The first time I heard the Los Campesinos song “By Your Hand,” I was shocked. I mean, this is a band with a reputation for being twee (all the members go by first names only, and they usually spell their band name with an exclamation point), but here their singer was going on about “Kissing for hours with her hand in my trousers.” Had this young, sweet-tempered Welsh indie-pop band suddenly turned into a bunch of horndogs — or, worse, into the kind of band that courts a frat-boy audience? I kept listening, and then main songwriter Gareth sang, “This is the crux/ She vomits down my rental tux.” Ah, that’s more like it.
One of Los Campesinos’ first singles was called “The International Tweexcore Underground,” and the lyrics consist of an argument in which a K Records fan and a Black Flag loyalist try to find common ground. It’s filled to the brim with relatively esoteric references to ’80s and ’90s punk and indie rock (surprising, considering that all seven members of Los Campesinos appear to be in their mid 20s), but the song has such irresistible energy that it can easily appeal to young people whose knowledge of indie-rock history doesn’t go back any further than Arcade Fire.
With all that energy, Los Campesinos have managed to win a growing following, despite their allegiance to the underground. They’ve even sold a song (“You! Me! Dancing!”) for a Budweiser ad. This is one of few indie-pop bands that can rock hard enough for a Budweiser ad but will always be more Belle & Sebastian than Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Parenthetical Girls also perform.
LOS CAMPESINOS: The Casbah, Sunday, February 12, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $16 advance; $18 day of show.