AND AND AND, White Noise Bliss and The Genius DJ From Hell

Urgh. My ears are ringing really badly. It’s worth admitting this right now, as it might have a bearing on the quality of today’s new band, because I can’t really hear them properly.

It’s the fault of last night’s Anonymous Manchester Indie Club DJ. He played a succession of such truly drab songs that I was forced to stand right next to the speaker so that all the bland, anonymous guitar jangle became one pacifying white noise SHOOOOOOOM.

Initially I thought I was mistakenly at a themed night where only really half-hearted B-Sides were played, and then I realised that he was actually the cleverest  DJ of all time: after playing a full half hour of interchangeable Landfill-Indie and just when dancefloor spirits had lagged to the point of near-tears, he slipped on Arcade Fire‘s Lies.

The contrast turned an already astonishing song into a revelatory Second Coming, and smiles of true joy were carved into all faces. Then, to prove his point, the DJ played another hour of sub-par jangle-crud. Thanks.

AND AND AND’s songs quake with echo, reverb and lo-fi buzz to my ears, but then that could just be the tinnitus. You’ll have to let me know if it’s real or not. They could be Brian Eno-slick for all I can tell.

And And And – The Great Tide

Either way, a song of such glinting beauty as The Great Tide ought not to be missed whether it’s drenched in a layer of warm fuzz (which it might not be), or pristine and sparkling (which it might).

And And And have forged a strong and bold sound out of the most delicate and wispy musical straws. The Great Tide is a song of syrupy charm, twinkling hope and crooked beauty. Just lovely. I think.

>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 – Standard Fare

>Turkish take-away food, eaten by a canal. Beer in the Student’s Union. Another. Chat to the guitarist and drummer at the merchandise stall. Catch the end of the support band (The Kraus Robocop). Marvel at the drummer’s party piece of playing a drum in the crowd.

Back to the Union, more beer. Cheaper there than the venue bar upstairs. Guess the setlist. Push to the front of the crowd, in line with one of the speakers (not the middle). Get sweaty in the mosh. Dismay that most of the sweat on my T-shirt isn’t mine. Chant for the encore. Chant for the encore.

Find moshpit treasure as the crowd disperses. Use moshpit treasure to buy another beer. Home, kicking an empty beer can all the way. Shower to remove sweat that isn’t mine. Bed. Post-gig morning tinnitus.

These are generic gig-going rituals. You’ve probably done exactly this, to the band of your choice. Last night, my choice was Art Brut (see yesterday and ad nauseum), and it was life-affirmingly brilliant.

If Today’s New Band, Standard Fare, keep producing songs as kind and gorgeous as Dancing, then many will have that same gig experience with them as the focal point. Dancing, a lackadaisical lament, could be the song that sparks your night out into life just as much as it could be the song to round it off perfectly.

“There’s always going to come a time when we don’t know the answers/ Always going to come a time when we should just go dancing,” singer Emma philosophises, entirely rightly.

Standard Fare‘s other songs are good too. It’s just that Dancing is wonderful – soaring stratospherically, moping glumly, sunnily alive; economical, bright, true. Lovely. If this doesn’t put a fire under your dopey synapses, nothing will. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Kayaka

>Last night, the A New Band A Day “gang” went to see Public Enemy at Manchester Academy, who played the whole of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back from beginning to end. It was a truly brilliant gig: angry, brutal, and winningly political, obviously, but the actual important stuff – the songs – were astonishing to hear live. Poundingly brilliant, funky and loud – the crowd went berserk as they rolled out great song after great song. Chuck D veered between delivering his brilliant lyrical polemic and talking, insistently and sincerely, about his political views, that I was left with the feeling that the world needs Public Enemy today more than it ever has before.

I was also left with a splitting headache and (hopefully) temporary tinnitus that manifested itself this morning and hasn’t quite gone away yet. Coincidentally, Today’s New Band, Kayaka, sounds like the inside of my head, yet better. Kayaka makes noise, unapologetically and insistently, but noise that, in terms of construction at least, is vaguely reminiscent of that other band who will be gigging old material soon, My Bloody Valentine.

Muggy Hair is tinny, mechanical and driven by a beast of a beat. Gusty Gadget Lucky Joe is a bouncing bomb in a room full of drums and tinfoil, but it’s important to note that Kayaka aren’t just making noise because they’ve found new buttons to press on their computer – there’s structure and a waft of melody under all that brain-spazzing screeching. If nothing else, Kayaka’s songs will shake you out of any Monday morning lethargy. And remind you of the dubious joys of that post-gig feeling.

Listen to their noise-mentalism here!