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LOS CAMPESINOS!

Cardiff, Wales

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The music began to come together: "Glockenspiels, melody horns, cow bells, handclaps, Casiotone keyboards, silliness and indie snobbery were then thrown in to complete the mix," explains Tom.The music itself is an inventive, more charming British indie sound recognisable in a post-Libertines world with the saving grace of genuine intellect and humour. Oh, and top tunes help too.In June 2006 the band put the songs from their demo Hold On Now Youngster - You! Me! Dancing!, Death To Los Campesinos!, It Started With A Mixx and Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks - on their MySpace page, and alerted alternative music site DrownedinSound to their presence. Word spread quickly, and soon many blog writers were singing their praises, local gigs sold out and labels started taking an interest."We didn't send out a single demo without being asked by a label," they later said. "We've just got surprise and guilt at the fact that it was far too easy."The pick of their demos was the irrepressible You! Me! Dancing!, which quickly became their signature tune. It even referenced local indie disco night Twisted By Design, whose organisers put out the first official LC! release on their 2006 compilation. So far, so cosy.In November the band signed to indie label Wichita. "Wichita know exactly what we're about, they're just an awesome label," Gareth told DrownedinSound. "The first time they came to meet us, there was no business rubbish, they were just mates. Though, the main reason we signed with them was because they put more kisses at the end of their text messages than anyone else."The debut LC! single, the double a-side We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives/Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s), was released in February 2007. The 1,200 copies of the yellow vinyl 7" quickly sold out, though the band also gave away mp3s of both tracks on their website.Then came a spruced up version of You! Me! Dancing!, this time on red vinyl 7" and limited to 2,000 copies. It was released in June 2007, the same month the band members went full time after finishing university.Los Campesinos! also signed to Canadian label Arts & Crafts, who released the Sticking Fingers Into Sockets EP in July that year. It was produced by David Newfeld of Broken Social Scene and collated a selection of their prior recordings.February 2008 saw the release of their debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster on Wichita Recordings. It was released in America in April 2008, with international touring to support the release.Less than 10 months after the release of their debut, a second album - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - was released, also on Wichita. They told Strange Glue, "This is no post-album cash in. It's no B-Sides and rarities or 'songs that weren't good enough to be on the album cobbled together with some remixes and field recordings of Cardiff's indie scene'; it's 10 all-new tracks that none of you have ever heard before."In early 2009 the band recorded their third album, scheduled for release later this year. On 2 June 2009, a blog post by the band gave the news that founder member Aleks was to leave the band after an American tour, in order to pursue her studies.http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/los-campesinos/pages/biography.shtmlCore Members: Gareth, Tom, Neil, Ellen, Ollie, HarrietFormed in: 2006, Cardiff, WalesKey Albums: Hold On Now, Youngster... (2008) Los Campesinos! are a seven-piece Welsh indie-pop outfit best known for their exclamatory exuberance and smarty-pants lyricism. Taking their name from the Spanish for 'the peasants', the combo consists of a cobbled-together, co-ed line-up whose members all have kept their surnames secret. Like The Ramones before them, Los Campesinos! members all adopt the stage surname Campesinos.BackgroundWhen formed in Cardiff, in 2006, the budding band had the noblest of intentions. “It felt like the only music that was popular in the UK at the time was these post-Libertines, post-Strokes bands, and everything sounded very similar,” says guitarist/songwriter Tom. “We knew we wanted to do something that didn’t sound anything like that.”Tom was the fourth member to join onto Los Campesinos!, but, rather than settling on being mere quartet, the formative crew kept adding members. “It was just a case of: we thought violin would sound good, so we asked Harriet to join, and we thought some female vocals would compliment Gareth’s vocals, so we got Aleks on board,” Tom explains. “We never identified ourselves as that classic four or five piece, so it just seemed perfectly normal for us to add more people. It just didn’t seem strange that we had seven people.” BeginningsTaking their cues from Sonic Youth, Pavement (whose song "Frontwards" they'd go on to cover on Sticking Fingers Into Sockets), and Broken Social Scene, early Los Campesinos! gigs found them strumming irregularly-tuned guitars for long periods of time.“We messed about with long, brooding instrumentals at first,” Tom recounts. “In the early days, we’d play a seven-minute instrumental, and then we’d play a pop-song, and it felt really audacious to do that. But, eventually we realised that the instrumentals were the weaker songs that we were playing, so we started to ditch them, and swayed towards the more energetic, noisy pop. That just felt more honest to us; b’cause it was fun, and it was exciting to be in a band, and the music was just a reflection of that.”Gaining the affection of Broken Social Scene’s mixmaster David Newfeld, Los Campesinos! would record both their debut EP, 2007’s Sticking Fingers Into Sockets, and their debut LP, 2008’s Hold On Now, Youngster… in Canada. And both discs would end up being released BSS’s Toronto label Arts & Crafts. Though there are still hints of their sprawling instrumentalism —like the romantic outro of Hold On Now, Youngster...'s "2007, The Year Punk Broke (My Heart)"— for the most part Los Campesinos! can be identified as hyperactive indie-pop combo; they even proudly calling themselves ‘twee’.“We described ourselves as twee, and we recognised that there were twee elements to our band, and, now, we’re almost shackled with that term,” says Tom. Like any self-respecting twee combo, Los Campesinos! harked back to the legend of C86 in their rebellion against the moronic cultural monopoly of rock.“Initially, we tried to embrace the term ‘pop’, because that felt like the antithesis to the skinny jeans, post-Strokes punk that was being done to death at the time,” says Tom. “When we first formed late 2005, early 2006, it was the 20th anniversary of the C86 thing, so it was very sort of present; there were lots of compilations coming out to celebrate the anniversary.”ArrivalWith the release of Hold On Now, Youngster... early in 2008, Los Campesinos! found a largely-appreciative audience. In particular, the band were praised for the lyricism of vocalist/glockist(!) Gareth. On their album, his lyrics were filled with an unending collection of in-jokes and insider references to indie-pop lore. The singer showed he knew the cultural currency of wearing a “K Records t-shirt” and making crushed-out mixtapes, and peddled comedy via lines like “four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life” and song titles like "This Is How You Spell 'Hahaha, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics'".It was this lyrical comedy, and the energetic, many-membered explosions of their liveshows that Los Campesinos! took to the world. “From the start, we were kind of looking down on people who were striking cool poses; we just wanted to come across as normal, I guess, or as ourselves,” says Tom. “I guess the nature of the music is pretty shambolic, and there’s a lot of melodies going on at the same time. There’s not necessarily a lot of space; it’s seven people playing on a stage, and seven people playing all over each other.”DevelopmentsIn October 2008, just over six months after releasing Hold On Now, Youngster..., Los Campesinos! rushed out their second album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. "Despite Hold On Now, Youngster... being only 5 or so months old, we wanted to emphasise that this is no post-album cash in," the band wrote, in a statement accompanying the announcement of We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed's release. "Sure, we considered re-releasing a radio-edit of "You! Me! Dancing!" and trying to get famous and scraping another tour out of that, but our parents unanimously agreed that if we did they would never speak to us again."To support the release of the record, Los Campesinos! embarked on a UK tour where they were supported by two of their favorite bands of 2008: noisy LA duo No Age, and fuzzed-out lo-fi jam-kids Times New Viking.Los Campesinos!' third album, the typically verbose Romance is Boring, came bearing collaborations with members of Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu, and the Dead Science. It was released early in 2010.
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