I can faintly recall – if about as fondly as that at which Thee Unstrung were deemed the musical quintessence of the capital – a time when Leeds was revered as something of a bastion of indie; a radiant beacon recurrently blipping up in the amorphous formation of a post-Millennium British music identity like the oscillating pylon depicted on the old Dance to the Radio logo. The city’s movers and shakers would snigger at we benighted outsiders who’d pronounce the ¡ from ¡Forward, Russia! as an insouciant i, and so forth though the tide has since turned, and Whiskers’ label have yet to release a record of any description since 2010. And even then, it came from perpetually polkadotted South Coast songstress Rose Elinor Dougall, anyway. Though as the internet continues to erode even the mere concept of what were once termed scenes, individuals are once again beginning to appear from the foggy broads of Yorkshire, with Just Handshakes arguably the county’s finest export of recent times.
Spurning any and every label this side of that ever so slightly expansive stretch of water to separate Letterfrack from Labrador, Just Handshakes are signed up to San Diego indie Bleeding Gold who are to release the somehow humble jangle of London Bound this month. Like Fear Of Men entwined with strands of Blonde Redhead and the winsome synth lines of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me it’s a C86-inspired slow burn to melt away any lingering disaffections for the once singularly insular vainglories of Leeds.