Posts Tagged ‘the recommender



Cue the Eye Of The Tiger music…

Brighton’s gloves are off as The Recommender and The Source magazine go head to head with a showcase born in Brighton.

It’s well known that The Great Escape Festival is a massive industry shindig, with tons of music managers, labels, A&R, agents, journalists, bloggers and of course hundreds of artists all taking the seaside trip to London.

Sadly it’s meant that the whole affair has a London-on-sea feel about it and lacks something local.  This year the festival organisers have pushed for Brighton to be heard and asked for our city to try and organise our own shows alongside the others.

This is where The Recommender, a blog born in Brighton and well known here, alongside The Source magazine, Brighton’s ‘going out bible’ that’s been tipping us on music and cool culture for over a decade, step in and show just how amazing this city can be.  We’re putting on what should prove to be THE best Brighton showcase of the weekend.

The buzz is massive, the venue will be packed, the bands are mostly from Brighton and all of them kick ass.  Below we list some tracks for you to fall in love with.  Please note that the Velo sadly had to pull out at the last minute, so although they’re on the poster, we’ve had to replace them with King Charles, who are just as awesome!

Venue: The Black Lion, Black Lion Street, South Lanes, Brighton.
Doors: 9:30pm
Stage Times: Mirrors (10pm) – Foreign Office (10:50pm) – The Agitator (11:40pm) – King Charles (12:30pm) – Pope Joan (1:20am)






This gig will prove that Brighton is packed with talent and will stand tall against anything London brings down.  It looks like the knock out punch will be Brighton made.

On a separate note, we have two FREE weekend tickets to giveaway to our lucky readers, courtesy of VITAMIN WATER.  To obtain these tickets simply email us at and we will instruct you how to collect them.  To qualify you must have left a comment on this post with your names.  First come first served.



We have three very original and adventurous artists on show for you today, but each one comes with that rare and rather wonderful ability to mesmerize and trap you with their unique creations. Welcome once again aboard the good ship Recommender – let’s go floating…

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Following on from our coverage of the excellent Brighton band, The Agitator, we are pleased to be able to provide yet another artist who neatly slots into a similar foot-stomping, blues-based pot. Nic Dawson Kelly was born in Sheffield, but has been known to spend periods of time living in Brighton, so we like to imagine him as one of our own. His box of tricks is tightly packed with originality and style. The instant his vibrato singing sweeps into shot, you’ll think of Anthony Hegarty, or perhaps Brian Ferry at his most adventurous, but his sound is just as brave and developed and shows off what a confident performer he is. Blues themes run through his tracks, with a familiar harmonica and excellent, distorted guitaring that’s poured over the chugging beats and whistled melodies, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the days of Mungo Jerry. The blues tone continues to be found within the lyrics, as he narrates his yearning for a better day, “I don’t feel so cool about that, I just want my life back”. Like Bob Dylan, he likes to hold your attention with a touch of story-telling, but it’s done with more theatrical pomp. It’s music that’s stripped down to its most honest, always simple, always enjoyable, and full of historical American influences. His debut album was released this week on The Runners Club label.   (MB)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:       NIC DAWSON KELLY – THE MUSICIAN

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We live in a world where music is often formulaic and bred for the commercial markets. A world in which bands often look for influences and form bands out of their heroes templates. Where scenes and collectives form homogenized groups that sound pretty much like each other. Well, this is definitely a world that The Half Sisters don’t live in. They’re not in my world, or your world, they are very much firmly in their own. It’s a J M Barrie-styled land of fairies, twinkling stars, fantasy forests and unicorns. You would imagine this to be off putting, being somewhat inappropriate and rather twee in this modern economic world. However, those that know the three girls, (all of which are actually related), will realise that it isn’t just a show, a style, or something they reserve for the stage. Even when not performing you find them constantly getting in giggling huddles and giving each other reassuring pecks on the cheek, as if nobody else can see them. They play their music with broad smiles as if they haven’t a care in the world. You get ukuleles, flutes, rattling snare drums, amongst other instruments we’ve never heard of, and hand made colourful costumes with bright headdresses. They’re irresistably gorgeous, energetic and somehow refreshingly alluring. Prepare to revisit your childhood.   (MB)

The Half Sisters by The Pistoleers.

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       THE HALF SISTERS – COME ON LOUIE

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With several remixes of their single Chrome’s On It circulating Blogs, this girl duo (pronounced Telepath-ee) have been bobbing heads and moving feet for long enough, so it’s high time we brought them to you.  And the fact that, (Recommender favourites), TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek produced them ought to increase your curiosity.  With their debut album, Dance Mother, released by I AM SOUND Records, your curiosity will be rewarded, however it’s fair to point out that even he was never going to bring them all the way back down to Earth.  The girls’ love of 80’s geometric sweaters and their friendship with Brooklyn’s Effi Briest might imply that they belong to the famous borough’s avant-garde scene, but their debut’s tracks step beyond the confines of the classification to bring something more to the plate. With a professed love of syncopated-rhythms, it’s no surprise that their album is beat-driven, but it also possesses a depth of melody and an almost intangibly space-like largeness of sound that goes beyond any program’s capabilities and could only have come from the band’s own vision. It’s never going to make them commercially huge, but there’s always value in a little bit of boundary pushing.   (OG)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       TELEPATHE – SO FINE


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You can come back down to earth now, step out of the secure pod, as we come to the end of yet another fantastical story. Feel free to step back on board again with more selected highlights from The Recommender in the next few days.



Welcome back people. Got a little something for everyone today, as we cover hip hop, electro pop and indie with our three selections. Students are back in town too, which is always good news for the live music scenes, so watch this space as we’re gonna get busy.

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In the UK it seems hip hop is at last dragging itself out of its Grime obsessed darkness, with the outstanding Speech Debelle recently picking up the acclaimed Mercury Music Prize. However, it’s across the pond in the USA, hip hop’s home, that an evolution is desperately required.  It’s a genre that’s been around since it’s 70s birth in the boroughs of America’s cities, with New York being one of the most important and influential. It may have had a multitude of changes since, but it’s with the arrival of artists like Brooklyn’s Theophilus that it once again comes up for some refreshing air. His layered, often beautiful productions range from songs such as Cold Pillow (attached below), with the kind of Soul-bleached neon chorus that reminds us of Kanye‘s Flashing Lights, over to electro chords straight out of the 80s found in the sexy tune Sand Castles Black x Blue. It’s his ability to blend genres and decades that allow him to be one of the true potential crossover stars with roots firmly in the hip hop scene. A styled look and posing confidence will ensure the camera also loves him. He released This Charming Mixtape earlier this year, which bravely chops up Witney Houston (see video below of a documentary clip), to Amadou & Mariam (also attached below), to Kraftwerk! A selection that says it all really.      (MB)

Find him here:         Myspace

Hear him here:        THEOPHILUS LONDON – COLD PILLOW (ysi)

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Arriving in an already over-crowded electro pop scene rammed with female solo artists, the question is; does Kym Brown manage to find space on the table? We think so, as the London based kooky heroine certainly has a magical way with words. Take the awkward but bright and breezy electro fused ditty Almost Happy, a Talking Heads inspired vocal dictation, which throws up the lines “almost scratch and win, almost perfect cadence”. Along with this quirky approach to lyrics the music itself falls somewhere between playful, cheery optimistic analogue synth to a slightly darker, breathless, ambient tone. This is particularly in evidence on stand out track Princes Avenue, a Theremin-textured, sombre tune that really lets the vocals shine over a five minute slice of epic pop. Though unsigned, Miss Brown has started work on her (mainly) self-produced album, Cursery Rhymes, due to drop early next year. She’s currently busy making a video for Almost Happy this month, and it’s worth noting that she’s also managed to secure the remix treatment from (the legendary) Justin Robertson. On top of this you can catch her in a showcase gig at the Hoxton Bar and Grill on Wednesday 16th September. She informed us that she hits the stage at 8:15 pm, so get there in time to catch her version of the future.      (DV)

KymBrown.jpg For The picture by odelaybradford

Find her here:          Myspace

Hear her here:         KYM BROWN – ALMOST HAPPY (ysi)

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We can only apologise that it’s taken this long for us to get around to writing up the Generationals. We first came across this New Orleans two piece with the release earlier this summer of their debut album, Con Law, from the Park The Van record label. They’re a band that has been born out of previous incarnation, The Eames Era, with two of its members, Ted Joyner and Grant Wildmer, shifting over to create this new direction. Their debut album is a fine piece of work that drips with America’s current excellent wave of breezy, melodic indie, in the mould of Local Natives, Foreign Born, or label mates Floating Action, all of which have had mentions on The Recommender (find our critiques by clicking each link). Historical influences range from the likes of Modest Mouse to The Pixies and they seem to gather their summery vocals from The Beach Boys, which is not a bad grounding. They take their album on a tour through a large part of the USA, often in support of The Spinto Band, throughout September, October and November, so catch them if you get a chance. We will begin work on getting them over to the UK some time in 2010 and let you know. As our Autumnal weather sneaks in you could do worse than to slip on their strong debut and remind yourselves of sunnier times.       (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace


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Are you a budding journalist with an immaculate taste in music? Any students doing their Journalism or English degrees (or any other relevant courses) fancy joining the team at The Recommender (we are one of the UK’s essential blogs on new music), then get in touch. It will be good for the CV, but only the finest talent will be allowed on board. Email – We would love to hear from you. Good luck!



Wow! What a response we had to that last post about The Twelves remixes. You turned up in your droves for that one. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed it. Now it’s back to the traditional section, showcasing a handful of bands that get our Recommender tick of approval.


This four piece have been busily touring, remixing and, when they get the chance, actually releasing their own records, such as the wry and infectious ‘Faites Les Jeux’, (listed below). It’s a wonderful synth driven lament to lost love via the gambling tables of Monte Carlo. Over the last year vocalist Hannah and knob twiddler Alex have supported the likes of Disco Drive, The Ting Tings and The Whip as well as remixing tracks for Metronomy and Empire Of The Sun; not bad for this Manchester crew who only started off in their bedroom making music for fun. If you are bored with the current drip fed girl-fronted electro pop then these guys are a welcome breath of fresh air with their grounded and witty commentaries set to a backdrop of cut up instruments and edgy, twitchy electronic beats in the vain of Thecocknbullkid. The split EP with fellow label mates Friends Of The Bride is out now on Brainlove Records. (DV)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        MODERNAIRE – FAITES LES JEUX (ysi)


These guys come packed with such a sunny disposition that party-starting seems to be precisely what they were born to do. Already known in most indie circles, this Scandanavian five piece have been omitted by The Recommender to date. To be honest, we thought we had covered them ages ago, but it turns out they somehow slipped by. We’ve mentioned them in our ‘Gig List’ sections here and here, but never given them the honour of a full blown Recommender! Following the recent Brighton Loop Festival performance that stole our hearts, we got to meet up with a couple of them to show our thanks and found them to be delightfully engaging. Their live shows are a joy to behold, with their Hot Chip-like playfulness. They dance back and forth and clearly seem happiest when playing on stage with each other. It’s truly contagious entertainment, as you watch them swap instruments with every song, including the drums! Skipping through their world of electro pop melodies, upbeat analogue synths and a circus of dance, they often go on lengthy instrumentals and when they add vocals it’s often sung in their native Norwegian language. They released their single, Finn Bikkjen, (added below), this week, on the Moshi Moshi label. (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        CASIOKIDS – FINN BIKKJEN! (ysi)
Hear them here:        CASIOKIDS – FOT I HOSE (ysi)


There’s an obvious comparison to fellow Canadians Arcade Fire here, as there seems to be with many bands over the last few years, chasing that same global success! It’s no bad thing and is even more understandable seeing as the singer, Marcus Paquin, worked as a recording engineer for Arcade Fire in a previous life. It’s more specifically his vocals that bring about the comparisons. However, when checking out the melodies and song structures you will locate a stronger influence from the likes of Wilco, or more recently Local Natives, or possibly the track Islands by New Numbers, which we blogged about here. Often found behind their melodies is a towering, echoing guitar, including an excellent bit of bottle-necking on track Caught In Your glow, adding a wintery scene to the delicate beauty found on each and every song. We hand you the slightly lighter tune, Ghosts, below. Their music is involving, it’s thoughtful, it’s emotional and it’s brave. Their self-titled debut album, released on Last Gang Records, is due out in Canada on September 22nd 2009. (MB)

Find them here:          Myspace

Hear them here:         SILVER STARLING – GHOSTS (ysi)

We are planning a few changes here at The Recommender, to smarten up the blog and allow us a little more freedom in it’s design, layout and features. The content will remain the same however, so no worries there. Ultimately the plan is to expand your Recommender experience  All will be revealed in due course. Thanks for sticking with us…



I think it’s time to ask yourselves – why do you keep coming back to The Recommender? I’ll tell you why. In fact I’ve got three reasons listed directly below…

Have you got an obsession for anything currently? Want one? Look no further than Marina Diamond (real name). As previously mentioned in The Recommender 18, 2009 will belong to the female solo artist. I know we had Lykke Li and Adele in 2008 and all, but they will be shown up to be as flat and lifeless as roadkill compared to the likes of V V Brown, Thecocknbullkid, Little Boots and now the wonderful Marina & The Diamonds. Like these others she has a massive talent, with a sharp ear for a penned and brilliantly constructed pop tune, but her skillful abilities are really found in her individuality and vocals. The obvious comparisons with Kate Bush will fly around with the tweaked vocal inflections and strong yet fragile voice. Stepping out from her Welsh home, this pop songstress will soon be living in your head. I’d make room for her if I were you. I list below the best track I’ve heard so far (from anybody) in 2009, Obsessions, yet I could have enjoyed any of the tunes she’s produced to date. It rolls from sweet piano-led intro to bouncing pop after approx 1 min and it’s at this moment the secret is truly revealed. Totally wonderful stuff…

My Photos | copyright rankin | MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS

Find her hear:       Myspace

Hear her hear:      MARINA & THE DIAMONDS – OBSESSIONS     (ysi)

This London 5-piece are a burst of melodic Indie Pop. There is plenty to like here with a real mix of influences and a range of sounds depending on which tune you catch from them. I attach below the bright and confident track, ‘With Lights Out’, sounding like it was stolen straight out of Brandon Flowers Killers handbag. Another cracking track they’ve done to date is ‘Scheme Eugene’, which has had a tasty remix done by James Yuill. It actually did the rounds a little back in Spring 2008, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed it. If you like a touch of The Polyphonic Spree‘s collective vocal echos, mixed with the power of Editors, then you should quickly fall for these guys. They are all lined up for a proper outing in 2009, as it sees them venture out on a UK tour through March, (except Brighton it seems!), so perhaps try to catch them then.

My Photos | Red Light CompanyFind them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:      RED LIGHT COMPANY – WITH LIGHTS OUT     (ysi)

I was sent an mp3 remix of one of their tunes, Audio Endlessly, by Don Diablo’s Manager. The Netherlands DJ, Don Diablo, had remixed the tune up somewhat, but rather than getting me to write about him, it was the song’s original authors, Viva City, that ended up pinching my attention. This Electro-Indie 4-piece from Newcastle are definitely more at the rock end of the genre, with their powerful guitars and black, spiky, glam image. It’s all pushing-your-crotch-out-whilst-you-play guitars, mixed with synths and a beat kept as much by a computer as the drummer. It’s good stuff and I list their strongest track to date, Kate Bush, below. Appearing on Kosheen’s label, VeRT, they bring us a taste of The Whip blended with power of The Futureheads. The biggest problem I have is that the vocals are too annoying, but thankfully not so much that you switch off. They seem to be trying to sing in an accent they don’t naturally have, rather than realising that part of The Futureheads magic, (just as with Maximo Park), is in their north east accents coming through. Sadly the lyrics don’t help – what does ‘Audio Endlesslessly’ actually mean!? However, there’s definitely enough promise here to take notice. Not ‘a hit’, not ‘a miss’, but definitely ‘a maybe’…

Find them here:      Myspace

Hear them here:      VIVA CITYKATE BUSH     (ysi)

So that’s a wrap from another meandering lick up the cheek of new music for you. Hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for all your support as always. Remember to subscribe, message me, comment and generally spread the love around as much as you can. Nice.



Like a boxer with his opponent on the ropes, the RECOMMENDER just keeps getting stronger and stronger. With this edition I’m moving in with a couple of well-placed rabbit punches to your musical ribs. Can you take it? Of course you can…

I’ve been fervently getting right into my remixes lately. In fact, does anyone write new songs anymore? Soon we’ll be remixing remixes! Anyways, its not going to be a problem so long as the tunes are as kick-ass as these guys make them. Hi-Deaf are a couple of proper LA scenester DJ’s that give that magic touch to any tune they grace, from thier brilliant mash up of Daft Punks ‘Da Funk’ blended with Maddonna’s ‘4 Minutes’ , to plying their hands to Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’. They chop it all up masterfully – like Gordon Ramsey with a new knife set. The two guys, Ryan Wilson and Ken Floyd, are DJ’ing sets that launch straight off of the fantastic LA Riots rocket pad. That’s definitely no bad thing at all…

Find them here:    Myspace   

Hear them here:    SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEMUFO IN HD (Hi Deaf Remix)

Sometimes you hear a tune and it happens to slot very neatly into your brain. I heard a remix by these guys and simply had to share it. This German 4-piece have created a remix from the Aussie band Amy Meredith with the usual fuzzy electro hooks on repeat, which at first hearing I thought I was going to get bored of, but then approx 1min 45secs into the track, the lyrics kick in and the tune snares you. A proper club banger and dancefloor filler. Enjoy… 

Find them here:   Myspace  

Hear them here:   AMY MEREDITHRUNNING (Beens Remix)

Ever wandered what Bloc Party would sound like if fronted by kim Wilde? Well that’s enough said about Pin Me Down…OK, so I’ll elaborate a little…If you thought Kele and Matt were the designers of Bloc Party’s sound you could well be made to think again. Pin Me Down are a creation of Bloc Party’s Russel Lissack with sexy vocals provided by Milena Mepris. He provides the swinging, choppy guitaring over a dance back drop and Milena’s tidy songwriting. With this project getting releases through the Kitsune label, I cannot imagine a set up with a more fashionable backing. Whether it develops into something more or simply stays as a side project is yet to be determined, but the vital signs are very strong.


Find them here:    Myspace

Hear them here:    PIN ME DOWNCRYPTIC

So you’ve survived another Recommender ear bashing. Thanks for going the distance with me once again as I trawl the world of contemporary tunes. More rich pickings next time, so pop back soon…


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July 2020



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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)