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Young Knives

Young Knives performing at SxSW
Background information
Also known as Simple Pastoral Existence
Origin Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England
Genres Post-punk revival
Indie rock
Years active 1998–present
Labels Transgressive Records, Shifty Disco
Website Official website
Henry Dartnall
Thomas "The House of Lords" Dartnall
Oliver Askew

Young Knives are an English indie rock band from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. The name is based on a misunderstanding of "young knaves", which was found by the band by rummaging through a book.

The band was originally named "Simple Pastoral Existence" but this name only lasted until they split for a few years from 1997 to 1999, at which time they renamed themselves "Ponyclub." The name "Ponyclub" was changed when they got their first record deal because there was already an artist in existence named "Pony Club." This is when the name "The Young Knives" was coined. [1] They later dropped the definite article prefix prior to the release of their second full-length album, Superabundance.

The band is known for its energetic live performances and their taste in tweed outfits. They broke into the music industry in 2002 with the critical success of their debut mini-album The Young Knives... Are Dead, but began to garner national coverage upon the release of their single "The Decision" in late 2005 (partially due to the acclaim of its dark humoured, League of Gentlemen-esque video). They played their biggest live gig in June 2006 and completed a UK tour in support of their first proper album Voices of Animals and Men, which reached #21 in the UK Album Charts. In July 2007 they were nominated for the Nationwide Mercury Prize. Their second album Superabundance entered the charts in March 2008 at number 28.


Band members

  • Henry Dartnall - vocals, guitar
  • Thomas "House of Lords" Dartnall - vocals, bass guitar
  • Oliver Askew - drums, backing vocals


Formed under the name 'Simple Pastoral Existence', the Young Knives began their career "playing bad funk and Ned's Atomic Dustbin covers",[2] but it was their subsequent move to Oxford that saw their career begin to take off. After changing their name from 'Ponyclub' their 'big break' came in 2002 with a successful set at the popular Truck Festival, which was followed by the release of ... Are Dead on local label Shifty Disco.

The band also won "Road to V", a competition for bands to open the second stage at Virgin Music Festival, beating a large number of bands to win. However, they were only originally asked to take part because another band had dropped out of the competition.

After some years playing successful support slots to bands such as The Futureheads and Hot Hot Heat in Oxford and surrounding areas, the band were signed to Transgressive Records, and a limited EP, Junky Music Make My Heart Beat Faster, was a sell-out success. Their debut single "The Decision", produced by Andy Gill of Gang of Four (a noted influence on the band[3]), was released in December 2005, and was followed in February 2006 by "Here Comes The Rumour Mill" - the latter their first chart success, reaching #36 in the UK and receiving significant airplay on MTV2 among others. They have continued to work with Gill ever since.

The band completed a lengthy UK tour in early 2006, and supported Dirty Pretty Things and The Rakes later in the same year, fitting in an appearance at SXSW in Texas and a terrestrial television debut on Later with Jools Holland in June. In July that year, the band made their second appearance at Truck, and two more top 40 singles, "She's Attracted To" and "Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)" (originally the lead track of the Junky... EP) followed, just before the release of Voices of Animals and Men in August. A re-issue of "The Decision" was released on 30 October, the same day the band played what Henry described onstage as their "biggest gig ever", at the London Astoria.

The band have recently started their smaller UK tour on March 26, 2007, after several shows in the US. Regarding plans for after this tour, Henry stated that "...we will bring out a second album of shit songs like every other band...".

In 2008 the band released their second album "Superabundance", recorded in Scotland. This spawned the single "Terra Firma"[1] released on Transgressive Records at the end of 2007, and 'Up All Night', despite Razorlight having an album and song of the same title.

In July 2007, the band's former label Shifty Disco released The Young Knives ...Are Dead ...And Some, a compilation of the tracks from ...Are Dead and its' follow-up EP Rollerskater. The album is an enhanced CD, which enables owners to access the rare music video for "Walking On the Autobahn".

The very latest move of The Young Knives would be going to Asia for the first time and play in the multimedia arts and music festival Clockenflap in Hong Kong. This festival would be one of the largest multimedia arts and music festival in the Far East and The Young Knives will be the headliner of the festival. [2]

The Young Knives toured the UK extensively 'off the beaten tracks' throughout March 2008, as well as playing three dates as part of the NME Brats gigs. They also returned to their home town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch to play a one-off concert at the Ashby Venture Theatre on 6 May 2008. Also, notably the band supported Kaiser Chiefs at their homecoming gig at the Elland Road stadium, alongside Kate Nash, Friendly Fires and The Enemy. As well as playing in the Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side in New York City.

As was announced on 7 April, Young Knives released Turn Tail and new b-sides on 19 May 2008. They made a bit of history in the process by being the first band since the 1970s to record from their first take, straight to vinyl, a 'special' acoustic version of Turn Tail, recorded at Westbourne Studios, Westbourne Park London, which appears as one of the b-sides on the single.[4]

They announced to BBC 6Music that they have started working on their third album.





  • 2003 Rollerskater EP
  • 2004 Split EP (a collaboration with Smilex)
  • 2005 Junky Music Make My Heart Beat Faster


  • "The Decision" - (December 6, 2005) Chart Position: Did not chart
  • "Here Comes the Rumour Mill" - (February 27, 2006) Chart Position: #36 (UK)
  • "She's Attracted To" - (June 19, 2006) Chart Position: #38 (UK)
  • "Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)" - (August 14, 2006) Chart Position: #35 (UK)
  • "The Decision" (re-issue) - (October 30, 2006) Chart Position: #60 (UK)
  • "Terra Firma" (October 29, 2007) Chart Position: #43 (UK)
  • "Up All Night" (February 25, 2008) Chart Position: #45 (UK)
  • "Turn Tail" (May 19, 2008)[4] Chart Position: #148 (UK)
  • "Dyed in the Wool" (September 1, 2008)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Channel 4 "T4 Stars - The Young Knives"
  3. ^ "Drowned in Sound meets The Young Knives"
  4. ^ a b Young Knives record new single straight to vinyl | News | NME.COM

External links


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