21
Jan
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 70

EMIKA

Other practitioners of doom are often found simply gazing at their shoes, as they wallow in their XX-induced depression, some try to scare you with their masks and mystery, but not Emika.  She is as brooding and as heavy as anyone you’ve heard, from Portishead‘s industrial paranoia, to DJ Shadow‘s damp basement, to Burial‘s bleak urban sadness.  However, her outstanding vocals, that flick and skim back and forth are like silk on a razor blade. On occasion she has a kind of ghostly, banshee eroticism in her echoing calls, but these are vocals that speak directly at you, with lyrics that are usually found in the swagger of hip hop.  She’s dangerous, but you like it, as she looks you straight in the eye, “Yes I always work hard, I can make you flip out, you say now I got nerve, for asking what I’m worth“.  Her debut EP, Drop The Other, arrived on 18th January on Ninja Tune Records, and the title track is already correctly being touted as one of the tunes of the year.  Flat out it really is that special.  Beginning with a haunting piano, that’s only broken by a beat that stutters in like it’s already out of energy, before her vocal refrain pierces the awkwardness.  It’s a tune packed with sinister menace and unexpected, dark twists, so much so, it has you feeling as disoriented as a city-wide blackout.  You get slick, confident, threatening vocals that then turn into a calling from out of the darkness, “why?, why?“.  Pushing her special creativity still further, you find no use for the conventional build up and drop, it raises blackboard-scratching tension before falling back into the kind of basslines that dubstep would be scared of.  It’s been many moons since we’ve had a song that’s so aphotic, yet done so intelligently.  Like a torture victim that’s been held for years, we’ve fallen addictively in love with our captor.   (MB)

Find her here:         Myspace

Hear her here:        EMIKA – DROP THE OTHER

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

MEURSAULT

It’s unusual for The Recommender to write about bands who are this far beyond the release of an album, but Meursault, (pronounced “Murr-So”), are definitely worth breaking the norm for.  We were introduced to them with with their exceptional tune, A Few Kind Words, based around heartwarming chords and Neil Pennycook’s desperate vocals.  A charmingly cheap drum machine propels the song forwards and lays foundations for the robot-gone-wrong electronica.  Halfway through it falters and the Bleepatron 4000 goes haywire, blowing the mixing desk as it all comes crashing back in.  These huge DIY crescendos initially feel so busy that it’s hard to pick out the lyrics, but it simply doesn’t matter because our hearts are swelling with the skyscraper-sized sound levels.  Further investigation leads us to a diverse back catalogue where the only consistency is their tremendous quality.  You find a massive selection of styles, that range from banjo-backed, country-infused folk, to the juddering, broken-beat stylings of Four Tet.  Experimentation is rife and their track, The Furnace, sounds like three songs all crammed together, and is without doubt the first time we’ve ever heard a waltz on a drum machine.  The variety of instruments, old and new, that Meursault use to craft their sound is the key to their sonic diversity.  Strings sit alongside synthesisers and acoustic guitars lay on top of pounding electronic drums.  Neil’s vocals, which sound like a Scottish Win Butler, soar high above throughout, searching for the next harmony to swoop down and join in.  This (occasional) six piece from Edinburgh has plenty of tunes ripe for discovery on their debut from 2008, Pissing On Bonfires, Kissing With Tongues, so we strongly suggest that you get busy plundering.   (MA)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        MEURSAULT – A FEW KIND WORDS

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

IS TROPICAL

OK, so we think we might have found our new favourite band, but unfortunately we’re a blog all about new music, so let’s face it, that will likely last for about a week. During this week though we will probably play this band’s demos about a million times. They’re totally fucking incredible. Although we may seem easily distracted, we honestly don’t use the term ‘incredible’ very lightly. This is a genuinely exciting band that you too should be raising your heartbeats for. If you’ve been looking for the next Libertines ever since the last one broke up disastrously, then this London trio will likely pick your mood up. It’s not that the music’s the same as Pete and Carl’s, it’s more like Klaxons or Late Of The Pier, but we’ve still noticed some parallels. Namely, an untidy but brilliant ability to punch out occasionally sharp and occasionally delicate riffs, a loose style that seems to be constantly collapsing in on itself without ever managing it, and lastly that imperfect, loose vocal that has that punky attitude as much as it does that endearing heart. Pete would be proud. Sadly, they’re also doing that wanky thing where the band members hide their faces without ever really explaining why, which is the only blot on this otherwise stunning landscape of tuneful, exciting, edgy, electrified indie. At least they do it by wearing cool, highwayman-style handkerchiefs over their faces. Experimental seems to be the taste of 2010 so far and the bleeps, 8-bit keys and tinkering jams, that fold over the awesome guitaring and beats are as fresh as they are delightful. They released their debut single, When O When, on January 18th on Puregroove. Although we adore this track, there’s actually a remarkable consistency found on each demo we’ve received, so rest assured this lot will be sweeping up the blog buzz this year. Now, who’s next…   (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         IS TROPICAL – WHEN O WHEN

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3 Responses to “THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 70”


  1. January 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Note – forgot to thank Robin at Breaking More Waves for the heads up with Is Tropical. Credit where it’s due n all that.
    Mike

  2. 2 h&s
    January 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    very nice series. And thx for Is Tropical’s mp3! i was looking for it for quite a while.
    bsides.. i really appreciate the songs preview (soundcloud) 😀


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