Archive for November, 2009

27
Nov
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 64

KITE IN THE AIR

When looking at ‘super groups’, making a whole that is greater than taking it’s individual parts is often one hell of a hit or miss business.  Just check out rock’s attempts, with Velvet Revolver missing it badly, or the more recent Dead Weather, who made it work with a little more success, (although Jack White could join Jedward and make it work as far as we are concerned).  Kite In The Air isn’t quite a ‘super group’, but the members have previously existed in separation.  Mike Genius, one half of the dark electronic riff section that was the American duo WZRDZ, has joined forces by playing the laptop behind another duo, Jed & Lucia, who are more used to providing us with a sweet blend of Californian gaze folk.  So they seem to have previously occupied very different genres and it seems rather impossible to imagine they’d ever have a middle in which to meet.  As individual groups their music seemed born from a type of drug infused haze, only the drugs of choice in WZRDZ case were mountains of petrol-infused crack, where Jed & Lucia were drifting on a purple cloudy wave of weed.  However, the music they’ve created whilst pulling together is nothing short of astonishing!  It’s music you will instantly adore, made equally for the headphones as the dancefloor.  It’s what The Golden Filter would have loved to have made, with it’s four beat pace and electro riffs, but with Emma Lucia’s vocals the music totally takes off.  There are the kind of peaks on each track, all available for free on their website, that would make anyone jealous.  Clear headed, or mind fucked beyond repair, this is music that makes a bee-line for your cerebral cortex and stays there until the morning.  Enjoy the sunrise.   (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       KITE IN THE AIR – MAGIC MARKER ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

MNDR

If you’re from the UK you would be forgiven for thinking this artist is named after the 1980s show starring Arthur Daley, but sadly not.  It’s actually pronounced “Man-dar”, as in her real name, Amanda Warner, and she’s one of those very special finds!  Locating a diamond cut like this is all too rare and it’s commonly followed by plenty of whoops and over-enthusiastic yelping.  Apologies if you involuntarily produce some these noises too, but at least you’ve been warned.  Like all good music, this is best played very loudly, so the synth punch goes straight through you, Bruce Lee style.  Don’t be fooled for thinking this is too basic either, as simplicity is a lot harder to create than you would think and Amanda’s jams, and they are proper jams, have mastered this art.  Jerked dance hall drum machine beats, of a kind not seen since Santi White, jump over modulated synths in a style claimed to be nerdcore.  However, her thumping tunes have plenty of pop and melody fitted inside too, in the same great way those other nerds, Hot Chip, achieve so effortlessly, (she even shares their love of big geek glasses!). The key to it all wrapping up so well is the vocals, which reflectively remind us of Kim Wilde.  She’s previously worked with Har Mar Superstar, Deerhoof and Yeah Yeah Yeahs in various ways, so we will try and get her over to the UK so she can headline a Recommender gig next year.  Hopefully plenty more will arrive from her between now and then as she’s currently busy piecing together her debut album.  This is one space we will all be watching intently!   (MB)

Find her here:         Myspace

Hear her here:        MNDR – FADE TO BLACK ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

CITADELS

We’ve known about this Shoreditch three piece for some time now, but as always the packed inbox of the blogger is both a blessing, giving us many introductions, but also a bastard, as it takes such a long time to get around to listening to, and ultimately writing about, each new discovery. Citadels seem to be well known around the trendy East London circles, with two out of the three also performing as the dance duo Labyrinth Jackals to reflect their schizophrenic love of dance music. So good was their recent remix of Seven by Chew Lips that we may well have to write Labyrinth Jackals’ own Recommender in due course. If we get around to it of course! Anyway, back to the band Citadels, their original construction, which they formed upon moving to the capital from their south coast roots. The regular comparisons to The Flaming Lips electro pop would only work if the Oklahoma giants had Brett Anderson fronting them! However, their vocals enjoyably crescendo in the same excellent way that Wayne Coyne’s do and they similarly produce a type of playful, dreamy, layered peak to each of their songs. It’s intelligent and totally fearless music, absolutely rammed with melodies and contagious vocals. When they reach the summit of their songs, and they build a song as good as anybody, it turns out the view is truly beautiful. For fans of imaginative, aspirational guitar pop, you will do well to watch this band, as they are due to really deliver their master plan during 2010.   (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       CITADELS – ANIMALS ysi

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23
Nov
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 63

GOODNIGHT OWL

Listening to a newly discovered song over and over and over, for a ridiculous number of times, is rather an irrational and overly obsessive thing to do.  You secretly don’t want anyone to know that the instant this said tune just finished in your earphones you’re fiddling with your ipod to restart it.  Still, let’s be honest, we ALL do it don’t we.  One thing for sure is that it’s very rare and it takes a blindingly good song to cause such an abandon of your usual sensible self-control.  Well we are openly admitting it, Maps & Compasses, by this Australian three piece, was so stuck on repeat the ipod ran out of battery.  Soon enough yours will too.  Welcome to the uncomfortably secret world of Goodnight Owl.  They are fronted by the magical acoustics of Eddie Alexander, originally from Alice Springs, but now of Melbourne.  He creates the kind of strong song-smithery that Bright Eyes used to churn out, with plenty of delicate string-plucking and wonderfully imaginative lyrics.  On their own they would be a masterful set of crafted folk songs, but it’s when Eddie pairs up with the electronics produced on the laptop of Joe Walker that the full effect of it’s addiction takes over.  These beats and samples never drown the authenticity of Eddie’s guitar, rather they compliment it with fragile rhythms and samples that take the songs to an original level.  We guess that we should apologise if this tune makes your commute to work have one solitary soundtrack for the next few days.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.   (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       GOODNIGHT OWL – MAPS & COMPASSES ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

SENSUAL HARASSMENT

Thump, clap, thump, clap, thump, clap, thump, clap, clap.  Ever since the invention of Ecstasy, it seems that having an ear for a good beat is enough to get the young folk’s attention fixed onto your tunes.  OK, so there’s a quite a bit more that is required in all fairness, but having a stong beat will always get the party readied.  The beat is precisely how disco, rave, techno, hip hop, and quite literally with drum n bass, get defined in most cases.  Well, this Brooklyn three piece band have that recognizable, perfect disco pace to their drums and your feet will thank you for being attached.  Add in their funky, electro synth riffs and the odd sampled vocal refrain and you will find the rest of your body soon follows your feet.  This is totally awesome stuff, to go with all the other amazing creations that are currently pouring out of that part of New York.  Fans of disco, of the kind that The Golden Filter or perhaps Midnight Juggernauts bring to the party, but with an added groove and more layers, will adore this lot.  Apparently the production team behind these creative fellas include the likes of Jesse Canon (The Cure, Animal Collective) and Alan Douches (Chemical Brothers, Mastodon, Sufjan Stevens), so that may explain the tight construction, confident strutting and rather instant likability.  They offer their stems for a remix here, so expect many chopped up versions of the below tune to spread around the blogs like wildfire.  This is one lawsuit we won’t be lodging any time soon.  By all means, harass away.    (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       SENSUAL HARASSMENT – DADDY LONG LEGS ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

MUCHUU

We’ve been absolutely bowled over by this fantastic brother and sister pairing in the last few weeks.  The sister, who goes by the name Milky, provides the beautiful, really rather cute vocals, to go with her cute looks.  If you thought 2009 was a year in which the female vocalist really dominated it seems that the pace will relentlessly continue through 2010, with Milky’s equally brilliant, tweaked voice.  Behind her is her brother George, who’s equally as baby-faced and clearly a master of the synthesiser and sample.  Their magical trip of juxta-beats, melodic choruses and other-worldly pop will equally entice fans of Ellie Goulding and Bat For Lashes.  This is the precise ticket another fellow competitor, The Good Natured, who we blogged about recently here, is already covering to perfection.  However, this isn’t about any such competition, as the worlds that these two inhabit are the kind where they aren’t concerned with anybody else, as they’re too busy having conversations with imaginary friends.  Their world is one where organic, well-crafted pop resides, of the kind that’s covered in fairy dust.  This is regularly evidenced in Milky’s lyrics, such as “…how I love magic, take me there” and “…can somebody tell me where I’m supposed to be“.  It’s music made in the cottage garden for your little sister, but believe us when we tell you that this is exactly how 2010 will be served up for many of us.  Before you retort, think about it, there’s definitely something appealing, during these dark economic times, with music that transports you to the other worlds you thought only existed in your childhood.  After all this doom, it seems like the escape hatch will be well and truly opened next year and it’s bands like Muchuu that have the keys.  Their debut single is out on 30th November.  (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:         MUCHUU – SOMEBODY TELL ME ysi

18
Nov
09

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 36

BEST ALBUMS OF THE NOUGHTIES

The daunting task of putting together something that you know lots of readers won’t agree with is never easy, but then we thought you could always go make your own lists.  At least we had the balls…

So the 50s had rock n roll, the 60s had it’s pop and folk, the 70s it’s punk, disco and glam, the 80s it’s pop, hip hop and hair rock, the 90s it’s grunge, brit pop and dance music.  It begs the question – what standout genre defines the Noughties?

In the age of the Internet, mass communication and rapid pace, it seems very few themes had a chance to settle.  Whether this is a bad thing for the adoring Teen is uncertain.  NME magazine were desperate to tie bands together, as we saw with their own invention of nu-rave, following the Klaxons debut.

So diluted are people’s tastes, that if you ask anyone what type of music they like, 90% will now answer, “…a bit of everything really“.  We are no longer Mods or Rockers, or into hip hop or rock.  We put this down to a number of cultural factors, but alongside the obvious invention of the Internet, one big influential change came with another man-made creation:  Ecstasy.

This drug meant that typical fans of rock music were missing out on all this drug-fuelled fun that the dancing ravers were having, so it meant dropping your guard and embracing the ‘other’ sort of music.  So it turned out that you could like rock music during the week, then pile into clubs for dance music at the weekends.  And so the dilution began…

Now we all happily enjoy “…a bit of everything” and that has to be good.  Gone are the clans and the cliques.  However, the Teenager may have lost out on the magical feeling of being part of a genre that defines your Tribe.  Are we no longer “Talkin’ bout Your Generation“?

And so to the list…gulp…

1.)  LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – SOUND OF SILVER (2007) :  The past, present and future all dispensed in one mind-shattering, occasionally apocalyptic, but ultimately life-affirming experience that went straight for the cerebral cortex.  This is very much the property of James Murphy, but it’s ripples can be found in many other artist’s subsequent work.  However, subtle ripples is all they are, as although truly great albums spawn many pretenders, nobody can repeat something as magical as this.  Indie, dance, punk, electronica, funk, pop, new wave, rock, it’s all in here.  At it’s peaks it is a crest of a tidal wave.  At it’s depths it has songs we want played at our funeral.  Truly special.


Best Track – All My Friends (ysi)

2.)  ARCADE FIRE – NEON BIBLE (2007) : This Canadian masterpiece, and it is a true masterpiece, simply couldn’t have been written by anyone else.  Finally, something otherworldly that wasn’t done in a self-indulgent, psychedelic way.  Their strong debut, Funeral, which was a lot of people’s best kept secret, made the follow up a definitive ‘difficult second album’, but they blew the myth out of the water.  Never before has an album felt so much like an all-encompassing, religious experience.  This is one cult we are all better off for joining.


Best Track – Intervention (ysi)

3.)  ARCTIC MONKEYS – WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT’S WHAT I’M NOT (2006) :  It seems Alex Turner and co were never that keen on the limelight, which possibly dimmed with each subsequent album, but there’s no denying the consistent power of this massive debut.  They were the first true Myspace generation band.  Life was never the same again following those first few chords at the beginning of I Bet You look Good On The Dancefloor.  Singing in your accent finally cast aside any dominant American shackles that indie music had.  Cue adoring hoards, gorgeous girlfriends, and plentiful riches.  Damn that limelight eh!


Best Track – A Certain Romance (ysi)

4.)  RADIOHEAD – KID A (2000) :  This is the musical equivalent of a marmite album if ever there was one. It sounded like the future, from a band that truly embraced new technology and change, during the birth of the new millenium, when the rest of us were still learning to walk with it.  For a band that had showed off their talents on many previous occasions it was beautiful to see they still had this many clever tricks up their sleeve.  Never has an album been so anticipated, only to surprise us all upon it’s eventual release.  Amazingly, boundaries have continued tumbling with every album since.  This Oxford five piece are the definition of independent.


Best Track – The National Anthem (ysi)

5.)  THE STROKES – IS THIS IT? (2001) :  You could argue that the title’s clever question was immediately answered upon hitting play on an album that seemed to jump start the decade, just as the world was still looking for fresh ideas.  Strange really, as upon first glance it seemed very retrospective with it’s 70s garage rock influences.  However, this record , and it does feel like it should be called a record, had more ferocious power and lyrical comment hidden away.  Oh, and every single band member looked way cooler than anybody had for years!  This had an equally big impact on style as it did music.


Best Track – The Modern Age (ysi)

6.)  TV ON THE RADIO – DEAR SCIENCE (2008) : A tough choice, seeing as their previous attempt, Return To Cookie Mountain, was also very strong. It’s with their latest effort that we think they deserve their listing though. It’s a step up in our books. Unbelievably smart tracks, such as opener Halfway Home, or the equally original Golden Age, seem so thunderously strong that they came with a lightning bolt to the head included.


Best Track – Golden Age (ysi)

7.)  GREEN DAY -AMERICAN IDIOT (2004) :  Never before has a band switched from being the possession of the young to the wider acceptance of the adult music fan with such a thump as this Californian three piece’s 7th album.  Yes, that’s 7th album!  But this isn’t a case of monkeys writing out Shakespeare if given the time, oh no.  We always knew this band had ability, it’s just that true quality often takes time to evolve, (or grow up, if you like).  They kept their punk brilliance, but added in more politics and melody.  It’s argued this is the only good thing to appear as a result of George Bush’s existence.


Best Track – Holiday (ysi)

8.)  BLOC PARTY – A WEEKEND IN THE CITY (2007) :  Albums simply don’t get more urban than this.  Songs of both losing and finding love, this album scaled the emotional heights.  This was music made by people who had clearly built on the promise of their strong debut, Silent Alarm, reassuring fans that their full locker was the real deal.  This was a band who you can sum up in their lyric from one of the album’s highlights,  “Tonight make me unstoppable…and I will dazzle, I will outshine them all“.

An aerial night shot of a motorway junction with two levels. Lit sports pitches are visible in the top right-hand corner.
Best Track – I Still Remember (ysi)

9.)  THE LIBERTINES – UP THE BRACKET (2002) : Like all greatness they burned bright and then exploded, or should that be imploded, leaving every teen fan gasping for air and longing for reconciliation ever since. Touted as this generation’s Lennon and McCartney combo, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat have similarly never scaled the heights as individuals that they reached when their parts were combined. Fuck Robbie Williams, in a world of pop comebacks, this is the really big, glaring omission.


Best Track – Time For Heroes (ysi)

10.)  ELBOW – THE SELDOM SEEN KID (2008) :  We know a lot of people liked Asleep In The Back, but there’s a reason Elbow’s most recent album was more commercially successful, won massive critical acclaim and scooped the Mercury Prize.  Namely, it’s songs scaled heights (The Loneliness Of Tower Crane Driver), channelled raw power (Grounds For Divorce) and truly fulfilled the promise of their collective talents in one of the best show-closers of all time, (One Day Like This). Never before has reward been so deserving.


Best Track – One Day Like This (ysi)

11.)  THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS – IT’S BLITZ (2009) :   Their debut, Fever To Tell, and the follow up, Show Your Bones, had fantastic highlights, but their latest album offered up true consistency.  Adopting more electronics and synths, without dropping any of the craft we had previously witnessed, was both surprising and reassuring.  It worked well with their image and they retained lots of originality, whilst still managing to pander to a wider audience.  Interestingly,  it’s the only entry on this list from 2009.


Best Track – Zero (ysi)

12.)  BRIGHT EYES – I’M WIDE AWAKE, IT’S MORNING (2005) :  Touting him as the new Bob Dylan perhaps over-played his impact, but he’s probably the closest any modern artist has come.  No wandering songsmith has mastered the power of the lyric quite as well as Conor Oberst.  This is an album of brave honesty and clever ideas.  Only hearts of stone couldn’t connect to this album.


Best Track – First Day Of My Life (ysi)

13.) KLAXONS – MYTHS OF THE NEAR FUTURE (2007) :  This was one Mercury Prize winning album that truly deserved the recognition.  Adventurous, refreshing and more than anything, original.  Although they resisted the NME’s nu rave pigeon hole, there’s no denying this album caught the teenager’s imagination.  It’s style was copied by many and it even injected colour back into the world of fashion.  All eyes on what will be a very difficult ‘second album’ then.


Best Track – Golden Skans (ysi)

14.)  THE WHITE STRIPES – ELEPHANT (2003) :  Although it’s predecessor, White Blood Cells, showed off many sparks of Jack’s genius, it was this follow up that eventually engulfed the world in red and white flames.  One guitar, one set of drums, one totally colossal sound.  It’s fitting that this rock duo, who plunder the genre of blues more than anything, make music that’s never been so stripped back to it’s basics.


Best Track – Hardest Button To Button (ysi)

15.)  JUSTICE(2007) :  Was this the peak in a hit and miss decade for the genre of dance?  This Parisian pair of hipsters spawned a whole new sub-genre, blog house, and influenced all dance music for the next two years.  Cue pandemonium in every live set.  Dance had never been so rock, they even ended their gigs with a Metallica tune!  Embraced by the online world, it seemed fitting that an electronic piece of cool turned us bloggers on so much, as that’s precisely what we (incorrectly) think we are!  It’s the album Daft Punk wished they had made, yet it wouldn’t have existed without them.


Best Track – DVNO (ysi)

16.)  THE FLAMING LIPS – YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS (2002) :  This band really are in a world all their own and for this unique album we were all transported there, (aboard a pink spaceship, captained by Wayne Coyne).  A truly magical piece of work with many outstanding peaks.  Alternative rock has never been so refreshingly creative. The tour that followed was equally as mind-blowing.


Best Track – Do You Realize? (ysi)

17.)  FOALS – ANTIDOTES (2008) :  OK, so the genre attached to this group was one of the most short lived in history, but these purveyors of math rock were one of the shining lights in 2008.  A mangled collection of influences, this was truly intelligent music, with brilliant jarring guitars played high up the neck.  It was as sharp as it was original.


Best Track – Cassius (ysi)

18.)  MUSE – BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS (2006) :  If you could attach a scale of size to music, then this Cornish, yes Cornish (!), trio would be well off it.  Their music is truly fucking huuuuge!  Previous albums seemed a little trite and over the top, but interestingly this follow up was all the better for going ever further over it.  Never before has a band taken such a giant, confident leap into a stadium.


Best Track – Invincible (ysi)

19.)  FRANZ FERDINAND – FRANZ FERDINAND (2004) :  This showed the kids that you could dance all night long without needing electronics or Ecstasy.  As British as gets, it had barrellfulls of pomp, art, intelligence and wit rolled up inside it.  The instant you heard the riff drop 55 seconds into Take Me Out we were all properly hooked.  You had forgotten it won the Mercury Prize too didn’t you?


Best Track – Take Me Out (ysi)

20.)  EMINEM – THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP (2000) :  He may have exited stage left since, but this angry, little white man had the world of the white teenager in the palm of his hands and that was as dangerous as it was fair.  On show was his comedic, rapid flow (The Real Slim Shady), his schizophrenic darker side (Stan) and his most biting anger (The Way I Am).  All produced by the mastermind of hip hop, Dr Dre, before Jay Z deservedly stole that crown.


Best Track – Stan (ysi)

21.)  SUPER FURRY ANIMALS – RINGS AROUND THE WORLD (2001) – This is lush, gorgeous pop at it’s kaleidoscopic best.  An album has never been so multi-layered, which sometimes even made it inconsistent, but that’s the Super Furry Animals in a nut shell.  It’s outstanding melodic heights, which at their best are comparable to The Beatles, are perhaps not surprising since legends likes Paul McCartney and John Cale provided cameo support on it.


Best Track – Sidewalk Serfer Girl (ysi)

22.) IAN BROWN – MUSIC OF THE SPHERES (2001) :  To our generation The Stone Roses were as important as The Beatles.  If a solo album was to appear after their split, there had to be some quality hidden in there.  It was refreshingly found in Ian’s third solo attempt.  Often bleak and minimal, often rich and tuneful, it’s the timelessness that will keep it as a favourite for many years to come.  At it’s heart it’s essentially the sound of promise being fulfilled.


Best Track – F.E.A.R (ysi)

23.) DJ SHADOW – THE PRIVATE PRESS (2002) :  So Endtroducing was possibly his best work, but this was the most accessible album from Josh Davis.  From those opening warped chords of Fixed Income we were totally hooked.  This was the world’s most masterful sampler at his most intricate.  So wide was it’s variety you could dance to one track, then let your sofa eat you up in a stoned haze to the next.


Best Track – Six Days (ysi)

24.) JAY-Z – THE BLACK ALBUM (2003) :  Although the Blueprint series of albums, including 2009’s, are all great, it’s actually this one that made us fall for Jay-Z’s charms the most.  Famous for it’s variety of producers, from Kanye West, to Rick Rubin, to Neptunes, not only gave Sean Carter the tightest album of all time, but it was a showcase of the power this ex-hustler had obtained.  (It even gave birth to an album that could’ve featured on this list, Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, mashing this and The Beatles White Album to great effect).  This is a hip hop master stroke, by a hip hop master, at his smooth story-telling best.

Best Track – Dirt Off Your Shoulder (ysi)

25.) LEMON JELLY – LOST HORIZONS (2002) :  Original doesn’t quite do it justice!  During live sets they’d play Bingo, get the crowd to hand out sweets to each other, play spot the fan by putting his face on a giant screen, sell t-shirts instead of tickets making you wear them to get in etc etc!  As for their albums, this was their masterpiece.  Inventive, original, but above all a shit load of memorable fun.


Best Track – Rambling Man (ysi)

OK, so let us have you responses.  We know you won’t agree, so vent in the comments section please.  Got a list of your own?  Let us know.  Obviously we were missing some big artists here, so who do you think were the glaring omissions?

Doing this list was perhaps one of the biggest posts we’ve ever done, but rest assured that this was an absolute joy to do.  Perhaps you too should reflect on your favourite musical highlights of the decade?  Somehow, it’s reassured us that this world can still produce amazing, original and timeless music.

See you back here shortly for ‘The Best Tracks Of 2009‘ post.  Nice.
(by MB)

15
Nov
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 62

KiT

How is it that every time we come across a band from Paris it makes us want to be right there, in their beautiful, hipster culture?  It’s probably the same factor that made us want to live in Brooklyn when we discovered Sleigh Bells, or Los Angeles when we first came across Heartsrevolution, or Berlin when, or Manchester when, or, or, etc.  OK, to be fair, our home town of Brighton is plenty cool enough thanks, but this three piece from the Gallic capital are definitely made from that most attractive of purest hip.  We are suckers for the sexy vocalist, complete with every word seemingly breathed out, rather than sung.  It’s all so effortless and it challenges you in a manner not seen since the likes of Billy Corgan or Debbie Harry before him.  This all drifts over the top of a lo-fi electro synth and disco beat that simultaneously captures the minds attention whilst  moving your feet in all directions.  This is care-free music, made by care-free imaginations, for care-free music fans.  It’s hard to know why the blogs haven’t gone totally bananas for this pleasant piece of Parisian pop, as they’d slot onto a Kitsune Maison Compilation with ease.  They tick all the right electro boxes and serve up the kind of magic that many blogs stick to as part of their strict diet.  Perhaps it’s simply early days for them, or the publicity machine hasn’t yet got into gear.  It will eventually, but for now it’s perhaps Paris’ secret.  As for us, we’re going to have to get around to organising that goddamn city break.   (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       KiT – ANIMALS ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

SILVER COLUMNS

For crying out loud!! We’re getting very bored with the amount of new bands that are deciding to hide their identities from view. From the likes of Fake Blood to Golden Filter it seems people are forever shunning the front of the stage by not confirming who is behind the music. Why they do it is something we seem to be talking about on a regular basis. Perhaps its to restrict the rapid pace in which blogs and the wider online community bore people to death by diluting music through the scrutiny, sharing and critiquing of everything new?  Perhaps not allowing people to know who you are holds something back, giving the artist a sense of empowerment?  Either way it’s over-done now, so much so that it would almost be a better publicity stunt if you actually showed your face and confirmed your name!  Anyway, Silver Columns didn’t even have a Myspace when we first caught wind of them, but although that’s now been corrected, their identity is still being held back.  Apart from this irritation their original music and superb remixes are fantastic.  They also clearly get Joe-Hot Chip‘s approval as he has remixed their track, Brow Beaten, to brilliant effect (see below).  Their hearts beat disco and their synth riffs bleed the kind of choppy rhythms we adore.  This kind of dance music is a little on the camp side, as you will hear with their vocal mantras, but it’s in a good way, like it’s fearless, rather than fluffy.  One thing this lot seemed to have learned, identity or no identity, is that it’s all about the music.  However, in defence of us bloggers, it always has been really.   (MB)

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:     SILVER COLUMNS – BROW BEATEN (Joe Hot Chip Remix) ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

FYFE DANGERFIELD

We aren’t particular fans of Fyfe’s other regular band, the well known Guillemots, for which he sings lead vocals.  For a long time they’ve let us down on the promise they seemed to hold, with their classically trained abilities, as their songs waft between dull and slightly more dull, only coming up for quality air with one decent track per album.  Anyway, we aren’t talking about Guillemots today.  Why their lead singer Fyfe should get a mention on here when we consider his other band so poorly is a little bit difficult to pin down, as there aren’t that many initial differences.  Suffice to say, particularly on the track we attach below, it seems he has magically managed to fill in all the gaps left by the Guillemots.  The gaps where all those killer melodies and pop hooks were sitting.  The gaps where the fuzzy keyboards, beat-claps and chunky samples reside.  Gone are the bored, lifeless tunes and in their place you find an electric, funked-up selection of proper pop. Thank fuck for that.  His vocals seem released from their previous restrictions, which is evidenced more clearly on other solo tracks where he provides a lot more natural spirit and bravery. Guillemots will no doubt be supportive, however, we hope that they now realise that it’s Fyfe who’s clearly their best chance of a good peak.  His solo album, Fly Yellow Moon, is due out January 18th 2010.    (MB)

Fyfe Dangerfield   When You Walk In The Room listen

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:       FYFE DANGERFIELD – WHEN YOU WALK IN THE ROOM ysi

10
Nov
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 61

DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB

If you like Kasabian, you are going to love this six piece. They may describe themselves as “big beat junkie folk“, but they’re wrong, they are the new Kasabian. It’s that simple. There’s a little bit of bluesy Primal Scream in there perhaps, possibly even a little bit of Oasis, but mainly Kasabian. We won’t be ending the critique there however, because they also happen to write fucking awesome tunes. Very much like Kasabian do actually. You know the sort of songs; absolutely giant, sing along, room-filling, killer, foot-stomping monsters. They even have that kind of “na na na na na” bit in the middle of a track, so that the inner football fan inside you can scream along at their gigs. Again, this is no bad thing. It’s music to get swept up and feel pumped by. There’s not a lot of re-invention here, as they musically look a little backwards, but there’s no denying their collective ability to write an atmospheric anthem that occasionally goes a little psychedelic (you know for the stoners, in the same way Kasabian did). It’s a big sound, as is perhaps expected from a band that lists five members as guitarists. And big is what they are going to get, to go with their big Polydor record label signatures and eventual big venues in which to play their big singalongs. However, if you don’t like Kasabian, it’s probably fair to assume you won’t be enjoying much from them. Saying that, if you don’t like Kasabian you wouldn’t have gotten past the first line in this review.      (MB)

Find them here:               Myspace

Hear them here:               DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB – SOLDIERS ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

PARALLELS

I don’t know about you but I’m sure getting that jaded feeling from all these 80s obsessed synth bands that currently clutter up the music scene.  So it comes as some relief to find that Toronto synthesizer trio Parallels are obsessed with the 70s instead. To be exact, it’s that decades brand of light electronica, often seen being produced by the likes of Giorgio Moroder, or Sparks (circa their Terminal Jive LP).  They take both of these influences and use the pulsating, moving basslines and oscillating effects to blend them with a certain sexy knowingness. It’s similar to the type of irresistible lure that Ladytron mastered to perfection.  Arpeggiator-driven melodies underpin the sweet vocals of electro siren Holly Dodson, who has the voice of a young Madonna on the tunes Ultralight and Dry Blood. Additionally, she’s found turning on some enticing, breathless, emotional vocals with the broodier and darker soundtrack Ghost Machines.  They were formed in 2008 by Crystal Castle’s tour drummer, Cameron Findley, who has aimed for a more sophisticated blend of hi-NRG disco and electronic pop, making them sound like a synth band for grown ups.  An album is set for release at some point before the end of 2009, but for now you can hear tracks from their previous three EP’s on Myspace.      (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:      PARALLELS – ULTRALIGHT ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

THE LOOM

It seems like we write about bands from across the bridges and tunnels of New York every other post on this blog at the moment, so frequent are the arrivals in The Recommender’s inbox from that part of the world.  No doubt this is on the back of the awesome CMJ festival that recently occurred there.  A festival that opens many loft apartments and warehouses to the public as spaces in which to showcase contemporary music.  Recently spotted on our radars from this event include Freelance Whales, which we covered here, and Sleigh Bells, who we listed here.  So perhaps the final band that is to emerge on the back of all the blogging buzz is The Loom.  Already one EP in, At Last Light, they are rumoured to be currently recording their debut full length album, which they’ve requested fans to help fund.  This multi-instumentalist, (in the truest sense of the word), six piece from Brooklyn sit just the right side of folk music, but only just.  OK, so there’s banjos and ukulele and female vocals that seem straight out of the Irish sixties, but it’s the beat-claps and John Fanning’s vocals that lift it into a slightly more contemporary box. It’s got great melodic parts, in the essence of Arcade Fire and the aforementioned Freelance Whales, but without the pop or snare drum. It may be a little twee for some of you, but we think there’s still plenty in the locker to enjoy here. Perfect for the winter ipod.   (MB)

Find them here:     Myspace

Here them here:      THE LOOM – SONG FOR THE WINTER SUN ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

On a totally separate note, we are looking for anyone who knows which sort of video camera films this sort of quality video? We want one. Badly…

06
Nov
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 60

THE GOOD NATURED

We are often posturing about who the next big things are going to be.  Is it wrong that just the other day someone was stating a new artist as “…the next Little Boots“, when Victoria’s debut album only came out in 2009!  It’s appreciated that blog’s often catch onto these things many months before the wider commercial success comes, so we were aware of Little Boots a long time ago, but there is still this relentless hot pursuit. Will the men’s 100 metres always get faster?  Guess it will won’t it?!  Us critics perpetuate this ‘race for success’ as we want coverage of that success, so any artist is doing exceptionally well to have any lasting power these days, no matter how good you are.  Anyway, we digress.  Here’s an artist that is, wait for it, the next Bat For Lashes!  Well, Natasha Kahn’s been here for ages hasn’t she, so it’s alright to locate a new one by now isn’t it?  This is effectively a female solo artist, real name Sarah McIntosh, who plays a kind of Kate Nash-styled leftfield piano-led pop, however The Good Nature’s sound is far more awash with majestic beauty.  Obviously nobody can quite replicate Bat For Lashes, but we promise we won’t be the only ones to draw these comparisons.  Sarah has an equally mesmerising skill for penning a confident song, packed with whirling melodies and strong choruses.  She kindly emailed us the below mp3, so let us know your thoughts.  She may still be in her teens, (she’s only just  started at Westminster Uni), but with her age, her ability, and the odd useful comparison on her side, she has a successful future ahead.  We will even be confident enough to state that her success might just be enough to stop us looking for the next version of The Good Natured in 6 months time.   (MB)

Find her here:       Myspace

Hear her here:       THE GOOD NATURED – YOUR BODY IS A MACHINE ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

LOST KNIVES

When does a collection of similar bands, from one city, at the same time, become a new scene?  Often these movements involve a batch of new bands, from one particular geographical location.  Over the decades we’ve known of many such scenes, from Liverpool in the 60s, to Birmingham in the 70s, Manchester in the late 80s and early 90s, and Seattle had one that took over the globe through that same period.  Our business at The Recommender is to oversee the world’s various music scenes and spot those bands that are hopefully reaching out above the steep walls.  On this note we have recently been turned on to Lost Knives, who hail from Manchester, and we are wondering if we have had the priviledge of seeing a new music scene at its seedling stages.  On the back of all the current hype surrounding Hurts and Egyptian Hip Hop, who have both recently arrived from the same Manchester venues, we wonder if we are observing something bigger?  However, three bands don’t make a scene and they barely share a unique sound, so perhaps we are wide of the mark here.  One thing for sure is Lost Knives are worth some excitement.  Rolling drums, lyrics about loss and fear, an immense shuddering guitar, it’s all there.  It’s climactic indie rock at it’s best, washing over you, only to eventually pull you under.  It’s passionate music, played on the edge of life, where things get scary and exhilarating in equal measure.  This four piece don’t need a wider Manchester scene to make it, they have plenty enough on their own thank you very much.     (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       LOST KNIVES – COLD MORNING ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

OH NO ONO

If MGMT and Flaming Lips are as psychedelic as your ipod gets then this Danish five piece are possibly one eye rolling experience too far.  Although they are new to us at The Recommender, they’ve released an EP and a couple of albums since 2005.   They came to our attention via the Friendly Fire record label and a fantastic, imaginative video for their tune, Swim, directed beautifully by Adam Hashemi (attached below).  Scandinavia has been pushing the envelope in indie and pop music in recent years, with wonderful acts such as Casiokids, Datarock (both Norway) and more recently Le Corps Mince De Francoise (Finland), amongst others.  Are they perhaps more free from the industry’s constraints than the USA and the UK?  Perhaps they’re are simply willing to be more experimental?  It is this freedom and creativity that is a breeding ground for the kind of amazing songs Oh No Ono produce.  It is also the same thing that makes it all a little hit and miss on occasion too.  This is not music for absolutely everyone, but it’s not simply for an LSD guzzling hippy either.  The Psychedelic moments are only touches and beyond them there are some outstanding, intricate melodies hidden inside each brave tune.  Vocals harmonies that almost seem like a The Beach Boys on occasion and echoing chimes that seemingly circle somewhere inside your inner ear.  At it’s most climactic and beautiful it reminds us of Sigur Ros.  At it’s most dreamy and magical, and it really is often dreamy and magical, it seems like a fantastical, quirky film score.  However, there is also a lot of pleasant pop, a tin full of beats and the odd electronic bassline on tracks such as Helplessly Young and Thanks No Thanks.  Can you please let us know your thoughts on such a boat-pushing selection of tracks such as these?    (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        OH NO ONO – INTERNET WARRIOR ysi

04
Nov
09

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 33

What have you got planned over the next couple of weeks? Not much? Then we strongly suggest you get yourselves down to either of the two gigs listed below. Both are due in Brighton through November from a pair of bands so masterful we’d be embarrassed for you if you missed them!

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS

We cover two gigs today that show off one established act and a  band who find themselves at a rather more humble beginning.  It’s fair to say that this Scottish four piece pack no lesser punch however.  We adore them, having previously covered them here and here. If you could bottle the energy and power that this young band play with then you would out-sell Coca Cola.  With drums and guitars that sound as if they’re being played by Thor himself and their ability to pen a raucous indie track of hurricane proportions, they already seem a finished article.  They released their outstanding, gutsy debut album, These Four Walls, earlier this year and it’s about as jammed with magical talent as a savant conference.  As an absolute necessity in anyone’s collection it will surely feature on this blog’s ‘Best Of 2009’ list.  They also have a double A side single due out on 30th November. What is really worthy of our attention is the quite unbelievable vocal ability of Adam Thompson.  It’s worth the effort to get to this gig simply to catch him singing in his strong Scottish accent.  In a world of X-factor, with its moisturised, scripted pop stars, seeing Adam giving what is truly an amazing showcase of authenticity, is about as refreshing and sincere as it gets.  Stepping into the centre of this hurricane will surely wash Simon Cowell and his formulaic nonsense out of your hair forever.   (MB)

ACT:                     WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS
VENUE:                THE FREEBUTT, Phoenix Place, Brighton
COST:                   £ 5.00
DATE:                   Friday 13th November 2009
WEBSITE:            Myspace
TRACK:                WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – QUIET LITTLE VOICES (Live) ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

BRAKES

More high-octane guitaring will be found playing Brighton this month with Brakes visiting Komedia.  Made up of members out of Electric Soft Parade and British Sea Power, they seem to enjoy re-living that kind of late 80s, Seattle, Sub Pop indie that’s got lots of slick rumbling bass (Heard About Your Band). However, they also attempt to bring it up to date, in the same way Snow Patrol had done in previous years, with the occasional pretty songsmithery  (Worry About It Later), followed by the kind of maxed-out tune that vibrates right through you (Two Shocks, Red Rag). They come from Brighton, so this gig is something of a home coming performance, which generally means you will receive an additional 10% more energy, although with a number of albums out it’s unlikely their mum’s are still attending their local shows. This small tour is to promote the release of their new live album, Rock Is Dodelijk (out 2nd November).  Although previous albums came out on Rough Trade, they’re now releasing through the outstanding Fat Cat Records, who are one of Brighton’s finest having also signed up (the above) We Were Promised Jetpacks, Twightlight Sad and Frightened Rabbit. They clearly have an appetite for signing the kind of powerful indie band that enjoy placing their audience in a wind tunnel of guitars. If this is also your idea of a good night out, then get down to Komedia, but perhaps make sure you ready yourself by holding onto something eh.   (MB)

ACT:                    BRAKES
VENUE:               KOMEDIA, Gardner Street, Brighton
COST:                  £ 9.00
DATE:                  Monday 9th November 2009
WEBSITE:           Myspace
TRACK:               BRAKES – DON’T TAKE ME TO SPACE (MAN) ysi




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