>Today’s New Band – The Ribbon PLUS! Change! Good! Change! Bad!

>Change. Mmmm, threatening the status quo. Except the change that took place in the USA yesterday is almost universally seen as A Good Thing. Actually, if the band Status Quo had been threatened, my opinion on Obama would have worsened considerably. Listen, Barack, put the economy right, chit-chat with Iran and save the ozone layer all you like, but don’t mess around with Britain’s greatest two-chord, crank-em-out, denim-clad, pub-rock merchants.

Wait, i got sidetracked there a bit. But the point about change being good yesterday still stands (and so does the one about Francis Rossi et al). Usually, people get a bit edgy when it’s mentioned. Just look what happened when Kiss took off their make-up. Their most knuckle-dragging fans got all uppity, as if the face paint shtick wasn’t, you know, getting a bit old by then.

So change in rock ‘n’ roll is bad – except of course it isn’t. After all, who wouldn’t rejoice if Oasis decided to try something new for once, rather than twist the dial on the Noel-O-Tronic computer (which I suspect replaced the real thing ages ago) to the “Generic sing-along melodic rock” setting?

You get the feeling that Today’s New Band, The Ribbon, won’t ever get stuck in a rut. Their brilliant ephemeral songs are too light, too deft and too pure to ever get dull. Sometimes you can catch glimpses of the home-spun qualities of The Knife in The Ribbon, which is as good a start as you could hope for really.

Songs like Clikclikclik start small, a cluster of clicky loops, and then build and build until a whole song has appeared piece by tiny, twitching piece. Angels Elders Animals hovers so lightly and temptingly in your ears that it leaves you flustered. Attaching tiny bells to a hummingbird’s wings might replicate the sound.

Displaying a delicacy, sureness and sense of fragile grandeur that a hundred two-bit ‘electronic’ bands would kill for, The Ribbon are several agile, artful and well-placed steps ahead so many others, it’s silly.

They’re also the second wildly inventive band this week, after Monday’s Here We Go Magic. As such, they are recommended so wholeheartedly that we at ANBAD feel appropriately smug. Escape to The Ribbon‘s music quick, before we get depressingly obstreperous*!

*Thank you, Thesaurus.com

>Today’s New Band – Here We Go Magic PLUS! Marlon Brando!

>If you watch On The Waterfront, like I did yesterday, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a rare movie of real brilliance. Marlon Brando, in his handsome, quirky youth, has huge impact during the film – impact that even a non-movie buff like me can see. His characterisation of Terry Malloy seems ‘real’ and convoluted in comparison to the relatively staid movie traditions that dictate the rest of the film’s pace and feel.

As such, Brando straddles the old cinema and a whole new type of cinema within one role, within one movie, and you can see it happening right in front of you as you watch. Some bands do the same thing.

Witness The Beatles (them again) zipping from ragged, hormonal rock ‘n’ roll to the lucid insanity of the St. Pepper’s era within a decade. See Public Enemy (them again, too) hopping from rapping about cars over lumpy beats to dazzlingly fierce, angry noise and free-wheeling, intelligent lyricism in the space of an album.

These bands were driven by a desire to do something differently; to stand near the edges of acceptance and have faith that when they kept pushing into the new, the results will be worth it. Not all bands that do this become Public Enemy, but the very fact they’re still trying in a time when mass-conformity is an easier route than ever is enough.

So here’s hoping, as we hope with every band on ANBAD, that Today’s New Band, Here We Go Magic, make similar giant steps. They’re from Brooklyn and are the kind of excitingly well-formed, forward-looking band that makes trudging through all the average bands’ MP3s worthwhile.

Like most really good bands, on their recordings they sound like they’re playing just next to you, except they couldn’t really do that, as their sound is too coiled with thrilling complexity. Songs like Tunnelvision are like a breeze of cool air on a sticky day, refreshing, natural and alive.

Fangela is so soft and dreamy that blissful sleep might be induced in all it’s listeners at the point where the song brilliantly slumps into an organised jumble of cascading sound. Both Of Us, howling with rounds of feedback, is a step on from the kind of sonic experimentation that Spiritualized used to be so good at, repeating variations on the same sound again and again and again until they mean something special.

It’s hard to imagine who could be so cold hearted and lacking in heart to not love Here We Go Magic. Delicate, bold and inventive, the sounds they make will linger in your head long after you’ve heard them; if the melodies themselves don’t loop crazily in your memory, then the feeling they induced will. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Check them out here!

>Today’s New Band – Ghetto Mullet – PLUS! Morris Dancing and Charlatans

>There was a girl who I met at art college. Her name was Laura, and she managed to be both swaggeringly masculine (her haircut, her demeanour, her clothes) and sweetly feminine (big coy brown eyes, cute cheekbones and pink lips) all at once. One of the things that I remember the most is that she told me that her favourite band of all time – of all time – was The Charlatans.

The Charlatans are a strange lot. They’re one of those bands that nearly attained greatness, but never quite got there. From their baggy roots, through their middle (and best) stage as 60’s-ish rockers, to the soul-y rock that they make now, they’ve always nearly been the best, but not quite. I can’t imagine anyone ever placing them as their favourite band, and yet I knew someone who told me that they were.

This just goes to demonstrate again that taste is subjective, and is one of the main reasons I love writing about new bands. I genuinely hope that not all of bands on ANBAD are liked by you ANBAD readers, but I do hope that the ones that you do like make a real connection.

So with that in mind, maybe you’ll like Today’s New Band, Ghetto Mullet, and maybe you won’t. But we hope you’ll listen to them all the same, so that you can find out.

When they’re not conjuring up images of business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back hairdos, Ghetto Mullet make similarly business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back instrumental hip-hop. It’s a sound that you’ll know almost straight away whether you ‘get’ it or not – you could either find it to be the kind of music that is perfect for a certain mood, or you could find that no mood you ever have will fit. Who knows.

Ghetto Mullet are great music to listen to as you concentrate on something else. That is meant as a compliment. To my ears, Rampant Thought is complicatedly twitchy and involving, yet nicely disassociated from the need for direct, concentrated thought. Arriving in Obscurity exists in a fug of scratches, radio fuzz and tape hiss, and similarly Feel It, probably Ghetto Mullet‘s most arresting song, thunders along with samples of radio bleeps, and what might be the sound of someone thumping a dustbin.

Today’s Lesson: Just ‘cos you don’t like the sound of it doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t love it. A bit like Morris Dancing, only less humiliating, and with fewer bells, sticks and hankies. Ghetto Mullet: possible Morris Dancers for the 21st Century! Listen here!

>Christmas Day, Deep Sleep and Today’s New Band – Kaisonia

>I slept really well last night. REALLY well. One of those deep sleeps where it feels like your body is slowly sinking, forever, into a pile of goose feathers and dreams are about marshmallows, bunny rabbits and cotton wool. Hence I woke feeling as relaxed as George Michael behind the wheel of his Range Rover.

I don’t know if my mind just took pity on me, or the deep slumber meant that it wasn’t awake quick enough to being inflicting annoyance on me again, but instead of having the usual dreadful novelty pop hit stuck on repeat in my brain, I awoke with Saint Etienne’s I Was Born On Christmas Day lodged defiantly between my ears.

This kind of good fortune only happens once in a while, so I greedily capitalised on it by watching the video over and over again on Youtube, just to cement it in place. It’s a lovely song, without irony or pretence, and is coyly romantic and twee, without plunging into cloyingness. Tim Burgess from The Charlatans is in it too, which just about knocks it into ‘perfect pop song’ territory.

Today’s New Band is a bit of a stark contrast to St. Etienne. Kaisonia, not to be confused with ANBAD alumni Kaiton, makes spacey, drifting music that, as a quick glance at their Myspace page might infer, is particularly intergalactic. If I was being glib (and I am) I’d say that Kaisonia is a bit like the Orb, but more… now.

In fact, if you are stuck in a slight sugar-rush pop buzz at the moment and need to shift your attention before you listen to the same song 15 times in a row (see footnote), Kaisonia might be your first port of call. Their music might well be the audio equivalent of a hot bath and a foot massage.

It’s difficult, and possibly pointless, when reviewing bands like this (see also: Boards of Canada and their ilk), to isolate individual track and comment on them. This sort of lilting, ethereal music doesn’t fit into, and isn’t restrained by, a traditional short-song format. It’s more satisfying to take the string of songs as a whole, and judge the experience as you go along. In this context, Kaisonia are fabulously weird, dream-like and rigidly loose, if you see what I mean.

You’d be daft (and infinitely less ‘chilled, maaaan’) if you didn’t dip your toe into Kaisonia‘s pool. So do so, here. Oh, and judging by their website, that pool might be a molten sulphur lake on Venus. Just so you know.

N.B. Prior to the writing of this post, Joe listened to I Was Born On Christmas Day 15 times in a row. Yikes.

>Weddings, The Chuckle Brothers and Today’s New Band – Dada Yakuza

>I’ve got to the age where all of your friends start to get married. At the weekend, I’m going to my third one this year. There was supposed to be a fourth, but the bride and groom-to-be got stroppy and split up. Once my initial disappointment at the vanished possibility of a free bar subsided, I was actually quietly pleased. Three weddings in one year is exhausting enough. God knows what it’s like for the bride and groom themselves (and that sentence, I’ve just realised, works both as a rhetorical musing and a statement).

From what I’ve seen this year, weddings are usually 10% for the couple’s benefit and 90% for everyone else’s. You might want to get married whilst wingwalking on a biplane over the Grand Canyon, dressed as Paul and Barry Chuckle, but the hard-earned familial clout of Auntie Mabel and Granny Ethel’s desire for a church wedding with meringue dresses will usually win out.

It makes me wonder if this same dilemma is broached by bands. Sure, most bands at the start just ‘play what we like playing, so if anyone else likes it, that’s a bonus,’ and most of them trot out that banality to the NME with ever-impressive gusto. But some bands must arrive at a point where they start playing to the gallery, or else there would be no explanation for Coldplay‘s transformation from mildly-interesting indie band to world-straddling MOR, AOR behemoth.

I think Today’s New Band, Dada Yakuza, are an example of a band that does both. It has to be for the crowd – music this brilliantly mental can only be designed with a roomful of heaving, sweaty bodies in mind. BUT – their music is so un-selfconscious in its slavish devotion to just getting on the dancefloor that it’s not worried about what other people think.

Perhaps they’ve managed to straddle the divide. Perhaps they don’t even think about it in the first place. Perhaps I’m just trying to read too much into their fabulously BANGIN’ CHOONZ.

With the latter thought in mind, it would be unfair to delve any further into their music, other than to say, it’s wonderfully messy, loud, ridiculous and stupid, in all the best kind of ways. Dada Yakuza are noisy, hard, carefree and intent on having a good time, and if you can find a better way to end the week then don’t click here. But I bet you can’t.

>Today’s New Band – Chrik

>Jazz, as we all know, and have touched upon before on A New Band A Day, is the last refuge of the untalented. Maybe it’s a bit like golf and opera, in that the thought of partaking in it becomes more tempting as you get older. The element of Jazz which is enticing, I suppose, is the free-form, deliberate, structurally-deformed part. This idea has been applied to rock by a whole load of bands, who, for their efforts, were then horribly lumbered with the tag of ‘Post-Rock’.

Today’s New Band, Chrik, aren’t post-rock, but do share an ethos with Mogwai et al. Their music though, is less wide-open and grand, and more youthful, energetic and sprightly; just like in their song Ben Nevis – an enjoyable zoom through changing landscapes, never becoming truly wearisome – much like a stroll around the mountain* itself.

Their songs wander without meandering aimlessly – some feat considering the sheer volume of tedious crud of the same ilk out there. Clicksticks or Stickclicks is a genuinely lovely, slow-burning, tinkling song that loops around itself like a happy Boa Constrictor.

Jazz for The Youth Of Today? Maybe, but then Chrik are entirely enjoyable, which is an immediate improvement. Listen to them here!

And incidentally, yes, the name ‘Chrik‘ is a portmanteau of the two names of band members, Chris and Rik. POP FACT.

*it’s just a big hill, let’s face it

COMING NEXT WEEK: A New Band A Day’s 100th band! Stay tuned for Centenary Celebrations!