Posts Tagged ‘Midnight Juggernauts



And so we’ve finally got past the post and we can now wave goodbye to 2008. A year in which The Recommender blog began and in which it soon blossomed into the gorgeous monster it is today. It proved to be an awesome year of music to begin such a task and so looking back through the archives there’s now a treasure trove of gems to plunder. 2009 is already looking like it’s going to burst with brilliance as Pop, Disco, Electro and Indie continue to evolve. The Recommender’s in a great position to evolve right alongside them.

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This is one of my favourite finds of 2008 and they look to be heading into your stereo/ipod/club/head, ( – delete as appropriate), throughout 2009. A female two-piece that hail from Vancouver, Canada, and who are produced by none other than the Electro godfather himself, Erol Alkan. As we well know, anything he tends to pick out, (like a Monty Python-esque hand reaching out from the clouds), is always totally awesome and Fan Death are no different. He has also remixed them to brilliant effect. These girls have also been busy remixing, producing a notably decent version of Ladyhawke‘s ‘My Delirium’. They are a delight to hear. For when this duo go all disco, they bring along handclaps and strings like a 70’s blur. When they slow it down, they chime with layered vocals and simple chords. Either way, it’s always tuneful and fantastically melodic. Catchy and brimming with classic pop, they seem almost timeless.

Find them here:   Myspace

Hear them here:   FAN DEATH – VERONICA’S VEIL (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

Now over to my new favourite band. I love love love them. And with good reason. Us bloggers always ignorantly consider ourselves something of a set of tastemakers, but even we have to have a source. I don’t quite know how they manage to do it, but the awesome French label, Kitsune, always manage to plug into the latest ‘cool’ at it’s very freshest and best. Us blog writers may well be music journalists, band members, DJs or scenesters etc, but the true feed of all things new and incredibly cool often seems to involve Kitsune somewhere in the mix. Once again they’ve produced another true diamond of a band. The 3-piece from London tick all our boxes, with their blend of electronic, melodic funk. It’s upbeat, joyous stuff, with the flick of a guitar, the buzz of a synth and the overlapping vocals making it a great, layered sound. It has that DIY feel of a LCD Soundsystem tune, which is about as spot on as we need things to be here at The Recommender. I’m in love.

Find them here:   Myspace

Hear them here:    WE HAVE BANDHEAR IT IN THE CANS (ysi)

REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

We have loved all the guitar-led, pop-funk Indie sounds coming out of Australia through 2008, (often from the Modular Record label), in the likes of Midnight Juggernauts, (see Recommender 3 from way back) or Empire Of The Sun(see future Recommender posts), but sadly there’s something missing from them all that until now I haven’t managed to put my finger on…Well, now I get it – it’s the ‘UK factor’! Official Secrets Act are precisely what’s helped me find the UK difference. Their sound is not quite the same as these Australian Modular bands, oh no, and perhaps that’s the point, but they represent an ingredient that I’d overlooked. It’s something only bands from the UK seem to produce. A little sharpness, a little edge and a little less over produced than their Indie cousins across the waters. It’s a sound that’s still upbeat Indie guitaring, but it has more variety and depth to it and of course there’s something about an English accent that’s simply less glam, but that’s a good thing. A change of pace here, a singalong chorus there. This London 4-piece do it so well. This post is dedicated to that UK factor. Long may it reign.

Here them here:    Myspace


REDLINE.jpg Red line picture by odelaybradford

That’s a fair bit of cool fucking music in one post you lucky buggers! If you want to share the love back, then comment away, or message me etc.

2009 will see us going from strength to strength. We are on the lookout for any budding blog writers who may wish to contribute to The Recommender, so drop me a line if you think you have what it takes to get involved. It may be just the thing you were looking for right?




I know every other blog and music magazine does this, so I thought I’d obligingly contribute my ‘best-tracks-of-2008’  list too. I know what you’re thinking – “but every track you post is blindingly brilliant Mike, how can you choose?!” – I know, I know, but I’ve spent the last month trapped in a tower in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet thinking this through, so I’m sticking with it and you best enjoy it!

Before you ask, it’s in no particular order. None of us would agree, it’s really pointless and it would take at least another 6 months in the monastery. Feel free to comment listing which numbers should go in which priority, or if you have any additions you’d like to add >>>

And lastly, please note that not all the tracks listed here were released in 2008 – some are likely to be released in 2009 – it’s just that they floated past The Recommender’s ears this year, as tunes do when you write a blog. At least it’s making 2009 also looking fooking ace!!!

>> I’ve kept a keen eye on this young, new talent that’s emerged this year. She has that independent look and style all her own and her music is no different. Confident, yet beautifully sweet music, full of melody and tune. Her vocals lift the music off the page and are impossible not to love. Upbeat and catchy, her masterful ear for a good pop hook is right up there with the best of them. 2008 has seen a fantastic emergence of strong female solo-artists, including the likes of Little Boots, La Roux, Goldielocks, and Thecocknbullkid’s Anita Blay can definitely be firmly added to the list.

2) MGMTKIDS (Soulwax Edit)
>> 2008 was a particularly good year for remixes, covers and mash ups, as the world’s bedroom-producers got very busy with their new technology. This original tune already blew me away, nestled in the middle of the MGMT album, Oracular Spectacular, and to be fair this Soulwax remix only tweaks it a touch, but it’s pushed up just enough to become a true club floor filler. Hear this in a club packed with Indie-loving teenagers and watch the place erupt.

>> 2008 saw this masterful band of truly exceptional musicians get their buttons in the form of the critically affirming Mercury Music Prize. True acclaim has never been so apt and I for one implore you all to grab a copy of their album, Seldom Seen Kid, as it has many peaks. This tune is a highlight for me and it replaced my previous ‘favourite track’ by them, ‘Forget Myself’. It has an advanced, superb production and boy what a sing-along climax! Never before has a band leapt into the stadium arena with such a triumphant stride. It’s all they deserve. And Guy Garvey is such a top, top fella to boot…

> > A fresh effort from these Australian fellas from the monster label Modular Records. The Australian competition really stepped up a gear in 2008, with Midnight Juggernauts, The Bumblebeez and The Presets all shining strong with great releases of their own, but Van She definitely held their own. A sublime song, with it’s MGMT-style opening and it’s burst of fresh chords that break to the rumbling bass. A leaf taken from the band Sugar and an additional taste all of their own, it’s uplifting chorus leaves you feeling like the tune has existed forever. It’s great songwriting by a band well into their stride.

5) DANGER ft VYLE0h00
>> I am in love with the sound Danger produces in his tunes. It’s all cinematic, 80’s thriller film scores. They are a dark, scary back drop theme tune to any Carpenter movie, circa Halloween or Christine. A tidy Electro pounding pace with heavy synths, its like being hooked by the mouth into a nightclub. This tune follows the same theme, but adds a missing ingredient to previous tunes – namely vocals. Vyle’s lyrics make the tune lighter and infinitely more listenable. It therefore goes down as my favourite work by him to date. I look forward to a lot more from him in 2009.

>> 2008 was the year that Pip Brown finally splashed onto the scene in proper 80’s synth-pop lovliness. She’s been all over the blogosphere this year, but this New Zealand songstress eventually trapped me with this tune. Retro-pop that sounds comfortably familiar, yet bursts with freshness too. Her earlier effort, Paris Is burning, also ranked highly, but it was this tune that finally stole my heart. Her Chrissie Hynde-sounding vocals and an ear for a strum-tastic melody-making chord change meant for a full song with plenty to love.

>> What more do you require in a tune? It’s comes from the Ed Banger Records god that is Busy P and the lyrics are sweetly married by rapper Murs. It brilliantly details an LA scene that’s had my eyes and ears glued to it all year long. This particular version has had the magical Crookers remix dust sprinkled all over it, giving it the perfect pace, electro rough edges and bounce that really adds to it. There was a dozen or so remixes released of this tune, including ones by Mehdi, So Me and Mr.Oizo, but for me, this is the best.

>> Although their left-field, alternative Indie so familiar in their previous albums was somehow smartened up on 2008’s album, Dear Science, the more polished finish that’s evident here actually turned them into a more listenable, less dark affair. I loved previous work by this New York 5-piece, but with this album the songs hit you instantly and with their talents that means they hit you real hard. The highlight for me was this opener, a sublime building track that reminds me of Bloc Party at their most peaceful, with the echoing lyrics and sweeping drums that crash as the guitars kick in. It’s one of the most beautiful openers to any album. The album maintains the fantastic setting throughout, so hunt it out and get swept up.

> > 
Released in Spring 2008, a couple of weeks before their fantastic debut album, Antidotes, this tune provided the confirmation, after the massive hype throughout 2007, that this band were the real deal. Their ‘Math Rock’ or ‘Geek Rock’, as the blogs named it, was fresh, different and exciting to hear. With their distinctive guitaring, played high up the neck of the guitar, flicking out brilliant riffs that caught the eye live, as well as the ear. The band are very tight on stage, sharing a bond that causes a magical chemistry with the crowd. The high tempo of the song bounces along like a robotic butterfly, as it’s all over the place, however, its never lost. With it’s crashing breaks and fantastic chorus, that first splits off at 25 seconds in, it bursts into a fantastic sing along. A proper teenage Indie anthem.        

>> “This truly is the devil’s answer…” – What more can I say!? Slotting neatly on the shelf alongside Yeasayer, this beautiful, wistful, swirl of a song is truly epic. It also has a fantastic video, found posted here on ‘How Good Is This 4’. A fantastic four-piece, with two very credible and differing singers (a unique rarity in itself!). Bursting out of Kendall in the North West in the summer of 2008, with their debut album, Limbo Panto, this band look to have a bright future indeed.

11) PRIMARY ONE –  HOLD ME DOWN (The Shoes Remix)
>> I’ve lost at least a couple of nights sleep having this goddamn tune going round and round in my head as I hit the pillow. I warn you not to listen to it prior to sleep, as it’s literally impossible to remove it once it’s in there. I caught them live in the summer and they were satisfyingly ace. If you don’t yet know them it will only be a matter of time. I believe 2009 could well belong to these guys if things go as planned.

> > It’s frustrated the hell out me reading that many, many of the world’s largest music magazine’s voted Fleet Foxes self-titled album, released through the awesome American label Sub Pop, at the top of their ‘best albums of 2008’ lists! It’s good, but it’s not that good. It’s an album that looks backwards rather than forwards. It’s an accoustic mix of Beach Boys harmonies, were they fronted by Neil Young and backed by the band America. Not a lot that’s breaking moulds then, but it could be worse. After all, there’s still enough magic to warrant your attention.  Sitting by a winter’s fireplace with the snow at your door this song feels so right. It’s beautiful, it’s cinematic and somehow it feels like it has always existed.

>> The second of the remixes by Soulwax on this list, as boy have they been working hard this year! Chopping other people’s tunes up is indeed what they do best. Keeping true to Mick Jagger’s words, (probably contractually, knowing The Stones’ tight ship), they added just enough frisson to build the pounding song up to a new level. The Electro and 60’s band’s sound shouldn’t go hand in hand, but with this work looking well polished it seems we are all going to have to re-raid our Beatles/Beach Boys/Bob Dylan/Byrds/Kinks, (- delete as appropriate), record collections for the next remixes.

>> Australia went cra-zeeeee this year with an explosion of cooler than cool new Indie-Electro bands. They just about all slot neatly into The Recommender’s intended record box. Modular Records is very much at the front of this Aussie push, signing up most of them. The MJ’s though are my favourites. Disco-infused prog-rock-influenced 80’s casio brilliance. The album drifted a little, but the highlights, of which Shadows is my favourite, keep it well above most other albums released in 2008. I managed to see them live in Brighton earlier in the year and had a chance to thank Vince (lead singer) personally which was the least I could do for such an awesome effort.

15) BLOC PARTYTHE PRAYER (La Modes Sunday School Mix)
>> Bloc Party get a lot of cover on the blog world. They have that magic ability to cross dance and indie music quite like nobody else can. We love them and their sublime back catalogue. It also makes them ripe for a good remix, so you will find there’s a million available out there. This one drifted past my inbox this year and I believe it to be one of the best I’ve ever heard, so it gets onto this list simply by standing tall amongst a crowd of others. La Mode have had a fantastic year as most of what they touch turns out to be really strong.

>> Although this is from the album In Rainbows, initially released in 2007 through the inspired choice of a ‘pay-what-you-want’ scheme, this single was actually released in March 2008. The second single to come from that album, it was originally penned more than 10 years previously. Thom Yorke is a master of the haunting, climactic vocals and never before has it shot straight through you quite like it does in this song. Delicate, simple and truly beautiful. It’s a modern masterpiece that no other band could quite achieve. I don’t know how they manage to create songs of such strength that yet seem so fragile.

>> This St.Albans 3-piece burst onto the scene with mucho NME back up and plenty of blog cover through 2007 and 2008. Like most other people, I first came across this band through their amazing tune ‘Paris’, which turned into a subsequent hit, but it was with the tune ‘White Diamonds’, found on the self-titled album released back in September, that I finally fell in love. It’s like a smarter, better dressed version of a tune The Killers would love to have created, had the Las Vegas band not lost it and focused more on their silly facial hair than their music. Its all whirling drum claps, with a funky riffing guitar, that pairs up with the excellent, stylish vocals from Ed McFarlane. Just as it’s verse builds and breaks into the chorus it provides a satisfying knock out blow that smacks you for a home run. A ‘killer track’ in the true sense I guess.

>> This tune came out in February 2008. The third single from the critically acclaimed 2007 album, Kala, is the strongest in my opinion and proved to be the most commercially successful of any of MIA’s releases. Remixed by Diplo, Speak, Scottie B and Adrock amongst others, this tune is full of samples and sounds that hammer home it’s strong lyrical bite. An unlikely tuneful chorus that you could actually sing along to found me seeing a side to the inventive MIA that hadn’t reared it’s head before. It’s a totally stunning and original piece of work. More will be written about the wonderful MIA in an upcoming post I’m doing about the strong female solo artists, so find out more soon.

A strange selection this, but due it’s entry all the same. The band did the ‘Fake Blood’ thing and deliberately held back from letting anyone know their names, faces, or quite frankly anything about them. I think it’s becoming a more and more popular thing to do. Perhaps it’s tantalising to the adoring teenagers to have that air of mystery surrounding them. Perhaps it’s a kick back against the blog world’s ability to spread any new music they locate wafer thin, even before the band are signed up. Either way, it doesn’t deflect from the fact that the songs this group write are strong enough on their own. I had the chance to meet up with them recently and watch them play live in my local town a few weeks ago and even though the mystery regarding their names and faces has now been lifted for me the excitement remains, as they play out a fantastic live show. 2009 may well belong to them.

>> This lot are brand spanking new and yet to release any album etc, but I was in contact with them earlier in the year and they very kindly sent me a selection of their finest songs. All are potential future singles and all were truly fantastic. It’s a sample heavy blend of smooth guitars and beautiful vocals from the talented Claire and Kimberley, backed up by a powerful, slow beat. It’s a dreamy concoction and will remind you of the best bits out of a Zero 7 or Morcheeba album. The melodies seem like they nestle in your ears perfectly, creating a tune that you will instantly love. Perfect for a summer’s day outdoors. Perhaps summer 2009?

OK, I’d better stop there. I’d love to have added The Hair, or La Roux, or Little Boots or, or, or, or….

I hope you agree that this is a list of truly great songs, from great artists, in a productively great year. For more details on them please search through The Recommender’s bountiful archives.

Leave your comments, because I know you will have your opinions on all this.

Be sure to return throughout 2009 to see some of the above artists really blossom. We’ll be right there when they do…



OK, the normal thing with these ‘GIG LISTS’ is to list two seperate upcoming gigs, but I’m going to confess that I’m cheating a little here… As per usual I am featuring two artists on this GIG LIST, but the unusual thing is that they are supporting each other at the same venue at the same gig.

Reason being that both bands are so bloody great I simply cannot give them each enough focus in just one mention on a ‘GIG LIST’! At least we all know it should prove to be an outstanding night out. If you don’t go, you may as well remove your ears now due to under-use…

MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS– Resplendantly popped into ‘THE RECOMMENDER 3’ way back in June, (see the archives…), this Aussie 3-piece are also well worthy of a post about their live set, because having caught them on their last UK tour I can firmly assure you that they are totally mesmerizing live. Oozing coolness from every orifice and chucking tunes at you like lightning bolts from the future, these fellas will rock this beach-fronted venue for sure.

ACT:                     MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS
VENUE:                 DIGITAL, Kings Arches, Brighton Beach
COST:                   to be confirmed
DATE:                   Thursday 25th September 2008
WEBSITE:               Myspace site

HEARTS REVOLUTION  – (Note – I will be posting all about this group in more detail in The Recommender 9). This boy/girl scenester pairing hail from New York, although originally based in LA, and they come packed out with their own distinctive brand of DIY electroclash pop wonderness. Scooped up by the awesome Franki Chan and his record label, ‘I Heart Comix’, (of which I will also be posting much more about in The Recommender 9…), this duo are headed for planet cool on a one-way ticket. Whipping up a colourful punky live set with cutting edge design, art, originality and of course brilliant tunes, you really must shift your asses to the gig early. Well before Midnight Juggernauts arrive on stage this pair will explode in a cloud of fluffy pink spikey dance, so plan for an early arrival to avoid missing your rockets departure.

ACT:                    HEARTS REVOLUTION
VENUE:                DIGITAL, Kings Arches, Brighton Beach
COST:                  to be confirmed
DATE:                  Thursday 25th September 2008
WEBSITE:             Myspace site

I am going to be extra generous this week by attaching a video for each of the above bands. This should not only aid your opinions, but serve to help you realise just what you could be missing. Both vids are brilliantly well done with original art making them well worth an inclusion…


HEARTS REVOLUTION – C.Y.O.A (Directed by Jean Demery & Bastien Lattanzio)

As a foot note, please double check the listings before booking as there was a tiny bit of a contradiction between all the websites mentioning the venue at the time of writing. I’m confident Digital is correct, but no harm in being 100%.

See you back here soon for RECOMMENDER 9, with lots about the ‘I Heart Comix’ labels madness…



Welcome once again.

Sorry for the rubbishly-long delay in getting this latest post up. I’ve had no end of computer problems this last month, so been out of action. Frustrating I know, but I return with a goodie bag of the sweetest delights for you…

This time we are sticking with a relatively themed post again. If you recall it was Yorkshire last time – this time around its Australia!! I won’t be creating a theme for every Recommender, only if a grouped batch of cool bands floats my way is all. So this time Australia are in the spotlight. Again, I’m not trying to be the first, coolest or trendiest blog, so I know plenty of you out there will have heard of the following acts, but I love em too much to ignore, so thought they deserved their own post. More underground stuff in the next Recommender – promise…

– I’m going to begin with these guys, coz apart from being totally ace, they are also the most established act getting a mention today. A Melbourn bunch of melody makers creating indie-dance-punk-whatever-you-call-it  on the Modular Recordings label. They’ve toured with giants such as Daft Punk, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party to name but a few which should give you a level of just how great they are. They are two albums in now (except for a mix album they’ve done for fabric), with their debut BRIGHT LIKE NEON LOVE (2004), followed more recently by IN GHOST COLOURS (March 2008). Both are worth your time. I attach a fantastic remix of one of their recent singles, ‘Lights & Music’, done by German DJ Moulinex (he’s also worth checking out if ya fancy your disco…)

Cut Copy

 Find them here: or 

 Hear them here:  


 THE PRESETS Another well established Oz outfit. This Sydney based two-piece have been busy making fantstic electro-indie over the last few years. Label mates with Cut Copy on Modular Recordings, they have plenty of stuff available out there, so go hunt out either their debut album, BEAMS, (released back in May 2005), or their brand spanking new album, APOCALYPTO, (released April 2008). Both are totally freaking brilliant. They are also adding many dates on a global tour to push the new album, so look out for them in a city near you soon. I’ll add the Brighton leg’s details of that tour on my next ‘Gig List’ post. 



 Find them here:

Hear the here:

– About as cool as they get! I adore them and all they stand for. A Melbourne 3-piece making sublime keyboard-led, funky-guitar, danceable ace-ness. They look great, sound like they are from another world and kick ass live too. Go find their debut album, DYSTOPIA, which finally got a UK release in May 2008. I’m not attaching MP3’s here, just one of their videos, coz they too are brilliant. Enjoy.

Midnight Juggernauts

Find them here: or at

See them here:  


– OK, the last of this Aussie-themed post and we are going to close with an Electro DJ who rips it up like Godzilla on the dance floor. Once again, Melbourne based (that city must have something in the water me thinks!). Real name Yama Indra, he is normally found playing keyboards for the band Damn Arms(mentioned them in previouse posts below…) who have a lighter touch than the harder sound he produces as a DJ. He’s done mucho remixing of bands ad is often found to have generated something fresh and kick-ass out of the bands hes chopped up. I’ll attach one of his original tunes. Nice.   

OK, thats your lot for this post. Hope you enjoyed this foray into the exciting Australian music scene.
Next post will be a return to all things new, so look out for The Recommender number 4.

G’day mates…




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