This four piece band from the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne have been around too long to qualify for a post on The Recommender’s main section, (as that’s reserved for the discovery of only the freshest cuts), but today we focus on a new video they’ve released that’s so special we simply couldn’t resist giving it our spotlight.

For those unfamiliar with the band, they jam out the kind of edgy guitars familiar with Foals, with the added twinkle of Vampire Weekend. Perhaps an obvious yet helpful comparison could offer up the aesthetic of The Maccabees. It’s music packed with many strengths, all poured over with intelligent lyrics, as the group claim as much inspiration from reading books as they do musicians for their heartfelt atmospheric stories.

And so to this remarkable video, directed by Aoife McArdle, (who has also worked with the likes of Clock Opera and Shy Child). It does something very special and it’s caused us to sit up – watch it below and we are sure it will capture your attention too.

Like a series of photographs, the video paints us a real landscape of council estates, hooded teenagers and a working class counter-culture. Our country isn’t all green, rolling hills, or a cosmopolitan London – it’s a awash with sites that are run down and bricked up. A land of rust and broken glass, of detritus and fry ups, of the plastic and synthetic.

The genres that this band dabble in are so often associated with the middle classes, with descriptions like ‘math rock’ or adjectives such as ‘intellectual’ banded around, yet this band have created a video for their new single, Isles, that serves up an image of the UK that most British people need to see, let alone those readers from abroad.

The lyrics yearn with the voice of an observer trying to pull hope from the bleak constraints of a broken land. They speak of never “looking up to see the stars” and of the ignored hope inside the working classes, before hitting an anthemic, touching chorus. It’s a Britain a lot of us have seen but it’s rarely re-visited by many.

View All Photos | myspace.com/jazzylemon © | Little Comets

It’s the honesty and visceral imagery inside the song and particularly its extraordinary video that shows us something as endearing as it is repulsive to those outside of it. It’s a Britain where we are found to be as proud of our grit as we are our authenticity. It’s Sean Meadows’ England, or Mike Smith‘s poetic ship yards. That’s this countries majority – we are there – this is ours.

The band fell out with their major label, Columbia, over issues surrounding their previous album, so they now find themselves in a new position, releasing through the independent label, Dirty Hits. If this fresh beginning continues to produce charming tracks of this calibre then freeing themselves from what they’ve called the “grizzly clutches” will prove to be a well placed slap in the major label’s faces.

Watch the video, stream the single, which is released on the 18th October, and download the orchestral version which they’ve handed to us as a free addition. You can also catch them live as they tour the UK throughout October, often in support of Darwin Deez at selected shows.






Do you know what the ‘Iambic Pentameter’ is?  It’s something we want to discuss today as we feel there’s a similar thing found in music.  There’s a certain pace of a beat that seems to fit so well inside our heads and it’s a difficult one to pin down or describe, but when you hear it, particularly in electronic music, it just feels right.  Perhaps it’s the way it’s played? Perhaps it’s that it’s a great beat to move to, allowing steps between the beats, so you can dance with ease to it?  Perhaps it’s something to do with how it matches the beat of your heart, or on a deeper level psychologically – the beat of your mother’s heart in the womb.  The Iambic Pentameter is usually associated with the rhythm of poetry or language and where or how you stress parts of each sentence.  It’s a trick that Shakespeare mastered and is commonly used – whether we know we ‘re doing it or not – when we speak in English.  It’s about pace, comfort and being easy on the ear.  This is where we get to a new trio from Belgium called Villa, who have been found floating about the remix market rather a lot in over the last year or so.  They seem to have nailed down the art of a beat that’s so comfortable you may begin to notice that your limbs move autonomously.  It’s a beat born in the disco halls of the 70s, with that familiar thump-clap-thump-clap that’s so easy to nod to.  It’s something that they’ve used very successfully time and again with the majority of their many remixes, from Gorillaz, to Ali Love, to Moby, to Keane, to The C90s, to Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and another disco-infused act, The Golden Filter, among others.  You may not like everyone on their selected list, but because they twist each original track into a floor-filling masterclass they bypass any disdain.  Notably, they often still maintain the original songs vocals, which is a trick all the best remixers seem to follow – to leave the bones of the tune, whilst still carving out a new piece of music.  They plan to have another push in the coming weeks of their excellent re-take on the Nacht Und Nebel’s 1984 hit, Beats Of Love, which features vocals by Lou Hayter of the exciting UK band, The New Sins, and rather fondly reminds us of the hypnotic Fan Death.  Expect classic disco strings, their signature mid-tempo and a set of sensual but equally deadpan vocals (yes, just like all the best 70s disco!).  We all know a good remix is a great way to get noticed in these modern times, but if you can back it up with a cover this fresh and original then our hearts will follow you long after the Iambic Pentameter has stopped.   (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        VILLA – BEATS OF LOVE ft THE NEW SINS


Hear them here:        MOBY – WAIT FOR ME (VILLA REMIX)


Hear them here:         THE C90S – 10.01 (VILLA REMIX)

Hear them here:        KEANE – CLEAR SKIES (VILLA REMIX)





Today’s post feels like it could have simply been another update in a series of articles focussed on electro pop female solo artists on this blog.  Everyone knows that there’s been a lengthy queue of talented women carving out successful solo careers in the UK in recent years and Leelou fits so naturally into that family tree that her career could have been written on a napkin 12 months ago following the success of Marina & The Diamonds, Florence & The Machine, etc.  However, this is no contrived creation, like some Simon Cowell factory line, but more a natural evolution from the successes of pop’s recent past.  The path through this effeminate hierarchy takes us slightly off the electro end of pop when you reach The Good Natured, who took more cues from Bat For Lashes than Madonna, swiftly followed by Yadi, who added in a little percussion in place of the synths.  Most recently Recommendered on this avenue was FOE, who ditched the polish by bringing us elements of grunge, but with it an alluring sexuality and a gritty edge.  As we reach the latest junction we uncover Leelou, (aka Rebekah Dobbins), who has paired up with Paul Simm (Sugababes, Neneh Cherry, Amy Winehouse), and created the kind of pop that’s heavily dipped in a form of post punk that was first established in the late 1970s with Siouxsie & The Banshees.  If this influence turns out to be a sign of things to come then it would feel like the history of stylish, confident, female solo artists has come full circle.  How very tidy, but its way too early to make such neat suggestions.  Leelou’s music is often packed with brushed guitar riffs and driving drums, but there is a pop artist at its heart.  Consider it to perhaps be more a gothic version of  Kim Wilde, rather than a full-on Siouxsie Soux, especially with her striking looks, but even more so when you reach the sing-along choruses and (rather basic) lyrics, “We’ve made a fire, don’t put it out“.   Thankfully her edge is swiftly recovered by selecting some excellent people to collaborate with – firstly with Tessa Pollitt, of The Slits, whose addition provides an obvious grit to the inflected vocals.  Additionally, there’s a collaboration with different areas of the fashion and art worlds, pulling in favours for her video for Gasoline, (see below), from designers such as Atlanta Weller, Bordelle, Hannah Martin, House of Harlot, Tour de Force, with Ruth Crawford as art director.  The debut EP, Kiss. Death. Love. Come,  is out on 8th November on Deathless Records (pre-order it here). We have only one slightly worrying question after all this – if female solo artists are evolving at this rate and with this much dynamic quality, what’s happened to all the men!?  (MB)

Find her here:        Myspace

Hear her here:        LEELOU – GASOLINE


Hear her here:        LEELOU – BURN YOUR HOUSES DOWN

Here her here:        LEELOU – KISS LIKE CARNIVORES




All budding artists could take a note from Glasser – if you’re going to make music and you find yourself getting to the stage where you’re signed and recording material, please aim for the stars and don’t stop until you reach them.  If you don’t quite manage it then perhaps that retail job isn’t so bad when you re-consider.  Not that Glasser, (real name Cameron Mesirow), was ever destined for retail, with a mother that tasted the charts back in the 80s, with the band Human Sexual Response and a father who was a member of the odd-ball stage show Blue Man Group.  Following a few brief temptations that have been calling out to us from the mist since mid-2009, with tours supporting the likes of Sigur Ros and The XX, Glasser are now ready to release the debut album, Rings.  The music blogs have enjoyed ameliorating that mist ever since, with buzzing plaudits and much online salivation.  On board for the album is Matt Popieluch, from Recommender favourites, Foreign Born, who are masters of yearning alt folk with a little pop and a little indie found at either edge.  We consider that band to be Autumnal and cosy, where as Glasser is the leaf blower, clearing the clutter with synths and strings in place of the acoustic guitars.  Much like our recent post on Niki And The Dove, with comparisons to Natasha Kahn and Liz Fraser, you will hear celestial vocals, but Cameron is colder, more like the wintery Fever Ray, or the upcoming IAmAmIWhoAmI.  However, the synths never buzz, rather they drift in waves and the melodies are floating in a motionless freeze.  Tracks such as Plane Temp will remind you of Enya at her most pointless, with intangible vocals, but it’s still enchanting and just as pretty.  Things warm up a little with tracks such as Glad, which sounds like one long pause for thought, or the album opener Apply, which sounds like she drafted in the Doozers on drums.  Tremmel oxygenates things once again hitting the kind of vocal notes that would make sirens seem baritone.  The whole album fixes a stare upon you from the start and it’s unease never lets up throughout, although this is no ambuscaded attack, for it’s more like receiving a long glance from a strikingly beautiful member of the opposite sex – the kind that disarms you right before their eventual smile warms your heart.  Rings is released on the hot indie label True Panther Sounds this week – you can buy it here.  Whether or not Glasser makes it to the aforementioned stars that she’s aiming for, one thing is sure, on this evidence, the trip was worth it.   (MB)

Find her here:          Myspace

Hear her here:         GLASSER – APPLY

Hear her here:         GLASSER –TREMMEL (JAMIE XX REMIX)





Bands made up from former employees of the music industry isn’t a particularly new story.  Out of all the artists covered on The Recommender it is a trick that’s perhaps impressed us most with We Have Band, formerly of EMI, but here we turn our attention to a new Toronto duo, Freedom Or Death, who called the major label Sony home for over ten years.  Those who leave major labels will have had a vital education, giving them crucial insider knowledge and what is perhaps most on show with this new act is a keen refusal to play by the industries rules.  It’s as if Steve Fernandez and studio partner Sway are setting themselves up as staunch independents, as seen with their selection of a band name.  Freedom Or Death was chosen as a descriptor for their art, so important was their creativity that they’ve sworn to protect its freedom, rather than have the record labels try to kill it off.  It ties in well as their name is the rallying call for revolutionaries the world over, from The Suffragette’s Emily Pankhurst to the 19th Century Greeks that the duo claim as inspiration – it’s a story of freeing one’s passions rather than allowing them to be abused.  It doesn’t reflect on the industry that well, but it’s also worth pointing out that they remain unsigned – a fact that cannot go ignored, as the real test will come when the industry comes knocking, for that will be a better indication of how much they really value their freedom.  Insider knowledge can prove helpful, if not actually powerful, however it’s the music that will open up the most opportunities and we are pleased to confirm that it stands a strong chance on this evidence.  The Crowded Room begins with chords reminiscent of Miike Snow‘s Animal and is a tidy example of the smooth synths that breathe throughout their new self-titled EP.  In fact all six tracks are packed with the scent of sophistication, with the drifting acoustics played over echoing drums – they even make the abrasive Pink seem symphonic with their cover of Sober.  The tracks mirror the likes of Sting or TV On The Radio at their most vulnerable, but although this is ultimately music with the kind of high-end production usually found in genres such as hip hop (Fernandez informed me that they’re both big hip hop junkies), you will notice that the beats are mainly kept in the background.  What the tunes lack in a driver they more than make up for with atmosphere and power, particularly with the charming vocals.  Stand out track, Lost In Dances, brings in the afro-beat from the start and it places a punch where the voice was focussing, allowing us to completely fall under their spell.  You too can get hypnotized by catching them live at New York’s CMJ Festival this October.  Don’t be surprised to see the major labels sniffing around as it would take more than a defection to put them off this scent, but one thing is certain – whilst they are free from shackles they’ve produced a consistently impressive set of mellifluous songs, so any label would be a fool to mess with them. (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        FREEDOM OR DEATH – LOST IN DANCES

Hear them here:        FREEDOM OR DEATH – SOBER




We’ve never covered OK GO on The Recommender before.  The main reason is that their music is a bit shit.  Oh alright, that’s a little harsh, but their music definitely suffers from heavy doses of averageness – a plight befitting many bands, guaranteeing them a miss on this blog, as we are proud bunch of very picky bastards.  So you would be forgiven for asking why we open our books to them today?

Well, there’s one outstanding feature of OK GO, which obviously is NOT their music – it’s their incredible videos.  They clearly save their inventiveness and effort for these astonishing showcases and as a consequence have become Youtube sensations – at the time of going to post this they had a total of 73,179,142 views on their Youtube channel for their main videos, winning awards for being the most creative music channel of any band on the giant website.

If that quantity of attention turned into sales of their singles, they would find themselves dominating the world’s  charts.  However, being great at one thing – perhaps the world’s best even – is something to be proud of.

Having watched their latest production, the brand new video for White Knuckles, which they uploaded just yesterday, we thought we would list five of their best to date, including their first sensational hit with Here It Goes Again.  We think you will agree that each video grows in both it’s scale and cost, but also in its grandeur, effort and results.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

1HERE IT GOES AGAIN (over 52 million hits)- This creative spark, produced four years ago, set off the inspiration for exceptional videos and spawned a thousand treadmill-based copies by fans, even having its idea ripped off for an advert.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

2WTF? (over 616,000) – The first of a new batch of videos created at the end of their relationship with major label, EMI.  Directed by Tim Nackashi, it’s the most colourful of all the videos – with bold hues becoming a bit of a theme for future productions.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

3THIS TOO SHALL PASS (over 16 million) – The fist of the new videos for their 2010 album, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky. This was the second version and most popular of two videos made by the band for this single.  We think you will agree that this giant Rube Goldberg-inspired set is a step up in scale, as well as song-writing.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

4END LOVE (over 2 million) – This summer saw the production of this new video with its stuttered time-lapse photography.  It’s nothing short of exceptional and must have been a mammoth effort to complete – notice that they even have to go to sleep mid-video at one point during the lengthy process.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

5WHITE KNUCKLES (over 800,000) –  The latest release from the band – this video arrived only yesterday, but already has over 800,000 views!  Once again it shows off an inventive video that you just know must have taken hundreds of attempts before they nailed it.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

We want to conclude by asking our readers which video they think is the best, but also which tune you prefer? Are the new songs stronger, perhaps raising the band’s appeal and finally providing the complete package?  How does the new video compare with its predessors?




To get your attention marketing has to be clever these days.  Very clever.  We now live in such a noisy and crowded environment, with millions of messages reaching us on a daily basis, that it’s virtually impossible to get noticed unless you do something remarkable.  It seems that, for the most part, traditional media has struggled in the age of the internet, even though they may be brilliant, they’re simply too slow and cumbersome as organisations to adapt.  We are over a decade into the wider public’s adoption of the internet, yet some of them are still failing.  The music blogger seemed to step in to this gap as naturally as a boxer to the ring, being as equally linked to their community as they are the musicians.  It was therefore only a matter of time before the bands cottoned on to this and started to sidestep traditional media, utilising our reach and hit their public.  It also married perfectly with the new DIY approach that bands were taking up online – who needs the traditional routes to market anymore?  This streamlined, interactive, direct approach has worked well for some time now and a precise example of how bloggers and bands can work together recently arrived with a video for The Pass.  The four piece from Louisville, Kentucky, who have perfected the art of monumental dance indie anthems, approached the excellent music blogger Zach, from We Listen For You, and requested he made a video for their tune Vultures.  His idea, (see the video below), was to create a collage of props and images that represent the names of over 39 music blogs.  What it lacks in polish, it makes up for in charm and outright fun.  As you would imagine, it swept around the blogosphere and Twitter like wildfire, as folk tried to guess all 39.  The winner received a copy of The Pass’s full length debut album, Burst.  Everybody seems to win in this clever – but by no means underhand – piece of marketing.  This is one of the buzz bands to watch for in 2010, with hit after hit in the waiting.  This kind of masterful, throbbing, upbeat indie is of the highest order, with bubbling synths and giant choruses.  Sounding in part like Passion Pit, it’s actually the album that The Killers would love to be able to make, if they weren’t so lost in the game.  They put it up for streaming in its entirety on their Soundcloud today.  The Pass officially release their work on September 21st, on Sona Blast Records, and we are pleased to state that it’s an LP that’s just as packed with fresh ideas as their commercial approach.   (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here

Hear them here

Hear them here

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