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.


 

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

>Today’s New Band – Leroy McQueen & The Gussets

>I said that Yesterday’s New Band, Liechtenstein (see below), ‘owes a little to Jesus and Mary Chain‘; this wasn’t a criticism, but I suppose it could be interpreted as such. A large proportion of bands are eager to distance themselves, sonically, from the past, as if this in itself is innovation. It isn’t – and it often results in bands that might well tick the ‘new’ box, but is a million miles from the one marked ‘fun’.

Grabbing a bunch of sounds or attitudes or ideas from the past isn’t to be frowned upon. It makes sense if you want to have a good time, all the time. Today’s New Band, Leroy McQueen & The Gussets has a great name and a sound you’ll know and feel happy slipping into, like an old pair of slippers.

Leroy McQueen & The Gussets make a land grab for the grimy, punchy fuzz-blizzard of The MC5 and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and then proceeds to wring as much enjoyment out of the straight-into-the vein excitement as possible. Boomtown City is so heavy with crunchy sound that it may collapse in on itself and form a rock ‘n’ roll black hole.

It’s not ‘new’ – even Shakespeare wrote lyrics about wanting to go out and party all night – but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a big, friendly slap in the face from a leather-coated, tobacco-and-booze-smelling hand, and I’ll find it hard to believe if you don’t want to go out all night long after listening to it. RAWK! Listen here!

Venice – A Psychadelic Children’s Party

Italian pop has never really registered much on my musical radar, beyond outrageously cheesy house and oddly repressed memories of bowel-clenchingly average Eurovision entries.

But there is a groundswell of fascinating, quirky and truly interesting music emerging from basements and garages all over Italy, a few of whom have scuttled onto ANBAD with increasing frequency over the last year or so.

And get this for confusing – the latest one, Venice (the Italian band), is based in Rome (the Italian City). Can you imagine the caveats that have to be added to the gig posters?

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the befuddlement begins well before the audience hears the music itself. Venice makes beautifully coiling, softly-psychedelic music that fogs the mind and slows time – the musical equivalent of being blindfolded and spun around at a childrens’ party.

30th Century might name-check the very distant future, but musically its scope pans from the near past to the close future, and we’re left with a sweeping, glassy song that comforts and prickles all at once.

Call it psyche-house if you must, but in reality Venice make much more interesting music than that name implies: swirling, calm and disorientating.

It’s heartening to hear such crafty music creeping out of Italy, as well as being entirely embarrassing that I’d ignored the country for so long. More fool me.

MORE: soundcloud.com/venice-1

>The ANBAD Time Machine: Best Of 2008 – Part 2!

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Our Christmas-Time listing frenzy wasn’t all Gigs ‘n’ Grumbling, you know (see Part 1). There was a positive element to the end-of-year review, and today we have the creme de la creme: The Best Albums, and the big ‘un – the Best New Bands Of 2008!

So moisten your lips and click here for the best albums – a list with a Pixie, a synth-happy Frenchman and a West Country rapper, though not all on the same album (but what an album that would be).

Then swallow hard and click here for the big one – The TEN Best New Bands featured in 2008! Who got a coveted slot in the top 10? Well, here’s a clue: Scouting For Girls were nowhere to be seen, and neither were The Kooks. But the bands were really, really, really good. Enjoy!

INTERVIEW // My Awesome Mixtape

Their Mixtape: Awesome

My Awesome Mixtape were reviewed on ANBAD to fairly rapturous acclaim back in November.

I was so taken with their delightful song, I quickly collared them (virtually, of course – they’re based in Bologna) for an interview. Which I then promptly forgot about.

Here it is then, charming pigeon-English intact, a couple* of months late. It turns out they are not only purveyors of lovely, multi-faceted pop songs, but wholeheartedly nice people to boot. Nice people, who, hopefully, will forgive my forgetful indiscretion…

Hi My Awesome Mixtape! How are you? Where are you in the world right now? What you see? And what is good about that place?

Hey mate! Here’s all fine, right now we are spending our coldy winter in Bologna, our hometown, the city that has seen us growing up and getting older and older!

In my review, I was surprised at your sound: an unusual blend of Indie-Pop shyness, disco beats and Pop luxury. How did the band arrive at such an interesting combination of sounds?

My Awesome Mixtape // Me And The Washing Machine

Actually, we are not so concious about the sounds we create, mainly because the My Awesome Mixtape‘s aim in making music is the most natural and spontaneous one.

The only thing I could say is that we are 5 guys coming from different musical backgrounds. The results in mood could be explained as a perfect mixture between the different musical tastes we have.

Why are you called My Awesome Mixtape? Mixtapes are seen as a kind of old idea now, in the era of Spotify and iTunes – what do you like so much about mixtapes?

Actually the name was caught in a “Boogie Night” film frame. In that scene was framed an audiocassete titled “My Awesome Mixtape n° 6”. We found the term “My Awesome Mixtape” so damned catchy that we decide to take it as the band name…

There is no link between the ancient art of making mixtapes and the band name; but personally speaking I think that most of the time old objects such as vinyl, audiocassettes, cds were definitely preferable.

How has the experience of being a new band been?

We feel ourselves really lucky! It is not so common to travel the world with a van and see so many places, visit so many cities all over Europe, and know tons of people getting in contact with an enormous variety of cultures…that’s probably the most exciting thing I could ever experienced.

What about the Italian music scene? I was in Bologna a couple of months ago: it was a wonderful place – traditional and beautiful but youthful too. However, I wasn’t there for long enough to get a real grip on the music scene – what is it like?

Bologna is mostly famous for the university ( apart from Spaghetti Bolognese and the ham), that’s why you found it youthful! Cultural and musical life here is commonly widespread all over the youngest inhabitants, in fact here in Bologna there are a lot of wonderful bands: Blake/e/e/e, Settlefish, A Classic Education, Buzz Aldrin, Nervous Kid, and many, many more.

What is the Italian Indie music scene like? What is good about it? What is bad? Is it big or small – do you or bands like you get a lot of exposure in the media? And how do you fit into the music scene?

Italy, as you know, is a really small country, so the musical scene is small too! All the bands know each other and most of the time there is a “brotherhood” mood among them…

Of course there are problems, Italy is probably one of the worst European country in terms of politics and cultural broadcasting…that means that most of the Italian music remains unknown even at Italians too!

Basically, our aim is to reach the most distant place from our home, play there and have fun!

And finally: If you could meet any musical hero, who would it be,
what one question would you ask them, and what drink would you buy them?

Probably Ian Mackaye, after offering him a Chinotto (a typical Italian soda) I would ask him what does he think about the nowadays musical scene


*or three**

**OK, four

>List-O-Matic: Albums Of The Year

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***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then***
So, the end of the world year is here. On New Year’s Day, we’ll be struggling out of bed to post the wetly anticipated New Bands of The Year List, which will also be the end of this List Mentalism. So here’s the ANBAD Top Four Albums of the Year! Why Four? Because, that’s why.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – M83 – Saturdays=Youth
Happily shrugging off fiendish attempts to be shoehorned into the mercifully brief Nu-Gaze ‘scene’, Saturdays=Youth instantly transports you back to your youthful summers when limbs were gangly, oily skin was a given and the opposite sex was so irresistible that even the most ham-fisted attempts at conversation were minor victories. Kim and Jessie is bold enough to utilise the 80’s synth-pop palette and, against the odds, create a song of soaring, simple, touching beauty. If you were ever young or shy or awkward or all three, you’ll go all doe-eyed and tongue-tied at this album.
Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
We said: “The album where The Chip finally mutated into the acid house-rock monster that they always hinted at becoming. Their live act is in turns charming, banging and air-punchingly fabulous, and this album is where that live brilliance is equalled in the studio. Hot Chip are without pretence but are also full of humour and sincerity. They’re pretty much the New New Order, and that’s high praise.”
Frank Black – Svn Fngrs
Frank Black only popped into the studio to record some B-sides, and yet whelped this ace mini-album. Full of the same cranky inventiveness that made the Pixies so stupidly great and also the rock anthem tricks that makes album climax When They Come To Murder Me the first song for a long time that made me go to the record shop the moment I heard it.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Angles
Because DLS V SP‘s album was greeted either bilious hatred or fawning praise – but nothing in between – it’s one of the stand out albums of the year. They must be doing something right to earn such polarity of opinions. Whatever you think of Scroobius Pip‘s voice, delivery or quasi-poetry-slam lyrics, it’s tough to argue with songs as catchy as The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Yes, sometimes it feel like we’re being preached at, but you don’t have to align your philosophy with everything that’s being said to appreciate it, do you? Or do you?

Free Swim: Shunning and Embracing The Inner Rock Star

It’s happening more and more: bands that don’t provide photos of themselves are rife. What are they hiding?

I always assumed that music makers actively want attention. Perhaps my projections have been tainted by one L. Gallagher of Burnage, Manchester – a man whose aggressively I don’t care, me stance is diametrically opposed by the plain-as-day fact that he loves the beery, bellowing hordes before him.

Free Swim is one of the new breed: the ones for whom the anonymity granted them by the internet has freed their latent rock-star.

 I could find no photo of him other than the pencil-and-paint drawing above. This mysterious shunning of the limelight is – like in the case of Liam – both at odds and in keeping with his chosen subject matter.

The kernel of truth in lyrics like, “I want to get out  of here, I want to be a mountaineer,” is one that we’ve all settled on fleetingly, at some point or other. And in essence, isn’t a grab at dangerous freedom what being a free swimmer is all about?

After all, what is the use of being in a rock band – especially one as punchy, enthusiastic and enthralling as Free Swim – if escapism isn’t the primary driving desire? I Want Be A Mountaineer has escape writ large all over it: a rich- – decadent, even – swirl of precisely chosen guitar noise casually cranked up to leave us with a luxuriantly freeing fuzz.

It’s a song that doesn’t get made too often – well, it does, just not this well. Most stabs at this kind of song emerge as a dreadful sub-MC5/Stooges boogie; I Want Be A Mountaineer is defined by its clear-cut, deep-down muddiness.

Free Swim are the embodiment of rock’s thrust and indicative of its alluring twinkle. No posing, no faux-coyness – just bags of wide-eyed, low-key thrills. Excellent.

MORE: myspace.com/freeswimswimfree

Evan Voytas, and A Scenester-Baiting Jibe At The XX

Comparing one band with another is a mindless, but pretty much necessary, evil.

As a hack keyboard-basher, I try to avoid it as much as I can, but sometimes you’re left with no other option: how else to describe bande du jour The XX as anything other than ‘drab Zero Seven copyists‘?*

So when I heard Evan Voytas described as ‘the American M83’ by both those who have read his PR company’s press release and those who haven’t, my interest was piqued and repulsed at the same time. This is usually a good sign.

The ingredients are there in the song title alone – vaguely mystical, quasi-pastiche, the whiff of uncool: it’s all there in “I Run With You, Spirit Animal”.

Evan Voytas // I Run With You, Spirit Animal

More importantly though, the song is a stormer. It sounds cheap – by which I mean it is the delicious sound of a young man who has time, talent and no external monetary influences.

Yes, there’s a hint of M83 in there, but any music maker with any sense will have looped their copy of Saturdays = Youth until there was no possibility of the dreamy lusciousness not appearing in their own songs.

Evan Voytas has made songs that are all-revealing, all-enveloping and altogether sharper, and more direct, than a thousand other sonic scrabblers. Or The XX. Wonderful.

www.myspace.com/evanvoytas

*Note: this may or may not be a joke

Photography by Shayne Eastin

TAPERS: Lethargy-Bargy

tapersAs I spend my time fretting about how I can actually keep writing about new music without going clinically insane (best idea so far: stop writing so much, Joe, you idiot), today had the rarest of occurrences: a day when I clicked on the first email from a band I saw, and thought they were good.

Good enough to wake me from my blog-stupor, in fact. Whoah.

Tapers fulfil all sorts of criteria for me: the marvellously lethargic Green sounds like it was chopped together in the same way people like me cook – grab your favourite ingredients, bruise them with heat a bit and throw them together.

 

I got a bit over-excited when the billowing reverb almost drowned the entire song out in the last 30 seconds.

It could be because it sounds amazing, although it could equally be because I was just so excited to find the time to write about new bands again. (It’s probably the former, by the way.)

Either way, Tapers are a slightly rare find: a band whose music sounds out of step with the majority I hear. Moreover, I subconsciously allowed their Soundcloud stream to keep clicking onto the next track, and I can’t even remember the last time that happened. Nice work, Tapers.

MORE: https://soundcloud.com/tapers

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 13th April 2011

The tabloid press has been getting hot under the collar this week about Britney and Rhianna collaborating on a song about S&M called, er, S&M.

Two pop stars yapping about whips and chains seems fairly innocuous, but all the same, ANBAD send Lt. Drebin to investigate further to see how much damage this song was doing to ‘our kids’. He returned with some nice stay-pressed shirts and a three-pack of comfortable underpants.

The Midweek Mixtape should clear flustered minds:

FIRST! Parties used to be known as **EDIT A Band Whose Name Has Been Removed By Request** So what happens when you shed two thirds of your name? Well apparently, you emerge as a leaner, sharper, more focussed, poppier unit, and start to play songs as infectious and breathless as Say Something. Ace.

SECOND! I’m not sure who Spring Offensive are trying to offend, or how,  as songs such as A Stutter And A Start are unlikely to rile anyone except those mortally aggrieved by craftily assembled pop songs, polyrhythms and chipper tales of young love. Nice.

THIRD! Crown Aruba’s Like She Said is exactly the kind of reedy Indie pop that wins over the hearts and minds of the fey and wan, time after time. For good reason too – songs like this connect on the exact opposite level to that which a U2 song does, for example. And that’s a good thing.

FOURTH! Fortunately for Stuart Anthony, his Long Lost Band was found just in time to record Play The Part under their usual guise of Stuart Anthony and His Long Lost Band. Phew. The song is a beaut, all sweet swoops of sound and soft jangle. Perhaps he should keep a closer eye on his bandmates.

LAST! Water Signs’ These Weapons sounds a bit like the band lost half their instruments and decided to replace them with children’s toy instruments which were then tweaked in the studio to sound like the grown-up versions. Everything just sounds a bit… removed. Good stuff.