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 – My Tiger My Timing PLUS! "I wanna be a d-o-o-o-g"

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When I was in my mid-teens, oily of skin and squeaky of voice, I listened to The Stone Roses’ eponymous debut album twice a day, every day for about a year. How did this frightening set of circumstances come about?

Well, a young world-view, musical or otherwise, was mainly to blame. This meant that some bands of that time (Pavement et al) were a lot lower on the radar than they should have been, and bands from the near past (Joy Division and friends) may as well have been, to my teenage ears, my grandparent’s very choicest of 78″ acetate discs.

At that age you seem to get – no, actually, actively, subconsciously want to get – amorously attached to one band. Teens want a band that means something to them and them alone, regardless of how many copies of their favourite album have been sold, and so listen religiously, looking for and finding extra meaning that fair weather fans have missed.
I migrated from The Stone Roses after a while. Actually, I can pinpoint the moment of the shattering realisation that they weren’t that good after all to the day when my six-year old sister asked me why, on the first track, ‘the man is singing, “I wanna be a dog”?’
Clinging onto one band is not a bad thing per se, but it does legitimise the careers of awful bands who scraped the bottom of the rock barrel a long time ago. There is a reason why Ocean Colour Scene are still touring.

This is also the reason why listening to Today’s New Band, My Tiger My Timing, is the right thing to do. They’re a band that have found how to be arty and not jarring – one of rock’s holy grails. Thus, the least we can do is point our ears in their direction.

This Is Not The Fire quickly unfolds into one of the jerkiest, warmest pop songs of its unusual ilk this side of Born Under Punches by Talking Heads. It rambles freely in its self-imposed sonic limitations, eager to seek out every cranny of possibility. Conversation Starter, full of gentle punches of pulsating sounds, steely guitar shimmers and careful chanting, dreams of shiny space-pop and aims high enough to get there.

My Tiger My Timing are an example of a band Doing The Right Thing. Not only are they NEW! in spirit and sound, but have delicacy, urgency and the desire to make sounds that you haven’t quite heard before. Ace! Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Cactapuss

>If you’ve ever procrastinated over anything at all, you’ll know that the associated frustrations of long-term hesitation envelops your mind like a big, stupid bobble-hat with the word ‘indecisive (or is he?)’ sewn on the front. ‘Paralysis through analysis’, the Manic Street Preachers sang on their ace ’96 B-side Dead Trees and Traffic Islands.

Something I find endlessly admirable is the verve and determination of young bands when they start out. Cynics, older minds and failures will label this as youthful naivety, and, if you cast a lazy eye over the sheer number of new bands all fighting for attention, it’s tempting to agree.

But that would be to side with the middle-aged, middle-management, MOR mindset and a tacit admission of the acceptability of mediocrity. Raise your glass, hat or an eyebrow to all the wide-eyed and ambitious youths who blunder over hesitance and shoot for the stars, however unlikely their journey may be.

Today’s New Band, Cactapuss, like their peers, presumably have one eye on the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll of the now and one on the NME cover, number one album and Top Of The Pops appearance of the future. Good. If bands didn’t think like that, we’d end up with more Keanes.

If you were trapped in a lift, but were happy to stay entombed because the lift music was so good, then Cactapuss are all yours. Their music is unassuming, but clever and engaging; the gentle, kind and fun sound that you’d like soundtracking the film of your life.

Wigbar, complete with gentle bloops, doo-doo-doo vocals and a tune you’ll be humming as you’re cooking tea later this evening, is a breezy, light, whistling slice of whimsy. Theme From Stuart And The Ants starts as the bastardised car-chase music from a ’70s cop movie and then cranks up the urgency with funk organs, rolling drums and a driving bassline.

Cactapuss are another of those bands who can draw on 50-odd years of pop music tricks and hooks to create something new/old, sounds that’ll trigger memories you’d forgotten. Listen here, and enjoy whilst indulging in lovely C90 nostalgia (you’ll see).

Moustache of Insanity – No Extraneous Headlines Needed

Now here’s a band whose headlines write themselves. It’s kind of them to help out us embattled writers like that.

In all honesty, they have little need to supply any more promotional material beyond their songs and their name, because really, what else is there to say once a band chooses to attach the moniker Moustache of Insanity to their endeavours?

LOL-tastic band names might cause you to involuntarily shrink away, fearing a combination of krrrrayzeee! joke songs and knock-around goofy ‘fun’, but suspend your inner taste compass for a moment, because Moustache of Insanity are surprisingly sweet and – yes – normal.

Moustache of Insanity / Talk Along

Talk Along is as touching and sweet love song as you’ll hear all week – heck – all month. Like the band, there’s little else that needs adding – it’s an addictively lovely song.

Moustache of Insanity have featured in the EasyJet in-flight magazine. Now that’s a sign you’ve made it.

MORE: moustacheofinsanity.com

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 8th December 2010

Cor, it’s gone cold here in Manchester. It was so cold that when the temperature zoomed back up to precisely zero degrees celcius, it felt positively balmy in comparison.

In these testicle-ascendantly-cold times, staying indoors and listening to some good tunes seems like an even better proposition than usual.

Thus: MIXTAPE.

FIRST! The Honey Pies make a bit of a racket don’t they? Talk about a breathless rush. Sex Wax begins at a canter and dares you to keep up. They teeter along that thin line between ‘I think I’ve heard this before’ and ‘I think I’ve heard this before, though it turns out I haven’t, and as such it must be a good song’. They always fall down on the side of the latter, which counts as a great success.

SECOND! Lips Against The Glass, indeed. The last person I saw do that misjudged their approach to the window and knocked out a tooth. Nasty business. That Moment – not the tooth incident, the song by Lips Against The Glass – is a creepy, lithe and dainty sliver of electronica that is reminiscent of The Knife at their most relaxed. Nice.

THIRD! The New Generation Dudes sent me the following email: “IF YOU WANT YOUR MIND BLOWN OUT OF YOUR ASSHOLE, YOU WILL REVIEWING THIS ALBUM/EP/TIRADE OF PURE MUSICAL DOMINATION….YOUR HEAD WILL LITERALLY FUCKING EXPLODE. THAT SHIT AT THE BEGINNING WAS ONLY AN ANALOGY, BUT IF YOU ARE NOT READY FOR THIS, YOUR HEAD WILL LITERALLY FUCKING EXPLODE. DO NOT FUCK AROUND.”

No other recommendation is necessary.

FOURTH! Alf, sadly, have nothing to do with the late-80’s kid’s TV show of the same name. Good job too. Alf’s songs, like the deliriously happy Hälften Kvar bounce along with the jabbering fun that one can always rely on from Scandinavian rock bands. They’re another band from the part of the world that repeatedly and deftly pulls off the seemingly impossible by finding another new, delicious melody to grin along to. Excellent.

>Today’s New Band – Apples

>So, I’m nearly home. As of Monday, the (possibly unique) ANBAD Travelogue/New Band Review Service will be replaced by the simple daily proffering of New Bands, just like in the good ol’ days. In some ways, it’s a shame – writing about bands whilst in a tent pitched on the hill overlooking Karlovac was fun, but tiring. For those who’d like to emulate this attempt, a word of advice: finding wi-fi in eastern Europe is an ‘interesting challenge’.

Conversely, getting back to the metaphorical new band roots is just what’s needed. A three-month, self-indulgent trip around Europe, however, is just what you need if you desire navel-gazing time.

The best band to soundtrack this kind of activity is New Order, a band who I consider one of my favourites almost by default – because, well, it’s New Order. However, my readiness to constantly return to their songs, looking for brilliance, and always finding it, suggests that they connect in some other, more mysterious way.

Now isn’t the time to wonder why, merely to love them for what they are – the producers of the most casually written classic songs ever. The feeling that they have stumbled onto thrilling pop brilliance by accident is always one wonky keyboard stab or clunky lyric away. Perhaps it’s the truth.

Today’s New Band, Apples, like New Order, have a penchant for keyboard-driven jangly pop, and are similarly eager to utilise instruments oft-regarded as uncool. Listen out for the saxophone break in the gloriously chipper song Reason 45 for proof, and then feel your stomach flip next to your heart with pleasure as the dreamiest of choruses bursts: heartfelt, delicious, bitter-sweet, bright.

Just like New Order, Apples’ words, sounds and drive are uncool, unusual and without a definitive plan, and all the better for it. Reason 45 is as good a song as you’ll hear this month, and maybe the next one, too. Whisper it – but it’s an almost perfect pop song. It’s so delightful, so enraptured by the sweet joy of a melody and so enthralled with the simple pleasure of being alive that I can hardly take it. Drown yourself in sunlight, here!

Sean O’Neill – Trumpet Voluntary

seanoneillThere have been few – very few – solo singer-songwriters on ANBAD over the last 5 or so years.

It’s nothing personal, moody guys and gals with acoustic guitars. It just turned out that way.

So it’s hats off to Sean O’Neill for bucking that trend, with a song so muted, ambient and gentle that it took a gently-tooted trumpet to shake me from the hypnotic state into which I’d been lulled.

A Good Dream is a song so aptly titled that my eyebrow lazily rose in appreciation.

 

So delicate, understated and careful is the construction of this song that the songs finale – consisting of what sounds like octuple-tracked vocals – provide a feeling more rousing and uplifting than a clumsy Dubstep drop ever could.

Though, frankly, I’d be interested in hearing that particular mix of A Good Dream – for science, of course.

MOREhttps://soundcloud.com/hosc08-1

>Today’s New Band – Paul Hawkins &Thee Awkward Silences – GLIB COMPARISONS WEEK CONTINUES!

>Weirdness is an underrated virtue in pop ‘n’ rock music, and for understandable reasons. It’s too often, rightly, associated with acts who use a veneer of ‘kooky’ as an execrable cover-up for lack of talent – take a bow, Babylon Zoo. However, if these awful aberrations can be forgotten, weirdness is a Good Thing – if only as in indicator of deliberate step away from convention. Anyone with a pair of ears and a skull that isn’t used as spare storage space for semi-ironic glow-sticks, back-combed hair and slogan T-shirts knows that the bands who tow the line and trudge the well-worn skinny-jeans-and-aimless-posturing path rarely innovate.

What really sets the pulse racing and induces involuntary grins of deee-lite is that moment when you hear something new, something that sounds enough like everything else to be bearable, and far removed enough from exactly the same things to be exciting, surprising and, well, new. If you don’t quite follow, Today’s New Band, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, are a good place to start. There are a number of antecedents that his music could be favourably compared to (see the super exciting SECOND INSTALLMENT of today’s GLIB COMPARISON GIMMICK for more details), and yet his grouchy, slightly deranged vocals and frankly tremendous tunes are something that are enticingly sparkly and new.

In The Evil Thoughts, he chunters through a scenario about a woman who is shunning him, and the result is, indeed, slightly sinister – “And even though I’m nice to your face, the evil thoughts form in my brain.” An even better track, though, is The Battle Is Over, a similarly half-crazy, all-wonderful story of a man returning home from war to find his woman telling him that, whilst he, “went away to play soldiers with your friends/I had to rely on other men”. The female vocals are sung by the fabulously voiced Candythief. Make no mistake, this is the best song you’ll have heard for a long, long time – since, frankly, All the Rage by the Royal We. If you only listen to one new song this week, it should be this one – it’s truly, brilliantly, wonderfully fantastic. Song of the year so far, easily. Listen to it, and the others, here, now, or you’ll regret it, young ‘un!

TODAY’S GLIB COMPARISON: Like Nick Cave having a drunken brawl with a theoretical newly-acoustic-folk-change-of-direction Pop Will Eat Itself, whilst Shane McGowan watches, caressing his knuckle duster. And the Pixies. Again.

Recordiau: Cut & Cut & Cut & Paste

RecordiauIt’s always a thrill to find out that an artist I’ve covered fairly breathlessly on ANBAD is also good live; it’s more of a thrill to discover they surpass all expectations entirely.

It was old ANBAD favourites Bridie Jackson and the Arbour who knocked my socks off last night who I finally saw live after what I think must appear to the outside world to be a concerted effort to studiously avoid them. And indeed, they were brilliant. Everyone told me they would be, but they were deeply, very impressive.

Of course a lot has happened since I lumped them onto ANBAD, including a victorious tilt at the Glastonbury Emerging Bands contest and a barrel-load of radio play, and it was hugely pleasing to realise that all this success has come as a result of being a) good at what they do and b) being, frankly, wonderful people.

Now: at what point does ‘being good at what you do’ stop being relevant if you are using parts of sounds that are not yours? What if, for instance, an artist, Recordiau, for instance, took all his favourite parts of, er, Mr. Mister‘s Broken Wings, for instance, and looped them (for instance)?

 

It’s sort-of like sampling, except it’s done on a more base level: these are just the best bits, arranged as best as is possible.

I quite like this copy+paste recording policy, even if the results could not be described as pop songs – like this amalgamation of I Want To Know What Love Is and Can You Party? – then the songs are at least mesmerising in a whole new way.

It’s actually a smart idea: here are the best bits of songs we all know, as chosen by one individual. Suddenly, songs are compressed and re-appraised. And what does it say about our fragmented attention spans in this internet age? Recordiau has begun more conversations than his songs have answers, but what has emerged is great all the same.

The accompanying song notes are, of course, in Spanish, Welsh and English.

MORE: soundcloud.com/recordiau

Dream Sick: Dreamily Slick

By now, even I suspect that I simply add bands to the ANBAD ‘to do’ list based on the ludicrousness of their names.

There is, of course, an element of truth in all half-believable conspiracy theories, but really, while Dream Sick have a name that is stratospherically brilliant, it was their music, hidden behind a nameless link, that caught my attention.

That is rare enough, and the appropriate kudos should be sprinkled on them. But to do it with the visceral brilliance of the name Dream Sick shoved casually up their sleeves? Pride should be swelling their egos to Zeppelin size.

 

How to best address this without hyperbole?

Oh, I give up already: Caravel is dazzling in its downbeat glamour; precious but toughened, like an industrial diamond.

Here’s a song that is milky, nourishing and intimately comforting – all whilst acknowledging the transience of life and the importance of closeness. Yikes.

To recap: they’re called Dream Sick. And they’re lovelier than that name could ever suggest.

MORE: dreamsick.bandcamp.com

Julian Fulton and the Zombie Gospel: Practiced

Some debuts are so accomplished that I jot a note next to the band’s name on my Big List O’ New Bands: “Check they’re actually new”.

Julian Fulton and the Zombie Gospel are one of these bands whose inherent  ability caused me to question their authenticity. This is today’s reward for hard work and hundreds of hours of practice: suspicion. This world, eh?

Still, it raises a larger question, which is of huge importance: just because bands can now write, record, release and promote a song all on their own, all on the same day, should they?

There is more extremely average music floating around than ever before: songs that should have been aborted, culled or never left the rehearsal room – or at least spent a lot longer in it.

Julian Fulton and the Zombie Gospel are one of the bands that have been holed up in rehearsal for a long time. You can tell by the way the songs are, you know, accomplished.

Lie is the work of a band who have put in the hours, gained the callouses, had the arguments and hit the lows as well as the highs. It’s a rambling but focussed song of minor theatricality, restrained and shambolic; and it’s about love, of course.

Julian Fulton and the Zombie Gospel seem to have a idea of how to do things properly: good songs, well written, refined , re-written; then launch with a bang. If they get big, they only have themselves to blame. And that’s cheerfully refreshing.

MOREjulianfulton.com