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.
>Bands have perceived connections with the past whether you, or they, want them or not. If yesterday’s new band, Saboteur, reminded us of the 90’s – if not in sound, at least in spirit – then Today’s New Band, Padre Pio, simply reek of the 70’s and 80’s, sonically and, quite possibly, intellectually.
And if that has conjured up images of 70’s wank-rock or 80’s poodle-hair-rock, then a) wash your mind with bleach; no-one deserves to inflict that kind of mental torture to themselves, and b) instead think of when rock was a bit luxuriant, asexual and gleaming. Think Bowie and Lou Reed. Think of druggy, sharp-suited excess and eyeshadow on men. Think of a time when rock wasn’t scruffy, but glistening with confidence.
Padre Pio‘s songs caress your eardrums with all of those things. Colour is a synthy glammy pop breeze, and Common Day is the great late 70’s New York song you’ve never heard. It also, against all odds, achieves rock’s most risky, difficult feat: a great Sax solo. Their songs are slightly pompous, eccentric and lithely predatory – all missing in most music now, and extremely welcome.
Surely Padre Pio aren’t going to be gazing at the stars forever, wondering when they can strut their stuff in, I like to imagine, delightfully-cut suits. A band this swooning and sexy has to, and deserves to, end up foppishly jostling with the big boys. Brill. Listen to them here!
P.S. As a side note, Padre Pio are, apparently, from Bushwick, in Brooklyn. This has no connection at all with rapper Bushwick Bill from the Geto Boys, but it’s still an excuse to show the cover of their album We Can’t Be Stopped, which features Bushwick Bill being rolled into hospital AFTER HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE EYE. Now that’s hardcore.
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…
MGMT are curious. Their recent, abrupt, 90-degree turn away from chart-friendly pop was a bold move, and a commendable one. Such leftfield-yearnings were also clearly signposted in their first album, which makes the slew of puzzled reviews for their last album all the more unfathomable (or lazy).
But one of the more interesting things about MGMT is how other bands have not really been able to ape the sounds exhibited during their swingeingly brief chart-dalliance. This hasn’t stopped a number of bands’ PR bumph mentioning vague connections and alliances with MGMT, of course.
Hence Youthless, who have plenty of interesting traits worth genuine attention – their cluster of bright, twitchy and crystal clear songs, for example – are clumsily hitched to the MGMT bandwagon simply because the band went to the same university. Don’t all convulse with excitment at once.
The fact that Youthless are based in the gorgeous, alive and youthful city of Lisbon, and sound nothing like MGMT is moot, naturally. It’s all about association, yeah? This is annoying – because if any band deserves to stand tall on their own merits, it’s Youthless.
Listen to Golden Age and hear a young band who know exactly how to make a song tick. It’s snappy, clever and prickly and sparse – and the pleasing realisation is that this is not for stylistic reasons, but because the song itself required nothing more.
Youthless‘s songs shine with innovation, joyful realisation and colour. They force a smile on their listeners. What other association do you need?
>Short, sharp shocks. That’s what you need sometimes. Not necessarily like receiving a one-inch punch to the throat from a previously hidden ninja when you pop out to the shop to buy the paper, mind. But an experience or – in particular – noise that shakes you from a slumber or from lethargy, is super-duper for all sorts of reasons. Laziness infects even the most thrusting young soul, and it’d be a huge LIE to say that we don’t all need a wake-up call now and again.
Today’s New Band, Copy Write This, is the aural equivalent of someone pinching your nose when you’re asleep, except pleasurable. Dubiously pun-tastic name aside, and whilst their songs are thin on the ground, the ones they do have are mental smelling salts. Pulling a title from the School of Bleeding Obvious Song Names, Twitching and Salivating is as rabid and jumpy as suggested, using all the build-up-and-drop tricks in the book to create a rumbling face-smasher of a tune. Thumping crudely yet delicately along, it’d be a stone-hearted person who wouldn’t get drawn in to it’s bombastic thrills.
Copy Write This’ other song, Brain Food, samples an oft-visited source of vocal idiocy, everyone’s favourite brain-dead mouth-breather, George W. Bush. On paper, this seems like a cheap and easy target – who hasn’t heard a million jibes at Dubya by now – but the song is actually a nicely abrupt stapling-together of his most cretinous moments, with an equally nice pulsating grumbly bass-heavy carpet beneath it.
So, a great chance to hear a really new work-in-progress musician, whose early stuff turns out to be a blustering rampage through a cauldron of clanking noise. Great. Listen here and wake yourself up!
Dutch Uncles, like Egyptian Hip Hop, are another exciting new Manchester-based band that has chosen a name which guarantees career-long facile questions: whether any band member is Dutch, or is an uncle, or indeed has an uncle from the Netherlands. Maybe it’s why Wu Lyf keep such a low profile.
Either way, these universally strange monikers do highlight the skewed thinking and deliberately obtuse nature of Manchester’s newest crop of bands. Hiding complex musical arrangements behind breathless pop songs and charity shop shirts, Dutch Uncles are more obtuse than most, and all the better for it.
I grappled manfully with lead singer Duncan Wallis on a day off from the Duncles’ support slot on the Futureheads tour. Their new single, The Ink, is out on Monday. It’s quite clearly brilliant to me – but what have the band’s peers thought?
Duncan, cagily: “We actually gathered all of our friends round the house on Sunday and played them the song on repeat. It was unanimously agreed that people like music.”
So how does a song like this emerge? The balance between melody and yet retaining the winsome off-kilter quality must be akin to spinning musical plates. Or maybe old 12″ records…
“The piano riff came first and pretty much told us what to do. We’re quite separate in our writing, so our influences between music and words are never the same. The words come last so its more about relating it all together at that point, but we never give ourselves much time on it because the idea can lose its popularity very quickly with us… unless its a stonker like The Ink.”
Despite having chosen to take a more singular route through rock, Dutch Uncles‘ pace is quickening. They’re still, Duncan says, taking it one single at a time, but more than a hint of pride and urgency lingers:
“Recording an album within the first 4 months of being Dutch Uncles was quite a feat at the time. However, putting all of our cards on the table so soon without a proper “campaign” has probably delayed our progress longer than we’d like to think.”
Having splurged forth from the unexpectedly potent rock gene pool of Marple along with contemporaries Egyptian Hip Hop, Delphic and Maple State, they’ve managed to retain a unique sound. These bands are notably very different to one another, and yet an element of cohesion remains.
Do they influence each other in any way? The idea of the bands meeting up once a week for tea, cakes and a chat about time signatures appeals.
“I don’t think we influence each other much, but we certainly inspire one another. Its all just a contest to be the best band at ‘Winter Wonderland’ [a possibly imaginary gig] at the Royal Scot [their local pub]. That said, the ‘Myspace plays’ competition has been a depressing game of late…”
If the confidence and clamour around the band keeps building, how ‘big’ would they like to become? Does this even cross a young band’s mind? Is the band’s size and status even an ambition at all, or a happy side-product?
“If it wasn’t a career prospect then we wouldn’t do it is the truth. But we don’t plan on getting elevators in our house from it…do we? Apart from ‘Winter Wonderland’ we can only work towards getting more of our music released.”
And like that – poof – he was gone. I didn’t even get time to ask the questions about Holland and the band members’ familial roles.
Seeing as these days I’m pushing the (admittedly always-shaky) concept of writng about a new band every day, I feel a lot less troubled by the fact that today’s ‘new’ artist isn’t terribly new in every sense of the word.
This is because Ezra Furman has had his own band, and then spent a bunch of years fronting another (Harpoons), and is now a fully-fledged solo project.
His solo LP’s just come out. Only a handful of blogs have written about this song.
So… I’m off the hook, right?
Doesn’t matter either way, actually, because My Zero is so loveable, so bright, so delicious, that each spin is like a warm embrace from an old friend, and each rollocking sweep through the chorus provides the same joys as an evening holed up in a good pub with a loved one.
Ezra has a voice that cuts through the swathes of bland voices that populate the majority of pop music. How can you help but connect on a very base level to his sprightly, croaky vox? His voice is a springboard for the music to soar from; and vice-versa.
In this way, he reminds me of old ANBAD faves Straw Bear, who weave glorious vocals and glistening music to similarly lovely effect.
My Zero is fabulous. Proof that the old guitar ‘n’ singer combo can still ignite the kind of thrills that nothing else can. What a tune!
> If you listen to a lot of music on the internet, I’m willing to gamble that the following question has crossed your mind too. Why are there so many post-rock bands? Answer: because making post-rock looks like an easy task.
Having dispensed with traditional song structure; you can just plug in and improvise, or so it seems. The less you think about what you’re doing, the more the beauty of the sounds flow through onto tape, right?
This is a fallacy, and is also why there are so many drab, tedious post-rock bands all peddling the same glum, unfocused, unwanted wares all over the internet. There is a very fine line between making lovely, semi-conscious noise-fuzz and a knuckle-chewingly lazy drone. You’ll be pleased to hear that Today’s New Band, Finneyerkes, are proponents of the former rather than the latter.
Finneyerkes make strung-out, light-as-air, soundscape-rock. If their actions matched their music, they’d stay in bed all day and dream about perfectly flat, brilliant white, snow-covered landscapes where nothing interrupts the horizon line.
Their songs lilt and lap like a stuporous sea; build up then release. Hear The Listener, its minimal reverberations overlapping and forming a larger image, like a dropped pile of so many photographs. Arshile falls from a mass of radio fuzz and, strangely but beautifully, threatens to become a huge, trancey keyboard-riff. Weird, yes: you’ll have to listen to hear what I mean.
This week I cracked. I emailed Bad Panda Records and ineloquently put them on the spot: have you signed a deal with Satan, or what?
It’s a reasonable question, honestly – if there’s another record label that gives away a Creative Commons-licensed song every Monday and manages to maintain as ludicrously high standard of releases, I’ve yet to find it.
ANBAD has featured so many of their artists now, that it became embarrassing a while ago. And yet how – why – should I stop when their hit-rate is similar to that of a teenage Mike Tyson?
Dumbo Gets Mad has the kind of throwback name that I remember Indie bands from continental Europe having before the internet threw open the doors of cool and suckered so many inside.
The music glances backwards too, without shame and without concern. Electric Prawn foists another clunker of a name onto a song gaily spritzing itself with the best parts of Psych and 60’s Pop. Starting at ? And The Mysterians, and quickly reining in the outlandishness, Electric Prawn is a swirling triumph.
Mastering the sound of a certain era’s music is one thing, but to nail such artisan nuts-and-bolt skills to a great song is a success of suspicious proportions. When the Hammond organ appears half-way through, you’ll understand why thoughts of Lucifer’s influence formed.
If someone played you this song and told you it was recorded in 1969, you wouldn’t believe them. Except, of course, you would. Its obvious that this song couldn’t have existed then. And yet it sounds exactly right. Genius.
Since I laid out my revolutionary Band Discovery Manifesto on ANBAD yesterday (TL;DR: pick bands at near-random, as the likelihood of finding something worth listening to is almost identical to any other method), it feels as if an snobby weight has been lifted from my snobby shoulders.
Now, all my stupid foibles are justified! Stupid band name? As good a reason as any. Photograph of band actually smiling for once? Why not? Reject Band X because they look like they probably play Landfill Indie without actually reading their blurb? Uh-huh.
So, I was intrigued, mainly, by the spelling of Ssssyyyyooooo, and thus ended up getting lost in his jittering, stop ‘n’ start music. Why so many letters? Why four S’s and Y’s, but five O’s?
If Ssssyyyyooooo’s music was 1960s architecture, it’d be something grey. concrete and Brutalist. If it was a car, it’d be a Volvo. 20120411 is music that values function over form, right down to its choice of song name. It is made out of blocks, and the corners are defiantly not rounded off.
Ssssyyyyooooo says his music is instrumental hip-hop, but actually is simpler than that: there may only be five or six individual samples in the whole thing.
In many ways, it’s too basic, too simple, too tuneless… but, just as early house battered warehouses full of ravers into submission with simplicity, after a while, the idea of anything more sophisticated seems totally pointless. You may not like the music, but you’ll appreciate the cut & paste aesthetics.