>Today’s New Band – Hot Lava

If you could remake classic songs with a contemporary twist, would you? Or does the phrase ‘contemporary twist’ make you retch with the bilious force you’d usually only attain after watching a dozen car TV commercials back-to-back?

If you’re like me (and if you are – 1: heaven help you, and 2: perhaps you’ll have an idea where that limited edition Primal Scream 7″ I misplaced a few years ago is), then you’ll flinch at the notion. But it’s a tempting thought all the same: just think what the Beatles might have done with a copy of ProTools.

So, Today’s New Band offer us a glimpse of yesterday today. Hot Lava make songs that sound old, but new.

YSFW (Deadbeat Daughter) is a bolt from the past, a song that has shot through a wormhole in time – and anyone who has dragged their eyes across A Brief History of Time will know that this means it also partly comes from the future. Or something. Stay with me here.

Shimmering guitars ring and bounce; the soundtrack to an imaginary 60s TV pop show – the kind that has dancing girls with bouffant hair and purple minidresses.

JPG In The Sun and Brainex both blur the line between the past and present even more furiously, rattling drumbeats weaving neatly with eddying pop-psyche noise.

Hot Lava contort sound, and perception of it. The treatment they afford their songs isn’t glib or novelty, but a strange distortion of what you assumed to be the norm. And most importantly of all, their songs needle into your mind and stay there, vibrating just so.

Photography by Ellie Bolton

>Today’s New Band – Chungin & The Strap-On Faggots

It’s been the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week. Don’t worry, that’s as far as I”ll dip our collective toe into the murky world of politics. Still, the main outcome of it all is: well, it’s been a bit of a pain getting round town.

Even once you’ve negotiated the massive security barriers everywhere – vast concrete lumps that make you feel like an extra on the set of Children Of Men – you end up being continually harassed by dowdily-suited Tory leafleters, apparently tricked into believing that a career in politics is just a four-day flyering campaign away.

Having politicians swarming the streets has the same dreary effect as tipping 10,000 gallons of beige paint over the city. At a glance, the average iPod of these people would contain:

  1. James Blunt (lovely man, ex-soldier)
  2. Coldplay (ooh, edgy)
  3. Starship (non-ironically)
  4. 10 hours of David cameron podcasts

It’s terrifying. Looking for Today’s New Band became a mission to find the definitive Anti-Tory-Conference Band. In the Estonian three-piece Chungin & The Strap-On Faggots, I think I found them. Don’t think too hard, just feel the politico-tension as songs like Cats of Destiny and Dogshit City trouble your ears.

They’re not the student joke-thrash band you might think: The Professional Skinny Girl is a neat slice of power-pop-punk. It’s short, sharp and dancable, as is Victor, which starts with a battered drum, and, if played at your local indie club, will end with clobbered toes from all the pogoing you’ll do.

Chungin & The Strap-On Faggots: perfect for terrifying C/conservative politicians. I bet they didn’t anticipate that when they first got together. But don’t dismiss them because of that – they’re a fun, garage-with-a-small-‘G’ punk band. Finally, the sound of youth’s political apathy. Listen here!

Photograph by Jarmo Nagel

>Today’s New Band – Southside Stalkers

Anyone who watched man-witch Derren Brown predict the lottery results on TV last week couldn’t have failed to have been massively underwhelmed by his subsequent explanation that it involved “deep maths and patterns within random behaviour.” The real explanation, though, was obvious: Derren Brown sold his soul to the devil and can travel through time.

Still, the more I thought about it, the more I was swayed by his account. I realised that there’s a hint of ‘deep maths and patterns’ within the A New Band A Day archive, in so much that there are a disproportionate number of Swedish bands in there. Check for yourself and drown in Swedish bands here.

Perhaps it’s some sort of musical reflection of sub-molecular cosmic order. Or maybe it’s just that Sweden keeps cranking out great bands, one after another. Take Today’s New Band, Southside Stalkers, from Stockholm. Their songs are typically brief bursts of poppy rock, exploding into your life, wiping a smile all over your face, and skipping quickly away.

Bones is just plain daft, a riff on an anatomical song you’ll already have sung at nursery, albeit with a new, sweary ending. The band just about stay in control to create a neat, playful song, despite the fact that they sound like they’re having all the fun in the world.

Even more shiny pop happiness is in Robert Downey Jr, which is on one level a meditation on the perils of massive drug addiction, but most obviously a truly brilliant, knock-about jangly pop blast. And it’s under two minutes long. All the best pop songs are under two minutes long. It’s the song The Kinks or The Monkees should have written, but couldn’t.

Southside Stalkers are a crsytal-clear, 100%-added-sugar delight – life affirmation doesn’t get much better than this.