A New Band A Day 2008-2018

Welcome to ANBAD, which celebrated ten years online in April 2018, and is now “resting.” (I’m still jabbering on about music on my radio show and discussing new bands like, oh, I dunno, The Chats, on Twitter.)

However, ANBAD also has over 1200 posts featuring about 1500 artists. Most are buried deeeeep 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 music plugins, hyperlinks, images, formatting – and, frankly, the writing itself – is 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.  So scroll down and read on – and maybe you’ll find some long-forgotten band from 2009 that you’ll love.


 

>Today’s New Band – Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene PLUS! Birdwatching!

>Today, I’ve mostly been looking at tits. Great Tits. But also Blue Tits, Robin Red-Breasts and Green Finches. Oh dear. If you subscribe to ANBAD via email, I’m not sure there’s much chance it’ll get through your spam filter.

Still, it’s been an ornithological day, taking a breather from the city, and sitting in a warm conservatory in the countryside. Watching birds zip in and out of your frame of vision to attack a series of nut-distributing cages hanging from a rickety birdtable is so soothing it ought to be available on prescription.

It’s fun to self-diagnose your mood by the choice of music. In the city: albums of in-yer-face noise (Big Black‘s Atomizer) to compliment the pressures of inner city life. In the countryside: stuff that, if not complimenting birdsong, then doesn’t entirely obscure it (Endtroducing by DJ Shadow) to mirror the calm, zen-like inner peace that green hills, old oaks and dribbling streams induces.

By choosing to listen to Today’s New Band, Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene, then even the most quasi- of philosophers would sum up your mood as ‘cheerful’. The words ‘cutely twee’ and ‘football-obsessives’ don’t often find themselves paired up in describing any band, but then Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene aren’t any old band.

Their songs bumble and wander, light, free and happy, musing on such uncomplicated issues. Remember Your Shinguards reminisces about childhood football heroes, cut knees and sweet childhood love. Edwin And The Physio is more urgent, but no less cuddly and Jonathan’s Present is short, sweet and the kind of song you’d like your loved one to record for you for Valentine’s day.

La-la-la choruses and guitars that are so carefree that they jangle with palpable happiness punctuate Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene‘s happy songs. They end this week on such an upbeat note that it must surely mean that Monday will bring a Blackened Doom Metal band, just to restore the cosmic balance. Until then, swoon along with Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene here!

Photo by Jenny Baker

ANBAD’S BEST NEW BANDS OF 2012: IT BEGINS! (+ BONUS BAND, OMG)

ANBAD, like other bloggers, is only human (yes, really), and will indulge in listing its favourite bands from the past year – all the while, of course, complaining about doing the same.

Semi-Ironic Narcissism is what music bloggers do best, after all.

So, here’s the plan – as of today, ANBAD will run through all the best bands of the year, in my particularly humble opinion.

And for the first time, I’m going to try and offer some sort of reasoning for how the bands are chosen, and commentary on what it all means. (Spoiler: not a huge amount).

I mean, it’s not much in the way of novelty, but after nearly five years, it counts as progress, right?

The bands were all chosen on any number of bases, ranging from, but not exclusively:

  • Stickability – a song that wedged madly, happily in my head;
  • Slickability – a band that was impressive by producing really great songs with little or no help from The Pros;
  • Brillability – a band or song that was simply so terrific that only a fool would ignore them;
  • Neo-bility – something so new that they had nowhere else to go but the end-of-year chart;
And finally:
  • Punnability – as always, a jokey name counts double here on ANBAD

And here’s the only real commentary I’ll add: for all the bitching and hand-wringing about the is-it-isn’t-it-dead state of guitar music (much of it from me) – the bulk of the bands who made it to the top of the chart are, indeed, guitar bands.

It’s true that I spent a lot of the year yearning for something different, scratching around away from the six-stringed world, and it resulted in some unusual discoveries – witness the glut of Japanese Glitch-Juke producers who started appearing recently (Here, here and here, for example).

The source of all this yearning was a belief that I still hold: that the bulk of the current guitar bands chasing attention and success are actually chasing ubiquity.

By simply picking up guitars because that’s what new bands do, they’re already chasing their own tail, when they could be doing something just a little bit different and a little bit more daring, and squeezing out something that is – whoah – new.

My favoured theory on the guitar music front is that rock music has, over the last decade, quietly retired into the same roots-y place that Folk occupies: often learnt by rote, usually performed simply because. Music in this position is by no means to be sneered at: it’s often beautiful and thrilling – but there’s no denying that true innovation and guitar music are not as close bedfellows as they used to be.

But what’s maddening is a mass denial that rock is anything other than rebellious – when in fact, the true rebels who express themselves musically put down the guitars a long time ago.

I still think this is true now, even though the majority of my Best New Bands of 2012™ are guitar-flavoured. The ones that got this far are only here because they’ve excelled at making their music, and deep-down, I love guitar-driven songs. But these artists would be here if they were making Neo-Donk remixes of Solange Knowles songs, assuming they were good enough.

Tomorrow, we’ll begin in earnest with numbers 15 – 11. Try to contain your excitement.

But today, here’s one (non-guitar, *SHOCK*) band from 2012 that could, honestly, have snuck into the Top 15, but didn’t simply for the reason that they appeared on ANBAD so late, I forgot to factor them in. Shoddy work, yes. But worth it, because Heavy Heart‘s music is simply lovely.

Heavy Heart – “swirling, warm, orange/gold, and dreamy with snappy beats and jabbering vocals.” 

>Today’s New Band – The Phantom Band

>
***Quasi-Disclaimer: here’s a review I wrote a few months ago, and thought had been accidentally deleted. Turns out it wasn’t. So maybe you’ve already heard of them by now. But it’s not worth taking the risk in case you haven’t, so here it is anyway***

It’s probably just my endlessly facile mind, but the title of the first song I played by Today’s New Band made me snigger like a schoolboy who’s just entertained his classmates with a particularly resonant fart.

I don’t know whether I Like My Hole was intended as a double entedre – the dourly atmospheric gloom contained within would suggest a unequivocal ‘not’ – but I’m not ashamed by any conclusions drawn from such childishness. The ends rarely justify the means – but in this instance, if I hadn’t have raised a Terry-Thomas-esque eyebrow at this song’s moniker, I may never have listened to The Phantom Band.

They’re from Glasgow, and signed to the continually brilliant Chemikal Underground label, two attributes which would usually justify attention ahead of anything that rung my bell. Hey, whatever works for you. They make crafty, multi-faceted songs like Folk Song Oblivion, which, while we’re dwelling on the subject song titles, is a pleasant suggestion in itself.

Folk Song Oblivion is a lovely curio – lovely both in spirit and sound. It’s a song that vibrates with drive, brotherhood and the echos of a dozen great rock songs before it. And then The Howling is a strange half-cousin of a song – a clever rock rustle, coupled with the build-and-release sensibility of dance music, but with the sound of neither.

So, today, we have learnt the power of a name. The Phantom Band are then maybe what you’d expect – a ghostly version of a rock band that could have been average, but have excelled through their otherworldiness. Forlorn, hearty and welcome. Listen here!

Manchester 2010: The Scene That Ate Itself

Is Manchester a city that is so proud of its musical past it still trades heavily on it, or one that has just given up trying to surpass what was produced before? That revolutionary 80’s period is still leant upon, and how: The Hacienda, now a swanky apartment block; “And on the 6th day, God created Manchester” T-shirts are still available in your size; and Peter Hook, having spent decades learning how not to run a nightclub, proves he has a sense of humour by opening a new, Factory-themed one.

Love And Disaster 1

This isn’t as bad a situation as some people would have you believe: celebrating past glories is one of life’s most rewarding pastimes. It’s just that this particular fertile period – and remember, it was one that spawned Joy Division, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays, New Order, The Stone Roses and all those other bands that are, if anything, lauded even closer to the heavens today – has overshadowed everything Manchester has ever done since.

A city that was so fully, overwhelmingly, endearingly, defined by a specific scene has struggled to shake off its shackles. Good bands have come and gone – but what of the scene? The vibe? The feel? Has enough time passed for a new group of bands to define their locale?

If a new EP, released this week, is to be believed, a new and very distinct Mancunian musical picture is emerging. One where the bands clutch to each other as firmly as they push away – bands that feed off each other, spur each other on, compete, and then go home and listen to each other’s records. The EP is called, aptly, Love And Disaster.

Featuring the toppers of various ‘Big In 2010’ lists, Delphic, as well as Airship, Dutch Uncles, and Jo Rose, it’s a disc that doesn’t just celebrate new Manchester bands: it digs deep into the creative psyche of them, reveals the complex interchange of ideas between them and mines fissures of hot rivalry – all of which powers what may be a nascent, genuinely new Manchester ‘scene’.

I spoke to Dan Parrott – once musical director of local TV station Channel M, and now the determined soul who put Love And Disaster together.

Did you just want to showcase your favourite new bands in Manchester? Or was there something else that drove the creation of the EP?

“Well – yes and no – they’re bands I really really love and so quite unashamedly are bands I want to push. They’re also bands I got to know from Channel M Music – bands I enjoyed showcasing, got on with and asked back for more. I wondered if this was too shallow a reasoning to justify the EP, but quickly realised that the that reason I kept getting them them back on the TV was a good enough reason for putting a record together”.

Why did you want to be so involved with a particular group of bands?

“Because, simply, they are bands I like. I showcased Delphic when they were very, very new – I caught them when they were young and I wanted to be part of the arc of their career, simply because they were great. They didn’t even have any tracks on their Myspace page when we had them on the TV show – they’d just play gigs at Night and Day in Manchester. But you could hear that they were so good and had spent a whole year just writing songs, and not gigging.”

So is it a vanity project?

“No – this EP is similar to what I did at Channel M anyway: I played what I liked then, and this is what I like now. The record was cathartic. Hopefully if they go onto big things, these bands will look back and see this as the start of their careers – and the bands can treat this as a full stop and, hopefully, a starting point. The remit of the record is to tie up and represent not only the sound of Manchester, but the new sound in the UK as well”

And what of this new Manchester scene? What makes it new? What makes it at all?

“It’s an undefined scene if you like. There’s a softly, softly approach – there are these bands together in Manchester but they’re not all the same. They’re helping each other out. They’re all working for each other. That’s perhaps what ties them all together – not their sound but the fact that they all genuinely like each other’s bands.”

Airship

So it seems like the Factory-era togetherness is still there, if not a unifying sound…

“Maybe. The bands are all mates, but it’s still disparate, not very organised. There are bands feeding off each other, but producing different sounds. It’s healthy competition. They appreciate what each other does – they go home and put each other’s music on the stereo. These are bands that will stick at it, and they have albums in them.”

What do people think of this new bunch of bands? They’re not what the public consider to be ‘Manchester bands’.

The reception has been really good – It was difficult getting all the contracts signed, but labels have actually been positive to get them grouping together. They know money isn’t necessarily the priority with a physical release now – but the bands’ stature is still important.”

“Take Dutch Uncles – they are way ahead of their time in many ways: incredibly talented musicians who use technology and creative invention to make their own new sound. I was annoyed that the NME didn’t pick them up previously, but perhaps it was for the best. They’re exposed now, and it’s the right time.”

“And of course Delphic are now being hyped, and are set to be big. Delphic meet all sorts of [industry] people now because they’re getting stellar. And they always push Manchester bands to these people because they love the idea of Manchester and Factory; not in a stereotypical way, but in the idea of a bunch of unusual, good bands that are unified.”

So maybe a new perception of Manchester’s music might emerge?

“Yeah – the whole point of the group photo (above) is to physically unify them together, to define them as a group. Hopefully it’ll be a really important photo in 5 years time – it uses a typical Mancunian warehouse setting but then that’s the point: it is still Manchester.”

Love And Disaster 1: New Tracks From New Manchester Artists is available now.

>Today’s New Band – DANANANANAYKROYD! A Glaswegian Triple Bill!

>Wowsers – today’s band has it all. That is, all that makes us excited and tingly here at A New Band A Day. Firstly, today’s band is the third in the Fabulous Glasgow Triple Bill, hot on the heels of the wonderful ERRORS and super Q Without U. And then, secondly, and almost more groin-pulsingly exciting, is the Super Fantastico Name that they have – pretty much a prerequisite for getting on ANBAD, such are our soaring levels of idiocy.

So then, here’s today’s New Band – DANANANANAYKROYD! Let their name roll over your tongue a few times, because it’s a whole truck-load of lot of fun to say it out loud. In many ways, it’s the perfect band name, appealing to those who like mildly novelty names (like us) and people who like dressing up as the Blues Brothers at any given fancy dress party. It may appeal to other people too, but we don’t have that wide a variety of friends, so we aren’t in a position to judge.

Anyway, DANANANANAYKROYD‘s music is great. Considering they’re from Glasgow, where, by the sound of it, crafting great pop songs is taught in Infant School, this is no great surprise. They yell, grind and crunch their way through a bunch of swift and sneaky songs – check out British Knights (MC Hammer’s trainer of choice, fact fans) for a burst of super, howl-at-Button-Moon rock. Cleaning Each Other follows a pleasingly similar path of yell-blast loud guitars-thrash drums, and yet keeps the all-important melody churning through it all.

Glasgow 3 Rest of World 0. Check out their Myspace page here!

BAYWAVES: Smoke and Murder

NEWSFLASH FROM 2007: Gosh, isn’t Luke Haines’ book about Britpop really, really good?

The Auteurs frontman’s book is essential reading for anyone who loves pop music, or enjoys shaking their head at the demented stupidity of Britpop, or just anyone who loves luxuriously written, bilious memoirs.

Anyway, just buy it. There is no way any human being with a pulse and a set of pop-lovin’ ears could possibly regret it.

And the bonus is that, by the sheer persuasiveness of the author, you’ll believe that he really was a genius, and you’ll re-investigate The Auteurs’ LPs – and you’ll probably agree with him, too. Funny how an album as terrifically outré as New Wave or After Murder Park slips from one’s mind.

But I digress. Actually, no, I don’t – talking of outré pop music, here’s Baywaves, and their slow-motion smoke-machine pop:

 

The grumbling synth that chirrups up about a third of the way in made me feel weirdly happy. Figures is a song of creeping confusion. It’s a sweetened four-square guitar pop song, and yet I can’t recognise much of what it happening within it. I was left tremulous and jittery by the end of it. Great stuff.

MORE: soundcloud.com/baywaves

Bad Apes: Layers of Layers

Yesterday, for the thousandth time, Kevin Shields confirmed his status as Music’s Biggest Troll, by announcing that My Bloody Valentine‘s follow-up to Loveless will – honestly, no, really, I promise – finally be released before the end of 2012.

Figuring out how to react to such bare-faced (tongue-in-)cheek is tricky, because he has been making the same occasional proclamations for – count them – 21 long, My Bloody Valentine-less years.

Whilst ANBAD appreciates any form of trolling, Kevin’s trolling-is-a-dish-best-served-cold approach is remarkable in its bravery, and ANBAD Towers has been ringin out with appreciative applause all day long.

Kevin Shields also meekly points out that not everyone will be pleased with this long, long, long-awaited album. Oh, Kevin, don’t let me down. Please push it for another 21 years, and then release a posthumous album of Cliff Richard covers. It’s the world’s latent desire.

Until then, I’m more than happy to make do with Bad Apes, who, like a few bands, have figured out Kevin Shields’ spaghetti-like guitar pedal arrangement, and have – indeed – aped the warm, wobbly sound to a tee.

 

The Pacifier Crashes may lean heavily on Loveless‘ drone and depth, but thankfully the band are smart enough to distance themselves from mere pastiche: and cleverly emphasise the oft-overlooked thrash-punk of MBV’s myriad influences.

Thus, vocals are thrust forward, howling, heavy and angered. The contrast between this and the softness of the guitars is almost perfectly balanced. Neither intrudes on the other, and both layers are appreciated simultaneously. Bad Apes are great. Let’s see if they can maintain this for 21 years, though.

MORE: soundcloud.com/badapes

Childhood: The Best Time Of All Our Lives

Childhood, eh? Best time of your life. Not mine, but specifically yours.

Annoying when people say that, isn’t it. I mean, yes, childhood is generally a blast for everyone – but in this age of enforced, conspicuous nostalgia, it’s tempting to tell everyone that your youthful years were spent locked in a coal shed with only crude figurines crafted from your own filth to keep you company.

Childhood (the band), are similarly ambiguous as to whether they are fun or not. Sure, their music is a minor delight, but I couldn’t tell you definitively whether its makers were sporting wide grins or not whilst creating it.

Childhood // Paper Wave

Paper Wave is the sort of song that has already been identified as some sort of quasi-ironic “[insert genre]-wave”, probably by that mysterious panel of online taste-makers that I often read about but evidence of whom I have never actually seen.

It has the silky feel of a warm Mediterranean evening breeze – comforting, gentle and with the sense that it could transform into something altogether more thunderous at any moment. Except that it never does.

Childhood are aptly named – their songs frame half-buried feelings that never fully materialise, and are all the more beguiling for it. Great.

MORE: myspace.com/childhoodlondon

AKIINE: Between 7 and 14 pH

akiineBecause I’m a moron and have the attention span of a gnat, I mis-read Akiine‘s name as “Alkaline” the first dozen times I looked at it.

Akiine it is, though, and, with two consecutive i’s and four vowels in a six-letter word, would score a measly 10 points in Scrabble.

On the plus side, Akiine is a truly lovely name in all sorts of ways, providing the type of visceral thrills that certain combinations of letters do, like puddle and undulate.

 

Oh, yes, the music: it’s lovely too. It’s not hard to create music that sounds like it comes from now; it is difficult to create music that does that and has a lovely chorus.

Blueberry Mountain is both these things, and it’s funny how, when you secure the more difficult bit – the nice chorus – how the easy part (sounding very now) fades into pointlessness.

Akiine has made a clutch of very, very, gentle and sweet songs. Great stuff.

MORE: soundcloud.com/akiine

Warmer Corners: Love/Hate

The content a band puts in their PR emails speaks volumes. I always trot out the same advice: be polite, be personal, be succinct, paste in a Soundcloud link and a photo and click ‘send’.

Then again, some bands send emails that contain no information other than a link to their new songs, and these are ones that I often click with the most impunity.

Occasionally a band will follow my advice (or similar) to the letter, and I’ll read no further than “…heartfelt choruses [aren’t they all?] and epic riffs [ditto]…” before hammering ‘delete’ as soon as is humanly possible.

Warmer Corners appear here for a few reasons, and only one of them is because they sent a nice email that ticked all the boxes; but they mainly caught my eye because of the following boast:

“We’ve been compared to… The Monochrome Set and most prominently Half Man Half Biscuit. We were told by a drunk woman the other day that we ‘sound like what the Vaccines want to sound like’.”

Well, well, well. CLICK.

 

 

Rayban Party will be loathed by some people. That’s fine. Because if listening to acres and acres of new music has told me nothing (and this is a lot closer to the truth than some people imagine), then any song that will be hated will be loved by as many people.

So if Rayban Party, all two minutes of it, doesn’t pique your interest with Warmer Corners’ fey, chipper and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, scuzzy guitar-choppin’ and vaguely wacky premise, then console/sadden yourself with the fact that somewhere, someone is spinning around their room with delight.

MOREwarmercorners.bandcamp.com