Archive for July, 2009



Here’s yet another fresh catch for you to digest. The good ship Recommender has trawled the open oceans of music once more and hooked onto some meaty feasts for your ears, so quit waiting and tuck in…


We want to wave our fingers enthusiastically in the direction of a beautiful musical songsmith that we have fallen in love with. Strictly speaking we only write about artists that are a maximum of one album in, as we try to focus exclusively on ‘new music’. However, Elvis’  second album, ‘Elvis Perkins In Dearland‘, is actually his first in this current band under their full name. Elvis Perkins, the solo artist released his debut, ‘Ash Wednesday‘, on his own, hence shoe-horning him into The Recommender. (It’s not like we actually need to make excuses for an artist this good anyway!?) It’s music from the same school as Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, The Band, or Bright Eyes, (or perhaps anyone else beginning with B!? – ed). We took note that he’s also the son of the actor Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates of Psycho fame, but make of that what you will. He crafts wonderful Folk-Rock music of the timeless kind that you feel you always knew, that slowly introduces each instrument as the song comfortably plods along . Melodic and intelligent, it’s like the soundtrack to a good Jeff Bridges movie. It’s written to be taken in pondering doses with coffee in hand on a lazy, thoughtful Sunday. We attach an mp3 and a wonderful video directed by Sean Pecknold, (brother of Robin Pecknold out of Fleet Foxes).

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        ELVIS PERKINS IN DEARLAND – SHAMPOO (ysi)


These days getting backed by the white-hot label, Neon Gold, is always bound to prick up the ears of any trendy bloggers. Being showcased at the label’s recent Notting Hill party was a tick in all the right boxes, especially seeing as it was alongside Marina & The Diamonds, plus a DJ set by Frankmusik, with who Clock Opera more than share a sense of bewildering Pop sensibilities. And so with our ears truly pricked, label owners Derek and Lizzie, announced this amazing new act on the scene. Singer, Guy Connelly, has a beautiful drifting voice, full of emotion, that hovers over the chiming, often orchestral Pop backing. Songs build up and tower over you, yet simultaneously seem untouchable, delicate and ethereal. As the beats kick in their true taste for Pop reveals itself, or ‘Chop Pop’, as Neon Gold called it, perhaps referencing it’s samples and claps. That description hides the occasional slow, haunting strings, or ghostly nature of Guys vocals, but Pop it is nonetheless. We list the tune, Once And For All below, as it sounds like the perfect song. Involving, emotive, danceable, catchy and strong. Get ready to spend the rest of your days clock-watching.

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        CLOCK OPERA – ONCE AND FOR ALL (ysi)


It’s always going to help getting yourself on the NME Radar Tour that rolls around each year and it’s during the 2008 merry-go-round that we first got see this London pair live. This followed the notice we had taken of these fella’s remixes of smartly chosen La Roux (attached below), The Presets and Vitallic. All of these were excellent, but more rewards were found once our investigative natures cracked open their box of original material. Classed under Italo-Disco by most, due to the heavy Depeche Mode influences, but we think they’re darker than the phrase Disco suggests, finding more in common with the Electro sounds Midnight Juggernauts provide so well. Creating giant tunes that last for 7 or 8 minutes at a time, they feel like a DJ set. Pair that up with the echoing vocals and their dramatic showmanship and it’s a mesmerising gig should you ever get the chance. Sometimes slowed down (‘Soul Transplant’), it is at its best when its pumped up (‘We’re Back’). If you like your music to be slightly dark, slightly camp, with a fuzzy bassline at the front of everything, then we suggest you get in the queue for this trendy duo now.

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        HEARTBREAK – WE’RE BACK (ysi)
Hear them here:        LA ROUX – IN FOR THE KILL (Heartbreak Remix)      (ysi)

As our nets cast wider and wider around the globe we are able to bring you more and more from the global scenes. Connections are popping up all the time and there’s a buzz in The Recommender office. Pop back real soon for more selected highlights.



This is just another quickie for you…

Darlings of The Recommender blog, HEARTSREVOLUTION have embarked on a 6 month world tour of sorts. They are planning to take in venues around the world, from New York, to Sydney, to London, to Tokyo.

Catch them if you can as their live sets are a joy to behold, mixing up visuals alongside their playful, pretty Electro-Pop. They are a band that associate themselves with the coolest of the cool, from Frankie Chan, to Kitsune Maison, to the awesome designer Kate Moross.

To help celebrate this fact, we are giving away the two tunes they have had released on the Kitsune Maison compilations for your listening pleasure…





We cover the genre of Hip Hop today with a couple of the below listings. They both showcase wonderfully well just how wide and varied the subject gets either side of the Atlantic. Enjoy…


Americans do Hip Hop best. You don’t have to be an expert to know it. They invented it and their smooth accents always roll over the beats far better than their British or French counterparts.  For us here at The Recommender it’s generally only the ones trying something fresh that stand out. Having been in contact with the 18 year old Azealia (aka Miss Banks) a few weeks back we were pleased to see that she had subsequently emailed us the finest of her tunes to date (attached below). It’s with this tune that we can showcase why she caught our attention. It’s packed with Electro-Funk, (the basslines are as smooth as a Grandmaster Flash tune.), jammed with awesome retro samples and is as club ready as an Uffie tune (like Uffie she had backing from Diplo on her tune ‘Supplier‘). Unlike Speech Debelle, (below), this female solo rapper, from Harlem, is pushing for a more aggressive approach, with her talk of fucking and receiving head she’s not shy either. She has what all great rappers hold – rapid, smooth, direct lyrics, with plenty of shock and punch, that don’t take themselves too seriously. Oh and they always seem to have a trick up their sleeves. With Miss Banks it’s her crossover appeal and her sex-fired subject matter. You have been warned. (MB)

Find her here:         Myspace

Hear her here:        MISS BANKS – LIKE NO OTHER (ysi)


Following on from the tinge of Hip Hop on this post, we bring you, the now Mercury nominated, Speech. Her album was emailed to us with instructions to “file under The UK’s Next First Lady”. If high aims is what this female, solo lyricist from London wants to achieve then the Mercury nomination is precisely the way to gain propulsion. As with every album that gets the mercurial seal of approval the inevitable rocket that subsequently sits under their sales figures only goes to help them ride into the wider public consciousness. If you didn’t know her before, you soon will. At first listen we admit she seemed somewhat lacking in the wheel reinvention department. However, the choice of acoustic backing tracks and slowed beats, allow the focus to never wander from her lyrical mastery. She holds a softly-spoken voice that is packed with emotion and heartfelt words that surprise with the occasional punch. Joined on the album by the equally interesting Micachu (& The Shapes), as well as label mates Roots Manoeuvre, she’s clearly getting backed by her Big Dada label for the debut, ‘Speech Therapy’. It’s a classic ‘grower’ that shows it’s class the more attention the listener gives it. (MB)

Find her here:       Myspace

Hear her here:       SPEECH DEBELLE – THE KEY (ysi)


Away from the American influences now and in fact far closer to home, The Mummers of Brighton are like a travelling circus come troubadour act transported from some Eastern European fairytale whose infectious dose of Polka, Russian folk, Bavarian pomposity and Bjork inject some well needed colour to the current music scene. Tracks like ‘March Of The Dawn’ and ‘Wonderland’ sound like Arcade Fire performing lullabies to grown ups; highly sweet but entrancing. This twenty-piece band are assembled round its two key founders, London born singer/multi-instrumentalist Raissa Khan-Panni and Brighton composer/studio-smith Mark Horwood; who lives in a tree house. Both have spent the last 18 months refining their multi-layered brand of Indie which has already been critically acclaimed, got them a spot on Jools Holland’s show, ‘Later with…’, earlier in the year, as well as a place on this years Glastonbury roster. The debut LP ‘Tale To Tell’ is out now and you can see them live at the Bestival in September. As an additional treat we also attach the excellent cover they did of Passion Pit’s ‘Sleepyhead’. (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       THE MUMMERS – WONDERLAND (ysi)
Hear them here:       THE MUMMERS – SLEEPYHEAD (Passion Pit cover)       (ysi)

Have any Recommender readers got any thoughts on those recently announced Mercury Music Prize nominees? Any glaringly obvious artists missing from the list? Agree or disagree with those on it? Check it out here and comment or message us…



The below artists are precisely why we do this blog. A wide collection of sounds and fresh invention, brilliantly mixing up genres and continuing to slowly push music in the right direction – forwards.


Brixton has always been a mixed up place on London’s map. Although often mired in it’s working class roots, variety of sub-cultures and a chequered history involving riots and crime, it’s also produced some of the best musicians we’ve ever known. This has continued with the recent arrival of La Roux, but now it’s given us this new talent by the name of MPHO. Refreshingly she takes her influences from a very wide range of genres, clashing against the  typical black music casts of Hip Hop and R&B. More in the mould of Santigold, or Outkast, with her bag full of samples, (listen to the excellent lick that’s plucked from Martha & The Muffins 80’s hit, ‘Echo Beach‘, for example). It’s packed full of grit and humour in equal measure, but alongside her killer looks, smiling confidence and giant backing in the form of the Wall Of Sound/Parlophone labels, she will be pushing forwards onto everyone’s radar before long. Her debut album, Pop Art, is due for a release this autumn. As The Recommender predicted, 2009 is rammed with very strong female characters, (Marina Diamondis, La Roux, V V Brown, Lady Gaga), fighting against the world of pigeon holes and typecasting, so this positive burst of originality and mixture of cultures continues to help carve out precisely the refreshing change that the Pop world continues to feed on.

Find her here:       Myspace

Hear her here:      MPHO – BOX N LOCKS (ysi)


We’ve blogged a fair bit about Midlands artists of recent and here we go once again with a man by the name of Rob Jones who hails from Stourbridge, with a delightful show for you today. He single-handedly produces tunes tailor-made for your summertime, with influences that range from the kind of retro basslines that The Jackson 5 used to create, alongside Noah And The Whale’s style of breezy Pop hooks and melodic cheer. It’s the sort of hot sunshine that the Kinks’ Ray Davies used to happily bask in. He’s positively British and a guaranteed smile-making song machine. These Pop gems have a classic and timeless build quality, whilst being packed with imagination and creativity. The debut album is due out in late August, with the single officially released July 20th on Split Records. Whether the UK gets the predicted heatwave and sunny summer that we all long for, grabbing a slice of Rob’s productions will no doubt provide you the sunshine you’ve been missing.

Find them here:        Myspace

Here them here:       VOLUNTARY BUTLER SCHEME – TOBASCO SOLE (ysi)


The Recommender went to see these guys at the recent Scandalism launch party at Scala, London. Having witnessed a pair of awesome sets earlier in the evening from both Yes Giantess and Marina & The Diamonds it was always going to be tough for Plugs to stand out, but stand out they did. They started their set with their trademark ‘Opening Theme‘, designed to lure the listener into a false sense of security, with it’s Prog Rock size and building doom-laden acoustic guitar and keys that are straight out of a strange Air tune, circa ‘Takie Walkie‘. At it’s peak they burst into their more familiar and brilliant mix of grooved Indie-Pop. Up tempo and chopping basslines bounce over the beat and the flow is in full motion. Fronted by Does It Offend You Yeah singer, Morgan Quaintance, they prove to be a well polished act. It’s lively and the crowd duly respond. It’s a comforting site, watching a newly formed band that are so assured of a label signature, (if indeed this new project wants one?), that there must be an orderly queue of A&Rs outside their door. It’s Afro-Beat-Indie played and received with a broad smile. Always enjoyable, it’s intelligent and rammed with melodies and layered vocals. Get ready to catch them like a bout of Indie-Pop flu at any of their upcoming London gigs, as well as a V Festival appearance.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       PLUGS – IMAGINARY FRIEND (ysi)

We just want to end by saying thanks to all The Recommender’s readers as the thousands and thousands of people that read this blog week on week continue to pass through in greater numbers. It only serves to give us more weight and respect in the music world. Each time we meet with a new band, promoter or label they seem to know the blog, which is a good sign that conditions here are healthy and expanding in the right direction – outwards.



You find us here once again briskly walking through the land of new music with a handful of seeds, so read on through, kick back and enjoy these newly discovered green shoots…


It’s far too rare that we include a post about new music hailing from Northern Ireland, yet just a matter of weeks after we posted about the Panama Kings, the wonderful Cashier No 9 drift past our ears! We are also happy to admit that this latest band are the preferred option out of the two. New single, ‘When Jackie Shone’, was released back in April on the Only Gone Records label and the flutter of excitement that it caused was enough to allow further inspection. It’s an inspection that goes well rewarded with a selection of other gorgeous tracks that skip along confidently. The Belfast 4-piece bring us contemporary, tune-packed guitar music, but it arrives with plenty of roots in Rolling Stones-styled Country Blues riffs and sensibilities, in much the same manor as Gomez or Primal Scream did years ago, or Kasabian do now at their most ceremonious. Equally happy plugging into an electric Rhythm and Blues clap-along, as they are playing a pounding acoustic set. It all earned them a slot high up the bill on the Radio One ‘Introducing Stage’ at this years Glastonbury Festival, so if you were on campus for the weekend we hoped you got involved with what was a fantastic, thigh-slapping Rock-out.

Find them here:           Myspace

Hear them here:          CAHIER No. 9 – 42 WEST AVENUE (ysi)


Want see the band with the worst taste in jumpers since that terrifying Christmas present you got from your gran back in 1984? Look no further than this Parisian trio. Singing in English, but with a fantastic French accent, they play magical, well crafted Pop tunes that pack in the basslines and simple hooks. They remind me of Metronomy, in that they seem to flourish in their humour, truly enjoying themselves and not taking things at all seriously, including those anti-fashion jumpers and comedy moustaches. It bleeds through their tracks and particularly their excellent videos. We attach the film they had directed by Megaforce for their tune ‘Live Good‘ below, but you should also try and hunt out the single ‘Bang Bang’, where lead singer, David Boring, spends the entire time getting things thrown at him as he sings – totally brilliant! They’ve received remixes from the likes of Yuksek, The Bloody Beetroots and Ajax to date. They also released their debut album, Wallace, in May this year on the Cinq7 label.

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:         NAIVE NEW BEATERS – GET LOVE (ysi)


These guys are particularly new, so little is known, but in our usual nosey-digging-around nature we can bring you the following info. They are a team of two from the Midlands area and they play powerful, dramatic Indie-Pop music. Their taste’s have more than a hat tipped towards the excellence of New Order, Depeche Mode and their scale reminds me of the brand new White Belt Yellow Tag. Some tracks are almost a little Prog, with the epic, atmospheric scales usually found in that genre. Echoing, layered lyrics by David Jones drift over Luke Shoesmith’s production. It may be a little self-indulgent, but there’s always room for such things and it will be interesting to see how they bring it to us in their live sets. They’ve been bringing us their show around the UK through June and July, so perhaps you will get a chance to judge it yourselves. Currently unsigned, they are sure to be snapped up soon. We would be interested to hear your thoughts on them as always, as their sound takes a few listens to fall for, but once hooked you’ll be all over it.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        NEW ISLANDS – DON’T STOP DREAMING (ysi)

So there we go, once again farming new music like some kind of giant guitar-shaped combine harvester. We are always happy to share our organic produce with you wonderful Recommender fans.



Having championed Marina & The Diamonds from day one on this blog, it only seems fitting that we submit this great video for single ‘I AM NOT A ROBOT’. Excitment over this outstanding artist is currently at fever pitch since she joined the ranks for the September/October NME Radar Tour (more on this soon).

The video below was directed by none other than the leading fashion photographer, Rankin. It had Marina in full body paint and was shot over 16 hours. It’s a remarkable use of imagery and style, which seems precisely two things that Marina has in bundles. It’s great to see an artist growing in confidence with every step she takes.

The single is part of the Crown Jewels EP, out on the Neon Gold label. Her full debut is yet to be completed and no date has been agreed for a release, but rest assured that The Recommender will keep you posted the second we hear…


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July 2009



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CLUB SMITH (Previously known as THE HAIR)


Mike Bradford (MB) - Creator and Contributor (UK)

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