>Today’s New Band – Male Bonding

>Some bands, as we know, make records that are documentation of their live shows, and others perform live shows that are attempts at recreating their records. Neither is inferior – just an indicator of the band’s core ethos. So are Today’s New Band better live or on record?

That might depend on your idea of ‘better’, of course. Male Bonding make records that are a delicate balance between generic thrash (headbanging live gigs) and obtuse guitar weirdness (chin-stroking live gigs), and in doing so, create music that lives in its own space that is better than both.

Pumpkin shoots a dart to the centre of the male desire for rowdy singing, with a bludgeoning chorus that’s a cross between a football crowd celebrating a goal and cute 60’s surf-pop, all drowned in the white noise of a battle between guitar and cymbals.

Years Not Long is a headlong rush into similar territory; raw, powerful and jumpy sounds are caressed by lyricism that’s both gentle in intent and brutal in execution.

Male Bonding have an appropriate name. They love noise, energy and VICTORY. Their songs are just that. They don’t need to be anything else. Great. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Mat Riviere

>There’s more to great songs than verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus, you know, but not much more. That thin line that separates a drab band and a great band is usually located not in the construction, but the execution.

Good songwriters don’t simply know how to move a dull pub-rock song to thrilling innovation – their songs would end up there whether they liked it or not. It’s in their blood. Perhaps Mat Riviere is one of this lucky few.

From his name, you’d think Mat Riviere ought to be crooning from a small, glittery stage, in a shiny suit, on a cruiseboat, in the Mediterranean. He doesn’t though. He’s a singer/songwriter form Norwich; and yes, that is underselling him.

He writes songs like FYH, that seem almost too simple and slender to contain such a wonderful refrain and a chorus which swells uncontrollably with a sad exuberance. Godless Girl slumps dejectedly, sweetly. Castroreale drones urgently, throbbing with opaque white noise before inching into another brilliant, sombre chorus. Most bands can’t do choruses. Mat doesn’t seem to have enough songs to fit them all in. Maybe he can sell them.

And if every Tom, Dick and Harry had Mat Riviere‘s crystal-clear comprehension of what makes a great song, would the world be a better place, or would the standard simply be reset, albeit with a higher threshold? While you’re thinking, listen here, and be happy that this music exists at all.

>Today’s New Band – Cop On The Edge

>“I AM A COP, SHUT UP!” So grunts The Knife‘s The Cop, a song which brutalises your ears with wonky noise and threats of violence. This is a not-too-unusual representation of our devoted lawmen and women in pop ‘n’ rock.

Cops tend to get a universally bad rap. Speaking of which, this negativity reached its most aggressive nadir with NWA’s Fuck Tha Police, which at the very least leaves no room for ambiguity in their philosophical standpoint.

Despite their name Today’s New Band, Cop On The Edge, don’t appear to have any particular beef with your local bobby. Perhaps their name is just a pleasant daydream of a policeman standing on U2’s guitarist.

Whatever it is they’re dreaming of, it’s partly top-notch 80’s Commodore 64 games. Summer Games II clatters to life, whistles and chatters winningly, daftly, and possibly illegally: “She’s prime, she’s onto the next stage, high on nostalgia… underage!” yelps singer Jim. Perhaps those police will come in handy after all.

Spying On Boys is a jolt of shy teenage lust, appropriately fey and naive, and I Want Don’t Get buzzes with youthful exuberance. Maybe Cop On The Edge are all nostalgic for their tweenage years. If so, they’re expressing it through the medium of Good Tunes, and so who are we to judge? Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Still Flyin’ PLUS! Wry observations on early 90’s consumerist society!

>I’m reading Generation X by Douglas Coupland. I’m at the right age and frame of mind to being doing so: late twenties and almost wholly disenfranchised. The book popularised the titular terminology for the end-of-80’s-early-90’s generation of youth, and I’m finding it hard to read without thinking of check flannel shirts, nihilism and Nirvana.

Thinking of the music and those times now – when MTV was still a bit rough around the edges – mirroring the music – and comparing them with the media-savvy, always-on, always-aware, always-ready times of now will inevitably lead to you conclude that we were living in a much more innocent time then. Then again, it could just be latent nostalgia finally revealing itself, cackling at its control over your emotions.

In Generation X, the lead character decries the generation below him as being vain, air-headed and unconcerned with events beyond the end of their own nose. These are the same accusations levelled at 18 year olds today, by people like me. Perhaps the cavemen complained about the caveboys too.

Cycles, phases, waves: pop culture constantly regurgitates itself, like a snake eating its own tail. Today’s New Band is the positive result of the endless churning of pop culture past and present. Still Flyin’ are about the most hit-the-ground-running positive-start-to-the-week band as we’ve had on ANBAD.

Good Thing It’s A Ghost Town Around Here is a good song make frantically happy by a stratosphere-soaring chorus that will wheedle its way into your brain and stay there, drumming it’s fingers on the steering wheel of your mind. It’s so much fun, I can picture custard pies being flung around the studio by specially hired clowns while it was being recorded, possibly on a fairground ride.

Dead Memory Man, shouty, punchy chorus and all, reaches up your trouser leg and insistently secures your attention. Clattering and freewheeling like a tuneful runaway train full of cheerful deathwishers, and almost as intriguing, it’s a dizzying blend of all the instruments, ideas and melodies to hand, working against the odds.

Still Flyin’ are from San Francisco. If I could track down the band, watch them play, and whack an imaginary cow bell along to their music, I just know that life, right there, would be good. Tap along yourself here!

>Today’s New Band – The King Blues

>Cities shape bands. Listen to Manchester’s Happy Mondays, and the influence of a city dragging itself up from dereliction on a cloud of E-fuelled excitement is clear. The La’s jangly indie sea-shanties have Liverpool’s mucky fingerprints all over them. The Clash were born from both the racial tension and collaboration of late 70’s London.

Today’s New Band are another child of their home city. The King Blues are a rare example of a band that aren’t happy to grind out the same-old songs, but are actually trying to fuse their individual, disparate influences into something new. The mating of punk and reggae has happened before, of course, but that doesn’t make The King Blues any less interesting.

On Let’s Hang the Landlord they dream of a better life by considering the, er, tried and proven technique of lynching your landlord. “Let’s have the landlord from the top of the stairs – we’ll live like millionaires,” they sing, whilst still celebrating having the time of their lives in their squalor.

The King Blues are an indication of what might have happened if Manchester’s The Young Offender’s Institute had kept building on their early promise – a mix of testosterone-fuelled boisterousness and a pile-up of sounds that could only really come from a large, multi-cultural city like London.

Aspirational and in tune with their audience, The King Blues are a band from right now, for right now. So listen to their songs here – right now!

>Today’s New Band – Glam Chops

>Mixing things together is one of those childlike pleasures that never leaves us as we’re drawn, inexorably, towards adulthood. Presented with a table of food, what child doesn’t think, “I wonder what happens if I stir that gravy into that ketchup/mashed potatoes/custard and then taste it?” It seems like only a whole load of good can come from dedicated investigating like this. The truth is somewhat harder to swallow, literally and metophorically, and surely the real reason for the glut of knuckle-chewingly idiotic ‘mash-ups’ that polluted the internet a while ago.

In the non-gravy laden world of rock ‘n’ roll, what happens when two rock asteroids collide? Again, mixed results inevitably ensue. For every wonderful Fairytale of New York, there’s a brain-auto-euthanasia-ing Ebony and Ivory. These collaborations should be approached with extreme caution, or dodged altogether, just in case.

Today’s New Band, Glam Chops, is a meeting of, amongst others, Eddie Argos and David Devant from the lovely Art Brut and the delicious David Devant and His Spirit Wife. Surely nothing can go wrong?

Well, no, nothing can go wrong. Yes, it’s Glam Rock, and no, it’s not changed that much since the 70’s – but that’s only a good thing. Glam Chops lovingly revisit the past, but unlike Marty McFly, don’t muck around with it. Don’t Be Glum Be Glam is just pure, mindless fun – the best kind of all. HUGE guitars, HUGER choruses and chant-along verses VAST enough to climb on and lever the earth out of orbit.

In The Lord Is A Man of War, Glam Chops, frankly, push the basic tenets of glam to it’s mentalist conclusions, with a monster reverb-spazzed guitar solo and guitars so crunchy that they’ve probably been constructed purely from Tortilla Chips.

More fun than hot oil wrestling, more catchy than the airborn Ebola virus from Outbreak and more out of sync with today’s po-faced haircut-rock posturing than Kenny Rogers, Glam Chops are here to change the world. Imagine a platform boot stamping on a human face – forever. Then imagine the face is Johnny Borrell’s. Or just listen to their brilliant songs here.

>Today’s New Band – The Gravity Crisis

>If you were to draw up a list of all the necessary things to make an acers band, it’d probably be surprisingly light on ingredients. The list might read along the lines of: great choruses, satisfying chord changes, Keep-It-Simple,-Stupid Lyrics and a working knowledge of what makes the audience decide to get sweaty and excitable – a list that’s temptingly short and sweet. It’s probably this innate simplicity that is the reason for hairy teenagers everywhere to ask for a £69.99 Argos guitar for Christmas in the first place.

The truth is though, that, like unicycling whilst juggling flaming chainsaws, combining all of these things is a lot easier said than done. It’s also why we have to settle for bands like the Kooks et al whilst we wait for the really good bands – who can alchemically squeeze all the simple stuff into their songs – to come along. So, tip your hat, then, to Today’s New Band, The Gravity Crisis, who might just have got it all right.

What’s most exciting about their un-self-consciously fun, catchy songs is that just when you think they might start to wander dangerously close to convention, or repetition, or conservativeness, they veer off in a burst of fuzzy guitar happiness, tails wagging and tongues lolling. Japan is HUGE and crunchy, Animator has all the whoa-oah choruses you’ll ever need and Medicine has howly, simple guitar lines that you’ll spontaneously hum when you’re pouring your cereal next week. The Gravity Crisis are the indie dictionary definition of early promise. Fingers crossed!

Listen to their bounce-a-delic songs here – it’s like the feeling of meeting an old friend you’ve not seen for ages.

And Finally…

A Brief Overview of 2000 Trees Festival –

  1. Mud
  2. Rain
  3. Cider
  4. Hayfever
  5. “Gong Showers”
  6. Lovely People
  7. Sunshine that comes too late
  8. Best band of the weekend – Art Brut. Like, durrrr.

>Today’s New Band – The Ondt and the Gracehopper

>A New Band A Day is in a tent for the next few days, idiotically camping in a tent in deepest darkest Cheltenham to go to the lovely 2000Trees Festival. And guess what? It’s going to rain non-flipping stop. I feel a small knot of dread building in my stomach. A knot which is accompanied by images of sitting in the ANBAD tent playing UNO for three days. Such feelings should probably be steeped in music that’s a bit melancholy.

Today’s New Band fit this bill perfectly. The Ondt and The Gracehopper are Danish, and make songs that are, believe it or not, upliftingly gloomy. Somehow they combine downtrodden hopelessness with big, fuzzy guitars and create a fantastic sound that’s not sad enough to make you reach for the Valium, but not uplifting enough to warrant rubbing Vick’s Vapo-rub on your chest and rush off to a Scooter concert. Perhaps they’re Zen in band form.

Whatever they are, they’re definitely ace – as songs Demon Drive and Year of the Dog testify. They can make a chorus soar beautifully for miles, whilst remaining determinedly glum – a feat in itself. Listen to their music at their Myspace page – www.myspace.com/theondtandthegracehoper – for a gulp of their relaxing despondency.

So, remember, we’re under canvas, sobbing, hoping the rain will stop, for a couple of days now. BUT BUT BUT! There’ll still be lots of lovely stuff happening on A New Band A Day, so tune in and think of us as we spend a weekend wallowing in grime.

>Today’s New Band – Envelopes

>I watched a BBC4 documentary about Britpop the other day. It’ll be on Youtube if you look for it. There’s loads of documentaries about Britpop, possibly because it was such a recent popular period in music, and possibly because it’s all very simple to explain: UK bands get bored by grunge, look back to the 60’s, make great songs, get coke bloat and collapse in on themselves.

However, it ended with One Very Important Thought: that trailblazing Britpop wonders like Suede, Blur and Pulp ultimately didn’t affect music much at all – the bands that traded in inane, emotion-lite songs with huge, soft choruses, like Oasis and the Verve have spawned the similar big bands of today – I’m waggling my finger at you, Coldplay and Snow Patrol.

The point is that the early 90’s were a fertile time for actually new, interesting music, before giving way back to cruddy average music. And so when I listened to Today’s New Band, Sweden’s Envelopes, I immediately thought of the early 90’s. Possibly because their fabulous song Sister In Love somehow straddles the late 80’s and early 90’s, whilst luckily missing Shoegaze altogether – no mean feat. “Is your sister in love?” chants the chorus, joyously pinging from person to person in the party, kissing each on the cheek.

The chorus is so much fun, they don’t waste much time on verses and get there as soon as possible, and Freejazz, similarly, is a big, fun-tastic romp through a delirous chorus. Party even is as cheeky enough to interpolate some of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, and guess what – it works. Brilliant. If only all music could stop and deviate from here. Listen to their great songs right here!

>Today’s New Band – Buen Chico

>Sometimes, it’s easy to dismiss bands for just sounding like…a band. You know – twangly guitars, drums and nice harmonies. Since the majority of bands are tyring to sound like they’ve just stepped out of the DeLorean from 1981, it’s easy to forget that not everyone wants to sound like Wire. Nothing’s wrong with that in itself, but there’s some sort of pure pleasure to be had from shunning your peers and going back to jangly basics.

Hence: Today’s New Band, Buen Chico. That kind-of means ‘good guy’ in Spanish – not that it’s particularly important – but we like the idea of providing Edutainment here at A New Band A Day. Buen Chico are Good Indie, in that they aren’t twee, but are a bit cute; they have a basic sonic template, but without being derivative. Giving Your Gifts is a great example of this – a simple, breezy singalong that would get any indie disco dancing around its ironically nostalgic handbag.

Gold From Lead, if anything, is even more jaunty, and veers into the ‘lovely’ territory during the chorus, the point where wistful and happy meet, twirling around each other like sugar-demented kids at a wedding. Hooray! Listen to them here, right now!

**PS – Apologies for the lateness of yesterday’s post – technical issues. Stupid internets.**