The Zenobite; Twice Shy

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.

JEDENPUS: Twice in a row

jedenpus

Cor. I have a few days off from writing on ANBAD, and the guilt is almost overwhelming.

Almost.

Actually, in the meantime, I schlepped off down to London, and aside from being struck by how svelte and aloof most people were, my thoughts on What It Is To Be In The Music Industry These Days kind-of solidified a bit more.

Basically, my thinking thus far is as follows, and none of it is very original:

  1. The tech industry is to today what the music biz was to 20 years ago
  2. This applies to all comparable points on the compass: emerging wannabes to monoliths
  3. If you want to have the Rock ‘n’ Roll experience of cash thrown all over you, and then hoovered away from you just as quickly, then start coding, not playing the guitar
  4. We’re not letting traditionally off-the-wall artists shape our culture as much any more – and no-one is really sure how that will affect things
  5. That’s it.

Hey, I said it was unoriginal. Maybe the point is that music and tech are so intertwined now that they are practically the same thing, except now you pay loads of money for the objects that provide the music (iPods, iPhones and gigs) and virtually nothing to the artist itself.

Maybe nothing’s changed after all. And yet, people are clamouring to be heard, and we are all happily complicit in milking their keenness. Ain’t we all stinkers?

Anyway. The flip side is that it’s the reason this blog is still (sporadically) being run, and why people are not content to simply play the same Beatles LP forever instead of finding something new, and why Jedenpus made this devilishly simple semi-lullaby.

I don’t know anything about Jedenpus at all, and I dunno how much of the lovely, brief, affecting Wake Up My Love (Tribute To Haruko) is just copied-and-pasted, or lifted off a virtual shelf, or what have you.

I don’t really care, because not caring about originality or provenance is the point of pop music. And this is a song that I played twice in a row.

Pullahs: An Ocean Pulling On A Shingle Beach

ullah

Like most of the rest of the world, I’ve been hypnotised by Future Islands’ performance on David Letterman last week – or, specifically, Samuel T. Herring’s outrageous performance.

I can’t figure out if Future Islands have their sights set on stadium superstardom or not, but this could easily have passed as a play for just that.

Herring’s deep sincerity, un-self-conscious chest-thumping, vocal oddities, and outlandishly expressive show has caused ripples because it is so rare.

We’re fed bands who apply a thin veneer of irony to everything they do – from band names to song subjects to fashion to performance – and this veneer is a sign of weakness. It’s there as a protective barrier from criticism: a get-out clause, a durr-we’re-only-kidding-stupid punchline.

It’s weak because these bands have no faith in their own performance. If they did, they’d put themselves out there, just like Herring did, and invite people to laugh, gasp, dive in.

Anyway. Today’s new band have something, indeed, to follow. Pullahs aren’t so far removed from Future Islands’ sincere synth-pop, funnily enough:

Runaway Story has the same wooziness as you’d feel after staying up all night to watch the sunrise. It’s just so deep and heavy. The weight of the ocean pulling against a shingle beach.

As always, another nod to the inimitable Bad Panda for digging up more great tunes.

TRIMALCHIO: Lounging Around

trimalchio

After nearly six years of running ANBAD, I think I have hit upon an ideal vetting tool for new bands. It is (literally) not rocket science.

It works like this:

  1. Find and play a long, varied and killer playlist of Creation Records songs;
  2. Intersperse this playlist with ANBAD submissions;
  3. If they don’t fit with the playlist: GOOD
  4. If they do fit in with the playlist: GOOD
  5. If they sound a bit like they could be or might not be influenced by the songs in the playlist – you know, because this or that sound hasn’t been copied for a while, and maybe it would go well with the charity shop clothes that the band carefully ‘sourced’ on their gap year: REJECT

New bands: if you’re lucky, your song will pop up next to one of the 18 Wheeler songs.

Luckily for Trimalchio, his brand of up-and-at-’em synthpop poked out of the morass of fey indie jangling, and lo, here is Nepenthe as a result.

Nepenthe is slight, it’s true, but it’s also a neat display of Trimalchio’s way with creating efficient and slightly creepy melodies.

And let’s face it, within the context of Creation Records’ early output, creating slight and simple songs is about as high an achievement as one could hope for. Lounge music for tomorrow.

MODERN BLONDE – One Good Turn Deserves Another

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The proposition was this:

1) Here’s a new band, called Modern Blonde;
2) But they’re on their fourth album;
3) but they’re mutual friends with Ménage à Trois.

Well, I was pretty much sold on the fact that they were Friends of the Bogans, and the fact that they have already made a load of LPs meant that I liked their vim.

The mystery emailer sealed the deal with this thought:

they might be on their 5th album by now, but if no-one listens to a record does it make a sound?

ANBAD is, of course, a hotspot of philosophical thought, and so I was sold immediately.

Fact is that Modern Blonde make really lovely, slightly otherworldly, not-too-psyche-pop, and Aspirational Demo 4 is a marvellous, drugged-up, cracked-out love song.

I’ve not heard many songs that sound quite as unabashed as this for a while. There’s no veneer of irony, no wry eyebrow, no trolley-dash-through-the-charity-shop, clothing-first sensibilities – just a top pop song.

I have no idea if “Aspirational Demo 4″ is the real song name, or a placeholder. I hope it’s the former.

MÉNAGE À TROIS

meangeatrois

Confirmation that I’m an idiot arrives in increasingly regular doses these days.

I was positive - positive -I’d written about the flabbergastingly great Ménage à Trois at least once before.

It turns out my brain is a sieve and I haven’t at all. Not even once.

I have, however, tweeted about them a lot, raved to friends about them endlessly, repeatedly shared their infuriatingly good videos via email and got drunk with the exceedingly pleasant band itself on a couple of occasions.

To recap: I’m an idiot.

Anyway: here’s the new song from Ménage à Trois. It’s called White Noise, and is the best thing you’ll hear all day.

There are almost too many things to love about Ménage à Trois – their constantly sharp and creative videos, their golden and shimmering sound, their entirely angular stance toward the world, the fact that they also refer to themselves as Bogans Of Death, the fact that they are deeply uncool and yet entirely cool because of this, everything.

In rarity for ANBAD, here’s the accompanying video too, simply because it’s too good to miss. Best thing so far this year? Easily.

ASTRID ENGBERG: Odd Chops

astridOne of the points of being a music blogger is that various new start-ups, hackers and chancers regularly ask if you’d like to try out a brand new system of music discovery that is completely different to all the rest and solves all of your music discovery problems.

Almost always, they are just a variation on a theme, and the old problem of getting the signal out of the noise is the same as ever.

Now, I don’t know if Fluence will solve the music discovery problem, but actually, it’s not their aim. They’re trying to connect musicians with ‘influencers’ (of which, scarcely believably, I am one) , in return for a small fee (usually pennies, but it can be whatever the influencer sets).

It’s a sharp experiment which seems to be looking at the issue of gaining exposure in an age where everyone is hollering as loud as they can, via a slightly different, more pragmatic approach.

And maybe the music discovery element makes sense too: I was contacted by Astrid Engberg – and it turned out that her song, Ouaga Noma, is a quietly cute love song set to a choppy, crackly sample collage.

In fact, this is particularly unusual in that it cobbles together patches of sounds and makes a pop song out of the remains. It’s frothy and fun, and I keep going back to listen again.

Will Fluence help Astrid? Will it help people like you and me? Not sure, but I found Astrid this way, and now you did too.

ANTO DUST; Don’t Mention The Sh*egaze

antodustWell, hell.

There I was continually bitching about the endless, talentless glut of neo-shoegaze - shoegaze! - bands, and then along comes the only band to grab my attention for a day or two… and it’s a shoegaze band.

Jesus.

I mean, I’m discounting Anto Dust from all the drab shoegaze also-rans because they’re actually good.

More importantly, they actually aim to add something to the genre, unlike the bulk of the neo-shoegaze bands, who I suspect have decided to be a shoegaze band because it’s the new de rigueur genre to be dug up by bored gap year students.

1955 is a song that could only exist in this form. Shoegaze is a side-product. It is, simply, a dreamy, swirling, soft, warm pop song that feels like it has fallen from a better place.

Great. Lovely, even.

Record/Start: Throwaway, Faintly Ridiculous

recordstartEven though my levels of ennui regarding guitar music is almost overwhelming, my inbox is overflowing with it, and I guess most other bloggers’ are too.

More tellingly, I still listed to a lot of it, and write about a lot of it, even though I’d probably be just as happy listening to a medley of Guru Josh throwback hits all day.

Anyway – I just keep coming back to guitar bands, and it could be for a number of reasons, (including that they are so ingrained in my psyche I have no real choice now) but in Record/Start‘s case it’s because the guitars sound ace.

 

Oh, and Record/Start sound a bit like Weezer, though you probably know that already.

Followay, which probably means something that I haven’t figured out yet, is a brilliant three-minute buzz-pop song; and it sounds like the band drank as many caffeinated beverages before they bounced into the studio to record it.

Great, frenetic, throwaway and faintly ridiculous. High praise.