Spotlight \

Style Special! England’s Dreamy

London's calling is currently as haven to a new crop of stylish, boundary-pushing pop stars.

Photos by Nick Haymes

“Indie boys and their guitars have been officially replaced,” declares Dede Wegg-Prosser of the electro-dance trio We Have Band. She’s right, at least according to the London-based rising stars featured here, none of whom have much in common with a certain American group (hint: rhymes with blokes) that overtook the city at the turn of the millennium.

We Have Band toured the world, sans record deal, on the basis of four homespun but contagious demos (think Fischerspooner minus the theatrics). Their occasional tourmate and onetime remixer Mica Levi of Micachu & the Shapes takes the DIY ethos one step further, proffering the transmogrified sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a toy guitar on her gloriously spazzy lo-fi debut, Jewellery. And then there’s Levi’s fellow East Londoner Rachel Callaghan, frontwoman for Kasms, channeling punk’s barbarism (she wants to puke on you). Finally, Elly Jackson, of La Roux, whose single “Bulletproof” has gotten a Stateside release after becoming ubiquitous in the U.K. last summer, shuns the influence of rock forebears entirely in favor of British new-wave acts popular before the 21-yearold was even born. And, as Levi points out, “La Roux is a proper celebrity over here.”


For more of our London Style Special, check out the Sept. ’09 issue of SPIN, on newsstands now.

Elly Jackson of La Roux

STYLE ICON I wouldn’t want to be quite as androgynous as Annie Lennox, but I do love her sharp, mannish look. I hear men say that they get jealous of women’s clothes, but I’ve always been quite envious of men for being able to wear suits. It must be really easy for them to get dressed.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LONDON Everything. I don’t think I could live anywhere else. The only parts I’m not so keen on are the white areas with all the yummy mummies. That’s what we call the women who just do yoga and have babies and meet their friends in the park with their buggies.
LAST DAY JOB I worked at a bar for a couple of months, but I was awful at it. I decided that if I didn’t have a career in music by the time I was a certain age, I’d have to look at things again or kill myself.
DREAM TOURMATES I know they never tour, but the Knife — they’re mysterious. That’s the key to being everlasting. I look at someone like Madonna, and even though she’s made better music for longer than Prince or Michael Jackson, I wouldn’t put her up there with them because I know too much about her.

Mica Levi of Micachu & the Shapes

STYLE ICON Laurence Fishburne in King of New York. He’s very early hip-hop. I loved all the leather and gold jewelry and totally bizarre haircuts and red lipstick.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LONDON It’s a bit messed up at the moment. There are a lot of internal gang struggles. Sometimes it seems like there are only two kinds of people here: those who can’t bloody afford itand those who are so affluent they can do whatever they want.
EMBARRASSING LAPSE IN TASTE I bought a Nirvana single when I was about ten just because I had some older friends who told me it was good. I listened to it and I thought, “What the hell is this?” I came back to it later.
OUR BEST SONG “Lips” encompasses what we do — it’s upbeat, it’s silly, it’s short, and it’s textural. We recorded the hum of our electrical equipment because we wanted to embrace noise, not delete it.