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 // 15th June 2011

Lordy, the sun’s hot in Portugal. Lt. Drebin is back from his holidays, and wondering whether he should have taken heed of an awful Bill Withers/Grandaddy Souf mash-up.

Whilst Frank is moving gingerly and peeling strips of crispy skin from his back, why not indulge in a little mixtapery?

FIRST! 50’s Doo-wop is one of those sounds that persists in coming back for another bout of fun, like an over-attentive Labrador. Cults probably don’t smell much like wet dog, but other than that, the analogy is moderately apt. Abducted is a dreamily upbeat modern reconfiguration of 50’s pop with a sinister edge: catchy as hell, straight-up-and-down, radio-friendly spook-fun.

SECOND! Finest Minds unwittingly conjur up the image of hellish 80’s idiots Simple Minds. That’s OK, as long as they don’t also make a morono-cover of Sign O’ The Times. Funnily enough, there is a hefty chunk of 80’s synth-and-chiming-guitar in Something Missing, although it’s cracked and weird enough to appreciate in a non-ironic manner.

THIRD! To prove exactly how up-to-date ANBAD really is, let’s preface this mini-review by saying that it ought to have been done about a year ago when the excellent Whitehaus Family Band compilation originally came out. And where to start with a 27-track sampler? Well, follow the link, scroll through the tracks and pick one for yourself – it’s as good a compilation album as you’ll have heard for a long time.

FINALLY! Secret Rivals’ Tonight Matthew is quite possibly a reference to now-possibly-defunct Saturday night karaoke-lite show Stars In Their Eyes. I like it when bands make references to cultural landmarks of that ilk. As a song, it’s a skittering, loony blast; all splashy drums, chiming guitars and yelping vocals.

The Vaccines Are Not Wu Lyf But They Might* Know A Man Who Is

“Who are The Vaccines?” we are supposed to ask, for here is another band merrily ploughing the Anonymity Furrow that has proved so useful and controversial for the mysterious Wu Lyf. (Just cast a lazy eye over the glut of indignant and barely literate conjecture on the Pigeon Post)

Still, it works. I want to know more. And so the exploration begins.

If You Wanna // The Vaccines

Their website gives nothing away, save for a selection of nicely cropped photos, and one avenue that we can confidently close off is the suggestion that they are purveyors of Seattle crunch-punk: these Vaccines certainly aren’t the same Vaccines that wrote Git Fucked Up, hearty and thrilling as that song may be.

So we’re left with the song to go on: alone, fragile, vulnerable – just what they wanted. When I covered Wu Lyf a while ago, I made no mention of the band’s music – a lame, quasi-Situationist jibe at their unknown status.

This was a cheap jibe, yes, and one I won’t repeat here, because If You Wanna is a delicious slab comprised of half-60’s vibe-pop and half juddering drum clout. It’s so fun, slick, skyscraping and confident that it needs talking about.

It’s also all we’ve got, all they’ve given, and all, frankly, I want at the moment. A face or two would spoil my mental image. And overcoming that hurdle is their next big challenge. But between then and now, we can simply enjoy the song. You know, the important bit.

Begin breathless exploration here, and excitedly post any discoveries below…

facebook.com/thevaccines

soundcloud.com/the-vaccines

thevaccines.co.uk

*or might not.

Youthless Are Not MGMT. True Fact.

MGMT are curious. Their recent, abrupt, 90-degree turn away from chart-friendly pop was a bold move, and a commendable one. Such leftfield-yearnings were also clearly signposted in their first album, which makes the slew of puzzled reviews for their last album all the more unfathomable (or lazy).

But one of the more interesting things about MGMT is how other bands have not really been able to ape the sounds exhibited during their swingeingly brief chart-dalliance. This hasn’t stopped a number of bands’ PR bumph mentioning vague connections and alliances with MGMT, of course.

Golden age -YOUTHLESS by YOUTHLESS

Hence Youthless, who have plenty of interesting traits worth genuine attention – their cluster of bright, twitchy and crystal clear songs, for example – are clumsily hitched to the MGMT bandwagon simply because the band went to the same university. Don’t all convulse with excitment at once.

The fact that Youthless are based in the gorgeous, alive and youthful city of Lisbon, and sound nothing like MGMT is moot, naturally. It’s all about association, yeah? This is annoying – because if any band deserves to stand tall on their own merits, it’s Youthless.

Listen to Golden Age and hear a young band who know exactly how to make a song tick. It’s snappy, clever and prickly and sparse – and the pleasing realisation is that this is not for stylistic reasons, but because the song itself required nothing more.

Youthless‘s songs shine with innovation, joyful realisation and colour. They force a smile on their listeners. What other association do you need?

soundcloud.com/youthless-2

Youthless are appearing at In The City in Manchester, next week. Wristbands are LITERALLY bargain of the century at £29.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 1st September 2010

No ANBAD Donkey Antics this week. There just wasn’t time. Instead, here is a ‘greatest hits’ blast-from-the-past picture.

A poor show, yes – but here’s four genuinely fabulous bands to compensate, one of whom sounds a bit like The Killers. Of course, being the consummate professional, I will entirely gloss over such a glaringly glib comparison.

FIRST! Wild Party sound a bit like The Killers. This is worth getting out of the way right at the beginning, because it’ll be the observation everyone makes. A fairer assessment is that they sound like what The Killers would sound like if they were, you know, good.

It’s not singer L. Kreifels’ fault that he sounds like Brandon Flowers. Don’t judge him. And don’t let this blind the fact that Wild Party are a throbbingly exciting and exhilarating band, and that Take My Advice, amazingly, is scheduled to be released as a B-side. Superb, thrilling stuff, on the basis of which they’ll be huge.

SECOND! Ivan Moult marks the transition from bombast to the deliberate absence of it. When I hear songs this breathy and slight, I wonder what would happen if the singer was exposed to the epic ridiculousness of, say, a Kiss concert. I imagine instant molecular dissolution. Here, Ivan has made low-key, high-impact acoustic songs that barely exist, but you’ll be glad they do. Lovely.

THIRD! His Majesty – There’s something both pleasant and ludicrous about His Majesty, a band who are apparently based in two French cities and one British one, which must make the band practice meet-ups interesting, or at least exhausting.His Majesty make deliciously skewed synth-pop, with the kind of flippancy that only Gallic bands every really get right. Good stuff.

FOURTH! There wasn’t time for four, after all. As previously mentioned – a poor show. Apologies. Normal service resumed next week!

Timothy Cushing, and Liam Gallagher’s Hair In “Boring” Shocker!

Funny, the power our idols have over us. If I unceremoniously deposited a lock of my hair into your outstretched palm, you’d probably call the police, wash the offending hand in bleach and take out a restraining order.

However, if I told you that the bristly bundle belonged to a certain truculent, microphone-lobbing rock star, the excitement would be so great, you’d not know whether to update your Facebook status or Ebay listing first.

Such otherwise mundane occurrences punctuate a normal life with the dazzling white-hot glare of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and when @SkinnyGirlWho, one of the tremendous ANBAD Twitter followers, tweeted to let me know that she was once in the possession of Liam Gallagher’s hair trimmings, only one response was appropriate. Did she smell it?

The answer was, of course, yes. Who wouldn’t? Further probing uncovered that it was – and I quote – “incredibly brown, and, dare I say it, unexciting”. So there you have it: Liam Gallagher has clean, dull hair. Like a choirboy. Shocking.

Such deviant behaviour, and subsequent judgements, await the follicle snippings of Timothy Cushing when he makes it that big. This is the price of fame.

Timothy Cushing is crafty – in every sense: his songs are both sneakily insidious and subtly constructed to give the air of quickly cast-off folk-rock. In reality, of course, songs like Dandelion Wine have been sweated over and refined more times than a bottle of expensive vodka.

Timothy Cushing // Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine‘s guitars chime, the lazy beat shuffles, and while Tim relays a story of half-shrugged melancholy, it’s hard to deny that all is just A-OK in the world.

It’s a song you’ll be sure you’ve sung along to before, but can’t remember when or where. This is because you haven’t, and is also the reason why it is such a good song.

From a cursory glance, I can make these judgements on Tim Cushing’s hair: it’s brown – though not ‘incredibly’ – and it may be harbouring pockets of excitement. The smell, alas, is so far unrecorded. This information is not hankered after yet. But with songs like Dandelion Wine in his armoury, it’s just a matter of time.

www.myspace.com/timothycushing

ESOH: Sweeping

After a while, the opinions of music bloggers gain some sort of currency, however misinformed, skewed or inane they may be.

As John Huston’s (evil) character pointed out in Chinatown:

 Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

If that is true, as a music blogger of four-and-a-bit years, my respectability may well stand somewhere between whore and ugly building status, and frankly, that feels comfortable enough.

But still, I do hesitate before making statements like the one that is about to follow: after all, what the hell do I know?

So, with that in mind, here goes: there seems to be a whole bunch of interesting, confident and winsome dance music emerging from western Russia at the moment. Whoah, sweeping.

Which brings us to Esoh, from Saint Petersburg  who makes Twin-Peaks-dream-like bass music.

 

Taby Brap is the sort of song I find perplexing in a number of ways: testing my innate aversion to genre-de-jours, zappy synths and kitch samples all at once.

And yet, this is satisfying, fun and involving – just as all dance music should be. You might shirk from its various components, but it’s hard to deny that this sounds like a good time encoded in mp3 form.

MORE: esoh.bandcamp.com

The Manticores: A Mainline Connection

Odd how a while ago you couldn’t get someone to listen to vaguely psyche-y music for love nor money.

It was the niche realm of the odd and the defiantly outré.

Then Tame Impala poked the bubble of discontent simply by the virtue of being very, very good, and all of a sudden the collective tastebuds are entirely receptive once more, eagerly lapping up every warped, cloudy psyche note.

Neat timing from The Manticores, who can/should/really must capitalise on this cheerful turn of events.

And they too, fortunately, are good; at the very least, they’re much better than most husband/wife bands ever are.

 

Featuring the snappiest drums this side of a early-noughties Neptunes remix, New Who is – and I use this word entirely advisedly – a delightful, pink-hued romp through the physical sensations of wonder, fulfilment and delirium.

The song is a nugget of joy. It’s a beaut. It’s a mainline connection to a better, happier place. Hop on!

MORE: soundcloud.com/the-manticores

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

Under Alien Skies

Hours turn into days, and another week of new bands rattle by. When will this relentless pace ever cease? It’s Friday now, and time to slow down. Deep breaths.

Speaking of slowing down, the oft-spurious, always-compelling scurrilous gossip website Popbitch claims that the NME’s circulation has dropped to a lowly 32,000 a week. This may well indeed be true – the sight of a person actually purchasing a copy has become hens-teeth-rare.

To put that figure in perspective, I know a music blogger who receives over 32,000 visitors each day. Ouch. Hey – the world’s changed quickly. No-one pays for music, let alone music criticism any more, especially when you can log onto some half-arsed website, like this one, for free.

Like the rest of us, Under Alien Skies may be wondering why they even started to get involved with the pop music world. And as a result, they’re making fabulously unravelled, slow noise-scapes.

Papillon isn’t a cover of the Editors’ song from a year or so ago, or if it is, it’s been mercifully slowed down to about a tenth of its original speed. The song, such as it is, winds and meanders with delicate poise and and ice-crystal fragility.

It’s slow, it builds, and it’s strangely affecting in its bits-and-pieces approach to noise-making. It ends on a weirdly euphoric note. Papillion, like the band, is a mass of pleasing contradictions. Lovely.

underalienskies.bandcamp.com