Posts Tagged ‘crystal castles




We like to think our blog is a broad church, writing up a variety of genres, but this week we uncovered one of those bands that seem to hop over the pigeon holes like, well, a very unwilling pigeon.  We recently uncovered this Canadian three piece and within approximately thirty seconds had our blog’s quills dipped and ready – so instantly likeable is every demo they’ve produced to date.  The Big Stereo blog described their sound as “pan flute disco punk“, which is brilliantly accurate, as they fully employ the Peruvian instruments and pounding four beats, but there’s also evidence of a fantastic, refined style to go with their confident pomp – which, when all packaged up together, will surely have the teen crowd jumping.  Disco implies something simple and although their lyrics are occasionally a little obvious, it’s saved by their intelligent tropical additions that riff away within each song, giving the listener a more subtle balance on each track.  On their demo Glory Of The Night, they show us that they can slow it down, which is encouraging evidence of a broader tunesmithery.  Fans of Friendly Fires, or the more recent Tanlines, will have their ears twisting around to this blend of electro indie pop.  Their songs flow smoothly and enjoy drops the size of the Angel Falls, as they crash into huge, confident choruses.  In a year when giant acts such as Arcade Fire and Crystal Castles bring out their new LPs, it’s great to see that Canada’s factory lines are also still producing exciting new acts such as Young Empires.  They’re still currently unsigned, but starting to get noticed, as apparently the Canadian A&R regularly line up outside their gigs.  They plan to head over to the UK for a few shows in late July and naturally The Recommender is fighting hard to obtain them for a Brighton showcase.  We will of course keep you informed, but in the meantime get your panpipes out and enjoy a little blast along to this.    (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        YOUNG EMPIRES – RAIN OF GOLD

Hear them here:        YOUNG EMPIRES – GLORY OF THE NIGHT




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

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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

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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

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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…



With some of the world’s best profile photographers now on board, magazines lining up to interview The Recommender, and visitors arriving in their thousands every day now, you are now part of a blog that’s growing and developing in front of your very eyes. Just another handful of reasons for you lovely people to keep on coming back. Now, back to the real reason for it’s existence  – totally awesome tuneage…

Landed on my feet here with this super-hot new, unsigned, French band. They approached me via Myspace and kindly dropped me their mp3’s. They are totally superb. I love it when fresh meat discoveries like this pop up and give you goosebumps all over. Their dance-pop-electro-madness sound is somewhere between CSS and Crystal Castles. Remember when you first heard the cute, badly-pronounced lyrics of Lovefoxxx from CSS, mixed over a melody-mad chorus, tinged with the echo of Alice Glass’ vocals and Ethan Kath’s stripped down basics and you’re right on the button. The upbeat backdrops with sharp guitars and an 8-bit, ZX Spectrum keyboard accompaniment, makes you smile broadly. Totally irresistible.

Find them here:   Myspace


This two-piece from London came wafting by my ears when I located them on the fantastic website, Styleslut. Milo and Robbie also seem to pair up on occasion with a third member who plays the drums for them; the crazy but gorgeous Akiko Matsuura, from the bands Pre and Comanechi. The Big Pink seem to hark back to a day when Manchester sold us every album going. There’s definitely a Primal Scream flavour to them, which is a fantastic thing, but it drops the guitaring for a psychedelic bass rumble. It’s not too retro as they are definitely pushing that sound in a brilliant, modern direction. It’s almost more Chemical Brothers, were they to mash up ‘One Too Many Mornings’ with ‘Life is Sweet’. It’s totally enchanting and will have you hooked.


Find them here:     Myspace

Hear them here:    THE BIG PINK – TOO YOUNG TO LOVE

About time I did a post on this, following their Gig List posting. They describe themselves as secretive and so we don’t know what they look like or any specific info on them as people, apart from that they hail from New York, which leaves us the bare bones to pick over – the music. Thank fuck it’s this good then. An electric-pop sound, sometimes very danceable indeed, sometimes of a slower pace, flows behind the sexy, irresistible vocals. Singing this pure and lovely simply must be from a woman that I imagine to be stunningly beautiful! It’s like Division Kent or St.Etienne having the French DJ Danger jamming behind them. Light and gorgeous. Instantly loveable. The blogs – Big Stereo and Discodust – grabbed them first back in the summer, but as The Golden Filter turn up to play in my town of Brighton in the coming weeks it was time to turn my attention to them. I’m glad I did as it’s solid gold stuff.

Find them here:     Myspace

Hear them here:     THE GOLDEN FILTER – SOLID GOLD

Hope this helped shove a couple more fresh bands down your musical gullets. Return here for more lovingly plucked highlights from the world’s music real soon. Got the ‘Best Of 2008’  list being drafted as we speak, so that’s going to be ram-jammed full of lovelies.





Here’s another Gig List for you lovely people. Got a couple of nights out at one of Brighton’s best venues: Concorde 2. This mid-sized venue, that’s operated in Brighton for many years, often plays host to some of the best acts that have floated through town. Although I’m only posting about two gigs, there’s actually seven bands on show, all of which are looking white hot. 

We like The Whip very much here at The Recommender. They just about manage to tick all the boxes – great basslines that move your feet for you, a cooler-than-cool swagger to their tunes, a fashionable attire, electro squiggles throughout etc etc. They’re a brilliant example of Electro-Indie, where so many bands have fallen short before them. It’s music you can really dance to – with lyrics. A great combo. Hailing from Manchester, this 4-piece are well worth an evening out. They hit our beloved Concorde 2 venue with some of the finest support slots I’ve seen in ages. Namely; Pnau and Transformer. Get there soon enough to catch them all and you will get one hell of a lovely earful. Aren’t we the lucky ones!?

ACT:                    THE WHIP
VENUE:                CONCORDE 2, Brighton
COST:                  £ 8.50
DATE:                  Tuesday 18th November 2008
WEBSITES:           Myspace

Arguably THE finest record label in the entire world (OK, OK, please don’t bash my message box too much about Modular, Ed Banger and everybody else…). As well as being a Parisian boutique fashion brand, this Kitsune label have released on thier books the likes of DigitalismFox & Wolf, Autokratz and Simian Mobile Disco, amongst many others. They regularly provide us with their famous compilation albums, (they’re now on number 6), with tracks from artists that encompass the melodic electro that the label so often pursues. These albums often become taste-makers for the global scene. They kick off a tour to back up the latest album’s launch, with the likes of Autokratz, Punks Jump Up, Beni and the fantastic Heartsrevolution on show. It really doesn’t get a lot better than that for a night out. Check out the label, fall in love with the artists, and definitely get your ass down to Concorde 2 for this gig.

VENUE:              CONCORDE 2
COST:                £ 5.00   (Free before 11:30pm)
DATE:                Thursday 20th November 2008
WEBSITES:         Kitsune @

OK, so thats two separate evenings, in one week, at one venue, in one town – What a great example of how fine Brighton is for live music. See you there…




OK, so we got ourselves some sort of credit crunching financial global nightmare, but what the fuck, let the music play. Spare the money-worries and get your attention onto this lovely slice of RECOMMENDER. Welcome back out of the darkness friends…

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Nothing new to the blog world here, but I couldn’t resist grabbing yet another wonderful Aussie band from Sydney. This 4-piece, signed to the massive Modular Records label, are well worth their Recommender posting. In recent years Australia has been throwing out quality acts at us like a Shane Warne spin bowl and Van She are flying directly for your middle stump. Totally blissed out guitar pop with a yearning towards the 80’s-era prog rock and synth catchiness. Think of the Presets holding hands with Ladyhawke and you get the shelf upon which to happily place them. They’ve an ear for a good chorus and the songs skip along like a high point from any Flaming Lips album. On a separate note, two of the band members regrouped to produce remixes under the guise Van She Technologic (or as Van She Tech). The remixes are totally ace and boy have they been busy, so perhaps I’ll reserve a separate post for those in a future Recommender. Van She have released their debut album, V, earlier this year in most parts of the world, having previously only released an EP. Search it out and get involved…

Find them here:    Myspace

Hear them here:   VAN SHE – CAT & THE EYE

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OK, so I don’t get it. Really. What is this electro-punk, jagged-edged, shouty business all about??? We should all know Crystal Castles by now right? The two-some from Canada, (Ethan Kath and Alice Glass) who discovered their sound by accident. (This was achieved by Glass accidentally leaving the mic on when laying down vocals over a bunch of tracks Ethan had recorded for them. With her mic still left on she spent time shouting experimentally over his beats and created the first single by chance. Hence the name of the tune – ‘Alice Practice’. The shouty/beat mixture was picked up and became said ‘sound’ for them). As much as I admit that I struggle with their ‘sound’, I cannot help but see something interesting here. I usually think I’m perhaps getting too old, or that my tastes have finally missed the boat, when I struggle to enjoy what seems a sensation to the rest of the world, but it’s sometimes good to see through the obvious hype and let the dust settle on these sorts of acts, (such as people did with say Klaxons). I saw Crystal Castles live recently and their whole show was done in strobe. And I mean the entire set. My eyes took days to recover. Was this good as well as different? I just can’t decide. She is very sexy and he’s strangely mysterious, so that’s something that entices, but to their credit they also have generated some interesting remixes, so I attach the LA RIOTS remix of Crimewave to give you a taster. Anything the Riots touch turns to dancefloor gold, so perhaps it roses the tint in my glasses, but judge for yourselves. Check the rest of their original tunes on the links provided…

Find them here: Myspace

Hear them here:   CRYSTAL CASTLES – CRIMEWAVE (LA Riots Remix)

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This New York area 6-piece are an indie band that’s caught my eye recently (or should that be my ear?). Sold as Vampire Weekend meets the Arcade Fire is somewhat over doing it me thinks, but nonetheless gives a relatively good idea of their sound and influence. Cute, delicate vocals float over strings and a pounding echo. Like Arcade Fire they are nicely upbeat so they avoid getting too boring too quickly and survive any pointless drifting. Having regrouped after the death of their drummer, John Pike, in 2007 they have now put together a well produced debut album, The Rhumb Line, following previously released EPs. They’re backing this up with a new tour supporting Vampire Weekend. Check them out.

Find them here:   Myspace

Hear them here:   RA RA RIOT – DYING IS FINE

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On a separate note, I’d just like to thank the fans of The Recommender. Your input always helps, so keep the messages and comments coming and continue to spread the word etc. This blog has grown exponentially over the last few weeks and months and now generates thousands of visitors each and every month, so it’s nice to know you’re out there and long may it continue. As always let me know any thoughts…

Until the next one then. All the best,



Theme-time once more people. Got a guy so freaking cool, he’s built up an enormously brilliant record label ram-jammed with some of the best bands and scenesters known to the blog world. This Recommender is going to be all about him and those acts he has so lovingly shared with us over recent years.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you FRANKI CHAN and the IHEARTCOMIX record label…

Search online and you will find an abundance of mp3’s, info and links with Franki Chan’s name sprawled all over them. Amongst many others his IHEARTCOMIX label has accrued acts such as: HEARTSREVOLUTION, Toxic Avenger, Ocelot, Totally Michael, Matt & Kim and Acid Girls. Super-cool!!!! They claim to be “dedicated to challenging the music industry standards by embracing the ever evolving sound of our generation“. Perfect if you ask me…

The label also comes in other successful guises – as a radio show, a website, an event promoter, a world-class blog, an online clothing store and an online tv show, making them one of the best party crews in existence.

But I actually want to speak a little about the man.


This is a fantastic story of an underdog. Moving to Los Angeles, California from his home in Indiana, Franki quickly set out to penetrate the vibrant local music scene.

Joining up with the famous Steve Aoki, of Dim Mak Records fame, (see The Recommender 6 in the archives…), they ran an event on Tuesdays at the well-known Cinespace nightclub.

Sadly, after a period of success, it blew up in Franki’s face, (perhaps self-inflicted?), forcing an acrimonious and bitter split between them both. Steve Aoki, coming from the wealthy background, with the famous acting family and roots in LA, did his best to suppress Franki it seems, but our man persevered, regrouped and developed the IHEARTCOMIX label into the success it is today.

Not satisfied with a simple label to take up his time, he is also a talented illustrator with a comic book obsession, a musician, a DJ and is even sometimes found behind the drums for HEARTSREVOLUTION. What about sleep!!?? Not for this guy.

So this Recommender is for you Franki. The two bands below are on his label. Enjoy…

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Boy / Girl combo – CHECK! Fashionable and goodlooking – CHECK! New York, Tokyo, LA and Paris heritage – CHECK! Cooler than cool punk-electro tunes – CHECK! As I’ve previously mentioned in GIG LIST 8 (see archives…), this tasty cute couple, also known as Ben & Lo, are bouncing all over the world in the upcoming IHEARTCOMIX tour, supporting the fantastic Midnight Juggernauts (in the UK). Like a more listenable Crystal Castles, these scenesters are shaking just about everything shakeable. Over in the States, these guys are well known for throwing parties out of their ‘Hearts Challenger’pink ice cream van, which strangely and yet totally candidly also sells goofy sweets and Japanese toys! These guys turn up at parties randomly and jam out the back of the van for all to turn to. Original and totally ace, they also adopted the UK artist and fashion designer, Kate Moross, to help design their live sets and imagery. Kate is just about as wonderful a touch as I can imagine, adding art and creativity in places no other band could reach. They are dedicated to progressing the state of music and pushing change in all the right places. Thing is…do you embrace such change? Of course you do…

Find them here: Myspace

Hear them here: HEARTSREVOLUTION – C.Y.O.A (Choose Your Own Adventure)

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Here we are with another post, so it seems inevitable we have yet another masked, electro, French DJ to show off! I figure there must be a factory in the outskirts of Paris throwing these guys out or something!!! Maybe they’re all actually robots distributed globally as part of some evil master plan, with a planetary mission to blow up all our favourite clubs?!? I blame Daft Punk! Anyways, this fella is all saturated, squelchy bounce. He always provides good quality tunes and he’s also been busy creating superb remixes for all our favourite people, such as: Late Of The Pier, Le Castle Vania, The Whip, Chromeo and many others! Thankfully he now has his first full official EP on release (14th September), called ‘Superheroes’. I give you the ‘Mixhell Earplugged’ remix of this tune because I love love love it! Oh and lastly – his mask is the best yet…

Find him here: Myspace

Hear him here: TOXIC AVENGER –  Superheroes(Mixhell Earplugged Remix)

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OK, thats enough for this edition. Quite a long post I know. Phew. Time for a sit down, as your grandad would say. Until the next rave-up then. Look out for The Recommender on other blogs and media, as I’m now being asked to be interviewed, to be part of other movements and to generally spread the word. Nice.

Go forth and multiply…

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