Damien*, and Gushing Praise of Epic, Breathless Proportions

Corrr, I tell you what: after a few spins, the new Four Tet album has revealed itself to be a really lovely album. A coiling, Mobius-strip album of sauna-warmth, tangerine-orange sunset glare and organic beauty.

It’s Snivilisation-era Orbital crossed with any-era Boards of Canada crossed with golden, gloopy warmth.

Listening to it is like having a hundredweight of warm, golden, microscopically-granulated mica poured over your naked body; glistening, silver, dazzling, dense.

Well, follow that, Damien*. It’s true that superlatives have been bandied around on ANBAD before, but that was an especially breathless gush.

Fortunately, Damien*, a band whose name suggests that there’s an adjunct lingering at the bottom of every article written about them, are different enough to Four Tet to not stand comparison.

Damien* // Lesser Thoughts

Lesser Th0ughts is a straightfoward song in many ways. Sonic experimentation is not neccessarily the order of the day here, but it doesn’t need to be when you’ve written a good Indie pop song.

Especially so when that song builds and builds from simple chiming guitar beginnings into a rage of bulldozing guitar grime.

Italian guitar pop seems to be reinvigorating itself, if not re-inventing. But the simple things don’t need re-invention. Damien* know the visceral thrills of a good song, and craft them lovingly, brightly and well. Nice.


>My Awesome Mixtape, and How Faux-Nostalgia Never Had To Press Pause/Play Between The Fade In/Out

I’m old enough to remember actually making mixtapes and feel slightly aggrieved at the spasms of faux-nostalgia that accompany their mention now.

There’s a reason no-one’s made a mixtape for about 15 years, and I don’t recognise their creation being the winsome TDK C90-flavoured labour of love that’s bandied around now.

For anyone under the age of 18 who would like an accurate portrayal of the grim reality of the task; imagine a Spotify playlist, and then imagine spending about three hours to compile and record it, to write down the songs on a minuscule rectangle of card, and then to present it nervously to a girl who doesn’t even like you anyway.

So, when faced with a band called My Awesome Mixtape, I’d expect a C86 – Twee Pop Lo-Fi throwback band too. And, not for the first time, I was wrong. Playing songs called Me And The Washing Machine apparently confirms any bedroom-Indie preconceptions, and yet My Awesome Mixtape make shiny, luxurious pop.

Me And The Washing Machine

A song that ponders such mundanities as ‘you and me and the laundry’ does dip a toe into fey Indie waters, but this navel-gazing sits at odds with a manically bouncy Euro disco beat which courses through the song like a day-glo spinal column.

And How The Feet Touch The Ground yearns, hopes and swoons – an untainted, charming peek at love, and hope, and worry.

My Awesome Mixtape are from Bolognia, and so are inherently touched with the wonderful chaos that permeates Italian life. Their songs try to run in half a dozen directions all at once, clutching on the way at cute pop, Euro-disco, and sharp Scandinavian folk. Perhaps that Mixtape moniker isn’t that ill-founded after all. Delightful.

Apologies for late post today – ANBAD’s web server (Dreamhost, FYI) died for a while

>Today’s New Band – Max With Max

>”Trams! Inaugural trams!” squeaked Super Furry Animals recently in their song, er, Inaugural Trams. It is one of the few songs that fully celebrates the unbridled joys of rail travel. Trains, despite the inevitable delays, the woeful onboard food and the crummy stations, are still the superior method of transport.

Sitting at a desk with a cool drink; to be able to get up and go to the loo as and when your bladder desires; flirting with a recently-boarded and now concerned stranger; watching a beautiful series of Welsh valleys huff past your window – you just don’t find those options presenting themselves to you when you’re stuck in traffic at Junction 17 on the M6. And it is always Junction 17 of the M6.

Baalial, by Today’s New Band, Max With Max, has a train-like quality. It clanks with the soothing/jarring repetition of a train carriage, and has the menacing intent of a large, impossibly heavy vehicle moving at 150 MPH. Talhis Iblis is positively playful in comparison, shimmering and twittering, and flipping in some ingenious noises that are half bleep, half human voice.

Angra Mainyu wallops you upside the head with manic jabbering, speeding up, slowing down; a burst of crazy inventive energy.

Hearing Max With Max like listening to a scrambled mobile phone message and finding that the encryption has accidentally created a beautiful musical mess. Sweet, sweet insanity. Listen here!

>Jack Nicholson, Boxing and Today’s New Band – Genio and Ginesio

>Here at A New Band A Day, we like to think that we’re cocky and hard, a bit like Robert DeNiro in Mean Streets, whereas actually we’re the wussy streaks of Indie piss that you’d have imagined. To counter this innate sense of wimpish patheticness, we all stayed up until well past our bedtimes to watch the Calzaghe vs Jones Jnr fight over the weekend.

The idea of being a boxer is quite attractive in some ways – who wouldn’t like to be a mass of muscle, quick reactions and bloody cuts? Plus, soaking up all that female adulation kind of compensates for all those brain cells that get squished every time you step into the ring.

As much as I’d like to see Tom Chaplin from Keane – the most terrifyingly middle class band alive – plonked into a sparring session with Joe Calzaghe, I know it’s not going to happen. Rock stars are wusses. That’s why they’re rock stars in the first place, see – being a rock star is the wimp’s alternative to being a boxer. You get a chance to grab all the attention, women and admiration, but without the hours of blood, sweat and tears.

And talking of wanting attention, welcome Genio and Ginesio, who say that making music is their third love, after sex and football. This seems a fairly reasonable ranking in the grand scheme of things. Their remix of Articolo 31‘s Voglio Una Lurida is frighteningly jolly. Listening to it is like being attacked with marshmallows, aggressive in its mission to cheer you up. The song itself will leech imperceptibly into your brain and then burrow its way so far in you’ll be whistling its weird regga/gabba (reggabba?) refrain all day long.

Genio and Ginesio‘s trick is to take a great song and flip its constituent components around. This sounds like a simple game to play, but is fraught with hazards – the most troublesome being the danger that the resulting new song will be worse than the original. They dodge this successfully – and turn the Beastie BoysSo What’cha Want into a big, rumbling and humming electro crusierweight of a song, light enough to move and heavy enough to hurt.

If being a musician makes you a boxer by proxy – a proxy boxer, if you will – then it must make us listeners the equivalent of Jack Nicholson cosying up to some fashion models in the ringside seats. That makes me happy. Grab a supermodel, a cigar and listen to Genio and Ginesio here!