>GIMMICKS! Here at A New Band A Day, we love them – to the point that we aren’t afraid of using cheap, near-moronic devices ourselves in an attempt to crowbar some variety into our shallow lives. Anything like that in the world of rock ‘n’ pop is worth a go, I suppose, and if it works and raises the profile of a good band, all the better. So: Today’s New Band, The Very Most, are giving away a free custom song with every purchase of their new album until the end of August. You tell them what you want the song to be about,and they’ll write it.
This is a good deal, assuming you like their music. There’s no point getting a song written about you and your life-long Roxette obsession if the band doing it is Extreme Noise Terror, for example. So here’s the good news – The Very Most are a good band, with charm and panache to spare. Their songs are as sweet and carefully constructed as a child’s model treehouse made of Lego. “Why don’t you call the cops on me?” they sing, in the similarly-named song, which may or may not explore the banality of children’s playground taunts.
Save the most or your reserves of pleasant surprise for their Custom Songs though – you might hook yourself a minor classic. MP3Hugger is quiet noise-rock, with a soft fuzz leeching through the indie-pop pleasantness just near the end. It’s a delicate delight – a quick, gentle fog of guitar and slightly cryptic lyrics. It’s on their MySpace page here. A whole album of songs written on the suggestions of fans and outsiders would be an interesting proposition. On the strength of MP3Hugger, I hope they consider it.
I suppose the only danger of a gimmick like that is that The Very Most might become ‘that band that writes free songs about you’ – but frankly, if it ropes in a few idiots who can’t look past that and recognise a good band when one is poking them in the ear, then it’s no loss. At very least, they’ll sell more records and have more people hearing their lovely songs, and that’s the most important thing. Good marketing is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll/Stand-Up Comedy/Black/Whatever. Hooray! Listen to their songs and getcha free song here!
>So after frothing at the mouth a bit yesterday over Band Of The Day Indica Ritual, here’s hoping for something a little less mentalistic and more soothing today. And that’s exactly what Today’s New Band, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, are. In many ways, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin are perfect A New Band A Day fodder – in so much that they fulfil all these precise and extensive A.N.B.A.D. criteria:
a) The band has great tunes; and, for bonus marks,
b) The band has needlessly complicated/amusing/pun-laden name.
Obviously a) is the most important parameter, but SSLYBY (much easier to type) don’t disappoint on either count. Oregon Girl is one of those Byrds-y, 80’s-Indie-y, Teenage Fanclub-y songs that sounds like it’s a breeze to write, but isn’t. It’s a fantastic, fleet-footed dash of a song that touches all four corners of Jangly Summer Rock, and then goes around again on an excited lap of honour.
In fact, SSLYBY are so relentlessly upbeat that they make a song titled Think I Wanna Die sound like exactly the sort of song you’d want to listen to whilst driving a convertible down Highway 1 to Big Sur. Best of all might be the soaring Glue Girls, which is a happy, swift spin of fun.
SSLYBY are from a town called Springfield. Insert your own half-hearted Simpsons reference here. Then when you’re done, listen to their super summer songs, right here!
>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.**
>What is it to be called ‘Indie’ today? Everyone’s Indie now, bastardising this once hard-earned tag and using it as a selling point as if it was another adjective in an estate agent’s brochure. The Kooks are now probably associated most closely with ‘Indie Rock’ in many people’s minds, and that tells a whole sob-worthy story in itself.
So describing a band as having a 90’s-Indie-feel could seem like a criticism, but in the case of today’s new band, The Last Army, it’s a re-affirmation of how indie music once was. As an output of music, The Last Army has a strange mix – songs are sung by the male or female members of the group, and these respective songs sound quite different. On their MySpace page, listen to Submit to the Chemical and Little Soldiers Hold On to see what I mean. Then, like in science class at school, compare and contrast, and draw your own conclusions. My minor teenage infatuation with Elastica probably drew me blindly towards the female-led ones.
Their love of Indie shines through – and to top everything, Submit… is upbeat, jangly and even has the classic Indie spoken-word section. Perhaps then, The Last Army are a kind of Pick ‘n’ Mix Indie band – choose the songs which suit your Indie needs the most, and enjoy – the blending of 90’s sounds with Noughties consumerist choice.
FACT FANS: The word ‘Indie’ was used 10 times in this post. Oh, that’s 11 now, actually. 12 if you count the tags.