Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Arctic Lake - New Waves

It’s difficult when you’re in the middle of something to see how it looks from the outside, but we’re taking a stab that when people look back at pop music from the last few years they’ll probably view artists such as The XX and James Blake as defining the agenda. For many bands and solo artists that have followed seem to have relinquished the idea of youth culture and pop being something that bangs with energy and chaos and instead redefined it with minimalism and a certain languid style of delivery. From chart stars like London Grammar to newcomers such as Låpsley, young musicians are adopting an unhurried and mellow approach to music.

So new North London three piece Arctic Lake fit very nicely with the zeitgeist. Their song Limits is full of slow warm digital sighs and just the simplest of beats. Those comparisons with London Grammar have already started and to that we’d like to add another Breaking More Waves favourite - Aquilo. If you want music that sounds like it’s up for a fight, Limits isn’t it. But if you want something that’s chilled to perfection and beautifully executed, you've come to the right place.

Arctic Lake - Limits

Monday, 26 January 2015

Stornoway - The Road You Didn't Take (Video)

If there’s one thing that makes Stornoway such a good band (besides good songs obviously) it’s that they are the antithesis of the In Da Club / Do What We Want Without Giving A Shit culture that has grown up around pop music over the last few years. They’re a group with a wider perspective on the world and a real sense of identity and character. Imagine if Jessie J / Rita Ora / Nicki Minaj etc became Dr’s of Ornithology and titled their albums after a Hebridean seabird stating that they  “wanted to feel more connected to the outdoors “ and “wanted to feel small,” as they moved to wilder corner of Britain. Of course it couldn’t be guaranteed to make their homogenous pop music any more interesting, but maybe at least they’d be singing about something a little less inane than: “Bang bang into the room, I know you want it, bang bang all over you, I'll let you have it,” or whatever nonsense they’re yelping about this time.

So here’s Stornoway’s latest; The Road You Didn’t Take. It’s a gentle piece of pastoral folk pop that has an airy and weightless sound to it. You’ll never hear this one in da club thankfully although if you do, let us know and we'll come and have a little sway around with you on the dancefloor. 

Stornoway release their third album Bonxie (it’s that seabird we mentioned, also known as a great skua) on the 13th April via Cooking Vinyl. Bizarrely the album was produced by Gil Norton, better known for his production work with rockers such as Pixies, Foo Fighters and Twin Atlantic.

Stornoway -The Road You Didn't Take (Video)

Archis - New Waves

Coming our way today via Neon Gold we’re introducing Archis, the project of Dia Frampton (you may remember her from Meg & Dia days) and Joseph Trapanese. Their song Blood is so vast, so wide screen, so infinitely monumental that calling it pop seems to do the song a disservice. But pop it is, albeit pop that has broader shoulders than anything we’ve heard for quite a while. Take a listen and once you have heard the tune's luscious composition it will come as no surprise to learn that Trapanese has experience working on film scores; for this is as cinematic as you can get. There’s strings, there’s big military drums and yet there’s also moments of softness as warm keys embrace Dia’s entry into the arena, before Blood rises up with its ‘let’s go for blood’ clarion call and slays everything in its wake. Stunning.

Archis release their debut EP on February 23rd via Nettwerk. 

Archis - Blood

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lilla Vargen - New Waves

If you look at the various online profiles for Lilla Vargen you’ll find that right now there as many music blogs / writers following her as anyone else. This comes as no surprise; after all one of the main reasons why people visit new music blogs is to discover new talent and so bloggers have to keep up to date if their blogs are to be of any value. And Vargen is very new. Her debut song This Is Love has only been on line less than a week and currently has under 4,000 plays on Soundcloud. 

What surprises and intrigues us about this little bit of blog buzz is why so many bloggers have gone for this song. Not because it isn’t good, far from it, it’s an exquisitely crafted and beautifully sad piece of work. But This Is Love is a rather old fashioned and classic piano ballad far from the usual Hype Machine number 1 chasing flavour of the month pop music. It’s lack of trendiness is almost staggering. So well done the blogosphere for being able to recognise quality over everything else.

If you’ve read anything about Lilla on the blogs (and most of them don't tell you very much) you’ll probably know that she’s from Belfast. What many of them won’t have told you is that despite the title of the song, This Is Love is not a joyously romantic tune. Sung from the soul Lilla confesses how love can be blind, even when things aren’t going well anymore. “I wanted to believe we were right,” she croons before describing the “endless hours spent late at night, wondering how you could act this way, wondering how you could say the things that you say.” It’s a song of sadness and heartache, with a wish to turn the clock back: “I wish I’d known you before, because now it seems like a chore to see me.” 

A powerful and emotionally arresting ballad. Lilla has our blog heart won already.

Lilla Vargen - This Is Love