How Does It Feel To Be Loved?
An indiepop record label

 

Reviews of "The Kids At The Club"

 

The Guardian

Tip for Butcher Boy in the Guardian's Film And Music playlist:
"Smiths-indebted Scots who appear on a charming indie compilation, The Kids At The Club. This is their first release, but it's wonderful: if they've got other songs like this, more than compilation appearances await them."

Review by: Michael Hann
Guardian review here

 

 

Daily Telegraph

Twenty years ago, the NME compiled a giveaway cassette called C86, which chronicled the emergence of a pop movement it christened "indie". With band names like the Pooh Sticks and Half Man Half Biscuit, the scene soon became stereotyped and derided as twee, jangly guitar music for fey boys and girls with cardigans and bowl haircuts.

The nostalgia train for the anniversary is already in full motion, but the underlying simplicity and DIY philosophy of indie pop continues to be hugely influential on new bands, as reflected on The Kids at the Club. The sound hasn't moved on massively, and the ghosts of Morrissey and the Velvet Underground still loom large. But the names are inspired - Salty Pirates; Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - and the unsneering enthusiasm is endearing.

The compilation's standout track comes from the Swedish collective I'm From Barcelona, and their own debut album is full of more relentlessly sunny anthems. Made up of 29 friends and with a name inspired by Manuel from Fawlty Towers, they manage to create odes to building tree-houses, oversleeping and suffering from chicken pox that feature exuberant, singalong tunes, and have nothing twee about them. Enough to make you want to join their gang.

Review by Bernadette McNulty
Daily Telegraph review here

 

Plan B

Forget the forthcoming C86 revival at the ICA already. This is the real sound of the indiepop underground - a collection of 19 infectious, exhuberant and sometimes vaguely melancholy bands put together by London indie club, How Does It Feel ... Some names are familiar (Tender Trap, Fosca, Stars Of Aviation). Some names aren't (I'm From Barcelona's madcap pop, Salty Pirates' demented DIY take on Pavement). But all are brimming over with life and hope and the odd pint or 10 too many, and ... well, you can't say no, can you?

Review by The Legend!











Rough Trade

'The Kids At The Club' is a 19-track indiepop compilation from the How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club in Brixton. It's a fantastic selection of what's happening in the worldwide indiepop scene and comes across as a perfect companion to our own 'indiepop' compilation which mainly focussed on 80's bands. This album features Saturday Looks Good To Me, Voxtrot, I'm From Barcelona, Tender Trap, Lucky Soul, Butcher Boy, Wintergreen, Fosca, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and much more. It comes packaged with an eight page booklet, with sleeve notes and photographs from the first four years of How Does It Feel To Be Loved?. This is without doubt the best overview of 'indiepop' in 2006.

 


Yahoo Music


T
wenty years on from the release of the seminal C86 cassette - the pivotal moment when independent music morphed into indie thanks to the gloriously jangling sounds of, amongst others, Primal Scream, The Shop Assistants, The Bodines and The Wedding Present - "The Kids In The Club" compilation is a timely reminder that, just like that other quintessentially '80s genre goth, indiepop has continued to thrive and mutate and in this case to successfully drag shy, sensitive types away from the gaze of their Smiths posters and onto the dancefloor.

To its many detractors both past and present, indiepop was/is little more than a bunch of limp-wristed, fey shamblers too scared to rock and prepared to settle for diluted results but this is to miss the point. At its best, indiepop's combination of sugar sweet melodies and the gap between ambition and achievement delivers as much accidentally wonderful results as it does irresistible charm.

Lovingly compiled by the curators of London's best indiepop club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, "The Kids In The Club" is the genre's own State of the Union address as it assesses and celebrates its two decade lifespan, and if at least one thing springs from this collection of nineteen songs from today's exponents then it's the confirmation that indiepop is in incredibly rude health with a reach that spans continents.

Sweden, rapidly becoming the genre's spiritual home, is represented by wildly differing takes from the likes of the happy-clappy 29-piece I'm From Barcelona, the brass-driven Irene, Salty Pirates and the brilliantly named Suburban Kids With Biblical Names while, amazingly, America gets a look-in with Voxtrot and Saturday Looks Good To Me, Scotland contributes Butcher Boy while closer to home Shimura Curves' superb grasp of Stereolab's dynamics prove seductive and Lucky Soul's Mural Of Sound facsimile of Phil Spector induces goosebumps at fifty paces.

Ideologically and stylistically, the shadow of indiepop's spiritual godfather Morrissey looms large over this compilation; Fosca's "I've Agreed To Something I Shouldn't Have" is pure Moz, while Fanfalo's "Elephant Graveyard" is a rare disappointment as it fails to make the grade. However, at a brilliantly-timed 65 minutes, "The Kids In The Club" is a delightfully fluffy ball of loveliness that not only stands tall on its own merits but also acts as a fantastic accompaniment for that cardie that your gran bought you last Christmas.

Review by James Marshall
Yahoo Music review here



Pitchfork

This summer marked the 20th anniversary of the NME's C-86 compilation. The 22 songs on this mail-order cassette are so widely venerated for propelling cute, jangly indie pop -- yes, twee -- to cult popularity that it might as well be true. Never mind that the tape included plenty of raucous and discordant bands, or that C-81 was clearly better. It's far from surprising, but still twitterpating, then, that U.K. club night How Does it Feel to Be Loved? has chosen to release new indie-pop comp The Kids at the Club. Like its precursor, or our collective impression of it, this CD-06 (if you will) culls together a variety of sweet, bouncy, melodic and dorky guitar pop, with a few moments of quiet genius easily offsetting some modest flaws.

The aggressive wimpyness of C-86 and progeny is the focus here, but their awkward primitivism remains mostly lost down the memory hole. I'm From Barcelona's "We're From Barcelona" is, of course, the opposite of "lo-fi"-- a ska-speckled ode to joy (and friendship), sung by a choir of love/hateable Swedes-- and it's easily the giddiest indie-pop delight in recent memory. Other highlights are nearly as polished, though some groups, like Swedish goofs Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, tend to dirty things back up a bit. Shimura Curves carefully apportion electro-pop, Jesus & Mary Chain fuzz, and bilingual romantic confusion on sparkly "Noyfriend", while fellow Londoners the Gresham Flyers toy with panning synth effects amid the boy/girl harmonies of "Blackpool". Elegant string arrangements and hushed Belle & Sebastian vocals on the Butcher's Boy's "Days Like These Will be the Death of Me" lead into a bath-draining guitar outro straight from Blur's Modern Life is Rubbish moper "Resigned".

Indeed, another difference between The Kids at the Club and the indie-pop canon is the very nostalgia entailed by such an endeavor. The Pastels, Talulah Gosh and the Field Mice all had obvious influences, but true to press-release cliché, they carved out identifiable sounds of their own; here even above-average bands sometimes seem like worshipful echoes of yesterday's heroes more than exemplars of today's greatness. Austin's Voxtrot basically take the rhythm and vocal tics of the Smiths' "This Charming Man" and leave out everything that might be awkward during dorm room intimacy: "Don't call me boring/ It's just 'cause I like you." London-based Lucky Soul jack much more than a beat from "Be My Baby", and their ebullient "Give Me Love" suffers for the comparison, while Language of Flowers' "You're the One" would be one of the few tracks here wispy enough for Sarah Records if it weren't just like the Cure's "Just Like Heaven". A true pop kid might not mind, but a critic wants more.

Nevertheless, The Kids at the Club is a fine introduction to current indie-pop up-and-comers, complete with detailed liner notes. Both longtime followers of the scene and curious newbies will all likely find their own tracks to love, from Swedish 60s obsessives Irene's Jens Lekman-esque "Stardust" to Manchester-based Amida's "Virtue Was Your Downfall" with its Easybeats guitars, to synth-led London group Fosca's neurotic rallying cry "I've Agreed to Something I Shouldn't Have". The beloved Amelia Fletcher, who fronts Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, even makes an appearance with her current group, Tender Trap, declaring independence amid the Pixies-like loud-soft of "Ampersand". The more indie pop changes, the more it... "Oh well," the Wedding Present sang to end the original C-86, "I hope you understand."

Review by Marc Hogan
Pitchfork review here

PopMatters

The most fervent music-critic discussions during the last few years have been overly concerned with “rockism” versus “poptimism”, with presuming the supremacy of authenticity versus frivolity, with assumptions about what’s important. And more often than not in those debates, “indie” is considered representative of the former camp, somehow an outgrowth of Rolling Stone-like dinosaurdom. But where does indie-pop fit into that divide? What to do with music that’s synth-based as much as guitar-based, that values freshness of style, that tilts towards sensitivity and romance more than aggression, and that bears the influence not just of guitar-based groups like the Go-Betweens and Felt but also of ‘50s vocal groups, Motown, and northern Soul? It’s clearer than ever that “indie” is no monolithic category, but it’s still so often used that way by critics.

But that’s all about semantics, taste disguised as objectivity, and territory warfare. It has little to do with going to the club and dancing all your cares away, with staying out late and getting down to the music of today and yesterday, with old friends and new. That’s what The Kids at the Club: An Indiepop Compilation is all about, and what it attempts, absolutely successfully, to emulate in the form of a CD.

How Does It Feel to Be Loved? released this compilation as an extension of the indiepop dance nights that they’ve been putting on in London. Label head Ian Watson’s liner notes paint a picture of parties where pop fans dance to music they know and love already, but just as often to music they’ve never heard before. He may get a bit carried away with a tone of self-congratulation while describing playing a new song by an unknown Swedish band, the Salty Pirates, and having the crowd go crazy. But the appeal of that scene is so clear that it’s easy to excuse the giddiness. There’s nothing like hearing a fantastic pop song—catchy beyond compare and filled with energy—for the first time, and there’s nothing like a setting which encourages that to happen.

The story of How Does It Feel to Be Loved? is one of heartfelt love for new music, and this CD is filled with the same. It’s sequenced like the most obsessed-over mixtape, one where the creator stayed up nights figuring out the best songs to select, and the perfect order to put them in. It opens with Voxtrot’s “The Start of Something”, for my money, it’s one of the best singles of the last few years: lovelorn, jaunty, filled with sweetness and absolutely addictive. And two of the most enticing new songs of this year follow it: the joyous sing-along “We’re From Barcelona” by 20-something-member ensemble I’m From Barcelona (who’re from Sweden, actually) and “Stardust,” a happy and at the same time melancholy hustle by Irene, also from Sweden. And it just keeps going from there. All of the 19 songs are impeccably crafted and sport a fresh demeanor. Most of them will be brand-new to all but the most devoted music fanatics… and even to them, really. A few have been released before but most have not.

There are a handful of Swedish bands represented here, but that’s to be expected considering how many great new bands seem to be coming from that country with each passing day. The Kids at the Club closes with one of the most exciting: Suburban Kids with Biblical Names contribute another song of the year contender, “Seems to Be on My Mind.” It’s loose and dance floor-ready, and carries a theme of obsession, completely appropriate in this context. 

Sweden’s not the only country delivering fresh sounds, though. Most are from the UK, and there’s a couple from the US. The bands’ styles tilt overall toward the melodic, on a joyous spirit, and love/heartbreak/infatuation-centered lyrics. But it would be a mistake to lump them all together under too descriptive of a single category. Listen and you’ll hear everything from a great contemporary take on a girl groups ballad (by Lucky Soul) to several horn-laden, shout-to-the-stars sing-along pop-rock tunes. The years go by, bands come and go, but the feeling you get when you discover a great new song, the way it taunts you and haunts you and chases you around, is irreplaceable. The Kids at the Club is filled with songs like that, with songs that in their two or three minutes make you feel like new music is something worth caring about, like there are still songs out there worth falling head over heels in love with.

Review by Dave Heaton
PopMatters review here

Playlouder

Oh indiepop, you were my first love - well, apart from a 7" single and book version of 'Puff the Magic Dragon' that is - and I've been shaking my beer soaked trousers as tenderly as possible on dancefloors to gently thrumming guitars and twee melodies since the early nineties. Fads and trends might come and go, but nothing feels as warm and familiar as the sensitive embrace of some nice indie pop. I'm not ashamed and, despite what the fashion Gestapo tells me, there's really no reason I should be.

And judged from the grinning mug shots of the punters at London's legendary (well, that's what it says on the press release anyway) How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club that stare out from the inlay of this compilation, there's plenty of people who feel the same way. This might even be the sound of an underground revolution, albeit a revolution wearing a nice sensible cardigan. The lead-off track, supplied by the soon-to-be ubiquitous Voxtrot, certainly sounds fresh and new, even while it pays perfect attention to all the well-worn and quite rightly revered references points. Its pure hum-able immediacy will make you sit up and take notice, that's for sure. It's even called 'The Start of Something', which is handy.

Truth be told though, if there is a revolution being showcased on this compilation, it's happening in Sweden and it's making the most sublime orchestral pop music. The much buzzed-about We're From Barcelona might sound just like The Polyphonic Spree to the uncaring cynic, but to me, their anthem 'I'm From Barcelona' sounds like the feel good hit of the Autumn. And from here on in, the sweet sounds just keep on coming. A brass and handclap pop bullet called 'Stardust' from a band called Irene, A ramshackle-Daniel Johnston-esque strum along from The Salty Pirates, and Suburban Kids with Biblical Names, who sound just that little bit like Dexy's, but in all the right ways. This, of course, is the same Sweden that brought us all those great early Cardigans records that we couldn't believe sounded more British that we did, even though we lived here. Swedes just seem to have a knack of looking at a stale piece of Anglophone culture and re-inventing it a fresh, in a way that we'd probably never think of. The benefits of being outside looking in, I guess.

Britain is pretty well represented here too, with bands like Butcher Boy, Fanfarlo and Stars of Aviation comfortably punching their weight amid the inventive foreign imports. All in all, this compilation is 19 mighty fine reasons to be cheerful about the oft' much maligned genre of indie pop, and there's not a Belle and Sebastian re-issue to be seen; the torch has been passed and it's in safe hands. "How does it feel?" "Bloody joyous! 'Ere, have I ever I told you, you're my besht mate?"

Review by Merek Cooper
Playlouder review here


Amazon

After building his London-based club How Does It Feel To Be Loved? (a Velvet Underground lyric) into a haven for library-dwelling indie fans and soul aficionados alike, music journo Ian Watson has created a similarly-named record label that reflects his love of melodic guitar-pop (The Smiths, Orange Juice, Belle & Sebastian etc), and to showcase the current crop of talented indie bands filling mid-size venues throughout the UK. This debut compilation covers both bases superbly.

The album is much like a night at the club (complete with photos of regular attendees throughout the booklet)-- a satisfying mixture of varying styles and hidden treasures; Voxtrot's opening track has distinct echoes of The Housemartins, The Stars of Aviation's contribution is charmingly laid-back, while The Gresham Flyers' combine Beach Boys harmonies with a new-wave chorus. The common theme is the emphasis on melody and hooklines, and acts as a welcome relief to the bombast of commercial indie music.

Not all of it works (Fosca's track is perhaps a Pulp pastiche too far) but when the highlight contributions from Wintergreen and Strange Idols take wing, it's truly essential. This is the top contender for compilation of 2006, and a good indicator of future stars.

Review by Thomas Allott
Amazon review here


HMV

Twenty years after the release of the seminal 'C-86' cassette, London club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved? has released its own generation-defining compilation, 'The Kids At The Club'. Like 'C-86', this album takes a snapshot of an underground scene defined by jangly guitars and pop purism, and like 'C-86', 'The Kids At The Club' finds that scene in extremely rude health.

A love for upbeat melodies and unforgettable choruses abounds here, with the likes of Voxtrot, I'm From Barcelona and Lucky Soul contributing indie pop anthems every bit as uplifting as This Charming Man or The Boy With The Arab Strap. There's emotional depth too, with Butcher Boy offering an elegiac take on literate indie pop, and Pocketbooks crafting the most lo-fi symphony ever committed to tape. With acts hailing from Sweden, America, Scotland and England, this is a truly international release - more of a statement than a simple compilation. If you care about independent music in 2006, then you need this album.


Tangents

I’ve known about the How Does It Feel To Be Loved club event for some time. The kids who organise it post on the Belle and Sebastian Sinister list, and really there is a lot that ties them to the aesthetic that seems to have grown in the oh-too-many years since a gang of geeky cardie wearing funsters started posting scary messages about a troupe of gawky Glaswegians with Postcard fetishes. That I’ve never been to an event is neither here nor there. I’m not much one for murky clubs or pubs these days and anyway I never seem to be in London on coinciding dates. My heart, nevertheless, resides there most assuredly. Certainly reading the sleevenotes to their first compilation CD, the very fine The Kids At The Club, feels like a journey into my own past, present and future. They are like those wonderfully silly wee Ink Polaroids that we all used to post to Sinister, and they make me smile almost as much as the sounds collected on the CD, which really is a splendid who’s who of the best in contemporary underground Pop sounds. Tender Trap, Voxtrot, Irene, Language Of Flowers, Fosca, Strange Idols, Stars of Aviation, We’re From Barcelona, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names… I could go on. And if there seems to be a preponderance of Swedish acts in there, then that is surely as it should be, for those Swedes sure know how to make the most delectable of Pop rackets. There is a special CD launch show on September 8th featuring the rather delicious Lucky Soul, who manage to sound like some magical confection that sprinkles Pipettes icing sugar over a fine ‘60s Beat noise meets ‘90s St Etienne soundtrack. Also on the bill will be Language of Flowers, The Gresham Flyers and the very ace Irene from Gothenburg. If it wasn’t the first Friday back at school and the fact that I will likely have a weekend of preparation to attend to, I would be sorely tempted to be there. Hopefully you wont have any similarly flimsy excuses.

Review by: Alistair Fitchett
Tangents review here



Glasswerk


It’s a Friday night in Brixton and the indie kids are out in force. The uniform is feyness, the attitude is corduroy.

Although it’s never said, it’s directly implied that you’re only really allowed in if you’re wearing a badge, preferably from a band long since deceased with only very limited editions of much of their back catalogue. Call me flippant if you will, but I mean this in no derogatory way, this is a club night I have a penchant for. I can think of no better way to spend an evening than shuffling my feet while navel gazing (or to combine the two one could use the common, if overused phrase, ‘shoe gazing’) with other boys and girls of an especially shy manner, with as equally impeccable musical tendencies (not to mention tank tops) as my own. It’s really no wonder that this night in Central London is such a hit with the geeks and hipsters alike; the music is the most wonderful indiepop around - designed to break your heart and make you dance in equal abundance - that directly speaks to not just the boy too shy to ask out the girl from Human Resources, but also the cool indie rock chic who knew her Pastels from her Field Mice long before you even knew what C86 stood for.

This is a compilation cd of such a night - How Does It Feel To Be Loved? Or to the regulars, HDIF. A night of sweaty, flailing arms, Magnetic Fields and an all-pervading joy at the realization that there exist other people who too love to dance to this jingly, handclapping, uplifting and at the same time soul-destroying, genre of pop.

Voxtrot’s “The Start Of Something”, epitomises all these things. Imagine what The Smiths might have sounded like if Morrissey had been in love with anyone other than himself, and you would have this bittersweet tale of love and uncertainty. The track fools you with its upbeat tempo, because the lyrics and piano arrangements are so poignant it’s almost tear-inducing:

“Come see me, I’m only a love-letter away”
“If I die clutching your photograph, don’t call me boring, it’s just that I like you.”

This is what indiepop is all about; dancing through your heartbreak and tears, with a shy yet self-assured indifference to what others may think of you for doing so. The songs are overtly melancholy and nostalgic and yet buoyant and enthusiastic; a necessary, if temporary, relief for a broken heart far from on the mend. The lyrics and tone reflect back your downheartedness at being rejected or your uncertainty about new love; the beat making your feet move so fast you are distracted momentarily from the meanings of the words you are mouthing along to. This album is for all the truly hopeless romantics; long may we live.

Review by: Rosie Allabarton
Glasswerk review here


Lostmusic

I have recently achieved a near 4 year ambition. I actually got my lazy arse to a How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club night (or HDIF for short). What's one of those? It's basically a club that focuses on quality indie pop, northern soul and Tamla Motown. I wasn't disappointed at the night and luckily for me I managed to buy a copy of the soon to be released in the shops compilation on the newly formed HDIF record label.

So this is one of those compilations where I knew 2 or 3 of the bands that were on it, and had I not just had a great night out, I might have been reluctant to splash the cash on some unknowns. But after having such a good night at the club I was more than happy to cough up a tenner for a 19 track compilation.

The next morning, with the obligatory hangover, I popped the CD in the player. And it wasn't long before the aches in my head were banished. The CD was like a delicate ray of sonic sunshine. What you get for your money here is some of the freshest, happiest, sadest indie pop of the current times. Highlights? I'm From Barcelona with 'We're From Barcelona' was an instant hit and the grin it first produced has not diminished in the past few weeks.

What the CD does for the un-initiated is simple - It opens doors to new bands and gives you a reason to max out yet another credit card hunting down elusive and limited 7" singles (or just trying to buy their regular LPs!) from these fabulous bands. Inevitably a few of these bands seem to be Swedish.

So what is the sound of The Kids At The Club? - you get the jangly happy clapping indie sound (Saturday Looks Good To Me, I'm From Barcelona amongst many others). You also a more soulful edge to some of the songs (Lucky Soul, Pocketbooks) . The influence of Belle And Sebastian looms large on many of the bands featured. This is no bad thing. The old school are also represented by the appearance of Tender Trap (their singer Amelia Fletcher was once a member of twee darlings Tallulah Gosh). I really can't fault this compilation. There's not a duff song on here. The Butcher's Boy - "Days Like These Will Be The Death Of Me" is probably my current favourite. But this does tend to change day by day. As so many of these bands warrant further investigation.

This is quiet simply one of my LPs of the year. Compilation or not. It hangs together beautifully. The love and enthusiasm just oozes out of the speakers, which is credit to the way the compilation has been compiled. It's also comes with a beautiful booklet about the club and how it grew and became a record label. Essential.

Review by Trevor McCabe
Lostmusic review here


Flavorpill

Over its four years, bi-monthly club night How Does It Feel to Be Loved? has wrested indie away from self-pitying nostalgia while helping to break the likes of Guillemots and the Pipettes. Club policy also includes soul and Motown, though organiser and now record-label boss Ian Watson concentrates on contemporary underground pop. To compete on the same week of release as M. Ward and Krafty Kuts, the 19 tracks on this compilation needed to be very good. Point taken. Hotly tipped Texans Voxtrot kick things off with buoyant Smiths-play-Byrds gem "The Start of Something"; Lucky Soul contemporise the shoo-wop '60s girl-group template with the emotionally charged "Give Me Love"; and the trumpet-driven Fanfarlo track "Elephant Graveyard" soothes the lost innocence of a new generation of geeky sweethearts. The highlights go on and on as this jangly, intoxicating record asserts its greatness on this and any other week of 2006.

Review by Joe Rudkin
Flavorpill review here


Teletext

London indie/Northern Soul club HDIF has had guest DJ spots from Norman Blake and Stuart Murdoch. Its first compilation stars unknown new bands. A superb array of bedroom glamour (Fosca, Strange Idols) and joyful, brassy stomps (I'm From Barcelona, Salty Pirates, Voxtrot) to charming lo-fi dreamers (Pocketbooks, Butcher Boy), any of these 19 acts deserve stardom.

Danceable mayhem, no matter what your favoured genre. 8/10

Review by John Earls

 

Disorder

If you want joy and you want to dance with gay abandon then the `How Does it Feel to be Loved?’ club night is the one for you. So not surprisingly this compilation put together by the label of the same name, is duly dedicated to the kids at the club, where damaged poets in ‘Meat is Murder’ t-shirts groove to Felt, The Field Mice and The Go-Betweens like Oasis never happened, and totally in tune with this ethic. An ethic which would make Butcher Boy Prime Minister with a cabinet made up of dandy fops - Stars of Aviation in charge of foreign policy and Shimura Curves as joint ministers for relationships, uniting to over haul MOR America with the brilliant fuzzed-up early Pavement of Salty Pirates.

Within this far reaching compilation of strangely named bands from Sweden, America, Belfast and London’s Bowlie online community amongst others, there are flashes of glitter and the inevitable influence of Morrissey and northern soul with the likes of Irene and Voxtrot and the tender visions of “umbrellas in the spring rain” from Tender Trap. Lucky Soul offer fragile moments which sound somewhere between The Ronettes and Sandie Shaw and Wintergreen are a swirling ball of energy oozing soulfully like The Pastels jamming with Teenage Fanclub. There are the delicious regrets of Fosca and Strange Idols and The Gresham Flyers who offer us a hybrid of The Psychedelic Furs with a hint of The The, a questioning of virtues from Amida and the sultriness of Language of Flowers.

You can imagine this album as a staple for any DJ who actually remembers there being an Indie chart and who wants to offer up some resolutely underground songsmith-ery to cut through the pomposity and general dick sucking of the dance floor fillers of today’s’ T4 megastars. These are generally beautiful tunes that make it even more annoying when you consider that impressionable young things are being spoon fed shit like Keane and Snow Patrol when there are brilliant young groups like Fanfalo and Suburban Kids with Biblical Names making string laden Indie pop nuggets which would melt Leonard Cohen’s heart.

Perhaps the most electrifying moment of the album is in the majesty of brassed-up Swedish 29 piece ‘I’m from Barcelona’ bringing a touch of Polyphonic Spree to The Arcade Fire’s template of rousing symphony and not even one dead relative can spoil that party. Over 19 tracks of whimsy, inventiveness and great melodies this is an album which everybody who professes to like good music should get, with tunes and melodies which will satisfy the sweet tooth of even the most miserable of bastards. Enjoy. 9/10

Review by Gareth Hughes
Disorder review here

 

Maps magazine

Across London town, from Cockfosters to Clapham Common, Friday evening text messages wing their way across the Thames: “HDIF tonight?”, a two-word request for company to a nightclub where company isn’t needed. HDIF (How Does It Feel To Be Loved, to the uninitiated- including me) is a fortnightly oasis of engaging tweedom cast ashore in the marshes of Brixton and Cavendish Square. Run by the ever affable Ian Watson, ex-Melody Maker scribe, the club is strict on its music policy: no punk, no rock, no metal, no grunge, no contemporary haircut indie, no Lionel Blair, no Noel Edmonds. What’s left is a melange of indie and soul, The Smiths to The Supremes, where librarian chic and Erasmus-student geek cohabite like two unloved chocolates at the bottom of a Quality Street tin, secretly loving their privacy and having themselves a coffee-flavoured blast. I. Urge. You. To. Go!

Anyhow, Monsignor Watson has gone and compiled a list of bands of varying degrees of insufferable tweeness for his new label. It all starts sumptuously enough, Voxtrot and Irene nursing your alcoholic’s Monday afternoon hangover splendidly, the former a timeless ode to Love, the latter a Swedish collective that sound like The Concretes fronted by Mark from Peep Show. Luckily for the listener, this compilation climaxes at various stages. Firstly, Lucky Soul’s “Give Me Love”, a spectacular petri-dish composition of 60s heartbreak: it trots, then canters, then gallops headfirst into the veins of anyone within earshot. By rights it should be number one every week for the rest of eternity. And it’s a B-side! It also confirms the universal truth that every song with a Phil Spector tom-tom-roll intro is the shizzle. Secondly, Salty Pirates’ “Black Minds, White Lies” jumps about like an octopus playing Pavement covers....

...Meanwhile, the last track by Suburban Kids With Biblical Names isn’t so much a breath of fresh air as sticking your head out of an articulated lorry full of mints. At 100mph. On the Golden Gate bridge. Whilst smoking a menthol cigarette. It’s a dot-to-dot mini masterpiece of lo-fi drum whacks, banjo builds and hiccupy bonhomie. And it makes me want to go to this club. I’ll be the one at the front, weeping into my Isley Brother’s handkerchief, rattling my empty chocolate tin at the beauty of it all.

Review by Chris Field
Maps review here


Sounds XP

Lovingly put together by Ian Watson, the curator of the splendid How Does it Feel To Be Loved club nights, this is a marvellous collection of songs by current fey acts who have sought inspiration from the indiepop sounds of the mid to late 80s. These weedy cardigan sleeve chewing souls glory in their tweeness. Vocals are frequently off-key or understated, perhaps proudly so, and one suspects any use of the word ‘shambling’ to describe the musicianship here would be met with a smile rather than offence. Indeed it’s the melodies that count, little jangly jewels that are in evidence by the truckload. Delightfully whimsical riffs evoking primetime Smiths, early 90s Belle and Sebastian and the C86 labelled bands (particularly the Wedding Present and the Pastels) festoon this LP.

The standard is so high it seems almost cruel to pick out any for special mentions with favourites changing daily. However let’s just say the lovestruck Marr meets Murdoch charms of Voxtrot’s Start of Something, the breathy clipped lushness of Fanfarlo’s Elephant Graveyard and the shimmering shoegazing majesty of Wintergreen’s Magic Road will no doubt still be treasured in several years time. Basically it’s perfect pop in nineteen little cute bitesize portions and utterly essential.

Review by Paul M
Sounds XP review here

 

Music-News.com

I’ve never really been one for compilations. You spend 18 quid on a double album and realise there’s only two songs on it you actually like and you’ve got the albums anyway! This, though, is completely different. The debut compilation from London’s indiepop club night 'How does it feel to be loved?’ you may not know many of the bands on this cd but you can rest assured if they’ve been played at one of the most talked about club nights around, they’re worth a listen. Featuring the brilliant 'I’m from Barcelona’ and the fantasticly indie 'Day’s like these will be the death of me’ by Butcher Boy, this album represents everything that is good about Indiepop. If you like good music, buy this album - simple as that.
Five stars.

Review by Christine Toner
Music-News.com review here


Drowned In Sound

The kids at London’s How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club night sure know what they like, or should that be what they don't? No punk, metal, college rock, Britpop, hip-hop or dance is to be heard on their watch. So it's hardly a surprise to learn that their first compilation, The Kids At The Club, is anything other than an hour or so of the indie-pop sound that they treasure so much. But does it soar, epically, into the skies instead of skipping around giggling in the playground, or conceal dark secrets beneath its do-good exterior?

On first listen, it doesn't. True to form, the majority of The Kids At The Club draws from The Smiths’ school of vocals, Belle & Sebastian’s summery sound, Camera Obscura’s indie-pop and a touch of northern soul. But if the idea of nineteen consecutive songs about how perfect it is when trees blossom and how much [insert name here] wants to spoon with this week's obsession leaves you convulsing in disgust on your kitchen floor, look a little closer. For every Morrissey, Murdoch or Heaton in waiting – or, in the case of Voxtrot's 'The Start of Something', all three at once – there lies something slightly more interesting.

I'm From Barcelona, for example, are twenty-nine in number, which together with their happy-clappy stylings makes a comparison with The Polyphonic Spree unavoidable. Amidst drums, brass, guitars and an organ, the feel-good melody of the unsurprisingly-titled 'We're From Barcelona' dances across the air with handclaps, a xylophone and its twee promise of “love is a feeling that we don't understand, but we're gonna give it to ya”. It's sweet and enjoyable, although soon outdone by the similarly Swedish Salty Pirates. The Gothenburg quintet's 'Black Minds, White Lies' is like Number One Cup for 2006, or Brighten The Corners-era Pavement, 'Stereo' with a chorus of 'la's over thinly-distorted lead guitar, a bone-dry snare and vocals careering around like a joyrider's latest acquisition.

Amongst the rest of the fairy wands and corduroy lies one more track wholly worthy of a mention – Tender Trap’s ‘Ampersand’, a slice of fluffy guitar pop led by the softly-husky, seductive tones of Amelia Fletcher. Darren Hayman's right-hand girl on a lot of Hefner's latter material and all-round indie-pop heroine, Fletcher’s harmonies are the making of this hook-laden song, her assured, unwavering delivery betraying the glint in her innocent eye for the strong-willed love-fiend beneath. A touching performance from the ex-Marine Research crew, despite a passing resemblance to L7's 'Pretend We're Dead'.

Whilst some will be put off by the musical style, you don't have to love indie-pop to at least appreciate The Kids At The Club. It may not be the best compilation you’ll hear this year, but it's far from the worst, and could well be highlighting where the future of indie-pop lies. Sweden, largely. 6/10

Review by Ben Marwood
Drowned In Sound review here

 

Boys Toys magazine

This is a great little compilation from the people behind How Does It Feel To Be Loved, London's premier indiepop club, whose guest DJs have included the likes of Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian, Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub, Bob Stanley from St Etienne and producer-god Stephen Street. Featuring contributions from Swedish stars-in-waiting I'm From Barcelona, Irene and Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and home grown talents such as Butcher Boy, Lucky Soul and the Gresham Flyers, this is all about unashamed three minute pop feyness. Like a promotional soundtrack for the cult of Morrissey, and then some. Four stars






National Student

Is your life mapped out by Smiths songs? Is melancholy your muse? Do you think Belle and Sebastian are the best band in Britain?

If so, the popular How Does It Feel To Be Loved? club-night and, this, their new record-labels first release are for you? The Kids at the club collects various ‘indiepop’ acts from around the world who owe more than a small debt to Manchester’s most miserable sons, and peddle a particular brand of twee, guitar pop. For some this sound is the pure bones of pop to others it is too lo-fi and sugary-sweet to stomach.

This is a well-considered portrait of the ‘indiepop’ underground, which is to be expected from one of the scenes premiere club nights. The heart-felt sleeve notes highlight this release as a labour of love with each of the bands included having played some part in the club-night, the ‘scene’ and now as an extension, the record label - HDIF are releasing records they love, by bands they adore because they feel it is the right thing to do.

And there is much to love on the compilation - Voxtrot’s joyous take on the Smiths aesthetic, I’m From Barcelona’s Hidden- Cameras-meets-Polyphonic-Spree pop explosion and Lucky Souls gloriously retro Spectoresque girl-pop are highlights. Tender Trap (featuring ex-Tallulah Gosh member Amelia Fletcher) brilliantly represent the old-guard and America’s best ‘indiepop’ act Saturday Looks Good to Me keep the standards high.

At times this collection sounds repetitive mediocre, and more like a fans-only collection but you will be hard-pressed to find a better snap-shot of a vital part of the indie landscape.

Review by Joe Fisher
National Student review here


Magic

Despuis I’an 2002, les soirees How Does It Feel To Be Loved? sont le refuge des amoureux transis de la culture indie dans la capitale britannique. Une programmation exigeante et allechante, des DJs tries sur le volet (Stuart Murdoch, Norman Blake, Lawrence, Bob Stanley, Everett True, Phil King…) ont fait de ce rendez-vous bimensuel l’un des bastions les mieux gardes de la pop cousue main. Et si ces soirees affichent un penchant prononce pour la classicisme, de la Motown aux Smiths, en passant par les Zombies ou Dexys Midnight Runners, elles n’en sont pas moins ancrees dans le present, comme en temoigne leur declinaison discographique sous la forme d’une excellente compilation, The Kids At The Club, premiere reference d’un label en devenir, Constitue en majeure partie de nouveaux espoirs (I’m From Barcelona, Voxtrot, Irene, Lucky Soul, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names…), ce disque est san doute le meilleure introduction a la pop de demain, d’ou qu’elle soit, pourvu qu’elle reste dotee d’un petit supplement d’ame.


Fresh Direction

A compilation of innocent and dandy indie pop gems. With offerings from Sweden's I'm From Barcelona, Salty Pirates and Irene, Americans Voxtrots, and the UK's Lucky Soul and Butcher Boy, this is a surprising assortment of daydream inducing ditties: medatitive, melancholic, and melodious all at once. 4/5

Review by Loriann Luckings

 

 

 

Tasty Zine

There are those that say indie is dead. If indie is Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys or My Chemical Romance, then thank god it’s passed away.

However, if you fancy your indie a bit sharper, a bit smarter, and altogether cooler, then you’ll already know about the semi-legendary club night in London town called How Does It Feel? HDIF is full every two weeks of the kind of sussed indie kids that it’s okay to like, and this is their soundtrack. This is what they get down to. This is what they get off on. This is their music.

There’s been loads of mentions of the fact that ‘The Kids at the Club’ has emerged 20 years on from the NME’s c86 tape, but to call the bands here retrophiles would be to do them a disservice. Here are a set of bands who form a real underground, or a loose network of like-minded uber-fans who have embraced the spirit of punk and C86 and go up and stage and made some ace music.

And so we have the quite sublime Suburban Kids With Biblical Names rubbing shoulders with relative old hands Fosca, whilst bright young(ish) things Pocketbooks make the album for me. Add in relatively unknown (outside of London, at least) acts like The Salty Pirates and Strange Idols, and what you have here, mother, is a an album any proper POP fan should own. Where’s your copy?

Review by Sam Metcalf
Tasty Zine review here


Uncut

Modern day heirs to the spirit of C86. Suburban Kids With Biblical Names' "Seems To Be On My Mind" is the pick of a mixed bag.

Review by Stephen Trousse


Indie Pages

One of the most famous and popular indie club nights in the world, pretty much any popkid living in or visiting the greater London area has probably been to at least one night hosted by "How Does It Feel To Be Loved?". Heck, I sure did when I visited the city last year! Well, after years of hosting these nights filled with wonderful pop, Ian has decided to start a label, as well, and this is his first release! Basically, this could be seen as a perfect sample of his DJ work, picking fun and catchy indiepop songs from the last couple years by some top British and Swedish bands, like Tender Trap, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and Language Of Flowers, with a couple American groups (Saturday Looks Good To Me and Voxtrot) thrown in, as well. Nearly half of the bands were new to my ears, but almost every one of them was an instant classic, with favorites including Irene, I'm From Barcelona, and Gresham Flyers. And most of the songs are debuted on this release, so don't miss it! I'd have to say that my only complaint is that there isn't much information about the bands themselves, but I guess when you're at the club, you're lucky to even get a list of what's playing.

Review by Chris Mac
Indie Pages review here


A Decouvrir Absolument

Hey l'indie boy/girl ! Oui toi avec le T-Shirt des Smiths et la mine de celui/celle qui ne sort que pour s'acheter ses muffins aux myrtilles à la boulangerie d'en bas. Ras la casquette de pigner une nouvelle fois à la lecture de Pride And Prejudice (dans le texte bien entendu, faut au moins que ta première année d'Anglais te serve) ? Trop marre de te tirer la nouille à l'écoute de tes Eps Sarah Records ? Carrément soupé de te faire violence et de suivre tes " amis " au Two Fingers sur la RN7 dans l'espoir vain qu'entre " Fous Ta Cagoule " et Cascada, le DJ passe " Disco 2000 " ? Bah mon con, le jeune label de la capitale anglaise, How Does It Feel To Be Loved ? (que tu écourteras en HDIF parce que maintenant t'es cool) a pensé à toi. A défaut de te proposer -après Stockholm, Copenhague ou Valence entre autres- une édition expatriée de leurs soirées londoniennes et bimensuelles du même nom, HDIF t'offre la bande-son indé pur jus qui sauvera ton week-end. Pousse les meubles de ta chambre de Cité U. Enhardis-toi et invite les deux-trois méchus blâfards croisés au rayon indé de la Discothèque Pablo Néruda. C'est parti pour une surpate d'anthologie aux sons de Voxtrot (l'euphorisant " The Start Of Something "), de l'hymnique " We're From Barcelona " ou du robotique " Noyfriend " par Shimura Curves. Tu pourras faire le fou-fou en mimant les Suburban Kids With Biblical Names (" Seems To Be On My Mind ") ou pratiquer l'air guitar sur l'épique " The Magic Road " de Wintergreen. A la fin, tu te coltineras tout le rangement sur l'essentiel " Elephant Graveyard " mais tu te coucheras sourire aux lèvres avec " Give Me Love ", exercice soul-pop 60's infectieux par Lucky Soul. Pas de Stuart Murdoch, de Norman Blake ou David Gedge aux platines comme pour la vraie, mais ta soirée Comment qu'ça fait d'être aimé ? à toi elle a le mérite de t'apporter la réponse à la question qu'elle pose non ? Me remercie pas, coquin va !

Review by Benjamin
A Decouvrir Absolument review here

 

Indiepop.it

"No punk, no rock, no metal, no grunge, no britpop, no american college rock/indie rock, no contemporary haircut indie". Sono così intransigenti i ragazzi di How Does It Feel To Be Loved, la serata indie-pop per eccellenza di Londra. Tre venerdì al mese o giù di lì, la sala di un club di Brixton si riempie di nostalgie twee e di sconosciuti gruppi svedesi che i ragazzi giù al club – anche quelli senza anoraks - ballano senza sosta.

"The Kids At The Club", raccolta curata dal Dj extraordinaire delle serate in questione Ian Watson, può anche sembrare una delle tante compilation sull'argomento, ma è qualcosa di più. Perché pur essendo un'illustrazione della scena indiepop nel 2006 ha una storia alle spalle che discende dall'età d'oro del C86, possiede la sensibilità adatta ad accompagnarla e la conoscenza necessaria a documentare la capacità dell'indiepop odierno di trascinare i ragazzi in pista. E nel ricercare un sottile filo che colleghi passato e presente è compilata con lo stesso gusto e dedizione che un indiekid potrebbe mettere in un CDR diretto al suo migliore amico.

Non è un caso allora che la raccolta si apra con la più fedele replica degli Smiths dell'epoca moderna (i Voxtrot di "The Start Of Something") e prosegua su ritmi dolceamari ma ballabili, tra il sottinteso revival anni 80 che arriva dall'Inghilterra (i Language Of Flowers di fianco ai loro eroi Tender Trap, la popelettronica delle Shimura Curves e dei Fosca) e frequenti ventate d'aria fresca provenienti dalle band svedesi, che nelle canzoni di I'm From Barcelona, Salty Pirates e Suburban Kids With Biblical Names firmano i pezzi migliori della raccolta.


The compilation was voted Number Two Compilation Of The Year by Sounds XP. Hurrah!


To buy the compilation, click here

To find out more about the bands on the compilation, click here

 
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