Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Sam from A Layer of Chips talks to us about indiepop...

Sam Metcalf, writer of Nottingham-based fanzine A Layer Of Chips and lifelong indiepopper, gives us his thoughts on indiepop and the recent explosion of new bands:

One of the greatest things about the new indiepop explosion is hearing a new record or song for the first time. I write this is as the amazing debut release from Northern Portrait plays in the background. It's been a few years since I felt as excited about music as I am right now.

Living in the provinces of England, it's never been easy to find indiepop gigs or records, despite the best efforts of a small band or artisans in Stoke, Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham. But, after simmering for a couple of years, I think our new 'scene' (and I use that word because I'm lazy) all kicked off when a then unknown person (to me, I mean) sent me a copy of the Horowitz album.

Suddenly a whole new world of music opened up, both locally, and from all over the globe. In the Midlands,The Deirdres appeared out of nowhere to steal our hearts, Lardpony became the band they always promised to be, and bands like Mascot Fight and Mexican Kids at Home all charmed us at one time or another. Jyoti Mishra must be a very proud man sat there in Derby. Down in London, Spiral Scratch and Lost Music emerged around the same time, and started putting on great shows with alarming regularity and apparent ease. The Autumn Store people in Birmingham have managed to poke their heads above the city's stagnant pool of creative indolence, and Stoke is now, wonderfully, home to a regular series of pop gigs.

What's so special – to me at least – about the new indiepop revolution is that it's ours. It's not populated by fashionistas, or sponsored by the NME. Or a mobile phone company. Turn up to an indiepop gig and you'll just find warm, enthusiastic, friendly people for whom a day job is something that must be endured in order to go out and stand with 20 other people to see a support act on a Tuesday night. Oh, and the bands are pretty ace, too.

I don't think any of who go to the gigs, buy the music, put the gigs on, and write the fanzines and blogs think this is going to last forever – but that doesn't matter. Indiepop right now has brought together a group of like-minded people who just might be friends for life. You might see some of them at this year's Indietracks.

So, from A Smile and a Ribbon in Sweden, to Pocketbooks in London, over to The Besties in the US, pop music right now has rarely been better. Enjoy it whilst it burns brightest.

Thanks Sam! Copies of the special Indietracks issue of A Layer Of Chips will be available at the festival, but in the meantime, you can obtain the latest issue by emailing:

Next up: Tortoise Shout let us in on the secrets of stylish dressing, playing at swimming pools and touching Bobby Gillespie's bum - magic!

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