Chess Club Records

There’s an intriguing wee scene blossoming down in London around a little indie label called Chess Club Records. Toadfans may well have encountered them already as they’re home to the magnificient Mumford & Sons, who have been received favourably here at Toad HQ both live and on record.

They also look after the affairs of one Justin Hayward-Young, who apparently shares a house with Marcus Mumford, and records under the rockiest of rock’n’roll monikers; Jay Jay Pistolet. His star seems to be on the rise following last year’s release, on Chess Club, of a single called We Are Free, which has been attracting mainstream attention. Jay Jay Pistolet has a lighter, more whimsical style than the thrills and drama of the Mumford boys, but I’m liking what I’m hearing. The two acts share common ground in the deft instrumental work and imaginative arrangements.

The label’s latest release is in less of an acoustic vein. Released on Monday, Australian band Ghostwood’s debut UK single, Red Version, is taken from an eponymous EP that’s already been on release down under, and which seems to have gone down reasonably well with our colonial cousins. They have the sort of epic mid-80s sound that evokes early Cure and U2, which means you’ve already decided whether you’re going to like it or not just upon reading that. It’s certainly a well-worn furrow they’re ploughing, but they could find a healthy market slipstreaming the success of bands like Bloc Party and Maximo Park.

So, interesting times down at the Chess Club. It looks like they’re putting a lot of hard work into finding unusual new acts to promote, and seem to be refreshingly allergic to anything too mainstream. That’s something to be commended if you ask me, and enthusiatically supported. I definitely think this little label are worth keeping a close eye on.

Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone
Jay Jay Pistolet – We Are Free
Ghostwood – Red Version

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