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.


 

Spotify: Music Heaven or Musician’s Hell? – A Very Modern Problem

I love Spotify. If you like listening to music, I know that you love Spotify too.

Because what is there not to love? And I do mean love – I can vividly recall the dizzying, bewildering, heart-racing feelings when I first downloaded it a few years ago, and lots days discovering and rediscovering amazing music.

I became Spotify’s loudest, most rabid, most insistent acolyte, forcing family and friends to download it. (I still recommend you do, by the way)

Try it yourself – just say to your nearest and dearest, “Imagine your iTunes collection suddenly bloats and distends to include almost all music, ever,” and watch as their eyes widen, sold instantly on the idea.

So who couldn’t love Spotify? Well, maybe the artists who supply it with ‘content’. Murmurings of discontent have been slipping from between artists’ lips for a while now – grumblings about paltry payouts, mainly. A few labels have voted with their feet, and pulled their music from the service.

What is the deal with Spotify’s payment system? On one hand, Spotify says it has “driven” a not-inconsiderable $150 Million out to artists. On the other,  Jon Hopkins, from the excellent King Creosote, says he got £8 for 90,000 plays.

So is Jon right to be aggrieved? Well, I’m not an artist. I’m a consumer – a paying Spotify user who considers £5 a month a tiny amount to pay for so much music. Hey, I’m listening to Spotify as I write this (Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life, if you must know)

I can see why Jon’s annoyed. £8 seems like the wrong kind of tiny amount for music – from the point of view of the artist. But is there more to it than that?

If, as Jon says, BBC Radio 1 pay about £50 per play, Spotify certainly does appear miserly. But think about these numbers and how our perception of a ‘play’ fits into them.

90,000 plays on Spotify doesn’t equate to 90,000 people hearing the song once. Their are people, like me, who will hammer an individual song 20 times in a row if they’re in an obsessive mood, and this behaviour distorts the figure instantly.

One play on Spotify doesn’t mean the listener likes the song, or even listens to it. What if one of those ‘plays’ is a person idly pointing an ear towards a song for ten seconds, pulling a face, and skipping on to another? Should the amount paid to the artist factor in those people, these occurances?

Then consider this: each Radio 1 play will reach a lot more than, say, 90,000 listeners – it’ll be heard by hundreds of thousands at least, and many millions if it’s on the bigger shows.

Does each of these listeners hearing the song once on the radio equate to a “play”? If so, a £50 payment for having your song played to three million people doesn’t seem such a great deal.

 

In the end, it all boils down to control: the Spotify users control what they listen to – and the artist can decide whether they want their music to appear on there or not.

But at least there is control: would artists like Jon prefer it if the supply of their music was regulated – albeit in exchange for merely beer money –  or that their music was downloaded via a torrent, and any semblance of artist control lost forever?

And, as the ever-perceptive Sean Adams from Drowned In Sound pointed out:

I advise new bands to put music on Spotify if possible, not so much for the money, but purely for the fact that one of Spotify’s zillions of listeners might find you, become a fan, and then support you by attending gigs, buying merchandise, and coquettishly hassling you to come back stage and share your rider.

Listeners (like me) used to hate paying £15 for just one CD a decade ago, and although record sales could actually generate income then, the artists didn’t make a huge amount, either.

So now the artist gets screwed directly, as opposed to via a label – but now the consumer now thinks they’re getting a fairer deal. Is this right? Probably not, but what are the viable alternatives right now?

I feel for Jon. £8 for 90,000 plays doesn’t seem right. But then, if Spotify didn’t exist, 90,000 plays of your song might not have taken place.

Being angry with Spotify is probably not the answer. Spotify is a reflection of the times and of how people have decided to consume music now.

In a period where a heavy, grey cloud looms large over all music, is it better to look for a silver lining – regardless of how thinly beaten that lining is – or to stand your ground and rage against the status quo?

Ultimately, it’s for us – because we’re all consumers – to decide how this pans out. And for now, the vast majority of us like our music as close to free as we can get it.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // In The City Special

It’s the Manchester-based In The City new music conference soon, and even stubborn contrariness can’t deter me from devoting the next few weeks to a huge new music event taking place on my doorstep.You’ll be hearing a lot more about ITC, but for now – check out the brilliant line-up of bands, some of whom are in this week’s Midweek Mixtape.

In The City was started by the late, and – yes – great, Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records. He enjoyed a wry look at many things, and this week, he’s admiring the Situationist construct of a donkey dangling at a 45-degree angle. And so it goes.

MIXTAPE:

FIRST: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have mutated somewhat since he was featured on an infant ANBAD in May 2008, and yet the core quality remains the same: stupendously inventive skewed dance, pristine sounds and an emphasis on a Good Time.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Garden

Garden is a song best played on the dancefloor after midnight, the kind that will revitalise loose limbs and change minds considering the comfort of their beds. Soft, careful, angular and deceptively brutal.

SECOND: Chiddy Bang, like approximately 99% of young musicians, make remixes on their laptops. Unlike 98% of  their peers, their remixes are worthwhile, taking an original source – MGMT’s Kids, say – and create something altogether new. Retaining the feel of an original track but creating novelty is hard, but Chiddy Bang have it nailed. A curio, but a good one.

THIRD: Stealing Sheep are Welsh, which makes their name either an ironic jibe at anti-Welsh clichés, or is a damning indictment of the boredom levels present in The Kids in Wales. Either way, their music is at once simple, harmonic and beautiful whilst maintaining a wild and wired muggy-psych swirl. Fascinating and sweet.

FINALLY: Porcelain Raft –  just imagine a raft made out of china. It’s madness! Kids these days. Porcelain Raft would do well to steer clear of boating lakes, because his music is so dreamy, cloudy and disorientating, that listeners will be spellbound – or at least unsure as to whether they’re awake or not. The sound of rapidly cooling fudge: creamy, enveloping, tempting.

DONE! Done. At £29, the wristbands for ITC are pretty much the best gig-going bargain this side of becoming an A&R man and getting in everywhere for free. (But if you were an A&R man, you’d have a whole host of other problems to balance that equation out.)

>Today’s New(ish) Band – The Royal We

>Splitting up a band at the right time is tough. Some bands split up far too late (or worse, not at all), casually pissing all over their good legacy by releasing an ever increasing number of pointless, going-through-the-motions records. Some bands split up just after things get good, and The Big Time is just beginning to beckon its evil gold-laden hand, thus leaving an ever-lasting legacy of music bores yapping on about ‘ what might have been’.

Therefore it’s hard to say whether today’s New Band, Glasgow’s The Royal We, are rabid-dog crazy or rocket-science clever, as they have already split up whilst they can still be considered a new band.

Just listen to any of the songs on their MySpace site, http://www.myspace.com/theroyalweee , for proof of their actual brilliance.

Especially listen to “All the Rage” and then listen to it again, and then again, because it’s going to get stuck in your head anyway, so you may as well beat your brain to the manic repetition bit.

Perhaps it’s all a brilliant post-post-modern statement. Instead of droning on in the NME about how you’re going to record a load of great songs and then split up, ‘cos they’re so rock and roll, The Royal We just went out and actually did it. They’ve got a great mini-album, also called The Royal We, which is about 20 minutes long and has a Chris Issacs cover on it. How much more convincing do you need?

So to recap:

  1. Eponymous debut album

  2. Chris Isaacs cover

  3. Attractive and highly talented female lead singer

  4. Best song of the last 12 months

  5. Already split up

If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will. Let us know what you think!

—Don’t forget, ANBAD is running a reduced service this week, due to being on holiday and eating a lot of dried cod in Portugal. Full service as per usual next week—

Los Porcos: A Change Of Heart Doesn’t Hurt Nobody

Today: changes of heart.

Interesting tweets pinged forth recently from the estimable Ryan Schreiber, the founder/editor of the monstrously influential Pitchfork.

In these tweets, he expressed his change of heart over a slightly damning review of Daft Punk‘s Discovery that he wrote back in 2001.

He gave the album a very average score of 6.4, and criticised, amongst other things the repetitive nature of the lyrics and the fact that no-one had asked for a house-prog-rock hybrid, but now we had one anyway.

And now, this is how he feels about the LP:

ryanpitchfork
I mean, there were times I was wildly off-base with my reviews, but Discovery is the only rating I can no longer find some way to justify.
02/05/2013 04:31
ryanpitchfork
A week later it was one of my favorite records of the year. And a month later, it was one of my favorite records of the decade.
02/05/2013 04:32
ryanpitchfork
And now it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. Like I probably won’t hear many albums in my life that I like more than that one.
02/05/2013 04:32

I respect Ryan endlessly for what he has achieved with Pitchfork (and he’s a lovely guy, to boot). But it’s fascinating that my experience of Discovery is *exactly* opposite to his: I adored it in 2001, and now look upon it coolly, with something approaching distain.

It also made me think a bit about judgement.

I resisted Los Porcos for so long simply because, a) they are Wu Lyf minus the singer who huffed off, and, b) that’s it.

The Hipster Hullaballoo surrounding Wu Lyf was so intensely tiresome, I simply couldn’t bring myself to click “play” on the Los Porcos songs with titles like Jesus Luvs U Baby. I was hugely wrong. I feel remorse. This review is my Ryan Schreiber Tweet Moment.

 

Dear Los Porcos: an apology is due.

Jesus Luvs U Baby is simply excellent. It’s everything I wanted Wu Lyf’s music to be (but wasn’t). It’s gentle, thoughtful, arch, funky, lilting, dazzling, non-ironic, non-knowing, non-meta-post-whatever. It’s weirdly honest and joyful, and Prince-like in the best possible way.

Brilliant stuff. And sorry, again.

MORE: soundcloud.com/losporcos

NB: Huge thanks to Jon The Beef for convincing me to listen to Los Porcos. I owe you one  (or, as Los Porcos would say, I O Yu 1).

Pendentif; Love, Lust and Eponymity

I find French bands endlessly fascinating, for reasons even I can’t fathom.

Perhaps it’s because I spent a lot of my youthful holidays there, listening with quiet bewilderment at the awful pop music on the radio, wondering when a Pulp song was going to appear (it never did).

And so the seed of an idea that French music is all pap was planted. It only occurred to me years later that if a French person came to the UK and listened to local radio stations here, they’d leave with exactly the same conclusions.

It turns out French pop – outside of the mainstream – is peppered with as many delightful curios as that of any other country. I once stumbled upon the Fete de Musique in Cahors, and wandered around in bliss as small bands of all genres played impromptu sets down tiny medieval streets.

Pendentif are the kind of French band that I find easy to love – warm and sunny, mainstream and angular, bright and sad.

Pendentif (the song) is an endlessly cheerful song that has been dipped in melancholy and left to dry in the hot Bordeaux sun. It’s a sly paean to love, lust and friends, wrapped around a cute and direct keyboard-stab. Songs don’t get much more universal than that.

The song Pendentif is from the EP Pendentif by Pendentif. Talk about eponymous. Hey – if you’re going to associate a song with you band’s name, you may as well make it a good one. Great stuff.

MORE: pendentif.bandcamp.com/track/pendentif

TODAY’S BONUS BAND:  Freedom Or Death // FIVE WORD REVIEW: Not anything like Death Metal

Phantom Balance: Rappity-Rap

You know, it’s always nice to receive an email that is personal, or is fun, or just understands what’s what.

It’s not a requirement, naturally, but the following was enough to pique this jaded email-deletion-master’s interest, at least:

 I know you do more from the beats/instrumental side but not a whole lot of actual rappity rap. Which I actually think is just fine, but, I do have some rappity rap you might like.

Well.

Rappity-rap, indeed. Funnily enough, I love rappity-rap; it’s just that I have to narrow my focus a bit to find new bands, and there’s so much rappity-rap and hippity-hop out there that that particular genre had to be culled from my field of vision.

 

Now, it’s already been established this week that I really like interesting usage of samplers, and guess what – Phantom Balance have the golden knack too.

Hip hop, accompanied by rappity-rap or otherwise, is a tough genre to innovate in, or even to simply avoid re-treading the same old ground in. Drum Symbols doesn’t re-invent the hip-hop wheel, but it does add something hugely enjoyable to the hip-hop canon, and this is more than good enough.

Phantom Balance have snap, groove and swing; their rhymes have punch and grit. Nice stuff indeed. Sorry – “nicety-nice”.

MORE: phantombalance.bandcamp.com

On Headphones, On Sound, On Songs

(Image Source: Sony Website)

(Image Source: Sony Website)

This is a Sponsored Post

Yesterday I was on a plane home from Berlin. I generally loathe plane flights, as much due to the rank boredom induced as much as the fleeting moments of terror when you realise that 30,000 feet really is a long gap between your bottom and the floor.

Anyway, after the initial tedium/panic dichotomy began to subside, I slipped on my headphones and scrolled through my iPod.

After I got over the ego-pricking realisation that I have become one of those people who mainly owns music from the decade of their teenage years, it dawned on me that listening to music through headphones is pretty much my main manner of consuming music these days.

It didn’t used to be so: I was, for a long time, the kind of turn-up-the-amp-to-11 neighbour from hell, but I suppose age mellows us all, and now my conscience, as well as convenience, points the music directly into my ears.

One of my bugbears is audio snobbery: that music should only be played on the most expensive hi-fi, through the most heavy-duty speakers, and not through headphones or via small laptop speakers.

This is pure nonsense: generations of teenagers thrilled to the sounds of the Beatles, Motown, the Pistols, The Smiths, et cetera ad infinitum played via AM radio, which has the same sound quality as a baked bean tin and a piece of string – and yet the quality of the songs shone through regardless.

That said, if you’re going to wear headphones, wear good ones. And these new MDR-1 Sony headphones are pretty much the business: some serious thought has been put into how to make sound that appears a centimetre from your ears sound like it’s filling the room.

So the designers asked a few people who know about making a noise, including Magnetic Man, and so these are headphones that not only sound good if you’re listening to both tinny pop music and bowel-worrying bass music; but also (incredibly excitingly) come in a wireless version that works over Bluetooth, finally proving that we’re in the future, and that flying cars are only a step away.

On top of this, there’s all kinds of clever algorithmic jiggery-pokery that means that the headphones actively cancel out 99.7% of background noise energy. It’ll possibly be some audio snob complaining that you’re not listening via speakers, so you would have a perfect opportunity to both prove him wrong, and blank him out.

Even if you don’t want the Dj range you can invest in a pair of the Prestige In-Ear range in order to escape from the rest of the world and the noises around you whilst on the go. Or if you like to break a sweat at the gym without having to listen to social natterings in the background, their close-fitting sports range allows you to maintain motivation by blocking out your surroundings with a comfortable fitting.

SLEAFORD MODS; I DON’T CARE THAT THEY’RE NOT ‘NEW’ AND THAT I’VE MISSED THE BOAT A BIT: THEY’RE AMAZING

sleafordmods

Sleaford Mods are simply the best band in the UK at the moment, in my extremely humble opinion.

“Big up the riots!”

They’ve been around for a while, and I missed the boat, although I remember hearing one of their songs last year about austerity and loved it, and then somehow forgot about it.

It’s hard for me not to wax lyrical too much about this band. Everything is wonderful: the basic loops of sound, the angry, vicious lupine-howl #issues – but actually, it’s hard to look past the astonishing delivery of frontman Jason Williamson.


 

He’s brilliant. Just watch this video of them gigging on the street outside Rough Trade. He starts by getting into a fight with a weirdo, shouting “Come on then!” as he’s led away, and then doing the most electrifyingly spasmodic performance you could imagine.

Really, when was the last time you saw a band as believable as this?

The Parish of Little Clifton: Punctuation Infatuation

Now that’s a mouthful of a band-name, eh, pop-pickers? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with The Parish of Little Clifton as your moniker of choice, but it sure isn’t The Ramones, is it?

Petty grievances abound on ANBAD about band names – and they should be largely ignored, of course – although I can’t help thinking that one day, someone is going to attend a The Parish of Little Clifton live performance in the mistaken belief that they’ll be  taking part in a small village’s council meeting.

In many ways, I hope this does happen, as it’ll expose a wholly confused person to some entirely clear, precise music that ought to cut through their mental fug like an industrial laser-beam.

 

Or maybe it wouldn’t: while the crafting of songs like It’s Okay, Roseanne is diamond-cut in execution, the samples used to convey the sound are a pleasantly confusing mis-mash of vocal snippets, obtuse noises and grabbed sound snatches.

Such an approach – voices punctuating the song until they become instruments, with actual instrument sounds relegated to mere framework – leaves us with a thumpingly jolly song which defies the odds and becomes, unexpectedly, a brilliant party tune. Great.

MORE: theparishoflittleclifton.bandcamp.com

Radio Show // January’s Top Five Bands!

Such was the hustle and bustle in ANBAD towers at the turn of the year – with the relaunch of the website causing both sleep and hair loss – that the fine array of ace new bands almost got forgotten. Well, almost – they nearly became overlooked but the day’s fiftieth cup of coffee brought them back into sharp, lovely focus.

So here’s January’s Top Five New Bands in handy radio-show format, complete with song clips and gushing praise in between. Revel in its wonky, shambling glory:

ANBAD RADIO SHOW // January’s Top Five New Bands

And, if that whetted your appetite, here’s more info on these award-winning bands:

T54

Sissy and The Blisters

Hyacinth Girl

Organ Morgan

Joensuu 1685

Congratulations to them, one and all. More great bands, naturally, next month.