Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Just Handshakes - London Bound

I spent my University years in Cornwall, studying next to the beach, going for long walks on the cliffs, avoiding reggae (where possible), being awoken by seagulls every day and going to the kinds of house parties that would require clearing three whole days beforehand just to work on the fancy dress costume. I loved it, felt closed in by it, had some wonderful and some terrible times there, and never regretted the three years that saw me living in multicoloured houses and eat more beach bbq's than other forms of hot meals. But being so far away from everything and everyone certainly had it's downfalls, and I'd long for the rare weekends when I could jump on a train back to civilisation.

In my final year, thanks to some MySpace browsing I can across Twee As Fuck, a club night in London that opened my eyes to indie pop. Bands like The Pastels, Comet Gain, Shop Assistants, The Field Mice, Talulah Gosh and Dolly Mixture filled my record collection, all whispered vocals, tatty pop melodies and a fey sweetness that grunge, punk and other teenage favourites hadn't quite delivered. It's funny to think about it now, but those visits to London to Twee As Fuck gigs were like pilgrimages; I'd drag along a friend, and we'd sit quietly at the back in a room full of then strangers, sipping beers and soaking it all in, feeling as though we'd stumbled on something very special.

After moving to Brighton a year or so later, I realised that this wasn't the niche scene I'd presumed; it was everywhere, and I wasn't alone in my starry-eyed fangirl appreciation. There were Indie Pop Sundays, dance nights and zine fairs that all catered to this certain kind of music geek, and I continued to delve into the Peel sessions and 7 inches of the glory days.

Although there is by no means any kind of indie pop drought, it's been a while since I found a new band to fall for (not since Veronica Falls' first shared 'Beachy Head', anyway) but Just Handshakes stirred up those old memories of time spent on trains journeying to the big city. With the very apt title of 'London Bound', the Leeds' band's new single is a four and a half minute pop gem, with racing drums and intertwining guitar melodies that you can almost picture as being delivered by a cardigan-wearing Johnny Marr convert, echoing out under building synths and high reaching vocals, that pay tribute to bands past whilst keeping eyes fixed squarely on the here and now.

Having penned a deal with Bleeding Gold Records, Just Handshakes are giving away their new single for free, and I highly recommend you snap it up before the downloads reach their limit! A new album is also set to follow later in the year, so stay in touch...

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