Dollars To Pounds: Pin-badge Of Honour

October 15, 2008

Every Wednesday our UK columnist Sam Richards gives you the latest and greatest in British rock and pop.

I didn’t go out this week, except to see Gang Gang Dance, who you guys already know all about. They were tremendous, although Tinchy Stryder didn’t turn up to do "Princes" (I should point out that Tinchy was never booked to rhyme with Gang Gang and is currently taking Stryderman to the provinces). Instead we got furtive poet Wolf Boy aka Matthias Connor. So anyway, here’s one of my periodic indie pop round-ups. Music trends may come and go but the flow of romantic, side-parted, library-dwelling, manifesto-penning, pin-badge-on-the-satchel, over-educated-but-culturally-disenfranchised jangly guitar bands has remained pretty constant in Britain since about 1981. Here are some of the keenest new practitioners of the art—they may never get beyond releasing a couple of 7” singles but then again that’s kinda the point.

Your Twenties

"Caught Wheel"

Five charmingly posh chaps from North London via Totnes in Devon with nice haircuts and even nicer sweaters, some of whom are also in Metronomy. In fact, they share Metronomy’s gawky funk impetus (although Your Twenties do it with real instruments rather than toyshop drum machines), and the overall combination of the music’s restrained, autumnal joy and the boys’ buttoned-down seminar-room chic finds them filed right alongside Erlend Øye’s The Whitest Boy Alive in the Dewey Decimal of indie cool. Behold! They write droll MySpace blogs about treacle tart and budget supermarket own-brand gazpacho!

Broadcast 2000

Joe Steer is another Devonian now living in London, maybe he could share a car down with Your Twenties at Christmas? Anyway, his elegant compositions, replete with gorgeously-layered vocals and chamber pop string arrangements, are ideal to accompany a stately procession around the grounds followed by a stern G&T. There are strong notes of Beirut, Patrick Watson and Johnny Flynn and enough raffish charm to make the whole embroidery team swoon.

Sky Larkin

This sportive Leeds trio have been doing the rounds for a while but they’ve only just got around to releasing their first proper single, on Wichita (I think they were finishing university or something, which figures). It’s called ‘Fossil, I’ and is marvellously redolent of something from 120 Minutes circa 1993. Some people have said The Breeders but I think we can do better than that. Tsunami? That Dog? Scrawl? The video is filmed in New York, consequently making the band look like the most English people ever.

Copy Haho

"You Are My Coal Mine"

Copy Haho think most other Scottish bands are a bit dour. There may well be some truth in that, after all, there is an Arab Strap-alike band in existence called The Twilight Sad. In contrast, this lot do sparky but heavy jangle in the tradition of those early Delgados records, plus they’ve got a nice line in insouciant but insightful lyrics similar to Good Shoes – “I am the shit on your shoe, you are the shit on mine” may actually be the most touching affirmation of mutual affection I’ve heard all year.

So what are all the bands from previous Dollars To Pounds indie-pop updates doing I hear you ask?

Bombay Bicycle Club are recording an album and gradually getting more and more late-period Dinosaur Jr. Yeah!

Cajun Dance Party
are suddenly looking all Jean-Luc Godard and touring glamorous locations in Europe while ingesting Sonic Youth’s back catalogue. Will they still be following up their debut album within six months as they ambitiously promised me last time I saw them? Don’t bet against it, these guys write songs quicker than my local pub pours pints.

Magistrates are out on tour with the hugely inferior Black Kids and will make everyone grin like idiots when they release new stuff in the '09.

Fryars played a gig in London last Saturday. I missed him ’cos I was at Gang Gang Dance but apparently he was butters. Plus as far as he know he hasn’t actually murdered anyone yet although it’s probably only a matter of time.

I really hope Pull Tiger Tail are still plugging away because they are tremendous chaps with a clutch of great songs who unfortunately got fucked over by their label. They released a single in June but since then their MySpace has been ominously quiet. If you’re reading, guys: email me, let me know you’re OK.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Posted: October 15, 2008
Dollars To Pounds: Pin-badge Of Honour