Words: Saam Das
The first interview we ever did was in August 2006 with a band called Los Campesinos!. At the time, they were becoming arguably the UK's first blog hyped band. Thankfully, they're still going strong today and their newest album 'Hello Sadness' came out on Monday. To celebrate, I thought I'd take you through a potted history/chronological "greatest hits" of the band thus far...
The seven-piece with no surnames emerged to the wider world with a sound that straddled twee and a more sweeping orchestral vision, somewhat akin to Broken Social Scene. See how their sound has transformed in the by-no-means-comprehensive embedded playlist below.
BAND MEMBERS: Gareth (vocals/glockenspiel), Neil (guitar), Tom (guitar), Ellen (bass), Rob (guitar), Kim (vocals/keyboard), Jason (drums
FORMER MEMBERS: Aleks (vocals/keyboard), Ollie (drums), Harriet (violin)
FORMED: 2006 at Cardiff University
1) 'It Started With A Mixx' // Video
The most appropriate start for this playlist? Well, it'll do. The demo version wowed us and everyone else along with 'You! Me! Dancing!' and 'Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks' back in 2006. Its opening lyric "trying to fit the perfect mix between pretentious and pop" just about sums up this very blog.
2) 'You! Me! Dancing!' // Video
The song that really signalled LC! as a band to watch in that initial burst of blog buzz. A six minute plus opus, with an incredible intro which builds and builds and then EXPLODES. The demo would be tweaked slightly for the single release, which followed debut single 'We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives'. Both tracks would appear on the North American release 'Sticking Fingers Into Sockets'. 'You! Me! Dancing!' also unveiled the band to a legion of Budweiser fans after soundtracking their adverts since 2010.
3) 'My Year In Lists' // Video
An unexpected contrast to 'You! Me! Dancing!', clocking in at just 108 seconds. Which is about 108 seconds shorter than you want this anti-ballad-meets-spurned-lover-anthem to be. "I cherish the fondness (before) I met you." The third single from the well-received debut 'Hold On Now, Youngster...' album, which came out in February 2008 on Wichita.
4) 'The International Tweexcore Underground' // Video
Parodying the K Records series of 7" singles, The International Pop Underground, 'The International Tweexcore Underground' unfortunately was left off the debut LC! record. Because it is a ruddy brilliant single. Having referenced the band Heavenly (among many others) on the A-side, the single also contained a cover of 'C Is A Heavenly Option', which you can listen to below.
5) 'Ways To Make It Through A Wall' // Soundcloud
Just six months after 'Hold On Now, Youngster...', the band announced a new release entitled 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed'. Ten new tracks, which they considered more of an EP than a new album. For some reason. Arguably a stronger release than the debut, it formally signalled the transformation to a significantly more melodramatic sound, exemplified by the excellent opener 'Ways To Make It Through The Wall'.
6) 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed'
The title track of the "EP" release and responsible for one of the most memorable lyrics in the history of the band - "Oh, we kid ourselves there's future in the fucking, but there is no fucking future." Shame that it wasn't released as a single but no singles would appear from the EP.
7) 'The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future' // Video
The brilliantly melancholic free download taster to album proper numero two, 'Romance Is Boring'. The video features future LC! members Rob (who recorded music as Sparky Deathcap) and Kim (Gareth's sister) - who would eventually both join in the wake of Aleks' departure in 2009 to continue her medical school studies, which had been put on hold.
8) 'There Are Listed Buildings' // Video
Demonstrating that the 'Romance Is Boring' album wouldn't simply be a musical embodiment of depression, the preceding first single from the album proved to be raucous and upbeat. The 2010 album would go on to receive a similar reception to the debut, although some reviewers much preferred the charm of the latter.
9) 'By Your Hand' // Video
The first taste of 'Hello Sadness', album number three, and a sure sign of the band's impressive consistency over the last five years. Similarly melancholic to 'The Sea...' but with a more anthemic sound, it also is the first video to feature Jason - the drummer who replaced Ollie, after he was sadly asked to leave the band. Harriet would also leave the band soon after. The record was released earlier to Heat Rash subscribers, the band's fan(zine) club, set up in late 2010. But now it's available to all...
Purchase 'Hello Sadness' at Amazon.co.uk. Find more on Los Campesinos! at loscampesinos.com.