Lee Newell transforms Britpop into Gritpop 

So you thought lad-rocking Britpop was dead, did ya?

Don’t tell that to boyish-faced young UK strapling Lee Newell, who hails from the working-class hamlet of Slough, home to the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company, as managed by Ricky Gervais’s bumbling David Brent in the original overseas version of “The Office.”

The kid will have soon put his town on the musical map via his La’s/Cast-jangly new group called Brother, which plays what he’s affectionately dubbed “Gritpop.” And it’s already catching on in a huge way, courtesy of two early British singles, “New Years Day” and “The Daring Buds Of May.”

Like the Gallagher brothers before him, Newell — who sings in an almost Cockney-thick accent — openly admits to having an air of we’re-the-best arrogance. Which you’re allowed when a prestigious producer like Stephen Street has just put the finishing touches on your debut disc (out through Interscope this spring).

The group even has a mission statement posted on its website wherein they swear their undying fealty to underground bands that no one’s heard of and indie/foreign films that few people have seen.

Hats off, then, to Popscene Svengali Aaron Axelsen for snagging Brother for an April 28 Rickshaw Stop date.

Britpop ... err, Gritpop is back, guvnah!

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Tom Lanham

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