>Today’s New Band – Married To The Sea

>Here’s a life lesson or two – coming back to a stereotypically grey and drippy Manchester after spending 5 days dozing in assorted Madrileno plazas is a bit of a shock to a now cosily red-wine-‘n’-chorizo-addled system. But just as shocking was the ear-shredding, wholeheartedly MOR music to be heard everywhere, in a city that I thought too vibrant, alive and vibrant (again) for this kind of aural horror.

I daren’t go into too much detail, but if you want to spend a week bombarded with 15-year old Mike and The Mechanics songs that you were only to glad to have forgotten, you now know where to scratch that itch.

Similarly, if you want to dance until dawn to Iberian-Europop hits that you thought were to stereotypical to be actually enjoyed by Spaniards themselves, count yourself as wrong, buy a stiff drink (you’ll need it) and hit the floor.

So Today’s New Band, Married To The Sea, are in a somewhat privileged position – all they need to do is write a song that doesn’t sound like the Macarena, and I’d hug them for a week. Fortunately, they do more than that, making music that’s happy and lethargic.

If you manage to listen to Crash Hams without thinking of Pavement, then you, sir, are a liar and fraud. It’s important to note, though, that Married To The Sea don’t simply crib from Stockton, California‘s finest, but instead use their crabby, splintered approach to rock as a starting point, and freewheel off to more wholesome rock places.

Tmmrw I’ll Do The Right Thing is drenched with the warmth of a summer sunset, its associated relaxation, and the slow movement of thoughts through your sleepy brain. If you’ve ever delayed a decision manana, manana, then you’ll connect readily.

Married To The Sea have songs that can take your mind to a happy place. This is good. Banishing Genesis spin-off bands from my mind is even better. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – The Letmedowns PLUS! Indie Leanings!

>Who doesn’t like to see themselves as an idealist? I’d like to think that A New Band A Day features a wide, measured, variety of bands; a bit of Hip-Hop here, some Bassline there, the odd Atmospheric Sludge Metal group now and then. In fact, a quick pootle through the annals of ANBAD reveals that I’ve mainly featured indie guitar bands.

These bands are my hard-wired staring point. The first gig I went to see was Suede, the first single I bought as a pimply teen was Kung Fu by Ash, and the first album I illegally copied onto a TDK C90 was Elastica’s debut disc. It’s probably ingrained that ANBAD will often lean towards bands of that ilk, as I search for that same teenage rush of naive joy.

Here’s a promise then: more ‘diversity’ on ANBAD from now on. Well, after just one more guitar band, maybe. But as a sop to the notion of change, Today’s New Band is not jangly at all. In fact, they have a refreshing connection with early 90’s rock than The Smiths.

They’re The Letmedowns, are from Athens (in Georgia), and are a band with confidence, tunes and something approaching a fuck-you attitude which sometimes becomes an actually-you’re-not-all-that-bad attitude. And, let’s face it, thy have a great name for a suitably grouchy punky band. Down In Flames is a a weighty pile of crunchy power chords, rushing around, grumpy and aggressive.

Don’t Need This shows that they have a melodic loveliness that you might not expect, and listening to Hanging On makes you realise that they have a knack for finding their own route around a well-worn rock template. The Letmedowns like the connection with the simplicity of rock’s inherent thrills, whilst disliking convention.

So, the first step into the brave new ANBAD world was a lot like the previous ones, and there’ll be no 3D House Of Beef-style bands just yet. But in The Letmedowns is a band that want to dive of the Rock Diving Board and to see what happens on the way down. It’s an old and noble aim, and they do it with aplomb. Catch up with them, mid-plummet, here!

>Today’s New Band – Saboteur

>When it was announced, I thought The Verve headlining Glastonbury Festival was a bit of a weak move – The Verve have been split and silent for years now; Richard Ashcroft’s solo output has been the sub-MOR equivalent of dipping your head into a stagnant duck-pond; surely they’re doing one more comeback for tax reasons, etc.

Watching their headline set on TV, I realised that, fortunately, I was super-wrong. Instead of the expected clunky phoning-in of their 90’s hits, they were all the things they used to be, and more. Epic songs about love and loss from a band that has so much confidence in itself that they finished off not with their most famous song, but a brand new single, which – guess what – is ace. I was thrilled and a bit ashamed to have been so cynical.

It also struck me that what made them so great was simply that, while in the 90’s they were, on the surface, just another rock band wearing cagoules, that exact quality was now what set them so far apart from their current peers. To differentiate yourself from the skinny jeans ‘n’ ties hoard is to be automatically ahead of the pack. So, Today’s New Band are Saboteur. They don’t sound like The Verve, but they do sound different to the Haircut-Indie bands. Their starting point and ethos isn’t the usual Joy Division/Strokes/Boomtown Freaking Rats yadda-yadda. Oh and they’re German, further compounding that niggling feeling I’ve been getting that German music is really good at the moment.

Song Love Spreader, whilst sounding slightly obscene, is a chiming treat, devoid of posing, archness or cynicism. It pulses with the simple delight of being in a band and making music. A Cabbage White is the same. Saboteur remind me a little bit of forgotten 80’s band The Chills, who possibly because they were from New Zealand and thus were Not Cool, didn’t become as big as they deserved. So listen and enjoy Saboteur right now, while you can.

>Today’s New Band – Monster Island

>One of the really hard things to resist when reviewing bands is to draw comparisons between them and other, more established, bands. On one hand, it gives the reader an instant point of reference, but on the other, it does neither party any favours. No band sounds exactly like another (apart from Razorlight, who seem to have cribbed the Boomtown Rats’ sound wholesale). But when a band comes along that sounds like a combination of three great bands – let’s say, The Fall, Pavement and The Pixies – wouldn’t it just be more stupid not to mention the fact?

Thought so. Thus, let’s start by stating right now that Today’s New Band, Monster Island, sounds like a ragged combination of The Fall, Pavement and The Pixies. This sounds like a grand boast, but it’s true. To mention The Fall is a bit of a given – Monster Island are an off-beat indie band from Manchester, and therefore it’s virtually a legal obligation to mention Mark E. Smith’s grumpy lot. But it’s fair, this time, as in songs like Hothouse, there’s the same sparse, threatening griminess that pervades the best Fall records. See Twin Towns too for a Pavement-y lollop and and the Pixies’ patented loud ‘n’ quiet dynamics are oozing out all over too.

Beyond glib comparisons, there was one moment when listening to Monster Island‘s songs that actually delighted me. Yup, actual, tangible delight, bordering on glee, a feeling which made my wizened, blackened heart start to flutter. Throughout their chuntering (and free-to-download) song They Never Sleep, the music is occasionally interpolated with screeching sounds of tapes rewinding, bleeping and electronic interference. Deliberate or not, it’s a fabulous, pointless detail which screams of lethargic, understated, inventiveness. Brilliant.

So that’s my justification for taking the easy comparative route to describing them. Listen for yourself here, on their Myspace page.

>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.