Archive for September, 2009



We are about to get not one but two white-hot record labels represented in town, as both Paris’ Kitsune and Frankie Chan‘s IHEARTCOMIX arrive to showcase bands at Concorde 2. You simply cannot afford to miss this!

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On this particular section on The Recommender we scavenge our local city’s horizons to locate the best nights out that Brighton can offer. Within our vibrant music scene there are many good promoters, but none reappear on this blog more than the events that have one particular man involved. We always serve up two great nights out on this Gig List and this fella has somewhow managed to get a mention for both of his upcoming events. He goes by the name Henron and has a particularly impressive ability to book cutting edge acts. His latest adventure carries his new regular event, named Horsepower, to one of Brighton’s most successful mid-sized venues, Concorde 2. To kick this new night off he brings to town some truly amazing talent. First on, Recommender favourites, The Golden Filter, who have recently completed a Q&A with us here. Second on stage will be the mind-blowing showmanship of Chew Lips, Camden’s hottest talents, with the beautiful singer Tiggs and her signature energetic display and their adorable, synth-heavy, 8-bit tunes. Finishing the night off will be a DJ set by none other than the IHEARTCOMIX label’s Designer Drugs. In an unusual but fantastic twist, there will also be a discount rummage sale from the trendy fashion label, American Apparel, as well as other well known Brighton brands, set up in the corner. It doesn’t get much more hipster than this.

VENUE:                Concorde 2, Madeira Drive, Brighton
COST:                   £3.00
DATE:                   Thursday 1st October 2009
WEBSITES:          Chew Lips Myspace, The Golden Filter Website, Designer Drugs Myspace
TRACK:                 CHEW LIPS – SOLO ysi

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Henron’s second event will be located at his normal underground scenester venue, New Hero. Here he showcases the Norwegian pop sensations that are Casiokids. A five piece that always get out of bed the right side it seems, so positively contagious is their energy. They have to be witnessed to be believed, as they bounce around the stage like a bunch of children, (were they supplied with nothing but McDonalds and Smarties for the previous month!). Constantly swapping instruments, blink and you will find the guy that was playing the piano is now playing the drums, whilst the drummer’s picked up a guitar! It’s their amazing ability to always give an outstanding performance, playing with such broad smiles, that always gets the crowd bouncing. For this they are worth their weight in gold, let alone the required £5. This will be their first return to Brighton since they played the Loop Festival a couple of months ago, so if you missed them on that occasion do not repeat the mistake! Henron has done it again and the place will be packed, so book your tickets as soon as you can. He always encourages a sense of abandonment in his home venue, with his nights always feeling like more of a college party than a club night. Prepare to be doing Casiokid congas around the dancefloor.

:                     CASIOKIDS
VENUE:                New Hero – Dyke Road, Brighton
COST:                  £5.00 adv / £6.00 on door
DATE:                  Friday 2nd October 2009
WEBSITE:            Myspace
TRACK:                CASIOKIDS – FINN BIKKJEN ysi

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On a separate note, The Recommender is about to embark on a photo shoot with both Wave Machines and Lovelikefire this week, so look out for the results on our Flickr page real soon. Nice.



Got a couple of Brighton-flavoured talents on show for you today. Big things are very much anticipated as the local buzz is building like an Ann Summers store with a Duracell salesman in it…

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We are a little over excited here at The Recommender, so we better make sure we don’t bubble over on this one. Here is a genuinely exciting two piece band, with one instrument between them – drums! However, banging said instrument is the ex-Maccabees Rob Dylan Thomas, so they arrive with credentials. What has us about to burst though is the massive talent that is the singer, Derek Meins, an eccentric, theatrical poet, but don’t let that put you off. He’s quite simply astonishing. If you want your frontmen to have bags of committed energy, a distinctive, original vocal and a style not seen from anyone in the last half century, then you have it here. Their live show is a mind blowing, rapid fire blast of nuclear proportions. He belts out sweaty, rocking, blues-bang vocals, squeezing everything possible out of his chest. Backing him up is the racing, broken, big beats that thunder on behind him. Empowering lyrics, “tell them there’s no time to wait anymore. Get ready!”, rally the crowd. For their bravery and originality alone they should be praised. It’s direct and guaranteed to shake you up, which is an amazing feat, with no guitars, no keyboards, or anything else, bar the odd sample. It’s stripped down to the bone, but able to rattle you raw in a way that will leave you inspired. Real talent and true songsmiths should be able to play without plugging anything in at all. Never before has an artist been so electrically charged without a plug in sight!   (MB)

Find him here:          Myspace

Hear them here:       THE AGITATOR – GET READY (ysi)

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These next two listings share a certain amount of gloom that surrounds their sound. We mean the sort that’s born out of the kind of school Ian Curtis and Nick Cave are found teaching at. That’s no bad thing so long as you can hear the song behind the fog, the melody in the scary mist. Thankfully this four piece remove the boredom and the tedious noises that often came out of their early 80s influences. Even though they take their name from an old Bad Seeds track, they introduce a modern lift and certainly don’t take themselves quite so seriously as the other recent similar purveyors, such as Editors or Interpol. One single is already out on the Deadly People label, with both the A and B sides having a deathly subject matter. Both tracks successfully bring us a great example of the rumbling doom pop they cover so well, with Tobi’s vocals sounding so baritone it’s as if it’s been slowed down! It’s all backed up by delicate guitars, a sweeping, echoing synth and upbeat drumming that helps build the climactic tunes to bursting point. For music written with the lights switched off they certainly have a bright future, but you won’t find a smile between them. They are playing a part and it’s in this contrast that you realise they aren’t that serious after all, (nobody could really be this moody could they?), and that lifts it. A lesson missed by other pretenders to the post punk and nu wave revival.  (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       O.CHILDREN – DEAD EYE LOVER (ysi)

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OK, so many bands seem to leech off of Joy Division these days it could seemingly become a genre all its own! For the extreme evidence of this just see the Russian band Motorama, which we blogged about here. Although Lyrebirds have much to owe Joy Division, there’s just as much to be paid to the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and Interpol. However, we were invited to see them perform twice in recent weeks, including a charmingly confident show at their first ever headlined gig. Encouraging indeed. their frontman is a chip off the Richard Ashcroft block, with his tight leather jacket, lanky looks, confident swagger and intense, committed performance. This Brighton five piece are at a very early stage, but there’s already a giant buzz around town. Playing dark, brooding rock, they always seem to lift off as the songs middle out to a powerful chorus. There’s a great mixture of pace and patience from track to track, with a lot of talent on show in their pounding guitars, shaking drums and rumbling bass, (which incidentally is played by, ex-Kooks, Dan Logan). Nothing has been confirmed yet, but The Recommender is requesting a photoshoot with them, so we will let you know if that comes off. In the mean time you can see a couple of the photographs we took during these recent gigs at The Recommender’s Flickr page.    (MB)

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Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        LYREBIRDS – LOTUS (ysi)

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Don’t panic, we haven’t gone all dark and miserable on you. Perhaps the music we’ve selected today is simply a reflection of the economic times we live in and we know that won’t last forever, so pop back soon for more cheery positivity in the turn around.




Following our previous Q & A sessions from the likes of Little Boots, to Mirrors, to Marina & The Diamonds, amongst others, we are pleased to be able to bring you yet another exclusive interview. This time we ventured into the mysterious world of  blog favourites, The Golden Filter.

The key word when talking about this New York two piece is ‘BUZZ’  – It’s precisely what they create amongst the blogs every time they release something, (precisely what happened yesterday after they released new track Thunderbird, due out November 16th on Dummy Records) – It’s also what surrounds the anticipated release of their debut album – Above all though, it’s their signature sound, as they attach their distinctive electro synths to their thumping, retro disco beats. You definitely know when your listening to Golden Filter!

They’ve also proved to be outstanding remixers, previously managing to get a Recommender Remix Special post written about them. Read that here. Additionally they’re due to play this blog’s home town of Brighton, UK, on October 1st at our popular Concorde 2 venue, alongside Chew Lips. It really doesn’t get much better than that!!

1.) You don’t hide your identities when you play live, so are your names and images now known to people, or do you still not confirm anything?

Penelope There is no real need for us to hide who we are when we play, but we are still strong advocates of not really sharing too much about ourselves with people, as we would like the music to still remain first and foremost.

2.) We don’t want to focus too much on your mysterious secrecy here, but what are the reasons behind not letting your image or names easily known? Is there some kind of grand idea behind it?

Penelope It’s just our choice to not 100% participate in giving all the information that there is to give about ourselves online. Such pre-judgements leave the music a lot less pure than it otherwise would be.  It can create a tiny box for the listener to place an artist in before the listener even hears the music, and that is not how we think music should really be listened to. We like visuals and imagery to help tell the story more than words and faces and identities.

Stephen At the same time, we hope we reach the point where it’s not a “weird” way to go about things. Where our music isn’t about the artist being a secret, it’s more about our music.

3.) That’s all fair enough, but in this modern age an artist’s image is often a key ingredient in music, so do you think that your level of mystery has hindered or helped media / blog coverage? Is it quite hard to complete photo shoots and videos without seeing your faces?

PenelopePerhaps to some it seems like it could have hindered it, but I think that the people we have worked with to date have actually relished somewhat in this and have been excited by the ‘challenge’. They too feel inspired to work with something  a bit different, though it’s not a new concept at all. Mystery is a magical thing…. it  triggers the mind to go into overdrive trying to figure out “who or what can it be?”. We should all question things for ourselves and not believe everything we see or read.

StephenThe lack of a face is definitely not the lack of an image!

4.) That’s a good point. OK, how did you both meet up?

Penelope We perhaps thought that we had actually met when we were about thirteen, but just didn’t realise this, as it happened in some non-waking realm. Because after becoming friends we realized that our lives, despite being on opposite ends of the planet, were in fact very mirrored. Parallel universe stuff. Curious. It took us literally traveling around the world and ending up living directly across the street from each other for our worlds to collide. We think not by accident, but in some grand scheme.

5.) Yeah, we noticed that you list New York as your home city on Myspace. We assume you still live there, but it isn’t where you grew up right?

Penelope Yeah we live here but I grew up near Byron Bay in Australia. A World far removed from this metropolis! A place where it was more about rainforests and beaches etc.

Stephen I lived in the midwest US. Very near where DEVO grew up.

6.) That’s cool! Let’s move away from the personal and onto the band and the music then. You completed a North American tour with the Presets, so what were the highlights? Do you have other American and European tours planned for the near future?

PenelopeThe tour with the Presets was fantastic. The whole crew were lovely people and we all had a ball. For me to be able to tour the States with fellow Australians was great.  We have since been doing a few shows in different countries and with a few other bands like The Rapture. We are off for a small tour in the UK and Finland this week and next. We are also going to Iceland for the Airwaves Festival (which is going to brilliant!!) and then we will be back in the UK/Germany/Spain in November.

7.) We look forward to that. Do you have any favourite bands that you’ve played on the same bill as?

StephenWe love everyone we play with!

8.) You also played a variety of SXSW shows in March, so was that your first Austin experience? Did it go well?

Penelope – SXSW was extremely busy, but so much fun! We played eight shows in three days, or something like that. It was manic and kept us on our toes. As this was our first time there we felt like we really got the most out of it.

9.) Where did the name The Golden Filter come from?

Stephen – It’s a reference to 70’s soft focus photography. It came from a dream of a movie about a dream.

10.) We posted all about your excellent remixes recently. How do you select the tracks that you want to give the Golden Filter treatment? What do you think of the artists that have remixed your work? Do you have a favourite?

Stephen Strangely we have a hard time hearing our own songs remixed. As for the songs we remix, we get approached to do them, but we only do the ones we really like, or that we think we can add something to. We end up putting a lot into remixes, to the point that they take more time and energy than our own songs do!

11.) It seems that you have recently been more focused on remixing other people’s material so why is this? We also see you have released a new original track, Thunderbird, so will you be returning to writing and recording more of your own original tunes in the near future?

Stephen Yes. We will be focusing on our own music a lot more from this point on. though there will be at least one more remix coming out in 2009.

12.) Can’t wait! OK, who influences and inspires your music?

Stephen The people around us, historical figures, bands from the 60s and 70s. Strangely there are more non-musical entities influencing our music than music-related people.

13.) Is there likely to be any signs of a debut album in 2009? Do you have a name for the album and any possible release date in mind yet?

Stephen You will see the full-length debut in early 2010. Yes there is a name and yes we still like to hold on to information untill the last second!

14.) Lastly, we always ask our interviewees to become honorary Recommenders by asking if you know of any new bands/acts/DJs that have recently caught your attention that you would like to recommend to us?

Stephen Kindness seem pretty good. We’ve heard half of a song, but we don’t know anything about them. It’s precisely the pure way we like to listen to music, but it’s really quite hard to do. We also like what we’ve heard of O.Children as of late.





It seems that we’ve not done a Gig List for a while. August is a slightly weaker period for live music in Brighton, (with a handful of lucky exceptions), as venues await the return of students in September and October, so here are a couple of highlights as Autumn’s flood gates open.

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Is there a bigger name on the world’s DJ scene right now? This one-man, tidal wave of a DJ launches his next album, Lack Of A Better Name, in the next few weeks and follows it up with a tour around the UK. Out of all the places on this tour, Brighton is lucky enough to get the man-sized mouse for two consecutive nights at our beach-fronted club, Digital, such was the massive demand for tickets. It seems Brighton has a special pull on this Canadian tech-master. His recorded music is often tucked into the minimilist, progressive techno pocket, which suits the fact that he’s rather a techie geek, often spending almost as much time inventing programs and software for his studio productions than he does actually creating new music. However, it’s with his live sets that the mouse truly begins to roar, as he steps into a more thumping electro realm with extroadinary power and finesse. This is a DJ totally in control of any crowd he faces, building up tracks and dropping the breaks to perfection. He’s famous for wearing many different custom designed, massive mouse heads that range in colour from bright red, to black, to diamond encrusted. Prepare to see the giant mouse ears bobbing up and down above the frenzied crowd’s pumping fists.   (MB)

ACT:                    DEADMAU5
VENUE:               Digital, Brighton Beach
COST:                  £ 10.00
DATES:                Sunday 18th and Monday 19th October 2009
WEBSITE:           Myspace

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So big are this indie band that they’ve taken it upon themselves to rebrand the month of October for us. As they drive their UK tour around to most major cities outside London through ‘Bloctober’ they stop off at our largest capacity venue, The Brighton Centre. It’s a pity that this is the only venue big enough to squeeze in a band of this size as the acoustics are piss poor. Really, really piss poor. If a band are to avoid getting lost in this vast chasm they’ll need to create a sound as big as a stampede of horny elephants. Taking in the evidence from their summer festival slots it seems that Bloc Party could scare off a thousand, rabid mammoths with one blast of their bursting choruses, so they’ll be just fine. Adored by millions, Kele will no doubt bring his usual self-assured frontmanship to each set, whilst Matt Tong, a man that is the definition of  extroadinary drumming and technical timing, will provide his usual metronomic brilliance as the back drop. With such a vast catalogue of generation-defining songs in their locker, prepare for mass sing alongs and an atmosphere that The Brighton Centre probably hasn’t seen since the likes of Muse or Kasabian. And that’s saying something!   (MB)

ACT:                      BLOC PARTY
VENUE:                  The Brighton Centre
COST:                    £ 22.50
DATE:                    Saturday 24th (BL)October 2009
WEBSITE:             Myspace

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The Recommender is off to SourceFest tonight for the annual celebration of our town’s best going out bible, The Source Magazine, which I also write for. On show is a truly exceptional line up of Brighton’s talents, including The Half Sisters, The Agitator and The Lyrebirds. All of which are due a mention on this blog in due course.



Welcome back people. Got a little something for everyone today, as we cover hip hop, electro pop and indie with our three selections. Students are back in town too, which is always good news for the live music scenes, so watch this space as we’re gonna get busy.

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In the UK it seems hip hop is at last dragging itself out of its Grime obsessed darkness, with the outstanding Speech Debelle recently picking up the acclaimed Mercury Music Prize. However, it’s across the pond in the USA, hip hop’s home, that an evolution is desperately required.  It’s a genre that’s been around since it’s 70s birth in the boroughs of America’s cities, with New York being one of the most important and influential. It may have had a multitude of changes since, but it’s with the arrival of artists like Brooklyn’s Theophilus that it once again comes up for some refreshing air. His layered, often beautiful productions range from songs such as Cold Pillow (attached below), with the kind of Soul-bleached neon chorus that reminds us of Kanye‘s Flashing Lights, over to electro chords straight out of the 80s found in the sexy tune Sand Castles Black x Blue. It’s his ability to blend genres and decades that allow him to be one of the true potential crossover stars with roots firmly in the hip hop scene. A styled look and posing confidence will ensure the camera also loves him. He released This Charming Mixtape earlier this year, which bravely chops up Witney Houston (see video below of a documentary clip), to Amadou & Mariam (also attached below), to Kraftwerk! A selection that says it all really.      (MB)

Find him here:         Myspace

Hear him here:        THEOPHILUS LONDON – COLD PILLOW (ysi)

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Arriving in an already over-crowded electro pop scene rammed with female solo artists, the question is; does Kym Brown manage to find space on the table? We think so, as the London based kooky heroine certainly has a magical way with words. Take the awkward but bright and breezy electro fused ditty Almost Happy, a Talking Heads inspired vocal dictation, which throws up the lines “almost scratch and win, almost perfect cadence”. Along with this quirky approach to lyrics the music itself falls somewhere between playful, cheery optimistic analogue synth to a slightly darker, breathless, ambient tone. This is particularly in evidence on stand out track Princes Avenue, a Theremin-textured, sombre tune that really lets the vocals shine over a five minute slice of epic pop. Though unsigned, Miss Brown has started work on her (mainly) self-produced album, Cursery Rhymes, due to drop early next year. She’s currently busy making a video for Almost Happy this month, and it’s worth noting that she’s also managed to secure the remix treatment from (the legendary) Justin Robertson. On top of this you can catch her in a showcase gig at the Hoxton Bar and Grill on Wednesday 16th September. She informed us that she hits the stage at 8:15 pm, so get there in time to catch her version of the future.      (DV)

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Find her here:          Myspace

Hear her here:         KYM BROWN – ALMOST HAPPY (ysi)

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We can only apologise that it’s taken this long for us to get around to writing up the Generationals. We first came across this New Orleans two piece with the release earlier this summer of their debut album, Con Law, from the Park The Van record label. They’re a band that has been born out of previous incarnation, The Eames Era, with two of its members, Ted Joyner and Grant Wildmer, shifting over to create this new direction. Their debut album is a fine piece of work that drips with America’s current excellent wave of breezy, melodic indie, in the mould of Local Natives, Foreign Born, or label mates Floating Action, all of which have had mentions on The Recommender (find our critiques by clicking each link). Historical influences range from the likes of Modest Mouse to The Pixies and they seem to gather their summery vocals from The Beach Boys, which is not a bad grounding. They take their album on a tour through a large part of the USA, often in support of The Spinto Band, throughout September, October and November, so catch them if you get a chance. We will begin work on getting them over to the UK some time in 2010 and let you know. As our Autumnal weather sneaks in you could do worse than to slip on their strong debut and remind yourselves of sunnier times.       (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace


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Are you a budding journalist with an immaculate taste in music? Any students doing their Journalism or English degrees (or any other relevant courses) fancy joining the team at The Recommender (we are one of the UK’s essential blogs on new music), then get in touch. It will be good for the CV, but only the finest talent will be allowed on board. Email – We would love to hear from you. Good luck!



Who agrees with Speech Debelle becoming the Mercury Prize winner then? Comment your opinions please. We covered her in a recent post, so we have to say that we backed her. However, we’ve also covered Friendly Fires, La Roux, The Invisible, Florence & The Machine and Bat For Lashes on here before, so we could have backed them all!!

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Indie, dance and rock music is undeniably our three specialities here at The Recommender, but these days the genres can cover a very wide stretch of artists and sounds, so it’s a loose ‘speciality’. This is no bad thing as it opens our doors to many great musicians. We are even happier to cover DJ’s like V?, as his skills also jumble up a wide variety of genres. In his outstanding remixes you will find chopped beats, awesome samples and he regularly allows most of the original lyrics to stand. There’s often an adventurous sampled guitar rocking in it, or a French rappers vocals, but it’s essentially music to dance to. As with most great remixers it’s his (eclectic) selections that make him shine. He picks tunes that are essentially already enjoyable and doesn’t simply head for the pounding 4-beat or heavy synths, like so many other French DJs. The James Yuill tune, No Surprise, which he entered into a recent Discobelle remix competition, is probably our favourite (added below), but there’s more in his locker that are worth hunting out. In an overcrowded world of remixers (2009 has seen them appear on a massive scale – just check the Hype Machine‘s top 100 these days!), it’s even more impressive that this Parisian resident steps out from the crowd.   (MB)

Find him here:         Myspace

Hear him here:         JAMES YUILL – NO SURPRISES (V? REMIX) (ysi)

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Excuse me but I must start with a short geography lesson. The term Polynya is the Russian word for a natural ice hole but is also the term used for areas of the Arctic and Antarctic that remain unfrozen for most of the year round, here ends today’s lecture hope it wasn’t too heavy for you. Analogies aside, this five piece from North Carolina produce an esoterically adventurous brand of indie, which takes it’s sound from a diverse range of influences. On the stand out tune Island their vocals come across as a more subdued Deerhoof and Sonic Youth whilst musically it sounds like the rhythm section of Can playing along to a synth driven swirling rendition of Half Asleep by School Of Seven Bells. Brooding between full on space rock and 80s shoegazing, Polynya manage to tie together all the many musical strands that have effected them and produce an interesting multi-layered sound. The new album Crop Rotation is out now on Childhood Pet Records.    (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       POLYNYA – ISLANDS (ysi)

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We are pleased to finally get the chance to visit the latest promising foal to come out of the Neon Gold stable. A few months back the owner of the record label, Derek, was with me during a recent gig at Scala and he leaned over and whispered in our ears that we need to look out for Penguin Prison in the near future. For sure, any hot tip like this from the likes of the young taste-maker Derek should not go ignored. Prior to this post, we had only ever heard Prison Penguin’s outstanding remix of Marina & The Diamonds‘ I am Not A Robot (below), so it’s with great pleasure that we finally heard this New Yorker’s first original tune. It has a sense of fun all over it, in that familiar 80s pop bounce. Cool synths flick about alongside the random lyrics “I wish Mike Tyson was my friend, then I would tell him everything”! It’s so pop that George Michael may well pursue becoming his friend first. It’s simple and occasionally sickly, but totally charming and in fact it’s always the keyboards that make sure it never veers off cool street too far. Think of Frankmusik were he snapped up by Stock, Aitken & Waterman and you get the idea.   (MB)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        PENGUIN PRISON – ANIMAL ANIMAL (ysi)

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As a footnote to The Mercury Prize winner we thought we would attach a sweet acoustic video version of her track The Key, done by the awesome film makers, Watch Listen Tell.

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September 2009



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CLUB SMITH (Previously known as THE HAIR)


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

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