Holobeams and Broken Machines; Beamed From 1994

Remember when electronic musicians had overwhelmingly simple artist names?

Plaid, AFX, LFO: all of them kept it simple, stupid. Now exhausted of the mono-syllabic monikers, artists are having to dig deeper.

This doesn’t mean that Holobeams and Broken Machines have  bad name, it’s just that we all know that if they’d existed in 1994, they would have been callewd simply Beam.

No matter: songs like Ground Frost (or to give it its mid-90′s name, Frost) will slip quietly and effortlessly into your collection of skitteringly rigid, pumellingly soft dance music however you choose to order your CD rack.

Perhaps the sneakiest of the tricks pulled in Ground Frost is that it seems to be endlessly building to an effervescent point,  but never does. The song slips away cunningly, and most listeners’ response will be to simply press play again, just in case the apogee was missed.

Thus, Holobeams and Broken Machines have created a Mobius Strip of a song, endlessly turning in on itself, constantly coiling, and never getting closer to the goal you mistakenly perceive. Peculiarly satisfying.

MORE: holobeamsandbrokenmachines.bandcamp.com

Dream Koala: Heavy Youth

As birthdays begin to whistle by, and the realisation that you’ll soon be halfway through slowly dawns, people begin to say inappropriate things to you, as if shifting their own mortality-panic onto someone else is either beneficial or kind.

And yet, continue they do, pointing out how a lot of people are younger than us these days, and have you noticed how the Younger Generation are inferior to us in some ill-defined way.

None of this is true: The Kids, as we already know, Are Alright. And the kid du jour, Dream Koala, is a 17 year-old French man-boy called Yndi.

Strictly speaking, Dream Koala‘s name is written as DRE∆M KO∆L∆, but time demands and the lack of appropriate Alt-code keyboard shortcut knowledge has resulted in a merely normal spelling of the name on ANBAD. Kids these days.

The beauty of youth is that it is endlessly rejecting the past, and in Alice, we hear a song that would unkindly be bracketed by lazier writers as Post-Dubstep, but is actually a world away from the clumsy World of Wub-Wub.

There’s a clumsy, out-of-time feel to the bassline, which contrasts nicely with the crisp precision of aggressive snapping noises that accompany it.

Dream Koala has created a song which exists on its own terms; as heavy as it is ethereal, misty as it is crystal clear, spiky as it is plaster-smooth. Ace.

MORE: dreamkoala.tumblr.com

Happy Lives: Poppadoms

Well. It’s taken me a week to pull my brain out of a jet-lag fug, but finally I’ve managed to find a Brooklyn-based band, and semi-justify my presence in New York.

OK, so Happy Lives were pretty much the very first local band I stumbled upon, but I’m going to chalk this one up to serendipity.

That’s because Happy Lives are a great band (aren’t they all?), replete with songs filled with the kind of sounds that reach out of the speaker and shake you warmly by the throat.

Slacks and Slippers is crunchier than a fresh tower of poppadoms, and more jagged than a freshly demolished tower of poppadoms.

Woeful curry-based analogies aside, here’s a song from a band that have that rarest of qualities: clarity.

Their songs may be muddy, grimy and the resonance of a bag of spanners, but they are also laser-focussed in their execution and direction. This all bodes very well. Great stuff.

MORE: happylives.bandcamp.com

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 26th Jan 2012

It’s my birthday today, and I’m going to have to dream up a whole new excuse to explain away my age.

Though, as Einstein would tell you, having recently completed a trans-Atlantic flight, I am, in effect, slightly younger than I would have been if I’d stayed in the UK.

This may be a hard concept to fully grasp, so Blur’s Alex James demonstrates the molten fluidity of time in the only way he knows.

MIXTAPE:

FIRST! Le Parody is at pains to explain that her music is not a parody, it just looks that way because of the and name. And lo, it is thus: her music is a scintillating blend of thumping thuds, scratchy noises and Spanish singing. There’s nothing it could parody.


SECOND! I presume Shame Faced Sparrows were not named in reference to me (but they may as well have been, let’s face it). Bequiffed and howling, their crunchily basic rock is stripped to the bones – and rattles like them too.

THIRD! Mammal Club‘s Toward You With Lust is almost to epic to be true – I kept expecting Bonnie Tyler to belt out the chorus. And yet, here’s a song that builds and builds and then builds again, exciting us with every step.

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.

Room E: Soft Serve

Over the past couple of days, ANBAD has thrown all its possessions, including the incredibly weighty and seemingly less-important-with-each-passing-day CD collection, into a garage and headed over to New York for a few months.

This in itself is exciting for all sorts of reasons; but will chiefly allow plenty of opportunities to fully take advantage of NYC’s thriving, bustling new band scene and showcase plenty of New Yorkian talent.

(We could call it A New (York) Band A Day, or something. I’ll get back to you on that one.)

Anyway, having presented myself with such a unique cultural opportunity, today’s new artist, the terrific Room E, is straight out of the New York borough of… wait. He’s from San Diego. Close enough.


Mainline To The Core sounds like a line from a poor sci-fi movie (and perhaps it is), but it is emblematic of Room E’s oeuvre: snatches of this and that, collated in a manner that glosses over the limitations of these sound snippets as individual soundlets and rises to form a shimmering – nay, pulsating – mass.

Here’s music that fits: your moment right now, the artist’s moment right when he wrote it, that moment when you play it for the girl you’re trying to impress. This is how it ought to be.

MORE: roome.bandcamp.com

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 18th Jan 2012

Oh Alex James from Blur. Alex, Alex James. From Blur.

You once blew a  million pounds on Champagne. You were once the bassist in the brightest, breeziest Britpop band of all.

Then you made cheese. This is fine. I like cheese. My sister met you, and said you “smelt of cheese from three feet away,” which just enamoured you to her even more.

Now you hang with right-wing dolts at dull music festivals, make processed cheese for a KMART-owned company and write articles praising McDonalds for a Murdoch-owned right-wing tabloid.

Alex James. Pour your cheese. Pour your funny little cheese. Your cheese of SHAME.

MIXTAPE.

FIRST! Ouisa Hound makes music that sounds almost curated, as opposed too composed. Gloom Roaming is earthy, dense and ethereal: you’ll need to re-align how you listen – let it hit you in waves, rather than as a whole. Calmly cunning music.

 

SECOND! Echö is a disorientating mix of whopping synth sounds, deeply layered electro-noodling, and overtly intimate/off-the-cuff lyrics. Bizarro-fresh.

 

THIRD! Seeing as ANBAD has gone a bit synth-crazy today, how about Puma Punk, who has melded bedroom pop with so much pulsing synth-y splashing it’s hard to know where the music stops and the human thoughts begin. Kind of.


FINALLY: ANBAD might be quiet for a few days over the next week or so – we’re relocating (temporarily) to New York, for all sorts of exciting reasons. More will be revealed soon, but for the time being, please be aware that any emails you send might be missed…

Wet Nuns: A Punch To The Groin

Once again, a mere band name influences ANBAD’s choice of featured artist.

And once again, this ludicrous intuition serves ANBAD well: welcome Wet Nuns, a band whose very nature makes the niggling question, “I wonder if I’ve featured these guys before?” entirely superfluous – as if a name like that would be quickly forgotten.

The one element of Wet Nun‘s persona I couldn’t grasp from their name alone was the type of music they made.

And then I listened, and slapped my forehead: of course they make trashy, gut-busting, lead-heavy grind-blue-rock. It was almost too simple.

 

Of the pleasing traits a band can have, the art of surprise is the most pleasant: epic blue rock is almost always a dreary, dismal affair played by serious types with too much facial hair and a mistaken belief that drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle equates to having a personality.

Wet Nuns are not these people, and, are thus a surprise: heavy, fun, gritty and slaves to the heaviest of riffs.

And so Heavens Below is all bombast and no trousers; a punch in the groin, a beery, cheery slap to the face. A grubby peach.

MORE: wetnuns.com

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

Sing-a-long-a the BRITs

***This is a Sponsored Post***

Remember last time I asked you to check your pop calendar?

It was just before Christmas, and you’ll fondly remember how we all marvelled at the fact that not only was 2012 close, but how the BRIT Awards 2012 were also agonisingly within our collective grasp.

Well guess what? The UK’s annual musical blowout is now within spitting distance, arriving on February 21st.

Not that you’d want to expectorate anywhere near it of course; what with our aunties’ favourite rambunctious autobiography-shifter – that’s James Corden, of course – hosting an event that promises glamour, spectacle, celebrity, sponsorship by MasterCard and maybe JLS, who’ll probably do backflips whilst rubbing their abs a bit.

Well, by the time you read this, the Brits will have trotted out their nominations, which, let’s face it, will probably feature the part-rap, part-indie, all-scallywag Ed Sheeran in there somewhere, Adele (inevitably), and possibly even the bewilderingly unsmiling US blood-obsessive Lana del Rey.

But just watching this all take place might not be enough. Some of you want something more. Something special. What you want is Something For The Fans, which gives you the chance to win a Priceless Duet with one of music’s biggest names, including JLS, Emily Sandé and Labrinth. All you need to do is enter online and you too could be nervously duetting with them on national TV.

And whilst you’re dreaming of duetting with your squeaky-clean popstar of choice (Lemmy from Motörhead is sadly unavailable), Mastercard users can use their Priceless London service to help make slipping in and out of the capitol as easy as pie.

So hurry along and apply, and you could be tunelessly wailing along with JLS so soon, it’ll make your head spin. (Or that could just be Aston from JLS doing flips again.)

Viral video by ebuzzing