Archive for October, 2009




We predict that this band are going to split you lot down the middle. It’s not that there’s anything wrong or that we’re not recommending without our usual thorough conviction, but there’s a sharp bite and a pair of bollocks that come with this north London four piece. Their daring mix of originality alongside their obvious retro gothic rock influences is precisely what camp dividing is made of.  It is similarly their ability to not only take from the old, but add in a key fresh new ingredient, that so many other similar bands fail to do, that makes them so likeable. Their peers are stealing and replicating former sounds from the new wave and gothic movements without adding in their own thoughts. Wild Palms stir in something that’s not heard before and that allows them to break the surface for us. Razored guitaring chops like a helicopter blade, (were it being flown by Foals), whilst thundered beats drive their songs along at a pace. It’s the vocals from frontman Lou Hill, that wander brilliantly from Andrew Eldritch (Sisters Of Mercy) choruses, right over to Henry Dartnall (The Young Knives) verses, that make the music shift from back to front so much. Their tune, Over Time (listed below), was emailed to us in recent days and it’s a shining example of precisely our thoughts. They can be seen out on tour in support of Good Shoes at the end of November and start of December.  (MB)

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:      WILD PALMS – OVER TIME ysi

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This band are a new talent from our home town of Brighton, who fly in the face of all the doom pop (see critique above and indeed below) and electro pop that’s currently dominating not just our local scene but most of the UK this year. Still unsigned and going barely a full year, this four piece are hardly out of their wrapping yet, so the music often seems somewhat unpolished, but it adds to their charm. Once they pen a deal, and they will pen a deal, a little gloss will be applied to their encouraging tunes. It would be kind if they cut out the bullshit, stoner moments of self-indulgence (making sheep noises is sadly not hilarious to anyone but them!), but if they focus on the warm, well-constructed parts of their songs, then they just might create a future full of opportunities. Their music is outstanding in parts, reminding  us of Blur or even the Kinks at their sunniest. There’s a tidy brass player, some very pretty guitars and even a spot of whistling, which we always regard as somewhat brave. Fans of Super Furry Animals, or the more recent Birds & Batteries will enjoy the more experimental sides that are shown in the vocal layers and acutely enjoyable lyrics, “I’m just looking for the plot, I seem to lose it quite a lot”. Well this is one plot that remains unfinished, but our eyes will be fixed on finding a happy ending. Our favourite tune to date, The Rhythm Inside You, is listed below for your review.    (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:      FLASH BANG BAND – THE RHYTHM INSIDE YOU ysi

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As soon as we mention the genre of doom pop, (see the above critique), another one appears in our inbox that slots directly onto the Recommender iPod alongside the likes of Lyrebirds, Motorama, etc. Such is the prevalence of this type of band these days that we are in danger of drowning in the wave of echoing misery. Perhaps it’s a sign of these economic times, perhaps it’s simply because bands like The XX and Mirrors seem to be doing so well for themselves? Either way these guys are so young and fresh that their music wouldn’t even be allowed onto Alton Towers‘ rollercoasters. Refreshingly, unlike the clouds that hover over the likes of The XX or Lyrebirds, these guys sing of hope and love. Piercing guitars and basslines that enter you through the chest, ride under the vocals of frontman Lewis with the sort of undercurrent that will sweep you away forever. Even though they have had plays on Radio One with their amazing track Surfacing (see their Myspace), they’re still not yet plastered all over the blogs, which is amazing considering their power, intensity and instant appeal. Mike from the band mentioned to us that they hope to do a vinyl release of the tune before the end of the year and there’s the possibility of future EP’s in 2010 as they chase that elusive record deal. One thing is for certain, they’ll be signed soon enough and once those flood gates open we suggest you close your eyes and simply dive right in.    (MB)

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:      CHAPEL CLUB – AFTER THE FLOOD ysi

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Question – Do you like the bands that The Recommender covers? If so, would you like to come to an event hosted by this blog showcasing these bands? It’s just a thought. Answers on a postcard please, (or, if it’s easier, in the comments section…)




This very exciting artist comes from Perry, Georgia, of all places.  It’s perhaps a little surprising to find that one of the most promising genre-crossing electronic artists of late hails from a small town that boasts of its “slower pace” and “helping of Southern hospitality”  However, reading that Perry considers itself to be a “warm and gracious” place puts the pieces together.  This is because Washed Out’s currently sold out EP, Life of Leisure, released through the appropriately named Mexican Summer, delivers a soothing sense of warmth and acceptance with every song.  Many blogs seem to be struggling with words to describe Ernest Greene’s sound, and songs like You’ll See It (attached below) and Belong will show you why.  There’s this wonderful, dreamy, wide open sky sound to it that makes you think of soft grass and long lethargic days of summer.  Greene’s songs also stretch beyond the long summer days and into the thoughtful spaces of fall.  There’s also a second skill that’s surfaced, which is in evidence in his exceptionally lovely remix of a Small Black track, (also attached below).  This is the music we wished we could have slow danced to at school discos, but then again they were sadly never this cool.  This fella really is something special.  And if reading this doesn’t make you nostalgic, then the fuzzy hum of his cassette-only (!) release, High Times, certainly will.   (OG)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear him here:        WASHED OUT – YOU’LL SEE IT ysi

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Really, really exciting new bands somehow appear with a thumping impact.  You know the sort.  They arrive riding a bomb, that explodes in your face like a thousand unexpected money shots, forcing you to sit up and take note.  Well, considering this Brooklyn duo named themselves after the rather twee instrument normally adorning Santa’s ride, they actually came onto our radars with one of the loudest booms around.  They provide the type of excellent, noisy punches that head straight for your ear drums.  On the track Infintiy Guitars they throw out a loose, chaotic, punked sound that Alice Glass would approve of.  However, instead of any reliance on electro samples they appear to have more rounded dimensions.  It’s all about a stripped down brand of music, like hip hop at it’s most street level, this is noisy stuff, with heavily distorted beats, overlapped with the seductive vocals of Alexis Krauss.  She’s paired up with Derek Miller, who used to be found playing with Hardcore band Poison The Well, and even though he enjoyed a reputable contribution to their scene, is now testing his talented hands in this new direction.  Fans of Santigold‘s noisy clamour, MIA‘s rapier impact and Heartsrevolution‘s sentimental attitudes will love this for sure, but as you will see on tune Ring Ring (attached below), they aren’t afraid to pen a summer ballad too.  This is music without fear, a big heart and a bright future.    (MB)

Find them here
:       Myspace

Hear them here:      SLEIGH BELLS – A/B MACHINES ysi
Hear them here:      SLEIGH BELLS –  RING RING ysi

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By definition the word Gaggle means a flock of geese not in flight, or an unorganised group of people doing nothing. On both accounts these terms fail to sum up this Messianic, Nu-rave, robe-wearing, all women Alt-choir, but then what term could?! Their Cockney, street level brand of social and political lyrics are delivered in apocalyptic annunciations, like a scary girl band of harpies! It’s non-generic, it’s very original and it’s brilliantly rammed with doom and power in equal measure. On their most impressive track, Hidden Army, a Roman galleon drum stomp keeps step as the ladies sing in an almost mocking disdain of hiding ones head in the sand and the failings of men. With the excellent song Crows and with the even better remix (attached below), they’ve managed to compose the soundtrack to some Biblical epic from MGM studios. It’s like they’re staging a feminist, operatic production of Homers Odyssey, with massive, brooding and atmospheric choruses. This menagerie of 22 sassy women, led by Deborah Coughlin, built up their stage act over this summer’s festivals and they garnered plenty of useful coverage through Radio 1. With no dates yet organised for a single release the only way to catch them is in the flesh, which is precisely what they confidently claim to want to tear off your body piece by piece. If you dare, it shouldn’t be difficult to catch them as they have a heavy workload of concerts up to Christmas all over the UK.  (DV)

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Find them here
:        Myspace

Hear them here:       GAGGLE – HIDDEN ARMY ysi
Hear them here:       GAGGLE – CROWS (SPAWN OF GAGGLE REMIX) ysi

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If any of you lucky readers found yourselves at New York’s big new music event, CMJ over the last few days, together with it’s wealth of after parties, feel free to comment your experiences. Did any of you catch Sleigh Bells’ or Washed Out’s shows?



We have a little comparison on the blog for you today. There’s been some kind of coincidental theme running through this week, so we thought we would post about it. Two separate videos by two amazing female solo artists got released to the wider public this week. Both these girls are Recommender favourites and due for big  things. Very big things.

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The first is Ellie Goulding, (who we first blogged about here). Perhaps the slightly lesser known of the two we show off today, but certainly not the lesser talent. We managed to secure her for a quick photoshoot (more uploaded on our Flickr soon!), as her support of the Little Boots Tour marched into Brighton this week. She was very playful, happy, excited and a wonderfully easy subject. This same week, her video, for single Under The Sheets, (out in November under Neon Gold Records and produced by none other than Starsmith!), arrived in our inbox and it’s a blinder. She’s also secured a slot on Jools Holland next week, so we expect her cloud of buzz to become rather mushroom-sized in the coming days.


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The second video to float under our gaze this week was for the track Mowgli’s Road by Marina & The Diamonds, (an artist that’s had plenty of coverage on The Recommender here, here, here, here and here).  Directed by Chris Sweeney, it’s a strange affair, but creative and mesmerizing all the same. The single is getting it’s release on the major label, Atlantic, having previously been on the indie label Neon Gold before now. It’s our favourite tune of hers to date, so we are pleased that she’s hitting the wider audiences with this extraordinary song. The album will likely be out early next year. It’s going to be as big as it gets.


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As always, we are interested in getting your feedback on which video and artist you prefer? Let us know your reviews of them in the comments sections. Which artist do you think will make the biggest impact?




Are blogs really the modern taste-makers they proclaim to be? OK, so we stamp our self-proclaimed authority on new music, but really we’re simply the stream in which it flows, rather than being its source. The surfers of scenes and the social butterflies of new music if you will. Bands and record labels are the ones that actually carve out the direction. We are the reporters, giving voice to the good out of the plethora of crap that’s out there, making sure that the bands and labels we use as a source are equally as authentic as us! That’s where the Parisian record label Kitsune slot in nicely. Their annual compilation albums, which showcase new music they’re involved in, always provide a surprise or two with each year’s release. The 2009 compilation, the eighth in the series, which is out in November, is no different. The pick of the bunch this year have to be La Corps Mince De Francoise. This Scandinavian triplet of beautiful women pump out the sort of lure that will latch onto each and every one of the ears they drift past. They write fantastically adventurous tracks, packed with sampled synth layers, in a totally fearless and engaging mix. Mostly singing in English but with the kind of thick accents that we used to enjoy from CSS, they are playful, exuberant and full of hooks, breaks and melodies. You will fall in love and the matchmakers you can thank are not us, but Kitsune.       (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace


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The 1980s influences and references have been prevalent in the extreme throughout 2009. Deep down we all know it was a mostly horrible decade of decadence that threw up in the face of culture, so some day soon an artist will wake us from this neon haze. Perhaps Diamond Rings over the top 80s indulgence will signal precisely this. Perhaps not. This fella pays homage to what on the surface seems to be nothing but lame American, mid-80s suburban influences, yet on closer inspection we find some infuriatingly catchy and cleverly constructed pop. This side project from John O’Regan, (of Toronto band The D’Urbervilles), acts as a feel good, faded denim jacket and eye make up nod to MTV. The excellent track, All Yr Songs, is cleverly woven into a lament for a more innocent time, conjuring up images of Tiffany and the John Hughes Ferris Bueller period of the USA. A wood block percussion, an electric guitar and a brooding synth underline twee declarations of lending your sweater to your girl when it’s cold, finishing with the line “I never want us to grow old”. What turns this into a cool and vital purchase is that it’s all done with such flair, oh and an enormous tongue lodged into it’s cheek. No gigs are as yet planned for the UK and unfortunately his single has sold out but you can catch his reference-heavy 80s video on YouTube here.      (DV)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:       DIAMOND RINGS – ALL YR SONGS ysi

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If you like your pop to be clever, unpretentious, melodic and pretty, but also like it to be fresh, left-field and a shit-load of fun then welcome to the ridiculously named Pomplamoose (um, not quite French for Grapefruit!). We found them on the Totally Twitterpated blog and instantly fell for their charms. They have a series of Youtube ‘videosongs’, such as their jokey cover of the Beyonce tune, Single Ladies, (listed below). These covers have become a regular occurence, with others such as Simon & Garfunkel and Edith Piaf also being selected. Nataly Dawn utilises a voice that’s just as sweet and delicate as her baby face looks. So baby faced in fact that she makes Beck look positively past it. However, the Californian duo have created a selection of rather brilliant original tunes and it’s these that have earned them their listing on The Recommender. There’s plenty of melodic joy and lighthearted pop built into each of their perfectly designed creations. If your mood doesn’t lift, even a little bit, when you listen to them, then it’s perhaps time for that lobotomy. The sunshine radiating out of their box of tricks is totally blinding and worthy of your inspection, even if you have to peer through your trendy little hipster fingers. It’s not going to be a massive commercial success, but there’s always room for this kind of sunny disposition, right?       (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       POMPLAMOOSE – SINGLE LADIES ysi

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OK, so that’s another edition done. Hope your mood was ever so slightly lifted by that one. If not, you can always come back again soon, as we deal out our little mood lifting sessions roughly every four days…




This West Coast five piece’s EP was lovingly posted through the letterbox at Recommender towers this week, or as it’s more commonly known, our email’s inbox. It’s a piece of work that follows not one but two debut albums by this band. Two debuts!? To explain, the first attempt, Nature Vs Nature, was the solo work of Michael Sempert, which got re-recorded once he relocated to San Francisco and recruited the rest of the band. The second attempt, I’ll Never Sleep Again, was the first release of work written and recorded in 2007 by the completed line up. So we now turn to a new EP, Up To No Good, which works as a fore runner to their expected new album, which is due out in Spring 2010. If this EP teaser is anything to go by then you can get ready for a new favourite band. There’s the mellow and totally brilliant basslines you used to locate on a Bowie album, mixed up with the kind of gorgeous vocal harmonies Super Furry Animals had at their most Beatles-esque peak. Throw in the dark funk and atmospheric song structures you link with TV On The Radio and you get the picture. They’ve done away with all the alt-country fluff you often found on their previous work and this new fuzzed up electricity moves them in a wonderful direction. So different is their new work that we list a couple of tracks for you to consider. The only drawback is that it’s the start of Autumn here, yet I’m already thinking of Spring next year!    (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       BIRDS & BATTERIES – LONELY GUNS ysi
Hear them here:       BIRDS & BATTERIES – THE VILLAIN ysi

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We have begun work on our blog’s Best Tracks Of 2009, an annual project that’s lovingly undertaken by most of the established blogs out there. So we’ve started to lovingly scan through all of this years posts to plunder the highlights. Amazingly we noticed that Grizzly Bear have somehow been a horribly glaring omission which we can’t quite believe has been missed! We fully intended to post about the Brooklyn four piece around the time of their third studio album, Veckatimest, released in May, but they managed to get left off. Rather than simply forget about them and move on, we feel it is our duty to finally and belatedly include them in our halls. So strong is their magical and beautiful album that they absolutely make The Recommender’s grade. It’s atmospheric indie that forms in the background of your mind as you listen. Fans of those bearded woodsman Fleet Foxes, or those other hirsuted Americans, Local Natives, will appreciate the similar, layered vocal harmonies and haunting, mulit-instrumental dreamscapes that are found here. Although it was launched at the end of May, their album is actually better suited to an Autumn backdrop, so there’s no better time of year to re-visit them than this. They are planning a tour around the UK around the start of November, so we suggest you take the chance to see them in the next few weeks.     (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       GRIZZLY BEAR – SLOW LIFE (ft. VICTORIA LEGRAND) ysi

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Today’s final subjects are one of the latest acts to have been born out of the (in-) famous college fraternity, The Eclectic Society, which has previously spawned such acts as MGMT and Amazing Baby. Getting touted as “the next best new age electro funk band to come out of Brooklyn” is something worth taking note of, however, they’ve also been described as “the absolute worst band in the world right now”, so that came as a swift leveller as we stuck our noses in. It’s easy to see why there’s a certain amount of camp-splitting, as there’s rather a surreal foundation in the way they approach their music. As we dig further we uncover the cause of this, as the lead singer is found to be Victor Vazquez, one half of the stoner rap duo, Das Racist, whose biggest hit so far has been Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell! Hmm. Alongside a handful of sweet tracks, such as Dressed To Digress (listed below), it was actually their tune,  Fountain Of Youth, that finally convinced us of their quality, bringing to mind a familiar MGMT sound. As the track’s complexity unfolded it became clear, for all their absurdity this is a band that actually makes fantastic, instantly catchy pop songs. Who cares if they’re actually being serious or not?    (MH)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       BOY CRISIS – DRESSED TO DIGRESS ysi

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We recently completed a few photos in a shoot with the band Yes Giantess, so look over to our Flickr page for the results of those real soon. We are currently chasing Ellie Goulding for the next shoot so with a little luck we can bag her up too.

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Hope you enjoyed our last post all about those great Shoes remixes? For today we are enjoying a return to the indie shores of Recommender-land. A familiar and rather brilliant place, with three gorgeous pointers for you to enjoy.

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New York is pumping out so much great music at the moment, but to be fair to this beloved city we aren’t sure it’s conveyor belt ever stopped?! The next band to have plonked onto our playlists come from the Williamsburg area of the city and this awesome collection of friends are only too happy to share out their music. This five piece group come with a sunny disposition, almost reminiscent of a long gone 60s hippy era, with their vocal harmonies and pretty guitars that tingle right through you. There are modern elements here too though, with melodies that wouldn’t look out of place on the more delicate end of Lemon Jelly‘s spectrum. It’s instantly addictive, full of intertwined rhythms and the kind of pop song structures that rest perfectly in an almost subconscious, comfortable part of you brain. They’ve barely been going a full year and hardly reached out beyond New York, yet they’ve already managed to construct and release their debut album, Weathervane. It’s an ear-opening, multi-textered, perfectly crafted piece of work which, considering its rapid construction since their inception, shows us that this group clearly have songs bursting out of them.  (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace


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It’s very rare that we write up a band who have stepped out beyond their debut material. It’s not only the nature of blogs, but our specific aim is to introduce you to new things, so its pointless covering artists that you’re already aware of. Although we’ve known of this Scottish four piece for some time, it’s not really until the tracks from their new album, Swim Until You Can’t See Land, (due for a release in Spring 2010), started arriving in our inbox that we felt encouraged enough to Recommend them. They’re managed by local Brighton resident and tour manageress to the stars, Storme, and have been snapped up by our local friendly label, Fat Cat Records, who’s recent signings also include the likes of The Twightlight Sad and Recommender favourites We Were Promised Jetpacks. We’ve still not quite managed to find out why it is that the label, based in the (very) southerly city of Brighton, keep snapping up bands from Scotland of all places! Either way, their northern A&R man is doing an awesome job. Frightened Rabbit recently returned from a stint touring America on a label showcase. They’ve also secured a performance at this years Q Awards show later this month, prior to going around the UK supporting Gomez in November and then through December in support of Modest Mouse.     (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace


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Our attention has recently been caught by an intriguing collaboration. It consists of the entire cast from the band Collections Of Colonies Of Bees and Justin Vernon, fresh from his success with Bon Iver. It initially looked like a side project; however this Wisconsin super-group have actually been making music together since 2005, predating Bon Iver’s success. Surprisingly Justin Vernon’s vocals aren’t the most striking thing on show here, as it’s the music that grabs you by the balls on their debut album, Unmap. Upon first hearing their track, Island IS, it’s as if you have walked in on the band just warming up their instruments, as they experiment with loops and sounds that come at you in reverse. Choruses and verses take a back seat as the track begins to comfortably drift and soar hauntingly, only to suddenly pull back into a sweet tempo. Once Vernon’s distinct voice kicks in it all begins to make perfect sense, as the different layers collide beautifully. All their experimental notes and peculiar rhythms succeed in their attempt to hypnotize. Innovative, often bizarre, intense and profoundly good, Volcano Choir show us that Justin Vernon and friends have plenty in their collective lockers. Finest moments on the debut are Sleepymouth, Still and Island IS, the latter of which we attach for you below.   (MH)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:         VOLCANO CHOIR – ISLANDS IS ysi

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We’ve been promising changes here at The Recommender for a little while as we look to give the blog a full refurbishment. Meetings with web designers and other lovely, helpful folk mean things are now slowly taking shape. It’s looking like 2010 should start with our desired tweaks completed. Nice.

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October 2009



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CLUB SMITH (Previously known as THE HAIR)


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

Olivia Gable (OG) - Contributor (Austin, USA)

Matt Allfrey (MA) - Contributor (UK)

Natasha Ryan - Photographer (New York, USA)