Monday, 1 September 2014

Golden Fable - Armour

Welsh band Golden Fable return to the fold with a slice of celestial dirtiness this week in the form of Armour. It’s the first track to be taken from their second album Ancient Blue which was recorded with David Wrench (Bat For Lashes, Caribou) and Jimmy Robertson (Anna Calvi) in Snowdonia. Sonically it’s a wonderful contrast made from a bed of disorderly and effervescent guitars that sound like they’re trying to scratch an itch and Rebecca Palin’s beguiling vocal delivery, tones that are surely sent from the heavens, or at least the Cocteau Twins back catalogue.

Extra marks as well for the band’s promo picture. There’s no jetting off to a Mediterranean beach with the group lounging in their swimwear whilst drinking Pina Coladas for this one. No, instead they’ve launched themselves fully clothed into what looks like the chilly sea just off the coast of South Wales. Mind you, with a song on the forthcoming album called Warm Sun, we’re figuring that Rebecca, Tim and Jack may still be trying to work out a way to convince their label that that the bikinis, swimming trunks and cocktails shoot needs to happen.

Ancient Blue will be released on 10th November so put it on your Christmas list now.

Golden Fable - Armour

The True Cost Of Gig Going (Part 8) - Travel

This year as part of an ongoing project to determine how much going to see a band really costs we’ve been religiously recording every gig and festival we attend and how much we spend, not just in terms of ticket price but what we squander on travel, drinks, merchandise, accommodation and any other additional costs we encounter.

This month rather than give our usual full price breakdown we’re examining just one particular aspect - travel.

This year so far we’ve been to 42 gigs and festivals and have enjoyed 270 different performances at them.

In doing so our most visited town or city is London (75 miles from where we live), with 36% of our gig attendance.The second is Portsmouth (24%), our home city, where all gig venues are within walking distance and therefore there are no travel costs. Brighton clocks in third.

Here’s the full breakdown of our gig attendance by town and city for 2014 so far:

Here’s some more travel related statistics and facts:

  • So far we've spent £676 on travel to gigs and festivals this year.
  • We've journeyed 1,966 miles to get to the gigs, but including travel home afterwards that's 3,932 miles.
  • That's an average travel distance of just under 94 miles per gig or festival.
  • So far this year it has cost an average of 17p per mile to go to gigs, helped by the fact that 10 of them we were able to walk to at zero cost as they were in our home city.
  • This month we'll be travelling 5,300 miles to go to 1 gig - although that's not technically correct as we're actually travelling for a holiday, but we couldn't resist fitting in a gig whilst we were there! We'll only be counting the travel distance and cost for that gig from our hotel to the venue and back.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Feki - New Waves

With the ever-increasing trend for electronic producers to pitch shift vocal sounds comes a bubblegum and cartoonish quality to some of the music. From divisive output such as Hannah Diamond, whose Pink & Blue sounds like the type of daft nonsense a 12 year old obsessed with unicorns, old-school Nintendo console games and Froot Loops cereal would make, through to that CBBC-rave track Hey QT, a creation by Sophie and A.G Cook from PC Music, (if you haven’t heard it yet press play here and cast your own judgement), the sound of the nursery looks like it’s going to be hanging around for a while. 

Which brings us to Feki, a producer from Brisbane, Australia who on his latest track Nothing Lasts Forever uses some vocal snatches that sound close to babyish / cartoon chipmunk sounding but unlike Hey QT his work is vastly more adult and deep – there’s no novelty here. It’s the quality of this tune, together with previous works such as the gentle Escape (which has more childlike vocal chops) and Get It Together (even more) that have convinced us that’s it time to introduce him as a New Wave on Breaking More Waves. Add in the multitude of remixes on his Soundcloud that he’s built up over the last year and already he has an impressive body of music behind him. Fans of fellow Australians Flume and Ta-ku will almost no doubt be straight into this – Nothing Lasts Forever is fresh, scissor sharp and worth immersing yourself deeply within.

Feki - Nothing Lasts Forever

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Why After 20 Years Of Receiving The NME We're Cancelling Our Subscription

We've been subscribing to the NME for a long time now - ever since we realised that pop music was more than just entertainment and a way of life. Like any relationship, we've had our ups and downs, we've even flirted and had affairs with others, but we've always come back, embracing the changes, from its ink-on-the -hands newspaper form to the smaller glossy cover magazine of today. We even survived the Conor McNicholas as editor era when the cracks really started to appear and the magazine seemed to place big names and self-importance over quality journalism. (Connor went on to edit Top Gear afterwards - we think this says all you need to know).

But the time has come for a trial separation. It's a case of "it's me not you," but whatever way we look at it, we've sadly grown apart.

In Roddy Doyle's book The Commitments the opening pages describe the character Jimmy Rabbitte, a man who is always on the pulse with the latest new music. “Jimmy knew what was what. Jimmy knew what was new, what was new but wouldn’t be for long and what was going to be new. Jimmy had Relax before anyone had heard of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and he’d started slagging them months before anyone realised that they were no good. Jimmy knew his music.”

We've always considered ourselves a bit like Jimmy. We're constantly excited by the new, how music changes over time and are constantly thrilled by those changes, be they in indie, folk, electronic, rock n roll, dance, whatever. The NME used to be a part of that thrill and knowing what was what. But now when it pops through our letter box every Wednesday morning we flick quickly through it, shrug and put it to one side.

What's changed? What's gone wrong? Why has our long term love affair waned over the last few years and died? Here's why. The reasons aren’t particularly a revelation….

1. We can get the thrill of the new elsewhere instantly in more than just words.

Every week we scan through NME's Radar section (the new music part of the mag). What we see is a bunch of bands that in the main we've already come across on the blogs (or written about on our own blog) in the weeks, months or even years before. But unlike the blogs we can't press play and listen to them right there and then. In today's on-the-go society that's needed. Plus the short paragraphs of text describing the music the NME use really aren't anything different to a typical blog post, so in effect these pages are just a weaker cousin of what's already out there – except you have to pay for it.

There's a certain irony that when bands get featured in the NME's Radar section that people seem to celebrate it as being important and giving the band some sort of credibility. Yet really what does it achieve for the band? In our direct experience through the artists we have talked to, with only 15,000 purchasers / week less people will go and listen to the band’s music because of an NME Radar feature than if a typical small scale blog like Breaking More Waves features the act.
2. The constant search for the next big white male indie guitar band bores us

Come on guys. Superfood? Really? Have they offered sexual favours to the writers of NME or something? They seem to get an awful lot of coverage for a very average band. But then that's just our taste - and that's the problem - maybe our tastes aren't as in sync these days.

Sure, we get it that the NME is meant to be the place to go for new white indie guitar bands but once again we can find about all these acts from blogs and websites if we want to (for free) - and whilst we hate the 'guitar music is dead' mentality, (Honeyblood for example have made one of our favourite records of the year)  NME's over reliance on celebrating  so many very average indie bands in an environment where our personal tastes are much broader means that we've begun to question why we buy it.

3. The journalism should be the star as much as the music. It isn't now.

As the words brand has become as important to the NME as band its journalism has become more and more corporate in style. It's not that's its bad journalism, in fact we'd argue the last few years (from the point where Krissi Murison took over as editor) have seen an improvement in the quality of the writing with some excellent long-form articles, but there's very little character in the writing. Which brings us onto point 4…..

4. Opening up the NME just doesn't excite anymore.

The NME used to be our leader through the exciting and turbulent seas of new music and indie rock spelt out by attitude laden, exciting voices. Now the leader has been overthrown by the masses online. It's that online mass that we, like many others, now turn to.