Posts Tagged ‘Bat For Lashes




Today’s post feels like it could have simply been another update in a series of articles focussed on electro pop female solo artists on this blog.  Everyone knows that there’s been a lengthy queue of talented women carving out successful solo careers in the UK in recent years and Leelou fits so naturally into that family tree that her career could have been written on a napkin 12 months ago following the success of Marina & The Diamonds, Florence & The Machine, etc.  However, this is no contrived creation, like some Simon Cowell factory line, but more a natural evolution from the successes of pop’s recent past.  The path through this effeminate hierarchy takes us slightly off the electro end of pop when you reach The Good Natured, who took more cues from Bat For Lashes than Madonna, swiftly followed by Yadi, who added in a little percussion in place of the synths.  Most recently Recommendered on this avenue was FOE, who ditched the polish by bringing us elements of grunge, but with it an alluring sexuality and a gritty edge.  As we reach the latest junction we uncover Leelou, (aka Rebekah Dobbins), who has paired up with Paul Simm (Sugababes, Neneh Cherry, Amy Winehouse), and created the kind of pop that’s heavily dipped in a form of post punk that was first established in the late 1970s with Siouxsie & The Banshees.  If this influence turns out to be a sign of things to come then it would feel like the history of stylish, confident, female solo artists has come full circle.  How very tidy, but its way too early to make such neat suggestions.  Leelou’s music is often packed with brushed guitar riffs and driving drums, but there is a pop artist at its heart.  Consider it to perhaps be more a gothic version of  Kim Wilde, rather than a full-on Siouxsie Soux, especially with her striking looks, but even more so when you reach the sing-along choruses and (rather basic) lyrics, “We’ve made a fire, don’t put it out“.   Thankfully her edge is swiftly recovered by selecting some excellent people to collaborate with – firstly with Tessa Pollitt, of The Slits, whose addition provides an obvious grit to the inflected vocals.  Additionally, there’s a collaboration with different areas of the fashion and art worlds, pulling in favours for her video for Gasoline, (see below), from designers such as Atlanta Weller, Bordelle, Hannah Martin, House of Harlot, Tour de Force, with Ruth Crawford as art director.  The debut EP, Kiss. Death. Love. Come,  is out on 8th November on Deathless Records (pre-order it here). We have only one slightly worrying question after all this – if female solo artists are evolving at this rate and with this much dynamic quality, what’s happened to all the men!?  (MB)

Find her here:        Myspace

Hear her here:        LEELOU – GASOLINE


Hear her here:        LEELOU – BURN YOUR HOUSES DOWN

Here her here:        LEELOU – KISS LIKE CARNIVORES




If you like your pop music to be cool and glacial, yet draped in effortless theatrical brilliance, then wrap your ears around this new Swedish group, fronted by Malin Dahlstrom.  Comparisons to Bat For Lashes will no doubt follow, for Malin manages to pull the same trick as Natasha Kahn – like she’s writing from another world, luring you into a soundscape of drama and cinematic majesty.  It’s mystical and ethereal, but never dull and on tracks such as DJ, Ease My Mind you get a sweeping chorus so overblown it would make the performers on the Eurovision Song Contest re-consider their applications.  Malin also demonstrates precisely how rounded her skills are on tracks such as Winterheart, where you get bubbles alongside the atmosphere, handing a perfect slice of slow pop cake that’s as easy to digest as whipped cream.  Much in the same direction that The Knife and IAmAmIWhoAmI aim their musical arrows, there’s much owed to the Liz Fraser/Cocteau Twins school of song craft, with pop that’s as cold as thin ice, and just as delicate.  Frigorific music such as this can often leave the listener a little detached, but Malin’s lyrics provide a voice that calls at you through the snowstorm, luring you onwards, until each track warms you like a rewarding wine. Percussion is occasionally laid on quite heavily, like a hundred of the Emperor’s drummers, but they’re theatrics are deliberately meant to be like a stage production, which is no more evidenced than the playful videos that have circled around in recent weeks.  We expect Malin to adorn costumes and giant headdresses when performing, as this type of music could never be the same if not delivered with overblown panache, but there’s no tour on offer quite yet, so follow the Recommender’s tweets for more information. Their debut single is a double A-side and was released on August 30th on the Moshi Moshi label.  Allow the curtain to lift for the next 15 minutes by sifting through the below mp3s and videos.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        NIKI AND THE DOVE – UNDER THE BRIDGES

Hear them here:        NIKI AND THE DOVE – WINTERHEART

Hear them here:        NIKI AND THE DOVE – DJ, EASE MY MIND



You have three different contributors writing on this post, so feel free to comment on whose writing you like the best? That’ll put the cat amongst The Recommender’s pigeons! The variety also comes with the music today, as we  bring to the table everything, from African guitars to Kylie vocals! Nice…


Up to this point we only knew of these guys here at The Recommender as fantastic remixers of Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen and Bat For Lashes (the latter is attached below…). This London pair have finally decided to cut a new track of their own and we have to admit we are rather taken. Just like their remix tastes they are fronted by a beautiful female vocalist whose sexy voice sounds similar to that of Kylie, were she to get electrified over a fuzzy bassline. Describing themselves as “Post Punk Alternative Disco Pop”, you will hear that the emphasis is very much on the ‘pop’. It’s all very light stuff, as all good pop should be, with distinctive breaks into the catchy chorus. It’s pace and basslines provide the ‘disco’ they talk of, but the whole concoction is never too sickly, so avoids running out of steam. There’s excellent fuzz and guitars bouncing around giving us the ‘alternative’ and ‘post punk’ elements, bringing their tunes into focus. The whole thing is washed down with over-the-top, seductive vocals to brilliant effect, by the appropriately named Scorch Shepherd. Their debut single, 21, is listed below having been released in the last few days. (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Here them here:        DEATH METAL DISCO SCENE – 21 (ysi)
Here them here:        BAT FOR LASHES – DANIEL ( Death Metal Disco Remix) (ysi)


Straight out of L.A., here’s a band that has been getting some well-deserved attention with their June debut Person to Person, out through label Secretly Canadian, and their recently wrapped up U.S. tour.  Trying to describe their sound isn’t easy.  They are one of those rare wonders that manage to take tropical sounds, African guitaring, a fantastic pop sensibility (and even a banjo!) and blend them all together to form some sort of summer delight.  Whilst listening we dare you to not think of barbequing poolside.  However, please don’t think that they’re all cheer and no substance.  Tracks like Blood Oranges, See Us Home, and Wander Aimlessly are driven by a darker sound with vocals taking cues from the likes of Johnny Cash.  And it’s probably that ability to balance the sunny with the serious that has been getting them noticed.  Three of the members have also been finding their way onto blog pages with their other similarly tropical act Fool’s Gold.  Sadly, there’s still no word on whether a UK tour is imminent for either project, but should they cross the Atlantic, be sure to catch their energetic live shows with straw hat and piña colada in hand. (OG)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        FOREIGN BORN – EARLY WARNINGS (ysi)
Here them here:        FOREIGN BORN – VACATIONING PEOPLE (ysi)


San Francisco-based hipsters Love Like Fire play a brand of indie that takes in the Howling Bells and The Walkmen whilst aiming high with the more stadium sounds of The Killers. With songs full of hope and angst in equal measure, played over the rattling beat and climax finishes, it grips you, balls first. Frontwoman Ann Yu has had her vocals compared to the slightly more subtle Karen O, which is certainly apparent on the tracks William and Stand In Your Shoes, but her voice equally has a distinctive lushness and depth which draws its own attention. With two EPs to their name already, the full debut album, Tear Ourselves Away, (due out on 14th of September through Heist Or Hit Records) is mature and very well-crafted and looks certain to raise the band’s profile above the radar. They mange to cradle cool, 80’s-influenced bands like Curve and 90’s Britpop groups like Echobelly into a more commercial version of The Dears. The excellent, punchy single, S.O.S., from 2007’s album, An Ocean In The Air, is listed below.   (DV)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        LOVE LIKE FIRE – S.O.S. (ysi)

Having just read an interview with Love Like Fire’s Ann Yu she states her ‘favourite city that she’s seen on tour’ as Brighton, UK  – The Recommender’s home town! She says, “The people there are super friendly, there’s really yummy English breakfasts and cool shops”. That and a wicked music blog surely…




We have a  real clash of cultures on here today as we confidently straddle two totally opposing genres. One is a mystical fantasy and the other is all about colourful bling. I guess you should expect this on a post about gigs in Brighton’s wide spread of tastes and shades. Both are awesome and refreshingly vibrant artists worthy of your well-crunched wages…

A magical, dreamlike beauty to behold, this Brighton-based songstress, (also known as Natasha Kahn), just has to be on anybody’s list of necessary experiences. It seems she dips into some sort of hidden fantasy world to pen her songs, returning to us clutching real creative, intricate gems. A clash of sounds and styles, she’s very striking and packed with stylish individuality, so although not quite like anyone else, she would sit comfortably along other strong female soloists from the creations of Tori Amos or the madness of Bjork. Although her heritage is Middle Eastern, this is effectively an adopted homecoming gig, so expect that ‘extra 10%’ to be revealed. Add to all this the fact that her much anticipated second album, Two Suns, is due out in April and follows in the footsteps of her excellent Mercury-nominated debut, Gold & Fur. Get your tickets and get on board for a sneaky peek into the secret world in which only she inhabits.

ACT:                  BAT FOR LASHES
VENUE:             THE CORN EXCHANGE, Brighton
COST:               £13.50
DATE:               Thursday 16th April 2009
WEBSITE:      Myspace

In total contrast to the above artist, Master Shortie brings a totally different flavour to our City. So long as the artist is good, no matter what the genre, they will deserve a posting on this blog. Get ready to duck (and weave) as this fella’s rat-a-tat vocals will fire across the floor at Audio. Always such an intimate venue, but not short on quality artists. They usually turn up at this venue just prior to their mushroom-cloud-laying subsequent blow up in the wider music scenes, which this next-gen Hip Hop lyricist  is sure to do through 2009. He’s multi-coloured and as loud in his musical assault as he is in his shirts. A real promising talent from the vibrant music scene south of London taaaan. We’ve already written up his Recommender post which we’ll be listing real soon, so for yet more love and an mp3 of his awesome tunes, be sure to head back here for more of Master Shortie when you’re ready… 

ACT:                 MASTER SHORTIE
VENUE:             AUDIO, Marine Parade, Brighton
COST:               £ tbc
DATE:               Friday 13th March 2009 (part of the Wonky Pop Tour)
WEBSITE:         Myspace

Rumours are bouncing around like Zebedee on a trampoline at the moment regarding the booked up bands due to appear on the outstanding Brighton festival circuit this summer. Be sure that The Recommender will be right on top of it once things firm up, so we’ll let you know for sure.


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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)