Archive for November, 2008

29
Nov
08

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 17

   

I’ve had a couple of tantalising gigs waft past my ears recently, so time to share in a generous-kind-of-Xmassy-sort-of-way. Tis the season to be jolly and all. Get involved and you won’t be disappointed. Do I ever let you down? OK, forget that shite performance by…um…no, thinking about it, I never let you down…

 

NME TOUR 2009

A new year begins and so another NME Tour rolls into town for it’s annual jaunt around the UK. This time hitting the Dome theatre with a larger capacity. Cue hordes of Brighton’s trendy teens en masse. They’re sticking to their trusted formula of four bands as the showcase. First on the bill will be the UK’s gorgeous answer to Ida Maria, Florence And The Machine with her troop of eclectic catchy Indie pop tuneage. Next up you should catch a band just about getting their fingertips over the edges of Radio One airplay, White Lies. With their New Romantic Rock, they’re placed too close on the shelf to The Bravery for me, but there you go . Third on the bill are the highlight of the night, Friendly Fires. Their self-titled album, released back in September, was a true highlight of 2008. When they hit their peaks they’re unreachable and live they give it an additional notch all together, especially watching both of the Ed’s (the frontman and the lead guitarist) hit it out. Lastly that night, a band that are NME darlings, (but then so was Pete Doherty and he’s a lost twat), the Scottish 4-piece Glasvegas. They ain’t bad and to be fair I’ve never seen them live, but for some reason their wave just didn’t wash upon my shore. The best thing to do in these circumstances is at the very least give them go. When have you ever taken my word as bible eh?

ACTS:                    FLORENCE & THE MACHINE, WHITE LIES, FRIENDLY FIRES, GLASVEGAS
VENUE:                  BRIGHTON DOME, Brighton
COST:                    £ 16.00
DATE:                    Monday 16th February 2009 
WEBSITES:            NME.com

 

WILD BEASTS

Just as you thought you were over the painful fact that Christmas and New Year had buggered up your wallets and you were climbing slowly closer to you bank account resembling something of normality – think again. Money will surely be flying back out of your account once more because February holds as much good live talent on our South shores as any previous year. Of the wide selection of acts performing for our pleasure this month I emplore you to check out this excellent group. I first fell in love with them after hearing one of my favourite songs of the year, Devils Crayon. Two singers, Tom and Hayden, the former providing the Edwyn Collins styled vocals and the latter giving us the tender Falsetto, almost reminiscent of Alison Moyet in part! The 4-piece’s sound is a guitar-based clambering brilliant piece of pop, that nestles somewhere inbetween nobody else. You won’t quite be able to shelve them and that’s definitely part of their charm. Set up in the tiny venue, Audio, this will be a truly up close and personal encounter not to be missed.

ACT:                      WILD BEASTS
VENUE:                  AUDIO, Brighton
COST:                    £ 8.00
DATE:                    Friday 20th February 2009
WEBSITES:            Myspace    Last.fm

 

So that’s yet another reliably fantastic recommendation for a couple of nights out in the new year. Get over Xmas save up your pennies as best you can once more and get busy foot tapping…
Mike

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24
Nov
08

Q & A – LITTLE BOOTS

Q & A – LITTLE BOOTS

 

To catch a star is no mean feat. Victoria Hesketh, better known as the delectable Little Boots, is one such star that’s truly in the ascendancy.

I first approached Little Boots for this Q & A a few months ago, but she’s blown up so much in the music press since that she’s been dragged across Europe, across America and back again, so she simply couldn’t grab any spare time for my Q’s.

It’s all totally understandable of course, as she ticks just about every box on the music media’s list –  creative musical talent, impossibly gorgeous looks that mean women want to be her and men want to be with her, bags of style and costume to hold any front page, true musical pedigree having fronted previous girl band Dead Disco, she even ticks the box that’s labelled ‘something different’ by holding intimate personal shows, in her own bedroom on Youtube – how ‘new media’ is that?!

It really is a powerful concoction. And we haven’t even elaborated on what she actually sounds like -namely a perfect pop craft of electro synths, pounding 4-beats, delicate Kate Bush styled vocals and sing-along chorus’. She will ride the charts as well as she will the underground, being found as easily on Hype.fm as Radio One and that’s a talent that surely deserves attention.

And so to the Q & A. Here is your Recommender introduction to Little Boots. Nothing too deep, I just ask for an overview and a little insight from them…


1)
You’ve been busy, so how are you and what have you been up to of recent?

I’m just on the way back from a gig in Newcastle, its snowing and we’re watching ‘Stop Making Sense’ , the Talking Heads documentary in the bus. We’re halfway through the Automatic Lovers Tour around the UK with an amazing band called Heartbreak, which we have planned with special disco guests in each city. We’re also doing a limited split 7″ single and merchandise you can only buy on the tour so its quite exciting to try and do something special like this.

2)You have many Youtube’s posted with you sitting at home playing your songs, giving the fans a real honest, fun, light-hearted, personable view of you as an artist. Are you the world’s first pop star that’s successfully utilised Youtube in such a way?
I have no idea, I don’t really pay much attention to other people’s Youtube channels! Its just something I started doing messing around one day and I seemed to really connect with people, that’s how I spend most of my time if I get days off just messing around making music in my t-shirt and pants in my room. I think it works because they are very raw. Usually just one take recorded on a web cam. I’ll have worked it out 5 minutes before so you get a sense of immediacy and honesty, as well as it exposing the process of making music.

3)What made you turn to showcasing yourself online in this fresh, modern format? Now you are breaking through, do you think you will ever return to it?
I still do them when I get a chance. I just have less time now, but whenever I get spare moments I will still do it.

4) Why do you think it’s grabbed so much attention?
Kind of answered this in 2 if thats ok.

5) You always had toys (I recall a regular slot for a golden cat and a unicorn), joining you as you played, so what’s with their appearances?
I dunno just a stupid joke thing, they were lying around so I put them in and then they kind of became good luck charms.

6)There’s a fair few singers/songwriters desperately trying to reach us through Youtube, but do you see it as a serious outlet for future artists or is your success a one-off?
Its the world’s number one website so its definitely a place where you can reach people and get ideas across, but I find unless another site or blog links to the videos they won’t really get that many views unless you get featured. Also there’s a lot of rubbish on Youtube which I don’t think everyone has the patience to trawl through so I doubt it will because it’s not as important for new bands as something like Myspace. You have to do something really original or genuine to stand out and get noticed.

7)In what other ways do you utilise the online communities to communicate with your fans?
I have a blog that I’m very active on and I post regularly, its very interactive and a lot of people comment and I reply, so is the forum. I also run a Myspace and coordinate all the designs and ideas on the page, I have a Facebook account too but don’t really use that one as much. There’s also a mailing list where I always try to do something different and give away some stuff.

8 ) For those readers new to Little Boots how would you describe your ‘sound’? Who are your main influences and favourite artists?
I would say its hopefully well written pop songs that everyone can enjoy, with interesting production mainly on synthesizers but a more warm and organic sound rather than the slick, cold kind of synthesized pop that’s popular. Some favourite artists are Kate Bush, David Bowie, Gary Numan, Cyndi Lauper, The Beach Boys and more recently Metronomy, Hot Chip, Heartbreak, Fan Death.

9) Where does the name ‘Little Boots’ come from? Do people call you this in person, or is it simply a ‘stage name’?
It was a nickname from a friend which comes from the Roman Emperor ‘Calligula‘ which is Latin for Little Boots. Most friends still call me Victoria, although a lot of people I work with have started calling me Boooooots or Bootsie!!

10) You’ve recently played a few live gigs, including in my local town of Brighton, so how have you been received?
Really well, we have played Brighton 4 times now which is more than anywhere else, and the last one was sold out. We recently sold out the ICA in London which was great, although sad that we had to turn so many people away including lots of friends. I have gained a lot of confidence from the early gigs where I was worrying too much about the technological side of things which is very complicated, and now I just really enjoy performing and interacting with the crowd.

11) Do you have enough tracks written for an album and what will your debut be called? Any heads up on who is producing for you? Is there any release date planned?
We have enough but I want to have more than enough to choose from so I am doing one more month in the studio in LA after we finish touring Europe in December, then it will hopefully be all tied up by the end of January. There are a few producers but mainly Greg Kurstin who produces Kylie, Lilly Allen, Peaches etc. and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip, as well as a track with Jas from Simian Mobile Disco and a few others. The release date is unknown yet but will be sometime 2009.

12)Just so you can become an honorary Recommender, do you know of any new bands/acts/DJ’s that have recently caught your eye that you’d like to recommend to us?
I mentioned them before in my influences but Heartbreak are brilliant, also I love Fan Death from New York. We had a guy play with us the other night called Anoraak from France who is also very good. And there’s a band called Pollyester and I liked what I heard.

13) What is next for Little Boots?
Touring UK… then Germany… then Italy… then maybe have a little time off with my boyfriend and family for Xmas, who knows?? Probably not knowing my luck! Then recording in LA, then finish album, shoot videos, do all that stuff… more touring… maybe festivals? maybe release some music???! would be good!. fingers crossed 2009.

Boots x

OK, I hope that helped you gain a little more from your dose of The Recommender. Got a ‘Best Of 2008’ list coming up in the next few days, so get yourselves back here for more from us real soon…
Mike

 

22
Nov
08

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 16

 

So as The Recommender blog looks ahead to 2009 we find there’s plenty of bright highlights that we can already look forward to. The spring is looking particularly sweet, with two of the UK’s shining examples of powerful Indie turning up to blow us away. Enjoy.


LATE OF THE PIER

Having had the magical hands of the dance legend Erol Alkan helping to produce their debut album they are continuing to blow up in the UK scenes. We first caught them live supporting Justice at The Astoria in London and it proved to be one hell of a ticket as they threw out a highly energetic performance. They are all danceable, space age Indie with a unique sound. They’re a superbly creative and artistic group, who prove to have a mesmerising live set so pop down to Concorde 2, a venue that’s a perfect size for them at this stage of their careers, for a night to remember.

ACT:                     LATE OF THE PIER
VENUE:                 CONCORDE 2
COST:                   £ 9.50
DATE:                   Wednesday 18th February 2009
WEBSITES:           Myspace     Last.fm


THE ENEMY

Another look ahead to 2009 and we see that these guys are heading into town. They may be an big band, in a big venue, but that’s nothing compared to the size of their live sound. They’ve gone from strength to strength since bringing out their debut album in early 2007 and their thumping, sing-along songs are perfect for a live set. Massive chords and pounding beats are thrown at the crowd with a buzzing energy that’s not been seen since the pomp of Kasabian or the attitude of Oasis, (two bands that definitely have more than a little drip of inspiration in The Enemy’s sound and character). Tom leads the line brilliantly with his chest stuck out and a snarling grit in his voice. This gig is part of a lengthy UK tour which will no doubt sell out everywhere, so grab yourself a ticket for them whilst you still can.

ACT:                     THE ENEMY
VENUE:                 BRIGHTON DOME
COST:                   £ 18.00
DATE:                   Wednesday 8th April 2009
WEBSITES:           Myspace    Last.fm

Make sure you keep up to date with The Recommender through 2009 as we continue to bring you the world’s musical highlights. The ride goes on…

Mike

20
Nov
08

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 13

A little tour away from my usual music-based ramblings here because, quite frankly, I’m sooooo excited about this new movie I could pop.

For the unintitated, there’s been a new movie made of the legendary comic book, WATCHMEN. It’s a superhero comic novel that’s been a cult hit since it’s introduction in the late 1980’s. It’s dark, broody and bloody fantastic. On first viewings the film looks to be doing it justice.

It’s released in 2009 and this is the second of the teaser trailers. Prepare for goose bumps…

Tha’ts it for the film diversions – back to another Recommender posting real soon.
Mike

16
Nov
08

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 16

With some of the world’s best profile photographers now on board, magazines lining up to interview The Recommender, and visitors arriving in their thousands every day now, you are now part of a blog that’s growing and developing in front of your very eyes. Just another handful of reasons for you lovely people to keep on coming back. Now, back to the real reason for it’s existence  – totally awesome tuneage…

ENFANT TERRIBLE
Landed on my feet here with this super-hot new, unsigned, French band. They approached me via Myspace and kindly dropped me their mp3’s. They are totally superb. I love it when fresh meat discoveries like this pop up and give you goosebumps all over. Their dance-pop-electro-madness sound is somewhere between CSS and Crystal Castles. Remember when you first heard the cute, badly-pronounced lyrics of Lovefoxxx from CSS, mixed over a melody-mad chorus, tinged with the echo of Alice Glass’ vocals and Ethan Kath’s stripped down basics and you’re right on the button. The upbeat backdrops with sharp guitars and an 8-bit, ZX Spectrum keyboard accompaniment, makes you smile broadly. Totally irresistible.

Find them here:   Myspace

Hear them here:  ENFANT TERRIBLE – I CAN’T HELP MYSELF

THE BIG PINK
This two-piece from London came wafting by my ears when I located them on the fantastic website, Styleslut. Milo and Robbie also seem to pair up on occasion with a third member who plays the drums for them; the crazy but gorgeous Akiko Matsuura, from the bands Pre and Comanechi. The Big Pink seem to hark back to a day when Manchester sold us every album going. There’s definitely a Primal Scream flavour to them, which is a fantastic thing, but it drops the guitaring for a psychedelic bass rumble. It’s not too retro as they are definitely pushing that sound in a brilliant, modern direction. It’s almost more Chemical Brothers, were they to mash up ‘One Too Many Mornings’ with ‘Life is Sweet’. It’s totally enchanting and will have you hooked.

 

Find them here:     Myspace

Hear them here:    THE BIG PINK – TOO YOUNG TO LOVE

THE GOLDEN FILTER
About time I did a post on this, following their Gig List posting. They describe themselves as secretive and so we don’t know what they look like or any specific info on them as people, apart from that they hail from New York, which leaves us the bare bones to pick over – the music. Thank fuck it’s this good then. An electric-pop sound, sometimes very danceable indeed, sometimes of a slower pace, flows behind the sexy, irresistible vocals. Singing this pure and lovely simply must be from a woman that I imagine to be stunningly beautiful! It’s like Division Kent or St.Etienne having the French DJ Danger jamming behind them. Light and gorgeous. Instantly loveable. The blogs – Big Stereo and Discodust – grabbed them first back in the summer, but as The Golden Filter turn up to play in my town of Brighton in the coming weeks it was time to turn my attention to them. I’m glad I did as it’s solid gold stuff.

Find them here:     Myspace    Last.fm

Hear them here:     THE GOLDEN FILTER – SOLID GOLD

Hope this helped shove a couple more fresh bands down your musical gullets. Return here for more lovingly plucked highlights from the world’s music real soon. Got the ‘Best Of 2008’  list being drafted as we speak, so that’s going to be ram-jammed full of lovelies.

Mike

13
Nov
08

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 12

       
       Photo by Mark Hunter
Photo by Mark Hunter      
Photo by Mark Hunter      Photo by Mark Hunter

GOOD NEWS for The Recommender…

I’ve received confirmation that this blog now has permission to upload and contain any photographic images by three of LA’s finest style photographers. Their images are to be found at the top of every How Good Is This!!!??? section from here on in. It’s just that photography is a passion of mine and quite frankly there’s nothing wrong with cranking up the cool factor on your blog as far as I’m concerned…

All three are super-keen scenesters of the Los Angeles cooler-than-cool club scene. They document various beautiful people at just about every club and party event worth being at. They have that natural gift to capture hipster-culture and their fantastic eye for a moment provides us with a wealth of work.

MARK HUNTER (aka COBRASNAKE)

Mark Cobrasnake

Mark hunter runs Cobrasnake. You can find his photography here – http://thecobrasnake.com

RONY ALWIN

Rony Alwin’s photography can be found here  – http://ronysphotobooth.com

KID PAPARAZZI

Kid Paparazzi’s photography can be found here – http://www.kidpaparazzi.com/

As a personal thank you to Mark, Rony and William for emailing me with their confirmed permissions and messages, I’m going to list the tune that is not only a top-drawer club thumper, but that also details the precise scene that these photographers extensively cover so effortlessly in LA.

BUSY P Ft. MURS – TO PROTECT AND ENTERTAIN (Crookers Remix)

Check out there work and spread the love…
Mike

09
Nov
08

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 15

 

Got a couple of winter-warmer gigs to throw your way today. One is a totally fresher than fresh new act and the other is a band that’s about as established as it gets – both are totally way-way-out-there cool! The Dome, one of Brighton’s larger venues, seems to be stealing the best of the big bands these days. On the other end of the scale the smaller New Hero club seems to be the most cutting edge, due in no small part to the excellent work done there by Henron.

ELBOW
Following their fantastic collection of the much-sought-after Mercury Music Prize earlier this year they are continuing on their UK tour. It hits Brighton at the start of the next leg at The Dome, a venue that I think will prove to be the perfect size for their atmospheric, hopeful, powerful music. Catching them live you will be able to hear Guy Garvey’s vocals punch the notes perfectly – a sight that is truly remarkable when witnessed in person. Not that the album’s production doesn’t also do him justice, its just that this fella really can sing so bloody well live. There’s a fantastic juxtaposition when you see a big, working class, northern man, create a sound so beautiful with his voice. A band in the true sense, sharing all writing credits and the subsequent royalties five ways, they bond on stage brilliantly. The gig may be three months away but I list it here now as tickets will surely sell out fast, so make sure you catch the award-winning album, plus the best of the rest of their brilliant back-catalogue, as well as the awesome show closer, On A Day Like This.

ACT:                     ELBOW
VENUE:                 THE DOME, Brighton
COST:                   £ 22.50 (plus booking free)
DATE:                   Saturday 28th February 2009
WEBSITE:             Myspace    Last.fm

THE GOLDEN FILTER
It seems a lot of new artists are coming through this year with their identity kept a total mystery. The Golden Filter do just that. Perhaps a lack of an identity creates a buzz as people search for info on them? Perhaps it’s just to shunt us busy bloggers? Perhaps, in this age of communication and profiling, a lack of names and faces adds a refreshing touch? For once you cannot pigeon hole them, dress like them, replicate them or judge them as people, you can only cast opinion on the music. And what a fantastic sound it is too. They deliberately pursue being secretive, but there is no doubting that the music is enticing enough. I will be giving them their own Recommender posting in the near future, where I’ll be elaborating more about their contagiously cute Electro-Disco-Pop. Go hunt them out and discover the big reveal for yourselves at New Hero this November.

ACT:                    THE GOLDEN FILTER
VENUE:                Somewhere In The Universe… @ NEW HERO
COST:                  £ tbc
DATE:                  Friday 21st November 2008
WEBSITE:            Myspace   Last.fm

Two great gigs, one this year, one in 2009. At least we can bridge the new year with plenty to look forward to in Brighton.

Mike




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