Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “There Are Listed Buildings” by Los Campesinos! from their 2010 album Romance Is Boring on Arts & Crafts.
Those sound like bells but I believe it’s a glockenspiel -- which is sort of like a xylophone except the bars are made of metal instead of wood. Just a useless little musical factoid, from me to you, because I love you very much and I want you to do well in Trivial Pursuit. Anyway, the glockenspiel and this newest Los Campesinos! single “There Are Listed Buildings,” from the forthcoming LP Romance Is Boring (January 26 on Arts & Crafts), sounds pretty darn good. How’s that for assessment? I likey. The end.
So Los Campesinos! is a seven-member male/female contingency of musicians born in Cardiff, Wales. Well, wait a second... none of the members are actually from Cardiff but the band formed in Wales, so I suppose my previous sentence still rings true. Or not... the band was borne of Wales but none of the members are Welsh. Nevermind, it’s complicated (and nerdy). The important part is that these seven ladies and gentleman make some pretty catchy music that has over the span of their young (but prolific) career has been described as everything from pop to indie to twee to punk to emo. These guys sort of remind me of that part of early Bright Eyes (the angular and brilliantly erratic Letting Off the Happiness) and The Good Life (Black Out era) that reaches out for Robert Smith, but catchier and dash less emotional than your average Saddle Creek band. But just a dash, these guys coulda come from Omaha:
“And oh, I am a glutton for love, can you give me some romance? I’m a glutton for sin. We are but two atheists in lust, you know, we gotta make our own luck. There Are Listed Buildings and woe betide your listed heart.”
I’ll admit I had to hit up Dictionary.com for “betide” but I think what they’re trying to get across here is a simple case of sudden infatuation punctuated by the realities of separate and troublesome romantic pasts. Non-believers in search of a bliss they both believe to be fleeting. Simple human stuff here, wrapped inside energetic, quirky male/female (Gareth’s sister Kim replaced Aleksandra as of last summer) vocals and increasingly ambitious instrumentation. Guest appearances include Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls and Jherek Bischoff of the Dead Science –- the contributions of whom translate into a fuller sounding fresh collection of tracks. Well done, peasants!
In support of their new album, Los Campesinos! are about to embark on a two-month European tour. Hopefully, after that they’ll head Stateside. You can find out where they’re going to be by heading over to their website and MySpace page. For now, here’s the video for today’s Song of the Day: