Camden Crawl: Indie Idle

on Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Camden Crawl [link] fast approaches. If you're unfamiliar with the event, it's a two day festival (ish) in Camden, here in London. It's absolutely packed with bands and fans - the term "clusterfuck" comes to mind. I've also heard it's a bit of lottery to get to see the bands you want but that also means you get to some great new bands you might have missed.

Anyway, there's a couple of interesting competitions surrounding the event. Red Bull are sponsoring a stage at the Crawl as part of their Red Bull Bedroom Jam venture [link], where they'll handpick a band to play on from submitted entries. They're supporting youth music so if you're in a band and you're all under 19, head over to the site and give it a go. They've also got some tickets for under 18 year olds (otherwise not permitted at the Crawl) for their own stage. Check it out.

red bull camden crawl 2008

And are doing a similar competition to play at the Crawl, which I'm focusing on here, where they've whittled down hundreds of demos to twenty finalists, entitled 'Indie Idle' [link]. So today, I'm donning a ginger wig, oirish accent and pulling up my trousers to almost unbelievable heights to judge each of the twenty artists.

Obviously, as there's twenty bands, I'll be giving them a limited review. Typically, I'll just be listening to the song on offer on then giving my intial impressions. Keep it snappy, keep you happy. But if the band have been nice enough to allow other tracks for download, I'll be giving those a listen too. This is an mp3 blog after all.

gigwise indie idle mp3 music

Yezza ('Fresh Kicks')
"Token hip hop act. Pretty decent though."

Those were my initial thoughts, and considering my inferior knowledge of hip hop, I'm struggling here. 'Fresh Kicks' is quite fresh and downloadable at his MySpace [link] so you can decide.

Medicine Show ('Too Young For Love')
"Hyperactive indie pop, file under The View"

There's a fair bit of talk that they're like The Clash, which I kind of get. They definately sound like The View though.

"Reminds me of kids and FisherPrice toy instruments."

No mp3s on offer so see you later. Fun stuff, nonetheless.

"Ace bandname but for a track called 'Bar Brawl', surprisingly inoffensive electro".

Ice. Sea. Dead People ('Hence:Elvis')
"RAWK. Kill kenada meets Jarcrew. Explosive."

Not sure about the bandname but they're lyke freakin awsum. Unless you hate noisy bands.

My Name Is Red ('Something Ugly')
"Satisfyingly chunky bassline. Not as great elsewhere."

BearKnuckles ('Move And React')
"Like the Sunshine Underground but without the dance influence."

Pretty much the Sunshine Underground with a bit of angular-ness (so Gang Of Four then). But there's an occasional spark of immense noise, which is most welcome.

BearKnucles - Move And React [Yourfilehost download]

Catalan Corruption ('A New Way')
"Another mini-maccabees, enjoying their teenage kicks. Good fun."

Little Things ('Brand New Rollerskates')
"A bit Counting Crows maybe? Radio 2 here they come!"

The Muscle Club ('I've Never Read Anything')
"Indie pop but a bit angsty. I don't think they like reading."

Like Los Campesinos! taking on college rock, and they're sort of from Wales too. Classy. Good demo, freely available from their website [link]

The Muscle Club - I've Never Read Anything [Yourfilehost download]

Guildean Gang ('London Road')
"Indie pop but a bit boring. Next!"

So I was unimpressed with their indie-by-numbers effort 'London Road' but luckily for them they have better stuff over on their MySpace. 'Can't You See Emily' is much better, like a cross between Mystery Jets and The Cribs. Although minus points for spamming internet messageboards and forums.

Guildean Gang - Can't You See Emily [Yourfilehost download]

The Ramblings ('Sorry Holly')
"Blues rock with an amusing message about male promiscuity. HARMONICA!"

Not enough songs have harmonica in them. Quite catchy, at times Kaiser Chiefs-esque although you do get the sad feeling they'll never be anything more than a pub rock band.

The Ramblings - Sorry Holly [Yourfilehost download]

Kick Box Riot ('You're Only Young Once')
"A mix between The Enemy and Foos-esque soft rock. Easy on the ear."

My First Tooth ('Sleet And Snow')
"Weather related folky pop. Lovely. HARMONICA!"

Skyhorse ('Don't Open Up')
"Eighties electro at its Radio-1-daytime-playlist smoothest"

*Impending A&R scrum alert* I think this track grabbed me the most. They've managed to meld electro, dance and eighties indie pop in a coherent and dazzling form. Considering they're still teenagers, I expect big things from Skyhorse.

Skyhorse - 1989 [Yourfilehost download]

The Gin Riots ('I Didn't Mean It')
"A tryhard amalgation of pop, punk and indie rock."

I think they've been around for ages but I'm just not feeling it. The more tracks I listened to, the more I felt that they were a disappointing Libertines ripoff.

The Shame ('Cosmic Love')
"Noisy but anthemic. Vitriolic punk."

"Basically, an indie rock ballad. But with some kerrazy sfx."

The only band in the twenty that I've actually featured on Keep Hope Inside before and another band who have been around for years and years. Bit disappointing really.

"Filthy, sexy electro. Freeform Five fans take note."

'Sorry' genuinely reminds both of glam rock pisstake Do Me Bad Things and electro legends Freeform Five. In fact, it's almost a cover of Freeform Five's 'Electromagnetic'. That's no bad thing though.

Soft Toy Emergency - Sorry [Yourfilehost download]

The Dirty Backbeats ('Shakin' All Over')
"Retro rock. Been there, done that."

I think I was being a bit petulant here and it turns out they have a bit of gypsy punk and psychedelia going for them too. Still, not really my cup of tea.

And that's all twenty. Christ, that took an utter age. Overall, I think the standard was reasonably high but I could easily whittle it down to ten finalists.

My favourites were Skyhorse, Ice. Sea. Dead People, My First Tooth, Soft Toy Emergency and The Muscle Club but in the end I voted for Ice. Sea. Dead People. To be honest, that's more because I met 2/3rds of them at Truck festival a few years ago and played frisbee with them. But their band is great too, and will feature on this blog again in future. Special mention also to Catalan Corruption, who are all only about 14 and are following in the footsteps of Pull In Emergency and Lo-Fi Culture Scene in the systematic underage takeover of indie pop.

I suggest you go have a listen to some of the bands yourself at [link], where you can also vote for one band. You've only till midnight though, so hurry up!

And if you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, I shall reward with you with pretty much the final opportunity to listen to my second podcast, recorded about 51 weeks ago. All the details are [here] and if you like Bat For Lashes, Friends Of The Bride, Look See Proof or anyone in between them, I suggest you have a gander.

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