As part of my second birthday celebrations here at Keep Hope Inside, I invited a selection of my favourite music bloggers to offer their opinions on their favourite British album of the last couple of years. We'll be having a couple of pieces everyday for the next few days, under the slightly rubbish feature title of 'The Two Year Itch'. A big thank you to every blogger who wrote something!
First up is Simon of [Sweeping The Nation], probably my favourite British music blog. I guess it could be seen as the British version of Largehearted Boy. But better. Simon addressed the debut Los Campesinos! album, 'Hold On Now, Youngster...', read below:
The internet age has allowed us to theoretically get closer to our musical favourites, sending them Myspace comments of lust that only their management will ever really notice. Such is the speed of online movement that it feels far longer ago than it actually is that it wasn't all at the user's fingertips. Once upon a time, when 56kbps seemed like luxury, information was disseminated by a process of online Chinese whispers. Certain records were like religious icons, available from certain places perhaps only when the moon was in a certain part of the sky and with the aid of a magic word. The famed Belle & Sebastian mailing list Sinister once set out to track down all 1,000 original vinyl copies of 'Tigermilk' as if they were lost parts of some little known dinosaur or mythological document. Now, you can download such records in digitally transferred mp3 quality for a smaller outlay and have them sitting there disposably on your desktop My Music folder to do as you see fit with them. The whole process has been altered irrevocably.
The best thing about Los Campesinos!, the thing that for a slowly ageing pale indie boy like myself who was there with the Teen-C glitter kids in 1997, is that not only are they one of those bands, but the people in it are far more than likely seven of those people, taking in and discussing Broken Social Scene and Pavement but also Kenickie and Ballboy. There's a song on 'Hold On Now, Youngster...' called 'Knee Deep At ATP' which namechecks not only the selective holiday camp festival but also K Records and sums up a person as "you're the B-side", yet it's still a delicately poetic of the moment Gareth realised "so long as I value people according to what bands they like I am making myself expendable. Because there will always be somebody who likes the same bands as me, but is vastly more attractive or can drive or is a less fussy eater." And that's how Los Campesinos! won, through undermining expectations - loose enough to fulfil the falling apart pop criteria but tight enough to create a wall of melodic noise. The lyrics quote high and low culture, cynical but also hopeful, touching a nerve in a certain person who "spent the last seven years perched on the edge of my bed scratching 'I am incredibly sincere' into my forearms". They found initial attention through demos on Myspace, but they feel to their hardcore that this is their band, just for them.
Los Campesinos! - 'Hold On Now, Youngster...' (released February 25th 2008)
LOS CAMPESINOS! - KNEE DEEP AT ATP