Archive for August, 2009

31
Aug
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 49

You swan in here without even a remote glance at our yearning eyes, taking our word for it and pinching our mp3s, without so much as a ‘by your leave’. Well we won’t stand for it anymore. What’s that you say? Oh OK, go on then. We’re such push overs. Love you really…

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND

They may have themselves a large band, with up to eight members involved. They may well use plenty of tidy handclaps alongside their addictive beats. But are they phenomenal? A confident declaration indeed, no doubt with all eight tongues firmly in all eight cheeks, but it’s undoubtedly a signal of their brimming confidence at the very least.  What we do know is that we are slowly getting pulled into their shoreline. They have received a fair bit of love from the blogs of recent, but what we have also read is that they firmly hook you with their live shows. They enjoyed a very positive SXSW experience and all New York affiliations state they are “ones to watch”. We have them touring the UK in September and The Recommender for one is going to try and lure them down to Brighton for a night.  The band was started by a pair of DJ’s, but although there’s plenty to dance to, with their 70s disco beats and 80s New York rap basslines, there’s the occasional and wonderful foggy, dreamy, 60s vocal provided over the top. In fact there’s something from almost every decade wrapped up in them somewhere – perhaps inevitable with this many members involved! Their musical tardis makes sure it brings nothing but all the best bits home though. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – YOU’LL DISAPPEAR (ysi)
Hear them here:         THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – 15 TO 20 (David E Sugar remix) (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

DELPHIC

They’ve been bubbling away for some time in the blog circles, with releases coming out of the trendy French record and fashion label Kitsune. They release their second single, This Momentary, at the end of August. We attach it below with the wonderful video directed by Dave Ma. It seems to have been beautifully shot, like a series of William Eggleston photos, in a derelict, Chernobyl-like Russian town. The tune builds and builds like a Crystal Fighters construction, were they fronted by the vocal members of We Have Band and backed by the drummer out of Friendly Fires. It’s strong, addictive and is perfect to get lost in, like those summer clubbing experiences when your dancing with your eyes closed in the throng. The Manchester three piece throw out sounds that hark back to a time when Manchester blended rock sensibilities with dance music and filled warehouses, clubs and venues alike. In this sense they seem a distant child of New Order, yet are fantastically contemporary, like the half-brothers of Bloc Party. It’s music made for popping pills, but in a good, hazy way that’s not been seen since that period when Manchester ruled our modern culture.    (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       DELPHIC – THIS MOMENTARY (ysi)
Hear them here:       DELPHIC – COUNTERPOINT (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

DESIRE

Johnny Jewel has been rather busy of recent. He is the man behind the recent big electro disco push, producing bands such as Chromatics and Glasss Candy, but it’s with this new incarnation, (a project that finds him pairing up with Montreal resident Megan Louise), that we find ourselves finally seduced. There’s something beautifully minimal about them, with the simplest of beats and tiny, delicate, soft keys. The vocals often drift around and are full or echo, repeating sounds and mantras, but they are never pointlessly supplied. There’s also an enchanting draw with Megan’s sexy female voice, “Lets go out tonight…”, as their songs of love and lust slowly lure you in. It’s the same Italo disco you get from the equally attractive Fan Death, who The Recommender’s been in love with for a while now. If you can find the more enjoyable, upbeat, cleaner tracks, away from their slower and slightly more self-indulgent ones, then you will reveal them at their best. Releases are coming from the Italians Do It Better record label and a tour that encompasses parts of Europe before hitting a few spots around the UK during November.     (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:         DESIRE – DON’T CALL (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

Spring and Autumn are notoriously busy periods for any town’s live music scenes, as the students flood back to venues and spend their parent’s hard earned money. Brighton is no different, so we are looking forward to seeing lots of juicy live acts in the coming weeks. Any outstanding finds will obviously be reported back here immediately.

26
Aug
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 48

Music often seems to have reflections of previous generations and influences from past decades woven into them. Usually no bad thing, but sadly on occasion this plundering seems to lack any required modern twists. You will hear this a little with the below selections today, but thankfully all three bands do their thing so well that all is quickly forgiven.

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

FRENCH HORN REBELLION

Here we have a pair of brothers, now based in New York, that have graduated from the MGMT school of indie disco pop with flying colours. Being involved in the backroom for MGMT’s giant hit EP, Time To Pretend, you can see all subsequent paths were indeed taken from this point. DJ’ing at one of New York’s many hipster nights, Brass Magic, allows them a legitimate qualification of their own making. Their pumped, kitsch, sickly-sweet beats and bleeps form part of the soundscape you often find in 80’s movies, similar to the mixes Futurecop provide. There’s also the kind of styled indie love, that Australia’s Modular Records often sign up, when you think of the Midnight Juggernauts, The Presets and Cut Copy ‘Aussie sound’ that eventually evolved into Empire Of The Sun. However, there’s even more disco packed in here, with it’s obsession with all things camp. Basslines are unashamedly bouncy and the synths are so simple it’s like their written for toddlers. The high-pitched vocals give it more sincerity, thank god, because anymore bubblegum would have had us choking. Have a listen to one original track and a bonus Twelves remix to see if you can swallow it.   (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       FRENCH HORN REBELLION – UP ALL NIGHT (ysi)
Hear them here:       BEACHES AND FRIENDS (The Twelves vs Database vs French Horn Rebellion) (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

THE HEROES

We think it’s fair to say that The Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines were generation-defining artists, who packed both style and swagger into a musical basket rammed full of tunes. After such cultural events you can guarantee a long line of followers pretending to take their crowns, yet the vast majority over the last few years did indeed fall way short, often missing the point of these band’s existence. Well, at first glance we were ready to rubbish The Heroes as just some such pretenders, particularly on their track Little Suzie. They also had the tight, spikey guitar riffs to suit their tight trousers and Mod haircuts, yet you have to say there’s a little more substance found here than amongst all the other contenders. Sadly we think that it’s come a little too late. This band are indeed a little bit too ‘2005’. Neither are we suggesting they’ll achieve the impact of The Arctics or Libertines, as they lack the creative invention or solid punch, but we suspect there’s plenty of space still available to bands that provide us with a genuinely energetic, talented show. If the Leicester four piece’s high octane, packed out gigs are anything to go by then their power-indie strutting and Teen adoration may yet prove to be something that has the required lasting power. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:          THE HEROES – BLUE RAVE (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

STAINED GLASS HEROES

Stained Glass Heroes look like they’ve just emerged from the last ever meeting at the Cabaret Voltairein 1916’s Zurich. This multi-faceted Krautrock-loving four piece revel in spinning their own myths and shroud themselves in mystery, which is no bad thing as it’s allowed them freedom to deliver some pretty catchy, esoteric tunes such as the sublime Insects(see below). Robert Fripps industrial guitar work channels Talking Heads and Brian Eno (circa, Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy), whilst managing to borrow some of Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters’. This gives us a thickly-layered belter of a tune. The vocals hark at some disturbing science fiction prophecy that conjures up The Quatermass Experiment; you can even hear the unsavoury scraping sounds in the background of the track. The new single, Circumstance, is slightly less menacing but maintains their clever indie pop twists. It’s due out soon, whilst the album, Big Guns At Dawn, will be out in October. (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Here them here:       STAINED GLASS HEROES – INSECTS (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

There’s a couple of bands on here that we aren’t 100% about, which is very unlike us, with our usual tight quality controls. However, some bands simply need more time for us to fall under their spell, and sometimes we need to offer our readers the chance to judge for themselves bands that have recently crossed our paths. Comment any thoughts you have…

21
Aug
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 47

As we write this we have our blog’s tunes climbing the Hype Machine’s charts, which confirms to us that our selections are not only resting on our passions, but yours too. Nice. Here’s three more…

MEW

Its been a long, arduous four year wait for us obliging Mew fans. The seminal and highly acclaimed And The Glass Handed Kites left us wanting, so it’s with reverent excitement that we can announce their return. Though initially they’ve teased us with the five track EP, No More Stories, which includes the truly exceptional new single, Introducing Palace Players, (see below), which will also feature on the LP later this month. This ethereal sounding tune is a disjointed and awkward pop number that is both unabashed and uncompromising in its blending of jazz, disco and funk. With the help of the widely respected producer Rich Costey, (Muse, Glasvegas and Interpol), Mew have laid down an abstract landscape which pop never dares to usually investigate. For one thing they take two minutes to get to the first vocals so they may not make any commercial friends with this single. However, we salute these brave Danes for conquering the outer musical regions and delivering some of the best in experimental and emotionally soaring music.  (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       MEW – INTRODUCING PALACE PLAYERS (ysi)

THE MIGHTY ROARS

Never before has a band been so aptly named. They literally roar their powerful indie punk in your face. We imagine the front row of their gigs to look like people in a wind tunnel! It’s fast, highly energetic, punchy rock music. It’s delightfully catchy, with plenty of hooks that blast along whilst gorgeous frontwoman Lara Granqvist kicks out the energy. Getting releases through the ever resourceful One Little Indian label they had the below single released on June 1st. As powerful as this three piece are it’s never too much. They bring in a brass section to lift certain sections and you are never far from a speedy guitar solo. Fun is no way to describe a band if you’re trying to critique them, however the likes of Madness, or perhaps early Red Hot Chili Peppers mastered the humour often needed in energetic tunes and this is an ideal that’s followed by the Mighty Roars. It has it’s place and should never be taken too seriously. It’s enjoyed best at the right moments, like all good bands.  (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       THE MIGHTY ROARS – ELVIS LIVES (ysi)

HERE WE GO MAGIC

Austin City Limits Music Festival isn’t quite the barrage of new music SXSW is.  In fact it’s kind of the opposite experience in that it’s a bit exclusive.   However, every year there are still some promising lesser known bands on the roster.  One of these is the ambient, folk rocker quintet Here We Go Magic out of Brooklyn.  They selected their name in much the same way the project came together; it was an “I like the way that sounds.  Let’s do it!” moment.  And so Luke Temple, formerly a solo kind of guy, recorded the music in his bedroom and then grabbed four friends to tour with him.  Their self-titled debut album has the intimacy and quiet, if not slightly haunting, feel of a cozy space with a little ethereal beauty thrown in.  The looping sounds and soft vocals weave nicely throughout the dreamy songs, much in the same way Simon & Garfunkel used to manage a generation ago.  Their album is available on Austin Indie label Western Vinyl, and they will be on tour in the U.S. in September supporting congenial band The Walkmen.  (OG)

Hear them here:        Myspace

Find them here:        HERE WE GO MAGIC – FANGELA (ysi)

Thanks for reading through another edition. Hope you found it enjoyable. We post approx twice per week, so make sure you head back soon enough for more lovingly selected cuttings.

17
Aug
09

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 31

As the summertime folds in we get a couple of sublime indie acts visiting Brighton through September. Both are guaranteed to shine, with their excellent live shows and dedicated teen followers. As a footnote to our attendance to said gigs, can you please read our question at the bottom of this post…

PASSION PIT

This Massachusetts five piece are well known to The Recommender having played our town before. Widely recognised as a pioneering band of the College indie sound that’s flowed out of America in recent years, the (now) New York residents mix up wonderfully original electronic indie with charm and energy in equal parts. The Neon Gold record label, who are keenly followed by The Recommender, throw their umbrella over some truly special artists and we list below a cover of the excellent Passion Pit track, Sleepyhead, done by the Neon Gold-backed Ellie Goulding and Starsmith. Because we are so very lovely we’ve added a couple of other versions of the same tune done by Run Toto Run and Brighton’s very own The Mummers. We think you’ll agree that all versions sound different, bringing something new to the song with every attempt. Get down to  to catch Passion Pit blast out the original amongst many of the hits from their debut album, Manners, released back in May 2009.

ACT:                   PASSION PIT
VENUE:              Concorde 2, Marine Parade, Brighton
COST:                 £ 9.50
DATE:                 Monday 7th September 2009
WEBSITE:          Myspace
TRACKS:
SLEEPYHEAD (Starsmith remix featuring Ellie Goulding) (ysi)
SLEEPYHEAD (cover by Run Toto Run) (ysi)
SLEEPYHEAD (cover by Mummers) (ysi)

WAVE MACHINES

The first time we saw this totally ace group of dark indie pop creatives was when they were supporting We Have Band. We hadn’t heard them before so it turned into one of those tidy surprises that reinforced the idea that it’s always worth getting to gigs early to catch the support acts. Wearing their famous half-masks, which are print-outs of their own faces, gives you the first clue that this Liverpool four-piece very much enjoy putting on a show. It’s their gorgeous music though, with it’s mixture of messages covering hope to despair and their smooth sounding drifts of basslines and keys that leave you rather breathless. Falsetto vocals that meet moody verses seem effortless and somewhat perfect, like you always knew them. They seem to be 2009’s best kept secret, although following  the release of their debut album, Wave If You’re Really There, the buzz is now accelerating around the UK at a gathering pace. This is one wave you won’t regret catching. We list below an mp3 and a couple of their videos to help you enjoy the ride.

ACT:                    WAVE MACHINES
VENUE:               Freebutt, 1 Phoenix Place, Brighton
COST:                  £ 6.50
DATE:                  Wednesday 30th September
WEBSITE:           Myspace
TRACK:                KEEP THE LIGHTS ON (ysi)

Once we have enough of a portfolio to show off, The Recommender is going to link it’s gig photographs to a Flickr site. We wanted to ask you lovely readers if you have any favourite sites, on Flickr or otherwise, of good and great band photographers you think would prove inspiring? Answer in the comments. Thanks.

12
Aug
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 46

You have three different contributors writing on this post, so feel free to comment on whose writing you like the best? That’ll put the cat amongst The Recommender’s pigeons! The variety also comes with the music today, as we  bring to the table everything, from African guitars to Kylie vocals! Nice…

DEATH METAL DISCO SCENE

Up to this point we only knew of these guys here at The Recommender as fantastic remixers of Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen and Bat For Lashes (the latter is attached below…). This London pair have finally decided to cut a new track of their own and we have to admit we are rather taken. Just like their remix tastes they are fronted by a beautiful female vocalist whose sexy voice sounds similar to that of Kylie, were she to get electrified over a fuzzy bassline. Describing themselves as “Post Punk Alternative Disco Pop”, you will hear that the emphasis is very much on the ‘pop’. It’s all very light stuff, as all good pop should be, with distinctive breaks into the catchy chorus. It’s pace and basslines provide the ‘disco’ they talk of, but the whole concoction is never too sickly, so avoids running out of steam. There’s excellent fuzz and guitars bouncing around giving us the ‘alternative’ and ‘post punk’ elements, bringing their tunes into focus. The whole thing is washed down with over-the-top, seductive vocals to brilliant effect, by the appropriately named Scorch Shepherd. Their debut single, 21, is listed below having been released in the last few days. (MB)


Find them here:         Myspace

Here them here:        DEATH METAL DISCO SCENE – 21 (ysi)
Here them here:        BAT FOR LASHES – DANIEL ( Death Metal Disco Remix) (ysi)

FOREIGN BORN

Straight out of L.A., here’s a band that has been getting some well-deserved attention with their June debut Person to Person, out through label Secretly Canadian, and their recently wrapped up U.S. tour.  Trying to describe their sound isn’t easy.  They are one of those rare wonders that manage to take tropical sounds, African guitaring, a fantastic pop sensibility (and even a banjo!) and blend them all together to form some sort of summer delight.  Whilst listening we dare you to not think of barbequing poolside.  However, please don’t think that they’re all cheer and no substance.  Tracks like Blood Oranges, See Us Home, and Wander Aimlessly are driven by a darker sound with vocals taking cues from the likes of Johnny Cash.  And it’s probably that ability to balance the sunny with the serious that has been getting them noticed.  Three of the members have also been finding their way onto blog pages with their other similarly tropical act Fool’s Gold.  Sadly, there’s still no word on whether a UK tour is imminent for either project, but should they cross the Atlantic, be sure to catch their energetic live shows with straw hat and piña colada in hand. (OG)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        FOREIGN BORN – EARLY WARNINGS (ysi)
Here them here:        FOREIGN BORN – VACATIONING PEOPLE (ysi)

LOVE LIKE FIRE

San Francisco-based hipsters Love Like Fire play a brand of indie that takes in the Howling Bells and The Walkmen whilst aiming high with the more stadium sounds of The Killers. With songs full of hope and angst in equal measure, played over the rattling beat and climax finishes, it grips you, balls first. Frontwoman Ann Yu has had her vocals compared to the slightly more subtle Karen O, which is certainly apparent on the tracks William and Stand In Your Shoes, but her voice equally has a distinctive lushness and depth which draws its own attention. With two EPs to their name already, the full debut album, Tear Ourselves Away, (due out on 14th of September through Heist Or Hit Records) is mature and very well-crafted and looks certain to raise the band’s profile above the radar. They mange to cradle cool, 80’s-influenced bands like Curve and 90’s Britpop groups like Echobelly into a more commercial version of The Dears. The excellent, punchy single, S.O.S., from 2007’s album, An Ocean In The Air, is listed below.   (DV)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        LOVE LIKE FIRE – S.O.S. (ysi)

Having just read an interview with Love Like Fire’s Ann Yu she states her ‘favourite city that she’s seen on tour’ as Brighton, UK  – The Recommender’s home town! She says, “The people there are super friendly, there’s really yummy English breakfasts and cool shops”. That and a wicked music blog surely…

09
Aug
09

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 30

We think it’s fair to say that the famous NME Radar Tour that rolls around the UK each year can often be hit (La Roux, Friendly Fires) or indeed miss (The Chapman Family, Towers Of London). We were surprised and most pleased to hear the news, announced a few weeks back, that this September/October’s showcase will be bringing us several of The Recommender’s favourites.

It’s very much something to look forward to and only strengthens the belief that The Recommender blog has it’s finger on the jugular of the new music scene, having blogged several of these artists months ago. Nice.
The highlight will of course be the majestic Marina & The Diamonds with her showmanship, but Yes Giantess will also be well worth catching. Headliners and sweet melody-makers, Golden Silvers, are more established with their debut album, True Romance, having already been released. The unknown live act will be SXSW hits, Local Natives, which we blogged about back here.

GOLDEN SILVERSTRUE No. 9 BLUES (TRUE ROMANCE)       (ysi)
MARINA & THE DIAMONDSTHE OUTSIDER (ysi)
LOCAL NATIVESAIRPLANES (ysi)
YES GIANTESSTUFF N STUFF (ysi)


VENUE
:                       CONCORDE 2, Marine Parade, Brighton
COST:                         £ 10.45
DATE:                         Wednesday 14th October 2009
TICKETS:                    http://www.nme.com/radartickets

We think that this is the strongest ever Radar Tour line up from the regular NME shows. We hope you agree. We suggest that you grab those tickets whilst you can…see you down the front.

06
Aug
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 45

Wow! What a response we had to that last post about The Twelves remixes. You turned up in your droves for that one. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed it. Now it’s back to the traditional section, showcasing a handful of bands that get our Recommender tick of approval.

MODERNAIRE

This four piece have been busily touring, remixing and, when they get the chance, actually releasing their own records, such as the wry and infectious ‘Faites Les Jeux’, (listed below). It’s a wonderful synth driven lament to lost love via the gambling tables of Monte Carlo. Over the last year vocalist Hannah and knob twiddler Alex have supported the likes of Disco Drive, The Ting Tings and The Whip as well as remixing tracks for Metronomy and Empire Of The Sun; not bad for this Manchester crew who only started off in their bedroom making music for fun. If you are bored with the current drip fed girl-fronted electro pop then these guys are a welcome breath of fresh air with their grounded and witty commentaries set to a backdrop of cut up instruments and edgy, twitchy electronic beats in the vain of Thecocknbullkid. The split EP with fellow label mates Friends Of The Bride is out now on Brainlove Records. (DV)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        MODERNAIRE – FAITES LES JEUX (ysi)

CASIOKIDS

These guys come packed with such a sunny disposition that party-starting seems to be precisely what they were born to do. Already known in most indie circles, this Scandanavian five piece have been omitted by The Recommender to date. To be honest, we thought we had covered them ages ago, but it turns out they somehow slipped by. We’ve mentioned them in our ‘Gig List’ sections here and here, but never given them the honour of a full blown Recommender! Following the recent Brighton Loop Festival performance that stole our hearts, we got to meet up with a couple of them to show our thanks and found them to be delightfully engaging. Their live shows are a joy to behold, with their Hot Chip-like playfulness. They dance back and forth and clearly seem happiest when playing on stage with each other. It’s truly contagious entertainment, as you watch them swap instruments with every song, including the drums! Skipping through their world of electro pop melodies, upbeat analogue synths and a circus of dance, they often go on lengthy instrumentals and when they add vocals it’s often sung in their native Norwegian language. They released their single, Finn Bikkjen, (added below), this week, on the Moshi Moshi label. (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        CASIOKIDS – FINN BIKKJEN! (ysi)
Hear them here:        CASIOKIDS – FOT I HOSE (ysi)

SILVER STARLING

There’s an obvious comparison to fellow Canadians Arcade Fire here, as there seems to be with many bands over the last few years, chasing that same global success! It’s no bad thing and is even more understandable seeing as the singer, Marcus Paquin, worked as a recording engineer for Arcade Fire in a previous life. It’s more specifically his vocals that bring about the comparisons. However, when checking out the melodies and song structures you will locate a stronger influence from the likes of Wilco, or more recently Local Natives, or possibly the track Islands by New Numbers, which we blogged about here. Often found behind their melodies is a towering, echoing guitar, including an excellent bit of bottle-necking on track Caught In Your glow, adding a wintery scene to the delicate beauty found on each and every song. We hand you the slightly lighter tune, Ghosts, below. Their music is involving, it’s thoughtful, it’s emotional and it’s brave. Their self-titled debut album, released on Last Gang Records, is due out in Canada on September 22nd 2009. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         SILVER STARLING – GHOSTS (ysi)

We are planning a few changes here at The Recommender, to smarten up the blog and allow us a little more freedom in it’s design, layout and features. The content will remain the same however, so no worries there. Ultimately the plan is to expand your Recommender experience  All will be revealed in due course. Thanks for sticking with us…




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