We are the future folk.

I have been waiting for this day for some time now. I am not talking about the fact that Venus Hum are finally back to work on their looong overdue third album. No. Today, you and I finally get to hear the first demo from Ali M Forbes. You know him (or you ought to know him) from Envy & Other Sins (and if you don’t, you should get to know them both). A few months ago, in the very first installment of The Indie Handbook, I went on the record as saying that Envy & Other Sins’ debut LP, We Leave at Dawn, was the best album of 2008. And while I was assured that my review was stupid, that cannot discount the top tier quality of the album.

Last I heard, the band were taking some time off from gigging to work on some new songs, which include glockenspiel. Meanwhile, Ali has been working on some tracks and a few gigs of his own. There is only one track posted on his MySpace (and a demo at that) at the moment, but it is a nice taste and enough to leave me wanting more. The track, “Under Her Sails”, features that gift for melody and modal shift that made We Leave at Dawn such a delight. Add to that lots of layering, electronics, synths, strings, handclaps, and, yes, glockenspiel (!) and you have the concoction Forbes himself (on his facebook page) describes as “future folk”. I think I like future folk (hey, Ali, do you want to record a track for our Christmas album?). It’s all too bad I don’t really live anywhere near anywhere he ever performs.

I also though I should take this opportunity to encourage you to keep up with The Indie Handbook this coming week. Let’s just say, if you thought Dutch Week was fun, just wait until you experience:


It’s going to be epic.


Another record you can’t buy here, or “Why I am the indiest of them all”

New album from Nina Persson’s other band A Camp today. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m still excited.

In light of the admittedly surprising success of Dutch Week, we will probably have to sponsor a Welsh Week sometime soon. I swear, this has nothing to do with the fact that I have a weakness for Welsh accents or that if I were ever fortunate enough to meet a woman who spoke with one that she could have me do her bidding with the mere utterance of a few words. Nor has it to do with the fact that Hay-on-Wye is reputed to have more bookshops per capita than any other municipality in the world (be still my heart!) or that Doctor Who and Torchwood are filmed in Cardiff (David Tennant!!!). It’s just that they make so much good music. (Ok, so maybe it is a little bit about the accents.) But can you blame me? Based on that description, it sounds like Heaven on Earth.

For now, we’ll stick with one band (the Handbook’s second Welsh act to date), Cardiff’s 60s pop throwbacks, The School. Put simply, the band are, at any given moment, reminiscent of everything you love about music. “Let It Slip”, with its handclaps and shoop-pop background vocals has the distinct ring of the early 60s girl groups (The Angels, Shelley Fabares). “And Suddenly”, a cover of a Left Banke song, is layered with Beach Boys-like harmonies. “I Want You Back” is the School at their Belle & Sebastianiest, reminiscent of the indie idols’ Dear Catastrophe Waitress era brand of tweeness with a hint of Camera Obscura. And “Kiss You In the Snow” would make a perfect centerpiece for an Indie Handbook Christmas compilation (if we were ever allowed to make one). I love love love this song. All of this is executed with a dash of Northern Soul and maybe even a hint of Glaswegian C86.

The albums. There is a 7-inch on bubble gum pink vinyl and another four track EP. “All I Wanna Do” was also included on the Rough Trade Counter Culture 08 compilation released back in February. So, there you go, three more reasons to resent the hip hop dominated American music scene and the skinny jeans indie hipster counterculture.

Visit them at theschoolband.blogspot.com and on Twitter and, of course, on MySpace. Seriously guys, you need to listen to this one, or we will never be friends.

P.S. How amazing would it be if we were allowed to make a Christmas compilation?! I am totally serious about this. Write your MP! Pester your congressman! Beg your favorite band (the nice ones, anyway)!