The second installment of Dollars to Pounds, our weekly UK dispatch, was scheduled for yesterday, but we were busy celebrating beer and paid holidays, so here it is. This time around our correspondent Sam Richards visits the Old Blue Last and Blue Flowers for Grosvenor and Cajun Dance Party and says some super Britishy things in the intro.
This week we got a new Prime Minister and celebrated in traditional fashion: not by hanging bunting from the gaslights and roasting a pheasant but by going to the pub and moaning about the weather. All our chaps flunked out of Wimbledon by the third afternoon, but at least we weren’t all blown up by a “massive car bomb.”
Not that the terrorists have vowed to target The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch yet. Here we found Hot Chip’s homeboy Grosvenor dressed like macho playwright David Mamet on a golfing trip. His sexpesting electro-soul slowjams landed somewhere between Luther Vandross and Joe Jackson, which turned out to be a strangely comforting place to nuzzle for half an hour. Grosvenor could easily be construed as an ironic novelty act but just about skirts around that trap-door by not putting on some sweaty fat lothario act like Har Mar. Plus his songwriting’s pretty watertight and Kravitz would kill for the guitar solo on “Nitemoves.”
On Sunday, Blue Flowers – a civilised monthly night held in the plush backroom of an upmarket pub in Chiswick – assembled an enviable triple-bill of prep-rock. First there was Bobby Cook and his band of school music room players in unfashionable trainers, making a lush, dreamy clatter that was a little bit Doves, a little bit Arcade Fire, a little bit Lloyd Cole (yep) and a lot like sadly-forgotten ’90s country-shoegazers Moose. For old saps like me on a Glastonbury comedown, it was perfect.
Loveable newcomer Eugene McGuinness sped through a set of witty anti-folk before Blue Flowers unveiled their prize catch: dazzlingly precocious youngsters Cajun Dance Party (there isn’t a music biz tipster in the country who hasn’t taken their bait) playing an acoustic set complete with string quartet. So far they’ve only released one single but their songs already sound like old standards, ripe for re-interpretation by feistily-bowed violins. Cajun Dance Party are at the stage where each gig they play is a revelation and this was another breathtaking leap forward. Ambitious but not pretentious, sentimental but never sickly, it was, in a word, stunning. Bet your house on these kids.