MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 5th January 2011

New year, new rules. The ANBAD Donkey (see Midweek Mixtapes passim) has been kindly retired.

Spending that long hovering in mid-air, whilst enduring various topically tedious photoshopped additions has left that particular ass exhausted. He is now convalescing in a lovely green field where James Blunt songs are played 24 hours a day.

His endlessly competent replacement, Lt. Frank Drebin, will ponder an alternative CD each week before plumping for the ANBAD Midweek Mixtape instead.

Speaking of which…

FIRST! Mind Enterprises will give you their EP in return for a tweet. How very now. Too High is a song that is worth at least a tweet, or even two: it has a precocious lollop and swing that few can emulate. Like listening to wind-chimes through a traffic cone on a hot day. Excellent.

SECOND! Hope’s Wake sound a bit gloomy, don’t they? And you’d be right, kind-of. Our Own Road sounds like a miserable plod through a boggy field, but actually spouts thoughts of hope and love. Boggy fields are misty, dewy and invigorating in the right conditions. Quite lovely.

THIRD! Are Old And Gray actually middle aged? No-one knows. But in songs as confident and endearing as Overwhelmed, they certainly bely their life-experience. This is a song of soft caresses, warm harmonies and gorgeous, syrup-slick voices that meanders wildly yet finds its target with ease. A delight.

FINALLY! Amor Jones It’s a sad truth that there’s very little hip-hop on ANBAD – and it’s not for want of trying, honest. It’s just that I feel so… disconnected from hip-hop these days. I can stop whining now though, because Amor Jones’ Right Now is the most exuberantly fun song I’ve heard for ages. In a world of bland ‘n’ insulting idiot-hop, Amor Jones has made a song that lives, breathes and skips, all the while with a smile on his face. Ace!

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 24th November 2010

This week my ears have been kindly plagued by The PixiesTrompe Le Monde, an album that suddenly, pointlessly, emerged from the Pile Of Albums Past and thrilled me all over again. I love it when that happens. Little Eiffel! Little Eiffel!

The ANBAD Donkey gets Black Francisised to celebrate. And now here’s a mixtape, chiefly to remind me that there is still new music out there:

FIRST! The Speechless Radio is an inherently absurd conceit, like a beef-less cow or Sarah Palin without Satan’s icy manipulative hand. Distant Homes II may be a compilation of many individual tracks, or may be a long song of many components, all of which – equally absurdly – work so well I feel like hugging someone and discussing at length why people don’t make 10-minute songs more often.

SECOND! Arp Attack‘s name caused an instant mental leap to Beastie Boys’ Heart Attack Man, and it is through that snot-punk window that Arp Attack’s Electro-pop was viewed. If anything, it’s to their credit that they survived the comparison, but his is probably to do with the fact that their electro-pop songs like Sugar Cane are actually very likeable, as opposed to the turgid majority. Nice.

THIRD! Glass Ankle – if boxers have glass jaws, do kick-boxers have Glass Ankles? Such questions rankle, but dissipate quickly as songs like Kyo wa ii hi (今日はいい日) veer cheerfully between straightforward folk and something a bit more special. You’ll come for the folk, but stay for the imperceptibly affecting emotional yearning.

FOURTH! Future Cop! doesn’t look like any sort of police officer at all. I don’t even think this has anything to do with Peter Weller. I think they might be having us on. You’ll need more than 20 seconds to comply with their songs, super-slick with an unabashed disco sheen and high on hi-hats, synths and maybe life itself. Happy happy joy joy.
FIFTH! Humanizer make the kind of big, shameless, thudding dance tracks that don’t get made too often now, in case their makers get compared to Leftfield. Like that’s a bad thing. Shinobi may or may not have anything to do with the Sega videogame of the same name, but it takes me back to my youth regardless. CHOOOON!

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 10th November 2010

Twitter has brought us many, many wonderful things. I don’t need to list them – you’re probably tweeting your favourite celeb right now. However, this week, thanks to the combined tweets of @ryanpitchfork and @daverawkblog, I managed to view hopefully-fake, hi-res, super-veiny photos of Kanye’s meat and two veg. Thanks guys. The ANBAD Donkey celebrates in kind.

FIRST! Golden Glow was one of the many artists I wholly intended on catching at the In The City festival but didn’t for one reason or another (NB – probably due to watching D/R/U/G/S again). However, I did bump into Pierre Hall, AKA Golden Glow, just after No Age had rattled my eardrums, and I promised I’d write about him. I then promptly forgot.


Adore Me doesn’t try anything obviously new – there is no discernible Witch House influence, for example – but in truth Pierre has found a bright, warm, mega-watt take on the same guitar, bass and drums set-up that so many are using nefariously at the moment. Hail, then, one of the brave few who are using instruments as instruments, as opposed to quasi-posing devices. Good stuff.

SECOND! Hi-Horse, simply by hailing from Helsinki, means that you can safely assume that theirs is a brand of super-jangly pristine power pop, right? Well, for once, no. 7th Street Ninjas is a song more in tune with clattering Americana – as wide, open and expansive as the Mojave desert. And yet… the chord changes are just too delightful to be from anywhere else other than Finland. Lovely.

THIRD! The Paraffinsnow that’s more like it. ANBAD has been missing its regular dose of stupefying mentalism, and here, on screaming, thrashing and head-hammering songs like People Like You, The Paraffins kindly deliver. Don’t judge wholly on the freak-outs: songs like Something Good are deft, sweet and charming (and mental). Brilliant.

FOURTH! Magical Beast might well be the Jabberwock himself for all I can glean from mind-altering bursts of alien creativity like Kidmurmur, a lovely song that sounds like half a dozen other lovely songs all played at once. Structure is clearly an overrated concept in Magical Beast’s world, though on this evidence, it’s hard to argue on the contrary. A bewildering delight.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 27th October 2010

John Peel’s anniversary was a couple of days ago, and, like everyone else over the age of 25, I joined in the happy reminiscing. The only person who influenced my musical education as much as him was my dad, and that was partly because he was a John Peel devotee too. Today, the ANBAD Donkey celebrates a hero.


FIRST! Basketball have been on ANBAD before, but that doesn’t preclude their inclusion here – when a song like Suspiros de Chile plops into your lap, sharing with the wider world is not so much an option as a requirement.

Basketball – Suspiros de Chile

Lunacy reigns here, and the band are happy to be swept along by a tide of manic beats, crazed fiesta vocals and wholly spectacular chanting. Fireworks in pop-song form. Prepare to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’. Excellent.

SECOND! Hippo Campus songs are beamed in from the future. That’s the only explanation I can offer for songs like Cherries, which seem to be composed in a way that defies convention, if not logic. Perhaps the future is entirely peaceful because of these songs, just like in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It wouldn’t be surprising – these deft and calm semi-songs would pacify the angriest beast. Brilliant.

THIRD! Spotlight Kid list “My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, Lush and Swervedriver” as their influences. But weirdly enough, they sound just like Insane Clown Posse. Only joking – they sound just like those Shoegaze bands from about 1991, but that’s no bad thing. The music warps and folds just like you’d hope, and makes me wonder why Shoegaze ever went away in the first place.

FINALLY! Big Deal – Sadly, I missed Big Deal at the In The City festival. I missed most of the bands I really wanted to see as I was distracted by bands that I didn’t realise I wanted to see. A subtle difference. In Locked Up, vocals float on dense guitar fuzz just like how white-hot sheet glass floats on molten tin. Hot, close and alluring. Great.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // In The City Special

It’s the Manchester-based In The City new music conference soon, and even stubborn contrariness can’t deter me from devoting the next few weeks to a huge new music event taking place on my doorstep.You’ll be hearing a lot more about ITC, but for now – check out the brilliant line-up of bands, some of whom are in this week’s Midweek Mixtape.

In The City was started by the late, and – yes – great, Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records. He enjoyed a wry look at many things, and this week, he’s admiring the Situationist construct of a donkey dangling at a 45-degree angle. And so it goes.


FIRST: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have mutated somewhat since he was featured on an infant ANBAD in May 2008, and yet the core quality remains the same: stupendously inventive skewed dance, pristine sounds and an emphasis on a Good Time.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Garden

Garden is a song best played on the dancefloor after midnight, the kind that will revitalise loose limbs and change minds considering the comfort of their beds. Soft, careful, angular and deceptively brutal.

SECOND: Chiddy Bang, like approximately 99% of young musicians, make remixes on their laptops. Unlike 98% of  their peers, their remixes are worthwhile, taking an original source – MGMT’s Kids, say – and create something altogether new. Retaining the feel of an original track but creating novelty is hard, but Chiddy Bang have it nailed. A curio, but a good one.

THIRD: Stealing Sheep are Welsh, which makes their name either an ironic jibe at anti-Welsh clichés, or is a damning indictment of the boredom levels present in The Kids in Wales. Either way, their music is at once simple, harmonic and beautiful whilst maintaining a wild and wired muggy-psych swirl. Fascinating and sweet.

FINALLY: Porcelain Raft –  just imagine a raft made out of china. It’s madness! Kids these days. Porcelain Raft would do well to steer clear of boating lakes, because his music is so dreamy, cloudy and disorientating, that listeners will be spellbound – or at least unsure as to whether they’re awake or not. The sound of rapidly cooling fudge: creamy, enveloping, tempting.

DONE! Done. At £29, the wristbands for ITC are pretty much the best gig-going bargain this side of becoming an A&R man and getting in everywhere for free. (But if you were an A&R man, you’d have a whole host of other problems to balance that equation out.)

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 15th September 2010

This week I found out that the ‘seaside town that they forgot to close down’ that inspired Morrissey’s Every Day Is Like Sunday is Borth in mid-Wales. I lived near to Borth for a number of years, and can confirm that a light scattering of nuclear bombs, as also recommended by S. Morrissey, would do no harm. The ANBAD Donkey gets Welsh in celebration of the fact.


FIRST! NYC UFOs could have conceivably added a few more letters to their name, and happily thrown in a PhD for added brains, an MGMT for some art-house pop, and some LSD for, like mind-expansion, yeah?

They didn’t, and we’re probably all better off for it. Some bands have the whole guitar/drums/bass thing all wrapped up, and NYC UFOs are one of them. Their songs, like Any Other Time, pop out of the speakers and tickle your eardrums. Nice.

SECOND! Big Wave Riders are from Töölö in Finland. Just imagine having that many umlauts on your neighbourhood signposts: you’d think you were in some sort of alternate reality ruled by 1980’s metal bands.  Such a place would certainly not be a Republic of The Average, but that’s the song that Big Wave Riders have written, and they should know. Something about ROTA reminds me a lot of Happy Mondays. This is an excellent sign.

THIRD! Silk Flowers are from NYC, unlike NYC UFO. “Go figure,” as Silk Flowers might indeed say. I don’t know how you feel about quasi-operatic basso singing over music that sounds like it was ripped callously from the Blade Runner soundtrack, but I strongly urge you to listen to Shadows In Daylight to see if you can believe what you’re hearing. Surprisingly good.

FOURTH! Bear Driver – I doubt that Bear Driving is an actual job. Bears don’t – as far as I know – enjoy being herded, but do enjoy the taste of delicious human meat, a fact which may make the two activities mutually exclusive. Anyway. Bear Driver (the band) make swirling and youthful tinkly-pop that can only reasonably make your life a better place. Their music is therefore a grand, sweet and enjoyable success.

DONE! And done.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // September 8th 2010

Is it even worth mentioning last night’s Mercury Music Prize? It’s all a bit tiresome now, isn’t it?

Oh go on then – The Xx’s snoozesome and underwhelming album won the prize, doing precisely zero to dispell the idea that ‘the Mercurys’ are little more than an award for Coffee Table Album Of The Year. The Xx can now look forward to joining Speech DeBelle in the Mercury Prize section of desperate music shops nationwide. The ANBAD Donkey celebrates their crowning M-People style.

NB: The following Mixtape is at least as exciting as anything shortlisted for the prize. TRUEFACT.


FIRST! The Gwladys End are truly confusing, and truly exciting. Their name seems Welsh, but they’re from Berlin, of course. Electronic music has limitless opportunities to be the most thrilling, and yet it is routinely generic. Not The Ones is anything but routine.

In fact, it is wholly left-field – not only in the sounds created, but in approach. This song has the unsettling half-coherence of a love letter that has been translated into Japanese, then back into English. The rest of the EP is equally excellent – a must-listen. Superb.

SECOND! Bridie Jackson – and speaking of translation (tenuous link ahoy…) Bridie Jackson makes music that sounds like folk songs sung by a sparse choir in an empty cathedral. Her songs are slender and caring, and sung by a voice of the sort you’d like to hear if every day was, as Morrissey hypothesised, like a Sunday. An ethereal and entirely beautiful singer.

THIRD! Skibunny were promoters, then remixers, and now they’re making their own music. Or something like that. Mind you, such a description could apply to virtually any start-up band these days, so I could be wrong. Still, their songs are snappy, upbeat and clever in the way that good pop songs tend to be, which therefore makes Aahooh a good pop song. QED and all that.

FOURTH! Diehard are not as good as the movie Die Hard, but then what is? They are easily as good as Die Hard With A Vengeance, and that’s the second best movie in the franchise. Diehard (the band) sling out great, buzzy songs, and couple them with the kind of winsome lyrics that lend credence to the idea that everything’s going to be all right. Brilliant, wide-eyed, punchy.

DONE! And done.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 4th August 2010

So, holiday time is really here now, and the chances are you aren’t actually reading this at all, because you’re turning a shade of lurid red on a beach on the Costa del Sol, letting your full English breakfast go down, and waiting to go for nueve cervezas before bellowing ‘Eggo y Chippo por favoro‘ at a humiliated waiter.

Thought: if we bring back straw donkeys from Spain as souvenirs, does the ANBAD Donkey bring back a straw human? Answer: YES [see above].


FIRST! Francois Peglau is a Peruvian/Argentinian French musician living in London, which means that his whole life is like one long holiday. The git. His music is similarly eclectic:

One Minute To Midnight Dream [So sad] snaps with tasty purpose, a tight and chiming pop-paean that, like a determinedly gloomy teenager, is nowhere near as sad as they think. Actually, this song is as chipper as any you’ll hear all week, and has the uncanny knack of sounding dub-slow and speed-punk quick all at once, and yet sounding like neither. Clever.

SECOND! Bad Apes take their cues from jangly shoegaze pop like Ride’s first couple of albums and none of My Bloody Valentines’. They’ve got the phaze-y guitar sound and, for a very young band, have the knack for a zingy song nailed – all they need now are the stupid fringes and the loose jumpers that look as if they smell of tramps, and the transformation will be complete.

THIRD! Choker – and while we’re talking about holidays, here’s a break from the usual bands featured on ANBAD: the first all-female rock band for ages that sounds like they’d be happier kicking you in the face rather than go shopping for retro-chic sunglasses and making cupcakes. I get the feeling Choker may have listened to a lot of Hole. This is a good thing.

FINALLY! Bermuda Bonnie was a lo-fi ‘n’ cute hit on ANBAD a while ago – and now here is a handily summer-hols themed video, filmed in Coney Island, which seems like a fun place to go and spend a day spending money on shonky fairground rides and dropping ice creams into the sand. So like Blackpool, but pleasant.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 7th July 2010

Boring ANBAD Donkey t0day. He’s all out of footballers to mock. This one is what advertising people would call ANBAD Donkey Classic.

Here’s a really good mixtape though, not like all those rubbish ones that have cluttered up your life in the past.

FIRST! Love Ends Disaster – I’m going to be frank: there are moments when I wholly wavered whilst listening to Love Ends Disaster. There are times when City Of Glass Cowboys appears to be heading down the MOR safety-first route, like – hell – Keane. But every time, the band snatch the song back from the brink of dull-saster; and how.

So, here is a band who will divide opinion squarely between those who think they are epic, sky-scraping and full of wonder, and those who think that they are wandering into the grey nowhere of bland success. Such is life.

SECOND! Run Forever Mmmm, huge power chords. Tasty, chewy, meaty power chords. I’m a firm believer that when you learn the guitar, you should be taught four power chords – three majors and a minor, if you’re that interested – and then be left to discover the rest for yourself. Because the result will be buzzy, chunky and supremely satisfying power-pop like this. Yum.

THIRD! Shed Boat Shedd steal the unnecessary double-D motif from Fred Durst-endorsed plod-rock cretins Puddle of Mudd. Fortunately that’s all they steal from them. If they’d used PoM as a creative muse, I would have hunted them down and found a queue of angry people waiting to murder them in their sleep. Songs like Here For The Night are, indeed, slightly nautical – salty, simple, tough and distant. Lovely, consoling and soothing.

LAST! Meursault are the kind of band you’d hope to hear on your deathbed. No, I didn’t expect that last sentence either. But it’s true. And their songs are just a delight; they’re a tease too – I fell into the trap of believing that their songs were simple folky jangles, and how wrong I was. These songs have grown in the same fertile soil as all living things. The Dirt The Roots yearns for life like a sapling, and the endless layers of delicious sound contained within speak the genius of organic growth. Gorgeous to the nth degree.

DONE! Yup. Done and done.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 30th June 2010

In the last few exciting World Cup-themed editions of the Midweek Mixtape, the ANBAD Donkey has mocked, variously, zany no-catch goalkeeper Rob Green, wacky no-goals grump Wayne Rooney, and, inevitably, Carlos Valderrama’s hair.

This week, the donkey has an even easier job: he can simply use his natural form to adequately describe England’s performance against Germany. And so, with the usual tortuously tenuous connections to recent media events absent, we can just get on with this week’s mixtape:

FIRST! Josephine was described, rather self-grandly, by her PR people as a protegé. She seems more like a prodigy to me. A subtle but important difference – one is guided by others; the other shoots off ahead – alone, ambitious, precocious.

Josephine // I Think It Was Love

I don’t usually bite when someone offers me a big, old fashioned love song. My heart is far too black and dusty. But Josephine has a rare, lovely, woman‘s voice: not faux-soul bullshit like Duffy, not patronising hysterical-female crud like Florence Welch. Instead her voice is classic, clean, controlled and gorgeous. What a find. And from Manchester, too. So enjoy her soulful songs while you can, before they’re replaced by paeans to rain and gloom. Brilliant.

SECOND! Cerulean Crayons Mmm, crayons. A newly opened tin of pencil crayons is pretty much my favourite sight and smell in the world. Well, after this, anyway. Soft and calm, dense and flighty: if you like your music unfocussed and dreamy, Cerulean crayons are your best bet in this mixtape, mister.

THIRD! Burn Before Reading? Those crazy guys! How is that going to work? Still, it’s not for me to worry about the literary quirks of a bunch that make music that screams an inside-out knowledge of how rock songs should work: it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily like them, but plenty will, and that’s the point. If you are a band that pleases everyone, then – SURPRISE! – you are actually Coldplay; and if you are Coldplay, your definition of ‘everyone’ equates to ‘middle aged Guardian readers.’ So by virtue of a a few power-pop/rock/scuzz songs and a desire not to be Coldplay, BBR are keeping the spirit of rock alive. Easy.

FOURTH! Little Chestnuts –  the Italian music scene continues to surprise me, but perhaps that’s because I know so little about it. However, if Little Chestnuts came from Hoxton in London as opposed to the beautiful town of Genova, then I’m fairly sure that zippy, hooky and urgent songs like Nice Crash would have put them on the front of the NME by now. Read into that what you will – but the point is that Little Chestnuts are a good band.

DONE! Yup, done. Back to the World Cup…