ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // Number 1: Lissi Dancefloor Disaster

Well. This is awkward. Didn’t Lissi Dancefloor Disaster feature on ANBAD last year? What are they doing astride the top of the Best Of 2011 List? Have I lost my mind?

Well, in answer to the first question: yes, they were on ANBAD in 2010 – I saw them play a short, brilliant gig to an empty room underneath Oldham Street in Manchester and simply had to tell someone about it.

In answer to he second and most important question: they are #1 because, simply, LDD’Pop Musiiic wheedled its way into my brain from the instant I heard it in October, and I’ve been humming its insane keyboard break ever since.

And if you need a better reason than that, then it’s time to take life less seriously.

 

LDD totally disappeared after I saw them. Then they reappeared, a year later, with this song. Bands are here-today-gone-today nowadays, so their return counts for something.

How many bands are really, honestly determined to cast off the shackles of currently accepted cool, plough their own furrow, and create a flat-out pop song?

By which I don’t mean making a pop song with a nod-and-a-wink, but pop music that actively longs, positively urges us to revel in its hooks, a sing-song melody and manic keyboard noodles.

I’d happily, and dutifully, count all the ways this song fulfils all the Perfect Pop criteria: it’s two and a half minutes long, it milks a brilliant chorus dry, it celebrates pop itself, etc., but really who can be bothered in the face of such a kaleidoscopic onslaught of Scandinavian Pop Excellence?

How about this for hyperbole: in a time when the biggest selling pop stars are making million-selling, thunderously direct dance-pop songs just like this, would Rhianna sing Pop Musiiic?

I think: probably.

Maybe Lissi Dancefloor Disaster‘s presence on this list sort of breaks the rules. Well, fine. Consistency has never been a part of the plan, and I’m not going to let a song like this pass me by. But hey, these lists are also meaningless, right?

So celebrate the now: indulge your base passions in a fascinatingly creative band with all 20 fingers pressed clammily to Pop’s pulse; a band who are usual and unusual enough to raise even the hippest of eyebrows. Excellent.

ANBAD’s original post // Fascinating interview on Swedish pop with Johan from LDD // LDD’s blog

(And in answer to the latter question in the first paragraph: you really ought to know this by now.)

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // Number 2: Trwbador

Nearly there now… don’t forget to check out the runners up (Parts One and Two), as well as the bands who are ranked from 10 to 6, and 5 to 3.

How did Trwbador sneak into the number two slot? They’re just so unassuming. Look at them. They wouldn’t even bruise a fly, let alone hurt one.

Well, bluntly, it’s because Sun In Winter has been buzzing around my brain like one of The Numskulls ever since I first marvelled at the breathtakingly clear-cut splicing of folk ‘n’ beatz that makes up this marvel of a song.

Now, I understand that mixing folk with snappy, cut-up samples and clicking drums sounds heinous. So it’s the fact that the resulting song is truly wonderful that has propelled Trwbador to such dizzy heights.

 

I’m hoping for – nay, expecting – much more brilliant songsmithery from them in 2012. And I rarely even begin to think things like that.

ANBAD said: Trwbador are not the first band to try to balance this dichotomy. They are one of few who have actually managed it – and how, creating a sound that is otherworldly, yet real; mechanical, yet tender.

This song is a remix of a remix of a song that never existed in the first place. We can imagine this song – it’s so close we can almost touch it – and yet it simply doesn’t exist. Beautiful, bright, brilliant.”

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // Top Ten: 5-3

As we trundle imperceptibly closer to the frothing climax of ANBAD’s 2011 Top Ten, the bands are getting weirder, more coiling, and more devious in nature.

Just like capitalism, the closer you get to that top 5%, the more sly and crafty it’s inhibitors are.

ANBAD: you’ll come for the bands, but stay for the politics.

Don’t forget to check out the runners up (Parts One and, indeed, Two), as well as the bands who are ranked from 10-6.

#5 – Tech Coast/Tours: So many bands present themselves anonymously these days, that soon all bands will be faceless, and they’ll have to start changing their name every few weeks to keep us on our toes.

Tech Coast have already begun the trend, changing their name to the slightly more generic Tours. Oh well – it doesn’t matter. Tours make wonderful music.

 

ANBAD said:Eyes to the sky, wrists to the heavens: If a song was ever cloudy, then this is it. Vast, open and – once you crack past the rigidity of the form – softer and more unctuous than egg custard.

This, I suppose, makes Tech Coast‘s music the crème brûlée of dance. And I love crème brûlées. Excellent, excellent, excellent.”

#4 –  Baaneex: ANBAD has a fresh-dog-turd-soft spot for bands that are deliberately obtuse. Make of that what you will, but while Baaneex are indeed just that, they are also brilliantly – wait for it – groovy, and unafraid to smash songs to bits part-way through.

For all these nods to eccentricity, awkwardness and perversity, they’re a band who deserve to be heard, even before their great songs are taken into consideration.

 

 

ANBAD said: “This song is so terrifically obtuse and accessible all at once it will fool you into thinking it has no antecedents… you could just as easily get lost in the fabulous density of a song that has so many constituent parts that it should never, ever work – and yet emerges triumphant as the most complicatedly wonderful song to appear on ANBAD for ages.”

#3 – Tigercats are simply adorable. In the flesh, as, barefoot and shy, they clang at their instruments and sway along to their own melodies; or on record where you’ll want to do the same – they will snag your eyes and ears.

Here’s a band who are the equivalent of the beautiful teenage girl who doesn’t realise her own powerful attractiveness yet. Similarly, you’ll want to put a protective arm around them. For now, at least.

 

ANBAD said: “…the genuinely excellent 1985 is steely and brittle beneath its raggedy velveteen exterior.

Their songs betray no ulterior motives of forced cool, and are interested only in establishing their public image as an enthusiastic young band in love with making songs. Excellent, alive, and bright.”

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // Top Ten: 10 – 6

If you missed them, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of the list of bands who didn’t quite make the Top Ten…

Sifting through the hundreds of bands who were splurged all over ANBAD is a task which is part edifying pleasure and part brutal exposure of this writer’s foibles at any one period throughout the year.

Not many bands have ‘aged’ badly in the months since they were first exposed in breathless terms (though some are there, if you’re inclined to find them). If anything, revisiting them has been affirmative: their songs still prickle the same nerve-endings as they did when first heard.

Thus, the following bands are the crème de la crème – the bands that didn’t just age well, but also surprised and charmed even more the second (or third, fourth, fifth) time around.

 #10 – The Parish Of Little Clifton: Exceptionally precise musicians often turn into tedious Phil Collinses, but TPOLC applies his precision in much less horrifying and much more gorgeously skylarking ways:


 ANBAD said: “entirely clear, precise music that ought to cut through mental fug like an industrial laser-beam.”

#9 – Petter Seander: Guess what overriding quality this Swedish songwriter has? BING! Correct – an alarmingly sharp grasp of pop melody, and songs that couldn’t be any more upbeat in execution if they tried. Oh, and they come with free tea. Tea!


ANBAD said: “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.”

#8 – Petit Fantôme: While we’re making ludicrously unfair generalisations based on nationality, do you reckon that the French band Petit Fantôme has great, swooshing, 70’s synth-choruses or what? You’re right, of course. Excellent, unusual and brightly soft.

ANBAD said“icy but warm; inert but humane; calm but darting; born of technology but realised in the bosom of life’s irrevocable chaos.”

#7 – Tripwires: a band that might not be truly classed as new, with a song that might not truly be considered to belong to 2011. But ignore Tripwires’ Cinnamon at your peril, because it’s too beautifully dozy to be engulfed by such petty squabbles. Delicious.

ANBAD said:a miasmic swirl of hyper-echoed guitars, buried, frantic drumbeats and vocals that dissolve into the ether. Cinnamon might be a blunt instrument, or it might be a deft, monstrously delicate and gossamer-thin thing of beauty – you choose.”

#6 – The Lovely Eggs: here’s a band that generate goodwill. This is very hard to achieve. But The Lovely Eggs have it in spades, because their songs are not only funny, and smart, and knowing, and honest – but brilliant too.

ANBAD said: “Bands progress, and bands change: in the Lovely Eggs’ case, their progression within the space of one song is almost mind-boggling.

Because Allergies isn’t only a song, it’s a heavy-as-lead, psychedelic-lo-fi mini-masterpiece; the ‘Kashmir’ of winsome bedroom indie; the sound of a band shoving everything on red and then hitting ‘Record’.”

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // The Runners-Up (Part 2)

Here’s Part Two of ANBAD’s Best Bands of 2011 Runner’s-Up List. Cast a beady eye over Part One here.

Next week, a rarity: decisiveness in action, and I’ll be picking the Top Ten new bands featured on ANBAD this year.

All the bands that will be featured over the next week or so have quite definitely not been carefully judged, weighed and balanced against one another: you’ll find no pretence here that this will be anything other than the mysterious blue fluff nestling in the belly button that is ANBAD.

But first, here’s a bunch of bands that didn’t quite fit into the Top Ten. And they’re still all Too Legit To Quit 2011 without one more spin:

  • ROUGH FIELDS’ Abu Dhabi is “dense. It’s also madly warm and almost too rich. Almost, but not quite. The most beautiful white noise you’ll hear all month. Fabulous.”

Rough Fields // Abu Dhabi

 

  • REID“produces silky-smooth, thunderously soft house music. House music is at its most devastatingly effective when kept almost absurdly simple, and, in his echo-drenched thumper Forrest, Reid has discovered this secret sweet spot.”

 

  • YOOFS were briefly called AC Slater. One threat of a lawsuit later, and the newly-re-named Yoofs were making music that prompted this pseudo-deep comment: “Shooting for the stars is hard when you’re trying to make it seem like you’re scratching around in the dust – but this is what Yoofs are doing, and it’s working well so far.”

 

  • BLOUSE are relatively big, at least for ANBAD’s scrawny parameters. But, they’er very good. And, “buried deep within Videotapes’ warped synths, clobbering drums and breathy vocals lies a pristine and simple 4-square pop song; hooks, choruses and progressions all in the right place, at the right time.”

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2011 // The Runners-Up (Part 1)

So. Why pick the ANBAD End O’ Year List, which starts in earnest next week, over any other music blogs’?

Well, there is no real reason, though if you’ve had the determination to read past the first paragraph, maybe you have a modicum of interest in slip-sliding into the grubby, ragged, and frequently ludicrous world of new bands from a slightly different, dubious angle.

Still, while you’re deciding whether it’s worth the plunge or not (HINT: it actually is – there were some genuinely terrific bands on ANBAD this year), here’s Part One of the patronising pat-on-the-head for the bands that were really great, but not quite really great enough to make the Top Ten

  •  PIXELSIn a moderately rare instance of ANBAD picking up a band that goes onto moderately bigger things, Pixels, “drag ideas from jangle-pop,with a vaguely hip-hop rhythm and an entirely disconnected outlook.”

 

  • ARC VELs songs “seem to be composed of snippets of other lovely songs –  dreamy, anti-brash, anti-form soundscapes is that… may only exist in the world of Arc Vel, and we’ll never hear them.”

 

  • GALA DROPs song Rauze is so devastatingly successful – looping noises back and forth, gaining momentum, pausing, unfurling – I wonder why music like this isn’t made more often.”

Gala Drop // RAUZE

 

  • Where are PRAIRIES  from?I can think of some antecedents – for some reason T.V.O.D. springs to mind, apropos of almost nothing – but in all honesty, Prairies may as well be beamed from the future.

 

…Part 2 of ANBAD’s best runners-up arrives tomorrow!