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.


 

Pixels, and How To Get Ahead In The Lucrative World Of Pop Music

For reasons unknown, I often get asked for advice from new bands. If they knew the truth – that I’m making it up as I’m going along, and so is everyone else – then they might not have bothered.

In the end, I relented, and interviewed a load of musical movers and shakers in Manchester, which resulted in this series of Edu-tainment ‘how-to’ articles on BBC Introducing, and this puff-piece on Amazing Radio about how not to annoy bloggers.

So, yes, it turns out that there are rules to follow – or at least truisms that generally work. The information is worth sharing, and I hope that, at the very least, new acts play fewer Battle Of The Bands nights as a result.

The caveat to all of the advice and techniques listed above is that occasionally someone like D/R/U/G/S saunters along, releases a load of songs online without fanfare, and then people start beating their door down, clutching handfuls of non-sequential banknotes.

Every music blogger reacts to a band’s approach differently. I can’t put my finger on the exact reasons, but when Terence from Pixels got in touch, I expected the worst. Sorry Terence. You’ll be as glad as I was to know that I was very, very wrong:

Maybe it was their photo? The description of their music? I don’t know – it was just a vague feeling. But Polythene smashed any doubts into smithereens and reminded me of the reasons I run ANBAD: to be happily surprised just in this manner.

Polythene somehow occupies half a dozen different pop genres all at once. Ostensibly a Vampire Weekend-ish pop number, on closer inspection it turns out to drag ideas from jangle-pop,with a vaguely hip-hop rhythm and an entirely disconnected outlook.

Pixels are from London and Liverpool, and, without wanting to generalise, take the boldness of the former and the unparalleled pop hooks of the other. Great.

More Pixels: soundcloud.com/pixelsmusic

INTERVIEW // Golau Glau

This is an interview designed specifically not to eke away at the carefully constructed WALL OF MYSTERY that surrounds the Golau Glau collective.They originally contacted ANBAD with an email consisting of carefully constructed confusion, and we’ve been hooked ever since. Here, they (whoever ‘they’ are) charmingly bat away our quasi-probing questions…

Hi Golau Glau! How are you? Where are you in the world right now? What do you see? And what is good about that place?

We are in GG Towers in the UK, an international HQ for mystique and oompah.

Naturally, we’re all wondering why there’s such secrecy. Is one of you Pete Townshend? (That’s the last identity-probing question, promise)

We are just shy and want it to be about nothing but the music. None of us wrote Baba O’Riley and none of us own credit cards.

I wondered endlessly about your statement, “We like Wales and cats, and whales, but not Cats”. Why does Cats – the musical – specifically, rile you? Is there a terribly traumatic amateur dramatics story to share with us?

If you’ve never heard a nine year old girl or Susan Boyle wail ‘Memory’, you are lucky. The TS Eliot poems are much better, though not his best work.

Golau Glau operates as a collective. How does this work How does your co-operative group nature affect the making of your songs?

We are based in GG Towers, which may or may not take physical form. Things happen there, it’s best not to discuss most of it. You get what you’re given.

Will the anonymity mean that there will  be no live performances? If not, is this considered a shame or a relief?

It means there are no live performances planned, until we can have stripy holograms do it for us. It is a relief.

Anonymity leaves you and your music very open to the listener’s  interpretation. It reminded me of the pre-internet days when you’d hear a song once on the radio and then endlessly puzzle about it until it appeared again. Is this part of the reasoning behind your stance?

This is correct. We are shy, but we also miss not knowing everything and the days of proper glamour rather than cheap celebrity.

Do you think that the exposure that the internet brings to bands has some negative aspects as well as the well-publicised positives?

Yes. You’re only new and interesting for a fortnight and there’s too much music out there. Like with television, there was always a lot of rubbish but now it has multiplied.

Finally, where would you like to head – what are your ambitions?

Tokyo DisneySea, Sonar festival, Paula Abdul’s video for Opposites Attract and down the dumper. Vinyl is nice.

Worthless BONUS Question: If you could meet any musical hero, who would it be, what one question would you ask them, and what drink would you buy them?

Most of them are dead, and we’re polite enough to ask those who remain what they’d prefer. Heroes usually disappoint – they’re either lovely and normal or…not. The magic remains in our heads, where it should be.

So: they’re not The Who, they want to go to Japanese theme parks, and dislike Susan Boyle. Which means they could be just about anyone. Why not buy their brilliant songs to see if you can figure it out for yourself?

www.myspace.com/golauglau

Electric Sunset – Softer Than Ice Cream

I got drunk last night. I didn’t mean to, but when you go to a party sometimes you just become a victim of circumstance. The party was in a swanky 11th floor apartment, with a killer view over this moderately fair city of Manchester.

Drinking sangria and watching the sunset, I mused out loud that I’d spent a vastly disproportionate amount of my time watching the sun set, but that none of it was wasted. A chorus of voices agreed. We all sighed, pondered for a moment on life’s transience, and then got back to the business in hand: gulping sweet booze-juice and watching the sky turn red.

Clearly Electric Sunset know the drill. Songs like Soda are awash with the calm forcefulness that the simple act of watching the sun drop over the horizon instills.

Electric Sunset // Soda

Appropriately, Soda fizzes and sloshes – soft, syrupy and dizzying, whilst maintaining a subdued, sleepy warmth.

The best sunset I ever saw was in Aberystwyth. The room I was in was flooded with dense 0range light. The light had weight – like it could have been cut like a slab of butter. Everything was right with life.

www.myspace.com/electricsunsetforever

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 – Balún

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The laptop has become an instrument in its own right. It’s not enough to have a guitar and the desire to clamber on stage any more – every other band now has a member standing stock still in the shadows at the back, pressing buttons on a laptop, like one half of a Pet Shop Boys tribute act.

This is fine in principle: computerised sounds are more than welcome when a band is enriched in a way unachievable with mere instruments. You’d think that a computer’s endless capacity for minutiae would mean that all bands would now sound massively different to one another; yet the majority of computerised sounds used by bands are still of the tagged-on glitchy sound-effect variety, betraying the ‘techy-mate-of-the-band’ roots of its involvement. Human error, not computer error.

I imagine Today’s New Band use a laptop or two, but Balún‘s seductively foggy sound suggests that they have got the balance right. Balún have realised that technology is only useful if the intent behind that use is carefully measured, and in songs like Minumina have produced small bubbles of quivering delicacy; bubbles ready to burst under the weight of their frivolity.

Minumina is the work of a band that is in control, and yet ready to allow the organic, and strictly un-computerised, element of the accidental evolve their music. This song is like one long, dreamy gasp of satisfaction, and A Surprise is a similarly spontaneous, elated rush of blood.

Balún are tentatively tiptoeing the paper-thin line of balance between creating sounds with the hands via traditional instruments and creating sounds with the mind via the infinite possibilities of the computer. It’s a tough task, but one they’re equal to. Slight delirium awaits. Listen here!

Photo by Jacob Hand (www.jacobhand.com)

>Joy Orbison: Flavor Flav Was Wrong!

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Everyone‘s yapping about him. Joy Orbison has the blessing and curse of hype. Hype in itself is enough to rule out listening to any band that is suspiciously soaked in the stuff – a standpoint which is both flawed and infantile, true, but has served me well enough so far. Well, except when six months’ stubborn rebuttal of LCD Soundsystem resulted in another six months of self-kicking in penance.

But Joy Orbison was approached differently. The Pun-tastic name, the screenshots from Twin Peaks on his Myspace page – something just seemed right. And so – further proof that the gut has much more intelligence than the head can ever hope for: the hype around Joy Orbison is justified.

Much like Tuesday’s showcased artist, Jakwob, Joy Orbison‘s sound is now, and it will still be now in six month’s time. Today’s new electronic musicians are evolving their sound at an unprecedented pace, and in songs like Missus, are revisiting the past to mould the future.

Missus is minimal, sharp and rigid, but also human – and in these qualities finds itself aligned with all the bright spots of electronic music from the last 20 years. Wet Look places its pulses and sighs in the right spots, never using the beat or an effect as a means to an end.

Joy Orbison – Missus

Joy Orbison is another artist who places himself firmly behind the music. It talks, we listen, he enjoys our response, we just keep dancing. A situation where everyone is, indeed, happy.

>April’s Top Five New Bands!

>April, according to Disney, should have been full of drip-drip-dripping showers. Not here in grim old Manchester, which defied type and, in what was clearly a crazed moment of weakness, allowed 100%-genuine, Vitamin-B-giving, skin-frazzling sunshine through the usually oppressive grey skies.

Inevitably, the shedding of clothes, optimism and a sunny disposition followed, and this feeling was reflected in another ace month of great new bands here on ANBAD.

If the following reviews seem a trifle breathless and joyful, it wasn’t just the weather – this month we dug up a surprising number of exciting, uplifting and inventive bands. So here’s the TOP FIVE BANDS IN APRIL (in no particular order, natch):

Tijuana Panthers We said: Tijuana Panthers might well be one of the most lovable bands to have popped up on A New Band A Day. Songs like Girls Gone Wild isn’t the sluts ‘n’ tits-fiesta that the title might suggest, but has the feel of an early 60’s teen-beat sensation band, with knowing lyrics and dreamy pop sensibilities. It’s sexy and cute.”

Nevada Base We said: “Nevada Base are lithe and venomous; smooth but barbed. Their songs creep and crawl to places that you, and I imagine, they, weren’t sure of. They’re a slippery electro-eel. You’ll see.”

NowWe said: “Now are defiantly unusual, not attempting to cater to any specific audience, not caring what others think. It’s the good side of the generic “we make music we like and if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus” rock interview cliché.”

Standard FareWe said: “Their song, Dancing, is wonderful – soaring stratospherically, moping glumly, sunnily alive; economical, bright, true. Lovely.”

AND APRIL’S BAND OF THE MONTH IS:

Not really a band, but a brilliant artist. He’s Mat Riviere, and we said: “He writes songs that seem almost too simple and slender to contain such wonderful refrains; choruses swell uncontrollably with a sad exuberance. Most bands can’t do choruses. Mat Riviere doesn’t seem to have enough songs to fit them all in. Maybe he can sell them.”

So congratulations Mata worthy winner. More great bands coming up this month, guaranteed – so KEEP IT LOCKED, as they say on local radio.

The Martial Arts: A One-Inch Punch Aimed At Early Middle Age

I interviewed Egyptian Hip Hop the other night,and happily, they proved to be thoughtful, intelligent and as excruciatingly talented as they were excruciatingly young.

Being facile of mind though, I spent most of the interview trying to guess exactly just how young they were – and here’s the answer: young enough to make me feel like an unhip uncle meeting nephews at a wedding and attempting to chat about ‘what music you’re into’. [Full results from this interview coming soon.]

Youth isn’t everything, I kept repeating to myself, as I sobbed all the way home. The Martial Arts aren’t young by Egyptian Hip Hop standards. But then again, who is?

True, they stretch the definition of ‘New Band’ somewhat, having been knocking around for a couple years, but when another band strides forth from Glasgow, that hotbed of youthful, tuneful, jangly musical talent, it’s wise to listen.

The Martial Arts – Don’t Want To Talk

The Martial Arts arrive clutching melodies that are dizzyingly contorted and satisfyingly sweet –  a bit like a giant Indie Curly-Wurly.

Don’t Want To Talk is insistent, rousing and yes – youthful: brimming with young confidence, it takes a melancholy subject matter and spins it into a sweet shanty, Liverpudlian, simple and true.

Here is 2’30” of exemption from age, real life, or any other concerns. The Martial Arts‘ trick is to provide respite from a world addicted to youth by using their nagging, charming songs to pull their listeners right back to the younger days. Like, weird, man. Lovely.

www.myspace.com/themartialarts

>Today’s New Band – The Velvet Orchestra

>Subtlety – like most things in life – can be both a virtue and a pest. It’s generally considered to be A Good Thing, but then also consider that Jazz is generally considered to epitomise musical subtlety, and as Tony Wilson said, “Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented”. So then, good on Today’s New Band, The Velvet Orchestra, who haven’t just eschewed subtlety, so much as beating it to death with blunt instruments, and even when it was dead, just kept on going.

It’s temping to think that The Velvet Orchestra took a step back from events, pondered and then emerged with the considered opinion that if you’re going to go mental in a room with a bunch of friends, you may as well do it with noisy instruments. This is probably the correct observation, as their songs buzz with manic energy, the band throwing everything at the song just to see what comes out at the other end.

What does come out of the other end are songs like The Creator, which may be the elevator music they play as you descend to Hell. The song jerks around wildly, thrashing with excitement and horror, and you, the innocent listener, can only hang on for the ride. In Wolves Crave Horrible Tongues, The Velvet Orchestra tread the same risky path of all-in bonkers noise-making, but again, happily, they pull it off.

Like when painting, knowing when to stop is one of the hard parts of making music, and they know when not to push harder when the temptation must be great, ensuring their songs are just on the right side of overwhelming. Great. Hear their songs right here!

>Today’s New Band – Special Benny

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A bands’ sound matters. Well, it doesn’t, of course – this is rock and roll, yeah? – but it does. Look: as much as Steve Albini insists he’s a recording engineer, simply allowing a band to sound as they themselves desire, and not acting as their producer, he can’t ignore artists repeatedly choosing him in the hope a bit of that wonderful Albini sound – and there is one – rubs off onto their work too.

Bands always want to sound like themselves, but can’t help being swayed by the golden idea of having their hi-hats sound a bit like the ones on In Utero too.

Today’s New Band probably admire Albini as much as any other indie band, but don’t have too many sonic associations with Big Black. They sound slick – a word hung heavy with terrible Kenny G associations – but slick they are. I hope Special Benny aren’t offended by that description. By slick, I mean ‘competent, confident and crystallised’, which perhaps would have been a better starting point.

As it begins, Air Filter is rich and delicious and swirling, like Italian ice cream, so when it splits unexpectedly into a sax break (oh yes!), it’s a huge drum-battering shock. Drums and Phase, indulgent, peculiar and smooth, ought to be unlovable, but will win you over by sheer force of charm.

Like Hunger, it’s dinner party music in it’s most palatable, endearing form, chirpy, alive and fun – which so little ‘serious’ music is. The arrangement almost dips into Shoegaze territory, swooping and lush. “If you’re hungry you can feed on my flesh” is the only, poignant, strange lyric.

Special Benny deserve attention because of their obtuse positioning in the indie rock world. Their songs won’t – can’t – please everyone, but they’re hard to hate; and so are interesting: another word loaded with cruel complication but not a word that could be used with regards to many bands. Listen and judge.