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?
Well, what are your initial reactions to a song titled Lielielielielielielielow?
Mine – which were, “hmm, this is probably going to be either heinous or excellent” – were compounded by the first few, odd, ephemeral bars.
And then it became clear that Calumma Amber‘s song met the latter expectation.
Lielielielielielielielow is the kind of song Kate Bush has been making at home for the last twenty years, but has never dared release. It’s almost all vowels, with no clear lyrical points of reference to cling onto.
Instead, much like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, we’re subtly encouraged to look beyond prosaic things like words and notes, and to connect to something much less tangible: feelings, emotions and the base meaning of sound itself.
Whoah. But it’s really brilliant and dashing. Trust me.
Popobawa are one of those pleasing bands that tick every box that make me not want to feature them, and yet, well, here they are, slopped all over ANBAD.
Here’s why they shouldn’t be here:
Popobawa say they make psychedelic rock (anti-tick), didn’t put a link to their music in their email (anti-tick) and when I did find a song online, it is listed as a demo (anti-tick).
And yet… to my ears, Appetite is neither psyche-rock, or a demo: it’s in fact a kind of pretty, sunny, blissed-out guitar pop that has a couple of neat, slo-mo hooks. The song doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously either, which is such a rarity nowadays I actually cracked a tiny, painful grin.
Oh, and the song isn’t really a demo – it is well produced, and good enough for ‘release’, if people actually release songs any more (they don’t).
The band are from Gosport, which I always thought was in Wales. It’s not.
Popobawa didn’t send any photos of themselves either, but a little Googling reveals that they are merely normal human beings which look like you and I. Excellent news. Good stuff.
Go on, guess what Lärkträdet means.
It kept me puzzled for a few enjoyable minutes, simply because I subscribe to the theory that Scandinavian languages sound a bit like someone speaking English in a very strong wind, and that if you tune out of the listening process, translation is instinctive.
I was wrong. I went for “Lark Rising” because of the word ‘lärk’, and the fact that ‘trädet’ might have some root connection to ‘trajectory’.
It doesn’t. Lärkträdet means Larch Tree, which is, frankly, just as nice, so I’m happy to be wrong.
Lärkträdet (the band) are Icelandic/Swedish, and sing the above song called Fristad (which means ‘sanctuary’, translation fans). It’s deeply lovely: a frosty-sunrise of a song that signals happiness, holism and deep calm.
I listened to it three times in a row. I don’t do anything three times in a row. This is a good song.
PS: Lark Rising has not been used as a band name, yet.
A remarkably brief post today, because I’m still coming to terms with the actual madness that was the stag-do I went on in Ibiza last week, and because I don’t have a huge amount of info about today’s remarkable new song/band/video.
Dream Lovers are a mysterious side project of a couple of bands I love, and as I’m uncertain if I am allowed to reveal who is behind it, I’ll keep mum and simply fuel the mystery.
Anyway – everyone knows all World Cup songs are rubbish, barring World In Motion, but the above video bucks the trend.
It is an instrumental, language-barrier-straddling song that is vaguely Brazilian, vaguely dreamy and totally brilliant.
The video shows a man standing on a wall by the Sacre Cour, overlooking Paris, juggling a football in a remarkable display of remarkableness. It suits the song perfectly, and this is also remarkable. Lap it up.
If I could listen to only one LP for the rest of my life, it’d probably be DJ Shadow‘s Endtroducing (the deluxe edition, because if you’re only going to listen to one LP forever, it may as well be the two-disc version).
As far as LPs go, it’s pretty much perfect in every way; one of the few LPs I enjoy listening to as much now as I did 15 years ago when I first heard it.
The brilliance of the sampling, the composition of the beats and the overarching feeling that we are taking a trip through music and out the other side is inescapable and gorgeous.
Thus, I have a soft spot for choppy, sampled, soul-vibe music. Oh, hi AKA SUGA.
Now, AKA SUGA is not DJ Shadow, durr. But this is pretty great, all the same, and her sales pitch – “I’m a Japanese girl living in Bushwick making hip hop inspired soulful jams,” – is neat enough.
Anyway, slick ‘n’ loopy beats aside, I really like the odd b-boy/b-girl lyrics that feel like they have been parachuted in from another record.
Except of course, they haven’t – which is interestingly counter to the whole sampling malarky in the first place. Good stuff.
Dimman means fog in Swedish. I find that there’s a weird low-level cognisance between English and Scandinavian languages.
It’s that feeling of not understanding the words specifically, but the meaning somehow drifting across the cultural void; a bit like when someone with an almost incomprehensibly broad accent speaks to you in your native tongue.
Perhaps the same is true for Scandinavian pop music, which has been one of the most warmly embraced exports of the region.
Scandinavian pop is very recognisably pop; but it’s not quite the same, if you smell what I’m stepping in.
Anyway – this is why Dimman‘s Tiny Tokyo is enjoyable: its slight skew-whiffedness.
It’s too long to be a pop song, but is a pop song. It always teases the prospect of lyrics, but none arrive. It seems to be too languid for a simple pop song, but obeys all the pop rules.
A clever trick. Nice work, Dimman.
“Dear Joe,” sort-of read the email, “We’re a band called Modern Delusion and you once wrote about our friends Chresus Jist and here’s a split EP that we’ve just recorded with them.”
This was all rather interesting for a few reasons:
- I have no idea how I forgot about writing about a band with a name list Chresus Jist, but somehow I had, and here they are.
- Split EPs are, heartwarmingly, still a thing that bands do in the age of the record-it-quick-and-stream-it-quicker mentality.
- Modern Delusion is a band name so po-faced that it can only be a slyly fun and wryly-raised eyebrow of a band name, and thus I approve wholeheartedly.
- All of Modern Delusion’s songs are about two minutes long: i.e. the ideal length of any pop song.
- They say that they make “synth oriented gloomy postpunk, punk, etc.” The “etc.” part interest me the most, especially considering the preceding words.
- The band are from Croatia, and I have a soft spot for Croatian bands and, indeed, Croatia in general.
Well, it’s all looking rather good for Modern Delusion, isn’t it? And guess what - Sobibor is a buzzy, anti-cool, hook-laden pop song. Thanks, Modern Delusion!
What is it that separates the good from the merely competent?
This is a question that has been asked forever; indeed it’s probably the only question this blog has asked – albeit obliquely – since it began six years ago.
Six years. Ouch.
Anyway – one of the reasons I don’t post quite as much as I used to (or should, if you trust a blog titles’ accuracy) is simply because there is so much average music at the blunt end of the new-music pyramid where I inevitably end up scratching around.
The percentage of good-compared-to-average-compared-to-bad is about the same as it always has been in any art form (a 10/60/30 percentage split by my reckoning) but now the sheer number of people throwing their musical hat in the ring makes sifting often a chore.
For example. I listened to a ton of similar-sounding new electronic artists today before I found CΛNS. CΛNS makes great music, like Karren. The others that I rejected were average.
But the others had so much in common with CΛNS – the BPM, the rhythms, the clicky sonic pallette, the influences (Burial, Four Tet, BoC, etc), the artwork, the snippet-loop samples… what made CΛNS stand out?
Why was Karren so much better than the rest? How did CΛNS billow the net where others hit the bar?
I really, really dunno. I have a vague theory that CΛNS is an established artist masquerading as an unknown, but whatever.
I suppose the point of any art is to ask this question, and never get any closer to the answer, and to be intoxicated by the good things you find en route.
I don’t think I’ve featured much Spanish music on ANBAD in the six years it’s been going – unless you count the endlessly brilliant Seward of course, but they would probably categorise themselves as Catalan or “from the moon” or something like that.
Anyway, I definitely haven’t featured much Spanish slo-mo acid house, which is pretty much what The Zenobite‘s Engranaje Mecanico is, and frankly this is about as much info as you’re getting from me, as it’s all I have to go on.
Still, there’s always time for his kind of thing, even if you think that this kind of thing is the last thing you really want to listen to. Trust me.
This is what people in 1989 thought all music would sound like in the future. If only.