Photograph by Jon Bergman

Welsh septet Los Campesinos! are currently on the North American leg of their tour in support of their fourth album, Hello Sadness. Intrepid Ca Va Cool correspondent Kevin Kania caught up with guitarist Neil Campesinos! before their show at London Music Hall in London, Ontario to discuss growing up with fans, destination recording, and the pains of making a music video.

Kevin: You played Letterman last week, was that your network TV debut?

Neil Campesinos!: We played a show in Los Angeles a few years ago and they filmed it for Carson Daly, but that’s not as big a deal, is it? [With Letterman] we were absolutely petrified, it was without a doubt kind of like a highlight, felt like a big deal, we were just so nervous, you load in, rehearse in the morning, go away, and then you come back ten minutes before you’re on, and then all of a sudden, “and here’s Los Campesinos!” you play, and it’s all over in a flash. I was just shaking for the whole thing with no recollection. It was surreal. It just flew by, it was crazy.

Kevin: Gareth made some comment to Dave, I didn’t quite catch it.

Neil: He had a scarf on the stage for a sports team called the Welton Rovers, and David Letterman was like, “Oh, Football!” and Gareth’s like, “Well, soccer.” David said that was a little condescending. It was all in good spirits.

Kevin: Football does seem to be of huge importance in your songs.

Neil: We actually really wanted to get a foam ball for venues like this. They’re amazing to play in.

Continue Reading ‘Los Campesinos!’ Feature Interview »

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— , February 6, 2012    Comments Off on Los Campesinos!

Los Campesinos!

Continuing their relatively quick pace of making albums, Los Campesinos! have released their third album, Romance Is Boring, marking a shift from the teenage exuberance of their earlier albums to early twenties bitterness. Though Aleks Campesinos! left the group late last year to focus on her schooling, her vocals remain on the album. Unlike the newly added brass section, lead singer Gareth’s sister Kim will have to wait until the band begins their European tour next month for her debut as Aleks’ replacement.

I’m worried that the band’s prolificacy may be watering down the final product. This is their first album to feel overlong. There’s definitely some filler here, notably ‘Plan A’, whose shrieking vocals are just off-putting. It’s curious that Aleks left, since she seems to have a substantially reduced presence here in favour of Gareth. Her only lead vocal that I can recall is on ‘We’ve Got Your Back’, which is subsequently one of the album’s highlights. Speaking of Gareth, as main lyricist and singer, his sound is incredibly angry and frustrated on this album, as if his heart was just ripped out and placed in a blender. The darkness was hinted at on We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, but it can really get overwhelming on this record.

On the other hand, ‘Straight in at 101’ gives us the lyrical gem “We need more post-coital and less post-rock” and single ‘There Are Listed Buildings’ harkens back to a more optimistic Los Campesinos!, but it’s a sound that’s all too lacking for most of the album. In an interview with Pitchfork, Gareth claimed that his favourite records were about “shagging and death,” which were subsequently credited as being the themes for the album. Someone should tell him that combining the two is necrophilia, which is frowned upon. The oh-so-clever criticism being bandied about is that this album is boring. It isn’t, there’s always quite a lot happening musically, but the darkness really clashes with what we came to love about the band. Hopefully by their next effort they will have cheered up a tad.

Los Campesinos! – Straight in at 101
Los Campesinos! – There Are Listed Buildings
Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

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— , January 17, 2010    1 Comment

This year’s mixtape is ready for you to download. The two disc set is packed with 2008 favourites from all of our writers.

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 1

01. She & Him – Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
02. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
03. Chad VanGaalen – TMNT Mask
04. Bloc Party – Signs
05. Mystery Jets – Young Love feat. Laura Marling
06. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
07. DeVotchKa – Transliterator
08. Wilco w/ Fleet Foxes – I Shall Be Released
09. Wolf Parade – Soldier’s Grin
10. M83 – Graveyard Girl
11. Albert Hammond, Jr. – GfC
12. Vampire Weekend – Walcott
13. Brendan Canning – Churches Under the Stairs
14. Cut Copy – Lights and Music
15. Los Campesinos! – This Is How You Spell…

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 2

01. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
02. Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
03. Born Ruffians – Little Garçon
04. The Clips – Space Kidz
05. The Radio Dept. – Freddie and the Trojan Horse
06. Bon Iver – Re: Stacks
07. Lykke Li – Dance Dance Dance
08. Portishead – Machine Gun
09. No Age – Eraser
10. Plants and Animals – New Kind of Love
11. Bodies of Water – Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey
12. Fleet Foxes – Oliver James
13. Deerhunter – Never Stops
14. Santogold – Creator
15. Beast – Ashtray

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— , December 24, 2008    4 Comments

Born Ruffians

The year’s not over yet, but now is as good a time as any to look back on the past 12 11 months of music and highlight the stuff that shone the brightest for me this year. After a huge star-power filled 2007 that brought out releases from some of my favourite bands like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Interpol, 2008 was largely a blank slate for me. Outside of the new Death Cab for Cutie album, I wasn’t particularly anticipating anything, so the void was filled with a variety of releases from bands both new and old I discovered throughout the year. Mind you, I’ve likely missed out on a lot so far, so consider this list fairly fluid. Without further ado, the best of what I’ve heard in ’08.

(more…)

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— , December 2, 2008    4 Comments

“Death to Los Campesinos” is the first song on Hold on Now, Youngster…, the soon-to-be-released debut album from Los Campesinos!.

Those Dancing Days are a all-girl band from Stockholm. Here’s the video for the self-titled single “Those Dancing Days.”

To warm us up for the debut LP Morning Tide to be released in April, The Little Ones have released “Ordinary Song”, their first single seperate from their debut, the Sing Song EP.

“Waving Flags,” the first single taken from the third British Sea Power album Do You Like Rock Music?, continues their seemingly perfect streak of epic singles.

Delays deliver another dancefloor-filler with “Love Made Visible” from their new EP of the same title.

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— , January 26, 2008    1 Comment