Archive for July, 2010

29
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NICHOLAS STEVENSON

NICHOLAS STEVENSON

We know we’re all about bringing you the freshest of new meat, so much so it would have a butcher’s dog jealous, but this new sirloin of a solo artist is still mooing on the slab as we get to work with our sharp Recommender knives.  To be fair this one man weaver of the finest of melodic folk has actually already self-released an album of demos, hand-crafted in his bedroom, so there’s a small possibility that his songs have massaged your middle ears before now.  This amateur debut, Dearest Monstrous, is still available to download for free from his website and Myspace, so head there for more.  His first proper EP, The Aeroplane Darling, followed it earlier this year and shows a man who is clearly stepping up his game.  It was a limited edition physical release, out on Pandy Cane, with only one hundred copies made available, which quickly sold out.   Not to worry though, as there are plans for a digital release of the EP on the Idle Hands label, around mid-August.   Furthermore you can expect to see the full length LP, The Phantom Sweetheart, and we are told this will arrive on 31st October, along with a large Halloween launch party.  It feels refreshing to blog about a genre that’s not often found on the virtual pages of The Recommender, so it’s with great delight that we introduce this striking folk artist to you today.  Consider the instant appeal of Mumford & Sons – a band with whom he’s been able to work the odd support slot – but with less bells and whistles.  This is definitely a man that doesn’t require a string quartet or a brass ensemble to beef up his tasty broth.  At best it will soundtrack your summer picnics in the meadow; at worst it will appear on a mobile phone advert involving some introverted indie kids playing frisbee.  We’ve totally fallen for it, as this is proper craft in action, very much reminding us of the inspirational Bright Eyes, with that engaging brand of stripped down, porch music.  It’s sweetly descriptive, it’s humble and heartfelt, as it talks straight to you – all you have to do is listen and you too will fall like we did.   (MB)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        NICHOLAS STEVENSON – COLD CALLS

Hear him here:        NICHOLAS STEVENSON – CAMBRIDGE

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25
Jul
10

THE GIG LIST – NUMBER 46

We are pleased to inform you that we’ve relocated our monthly parties to a new home in Brighton; the larger capacity and better established venue, Audio, with its fantastic view of Brighton’s pier and beach.  We launch here on Saturday 31st July and we’ve pulled out all the stops to book a selection of truly awesome bands and DJs to kick things off in style.

In a change to the original format we’ve now split the evening in two.  Firstly, we have our Recommender Live section, which showcases two or three cutting edge bands from around the world.  From 11pm we step in to the Recommender Late, which is more of club night, bringing an awesome headline DJ to town, alongside our resident Recommender DJs – consisting of Matt Allfrey, from Battery Powered DJs and Jonny Cassell, from the established Blah Blah Blah DJ crew.

Of course our familiar and totally brilliant photobooth will return, (see previous results of that here), and we will be giving away a free mixtape CD to the first 50 people through the door. The mixtape from our last show can be heard and downloaded below. It’s a little bit good…

THE RECOMMENDER MIXTAPE # 6

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YOUNG EMPIRES – First featured on The Recommender here, we are pleased to be bringing this Canadian three piece to Brighton for the first time ever.  They arrive with a tidal wave of hype and hungry A&R men, alongside their original, percussive, indie pop magic.  The new Friendly Fires anyone?

SUNDAY GIRL – SELF CONTROL (YOUNG EMPIRES REMIX)

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DAVID E. SUGAR – This will be a live set with a band behind this pioneering DJ.  Famous for doing extraordinary things with a Speak & Spell, you may well have come across this underground sensation on Kitsune compilations.  Most recently he’s signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label, which will surely push this artist well and truly overground.

DAVID E. SUGAR – PARTY KILLER (TRASHCAN DJs REMIX)

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THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – There’s honestly no superlatives or twisted adjectives that could describe just how good this eight piece New York band are.  They have absolutely every ingredient to make our party go off.  Impossibly entertaining disco, funk, pop and groove are all thumped out by the sexiest band alive today.  Prepare to be hypnotized!

THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – 15 TO 20 (MONTEE REMIX)

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RECOMMENDER DJs – We bring to Audio our regular partner in beats, the Brighton hipster Matt Allfrey, from Battery Powered DJs, but standing alongside will now be the head of the Blah Blah Blah DJ crew, Jonny Cassell.  If you’ve been to any killer parties in the city of Brighton in recent years the chances are one of these two were involved.

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

RORY PHILLIPS – Topping our club night is this extraordinary DJ.  He’s the protegé to none other than the DJ overlord, Erol Alkan, having had a residency at London’s Trash night and its modern version, Durr.   With a truckload of seemingly perfect remixes under his belt, expect a set of the unexpected – of course played using his signature phone set instead of a pair of headphones.  As Brighton’s going out bible, The Source Magazine, put it: “Rory Phillips should be fanfared into town like a god“.  Well, we are that very fanfare.

RORY PHILLIPS –REMIXES EP

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

Tickets are available online here, as well as in the Ape, Resident and Rounder Records stores. It’s only £8 advance, so grab yourself a ticket and get your best photobooth face ready…

22
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – CLOUD CONTROL

CLOUD CONTROL

We had heard about this Sydney four piece a little while back, following a bit of Australian online chatter.  They caught our attention, but sadly we forgot to investigate further, so it’s taken a mini UK tour for them to return to our wide radars.  It’s shame on us, as they’ve carved themselves out an almost perfect set of songs and subsequently released their debut album, Bliss Release, in Australia already.  The LP is due out in the UK either at the end of 2010, or perhaps a little later in 2011, and boy do we give the work a mighty stamp of blog approval – it’s an absolute shining star of an album.  It has so many well structured pop songs within it that it may still prove to be timeless, like all the really top albums of modern history.  The Recommender was offered a guestlist entry to catch the band at an intimate venue in Brighton this week and the songs took on a whole new experience live.  Lead vocalist and guitarist, Alastair Wright, has a voice that reflects the likes of Death Cab For Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard, or Neil Young, being just as frail as it is strong, but when joined in off-kilter harmonies with keyboardist and all-round tambourine thrasher, Heidi Lenfer, their tighter-than-tight constructions are astounding.  On tracks such as, There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight, the vocals aim particularly high, managing to remind us of Fleetwood Mac at their most dreamy and beautiful.  In addition, we were drawn to the bassist, Jeremy Kelshaw, who’s jerking excitement is as eye-catching as his bass playing was ear-catching.  They swan from addictive pop melodies to earnest alt-folk, with tracks such as, This Is What I Said, showing off a kind of sunny guitaring that wouldn’t have been out of place on Paul Simon’s Graceland.  They have almost everything;  melodic range, extraordinary vocals, dancing guitars, folk tinkering, pop punch, a great band name, plenty of tambourine, and songs that soar skywards and float there until you’re so lost in them that any pause would have you thump to the ground.  There’s is a box so rammed with songs that it will take all four of them to sit on the lid to close it.    (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        CLOUD CONTROL – GOLD CANARY

Hear them here:        CLOUD CONTROL – MEDITATION SONG #2 (WHY, OH WHY)

Hear them here:        CLOUD CONTROL – THERE’S NOTHING IN THE WATER WE CAN’T FIGHT

18
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – YOUNG MAMMALS

YOUNG MAMMALS

Another fantastic blogger, who goes by the name Fokkewolfe, passed me on the streets near Recommender Towers, (literally in person, with no internet required or anything!!), and whilst discussing our favourite topic of new music he suggested that we point The Recommender’s attention towards this four piece band from Houston, Texas.  It’s helpful conversations like this that reinforce our faith in our network, whether we chat in person, or online.  On this note, our alliance of music bloggers just received a boost, as we were inducted into the Strangers In Stereo blog collective; a hand-picked elite team of 25 of the world’s sharpest music bloggers.  Our collective power has the reach of millions, thus enabling us to spread the love of great music even further.  Today’s selection, the Young Mammals, make the kind of striking music that regularly slots onto this blog with ease.  This guitar band, formerly known as The Dimes, (prior to receiving a legal challenge to the name by a Portland group of the same moniker), have grown from a garage band, with all it’s slacked strings and rattling drums, to a mature, highly charged team.  They’re able to construct songs that are as equally imperfect and fuzzy as they are tight and perceptive, with melodies and breaks that will hook you well before each song’s close.  They released their debut album, Carrots, at the end of June, with Grammy Award-winning Steve Christensen producing.   It’s a consistent album, that shows off their skills brightly – namely a fantastic sense of powerful abandonment, once familiar with the likes of The Strokes, or The Libertines, that is paired up with a touch of fairground magic, reminding us of Animal Collective or The Flaming Lips, with the latter recently inviting them to play support as part of an East Coast tour.  The fact that the band was started by the two Sanchez brothers, Carlos (vocals) and Jose (bass), gives reason behind their apparent chemistry on stage, which regularly infiltrates the crowd, so when they return to tour the East Coast around the CMJ Festival in October we strongly suggest catching them live.  No doubt half of our New York network will also be there alongside you.   (MB)

Find them here:        Bandcamp

Hear them here:       YOUNG MAMMALS – CONFETTI

Hear them here:        YOUNG MAMMALS – 8 4 8

13
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – THINK ABOUT LIFE

THINK ABOUT LIFE

To be honest, we aren’t exactly shy of contrasts and comparisons on this blog.  Upon hearing a tune for the first time it’s in our nature to immediately liken it’s components to that of other music we’ve previously heard.  We all do it, don’t we?  Well, how would you like to hear our strangest musical allegory to date?  We think we just heard Win Butler, of Arcade Fire fame, fronting The Go Team!  That’s what smacked our imagination full in the face upon pressing play on the brilliant tune, Havin’ My Baby, by the excellent Think About Life!  Don’t worry though, for the comparison didn’t last long, as the frontman, Martin Cesar, goes on to sound just as much like Tunde Adebimpe, on Johanna, or even Kele Okereke, on the track Sweet Sixteen.  He’s backed up by the extaordinary music, which is straight out of The School Of Awesomeness, where these prefects are clearly shaping up to obtain top qualifications.  It’s the tinkering bounce in the beat and the tricks up their sleeves, that reveal themselves rewardingly as each tune unfolds, that convinced us to enter them onto The Recommender today.  Just like TV On The Radio – with whom they seem to share playful ideals – they seem more than happy to experiment without losing the tune, or indeed the listener.  There’s plenty of funk, genial samples and handclaps throughout, planting smiles across the room as they serve up their satisfying soul food.  They played Europe’s leading festival of new music, The Great Escape, in our home city of Brighton back in May, which suggested that the UK hasn’t quite caught onto them, following their 2006 self-titled debut release.  The Canadian four piece’s lineup has slightly changed prior to their second album, Family, bringing in Caila Thompson-Hannant on bass and vocals, which perhaps explains why it’s taken the sophomore LP three more years to get here.  In truth, their label, Alienate Recordings, stuttered for a UK release, arriving on the record store’s shelves of America and Japan before here.  We suggest that you now have a flick through the below tunes and consider leaving a comment with your own collection of comparisons.  (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        THINK ABOUT LIFE – HAVIN’ MY BABY

Hear them here:        THINK ABOUT LIFE – SWEET SIXTEEN

Hear them here:         THINK ABOUT LIFE – JOHANNA

09
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – YOURFEETSTOOBIG

YOURFEETSTOOBIG

We are brimming with confidence as we give a little Recommender backing to this very exciting, unsigned artist.  They’re like the ultimate listening pleasure, but be warned, you’ll probably be dancing to this one too, so do up those laces.  Introducing Yourfeetstoobig, or YFTB, from Chicago, Illinois.  After growing up with strong Jazz influences (see Fats Waller’s song, Your Feet’s Too Big) and dabbling in everything from hip hop beats to an acoustic backing, this one-man electronic project is Kevin Benishek’s current pursuit.  Well this and Polish sausage, according to our brief Q&A with him.  However, for the purposes of our review, we’re sure you won’t mind us focusing more on the music, if that’s OK with you.  YFTB’s tracks aren’t just catchy dance anthems, like those ending up on the various end of year compilations.  On the contrary, in just the few tracks currently available, we find a range of experiences and influences.  The beautiful Skimper Woodsy, for example, is a simple and moving electronic wail of emotion.  It rolls on with a choir of voices floating behind the soaring sine waves.  The more upbeat Furbearer starts off with melancholic piano loops and moves into a frenetic groove resembling someone tapping away frantically on an old school typewriter.  There is both some 80s and 90s in there to be sure, but it doesn’t dominate the sound, as it often does with some of the acts around these days.  The songs are highly danceable but engaging enough to listen to anywhere.  And just to move the charm factor up a notch, the songs are all named with a woods theme to honor Benishek’s dad and his mission to make his son a solid “woodsman.”  We don’t know if he succeeded, but we certainly dig the music he’s making.  We’re told you can expect an EP sometime late summer, just in time to provide the soundtrack to your own Autumnal forest frolicking.   (OG)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        YOURFEETSTOOBIG – SKIMPER WOODSY

06
Jul
10

THE RECOMMENDER – YADI

YADI

Far away from the X-Factor, Simon Cowell-induced coma that he calls music, it’s well worth noting that in recent years, in the UK, we’ve had a perfectly efficient factory line producing female pop stars of the future.  Bright, shiny new ones throughout each year.  Just take a look back at the BBC Sound Of 2010 Poll from January, in which this supposed barometer tipped it’s hat to the stars of the year ahead.  They predicted in first and second place two female solo pop artists in Marina & The Diamonds and Ellie Goulding, both of whom have gone on to further successes.  Look back yet another year and you will see Little Boots and La Roux, or back further for Adele and Duffy , all of which adorned their respective year’s lists of fancy soothsaying.  So year on year there is a hotbed of female talent in this country, but how does Hannah Yadi compare, for comparing is something any exciting new female talent will unfortunately get quite a lot of, especially if they’re actually any good.  Yadi is certainly a box of tricks and a delightfully talented one at that, having previously heard her in other capacities, with Will Betts in the band Hella Cholla, as well as her guest vocals with the dance duo Eskimo Twins.  Upon turning our ears to her solo work we first noticed that the standards were also reaching high with this project too.  There was an array of feathers on show, with her sound very much slotting into the pop cap, with piano-led tunes, twinkling synthetic beats and the vocals pushed front and centre.  Choruses are stomped through, whilst the verses show off her range of singing abilities, where comparisons to the likes of Alison Goldfrapp, Tahita Bulmer, or upon reflection a bit of Eddie Reader, will no doubt come to mind.  Utilising pop traditions is admirable, but is there anything that makes her stand out?  Her dark good looks steal your attention through the lens and clearly come from her Algerian heritage, but her love of warping out North African instruments and utilising a more percussive beat will be what gives her the required edge.  Sadly, this tribal tinkering she talks of still needs to find the foreground, but her blend of common pop and all it’s structural strengths, with this authentic, atypical ingredient certainly has potential. With each new demo that appears she seems to ride along more confidently and subsequently creates more intricate and attractive performances.  Like all of the truly special female pop artists, past or present, the comparisons with others off the lengthy production line is actually irrelevant, for we know they always break the mould when it comes to genuine talent.    (MB)

Find her here:         Myspace

Hear her here:         YADI – RUSSIAN LOVE

Hear her here:         YADI – GUILLOTINE




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