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.


 

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 19th Sept 2012

It’s (semi-)official: the ANBAD/Alex James Cheese-Monger infatuation is fading, much like a wilting rose, or the weakening miasma from a year-old Stilton.

The equation of Alex James + weak topical gag = humour (Or AJ + Hmm = LOL/1000) is no longer spritzing my Chablis. It’s a shame, but all things must pass, as always.

So. The Midweek Mixtape focusses, for once, on the, er… mixtape. About time, too.

FIRST! GuMM‘s Lionheart sounds, like, totally early-90’s. At least the start does, when the swirling My Bloody Valentine-esque fuzz consumes the song whole. It doesn’t stay like that, though: the lyrics are audible, which, of course, is where the MBV comparisons end, naturally. Still – great:

 

SECOND! If these are the The Symptoms, what is the disease? And why would we not all want it, considering that Don’t Leave is as sulkily poppy as you could possibly hope for?

 

THIRD! Apparently, Speak Galactic was on ANBAD before – although it took me a quick search before I remembered. This is no slur against the band, just a reflection of my terrible memory, and the fact that there have been too many bands to count now (OK, it’s 917). Pfft, who cares anyway – Precautionary Measures is great, clattering stuff.

 

FOURTH! Devoted Friend have made a clunky, lo-fi, hissing album of clunky, lo-fi, hissing songs that sound like they were recorded in a bedroom, or an old warehouse. Sometimes, I can think of nothing I’d prefer to listen to. Balled Up Pt. 1 hits all number of spots in this regard. Slight and wistful and weird.

 

Kawakami Kohei, Swimming In Non-troversy

Well, what a few days on ANBAD. If I have learnt anything – and this in itself is a rarity – it’s this: do not write long, gossipy posts when tired, ill and frustrated with the new music industry.

I may have that tattooed on the inside of my eyelids, so I don’t forget it. The post which caused all the bother will be re-written to remove any traces of unfairness to hard-working but average new bands (which means about 50% of the post will be nixed) and be re-published in a much more balanced form.

In the meantime, let’s get back to the business of digging up nice new bands that are underrepresented elsewhere, eh?

Japan has proven a monstrously fertile hunting ground for great new music recently. I’m not sure exactly what is in the Japanese psyche that encourages music makers there to make such wildly outré, creative and bizarre electronic music; maybe it’s the same thing that causes people who visit Japan to say how different the place is, without ever putting their finger on exactly what it is.

Kawakami Kohei is a fine example of what I’m trying and failing to put into words: a collection of endlessly satisfying noises, which also happen to hang together well as a song.

 

Stew, ironically named, is so insanely crunchy that I don’t know whether to listen to it or eat it as a breakfast cereal. Clusters of noises probably shouldn’t work so well together; yet the song hangs itself off its own bizarre shape, re-forming as an angular, pointy, soft, jagged expression of noise time and time again.

And there’s nothing controversial about that. Feels good, man.

MORE: soundcloud.com/kawakami

The Shondes and The Descent Into Middle Age

I can’t even remember how I discovered today’s new band. I will tentatively claim that I received an email from a rapt fan about them, but frankly it could have been from anyone via any medium. It could have been a psychic visitation for all I know.

I’m going to blame old age for forgetting. The truth – that I’m too disorganised to really remember – is the greater of the two evils.

This forgetfulness may well signal of the Beginning Of The End, the descent into premature Middle Age that I’ve always feared. Hey ho. When I start pootling in a potting shed, then I’ll know the transformation is complete.

Fortunately, The Shondes – the band that has unwittingly initiated all these fears – also manage to assuage much of the damage with songs that are morose and elating in equal measure.

The Shondes // Make It Beautiful

Make It Beautiful, jumping between stylistic flavours as if on a musical trampoline, is a skewed and folksy ode to pleasure and – yes – beauty. At times it threatens to shuffle down blind alleys – an almost breakbeat drum roll appearing here, a guitar crunch slipping in there – and it’s all part of the song’s charm.

This genre-forgetfulness is the song’s strength, lifting it to exciting and charming heights. And whilst I consider that commendable in many artistic ways, it’s mainly just pleasing to find out that such memory loss might actually turn out to be useful. Phew.

www.myspace.com/theshondes

The Trouble With Live Gigs: A Response

A few weeks ago, ANBAD posted two quasi-incendiary articles voicing concern with the music industry’s overwhelming focus on the Live Gig Experience, and the resultant negative effects on recorded music:

[The Trouble With Live Gigs, Part One]

[The Trouble With Live Gigs, Part Two]

The articles stirred up broad and vociferous responses. Peter Marinari, a musician who runs the excellent, long-running Philadelphia music blog Crushing Krisis, replied with a passionate defence of live gigs and their impact:

Peter Marinari: More handsome than YOU

I agree with the two articles, to a point. I’m with you on the false romanticism of concerts being invoked by big business just to manufacture excitement. That’s certainly tearing live shows away from their roots.

I think a lot of people’s favorite live experience amounts to “seeing [XXXX band] live at [XXXX venue],” which is unremarkable as favorite things go, and probably not much better than the record, anyhow. That sucks.

A good concert is like an epiphany. It’s different from the rest in one or more ways:

One is a band that is more fully-realized live than on record. When you posed your question one of the shows I thought of was Grace Potter at Bonnaroo. I have both her records, but they do not suck the breath out of my lungs like that set did. I still talk about it. That’s remarkable.

Two is the unexpected. The other show that came to mind was seeing Chantel Kreviazuk fill time for a late headlining, act, coming out again and again to sing cover tunes and chat with the audience. I don’t even like her, but only 500 people in a single venue ever got to witness that. It was unique and remarkable.

Three is an experience. The first time I saw Garbage I met the entire band, was first into the venue, and had Shirley Manson sing to me for an entire show. I’ll take that memory to my grave.

Concerts, along with merchendise, are the one major cash cow left in the music industry, and they’re being saddled down with unnecessary expectations, marketing, and sponsors to wring out more dollars.

It stops being an event of seeing a band you dig and starts being another product – priced at four or five times the cost of the CD to make up for all of the revenue labels are no longer making on records.

Every time you buy tickets for a concert, you are gambling for one of those outcomes (though the third is somewhat under your control). U2 and Green Day are probably not going to deliver them, but if you choose your shows wisely you might have an epiphany every time.

Digging a little deeper, I’m of the opinion that our bifurcated process of discovering and promoting new music has created a false dichotomy between great “live bands” and great “recorded bands.”

There are still bands building buzz by establishing a live following, like always. Organic, word of mouth. Those are bands more likely to be on indie labels and distribution out of necessity, as they have been releasing music all along.

But, they don’t break as big, and major labels aren’t scooping them up like they used to because the bands don’t need help putting together a profitable live machine.

On the flipside, lesser A&R budgets, the need for every record to be a commercial hit, and the YouTube-ification of music all favor bands with a strong concept or studio sound that don’t hold up live in a big room. The democratization of digital production tools means every band can sound professional in-studio or on video, and they are more able than ever to compensate for their deficiencies.

The resulting quality gap just makes it more tempting to ascribe the “great live bands” tag to anyone who can sing in tune and deliver a long or energetic set, even if it’s not particularly impressive. News flash: hundreds of thousands of musicians can do that. Being able to reproduce your music live is a requirement of the profession, not a bonus feature.

We’ve been raised to view the record as the document and the live show as the reproduction, not the other way around, but the record is really the soulless, herd-followed, instant-gratification marketing tool.

You don’t have to go out of your way to show your support, just buy this little plastic disc – or files that we’ll transmit to you over the air! Have your favorite band on-demand all the time! Hear the “definitive” version of a song.

It’s all fiction. You don’t know a band’s true intent just because they inflected a lyric a certain way one time. It’s just a one-time representation of reality. What it sounds like you’re lamenting is the death of an album as an event. The way all records could be in prior decades. The way albums by the biggest of the big bands still are.

The reality is that the future of music is probably not the record as we know it – and this is coming from a LOVER of records. People aren’t consuming albums like they used to, so it makes sense to alter strategy to accommodate the change.

So, I continue to exist on both sides of this debate. I neglect many concerts for the same reasons you do, but I’m also never satisfied to know a band I love only on the record. After all, it’s just a record.

Finally, an anecdote: The last two times I saw Amanda Palmer she sent her opening band around with a tip basket to make sure they could eat the next day on the road. I’m not going to romanticize DIY touring, because it’s hard and Palmer works her ass off, but THAT was a real concert, cabaret embellishments and all.

Now that’s an impassioned point of view. Thanks Peter. And while we’re speaking of supporting live artists, why not find out where he’s playing next and where you can get his songs from?

>Today’s New Band – March On Moscow

>One of the real joys of running A New Band A Day is finding a band or artist right at the embryonic stage, where the qualities that seep out of their songs are nothing more compolicated than raw talent, hope and amateurism. Those three attributes are, together, a thrilling proposition – and just as likely to result in disapppointment as much as novel pleasure.

Today’s New Band , March on Moscow, is ‘boxfresh’, as a sneaker-fetishist might say, but has a spark, a barb – something indescribable, triggering the desire to listen again, more intently. At the time of review, MoM has one song to be heard – Several Times – and it’s a wild, intense, multiple-identity song that revels in instrumental dabbling, driving onwards into the self-made darkness. It’s an inventive past/future/present melding of sounds.

So March on Moscow can be a case study of newness – a young man throwing caution to the wind, doing something that he loves, and praying that it works for others too. It does. Good luck, March on Moscow. Listen here!

>Taxi! Taxi! Adios, In The City

>
Two days after In The City has ended, and almost all traces of its existence have dissipated. The buzz has moved elsewhere, and a only few limp posters remain. Shame. The feeling of being in the sticky armpit of the UK’s new music world was nice while it lasted.

So here’s an affectionate* faux-award-ceremony look back at ITC:

The Sudden Flash Of Common Sense award: When an unnamed BBC Radio One DJ left Mark Ronson’s keynote speech after 5 minutes, because he suddenly realised that he hated Mark Ronson ‘with a passion’

When Hair Reigned Supreme: The giant, all encompassing fringes of Egyptian Hip Hop; the bleached Princess Diana hairdo of the singer from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool; even Mark Ronson’s slicked quiff: The Conference When Hair Got Bigger Than Rock

Sack The Proofreader Award: The slogan “ITC: Everything Else Is Just Noise” is quite zippy, but only if you remember to include the ‘Y’ in ‘Everything’ before you plaster it all over all thousands of posters, T-Shirts and all merchandise

The Man With The Best Anecdote award: Peter Hook, for his story about Bernard Sumner displaying his displeasure at Spandau Ballet by urinating onto them from a balcony as they played a gig in Paris

The Award For The Most Reverb-Drenched Microphones: 19 year-old Swedish twins Taxi! Taxi!, for their unusually echoing warble.

(Male readers – admit it: a very specific mental image was dredged up when you read the words ‘19 year-old Swedish twins’, wasn’t it? Bleach your mind and be reasonable, please.)

Taxi! Taxi! were elfin, brunette, clad in denim dungarees, and grasping spookily at guitars and accordions. Their songs, punctuated by pleas for more reverb directed at the sound technician, were so alien they felt beamed-in from another planet.

If NASA discovered life in a far away solar system and responded by blasting a space ship filled with Patti Smith and Kings Of Convenience records at them, songs like More Childish Than In A Long Time would be beamed back, and songs like All I Think Of would be made after their first confusing visit to Earth.

Taxi! Taxi!‘s songs are barely there – emotions first, noise second, understanding third. Lovely, wispy, dissolving.

*predictable

Photography by Martina Hoogland Ivanow

>Today’s New Band – Ex Lovers PLUS! Credit Crunch Revenge!

>In these recession-ridden times, hidden value – getting more than your bargained for – is about as good as it gets. This is especially true if you think that you’ve been diddled out of too much money in the first place. An example: when I went to see Pete and The Pirates last night, they had to prize the £9.50 out of my clammy hand. I paid it with half reluctance and half comfort – on one hand, nine pounds bloody fifty is a lot of money to see a band that hardly dents the Top 40, but then on the other hand, if that band is as good as P&TP, who cares?

They were, indeed, great. Lovely, charming, inventive tunes with lovely, charming, inventive lyrics. They reminded me a bit of James – not in their sound, but in their arty contrariness. But what made me totally forget all about the cost was the fact that their support band, Ex Lovers, were superb too. And so, in a fit of inevitable cunning, they are Today’s New Band.

Ex Lovers just work. There are so many bands that aren’t quite there – a good singer with a clunky band, or a great guitarist in a band that writes sub-Travis dirge. But Ex Lovers all fit together perfectly, like Stickle Bricks. And like Stickle Bricks, each bit of the band is different, and contributes something good to the whole. (No more dreadful toddler’s toy analogies, I promise.)

Their gentle songs have that great indie coyness that has been hitherto trampled over in the rush for ‘dancefloor’ staccato beats and choppy too-cool guitars. Listen to Just A Silhouette, and swoon to the dreamy vocals, snappy hooks and the way it drifts into the chorus. Then – more hidden value – bathe yourself in the total absence of pretentiousness.

There’s something softly defiant about Ex Lovers – all the songs sound like they are just about to dissolve nihilistically into warm fuzz. When I saw them last night, they were smart enough to only let that happen once or twice.

Ex Lovers play songs that do exactly what you were hoping they’d do, just when you were hoping it would happen. Thanks, Ex Lovers, for making that £9.50 seem like a bargain. Their songs are like soft electricity, a descripiton which I freely accept is the most pretentious phrase I have ever typed. But it fits. Listen to them here.

The Boxing Lesson – Great Scott, Marty!

If there’s two things that ANBAD really likes, it’s manipulating the idea of a band’s newness to slightly absurd degrees, and an opportunity to splash around in some good old-fashioned ultra-cynicism.

Handily, The Boxing Lesson conflate these two conceits in one neat, calming package. The ‘N’ part of ANBAD – the newness – has always been a matter of debate. Is the band new to me, to you, or the whole world? And if you care that much, then go and find the bands yourself, sunshine, so I can have a lie-in every morning.

The Boxing Lesson, however, have a Back Story. It’s a good Back Story. It involves them recording a tape of cutting-edge and technologically exciting music back in 2004, and then having the master tape stolen, which has only just been recovered.

Which brings us neatly to the hefty dollop of cynicism. Surely that can’t be true, my synapses – ninja-trained to rubbish any such claim after years of exposure to PR-cobblers – all screamed at once. But occasionally intrigue gets the better of a weary soul, and, so heck, I’ll buy it.

Thus, this tape of songs is no longer cutting-edge – it was made with Zip Disks – and, you know, it’s all the better for it. We immediately disconnect from the swirl and bluster of today’s music and allow ourselves to enjoy the billowy openness and comfy laziness of the songs themselves.

So in this way, The Boxing Lesson are truly new – and these tapes a peek into the mind of an artist over half a decade ago: a time capsule, unencumbered by years of innovation, retrogression, whatever.

theboxinglesson.bandcamp.com

Photo by Cory Ryan

Ambinate: Beyond Bloggamegeddon

After yesterday’s ANBAD-disaster (Midweek Mixtape goes live, ANBAD immediately drops off the internet, reappears 24 hours later, Mixtape is missing, anxiety levels soar), here’s hoping that the mere act of putting a post on a blog doesn’t bring about Bloggamageddon today.

So, if you’re reading this, congratulations! You have been spared a thousand apologetic tweets with links for semi-amusing gifs as I frantically try to fill time until the blog arrives back online.

More importantly than my fragile ego, though, is the fact that you’re now listening to Ambinate, purveyor of the kind of slo-mo, hi-contrast, swirl-pop that creates a whole new, dizzy world – and then punctures straight through it.

 

I sometimes wonder – if you sped songs like Horizon up, would it just be a Rhianna song slowed down in extremis?

The hooks, sweet melodies and lushness are all there: it’s just that everything appears to be moving at a different speed to life around it. Lovely, but deep, dark yet light: Ambinate are choosing their own points of reference.

MORE: ambinate.bandcamp.com

Post Post – Mobius Strips Of Delicious, Pillowy Bliss

Seeing The Coral on Saturday night was a revelatory experience for me. Not the band so much – they were as warm and fulfilling as expected, a bit like getting into a bathtub filled with your favourite winter soup. No, the revelation was that it was my first – and possibly my last – all-seater gig.

I’ll say this for The Lowry in Salford Quays: the acoustics are outrageously good. The room is full of strangely-suspended baffles and oddly-angled appendages, and has clearly been designed by computer to make every spot in there the perfect listening space.

The downside is that there is no room for deviation from the plan, so everyone has to remain seated at all times.

A seated gig is a weird thing to behold, especially from my viewpoint, high up in the gods: hundreds of people, fighting against their cushioned velveteen restraints, twitching and jerking at the music, clearly wishing they were standing and dancing.

There are bands for whom a sitting gig would suit, but The Coral are not one of them. Maybe Philadelphia’s Post Post, sharp, ethereal and lithe, could pull off such an event. Certainly I was lulled into a quasi-snooze-like state with their hypnotically soft sounds, which gently loop into Mobius Strips of delicious, pillowy bliss.

Post Post // Architects

I’m not sure if the band’s name draws from some hazy insight into their influences – are they post-post-rock? – and frankly, I don’t care. Architects yearns, aches and urges, and we listeners latch on and follow suit, filling in the gaps, aligning emotions and losing thoughts by gazing into the middle distance.

Post Post have achieved the rarest of feats: an actual emotional attachment to their audience. And if that audience were penned into rows of seats before them, they might never leave of their own volition. Blissful and hypnotic.

Thanks, as always, to Peter at the always-excellent Crushing Krisis blog.