Float Riverer: To See Or Not To See?

Next weekend the excellent, exciting, and excellently exciting Sounds From The Other City festival is taking place in Salford, and all week, ANBAD is showcasing the pick of the bands playing there.

For the benefit of international readers, Salford is a big grimy city right next to Manchester, which is another big grimy city. (If you’re still unsure, it is all in that bit of the UK that’s not London or Stratford.)

Smaller, city-based festivals like SFTOC that showcase new music get me all a-quiver with excitement, partly because of the array of thrilling new bands and partly because these kind of festivals are cheap, cheerful and are a brief glimpse into what life would be like if I ran the country.

The feeling of popping into a venue, catching a band, before swiftly finishing a drink and scuttling off to somewhere equally sweaty and noisy to see another is almost heavenly.

Float Riverer are one of the bands I’ll be looking to catch, though of course, at any festival, best-laid plans are the first thing to shoot out of the window, along with dignity, sobriety and basic motor function.

By the sounds of Calves, it would be a shame if I did miss them.

Float Riverer // Calves

The song is a template for anyone who wants to make crunchy, noise-from-next-door, yelp-rock. These kind of songs recorded in this kind of fashion are so endearing and full of life that listeners surf gleefully over the crackles, the fuzz and the ‘poor’ recordings and simply enjoy the songs.

Perhaps my best hope is to aim to miss Float Riverer, and then serendipity will ensure that I’ll accidentally catch the whole gig. Good stuff.

MORE: floatriverer.blogspot.com

Calories – Note: Review Contains No Dreadful Food Energy Value Analogies. Sorry.

Sometimes I wonder why bands even bother.

I look at my bulging inbox, filled with suggestions of new bands, and I wonder this, because it’s almost impossible to conceive how any band can be heard through the white noise of ten thousand new, hungry bands all playing their buzz-saw guitars at once.

And then a band comes along that makes me realise: “Ah – that’s why.” The thought pings into my subconscious as one band peeks stridently through the weeds like a stubborn dandelion.

Bands do it because the rewards are so great – the feeling that you and your friends are on the cusp of something new, something pleasurable to all and sundry is like nothing else on earth.

Calories have discovered this, have grabbed it lustily, and on the strength of songs like FFWD are running away with it.

The old days were better…” they muse, yelpily, and I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing before realising that I’m right either way.

Calories ‘FFWD’ from Calories Band on Vimeo.

FFWD is a rollicking romp of lung-bursting, tongue-twisting proportions. More is crammed into the first verse and chorus than Oasis managed in two albums.

The bassline is so bouncy that whoever drew the short straw of playing it must now be suffering from exotically-named illnesses like Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or Vibration White Finger.

As far as ridiculously enjoyable songs go, FFWD can be ranked alongside all of your guilty-pleasure songs that you might not tell others about for fear of embarrassment. Except Calories are so good that you’ll want to share them with everyone. That’s why they do it.


>Today’s New Band – Frozen Bears

When I typed Today’s New Band’s name into Google, one of the search results was a question on Answers.com from an anonymous poster – “Can a bear’s tail break when frozen?” If the internet has proven anything, it’s that humanity’s capacity for mindlessness can always find a new, stupider low.

Assuming if you’re not kept awake at night by this kind of idiotic query, you’ll love Frozen Bears. Even if you are now pondering the brittle nature of massive mammals’ tails, try to distract your mind momentarily from such tribulations with Frozen Bears’ garage-psyche-crunch-rock punch to the face that is all pleasure and no pain.

Like Tuesday’s new band, Nutrition On Tape (see below), they grab at all the best sounds from years ago, churn them up and cough out songs that laugh at the past and greedily eye the future. The bullish insistence of They Don’t Need You will reach up your trouser leg and grab your attention with delicious echo-stretched guitar howls, riffs from a dark, warm place and drums that fall apart.

Speaking of which, The Hoax features a drumbeat that is so broken that an entirely separate rhythm develops. Perfectly, just as your rattled mind begins to appreciate this, another monster riff begins, and it’s all you can do to hold on for the ride.

Dirty, chewy and grimy, Frozen Bears are here to shake you awake with thrills of their own crafting. If you were wondering, the answer given to the earlier question was: “If its cold enough anything can break.” And thus the world can now get back to whatever mundane business it was doing before such wild theories were pondered. So listen here!

>Today’s New Band – The Steppouts

Right now, I’m a one-man phlegm-factory. Thick, evil wads of the stuff. My head feels like it’s in a vice, and not even in a moderately entertaining way like in Casino. I caught this cold from a baby. Babies always have the worst colds.

The only weapon against this kind of aggressively omnipotent mucus is – and this is true – very spicy food, black coffee, neat whisky and noisy music. If you’re unsure, follow this simple rule: all the things that sanctimonious 1950’s public service films warned you about are your go-to weapons of choice.

Today’s New Band, The Steppouts are from Texas, so probably know all about being told that their favourite leisure activities are morally corrupting and offending The Jesus. And, supplying the loud musical dosage I need, their songs are broad, rough, raw, rock.

Tiger prowls into a strut, ends as a stomp, and takes an uncompromising rock route – “I can quit any time, but then I’d have to stop.” Funnily enough, Venison Stew is a hearty, rich and satisfying concoction; bluesy, naked, and tough.

If this kind of testosterone-drenched description makes The Steppouts sound like the sons of Ted Nugent, then I apologise. They’re not crass or blunt at all. They’re actually sensitive and thoughtful. It’s just that they can only explain their feelings via the medium of gutsy, crunchy, pared-down rock.

If they were a meal, The Steppouts would be a rare, gristly steak, with another, even rarer steak on top. They’re man music for modern men – the kind who’ll play their songs whilst chopping wood, and then rub a Scandinavian hand cream into the blistered palms. Mmm, supple. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Castrovalva

>I remember stumbling out of a nightclub once at 3am, to be greeted by a crowd of several hundred people, all looking up to the night sky. In those situations, it is impossible not to involuntarily crank your own neck upward too. The moon was surrounded by a large, perfect, circle.

The ring stayed there and we stood, rooted, for a long time, to see what would happen. Nothing did, apart from a renewed sense of wonder at the confusing beauty of the world, a realisation that we are just tiny, insignificant specks of nothing in a vast, uncaring universe, and the usual onset of 3am munchies.

Today’s New Band, Castrovalva, have surely also pondered on the unfathomable nature of infinity. Their music is overwhelmed with menace, chaos and dread, and we are just passengers, swept along or aside as the wild sound deems necessary.

My Father Bleeds History screeches into life, then delivers a slab of heavy, unforgiving noise, interrupted by electronic howls. The effect of all these layers of noise is not a grating head-shred, but bleeds into soft, white, enjoyable noise.

Triceratops clatters in the true sense of the word; a slew of sloppy destroyed drums and outrageously distorted instruments. Making music in this way must be almost illegally enjoyable.

Music like Castrovalva’s is to be enjoyed in any way you like; dumb noise blast, careful deconstruction of rock normality, whatever. There are no rights or wrongs. Castrovalva are the eight-track cassette for a certain-death trip to the edge of a black hole. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Pop Fosters

>After musing on Monday about the difficulties of finding band members with a similar musical outlook, here’s an example of a band who, I think, fell happily together in a flash. They’re Pop Fosters, they’re Today’s New Band, and their initial conversation went something like this:

Sara Pop Fosters:Want to form a band in which thrashing sounds from the drums and guitar form the limits of our complications?”

Richie Pop Fosters: “Well… I can play the guitar REALLY LOUD and can YELP with the best of them…”

Sara Pop Fosters: “Let’s ROCK, sunshine”

And lo, the band was born. Listening to them is to hear the music that every rock band member secretly wants to make – yes, even Thom Yorke – but doesn’t dare to. Primal, base, no-frills: dress it up how you want, but songs like Your Music Is Shit will pull you down to their level and club you into normality.

Utilising the age-old techniques of splashy drums, raw guitars and even rawer vocals, Your Music Is Shit is Pop Fosters’ perfect calling card – a short, sharp, buzzy shock, pulling you back to what rock music is really about: noise, fun and not caring about what YOU think.

Songs Myopic and Self Health use the same trick in different ways, and to the same thrilling , crunchy effect. I remember Keane – the very blandest of bands, remember – getting excited because they had hooked up a keyboard to a Wah-Wah pedal. For them, this was progress.

Pop Fosters deride this as frippery and pretence. They are an antidote to the arrogance of bands who think that thoughtfulness=progress. Switch off and listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Cats For Peru PLUS! Estate Agents Must Die!


What’s the opposite of a story that warms your heart? One that sends a chill to your very soul? Or maybe one that sends poisonous hatred coursing through your veins? Whatever it is – the following story may result in one, the other, or both.
Strolling languidly through Manchester’s busy morning streets the other day, I was nearly hit by a car. I’d hate to make assumptions about the moron who swung his Chelsea Tractor onto Cambridge Street at 50 MPH, but I guess that, by his obese, pasty pallor and the ease with which he raised a venomous middle finger as he nearly turned me into so many lumps of twitching meat, he was a banker, an estate agent or both.
I spluttered in impotent rage, but quickly consoled myself that he’d soon be the victim of crunch-induced bankruptcy and then dead, either by his own clammy hand, or, hopefully, due to a hugely painful heart attack.
Attaining satisfaction from a world that seems geared hopelessly against you is a tough business. Just read this fascinating, wonderful, depressing article by Steve Albini on what he considers the realities of getting a recording contract. If Today’s New Band, Cats For Peru, have also read that article, it doesn’t show, as they’re grinding out fine songs with an attitude that suggest they’re not glumly reaching for the bumper pack of Aspirin yet.
In Love In A Lift, Cats For Peru show they have whatever it is that separates the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys and the Pulps from the Menswe@rs. Even if we sidle past the title, a fabulously UK-centric variation on the Aerosmith standard, there’s plenty to love in just this one song.
Being able to fit chanting choruses, keyboard whistling, blisteringly fuzzy guitars, single-mindedly direct lyrics, rat-a-tat-tat drums and a laser-focused rock punch all in one song is the mark of a band with vision and determination. As a song, it’s brilliant; as a statement of intent, it’s even better. It’s more of a manifesto than, ironically, Manifesto, which is a good song, but after the soaring cut-and-thrust of Love In A Lift, you’ll find it hard to fully concentrate.
It’s hard to define what elevates one particular band above others. So any attempts to justify why I think Cats For Peru are just peachy are doomed to end in failure. But they are, and have, something – an attitude, and angle, a bloody-mindedness – which means that their particular attempt at cracking the same rock ‘n’ roll nut is a crunchy, idiosyncratic delight. Their hardest task will be to match their own early standards. It’s going to be fun for all of us as we find out. Listen here!

As the second band in two days to hail from Sheffield, they may also find themselves as the meat in a Sheffield New Band Triple-Bill, if we can get our act together and find a third for tomorrow…

>Today’s New Band – Die, Chihuahua Die PLUS! T-T-T-T True Confessions!


In late December (or maybe January – it all seems so long ago already) you all frothed like crazies at the ANBAD Best Gigs Of ’08 list. It was a little heavy on the old bands-side, what with both Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine receiving monster, dizzy praise, but at least it was honest, right?
Here’s a small confession: I left another gig off the list so that it wasn’t skewed too far towards bands from the previous decade. The gig in question was Bis, on a short, ill-fated reunion tour. Bis, for the uninitiated, were Scotland’s premier* Teen-C power-proto-J-pop-trio. Their gig at Satan’s Hollow in Manchester was super-duper acers – the guys looked a bit older, but singer Manda Rin looked just the same as ever, and they sounded just as good as they did when they ground out homemade C90’s back in ’95.

*pretty much the only
Quickly overcoming any dumb attempts at maintaining a distant coolness at the back of the audience, I found myself at the front, pogoing along to the saccharine brilliance of Icky-Poo Air Raid and Kandy Pop. Fast forward a bit to the compiling of the end-of-year gig list, and I remembered two important things: that this gig was actually a year and a half ago, and that my memory is clearly destroyed by idiocy.
A straightforward story of stupidity, simplicity and honesty, then. You might recognise some of those qualities in Today’s New Band, Die, Chihuahua Die!, who play big, simple, stoopid-fun rock ‘n’ roll. Rightly identifying thoughtful musical complexity as namby-pamby nonsense, they’ve plumped for NOISY GOOD ROCK TIMES, and have pulled it off with panache.
Die, Chihuahua Die! have a song called Brian Maiden. We all know Puns=Top Marks at ANBAD. The song is ‘right up in your grill’, as the kids say, and doesn’t let up until you creep away, whimpering.

Happy Song grinds along, its riff clobbering you over the head, nicking your wallet, and running off to buy MORE cheap cider. Action Fuck Action starts at 100 MPH and keeps accelerating, dementedly, towards the wall marked ROCK DESTINY. Meet them there, right here!

>Today’s New Band – Dom Coyote PLUS! BANG! AND THE DIRT IS GONE!

>If you’re one of ANBAD‘s many non-UK readers, you may not have experienced the mysterious joys of premiere surface-cleaning product Cillit Bang, and it’s bizarrely seductive Lord, Master and Prophet, the perma-yelling Barry Scott. If you’re none the wiser, initiate yourself into the strangely alluring world of Barry here – and then consider this: without the unusual SEMI-THREATENING SPEAKING-IN-CAPITAL-LETTERS tactic deployed by the quasi-benevolent Barry, Cillit Bang would just be another product on the shelves. Barry has bellowed down the opposition and now Cillit Bang sits amongst the homecare Gods.

Like any product now, music is branded and sold to us like bathroom cleaner. Like Cillit Bang, some bands need a huge advertising pushes to really ram themselves home in the public consciousness. This practice is usually the preserve of average bands who otherwise wouldn’t really justify the money the record company has desperately thrown at them – hello Keane, Pigeon Detectives and our old buddies The Kooks.

Today’s New Band won’t need a gimmick, shouty and rictus-grinning or otherwise. Dom Coyote‘s name is pleasingly Pun-tabulous, and gains the usual ANBAD bonus marks reserved for such occasions, but it doesn’t need to be capitalised upon, because it’s his gently aggressive music that will poke you in the eye and ruffle your hair.

Dom Coyote’s sound is spooling and loose, but then tight and focused. One for the Passenger, disjointed and coherent all at the same time, rolls and rolls and rolls onwards so organically and so easily that you could imagine it happily freewheeling for ever. Under The Thumb echoes, languid, but also bristles crisply, a precise balance between paranoid dub and sprightly reggae-folk. Melodies Of Sleep narrates a kind of happy hopelessness, soothing and anxious.

At their best, Dom Coyote‘s songs sound so crunchy, so tactile, you’ll want to get your fingers involved with the sounds, a bit like an aural Rubik’s Cube. It’s as if the songs were recorded as densely as possible, and then were stripped down to the bare bones, so that only the really mouth-watering noises were left. Yum. Get stuck into his songs here!