Archive for April, 2010

30
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 91 – NULLIFIER

NULLIFIER

We bring a genuine element of surprise to today’s recommendation.  We recently went to see Bear In Heaven play at a gig last week and, to our surprise, Nullifier were supporting.  We had heard whispers about this band late last year among the music circles, but we never investigated them and certainly hadn’t seen them live.  It was equally surprising and rather satisfying to find out they were from Brighton.  However, the biggest surprise of all was found in their live set. Not only is the music punchy, energetic and forcibly packed with melody and hooks, but it’s played with an octopus of a band onstage, consisting of eight, (yes eight!), members.  Among this giant band we noticed (a totally unnecessary) two bassists, two drummers, two keyboard players and even the vocals were shared around, but admittedly it all created a playful, frenetic atmosphere.  We got in contact with the main singer, Jim Morrison, (!), and he explained that there’s only really two of them writing and developing the songs, bringing together the various arms when playing live, including members from Lonely Ghosts, Help She Can’t Swim, My Device and Pope Joan.  Jim described their sound as “a kind of surf-psych-synth-pop with globules of harmonic energy“, which is all very true, but if we compared them to the likes of The Infadels, that might helpfully put you in the right ball park, although there’s perhaps signs of a little more depth found here.  It’s noisy, but in a good way, energetic, wild and free, like all good time bands. Just like their live sets, it’s all totally irresistable, seducing you straight from the outset.  They recently completed work on their mini album, Most Evil, which will be out on One Inch Badge Records at some point later in 2010.  In all honesty, sometimes we have to trek long and hard through the musical landscape in order to uncover bands that we consider good enough to make it onto The Recommender, so it was a joy on this occasion to simply walk into the room and have this awesome group bowl us over.  Surprises really don’t get much sweeter. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         NULLIFIER – THE SCHEME OF THINGS

27
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 90 – KIDS OF 88

KIDS OF 88

When they state the line, “I can tell you ain’t seen shit like this before“, it sadly upsets us, as we’ve seen shit precisely like this before, it’s just that Kids Of 88 do it remarkably well.  So let’s swallow the tougher pills first then…this music indulges in pop clichés, traipses through over-used, muddy soundscapes and packs in the generic and rather plain lyrics.  There.  We.  Said.  It.  Why?  To get those thoughts out of your system so you can now listen to them in the right frame of mind.  That is, mainly without a care in the world.  You see, this is music that’s not for the intellectual, snobbish fan, with their Trilby attitudes on.  This is the sort of music they miss out on because their inner hipster tells them not to enter that club, even though everyone’s blatantly well and truly having it inside, amongst the pretty snogging girls and funny coloured teenage shots.  This duo from Trenchtown, New Zealand, jam out proper pop hooks of the simplest form.  It’s all big fuzzy synth chords and four beats that always, always have a clap on the snare.  Massive choruses, with lyrics that talk of the opposite sex, that although being rather obvious, fit the tone of these dancing pop songs perfectly.  You know exactly what is coming for each set of sixteen bars, but it still grabs you in the right places, mostly by your testicles to be honest.  OK, so this is music heading for the charts, rather than the underground, but parts of it will remind you of the kind of music The Beloved mastered back in the 80s (see Ribbons Of Light), albeit with lyrics pinched from Girls Aloud.  We asked for their 2010 single, Just A Little Bit, but haven’t received it yet, so we instead list their earlier track, My House.  It lacks sophistication but we can’t have every artist pushing the boundaries, right?  There’s got to be room in the musical landscape for that word music critics despise, but in this case find accurate, FUN.  You will see their videos nearly always show off scantily-clad, beautiful babes, but they’re made with a certain watchable quality too.  Like their videos this is music that teeters on the edge of being crass and tacky, but thankfully falls down the side of credible, but only just.  Welcome back to your inner teenager.  (MB)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       KIDS OF 88 – MY HOUSE

25
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 89 – COLLIDER

COLLIDER

Foundations for this rock band started being laid by the Ricksen family in San Francisco back in 2004, between brothers Mark and John.  Several different reincarnated sounds and various bandmates later they had the product they were looking for, having eventually located their bassist Billy Boyle and drummer Steve Martinez through that birthplace of many a spare band member, Craigslist.  Still unsigned, they have so far self-released two EPs through 2009.  The first was the Down In Satrines EP, followed by the BBM EP that had a got a release on the last day of the year.  Having one of their band members listed as being responsible for ‘atmosphere’ probably gives you a clue about the type of indie rock they try to create.  This is scaled up music that not only blasts the roof off, but probably goes on to make its own Ozone hole in the sky above.  It’s the kind of marvellous tunesmithery that The Big Pink mastered so well, with their climactic, sweeping, fuzzy blasts of heartfelt expression.  The music is full and ethereal, and although there are riffs and melodies inside each tune, you never find yourself grabbing all of it.  To say its messy is perhaps slightly unfair and missing its point, as it’s deliberately loose and untidy.  Like a cloud of noisy smoke it’s all-encompassing and although it’s occasionally a little disorientating it’s actually rather pleasant once you breathe it in.  This type of indie is rockier than straight psychedelia, but more dizzy than straight indie rock.  Track names such as The Grid Goes Down Tonight and Big Bang Machines, takes the particle accelerator connotations one neutron too far for our liking, but beyond all that there’s plenty of electric juice in all their songs to keep you energised.  They sent us the exclusive track, Take Off, (see below), from their new EP, Pris, which is planned for a release this coming May, with their first full length due out by the end of the year.  The song is a great example of their many strengths, suggesting this band are now confidently constructing a solid future for themselves.    (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        COLLIDER – THE GRID GOES DOWN TONIGHT

Hear them here:        COLLIDER – TAKE OFF

23
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 88 – WE//ARE//ANIMAL

WE//ARE//ANIMAL

We know the market has driven through a tough old time in the music world for the last few years, as the record labels ride the changes the internet has brought in, but for fucks sake, leaving a band this hot, with this many boxes ticked, unsigned is close to scandalous!  However, detached is indeed where we find them and rather fittingly it’s precisely this isolation and separation that seems to have been the driver behind their craft.  We got in touch with the band and, as they explained in their brief biography, their North Wales home, in the windy wilds of Mount Snowden, allow them the freedom to contemplate and create the melodies and hooks which are abundant in each tune.  Making simple 8-track recordings, in slate quarries and abandoned buildings, perhaps explains the loose, sometimes imprecise feel of their DIY tunes.  The energetic guitars, strummed in building crescendos, with pretty breaks and fuzzed riffs, are completed with styled, spirited vocals that actually lift the songs out of their mulched indie rock swagger.  They’ve already self-released an 11-track LP, Idolise, which is remarkable considering they’ve only been together as a unit since December 2009.  It’s only April!  That kind of output and creative rate is a factor worth taking note of on it’s own, but the fact that the songs brim with the kind of energy and confidence that’s not been seen since Kasabian walked these planks, is nothing short of astonishing.  They’re heading for Radio One, they’re heading for festival stages and they’re heading for you earphones.  Very rapidly.  In fact, they are due an appearance at Brighton’s Great Escape festival, playing an intimate show at the Foundry Pub.  That will surely be a show to catch, before they blow up.  This is a hard working band with a hard working feel to their rocking indie anthems, but most importantly they teach us a subtle lesson that a little separation can breed genuinely creative, industrially productive results.       (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        WE//ARE//ANIMAL – UNFOLD/FOLD

Hear them here:        WE//ARE//ANIMAL – 1268

20
Apr
10

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 39

Last time around we had live music from The High Wire and we were all cast under their gorgeous spell.  Foreign Office shook up the room with their awesome pop and David Byrne looks, (…circa Once In a Lifetime).  This time around we have some of London’s hottest talent on show.

There’s gonna be upbeat drums, spikey guitars, harpoon-sized hooks, claps, cowbells and more at this monster indie session.  Of course we also have Eleni Mettyear’s photobooth setting up so get planning your shot.  Her last session resulted in the busiest flurry on Facebook that we’ve ever seen, with a monster tagging session.

Obviously the Recommender’s next mixtape (#5) will be handed out, alongside the usual badges, stickers and other goodies, so make sure you pick up one of these too.  Below we list the 4th mixtape, available to download, purely so you can see what you’re missing!

THE RECOMMENDER MIXTAPE # 4

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

JUKEBOX COLLECTIVE – We are just as excited to see this support band as we are the headliners.  Not since the power of Sunshine Underground have indie tunes sounded so sharp, punchy and jammed with addictive hooks.  This is a band that we predict will surely be back to headline next time around.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

My Photos | Wild Palms. 2009 /2 | WILD PALMS

WILD PALMS – They may well have some of the best razored indie riffs around, but beyond the enticing guitars there’s a stack of intelligent, well-designed songs packed into their lockers.  All of these are carved out with skill, showing them off as a triumphant, energetic group well deserved of their current NME and Radio One attention.  They’ve also had some extraordinary remixes done for them, (see the below track).

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

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BATTERY POWERED DJs – Our resident DJs will round off the evening, playing tracks exclusively from the blog, so expect cutting edge, razor sharp selections.  If you want to know what tunes you should be listening to this year then check out this set from Brighton’s scenester DJs.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

Tickets are available from Ape, Resident and Rounder Records. If you can’t get to the shops in person, simply phone them up and ask them to put a ticket on the door for you and they’ve agreed to help.  It’s only £4 advance and £6 on the door.  Come and see the monthly party that everyone in Brighton is talking about…

17
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 87 – NUMBERS GAME

NUMBERS GAME

Doc Matthews is one of those wonderful, rare, mould-breaking types.  You know the sort.  He’s one of those guys that has creativity, invention and ideas pouring out of him like an Olympic fountain.  It’s the same fantastic affliction Beck Hanson or Lou Reed has.  They always stand out from any other trend that’s going on around them and you couldn’t stop their production if you strapped them to a nuke and fired it into an active volcano.  Doc seems to be just as happy directing films as he does music, such as his You Should Be Throwing Parties series, or his work on Animal Collective‘s video for In The Flowers.  It’s his music that’s earned him entrance to The Recommender though, as his strong concoctions have us dizzy with appreciation.  He declares that he’s writing “anthems for The Bummer Republic“, which suits his music’s San Francisco/Californian hazy disposition.  However, you don’t have to be baked out of your mind to appreciate the genuine musical ingenuity that’s found in his compositions.  Like his films, it all has a very DIY feel to it, which, apart from the fact he writes every song, plays every instrument and does all the production himself, means the sound is unpolished and loose, like all great slacker canticles.  The grunge basslines, guitar riffs The Stooges would be proud of and echoing vocals often seem lost in the dope smoke, but the palpitating beats, breaks and well placed details manage to allow each song to leave the room for a bit of air.  This is unlikely to be material that aims for the number one spot, but in reality it’s creative minds like Doc’s that are the unrecognised kiss of life to the progression of music with each generation.  This is music that spans the genres so well it will send vibrations through most teenagers grey matter, for it has the alternative feel of indie, the beats of dance, the attitude of punk and the mood of grunge.  There are dangers when you’re producing music this brave though, for when you try to span too broad a gap you can lose your balance and fall over.  In the mean time, whilst this independent creator is at work, we suggest you all stand up and take note.   (MB)

Cold Cold Cold by Numbers Game

Find him here:          Myspace

Hear him here:         NUMBERS GAME – LOVE DREAM LOVE

Hear him here:          NUMBERS GAME – COLD COLD COLD

15
Apr
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 86 – BRAHMS

BRAHMS

It’s not very often that a band gets The Recommender treatment on the back of just four demos, but we heard such a wealth of likeable talent pouring out of our speakers with this lot that we felt compelled to cover them.  They’ve successfully created a device that fires perfectly honed electro pop tunes directly between your ears, ticking all the boxes labelled ‘bloody good‘ on the way to your heart.  The trio call Brooklyn home, (like most of 2010’s fresh, exciting artists), and came past us via the excellent Listen Before You Buy blog’s SXSW preview, where we found the tune Toward The Ghost.  It turns out this is one of four demos floating around the blogs and it’s fair to say that the standard is extraordinarily good, with all the tracks having a fantastic consistency.  That’s not to say the songs are the same, as there’s evidence of skilled craftsmen at work here, with mature songwriting and a variety of talents on show.  On the track Toward The Ghost, you find thumping pop, with synths filling the sound out, whilst addictive guitars hit your heart, before rushing around your veins as the song finds it’s many climaxes.  The beat shifts for Subtext Is Deadly, but although it cleverly skips around it’s never hurried, as vocal mantras about lost love fizz with energy at the choruses.  Tunes such as Brought It Out, turn the pace down and the feel is of a warmer rumble, while delicate guitars and cymbals chime over the top.  Much in the same way Depeche Mode did decades before them, this is a band making music that’s intelligent, whilst still directing your feet onto the dancefloor, but more importantly they accomplish that difficult trick of making a three piece sound like a band with twice that number.  Following their four demos, a successful SXSW show, a recent remix for Neon Indian and support slots for Telepathe and Passion Pit, the label signature is surely all but on it’s way.  You can also catch them in New York on June 1st supporting the recent Recommender selections Class Actress and Twin Shadow.  We wish we could be there, but let’s be honest, the rate in which Brooklyn is throwing out these amazing bands, it almost feels like we already are.   (MB)

My Photos | BRAHMS

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        BRAHMS – TOWARD THE GHOST

Hear them here:        BRAHMS – BROUGHT IT OUT




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