Los Campesinos!

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Los Campesinos!
Los Campesinos - 2010.jpg
The band performing in 2010. Left to right: Kim, Neil, Gareth and Jason (Tom, Ellen, Rob and Harriet were present but not pictured)
Background information
Origin Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Genres Indie pop, indie rock, noise pop, twee pop
Years active 2006–present
Labels Wichita, Arts & Crafts
Associated acts Sparky Deathcap, The Ghost Frequency, The Pipettes
Website LosCampesinos.com
Members
  • Gareth Campesinos!
  • Neil Campesinos!
  • Tom Campesinos!
  • Kim Campesinos!
  • Rob Campesinos!
  • Jason Campesinos!
Past members
  • Ellen Campesinos!
  • Aleksandra Campesinos!
  • Ollie Campesinos!
  • Harriet Campesinos!

Los Campesinos! are a six piece indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales, formed in early 2006 at Cardiff University. Although the band formed in Wales, none of its members are Welsh. They released their début album, Hold on Now, Youngster..., in February 2008 and followed this up by releasing a record titled We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, in October that year. Whilst many consider it to be an album due to its length, the band have always referred to it as a 'record' or EP (extended EP),[1] for contractual and artistic reasons. Their second official album and third overall, entitled Romance Is Boring, was released on 1 February 2010. Their fourth full-length release, Hello Sadness, was released on 14 November 2011. The band's fifth album, No Blues, was released on 29 October 2013.

History[edit]

Formation and signing to Wichita: 2006[edit]

The group came together at Cardiff University in 2006, originally consisting of Neil Turner on guitar, Ellen Waddell on bass guitar, and Ollie Briggs on drums.[2] In March 2006, Tom Bromley joined the band, assuming the role of lead guitarist, later followed by Gareth Paisey – who became the band's principal lyricist – on lead vocals and glockenspiel, Harriet Coleman on violin and keyboard, and finally Aleksandra Berditchevskaia on vocals, keyboards, and melodica.[2][3] According to Tom, he met Neil after overhearing him discussing Sufjan Stevens at a club. The band's earliest compositions were long pieces in the style of post-rock, though no recordings from this era are known to circulate publicly. The word campesino in Spanish translates to "peasant" or "country person."[4] All members of the band refer to their surnames as Campesinos!.

The band performed their first gig on 8 May 2006 at a student union club night; they went on to play a number of increasingly well-received gigs around Cardiff. An early demo was recorded featuring the songs "Death To Los Campesinos!", "It Started With A Mixx", "Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks", and live favourite "You! Me! Dancing!". The songs were posted on the Internet, bolstering the popularity established by their energetic live shows and earning them airplay on Beth & Huw's evening show on BBC Radio 1 Wales. The band's reputation continued to grow, and in August 2006 landed them a slot supporting Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene In November 2006, the band were signed by Wichita Recordings.[5]

Début singles and Sticking Fingers Into Sockets: 2007[edit]

The band's original line-up in October 2007
Top row: Harriet, Gareth, Neil, Tom
Bottom row: Ollie, Aleksandra, Ellen

Wichita put out their first single on 26 February 2007, a double A-side featuring new songs "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" and "Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(s)". In April the band signed to Canadian label Arts & Crafts for Canadian and North American releases.[6] In June 2007 the band released "You! Me! Dancing!" on limited edition 7" coloured vinyl, which later went on to feature in a Budweiser commercial, accompanied by a handful of dates playing Bath, Newport, Cardiff and London. Around this time they were seen playing with bands like Sky Larkin, Nosferatu D2 [7][8] and Johnny Foreigner. Both singles (produced by Broken Social Scene collaborator Dave Newfeld) were compiled for North American release as Sticking Fingers Into Sockets, which was released on 3 July on Arts & Crafts. The band embarked on their first full UK tour in October, preceded by "The International Tweexcore Underground" single (released 15 October 2007).

Hold on Now, Youngster... and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed: 2008[edit]

A band. On the right are two male figures (Tom and Neil Campesinos!) with guitars. Central is a male figure (Gareth Campesinos!) with a microphone. To the left is a female figure (Ellen Campesinos!) with a bass guitar. In the background a drum kit can partially be seen.
From left to right: Ellen, Gareth, Neil and Tom performing

Their début album, titled Hold on Now, Youngster... was released in the UK on 25 February 2008 and in the US on 1 April 2008.[9] They also embarked on a European and North American tour in support of the album. The NME rated the album 6/10, praising its musicality but criticising its cohesiveness, but other sources, such as Pitchfork Media and Drowned in Sound, lauded it. They made their TV début on Tubridy Tonight on 9 February 2008. Two weeks after the release of the album, Harriet appeared on Blood Red Shoes' début album Blood Red Shoes, contributing violin on the track "Hope You're Holding Up".

On 1 August 2008, the band announced that a record titled We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed would be released before the end of the year, and the date later confirmed for this was 13 October, although that was later pushed back to 27 October 2008. The band explained: "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 ten all-new tracks that none of you have ever heard before." There are no singles to be released from the record, and its distribution is limited.[10]

In October 2008, the band performed around England, headlining the Shred Yr Face tour with support from No Age and Times New Viking. In April 2009, the band played in Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela, in their first South American gig.

Romance Is Boring: 2009–2010[edit]

Los Campesinos! recorded second official album Romance Is Boring in Stamford, Connecticut with John Goodmanson. The album was completed in June 2009. It was recorded in multiple sessions, with the second half of their North America tour in-between.[11]

In May 2009 it was announced on their blog that they had almost finished recording the album and that it was to be mixed in Wales in June. Two song titles were announced: "This Is a Flag. There Is No Wind" and "Straight in at 101".[12]

On 2 June 2009 it was announced via their website that Aleks planned to leave the band and return to her studies after a US tour in August.[13] On 24 June, they announced on their blog that the album was complete.[14] During 2009, the band toured with Rob Taylor, a musician who performs under the name of Sparky Deathcap. Rob has since become the official eighth member of the band during live shows, performing additional guitars, keyboards, percussion, and glockenspiel where needed.[15][16]

On 9 September 2009, the band released a song called "The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future" as a free download. A video was also made for the song which was directed by the band's bassist, Ellen Campesinos!.[17]

On 21 September 2009, the band formally announced that Gareth's sister Kim would be replacing Aleks as the band's keyboardist and vocalist.[18]

The band premiered their new single, "There Are Listed Buildings" on their website on 30 September 2009. On 25 October, they announced the name, tracklist and release date—February 2010—for Romance Is Boring.[19]

"There Are Listed Buildings" was voted number one by listeners of Dandelion Radio in the 2009 Festive Fifty.

The band's second official album, Romance is Boring was released on 1 February 2010. The title track was released as the second single from the album two weeks later to coincide with an extensive UK tour.

The band had to cancel their performance at the Culture Shock festival on the campus of SUNY Purchase and the first two dates on their 2010 US tour, as they were unable to get out of Britain due to the air travel delays from the aftermath of the 2010 eruptions of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull.[20]

On 11 May 2010, the band made their American network television début on Last Call with Carson Daly in which they performed "Romance is Boring", which was pre-recorded from their show at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles earlier that week.[21]

On 26 June 2010, Ollie Campesinos! announced that he left the band. Four days later, the band explained that all summer dates would continue as scheduled.[22][23] Just over two weeks after Ollie's departure, it was announced that the band would release a new EP entitled All's Well That Ends slated to be released on 19 July 2010. This is the first release to feature Rob Campesinos! and features reworkings of four songs featured on Romance Is Boring.[24] On 15 July 2010 the band played a show in London for Wichita Records 10th Anniversary with new drummer Jason Adelinia,[25] who had been the band's road manager and merchandise seller since 2007 and had previously been a member of The Ghost Frequency and The Pipettes' backing group, The Cassettes. They later posted through Twitter an image entitled 'The band Los Campesinos!' with both Rob and Jason present, suggesting both are now full-time members of the band.

Heat Rash and Hello Sadness: 2010–2012[edit]

On 9 December 2010, the band announced the launch of their quarterly fanzine, Heat Rash[26] and released a new Christmas song, "Kindle a Flame in Her Heart" as a free download through SoundCloud.[27] Each Heat Rash release is to include a fanzine, a limited edition 7″ and mp3s of exclusive Los Campesinos! music that will not be available elsewhere. The first Heat Rash release included tracks "Light Leaves, Dark Sees" and "Four Seasons".

The band also announced that they were working on their 3rd album to be recorded with 'We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed' and 'Romance is Boring' producer John Goodmanson in Barcelona during April 2011, with a release slated for later in the year. Gareth Campesinos! also announced that he would be working on a side-project with Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls and Freddy Rupert of Former Ghosts under the name of Crying. They announced at the beginning of May 2011, that the recording of the album had finished. In an interview with online music website, Skiddle.com, frontman Gareth Campesinos confirmed that the album would have a more direct and pop orientated sound.[28]

The track "You! Me! Dancing!" from their 2008 début album Hold On Now, Youngster was featured in a UK, US, and Canadian April 2011 Budweiser commercial.

In August 2011, it was announced that Harriet, the band's violinist, would be leaving the band on amicable terms in September 2011 to continue her studies.[29]

On 31 August 2011, the band announced their third album would be titled Hello Sadness. The album was released on 14 November 2011 in Europe and 15 November 2011 in the United States.[30] The album includes ten tracks, including "The Black Bird, The Dark Slope", which has previously been performed by the band during their live shows. The album was available to pre-order from the official Los Campesinos! website and blog, and exclusive to those who pre-order, came with a t-shirt, documentary DVD and a demo CD. "By Your Hand", the first single release from the album, was released as a free download on the band's website on 8 September 2011. The band followed this with releasing single "Hello Sadness", on 12 October 2011, a month before the album of the same name.

During November 2011, the band played several tour dates, across the UK, the US and two dates in Japan. Tour dates in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe were also played in early 2012, and the band performed their single "By Your Hand" on the Late Show with David Letterman on 20 January 2012.[31]

In March 2012, it was announced that Gareth would be performing as a part of Paul Heaton's performance piece The 8th for six performances during the summer of 2012[32] The band continued extensively touring, including an appearance on the Main Stage of the Reading and Leeds Festivals, and a headline-spot on the Lake Stage of Latitude Festival.

In May 2012, they released a new song, "Tiptoe Through The True Bits" on their official blog. The song was previously recorded as part of the sessions for Hello Sadness, however was not included from the album after the band decided it wasn't in-keeping with the rest of the album. In an interview with the NME, frontman Gareth also confirmed that they would begin work on their 5th album in early 2013.[33]

On 7 December 2012, founding member Ellen announced she would be leaving the band following their 15 December show in London. She gave her reason for leaving, in a lengthy, emotional blog post, as wanting to "try something new".[34] Ellen's final show also featured former member Aleksandra providing guest vocals during the encore. The band announced on Twitter that the show would be recorded for potential release as a live album.[35]

On 12 December 2012, the band released a new Christmas song called "A Doe to a Deer" as a free download on their website.[36]

A Good Night for a Fist Fight and No Blues 2013–present[edit]

On 24 April 2013, the band announced that they would be releasing their first live album, entitled A Good Night for a Fist Fight on 4 May. The album was recorded at their 15 December 2012 show at the Islington Assembly Hall in London, which was the final concert to feature bass guitarist Ellen Campesinos!.[37]

The group has announced that they would begin to record their fifth album in the summer of 2013.[37] The band's first recording of 2013, the song "Little Mouth", appeared on the soundtrack for the independent film Benny & Jolene (previously known as "Jolene: The Indie Folk Star").[38] Another song called "Allez Les Blues", which had previously been released as a Heat Rash-exclusive track, appeared on the Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013 compilation that April.[39]

On 21 August 2013, the band released a teaser trailer for their fifth album, No Blues.[40][41] The first single, "What Death Leaves Behind", was released as a complimentary download through Soundcloud.[42] This was followed, 8 October 2013, by second-single "Avocado, Baby", with its music video directed by Submarine-star Craig Roberts. No Blues was released on 29 October 2013.

The band announced via Twitter that they would be releasing an EP before the end of 2014.[43]

Band sound and influences[edit]

When the band first emerged on the indie pop scene, they were pigeonholed with the 'twee pop' movement, as a result of their lively, joyous music. The band have worked hard since their 2008 début, Hold On Now, Youngster, to shake the image of this. With their second recording, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, critics generally applauded the band for adopting a new, darker guise. This continued through their following two albums, though whilst expanding the band's instrumental sounds.

As a band, they have before claimed to be heavily influenced by Pavement, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices, Blur,[44] The Beautiful South, Xiu Xiu, Broken Social Scene, Built To Spill,[44] Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Pulp, Belle & Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields, Joy Division and The Smiths, amongst others. They also cite the literature of B.S. Johnson, obsessions with death, and football as their non-musical influences.[45]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions
UK US
Top Heatseekers
US
Top Independent
US
Top Rock Albums
2008 Hold on Now, Youngster... 72 45[46]
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed 112[47] 43[48]
2010 Romance Is Boring 92 3[46] 28[49]
2011 Hello Sadness[19] 43 3[46] 37 48[50]
2013 No Blues 39
  • Although having a full album length, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is considered by the band to be an EP.

EPs[edit]

Year Title
2007 Sticking Fingers into Sockets
2010 All's Well That Ends

Live albums[edit]

Year Title
2013 A Good Night for a Fist Fight
  • Released: 4 May 2013
  • Label: self-released

Demos[edit]

Year Title
2006 Hold on Now, Youngster

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK Singles Chart
2007 "We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives"/
"Don't Tell Me to Do the Math(s)"
  • Released: 26 February 2007
  • Formats: 7", download
Sticking Fingers into Sockets
"You! Me! Dancing!"
  • Released: 4 June 2007
  • Formats: 7", download
"The International Tweexcore Underground"
  • Released (download): 15 October 2007
  • Released (CD, 7"): 22 October 2007
  • Formats: CD, 7", download
#126 non-album release
2008 "Death to Los Campesinos!"
  • Released: 18 February 2008
  • Formats: CD, 7", download
Hold on Now, Youngster...
"My Year in Lists"
  • Released: 12 May 2008
  • Formats: CD, 7", download
2009 "The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future"
  • Released: 2 September 2009
  • Formats: download
Romance Is Boring
"There Are Listed Buildings"
  • Released: 2 November 2009
  • Formats: 7", download
2010 "Romance Is Boring"
  • Released: 15 February 2010
  • Formats: 7", download
"Kindle a Flame in Her Heart"
  • Released: 9 December 2010
  • Formats: download
non-album release
2011 "By Your Hand"
  • Released: 8 September 2011
  • Formats: download
Hello Sadness
"Hello Sadness"
  • Released: 21 November 2011
  • Formats: CD, download
2012 "Songs About Your Girlfriend"
  • Released: 19 March 2012
  • Formats: CD, download
"Tiptoe Through The True Bits"
  • Released: 30 May 2012
  • Formats: download
non album release
"A Doe To A Deer"
  • Released: 12 December 2012
  • Formats: download
2013 "What Death Leaves Behind"
  • Released: 29 August 2013
  • Formats: download
No Blues
"Avocado, Baby"
  • Released: 8 October 2013
  • Formats: -
"The Holly and the Ivy"
  • Released: 11 December 2013
  • Formats: download
non album release

Heat Rash singles[edit]

The following are singles released exclusively to subscribers to the band's zine Heat Rash

  • Heat Rash #1 (April 2011): "Light Leaves, Dark Sees" b/w "Four Seasons"
  • Heat Rash #2 (December 2011): "Dreams Don't Become You" b/w "I Love You (But You're Boring)" (The Beautiful South cover)
  • Heat Rash #3 (June 2012): "Allez Les Blues" b/w "Dumb Luck"
  • Heat Rash #4 (November 2012): "She Crows" b/w "To the Boneyard"

Remixes[edit]

Members[edit]

  • Gareth – lead vocals, glockenspiel (2006–present)
  • Neil – guitar (2006–present)
  • Tom - guitar (2006–present)
  • Kim - keyboards, vocals (2009–present)
  • Rob - multiple instruments (2010–present) (2009-2010, as unofficial touring member)
  • Jason - drums (2010–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Aleksandra - lead vocals, keyboards, melodica (2006-2009)
  • Ollie - drums (2006-2010)
  • Harriet - violin, keyboards, string arrangements, backing vocals (2006-2011)
  • Ellen - bass, backing vocals (2006-2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gareth Campesinos of Los Campesinos!|Music|Interview|The A.V. Club
  2. ^ a b Los Campesinos! « THE AWKWARD OFF
  3. ^ "BBC Wales: Los Campesinos! biography". 21 June 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Campesino English Spanish Translation|Traductor ingles español
  5. ^ "Los Campesinos! sign to Wichita". Drowned in Sound. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Arts&Crafts Sign Los Campesinos!". Spacelab Music News. 25 April 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Los Campesinos! — London — The Spitz — 5 March 2007|Songkick
  8. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » We're Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise
  9. ^ Pitchfork: Los Campesinos! Reveal Album Tracklist, Release Date
  10. ^ Los Campesinos on Wichita Recordings website
  11. ^ "Studio". 19 March 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  12. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » Studio News
  13. ^ "Nota bene". Los Campesinos!. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » OH YEH, AND SO…
  15. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » UK TOUR IS NIGH: SPARKY AND THE DEATHCAPS
  16. ^ Don’t tell Los Campesinos! that the glockenspiel isn’t fierce » North by Northwestern
  17. ^ Los Campesinos! Forum • View topic - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future
  18. ^ Kim Campesinos! and ‘There Are Listed Buildings’, LosCampesinos.com, 21 September 2009.
  19. ^ a b Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » Romance Is Boring
  20. ^ Iceland volcano puts damper on Coachella, Culture Shock festivals The Washington Post: Click Track, 15 April 2010
  21. ^ Watch This Adorable Los Campesinos Feature and Performance from Last Call With Carson Daly|The Measure
  22. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » Dry route to Devon, So great, like heaven, I think that we are losing a way
  23. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » On Ollie
  24. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS EP
  25. ^ [1][dead link]
  26. ^ Los Campesinos! » Heat Rash
  27. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » Kindle A Flame In Her Heart
  28. ^ Skiddle. Los Campesinos Interview: "We Didn't Even Think We Would Gig Outside of Wales." 2011.
  29. ^ Los Campesinos! » Blog Archive » Harriet
  30. ^ Los Campesinos! Announce New Album|News|Pitchfork
  31. ^ Los Campesinos UK tour 2012 announced [News]|Crack In The Road
  32. ^ Los Campesinos! Announce Tour|News|Pitchfork
  33. ^ Los Campesinos!: 'There's no point in bands like us releasing singles'|News|NME.COM
  34. ^ "Ellen: It's Been an Awfully Big Adventure". Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  35. ^ Los Campesinos official twitter account
  36. ^ "Blog Archive » ‘A Doe To A Deer’ (FREE DOWNLOAD)". Los Campesinos!. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Pitchfork: Los Campesinos! Announce New Live Album". Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  38. ^ "Los Campesinos! Facebook Update - Little Mouth". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  39. ^ "Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013 Allmusic review". Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  40. ^ "Los Campesinos! No Blues trailer". Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  41. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/52084-los-campesinos-announce-new-album-no-blues-share-song-what-death-leaves-behind
  42. ^ Los Campesinos!. "What Death Leaves Behind by Los Campesinos! on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Soundcloud. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  43. ^ https://twitter.com/LosCampesinos/status/502178860583383040
  44. ^ a b Los Campesinos! :: The 12 Records that Influenced Romance Is Boring|The Line Of Best Fit
  45. ^ Los Campesinos!|Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's
  46. ^ a b c Billboard - Los Campesinos! Chart History
  47. ^ Chart Log UK – Chart Coverage and Record Sales 2008
  48. ^ Allmusic - Los Campesinos!
  49. ^ Billboard - Romance Is Boring - Los Campesinos!
  50. ^ Billboard - Hello Sadness - Los Campesinos!
  51. ^ [2]

External links[edit]