Looking back through the entries in this advent so far, it strikes me how few of them are from artists I had never heard before the year began. I should point out that this is not entirely reflective of my listening practices. Do I spend all my time immersed only in old groups, records and fading memories? No. Do I instinctively look on new, younger groups with the eye of a grumpy old codger with the words ‘go on, impress me. Just fucking try and impress me’ hovering over my head in a cartoon thought bubble? Well, yes, probably.
Kid Canaveral were one of the groups who evaded my bubble. Kid canaveral were one of the groups I had not heard before who made me smile broadly this year. Perhaps I should have known of them? Had I heard ‘Smash Hits’ when it was first released as a single in 2007, for example, I am certain I would have been sticking it on a million mix tapes and proclaiming them a group of geniuses. As it was I hadn’t, and I didn’t, and it made my discovery of them in 2010 all the more exciting.
‘Smash Hits’ cropped up on their ‘Shouting At Wildlife’ debut this year however, and if I had anyone to share mix tapes with it would have been a regular appearance. Also vying for attention would have been the gorgeous ‘And Another Thing!’ with it’s line about washing faces in the sun and the brittle ‘Her Hair Hangs Down’ with that refrain about how it’s funny how things work out sometimes. I could have chosen any of those for this advent, but instead I’m going for the wonderfully titled ‘You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night’ because it’s a glorious recollection of moments passed and for the perfect poignancy of that mumbled line about being a man who doesn’t like himself.
Of course what’s interesting comparing ‘Shouting At Wildlife’ with, say, Vic Godard’s ‘We Come As Aliens’ is that unlike the Subway Sect’s adventurous re-appropriation of a broad musical palette from times before punk’s self-proclaimed Year Zero, Kid Canaveral instead inevitably populate their own sound from the landscape of ‘80s and ‘90s ‘indie’. Most of the time this would be more than enough to have me spitting venom on generic dreariness, but in this case it works. Mostly this is because the ingredients I hear are from a record collection I would warm to - a spark of Yummy Fur, perhaps a slice of Aislers Set and a dusting of Wedding Present jangle.
So like Decoration and Ballboy before them, Kid Canaveral slot into a niche in my collection populated by groups whose records make no excuses for sounding just the way they do, and that’s just grand thank you very much. Will they continue to grow into interesting new forms as the years go by? Clearly that remains to be seen, but I know I for one will be watching closely from now on.
Buy 'Shouting At Wildlife' from the Kid Canaveral website