Staff Recommender: Edition #1
With a support team of over 100 writers, a sizeable editorial team, a lot of talented photographers and a cat, The 405 family is quite large these days. With that in mind, we thought we'd give them a monthly column to talk about the things they've been enjoying recently. The number of submissions may vary from month to month (depending on time) - but hopefully you'll find something here to enjoy.
Main photo and dividers by Dan Smyth (one of our photographers).
- Richard Kavanagh
- Curly haired piano player.
The Antlers - Undersea (Transgressive)
An EP can be a rare gem where you see a band in flux. There may be uncertainty of where to take the next full length outing, so how about experimenting/deliberating over four tracks? Undersea may not be lyrically as poignant as either Hospice or Burst Apart but it makes up for it sonically and in evocation. Let it wash over you.
- Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE (Def Jam)
- Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight Rises OST (Sony)
- Tom Jowett
- Editor at Oxford Music Blog, guitarist in ToLiesel and Derby County fan.
Wilco – Kicking Television: Live in Chicago (Nonesuch Records)
In 2007 I received a call from my father: "Son, I have some bad news," he said sounding fairly solemn. "Oh Christ! Is it nan or the cat?," I replied fearing the worst. "No" he answered, "Wilco have cancelled their UK tour." Although I was glad that nan and Syd were still alive, I must admit I was a bit gutted that one of my favourite bands of all time had cancelled the tour I had tickets to see. Fast forward 5 years and I am going to see Chicago's alt.country heroes for the first time at Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire. Kicking Television is one of the best live albums I've heard and, honestly, I'm more excited than an alcoholic at Oktoberfest!/p>
- Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan ( Domino Recording Co. )
- Liars - WIXIW ( Mute )
- Max Sanderson
- Closet All Saints fan
Suprême NTM - Suprême NTM (Epic)
France's finest hip-hop outfit hit gold fourth time round with their 1998 eponymous offering that has been on repeat for the last few weeks. As a non-French speaker, the emphasis is immediately shifted from lyrical content to flow and musical arrangement, an aptitude that both Kool Shen and Joeystarr exercise effortlessly.
- Empire Records (Warner Bros.)
- Twin Shadow - Confess (4AD)
- Rachael Scarsbrook
- 405 writer & fan of all things 90s
Deap Valley - Gonna Make My Own Money (Unsigned)
Riot grrll blues rock straight out of South California. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards embody the attitudes of Karen O, Alexis Krauss, Patti Smith and Joan Jett; with an absolutely face melting main riff. They ripped SXSW a new one and their coming for you!
- The XX - Angels (Young Turks)
- King Charles - The Brightest Lights Ft. Mumford & Sons (Universal Republic)
- Daniel Offen
- Competent writer and awkward interviewer.
Friendzone - Collection 1 (Self-Released Mixtape)
A completely ignored collection of the instrumentals produced by Friendzone has provided the best listening for me so far this year. The album is perhaps reminiscent of the slightly (and disturbingly quickly) overdone Clams Casino sound but the group have managed to produce their own take on the sound. Filled with beautiful beats and airy music that will worm it's way into the back of your head. Collection 1 is the prettiest album that will be produced this year. It's free, so you have no excuse not to give it a listen.
- Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl Records)
- Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel.... (Clean Slate)
- Derek Robertson
- Music lover, culture vulture, teller of bad jokes
Passion Pit - Gossamer (Sony Music Entertainment)
It's been a long time coming - and a seemingly very painful process - but dig below the surface of the glossy, sugar-sweet Radio friendly pop and you'll find a mesmerising mix of delight and despair. Rarely has the bearing of such a trouble soul come wrapped in such soaring melodies and songs constructed out of the brightest shades of pop's palette.
- Flying Lotus feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Captain Murphy (Adult Swim Singles)
- Purity Ring - Shrines (4AD)
- Emma Garland
- Scribe for The 405, 90's throwback, Nicolas Cage enthusiast.
Gnarwolves - CRU (Tangled Talk/ Day By Day)
When you take the threadbare image of some dude's boardsliding with a pizza slice in one hand and a beer can in the other like the anthropological answer to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a Vans advert, then marry it with ear-worm melodies, fierce, raspy riffs and considered lyrics, the result is a flawless and relentlessly energetic set of dirty pop-punk tracks that will make you reflect on your life a little bit before deciding "fuck it" and fist-pumping. Gnarwolves is a decidedly British take on bands like Title Fight and Transit, standing as proof, where it need be, that good UK pop-punk is still a thing. Get stoked on it.
- Merchandise - Children of Desire (Katorga Works)
- John K. Samson - Provincial (ANTI-)
- Charlotte Stones
- Part time music gossiper, full time sitcom enthusiast
The Cast of Cheers - Family (Unsigned)
Not only do this band have my favourite name of the moment, but they may just have bought the perfect 2012 single to my ears in the form of track 'Animals', taken from newly released album Family. Think the musical baby of Foals and Bloc Party, furiously mixed with further boisterous guitar melodies and you're verging on the brilliance of The Cast of Cheers' punchy dance melodies.
- NBC Series - Community (NBC)
- Field Music - Plumb (Memphis Inustries)
- Sophie Roberts
- 405 writer and literary addict
Splashh- Need It (Luv Luv Luv Records)
It's very difficult to worry about anything when the sound of is fuzzy, dreamy, garage rock is echoing into your ears. It's even more difficult when that noise is paired with irresistibly catchy guitar riffs and listened to at a suitably high volume. The track 'Need It' from London based band Splashh is an effervescent and vibrant affair, full of optimism, youthful abandon and energy.
- Jake Bugg- Taste It EP (Mercury Records)
- Frank Ocean- Pyramids (Def Jam Recordings)
- Chloe Eversfield
- 405 writer, shoegaze guzzler
Slow Magic - Triangle [∆] (unknown)
Slow Magic remain a tiny point in a black hole of the unknown, shrouded in mystery and delicious anticipation. ∆ was released on April 30 2012 - timely amidst the ∆'ular craze of this time - and stirs up an overwhelming torrent of feel-great endorphins. My favourite track, 'Corvette Casette' is visualised in a (what can only be described as sublime) music video, directed by Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost.
- Daughter - Landfill EP (unknown)
- Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man (unknown)
- Tim Brown
- I will never rest until London buses serve coffee #coffeeonbusesplease
The Canyons (Directed by Paul Schrader and written Bret Easton Ellis)
I was already excited about this Easton Ellis' forthcoming film. He's been talking about it on Twitter for about a year now. Then this still from the movie was released. A tribute to Le Mepris (or Contempt as the American's insist on calling it) and looking wonderful.
- Jaremiah Jae - Money (Brainfeeder)
- Vehram Muratyan - Paris versus New York, A Tally of Two Cities (Penguin)
- Barnabas Abraham
- Music reviewer, coffee drinker, heavy sleeper..
Pinkunoizu - Free Time (Full Time Hobby)
I'll enjoy any album that breaks down into a cacophony of noise several times throughout its duration. It'd be easy to overlook a band like Pinkunoizu, a Danish quartet with little following in Europe, but Free Time is awash with feelgood-ery and fun. My musical highlight of the year so far was probably the first time I listened to album closer 'Somber Ground'.
- Fang Island - Major (Sargent House)
- Future of the Left - The Plot Against Common Sense (Xtra Mile Recordings)
- Joseph Richards
- Independent Olympic Athlete, not wearing hockey pads.
Katy B - On A Mission (Rinse)
Because she can do as many corporate anthems for fizzy drink conglomerates as she likes as long as she makes albums like this.
- Jessie Ware - Devotion (Island)
- Public Enemy - 911 Is a Joke (Def Jam)
- Dave Clare
- Writer of infrequent reviews
My First Tooth (Live @Truck Festival)
MFT are always fun live. However, at Truck this month, they were magnificent. Though the summer sun wasn't able to pentrate the walls of the Barn Stage, they radiated enough joy and good vibes to compensate. On this display, the new album will be a treasure.
- The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Brosem)
- Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (StudioCanal)
- Oobah Butler
- Passive aggressive and proud.
Divine Fits - This Is Divine Fits (Merge Records)
Whenever Dan Boeckner puts out something new, it's going to be one of the best things out - Divine Fits' debut slips into that category perfectly. The record is dynamic, superb, and if you're a fan of all things bitter-sweet, you'll love it. Britt Daniels (Spoon) offers a lot of depth in his songwriting, whilst Boeckner's emphasis is purely on heartbreak, and is thoroughly 'very dark'.
- The Wrens - Hopeless (Absolutely Kosher)
- Squid And The Whale (Noah Baumbach - 2005)
- Louise Bruton
- Dublin-based blogger-cum-journo who frequently gets whiplash from attempting the Britney Spears hairflip.
No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom (Interscope)
The release of 'Settle Down', No Doubt's first single in nine years, has caused a nostalgic trip for many. Although the new song is still No Doubt-y, it's a bit underwhelming. However, we have two reasons to be thankful. Number One: Gwen Stefani. At 42 years of age, she is absolutely defiant to aging and an inspiration to us all to get our act together and babe up. Number Two: Their return has made me revisit the 1995 landmark album, Tragic Kingdom. 17 years later, I'm still utterly in love with it and have rightfully reappointed 'Just A Girl' as one of the greatest pop/rock songs of all time.
- Madonna; Truth Or Dare (Miramax Films)
- Purity Ring - Shrines (4ad)
- Henry Wilkinson
- Literature student/Mask collector
Beat Happening-You Turn Me On (K Records)
Released in 92 this is the final masterpiece from lo-fi deities Beat Happening. Gruff i don't give a shit and tender female vocals in equal measure with tracks like the classic 'Teenage Caveman' and the unrelenting 9 minute Black Angel Death Song-esque 'Godsend'. Antidote to early Britpop that transports you into Richard Linklater's Slacker (released the previous year) and makes you want to give up your job and sit around talking pseudo philosophy and JFK conspiracies.
- Thomas Hardy-Far From The Madding Crowd (Oxford University Press)
- Akron/Family-Love is Simple (Young God Records)
- Tom Baker
- 405 Contributor, bad-ass MC
This Many Boyfriends - (I Should Be A) Communist (Angular Recording Co.)
Light-hearted, literary-minded dance-indie-twee-pop from Leeds, of all places. Some of the most ridiculously catchy music I've heard in years, halfway between Beat Happening and the Housemartins, soon to appear on an album produced by Ryan "the one with the hair" Jarman!
- Jessie Ware - 110% (PMR)
- McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (edited by Michael Chabon) (Penguin)
- Will Tompsett
- Singles of the Week and Steve McManaman
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (Def Jam)
Though fully aware that the vast majority of writers will be writing about this, and you're probably fed up of hearing about the album, Channel Orange really is sensational. I'm currently on my eleventh play, and whilst this probably says more about my unemployment than my music taste, I can't see myself getting bored of the record. Perfect for the spectacular weather we've been having, this is a golden R'n'B soundtrack to unrequited love.
- Eddie Cochran - C'mon Everybody (Liberty Records)
- Best Friends - Break My Neck (Art Is Hard Records)