>Jealousy, Insanity, San Francisco and Today’s New Band – Tartufi

>I’m jealous of Today’s New Band. They’re from San Francisco. I spent a month in San Francisco a couple of years ago and I’d happily give my eye teeth to go back to there RIGHT NOW. San Francisco is one of those cities where all of the things you’ve heard, and all of the things you haven’t heard about it are true, and very visible. I was repeatedly told that it was ‘very European’, but it wasn’t in the slightest.

It wasn’t even American. It was its own, eye-rattlingly strange, determinedly varied world, packed full of crazies, stoners and professional ‘characters’. I loved it, and walked around, mouth open at the shining brilliance of EVERYTHING I gawped at. It was all I could do from chaining myself to something very large so that I couldn’t be deported when my visa expired.

Tartufi are Today’s New Band. They were the band whose songs were playing in my addled mind while I was stumbling through Haight, Chinatown or the Mission, except I didn’t know it yet. Much like you’d hope from a San Franciscan band, their music is a strange mix of prog sensibilities and indie lo-fi practice. I’m aware that that sounds like a match-up specifically invented by someone who is out to spoil your fun, but it fits nicely, and Tartufi sound ace.

Mourning’s Wake, the title of which fulfils A New Band A Day’s Weekly Pun Quotient in one fell swoop, clinks and clanks like the sound of a miniature xylophone falling down the stairs of a doll’s house. It has that welcome Blue Monday-esque trick of not introducing vocals until at least halfway through the song, then dashes here and there like an (admittedly oxymoronic) well-rehearsed jam. Ebeneezer You Are Rotten further demonstrates their impatience, flipping from noise-rock to tinkling nursery rhyme and back again without care for your nervous fragility, before soaring stratospherically, all echoey guitars squeals and mad cymbal splashes.

Tartufi sound like they’d be a great band to see play live – and if you live in the US, you might be able to find out, as they’re touring RIGHT NOW! Everyone else should visit their Myspace page and experience the audio equivalent of jumping in seven directions at once.

>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!

>My Amiga – Today’s New Band

>When I was a young ‘un, before I bought a guitar and sat in my bedroom mangling Smiths songs and wondering if I could convince my parents to let me paint my bedroom walls black, i used to while hours away playing on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It had sticky rubber keys, 48k of memory and the games took five minutes to load off a C90 tape. It was my nerd-baby though, and I’m still proud that I completed Magicland Dizzy without losing a life. These halcyon days were tarnished a bit though, when my friend Dan got a Commodore Amiga for Christmas – a computer which made the Spectrum appear weak and feeble in comparison (which, of course, it was).

The Amiga was ace. I presume Today’s New Band, My Amiga, harbour similarly nostalgic feelings about unwieldy, grey early-90’s computers. They’re from Liverpool and have that seemingly genetic Liverpudlian way with treble-tastic rock melodies. My Amiga are what the Famous Five would sound like if they formed a band on their days off from drinking lashings of Ginger Beer and solving suspiciously family-friendly crimes.

That is to say, My Amiga sound young and sprightly enough to make the inevitable A&R men at their gigs feel like fuddy-duddies with try-hard haircuts. Though to be fair, they’re like that anyway. Thank Heavens for Little Victories is a surprisingly deft and floaty throwaway pop tinkle, with a shouty bit to prove that they’re actually of drinking age. Untitled is a brisk and jangly pop fizz which explodes frenetically with youth, the sonic equivalent of a child trying to build the tallest lower of Lego possible, and then laughing manically when it falls over.

My Amiga are as fun as drawing the curtains on a sunny day and playing Sensible Soccer until teatime. Though you probably won’t get wrist ache from the joystick. Unless you really like them. If you known what I mean. Listen to their songs here!

>Stars and Sons – Today’s New Band

>I sometimes feel sorry for bands. Not that sorry, what with all the booze, girls and urinating up against the Alamo that they manage to find time to do, but a bit sorry all the same. It must be tough to keep touring material that you love, only to find that either a) it doesn’t fit in with the majority’s taste; or b) they come under pressure to make it more in fitting with the mainstream. Some bands then choose the “We-do-what-we-do-and-if-anyone-else-likes-it-that’s-a-bonus” route and plough on regardless, whilst others let their record company lead them around like little piggies.

Other bands find themselves in that happy spot which pleases both camps. I think today’s new band, Stars And Sons, might have accidentally achieved that difficult blend of individuality and appealability, and their songs bristle with excitement as a result.

Fights Already Fought is a strangely subdued song that also manages to be uptempo at the same time. It rattles and shakes softly, as if waiting to be released for a big reprise that never arrives. It’s lovely, and dissolves into a quick, quasi-Spiritualized fuzz at the end. In The Ocean is almost its exact opposite, a fun romp that bounds forwards with all the enthusiasm and wonder of a new puppy. A pop-rock puppy that plays the piano, but a puppy nonetheless.

The feeling is with Stars and Sons is one of trying to break away from the norm, whilst still holding with one hand onto their base sound. Calling it ‘quirky power pop’ is just too obvious, but songs like Out of View could be made to sound incredibly mundane very easily by other bands, and yet Stars and Sons keep yanking it over into the leftfield a little bit, keeping everyone on their toes and happy. Good work, Stars and Sons. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – The Bumblebees

>There’s something to be said for shy and fey voices in pop. Whilst Axl Rose et al growl, howl and grunt into the microphone, spraying the front row with saliva that is composed of 40% ALL MAN, 40% TESTOSTERONE and 20% COME BACKSTAGE AND BLOW ME, BABY, not everybody’s songs benefit from such overt, Jack-Daniels-and-cigarettes, oversize-codpieced masculinity. Anything that goes some way to redressing the balance is welcome.

So, yup, Today’s New Band, the lovely Bumblebees, are about as thrusting and masculine as Brian Sewell nibbling on cucumber sandwiches. This is A Very Good Thing, as evidenced by their Über-cute and happy songs that litter their Myspace page.

My Kaleidoscope starts and ends with the sugariest, yummiest, bloopy organ-line for, like, ages. This is the song that you’ll play in your head this autumn when you look back fondly to summer and whizz through the memories of playing in the sea on holiday.

Fluffy Clouds Of Joy is a jerky, gentle and twee treat which metamorphoses into a children’s TV show theme tune. It’s also possibly begging for a post-post-post-ironic ‘mash-up’ with the Orb‘s Fluffy Little Clouds, which might cause the twin internet moron tribes of the Tweecore-ers and the Ironic Haircut-ers to either implode with rage (bad) or become best friends, ever (worse).

The Bumblebees are tons of fun in the same way that making your own Lemonade is, and with the similar qualities of sweetness masking sharpness. Great! Listen here, now, youngster!

>Today’s New Band – Haruki

>We fool ourselves into thinking that weekends are there for relaxation, but like most people, I just end up trying to fit way too much in two days. And so here we are again, straight back into another week, here at A New Band A Day. Mondays are usually characterised by that awful turbulence of re-entry back into reality, and this week, as always, is no different. Something soothing and trouble-free would sit quite nicely on top of my frame of mind right now, squashing down those troubling “Why aren’t weekends five days long and a working week two?” thoughts.

So it was with minor joy when I played Today’s New Band, Haruki’s, music as I sat at my computer today. Haruki are Belgian, but don’t fall into the trap of holding that against them – remember that, for all its dull-as-ditchwater stereotyping, Belgium is the home of the mighty Deus, Soulwax and 2ManyDJ’s. Haruki sound like, well, Zen, maaaaan. Imagine if wind chimes were a pleasant wash of orchestrated noise, and not the sound of randomised hippy awfulness, and you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect.

It’s not all tinkly twee-ness though. Tiny Movements is just that – a series of lovely, minimal bleeps, as if water drops were falling onto a very tiny piano. And whilst In the Garden is the yummy, plucked, acoustic instrumental that you could happily snooze to, I Had it All Planned Out is almost Godspeed! You Black Emperor-like in its grumpy menace.

Haruki, then are most like the sound a lovely summery meadow would make if it learnt how to play happy instruments. Calmness will descend as soon as you listen. And if that isn’t a good deal, I don’t know what is. It’s Monday, and you owe it to yourself to listen here, and adopt the lotus position, quick-quick.