July 20, 2007


Band of the Week: Los Campesinos! (Eric Lach, 15 Jul 2007 , Paste)

Los Campesinos! are a typical college band. First, a bar-stool conversation about The Decemberists inspires a few fellow students to start playing music together. On Wednesdays, they pack into a dorm room and jam out. Then they add a violin. They play some shows. Then they record an EP with a respected producer and get picked up by a label. Following graduation, they get ready to play Lollapalooza. Yeah, typical school-kid stuff.

“We were making these noises but we had no idea what it sounded like all together,” says Gareth Campesinos! (like the Ramones, Los Campesinos! have all adopted the band’s name as their own) about the group’s formation as a septet in early 2006. “It wasn’t until probably about our sixth or seventh gig that we had a decent set [and] we could actually hear what the songs sounded like all together.”

From the start, the group’s mission was to have fun and keep things loose. Both the music and the band show a sense of humor that undercuts pretension. Gareth, who sings and plays keyboards, brought a glockenspiel to his first rehearsal. “I owned a glockenspiel," he recalls, "and I thought, ‘How can I show everybody else that I’m the man they want to sing in their band? I know, I’ll take a glockenspiel; nobody else will have one.'”

For Los Campesinos!, the past 12 months have sped by in a way that justifies the exclamation point at the end of their shared moniker. In September, the band recorded four tracks with producer David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene). Initially, they planned to release the songs “We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives,” “It Started With A Mixx,” “Don’t Tell Me To Do The Math(S),” and “You! Me! Dancing!” as singles. But when respected Canadian label Arts and Crafts signed the group, Los Campesinos! decided to add two more tracks, including a cover of Pavement’s “Frontwards,” and package the songs as an EP.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 20, 2007 6:16 AM
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