Yoofs: Slated

Ah, the hilarity to be found buried deep within the minutiae of legal disputes.

Yoofs should have been on ANBAD a week ago, but they promptly vanished from the internet on the day I was to write about them, and I was left hanging like a damp dishcloth over the cold tap of pop.

The reason behind their sudden departure from the internet? They had to change their name because someone else was already using it.

And what was that band-name causing such all-round grumpiness? AC Slater.

Yes, AC Slater, the character from heinous, preachy 90’s kids’ TV show Saved By The Bell. If I was the DJ causing this dispute, I might begin wondering when NBC’s lawyers come a-knocking.

Thus: Yoofs it is. It’s a better name, to be honest, so all’s well that ends well, right?

Oh, the music? It’s just what you’d expect from a band originally named after a generic ‘jock’ TV character: lo-fi, jangly, grunt-pop.


Drenched in splashy treble, pinging around in its own echodrome, Sidewalk is as bright-n-breezy a pop song as you’ll hear (this week, at least).

Shooting for the stars is hard when you’re trying to make it seem like you’re scratching around in the dust – but this is what Yoofs are doing, and it’s working well so far.

MORE: soundcloud.com/yoofs

Pixels, and How To Get Ahead In The Lucrative World Of Pop Music

For reasons unknown, I often get asked for advice from new bands. If they knew the truth – that I’m making it up as I’m going along, and so is everyone else – then they might not have bothered.

In the end, I relented, and interviewed a load of musical movers and shakers in Manchester, which resulted in this series of Edu-tainment ‘how-to’ articles on BBC Introducing, and this puff-piece on Amazing Radio about how not to annoy bloggers.

So, yes, it turns out that there are rules to follow – or at least truisms that generally work. The information is worth sharing, and I hope that, at the very least, new acts play fewer Battle Of The Bands nights as a result.

The caveat to all of the advice and techniques listed above is that occasionally someone like D/R/U/G/S saunters along, releases a load of songs online without fanfare, and then people start beating their door down, clutching handfuls of non-sequential banknotes.

Every music blogger reacts to a band’s approach differently. I can’t put my finger on the exact reasons, but when Terence from Pixels got in touch, I expected the worst. Sorry Terence. You’ll be as glad as I was to know that I was very, very wrong:

Maybe it was their photo? The description of their music? I don’t know – it was just a vague feeling. But Polythene smashed any doubts into smithereens and reminded me of the reasons I run ANBAD: to be happily surprised just in this manner.

Polythene somehow occupies half a dozen different pop genres all at once. Ostensibly a Vampire Weekend-ish pop number, on closer inspection it turns out to drag ideas from jangle-pop,with a vaguely hip-hop rhythm and an entirely disconnected outlook.

Pixels are from London and Liverpool, and, without wanting to generalise, take the boldness of the former and the unparalleled pop hooks of the other. Great.

More Pixels: soundcloud.com/pixelsmusic

We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves and Bloody Vengence

Time, it seems, really does change everything.

And having recently re-watched Taxi Driver, a movie that I viewed with greedy regularity as a teen, this truism was emphasised in a famously bloody manner. I used to regard Travis Bickle simply as a gun-happy nut-case – but this time he seemed a gun-happy nut-case for whom I felt vast pangs of sympathy and empathy.

This is a fairly major volte-face, but such is life’s ever-bewildering array of unexpected re-alignments. Take 80’s jangle-Indie, a genre of music that always had a foot firmly planted on the twin touchstones of miserablism and quasi-reluctant fun – but for its exponents at the time, probably only provided doses of one or the other.

Maybe We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves can utilise the chasm of time between then and now to recognise this and appreciate both at once. Their moniker is clearly ironic, or at least hopelessly misguided – songs like Miss Maris Morris is the sound of a band half-shaking off the societal shackles of self-consciousness and having a thoroughly good time.

Lifting sounds liberally and smartly from The Smiths‘ fey pop jangle, the song jerks with awkward abandon from one breathless, clammy chord-change to the next.

The bass is elastic and sprightly with puppy-dog enthusiasm, and the words are yelped with the happily careless nature of someone who is confident the world isn’t listening – except of course, that the world is listening, and they know it. Don’t let them fool you, too – We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves are a rousing, cheerful blast.


Evans The Death Are Not Hanson. ANBAD True Fact.

Whilst chatting to Matt from the ever-excellent Pigeon Post the other day, the conversation inevitably blundered over into the discussion of new bands. We both agreed that there are two horrible truths when it comes to wading through the daily submission pile: that we make our minds up within the first ten seconds, and that a snap analysis is made of the band’s members within the same time.

Evans The Death are one of the lucky few who get past the first few seconds. And my snap judgement? Nice middle class boys who’ve managed to bag a talented and attractive singer. Horrible, aren’t I?

Evans The Death // Sleeping Song

Before the band decide to hunt me down and beat me to a pulp with their school-bags, let me praise The Sleeping Song, a joyful slice of teenage enthusiasm with a chorus that arches in and out of the song with long, graceful swoops. Evans The Death could have been parachuted in from any point during Indie’s long-gone, greedily-scavenged and tremulously-held glory days: a rare achievement and testimony to their sharp song-writing.

The band only occasionally betrays their youthfulness, when songs breathlessly rush ahead, lungs bursting and eyes bulging. But this has never been a criticism of any band ever, except Hanson. And despite the presence of a blonde long-haired singer, Evans The Death are not Hanson. But they are lovely, graceful and sharp. Their mothers can be proud.


The Martial Arts: A One-Inch Punch Aimed At Early Middle Age

I interviewed Egyptian Hip Hop the other night,and happily, they proved to be thoughtful, intelligent and as excruciatingly talented as they were excruciatingly young.

Being facile of mind though, I spent most of the interview trying to guess exactly just how young they were – and here’s the answer: young enough to make me feel like an unhip uncle meeting nephews at a wedding and attempting to chat about ‘what music you’re into’. [Full results from this interview coming soon.]

Youth isn’t everything, I kept repeating to myself, as I sobbed all the way home. The Martial Arts aren’t young by Egyptian Hip Hop standards. But then again, who is?

True, they stretch the definition of ‘New Band’ somewhat, having been knocking around for a couple years, but when another band strides forth from Glasgow, that hotbed of youthful, tuneful, jangly musical talent, it’s wise to listen.

The Martial Arts – Don’t Want To Talk

The Martial Arts arrive clutching melodies that are dizzyingly contorted and satisfyingly sweet –  a bit like a giant Indie Curly-Wurly.

Don’t Want To Talk is insistent, rousing and yes – youthful: brimming with young confidence, it takes a melancholy subject matter and spins it into a sweet shanty, Liverpudlian, simple and true.

Here is 2’30” of exemption from age, real life, or any other concerns. The Martial Arts‘ trick is to provide respite from a world addicted to youth by using their nagging, charming songs to pull their listeners right back to the younger days. Like, weird, man. Lovely.


>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 – The Candle Thieves

There’s an inherent problem with the Tweecore musical genre, as spearheaded by tinkly Welsh poppers Los Campesinos. It’s that the word ‘Twee’ hasn’t often been used as a positively descriptive word very often.

Twee songs work for a while, and then become so sickly, so wholesome and so…. twee that you start to feel a bit uncomfortable, like when you’ve eaten too much chocolate on Christmas day. There’s not much room for variety when an artist is constrained by such narrow, wide-eyed and sugary parameters.

Today’s New Band, The Candle Thieves, couldn’t really be described as Tweecore, though they are overflowing with cute melodies, toy instrument sounds and a faux-naif outlook, which perhaps makes them distant Twee cousins.

The Sunshine Song is silvery bright, a slinky jangle punctuated with confused sax squawks, and plinking piano. Sharks and Bears, a small paean to uncomfortable dreams, is light, bright and sincere, even.

I spent a while wondering why I wasn’t connecting with these songs in quite the way I’d hoped. Then I realised: The Candle Thieves make children’s music, as intended for adults. This is a complex dichotomy, though one that probably shouldn’t be thought about too much, for fear of headaches.

Their songs are sweet, short and simple. Oh, and then sweet, again. Individually, their songs are a sugary treat. A whole album might be saccharine overload, but that’s what happens if you eat the whole bag of Haribo in one sitting. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – The Tumbledryer Babies

>Returning back to the UK has been everything I expected, for good and bad. Cold winds, rain, baked beans on toast and football violence. They just don’t do those kind of things as well in continental Europe.

Proper Indie is something else that’s done better here. Wait – that’s not musical xenophobia – there’s loads of great bands abroad, it’s just that Britain seems to lead when it comes to that brand of songs recorded in bedrooms, by bands with unusual names, made up of pasty young men.

Let’s shoehorn Today’s New Band into that category, too. In all honesty, I’m not sure if The Tumbledryer Babies are actually pasty white youths, but it’s a reasonable gamble to assume so. Their songs are pitch-perfect Bedroom Indie – lo-fi and lo-budget; hi-invention and hi-fun. A song that snipes at the unfairly popular trendies: Predictable Teens. A song that celebrates the status of the uncool: Now The Geeks Have A Union.

Tell Me What To Do swivels an ironic eye to the past, nicking an old rock ‘n’ roll bassline, some ‘shoop-shoop’ backing vocals, and a twist on a traditional line – “He hit me and it didn’t really feel like a kiss”. But it’s no dumb pastiche – the song is either a wry glance at bands who slavishly follow a defined path to stardom, or a cute love song – I’m not sure which. I hope it’s the former, but would happily settle for the latter.

Evan Dando’s The Outdoor Type nicely apes and reverses the Lemonheads’ song – “I can’t go away with you on a rock-climbing weekend/What if something’s on TV that’s never on again?” The desire for a lazy, stay-at-home-and-play-records-and-videogames life is shared by plenty. The Tumbledryer Babies have a market to meet their songs, and they deserve to be heard outside of darkened bedrooms across the land. They make simple, natty songs about their simple, natty lives. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Crocodiles

>Has summer come or is this just a very warm, pleasant dream? Manchester, home of the grey sky, fine drizzle and more grey sky, has been bathing in glorious sunshine for the past few days. My fair skin has celebrated by turning an appropriately fiesta-hued red, but I don’t care. Sun is such a rarity in this part of the world that I’d be happy if I turned purple (and at this rate, that might just happen).

You might not expect a song called I Wanna Kill to be a summery, shimmering blast of jangly garage rock, but it is. Today’s New Band, Crocodiles, find a musical space between The Ronettes and Jesus And Mary Chain, and occupy it with swathes of feedback, echo and in-yer-face lethargy.

Proving that aggressive titles are clearly their forte, Summer Of Hate furthers Crocodiles’ pared-down rock ethos. They can make lines like “Pray that you’ll come round and scratch out my eyes” sound like sleepy, daydreaming wish-fulfilment.

Soft Skull and Screaming Chrome walk different paths around the same noise-rock mountain. The destination is the same too – songs that radiate both danger and warmth. The soundtrack to a relaxing day on the beach or drug-fuelled paranoia, or both. Listen to Crocodiles 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…