Wednesday, 23 May 2018

New Music: Saint Sister - Twin Peaks

I’ve never featured Saint Sister on the blog before, which is a real shame as the Irish duo have produced some exquisite tunes. Latest offering Twin Peaks is no exception – a spacious and silky song that will touch you with its soft tenderness.  

I really love the sentiment of it as well. Twin Peaks was written for a friend who was going through a bad time and the song is about the idea of just blocking out the world for a while and doing all the things that you enjoy doing together. Friends can be important for being a shoulder to cry on and talking through things, but sometimes what is required when things aren’t so good is just to be bloody self-indulgent and find some happiness again. Friends can be really good at helping with that.

Saint Sister will be releasing their debut album called Shape of Silence later this year and will be taking in a tour of America and Europe to promote it in the winter.

Saint Sister - Twin Peaks

Monday, 21 May 2018

New Music: Introducing - Abbie Ozard

When I started writing Breaking More Waves nearly 10 years ago I didn’t really realise what I was getting myself into. I just started posting about music that I had heard and liked (and posted the occasional festival review and what I now know to be called a ‘think piece’) with no thoughts about if anyone would read it. But just in case someone did read it and just in case an artist wanted to tell me about their music I put my email address on the blog for people to get in contact with me. It was my personal email address. Why on earth would I set up one for the blog when this was just a small personal project?

10 years later that email address remains on the blog as a way for people to contact me, except these days it receives over 200 submissions every 24 hours. It amazes me on a daily basis how much new music is released. And because there is so much music put out there every day, it makes me sad to think of how many of those artists will get little or no coverage from small scale personal blogs like mine right up to the Pitchforks of this world. I probably read less than 5% of the emails I receive - full time work and having a life take precedent. 

I’ve had to change my personal email address of course. The old one is now just for the blog. My mum was getting annoyed when I wasn’t replying to her because her messages got buried in between submissions from Japanese heavy metal bands and the latest glitchy new wave electronic bedroom pop artists single promotion. Sorry mum. Now I reply pretty quickly to her so we're all good.

But now I have to say sorry to the artists as well. Because although it can still be a lot of fun discovering new artists via the in box, I’m still just as likely to discover new music through a whole variety of other channels. Such as today’s new singer songwriter. Her name is Abbie Ozard and she hails from Nantwich, Cheshire. If she did ever send me an email (I've just checked - I don't think she did) the chances are I probably would have missed it anyway.

Abbie has already been picked up by BBC Introducing Manchester and last year won the inaugural Words & Music Song Contest, a competition that included 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins and singer songwriter Thea Gilmore as its judges. So it's not just me that has noticed her, although at the moment most of the attention on Abbie has come from the Manchester area. 

The song that has grabbed my ears is Average Disguise; it's a dark torch song cast from the witching hours. It was the track that won her the competition and it was released at the start of this year - but it's still worth your time now. The most important ingredient of quality is time. Average Disguise is full of powerful brooding textures and ghostly cinematic guitar rattles and it is frankly rather wonderful. Abbie names Daughter and Marika Hackman as influences and you can definitely hear that in terms of the atmospherics of the song – it has elements of the epic, the cinematic and the nostalgic to it, although this is no copycat – it very much stands out as a very well-crafted piece on its own.

It’s early days for Abbie Ozard, but I’ll be keeping close tabs on her to see what comes next, for this sounds impressive.

Abbie Ozard - Average Disguise

Thursday, 17 May 2018

New Music: Dizzy - Pretty Thing (Video)

“Hey guys we need to shoot a video for your song Pretty Thing.”

“Cool – what do you have in mind? Maybe we could do a performance video where we all play our instruments to show what we look like live. Or maybe we could not appear in the video at all and just use actors to tell an interesting or arty story for people to watch?”

“No, I was thinking that we get Katie to sing whilst you guys just stand there looking really really awkward for no reason.”

“Hmmm that doesn’t sound great – can we not at least move around or something? Maybe some dance routines perhaps?"

“OK, you can do a little bit of walking. But that’s it. Mainly I want you just standing doing nothing. It expresses something deep about the pointlessness of life”

“Er…OK…whatever you think will look good.”

Here is the new video for Pretty Thing by Dizzy. An undeniably beautiful song that in places reminds me of the band I’d most like to reform (The Sundays). Just feel a little bit sorry for the guys in the band in this video as you watch. They certainly don't look like they thought this was a good idea. More like they're at a funeral and Katie has just burst into song.

Dizzy - Pretty Thing (Video)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New Music: Yassassin - Citizen

With an opening cry of “C-o-n-v-e-r-s-a-t-i-o-n,” London 5-piece Yassassin launch headlong into an untreated piece of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem on new single Citizen. “I guess it’s about realising that as messed up as our world is, there are still so many people who care and get themselves involved in fighting injustices. It really gives you hope. It’s important for young people to speak up, demonstrate, to get involved politically if that’s your thing, to write songs, make art,” the band explain. 

Bloody hell things have changed, haven’t they? It was only a few years ago when we had the likes of Farris from The Horrors saying that politics meant nothing to him and the vast majority of  indie / alternative artists were keeping their mouths shut on any sort of social commentary less it risked damaging their careers. Now bands seem to be stumbling over themselves to make their views known. 

Whether it’s having any real impact remains to be seen though. In the UK the Conservative government remains in power and last year the Electoral Commission warned that whilst there was an increased turnout at the general election, at local Council elections young people were still not engaged - they weren’t voting in their masses like they did in the snap general election. There’s a worry here that politics has become trendy / fashionable but only so far as singing ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ along to a White Stripes tune and tweeting how much you hate Theresa May and Brexit. 

Yassassin sound like they mean every word they sing though. Citizen is almost brutal in its approach. “The children gonna wake up,” comes the chant against the scuzzy strut of the guitars that bring massive slabs of energy and passion to the song. “I’m a citizen,” just isn’t a thing that UK indie bands would have sung five years ago. Sure, there’s an argument that pop and politics have always been uneasy bedfellows, but as Yassassin point out in Citizen, it’s time to wake up. Get involved.

Yassassin - Citizen

New Music: G Flip - Killing My Time

If you follow Breaking More Waves on Twitter, beware, because for the next few days there will be lots of tweets coming from The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. And as I am rushing round the streets of one of the UK’s finest seaside cities, catching as many live acts as possible, one name that is right at the top of my list to see is Georgia Flipo, who goes by the name of G Flip; I introduced her on the blog just last month as Australia’s answer to Phil Collins. 

That doesn’t mean to say that Georgia is a short bald man with a bad back who went from being a child actor to member of Genesis to one of the most successful songwriters of the 80s pop music era. But she can sing and drum and singing drummers are a pretty rare thing, plus she did used to be in a band (Empra) before she went solo so the comparison with Collins is valid in my opinion.  

The initial excitement for G Flip came from just one song. About You has been on constant rotation at Breaking More Waves HQ from the first day I heard it. From the weird droning sound that underpins the track, to its inherent can’t-get-you-out-of-my-head catchy simplicity, to Geogia’s pristine vocal delivery, G Flip struck pop gold on first attempt. 

But guess what? She’s done it again with song 2. No, not with a cover of Blur’s Song 2, but her own new song Killing My Time. With this one G Flip demonstrates that the art of writing a great pop song isn’t just about a catchy chorus – it’s about making the whole bloody thing an earworm to the point where you begin to wonder which part of the song is really the chorus at all. You might as well stop what you’re doing now because you’re going to get drawn away anyway once you press play. And this song is all about distraction, although in G Flip's case it’s not music that is doing the distracting: “Don’t distract me with your body, put your clothes back on, I know where this is going,” she sings. Well. That’s certainly one way of making someone lose focus on what they thought they were going to be doing.

G Flip plays 2 shows at this year’s Great Escape (the chances are that I’ll be at both) and she also supports Pale Waves in London later this month. Killing My Time is released to streaming services today.

For all the Great Escape tweets and action follow me @BMWavesBlog

G Flip - Killing My Time

Sunday, 13 May 2018

New Music: Thyla - Blame

Thyla, one of Brighton’s most rapidly rising bands returned last week with their most urgent sounding song yet. Blame is a riotous blast of post-punk that clangs and soars with a frenetic full-throttle energy. Unhinging themselves from anyone that was describing their sound as dreamy or ethereal (oh, that’ll be me then) here we find Millie Duthie spitting out the words like a powerful punch in the face over an almost industrial backing of bass, drums and guitar that play at 100 miles per hour. 

Blame is a vital song that leaves no room for doubt.

Thyla - Blame

Friday, 11 May 2018

Preview: The Great Escape Festival 2018

Brighton’s Great Escape is by far and away the UK’s largest new music, multi-venue, wristband access festival. It’s an event I’ve been attending since this blog started nearly 10 years ago (and even before that) and have seen it grown from relatively small beginnings to the near monster it has become now.

If you want some tips on how best to tackle the festival, get the most out of it and to survive it in one piece, read this piece by clicking on the link The Great Escape: Practical Tips For Music Nerds from 2017.

As the Great Escape is so big (there’s over 400 artists playing over 3 days) it can seem somewhat overwhelming. Every person who goes will have a completely different experience – it’s very easy for people that have even relatively similar music tastes to yours to see totally different artists over the three days.

So if you haven’t done your homework (there’s a Spotify playlist that you can find by clicking here that contains 95% of the artists playing) let me provide you with just a small handful of recommendations of artists that may well be worth your time.

G-Flip (Australia)

Beach Club 5.30pm Thursday

Beach House 3.30pm Saturday

G-Flip is exactly the sort of artist I want to see at Great Escape. First because she’s incredibly new, with just one single release to her name, secondly because the reports I saw of her performances at SXSW Festival, Austin, Texas were very encouraging and thirdly because she’s from the other side of the world – which is what Great Escape does so much better than every other new music festival in the UK – bringing in artists from across the globe. For 2018 Australia is setting the bar in terms of exciting new artists at Great Escape with a very strong contingent of artists across the board.

Introduced on the blog just last month, G Flip’s name makes her sound like a rapper or grime artist, but her debut track, About You is actually a rather perfect pop song created from a looped rumbling dark electronic drone, a drum pattern and Georgia Flipo’s pristine vocal. As yet I’ve no idea if her other songs will match up to About You, but Great Escape will be an opportunity to find out.

Hatchie (Australia)

Komedia 12.50pm Thursday

Horatios 13.00pm Friday

The Arch 6.00pm Friday

My second recommendation is also from Australia. Hatchie has already picked up a lot of on line support including from Breaking More Waves. Hatchie is the world of Harriette Pilbeam and her music recaptures some of the spirit and sound of late 80’s / early 90’s ethereal indie bands such as The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins (Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins has even remixed her song Sure). A more recent modern comparison would probably be another Breaking More Waves favourite Hazel English, who according to Spotify is a related artist in terms of audience listenership. If you like your indie pop dreamy, fuzzy and celestial Hatchie could be for you.

Flohio (United Kingdom)

East Wing (Brighton Centre) 6.15pm Thursday

Komedia Studio Bar 3.30pm Saturday

Shooshh 9.30pm Saturday

Funmi Ohio, better known as Flohio is a South London MC who has already gained endorsements from the likes of Pitchfork, Noisey, The Fader, The Guardian and earlier this year was selected by Naomi Campbell for Vogue as one of the 10 Women Changing Our Future. She was also runner up in last year's Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition. With a delivery style that carries a certain rawness and an undiluted energy her tracks such as new single Watchout and previous track Bands mix elements of trap, techno and grime, all laid out with scissor sharp precision. Having already supported the likes of Princess Nokia, Clams Casino and Mura Masa, Flohio is a rapper on the rise.

Hatis Noit (Japan)

St Mary’s Church 7.00pm Thursday

Great Escape can serve as many things for many people. Some like to chase the latest buzz bands. Some like to catch all the latest new acts from a particular type of genre. But one thing I love about it is that over the three days there’s the opportunity to watch new artists who don’t really fit any simple classification. Hatis Noit is one such artist. In fact of the 400+ artists playing Great Escape, I’d go as far as describing Hatis Noit as utterly unique.

Originally from Shiretoko in Japan but now residing in London, Hatis Noit creates music based almost entirely around her voice, a voice that in a previous post I described as operatic, alien, monastic and earthily primal. Her work is abstract, experimental and from the leftfield embracing elements of modern technology, ambient, Western Classical and Japanese Folk. It’s also utterly absorbing. She’s playing just one show, in a church, which should give her music an added sense of otherworldliness. 

Easy Life

Komedia Studio Bar 12.15am Friday

The Haunt 6.30pm Saturday

First introduced on Breaking More Waves in November 2017, Easy Life shaped a place all of their own with debut single Pockets – a laid back anthem of modern consumption. An indie band of sorts, their reference points are far wider. Pockets has a neat brass riff, a wash of soul and a groove. That groove is even more present on their song Siverado, a track that sounds far removed from their Leicester home. With dates at Dot to Dot Festival, Barn On The Farm and Reading / Leeds all confirmed, Brighton is the next stop for Easy Life. See you there?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

New Music: Basement Revolver - Baby

Here’s some good news:

1. Canadian trio Basement Revolver have a new single out.

2. It’s good.

3. They’ve got an album on the way as well. It’s due on August 24th and it's called Heavy Eyes.

4. They’re in the UK next week to play Brighton’s Great Escape and there will be a preview of that on Breaking More Waves with all the essential tips and recommendations pretty soon.

Now admittedly ‘it’s good’ isn’t a particularly great piece of music journalism (but then you don't come here for music journalism do you?) nor does it give much context or even entertain – all of those things that music writing is meant to do. 

So let’s expand just a little and tell you why it’s good. 

First, because it’s one of those tracks that sounds best turned up loud. The guitars are all gritty, fuzzy and slouchy, sounding like they’ve been waiting around at the bus stop for a while, got a bit bored and have decided to annoy the nearby residents. But the residents won’t be able to get that cross because Chrisy Hurn’s voice is so stirring and seemingly limitless that they won’t be able to do anything but be charmed. Besides they might be fans of beautifully weary sounding indie rock. 

Secondly, because it feels cathartic. And for me music is as much about feeling as it is about technical quality. By the end you’ll find yourself being swept away by the sheer dynamism of it. “It’s about feeling confused about what I want in life, and how that affects other people. It is about crying a lot and feeling like I was burdening my partner with those questions and not wanting him to feel like he was the source of my anxiety,” says Chrisy. 

This one is epic and emotive. In other words, it's good. Turn the volume up when playing.

Basement Revolver - Baby

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Music: Laurel - Lovesick

One of the things that unsigned artists sometimes tell me is that, when speaking to record labels and in particular major labels, the A&R people there will sometimes inform them that they, as an artist, still need to ‘find their sound.’ It’s an odd expression, suggesting that an artist only has one sound and it’s somehow hidden waiting to be discovered. Can you imagine David Bowie being told when he was just starting out that he wasn’t ready to be signed because he hadn’t ‘found his sound.’ If that was the case then he spent the whole of his career constantly trying to find that sound, as his musical style was forever evolving. I think often the expression actually just means something else: ‘What you are doing doesn’t match with what I’m looking for.’ 

If artists did just did have one sound their art would very quickly become boring – an endless succession of repeats. I touched on this in my previous post regarding the new Jungle material and that of their two new songs. Happy Man, whilst well written, felt somewhat disappointing, being essentially not that different to songs on their first record, whereas House in LA felt more exciting due to its progression stylistically – whilst still being recognisably a Jungle song.

Which brings me to Laurel, another artist that the ‘finding her sound’ description could be used to describe. Or maybe Laurel is just another artist, like Bowie, who likes to try different things and evolve. Maybe she's not trying to find anything except good tunes? Having first appeared as a folky Laura Marling inspired songwriter under the name Under The Laurels, she morphed into a balladeer of beauty – Britain’s answer to Lana Del Rey, then had a go at edgy pop before moving to something less processed, more stripped back and guitar based. 

And as Laurel has woven her way through these different musical shapes and forms there has always been the question of when is there going to be an album? She hinted in interviews from last year that it would drop in 2017 but that didn’t happen. However finally in 2018 there is confirmation of a long player, titled Dogviolet, which will be released on the 24th August 2017 via Counter Records. There will also be an 11 date UK tour to support the record and this, a new single called Lovesick

Lovesick keeps things raw musically and finds Laurel opening up her heart. She sings of obsession and addiction to a relationship, for better or for worse. She calls it love. “You’d be a love song, baby I’m lovesick, tasted the devil, now I can’t be apart from you.” The track reminds me a little of some of Nilufer Yanya’s recent output – managing to combine a certain effortlessness with an urgent passion that bodes well for the album when it arrives. Take a listen below.

Laurel - Lovesick 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

New Music: Jungle - House In LA (Video)

Remember Jungle?

Back in 2013 they appeared as an almost anonymous collective spearheaded by the mysterious ‘J’ and ‘T’ and wowed us all with some euphoric dry ice filled backlit shows, captivating videos that made dance routines cool again and a series of heady neo-soul pop singles. The album that followed didn’t disappoint either and ended up on the Mercury Prize list.

Now they’re back, with not one but two new songs which they’ve been playing out on a recent live tour, which I caught last night as it rolled into Brighton. Interestingly this tour missed out London, almost as if the band want to take the new songs to their fans first rather than come under too much spotlight from the press.

Of the two new tracks released today Happy Man provides little surprise. It’s very much more of the same – even the lyrical themes are close to Busy Earnin’ exploring the ideas of younger people not being able to aspire to what Baby Boomers had (which seems very topical given today’s Resolution Foundation proposal to give millennials £10,000 each)  "Buy yourself a dream, how's it looking? Buy yourself a car and a house to live in. Get yourself a girl, someone different. Buy yourself a dream it won't mean nothing." For me this lack of progression seems a little disappointing; it feels like the band are playing safe, albeit it's still a strong tune. (You can hear that song on Spotify by clicking here).

House In LA is much more intriguing. Rather like a number of the new songs they played last night in Brighton it’s slower than much of their first album and whilst it still contains the trademark Jungle falsetto vocals it’s less funky, more cinematically downbeat and slow-mo. T and J have described the album as "a post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs,” and this one certainly sounds more like that than Happy Man. It may not be as obviously commercial as something like Busy Earnin’ or The Heat but it provides the possibility of an album that could go deeper than the first and that has to be better than just volume 2 of the same old same old?

Jungle - House In LA (Video)

Monday, 7 May 2018

New Music: Childish Gambino - This Is America (Video)

Great art can do many things. It can entertain, it can challenge, it can be controversial, it can make statements about the world we live in, it can move popular culture forward, it can stun the viewer or listener with its aesthetic prowess, it can engage, it can confuse, it can make you think. But the greatest art manages to do all of these things whilst sitting in a place that is popular and mainstream. After all what is the point of doing all of the above if hardly anyone is going to take notice?

The new video from Childish Gambino is that great art. It’s shocking, chaotic, mesmerising and its visual narrative is contextually on point for 2018 it’s crazy. This is a bold social statement that tackles racial disparity, gun violence and how distraction techniques can be used to make us oblivious to what is going on in the background. Oh and there's lots of wonderful dancing as well. It's starkly powerful to watch and absorb.

This Is America is currently the most popular video on You Tube and has already had nearly 14 million views in just over 24 hours. Deservedly so. Sadly in my country of the UK it seems that a lot of music websites haven't covered it (yet) and I hope that this is just because it was released on a Sunday followed by a Bank Holiday Monday. Because this needs to be seen and heard.

Childish Gambino - This Is America (Video)

Saturday, 5 May 2018

New Music: The Blinders - L'etat C'est Moi (Video)

Guitar music is dead. Rock is RIP. Blah blah blah. 

That seems to be the view held by certain sectors of the music industry. In the UK, if you turn on Radio 1 right now you’ll find very few guitar bands on the playlist. The noteable exceptions at this week are Blossoms and Florence and the Machine on the A list (both arguably not pure guitar bands) and holding a brightly flaming torch for exciting new young rock bands, Dream Wife on the C list. That’s it.

Here on Breaking More Waves I’ve never been a champion of just indie rock music, just as I’ve never been a champion of just electronic music or just folk music or just experimental music. I’m excited by all types of music and don’t really understand people who only like one genre. There’s a whole world of sound waiting to be discovered. Only listening to one genre is like only eating fish and chips or only having sex in the same position and place. Boring.

Right now I don’t buy the guitar music is dead argument. Sure, it may not be morphing into anything particularly new or challenging as a genre but right now I feel there’s a whole group of guitar bands out there who are committing huge amounts of energy and zeal into what they do; the result being the hairs on the back of the neck stand up when you witness them play live. There's still a lust for rock 'n' roll.

The Blinders are one such band. Raw, passionate, with a lead singer who is like a modern day version of Jim Morrison, there’s a dark burning fire in this band that not only works live but translates its heavy fuel into the recorded form well.

New single L'etat C'est Moi is a perfect example of that. “A self-proclaimed war-dance told by the Idiot King himself.  The first-person perspective of a madman, and his obsessive fantasies for power over all, and insolence from none,” is how the band describe the song.  It’s a brutal but euphoric cacophony of noise that is a long way from displaying signs of indie rock being dead.This will make you feel alive.

The Blinders - L'etat C'est Moi (Video)

Friday, 4 May 2018

New Music: Salt Ashes - Girls

Was it really 2011 when Salt Ashes first appeared on Breaking More Waves? It was. That’s a lot of new music in between now and then. And as Salt Ashes has been doing this pop music stuff for a while now I guess in 2018 nobody would hold it against her if she went for a ‘mature’ sound dropping all the electronics for a sleepy campfire acoustic record designed to fit on one of those Your Favourite Coffeehouse Spotify playlists.

Thankfully she hasn’t at all. Her new tune Girls sounds like it’s heading straight for ‘da club’ with big rubbery bass lines to get the lips, hips and tits moving. It even has the all-important shout of ‘Hey’ which is virtually mandatory on any self-respecting pop record these days. If you don’t believe me check out this piece Peter Robinson wrote in the Guardian last year about how the word has infiltrated music which you can find by clicking here.

Whilst Girls is a body shaker par excellence that doesn’t mean it’s just about popping the champagne and getting down on the dancefloor. There’s a bit more to it; the song deals with two people, one of whom has got the wrong idea about a friendship – they don’t understand that the other person just wants to keep things platonic: “You just don’t know when to quit, you think I’m playing hard to get, I guess you just don’t really know me.” 

Yet whilst there’s clearly a problem between these two people there’s no problem with this tune. Girls is a banger.

Salt Ashes - Girls

New Music: Grace Carter - Saving Grace

One of the exciting things about pop music is that nobody can predict the future – even though some music industry people think they can. Mind you, that doesn’t stop bloggers, music websites and magazines having a go every year, normally around late November / December time when we all start producing our Ones to Watch / Sound of lists for the year ahead. 

To prove how unpredictable the nature of music crystal ball gazing is, amongst the 10 artists I named as Ones to Watch for 2018 was the band Pink Kink. This week, after just two singles and a whole bunch of reviewers salivating at their live shows, they split up. They are no more. And they're undoubtedly not Ones to Watch any more. Ooops. I want my money back on that crystal ball.

Of the other acts I named on the list the likes of Superorganism, Pale Waves, Confidence Man, Jade Bird and a certain Norwegian pop singer named Sigrid seem to be doing great guns though. One other that I’d put into the doing the good stuff category is an artist that perhaps surprisingly wasn’t on many tip lists aside from mine – perhaps because as of last November she’s only released one song – and her name is Grace Carter

Now with Silhouette, Ashes and Silence all under her belt Grace brings another cocktail of emotion in the form of a song to the world. The title might seem a little odd given her name, but Saving Grace is another smoky soul pop winner: “You told me not to hold hands with the devil, you warned me that I’d lose my faith, I never thought I’d leave my heaven but now I know you’re my saving grace,” she sings in a chorus that knows exactly how to bury itself in your brain. Every song she’s released so far seems to come from the heart and brings emotion and melody together absolutely perfectly. Keep watching her. Keep listening.

Grace Carter - Saving Grace

Thursday, 3 May 2018

New Music: Introducing - Feet

I’ve always had a weird love of bands that don’t really bother singing all the time - and by that I don't mean acts that make instrumentals (although I like those as well). From 80’s indie post-punk troopers such as The Blue Aeroplanes to the electronic pop of West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys to more recent examples like shouty south Londoners Shame, and odd-ball pop types The Rhythm Method there’s something that appeals. Part of the attraction for me is that often the lyrics of such artists are easier to make out than those that sing. Somehow the enunciation of words often seems to get lost when melodies are involved. I remember a singer of one particular group telling me once that she was a bit disappointed that nobody ever wrote about the lyrics of her songs, to which the simple answer was: ‘That’s because no one can understand a blood word you’re uttering.’

Which brings me to relative newcomers Feet. George (known as Jeep), Oli, Harry, Callum and Joe formed Feet at the not exactly prestigious Coventry University (never mind lads – Coventry is the UK City of Culture in 2021 and The Specials hailed from there so it can’t be that bad) and released their debut 7” double sided single Petty Thieving / Macho Macho on Felix White’s (of The Maccabees) YALA Records. 

With its squirming guitar, opening spoken words of “Yeah you, what’s the attraction?” and big riffing shouted hook of “But I can’t meet your standards every single f*ckin’ day - petty thieving!” it’s a welcome blast to the ears that manages to deliver both a frenetic and slacker energy in it's three and quarter minutes. There’s a pretty entertaining YALA Session online (here) as well featuring the band playing the song in kimonos and sunglasses which is worth a look.

Now Feet have followed this up with a new song Back Seat Driver which features an animated video made by Jeep of the group. “Jeep studies animation and illustration at uni so it’s a two birds one stoner job” state the band. “The animation connects to the lyrics and pays homage to our guitarist Callum's problematic road rage, which is as hilarious as it is terrifying”. So that Coventry education is paying dividends then. With meandering guitars and a half-sung half-spoken vocal delivery Back Seat Driver finds Jeep getting a little deep. “It’s not a pursuit of death it’s a pursuit of life,” he proclaims shortly before the song explodes hard. I predict frenzied moshpits towards the end of this one.

Feet will be out on the road this summer playing a whole host of festivals starting at Brighton’s Great Escape in May. Steal a ticket to see them if you can.

Feet - Back Seat Driver

Feet - Petty Thieving

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

New Music: Introducing - Margot

If Desensitised by Margot was a colour it would be a pastel shade. A mellow piece of jangle-pop it takes me back to a time when boys with guitars sung their hearts out with a certain softness rather than any sort of fighting arrogance. This is more Aztec Camera than Oasis, more early Belle & Sebastian than Arctic Monkeys; it meanders and flows rather than kicks and punches. There’s no earworm chorus, no killer hook and yet as Desensitised takes you on its journey of the morning commute of becoming more mechanised with pixelated eyes it manages to make the dullness and monotony of it all sound oddly heart-warming.

Also extra marks to the band for pulling a cheesy thumbs up pose in the press shot, which if you look closely even features some red eye. Clearly they're not competing with Lady Gaga in the image stakes.
Margot is Alex Hannaway (vocals), Ben Andrewes (drums), Albi Cleghorn (guitar), Rob Fenner (guitar) and Michael Webb (bass) and they are from South-London. Desensitised is the debut single. 

Margot - Desensitised

Monday, 30 April 2018

New Music: Meg Myers - Numb

Even though in theory the internet should make music to be universal, it’s not. There are still enough other factors in play to ensure that whilst an artist might be known in their own country, in other lands they’re still a stranger. 

I posted a lot about Meg Myers between 2012 and 2015 leading up to her debut LP Sorry. Not only were her jagged and gritty songs sonically powerful and lyrically intense but her videos were admirably disturbing, drawing you into her dark world. The tunes were sufficiently impressive to connect in her home country, where her album charted on the Billboard Top 100, but in here in the UK there seemed to be little or no fanfare for her work.

Since the release of Sorry Meg has been seemingly lying low, but has now announced a forthcoming second album, Take Me To The Disco, due July 20th. Of this record she says: “I started this album in June of 2016. I wrote over 50 songs, recorded in some form 30 or more of those, hiked 2,874 2/3 miles, took 1,246.5 poops, cried a whopping 942 times and laughed a lot too. I moved from Los Angeles to Nashville and then back to Los Angeles. I watched as people debated whether I looked better with long hair or short hair.”

There’s probably a little bit too much information there about the poops (especially half a one – how do you do that?), but importantly you can now hear new music from Take Me To The Disco

Despite the name of the album, some of the titles of the songs suggest that we’re not in for a happy day-glo pop album with the likes of Tear Me To Pieces, Funeral, Little Black Death and new single Numb all featuring. Numb is a raging rock tune full of throaty riffs and big dynamics that deals with the feeling of crushing psychological burden placed on her by others: “I hate the feeling of this weight upon my shoulders, pushing the pressure down on me, you think you want the best for me but nothing really matters, if you force it won't come, I guess I'm feeling numb,” she roars before adding “I don’t want to grow up la la la.”

It’s a tense and vociferous song that bodes well for the full-length. Here’s hoping that Meg makes it to Europe (specifically the UK) for some live shows this time round.

Meg Myers - Numb

Friday, 27 April 2018

New Music: Kailee Morgue - F**k U

Musicians eh? They really need to learn some manners don’t they? And how to spell. Take Kailee Morgue – singer of internet hit Medusa. Now she’s back swearing like a trooper with F**k U, which let’s face it is pretty rude and follows the Prince school of spelling for the word You. 

For those expecting some sort of aggressive sounding dirty rock beast of a song, or a sweaty funk work out and Kailee screaming like a banshee, sneering, spitting and shoving her angry finger in your face, prepare to be surprised. Because F**k U sounds adorably pleasing, with just Kailee’s candied voice and some stripped back instrumentation. Sometimes there’s a greater power in subtlety - it makes the words even stronger - like here, where there is no happy ending.

Kailee Morgue - F**k You

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

New Music: Introducing - G Flip

Over the last few weeks, in preparation for May’s new music marathon that is the Great Escape Festival in Brighton I’ve been listening to every single one of the 400+ artists that are playing. There’ll be some sort of preview here closer to the date of the festival.

Of course writing a new music blog there are already plenty of musicians on the bill that have made their way to these pages - AK/DK, Alice Boman, Art School Girlfriend, Bad Sounds, Basement Revolver, Bloxx, Boniface, Bulow, Cuckooolander, Dizzy, Dream Wife, Easy Life and Franc Moody are just a small handful of the acts that I’ve featured that run alphabetically from A to F and there are many more up to Zuzu at Z. But today I want to share a musician that I knew nothing about until I saw her name on the Great Escape bill. Alphabetically she takes us onto G. Her name is Georgia Flipo and she records and performs under the name of G Flip

G Flip used to be just a drummer at the back, but now she’s a solo artist in her own right (although she still drums). She comes, like seemingly half of the best acts on the 2018 Great Escape bill, from Australia, Melbourne to be exact, and her first release About You gives me the absolute shivers.

It starts with a shadowy reverb drone sound that conjures up images of somewhere hellish and otherworldly – the Upside Down from Stranger Things perhaps? It’s ominously scary. But it really doesn’t prepare you for what is to come.

Because About You is a full-blown pop song. A dream of a pop song that flows with melodies and rhythms that will get inside your head and lodge themselves there for a very long time. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with this tune going through my brain. I’ve found myself singing it at work. I’ve found myself being able to think of nothing else. You have been warned. You may become obsessed.

On her trip to the UK in May, besides Great Escape (where G-Flip plays two official shows) she will also be at Dot to Dot festival and will also be supporting Pale Waves at their biggest UK show so far at Heaven in London. If you get the chance, go see her and witness Australia's way cooler answer to Phil Collins.

G-Flip - About You (Video)

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

New Music: Introducing - Roman Lewis

The young white male singer songwriter has taken a bit of a bashing in certain quarters over the last year or so. After all, it’s easy for cynics to sneer at commercial success so the likes of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Ed Sheeran are always going to be obvious targets. Add into that the growing ongoing and still developing conversation around white male privilege and you can start to get a feel for why being that bloke with an acoustic guitar might not enamour you with the music press quite as much as it used to.

And although on this blog I’ve featured way more singers that are women than men over the last few years, and in terms of guys with acoustic guitars only a small handful, today I am introducing a new male acoustic singer songwriter. 

Before you snore off with the dullness of it all, let’s all just remember that sometimes when something has become deeply unfashionable it’s easy to dismiss it without giving it the attention it deserves; and Mindless Town, the debut single from Roman Lewis warrants at least five minutes and sixteen seconds of your time. A subtle slow-burner that slowly fires up from the embers it displays a talent that is already well beyond being third of five in a typical open mic night at the local boozer - which is just as well as he’s only 17, so he wouldn’t even get served.

A little bit of digging on his Facebook shows that Roman (who has the name to match his flowing locks) is from London and has been doing music for some time. He even appeared as Charlie Simpson in What I Go To School For, The Busted Musical at the Theatre Royal, Brighton and this song has been kicking around for a while now. But now it’s getting a proper release via AWAL/Kobal and was produced and mixed by Catherine Marks (The Big Moon, The Amazons, Manchester Orchestra). It's an impressive and striking debut. Forget the white male singer songwriter tag and keep your mind open for Mindless Town.

Roman Lewis - Mindless Town

Monday, 23 April 2018

Preview: Are You Listening? Festival, Reading

This coming weekend is a Reading festival. No, not that one. This one’s called Are You Listening. It’s a multi-venue single wristband entry festival with a USP. That USP is that it’s for a very good local cause. It’s not about making a bucketful of money for its organisers own pockets – it’s about passing that bucket on to Reading Mencap, a local charity that supports children and adults with learning disabilities and autism, as well as their families, providing personalised information, advice and practical support with issues such as housing problems, lack of respite or social care, ill health, hate crime, welfare benefits and special education provision.

“It’s a tough time for small, local charities like ours – with huge cuts to council and other public budgets that historically funded key services for the most vulnerable in Reading. This means we increasingly rely on the support of our local community to keep delivering our critical services. So AYL is a great opportunity for us to reach out to you, tell you about what we do and ask for your support,” says Mandi Smith, Reading Mencap’s Chief Executive.

While Reading Mencap is affiliated to the national Mencap charity, it does not receive any funding from them. This means it relies on the generosity of the local community and fundraising events like AYL to continue its vital work, especially in these challenging times.

Proceeds from each ticket sold go to the charity, as do all donations on the day, as well as money from an art auction and the profits from the Charity Bar in St Laurence’s Church, one of the venues.

This emphasis on music providing a helping hand to vulnerable people in the community is just one way the festival helps. It also provides a platform for local acts, giving them the opportunity to play to bigger crowds than they might normally do. Reading based bands such as The Amazons and Sundara Karma have both benefitted from playing Are You Listening Festival before moving upwards to the national stage and there’s no doubt that events like these benefit the local music scene giving the best artists in the area the opportunity to shine alongside more established bands.

Tickets for Are You Listening always represent excellent value, with super early birds costing just £10 and advance tickets currently on sale at £22.50. There are over sixty musicians and DJ’s playing the eight stages of the event. 

Like any multi-venue festival often the most precious moments of the event are when you stumble across a name you’ve never heard of and are blown away by a performance that you just didn’t expect. However, for those who prefer to plan a little, here are five artists that are on the Breaking More Waves recommended list that may be worth your time. 

Twin Sun - 14.00 Sub 89

Twin Sun is Reading’s Jamie Willcox and Pete Wheeler a DJ / production duo who have now developed into a full live act. They have a strong association with the festival having been involved in it in some capacity, either solo or as a duo every year since its inception. Opening the festival in the early afternoon, they’ll be a treat for those who want to start dancing early. The song below Lilac Light features the vocals of Jen Stearnes who also co-wrote the track and is the lead vocalist of the next artist recommendation.

Saltwater Sun - 16.15 Sub 89

From Twin Sun to another sun – Saltwater Sun. I first came across Saltwater Sun in 2015 at this very festival. Since then they’ve released a string of songs such as Wild, Making Eyes, Now Or Never and The Wire which all picked up significant traction online and on music blogs and websites. If you like classic guitar driven pop with catchy hooks and melodies a plenty, then choose Saltwater Sun’s performance as a stopping / dancing point.

Valeras - 17.15 Sub 89

With a song in their arsenal called Louder it’s probably not that hard to guess that the Reading band formerly known as Area 52, but now known as Veleras, rock. Having just finished a tour with Demob Happy and with forthcoming slots at Live at Leeds and Great Escape, Valeras will be bringing a puposeful swagger to their home town’s stage.

AK/DK - 20.30 St Laurence Church

“Hard hitting drums, devilish synths and vocals that are used to create textures and rhythms as much as melodies mix to create a sound that is in parts psychedelic, motorik, punk and certainly out on an edge of its own.” That’s how AK/DK was described on Breaking More Waves in 2017 when their album was listed in one of my favourites of the year. Imagine that not in a club, but a church. It should be hellishly good.

Warm Digits - 21.45 St Laurence Church

Three albums in and Warm Digits aka Newcastle based Andrew Hodson and Steve Jefferis have arguably released their best album with Wireless World. Featuring guest vocals from Sarah Cracknell (St Etienne) and Field Music (who play Are You Listening immediately after Warm Digits) their music is a relentless and experimental mix of weird funk, driving motoric beats, electronic pulses and guitar noise. Think Fuck Buttons, Delphic, Hookworms and Kraftwerk jamming in a room together if that makes any sense. Like AK/DK before them it’s difficult to guess at this stage how their music will work in a church, but it’s going to be fun learning.

Are You Listening Festival takes place in Reading, Berkshire on the 28th April 2018. You can buy tickets by clicking here.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

New Music: Introducing - LibraLibra

Pop music needs free-spirits. If we didn’t have them then we’d be drowning in the bland. Thankfully LibraLibra, a new Brighton based project, wields its unconventional approach with a ferocious confidence. 

Debut single Animali ties together the musical out-there conviction of The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual album with a sound not dissimilar to that of tUnE-yArDs and in the process conjures up an invigorating song of colourful rhythms, tribal wails and shakes. It’s an art-school adventure that isn’t afraid to explore off the map and is all the more enjoyable for it. 

Animali also comes with probably the strangest pop music video you’ll see this week, with animal mask wearing people, BDSM ball gags, babies and blood all featuring. It’s fair to say this probably isn’t the sort of thing you’d see Drake or Taylor Swift shooting.

LibraLibra is Beth Cannon and Joe Caple with additional musicians added for live performance. You might recognise Beth’s name (or voice) from her recent work with Bella Union man Simon Raymonde’s Lost Horizons project for which she provided some vocals – and what splendid vocals they are – urgent, gymnastic and powerful. 

Animali is a song that is bold, manically creative and just a little bit ridiculous. Thank goodness for mavericks.

Catch LibraLibra in Brighton on the 28th April at the Bad Pond Festival, supporting Swedish Death Candy at the Boiler Room in Guildford in May, at Liverpool's Sound City and at the Alt-Escape part of Great Escape in Brighton. But before that be sure to check out the video below - it's one for all the animal lovers out there.

LibraLibra - Animali (Video)

Thursday, 19 April 2018

New Music: Lykke Li - Hard Rain

There are some artists who bang out record after record that all basically use the same ingredients stirred around in the bowl of a music studio, and then there are some who seem to prefer cooking up something different every time.

Lykke Li is definitely one of the later type of artists. From the pop noir of Wounded Rhymes to her flirtations with a more folky acoustic sound as part of the Liv project, she’s never been one to serve up the same dish twice. 

New song hard rain (yes, there’s no capital letters) is one of two songs she released today (the other being deep end which you can hear by clicking here) and it's taken from her forthcoming album so sad so sexy

The song takes Lykke Li into new deeper territories; it’s a skeletal trap-twisted beauty that sounds not dissimilar to something you might have found on Bon Iver’s 22, A Million. Of course, this being a Lykke Li tune there is one thing that is consistent with much of her other work- she’s not singing about partying in the club with the champagne popping. There’s still a sadness there: “If you like the feeling of a hard rain falling, I have a sea full, I can give you an ocean,” she offers. Someone get the handkerchiefs quick. Or maybe a mop.

Lykke Li - Hard Rain

New Music: Introducing - King Princess

I’ve always been a little cynical of when huge major label pop stars suddenly start suggesting their love of lesser known artists on social media, especially if it turns out there’s a connection to the label they’re signed to. 

So when One Direction’s Harry Styles quoted some of the lyrics to the song 1950 by newcomer King Princess on Twitter, but didn't tweet the title of the song or who it was by, it was inevitable that his fans would head straight to Google to search out what it all meant. Suddenly King Princess was getting a lot more attention and love. 

The label connection comes from the fact that King Princess is signed to Mark Ronson’s new Zelig Recordings and Zelig is a venture with Columbia. Guess who's signed to Columbia? Yes Harry Styles of course. It’s therefore not hard to join the dots and come up with the thought that Harry's tweet is as much about hard faced business as it is a genuine love of the song. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt shall we? And even if we don't, let's be realistic; the music business is called a business for a reason.  

But once the cynicism has been overcome there’s a pleasant surprise in store. Because the music of King Princess is actually agreeably sophisticated pop, which is chilled, measured, soulful and comes with a more interesting lyrical take on things.

1950, the song Styles tweeted about, is a love song, which takes a twist from the typical ‘girl is pursued by boy then they fall in love’ narrative: “I hate it when dudes try to chase me, but I love it when you try to save me, ‘cos I’m just a lady, I love it when we play 1950” she sings.  The video for the tune already has over 800,000 views (and a lot of Harry Styles sent me here comments below it) and hints at rebelliousness with King Princess sporting a drawn-on moustache, setting fire to a teddy bear and smoking a cigarette. 

A second track, Talia, due to appear on an EP alongside 1950 solidifies the idea of what King Princess is about. This one’s a break up tune though. Starting with soft synths and hand clicks it soon burbles up with a mid-tempo chorus that finds King Princess singing of getting a bit wasted and imagining her ex is still there: “If I drink enough, I can taste your lipstick, I can lay down next to you, but it's all in my head.” Musically, the hook isn’t in your face, but it’s still there ready to creep in to your ears.

OK, fair play Harry Styles. You might just be on to something here.

King Princess - 1950 (Video)

King Princess - Talia