Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Los Campesinos! Secret Show

Los Campesinos! at Union Pool in 2009
The Los Campesinos! secret show was actually fairly secret after all. According to Dave-at-the-door, the show was only announced day-of on some blog called "Brooklyn Vegan" and the Union Pool website. As a result, I assume, of relatively few people seeing either of those sites, the venue was at a comfortable capacity. My last "secret show" at Union Pool was affectionately dubbed "Here We Go Suffocate."

Both in name and performance Los Campesinos! have excitement built in. I grabbed copies of their last two LPs, of which I have become very fond with much listening these last 24 hours, and a new record is set for January, according to Ollie. It was really nice to see these guys put on such a great show at what could arguably have been called a warm-up gig. I much prefer Union Pool to Webster Hall, where I am sure they would been even more difficult to capture with my iPhone camera. Here's a pic of Ellen, gassing after the set. Topics included: the writing process, whether or not it's OK to like blogging (it is), and the impact of campsite bears both on Ellen's evaluation of her own survival mechanism and on food storage box designers' sense of hopelessness.

Ellen Campesinos! and David Hurwitz
These guys are quite famous, so I don't really feel like saying anything about their sound or what makes them unique. Pitchfork reviewed both of their records well, I think, although without the number system they have on the site, I would be less confident that I deciphered them correctly. They reminded me of music reviews from the New York Times actually, in which the real art is staying deceptively neutral so as not to alienate one's self by saying something bad about the next Grizzly Bear. In the spirit of confessing, I must admit that reading the reviews of both Los Campesinos! records was literally the first time I have looked at Pitchfork, so I shouldn't generalize. I fell lame admitting it, but wow. They have EVERYTHING on there!

The only other thing I am going to talk about is lyric-talking, which is a touchy subject for me personally, but undeniably also a component of the Los Campesinos! sound. Some other British lyric-talkers:

1. Billy Bragg - I LOVE Billy Bragg, but less when he lyric-talks, which isn't that often. Overall, I think he is a positive example.

2. The Streets - 100% lyric-talking with a thick Cockney accent. Rather than using his natural Birmingham tongue, which doesn't sound anything like Billy Bragg, he actually faking it (Mockney). Awful, because from now on, no one from East London can lyric-talk again without being associated and compared first to The Streets. I want to punch that guy in the face and see how slowly and stupidly he can say "ouch" afterwards.

3. Art Brut - Their recent Mercury Lounge show bored me. I think Eddie Argos has a lot to learn from Los Campesinos!, though I doubt it's a lesson he could grasp. I really hate to draw a comparison between the styles of Art Brut and LC!, but they are both good at dramatically arranging the lyric-talk. The language and sentiment in Art Brut is fairly lobotomized, so thankfully the comparison ends there.

"We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" by Los Campesinos! download mp3 (from AOL music)

Go and read the LC! blog

Buy Los Campesinos! records!!

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