>The Platers, and The Unremitting Tedium Of Country And Western

Ask anyone and they”ll tell you, with a Harrumph!: New Indie isn’t anything like Old Indie.

But just imagine if your favourite musical genre never changed, and the bands simply ground out the same old songs time and time again. The tedium would be hell – unless of course you’re a country music fan, in which case you’d be in familiar territory.

Still, revisiting the past is fine as a nostalgic exercise now and then. The Platers make no bones about it: ‘Indie music like they used to make it’, indeed. And you know – they’re right. The Last Days Of The Holidays sounds like a Popguns record, with guitars that jangle so aggressively, crushing puny indie kids with a mighty wall of treble.

In Proper Indie Pop fashion, the song is wistful, trembling and slight. Fretting and not wanting to go home from summer holidays is the stuff of 80’s bedroom 7″ enthusiasts, all right. As is Stand And Fall, which shambles into a wonderfully soaring, chiming chorus that would sit perfectly on any TDK C90 mixtape.

The danger with so blatantly dipping into the past is that you run the risk of becoming a pastiche – and in a genre that values realness, this is the least Indie trait of all. Fortunately The Platers dodge this Indie Pop Crime thanks to a sincere love of the songs from the past, and their efforts to create their own pay off. Turn down the guitar fuzz and turn up The Platers!

>Swing Youth, and Ian Curtis = Dr. Strangelove

Some new bands would just love to be as glum and dark as Joy Division. Witness the current crop of frontmen who have suddenly developed hollow eyed stares and Ian Curtis arm twitches – the Indie equivalent of Dr. Strangelove’s alien hand.

The truth is that most bands just can’t manage it, because if there’s one thing you can’t fake, it’s existentialist miserablism. Most bands just want to have fun on stage, but few are bold enough to actually do it. Today’s New Band are, and for this we should all be thankful.

For instance: Swing Youth have a song called Hey Keith, the subject of which is probably not to do with a long, gloomy gaze into the the soul. It’s more likely to be a song about saying ‘Hey’ to a man called Keith, which is about as much depth as a lively, fun indie pop song deserves.

World in Flames, despite having a title that sounds like a Johnny Hates Jazz album, is about as close to pure pop as is allowed without turning into ABBA. Lyrics about a girl? Check. Exuberant vocals? Check. Bright guitar jangle? Yup. Under the requisite three minutes pop time limit? Well, no, but no-one’s perfect.

Simple things done simply. Swing Youth are a lovable bunch, with a selection of songs that demand dancing. They’re happy and alive, and happy to be alive. Nice hair, too. Ian Curtis would have loved them.

>Today’s New Band – Last Tide

Last week, virtual unknown Speech Debelle won the prestigious-ish Mercury Music Prize, the UK’s annual too-cool-for-school musical bunfight. Mercury prize winners are supposed to be doubly blessed: firstly by winning the £20,000 prize, and secondly by a huge boost in record sales from the positive publicity.

Unfortunately for Speech Debelle, her album got a boost only as far as 65 in the charts, and now it lingers around the high 90s. Poor Speech Debelle. Public rejection is always hard to take. In the early days of the Mercury Prize, winning bands habitually gave the prize money away to charity. I hope Speech Debelle has held onto it.

My vote went to The Horrors, who surprisingly, and boldly, ditched their NME-approved schlock garage rock and became a My Bloody Valentine tribute act, aping their sound, vocals and even the Loveless album cover. In retrospect, that last sentence is quite mean – their new album is actually very good indeed, and they ought to be applauded for their brave sonic leap.

As the years pass, My Bloody Valentine seem to have been more and more ahead of their time. Everyone wants a drop of their woozy sound in their band’s mix these days. Today’s New band, Last Tide, owe a portion of their attractively swooping feel to MBV too.

Take W.Y.C., a rushing, dreamy, rampant splash of from a paintbox full of shades of grey. It’s a great, unexpected, echo-laden song that swirls and drifts madly before extinguishing itself, and even if their other songs can’t quite compete with it for sheer bulk, it’s a lovely mark to leave on a staid rock landscape.

That said, A Traitor In My Mind has plenty of clout, and nearly achieves the same dizzy rushing feel. Last Tide gather together threads of post-rock, shoegaze, psychedelia and weave a concrete-hued cloth. Making drab delightful: Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Frantic Clam

>A band’s name doesn’t really makes a huge difference to how you perceive them. This isn’t the same as liking a band’s name, which is an arbitrary personal choice – and in the case of heavy metal bands, whether you like the indiscriminate scattering of umlauts or not – but if you think about it, U2 would still be as will-sappingly dreadful even if they were called Bono’s Big-Top Dancing Monkey Troupe.

So: Today’s New Band. Their name is Frantic Clam. Some of you will like the name, some will think it stinks and most will hopefully be too busy listening to their great, driving, songs to care.

Fort Worthless hammers a steady beat – the kind where our human, subconscious need for steering-wheel-drumming bubbles to the surface – and the band carefully construct a web of choppy guitars, chipper lyrics and handclaps-a-plenty around it. It’s a pop song of sorts, subscribing to the age old pop values – use a good tune, a catchy chorus, and loads of hooks. It works, and it’s the kind of song that will make a difference to the band’s life.

Korean Beauty Queen is another chugging, sparse-then-noisy-then-sparse-again angular art-rock jab to the ribs, arriving quickly in a screech of its own importance and disappearing just as rapidly.

Frantic Clam say that they ‘sound like tinnitus’. I think any sufferers would be happy to swap that internal broken radio buzz for Frantic Clam‘s off-kilter swagger. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band: Tijuana Panthers


I have just got hold of a KORG DS-10 Synthesiser. If that makes me sound like a bit of a tech-muso-whizz, well, maybe that’s what I subconsciously wanted. In reality it’s a cartridge that emulates a vintage Korg synth and turns your Nintendo DS into an all-singing, all-sequencing, all-dancing noise machine. I can now pretend that I’m Steve “Silk” Hurley while I’m on the toilet.

Today’s New Band, Tijuana Panthers, don’t use synthesisers, part-novelty Nintendo/Korg ones or otherwise, as far as I can tell. They stick to making jumpy pop songs with actual instruments, made of wood, metal, blood, sweat and tears.

Tijuana Panthers might well be one of the most lovable bands to have popped up on A New Band A Day. Songs like Girls Gone Wild isn’t the sluts ‘n’ tits-fiesta that the title might suggest, but has the feel of an early 60’s teen-beat sensation band, with knowing lyrics and dreamy pop sensibilities. It’s sexy and cute.

Perhaps Tijuana Panthers are just coy dreamers at heart – Creature and Red Headed Girl might have a scratchy guitar edge, but are actually sweet songs for jiving with your baby to.

Whereas my teeth-rattling efforts mean that the ANBAD throwback-Acid House 12 inch white label release won’t be materialising any time soon, Tijuana Panthers have got this rock lark down to a carefree art. This is probably the first time that the word ‘lovely’ could be used to adequately sum up a band. Listen here!

Apologies for late post and lack of picture today. Blogger is full of hate…

>Today’s New Band – Pree

>Greetings all, it’s not Joe, nor is it his answering machine or his manager or P.R. guy. Whilst Joe is away in Madrid sunning himself (as I’m sure many of you are painfully aware), it’s left to me to keep things ticking over. To those of you who are missing Joe already (come on guys, it’s only been three days), Scouting for Girls are not a very good band. There, I said it. Can we get on with the important stuff now? Good.

Today’s new band are “indie” according to their Myspace page. So, for the sake of perspective, are Scouting for Girls. Fortunately for me and you, Pree are what I like to call “good” indie, as opposed to, well, “bad” indie.

Luckily, the three songs that I have been able to get my hands on (as well as a couple a nice acoustic performances) display a few quite different sides to this band. “In the Parlor” has a soothing guitar riff, its sparse arrangement surprisingly complete. The slight violin and simple drums are used to great effect. It’s also very good fun, unpretentious, and short. Pree seem like a band who know they can do enough in two minutes to get you hooked.

“Light Fails” sees them in a slightly more sombre mood, a haunting piano echoing the simple melody. It’s sad, dark and just lovely enough. “Lack of Fight” has a Joanna Newsom-esque piano motif. It is unashamedly folk-ey and brash, exuding confidence but not complacency; the song moves and meanders, and essentially maintains its original thrust. By the time they sing: “We seem to pass the same moon every night, it’s only bright enough to show a lack of light”, I don’t even question it.

It’s time to face the truth guys. The moon sucks. And this is why.