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.


 

Dalton: Scrappy Lustre

For a brief, hideous moment, I thought that Dalton were called Dalston, named after the East London hipster enclave, which would have been a sure sign of the End Of Times.

As it turned out, Dalton is actually from another hipster enclave, Brooklyn, but at least they had the good grace not to name themselves Williamsburg.

Even more happily, Dalton makes entirely un-hipster music, too: Breaker is unironic, sun-soaked and glassy.

Breaker is a song with heart and rough edges but a lustre that comes from these very same pushed guitar noises and scrabbly sounds.

There are moments when the strains of dearly-departed Wu Lyf can be heard, although this is what I wish Wu Lyf had sounded a bit more like, with soul and feeling and variety within these songs. Great stuff.

MORE: facebook.com/daltonmusic

Purity Ring: Preventing Hype-ochondria

Hype, hype, hype. It’s hard to be involved with new music without being exposed to huge, cloying dollops of the stuff, and yet allowing too much of it to infiltrate your mind is the surest route straight back towards dreary Coldplay-dom.

In an online world where yesterday’s simply amazing wunderkinds become today’s derivative old hat in the blink of an eye and without any hint of irony, inhabitants looking to survive the Hype-ochondria should arm themselves with a sturdy barricade of cynicism, post-haste.

So are Purity Ring – the subjects of fearsome online gushing – the real deal, or are they another band who will slink away, forgotten, as quickly as they arrived?

Or, most sadly of all, will both of these scenarios come to pass, as they become another band chewed up and spat out by a new-music machine that has apparently become blind to the fabric of space and time?

My hunch is the former, but any music blogger’s proclamations are worth the paper they’re written on: nothing whatsoever.

Most commentators have been at pains to point out how ‘now’ this band is, and how they use the tools of today’s newest artistes: pitched-down samples, choppy drums, dancefloor-friendly basslines, [repeat to fade].

All of these charges are true: Purity Ring couldn’t be more relevant if their songs predicted world events a day in advance.

This kind of band rings loud, shrieking alarms inside my head, but in the case of Purity Ring, they prove to be completely unfair, because Lofticries is a particularly beautiful sliver of self-aware, precise and cunningly assembled pop music disguised as too-cool-for-school, ethereal echo-deck electronica.

Lovely and cool? The world might end if two such disparate ideas ever meet, so savour this song while you still can…

MORE: thepurityring.tumblr.com

KELLE: Love, Remixed

There are a few reasons that ANBAD rarely features remixes.

It’s certainly not that the tireless team of new music scavengers locked away in the basement of ANBAD Towers has any problem with the very real art of remixing, and in fact, many of ANBAD’s favourite songs are remixes </racism jokes>.

However, it usually boils down to reasons more to do with mere resource management (oh yes) than things like taste or quality – simply put, remixes are more often than not the work of unknown artists (good!) re-sculpting very well-known artists (see other music blogs for details).

This is clearly a quandary of sorts: I love publicising the new artists, but how much of the new work is theirs, and how much is Lana del Rey’s? Thus, I steer clear of them, plus a Gmail filter that diverts all emails containing the word “Remix” straight to the bin makes the thought of facing my inbox so much more palatable.

However.

Kelle has remixed Indian Well’s Love Frequencies, and, well – it’s impossible to ignore.

 

It’s a truism that almost all songs are about love, even the ones that think they’re not. But most songs simply describe the feelings of love – here is a remix that tries to convey the feeling itself. Thus, the song loops around and around, slow and slightly anxious, weary and yet ready to bloom.

The determined repetition is soporific, lovely and true. I didn’t listen to the original song. It wasn’t necessary.

NB: this song was, of course, on Bad Panda records. They truly are miles ahead when it comes to unearthing this stuff.

MORE: soundcloud.com/bad-panda-records/

Panda Party; Fun/Gloom, Fun/Gloom, Repeat

Of all the disparate topics that occupy far too many column inches on ANBAD – woeful puns; finding new ways to introduce yet another Scandinavian pop band; cramming in tenuous, self-serving links to new blogs about terrible cover versions – pure, simple FUN! is the one that pops up the most.

Fun is great. I love fun. But lots of bands hate it. Fun is not cool. Contrast the number of bands that make fun music with the number of po-faced, serious, yeah? ones. The embarrassing scoreline would read Fun: Beastie Boys circa ‘License To Ill, Serious: Everyone Else, ever.

The two camps are firmly entrenched, and ne’er the twixt shall meet. Well, they do occasionally: enter Panda Party.

Panda Party // Defiance! Protect Me

A song called Defiance! Protect Me and its talk of ‘torture, thunder and gunfire’ and ‘making martyrs’ doesn’t scream jelly, ice-cream and jolly japes, but the music that the sombre lyrics bubble along on does.

Such complex interplay. It sounds like a recipe for something worse than disaster, but astonishingly the band pull it off. The music leaps and frolics, coiling and curdling; the lyrics gaze at the navel – part introspection, part narcissism, partly trying not to giggle along with the glee-filled tune.

But why would you expect anything else, really? The band is called Panda Party, and their songs have exclamation marks in the titles. These are men not to be wholly trusted. A surprising and pleasant end to the week.

www.pandaparty.co.uk

Defiance! Protect Me

>Insecticide Lobotomy – Today’s New Band

>When I recently went to see My Bloody Valentine, the general consensus as we staggered out of the venue, wiping the blood from our ears, was that it was entirely unlike any other gig we’d ever been to. There was no moshing, no singing along and no middle-aged men standing near the back ‘appreciating’ the band, just a room full of shell-shocked gawpers struggling to comprehend the savage softness of the noise that was comically blowing their hair backwards and flapping their collars around.

The other universally agreed point was that the experience of having carefully constructed white noise smash your ears into submission was actually intensely calming, and we left in a strangely Zen-like state which was only later voided by cut-price rum at the Star and Garter. Still, we were left in no doubt of the powerful enjoyment to be had from ridiculous noise. Thus, push cotton wool into your ears now and prepare to be overwhelmed by Today’s New Band, Insecticide Lobotomy.

The sounds Josh from Insecticide Lobotomy makes are, in effect, just noise – but put together with such care and precision that it’s ridiculously enjoyable. Rotor Disc is the sound of you being locked inside a steel drum and then someone using a blunt circular saw to buzz you out. Toxic Waste Drum grinds, growls and hisses and Late Night Practice is deeply dark and intimidating.

The only realistic course of action you can take listening to the music is to just let go and allow it to wash all over you – a tsunami of spasmodically repetitive high- and low-end fuzz boring into your brain and removing all thoughts except acknowledgement of the noise itself. It’s a great, cathartic sluicing-out of of all other music from your mind, and whilst it’s a tough listen at times, you’ll miss it the second the sounds stop. Lovely, soft/hard, confusing stuff. Listen to it all here!

The New Lines: Brand New/Brand Old

For better or worse, I discover most of my new bands via the internet, not live gigs.

A lot of people would tell you that this is counter-intuitive, but then a lot of people also buy Nickleback records, so feel free to treat their remarks with as much or little contempt as you like.

However, I’ll never deny that lurking around in the recesses of a murky venue is a great way to discover ace new bands. (It’s also a great way to watch, as I did recently, a terminally average band spend 45 minutes setting up two synthesizers before playing a gig of devastating averageness.)

The New Lines are a band that set up quickly, performed a shambolically riveting set, and then left the stage to mingle with the crowd. That’s the way to do it.

The New Lines were playing a venue called 285 Kent in Brooklyn, a venue so basic in construction that one whole wall is simply a swathe of fabric strung from the ceiling, and where the toilets have no locks, but, unexpectedly, plenty of toilet paper.

In this fittingly shambolic setting, they played a series of focussed, mesmeric and disorientating songs: weird but not outré, formless but practised, sincere but not overly serious.

Their songs, like La Réciproté, were warm, organic and charming, unlike so many of those by their contemporaries.

The last song they played petered out because they “are still working on it.” I applauded louder for this very reason. Great.

Photography by Filmstrip Photography

MORE: facebook.com/thenewlines

>Today’s New Band – Keyboard Choir

>When I was younger, I was camping by a river. It was a cloudless night, and the stars completely filled the sky. I looked up at them, trying to stop my thoughts from drifting into that terrifying corner of the mind that cheerfully, and optimistically, tries to comprehend infinity. My theory is that if you try to think about the size of the universe, then one day your thoughts will spiral away at an unstoppable exponential rate, your eyes simultaneously widening with overwhelming realisation, with the words DOES NOT COMPUTE flashing up before your eyes forever.

As a distraction, I fiddled with my 12-band nerd-tastic short-wave radio, trying to find John Peel’s weekly show on the BBC World Service. Faced with such a bewildering frequencies, and lacking the fine-tuned motor skills to rotate the tuning dial, it wasn’t an overwhelming surprise that I failed. Happily, at the bottom of one of the short-wave bands I found a squealing, bubbling mass of space-electro, semi-random interference noise, which perfectly accompanied my mildly hysterical gaze into of life, the universe and everything.

If any lesson is to be learnt from all of this quasi-hippy yapping, it’s that sometimes even the most obscure sounds can fit the right occasion. Today’s New Band, Keyboard Choir, aren’t so deliberately obtuse that they sample radio static, but their songs do conjur up the same, icily distant feeling. Bugs samples an eerie clip from a 1960’s radio recording due to be played post nuclear war, and leaves an echoing, metallic shimmer of worry behind it.

In some ways, I suppose, there is a backwards-looking stripe running through Keyboard Choir‘s songs. Skylab‘s plaintive electronic sounds are the noises glum, lonely astronauts would force out of their simple onboard computers in the 1970’s. The loneliness of space and the anxiety from the confines of their mechanised life enclosure is all there.

It’s rare for a band to actually get within spitting distance of the sounds that they originally wanted to make, but it does seem that Keyboard Choir have done it. Ethereal and delicate. Super. Listen to them, here, right now!

Weekend – Metallic, Howling Clouds. And Fußball.

Even though covering In The City was a huge pleasure in every respect, it’s comforting to return back to the meat-and-potatoes activity of reviewing new bands.

One of the many gifts that ITC presented me with, besides a monster cold, tinnitus and a hangover that won’t budge, is a fresh perspective on guitar bands.

That perspective was, natch, a little cynical, but true to these ears: the majority of guitar music has been ‘done’. That is not to say that there is not still endless avenues to explore, but, without exception, all of the four-square guitar ‘n’ songs bands were dull, dull, dull.

Weekend // Coma Summer

It’s only when a band take it upon themselves to go that extra mile, and think of guitar music as a problem to be circumvented to does truly interesting music emerge. And emerge it has in guise of the wonderful Weekend.

Coma Summer is a song of cut-and-thrust beauty, finding as much silken pleasure in the moments where the driving drums take precedence as the times when the feedback howls, and we’re all engulfed in a metallic cloud of dense white noise.

Songs sculpted like this are not easy to make – it took My Bloody Valentine about three years, remember – and so any praise of their songs is of the highest order by default. Weekend have looked at their options, taken the toughest one – and succeeded. Great, great, great.

Glib Comparison: early New Order playing Fußball with My Bloody Valentine.

www.myspace.com/weekendmusic

Photo: Joe Lubushkin

Painting By Numbers

Any seasoned new band listener will tell you that the phrase ‘post-rock’ sets the alarm bells ringing. The phrase ‘experimental post-rock outfit’ will raise anxiety levels to a point where playing a CD of something deeply bland and morbidly inoffensive (Coldplay’s X&Y, twice a day, with meals) is the only cure.

It’s not that post-rock is so bad per se, it’s just that the genre is rarely done justice, and often serves as an outlet for failed jazz musicians – individuals so self indulgent that even a major terrorist incident couldn’t interrupt their 27-minute freeform clarinet solo.

So throwing ‘Improv’ into that mix might cause actual coronary mishap. Faint hearted readers, brace yourselves. But – guess what? – Painting By Numbers have made an EP of Improv-Experimental-Post-Rock and made it enjoyable.

This is a feat in itself, so listen to Conceal Confine Tentative once to just get over the wave of relief that it’s a good song, and then listen again to appreciate the off-kilter rhythms, sneaky poly-handclaps, grubby bass and shonky guitar.

Painting By NumbersConceal Confine Tentative

Post-rock songs always build, almost by definition, so Conceal Confine Tentative is no exception, but it does it in a series of frisky steps, not the long drone that so many lazily plump for. This approach turns the song into a casual, Sunday-morning browse through a series of charming song snippets.

Half way through, it almost trips lightly into a poppy guitar riff. We are experiencing dizzying times in the Post-Rock world, my friends. Painting By Numbers deserve, at least, a raised eyebrow of appreciation.

WE // ARE // ANIMAL // ARE // ON // MYSPACE

Apparently, yesterday was ‘Quit Myspace Day’, or at least one hardy soul was trying to make it thus. An analyst would say that it ‘gained moderate traction‘, and then rest of us would say, ‘who cares’?

Quitting Myspace seems as pointless as joining Myspace. Like most people, I’ve hated Myspace from day one, for all the same reasons everyone always lists – it’s ugly, it breaks, the music streaming is specifically designed to make you angrily pound your head into the keyboard, etc.

WE // ARE // ANIMAL – Black Magic

The counter argument doesn’t really need mentioning. Myspace, despite the infinitely more useful Bandcamp and Soundcloud, is still the de facto music source for listening to new bands. Maybe it’s a quirk of social acceptance that something ugly and useless is at the top of the pile. Perhaps we should gain hope from this, rather than hatred.

Oh, and every band that ever emails me asking for a review always has a Myspace link. Just like the one WE // ARE // ANIMAL sent me, which meant I discovered Black Magic, a song that slips quietly away from their usually bracing rock bluster by way of twitchy, spasmodic guitars and a vague air of social disconnection.

WE // ARE // ANIMAL, just like every other band for the last 30 years, want to rock like Thin Lizzy, but need to find another way of doing it, lest they are treated as yesterday’s men. Their chosen method of alchemical differentiation is to imbue their songs with a feeling of alienation and of removal.

This may possibly related to their geographical isolation – they hail from the hills of Wales – or it may not. Either way, they use it as a means to rock. This is as good a reason as any. Great.

www.myspace.com/weareanimal