Welcome to the second edition of the 405 'Staff Recommender'.

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).



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  • Tim Brown
  • Inventor of Lego Scalectrix

Piu Piu – B.M.F. (Youngunz Entertainment)

This video actually came out a good few months ago. It's only recently dropped onto my radar though, and hasn't been far from my ears & eyes since. It's a cover of the Rick Ross track and comes from Piu Piu, who apparently is the lead singer of Youngunz. To be honest, the whole Youngunz collective gets a bit confusing. This though, this is wonderful.

  • Bloc Party - Four (Frenchkiss Records)
  • Iain Macintosh, Kenny Millar and Neil White - Football Manager Stole My Life (BackPage Press)


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  • Tom Baker
  • 405 contributor, irrepressible nature

Purity Ring - Fineshrine (4AD)

If you're like me and have an interest in the slightly weird niche of love songs that are a bit scary/disgusting (like Sparky Deathcap's 'Cosmic Love Infection' or Summer Camp's 'I Want You') then 'Fineshrine's chorus - "Get a little closer let it fold / Cut open my sternum and pull / My little ribs around you" - will have you swooning and spewing in equal measure. The music is a lot sexier than the band name suggests, too.

  • Marc Maron - This Has To Be Funny ( ADA Global)
  • How To Dress Well - Total Loss (Acéphale)


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  • Lyle Bignon
  • Amalgamation of Henry Holland, Ryan Gosling and Jedward

Free School – Tender Administration (Tirk)

If Motorik and Balearic were to ever fall in love at some celestial hedonistic beach party, settle down and have kids, their offspring would most certainly sound like this choice electronic debut – uplifting, melodic and lush orchestration over machine-like beats and bass. The Birmingham duo behind the record deliver an epic spine-tingling and heavenly sound, particularly evident on Ranting & Raving, Time Breaks and Iberico. A stunning album. 121 plays so far here and still counting.

  • Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth (Universal)
  • Kavinsky – Night Call (Record Makers)


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  • Toby McCarron
  • 405 writer and buyer of more records than my financial situation allows

Careful – Because I Am Always Talking (Self Released )

A really beautiful album from one man band Eric Lindley. Features really emotive and personal lyrics, with Sufjan Stevens like vocals and the odd use of autotune (in the good way) Great for listening to at night, and is both touching and relatable.

  • Matthew Dear - Beams (Ghostly International)
  • Animal Collective – Centipede Hz (Domino Recordings )


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  • Oobah Butler
  • Often seen on haunches, ahead of the curve ball.

The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone (Alien8 Recordings)

A terrific record defined by silly sounds and satirical commentary. Released in 2003, it was completely ahead of its time and hasn't aged at all. Though many bands have since tried to capture the essence of the Montreal 3-piece, listening to that album still makes more sense than most stuff you'll here. Look out for 'Tuff Luff' on the first listen.

  • Heavenly Beat – Tolerance (Captured Tracks)
  • Jens Lekman – Erica America (Secretly Canadian)


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  • Tom Quickfall
  • Music Enthusiast and Word Scribbler - The 405, Stool Pigeon, Line of Best Fit, Artrocker and others

John Roberts – Paper Frames EP (Dial Records)

Following up 2010's incredible Glass Eights, Berlin-via-New York producer John Roberts keeps appetite's whetted with a pensive, subtle four track EP. This is deep and melodic electronica at its best, with the stuttering rhythms of 'Crushing Shells' its calling card.

  • Delicate Steve – Positive Force (LUAKA BOP)
  • Mala – Mala in Cuba (Brownswood Recordings)


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  • Richard Kavanagh
  • Self educating myself on Hip Hop

Grizzly Bear – 'Yet Again' (Warp)

You know when you get obsessed with a song and you struggle to motivate yourself to do anything until you've heard it? Well here's my latest favourite. To say I'm excited for the album is an understatement.

  • Easy Stars All-Stars – Easy Stars' Thrillah (Easy Star)
  • Outkast - Aquemini (LaFace)


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  • Charlotte Stones
  • Part time music writer and German student, full time sitcom enthusiast

Frank Skinner Not The Weekend Podcast - Absolute Radio (Absolute Radio)

I am fully aware that I have been living in the dark ages, but I have only recently come round to the idea of being a committed podcast listener. Previously, for me, Radio was just the type of thing that you half-heartedly listen to whilst decorating or, in Radio 1's case, use as a tool to give you a reason to be angry at something when you're having a bad day, and as for podcasts, the ideal had never been put into practice. My only dislike about Frank Skinner's podcast; featuring Alun Cochrane and Emily Dean, is that it doesn't seem to fit into my routine nicely. Definitely an excellent and failsafe-hilarious show, but judging on the reactions to my smirks on buses and trains, maybe give it a miss if you're a bit of a public transport bunny.

  • Sue Denim - and The Unicorn (Unknown)
  • The Crookes - Hold Fast (Fierce Panda Records)


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  • Andrew Hannah
  • It's only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.

Graham Nash (Songs For Beginners)

Sometimes the forgotten man of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, our Graham has written wonderful music since his time with The Hollies. He's partly responsible for the existence of Fleet Foxes and modern folk rock in general, and I went back to his brilliant solo record (his first) from 1971 after listening to the new Poor Moon album, where his influence is writ large.

  • Tim Key - Masterslut (Edinburgh Festival comedy show)
  • Bill Fay – Life Is People (Dead Oceans)


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  • Emma Garland
  • Scribe for The 405, 90's throwback, Nicolas Cage enthusiast.

Chain of Flowers - Chained/ Spit Split (Self-Released Split Cassette)

Named befittingly after The Cure b-side, Chain of Flowers are re-inventing moody 80's goth-rock in a serious way. Slamming out infectious riffs through grunge-stained shoegaze guitars draped in dark, dissatisfied vocals and set to the caged atmosphere of a steadily pacing rhythm section, the end result is something like Sisters of Mercy via The Jesus and Mary Chain via Whirr. Keep spoon feeding your ears with this demo until their forthcoming 7" drops and destroys.

  • Milk Music - Beyond Living (Perennial Records)
  • Siamese Twins - In A Box 7" (Labour of Love Records)


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  • Mikey Rush
  • I like reading John Steinbeck and the lyrics of Danny Brown. How's that for being cultured.

Visit Copenhagen

Here's a quick list of some things that Copenhagen does better than London: Coffee (Bitter isn't even in the Danish dictionary), public transport (the longest I ever waited for a train was 5 minutes), smiling at strangers, bike lanes, and in my view a healthy attitude towards public drinking (A pint for breakfast? no problem. If you're not swigging cans of Carlsberg on the way to work they'll think there's something wrong with you.) However, be aware that everybody is tall, blonde and beautiful, nobody is fat and everyone looks like they just stepped out of an East London fashion magazine. The city is the perfect blend of London, Berlin and Brooklyn, with a little Amsterdam thrown in.

  • Shy Kids - Field Trips EP (Self Released)
  • Flatbush Zombies - D.R.U.G.S. (Clean Slate)


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  • Sam Willis
  • 405 writer and hat enthusiast

Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim (Modular)

2012 has been a defining year for music already with a barrage of great albums from bands old and new, but very few have managed to reach the standard of Beard, Wives, Denim - the fourth studio album from psychedelic Aussie outfit Pond. The group that stemmed from Tame Impala but are not a side project managed to create an astounding sound with the acid soaked, third eye-opening masterpiece of Beard, Wives, Denim, ensuring its place as one of the best albums of 2012 and succeeding to be my favourite listening experience of the year so far.

  • Wild Nothing- Nocturne (Captured Tracks)
  • Shlohmo- Vacation (Friends of Friends)


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  • Jonathan Greer
  • I should read more and go to the cinema, but I'm lost in music at the moment

H Hawkline - Black Muck (Trash Aesthetics)

I heard this on the radio before I knew who it was and I had to seek it out, It has been ages since I've done that. Produced by Gruff Rhys, this tune channels classic indie-rock and for five minutes it sits somewhere between the Velvet Underground and Silver Jews, only to throw in some electronic weirdness for the last couple of minutes. I'm led to believe that this is a change of direction for H Hawkline, but this is actually the first song I've heard of his. I'll be investigating further, that's for sure.

  • Swans - The Seer (Young God Records)
  • The Pictish Trail - Michael Rocket (Fence)


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  • Sophie Roberts
  • 405 writer and occasional optimist

Dirty Beaches- Elizabeth's Theme (Kingfisher Bluez)

Although I do like Dirty Beaches, no track of his has caught my attention quite like 'Elizabeth's Theme' has. I'm not sure who Elizabeth is but I'm already jealous of anyone who has a theme tune that sounds like this. It's very lo-fi, a little bit James Bond-y, outstandingly classy, and most of all, completely addictive.

  • Peace- California Daze (Columbia Records)
  • Bad Education (BBC Three)


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  • James Canham
  • Live Editor, douchebag

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality - Manjit Kumar (Icon Books)

I read this while on holiday. Apart from making me feel like I'm really intelligent, it's a gripping and well researched document that is a brilliant starting point for anyone with an interest in science. To be honest quantum wasn't really a huge area of interest to me (I'm more of a macroscopic world man myself) but the way Kumar develops the story and chronology of the paradigms of quantum makes the weird knowledge of the atom and quantum attainable. Read it if you enjoyed Fermat's Last Theorem. PS - someone asked if I was reading "that James Bond book." If you came here expecting audio, I'm sorry. You can buy it on audiobook though but it costs $$$.

  • Jessie Ware - Running [Disclosure remix] (PMR Records)
  • Elvis Presley - Crawfish [Pilooski re-edit] (Clean Slate)


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  • Derek Robertson
  • Music lover, culture vulture, teller of bad jokes

Deep Time – Deep Time (Hardly Art)

This isn't a recent release, I know, but I recently stumbled upon this somewhat fortuitously – like the best discoveries, through a friend – and haven't been able to stop listening since. From the brilliant cover art to the simple but oh-so-sweet compositions within, duo Jennifer Moore and Adam Jones have concocted one of the most underrated release of the year. Catchy and amiable, they meld elements of post punk and twee pop into compact vignettes of small town life and dark, shadowy feelings. They may not be grand or sweeping, but there's a hypnotic power to these nine songs, a power that draws you in and won't let you leave.

  • Holograms - Holograms (Captured Tracks)
  • Micachu and the Shapes - Never (Rough trade)


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  • Colin Joyce
  • Wannabe writer, thoughtless observer

Coma Cinema - Baby Prayers (Self-Released)

If you haven't given the time to check out either of Mat Cothran's cracked, stoned mope-rock projects, head over to his bandcamp right this instant. There's little I could say to do justice to either either his recent Elvis Depressedly work or to his three outstanding albums as Coma Cinema except just to check them out for their lovable, honest emoting. I've finally given Baby Prayers the shot it deserves and if for no other reason than for 'Daffodils' admonition to "Do drugs/do drugs/ and fall in love," it's a pretty outstanding effort. Most definitely worth seeking out. <./p>

  • Shock Corridor (1963) - Samuel Fuller
  • Merchandise - Children Of Desire (Katorga Works)


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  • Aled Schell
  • I'm that annoying guys at a party who constantly quotes The Office.

Frightened Rabbit - State Hospital (Atlantic Records UK)

Scotland's finest Indie rock quintet recently dropped 'State Hospital', the lead single and title track from their upcoming EP (Due 25th September). According to Hutchinson and Co. work is well under way on a follow up to 2010's 'The Winter of Mixed Drinks', with a (yet untitled) full length album due in early 2013. 'State Hospital' is a beautiful and emotive track, with a stunning video to boot.

  • Elliott Smith - Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars)
  • Lucy Rose - Like I Used To (Columbia Records)


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  • Alex Walker
  • 405er and milkshake connoisseur

Holy Other - Held (Tri Angle)

It's one of the best reviewed records of the year so far so you realistically don't need yet another voice telling you to listen to this, but in fact you do. The mysterious and thus far anonymous Manchester producer has crafted one of the most gorgeous electronic records in recent memory. It's haunting, atmospheric, beautifully textured and will take over your life.

  • AMC Series - Breaking Bad Season 6 (AMC)
  • Swans - The Seer (Young God)