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.
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)
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)
Find her here: Myspace
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
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you. Good luck!