LOS CAMPESINOS! - Hold On Now, Youngster... CD (Wichita)

“I'm not Bonnie Tyler, and I'm not Toni Braxton” sings Gareth Campesinos! on 'We Are All Accelerated Readers', and unless either have suddenly begun to sound akin to Bis covering Pavement songs it's a pretty safe bet that he's telling the truth.

If you're a sensitive sixth-former desperate for a band to call your own and who thinks that the likes of Razorlight and the Fratellis are nought but yobbish cunts, or you're a 30-something indie-snob who believes that the advent of Britpop heralded an irreversible decline in the UK indie scene (and here at Hot Cuss we're somewhere between those two stools) then there's a lot to like about 'Hold on Now, Youngster...': slightly pretentious song titles ('This is How You Spell: “Hahaha We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics', for example), an old-skool DIY ethic (they've produced a cut and paste photocopied zine to give away on tour, an idea that their younger fans who've been brought up with the internet may find frightening and confusing) and lyrics that are perhaps not quite as clever as they think they are but sweetly endearing all the same.

It sounds like it should've come out a decade ago perhaps, but it's refreshing to hear young bands plundering the back catalogues of K, Sarah and Chemikal Underground instead of the Beatles, Stones and Pistols for the umpteenth time. It could be argued that it's not quite the amazing record that the singles promised – if you're not over-enamoured with their shtick it could be a bit of a slog getting through all 12 songs in one sitting, like eating 12 Wham bars in one go – but any album with an intro as splendid as that to 'Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats' can be forgiven almost anything. A fine debut then, but hopefully their subsequent releases will see them reach the heights that this record only hints towards.


ANTHEM RED - Dancing on the Dishwasher (The Company With The Golden Arm)

Without knowing the full story this might seem like a strange one. A bloke from Essex reviewing a Canadian band that are on a German label? Released in 2006? WTF indeed. But this record has recently grabbed me by the ears and demanded attention so much so that I am demanding yours: this might well be the best pop-punk album since 'Goddamnit' by Alkaline Trio. Maybe. Every song is amazing. The vocals are fantastic. The lyrics are sharp and memorable. And the tunes are huge. This band were born from the ashes of Sixty Stories who were good but this is a wholly different proposition. Truly awesome. If the proposition of Leatherface/Jawbreaker/Fifth Hour Hero tuneage done right floats your boat you simply must not go another second without hearing this. It's not the easiest record to get hold of in the UK but you can stream it here . Enjoy.


WHY? - Alopecia (Tomlab)

Latest effort from the former cLOUDDEAD man here and it's full of pleasant surprises. Taking on the form of a brilliant avant-garde mix of indie-rock, hip-hop, electronica and even pop it's quite overwhelming at first, but the strength of the tunes and the lyrical hooks (see: "Billy the Kid did what he did and he died" ad infinitum) keep you listening, and eventually it all starts to make more sense. Stand out tune for me though is the incredibly indie-pop Fatalist Palmistry which sounds more like Teenage Fanclub than any hip-hop and is a cracking tune. Why? Who cares when it's this good...



POLAR BEAR CLUB - Sometimes Things Just Disappear (Red Leader Records)

Decent debut album from these young Americans here. Sonically they're riding along the cusp of melodic rock similar to Hey Mercedes and punkish post-hardcore reminiscent of the much missed Small Brown Bike. They drop the ball on occasion; Another Night In The Rock is a misguided stab at radio rock that nearly hits Hoobastank territory via Glassjaw which is an odd combination. But the double whammy of the driving Hollow Place and the rousing The Bug Parade (loving the 'minutes away but miles apart' refrain at the end of this song) more than make up for it. They look like fun from the live footage I've seen as well... hopefully they can make it over to the UK at some point.


VIA AUDIO - Say Something (Side Cho)

Myspace gets a lot of stick but if it wasn't for the social networking site I would never have heard this band; I received a friend request from them a couple of years ago and was pleasantly surprised that they were pretty good rather than the usual dirge that would normally greet my ears. Via Audio have produced a really solid debut record here that reminds me of many great bands over the course of the eleven songs on offer here. From joyous boy/girl harmonies like Mates of State, through eerie Cursive-esque ballads and even Weezer style scuzzy rock, this is a criminally under-rated release and is deserving of your time for sure.