Memo and Lies, Lies, Lies

Memo is a big fat LIAR. Let’s not beat around the bush. On his Myspace page, he claims, spuriously, that he was the drummer in Def Leppard, knows ex-Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, and is a tenant of Chuck Norris’.

Claims of such celebrity dalliances are not only perversely 80’s in their outlook, but mere fibs in comparison to the biggest lie he’s managed to propagate: that his output is so prodigious that next time you visit his Myspace page, the songs you loved last time may have all been replaced by new ones.

In a display of real cunning, this claim seems backed up by hard fact: when I listened to lighter-than-air pop shuffle A Minha Son today, the stats read Plays: 0. We are dealing with a dangerous mind here.

Dangerous, but clever. A Minha Son is sharp in execution and gossamer-thin in its design: coolly pretty, distantly alluring and crystalline in poise.

Memo – A Minha Son

It sounds like all the French pop songs you always wanted to like but couldn’t quite – but better. Waif-like, full of love; angular and brilliant.

After all this, ask yourself the question: what is truth? And what is it worth? These are philosophical times, friends. Why even bother caring – let’s just take it all at face value.

And so: Memo is a minor genius, and his vanishing-songs trick will ensure your life is always enriched with a new, obtuse, quirky, song.

>Duzheknew? And other pertinent questions – answered!

Duzheknew? Thank you, Adam O’Reilly (for it is he) for creating the band name which writes it’s own headlines.

But past-tense befuddlement aside, Duzheknew seems to have a firm handle on what he’s doing. His songs are… well, just right. They are sharp and acidic and tart. They are focussed and have all the fat cut off. This bodes well.

It Came Out The Other Side, OK trembles with nervous ambition – a jittering, jerky song. It’s a bloodletting, an easing of tension, that shows Duzheknew to be an artist of some ability. The song shines and fades, gives and takes – and we hang on every word, eager to experience the climax.

Duzheknew – It Came Out The Other Side, OK

When it comes, it’s not the explosion anticipated, but a more economically restrained finish. After the building and building, we are buzzing too feverishly to feel let down by such teasing, and too pleased by the preceding sounds to care.

Duzheknew gingerly cribs a snippet of Talking Heads and a sliver of Pavement, but has a swivelling eye scouring everywhere else for ideas too. It’s tough to predict anyone’s path in any instance, but if Duzheknew keeps going, something interesting will happen. Perhaps he knews this already. Sorry, knows. Good stuff indeed.

>Today’s New Band – Special Benny

A bands’ sound matters. Well, it doesn’t, of course – this is rock and roll, yeah? – but it does. Look: as much as Steve Albini insists he’s a recording engineer, simply allowing a band to sound as they themselves desire, and not acting as their producer, he can’t ignore artists repeatedly choosing him in the hope a bit of that wonderful Albini sound – and there is one – rubs off onto their work too.

Bands always want to sound like themselves, but can’t help being swayed by the golden idea of having their hi-hats sound a bit like the ones on In Utero too.

Today’s New Band probably admire Albini as much as any other indie band, but don’t have too many sonic associations with Big Black. They sound slick – a word hung heavy with terrible Kenny G associations – but slick they are. I hope Special Benny aren’t offended by that description. By slick, I mean ‘competent, confident and crystallised’, which perhaps would have been a better starting point.

As it begins, Air Filter is rich and delicious and swirling, like Italian ice cream, so when it splits unexpectedly into a sax break (oh yes!), it’s a huge drum-battering shock. Drums and Phase, indulgent, peculiar and smooth, ought to be unlovable, but will win you over by sheer force of charm.

Like Hunger, it’s dinner party music in it’s most palatable, endearing form, chirpy, alive and fun – which so little ‘serious’ music is. The arrangement almost dips into Shoegaze territory, swooping and lush. “If you’re hungry you can feed on my flesh” is the only, poignant, strange lyric.

Special Benny deserve attention because of their obtuse positioning in the indie rock world. Their songs won’t – can’t – please everyone, but they’re hard to hate; and so are interesting: another word loaded with cruel complication but not a word that could be used with regards to many bands. Listen and judge.

>Today’s New Band – Alan MX!

>Now and again, a band or artist pokes a hole through the beige dullness that is the musical space-time continuum. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve done anything particularly inventive – anyone can play a bunch of samples in a semi-random order and cause ears to prick up – but Today’s New Band innovates, teasing something new out of the limp heap that is pop music.

This wet finger in the ear of drab musical ordinariness is Alan MX, whose music is skewed, restrained, and new. Warpsicord is one of the most accurately descriptive song titles you’ll find – a song that forces mutations from simple musical instrumental sounds. This is where awkwardness and lushness overlap, creating its own musical Venn diagram.

Captain America Video tickles Twee-Pop, Lo-Fi, swooning instrumentation, thumping disco pop and twitchy laptop fiddling, but doesn’t linger near any of them for too long. Songs like Flesh Emergency are a delight – airy, shiny and sleazy all at once. His songs never trip over their own strangeness, but create their own space where it all just seems right.

Scuttling to form his own path, Alan MX‘s music is unusual enough to live and clever enough to thrive. Lovely. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Plastiq Passion PLUS! Christmas! Again!

>As is customary, nay, legally required, of all music writers, after spending the whole year complaining of bands’ artistic freedom being compromised by blithe pigeon-holing and categorisation, right at the end of it, they join in by listing, categorising and ordering then by rank. So, not wanting to miss out on this playground popularity contest, next week will feature the A New Band A Day Christmas List-stravaganza! Lists! Rankings! Hopeless Justification of both! Hooray!

Until then, have one more new band, before the maelstrom of Christmas/New Year takes over. Plastiq Passion are from New York, and just as Sweden is the Mothership of jangly guitar pop, so NYC is the epicentre of guitar bands with urgency and guile. Their songs are direct and slightly anarchic. You’d want to be best friends with them, whilst being careful never give them your address.

Taut, driving, passive-aggressive rock song I Can’t Wait is waiting for you in a dark corner, fingering a pool ball in a sock – you know, just in case. It’s the sound of a band who are just about to burst out in a shock of noise and light, but don’t because they want to keep you on your toes.

I Said is pleading and almost gentle, though the edge of danger is still there. Plastiq Passion‘s songs are simple, thrusting and sexy, somehow. Plastiq Passion can join the list of bands that make their British counterparts feel a bit inadequate, because they can’t carry off cool quite so effortlessly, and end up looking like try-hard crazies. (Hello, again, to Jonny Borrell from Razorlight). A nice, look-over-your-shoulder way to end the year. Listen to them here!

Oh, and a monster thanks to everyone who’s emailed in wishing ANBAD and team a Happy Christmas! If you’d like to give us a Christmas present, why not recommend us to friends who’d like our unique combination of new bands and mangled metaphors? We’d be ever so grateful, and not the fake kind of grateful either, like when your crazy aunt gives you an awful item of clothing for the 15th year running.

PS STILL not done your Christmas shopping? In a barely-suppressed frenzy of gift-less worry? Recession biting hard? Why not give the gift of shambolic writing, pun-obsession and ace new bands in the form of the ANBAD eBook? Perfect for whiling away those post-Christmas food-rammed days!

>Today’s New Band – Padre Pio

>Bands have perceived connections with the past whether you, or they, want them or not. If yesterday’s new band, Saboteur, reminded us of the 90’s – if not in sound, at least in spirit – then Today’s New Band, Padre Pio, simply reek of the 70’s and 80’s, sonically and, quite possibly, intellectually.

And if that has conjured up images of 70’s wank-rock or 80’s poodle-hair-rock, then a) wash your mind with bleach; no-one deserves to inflict that kind of mental torture to themselves, and b) instead think of when rock was a bit luxuriant, asexual and gleaming. Think Bowie and Lou Reed. Think of druggy, sharp-suited excess and eyeshadow on men. Think of a time when rock wasn’t scruffy, but glistening with confidence.

Padre Pio‘s songs caress your eardrums with all of those things. Colour is a synthy glammy pop breeze, and Common Day is the great late 70’s New York song you’ve never heard. It also, against all odds, achieves rock’s most risky, difficult feat: a great Sax solo. Their songs are slightly pompous, eccentric and lithely predatory – all missing in most music now, and extremely welcome.

Surely Padre Pio aren’t going to be gazing at the stars forever, wondering when they can strut their stuff in, I like to imagine, delightfully-cut suits. A band this swooning and sexy has to, and deserves to, end up foppishly jostling with the big boys. Brill. Listen to them here!

P.S. As a side note, Padre Pio are, apparently, from Bushwick, in Brooklyn. This has no connection at all with rapper Bushwick Bill from the Geto Boys, but it’s still an excuse to show the cover of their album We Can’t Be Stopped, which features Bushwick Bill being rolled into hospital AFTER HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE EYE. Now that’s hardcore.