Friday, 31 July 2015

Preview - Dials Festival 2015

Dials Festival, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth - 3rd October 2015

We’re pretty sure that we’re not the only music blog that has dreamed of curating its own festival or stage at a festival. So when the organisers of Dials, a brand new multi venue new music event based in our home city approached us asking if we’d be interested in hand picking some of the bands on their bill, we jumped at the chance.

Dials is a brand new collaborative festival taking place in 5 venues in Southsea, Portsmouth on the 3rd October 2015. It was originally set up when organisers heard that the well established new music festival Southsea Fest was not running this year and whilst hugely disappointed, decided the show must go on, in the form of their own show.

The name Dials comes from the concept that the festival is being run by a co-operative of venue owners, promoters and other music professionals and enthusiasts from the Portsmouth area, who are passionate about bringing exciting new music to the south coast, helping support local musicians, venues, businesses and the community in the process. 

Breaking More Waves is one of those enthusiasts. Others include iconic independent music venue the Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth cultural website and store Strong Island together with their offshoot record label Strong Island Recordings,  Hong Kong Gardeners Club, who have in the past propagated new music nights that included the likes of Everything Everything, Dan Smith (before he became Bastille), The Joy Formidable and Django Django  in tiny rooms before anyone had heard of them. Plus us, Breaking More Waves Blog. Hi. 

You can see the full list of artists playing in the poster below, which includes national touring acts as well as musicians local to the Portsmouth area. 

Of course what we’re really excited about is the handful of acts that Breaking More Waves has helped deliver to the festival. There's plenty of noisy rock n roll, indie and such like on the bill, but with our selections we've tried to inject something a little different. Here they are:

Alice Jemima

It was way back in April 2011 when we first featured Devon based singer Alice Jemima, a then unsigned songwriter, and ever since then we’ve been championing her music to anyone who will listen. We’re proud of the fact that directly because of that championing (and of course Alice’s fantastic songs) she landed a Radio 1 session at Maida Vale and since that time she has slayed the internet; her cover version of No Diggity has built up over 2 million plays on Soundcloud – more plays than all the other artists at the festival put together. The last year or so we haven’t heard that much from Alice, but with some recent support slots with Laura Doggett, a showcase for Sunday Best recordings at Brighton’s Great Escape, a new self penned song Diamonds & Bones getting an airing on Radio 1 courtesy of Huw Stephens and appearances at this year’s Camp Bestival, Somersault and Bestival festivals it seems that Alice is finally readying herself for something pretty special. We’re very pleased and excited to be able to finally bring Alice Jemima to Portsmouth. One not to miss.

Chloe Black

“We could have a star on our hands,” we wrote about Chloe Black in October 2014 and now that star shines on Portsmouth. Self-tagged ‘goth ‘n’ soul’ singer Chloe had a big online hit with her lyrically morbid tune 27 Club and all the reports we’ve received since have confirmed that she can deliver live as well with a potent vocal and bags of charm. Prepare yourselves to fall in love with Miss Black in the Wedgewood Rooms.

Black Honey

Furious frenetic feedback frenzies, pop melodies to die for and a captivating and dramatic front woman, Brighton’s Black Honey have it all. It’s probably why they were one of the most written about bands by UK Hype Machine listed music bloggers in 2014 and featured on the Blog Sound of 2015 long list – music bloggers version of the ubiquitous BBC Sound of list. As we all know though, being ‘big on the internet’ doesn’t necessarily translate to being a great live band, but Black Honey absolutely do. When we saw them earlier this year we were blown away by their rawness, their musicianship, their tunes and their power. Another must see, they’ll be headlining the Edge of the Wedge stage.

Lyza Jane

In contrast to Black Honey’s energy and forcefulness, London’s Lyza Jane creates languid sounding experimental electronic pop infused with modern trip-hop beats not dissimilar to the likes of Banks, FKA Twigs and Tricky. She’s already played Glastonbury festival twice, supported Alabama 3 and recently worked with reggae royalty Ranking Joe. There will be plenty of rock and roll aggression on display at Dials, so slip into something more comfortable for a while with Lyza Jane.


Glass are a totally new duo from London of which not much is known yet. You certainly won't find their songs streaming on Soundcloud, Spotify or You Tube. They describe their music as 'Pop Hip-Op Crance'. Those with good internet search skills might recognise them from previous musical projects. As Dials is very much a new music festival and that means discovery, don't play safe - make Glass part of that discovery. This will be their first show outside of London. Arrive early before they're gone.

Curxes / Jerry Williams / Wyldest

Whilst we’ve selected acts from London, Devon and Brighton to play, Breaking More Waves is also pleased to give a nod to some of the local and emerging talent from the Portsmouth area, or acts that have Portsmouth connections. Curxes, Wyldest and Jerry Williams are three artists that we’ve featured on the blog a number of times and all of them will be cropping up somewhere on the Dials bill. So if audacious dark electronic music (Curxes) chiming ethereal guitar pop (Wyldest) or catchy acoustic pop (Jerry Williams) are your thing, then go watch all of these.They’ll be giving some of the national touring bands a run for their money.

Tickets for Dials are on sale from today and available locally from The Wedgewood Rooms, Pie & Vinyl, Strong Island’s store. You can also buy them online from this link. 

We recommend buying early as the current £15 price tag is for early birds only.

Keep an eye out for a shiny website for the festival coming real soon and in the meantime, check the Dials Facebook (here) and  enjoy the playlist below of most of the artists so far announced. More acts are still to be added to the bill.

You can follow Dials Festival on Twitter here

Buy tickets using this link

Put 3rd October in your diary now. 

Dials Playlist

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hazel English - It's Not Real

The second piece of jangly power pop from Hazel English (not her real name – see our previous post about her here if you want some more info that probably no other blog told you) carries on where the wistful Never Going Home left off. In a world where stadium EDM builds and mellow R ‘N’ B electronic jams have become so common place, it’s almost become possible to forget that any other form of pop music exists, especially something like this. For It’s Not Real sounds so lo-fi, so D-I-Y, so old school indie that it’s very old-fashioned style sounds refreshing. It’s a song for people who dance in a slightly awkward, shy, ‘please don’t look at me in the corner’ way. Floppy fringes are probably involved as well. There’s lots of people out there comparing Hazel’s sound to things like summer and the beach (well, it was in the PR email) but we think it would work equally well on a grey wet day. It’s as much rainy Manchester or drizzling Glasgow as it is sunny California. Anorak music for anorak types – and that’s a compliment not a criticism.

Hazel English - It's Not Real

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Starling - Misfit

Alas not a cover version of the Curiosity Killed The Cat ‘banger’ and therefore no opportunity to start a beret revival, but still a rather fascinating song all the same. “You can tell all the boys I don’t want to play,” Starling sings defiantly on Misfit, the b-side to the drop dead beautiful Take It Down, which introduced her to the world last month. If you haven’t heard that yet, then your ears are missing out on a treat, click here. Words like ghostly and brooding were designed for Misfit, this piano based song existing in its own unsettling world that would probably consist of a shadowy underground space lit by a solitary candle.

Starling plays her first headline show at Servant Jazz Quarters, London on the 29th October.

Starling - Misfit

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

XYLO - Afterlife

5 facts / opinions / things about Xylo and their third song, Afterlife, which has just been released to the online world (we’ve already streamed their other two songs here and here).

1. That early Broods comparison we made in the two previous posts continues with Afterlife. That is to say it’s brother-sister created electronic pop but with a bit of an edge, a bite, a staring out at the world and feeling sad and scared streak to it.

2. Xylo look cool. Look at them. They look like they sort of people we’d like to hang out with in trendy bars and cafes and talk about all the unquestionably cool books, films and music that they almost undoubtedly know about, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re just not damn swell enough to even be in their presence. What does that have to do with their music we hear you serious ‘real music’ fans ask? Everything. If we need to explain to you why sometimes it’s important for pop stars to look amazing (in this case it looks like they've stepped out of some gritty Hollywood gangster film) then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. 

3. Apparently Zane Lowe premiered this on his Beats Radio show. We guess right now, in terms of popular culture, getting your song premiered on Beats Radio is about as good as it gets. 

4. Afterlife is very good. OK that last sentence isn’t going to get quoted on any future press releases by their publicity people, but trust us it is. What we particularly like is the swearing. Yes we know it’s not big or clever, but a pop song that features lines like ‘I need a f*cking holiday’ gives it that bit of weighty passion doesn’t it? Of course it also needs a good tune, and in this respect all the requisite things are there; hooks and melody are present and correct.

5. We don't normally do negativity on the blog, but this time feel that it has to be said. The ending’s a bit rubbish. It’s a fade. In the Rules of Pop Chapter 8, paragraph 7.2 specifically rules out the fade as a suitable ending in 2015. But then when you think about it, Xylo can do what the hell they want. They don't need an imaginary pop rulebook created by a blogger. Still, we think the ending is lacking. Sorry Xylo. Otherwise (we repeat) very good indeed.

Xylo - Afterlife