A new indie band is born every six seconds. The midwife squeezes them all into skinny jeans, combs their hair to make them look like right twats and teaches them how to look at a camera as if they’ve got lemon juice in their right eye. After a quick lesson in rudimentary instrument technique, they are provided with their required reading list and a small selection of ‘classic’ records and sent off to become interesting. And, the majority of these largely tedious arseholes get nowhere. Thank fuck for that, eh? Thankfully, it still seems like the good stuff can rise to the top, even if the people at the top have jizzed all their money away on promoting greatest hits albums by former reality TV show contestants who only had half a dozen hits in the first place and now can’t really afford to do much for new bands.
Frankie & The Heartstrings have not only risen out of the self-castrating trouser pool, but have recently put out a single of Rough Trade and seem to be drawing attention to themselves rather effectively. I recently posted the A side of that debut 7” as part of the Song Of The Day feature after reading a wonderful interview with them in the NME. I know I shouldn’t really recycle content, but I’d swiped it from that NME interview in the first place, so I don’t think I ever had the moral high ground. It was this comment, from drummer Dave Harper, which drew me in: “I could walk 50 yards from here and find 10 musicians who are a million times better than us, but fuck me they’re boring. There’ll be a band in Newcastle one of these days with so many fucking delay pedals you’ll have to stand in Hartlepool to hear them.” If there’s one thing Frankie & The Heartstrings are not, it’s boring.
From the ‘fuck it, let’s dance’ school of indie pop, they already some splendidly chaotic tunes to their name and I don’t doubt that they are capable of delivering a debut album to cherish. They’re not big but they are clever; Harper’s blog posts are capable of raising a smile from a manically depressed, long-term unemployed undertaker. Their own PopSexLtd imprint awards catalogue numbers to things with almost as much reckless abandon as Factory Records – the latest ‘release’ appears to be a drumstick. You can, however, download odds and sods, enter draws for gig tickets or plead for copies of incredibly rare mixtapes if you’re beady-eyed and a frequent enough visitor.
I would recommend grabbing yourself a copy of their self-released, six track live EP from the arse end of last year which comes in a tote bag with a fanzine, badges, a postcard and, an actual 10” piece of vinyl. It’s chaotic, it’s ramshackle and it’s the most fun I’ve had listening to an early recording of a promising new band since the Arctic Monkeys appeared. And I don’t think I liked them as much as this lot. There’s a bit of Roxy Music in the wavering vocal but also the astute, razor sharp pop sensibilities of Franz Ferdinand at times. Add in a bit of the early 90s navel-gazing, tinny indie ‘sound’ and you’ve really got something worth your attention. These delightfully generous chaps are actually happy giving away their music and if you go to their Myspace you’ll find an email address from which to request some music. It works! If you’re after either the live 10” or the debut single, I wouldn’t hang around: they’ll not be around for long. Unlike the band, I suspect.