>Today’s New Band – That’s The Spirit

>The brain consumes 20% of the oxygen a human breathes. At least that’s what Wikipedia says, so you may as well invent your own fact and the chances of it being true are about the same. Anyway – the point is that brains are bewilderingly impressive, and do remarkable things. Issac Newton’s brain, for example, spewed out the three laws of motion and the theory of Universal Gravitation while he was dozing under a tree. Or something.

Meanwhile, us mere mortals, incapable of generating ideas that shape entire societies for hundreds of years, are left with all that brain power punching and flailing in a million different directions at once, only occasionally revealing hitherto unknown abilities. Unfortunately, my special brain-skill appears to be playing crap songs on loop in my head for hours on end. The nadir of this anti-Zen skill consisted of a whole weekend wandering around Barcelona humming, out loud, the chorus from Eddie Murphy and Rick James‘ half-hellish, half-genius 80’s hit ‘My Girl Wants to Party All The Time’, confirming locals’ suspicions that all tourists are idiots.

While I was in France recently, this idiotic superpower kicked in again, but this time – bliss! – it finally picked a good song, Little Patton by ex-New Band of The Day, The Seedy Seeds, and I spent a whole two weeks happily whistling to myself. Perhaps my relentless pursuit of new bands is specifically so that I can push all the crappy old songs out of my head with good new ones. If so, then Today’s New Band is another step in the right direction.

They’re That’s The Spirit, they’re from Canada, and they write songs that are gentle, melodic, mind-massages. Moreover, the songs are fitting for the time of year – when summer is drifting lazily into autumn, and a feeling of mild hopelessness prevails. Always Coming Back is chiming, bright and understated, and Every City has a strange yearning feeling written large; its clanging guitar sounds the pen, and your woozy mind the A4 sheet of notepaper.

That’s The Spirit‘s songs are the ones you’d want to listen to on a drizzly day, as you doze cozily inside, watching the outside world disappear in grey watery nothingness. Listen to their songs here, and drift slowly into a womb-like comfortable slumber.

>Today’s New band – Doctor My Eyes

>Sometimes a band’s influences are obvious – not necessarily in terms of sounding like other artists, but the ideas their brains keep returning to as a starting point when making music. Paul McCartney’s songs always hark back to a music-hall rumbustiousness, The Clash’s angry buzz, in keeping with punk’s Year Zero ethic, is brimming with 50’s rock ‘n’ roll tricks, and Johnny Borrell clearly grew up in a locked windowless room with only Boomhouse Rats LPs for company.

Other bands influences are not so clear. Today’s New Band, Doctor My Eyes, are an unusual example of successfully combining studio electronics and the live band in a coherent, joyful jumble.

Lungs is evidence of a thorough nerd-like knowledge of electronic music and all its build-and-release foibles. A simple robo-riff provides the foundation for what turns into a tinny, crystalline pop record that, if played loud enough, could get the most reticent of dancefloors shuffling.

The same sense of a song’s structure and progression are splattered throughout With An Alien Smile, but here the rough and ready electronics are dropped, instead deploying the standard four-square instruments in an equally minimal fashion.

Even in songs where the bleeping and blooping is absent, the feeling is that they are a band whose template is not from the usual off-the-peg rock mindset. Their songs are electronic in spirit, if not always in sound.

Doctor My Eyes are definitely worth a listen, and certainly worth keeping your eye on, you know, just in case. Listen, here, now!

>Today’s New Band – Kontakte

>There’s a short documentary knocking about the internet about the making of Public Enemy’s astonishing It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. In it, one of the Bomb Squad production team explains that when recording the album, they wanted to bring the noise to the fore, to disorientate and shock the audience. “The Noise”, he explained, wasn’t just some half hearted hip-hop shout-out to be “Brought”, like the song Bring the Noise might suggest, but was a whole alluring entity to itself: every single noise coming at you all at once. It’s an interesting concept that neatly sums up Public Enemy‘s uncompromising bombast.

The funny thing about noise is that what one person considers beautiful another will find execrable. This almost fully explains the bewildering nature of the enduring popularity of The Kooks, but not quite. Sometimes noise production doesn’t connect on the usual musical level, but in a way that engages another part of the brain. Today’s New Band, Kontakte, make music like this.
Two And A Half Thousand Miles is obscenely spacious, and is probably the music you’d hear if you lay dying in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Ghosts of Electricity drifts by calmly, interrupted now and then by a sinister hiss – punctuating the song with some sort of urgency. The remix, by Electric Loop Orchestra is as good, if not better, picking up the slack and bashing you about the head, phasing frantically and creating a song through a twin enjoyment of melody and mind-warping effects.

Disorientation then re-orientation. Familiarisation, then enforced bewilderment. This isn’t always music, shifting from discernible melody to heaving fuzz with ease. It is, however, definitely worth a listen.

Today’s New Band – Glastonbury Special!

It’s Glastonbury Festival this weekend, and for the first time in about 6 years, ANBAD isn’t going.

Why? Well, forget all the at-best-idiotic, at-worst-racist fuss about Jay-Z headlining. The real problem with Glastonbury ‘these days’ are the awful Pete Docherty and Peaches Geldof-wannabes clogging it up with their pristine hair and designer wellies.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer a wonderful brain-altering weekend in the countryside, and is now simply something for moron Gap-Year-ers to tick off their ‘Must Do Before I’m 30’ list.

There were myriad final straws: last year I saw a number of girls straightening their hair with heated tongs. These were possibly the same people who I later saw waiting to waste gallons of water to wash the mud off their boots, before stepping straight back into knee-deep mud again.

And all this at a music festival who turns over millions of pounds to Water Aid. This idiocy must stop. At least nature is kicking back by raining on them continuously.

Glastonbury has never been about the big crowd-pulling bands. In fact, it’s rarely about the music at all, and more about ‘finding yourself’ via the dubious purchase of unusually healthy-looking weed cakes from a topless hippy woman and then staring at the sky whilst curled up in a giant bird’s nest in the Green Fields.

That said, the most enjoyable experiences at Glastonbury for me have been stumbling on an unknown band in one of the many tiny stages scattered all over the site.

So, with that in mind, today’s new band is up to you! Have your own virtual staggering-around-at-2-in-the-morning festival experience. Start here, and wander around Myspace until you trip over a band you like. It’ll be like Glastonbury, but warm, dry and with hardcore pornography a click away.

And if you have their misfortune to meet a Kate Moss/Russell Brand wannabe, you can click on a new page to get rid of them, as opposed to suffocating them with a clod of earth as I had to do last year. Enjoy.

>Today’s New Band – Monster Island

>One of the really hard things to resist when reviewing bands is to draw comparisons between them and other, more established, bands. On one hand, it gives the reader an instant point of reference, but on the other, it does neither party any favours. No band sounds exactly like another (apart from Razorlight, who seem to have cribbed the Boomtown Rats’ sound wholesale). But when a band comes along that sounds like a combination of three great bands – let’s say, The Fall, Pavement and The Pixies – wouldn’t it just be more stupid not to mention the fact?

Thought so. Thus, let’s start by stating right now that Today’s New Band, Monster Island, sounds like a ragged combination of The Fall, Pavement and The Pixies. This sounds like a grand boast, but it’s true. To mention The Fall is a bit of a given – Monster Island are an off-beat indie band from Manchester, and therefore it’s virtually a legal obligation to mention Mark E. Smith’s grumpy lot. But it’s fair, this time, as in songs like Hothouse, there’s the same sparse, threatening griminess that pervades the best Fall records. See Twin Towns too for a Pavement-y lollop and and the Pixies’ patented loud ‘n’ quiet dynamics are oozing out all over too.

Beyond glib comparisons, there was one moment when listening to Monster Island‘s songs that actually delighted me. Yup, actual, tangible delight, bordering on glee, a feeling which made my wizened, blackened heart start to flutter. Throughout their chuntering (and free-to-download) song They Never Sleep, the music is occasionally interpolated with screeching sounds of tapes rewinding, bleeping and electronic interference. Deliberate or not, it’s a fabulous, pointless detail which screams of lethargic, understated, inventiveness. Brilliant.

So that’s my justification for taking the easy comparative route to describing them. Listen for yourself here, on their Myspace page.

>Today’s New Band – Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now

>Some bands spawn multiple side projects when individual members decide to branch out, like, creatively, maaan. New Order, for example, fractured into not only Electronic, but also Revenge, Freebass – who had three bassists in the band – (three-bass, geddit?), Monaco and The Other Two (who were, erm, the other two left in the band who hadn’t done a side project).

The truely wonderful Art Brut on the other hand, have also spawned a number of side projects, though unusually, all of them seem to have emerged due to the wandering mind of affable frontman Eddie Argos. His blog lists eight bands that he is in – more than enough to create an Eddie Argos Side Project Week here on A New Band A Day, and believe me, such is my admiration for the unlikely Art Brut Lothario, that I seriously toyed with the idea.

However, common sense prevailed, and Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now alone are today’s new band. Their guiding principles are as entertaining as their tunes – they aim to “correct the mistakes of pop songs past”. Therefore, the super G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A) on their MySpace page is a riposte to Avril Lavigne’s recent crud-bucket of a song of a similar name. It is such a happy idea – to take a song in which someone’s been wronged and call in the pop-airstrike to level things out – that it can’t help but work.

Whether you regard this as a merely a slight joke or (hopefully) as good fun blended with yummy tunes, it doesn’t really matter. They don’t care what you think. They’re settling scores in the realms of pop, and your (least) favourite song might be next.

Don’t forget, you can always contact me here at A.N.B.A.D. via email if you have any suggestions for bands you’d like to see featured!