Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Here's a new tune from the wonderful Laura Groves, this time turning in a song for the the cleverly titled Pun For Cover LP, a ten track compilation of covers that you can buy via Deek recordings for just £3 via Bandcamp. That’s less than the price of a pint of beer and will give you far longer lasting pleasure. The song is Waterfalls by Paul McCartney which we are reliably informed is from his solo record Paul McCartney II, which was released in 1980 and found McCartney getting experimental and electronic.
Laura’s version makes us visualise a still pond with just the slightest ripples around the edge. Float away with it and let it cast away your worries.
Laura Groves - Waterfalls
Lorde’s Royals is undoubtedly one of the songs of 2013 (although perhaps Lorde herself doesn't think so, naming her favourite tracks of the year here, which include Daft Punk's Get Lucky and Jungle's Drops (good choices) ) Only time will tell what Royals longer term position in the halls of pop history will be and if Lorde herself will be just a shared memory of times past or some sort of artistic pop royalty adored by her loyal subjects forever.
For now though we have Team, the video for which gave a large number of fans (including us) all sorts of problems in playing yesterday when it was first uploaded. “I want to see it so badly!!! I've waited like, an eternity of ten minutes!!!” one comment stated on You Tube last night, which probably said everything there is to say about today’s iGeneration speed culture that the internet has created. Did Lorde kill the internet for a while perhaps?
The video itself is a bit odd, what with what appears to be a man with a sack on his head being taken to a jousting competition with motorbikes instead of horses and Lorde singing amongst a bunch of tropical plants. For those looking for meaning, here’s what Lorde says:
“This video was born from a dream I had a few months ago about teenagers in their own world, a world with hierarchies and initiations, where the boy who was second in command had acne on his face, and so did the girl who was queen. I dreamt about this world being so different to anything anyone had ever seen, a dark world full of tropical plants and ruins and sweat. And of this world, I dreamt about tests that didn't need to be passed in order to be allowed in: sometimes the person who loses is stronger.” Wow - when we were Lorde’s age we were dreaming about sexy times with Louise, Penny or Nicola. It probably explains why we're not an international pop star right now.
As for the song, besides Royals (and Buzzcut Season) Team is one of our favourites from Pure Heroine; the beats and the minimal synth snatches are just right and the moment when Lorde sings that she’s ‘kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air’, is just so petulantly cool it’s brilliant.
Lorde - Team (Video)
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Today, along with a number of other UK new music blogs, we reveal the results of the UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll.
What The Poll Isn't
The poll isn’t a ‘tips for success list’ although we’re pretty sure that most bloggers would like their favourite new acts to go on to have some sort of success – albeit the type of success the artist would like, which may not necessarily be of the commercial sort.
The UK Blog Sound of 2014 isn't designed to criticise the ubiquitous BBC Sound of 2014 which was published yesterday. Indeed the original idea of the poll was to compliment the BBC list, providing an alternative to compare and contrast. Ironically last year the results of both polls found a large degree of similarity, although the Blog Sound list did include a number of lesser known independent artists in the long list, but the year before that there were plenty of differences, including (notably missing from the BBC list) the likes of Bastille and Mercury prize winners Alt-J. This year just 3 acts (Banks, George Ezra and Royal Blood) are common to both lists. 8 of the acts on the BBC list didn't receive 1 vote from the voting bloggers.
What The Blog Sound Of 2014 Is
The concept of the UK Blog Sound poll is simple. It’s an attempt by way of a democratic vote to determine the most popular emerging artists amongst a selection of UK music bloggers.
The Blog Sound of 2014 poll is the biggest yet with 59 blogs each nominating their 3 favourite bands or solo performers. You can see the full long list of sixteen most voted for artists below. The list shows a strong bias towards indie guitar / rock acts, singer songwriters and UK artists. Other genres of music such as hip-hop, urban, electronic, dance and pop either have a minority representation or didn’t receive enough votes to feature on the list at all.
How We Cast Our Votes and Some Thoughts
From a personal perspective we’re pleased to see two of the acts that we voted for, namely Wolf Alice and Sophie Jamieson feature on the list. However, despite strong support from blogs during the course of the year, our third choice, Chloe Howl, didn’t make the cut - but then not many pure pop acts did. Of the 16 acts named on the UK Blog Sound of 2014 list we've featured 10 on the blog (compared with 7 on the BBC list). It shows. The artists named on the Blog Sound list is in the main quite different from the BBC list, containing more organic sounding acts, more groups and more independent or unsigned acts. Which list do we like best, the BBC's or the Blog Sound? We like them both - Breaking More Waves has always straddled the taste divide of commercial pop vs alternative sounds and we've never differentiated between the mainstream and the underground. We suspect some people will hate the Blog Sound list, others will find it far more palatable than the BBC list, that after all is what taste is all about.
What Happens Next
The most voted for act and runners up will be revealed on the 2nd of January 2014. For now here’s the full list of acts. We’ve included video or Soundcloud streams for each artist for your listening and viewing pleasure.
The nominated acts for the UK Blog Sound of 2014 are:
Banks - Sultry electronic soul from Los Angeles
Embers - Epic cinematic rock from Manchester
George Ezra - Singer songwriter with bluesy tones
Hella Better Dancer - Dark atmospheric indie rock
Hockeysmith - Genre hopping sisters from Cornwall
Honeyblood - Raw D-I-Y Glasgow duo
IYES - Boy girl pop duo from Brighton
Khushi - Melodic acoustic based pop
Lyla Foy - Solo singer performing intimately quiet songs
Marika Hackman - Female acoustic singer songwriter
Mt Wolf - Folktronica with ethereal / operatic vocals
Rhodes - Male acoustic singer songwriter
Royal Blood - Dirty lo-fi rock 'n' roll from Brighton
Sivu - Idiosyncratic singer songwriter
Sophie Jamieson - Atmospheric folk
Wolf Alice - Grunge and indie referencing band
The music blogs that took part in the voting were as follows:
17 Seconds, A Pocket Full Of Seeds, All Noise, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Both Bars On, Brapscallions, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Cat From Japan, Daisy Digital, Details Of My Life, Don’t Watch Me Dancing, Dots and Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Eaten By Monsters, Echoes and Dust, Electronic Rumors, Faded Glamour, God Is In The TV, Gold Flake Paint, Hearty Vibes, I Love Pie, In Love Not Limbo, Just Music That I Like, Killing Moon, Like 1999, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music : Love Life, Music Broke My Bones, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, My Band’s Better Than Your Band, My Day By Day Music, Not Many Experts, Peenko, Pop Dodger, Repeat Button, Scientists Of Sound, Scottish Fiction, Skeletory, Sleep In Music, Some Of It Is True, Sound Influx, Sounds Good To Me Too, Sounds Of Now Music, Sweeping The Nation, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The Metaphorical Boat, The Sound Of Confusion, The Underclassed, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Von Pip Musical Express, When The Gramophone Rings
To see the past poll results click the links below
Blog Sound of 2012 (Most voted for = Friends)
Blog Sound of 2013 (Most voted for = Haim)
Monday, 2 December 2013
The BBC has today revealed its annual Sound Of Poll results. The annual list asked “213 influential UK-based music critics, editors, broadcasters and bloggers to name their favourite new acts,” according to the BBC website. Each pundit chose three acts in order of preference. The result is the Sound of 2014.
If like us you listen to a lot of new music all year round then the artists on the BBC list will probably come as no surprise – you’ll probably be quite familiar with all of them. In fact one of them appeared on Breaking More Waves Ones To Watch 2013 list a year ago (Luke Sital Singh) and another four of them are on our 10 Ones To Watch for 2014 that we published last month (Banks, Chloe Howl, George Ezra and Jungle). But the BBC list isn’t aimed at obsessive new music bloggers. It’s for the general public and the sectors of the media that are less knowledgeable about new music.
The 15 nominees who received the most votes on this year’s poll are
Chance The Rapper
Luke Sital Singh
Say Lou Lou
The next few days will no doubt find many journalists and bloggers discussing the list. Tick the following stories off your BBC Sound of 2014 bingo card as you find them:
1. The straightforward here are the stars of tomorrow article.
2. The it’s a self-fulfilling vehicle biased towards the major labels article.
3. The all the nominees are so predictable article (probably written by a music blogger – we very nearly did it at the start of this post didn’t we?)
4. The article on where are the acts from past Sound of polls now?
5. The except for Royal Blood it’s not going to be a good year for guitar music article.
6. The this list is rubbish article eg: rubbish = doesn’t match my taste.
7. The rant piece about how the list is meaningless (our question – so if it’s meaningless why write about it?)
8. The it always misses some big acts article. (Probably mentioning Ed Sheeran or Bastille)
9. The why are Sam Smith and Ella Eyre included, they’ve both already had no.1 hits with other bands article. (However this one we have to refer to the rules on the BBC website which state “They must not have been the lead artist on a UK top 20 single or album by 4th November 2013. Featured guest vocalists are eligible.)
10. The who is going to win article? (Probably again mentioning Ella Eyre and Sam Smith)
11. The actually this list is pretty decent and also quite 'bloggy' isn't it' article. (That's the one we almost wrote - because it is - it could maybe just do with an extra indie band (Wolf Alice?) to make it seem complete.
It shouldn’t take you long to get them all.
We’re not featuring any of those here though, instead we want to pose another question, one that doesn’t get asked very often if at all (maybe because nobody cares about it except us, but stick with us as we try to come up with some discussion away from the standard bingo card headlines) and that is why are there never any ties / draws on the BBC Sound of List?
We ask this because as well as writing Breaking More Waves, with the help of fellow new music blogger Andy Von Pip of the Von Pip Musical Express, we compile an alternative to the BBC Sound of poll. It’s called the UK Blog Sound of 2014 and rather like the BBC list it asks voters to choose their 3 favourite emerging acts which are compiled into a list of the most voted for. The difference is that the voting panel is made up of only UK music bloggers. The UK Blog Sound of 2014 poll results will be published by some of the voting blogs, including us, tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8.30am.
We’ve run the poll for the past two years and this year and last year when the results have been totalled a number of acts have finished with the same number of votes. In 2012 both Savages and Pins came equal third and this year several artists tallied the same number of points in fourth place (which is why when the shortlist is published this year it will only contain a top 3). Yet remarkably, although it has run from 2002 (when 50 Cent topped the poll) when just 40 music critics voted, the BBC appears to have never had two artists sharing a position and has always managed to neatly shoehorn in either a neat 10 or 15 artists onto the list. Our experience of counting the votes for the Blog Sound poll indicates that this is highly unlikely. It suggests that someone at the BBC (a second panel?) is getting a casting vote for the photo finish situation or to round the long list into the round number every year.
Does it matter? Possibly - if you believe the poll matters in the first place. For example artists in the Top 5 of the list are likely to get more radio exposure than those in positions 6-15 and the artist that comes top even more. If you believe the self-fulfilling argument then more exposure means a higher chance of commercial success. So what if two or more artists had drawn in fifth place, or even for first? Or what about the artist who comes equal fifteenth with someone else but is dropped from the list? That casting vote (assuming there is one) could have an effect on the artists career and chances of earning a living from music. Of course, we’re probably putting too much weight and importance on the BBC poll, but irrespective of its influence and power, just in the interests of fairness, we’d like to see that if and when 2 acts draw the results of the poll acknowledged that to be transparent the BBC explained how a decision to place one above the other was made.
Now, has anyone filled up their bingo card yet?
Whilst we’re waiting for you to shout bingo, here’s a track from longlisters (and also on our own Ones to Watch list) Jungle. Will they also be on the Blog Sound of 2014 list? Check back on Tuesday at 8.30am GMT to find out.
Jungle - Lucky I Got What I Want