Los Campesinos! – The New York Rockmarket http://newyorkrockmarket.com Mon, 14 May 2012 22:05:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 MP3 Roundup: Los Campesinos!, Frog Eyes, Fucked Up, Django Django, and Art Museums http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2010/02/09/mp3-roundup-los-campesinos-frog-eyes-fucked-up-django-django-and-art-m-anuseums/ Tue, 09 Feb 2010 05:41:36 +0000 http://newyorkrockmarket.com/?p=2655

Another MP3 roundup.  Let’s start off with Los Campesinos! and their new album, Romance Is Boring.  I don’t really like saying nice things about this band, because they weren’t too nice to two of my friends at Olde Club, but I do really like pretty much everything they’ve done.  Unique sound + teenage angst = my cup of tea.  I first listened to this new album while I was making dinner, curious to see if it would be a step forward for the band.  With such a unique, distinct sound, it can be difficult to change without losing a sense of your narrative voice.  The band hasn’t taken leaps and bounds, but Romance is definitely a more mature effort.  It seems like Gareth has pulled a bit of a Craig Finn and has really started singing more on this album.  The subject matter is as emo-driven as ever, but with a darker edge.  There’s a pretty intense song about eating disorders, for example, and it surprisingly comes off ok instead of schlocky and overdramatic.  The insanely clever lyrics are as ever present as always.  When I was listening to the album and cooking dinner, one of the songs really caught my ear and I thought, “Oh!  I have to use that in my next MP3 roundup!”  Going back now, I can’t figure out which it was.  Whatever song I first heard, it apparently hasn’t improved with multiple listens.  I think it was “I Just Sighed.  I Just Sighed, Just So You Know.”  I like Gareth’s harsh-sounding vocals, but the Los Camps-typical boy-verse/breathy-girl-chorus thing is kind of irritating me tonight for some reason.  The whole project seems slightly exhausting at this particular moment in time.  So many emotions!  Anyways, Los Camps have a new album out, check it out if you like their older stuff.  If you’re unfamiliar, then listen to Hold On Youngster immediately and ignore this one for a few weeks.

New Frog Eyes track!  Frog Eyes and any project related to Spencer Krug in any way is always a NYRM favorite (though Spencer is no longer involved with Frog Eyes).  “A Flow in a Glove” is nine minutes long, so I admit I haven’t listened to it more than twice.  Still, it’s a good track with a fabulous vocal performance.  Whether or not you already know and love Frog Eyes, give it a chance.

Fucked Up, the current indie kings of hard rock, released a new album last week.  I have not listened to it yet, but I really love this track off of it.  Great Fucked Up hardcore vocals, with some beautiful guitar sounds reminiscent of bands more mainstream punk than I usually think of Fucked Up as being.  It’s all still delightfully harsh, but at the same time delightfully danceable.  A really, really great guitar track.

I owe this track to Soundbites.  Django Django are an unsigned band from the UK.  The rhythms and unusual textures of this song draw you in, and the vocal harmonies keep you there.  It could use a better build or bridge, but it’s got a very promising sound.  Something cool and different from overseas, make sure to check this one out.

Art Museums is Woodsist’s latest signee, and this track has been floating around the Internet for a few weeks now.  I’m not sure that it’s quite as good as everyone is raving about (goodness, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before), but the retro sound is fun and I like the band’s sense of humor.  “Why can’t we look good if we want to?  Shopping.”  Excellent first lyric.  The song continues on with fuzzy, airy vocals for only a minute and thirty seconds longer.  Not enough of a first impression for me to really decide how I feel about a band, but definitely something worth keeping our eyes on in the coming months.

MP3: “I Just Sighed. I Just SIghed, Just So You Know” – Los Campesinos!

MP3: “A Flower in a Glove” – Frog Eyes

MP3: “Neat Parts” – Fucked Up

MP3: “Love’s Dart” – Django Django

MP3: “s.h.o.p.p.i.n.g.” – Art Museums

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Photos/Review: Titus Andronicus and Los Campesinos! at Bowery Ballroom http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/02/16/photosreview-titus-andronicus-and-los-campesinos-at-bowery-ballroom/ http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/02/16/photosreview-titus-andronicus-and-los-campesinos-at-bowery-ballroom/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2009 04:11:02 +0000 http://newyorkrockmarket.com/?p=383 p2155793

When I review shows, I like to be right up front.  I think you can best understand the heart of a live performance when you’re pressed against the stage with the weight of the entire audience bearing down on your ribcage.  You get a clear view of what’s happening on-stage, from pedals and guitar-playing to band member interaction.  The essence of the show is more understandable when you’re right up in it.  For this Los Campesinos! show at Bowery Ballroom on Sunday night, the second of the band’s two shows there, I figured if I arrived about a half hour after the doors opened I’d get my usual up-front reviewing spot.  I failed to take into account two important factors.  1. The show was 16 plus.  2. Monday was a holiday, which meant no school the next day.  I arrived at 8:30 to find about 100 exuberant high schoolers crowded around the front of the stage, chatting about how excited they were for Los Campesinos! and how many times they’d seen them before, and all the other things that indie teenagers talk about to impress other indie teenagers standing around them at shows.  I weasled my way into the crowd and stood there right along with my young counterparts waiting for the show to begin.

Titus Andronicus came on and rip-roared their way through a great opening set.  I was kicking myself the entire time for not seeing them in a smaller venue prior to this show.  They’re a true up-and-coming punk act, and I just love ’em.  Lead singer Patrick Stickles is delightfully quirky.  He grumbles good-naturedly into the microphone between songs as the rest of the band gears up for the next two minutes of pure bliss they undoubtedly deliver.  The band was incredibly tight and they really sounded great, but gave off the impression that they were flying by the seat of their pants.  They had the kids who were there to see Los Campesinos! completely won over and moshing their little hearts out by the end of their set.  Titus Andronicus was by far the best thing about the evening.

Titus Andronicus finished up their set, and left the stage to make way for Los Campesinos!  After waiting about a half-hour and feeling incredibly out of place, I decided I just couldn’t cut it anymore.  I was grumpy and wanted some breathing room.   As I defeatedly walked to the back of Bowery Ballroom, the crowd’s age was like a gradient fill on photoshop.  I took my place in the back amongst the thirty-somethings.

This experience seemed to be appropriate for the rest of the night’s music.  Los Campesinos! are a band that relies heavily on angst and youthful exuberance.  Their best songs are all about love and the kinds of existential crises that are life and death at the age of eighteen.  Their best chorus goes, “It’s you!  It’s me!  And we’re dancing!” for goodness sake. Even singers Gareth and Aleksandra tend to sound like whiny children figuring things out about love and life.

Hold On Now Youngster was one of my absolute favorite albums of last year, so I was incredibly excited for this show.  As the band came out on stage, they made a formidable silhouette across the proscenium.  Six twenty-somethings lined up across the stage, with their drummer tucked into the back.  Keyboards, bass, singer, gutiar, guitar, violin.  A group of self-assured young people making ecstatic music.  It gave the immediate impression of a band with the supreme confidence to make it one of the best shows all those 16 plusses in the front had ever seen.  Their music also has the ironic subtlety to appeal to everyone in the audience, and I was looking forward to it, even standing in the back.

Unfortunately, Los Campesinos! didn’t quite deliver.  Instead of relying on the playful exuberance of their music, they allowed something else to shine through.  Their confidence ended up coming off as cockiness.  They put energy into the show, but they didn’t seem to really  believe in their lyrics.  As the New York Times review of this show recently discussed, lead-singer Gareth put a lot of the focus on himself.  Or maybe the rest of the band wasn’t attempting to act as a unit like I assumed they would.  One of the outstanding elements of Los Campesinos! are the stunning guitar tones that give their albums a unique sound. The guitar wasn’t shining through in the Bowery Ballroom’s mix or in the performance nearly enough.  Keyboardist Aleksandra’s half of the vocals perfectly balance out Gareth’s warble, and add the male/female angst that drives much of their music’s spirit.  Instead of sounding strong and confident as she does on the album, she sounded airy and secondary.  I wanted them to present the same essence musically that their formidable six-person silhouette gave across the stage when they first came on.  They couldn’t deliver on this, and it really hurt the overall feeling of the performance.

The high point of the show was “Miserabilia,” off of their new album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.  For the ending chorus of “Shout at the world because the world doesn’t love you,” everyone put down their instruments and screamed together as a band at the top of their lungs.  It was powerful, exciting, and it worked.  That was the sense I wanted the band to give off for the entire show.  The sense that we’re all very young, we’re trying to figure things out in a world that doesn’t make too much sense, and we’re just going to dance and scream because that’s all we can really do.  That’s a message that everyone can relate to, not just those sixteen plusses in the front.  Los Campesinos! should have had the power to unite the entire audience, despite their age.  Instead, I just felt like I was standing in the back of the Bowery Ballroom listening to a band with truly great songs that weren’t quite delivering on this particular night.  It’s the middle of a long tour.  I’ll leave it at that.

Parts of this review were originally posted on BreakThru Radio.

Titus Andronicus:

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Recommended Sunday Show: Titus Andronicus and Los Campesinos! at Bowery Ballroom http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/02/14/recommended-sunday-show-titus-andronicus-and-los-campesinos-at-bowery-ballroom/ Sat, 14 Feb 2009 21:33:32 +0000 http://newyorkrockmarket.com/?p=349 l_f32c89b668ec79f992ad537044f781e9This show at Bowery Ballroom is definitely a can’t-miss bill.  New Jersey garage rockers Titus Andronicus put on one helluva rock ‘n roll show, I hear.  Dancing, moshing, and craziness will be had.  I love this band; they get back to basics- loud, fun, and youthful.  Check out these lyrics: “There’ll be no more cigarettes/No more having sex/No more drinking till you fall on the floor/No more indie rock/Just a ticking clock/You have no time for that anymore.”  Yes.

Los Campesinos!, of course, are a ton of fun.  Based on their recent short performance at Sound Fix Records, I’m pretty pumped to see what they’ll do with a whole set.  Unfortunately, I’m not as excited to see them as I would have been because of recent asshole comments one band member made about my favorite venue.  I also received reports that band members weren’t nice to the student employees during their show at Olde Club last Thursday.  Tsk, tsk Los Campesinos!  But, I did heard their performance was good.  I still love ’em.

I plan on being at Bowery Ballroom tomorrow, wearing my Swarthmore sweatshirt in protest, ready to rock the eff out.  Just to be clear, the student employees at Olde Club had very nice things to say about Titus, despite their poor experience with Los Campesinos!  Says Mr. Charles Decker, “Titus is great.  I love those guys.”  Pictures on Monday.

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Review: Los Campesinos! at Sound Fix Records http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/01/15/review-los-campesinos-at-sound-fix-records/ http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/01/15/review-los-campesinos-at-sound-fix-records/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2009 17:15:19 +0000 http://newyorkrockmarket.wordpress.com/?p=36 photoSorry about the crappy photo.  I’m still getting used to this whole blogging thing.  In the future, I promise to bring my real camera to shows instead of using my phone, but I figured this little picture was better than nothing at all.

Last night Los Campesinos! only played five songs at Sound Fix and were minus one violin player, but for a free show it was perfect.  The setlist was:

1. Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

2. My Year In Lists

3. All Your Kayfabe Friends

4. Miserabilia

5. You! Me! Dancing!

Three of my favorite Los Camps songs!  What a delightful little gem of an evening.  Lead singer Gareth’s Cardiff accent was impossibly charming and simultaneously down to earth.  He lamely joked in between songs that because they were missing their violinist and seventh member, Harriet, they could call themselves Los CamepSEESnos, which is funny because that means six in French.  They rest of the band gently made fun of him.  They’re as adorable in person as their lyrics suggest they are.  Not to say that the band doesn’t have an edge.  Their ability to rock hard while they intellectualize is why they work so well.  Tom, lead gutiarist and songwriter, is an incredibly talented guitar player, and it’s his beautiful tone that gives the band their signature sound.  His playing was as pitch-perfect live as it is recorded.  All-in-all, a wonderful, warm evening for a bitterly cold Wendesday.  Check out my favorite Los Campesinos! song below.

MP3: My Year In Lists – Los Campesinos!

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Los Campesinos at Sound Fix Records http://newyorkrockmarket.com/2009/01/13/los-campesinos-at-sound-fix-records/ Tue, 13 Jan 2009 19:39:40 +0000 http://newyorkrockmarket.wordpress.com/?p=10 I’ve decided that I will do a daily post where I recommend a show happening in the New York area for the next day. I will call this “Show of the Day.” I will choose a show for the next day because I think people might want to plan ahead a little bit in their show-choosing. I know I like to do that.

The very first ever show of the day will be Los Campesinos at Sound Fix Records this Wednesday (tomorrow)! The show is free, and Los Camps are great. I have never seen them live, and I plan on being there. They’re fun and anyone can enjoy them. If you don’t get there on time, I also recommend Vivian Girls and Titus Andronicus at Maxwell’s in New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania favorites Illinois and Drink Up Buttercup at Fontana’s.

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