A New Band A Day 2008-2018

Welcome to ANBAD, which celebrated ten years online in April 2018, and is now “resting.” (I’m still jabbering on about music on my radio show and discussing new bands like, oh, I dunno, The Chats, on Twitter.)

However, ANBAD also has over 1200 posts featuring about 1500 artists. Most are buried deeeeep 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 music plugins, hyperlinks, images, formatting – and, frankly, the writing itself – is 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.  So scroll down and read on – and maybe you’ll find some long-forgotten band from 2009 that you’ll love.


 

The Eversons Doth Protest Too Little

Back in the 90’s, Edwyn Collins sang about, “Too many protest singers, not enough protest songs,” although today he might note that there aren’t many of the former either.

The Eversons probably don’t consider themselves particularly political, but perhaps those who truly bring about change never really do.

It’s true that writing a song from the point of view of a straight-laced everyman might not exactly be up there with hunger strikes and self-immolation, but hey – you can only eat an elephant by taking small bites.

So maybe He’s A Conservative is only the start of their crusade. Or maybe it’s just a hyper-enjoyable rock ‘n’ roll song with smart lyrics, clever construction and lovely harmonies of the type you almost never hear any more.

 

Make no mistake: this song is simple, but the most effective and enjoyable things in life often are.

The Eversons are from New Zealand. The Chills are also from New Zealand. I’m prepared to allow my love for one bleed into the other. Great stuff.

MORE: facebook.com/pages/The-Eversons

Petter Seander: Tea and Symphony

I usually need no extra incentive to listen to another chunk of Swedish lo-fi guitar pop.

Listening to a new Scandinavian band is like taking part in a lucky dip where the prizes are hidden amongst other prizes. It’s surprisingly hard to go wrong.

Swedish jangle-pop is about as close to a sure bet as you get in the world of new bands. They’re almost universally exciting, quirky or dreamy. Sometimes they’re all three.

Kudos is reserved for Petter Seander, who successfully gilded the lily by not only providing the requisite slice of blissfully skewed scuzzy pop, but by giving away free tea with every purchase of Fortune Cookies. Free tea!

Fortune Cookies arrives neatly bundled with not only some elderflower tea, but also a recipe for hazelnut cookies. I’m sure these gifts are carefully chosen to accompany a song that – genuinely – brings a smile to the face of its listeners.

Even when Petter croons, ‘nothing lasts forever,‘ the sentiment is met with a shrug and a dizzy shake of the head. Lovely, soaring, tinkling, jittering, perfect pop. Excellent.

MOREpetterseander.fikarecordings.com

PS – The good people at the Hype Machine lost their minds and asked me to appear on their radio show. It’s a great listen, until I start jabbering, natch. Listen: hypem.com/radio

Zebra and Snake and Tim Davie’s Frantic Back-Pedalling

Hey, remember the fuss about the proposed closure of BBC 6Music? No, neither do I.

But plenty were enraged at the time. A fuss was splurged all over Twitter; tiny, ironically hi-topped, feet were stamped; and online petitions – the world’s least-regarded form of complaint – were clicked.

I am pleased at this volte-face, not least because it makes BBC grand fromage Tim Davie look just like the hopeless cretin that one 6Music DJ memorably described him as to me.

Moreover, it presents me with a readily-seized opportunity for smugness, as my wildly hopeful 6 Music Conspiracy Theory turns out to have skirted around the edges of truth after all.

Dipping into Scandinavia’s vast new band resource is always reward in itself, and yet with the good 6 Music news, it becomes yet another reason for celebration. Here is Zebra and Snake, a typically bonkers Finnish band who make music that will rattle your ears with its invention, audacity and downright strangeness.

Zebra and Snake // Big Bad Drummer

There is always pleasure in re-appraising beauty, and by listening to the synth-heavy cracked pop of Zebra and Snake, we can hear the strains of all the confused brilliance contained within all the other Finnish, Swedish et al bands that have graced ANBAD’s pages.

There’s no other part of the world that I can think of which is making such deeply pleasing music, with such an absence of self-importance, and having such a good time doing it.

These are qualities that we all ought to celebrate, happily and loudly, and with the salvation of BBC 6Music, one that we can do that little bit longer. Viva 6Music!

www.myspace.com/zebraandsnake

OCTAPUSH: Assume Nothing

octaOctapush are one of those bands that I just assumed I had already written about.

The fact that I haven’t suggests a number of things: that they are simply and effortlessly excellent (they are); and that I really ought to get on top of things (I really should).

So, anyway – Octapush have made a terrific song in Françoise Hardy. As in; it demands an instant replay once it’s over.

 

What struck me about this song, and a bunch of other stuff by these Lisboan brothers, is the complex-simplicity of their music. Most dance/bass/whatever-step music ground out by two-bit electronic musicians is much of a muchness, with near-identical shape, form and timbre. Theirs is not.

The days when making multi-layered and complex dance music could be seen as a highly skilled and envied trait are over: these facets are the norm now. So the fact that Octapush make music that is multi-layered but seemingly non-complex, and carefully-tweaked but non-generic is a minor triumph.

Françoise Hardy drips with simple, delicious sounds. They have taken what works and stripped everything else away. Clever.

It also features a gorgeously right vocal from Official Friend Of ANBAD, Alex from Youthless, and he appears in the actually marvellous video, here.

MOREfacebook.com/OctaPush

 

Fou De Toi – Pristine

Although it rarely appears on ANBAD in its purest form, I’m an enormous pop fan, cutting my eight-year-old musical teeth on Pet Shop Boys LPs borrowed from my cousin and copied to TDK 90 cassette.

It’s fair to say that on ANBAD I regularly – wait, a better word would be snobbishly – hide this particular soft spot under a bushel, and eschew the straight-up delights of Call Me Maybe in preference to some oddball bedroom music instead.

I sleep uneasily, but with my perceived dignity intact.

Anyway. Fou De Toi made a brilliant pop song that I wasn’t going to ignore. The Korean neo-2-Step song I had planned to feature will just have to wait.

 

With an inevitability that you undoubtedly anticipated two paragraphs ago, Fou de Toi are from Sweden, heartland of the solid-gold pop song, the silvery chorus, and the smart things done with agonising simplicity.

Heartless is precisely three minutes long, gets the chorus out of the way early and regularly, and is exactly 130BPM. These guys are good. They know the pop secrets, and wring every ounce out of a cute, happy, joyful song with beautiful, surgical precision. It’s the kind of song that you think you already know, and yet have never heard before.

Put your cool aside, and jump in: the water’s lovely. You’ll be humming the chorus all day. Perfect pop.

MORE: foudetoi.se

Sharing Is Caring… New Band Tips For Autumn, From Bloggers, For YOU

The Crown Paints Get-Your-Band’s-Music-On-A-TVAd competition has been running for less than two weeks, and has already been flooded with entries.

Trawling though the entries has had a happy secondary effect, in that a whole raft of hitherto-unknown new bands have been discovered.

So, excited – and slightly overwhelmed – by this New Band Glut, ANBAD threw caution to the wind, and decided to ask some of the UK’s tip-top and most influential music blogs – namely the thrice-brilliant Von Pip Musical Express, Bowlegs and The Devil Has The Best Tuna – to suggest their tips for the latter half of 2010.

The question was simple: which new bands’ music have you loved recently? And guess what? They kindly suggested a shed-load of great new bands, and none of them were suggested twice by any two bloggers. To reiterate: there’s lots of great new bands out there…

Andy from the excellent, interview-laden Von Pip Musical Express suggested these bands, all of whom are from the delightfully tuneful end of the musical spectrum:

Allo Darlin’ – “Chiming with an infectious youthful exuberance.”

Run Toto Run – “Shimmering understated beauty.”

The Good Natured – “Brilliant, brooding electro pop.”

Paul from The Devil Has The Best Tuna has crowbarred a pun into the title of his blog, an act which instantly endeared him to me. I love puns. I also love these bands he suggested:

What Would Jesus Drive? “…have produced a contender for track of the year.”

Boycotts“Shimmering, jangly brit-pop of the kind that seems to have been unfairly judged as passe.”

Paperfangs – “It’s up to the music to speak for itself and boy does it speak for itself.”

And finally, Gavin from the perceptive, super and perceptively super Bowlegs, whelped this duo in our direction, before stepping back to admire the results:

Various Cruelties“Songs that dig that little bit deeper. Various Cruelties are, without doubt, a step ahead of most.”

Sweet Lights – “A warm embrace of sweet voices, jangled guitars and a safe-haven for welcoming melody.”

A huge thanks to all the bloggers who graciously contributed such excellent suggestions.

And remember – if you’re in a band, and fancy having your band’s song on a huuuuge TV advert, win a recording session and a whole host of other career/profile/ego-boosting stuff, enter the competition here.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 15th February 2012

As if to prove how we’re all idiots, the question is no longer “Hey, remember Myspace?”, but “Hey, remember how we were wrong about Myspace’s demise?”

The news that Myspace has added a million users in a month is a statistic to be taken with a pinch of salt (how many of those are people who have forgotten their old log-in details, I wonder?), but there’s no denying that Myspace is not the hell-hole it once was.

If, like me, you haven’t visited Myspace for a clear 12-month period, it’s worth logging in again, if only to see how things have changed, and to smirk at the memory of everyone’s favourite grumpy media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, selling Myspace for less than 10% of the $600M he paid for it.

Alex James, no stranger to blowing money on ludicrous purchases, pours schadenfreude-flavoured cheese.

MIXTAPE:

FIRST! Side projects abound in today’s fractured musical world, and, lo, Chiapa is the mind-bogglingly lo-fi offshoot from one half of ANBAD favourites Youthless. Singer Alex has abandoned his usual gonzo noizenik clatter for an ultra-slender, minimalist ethic. Sounds, words and melody all tumble into white, lowest-of-the-lo-fi noise, and meld into one heartfelt fuzz.

 

SECOND! Cave Birds are all doom and gloom until they drop an enormous, pummelling chorus into Some Lightening, and suddenly, all is well once more: an overblown, glam-grunge meisterwerk.

 

THIRD! Alvin and Lyle have, in The Good Feeling, made a song that is slotted in a deep groove that is either entirely sleazy, or entirely innocent, depending on your point of view.

 

FOURTH! Natasha Haws makes stripped-down yet endlessly epic songs that are as close and breathy as they are widescreen and distant. Big/small. Clever.

 

>Today’s New Band – Nic Dawson Kelly

>
When I left university, I held a succession of woeful jobs, all of which were designed to sap the remaining hope, desire and belief in humanity from the participants. I realised I had reached my personal nadir when I was getting up at six every morning to mow lawns at sewage works.

Today’s new artist, Nic Dawson Kelly, says that he too has ‘done more crap jobs than he cares to remember’. Reading that simple sentence sent empathetic shivers down my spine, and if I was in possession of a heart, as opposed to the black, shrivelled CAULDRON OF HATRED that nestles between my lungs, I’d have felt sympathy.

Sometimes an artist has such a distinctive voice that their songs need to be listened to twice: once to admire the vocals, and then the second time to actually hear the song behind it. Nic can join this short list of lucky singers. The shock of hearing the curious, archaic clarity of his voice is like that of a loud handclap in the face of a snoozing pensioner.

It’s quite easy to overlook the fact that The Musician is a good song in itself, so overshadowed as it is by Nic’s lusty crooning. It’s a dry and sharp snook cocked at the tribulations of a singer trying to make it; a song which will demand your attention and sympathy in equal measure. And yet there’s the voice, the voice…

After such a eulogy, you may find that Nic Dawson Kelly has a voice that you just can’t bear. It will probably divide opinion. But I’m sure you’ll be as mesmerised as I was. Listen here, and swoon.

FANS, The Minx and The Ever-Faster Vortex of Churn

minxfansAs much as it rarely does me (or anyone else) any good to engage the cogs and think, I have been thinking a bit recently about the part cool plays in the emergence of new bands.

It seems to these eyes at least that, as the ‘industry’ has imploded and the artists have become more influential on their own upward trajectory, that – weirdly – cool has become a more important factor than ever before.

Why weirdly? Because I assumed that, when technology set us all free from our record biz slavemasters, we would also be able to cast off the shackles of cool a bit, and that haircuts and scowling photos would count less than before.

Instead, we are witnessing an arms race of cool, with bands endlessly circling one another, eyeballing to makes sure they have the right moody photos, the right Topshop clothing, the correct typeface for their de rigueur bandname.

Bands always copy one another, sure, but now the churn rate is so fast I worry that the songs themselves don’t have time to breathe, grow, and mutate into, you know, good songs.

Here are two bands. They’re both very good young new bands.

I think they’ll both become successes in their own way. In terms of cool, one is really on-point with now, and one isn’t.

There is no wrong approach here, but this difference is worth acknowledging.

First, FANS – a talented bunch from (I think) the north of the UK. They’ve recorded a bunch of ambitious and expansive demos, and All This Time is a great example of their punchy, tuneful, keep-it-simple-stupid ethos.

All This Time has a bunch of surprisingly poppy hooks that will keep the song spinning in your mind. This knack for a chorus is their trump card, and they ought to progress nicely as a result.

So, FANS are prioritising songs over everything else, happily. They also, for want of a better phrase, ‘fit’ the image of a new band right now. Their B&W imagery, their slight anonymity, the kerning of the font used for their bandname, and the aural references are on-trend.

Please note that I’m not saying this is a bad thing in any way, or a cynical ploy, I’m just saying they are very now, and this is fine.

Compare them to The Minx, a band who also have good pop tunes, the right musical ethos and a very specific image.

It’s just that they’re not cool, not now. Which band feel easier to love?

I think Forest Bank is a spot-on pop song with a chorus that bounces like crazy. The band appealed to me because of their songs but also because they are so visually and sonically opposed to the vast majority of their peers.

I also know that some people see the band’s shirts and haircuts and shoes and the fact that they look like they are from a housing estate (they are) and that they smile in their photos, and that these people automatically engage their Cool Filter, and conclude that they’re terrible.

It’s hard to be objective about music – that is clearly not the point – but when I see these opinion being spouted I get a bit furious, because whether you like The Minx‘s songs or not, you can’t avoid the positives: they have a bunch of hooky pop songs, they connect with a real-world audience, they fill good venues with ease, etc.

I hope people are broad-minded enough to listen to FANS and The Minx and judge both accordingly on their individual merits. I hope they will embrace both as good new bands.

I know this won’t happen. I also hope the current slavish addiction to cool dissipates a bit, because if certain bands who don’t fulfil a narrow-minded, middle-class, quasi-bohemian criteria get overlooked through sheer snobbery, we will all lose.

MORE: soundcloud.com/f-a-n-s / soundcloud.com/the-minx

NB – Full disclosure: I also know The Minx via various bits of promo work in one of my real jobs. I think they’re a good band regardless, and I think the above point would stand either way; but feel free to factor this in.

Electric Sunset – Softer Than Ice Cream

I got drunk last night. I didn’t mean to, but when you go to a party sometimes you just become a victim of circumstance. The party was in a swanky 11th floor apartment, with a killer view over this moderately fair city of Manchester.

Drinking sangria and watching the sunset, I mused out loud that I’d spent a vastly disproportionate amount of my time watching the sun set, but that none of it was wasted. A chorus of voices agreed. We all sighed, pondered for a moment on life’s transience, and then got back to the business in hand: gulping sweet booze-juice and watching the sky turn red.

Clearly Electric Sunset know the drill. Songs like Soda are awash with the calm forcefulness that the simple act of watching the sun drop over the horizon instills.

Electric Sunset // Soda

Appropriately, Soda fizzes and sloshes – soft, syrupy and dizzying, whilst maintaining a subdued, sleepy warmth.

The best sunset I ever saw was in Aberystwyth. The room I was in was flooded with dense 0range light. The light had weight – like it could have been cut like a slab of butter. Everything was right with life.

www.myspace.com/electricsunsetforever