So, for the last week(ish), the usually calm, collected and rational pages of A New Band A Day have been overwhelmed by mouth-frothing excitement in the pathetically masculine pursuit of list forming. The best gigs and albums and the worst, most brain-scrabblingly bile-inducing bands have been dubiously and half-heartedly celebrated in the time honoured end-of-year way.
But now the truth. All those other lists were really just teasingly laying the groundwork for the Big ‘Un – The A New Band A Day Best Bands Of 2008 List!
In a year that has taken on such diverse and thoughtful topics that have eventually been collected under the headings ‘Strippers‘, ‘Mind Enema‘ and ‘Boost Up Anal Vomit’, as well as drifting all too often into the world of PUN WORSHIP and the multifarious Embarrassingly Pseud Reviews, it is perhaps a minor surprise that any good bands turned up at all. But turn up they did, in spades, and so here are all the best ones from the WHOLE YEAR!*
As per usual, ANBAD‘s shockingly ill-thought-out listing system will swing into FULL DEVASTATING EFFECT, in so much as there’ll be the ten (10) best bands, but in no particular order. Also, there’s no real system for inclusion – a band with one great song written in their bedroom could make it in just as easily as a band who have loads of songs and gig relentlessly.
*actually about 9 months
So here we go:
Ex Lovers – We said: “There’s something softly defiant about Ex Lovers – all the songs sound like they are just about to dissolve nihilistically into warm fuzz. Their songs are like soft electricity, a description which I freely accept is the most pretentious phrase I have ever typed. But it fits.”
Dinosaur Pile-Up – We said (subsequently): “Dinosaur Pile-Up were Band of The Day in April, when, despite grinding out big ‘n’ tasty rock songs like My Rock And Roll, they were surprisingly unsigned. The lesson to be learnt here is that if you do grind out songs like My Rock And Roll, it’s only a matter of time until a great label like, say, Rough Trade snap you up and release it properly, which is what happened.“
Awesome Wells – We said: “Awesome name, awesome band. Puns galore in their name, which was almost enough to win that coveted #1 spot. If you combined mid-90’s Tortoise with the entire BBC Sound Effects Library, you may come close to approximating Awesome Wells‘ sound. But you wouldn’t come anywhere near to his precise, caring control – the sounds ebb, flow and weave together to the point where any lingering doubts are assuaged by the gleefulness of the sonic journey you’ve just taken.”
Seedy Seeds – We said: “They’re not content with writing unusually catchy bites of poppy indie, but even have the brass neck to squeeze a Kazoo solo into the joyous The Little Patton. The Seedy Seeds are a great band, make no mistake. Their songs are cuter than Brad ‘n’ Angelina’s twins and similarly simple and compact.”
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – We said (glibly, natch): “It would be glib to say that if you like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus And Mary Chain, you’ll love The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, but what the hell, it’s true. If you love songs that drive forward with breathless abandon, all fuzzy, warm and colourful as a novelty Christmas sweater, then let yourself swoop head first into their songs.”
Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences. We raved like idiots at their song The Battle Is Over, gushing maniacally: “Make no mistake, this is the best song you’ll have heard for a long, long time – since, frankly, All the Rage by the Royal We. If you only listen to one new song this week, it should be this one – it’s truly, brilliantly, wonderfully fantastic. Song of the year so far, easily.”
Envelopes – We Said: “Their fabulous song Sister In Love somehow straddles the late 80’s and early 90’s, whilst luckily missing Shoegaze altogether – no mean feat. “Is your sister in love?” chants the chorus, joyously pinging from person to person in the party, kissing each on the cheek.”
Picture Books In Winter – We Said: “I’ve always had a talent for arts and crafts”, they proclaim over the lolloping guitar line, whilst musing about ex-Blue Peter tea-time-trouser-troubler Konnie Huq. It’s unusual to hear a song which is so wonderfully idiosyncratic from such a new band”
PixelH8 – We said: “Pixel H8 may or may not be a minor genius. All the sounds on his songs are made from the sounds off old consoles and computers, and must take most of his time, or sanity, to make work as well as they do. He takes the noises you’ll half-remember from your wasted videogame-playing youth and makes songs that are actually beautiful.”
BONUS 11th BAND – The Alibies – because they were the first band on ANBAD and we still love them.
So there you have it. No controversy, no deliberately obtuse choices, just ten great bands. Yes, we missed some great ones out too, and if you think we missed out anyone truly brilliant, let us know by leaving a comment below. All the really good bands from a large chunk of the year are in the ANBAD ebook – and you can download it for free and read it at your hung-over New Year’s leisure!