The new British (Teen) Invasion
Will fresh-faced U.K. bands like Hadouken!, Los Campesinos, and Cajun Dance Party take the States by storm? Plus: A strong new CD from Editors, and other new stereo addictions
Teenagers. Once they knew their place: down the mines, delivering newspapers for 12 pence an hour or being sold as mail-order brides out of Thailand. But in London these days if, by the age of 14, you’re not a single parent with several ASBOs under your belt, a failed career as a size-zero model behind you, and a million in the bank from selling virtual skateboards on Second Life, you’re nobody. And as if they’re not happy holding happy slap-enforced martial law over our supermarket car-parks and running a lucrative black market in stolen iPods, the young people of Britain are hell-bent on conquering our rock music and dividing the critical nation.
To whit, this writer staggered off a plane from Nashville this week to find an NME office rent asunder by civil war the likes of which we have not been seen since the Great Andrew WK Riots of 2001. The cause: Hadouken! — not strictly teenagers, but close enough to have little use for a Gillette Max III — a band named after a fireball attack in Street Fighter that, suitably, plays music like a flaming comet blast in the face. Frontrunners for a host of impossibly young breaking bands such as Eight Legs, Los Campesinos, and Cajun Dance Party, they’re part U.K. grime impresarios (singer James Smith was previously known as Dr Venom, part of North London’s True Tiger grime crew), part rap-rock Rage-rs, and part the noises your Wii would make if you wired it directly into the sun, Hadouken! essentially sound like your PSP on PCP. ”Grime fakers!” yell the cynical old codgers. ”The New Music in day-glo cardigans!” yell the clued-in scene kids. ”Fight!” yells NME, and sits back to watch the scene kids win, hands down. When Hadouken! hits U.S. shores amid the usual British Invasion hype, for once you’d better believe it.
Because we know we’ve let you down before (we’re sorry we put you through the Darkness and Snow Patrol, and we will do it again; whatever anybody tells you, the truth is that only about 212 people in England actually like the Horrors). But of all the Brit hopefuls stumbling wide-eyed off the boat promising never to return until they’ve got Jay Leno on speed-dial, trust us on Editors: Oft dismissed as a pale British imitation of your already dreadful Interpol, their second album, An End Has A Start, plopped out of the post-bag this week, instantly sprouted eagles’ wings and flew around the office laying glittery alt.anthemic golden eggs. It’s all about death apparently. Let’s dance!
New addictions of the week: The Films (Strokes-esque pop), the sneak previews I’ve been getting of rough demos from Brendon Benson‘s current album-in-progress (the man clearly has the key to God’s own hook cupboard) and the Tiny Masters Of Today, who is Russell Simmons from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion playing drums for a girl/boy Sonic Youth-style garage duo who are — wait for it — 10 and 12 years old. Favourite lyric: ”You say up / I say down / You say smile / I say frown”. It’s like Sesame Street being brought to you by the letters D, E, V and O. Hell, talk about rocking the cradle…