Los Campesinos! Got Your Back: Frank Sidebottom

LosCamplogoAs evidenced by both their music and exclamatory band name, the seven members of Cardiff, Wales’ Los Campesinos! are excitable boys and girls. The group’s third album, Romance Is Boring (Arts & Crafts), is an energetic, all-hands-on-deck dash through the pantheon of sharp indie pop and sloppy post-punk, gathering steam from Bright Eyes’ sense of emotional catharsis and Art Brut’s wry take on modern love. Try to gather all the influences brought to bear on Romance Is Boring by LC!’s seven-member army, however, and we’d be here all day. MAGNET spoke to songwriter Tom Campesinos! and guitarist Neil Campesinos!—all members (Tom, Neil, Ellen, Gareth, Harriet, Ollie and Kim) have taken the band’s surname—about the new album. Los Campesinos! will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with them.

FrankSidebottomGareth: Frank Sidebottom is a musician who came to prominence in the U.K. in the 1980s. Born in Timperley (near Altrincham) in the ’50s, he toured extensively around the U.K., initially with his Oh Blimey Big Band, performing original songs, many about Timperley, as well as his own takes on classics by revered British bands such as the Beatles and Queen. As his reputation grew, Frank became a regular on British television, hosting his own Frank Sidebottom’s Fantastic Shed Show and appearing as a guest on popular quiz shows, all the while still living with his mother, still in his childhood home, with her none the wiser as to how successful her first born was. All the time remaining a loyal and regular supporter of his local football team, Altrincham FC. Perhaps what made these achievements all the more incredible was the fact that Frank’s head is made of papier-mâché. I think Frank Sidebottom is a very British phenomenon. I’ve shown him to American friends before and never got the reaction I hoped for. When I toured with the band Parenthetical Girls in the U.K., as we drove into Manchester, I thought I could impress my friend Zac (a huge Anglophile and Fall fan) by playing Sidebottom’s version of the Fall’s “Hit The North.” (This video is all the more unbelievable because that’s Starsky & Hutch‘s David Soul playing keyboard and Paul Ryder of the Happy Mondays on bass.) It was met with confusion, nobody really quite sure of what was going on. I couldn’t even tell you what it is I love about Frank so much, but I can listen to his albums and genuinely enjoy them without a hint of irony. Video after the jump.