Apparently, yesterday was ‘Quit Myspace Day’, or at least one hardy soul was trying to make it thus. An analyst would say that it ‘gained moderate traction‘, and then rest of us would say, ‘who cares’?

Quitting Myspace seems as pointless as joining Myspace. Like most people, I’ve hated Myspace from day one, for all the same reasons everyone always lists – it’s ugly, it breaks, the music streaming is specifically designed to make you angrily pound your head into the keyboard, etc.

WE // ARE // ANIMAL – Black Magic

The counter argument doesn’t really need mentioning. Myspace, despite the infinitely more useful Bandcamp and Soundcloud, is still the de facto music source for listening to new bands. Maybe it’s a quirk of social acceptance that something ugly and useless is at the top of the pile. Perhaps we should gain hope from this, rather than hatred.

Oh, and every band that ever emails me asking for a review always has a Myspace link. Just like the one WE // ARE // ANIMAL sent me, which meant I discovered Black Magic, a song that slips quietly away from their usually bracing rock bluster by way of twitchy, spasmodic guitars and a vague air of social disconnection.

WE // ARE // ANIMAL, just like every other band for the last 30 years, want to rock like Thin Lizzy, but need to find another way of doing it, lest they are treated as yesterday’s men. Their chosen method of alchemical differentiation is to imbue their songs with a feeling of alienation and of removal.

This may possibly related to their geographical isolation – they hail from the hills of Wales – or it may not. Either way, they use it as a means to rock. This is as good a reason as any. Great.


Sweeney Straddles The Sun: Psyched Out By Language

There are a few questions that people often ask me. Doesn’t writing about a new band every day make you go a bit crazy? Doesn’t sifting through the bad bands cause Skittles-coloured-vomit migranes? Just where do you find the time/patience/sanity to do it?

The answer to all those questions is the same: Pass me the own-brand gin, hombre, because my head feels like replicating the surprisingly explosive bit in Scanners. (Or you can help out in a less cheap booze-related way, here)

Anyway, a question I would like the answer to is: why does the Welsh language lend itself so well to psychedelic music? The records of two recent Welsh bands – Gorky’s Zygotic Munki, Super Furry Animals – lends a lot of credence to this idea. And remember Welsh Psyche-Hip-Hoppers Genod Droog? It just seems to… work.

Perhaps having a glut of words with an inherently beautiful and intrinsically kooky sound helps. It certainly does, in its own small way, for Sweeney Straddles The Sun, a Glaswegian artist who nabs some lovely Welsh prose in Bwyda Fi Agwedd, then manacles it the chorus of a swift song whose natty melody will bug you to death.

Sweeney Straddles The Sun – Bwyda Fi Agwedd

In some ways Bwyda Fi Agwedd is soft psychedlic poppy-rock, which sounds like the tag you’d see attached to a Creedence Clearwater Revival CD in a small record shop, but it fits. Note to concerned: Sweeney Straddles The Sun doesn’t sound like Creedence. Or, at least, his songs don’t come on 8-Track.

>Today’s New Band – Race Horses

>I spent a while last weekend watching horses mill around in a field. I like horses – they are less dumb than cows, yet still daft enough to trot over and enthusiastically munch handfuls of grass from me as if it was a rare treat, as opposed to exactly the same stuff they’d been eating straight from the ground all day.

One curious equine trait I noticed is that they will spend hours gnawing on grass that has previously been grazed to near-nothingness, while big, lush clumps of long grass wait, temptingly and un-chewed, just a few metres away. Perhaps, having found a patch of grass they like, they don’t really fancy change, in case it’s not as good.

This unwillingness to try something that might be different is what keeps Simon Cowell in a gold-plated mansion full of supermodels, stiff hair brushes and expensive, monochrome clothing. The only reason people keep buying the safe mawkish pop that Leona Lewis et al grind out is because they daren’t buy something a but more edgy like, ooh, Girls Aloud; who have more pop, sazz and fun than anything stroppy Simon has ever produced.

Today’s New Band won’t get signed by auditioning on a TV freakshow, but they make great power-pop records, and are called Race Horses, which ties everything together quite nicely.

Their single Cake is a great sliver of jangling teenage hormonal punky-pop, with a frankly ludicrous chorus of, “She wanted cake. Cake! She was the one who turned me on to it”. Whether it’s a cute teeny-pop ode to a girl who preferred pastries to fooling around, or a reference to some drug pseudonym that hasn’t leapt this far over the age gap yet, I don’t know, but I strongly hope it’s the former.

Cacen Mamgu is partly sung in the lovely Welsh language, but the shouty initial chorus sounded like “Chocolate fountain! Chocolate fountain!” to my untrained ear, which works for me. It’s another sweet buzzy sherbert-fuelled weirdo pop song.

Race Horses are a dead cert to leap out of the traps (I’ll stop now) and craft a sweet poppy future for themselves. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – The Love Kevins

>The second gig I ever went to was to see Manic Street Preachers in 1996. They were just post-Richey, pre-Big Time and were noisier, angrier and more intelligent than anyone I had ever met growing up in Stoke on Trent. I pushed to the very front and spent a happy hour crushed against glum, milk-white girls wearing kohl and leopard print.

The Manics’ primary attraction is their wilful perverseness; actively encouraging people to dislike them, releasing hit-and-miss albums that confuse the unsuspecting. They have veered, in deliberate disorientating fashion, from smooth rock to grating punk to electro-flop and back and forth and back again as and when they like it, not us. And all the while not caring, growing stronger, tighter, feeding off the anger, hate, bewilderment.

Now they’re releasing a new album, produced recorded by another man who doesn’t give a shit – Steve Albini. It prises open the past, using Richey’s lyrics, and deliberately treads over fan/media fetishising of 1994’s The Holy Bible. Perhaps it’ll be great, perhaps it won’t be. It doesn’t matter. That’s the point.

Today’s New Band, The Love Kevins, have songs with titles whose themes might have interested the Manics a decade or so ago. Oh, and just take a second to fully appreciate the minor brilliance of The Love Kevins’ name. Continue.

You’re going to die, you’re going to die alone,” is the chorus We’re All Going To Die, a song whose sweet melody that couldn’t vary much more from the vocal sentiments. Plain, bare and calm, it’s the sounds of objective lushness. Stop Being Perfect passes quickly and quietly before you realise how enjoyable it was.

The Love Kevins are from Malmo in Sweden, and – surprise – have the Swedish way with top pop tunes, and add to it a dollop of strange, unexpected perverseness. Perhaps the Manics would like them, in secret. You will – listen here.

>Today’s New Band – Yucatan

>Here’s food for thought. (By the way, that sentence will now reveal itself to be pun-tabulous.) So: the world record for eating cow brains is held by Takeru Kobayashi, who ate 57 – nearly 18lbs – in 15 minutes. Oleg Zhornitskiy ate 8lbs of mayonnaise in eight minutes. Don Lerman ate 7 quarter-pound sticks of salted butter in five minutes. There are other, equally heroic, food-shovelling records to be seen here.

Two thoughts immediately spring to mind. Firstly, that their mothers must be so proud. And secondly, I wonder if there is a point – say, after the fifth pound of mayo – where the sheer awfulness of spooning white fatty gloop into your mouth abates, and a strange zen-like bliss overcomes the participant, making every further spoon/cup/bowl-ful a serotonin-fuelled trip to the brain’s pleasure centre.

I assume this is what compels people to keep listening to U2 albums. The thought that doing so was to glimpse bland, ego-fuelled, MOR rock hell disappears, and been replaced by genuine desire to subject themselves to it.

Listening to Today’s New Band, Yucatan, will never be a trial or test. Songs like Un Cyfle are fine-spun cobwebs of gentle sound. Yucatan sing in Welsh, a language that has been long suited to dreamy, lilting melodies. No, most listeners won’t understand it, but that’s missing the point – regardless of your language, you’ll get lost in the soothing swoop of the songs and lyrics.

A Oes Ymateb builds from sparseness and reaches twinkling, shimmering heights. Dau is the beautiful music played at a dead miner’s wake. If Yucatan‘s songs were played at a Competitive Eating contest, all the participants would stop, mid-guzzle, to reflect on life, the universe, and their absurd role in it all. Then they’d carry on, because those hot dogs aren’t going to eat themselves. Listen to Yucatan here!

>Today’s New Band – Bleak Black Branches

>You’ve had a busy weekend haven’t you? I know you have. All weekends are busy. You head home after a week at work, intent of some R&R, and then remember that you have to do all the jobs you’ve spent a week ignoring. Then Monday comes around again and exhaustion saps the life out of your body before the grind has even started. Such is life.

So if that’s left you in the mood to reach for the bleach and Ribena for easy mixin’, you’ll love* today’s new band, Bleak Black Branches, who, by the sound of their chosen name, don’t spend their pocket money on fizzy sweets and Hello Kitty merchandise. Whatever their state of mind – and there’s no saying that an absence of E-numbers and mentalist Japanese toys is the sign of a sound intellect – the music they produce is perfect if you need calming on a nerve-jangling Monday morning. In fact, it might even be the sound for Monday night-time too, as If Tired Sleep is the humming, gurgling sound of the blood slurping around your ears as you fall asleep. Circular Cause and Consequence is, comparatively, frighteningly upbeat – circular, looping and organic.

The songs mostly fade in, drift by and seep out of your mind again a few minutes later. It’s all a bit 1977-David-Bowie-Brian-Eno-side-two-of-Low, introspective, cold and yet warm. This is a good thing. Listen to Bleak Black Branches at their MySpace page here. Excitingly, all the songs are available to download from here.

*”be condemned into an even tighter circle of introspection by”

>Today’s New Band – Picture Books In Winter

>What, another Welsh band on A New Band A Day? There’s no hidden agenda here*, just a reflection of the fact that Wales is spewing out great bands at a shocking rate at the moment. I’ve chuntered on before about how many Welsh bands seem to have something extra that just lifts them above their peers, and guess what? – Today’s New Band, Picture Books In Winter are another example of just that.

Welsh bands seem to have a monopoly on the violin too – see Gorky’s and Los Campesinos! for proof – and Picture Books In Winter prove again that I was wrong to turn down violin lessons as a youngster. Because if I’d taken them, perhaps I too could be playing in bands with songs as surprising, lithe and strutting as Horizontally I Am Champion.

Hear it on their MySpace Page. “I’ve always had a talent for arts and crafts”, they proclaim over the lolloping guitar line, whilst musing about ex-Blue Peter tea-time-trouser-troubler Konnie Huq. It’s unusual to hear a song which is so wonderfully idiosyncratic from such a new band – and as even more incentive, should you need it, Horizontally I Am Champion is available as a free download on their Myspace page. Visit, download, and add them to your burgeoning ‘Great Welsh Bands’ list that I’m sure you have stuck to your fridge.

*nothing illegal, anyway. Honest.

>Today’s New Band – Genod Droog

>What is it that makes us view Welsh bands differently? Even when a song from the litany of fabulous Welsh bands such as Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Munki sing in English, there’s something indefinable that separates them from their British counterparts, at least. Today’s new band, Genod Droog, also have this – with the twinkly space-yness of Gorky’s and the full-on mentalism found in the Furries‘ crazier moments.

Oh, and they’re hip-hop. Yup, and rapping fits Welsh as well as it does French: brilliantly. While this might be a novelty enough to just to hear it in action, Genod Droog have tunes in spades too. Listen to Gwn Tatws on their MySpage page and try and stop yourself from singing along in your best attempt at Welsh while their blend of Psych-Rock-Hip-Hop bombards your ears. Then marvel that the song is about veg of champions – the potato (at least I think so; my very basic knowledge of Welsh is fallable).

Best of all is Bomiwch y Byd – the kind of song that reeks of summertime and would sound best if heard sitting a sunny Welsh field, sipping a cider. Fortunately for us mere mortals, this will be possible soon – they’re playing a bunch of gigs around the fantastic Welsh summer festival circuit. Welsh bands seem to have an innate ability to do the simple stuff – i.e. tunes – and making it work well, weirdly, and wonderfully. Genod Droog do this too – listen now and then catch them if you can.

Finally, another ANBAD radio show will be up very soon, over the weekend, barring technical mishaps/Internet hell/death. Marvel at its glory! Listen to voices talk in between this week’s greatest songs! Free! All those things – and more!

Don’t forget, if you have a great band we should listen to and put on A New Band A Day, email me and tell me all about it. We listen to every band you suggest, promise!