Posts Tagged ‘Marina & The Diamonds

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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03
May
10

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 43 – THE KNOCKS

THE REMIXES – PART 8 – THE KNOCKS

This week The Knocks release, on Heavy Roc Records, their own original work with the single Blackout.  It’s given us a chance to reflect upon their body of work to date and when you check out their numerous remixes we think you’ll agree they deserve to join the lofty ranks on our remix specials. You can judge for yourselves by browsing our previous seven selections, with posts that include remix catalogues by:  Starsmith, The Shoes, The Golden Filter, The Twelves, DiscoTech, Bloc Party and Soulwax.

Today’s New York duo have an incredible ability to tickle commercial pop tunes into a whippy, thumping new blend.  Ben Ruttner (DJ B-Roc) and James Patterson (JPatt) were carved out of the hip hop scene and they bring the same confidence to a broad selection of major artists, twisting their tunes into new batch of beat-heavy cocktails.

They’ve particularly attached themselve to the artists familiar to a lot of us via the Neon Gold stable, with remixes for Marina & The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding and more recently Samuel and Yes Giantess, whose debut albums they’ve been asked to produce.  This all follows their reworking of Jay-Z’s American Gangster, having paired up with DJ Benzi in the studio, renaming it American G-Funk.

We list below a selection of their remixes alongside their new single, Blackout.  All of these tunes have their recognisable stamp, with plenty of fearless groove and smooth gloss.  It’s music designed for the summer sunshine and buzzing outdoor party, aiming directly for your derriere, which we fully expect to be shaking along, whether you like it or not.

PETER BJORN & JOHNIT DON’T MOVE ME (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

WALECHILLIN’ Ft LADY GAGA (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

ELLIE GOULDINGUNDER THE SHEETS (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

ELLIE GOULDINGSTARRY EYED (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

MARINA & THE DIAMONDSI AM NOT A ROBOT (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

MARINA & THE DIAMONDSMOWGLIS ROAD (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

TEMPER TRAPFADER (THE KNOCKS REMIX ft SAMUEL)

PASSION PITSLEEPYHEAD (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

BRITNEY SPEARS3 (THE KNOCKS REMIX CLUB EDIT)

THE KILLERS SPACEMAN (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

JULIACOCAINE (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

MASTER SHORTIEBRINGIN IT BACK ( THE KNOCKS REMIX)

THE JACKSON FIVETHE LOVE YOU SAVE (THE KNOCKS REMIX)

THE KNOCKSBLACKOUT

As much as we’ve tried to cover a large selection here, we know that there’s others out there, so by all means leave descriptions and links for these in our comments section if you know where to find them.  Hope you’ve enjoyed this remix special, as it’s been a little while since the previous edition.  We promise not to make it so long between this and the next one.  We finish by posing you lovely readers the obvious question: who should the next remix special be about?     (MB)

01
Mar
10

Q & A – CLOCK OPERA

Q & A – CLOCK OPERA

Clock Opera recently supported Marina & The Diamonds on her nationwide tour, so when they rolled into Brighton The Recommender caught up with frontman, Guy Connelly, just before he went on stage at Audio.  We found him in an open mood, happy to discuss Clock Opera’s evolution into a full band, the benefits of blog coverage, their recording plans and the dangers of playing Black & Deckers live on stage!

Clock Opera (Photo: PR)

THE RECOMMENDER: Hello Guy, so let’s start at the beginning, where are you from?
GUY CONELLY: Near Bristol, a little dead end town called Nailsea.  It hasn’t got a lot to speak for itself really.  It’s next to Portishead but I’ve never thought of naming a band after Nailsea (like Portishead did).  That wouldn’t really work.  I live in London now.

TR: Like pretty much anybody who’s anything to do with this cool, new, rising electronic pop music.
GUY: I don’t know.  I don’t think that’s true.  That’s just people’s perception, there’s more people in London.  I’ve never really paid much attention to where you come from.  Someone might say Bristol has got a really good music scene and I haven’t got a clue.

TR: There’s different parts of the country that are respected for different things.  Bristol’s supposed to be good for Dubstep.
GUY: It only takes a few people to say that there’s a ‘scene’ somewhere, doesn’t it?

TR: That’s a good point, NME are always trying to find a new ‘scene’ to grab onto.
GUY: Everybody loves a scene… except bands.

TR: When did you start Clock Opera?
GUY: We played our first gig less than a year ago.  March, I think, and it’s come on really quickly.  We had a single out in November and people started picking us up unexpectedly quickly.  We’ve only played about fifteen gigs.  We’re really lucky to get on this Marina tour.  It’s our first tour so it’s pretty amazing that it’s sold out.  I mean, obviously they’re not here to see us.

TR: We’re here to see Clock Opera tonight as much as we’re here to see Marina.
GUY: Thanks, but we’re not kidding ourselves.  What I mean is, it’s wicked to come to somewhere you’ve never played together as a band and play to a room full of people.  That’s what you want, it’s amazing and it’s our first tour.

TR: What made Marina the right person to go on tour with, for you?
GUY: She just asked us really.  It’s not like we’re flooded with offers and it’s a great tour to go on.  I did a remix for her which she liked.

TR: Is that out yet?
GUY: No, people have been asking but we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen with it.  Originally I did it as just a bit of fun that was going to go up on a blog and then her record label heard it and she heard it and thought ‘why not use it’ so I think it’s going to come out with her next single.  I guess it had something to do with us getting this tour.

TR: There’s a connection between the two acts through Neon Gold (the blog and record label).  That’s where we first heard about you.
GUY: Yeah, that’s how I got the remix, through Derek (one half of Neon Gold) and that’s kind of how it kicked off a bit.  We had a Guardian New band of the day (article) and Illegal Tender wrote about us on the same day and all of a sudden people started swarming a bit.

TR: So, was that all from Neon Gold?
GUY: No, Derek picked us up from that blog (Illegal Tender) – I think they’re mates – and then he wrote about us which I think helped us a lot.

TR: He seems to be massively on-the-money with everything he’s picking up at the moment.
GUY: Yeah, he’s a bit of a golden boy.  There’s two of them, Lizzy runs it with him.  It seems to be a surefire route to success or at least a lot of hype anyway which is pretty helpful.

TR: Have you got plans to release any singles/EPs/Albums in the near future?
GUY: We’re recording at the moment, we’ve been doing some mixing.  We mixed a couple of tracks at the end of last week.  We’ve got loads and loads of stuff, it’s just a matter of getting around to recording it properly.  We’ve got at least an album’s worth of stuff.  We’re recording four (songs) at the moment, we’re just kind of deciding really, doing a tour and seeing what offers come in.

TR: Are you a full band now?
GUY: Yeah, since we started playing.  I wrote a load of stuff before we got together but ever since then we’ve been a band.  I still write it to a certain stage and then we all develop it and play it so we’re definitely a band.  Just because I’m up here and they’re having a beer downstairs.  They’re happy for me to spout a load of bollocks in their absence.  People haven’t been writing enough about them.

TR: Everywhere else we’ve read about Clock Opera it ‘s been ‘Guy this’ and ‘Guy that’.
GUY: It’s a bit annoying because they (the band) put a lot in and they bring a huge amount and I want that to be represented.  I think it also says a lot about lazy journalism, somebody writes something about just me and it multiplies but the truth is, we’re a band.

TR: The first couple of tracks we heard, White Noise and Alouette, don’t sound like they’re being performed by a band.  They sound like there’s a lot of laptop jigging, looping and sampling. Did you write and record that before the band?
GUY: I write as I record so a lot of the samples are ones that I’ve made at the start and they never change.  Then we add live instruments as we go along and arrange it.  We add different bits and bobs but the samples are what I start with so they always stay the same really.  We recorded those a while back but this new lot (of songs) have got more of a live sound because we’ve played about with that a lot more.  For one song, the original demo is completely different because there’s a whole new percussion section, loads of live drums where previously it was all based on computer stuff.  I really like that combination, I think that’s really important.  I love electronic music and that’s partly what we do but it also needs a grounding in reality somehow.  Likewise with the samples, they’re all digitally manipulated but I want them to have some kind of human feel to them.  You can tell they were once a real instrument, they’re not just wires generating sound out of nothing, there was something playing at the beginning.  I think that’s what I like about being a band, it brings that out more.

TR: How does it work?  You’re in your house and you hit something and you think “I like that noise”.  Do you record it in your house or do you take it to your studio?
GUY: Well, my house is my studio.  I’ve used washing machines and drills.  I really want to get a power drill solo in one song.  It sounds amazing it’s just about matching the speed with the note you want to play.

TR: You’re actually going to do that live?
GUY: I want to, it’s the threat of danger that I quite like.  It takes you away from just playing instruments on stage and maybe makes the front row step back 6 inches.

TR: You could have a whole tool orchestra, like playing a saw with a violin bow.
GUY: Yeah, I like that, I really like that.  We’re pushed for time with setting up at the moment but when we get our own tour I think you’ll see some Black and Decker on show.

TR: You seem to have mastered that tricky blend of being experimental, whilst still having killer melodies and big choruses.  Do you think it’s still possible to be original and achieve commercial success without having to compromise either?  Is commercial success the main aim?
GUY: No, it’s not the main aim but yeah, you can definitely do it.  It depends what you define success as.  I define success as having enough people loving what you do that you can play a show and get to meet people who are into the same stuff.  The measure of success is what is necessary to propagate whatever else you want to do.  So of course you can do it, there’s loads of bands that have done it.  The majority don’t but if I didn’t believe it could be done then I wouldn’t be trying.

TR: What’s next for Clock Opera after the Marina tour?
GUY: We’ve got a few remixes coming out.  There’s the Marina one, I’ve done one for The Phenomenal Handclap Band which is coming out in March and I’m doing one for The Golden Filter at the moment which might be used.  I don’t know, I’m never sure.  I’m mainly doing that then we’re going to get back in the studio and get more songs done.  Hopefully we’ll have three or four more done by the end of next month and then fill up the album.  We’ve got a few more gigs booked but we’re not planning on playing too many gigs at the moment just so we have time to figure out more songs.

TR: We’d like you to come and play at one of our monthly parties.
GUY: We will play one of your nights, I promise.

TR: We’ll hold you to that. Finally, we always ask the bands we interview to become an honorary Recommender and suggest a band that we might not have heard of.
GUY: Well, there’s a band I really like in London called Magic & Fur. They’re really cool.

TR: Thanks, we’ll check them out, good luck with the show.

And what a show it was!  A remarkable performance, packed with many very strong tracks.  This is one talent that is bursting with creativity, ideas and ability.  We cannot wait for the promise of an album in due course, but one promise we will be pursuing is the offer he made to play The Recommender’s gigs.  Watch this space, but rest assured we will be proudly shouting it from the rooftops when we confirm the booking…
(MA & MB)

07
Dec
09

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 37

THE REMIXES – PART 7 – STARSMITH

Starsmith, (real name Fin Dow-Smith), recently messaged us an update, which we’re pleased to say clarifies his current position.  To date we’ve known him as the producer behind Ellie Goulding‘s album, as well as playing alongside her live.  With her debut album due for a release in early 2010, we knew Fin’s work was virtually complete there, so what was a well connected talent such as Starsmith going to do next?

Well, the 21 year old is putting his music degree to good use, making sure he carves out his own solo career, rather than simply being the big bang behind other future starlets.  Having first arrived with the backing of the independent Neon Gold label, he has now signed his own record deal with Island (!) and we are pleased to confirm that he’s finally setting about producing his own songs.  He hopes that his own debut album should be ready for September 2010 and it will of course include Ellie Goulding as a guest vocalist, with the first single due around April.

Of course signing to a major record label, confirming guest vocalists of that caliber and planning release dates is all rather surprising, considering he hasn’t yet written or recorded any of his own original material!!  Well, when you have Ellie’s extraordinary tunes, as well as his plentiful remix catalogue, the picture becomes a lot clearer.

It’s this remix material that we are focussing on today, and our Remix Specials are fast becoming a set of hallowed halls, having previous listed giants such as:  Soulwax,  Bloc Party,  The TwelvesThe Golden Filter,  The Shoes and DiscoTech on past editions.  Starsmith’s golden touch adds his trademark wealth of electro synths, shameless 80s influences and bouncing beats.  Looks like Ellie’s going to have some stiff competition in 2010 then…

PALOMA FAITH – NEW YORK  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi
PASSION PIT – SLEEPYHEAD  (STARSMITH REMIX, Ft. ELLIE GOULDING) ysi
LADY GAGA – BAD ROMANCE  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi
LISA MITCHELL – COIN LAUNDRY  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi
PRIVATE – MY SECRET LOVER  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi
FRANKMUSIK – BETTER OFF AS TWO  (STARSMITH HOLIDAYING IN THE HEATH REMIX) ysi
ELLIE GOULDING – STARRY EYED  (STARSMITH PRODUCED) ysi
KATY PERRY – I KISSED A GIRL  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS  – I AM NOT A ROBOT  (STARSMITH REMIX) ysi

If there’s any others we’ve missed then we’d appreciate you informing us in the comments section.  We know others are out there somewhere.  Also, it’s worth you knowing that we’ve nearly finished our Best Tracks Of 2009 post, so we will upload that in the next few days.  Yet another exciting reason to head back here before the year/decade ends.
(MB)

23
Oct
09

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 35

We have a little comparison on the blog for you today. There’s been some kind of coincidental theme running through this week, so we thought we would post about it. Two separate videos by two amazing female solo artists got released to the wider public this week. Both these girls are Recommender favourites and due for big  things. Very big things.

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

ELLIE GOULDING

IMG_3969.jpg Ellie Goulding picture by odelaybradford

The first is Ellie Goulding, (who we first blogged about here). Perhaps the slightly lesser known of the two we show off today, but certainly not the lesser talent. We managed to secure her for a quick photoshoot (more uploaded on our Flickr soon!), as her support of the Little Boots Tour marched into Brighton this week. She was very playful, happy, excited and a wonderfully easy subject. This same week, her video, for single Under The Sheets, (out in November under Neon Gold Records and produced by none other than Starsmith!), arrived in our inbox and it’s a blinder. She’s also secured a slot on Jools Holland next week, so we expect her cloud of buzz to become rather mushroom-sized in the coming days.

ELLIE GOULDINGUNDER THE SHEETS ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

MARINA & THE DIAMONDS

The second video to float under our gaze this week was for the track Mowgli’s Road by Marina & The Diamonds, (an artist that’s had plenty of coverage on The Recommender here, here, here, here and here).  Directed by Chris Sweeney, it’s a strange affair, but creative and mesmerizing all the same. The single is getting it’s release on the major label, Atlantic, having previously been on the indie label Neon Gold before now. It’s our favourite tune of hers to date, so we are pleased that she’s hitting the wider audiences with this extraordinary song. The album will likely be out early next year. It’s going to be as big as it gets.

MARINA & THE DIAMONDSMOWGLI’S ROAD (MILLE REMIX) ysi

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

As always, we are interested in getting your feedback on which video and artist you prefer? Let us know your reviews of them in the comments sections. Which artist do you think will make the biggest impact?
(MB)

06
Oct
09

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 34

THE REMIXES – PART 6 – THE SHOES

So busy are this French double act that we weren’t sure if it was actually possible to complete a comprehensive catalogue of their remixes! There’s millions out there! OK, so perhaps not quite that many, but this is the biggest Remix Special that we’ve ever done, following our previous editions covering The Golden Filter, The Twelves, Bloc Party, DiscoTech and Soulwax.

We think The Shoes are head and shoulders above most when it comes to blending up other people’s tunes. They add a distinctive, but always brilliant, pounding four beat. The kind of beat that dance music was born for. The kind of beat that moves your legs for you. They add their perfect pace, together with a few chopped up synths, but like all the best remixers they respectfully maintain a lot of the orignal track and vocals.

JUST A BAND – WE ARE (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS – I AM NOT A ROBOT (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
ESSER – WORK IT OUT (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
33Hz – I FEEL ALIVE (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
THE GOLDEN SILVERS – ARROWS OF EROS (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
TELEPATHE – CHROMES ON IT (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
PRIMARY 1 – HOLD ME DOWN (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
CANDY CLASH – JUST HER KISS (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
THE VIRGINS – TEEN LOVERS (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
THE CHEEK – SLOW KIDS (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
LATE OF THE PIER – FOCKER (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
LADYHAWKE – DUSK TILL DAWN (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
MYSTERY JETS – YOUNG LOVE (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi
GET CAPE WEAR CAPE FLY – WAITING FOR THE MONSTER TO DROWN (THE SHOES REMIX) ysi


OK, as always please dutifully comment about those remixes we missed. We know there’s a couple of remixes floating out there they’ve done for Wiley, Hadouken and something they did with Those Kids, but we have to sleep sometimes.
(MB)

09
Sep
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 51

Who agrees with Speech Debelle becoming the Mercury Prize winner then? Comment your opinions please. We covered her in a recent post, so we have to say that we backed her. However, we’ve also covered Friendly Fires, La Roux, The Invisible, Florence & The Machine and Bat For Lashes on here before, so we could have backed them all!!

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

V?

Indie, dance and rock music is undeniably our three specialities here at The Recommender, but these days the genres can cover a very wide stretch of artists and sounds, so it’s a loose ‘speciality’. This is no bad thing as it opens our doors to many great musicians. We are even happier to cover DJ’s like V?, as his skills also jumble up a wide variety of genres. In his outstanding remixes you will find chopped beats, awesome samples and he regularly allows most of the original lyrics to stand. There’s often an adventurous sampled guitar rocking in it, or a French rappers vocals, but it’s essentially music to dance to. As with most great remixers it’s his (eclectic) selections that make him shine. He picks tunes that are essentially already enjoyable and doesn’t simply head for the pounding 4-beat or heavy synths, like so many other French DJs. The James Yuill tune, No Surprise, which he entered into a recent Discobelle remix competition, is probably our favourite (added below), but there’s more in his locker that are worth hunting out. In an overcrowded world of remixers (2009 has seen them appear on a massive scale – just check the Hype Machine‘s top 100 these days!), it’s even more impressive that this Parisian resident steps out from the crowd.   (MB)

Find him here:         Myspace

Hear him here:         JAMES YUILL – NO SURPRISES (V? REMIX) (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

POLYNYA

Excuse me but I must start with a short geography lesson. The term Polynya is the Russian word for a natural ice hole but is also the term used for areas of the Arctic and Antarctic that remain unfrozen for most of the year round, here ends today’s lecture hope it wasn’t too heavy for you. Analogies aside, this five piece from North Carolina produce an esoterically adventurous brand of indie, which takes it’s sound from a diverse range of influences. On the stand out tune Island their vocals come across as a more subdued Deerhoof and Sonic Youth whilst musically it sounds like the rhythm section of Can playing along to a synth driven swirling rendition of Half Asleep by School Of Seven Bells. Brooding between full on space rock and 80s shoegazing, Polynya manage to tie together all the many musical strands that have effected them and produce an interesting multi-layered sound. The new album Crop Rotation is out now on Childhood Pet Records.    (DV)

Find them here:       Myspace

Hear them here:       POLYNYA – ISLANDS (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

PENGUIN PRISON

We are pleased to finally get the chance to visit the latest promising foal to come out of the Neon Gold stable. A few months back the owner of the record label, Derek, was with me during a recent gig at Scala and he leaned over and whispered in our ears that we need to look out for Penguin Prison in the near future. For sure, any hot tip like this from the likes of the young taste-maker Derek should not go ignored. Prior to this post, we had only ever heard Prison Penguin’s outstanding remix of Marina & The Diamonds‘ I am Not A Robot (below), so it’s with great pleasure that we finally heard this New Yorker’s first original tune. It has a sense of fun all over it, in that familiar 80s pop bounce. Cool synths flick about alongside the random lyrics “I wish Mike Tyson was my friend, then I would tell him everything”! It’s so pop that George Michael may well pursue becoming his friend first. It’s simple and occasionally sickly, but totally charming and in fact it’s always the keyboards that make sure it never veers off cool street too far. Think of Frankmusik were he snapped up by Stock, Aitken & Waterman and you get the idea.   (MB)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        PENGUIN PRISON – ANIMAL ANIMAL (ysi)
Hear him here:        MARINA & THE DIAMONDS – I AM NOT A ROBOT (PENGUIN PRISON REMIX) (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

As a footnote to The Mercury Prize winner we thought we would attach a sweet acoustic video version of her track The Key, done by the awesome film makers, Watch Listen Tell.




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