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.


 

Bestival 2011 Review: Mud-Free, Dub-Heavy and Ultra-Happy

Since music festivals became part of the summer social scene, and started to get crowbarred into mobile phone companies’ TV ads as part of yeah-we’re-down-with-the-kids campaigns, and become an item to tick off a tedious bucket list, the way they are reviewed has had to change too.

Before, you could get away with simply writing about the bands. The parameters are different now – it’s about the experience, yeah? As such, this article is about the festival itself – reports on the music will arrive tomorrow.

Here’s how to spot a music festival veteran: look at the left hand of the person next to you. If they’re holding a smartphone aloft with its glamorous, as-seen-on-TV, LCD touch-screen displaying the band as a speck on the faraway stage, you’re in the presence of a first-timer.

Because everyone who has been to a festival before will be clumsily thumbing and swearing at the buttons on an old Nokia 3210 – a phone dug out from the back of a drawer but can survive a plunge into mud, a trample in the mosh and a week without needing a £5-a-visit trip to that most modern of festival additions, the phone charging tent.

Bestival, of course, is awash with kids with fancy mobile phones. A few of these kids are interested only in scoring Ketamine, ensuring that their artfully scruffy hair is pristinely coiffed, or applying facial glitter in the belief that its presence on their well-bred, ruddy cheeks equates to ‘proper’ festival lasciviousness. Or at least, in the hope that photos of these these daubings will garner squeals of appreciation when shared on Facebook.

But at its heart, Bestival has always been the least ‘cool’ and least ‘fashion-magazine’ summer festival – and these latter attendees are the exception, not the rule – simply because Bestival has core values to shame almost all other festivals. These values are as follows: book great bands and then assemble the festival with care, love and the intention of simple fun for all.

This is not only an admirable approach, it’s the only approach that any festival ought to take: as anything is else is merely a procession of helicoptered-in bands playing in a soullessly fenced-off park – which in turn is merely a break from playing in soulless inner-city mega-dromes.

So at Bestival, it becomes easy to ignore the bits that would usually drive down the human spirit, because there is so much else to delight – the wonderful sculptures, the fantastically curated line-up, the smartly designed venues (one was inside a giant tree, another hidden behind the curtain of an innocuous-looking Photobooth leant against a fence), the excellent sound and location of the stages. 

Oh, and the LASERs in the Big Top tent. Those LASERs were incredible, and I reached for them like it was ’89 all over again. Whistles were blown. Glowsticks were snapped and waved.

I could go on, so I will: the vast selection of  music that on offer may have been weighted heavily on Dubstep’s WUB-WUB-WUB tendancies, but there was just so much of everything else that bordom really did then become the sole preserve of boring people.

Because if you did get sick of seeing tremendous, visceral live sets on the well-positioned stages, you could hop into a pub staffed by little people, or bedouin cafés with comfy sofas, or get drunk and vomit prodigeously on an old fairground helter-shelter. Et cetera.

And then when the brain’s grumpy lobe begins to idly wonder what the self-absorbed, loud-mouthed, rich kids did before summer festivals became cool, consider that Bestival has merely become a victim of its own success: a festival so good that everyone is eager to be there, burrow in and find their own furrow to roll around in for a weekend. And you’re probably one of them, getting stuck in, having a blast.

One final, scatalogical story about what festivals are. I was once reminiscing about The Good Old Days At Glastonbury with someone I met in a pub, and relayed a story about a visit to a portaloo on the Sunday night, when the toilets were at their most ironically bowel-clenching.

Using the kind of hand gestures one rarely uses in polite company, I described how the pile of human excrement rose like a hellish pyramid abover the rim of the toilet itself. “And on the very top – ” I enthused, “you’ll never guess what was perched right on the top of the pile.”

My new aquaintence leapt in: “It wasn’t a cherry Bakewell tart?” And you know what? It was. There was a cherry Bakewell tart, unsheathed from its little silver foil cup, sitting right on the top of the pile of shit.

I have no idea what the statistical likelihood is of him seeing exactly the same pile of shit, with exactly the same confectionary on the top, in exactly the same toilet. The world is a confusing place.

And that, friends, is what a music festival is all about: shared experiences to be re-told forever. Sometimes they’re about the amazing one-off gig you’ll never be able to top, or about the totally awesome LASERs, and other times they’re about cherry tarts, piles of shit, and gangly youths on the prowl for Ketamine.

>Ugly Megan, and Alexandra Burke’s Sincerity Vaccuum

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Over two nights, I’ve seen two awful gigs. This will not do. The first band I will not name; they were young and new, and will surely improve.

But in the meantime, I will offer this nugget of advice: it’s fine to swagger about the stage like Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher‘s proto-lovechild, but only if you can back up your cocksure braggadocio with, you know, good music.

Oh, and never introduce another mindlessly drab U2-lite number with the words, “This one’s a fucking tune! Come on!” unless you enjoy the sight of a roomful of people raising quizzical eyebrows.

Still, at least they were sincere, unlike last night’s ear-harassment from X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who turned up in Manchester to pick up a large cheque and switch on the Christmas lights.

Insincerity made flesh, she actually used the, “Manchester is my favourite place to perform” line – and the crowd lapped it up. It was so embarrassing I didn’t know where to look. Then she ground out both her hits, offered a few more scripted blandishments and exited stage left.

As she did, she pretended to spot someone in the audience, pointed, performed an oh-my-god-can-you-believe-it! wave and then finally expunged herself from our drab lives. Sadly, the collective sigh of relief was conspicuous by its absence.

For all those who are recovering from similar half-hearted celeb-showpieces, Ugly Megan are the antidote. Gentle beyond measure on the surface, but unexpectedly steely and sexy beneath. “I really like your trousers but I’d prefer them on the floor,” sings Kathi on the delightfully nice ‘n’ sleazy One Night At My House.

Ugly Megan – One Night At My House

The template – guitar, cute female vocals and tinkling xylophone – has been used to death, but not in such an genuinely sweet, lusty way. And in Kathi and Orlando’s Revolution, their soft/barbed coupling makes even more sense.

Ugly Megan have also found a whole new niche: in covering Snoop Dogg‘s What’s My Name, they’ve – believe it or not – successfully melded twee pop and gangsta rap.

No, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But it works well, doesn’t seem to be a bad joke and sounds good. The opposite of Alexandra Burke then.

Photography by Deen O’Saurus

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 5th January 2011

New year, new rules. The ANBAD Donkey (see Midweek Mixtapes passim) has been kindly retired.

Spending that long hovering in mid-air, whilst enduring various topically tedious photoshopped additions has left that particular ass exhausted. He is now convalescing in a lovely green field where James Blunt songs are played 24 hours a day.

His endlessly competent replacement, Lt. Frank Drebin, will ponder an alternative CD each week before plumping for the ANBAD Midweek Mixtape instead.

Speaking of which…

FIRST! Mind Enterprises will give you their EP in return for a tweet. How very now. Too High is a song that is worth at least a tweet, or even two: it has a precocious lollop and swing that few can emulate. Like listening to wind-chimes through a traffic cone on a hot day. Excellent.

SECOND! Hope’s Wake sound a bit gloomy, don’t they? And you’d be right, kind-of. Our Own Road sounds like a miserable plod through a boggy field, but actually spouts thoughts of hope and love. Boggy fields are misty, dewy and invigorating in the right conditions. Quite lovely.

THIRD! Are Old And Gray actually middle aged? No-one knows. But in songs as confident and endearing as Overwhelmed, they certainly bely their life-experience. This is a song of soft caresses, warm harmonies and gorgeous, syrup-slick voices that meanders wildly yet finds its target with ease. A delight.

FINALLY! Amor Jones It’s a sad truth that there’s very little hip-hop on ANBAD – and it’s not for want of trying, honest. It’s just that I feel so… disconnected from hip-hop these days. I can stop whining now though, because Amor Jones’ Right Now is the most exuberantly fun song I’ve heard for ages. In a world of bland ‘n’ insulting idiot-hop, Amor Jones has made a song that lives, breathes and skips, all the while with a smile on his face. Ace!

NOSAJ THING // Bestival 2011 Preview

Here’s the final Bestival Preview before the ‘ANBAD massive’ head off to the delightful mud-stravaganza festival  itself tomorrow.

After that we’ll be live-blogging and tweeting about how the mud isn’t stopping us from having a good time, OK?

OK – let’s cut to the chase.

ANBAD is obsessively curious about band names. And NOSAJ THING is an artist name with what is surely his real first name spelt backwards in it and in doing so forms a weak pun. It’s a match made in heaven.

Thus, NOSAJ THING was always going to be featured on ANBAD. The planets align like that sometimes. Fortunately, the music justifies inclusion as well. Phew.

Nightcrawler is positively alive with vast, lukewarm synth washes, punchy drums and swarms of  relaxation-CD noise-fog, but it’s the unusual sense of width and disconnection that marks the songs apart.

Spacey house music populates the music blog world so densely that it may as well be the default background music, but NOSAJ THING has succeeded in making this music a double-headed beast: you can concentrate on it or allow it to invade your mind insidiously. Both work, but in different ways.

MORE: nosajthing.com

Bermuda Bonnie; and Piña Coladas, Elvis Impersonators

It’s rare to find a band that manages to wholly inhabit a different plane to the majority, and even rarer to find one that makes music in that place that’s palatable. Bermuda Bonnie has hula-hooped past these markers with flying colours.

Stepping into Bermuda Bonnie‘s world is to open the door of a musty pop charity-shop, a bewildered plunge into retirement-home kitsch. Normal rules do not apply here.

After ten minutes of listening to songs like Houseboat, an evening of piña coladas, Elvis impersonators and leafing through well-thumbed copies of National Geographic sounds just peachy.

Bermuda Bonnie // Houseboat

If we could listen to the reminiscent dreams of an old lady with senile dementia, we’d hear these lingering, pristine moments of life suddenly bubbling to the surface.

Or they could be the wild, naive dreams of a seven year-old. Such are the inherent quandaries of Bermuda Bonnie‘s songs. These thoughts are cute, longing, lusty and, in a way, as deeply sad as they are intensely happy.

You could be fooled into thinking that Bermuda Bonnie‘s songs are simply an exercise in retro-indulgence. You couldn’t be much further from the truth. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

www.myspace.com/bermudabonnie

Pengilly’s – Bothering Pedants and Jilting Expectations Since 2009

That’s a mysterious apostrophe isn’t it? A taunting, curious interruption, that begs half a dozen questions, not the least of which is, ‘Who is Pengilly? And just what is it that belongs to them?’

Hopefully it’s (geddit!?!) presence will irritate the crap out of Lynne Truss, the only woman to ever make an extended book career out of being a grammar pedant. Imagine how much fun she’d be at a dinner party.

Pengilly’s, vicious apostrophe and all, however, would be a delight. Especially if they cooed and fluttered their way through the floaty-light Ivan Splits In Two right there, at the dinner table. Well, you have to drown out the Sade CD somehow.

Pengilly’s – Ivan Splits In Two

Starting with a burble, ending on an orchestral high, and bold enough to leave the vocals to half-way through, Ivan Splits In Two takes the long route and walks it, albeit wearing a sensible pear of sandals all the while.

On paper Pengilly’s should be awful – a laptop ‘n’ strings ‘n’ keyboards ‘n’ fey, wide-eyed pop band gushing cheerily – but it turns out that songs like Ivan Splits In Two are a rare foppish joy.

The apostrophe is never explained, and the mystery is all the more welcome. Gentle, ignorant and charming. Just like you and me, dear reader.

www.myspace.com/thisispengillys

Burning Buildings: Progressing, Doubling Back, Progressing

Yesterday brought us a crash course in new-band marketing; today presents simplicity: a band with songs online to play to you.

Wait, here’s the first problem: Burning Building‘s songs aren’t simple at all. They’re complex, leaping from one idea to another, styles and genres akimbo.

And yet, they’re easily accessible to even the most unadventurous of ears. This, of course, is the band’s chief achievement.

Is Knowing/Not Knowing a heavy rock chug, a clattering post-rock cacophony, a math-rock pitter-patter, or all of the above? Should we even care?

Contorted, stuttering and polymathic: in many ways, Burning Buildings are indicative of the many multi-faceted bands emerging from Manchester’s curiously fertile scene at the moment.

These bands are all without true genre, or without defined style – a conscious leap away from Manchester’s past. Whether this brave anti-everything stance is commercially viable remains to be seen.

What’s clear is this: Burning Buildings’ songs and their style are a work in progress – but then so is all art worth our attention.

MORE: burningbuildings.bandcamp.com

>Today’s New Band – The Momeraths PLUS! Prince Harry – Idiot

>So, final proof: Prince Harry is a moron. No, sorry: a bigoted moron. Actually, wrong again: a racist, bigoted, moron, who isn’t even a [allegation removed on lawyer’s advice]. Great. Perhaps in the rarefied environs of the army, calling each other ‘paki’ and ‘raghead’ is all just wizard fun and part of the process that enables you to go around the world killing people whilst braying loudly about just how wasted Giles and Ollie were the other night.

What actually goes on inside the head of the third in line to the throne? Apart from all the thoughts about skiing at Kloisters, shooting animals and spectacularly inappropriate fancy dress, you get the feeling that the wheel is still spinning, but that the gerbil died a long time ago. Today’s New Band, however, are as bright as buttons.

The Momeraths are a band existing in their own world, where it’s always summertime, there’s always a picnic in the park to go to, and when you get there, everything – trees, grass, dogs and all – are made of different coloured fudge. This precis is really the only reasonable explanation for their sugar-powered, youthful and happy sound.

Johnny Coop is a racket, in the nicest possible way. It clatters and clicks enthusiastically, and threatens to collapse under the weight of the jingles, jangles and scattering sounds, but actually emerges as bright, joyful pop. The Boyfriend Song jigs frantically around its teenage bedroom, daydreaming about the captain of the football team, who’s, like, totally lush.
The Momeraths are cute without being twee, fey without being pathetic and jangly without being clichéd. For this achievement alone, they deserve an invite to one of Harry’s parties, though I’m not sure how at home they’d feel amongst a load of hairy-arsed squaddies. Find out for yourself here, and then have a go at racially abusing someone yourself.

THE DRUM: A Cloud-Filled Dream-Nightclub

Sometimes people ask me “where music is going next.”

These are people labouring under the misapprehension that I, as a music blogger, have my “finger” on the “pulse”, when actually, nothing could be much further from the truth.

Regular readers know that ANBAD is not good at predicting and riding new waves of genrefied interest.

Today’s new band, The Drum, are probably hoisted high on a wave of their own creation however, and so for once maybe ANBAD is near the front of the curve. Or not. You choose.

 

What is fairly clear to these ears is that Run You is fairly now, whatever that really means.

Well, what it almost means is: a song is filled with the sort of swooshing, half-speed samples that are designed to wholly disorientate the listener, and spritzed with muffled punches of house drums ‘n’ synths.

It sounds like a particularly cosy dream in which you find yourself lost and sweating in a vast, cloud-filled nightclub at an uncertain time: in thrall to the rhythm, bewildered by the sheer fuzziness of it all.

In short: ace.

MOREdrumvsmang.bandcamp.com

Where Will Your Favourite Artist’s Money Come From If They Get Cancer?; Plus: BLUFRANK

blufrankI’ve stumbled on all sorts of good things online last week, which may account for the absence of posts on ANBAD.

These have been namely: The World’s Greatest Rave Video, The Most In-Depth Prècis of Warren G‘s Regulate Ever, and then – most importantly – the trailer to a documentary called Unsound, which spells out the impact of the new music business model on actual artists.

You know: the people who make the music.

I’m taking the rare step of posting a video on ANBAD, because this trailer contains more thought-provoking sentiments than anything else I have seen, heard or read on this topic, and that anyone who cares about music will intuitively feel too.


Perhaps the most important issue here is that we just don’t know where the music industry is going – and is still making up its own rules.

The kicker is that at the moment the status quo is not just as it ever was (big biz making the $$$, artists getting a rough deal) but now, when we have the opportunity to spread the dough around a bit, the realistic options for an artist to make decent money might be slimmer than ever.

Only making money from gigs is simply not enough, assuming we consumers want to enjoy music as we have done for decades.

Yes, you can make money playing live – but it’s just the old model’s final hurrah: it works on exclusivity alone.

The supply of the product is limited (you have to be in a certain place to experience the gig), just as the supply of recorded music used to be limited (you had to buy a CD to listen to it).

Now there are a zillion technological ways of making/distributing cash, or at least potential ways: micro-transactions, crowd-funding, et al are pretty bog-standard ideas now.

Are there other ways that could help make artists money for the amazing music they make?

Ways that are more direct (i.e fewer slices taken out of the money en route to the artist), less heavy on the purchaser (i.e.: no-one is going to pay £15 for an LP any more – what feels right? £5?) and enabling (i.e. the artist is not compelled to live under the fear of what happens if they cannot play live)

Either we change and start coughing up in new, interesting, this-feels-right ways, or less music gets made. Because when the artist you love can’t, for some reason, perform any more, and thus can’t make money, you can bet your/their bottom dollar that they will choose to put food on the table first.

And their music will fall by the wayside. And that third LP that would have been a true artistic revolution won’t get made. And you won’t hear it. And your life will be poorer. And so on.

Oh, here’s BLUFRANK, by the way, who is buried beneath all this, and is here for two reasons.

 

Firstly: because he is making the kind of trashy disco quirk-pop that is unpretentious, fun and can hold your attention in a way that, say, a song by any number of buzz-bands can’t, and secondly, because he is apparently from Egypt – and I haven’t featured a band from Egypt before.

I guess that BLUFRANK doesn’t perform live all that much. I wonder if he makes much money from music?

MORE: soundcloud.com/blufrank