It’s not a ‘scene’. Not unless the NME or their likes have got hold of it already. But even then, what would they call it? The new London folk scene? That doesn’t really tell you very much, and isn’t even accurate (though that didn’t stop them with ‘new rave’, did it?). ‘Scene’ isn’t really appropriate, because these bands don’t necessarily share that much in common apart from friends. I mean, there’s not a great deal of similarly between Johnny Flynn and Jeremy Warmsley apart from that they’re both male and a bit posh.
Even though it’s not a scene, someone should maybe do a Venn diagram or one of these Jeremy Deller-style things that shows the amount of decent young bands and artists in London just now, and how they all link together. Because the fact is, there are quite a lot of them, most of them are very good and they are all connected to each other in some way – whether it’s playing and recording, or just drinking. To give you a flavour, Emmy the Great sings backing vocals for Lightspeed Champion, who turns out occasionally with Florence and the Machine. The Mules contribute members to Fireworks Night who in turn share people with Johnny Flynn’s Sussex Wit. The first time I saw Flynn play, he was on violin duties for Emmy the Great. And so we could go on.
Whatever the case, this disparate but connected group of people now have a calling card, and it comes in the shape of a compilation CD which sprang out of a series of live events over the summer. As I reported at the time, it was something that for me was almost too good to be true. The Mules took it upon themselves to play a gig every week of July and August at the Big Chill House, and for each evening they invited two other bands or artists to support them. And thus a bit of a summer institution was born. It was pretty popular, but despite my excitement at the prospect, a newborn baby at home meant I missed out on all the gigs. But never mind – for me and everyone else who couldn’t go, there is now a nicely-selected compilation album containing some of the artists who played at these shows.
It’s a fine little thing, containing many artists already featured here on The Daily Growl including Flynn, Emmy, Lightspeed, The Mules, Fireworks Night, Napoleon IIIrd, Noah and the Whale and Eugene McGuinness. For some of these folks, this album provides a rare opportunity to get an officially-released track. Needless to say I love this album. But despite the familiarity, there were still some artists I hadn’t heard before – Jonquil, Tom Mansi & the Icebreakers and Left With Pictures, all of whom turn out to be pretty good too. So, something for everyone then.
Here’s a taster:
Download: Noah and the Whale – Beating
Download: Tom Mansi & the Icebreakers – When You’re Dead You’re Done
Buy the album from the Kartel shop, or download from emusic (with some different tracks). There’s also a neat deal at the Kartel shop where you can buy this comp and The Mules’ latest album Save Your Face for £12. That’s a top-quality bargain!