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.
>At the end of the Pete and the Pirates gig I went to a few weeks ago, I was lingering on the dancefloor, looking for money dropped during the jumping around (old teenage habits die hard). A girl approached me who was either drunk, or high on life. She excitedly thrust a CD into my hand, told me that, “this band are amazing!” and stumbled away.
The band was called Disco Nasties, a name that is satisfying in a Bis kind of way, and they’d supported P&TP that night, though I’d missed them.
Inevitably, I lost the CD immediately, but my friend Mort found it again at his house the other day. I dutifully listened to it, liked it, and – guess what? – Disco Nasties are Today’s New Band.
Little Bit Sorry pings with jittering guitar, youthful exuberance, a cracked structure and a chorus that puts an arm tightly around you and pulls you into the mosh pit. Textual Deviance is even better, in turns falling apart and putting itself back together again – all the while jamming in as much choppy jangling as is reasonable. O2 Molecules grabs an ‘oh-oh-oh’ chant and won’t let it go, but will let you join in.
After looking at their Myspace page now, I think the drunk girl may have been the drummer, but I’m not sure. Either way: thank you, wandering drunkard. Disco Nasties are the zippy funsters you’d expect them to be, and more. Listen here!
I sometimes wonder if the deeply melodic pop bands that cropped up in the 1980s could ever make it through the white noise of new bands that populate the internet now.
Bands like Pet Shop Boys, Yazoo and Erasure all possessed a horrendously sharp ear for brilliant pop songs, whilst maintaining a careful balance between mass-acceptance and an archly distant art-school aura.
Maybe they could make it now. Maybe they’re not cool/attractive/perky enough.
Maybe they’d write songs for Jessie J instead (which, frankly, would not be the end of the world). Maybe we need hybrid bands like An Blonds, who keep the ultra-pop aesthetic masked behind a cool facade to bridge the gap.
Breathed You Out is packed with the pop hooks, lovelorn lyrics and has the mildly bored delivery that Neil Tennant perfected in about 1986.
It is a super, lazy pop song, yet even the hippest of hipster would struggle to sneer at its supple, lithe charms.
And maybe that is where true pop exists now – not in the histrionics-by-numbers of the aforementioned Jessie J, but in the same place it has always been: in the hands of a small number of obsessive, unusual music makers, hoping to slip through the net of cool.
The news that Myspace has added a million users in a month is a statistic to be taken with a pinch of salt (how many of those are people who have forgotten their old log-in details, I wonder?), but there’s no denying that Myspace is not the hell-hole it once was.
If, like me, you haven’t visited Myspace for a clear 12-month period, it’s worth logging in again, if only to see how things have changed, and to smirk at the memory of everyone’s favourite grumpy media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, selling Myspace for less than 10% of the $600M he paid for it.
Alex James, no stranger to blowing money on ludicrous purchases, pours schadenfreude-flavoured cheese.
FIRST! Side projects abound in today’s fractured musical world, and, lo, Chiapais the mind-bogglingly lo-fi offshoot from one half of ANBAD favourites Youthless. Singer Alex has abandoned his usual gonzo noizenik clatter for an ultra-slender, minimalist ethic. Sounds, words and melody all tumble into white, lowest-of-the-lo-fi noise, and meld into one heartfelt fuzz.
SECOND! Cave Birds are all doom and gloom until they drop an enormous, pummelling chorus into Some Lightening, and suddenly, all is well once more: an overblown, glam-grunge meisterwerk.
THIRD! Alvin and Lyle have, in The Good Feeling, made a song that is slotted in a deep groove that is either entirely sleazy, or entirely innocent, depending on your point of view.
FOURTH! Natasha Haws makes stripped-down yet endlessly epic songs that are as close and breathy as they are widescreen and distant. Big/small. Clever.
Gah! A New Band A Day is ill, in bed, feeling sorry for itself. The affliction? The dreaded MANFLU. The cure? Plenty of moron-lite daytime TV, Indeterminable amounts of honey and lemon drinks, handfuls of Aspirin, and, most importantly of all, new bands, taken three times a day.
The wonderful thing about Manflu is that complaining pathetically is an accepted symptom, and however much it bugs everyone around the poor victim, the only method of feeling better is to keep whining. Some fevers you have to sweat out. Manflu requires you to whinge until the sickness has abated.
Today’s New Band, Sleep Party People, are almost specifically designed for soothing poorly heads. They create softly ethereal music that recalls the most weirdly calming dreams you’ve ever had. 10 Feet Up seems to slink into your life, seduce you, and then slink out again, leaving you with only the memory of happy times. Our Falling Snow is as cold, gentle and fragile as the freshly drifting white stuff and I’m Not Human At All is just another indication that the pristine, gentle sounds might not be as charmingly naive as first seems.
Do you know what the best thing about Lou Reed‘s Transformer is? No, not Walk On The Wild Side. Nor that Mick Ronson and David Bowie’s mucky fingerprints are all over it like a cheap, sleazy suit. Not even that the backing vocalists were called The Thunderthighs.
The best thing about Transformer is the first ten seconds of Vicious, the first track, up to the point where the guitar squeals for the first time, just after Lou has drawled his first languidly wired lyric.
It’s possibly the most direct, hit-the-ground-running start to any album, piercing into your mind like a diamond knitting needle. Everything you need to know about Transformer‘s wide-eyed and paranoid brilliance is in those first ten seconds.
If the rest of the album was full of clunkers (and duff songs like Make Up try hard enough), the wonderful statement of intent that is Vicious would still make the album a dazzling classic. That some of the most dreamily gorgeous songs ever written – try to listen to Perfect Day or Satellite Of Love without welling up -accompany it make the album a pristine moment of joy, crystallised forever.
But if it had only had that one opener, it’d still be beautiful. That’s why hearing a new band with only the one good song in their armoury is still reason for celebration. Compilation CDs are full of bands who’ve had one really good song and then never quite managed to best it. Hit-and-miss merchants like Lou Reed should give prospective bands encouragement. He also made Metal Machine Music, remember.
Today’s New Band, The Paraffins, have a couple of good songs, so they’re already ahead of the pack. They’re from a small village in Scotland (with a surprisingly large Wikipedia entry) and create songs that seem to have been scratched together with scraps of this and that, which then suddenly take on a life of their own and become much more than the sum of their parts.
Cardboard Cutout, after a few minutes of increasingly clever polyrythmic staggering, suddenly pops its own bubble and splurges with happiness; allowing itself a few final seconds of unhindered noise.
is another slowly building, give-and-take songs that splits from itself into a house-like keyboard riff-driven songs, albeit one played on a melodica. Mobile phone interference completes its electronically haunted feel.
Something Good bounds along in the manner of an excited puppy, at love with everything and everyone at once. It might even hump your leg if you stand too close.
Wednesday’s fabulous first day of music at In The City took two casualties in the ANBAD camp – firstly by imparting a thumping booze ‘n’ loud noise-based headache on yours truly (thank you No Age for the noise element), and secondly by instantly eroding my sanity when ANBAD crashed and fell of the internet.
But now all is well, and I’m back in the Northern Quarter to see what’s happening at the conference before heading out tonight to see more great bands. And possibly D/R/U/G/S again.
Here’s what’s happened so far…
18.15 The roundtable is so much fun! Songs are average though…
17.35 Surely we’re close to the start of the Lamacq roundtable now. Everyone’s favourite uncle Guy Garvey is here; and John Robb, he of the cannibal eyes, has turned up too. We’re just waiting for Peter Hook now…
17.05 The chatter in here is totally, 100% music biz networking chit-chat. And boy, can these guys yap. Watching Lamacq doing his show is a true delight, though. What a pro!
16.35 Steve Lamacq hasn’t aged at all. And such a deep voice for a skinny guy.
16.25 So here we all are now, waiting in a lobby area for Radio 1’s Steve Lamacq to emerge from his little cobbled-together studio in the corner of the room and sit at a magisterial desk that is waiting for him, Guy Garvey, Peter Hook and John Robb to settle around and blather about the new releases. Exciting! My 16-year-old self would be wetting his pants.
16.00 The easy way for bands themselves to do this is to spend a couple of hours a day emailing your fans and getting into a conversation with them, and then see what they want.
15.45 Radio 1, is turns out, ‘predict’ the charts by scouring Facebook, Twitter, etc., and see who ‘the kids’ are talking about. So they guess the charts, play that music – which people then buy based on their push – and then report those charts. Hmmm.
15.30 But apparently, using analytics is nothing new in the music industry – it’s just that before, instead of poring over screens of metrics data, they’d call radio stations and ask them what they’ve played and what people have enjoyed.
15.15 And frankly, it feels like this ground has been covered before – the way to foster relationships with fans, apparently is – duh – to get in touch with them.
15.00 ANBAD’s interest was only really piqued mid-afternoon when there was a discussion about the analysis of fan’s behaviour – or as the marketing bigwigs call it, ‘Fanalysis’ and ‘Fanenomics’. Groan.
>So, two stories to tell today. Firstly, I somehow only remembered at the very last minute that I wouldn’t have time to post anything today, due to innumerable computer/human interface-complications. Panic set in immediately. This is Idiotic Moment Number 2.
The GOOD NEWS, though, was that the consequences of Idiotic Moment Number 2 has been rescued by Idiotic Moment Number 1, which was usefully conceived and executed a few weeks ago, and then stored away for a rainy day like this. I knew this combination of a hoarding instinct and innate stupidity would pay dividends one day.
Idiotic Moment Number 1 began when I was recommended a band, who were so great I immediately began typing the review, before I’d checked small details like, “are they new and/or still functioning as a group?” only to find after writing that neither was indeed the case. This particular band has been around for a few years and split up a while ago. Durrrr.
So I saved it anyway, and now it’s reprinted below for your delectation. Yum. Enjoy the flavour of stupidity.
Like a few bands we’ve featured recently, Today’s New Band The Unicorns have our ipod generation’s mix-and-match hotchpotch of influences. And sure enough, they metaphorically scroll the clickwheel and skip from one tune to another, all within one song.
Look at their most brilliant song I Was Born A Unicorn. The guitar starts out as an African jangle before veering off into a garage-punk crunch. The vocals are a croon, a yelp and then a drunken sing-along. The drums pound from military to dancefloor to disco. You get the idea. From here to there and then over there too, for good measure.
See also Tuff Ghost – the song has the music you’d hear on a spooky Japanese-only imported SEGA game from 1989. Jellybones is the sound of a dial-up modem remixed into a surprisingly lush and heartfelt song.
ANBAD, like other bloggers, is only human (yes, really), and will indulge in listing its favourite bands from the past year – all the while, of course, complaining about doing the same.
Semi-Ironic Narcissism is what music bloggers do best, after all.
So, here’s the plan – as of today, ANBAD will run through all the best bands of the year, in my particularly humble opinion.
And for the first time, I’m going to try and offer some sort of reasoning for how the bands are chosen, and commentary on what it all means. (Spoiler: not a huge amount).
I mean, it’s not much in the way of novelty, but after nearly five years, it counts as progress, right?
The bands were all chosen on any number of bases, ranging from, but not exclusively:
Stickability – a song that wedged madly, happily in my head;
Slickability – a band that was impressive by producing really great songs with little or no help from The Pros;
Brillability – a band or song that was simply so terrific that only a fool would ignore them;
Neo-bility – something so new that they had nowhere else to go but the end-of-year chart;
Punnability – as always, a jokey name counts double here on ANBAD
And here’s the only real commentary I’ll add: for all the bitching and hand-wringing about the is-it-isn’t-it-dead state of guitar music (much of it from me) – the bulk of the bands who made it to the top of the chart are, indeed, guitar bands.
It’s true that I spent a lot of the year yearning for something different, scratching around away from the six-stringed world, and it resulted in some unusual discoveries – witness the glut of Japanese Glitch-Juke producers who started appearing recently (Here, here and here, for example).
The source of all this yearning was a belief that I still hold: that the bulk of the current guitar bands chasing attention and success are actually chasing ubiquity.
By simply picking up guitars because that’s what new bands do, they’re already chasing their own tail, when they could be doing something just a little bit different and a little bit more daring, and squeezing out something that is – whoah – new.
My favoured theory on the guitar music front is that rock music has, over the last decade, quietly retired into the same roots-y place that Folk occupies: often learnt by rote, usually performed simply because. Music in this position is by no means to be sneered at: it’s often beautiful and thrilling – but there’s no denying that true innovation and guitar music are not as close bedfellows as they used to be.
But what’s maddening is a mass denial that rock is anything other than rebellious – when in fact, the true rebels who express themselves musically put down the guitars a long time ago.
I still think this is true now, even though the majority of my Best New Bands of 2012™ are guitar-flavoured. The ones that got this far are only here because they’ve excelled at making their music, and deep-down, I love guitar-driven songs. But these artists would be here if they were making Neo-Donk remixes of Solange Knowles songs, assuming they were good enough.
Tomorrow, we’ll begin in earnest with numbers 15 – 11. Try to contain your excitement.
But today, here’s one (non-guitar, *SHOCK*) band from 2012 that could, honestly, have snuck into the Top 15, but didn’t simply for the reason that they appeared on ANBAD so late, I forgot to factor them in. Shoddy work, yes. But worth it, because Heavy Heart‘s music is simply lovely.
Now that you’re lying comatose in front of the fire and pondering on the fact that your intestines are now 80% solid Turkey meat, why not drag yourself away from the dull repeats on the TV, and read some excellent repeats here on ANBAD?
Wait – unless it’s Die Hard on TV. Watch until the end of that, and then read on.
There was a glut of interviews with exciting and thrusting young bands this year on ANBAD, all of which gave us a glimpse into the thrills of belonging to a new band. Here are four of the best:
Egyptian Hip Hop: Britain’s Best New Band // Sample quote: “At the moment, we’re happy to keep everyone guessing. In a year, maybe they’ll know more about us and then people’s opinion is out our hands. And when people think they’ve got us down, we’ll do the complete opposite.”
D/R/U/G/S – Britain’s Other Best New Band // Sample quote: “We get the Orbital comparison a lot. To be honest though, I’ve never heard any of their music…”
Islet – Out There, Somewhere: A Band Cutting Their Own Furrow // Sample quote: “We’re always more interested in how people react in the real world, at a gig than in the realms of The Internet. It’s a shame that the word ‘hoopla’ isn’t used instead of hype, it’s more fun.”
Run Toto Run – Rebirth In Electronics // Sample quote: “Music sounds fasterer when you’re drunk.”
But plenty were enraged at the time. A fuss was splurged all over Twitter; tiny, ironically hi-topped, feet were stamped; and online petitions – the world’s least-regarded form of complaint – were clicked.
Dipping into Scandinavia’s vast new band resource is always reward in itself, and yet with the good 6 Music news, it becomes yet another reason for celebration. Here is Zebra and Snake, a typically bonkers Finnish band who make music that will rattle your ears with its invention, audacity and downright strangeness.
There is always pleasure in re-appraising beauty, and by listening to the synth-heavy cracked pop of Zebra and Snake, we can hear the strains of all the confused brilliance contained within all the other Finnish, Swedishet al bands that have graced ANBAD’s pages.
There’s no other part of the world that I can think of which is making such deeply pleasing music, with such an absence of self-importance, and having such a good time doing it.
These are qualities that we all ought to celebrate, happily and loudly, and with the salvation of BBC 6Music, one that we can do that little bit longer. Viva 6Music!