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.


 

ANBAD’S BEST NEW BANDS OF 2012: NUMBER 1 – SEWARD

ANBAD is running through the best new bands of the year. For explanation of why and howclick hereFor the Top Ten, try here (10-6) and here (5-3) and for the great bands that just missed out, here (15-11).

And so, for the second time in three years, ANBAD’s New Band of the Year is from the Iberian peninsula: after Youthless won me over with their pristine clatter-pop in 2010, here, from the stridently different city of Barcelona comes Seward, defiantly obtuse, thrillingly inventive and stubbornly odd.

And here’s an equally odd disclaimer: You may not love Seward from the very start. I worry that I’m building up expectations of a complex band that need approaching carefully. But bear with me.

They’re fascinatingly unlikely winners, for all sorts of reasons, but chiefly for a reason I outlined in my original post: they make the type of music I never enjoy – and yet, here they are, labelled as the best new band of 2012.

So what is about them that allowed them to ride slipshod over my preconceptions? And why are they the best of the year?


Well, this is what ANBAD said about Seward when I first saw them, and it hopefully explains their charm:

“Instead of describing what a remarkable band Seward actually are, or how they achieve remarkableness, maybe it’s best to describe the moment that their drummer – a man rapt at the array of gentle, subtle noises a drumkit can make – wound up a toy tin robot and let it dance on his snare drum as he continued playing with a string of rusted cowbells.”

As you can gather, there is something about Seward that can only be fully understood by seeing them live.

And this is heavily and deliberately encouraged: their web presence is vanishingly small, so you will be lucky to find a video of them (though there is a rare one in my original post).

So, you’ll need to hunt the band down, and see and feel them for yourself. And that’s kind of the point of Seward – they are reality in the face of virtual reality. But more of that in a while.

If you can’t see them live, why not listen to this *World Exclusive* first stream of their brilliant, gently sprawling new song Sesame:

—-Sesame will BRB—

(Sesame was recorded in one and only live studio take in Barcelona and mixed and mastered by Matt Pence at The Echo Lab in Denton, Texas, BTW)

I understand Seward will be divisive. You may think, at first listen, that their music is too outré for you. But you’ll immediately recognise that Seward are rare.

There is life in Seward’s music, a humanity that most bands find near-impossible to weave into their music. Sesame, for example, is gorgeous – truly gorgeous – when it allows itself to momentarily blossom; if, of course, you have wholeheartedly bought into the song.

Seward are boldly serious in an age of wimpy irony: they mean it, and are not afraid of holding this honesty up for their audience. They tease their audiences’ understanding of their intent, slathering terrifically complex, often fun, often simply abstract, songs over the top of their honesty.

Another snippet from my first post on them:

There are many bands who approach music like Seward doThey are all, without exception, shit. They are all indulgent, self-centred, and unkind to their audience.

Seward are the exact opposite: their timing is perfect, their noises are specific and considered, and their purpose may not be defined, but it is rational. The band is lost in the beauty of noise-making, and the path it beats into human consciousness.”

I can’t add much to that, other than acknowledge this one, quite lovely truth: whenever people have asked me this year who is the best new band at the moment, I tell them that it’s Seward.

They’re the band who, in 2012, have left the biggest impression and have impressed me most with the breadth of their ambition and vision. You may not love Seward from the very start, but many of life’s greatest pleasure take work, and patience, and a clear mind. Dig deep in Seward. Find time to spread your fingers into every crevice.

VIDEO // Seward – Grandma Sleeping With Book
—–video will BRB—

>Swing Youth, and Ian Curtis = Dr. Strangelove

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Some new bands would just love to be as glum and dark as Joy Division. Witness the current crop of frontmen who have suddenly developed hollow eyed stares and Ian Curtis arm twitches – the Indie equivalent of Dr. Strangelove’s alien hand.

The truth is that most bands just can’t manage it, because if there’s one thing you can’t fake, it’s existentialist miserablism. Most bands just want to have fun on stage, but few are bold enough to actually do it. Today’s New Band are, and for this we should all be thankful.

For instance: Swing Youth have a song called Hey Keith, the subject of which is probably not to do with a long, gloomy gaze into the the soul. It’s more likely to be a song about saying ‘Hey’ to a man called Keith, which is about as much depth as a lively, fun indie pop song deserves.

World in Flames, despite having a title that sounds like a Johnny Hates Jazz album, is about as close to pure pop as is allowed without turning into ABBA. Lyrics about a girl? Check. Exuberant vocals? Check. Bright guitar jangle? Yup. Under the requisite three minutes pop time limit? Well, no, but no-one’s perfect.

Simple things done simply. Swing Youth are a lovable bunch, with a selection of songs that demand dancing. They’re happy and alive, and happy to be alive. Nice hair, too. Ian Curtis would have loved them.

>ANBAD on Euro-Tour: My Bloody Vigo-Time

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We drove to Vigo in search of two very specific things: Pulpo de Gallega, the classic local dish of boiled octopus ‘n’ potato, and our friend Sara, a Vigo native, who we knew from Manchester. What we got was light drizzle, just like in Manchester. Tiresome Mancunian Stone Roses singer Ian Brown said that his town had everything except a beach – well, someone tell Ian that Vigo has both the rain and the sand, so he can stop looking now.

Vigo also has nightlife to frazzle synapses to a petrified crisp. I left my tent by the beach at 8pm on Friday night with the intention of meeting Sara, and fell face-first back onto the inflatable mattress at 12 noon the following day.
We went to club after club, had drink after drink, and met some of the most unusual people, including a Russian pimp, eagerly persuading me to hire a woman that may well have been his mother.
I was always a bit nervous of the prospect of a Spanish-style all-nighter, but it turned out to be a lot easier than expected, due to the sheer amount of chatting, laughing, and moving-on-to-the­-next-bar-ing that is required. Time flies, and all of a sudden you walk out of the final club, gasping, into dazzling sunlight.
And the music? Well from what I can remember, in the club that was a local landmark – an artistic/musical enclave after Franco finally goosestepped his last – there was fairly generic and slightly quiet house music, and a moderately enthusiastic dancefloor. In a bar owned by a slinkily sexy singer from a local Riot Grrrl-type band, there was a bright and varied selection of low-profile indie, as spun by the patron herself, and drunk, sharp-dressed locals lurching about.
In the last bar – well, I’m not totally sure. I remember Common People by Pulp, and swinging a plastic flower along to This Charming Man, but I think I spent a lot of the time talking to a Portuguese doctor, avoiding revellers who were repeatedly stumbling out of the toilet, rubbing their nostrils, and trying to find out what day it was.
In short: Vigo likes good music, good times and is good value if you want to destroy your perception of time. Highly recommended.

>Laurel Collective, and The Coldplay Pleasure Principal Denial

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Coldplay must have a whole raft of fans who own their records and yet won’t admit it. It’s a shame that so many people can’t live with the reality of preferring slick MOR rock to the Skins/OC prescribed-cool bands; groups whose names are dropped like discarded chewing-gum now, but will be forgotten when drumming the steering wheel along to X+Y on the school run in ten years’ time.

Music is a great truth-bringer in that sense – it’s so intertwined with pleasure that, when really needed, you will always reach for the record that really makes you happy, which is not necessarily the one that will bolster your cool quota. And if that record is by U2, then so be it. But, yes, we’ll all still be sniggering at you.

And so, the rarity of hearing a band that actually try to veer away from the safer Keane-esque route to success is all the more heartening. I’m sure that Laurel Collective have it in them to make a record that would snag that discerning Radio 2 audience, but they deliberately have not. For this they deserve all the plaudits they will surely get.

Take Carrie. The template is the standard rock set-up, but here is proof that it can still be applied in creepy and unusually new ways – still capable of the necessary emotional pull, though without sacrificing creativity and the thrill that fresh sounds bring.

Laurel Collective – Cheap

Or take Cheap: shoving twitchy drums and a wired bassline to the fore is often a recipe for disaster, but here rewards are reaped and heads are turned – or yanked even, such is the ferocity and excitement of Laurel Collective‘s aural onslaught.

New, sharp, aware: Laurel Collective are a joy. And if they do become a middle age/class favourite, it won’t be for want of trying.

Photography by Gareth Jackson

Pet Scenes, Pet Sounds PLUS: BBC Introducing Masterclass – LIVE

Sometimes it’s worth reminding ourselves of the service the BBC provides for those of us who love new music. BBC’s John Peel was my – and millions of others’ – musical year zero, and is still my overwhelming new-music inspiration, years after his death.

In the UK, at least, every new band yearns to be played on BBC radio, whether local or national. I ought to be annoyed, really – in terms of wider influence, the UK music blogging culture is way behind the USA’s simply because the BBC already provides so much coverage of brand new sounds.

It won’t be long before Pet Scenes are popping up on the BBC, maybe on Tom Robinson’s excellent show. Pet Scenes used to be the awkwardly good Panic Attract, but ‘got bored’ of themselves and have mutated into an equally disorientating, but perhaps more palatable band.

Pet Scenes // Schemer

Schemer clatters and grinds in a way reminiscent of early 90’s proto-grunge – stripped back, grimy, sweaty and noisy. Their noise is urgent, brash and curious. As long as they don’t get bored, airwaves somewhere will ring and buzz with their sounds.

More: myspace.com/petscenes

They’d do well to watch an hour or so of the below live feed from Abbey Road studios in London, where Today Only, the BBC Introducing team are providing a day of discussions, talks and info-sharing about making your own music. Why not join them?

On Headphones, On Sound, On Songs

(Image Source: Sony Website)

(Image Source: Sony Website)

This is a Sponsored Post

Yesterday I was on a plane home from Berlin. I generally loathe plane flights, as much due to the rank boredom induced as much as the fleeting moments of terror when you realise that 30,000 feet really is a long gap between your bottom and the floor.

Anyway, after the initial tedium/panic dichotomy began to subside, I slipped on my headphones and scrolled through my iPod.

After I got over the ego-pricking realisation that I have become one of those people who mainly owns music from the decade of their teenage years, it dawned on me that listening to music through headphones is pretty much my main manner of consuming music these days.

It didn’t used to be so: I was, for a long time, the kind of turn-up-the-amp-to-11 neighbour from hell, but I suppose age mellows us all, and now my conscience, as well as convenience, points the music directly into my ears.

One of my bugbears is audio snobbery: that music should only be played on the most expensive hi-fi, through the most heavy-duty speakers, and not through headphones or via small laptop speakers.

This is pure nonsense: generations of teenagers thrilled to the sounds of the Beatles, Motown, the Pistols, The Smiths, et cetera ad infinitum played via AM radio, which has the same sound quality as a baked bean tin and a piece of string – and yet the quality of the songs shone through regardless.

That said, if you’re going to wear headphones, wear good ones. And these new MDR-1 Sony headphones are pretty much the business: some serious thought has been put into how to make sound that appears a centimetre from your ears sound like it’s filling the room.

So the designers asked a few people who know about making a noise, including Magnetic Man, and so these are headphones that not only sound good if you’re listening to both tinny pop music and bowel-worrying bass music; but also (incredibly excitingly) come in a wireless version that works over Bluetooth, finally proving that we’re in the future, and that flying cars are only a step away.

On top of this, there’s all kinds of clever algorithmic jiggery-pokery that means that the headphones actively cancel out 99.7% of background noise energy. It’ll possibly be some audio snob complaining that you’re not listening via speakers, so you would have a perfect opportunity to both prove him wrong, and blank him out.

Even if you don’t want the Dj range you can invest in a pair of the Prestige In-Ear range in order to escape from the rest of the world and the noises around you whilst on the go. Or if you like to break a sweat at the gym without having to listen to social natterings in the background, their close-fitting sports range allows you to maintain motivation by blocking out your surroundings with a comfortable fitting.

RQTN, JMJ, M83, AMA (And More Acronyms)

I once had an argument with a man in a pub about Jean Michel Jarre. Feel free to judge harshly on discovery of such fatuousness.

It all started, as most arguments in pubs do, with a flippant comment on an unimportant topic. The magnifying effects of booze did the rest.

I said that Jean Michel Jarre was the height of electronic music hopelessness – a vacuous whirlwind of 80’s Saturday-teatime TV show soundtracks  hidden behind a preposterous bank of keyboards, stageshows and lasers. To these ears, this still rings fairly true.

The Bar Stranger disagreed furiously, and cited his influence on Orbital, and others, though he may as well have been standing up for Vangelis.

The truth is that ‘JMJ’, as I imagine his bearded fans would call him, produces sub- Kraftwerk nonsense, albeit with a better fireworks show at the end of his gigs.

RQTN, both French and a producer of electronic music, may disagree.

RQTN also makes concept albums – his latest, Decades and Decisions, has a song for various decades from the last 100 years or so. The 80s warrant two, apparently. 1955 – A Shelter For Lovers is the sort of electronic dream music that you’d happily forgotten about, but on sober reflection, wish you hadn’t – it’s lush, trembling and, I daresay, drenched in emotion.

RQTN // 1955 – A Shelter For Lovers

RQTN‘s music would have been decreed fabulously un-cool just a few years ago, but thanks to a slew of excellent synth-pop from the likes of M83, he’s suddenly a musical entrepreneur, mining a seam of forgotten sonic textures and metronomically correct MIDI beats.

Such is the fickle nature of cool. Stop worrying, arguing and procrastinating, and simply listen. Warning: there may or may not be laser lightshow accompaniment.

www.rqtn.net

>Today’s New Band – The Last Army

>What is it to be called ‘Indie’ today? Everyone’s Indie now, bastardising this once hard-earned tag and using it as a selling point as if it was another adjective in an estate agent’s brochure. The Kooks are now probably associated most closely with ‘Indie Rock’ in many people’s minds, and that tells a whole sob-worthy story in itself.

So describing a band as having a 90’s-Indie-feel could seem like a criticism, but in the case of today’s new band, The Last Army, it’s a re-affirmation of how indie music once was. As an output of music, The Last Army has a strange mix – songs are sung by the male or female members of the group, and these respective songs sound quite different. On their MySpace page, listen to Submit to the Chemical and Little Soldiers Hold On to see what I mean. Then, like in science class at school, compare and contrast, and draw your own conclusions. My minor teenage infatuation with Elastica probably drew me blindly towards the female-led ones.

Their love of Indie shines through – and to top everything, Submit… is upbeat, jangly and even has the classic Indie spoken-word section. Perhaps then, The Last Army are a kind of Pick ‘n’ Mix Indie band – choose the songs which suit your Indie needs the most, and enjoy – the blending of 90’s sounds with Noughties consumerist choice.

FACT FANS: The word ‘Indie’ was used 10 times in this post. Oh, that’s 11 now, actually. 12 if you count the tags.

The Neat: Something, Something, Tiger Feet

Straight-up visceral rock thrills abound on ANBAD at the moment.

Surely it was only a week ago when almost every band on here was a bedroom knob-twiddler whelping wispy, cloudbursting electronica?

Oh wait – it was only a week ago. To paraphrase both Margaret Thatcher and Ian Faith, a week is a long time in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock.

So, The Neat’s presence is a sign of ANBAD’s continuing dalliance with the less blousey side of modern music.

And, yes, here’s the inevitable caveat: don’t worry – The Neat make blisteringly spasmodic, angular buzz-rock.

 

New Kids is shot through with muttering voices, guitar lines that follow the vocals, and drums that begin with elephantine momentum and then just cling on for the ride.

The attention to detail – a splash of surprising noise here, a lyrical quirk there – lifts the song from its four-square rock template. This is the sign of a good band.

If all bands of The Neat‘s ilk put in half the care, the tricks, the practice – the ideas – into their songs, we’d be living in a dreamy wonderland, my friends.

MORE: theneat.blogspot.com

Godzilla Black, and Oh No, More Puns

Arrrghh! Couldn’t… resist… today’s… band… because… of… vague… punning…

It’s a sorry state of affairs. I’ll apologise right now. But why even try to put up any defence any more? I’m loud and proud about it now: I just love rubbish puns, and Godzilla Black have a song called Fear of a Flat Planet.

A frankly crummy half-pun, yes, but also one that conjures images of a world made entirely of still-boxed IKEA furniture, with cardboard cut-outs of Chuck D and Terminator X (Flava Flav is already a cardboard cut-out) shouting angrily at all and sundry.

You can tell that Godzilla Black are grimy and sex-fuelled from the lewdly rumbling basslines alone. Lock up your daughters:

Godzilla Black // Fear Of A Flat Planet

Their lyrics aren’t so much sung as much as they ooze out of their lasciviously gopping mouths. By the time sentiments like,  ‘I’m the kind of girl that makes you wanna get a sex change,’ have reached your ears, you’ll find that your skin crawled into a dark corner a long time ago.

Their music is the kind of offensively crotch-thrusting grind that makes you want to weep, black, bitter tears. Godzilla Black: delicious dirt, condemned to tape.

www.myspace.com/godzillablack