Archive for April, 2009



Thanks to all those readers/subscribers from the USA for responding to our requests for a new contributor to this blog. The gates are still open as we review the efforts. No decisions will be made for a few weeks yet, so if you haven’t yet let us know your interest then email us at – Good luck…

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


Making waves are precisely what this Liverpool 4-piece are currently doing. The vertiable tsunami they travel with swiftly crashed into Brighton’s shoreline recently as they were playing a support slot for the excellent We Have Band. We went along to catch the show and what a shockingly fantastic set it turned out to be! So often the support acts are found playing to an empty room with little atmosphere and are uncomfortably positioned as fluffers to the main act. Well not in this case. They stood tall and had us mesmerised from the very start. Having met up with them afterwards, mainly to thank them and to extol just what an impression they had made on us, we can confirm they are friendly, enjoyable fellas in person too. Their sound is totally addictive. On track ‘Keep The Lights On‘ you will find them switching from verses sung with the hope removed “Leave and lead yourself astray, tell yourself that everythings OK“, to choruses that are sung with a beautiful higher pitch and a shift in optimism “If I get up I’ll hold your hand“. It has the chopping changes that you would locate in a Beck tune, the breezy, under-your-skin cinematic quality of Roxy Music, and a little Lo-Fi Funk that Prince would embrace! This is one wave you definitely have to catch…

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here :       WAVE MACHINES – KEEP THE LIGHTS ON (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


This London 4-piece come packaged with an awesome energy, but be warned it’s like being lured into a dark alley by Fagan, but should you fall for the spell you will find that you are well rewarded. Described as Alternative-Garage-Folk goes part of the way when explaining their sound, but they really aren’t quite like anything you already know. If you ever wondered what Jack White from The White Stripes would be like if he joined The Pogues then check them out. The real star of the show here is frontman James, who bounces about their live shows like a coiled spring that’s waited one hundred years to be released. He is a talented guitarist and stylish wordsmith, story telling each song in a gypsy dance. It’s a little Gogol Bordello to watch, without the unnecessary madness and terrible clothing. There’s harmonicas, rumbling drums, a chanting rhythmic bass and even a Kazzoo on tracks like ‘The Ransom’. Now that’s brave. It all works though and is a loose and refreshingly wild construction, which perhaps becomes more loveable when seen live. We also list a video of frontman James playing a fun, impromptu song of theirs in a room in their rehearsal flat, with additional vocals from the excellent frontwoman, Tigs, from the band Chew Lips (who we blogged about previously here). Enjoy.

Find them here:       Myspace

Here them here:      THE BRUTE CHORUS – THE CUCKOO AND THE STOLEN HEART (ft TIGS)       (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford


If you find this Brooklyn pair not to your liking then you simply aren’t in touch with your inner-child anymore. They’re now two albums in, following their second release, ‘Grand‘, back in January 2009. They manage to produce a simple, foot-tapping sound that teens across the globe have subsequently embraced en masse. It’s lively and packed full of fun. Kim Schifino rattles the drums, whilst Matt Johnson leads the vocals and bouncing keyboards. It’s a little wild and untamed, but all the more amicable for it’s loose, catchy goodness that never takes itself too seriously.  Originally releasing their debut material through the super-cool Iheartcomix label, owned by none other than Franki Chan, they are now located on the Fader label. Their DIY approach to their music and the wide use of social networking sites, makes them a true band for the Noughties and all the more approachable for it. We are also linking their amazing, but totally shocking video (in more ways than one – you have to watch it right to the very end!) to the tune ‘Lessons Learned‘.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       MATT & KIM – LESSONS LEARNED (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

So that’s it for another edition. A right mix of sounds and tastes as always. Let us know any thoughts, reactions, messages or useful links in the comments section.



Welcome back to another fresh batch of selected goodness. It’s been an amazing month for The Recommender, as lots of great things are happening in the background which will only serve to help grow the blog. More news will follow once everything’s finalised, suffice to say, world domination is definitely still on the cards. Nice…


If you like your music with a lot of charm and down-beat pace, then look no further than this lot. This is a new ensemble put together by the music machine, Seth Kauffman. He’s released solo albums prior to this, but now he’s turned to getting a backing band together and their debut release, Citizen Dick, came out in April. Refusing the commonly used computer-aided instruments and samples so often found in modern music, his stripped-down approach has produced some truly refreshing and beautiful songs. Shuffling drums and a wonderful, melodic guitar that feels and sounds like it’s being played live, create an atmospheric set of songs that are warm to the touch. Songs that cover subjects such as lost love (“I’m trying to forget my dreams again”) and hopelessness  (“I can’t take more than 50 lashes”) are sung over some rather sunny, floppy music. This 4-piece from Black Mountain, USA, have produced an album of many highlights, one of which we list below, so hunt it out, kick back and enjoy.

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       FLOATING ACTION – MARIE CLAIRE        (ysi)


This is the exact reason that we all need to surf the blogs on a regular basis. On the odd occasion you will find tidy gems like this newly-formed band. It’s as if they’re almost invented purely to reward the hardy mp3 treasure hunters. This particular bounty was plucked from the awesome blog and record label, Neon Gold. And so to this New York pair, who prove to be more than familiar to us already in a couple of different guises. They’re actually a side project from Rostam Batmanglij, who play keys for Vampire Weekend and he’s paired up with the lead singer from Ra Ra Riot, Wes Miles. Both bands share that similar breezy, delicate, indie sound, but with this project they’ve dropped the guitars and developed a focus on an electronic, synth style and an almost R&B backing beat. It’s still slowed and light, but carries their ability to construct a melody along on the waves as they drift past your ears. It’s gorgeous stuff and we are informed that there is a planned full LP due for a release this summer! Cue plenty of blogs all over the world dribbling at the thought.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        DISCOVERY – ORANGE SHIRT        (ysi)


What a long way the West Country has come since The Wurzels! Especially since this bouncing trio emerged from that sleepy corner of the UK. They arrived kicking out lively, spikey, Rock-Pop, with tunes that are full of guitars, piano and the occasional drum machine. Tracks on 2008’s self-titled debut album swing wildly in the mix. Often utilising Rosie Varnier’s sexy vocals brilliantly (‘Butterfly’), then changing style to a pounding dance tune (‘Heartbreak‘). It’s a mish-mash, but often very enjoyable. There’s plenty of early No Doubt in there (‘Contain You’) and influences from Cindy Lauper bring an 80’s feel to some tracks. Self explained as “Kate Bush on crack” perhaps takes it a little too far, but judge for yourselves. Don’t get us wrong, this band is not re-inventing much here and is borderline annoying with their candy sound on occasion, but it’s their recent release of what is probably their strongest single to date, Heartbreak, that they once again come under our radars. We have another of their tunes, ‘You’ve Changed’, listed as a taster for you below. 

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        ROSIE & THE GOLDBUG – YOU’VE CHANGED        (ysi)

Two tracks there to kick back to in the sunny weather and that last track should wake you up some. All good though. If you enjoyed them, let us know in the comments box as always.

We are currently on the hunt for a contributor from the US of A, so if you’re a budding blogger/writer, (with immaculate taste obviously), and come from the other side of our pond, then let us know at and we’ll take it from there. Look forward to searching out some talent…


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We first fell in love with this band in 2008 after hearing the tune ‘OH!’. It’s a wonderfully strong tune, with it’s layered vocals, stop-start beat and it’s true originality.

And this is the key with them; originally arranged songs. That’s such a tough task in this day and age. Yes there’s influences in there, thousands of them, but they arrange their songs in a fascinating way.

The following track that we came across was ‘Hear It In The Cans’. It sounds like an impossible song, with two sets of vocals overlapping it’s really two tunes in one. There is a gentle, atmospheric  build up that sweeps in at 2 minutes and 43 seconds in, upon Darren’s echoing call of “we were thrown together” – with music this good, surely it was destiny?

This is a band truly experiencing lift-off and The Recommender excitedly managed to catch them live in Brighton last week and we had a chance to meet and speak with the band. It was at this point they agreed to do the following Q&A. We found them in a good spirits.


1.) Before we begin lets introduce the band members – Who is who and what instruments do you each play? Also, there’s a married couple in there somewhere right? Where do you all come from?

Hello. This is us. Thomas WP –  Vocals/Guitar/Bass/. Programming. Dede WP – Vocals/Percussion/Sampler. Darren Bancroft – Vocals/Drums/Percussion/Sampler. Dede is from Manchester and Thomas and Darren are from London. I think you can guess who the married couple are. Although we’re all in a marriage of sorts with each other!

2.) OK, to the beginning, in fact before the beginning, as you guys have a back story don’t you? Tell us about working for EMI and when and how you came together?

Indeed we all used to work there. It was fun. We got to listen to loads of music and go to loads of gigs which was nice. Thomas and Dede started the idea of a band and then we were all out one night and talked about it together and then a few weeks later we met up and wrote and recorded a song in a night and loved it and just kept going.

It’s an odd one because the three of us weren’t that close at work and we honestly cant really understand how we got this far. Dede had never stepped onto a stage before our first gig and never wanted to and that first night we didn’t have a clue about what sound we’d make or what we wanted to do. We just listened to the ESG‘s  ‘South Bronx Story‘ album, which we all adore, while having dinner and we knew we wanted to make something with that much energy and staying power. But then we just wrote songs for another 6 months before doing a gig. That was never in the plan, we were just having fun and then we did it and it snowballed to where we are now. We’re all very happy though.

3.) Bad grammar – great name. How did the name come about?

Thank you. That was Dede’s doing. It just came out and it felt powerful and direct and there was never an option for another name. We all loved it immediately.

4.) There’s a lot of original arrangements in your songs, with layered vocals and samples, so we would like to know what and who influences your sound? Who inspires you? How would you describe your sound?

Our personalities have a lot do with what we sound like. We’re all pretty opinionated and we like lots of different things and when we write its like opening the top of your head and fishing around for whatever comes out. We all write the melodies and lyrics and so I guess if you gave an instrumental song to 3 songwriters you’d possibly get a mad mix. We happen to really like that mix so we just run with it. We always write in the same room with each other and we’ll just layer and layer and all throw ideas in with no limits or rules and then we edit the latter.

We describe our sound with great difficulty.

5.) What singles are currently available to people? You’ve recently had releases through the awesome French fashion/record label, Kitsune right? How did that come about?

We’ve only had one single released which was ‘Oh!’ on a label called 50 Bones at the end of last year and we had a track called ‘Hear It In The Cans‘ on the Kitsune Maison6 compilation that came out around that time too. Kitsune found us somewhere which was an amazing suprisebut they’re very good at that. We were really pleased to be involved with them. We’re not signed to them though as it’s sometimes said. We are very much unsigned.

6.) Is there a debut album ready to release yet? Will that also be through Kitsune?

This is the question that keeps us awake at night. Seriously. We’ve written it but now we’re just now deciding who, if anyone, we want to produce it and then we want to find the right label to release it. We’ve self-produced everything so far so its going to be hard to let go of things unless its really the right person. The door would definitely be open to the right person.

Label wise, we have no idea yet, we’re talking to various people. To be honest we’re really proud of what we’ve done on our own and how far we’ve gone so we want to share that with a label that will respect that and that genuinely wants to move forwards with us, not just latch on and take their percentage.

7.) Have you decided on a name for the debut?

Yes. But we cant tell you what it is.

8.) What’s been your favourite live performance to date?

Paris is always crazy, we love it there. We were in Russia last week playing in Moscow and St Petersburg and that was insane. It was surreal being so far from home with a room full of people singing ‘Oh!’ back at us, it was very special. It’s a bit standard to bang on about how useful the internet is ‘these days’ but for us it really is great. We haven’t got any money to promote ourselves but our music has traveled really far, really quickly. Blogs and indie radio are great for that too. We’re very, very grateful to the forward thinking people involved with these things. And brave live promoters.

9.) You were recently rather busy at this years SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, and the reviews were very positive across the board, so how was the experience for you?

It was very hot and totally mental. We did 9 shows, an acoustic gig and a radio session. We got off the plane at 1pm and had our first show at 4pm. A mad 4 days. It was awesome.

10.) Are you planning to do any festivals this summer? You recently won the Glastonbury ‘Emerging Talent‘ contest, so does this guarantee you exposure at the festival?

It does indeed. We actually may have a few gigs over the weekend. All the finalists play the Queens Head stage on Thursday night and then as we won we’ll be doing a main stage show too. And then we think may have another little show planned somewhere else.

Apart from Glasto we’re also doing Hinterland, Isle Of Wight, V, Stag & Dagger, Great Escape, Loop, Liverpool Sound City, Secret Garden, Standon Calling, Montreau Jazz Festival, Donau Festival in Austria, Calvi On The Rocks in Corsica and there’s more to be confirmed in the UK and elsewhere soon.

11.) We ask everyone we interview to become an honorary Recommender, by asking if you know of any new bands/acts/DJ’s that have recently caught your eye that you would like to recommend to us?

Hmm. We like Wave Machines and Post War Yearsand Micachu and Plugs. We’ve had the pleasure of playing with all of them several times.

12.) Lastly, what is immediately next for We Have Band?

We’re off to tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland next week. Festivals all summer. Our next single which is a double a-side of ‘You Came Out‘ and a cover of ‘West End Girls‘ is out on June 8th on Kill Em All. We’re doing some fun remixes at the moment too. Don’t think we’re allowed to say who yet, but we’ll tell all soon!

WE HAVE BANDHear It In The Cans (ysi)

So that’s it for another Q & A session, with yet another fabulous bunch of musicians. Hope you all enjoyed getting to know them a little better. As always, click on the links and if you can catch them live at some point too, then rest assured they come with our stamp of approval.

Remember there’s the comments box- we would like to know if any readers have seen them live before, or if you have any other interesting links to them?

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Having scanned the music on offer in the aftermath of March’s SxSW Festival there’s more than a little too much of a ‘type’ of music that’s getting noticed. It’s all a little Lo-Fi or Folky, as per two of the bands listed today. It’s no doubt being hunted out on the back of the dominant success of last years Fleet Foxes at SxSW. At least these pretenders are packed to the brim with quality…

This one will be easy. I couldn’t put it any more directly than to point out the immediate correlation between this new band and Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse. You know the ticket right? Atmospheric, full of strings and instruments that you’ve never heard of, choral harmonies, strong layered beats and quirky, left-field, melody-heavy music. It’s strong and it’s beautiful. There’s no re-writing the rules here, but instead of this sound floating over to us from across the Atlantic Ocean, it’s from a UK 5-piece for a change. The vocals are fantastic, although very reminiscent of Alec Ounsworth from the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It’s amazing how all of these aforementioned bands always seem so individual and styled, yet so many pretenders arrive that come across as exact replicas! Only time will of course tell if Fanfarlo are the real deal, but take it from us that there’s definitely plenty of quality and they’re packed full of tunes so take note. Debut album, Reservoir,  is due out May 25th.

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       FANFARLO – LUNA (ysi)

If you enjoy having your Indie music with a sprinkle of Psychedelia then you wouldn’t go far wrong with the weird, yet charming sounds of Neon Indian. Yeah there’s bound to be a wave of this sort of thing following the massive (blog) successes of MGMT in 2008, but there’s still enough on offer with this boy/girl duo to take note. It appears that there’s a little mystery surrounding this pair too. They are a collaborative project by two existing artists who mix their tunes via correspondence. Both names still remain unknown. The fella writes in Austin, Texas and the girl writes from Brooklyn, New York. Their identity has deliberately not been revealed yet, but perhaps this is because they are both already connected to other existing bands themselves, so they don’t want to get it all mixed up. Away from all this frustrating identity crisis is a dreamy, Lo-Fi sound that has plenty of bumping, slowed beats and echoing keys. It’s very stoned, almost like you’re listening to it from the room next door, but there’s still some lovely melodies packed in there too. We would be interested to hear your thoughts on them, as always…

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       NEON INDIAN – 6669 (I Don’t Know If You Know) (ysi)

Some bands really drive their music. It’s like they don’t just play each chord out, they push it, they force feed it to you. Nirvana did it, as did Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters afterwards. Oasis did it, at least on Definitely Maybe. The Sex Pistols, The Who, Bloc Party, Ash– You get the idea. All great bands, and yes none of which are ‘Metal’ bands. This is because all of them didn’t just play their strong guitars and pound their drums, but they were also great at writing proper tunes. Well this is a slot that The Joy Formidable fit into very nicely. Plenty of that energy, loads of melody. It races along and it’s brilliant guitaring and rumbling bass are the stars of the show. Frontwoman Ritzy’s vocals swoop overhead in a styled and layered snarl. It reminds me of a good Sugar song, circa their ‘Copper Blue‘ album, or anything from the band Howling Bells. This Welsh-born, London-based trio have tapped into a typically successful sound and will no doubt be huge. Their debut, ‘A Balloon Called Moaning‘, is out now on the Pure Groove label, with lots of potential singles on it, plus they tour the UK through May and June. (By the way, we had previously listed another of their tracks, ‘Whirring‘, on The Gig List 23 if you want it…)

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:      THE JOY FORMIDABLE – AUSTERE (ysi)

Thank fuck we got The Joy Formidable in there before we were swallowed by a Lo-Fi overload!! We think there’s plenty of tunes packed into this post, so we hope you enjoyed them all. As always comment, message us, spread the love around a little bit, etc…

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Photo by Rony Alwin

This section of our blog is for those individual surprises that don’t warrant or qualify for their own ‘Gig List’ or fully fledged ‘Recommender’ sections, but they are still such magical gems that we really can’t help but share them with you…

And so to a very special moment, (although admittedly a slightly self-indulgent one). This is precisely just that – a moment.

Yeah on this blog we are all about new music and recommending new things, but we have a respect for those things that give us the rockbed of the world’s music. One of the key pieces of that column in which all other bands stand is RADIOHEAD.

Moody, shoe-gazing, paranoid, off kilter, depressing bastards that they are. It is undeniable that they create magical, emotional, move-you-to-within-an-inch-of-your-soul music.

We are listing for you today an mp3 picked up from Chris Bradford, (a big music fan and very much an inspiration when it comes to selecting the coolest stuff life throws up), of a live performance by Radiohead that they performed in South Park, Oxford, back in July 2001. It was a homecoming gig in every sense from the most successful band ever to emerge from that city.

Both me and Chris were there in the moment at South Park. This mp3 joins us at the end of one of the most outstanding gigs you’re ever likely to view. A true ‘we were there‘ moment’.

Usually rain at an open air gig is sure to ruin it, but at a Radiohead homecoming the opening heavens never seemed a more appropriate thing. We were running for cover knowing that the rain would drench us, right as the set was coming to a close, but as we turned to hear this tune start up, cover seemed the last thing we required.

We stopped in our tracks and stood there in a torrential pour, fully open to the elements and arm in arm as the band played out a tune that had evaded their live sets for years. A fans favourite – the classic song – Creep.


As they plucked those first few notes, it went on to be a true show-stopper. Totally unplanned by the band prior to the gig, (In fact, now on their 3rd encore, they were starting the track ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’, but the rain had created such havoc on stage that they had to abandon it after a false start). Thankfully it was the song Creep that they then turned to for an end of show climax.

Any fan of Radiohead will enjoy this, particularly at 3 mins and 24 seconds in, when Thom Yorke holds that single note well beyond the music chords stop. A real lump in your throat moment.

You would have to be deaf not to appreciate this and now you too can get as close to that moment as is possible, 8 years after it’s passing.


(Live @ South Park, Oxford, 2001)

That’s plenty enough wordy, self-centred waffling for one posting. Back to the usual magic, recommending new music in the next post. Promise…

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As we excitedly lead up to the UK’s closest cousin of America’s famous SxSW Festival, Brighton’s GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL, with it’s own mammoth jaunt in showcasing new music, we thought we would return to it here on The Recommender.


We first visited the line up at this years festival when we put together Part One (find it here).  As we roll closer to the event the listings have swelled up and now there are so many great additions that we simply must usher your attention towards this fresh batch.

Allow The Recommender to kindly be your best previewer of this amazing festival…

CHEW LIPS (*) –       SOLO (ysi)

DATAROCK –       FA FA FA (ysi)

FANFARLO –       LUNA (ysi)



NOAH & THE WHALE –       5 YEARS TIME (ysi)


WE HAVE BAND (*) –       OH! (ysi)

THE XX –       VCR (ysi)

You can locate any previous posts that we might have done on these bands in the starred links (*) alongside each act, so click them to find more information, interviews and free mp3’s etc.  Fanfarlo are yet to be posted about, so we will be returning to their brilliance in a later post.

At this rate we will probably have to do a ‘Part 3’ about The Great Escape if they continue to add such outstanding acts. We hope this helps you decide who to pick out from the masses of bands on show. At least our previews allow you to actually listen to the bands first. Can’t see that happening with any printed media now can we? The Recommender wins we thinks.

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April 2009



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