>Today’s New Band – Delay Trees!

>’This is it,’ he kept repeating in his child-like voice, ‘this is really it.’ And so with that, Michael Jackson resorted to the oldest trick in the rock book – the LAST EVER TOUR. He’s playing at the Millennium Dome in London for what seems like eternity, milking ever drop of cash from his demented devoted fans. Here’s a video of some of those fans, by the way. See if you can spot the chubby man nearly wetting himself on the front row.

Inevitably, he’ll then do the same thing in every big city worldwide, for the rest of his life, until Vegas comes calling and he can see out his final days in garish non-dignity. Final shows, come backs and yet more final shows are par for the superstar musician course.

It’s easy to sneer at it all, but then I was first in line to see The La’s on their ill-fated ‘comeback’, which was possibly done for tax reasons alone, a few years ago.

Sneering is something that I doubt Today’s New Band, Finland’s Delay Trees, ever do. They seem far too nice to be cynical about anything. As dull as it is to keep highlighting how northern European bands and beautifully bright guitar-pop songs seem to go hand-in-hand, Delay Trees are another lovely example of that rule.

Songs like Tarantula Holding On, sweet and unassuming without being bland, manage to avoid cliché or dullness and engage on a simpler, gentler level. About Brothers takes a well-trodden route of jangling guitars, tinkling percussion and harmonised vocals, but ends up leaving you in a comforted heap of relaxed muscle.

Their songs are brighter and breezier than a children’s TV presenter, and about as threatening, but are so innocently enjoyable that you’ll feel instantly removed from the arch, art/fashion-rock that is the miserable norm. Zen out and listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Padre Pio

>Bands have perceived connections with the past whether you, or they, want them or not. If yesterday’s new band, Saboteur, reminded us of the 90’s – if not in sound, at least in spirit – then Today’s New Band, Padre Pio, simply reek of the 70’s and 80’s, sonically and, quite possibly, intellectually.

And if that has conjured up images of 70’s wank-rock or 80’s poodle-hair-rock, then a) wash your mind with bleach; no-one deserves to inflict that kind of mental torture to themselves, and b) instead think of when rock was a bit luxuriant, asexual and gleaming. Think Bowie and Lou Reed. Think of druggy, sharp-suited excess and eyeshadow on men. Think of a time when rock wasn’t scruffy, but glistening with confidence.

Padre Pio‘s songs caress your eardrums with all of those things. Colour is a synthy glammy pop breeze, and Common Day is the great late 70’s New York song you’ve never heard. It also, against all odds, achieves rock’s most risky, difficult feat: a great Sax solo. Their songs are slightly pompous, eccentric and lithely predatory – all missing in most music now, and extremely welcome.

Surely Padre Pio aren’t going to be gazing at the stars forever, wondering when they can strut their stuff in, I like to imagine, delightfully-cut suits. A band this swooning and sexy has to, and deserves to, end up foppishly jostling with the big boys. Brill. Listen to them here!

P.S. As a side note, Padre Pio are, apparently, from Bushwick, in Brooklyn. This has no connection at all with rapper Bushwick Bill from the Geto Boys, but it’s still an excuse to show the cover of their album We Can’t Be Stopped, which features Bushwick Bill being rolled into hospital AFTER HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE EYE. Now that’s hardcore.