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 // 16th February 2011

Mmmm, sexy. It was Valentine’s day just a day or two ago, which is just enough time to digest all the drippy love songs that your local MOR Moderate Rock FM station (“The smoooothest songs from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, back-to-back-to-back, all day long”) has been playing.

Incidentally, Lt. F. Drebin has just one more tune he wants to play. Quick, young ‘un, the Mixtape:

FIRST! Hot Head Show have nailed the submission process for getting on ANBAD. It’s as follows: 1) Make great, clattering song called Bummer; 2) Cut a video from Russ Meyer’s Mondo Topless; 3) Submit to ANBAD. It can’t fail. Video is NSFW, assuming your workplace hates boobs.

SECOND! Deadwax are the zombie version of Soulwax. Well, probably. Either way, songs like Throne are another indication that the big skyscraping chords ‘n’ sing-along choruses of the 90s are BACK, whether you want them or not.

THIRD! Sabatta are a British-Nigerian Grunge-Soul band. I know. I was excited by that combination of ingredients too. And you know what they sound like? Well, British-Nigerian Grunge-Soul. It’s nice when things work like that.

FOURTH! Young Montana – ANBAD rarely features remixes. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that now everyone is, like, a remixer, yeah?, there are just so many bad remixes, it’s hard to find the time to sniff out the good ones. Good ones like this brilliant remix of Beat Connection’s Silver Screen, which is devastatingly bright.

FINALLY! Knight Stalker makes excellent, groove-swamped, grimy pounding music that sounds like it was cobbled together in his garage. It probably was – if you listen carefully you can hear the bit where his flailing knob-twiddling elbows knocked over a load of almost-empty paint tins.

Piran; An Exercise In The Theoretical Stalking Thereof

You know when you think you know someone, but you can’t swear to it? It’s a bit like when you accidentally catch a glimpse of your own reflection and momentarily think you’re looking someone completely different, but with all the social agonies of not knowing whether to head on over and say ‘hi’.

So, I’m sure I’ve seen Piran around and about in Manchester – I know his face. But I’m equally sure that this is nonsense. There are millions of people in Manchester. Stupid brain. This has become a weird exercise in non-existent stalking. Time to move on.

If I ever do see him, though, he’s owed a hearty congratulations – because this one-Man(c)-band has scrabbled together a great song:

Piran // Rip Off

Being a one-man operation is a minefield of pros and cons – on one hand, you have total creative control and, unless you have a personality disorder, there will be no messy break-ups due to ‘creative differences’ (though if you do have a personality disorder, it will be an extremely messy break up).

The flip side is that the emphasis is squarely on you: no-one to take the strain when you’re exhausted, and every stumble means a long and lonely trip back to draw from the well of inner strength.

So the fact that Piran, my mysterious stranger, has whelped this pristine jewel of a song by himself is a minor triumph. The song is clearly one person’s work – you can always tell – but Rip Off is measured, quirky, clever and still idiosyncratic.

Piran: neat, charming and fun.

www.myspace.com/iampiran

Menagerie: Peaks Vs Troughs

Of Steve Jobs’ many achievements, perhaps his most successful product, the iPod, also harboured his most unhelpful unhelpful: the driving-down of musical attention spans to a fraction of what they once were.

Why listen to a whole album when you can just skip to the single? And why listen to the verse when it’s simple to spool ahead to the chorus? It’s just to easy to skip from highlight to highlight; all peaks and no troughs.

So how would a teenager brought up on this tid-bit mentality cope with a song like Asahiyama by Menagerie – a song that never ponders or drags, but nonetheless takes its time to get up to speed?

At five minutes in length, this song is an ice-age in pop terms, and covers as much ground as  a glacier grunting its way to the sea. The beauty of the slow build is laid bare in Asahiyama – and we are all rewarded for our patience.

Jabbering basslines weave into caramelised melodies, icy and warm all at once. When the vocals eventually creep in, they are a pleasant shock – simply because, until then, their absence won’t be noticed.

Menagerie has a pace from another time, and slows us all down to it. Excellent.

MORE: menagerie.bandcamp.com

Blue Boats: Feathery

Not to harp on about band names again or anything, but hasn’t Olly Gale done himself a favour by releasing music under the moniker Blue Boats as opposed to the name on his driver’s license?

I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with the name his parents chose, but – and I don’t wish to be mean, Olly – it’s more befitting of someone doing something more normal with their life than recording songs drenched in echo, lust and wonder.

A song like The Fear has all these characteristics, and more: it is the sound of a long, slow, calming sigh being expelled in a warm, night-time rainstorm.

 

So slumbering and coddling is The Fear that it would have legitimate uses as a sedative in a nursery full of recalcitrant toddlers.

If other recent songs have as successfully reached out and patted the listener’s hand more comfortingly, I can’t think of them. A song of real, feathery beauty.

MOREsoundcloud.com/olly-gale

NB: Now ANBAD is is NYC, I will try and feature local bands, honest. I’m just still too jet-lagged to find them, honest guv.

Grrrl Friend – Grimy Grrrls

Grrrl Friend make the music you’d expect from a bunch of guys who like each other’s company, beer, pizza and listening to records.

That is: distantly noisy, buzz-soaked, Echoplex-disjointed slump-rock.

They also name their songs things like Bestiality BBQ, II and  Black Jesus Christ, and it’s hard to dislike such throw-away provocativeness.

What I love about this kind of crunchy, lazy-sounding rock is the accompanying feeling that everything was recorded on the first take: loose, grimy, warts-and-all.

So judging by the innate vibrancy of Happening Now could well be, indeed, exactly that. The band shunt noises here and there, almost casually, voicing their thoughts as they do so.

Grrrl Friend make songs you’ll  love or hate. You’ll either soak up the scrubby atmospherics of the sound or you’ll shrink away for a cleansing dose of a band that is more clear.

But either way, you’ll have dipped a toe into their murky waters, and on their terms.

MORE: grrrlfriend.bandcamp.com

 

BAGEL PROJECT: Semi-Shonky

In the process to filter out the average new bands, there needs to be more than one basic parameter of appraisal: simply being “good” is not the point. “Good” is hardly helpful, in fact.

Because being “good” is easy. “Good” implies finesse, adroitness, being slick.

Often the best new bands seem a bit shonky, half-baked, even bad on the first listen: yet they turn out to be the artists that stick in the mind, and differentiate themselves.

It’s an inexact science, which is why there are more music blogs than there are decent new bands.

Bagel Project is not the greatest new-artist name of all time, yet Funmi Wittle, the person behind it, has one of the best given names of all time. This is only the start of the good/bad dichotomy that defines Bagel Project, and it is part of the process that elevates her music to the very top of the pile.

 


What I love most about Bagel Project, and what I find most simultaneously frustrating, is Funmi’s total absence of structure, consistency or fear at shoving all her brut-samples together and dragging songs out of the mess.

Structure is out of the window. Finesse is nowhere. Songs are quickly assembled, with little thought given to shape, depth, or complexity. And yet that’s the point. Her collection of songlets, which are part-musique concrete, part sound-sketchbook, are as thrilling as anything I’ve heard for weeks.

The devil, here, as always, is in the details. And all of Bagel Project‘s songs are a collection of tiny, detailed fragments, all scraped together. Rough, but very ready.

NB: As an obsessive connoisseur of band names, I would prefer it if Funmi made music under her own name. But what do I know?

MORE: bagelproject.bandcamp.com

>Will This Hopeless Listing Ever Cease?

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***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then…***

The A New Band A Day List-Stravaganza continues – right now – with more compulsive listing without reason, thought or care. Today it’s a dip into the icy waters of 2008’s darker side…

Blandest Band of the Year

A tough, hard fought category, with listless, beige fights to the death between the bands, eliminating such dreary contemporaries as Razorlight and Keane en route. But the winner has to be Coldplay, who produced an album of such overwhelming averageness that every estate agent in the country was instantly compelled, by an unseen magnetism, to purchase a copy from their local Tesco Express.

Truly Awful Band of the Year

There was really only one ‘winner’ here, and it was the execrable, borderline-evil Scouting For Girls. If any band had been crafted by Satan himself to cruelly torment all humans, it would be them. I almost feel a sense of awe that such a hopelessly bad band could be conceived. We should all pity the day this bunch of half-wits discovered their trademark trait of repeating the same dreadful, glib lyric over and over again until blood trickles out of the listener’s nose. The only band who has ever truly made me wish I was deaf.

Worst Song Of The Year

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon was a great song, right? And The Skynyrd‘s Sweet Home Alabama was rootin’ tootin’ awesome too, right? So if we ‘mash’ those two together, you’ll get the best song, like, ever, right? Wrong. What you got was All Summer Long by Kid Rock. Off an album called Rock N Roll Jesus, for crap’s sake. Awful beyond comprehension.

The Moment Where The Portal Of Hell Almost Opened

When the release of UK’s X Factor winner Alexandra Burke‘s cover of Leonard Cohen‘s Hallelujah mobilised the world’s soppiest army. Jeff Buckley‘s wet-behind-the-ears, caring, sharing, new-man fanbase, the majority of whom probably think Leonard Cohen was that actor who played Spock in Star Trek, decided that her version was just not, like, real enough, and tried to get their tragic hero to number one instead.

So this Christmas, the same song, which isn’t even anything to do with Christmas, occupies number one and two in the charts. That warm feeling beneath your feet is our worldly reality only just managing to avoid being swallowed up by the Eternal Pit of Fire.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Wolfy and The Bat Cubs – Straight Outta Nowhere

Hell, I’m only just back from holiday. My hamster wheel isn’t spinning back at it’s proper speed yet. So my decision making may be impaired. Look, for example at today’s new band, Wolfy and The Bat Cubs. They’ve only had a thousand views on Myspace. Their songs have all been played less than ten times. What kind of choice is that?

Wolfy and The Bat Cubs // Forgive Me Baby

You could say that this band have been done before, many, many times. You could say that their look is a throwback. You could say that their dense, lumbering songs are simply Neil Young rip-offs.

Maybe you’d be right. But you could also say that here is a band who’ve wholeheartedly embraced the past, for all its enticing beauty. Their hair is uniformly long; the guys look brusque and sport cigarettes; the girls are cute – ouch, how cute – and are choicely feisty. They all look about 18. Their guitar riffs and clobbering drums are similarly simple, but also thick, heavy and rich.

Forgive Me Baby scratched a part of my subconscious that I didn’t know needed tickling. Wolfy and The Bat Cubs are deeply likeable – loveable even – and yet it took me all of five listens to figure out why.

The answer was almost too simple: in Forgive Me Baby, WATBC have  written a great, lamenting, uplifting rock song with a hook that needles into a deep recess of your brain. That’s a really hard thing to do – ask Coldplay, who’ve been trying and failing for about a decade.

Occasionally there are bands that appear from nowhere, clutching a brilliant song that demands a much wider audience, simply because the song itself is bigger than them. Wolfy and The Bat Cubs are one of those bands. Excellent.

www.myspace.com/wolfyandthebatcubs

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // In The City Special 2

Just as the Brandon Flowers of time approaches the MOR Rock Playlist of eternity, Manchester’s In The City festival continues to rocket unavoidably closer. And so once again, this Midweek Mixtape furtles around the edges of the ITC line-up and finds g0ld. GOLD!

MIXTAPE:

FIRST: Lissi Dancefloor Disaster is from Upsalla in Sweden. I have covered so many bands from that town in the past that I was sure I’d featured LDD on ANBAD before, but alas no. I would only ever use the word ‘kooky’ with the upmost caution, but that’s just what Lissi Dancefloor Disaster is – making the kind of balls-out mental music that entertains on its own terms.

Lissi Dancefloor Disaster – Oh My God by ITCManchester

Oh My God is suspiciously bizarre, yes, but so was the 25-year-old Angelina Jolie. It rushes along at a pace that is just beyond true control, and thumps brilliantly. Superb.

SECOND: Worship are from Berkshire, which – I think – is a nicer way to say ‘Luton’. I’ve been to Luton, and if I was from around there, I think I’d make music that was both thunderingly aggrieved and epically outward-looking too. Vast, soaring and unabashedly grand, Worship stamp their determination all over their songs. Great.

THIRD: Justin Van Der Volgen makes experimental house remixes. No, come back! Because they’re several cuts above your usual glut of remixologists’ (urgh) outpourings, crafted carefully with – most unusually – one eye on the extra-ordinary. Slow-paced and building to a humongous climax, his remixes are monster-sized songs in their own right, big, bold and blurry. Nice.

FINALLY: My First Tooth tread tippy-toes along that skinny line that is twee-indie-folk and solve the most complex puzzle of all – to make that particular niche genre palatable. This is achieved through – good grief – good old fashioned song-writing and a balance of sincerity and a lone raised eyebrow. Sweet songs, softly sung.

DONE! More In The City Info + Tickets

Heinali and Matt Finney: Intercontinental Inconsequentiality

The spoken word teamed with music connects with the listener in a different way. I don’t know why. I’m not even really sure what that difference is.

But anyone who has listened to Dead Flag Blues by Godspeed You! Black Emperor will have a remote and lonely part of their mind forever altered in testimony to the song’s agonising strength.

Matt Finney has been on ANBAD before, as part of the now-defunct Finneyerkes. He’s a musician and poet, and somehow, by sinister means unknown, met a Ukranian musical polymath called Heinali and began collaborating. Heinali makes the music, Matt speaks. Simple.

The words phases in/out, snippets of an intimate phone call from the apocalypse; all picked up via some huge, unwieldy Soviet-era radio transmitter. The sounds in Lemonade necessarily drone, wane and pulse; the song reeks of a crumbled world, ruined promises and failed attempts.

Upbeat it is not, but there are flickering vestiges of warmth and humanity – perhaps that’s all that’s left when everything else is pared back – and the song certainly possesses its own peculiar beauty.

The Ukraine is, sadly, immediately, connected in the minds of many with Chernobyl. And now the radiation has subsided a little, the bold tourist can now tentatively creep around the abandoned towns in the immediate vicinity. They witness a world suddenly fled: tables overturned, textbooks left opened, church doors flung wide.

This is the music that they will hear playing from the radios left on.

heinaliandmattfinney.bandcamp.com