Posts Tagged ‘Solid Gold




Super-groups or collectives always make us a little wary.  There’s perhaps something insincere about them, or maybe it’s that it gives the impression their individual parts simply aren’t that good to start with, making them join up in the hope that it improves them (don’t even look up last year’s Chickenfoot).  In fact, quite often the separated parts were fine before hand (Velvet Revolver, The Travelling Wilburys), so clumping them together often creates something similar to a 3 year old’s painting, that kind of brown durge.  Well, if you needed any reasons to drop the cynicism then we might well have found it.  Gayngs is a 20+ collection of musicians, utilising several members selected from a variety of bands, such as Bon Iver, Solid Gold, Ryhmesayers, Leisure Birds and Lookbook, amongst others, all headed up by Ryan Olsen, a producer from Minneapolis.  Accumulating such a strong and varied cluster of artists was an achievement in itself, but they’ve seemingly managed to create something that transcends them all, making music that steps out from each of their individual pigeon holes.  Tunes this smooth, atmospheric and creamy haven’t been done this successfully since the likes of Zero 7’s Simple Things, or Air’s Moon Safari.  The music takes it’s time with every track, wafting into the room like a hazy smoke, building each instrument in layers, before the vocals supply the sweetest of cherry’s on top.  They’ve now completed their album, Relayted, with a release date set for mid-May on the JagJaguwar label.  The entire piece has a slow, majestic, ambient groove throughout the album, tipping it’s gentlemanly thanks to the likes of 10cc, the 70s pop pioneers, to whom they openly acknowledge have had a large influence on their work.  It’s not an incorrect description, but music often defined as ‘chilled’ perhaps misses the sexual energy and warmth found on work as good as this.  Talking of sexual energy, they’ve also released three stylish teaser trailer videos (see below) in the build up to the albums launch.  For having accomplished the difficult task of successfully extracting the talents of a collective, whilst leaving their egos out of it, Ryan Olsen has perhaps re-cast the template for all future supergroups.    (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        GAYNGS – THE GAUDY SIDE OF TOWN



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A Local’s Perspective – By Olivia Gable

Well everyone, it’s that wonderful time of year again.  The time when everyone who cares about new music at all is talking up the happenings of this past SXSW Festival and speculating on its aftermath.  Lucky for you, we’re doing our best in this post to be a one-stop-blog for band highlights, photos and anecdotes from SXSW 2010.  So if you couldn’t make it this year, at least we can pass some of the joy on to you here from our humble experiences there.  This year in Austin, I took on the role of the official, one-girl embassy for The Recommender.  This was my fourth SXSW, as rather conveniently, Austin just happens to be the place I also call home.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Austin-based festival, every, and I mean EVERY, available club, bar, coffeehouse, vintage store, museum, park, walkway, car park, toilet and alleyway becomes a performance venue, some more ramshackle than others (*Cough* Purevolume‘s broken stage).  Most of these are free ‘unofficial’ parties and shows open to everyone, badge or no badge.  Covered below are some of the ones I made it to…



These guys did a nice job of kicking things off Thursday at Mohawk for the Billions Corporation party.  They had a tough crowd at 12:30 in the afternoon but managed to keep everyone’s attention.  Maybe it’s because they sound so huge live!  I’m sure every sound technician at one point or another has wondered if an audience can in fact be crushed by bass.  This show’s tech was clearly a man of action.  It was hard not to be distracted from the band’s percussive prowess and ringing vocals by the walls of bass closing in on my internal organs. Still, if I had to die by crushing, I’d want the culprit to be something as good as Lovesick Teenagers. They also win my Most Amusing Photo award for this gem:

BearInHeavenFunnyTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

BEST LARGE BAND:   The Bewitched Hands on the Top of Our Heads

It really was a pleasure to catch this French sextet rocking it out at the France Rocks Austin party.  And that’s not only because when I stumbled into the club to catch them I discovered there was free food (tacos, of course), champagne and beer.  Food mecca!  After chowing down, I listened to them weave their lovely melodies and marvelled at their cohesion as a large band.  “Could three guitarists really be necessary?”, I wondered.  The answer is…probably, but that’s mainly because during their choruses, no one singer or guitarist can be picked out.  They all contribute to the resulting lush soundscape.  Their first EP will be released in early summer, but to hear them before that you can catch them live in their upcoming UK tour or listen to their excellent contributions on Yuksek‘s debut, Away From the Sea.

BewitchedHandsTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


I really just went to see her because I thought she’d put on a good show.  She performed at the Knuckle Rumbler Lounge party at Peckerheads (ordinarily a frat/college bar).  First of all, this girl is tiny.  Secondly, she knows how to dance.  Watching her footwork and dancing to her bass-heavy songs as she rapped over them put a huge smile on my face.  She is so full of energy that it’s infectious.  This show ended a run of performances she’s made at SXSW, but she still managed to get a somewhat reluctant crowd to Shake it to the Ground.  Don’t just go see her because of her association with MIA and Diplo, do it because she’s got some sweet moves, and she’s willing to teach you.  Who knows, she might just pull you on stage as she did with one The Recommender’s favourite bloggers, Sheena Beaston.

RyeRyeDanceTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


These guys are the perfect example of the whole point of SXSW.  You think, “Oh I have a few minutes to kill, I wonder what this band is like”. Then voila! You stumble into a fantastic show.  Their Myspace doesn’t really do them justice to be honest.  The keyboards and bass roar at you live, while the guitar rips high, whining melodies through the air.  Their abilities as multi-instrumentalists were on show too, as between songs they switch to keys or toss guitars and bass between one another like it’s nothing.  They won over the crowd so much that people begged for an encore (encores aren’t standard at SXSW’s 30 minute sets), so they unexpectedly closed with a cover of The Stone RosesI Wanna Be Adored and we all drifted away for a few dreamy minutes.

SolidGold2TR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


I went to see Mike Diaz at the Poptarts Suck Toasted blog’s party in a crappy club at the end of my longest day.  It was during the evening, when the ‘official’ SXSW showcases were happening, so very few people were there.  A few moments into the first song, which I recognized from his chlorine-dipped summer haze of an EP, Sunndreamm, everything went wrong.  The speakers made an ungodly racket and went silent.  He waited patiently for things to get working again.  They briefly did, but a few seconds later it happened again.  He did his best to salvage the evening, but he knew it was over.  Still, I heard someone who’d been raving about his album mutter that maybe he just isn’t very good live.  At least for us, he has much better luck in the studio.


In retrospect I think the reason I eventually got to see them was because I’d actually given up trying to.  Friday was a general day of failure, so I wasn’t expecting anything to work out.  Overall three of their SXSW shows were late, cancelled or rescheduled.  I finally ended up seeing them because I stuck around after folk artist Lissie‘s performance, but they were still half an hour late.  My patience paid dividends though.  Despite the crowd not fully appreciating the set, for reasons unbeknown to me, I still loved seeing Claire Evans’ model poses and Jona’s crazy energy.  He danced around so much during a choreographed part that one of his braces snapped and was dangling for the remainder of the show.  However, I think we can blame Claire for the crazy cold weather the next day.  She should never have said it “was great to be somewhere as nice as Austin after being in Canada’s freezing temperatures”! I think the city took that as a challenge, which it won.

YACHTTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford

SADDEST TO HAVE MISSED:   Washed Out with Small Black

This one kills me.  I tried so hard to see this set with both artists playing together at the tiny, dingy Lovejoys, for the I Guess I’m Floating party, but in keeping with ‘Failure Friday’ as I dubbed it, the set was incredibly late.  This year’s SXSW overall saw way more late shows than ever before, which meant in some cases all plans were out the window.  This particular show was going to be over an hour late, and I’d already been waiting in that extremely loud bar for three hours.  Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore.  So I logged it away as ‘Biggest Disappointment’ and left for brighter horizons.  Luckily YACHT’s groovy dance tunes made up for missing them.


It’s impossible to mention every awesome person I met or every band I wanted to see but couldn’t.  That’s part of what makes this festival so unique and impacting.  People get more time with each other, whether it’s over free breakfast tacos and beers, or just in the street.  There are so many wonderful brief encounters that can change entire plans for the day.  Here’s a wrap up of all the little memorable moments and aspects I can, well, remember…

FromHypeMWindowTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


Catching bands I never expected to see (Rye Rye, Solid Gold, YACHT, and yes, even GWAR).  Having my city once again transformed by thousands of new faces, smells (mostly good), and sounds.  All the free drinks and food that as strangers we were able to bond over.  Exploring clubs and bars in my own town that I didn’t know existed.

PastePartyCowboyHatsTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


Using Twitter to find people I’ve never met nor know what they look like.  It worked some of the time.  It’s astonishing how Mike (Recommender’s editor in the UK) managed to introduce me, whilst he was online, to people in real life, via his connections on Twitter.  That wafting smell at Red River and 6th.  Yeah, you know the one.  Discovering that, despite careful planning, I can in fact go a whole day without seeing any of the acts I planned to and the experience is just as rich for it.  Trying one last time to save ‘the day that wouldn’t be’ and having the universe tell me bluntly, with a kick to the head, “It ain’t happenin’, Honey, just go with it.”  Watching a t-shirted town in the midst of Spring transform into a blustery winter wind tunnel overnight; in mid March no less!

Street2TR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


Meeting some of the great people from Hype Machine, Mewbox, Strangers in Stereo, and  Chatting with the silly guys from Bear In Heaven totally made my week.  Watching friends get excited about seeing Sean Lennon like it was John Lennon himself in the flesh.  The constant accessibility of bands was awesome.  To simply be able to say, “hey there, you have a minute?”, and suddenly find yourself stumbling through Frenglish with an adorable drummer or two.  Meeting folks that are from all over the world who are just gushing about Austin.  It truly makes me proud to live here.

RoadBlockTR.jpg picture by odelaybradford


Buried under all the tons of rubbish created by the thousands who came, there remains the pieces of your memories and your hearts that you’ve left behind.  All the more reason to come back next year.  Just tell us when to pull out the taco fixin’s.  We’ll be here and we’ll be ready.    (OG)



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.


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January 2021



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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)