A New Band A Day 2008-2018

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

However, ANBAD also has over 1200 posts featuring about 1500 artists. Most are buried deeeeep 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 music plugins, hyperlinks, images, formatting – and, frankly, the writing itself – is 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.  So scroll down and read on – and maybe you’ll find some long-forgotten band from 2009 that you’ll love.


 

>Today’s New Band – Keyboard Choir

>When I was younger, I was camping by a river. It was a cloudless night, and the stars completely filled the sky. I looked up at them, trying to stop my thoughts from drifting into that terrifying corner of the mind that cheerfully, and optimistically, tries to comprehend infinity. My theory is that if you try to think about the size of the universe, then one day your thoughts will spiral away at an unstoppable exponential rate, your eyes simultaneously widening with overwhelming realisation, with the words DOES NOT COMPUTE flashing up before your eyes forever.

As a distraction, I fiddled with my 12-band nerd-tastic short-wave radio, trying to find John Peel’s weekly show on the BBC World Service. Faced with such a bewildering frequencies, and lacking the fine-tuned motor skills to rotate the tuning dial, it wasn’t an overwhelming surprise that I failed. Happily, at the bottom of one of the short-wave bands I found a squealing, bubbling mass of space-electro, semi-random interference noise, which perfectly accompanied my mildly hysterical gaze into of life, the universe and everything.

If any lesson is to be learnt from all of this quasi-hippy yapping, it’s that sometimes even the most obscure sounds can fit the right occasion. Today’s New Band, Keyboard Choir, aren’t so deliberately obtuse that they sample radio static, but their songs do conjur up the same, icily distant feeling. Bugs samples an eerie clip from a 1960’s radio recording due to be played post nuclear war, and leaves an echoing, metallic shimmer of worry behind it.

In some ways, I suppose, there is a backwards-looking stripe running through Keyboard Choir‘s songs. Skylab‘s plaintive electronic sounds are the noises glum, lonely astronauts would force out of their simple onboard computers in the 1970’s. The loneliness of space and the anxiety from the confines of their mechanised life enclosure is all there.

It’s rare for a band to actually get within spitting distance of the sounds that they originally wanted to make, but it does seem that Keyboard Choir have done it. Ethereal and delicate. Super. Listen to them, here, right now!

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 21st July 2010

Hey, look: it’s Mercury Music Prize again, and this year the Über-cool scenester panel have selected a particularly wan and underwhelming final 10.

This isn’t the first time that the Mercury panel have made huge, lumbering mistakes: witness the hilarious dilly-dallying around facts on their own website, when summing up the 1994 award, where M People were awarded the prize over Parklife, His N Hers and Music For The Jilted Generation.

Today, the ANBAD Donkey serves as the Trusty Scales Of Justice, demonstrating the ratio of Good Nominees to Bad Ones.

Note: Each band on this mixtape will be marked with a percentage rating relating to their worthiness of Mercury Nomination compared to Corinne Bailey Rae.

FIRST! Bear Driver (200% more worthy of nomination) Bear Driver make songs that are gentler than the touch of a hidden cobweb, yet just as difficult to ignore.

A Thousand Samurais is deft, wafer-light and gorgeous. That said, can you imagine glueing a little steering wheel on top of a big Kodiak Bear’s head, mounting its shoulders and trying to drive it like a clown car? Hilarious gore.

SECOND! Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea (150%) are clanky, crunchy and noisy, and yet their musical dynamic is such that the listener isn’t overwhelmed with NOISE, as is so often the case with bands like them. CMCS shake you angrily by the lapels, but then will feed you Flumps afterwards. How kind.

THIRD! Thee Ludds (178%) are morons. No, really. They think so too. Their song, I’m A Moron, is quite explicit on this count. The song, unsurprisingly, is rough around the edges and pretty… direct. But this is endearing, isn’t it sweetheart? That’s right, give mummy the scissors. Play with the soft toys. Don’t eat the sand.

FINALLY! Larsen B (190%) are named after an ice shelf. Their music is a lot more warm. The Gold Cup is so warm and cosy that I was almost lulled to sleep whilst listening to… zzzzzz… Mmmmm. Lovely.

DONE! Yep, done.

Tropical Popsicle, Pigeon-Holes and Preachers

I’ve been doing this for too long.

It was confirmed the moment when I posed myself the question “hey – are Tropical Popsicle Trop Pop?”, as if tenuously connecting a band’s name with a micro-niche music genre I’d only really encountered once before is enough to make a question valid.

They’re not Trop Pop, by the way – this sub-sub-meta-genre is Cold Wave, of course – but let’s not get bogged down in the ludicrous world of pigeon-holing, and prise open a song like The  Beach With No Footprints, where tinny zing!s of noise punctuate the thoughts of a lunatic preacher.

Sounding like a lost 80’s synth power-pop hit slowed to 70% of its original speed, The  Beach With No Footprints has the important knack of supplying just enough sound to keep the listener interested and from flipping onwards to another song.

We’re rewarded with a song that is almost motorik in its relentlessness and insidiously burrows into your mind – and then leaves you with nothing at all. A magic trick to enjoy.

MORE: tropicalpopsicle.bandcamp.com

Mad Colours, Uncertainty and Eventual Satisfaction

Occasionally a band plops into the ANBAD email inbox that I’m just not sure about.

It’s taken a while, but I’ve learnt that this is not necessarily a Bad Thing – remembering that I just wasn’t sure about Exile On Main Street the first time I heard it (oh, the shame).

Thus, usually, it’s the case that these bands causing such inner turmoil are either actually rather good, or that my radar has gone completely skew-whiff.

With that dubious caveat in mind, here’s Mad Colours, a band brave enough to pick an Anglicised band name that probably won’t show up in American Google searches. Hey, that market is probably not ready for them anyway.

I think any song called Hot Wet Sticky Flowers deserves attention, simply because it conjures a mental image that is both gross and alluring all at once. The band nurtures this inner confusion throughout the song: a blizzard of firmly-struck noises, rousing choruses (plural) and a sense of adventure that would leave most bands breathless.

As stated numerous times on these pages, there’s little merit in consistency. Mad Colours may have just that quality baked-in.

So: excellent stuff. Right? Right.

MORE: soundcloud.com/m-a-d-c-o-l-o-u-r-s

>Today’s New Band – White Williams – Bestival Themed Week

>More Great bands as seen at Mudfest 2008 Bestival 2008

Mixing and matching is a whole bundle of fun – that’s why Fuzzy Felts and Sticklebricks were the the weapons of choice at playschool when i was a nappy-bound dribbler. This inquisitive desire to put two and two together and see if they make three, four or even five stays, latent, with even the most rock ‘n’ roll of adults.

Hence a band that has a smattering of Talking Heads‘ polyrhythmics, whilst simultaneously somehow summoning up the spirit (though not the sound) of 80’s RAWK, yet without any of the awful associated ear-pounding, poodle-haired horrors. This sounds like either alchemy, insanity or stupidity – but it’s actually a fair starting point when describing Today’s New Band, White Williams.

Pulling sounds together and fusing them to make something that is almost entirely unique White Williams are creative, idiosyncratic and mysterious. Funnily enough, when these facets of rock align, great tunes almost always result – and guess what, it’s happened again.

Songs like New Violence chime and shimmer brightly, then dip into lo-fi simplicity, before bursting out, wide-eyed into joyfully soaring choruses. Violator also draws influence from a billion different bands all at once, and works to produce a fabulous new sound that wobbles along like a happy fat man in a Hot Chip-py, Lou Reed-y sort of way.

Always restrained and controlled, but not compromising their ambitious scope, still managing to zip around inventively with a wilful naivety, White Williams are dreamy, happy and brilliant. Listen now!

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

THE SEMPER TEENS: A Point Of Reference

semperteensOne of the fascinating and enjoyable parts of watching 2013 unfold is the wait as it becomes clearer that 2013 is not, as promised by every lazy outlet in January, the Year Guitar Music Came Back, but the year guitar music kept sort-of-threatening-to-become-mainstream-pop-music-but-didn’t-quite-get-around-to-it?

For those who desperately need to sate their guitar fix, confusion awaits: you could go and see the Rolling Stones strut their stuff in an enormodome, or you might grab a handful of smaller gigs from eager up-and-comers. Which most accurately describes guitar music today? Both? Neither?

Hell, if you’re going to be fibbed to about the realistic state of Guitar Music, you may as well hedge your bets: go and watch the old-timers so you have a pouty point of reference and then go and watch a bunch of scuzzy so-and-so’s like The Semper Teens jump around for a bit.

The Semper Teens have risen from the ashes of a band whose name I forget.

Of course, the old band will never be important again: its the lessons learnt that now count. And boy, The Semper Teens have nailed the whole verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus-CHORUS thing in frenetic fashion: Somebody is daft ‘n’ direct as a scuzzy guitar pop song gets.

Each ingredient is just so: the bassline bounces with – yes – a groove, the lyrics are as complex and empty as they need to be, the guitars crunch snappily in the exact manner you prefer whether you realise it or not.

No, they’re not offering anything other than a dumb good time done right, and they should be rewarded for exactly this. Nice job.

MOREthesemperteens.tumblr.com

AND AND AND, White Noise Bliss and The Genius DJ From Hell

Urgh. My ears are ringing really badly. It’s worth admitting this right now, as it might have a bearing on the quality of today’s new band, because I can’t really hear them properly.

It’s the fault of last night’s Anonymous Manchester Indie Club DJ. He played a succession of such truly drab songs that I was forced to stand right next to the speaker so that all the bland, anonymous guitar jangle became one pacifying white noise SHOOOOOOOM.

Initially I thought I was mistakenly at a themed night where only really half-hearted B-Sides were played, and then I realised that he was actually the cleverest  DJ of all time: after playing a full half hour of interchangeable Landfill-Indie and just when dancefloor spirits had lagged to the point of near-tears, he slipped on Arcade Fire‘s Lies.

The contrast turned an already astonishing song into a revelatory Second Coming, and smiles of true joy were carved into all faces. Then, to prove his point, the DJ played another hour of sub-par jangle-crud. Thanks.

AND AND AND’s songs quake with echo, reverb and lo-fi buzz to my ears, but then that could just be the tinnitus. You’ll have to let me know if it’s real or not. They could be Brian Eno-slick for all I can tell.

And And And – The Great Tide

Either way, a song of such glinting beauty as The Great Tide ought not to be missed whether it’s drenched in a layer of warm fuzz (which it might not be), or pristine and sparkling (which it might).

And And And have forged a strong and bold sound out of the most delicate and wispy musical straws. The Great Tide is a song of syrupy charm, twinkling hope and crooked beauty. Just lovely. I think.

www.myspace.com/andandandmusic

WhatsHisFace: Bass-t In Show

It seems endlessly facetious to say that Genre X is more interesting than Sub-Genre Y.

However, having spent an unfair amount of my time in recent months listening to various types of laptop-spawned, mainly cut ‘n’ paste royalty-free-sample-pack dance music (or as it’s called in the USA, CNPRFDM), I find myself making these kind of distinctions.

Chiefly, I have come to this conclusion: if you’re going to visit an online music resource, pick a genre tag and click play, you’re better off selecting the all-encompassing “Bass Music” than any of its similarly bass-tastic peers.

I discovered WhatHisFace via the old-fashioned method: a personal recommendation, so I knew his music would be good before I’d heard it. No algorithm yet written can do that.

 

WhatsHisFace is a young Mancunian producer. He’s a boy, almost.

He’s making music that is raw, simple, direct, and will piss off your mum. You could level any number of accusations at this kind of music: it adheres to a formula, the sonic palette is over-familiar, but-just-how-is-this-pushing-the-envelope?, whatever.

They’re all pointless grievances. This is what pop music is. Que Call does what it should – and that is an achievement in every sense.

MORE: facebook.com/whatshisfacee

Li Daiguo: Ludicrous Sound-Spasms

Writing about new bands is the fun bit. Wading through acres of PR email bluster to get to the bands is the hard part.

PR emails are a necessary evil – without them I’d have a lot more spare time in my life and would certainly have heard many fewer dreadful Evanescance sound-a-likes that hopeful/stupid PRs think I’ll some how find fascinating.

And yet I would also have missed out on a a raft of thrilling new artists. Thrilling new artists like Li Daiguo, who, on the strength of the PR blurb, ought to have been a truly hellish prospect. Just take a glance at the checklist of horrors:

  • Finnish Folk/Nu-Jazz ensembles? Check.
  • A focus on improvisation and human beatboxing? Check.
  • Formal training in Classical music? Check.
  • Collaboration with clowns, jugglers and actors? Check.

I have cut that list out and kept it as not only an example of all that’s wrong with music, but also as a reminder to ignore what’s written and get stuck in to the music. Because Li Daiguo – get this – is brilliant.

Li Daiguo // Lullaby

Listening to Lullaby is like watching a slow motion video of a room full of randomly gathered objects exploding, but in reverse. Slowly, the seemingly unconnected sounds – a plucked noise here, a zithering buzz there – stop pinging madly between the speakers and form one coherent and beautiful noise-mess.

Wonderfully, all of his songs are like this. Like a study in carefully-formed  madness, there is a wonderful balance of precise control and ludicrous sound-spasms. A real treat.

www.myspace.com/specialaffection