Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Frances - When It Comes To Us (Featuring Ritual)

In June Breaking More Waves was lucky enough to witness relative newcomer Frances play an incredibly assured set under the stained glass windows of St Stephen’s church at London’s Bushstock Festival. Her music and singing was full of emotion, talent and power but was never swollen to a point of being over dramatic.

Whilst that show featured just Frances at a keyboard, this new tune, When It Comes To Us (featuring the electronic influence and vocal of Ritual) is a bit of a diversion from that piano balladry, with some distinct R n B flavours weaving their way into the production.

It’s a tune about a rare opposites attract relationship (we state rare because decades of scientific research will tell you that the vast majority of us seek out people who feel similar to ourselves) “It really shouldn’t work but it does,” Frances sings and you might find, like we did, a little shiver running down the spine.  If you want some reference points we’d say it sounds a bit like Rae Morris doing Pure Shores (what a tune!) by All Saints produced by recent blog favourites Oh Wonder. No surprises to find that it gets the full approval of this blog then.

When It Comes To Us features  on the Grow EP by Frances which is released on the all new global release day of 10th July.

Frances - When It Comes To Us (Featuring Ritual)

Sunday, 5 July 2015

An Important 'Musician In The Bath' Update

If you read / follow / digest / casually appraise / occasionally view Breaking More Waves you may know that we have a bit of a thing about pop stars in the bath. Seriously, this isn’t some warped perverted obsession, but a genuine fascination as to why it is that so many musicians feel the need to either get naked / semi naked or stay fully clothed and jump in the tub that may or may not be full of water and suds. Just some of the many examples of such popstars can be found on this link here, although we’ve posted a number of other times about this fascinating phenomenon, most recently with regard to the latest Lyza Jane track. We wish someone would provide us with a scientific explanation of it all.

Now here’s another and this one is impressive. Cosmo Sheldrake takes things to a new level, bringing his whole electronic kit into a thermal bath in Budapest. All we can say is that we hope his team carried out all the appropriate health and safety risk assessments on this one, otherwise ‘truly electrifying’ may have taken on its truest meaning.

If you’re a musician / popstar / potential popstar and have some weird urge to film yourself singing your song in a bath, don’t forget to let us know, and just as importantly, try to help us understand: WHY? We could start a whole new blog on this you know....

Cosmo Sheldrake - Pelicans We (Live in the Budapest Baths)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Oh Wonder - Landslide

“For  the next few months we might just be the blog putting the 'late' into latest music,” we said not so long ago (full explanation of why here) and today we’re doing just that with the latest track from internet-sensations-that-are-actually-people-in-real-life-as-well-and-not-just-something-fabricated-by-your-wireless-connection*  Oh Wonder, that we’re posting a little late. It’s called Landslide and we’re sorry, but all of you geology boffins are going to be a little disappointed, because the song isn’t anything about an earth movement that leads to the triggering of a ground failure in a downwards direction. Instead, it’s a soothing and infinitely pretty tune of comfort and friendship, effectively saying ‘keep your chin up,’ but in a rather more sensitive way than that.

You may well have already heard it by now (it has at the time of writing already hit 50k plays on Soundcloud, even although it has only been out a couple of days), but in case you haven’t, and you’re even later than us, press play (especially if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps) and your day might will just seem a little bit better. Then once you're feeling a little more cheery, smile even more with the news that after selling out their forthcoming debut shows, Oh Wonder has announced their album release plans and some further UK dates. Find all the info on this link.

(*We can 100% confirm this to be true – we sat opposite the duo on the London Underground the other day. We hoped that pivotal moment for the band might find them penning their next tune along the lines of  'didn't we have a lovely time the day we met a blogger' but it seems that sadly our influence didn't reach that far. Sad face emoji etc)

Oh Wonder - Landslide

Monday, 29 June 2015

Equal Opportunities For Female Musicians - Are Bloggers As Bad As Festival Bookers?

Over the last year the subject of the number of female performers at UK festivals has been questioned time and time again. A recent analysis by the Guardian investigating the gender split of artists, calculating the number of male and female performers featured on posters advertising festivals, found that there were 2,336 men on stage at the major festivals in the UK this year compared with 270 women. Anyone with a sense of fairness would see that that something is quite clearly wrong here. However, just calling out the festival bookers is only the tip of the iceberg. We think that Emily Eavis of Glastonbury hit the nail on the head when she stated “the question of why there are so few women needs to be asked further back than us…. We also need those female artists to be pushed through – by record companies, radio and the media.”

We agree. The music industry itself needs to take a long hard look at how it operates and why so few women have opportunity. 

People often comment about how many female artists we write about on the blog, as if it’s unusual. Yet here’s a reality check. Of the 10 artists we’ve written most about in Breaking More Waves 7 year history (you can see the full list here), if you include all the members of a band where the artist is billed as band, rather than just a solo act, and not just vocalists you’ll find that only 45% of the acts we’ve written about are female. Not so good after all huh? OK it’s close to being equal, but if we’re perceived as being ‘female’ heavy, what of other blogs?

Last week we did a quick straw poll of other blogs we read and their posts from the last couple of months. The % splits were generally far better than the music festival results (shout out to Just Music I Like who bucked the trend and had featured 71% female musicians in the last month) , but it was clear that overall, the bands being written about still contained more male musicians than female. Solo female artists featured more often, and in some cases it was hard to know how many people were in the band and what sex they were, but as a very broad guestimate the split was 70/30 in favour of males. Interestingly, some of the blogs that have been quite vocal on Twitter about the lack of opportunity for women in music didn’t do any better in our quick straw poll analysis than other blogs.

Leigh from the above mentioned Just Music I Like went one further last week and tried to analyse why it is that maybe bloggers do write about music that has more male musicians as part of the act than women. He analysed his ‘supply chain’ of music submissions, namely his email in box, in a snapshot survey and found that male artists accounted for 78% of submissions and females just 22%, and this was made up of acts that were male only (60.5%), female only (21.4%) and mixed (18.1%). So whilst this isn’t conclusive it supports the theory that more males are making music, or at least more males are making music and submitting them to blogs. You can read the full results of his study here. The big question of course is why is this?

The answer of course probably isn't one simple black and white solution. There's probably a lot of work that needs to be done to change things. We’re a firm believer in action speaking louder than words - there’s been an awful lot of words on the internet about this lack of opportunity and whilst the discussions and tweets are useful to a point, so much more needs to be done. We think it’s up to everybody to consider and change their actions where necessary, not just festival bookers, but anyone involved in music, right down the supply chain, back to music education at schools.  “Equal opportunity” doesn’t just mean treating everybody the same. It means adapting our ways to give everyone an equal chance. Clearly this isn’t happening right now. 

Of course if you think that women are being given equal opportunity in the music industry as performers, do let us know, and if you think they are, why? We're interested to hear your views via Twitter or in the comments below.