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.


 

>Today’s New Band – Record Hop

>I always thought that being called ‘pretentious’ would be one of the worst labels you could pin to a band, with the image Über-punchable, po-faced, saint-wannabe Bono popping readily to mind. So when ‘unpretentious’ was the first word that I leant towards when describing today’s new band, Record Hop, I was sure that I was on safe, appreciative ground.

But think about it – ‘unpretentious’ would be unfair: the word smacks of earnest trad-rock lumps who, you know, maaan, ‘just make music we like, and if anyone else likes it, well, that’s a bonus, yeah?’.

Well, Record Hop aren’t anything like that. They say that 80’s/90’s underground rock is their thing, and it sounds like it too, crunchy guitars and drums that aren’t influenced by either disco or New Wave. They make songs that pick from “exciting”, “heartfelt” and “scrappy” as their points of reference. Listen to Giant Babies on their Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/recordhop) to hear all three colliding at once on a sweaty dancefloor.

Record Hop sound like they were designed to play your, and only your, favourite local venue and become the band you tell everyone about in the hope they become much bigger. With songs like Giant Babies and Last Second, there’s a good chance they will. They aren’t pretentious, but are thoughtful; they’re not unpretentious either but are happily shooting forward outside of the mainstream. Good for them.

P.S. Steve Albini engineered their last sessions, and I know that for some people this fact will make the difference between listening and not listening.

>Today’s New Band – Crashing Humous

>I watched 20 minutes of The Da Vinci Code movie. The book was stupefyingly bad and guess what – a clunker of a book became a clunker of a movie, too. It seems commendably perverse when you consider how many good books are butchered into poor movies.

Anyway, I watched it all the same, knowing I’d hate it. Experiencing something in the knowledge that it will be unpleasant in order to see just how bad it is must be a trait unique to humans. It would certainly explain Phil Collins’ career.

I didn’t think I’d like Today’s New Band, Crashing Humous. The jokey name, the seemingly-ironic synths, the semi-serious rapping all pointed towards a student time-filling joke band. Inevitably, I liked them.

Bus Dance Feat. Dave and In Town flit with in-jokes, stabs at humour and musical parody. That these attempts didn’t always work doesn’t matter – their songs are a swift glimpse into the lives of a bunch of mates who want to have a band, and have made one. It’s their angle, their song, their lives – warts and all.

Songs pass in tight bleeps, washes of sound and whispers, and in Uphill Mountain, Crashing Humous have a song that nearly exceeds the tight boundaries imposed on it. Listen here!

Midweek Mouthpiece // Bedroom Artists

Oh look: the Midweek Mixtape has been rudely (and temporarily) shoved aside for a new semi-regular midweek column, the Midweek  Mouthpiece. Alex James/Crudely-Photoshopped Cheese Fans, fret not: the Midweek Mixtape will be back next week…

Of all the interesting points raised in this GQ article about – who else? – Skrillex, two in particular stand out.

Firstly, the surprise that Skrillex is still sporting the half-finished hairdo/NHS-glasses combo that has served him so well and yet spawned enough meta-hipster imitators to cause most people to reach for the electric razor and contact lenses; and secondly, the recognition that the Bedroom Artist has finally taken over.

 

Whether or not you consider a man who has previously been in a ‘real’ band and thus knows the industry inside out to be a true bedroom artist is almost a moot point – the rise of the bedroom producer has been quietly inexorable for a few years now.

It’s certainly been a point that ANBAD has been labouring for some time now (as a quick search for ‘bedroom’ reveals).

The beauty of modern bedroom-produced music, like both artists who have already featured on ANBAD this week, Mujuice and Mmoths, is that these are people making music that could never have been made even just a few years ago – and moreover, there has never been a place for these reticent, intelligent and deliberately withdrawn people in the macho gig-and-rehearsal-room world of rock ‘n’ roll.

 

The point is, perhaps, where next? If as the above GQ article suggests, the traditional cycle of write/record/album/gig/repeat is no longer even necessary, will we see the further fracturing of new music into an approximation of the glorious 1960’s reggae scene – where 12″ albums were non gratae, and the 7″ single the medium that best suited the genre?

This may or may not be useful. I’m all for artist-self-determination, and releasing an irregular series of one-off bombastic or beautiful songs is a hugely attractive and admirable work ethic, but is there a chance that the long-form collections are actually still desired by both producers and consumers?

 

Spin any of the big 90’s dance music albums – Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Orbital II, New Forms or even Dig Your Own Hole – and prepare to be wowed by the journey: the albums are collated or constructed to form a long, coherent bridge from start to climax.

That all these former ravers turned producers trod this route is telling: even bedroom amateurs/auteurs long for their own magnum opus.

The Big Skrillex Album is surely an inevitability: he’s too big (and on too watertight a deal, presumably) to deliberately shun the release of an album that will shift zillions to Middle American teens.

And I’m sure a pragmatic, intelligent man like Sonny Moore knows the financial and social value of a physical album. The music may be made in the bedroom, but any financial decisions will, as always, be made in the boardroom.

TALKTOME: Stuttering To You

talktomeA couple of years ago I made a conscious decision to effectively say yes to almost any interesting offer that came my way as a result of running a gimmicky music blog, and I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made.

Some blogs don’t like the idea of ‘selling out’. I figured that embracing such a concept was probably more in line my ethos, and it’s been a blast, frankly.

Anyway, when Skype asked me if I wanted to be connected with another music blogger in Toronto, hit our respective towns and to IM each other all the gristly details, I said yes, because it sounded like, at the very least, a better use of my Saturday night than merely going drinking and watching bands.

I’d be drinking, watching bands and educating through sharing! How altruistic was that?

Well, it was a lot of fun. Cake was eaten. Mani from the Stone Roses walked past me, conveniently reinforcing the image of Manchester as a city with a surfeit of celebrity bassists.

I video-called a new local band called Blossoms, to Tiana, who was in a Toronto record store at the time. It was an interesting amalgamation: live blogging via video.

And, er, speaking of talking to me, here’s today’s new artist TALKTOME. I’m sure you can tell from a cursory glance that ANBAD is not run intelligently enough for that to be anything other than a vast coincidence.

 

In Aazra, TALKTOME has made a rigid, metronomic, mechanical track that, unexpectedly, has more swing and soul than the bulk of songs that set out to be swing or soul songs.

Stabs of warm, rounded sounds punctuate Aazra, and forms the entire shape, thrust and point of it. Pretty, unusual, and effective.

MORE: facebook.com/talktomemusic

The Shondes and The Descent Into Middle Age

I can’t even remember how I discovered today’s new band. I will tentatively claim that I received an email from a rapt fan about them, but frankly it could have been from anyone via any medium. It could have been a psychic visitation for all I know.

I’m going to blame old age for forgetting. The truth – that I’m too disorganised to really remember – is the greater of the two evils.

This forgetfulness may well signal of the Beginning Of The End, the descent into premature Middle Age that I’ve always feared. Hey ho. When I start pootling in a potting shed, then I’ll know the transformation is complete.

Fortunately, The Shondes – the band that has unwittingly initiated all these fears – also manage to assuage much of the damage with songs that are morose and elating in equal measure.

The Shondes // Make It Beautiful

Make It Beautiful, jumping between stylistic flavours as if on a musical trampoline, is a skewed and folksy ode to pleasure and – yes – beauty. At times it threatens to shuffle down blind alleys – an almost breakbeat drum roll appearing here, a guitar crunch slipping in there – and it’s all part of the song’s charm.

This genre-forgetfulness is the song’s strength, lifting it to exciting and charming heights. And whilst I consider that commendable in many artistic ways, it’s mainly just pleasing to find out that such memory loss might actually turn out to be useful. Phew.

www.myspace.com/theshondes

>We Aeronauts and Sex In Transit Vans

>
What happens when a band grows up? I don’t mean that in the sense of the usual band progression of: Bright Young Things > Big Cynical Rock Juggernaut > Guitarist’s acoustic side project > Band split, reform and discover folk rock. I mean intellectual development, when a band get past the sex-with-groupies-in-the-Transit-Van stage.

‘Thought’ and ‘rock music’ aren’t happy bedfellows, but can occasionally pair up without resulting in honest that’s never happened to me before pretentiousness.

Take We Aeronauts, who maintain a thoughtful approach without making music that is only of interest to themselves. So songs like Fleet River build and grow organically, exploring new dimly-lit places, but not disappearing up one of their own.

Fleet River is a sound-fog of carefully selected rattles, stretched notes and sounds that transform, eventually, into an evocative and grand song. And Boatswain’s Cry is cut from more standard cloth – it’s an actually lovely song; serious without self-importance.

We Aeronauts are charmers: intelligent, educated and talented. If you met them in a bar, you’d ask them out on a date. Listen here!

The Parish of Little Clifton: Punctuation Infatuation

Now that’s a mouthful of a band-name, eh, pop-pickers? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with The Parish of Little Clifton as your moniker of choice, but it sure isn’t The Ramones, is it?

Petty grievances abound on ANBAD about band names – and they should be largely ignored, of course – although I can’t help thinking that one day, someone is going to attend a The Parish of Little Clifton live performance in the mistaken belief that they’ll be  taking part in a small village’s council meeting.

In many ways, I hope this does happen, as it’ll expose a wholly confused person to some entirely clear, precise music that ought to cut through their mental fug like an industrial laser-beam.

 

Or maybe it wouldn’t: while the crafting of songs like It’s Okay, Roseanne is diamond-cut in execution, the samples used to convey the sound are a pleasantly confusing mis-mash of vocal snippets, obtuse noises and grabbed sound snatches.

Such an approach – voices punctuating the song until they become instruments, with actual instrument sounds relegated to mere framework – leaves us with a thumpingly jolly song which defies the odds and becomes, unexpectedly, a brilliant party tune. Great.

MORE: theparishoflittleclifton.bandcamp.com

>Today’s New Band – The Ribbon PLUS! Change! Good! Change! Bad!

>Change. Mmmm, threatening the status quo. Except the change that took place in the USA yesterday is almost universally seen as A Good Thing. Actually, if the band Status Quo had been threatened, my opinion on Obama would have worsened considerably. Listen, Barack, put the economy right, chit-chat with Iran and save the ozone layer all you like, but don’t mess around with Britain’s greatest two-chord, crank-em-out, denim-clad, pub-rock merchants.

Wait, i got sidetracked there a bit. But the point about change being good yesterday still stands (and so does the one about Francis Rossi et al). Usually, people get a bit edgy when it’s mentioned. Just look what happened when Kiss took off their make-up. Their most knuckle-dragging fans got all uppity, as if the face paint shtick wasn’t, you know, getting a bit old by then.

So change in rock ‘n’ roll is bad – except of course it isn’t. After all, who wouldn’t rejoice if Oasis decided to try something new for once, rather than twist the dial on the Noel-O-Tronic computer (which I suspect replaced the real thing ages ago) to the “Generic sing-along melodic rock” setting?

You get the feeling that Today’s New Band, The Ribbon, won’t ever get stuck in a rut. Their brilliant ephemeral songs are too light, too deft and too pure to ever get dull. Sometimes you can catch glimpses of the home-spun qualities of The Knife in The Ribbon, which is as good a start as you could hope for really.

Songs like Clikclikclik start small, a cluster of clicky loops, and then build and build until a whole song has appeared piece by tiny, twitching piece. Angels Elders Animals hovers so lightly and temptingly in your ears that it leaves you flustered. Attaching tiny bells to a hummingbird’s wings might replicate the sound.

Displaying a delicacy, sureness and sense of fragile grandeur that a hundred two-bit ‘electronic’ bands would kill for, The Ribbon are several agile, artful and well-placed steps ahead so many others, it’s silly.

They’re also the second wildly inventive band this week, after Monday’s Here We Go Magic. As such, they are recommended so wholeheartedly that we at ANBAD feel appropriately smug. Escape to The Ribbon‘s music quick, before we get depressingly obstreperous*!

*Thank you, Thesaurus.com

Timothy Cushing, and Liam Gallagher’s Hair In “Boring” Shocker!

Funny, the power our idols have over us. If I unceremoniously deposited a lock of my hair into your outstretched palm, you’d probably call the police, wash the offending hand in bleach and take out a restraining order.

However, if I told you that the bristly bundle belonged to a certain truculent, microphone-lobbing rock star, the excitement would be so great, you’d not know whether to update your Facebook status or Ebay listing first.

Such otherwise mundane occurrences punctuate a normal life with the dazzling white-hot glare of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and when @SkinnyGirlWho, one of the tremendous ANBAD Twitter followers, tweeted to let me know that she was once in the possession of Liam Gallagher’s hair trimmings, only one response was appropriate. Did she smell it?

The answer was, of course, yes. Who wouldn’t? Further probing uncovered that it was – and I quote – “incredibly brown, and, dare I say it, unexciting”. So there you have it: Liam Gallagher has clean, dull hair. Like a choirboy. Shocking.

Such deviant behaviour, and subsequent judgements, await the follicle snippings of Timothy Cushing when he makes it that big. This is the price of fame.

Timothy Cushing is crafty – in every sense: his songs are both sneakily insidious and subtly constructed to give the air of quickly cast-off folk-rock. In reality, of course, songs like Dandelion Wine have been sweated over and refined more times than a bottle of expensive vodka.

Timothy Cushing // Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine‘s guitars chime, the lazy beat shuffles, and while Tim relays a story of half-shrugged melancholy, it’s hard to deny that all is just A-OK in the world.

It’s a song you’ll be sure you’ve sung along to before, but can’t remember when or where. This is because you haven’t, and is also the reason why it is such a good song.

From a cursory glance, I can make these judgements on Tim Cushing’s hair: it’s brown – though not ‘incredibly’ – and it may be harbouring pockets of excitement. The smell, alas, is so far unrecorded. This information is not hankered after yet. But with songs like Dandelion Wine in his armoury, it’s just a matter of time.

www.myspace.com/timothycushing

Ash Darko – Concessions, In Kind

Seeing as music is apparently going to be pretty much gratis forever now, perhaps we’re just going to have to start making concessions.

Chiefly, perhaps the artists are going to stop being pleased just to have us hear their work, and are going to decide they have, you know, other things to do.

So envision a time when musicians respond to our royalty-free patronage with songs that are chaotic, angry, bewildered and – most importantly – short. Actually, don’t bother envisioning it – here’s Ash Darko to comprehensively demonstrate it for you.

 

Even An De Seh’s  beginnings are a gag, starting with the kind of generic dubstep build-up noises that usually precedes a wall of WUBWUBWUB noise, but then the song takes its own bizarro route through the following 53 seconds of clatter, yelping and samples from Japanese gameshows.

Suitably, this post is similarly short and scatter-gun. If Ash Darko’s songs are what the future sounds like, I can live with it, for now.

MORE: www.ashdarko.com