A New Band A Day 2008-2018

Welcome to ANBAD, which is celebrating ten years online in April 2018, and is now “resting.” (I’m still jabbering on about new bands like, oh, I dunno, The Chats, on Twitter.)

However, ANBAD also has over 1200 posts featuring about 1500 artists. Most are buried deep in the blog, rarely seen by human eyes. This seemed a bit unfair, so I randomised the posts and the ones you see below are yanked arbitrarily from the archive for you to explore.

As with anything this old on the internet, some of the music players, hyperlinks, images, formatting – and, frankly, the writing itself – are broken. But even I will begrudgingly admit that randomly looking at ten years of once-new bands is a fascinating glimpse into a very specific time capsule.

I’m as surprised as anyone that this ridiculous and utterly niche music blog has stumbled around online for a decade, surviving all of my attempts to break it, render it defunct, or let it wither on the vine. I’ll post something longer soon, probably around the Official ANBAD 10th Birthday in April; but for now, scroll down and read on – and maybe you’ll find some long-forgotten band from 2009 that you’ll love.


 

Hunger Anthem, Chad Krueger, Famish and Fuzz

Looking back now, the early 90s Grunge period seems something of an anomaly. Who would have thought that a cluster of hard-edged, anti-commercialists like Nirvana, Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr. would actually make it, let alone make it big?

But make it big they did, and as a reward, the sludge-rock bands that they opened the door for first overtook them, and then consigned them to history.

It’s a shame that the influence of Dinosaur Jr. et al is not felt more widely, but it’s not, and I think it’s entirely unfair (and, QED, entirely reasonable) to blame Nickleback for this.

Hunger Anthem have ignored the alluring drab meat ‘n’ veg rock path that Chad Krueger has plodded, and instead greedily feasted on the crunchy remains of Grunge’s fuzzier corners.

Hunger Anthem – Desire

Desire is aptly named: ravenous, lusty and direct. Buzzing noise is their tool and simple chainsaw-pop is their goal. It’s slack in execution and taut in intent: guitars chop not with aggression, but impatience.

The band clamber through the bluster and slice to the heart of the song, emerging bloody, triumphant and richer. Quick, sudden, painless – stripped down and lean, Hunger Anthem are a short, sharp reminder of when rock was allowed to be solely about the song, the buzz, the feel.

www.myspace.com/hungeranthem

Free Swim: Shunning and Embracing The Inner Rock Star

It’s happening more and more: bands that don’t provide photos of themselves are rife. What are they hiding?

I always assumed that music makers actively want attention. Perhaps my projections have been tainted by one L. Gallagher of Burnage, Manchester – a man whose aggressively I don’t care, me stance is diametrically opposed by the plain-as-day fact that he loves the beery, bellowing hordes before him.

Free Swim is one of the new breed: the ones for whom the anonymity granted them by the internet has freed their latent rock-star.

 I could find no photo of him other than the pencil-and-paint drawing above. This mysterious shunning of the limelight is – like in the case of Liam – both at odds and in keeping with his chosen subject matter.

The kernel of truth in lyrics like, “I want to get out  of here, I want to be a mountaineer,” is one that we’ve all settled on fleetingly, at some point or other. And in essence, isn’t a grab at dangerous freedom what being a free swimmer is all about?

After all, what is the use of being in a rock band – especially one as punchy, enthusiastic and enthralling as Free Swim – if escapism isn’t the primary driving desire? I Want Be A Mountaineer has escape writ large all over it: a rich- – decadent, even – swirl of precisely chosen guitar noise casually cranked up to leave us with a luxuriantly freeing fuzz.

It’s a song that doesn’t get made too often – well, it does, just not this well. Most stabs at this kind of song emerge as a dreadful sub-MC5/Stooges boogie; I Want Be A Mountaineer is defined by its clear-cut, deep-down muddiness.

Free Swim are the embodiment of rock’s thrust and indicative of its alluring twinkle. No posing, no faux-coyness – just bags of wide-eyed, low-key thrills. Excellent.

MORE: myspace.com/freeswimswimfree

Pope Joan – I Like The Popes, The Popes Are Dope


Oh what the hell. It wouldn’t be the most glib occurrence on ANBAD. So here we go: to coincide neatly with His Holiness The Pope’s visit to the UK, here’s a band who have been rubbing their hands together for months in anticipation.

I mean, just think of all the cross-referenced Google-search traffic that will be accidentally diverted to their Myspace page. They’ll be rolling around on hotel beds covered in banknotes and Page 3 girls by the end of this week, mark my words.

I Can’t Stand You At All (WIP) by Pope Joan

All of which is rather unfair. Not that they don’t deserve the money or the glamour girls, but the idea that they need a mainly unconnected monster of a news item to boost their profile – because Pope Joan are a band of such transparent excellence that they oughtn’t need it at all.

I Can’t Stand You At All is the kind of rubberised, contorted and deconstructed pop song that you’ll have thought no longer got written. So while its mere existence is a balmy treat, the song itself is a heady and thick soupy rumble: all the most pleasing elements of popular music have been carefully pieced  into one – and there really is no other suitable word – glorious assemblage of soaring, thrilling pop.

I listen to hours of music as a by-product of running ANBAD. After a while the thought of walking into a record shop and actually purchasing music just feels far too gauche to seem feasible. But I’d walk all the way into town on a rainy Saturday to buy Pope Joan‘s CD, and in the age of free-everything, that’s as high as praise gets.

www.myspace.com/popejoan

soundcloud.com/popejoan

FANS, The Minx and The Ever-Faster Vortex of Churn

minxfansAs much as it rarely does me (or anyone else) any good to engage the cogs and think, I have been thinking a bit recently about the part cool plays in the emergence of new bands.

It seems to these eyes at least that, as the ‘industry’ has imploded and the artists have become more influential on their own upward trajectory, that – weirdly – cool has become a more important factor than ever before.

Why weirdly? Because I assumed that, when technology set us all free from our record biz slavemasters, we would also be able to cast off the shackles of cool a bit, and that haircuts and scowling photos would count less than before.

Instead, we are witnessing an arms race of cool, with bands endlessly circling one another, eyeballing to makes sure they have the right moody photos, the right Topshop clothing, the correct typeface for their de rigueur bandname.

Bands always copy one another, sure, but now the churn rate is so fast I worry that the songs themselves don’t have time to breathe, grow, and mutate into, you know, good songs.

Here are two bands. They’re both very good young new bands.

I think they’ll both become successes in their own way. In terms of cool, one is really on-point with now, and one isn’t.

There is no wrong approach here, but this difference is worth acknowledging.

First, FANS – a talented bunch from (I think) the north of the UK. They’ve recorded a bunch of ambitious and expansive demos, and All This Time is a great example of their punchy, tuneful, keep-it-simple-stupid ethos.

All This Time has a bunch of surprisingly poppy hooks that will keep the song spinning in your mind. This knack for a chorus is their trump card, and they ought to progress nicely as a result.

So, FANS are prioritising songs over everything else, happily. They also, for want of a better phrase, ‘fit’ the image of a new band right now. Their B&W imagery, their slight anonymity, the kerning of the font used for their bandname, and the aural references are on-trend.

Please note that I’m not saying this is a bad thing in any way, or a cynical ploy, I’m just saying they are very now, and this is fine.

Compare them to The Minx, a band who also have good pop tunes, the right musical ethos and a very specific image.

It’s just that they’re not cool, not now. Which band feel easier to love?

I think Forest Bank is a spot-on pop song with a chorus that bounces like crazy. The band appealed to me because of their songs but also because they are so visually and sonically opposed to the vast majority of their peers.

I also know that some people see the band’s shirts and haircuts and shoes and the fact that they look like they are from a housing estate (they are) and that they smile in their photos, and that these people automatically engage their Cool Filter, and conclude that they’re terrible.

It’s hard to be objective about music – that is clearly not the point – but when I see these opinion being spouted I get a bit furious, because whether you like The Minx‘s songs or not, you can’t avoid the positives: they have a bunch of hooky pop songs, they connect with a real-world audience, they fill good venues with ease, etc.

I hope people are broad-minded enough to listen to FANS and The Minx and judge both accordingly on their individual merits. I hope they will embrace both as good new bands.

I know this won’t happen. I also hope the current slavish addiction to cool dissipates a bit, because if certain bands who don’t fulfil a narrow-minded, middle-class, quasi-bohemian criteria get overlooked through sheer snobbery, we will all lose.

MORE: soundcloud.com/f-a-n-s / soundcloud.com/the-minx

NB – Full disclosure: I also know The Minx via various bits of promo work in one of my real jobs. I think they’re a good band regardless, and I think the above point would stand either way; but feel free to factor this in.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 3rd August 2011

Lt. Drebin is on holiday. Well, one of us here at ANBAD has to have one.

Still, while he’s away, we can revisit our old friend, the ANBAD New Bands Donkey, who’s covering the Midweek Mixtape remit this week.

And so:

FIRST! Alastair Ottesen is another in the glut of dreamy jangle-drone pop that has snuck onto ANBAD recently (see posts passim, ad naseum). But Alastair – well, he’s made silky-smooth and huggable music for people who know that it’s nice to be nice. Life Is But A Dream may be the sweetest, most likeable song you’ve heard for months. Lovely.

 

SECOND! What is French For Rabbits? Well, the answer is, of course, lapins. Hey – why not ask us something we don’t know? Oh, the band you mean? Well, then they’re a softly shuffling pop band with dizzily swoon-some love songs that make writers like me feel deep shame for making fun of their name.

 

THIRD! Are Brothers going to have to change their name to Vivas Brothers? It’s all the rage these days, you know. No matter – Brother make the kind of angry/cute, vicious/tender punch-pop that will make you sit up and listen whether you want to or not. Oh, and it doesn’t sound like there are many brothers in the band, which adds a nice layer of complexity to proceedings.

 

FOURTH! Miaow is the moniker of a man who says he mixes free jazz, French electro and, er, saxophone. If you think it sounds like something you’d want to keep at arm’s length, you’d be quite wrong – the truth is that She Calls Me The Cat is an unusual and clever re-tread of a well-worn path. And the sax sounds really good. There, I said it.

>Today’s New Band – Standard Fare

>Turkish take-away food, eaten by a canal. Beer in the Student’s Union. Another. Chat to the guitarist and drummer at the merchandise stall. Catch the end of the support band (The Kraus Robocop). Marvel at the drummer’s party piece of playing a drum in the crowd.

Back to the Union, more beer. Cheaper there than the venue bar upstairs. Guess the setlist. Push to the front of the crowd, in line with one of the speakers (not the middle). Get sweaty in the mosh. Dismay that most of the sweat on my T-shirt isn’t mine. Chant for the encore. Chant for the encore.

Find moshpit treasure as the crowd disperses. Use moshpit treasure to buy another beer. Home, kicking an empty beer can all the way. Shower to remove sweat that isn’t mine. Bed. Post-gig morning tinnitus.

These are generic gig-going rituals. You’ve probably done exactly this, to the band of your choice. Last night, my choice was Art Brut (see yesterday and ad nauseum), and it was life-affirmingly brilliant.

If Today’s New Band, Standard Fare, keep producing songs as kind and gorgeous as Dancing, then many will have that same gig experience with them as the focal point. Dancing, a lackadaisical lament, could be the song that sparks your night out into life just as much as it could be the song to round it off perfectly.

“There’s always going to come a time when we don’t know the answers/ Always going to come a time when we should just go dancing,” singer Emma philosophises, entirely rightly.

Standard Fare‘s other songs are good too. It’s just that Dancing is wonderful – soaring stratospherically, moping glumly, sunnily alive; economical, bright, true. Lovely. If this doesn’t put a fire under your dopey synapses, nothing will. Listen here!

Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six

Heroes are peculiarly individual. One man’s hero may be another’s whatever. But what happens when you meet your hero? Furthermore, what happens if you not only meet him, but play a one-off, once-in-a-lifetime, special-event gig with him?

Such existential quandaries were manfully shrugged off by Louis Barabbas of Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six when he arranged for his hero, inspiration and high priest of pop peculiarity, John Otway to join the band’s EP launch extravaganza.

Picking a man who bills himself as ‘Rock and Roll’s greatest failure’ as a role model may seem counter-intuitive, but the truth is that heroes choose themselves. Hero-worship was never supposed to be sensible.

Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six’ new EP is a distinct sidestep away from the accepted norm; defiance writ large, clammy and debauched. The parallel with John Otway becomes much clearer on reflection.

There aren’t many bands that would haul their feet along the same dusty path, partly because their ‘jive-smitten cabaret blues’ is a tough sell in a world where brand new dance duos with two songs to their credit get the music industry helplessly excitable.

LB&TBS shun convention: trusting their guts and then spilling them over a thick, clotted glut of rich, dense and lascivious songs. Reeking of booze and heady with lust, there is no quick route into this collection, their sound being so specifically unlike current musical trends. And yet this is the source of their great allure. It might not make sense, but why should it?

bedlamsix.bandcamp.com

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 7th July 2010

Boring ANBAD Donkey t0day. He’s all out of footballers to mock. This one is what advertising people would call ANBAD Donkey Classic.

Here’s a really good mixtape though, not like all those rubbish ones that have cluttered up your life in the past.

FIRST! Love Ends Disaster – I’m going to be frank: there are moments when I wholly wavered whilst listening to Love Ends Disaster. There are times when City Of Glass Cowboys appears to be heading down the MOR safety-first route, like – hell – Keane. But every time, the band snatch the song back from the brink of dull-saster; and how.

So, here is a band who will divide opinion squarely between those who think they are epic, sky-scraping and full of wonder, and those who think that they are wandering into the grey nowhere of bland success. Such is life.

SECOND! Run Forever Mmmm, huge power chords. Tasty, chewy, meaty power chords. I’m a firm believer that when you learn the guitar, you should be taught four power chords – three majors and a minor, if you’re that interested – and then be left to discover the rest for yourself. Because the result will be buzzy, chunky and supremely satisfying power-pop like this. Yum.

THIRD! Shed Boat Shedd steal the unnecessary double-D motif from Fred Durst-endorsed plod-rock cretins Puddle of Mudd. Fortunately that’s all they steal from them. If they’d used PoM as a creative muse, I would have hunted them down and found a queue of angry people waiting to murder them in their sleep. Songs like Here For The Night are, indeed, slightly nautical – salty, simple, tough and distant. Lovely, consoling and soothing.

LAST! Meursault are the kind of band you’d hope to hear on your deathbed. No, I didn’t expect that last sentence either. But it’s true. And their songs are just a delight; they’re a tease too – I fell into the trap of believing that their songs were simple folky jangles, and how wrong I was. These songs have grown in the same fertile soil as all living things. The Dirt The Roots yearns for life like a sapling, and the endless layers of delicious sound contained within speak the genius of organic growth. Gorgeous to the nth degree.

DONE! Yup. Done and done.

Be A Rockstar! (Glamour Models Not Included)

**This is a Sponsored Post.**

Unless you’re blind, deaf, or utterly determined not to engage with the rest of the world at large (or even all three), you’ll have heard that 1989’s baggiest of bands, The Stone Roses, have announced a surprise comeback; in a flurry of sportswear, pithy quotes and excessive swagger.

 

“So what?” you may say, “Everyone’s doing it these days. Even Steps just reunited, and nobody wanted that to happen.”

 

But what’s most interesting about these ancient bands getting back together is not that they are doing it, but why. And guess what? Thanks to a new partnership between Paco Rabanne  Black XS and Universal Music, you can have a go at finding out why and Be A Rock Star for yourself on their whizzy new website www.be-a-rockstar.com.

 

The huge novelty cheques must help incentivise bands – but I’ve always wanted to be a rock star, and my dreams aren’t all about rolling around on hotel mattresses covered with £20 notes and glamour models (OK, they mainly are).
It’s also the adulation I long for. The screaming fans. The excitement of the road. The smells lingering in the band’s van. Hitting the first power-chord of the night. Punching the first stage invader or the tour. Watching TVs tumble out of the hotel window.

 

So why not have some of these vicarious thrills for yourself? Be A Rockstar by using nothing more than a photo of your face and doing a lot of waving into your webcam whilst suspiciously attractive people clamour for your autograph. Go to www.be-a-rockstar.com/uk/experience to unleash your inner rock god.
And when you’re done, join the unusually- named Peanut and the rest of the bristly gang from Kaiser Chiefs both on and off- stage in the Black XS  Off Shows and see what it’s like having thousands of demented fans bellowing your lyrics right back into your bewildered faces.

 

“Hang” with Two Door Cinema Club backstage and boggle at how even a seasoned bunch of rock scamps seem to be overwhelmed by the madness of it all. It’s a series of nine episodes and will be airing on www.be-a-rockstar.com and the Black XS YouTube channel towards the end of the year.

 

Because that’s what being a rock star’s all about isn’t it? And it’s why Mani, Reni, Ian and John are going through it all over again. Well, that and the glamour models.

 

For more info on the brand and the partnership, check out www.pacorabanne.com or the Black XS Facebook page here.

Viral video by ebuzzing

>Today’s New Band – Ghetto Mullet – PLUS! Morris Dancing and Charlatans

>There was a girl who I met at art college. Her name was Laura, and she managed to be both swaggeringly masculine (her haircut, her demeanour, her clothes) and sweetly feminine (big coy brown eyes, cute cheekbones and pink lips) all at once. One of the things that I remember the most is that she told me that her favourite band of all time – of all time – was The Charlatans.

The Charlatans are a strange lot. They’re one of those bands that nearly attained greatness, but never quite got there. From their baggy roots, through their middle (and best) stage as 60’s-ish rockers, to the soul-y rock that they make now, they’ve always nearly been the best, but not quite. I can’t imagine anyone ever placing them as their favourite band, and yet I knew someone who told me that they were.

This just goes to demonstrate again that taste is subjective, and is one of the main reasons I love writing about new bands. I genuinely hope that not all of bands on ANBAD are liked by you ANBAD readers, but I do hope that the ones that you do like make a real connection.

So with that in mind, maybe you’ll like Today’s New Band, Ghetto Mullet, and maybe you won’t. But we hope you’ll listen to them all the same, so that you can find out.

When they’re not conjuring up images of business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back hairdos, Ghetto Mullet make similarly business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back instrumental hip-hop. It’s a sound that you’ll know almost straight away whether you ‘get’ it or not – you could either find it to be the kind of music that is perfect for a certain mood, or you could find that no mood you ever have will fit. Who knows.

Ghetto Mullet are great music to listen to as you concentrate on something else. That is meant as a compliment. To my ears, Rampant Thought is complicatedly twitchy and involving, yet nicely disassociated from the need for direct, concentrated thought. Arriving in Obscurity exists in a fug of scratches, radio fuzz and tape hiss, and similarly Feel It, probably Ghetto Mullet‘s most arresting song, thunders along with samples of radio bleeps, and what might be the sound of someone thumping a dustbin.

Today’s Lesson: Just ‘cos you don’t like the sound of it doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t love it. A bit like Morris Dancing, only less humiliating, and with fewer bells, sticks and hankies. Ghetto Mullet: possible Morris Dancers for the 21st Century! Listen here!