A few weeks ago we hit Sheffield, birthplace of Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Warp Records, The Human League, and, er, Reverend & The Makers, for a dynamite weekend event called Detestival. It was two days of heavy, hairy and occasionally avant-garde guitar-based mania. Ranging from raging rock’n’roll duo Wet Nuns to pulverising psyche-noise four-piece Bo Ningen. On day one, fairly early on, a band from Leeds and Nottingham popped up called Hookworms. They’re a band who’ve built up a decent following making experimental, electronic-based krautrock in the same vein as Loop and ‘XTRMNTR’-era Primal Scream. They’re pretty damn good.
Four weeks later, their debut album is released on tiny indie label Gringo Records. Next thing we know it’s hit the number 16 spot in the UK mid-week Record Store album chart slot, and the pre-sale release has sold out.
Just to put this into perspective, the Top 20, in both the album and singles charts, has been a no-go zone for ‘bands’, especially ‘indie bands’ for a long, long time. Arctic Monkeys’ ‘R U Mine’ was the last single which troubled the upper echelons of the singles chart in recent memory. Albums always fare a little better, but the higher ends of the chart is still dominated by either the big guns (Kasabian, Coldplay) or the international celebri-poppers (Rihanna, Kanye West).
This isn’t to say smaller acts hardly sell anything; a lot of sales will come from the merchandise stall while on tour, or over a long period of time. Yet somehow a band with a cult following who sound nothing like your average chart fodder have managed to prove that off-beat, niche acts can still shift large amounts of records, despite not even being a headline band at events like Detestival. Although we expect that to change soon…
Whatever the reasons, it’s proof that the underground scene is very much alive and well. Forget the naysayers who’ll ask, “who are Hookworms?” and join in with everyone else who’s getting in on the act. And remember to buy a copy of the record – having your mind blasted by their hypnotic rhythms and effects-laden guitars is a form of therapy cheaper, and more enjoyable, than acupuncture, CBT and colonic irrigation put together. Hook yourself up.