Los Campesinos! - Hold on Now, Youngster...
Arts & Crafts, 2008
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2008
Los Campesinos! Was hands down my band of 2008. In full disclosure, I should say that 2008 was pretty much the worst year of my life. It was a year where nothing good happened at all. I'd started the year with a messy, messy break-up and by the end of the year I was still in the midst of this messy, messy break-up. Hence, as usual, I relied on tunes to get me through and Los Campesinos! Gave me two records to get me through (although "We Are All Accellerated Readers" pretty much sums it up). And they did it with charm and a smile. This record has all the misery of the great Sarah Records twee poppers with all the wonderfully bookish turns of phrase, yet there's a sense of joy running through this record (they learn to tone it down on We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, which was the one that REALLY saved me last year). This is music by music geeks with bad luck. Man, just listening to this makes me think about how bad 2008 was. I mean, no one died or anything like that and I didn't break any bones but all I can think about is this series of terrible replacement relationships that never worked and just ended up with me being an asshole. Now it all seems like a distant memory, and while I'm still aimless I'm not nearly as miserable. And thank god, this record isn't ruined for me. I still get the urge to dance around in my living room and I still laugh at my favorite lines (“Just don't read Jane Eyre!”) and get all sentimental on the sad ones (all of “Knee Deep at ATP,” pretty much). Sometimes I feel like this record is a little too long, and I was a little bugged by their recycling of previously released songs, but honestly this is an opening statement, and I think it's a damn fine one. They refined things with We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed and proved to be easily one of the most legit bands out there right now, and certainly the best band the UK has to offer right now (not to say that the UK has a shitty music scene, or that America's is better or anything like that, Los Camp are pretty much one of the best bands from anywhere right now). This LP release features a bonus disc too! It's orange vinyl and has the song “2007: The Year Punk Broke (My Heart),” which is just as excellent as anything on the record. Seriously, there isn't another band that is this ON IT right now. They've tapped into what is happening to young people, all the confusion of the digital age. Of myspace and final, fatal, live journal entries. The hyperactivity of it all, the everything at once aspects of it. And the thing is, they STILL have their finger right on the pulse of it.
And in a time when music videos usually feature boring footage of bands playing, Los Campesinos! understand that there is more to it (and comment on it!):