>Today’s New Band – The Velvet Orchestra

>Subtlety – like most things in life – can be both a virtue and a pest. It’s generally considered to be A Good Thing, but then also consider that Jazz is generally considered to epitomise musical subtlety, and as Tony Wilson said, “Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented”. So then, good on Today’s New Band, The Velvet Orchestra, who haven’t just eschewed subtlety, so much as beating it to death with blunt instruments, and even when it was dead, just kept on going.

It’s temping to think that The Velvet Orchestra took a step back from events, pondered and then emerged with the considered opinion that if you’re going to go mental in a room with a bunch of friends, you may as well do it with noisy instruments. This is probably the correct observation, as their songs buzz with manic energy, the band throwing everything at the song just to see what comes out at the other end.

What does come out of the other end are songs like The Creator, which may be the elevator music they play as you descend to Hell. The song jerks around wildly, thrashing with excitement and horror, and you, the innocent listener, can only hang on for the ride. In Wolves Crave Horrible Tongues, The Velvet Orchestra tread the same risky path of all-in bonkers noise-making, but again, happily, they pull it off.

Like when painting, knowing when to stop is one of the hard parts of making music, and they know when not to push harder when the temptation must be great, ensuring their songs are just on the right side of overwhelming. Great. Hear their songs right here!

>Today’s New Band – Heartbeeps

>Life is cyclical. Just as day follows night, high tide follows low tide and a spell in jail follows Pete Docherty’s latest proclamations of sobriety, after yesterday’s Tinnitus-induced/-replicating NOISE-fest from Kayaka, it was inevitable that Today’s New Band would be a less thrash-tastic affair all round. As my Public Enemy-based tinnitus fades slowly into the background and telephones become helpfully audible again, the choice of music that my throbbing ears can cope with is still severely limited.

However, choosing non-ear-threatening music is to wander through a minefield of awful sounds. Soft ‘n’ smooth jazz-moron Kenny G would be sonically inoffensive, yet could cause Death By Bland. So what is needed is a band that is exciting enough to be enjoyable but one that doesn’t utilise powertools as their main instruments.

Step forward Today’s New Band, Heartbeeps. Perhaps the best description for their sound would be ‘Not-Quite-Noise-Rock’ – there is a lovely drone-iness to their music, which is a happy marriage of super lo-fi and super-melodic. Glacial Valleys is probably their best song, clunkily lo-fi, vaguely Beta Band-ish, whilst Tramwajs is a symphony on toy instruments, nicely strained vocals and a male voice choir singing through paper cups. Heartbeeps sound homemade and unfocused, but in the very best kind of way, like a child’s telescope made out of toilet rolls.

Listen to their songs at their MySpace page here!