s to come. But if you can imagine the pop beauty of Oh Wonder’s first album combined with the stop-start computerised arrangements that James Blake executes so well then you might just get the idea of what this Spanish born, but now London based musician, producer and songwriter is about. For Volcano is a lush piece of pop music that quickly buries itself under your skin with its beauty.

Going by the name PBSR, 24-year-old Pablo has spent time in Madrid studying Creative Media Production, before he moved in 2014 to study Music Technology and Composition at the London College of Music. He is now based in Camberwell. Having been introduced to the likes of Brian Eno, Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield by his parents at an early age and then falling in love with Sigur Ros in his teens you can hear some of these reference points filtering through in the wavey ambient electronics that create the background to Volcano and the gentle crescendo that the song reaches out for and grasps towards the end.

Perfectly balancing the position of classic singer-songwriter with modern electronic and organic production Volcano is a polychromatic piece of mesmeric pop. PBSR is set to release an EP later this year via Yucatan Records. Keep an ear out for that.

PBSR - Volcano

Thursday, 18 January 2018

New Music: Jade Bird - Lottery (Video)

Towards the end of last year when I was compiling my Ones to Watch for 2018 list, there were 2 names that needed absolutely no thought before including them. One was Norway’s Sigrid. She ended up being heralded by about 95% of all the tip lists and, perhaps somewhat inevitably, went on to top the big one, the BBC Sound of 2018 poll. The second name, one who didn’t crop up on nearly so many of the lists, but then surprised me a little by being included on the BBC Sound of 2018 was Jade Bird.

The surprise wasn’t because Jade wasn’t fully deserving of being on the BBC poll long list, she is, but more that she was on less other tip lists so logic would suggest wouldn’t be on the BBC one either.

Whilst tips are all well and good, they are just that – tips. What really counts is the music and thankfully Jade has wasted no time releasing some quality new material. Her latest song Lottery was released last week and today Billboard premiered her new video. It’s a simple, colourfully lit, two and a half minute performance piece that allows us to focus on Jade and her punchy piece of country-pop, which demonstrates not only what a potent and raw vocalist she is but that she has some real writing ability as well. Listen to her bang out that chorus: “You used to tell me that love is a lottery and you got your numbers and you’re betting on me.” It’s hard to disagree with the statement that she’s one of the UK’s finest new songwriters.

Jade Bird - Lottery (Video)

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Music: iZNiik - shadows (Video)

There are still no clues about who (or maybe even what) iZNiik is. Maybe it’s as simple as someone who is called Nick? Maybe it’s a collective? Maybe it’s all just music created by a computer or some sort of new pop music algorithm? We can’t be that far from the day when music and songs created solely by computers based on your own personal listening preferences is that far away can we?

Whoever he / she / they /it is / are though, last week saw the release of the 2nd iZNiik EP and from it comes the debut video for lead track shadows (yes no capital in the title). Once again it’s a fine slice of cut ‘n’ paste funky pop, a menagerie of samples spliced together to create something that sounds holistic rather than separated, as do the visuals which achieve the same interconnected feeling. 

iZNiik - shadows

Thursday, 11 January 2018

New Music: Emily Burns - Bitch

Regular / long term readers of Breaking More Waves will recognise the name Emily Burns; she first appeared on this blog back in 2013 with a now long deleted song called Plasters, Glitter and Glue. At the time I compared her to a new wave of young acoustic singer songwriters that were making a name for themselves; Ed Sheeran, Gabrielle Aplin and Nina Nesbitt.

Since then Emily’s music has transitioned from vocals and acoustic guitar to out and out contemporary pop which we last heard in 2016 with the Sound of Fractures produced Take It Or Leave It, a quality cut which picked up some traction on music blogs. 

Now the 22 year-old is back with new pink hair and her most of-the-moment tune so far. It seems that her momentum is continuing as Bitch isn’t self-released, but through 37 Adventures – a label that has brought you the likes of Rosie Lowe, Jones and Salute.

Bitch finds Emily looking back at a past friendship / relationship and wondering how that person has been doing since they went their own ways and reflecting on what she’s heard of that other person, as they have mutual friends: “You say you’re flying now I’m gone, don’t care about me no more, you think I’m crying well I’m not, I’ve never been quite this sure.” It’s quite a jam and then some. 

Bitch was produced by biLLLy and recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where she works as a receptionist and used her down-time there to record. It’s not the first time Emily has recorded in the famous studios though having bagged the opportunity to record some of her earlier work there a number of years ago after attending a BBC Introducing masterclass session.

Bitch is spikey, full spirited and likely to make the ears of any pop fan tingle with excitement.

Emily Burns - Bitch

New Music: Introducing - Yawwn

Somewhere out there on the internet or perhaps in a dusty cobweb covered library there’s some ancient directory called Band Names Volumes 1 to 10. It contains every single moniker that’s possible for every group and every time a new one emerges their name is deleted from the directory. With the development of Google the directory had to be updated to include all those Google optimised bad spellings like Chvrches or Deadmau5, giving a fresh and almost unlimited supply of ideas for those who are struggling to find something original.

Which brings me to south London double denim wearing five-piece Yawwn. You can probably see where I’m going with this already. In terms of names it seems like this lot drew the short straw – you can just see the jokes about them being boring tumbling in already. 

Thankfully though despite the sleepy name the music is excellent. Debut single Partisan is a melee of slacker grooves, indie rock, weird bubbling sounds, piano stabs and slow bump and grind bass. It also has an addictively simple killer chorus: “I have a feeling that I’ll need you always.” I imagine (and this is complete guess work) that their record collection contains everything from art-school funk, to psychedelic, to straight up alternative indie rock, disco and pop. What I do know for sure however is that this is in no way dull or sleep inducing. Partisan is a preening piece of musical joy. Get ready to stop yawning and get dancing.

Partisan was recorded between the band’s South Wimbledon rehearsal space and Konk Studios, and is the first track off a forthcoming EP. Yawwn played their first shows last November supporting Kane Strang on his UK tour, including a gig at Oslo, Hackney. Partisan is officially launched on 13th January at the very first of their own Club Yawwn nights in SW19 London, which according to the information I’ve been sent includes ‘Meal Deals’. I’m not sure if that’s the name of a band or a packet of sandwiches, a bag of crisps and a smoothie for £3, but either way I like the idea. 

Yawwn - Partisan

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

New Music: Coutney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain

I first came across the music of Courtney Marie Andrews early last year when Leigh from Just Music I Like Blog (R.I.P – the blog, not Leigh) recommended her Honest Life album to me. If I remember correctly Leigh had bought the vinyl in Resident Music in Brighton simply because he liked the very sixties styled cover and the write up that was posted with the record in the shop. Upon listening, I found I enjoyed the songs but as a complete album it didn’t blow me away. Perhaps Andrews’ acoustic country sounds, whilst lovely, were just a bit too samey over the course of a whole record for me.

However, the title track from Andrews’ forthcoming long-player May Your Kindness Remain, which premiered on NPR Music today,  is a revelation and leads me to completely reappraise her work. For this is stunning. Here Andrews steps out beyond just simple country music to something bigger, bolder, warmer and more soulful. It reminds me in places of ex-Lone Justice lead singer Maria McKee’s more mellow songs on her solo self-titled album, particularly with the touches of bombastic gospel that punctuate the latter part of the song (or maybe it’s just because she sings of ‘a good heart’ – the tune that McKee wrote and Undertones man Feargal Sharkey had a UK no.1 with)

In a world that seems harsher and ever more judgemental than before, Andrews takes a step back with this piece of powerful beauty and offers a simple antidote to the subject of her song: “If your money runs out and your good looks fade, may your kindness remain.” She’s right of course. Being nice to people is actually far more important and will make you much more content than what culture tends to push down our throats as 'success', namely monetary gain, physical perfection and attaining status. 

Courtney Marie Andrews plays a handful of shows in the UK in a few weeks time (Glasgow on the 31st Jan, Oxford 3rd Feb and a 2 tiny pub shows in Guildford (one of which is a matinee show and still has a handful of tickets left), then heads over to the US before returning to the UK in April for a larger tour. The album May Your Kindness Remain is due March 23rd and can be pre-ordered from her Bandcamp by clicking here.

Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

New Music: INHEAVEN - Sweet Dreams Baby

Indie rock is dead. Guitar music is dead. Bands are dead. Blah blah blah. 

Maybe to you Mr / Ms Music Journalist. But not to me. Music doesn’t die. To treat it as such is to treat it as fashion. Or your latest one-night stand before you move onto your next conquest. Music is for life. Sure, indie rock might not be bursting at the seams with original ideas right now, but that’s perhaps because it has simply reached the equivalent of middle age in much the same way as folk music has. Yet you don’t see people saying folk music is dead just because The Dubliners haven’t had a no.1 album do you? It’s something I’ve argued numerous times on this blog and will continue to do so until this blog stops. 

And if you are looking for change or a revolution in ideas in indie rock then even if it’s not happening artistically, it’s happening in the politics of gender. Whereas in the past indie was dominated by men, now we are slowly moving forward to a position of equality. There's still a long way to go but things are gradually shifting.

So let’s forget all the R.I.P indie rock crap that gets written and just celebrate good music, whatever genre it is.

Here’s one example. A new song from INHEAVEN that follows their debut self-titled album last year. Sweet Dreams Baby is a pure and unfiltered slice of indie rock goodness. The drums pound, the guitars create all sorts of noisy atmospherics and in amongst it all a triumphant chorus gasps. The second best song to feature the words sweet dreams in the title. They've still got to go some to beat Eurythmics though.

The band start a UK tour in my hometown of Portsmouth on January 31st (where they are supported by Brighton’s Thyla and the Isle of Wight’s Freazy) and follow that up by heading out to the USA to support Pale Waves.

INHEAVEN - Sweet Dreams Baby (Video)

Monday, 8 January 2018

New Music: First Aid Kit - Fireworks (Video)

January used to be a very quiet month for new album releases but it seems that 2018 is going to be an exception to the rule. With forthcoming records from tUnE-yArDs, Django Django, Shame and Nils Frahm due this month January is shaping up very nicely. Over and above all of those releases is one that I'm looking forward to the most - Ruins - the new album from Sweden’s finest First Aid Kit, which was recorded in Portland, Oregon and features appearances from REM’s Peter Buck and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith.

Prior to the album release, Klara and Johanna have released a new video for their song Fireworks which finds them going full-on 80’s at a high school prom, their melancholy tune soundtracking the most vacant slow dancing you have ever seen. The song itself finds the band delving deep into classic vintage balladeering and is as gorgeous as anything else they’ve produced. Keep January 19th free in your diary for the release of Ruins.

First Aid Kit - Fireworks

Sunday, 7 January 2018

New Music: Introducing - Sidney Gish

Until last Friday the name Sidney Gish wasn’t on my radar at all. Then thanks to Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist a quirky little ditty called Where The Sidewalk Ends jumped out like a friendly jack-in-the-box and introduced me to Sidney's colourful world of d-i-y indie pop. “I wanna write a book, and put it in your mailbox, and when you go to pick it up, you would send it back to Amazon,” sings Gish over a tune that sounds like a long-lost track from the soundtrack of the movie Juno. She had me hooked straight away.

As it turns out this isn’t Gish’s debut single, far from it; it’s just one track from her recently released No Dogs Allowed album, the follow up to a previous record called Ed Buys Houses. Another tune from the record, the perky Sin Triangle, is also giving Gish some extra exposure over and above the Spotify playlisting, flying up the Hype Machine charts over the last few days. It seems that her brand of melodic, sometimes witty, sometimes humorous, sometimes twee guitar pop music is getting noticed and more importantly liked. 

“To be completely and genuinely candid, no review, write-up, or piece of enthusiastic praise will ever do No Dogs Allowed and Gish’s seemingly inherent lyrical and musical talent any justice,” says Boston Hasssle. I wouldn’t go quite as overboard with my compliments, but there’s certainly something very charming about Gish’s work which sounds endearingly fresh as well as entertaining. Anyone who has song titles like I’m Filled With Steak and Cannot Dance and I Eat Salads Now is certainly carving out their own little space amongst the thousands of artists trying to get heard.

“Sidney Gish sounds like she grew up in a full house of music with Simon, Garfunkel, and Sufjan as her wacky yet sensitive musical uncles,” suggests one comment on her Bandcamp page.  I’d add in The Moldy Peaches to that list as well. And maybe a few giggling slightly drunk aunties as well.

You can hear No Dogs Allowed, which is self-released, over at Sidney’s Bandcamp page or through all the usual streaming services. Get a taster of it (as have over 100,000 other Spotify listeners over the last three days) with Where The Sidewalk Ends, which will have you clapping, smiling and singing along blissfully to Sidney's top-drawer songwriting.

Sidney Gish - Where The Sidewalk Ends

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Music: Patawawa - Patagonia

It’s time to put on your glittery hot pants, boob tube, platforms and grab your hand bag (for dancing round) as you head to the disco with Patawawa; a trio from Matlock, Derbyshire, UK who make groovy electronic indie funk. Consisting of Rory Lovatt, Sam Wilmot and Beth Garrett this three piece have been doing the rounds for a number of years now, but it’s new track Patagonia that is really spreading the funky fever.

When we hear the expression ‘bedroom pop’ it's normal to think of some sort of lonely DIY indie artist producing laptop based electronic dance music or lo-fi fuzzy indie rock. Yet Patawawa are also bedroom musicians. So much so that the debut EP from which Patagonia is taken is titled Bedroom in tribute to the place where the songs were written and recorded.

Patagonia might have been created at home in a provincial English town but it sounds like it would have been more at home in the famous Studio 54 club, New York City. Now, who's coming for a dance then?

Patawawa - Patagonia

New Music: Superorganism - Everybody Wants To Be Famous (Video)

On the same day that You Tube star Poppy (who has become  a cult semi-famous You Tube personna herself partly through posting satirical videos on the nature of celebrity) released a video called Fame Is Funny (which you can watch by clicking here) and a new series of Celebrity Big Brother started in the UK, odd-pop band Superorganism return with a most appropriately in-time song; Everybody Wants To Be Famous. It is undoubtedly the first earworm of 2018, but I suspect will be one that continues to infiltrate brains for many months to come.

Over weird squelchy bass sounds, cash machine register bells, bird song and twangy guitar licks lead vocalist Orono drawls: “Feeling like a boss, and staring at the stars, it doesn’t matter the cost, ‘cos everybody wants to be famous,” and a suddenly pop music sounds like its discovered what it’s like to be a little bit distinct again. From David Bowie to Irene Cara to er....Bros, there have always been pop songs about fame through the ages. Now here's another one and it's rather great.

Superorganism featured on a lot of end of year tip lists for 2018 (including mine). This song justifies those choices.

Everybody Wants To Be Famous is released through Domino.

Edit / Update: 20:50 The band have now confirmed their album will be released on the 2nd March and have also uploaded the accompanying video to the song, the visuals of which are suitably trippy.

Everybody Wants To Be Famous

Monday, 1 January 2018

A Thank You From Robin @ Breaking More Waves Blog

Happy New Year from Southsea, Portsmouth and the internet. The home of Breaking More Waves.

So that was 2017 then? 

It was, looking back, quite a difficult year for Breaking More Waves. Personal circumstances (my partner’s treatment for cancer, a very tough year at work where depleted resources gave constant challenges and pressures, plus working on the ongoing modernisation of my house that I moved to a couple of years ago) left little time for writing a blog. Still, I managed over 250 posts which is probably somewhere between 55,000 and 60,000 words. A lot less than every year except the blog’s first but still something to be proud of I feel. 

As I’ve said time and time before some people view a blog as successful if it’s making money or has lots of readers or gets lots of premieres given to it by record labels or gets lots of music industry recognition as a ‘tastemaker’, or has a well followed Spotify playlist, but that isn’t how I view success. My success is the pleasure I get out of writing Breaking More Waves – keeping it going is the real success for me. So maybe 2017 was actually the most successful year of Breaking More Waves considering the challenges. 

This summer Breaking More Waves will be ten years old. Ten. Imagine that. I’ve written this watching my children grow up and now one of them is at university! There have been deaths - I’ve lost my father and my partners father and mother in the time I have been doing this. There have been births with many of my friends starting their own families. There have also been a hell of a lot of other blogs going to the internet version of the blog graveyard - sadly this year one of my favourite blogs (and favourite bloggers in real life) Leigh Ecclestone from Just Music That I Like finished his blog. Thanks for all the posts Leigh and hopefully see you at a gig again soon.

Assuming that I do get to ten years (that’s in June – and I fully intend to get there) it feels like I should celebrate a bit more than just write my annual slap-on-the-back-well-done-another-year-post. I don’t know what I’ll do yet, but maybe I’ll throw some sort of party and you’ll all be invited. There would be good music of course. Watch this space.

Although 2017 was challenging in terms of finding time to keep Breaking More Waves going it’s been really good over the last year to have people say nice things to me about the blog both on line and in person. Those little tweets saying they really loved a track I’d posted or they enjoyed something I had written can be real motivators. Especially if I've been struggling.

So, I just want to say thank you to anyone who has read some of the crap I speed type onto my laptop in those spare 15 minutes I find at a work lunch hour or late at night when the day is nearly done. Thank you to anyone who has interacted with me on social media ( Twitter @BMWavesBlog and Instagram @breakingmorewavespics) and thank you to anyone who has recognised me at gigs and festivals and come and said hello / had a chat. And finally, thank you to all the musicians who make the music I write and post about. Without them life just wouldn’t be as good would it? If you want to hear all of the artists I write about I have a playlist on Spotify which I update at the end of every month with all the tracks from the previous month. December's is live now. You can find it by clicking here.

OK that was 2017.

Now it’s 2018.

Time to do more words about more music. Mainly new music. Very occasionally old music. But always that which I like, in the hope you do to.

Robin, Breaking More Waves.