A New Band A Day 2008-2018

Welcome to ANBAD, which celebrated ten years online in April 2018, and is now “resting.” (I’m still jabbering on about music on my radio show and discussing new bands like, oh, I dunno, The Chats, on Twitter.)

However, ANBAD also has over 1200 posts featuring about 1500 artists. Most are buried deeeeep in the blog, rarely seen by human eyes. This seemed a bit unfair, so I randomised the posts and the ones you see below are yanked arbitrarily from the archive for you to explore.

As with anything this old on the internet, some music plugins, hyperlinks, images, formatting – and, frankly, the writing itself – is broken. But even I will begrudgingly admit that randomly looking at ten years of once-new bands is a fascinating glimpse into a very specific time capsule.

I’m as surprised as anyone that this ridiculous and utterly niche music blog has stumbled around online for a decade, surviving all of my attempts to break it, render it defunct, or let it wither on the vine.  So scroll down and read on – and maybe you’ll find some long-forgotten band from 2009 that you’ll love.


 

>Today’s New Band – Ghost In The Water – CENTENARY SPECIAL!!

>Almost astonishingly, today we publish the 100th band to appear on A New Band A Day. A Centenary! A Double Golden Jubilee! This is a (very) minor achievement of sorts, considering my attention span is comparable with that of the proverbial goldfish, and the transient nature of the Tubular Interwebs. However, it’s a happy occasion I suppose, even though I didn’t receive a telegram from the Queen.

Like truculent teenagers though, we don’t want to celebrate this too much, and would prefer to remain sulkily opposed to convention, whilst secretly longing for participation in it. Thus, Today’s new band was going to be, appropriately, one that embodies ANBAD‘s core ethos. Then it became clear that this would mean the appearance of a band that is anxious, annoying, deliberately obtuse, and with dubious personal hygiene, it was decided to just stick a good band on, like usual.

So with none of those things in mind, here’s Today’s New Band, Ghost in the Water, and they’re probably just about right if you’re interested in, you know, having a good time, whilst reflecting on life’s foibles. Hallucination is another one of those great songs that is the product of a lifetime consuming as many different types of music as possible.

It’s the song you’d want on at your wedding, pleasing everyone equally. Your uncle will dig the 70’s grooves, your stuck-in-the-Eighties cousin will crack his hip breakdancing to the synth squelches, and even your 16 year old Nu-Rave, ex-Emo, waiting-for-the-next-big-craze nephew will be fake-reminiscing about the Second Summer of Love in no time.

If this makes Ghost in the Water sound like one of those semi-generic French electro combos that seem to be genetically predisposed to grind out BANGIN’ CHOONZ and BANGIN’ CHOONZ alone, you’d only be half-right. The 4Traks remix of Cardinal Red is a weird splicing of folksy yearning, 80’s poodle-rock soloing and Bambaataa keyboard stabs. Even more weirdly, it works.

It’s a risky business, stirring all those discrete elements into one big melting pot, but thankfully Ghost in the Water have got away with it. Find yourself playing ‘Spot the Musical Influence’ here!

>Today’s New Band – Efterklang

>What room is there in today’s ZAP-POW society for calmness? If you’ve not achieved exactly what you wanted by yesterday, you’ve failed. We rush forward frenetically, and the music we listen to while doing it reflects the ultra-economic, all-surface-no-feeling, instant-impact world around it. Stopping and reflecting is for WIMPS!

It turns out that this might not be so smart. Anxiety reigns supreme and worry is pushed at everyone, from everyone. Relaxing and observing might have benefits after all.

Today’s New Band is the Danish septuplet Efterklang, and, if we’re resorting to our old favourite, the Glib Comparison, they’re somewhere between The Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros.

Towards the Bare Hill manages to blend choral voices, orchestral sounds and glitchy-clicking noises and make it work. It sounds like a male voice choir and a brass band let loose in a room full of hateful laptop “IDM” nerds and then setting about them, but recording the calming results. Step Aside takes a similar approach, squashing traditional, folk-y instruments into slightly warped shapes and scuffing in some non-intrusive electronic-y sounds. It’s what standing on a hill in the middle of nowhere whilst watching the sunset and reflecting that, on balance, life is good would sound like.

Efterklang’s music is all very serene, with the touch of the bizarre you’d expect from Northern European band, and also strangely, comfortingly, warm. Perhaps that’s what’s needed in a country as chilly as Denmark. Perhaps it’s needed everywhere else too. Let their music envelop you here!

Youthless Are Not MGMT. True Fact.

MGMT are curious. Their recent, abrupt, 90-degree turn away from chart-friendly pop was a bold move, and a commendable one. Such leftfield-yearnings were also clearly signposted in their first album, which makes the slew of puzzled reviews for their last album all the more unfathomable (or lazy).

But one of the more interesting things about MGMT is how other bands have not really been able to ape the sounds exhibited during their swingeingly brief chart-dalliance. This hasn’t stopped a number of bands’ PR bumph mentioning vague connections and alliances with MGMT, of course.

Golden age -YOUTHLESS by YOUTHLESS

Hence Youthless, who have plenty of interesting traits worth genuine attention – their cluster of bright, twitchy and crystal clear songs, for example – are clumsily hitched to the MGMT bandwagon simply because the band went to the same university. Don’t all convulse with excitment at once.

The fact that Youthless are based in the gorgeous, alive and youthful city of Lisbon, and sound nothing like MGMT is moot, naturally. It’s all about association, yeah? This is annoying – because if any band deserves to stand tall on their own merits, it’s Youthless.

Listen to Golden Age and hear a young band who know exactly how to make a song tick. It’s snappy, clever and prickly and sparse – and the pleasing realisation is that this is not for stylistic reasons, but because the song itself required nothing more.

Youthless‘s songs shine with innovation, joyful realisation and colour. They force a smile on their listeners. What other association do you need?

soundcloud.com/youthless-2

Youthless are appearing at In The City in Manchester, next week. Wristbands are LITERALLY bargain of the century at £29.

Polls – Elastic and Woozy, Spaced and Saintly

I had a debate once with a fellow blogger. It was more of a lukewarm debate than a heated one, but our differences couldn’t be more marked on the hoary old issue of band comparisons.

My (admittedly lightly-formed) point of view is that comparing one band with another is generally unhelpful, because you immediately sully the likelihood of their music standing on its own merit; my friend’s view was the exact opposite – that an apt comparison with an established band is the ‘gateway drug’ to the new band.

With this in mind, imagine my agony when I first heard the brilliant Polls and the only descriptive words that formed, dumb and blunt, in my head were “sounds a bit like Grandaddy.”

Well, you know, sometimes the truth hurts. Because Polls do sound a bit like Grandaddy, and that could never be a bad thing. And a song like Executive Toys, that displays all the droning, spaced and saintly qualities that peppered The Sophtware Slump, can only be regarded with the same saucer-eyed wonder.

Forming songs that capture such ethereal lightness is no mean feat, but it’s one that Polls have down pat. The songs seem elastic and woozy, blurring from one softly sleepy chord to another, and we join them, lightly bobbing on the golden, swollen surf, and wonder what all the comparative fuss was about. Lovely.

polls.bandcamp.com

Wild Nothing; Lush and Swoon, You Know You Got Soul

So, 17 years later, they’re still here, the Rolling Stones of dance – a tag with all the same associations of cred-yo-yo-ing, borderline ridiculousness and begrudging likeability.

And having long ago abandoned breakbeat thrills, The Chemical Brothers are now producing epic, fine-tuned songs like Swoon.

Swoon sounds remarkably like Orbital’s Lush 3.1. This is almost certainly deliberate, and frankly, is to be applauded – and yet it’s also their undoing. Listen to the two back-to-back – and, emerging from a nagging,  submerged state, the flaw in the Chem’s shtick becomes apparent. There’s no – yikes! – soul.

Orbital’s music seems so much more human, organic, pliable. Compared to Lush – and, remember, it wants to be – Swoon is robotic, clinical. A floor-filler for car production lines.

Claiming a band has ‘soul’ leaves me feeling a little icky, and yet I’m about to apply that assessment to a second band in as many minutes. Urgh. But listen, and you’ll here it in Wild Nothing‘s gorgeous Cloudbusting, pulsing, alive, awake:

Wild Nothing // Cloudbusting

Te softer-than-snow sound: now that’s Lush, too, in every sense. Layered, creamy, sweet and light – this song is the the perfect pudding. You’d lick the bowl clean.

If this is dream-pop, then I envy the man whose dreams are all as beautiful as this. Gorgeous.

www.myspace.com/wildnothing

>Today’s New Band – Paul Hawkins &Thee Awkward Silences – GLIB COMPARISONS WEEK CONTINUES!

>Weirdness is an underrated virtue in pop ‘n’ rock music, and for understandable reasons. It’s too often, rightly, associated with acts who use a veneer of ‘kooky’ as an execrable cover-up for lack of talent – take a bow, Babylon Zoo. However, if these awful aberrations can be forgotten, weirdness is a Good Thing – if only as in indicator of deliberate step away from convention. Anyone with a pair of ears and a skull that isn’t used as spare storage space for semi-ironic glow-sticks, back-combed hair and slogan T-shirts knows that the bands who tow the line and trudge the well-worn skinny-jeans-and-aimless-posturing path rarely innovate.

What really sets the pulse racing and induces involuntary grins of deee-lite is that moment when you hear something new, something that sounds enough like everything else to be bearable, and far removed enough from exactly the same things to be exciting, surprising and, well, new. If you don’t quite follow, Today’s New Band, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, are a good place to start. There are a number of antecedents that his music could be favourably compared to (see the super exciting SECOND INSTALLMENT of today’s GLIB COMPARISON GIMMICK for more details), and yet his grouchy, slightly deranged vocals and frankly tremendous tunes are something that are enticingly sparkly and new.

In The Evil Thoughts, he chunters through a scenario about a woman who is shunning him, and the result is, indeed, slightly sinister – “And even though I’m nice to your face, the evil thoughts form in my brain.” An even better track, though, is The Battle Is Over, a similarly half-crazy, all-wonderful story of a man returning home from war to find his woman telling him that, whilst he, “went away to play soldiers with your friends/I had to rely on other men”. The female vocals are sung by the fabulously voiced Candythief. Make no mistake, this is the best song you’ll have heard for a long, long time – since, frankly, All the Rage by the Royal We. If you only listen to one new song this week, it should be this one – it’s truly, brilliantly, wonderfully fantastic. Song of the year so far, easily. Listen to it, and the others, here, now, or you’ll regret it, young ‘un!

TODAY’S GLIB COMPARISON: Like Nick Cave having a drunken brawl with a theoretical newly-acoustic-folk-change-of-direction Pop Will Eat Itself, whilst Shane McGowan watches, caressing his knuckle duster. And the Pixies. Again.

Welcome To The All-New* ANBAD!

My God! It’s full of stars!” – Opening line from the movie 2010

Poor old Dave Bowman. 2010 isn’t full of stars at all, just the same old crud from the Noughties, but with slightly cooler-looking dates, and less ready money.

But wait! Here’s the All-New* A New Band A Day to make a tangible difference to the world as we know it.

The clunky old ANBAD has finally been confined to the Great Internet Dustbin Of Pity and behold: the new ANBAD is here, and it finally looks a little bit like a real website, at last.

But wait! There’s more – marvel at the menu bar in the middle of the site and notice that there is now a bit more than just a great new band every day. There’ll be new interviews with the best new bands, so you can hear from the bands themselves; new features on new music from new writers, so yu can hear the thoughts of bright young writers; new insight from local scenes all over the world, so you can hear what’s happening on the other side of the world; and – finally – new radio shows highlighting great new music. And yes, we are getting paid each time the word ‘new’ is written in bold.

As of today, there’s an article featuring a bizarre Melbourne dance phenomenon, another article about why we’re wrong and Tim Westwood is right, interviews with Forest Fire and Nic Dawson Kelly, and a radio-show round-up of December’s Top Five New Bands. Click the tabs for more.

So, mooch around and see what you think. You can subscribe to ANBAD here. And if you have any feedback, please let me know!

I hope you enjoy the new ANBAD! (Or should that be NANBAD?)

Joe Sparrow//Manchester//Jan ’10

*almost totally the same as before

>Today’s New Band – Here We Go Magic PLUS! Marlon Brando!

>If you watch On The Waterfront, like I did yesterday, you’ll quickly realise that it’s a rare movie of real brilliance. Marlon Brando, in his handsome, quirky youth, has huge impact during the film – impact that even a non-movie buff like me can see. His characterisation of Terry Malloy seems ‘real’ and convoluted in comparison to the relatively staid movie traditions that dictate the rest of the film’s pace and feel.

As such, Brando straddles the old cinema and a whole new type of cinema within one role, within one movie, and you can see it happening right in front of you as you watch. Some bands do the same thing.

Witness The Beatles (them again) zipping from ragged, hormonal rock ‘n’ roll to the lucid insanity of the St. Pepper’s era within a decade. See Public Enemy (them again, too) hopping from rapping about cars over lumpy beats to dazzlingly fierce, angry noise and free-wheeling, intelligent lyricism in the space of an album.

These bands were driven by a desire to do something differently; to stand near the edges of acceptance and have faith that when they kept pushing into the new, the results will be worth it. Not all bands that do this become Public Enemy, but the very fact they’re still trying in a time when mass-conformity is an easier route than ever is enough.

So here’s hoping, as we hope with every band on ANBAD, that Today’s New Band, Here We Go Magic, make similar giant steps. They’re from Brooklyn and are the kind of excitingly well-formed, forward-looking band that makes trudging through all the average bands’ MP3s worthwhile.

Like most really good bands, on their recordings they sound like they’re playing just next to you, except they couldn’t really do that, as their sound is too coiled with thrilling complexity. Songs like Tunnelvision are like a breeze of cool air on a sticky day, refreshing, natural and alive.

Fangela is so soft and dreamy that blissful sleep might be induced in all it’s listeners at the point where the song brilliantly slumps into an organised jumble of cascading sound. Both Of Us, howling with rounds of feedback, is a step on from the kind of sonic experimentation that Spiritualized used to be so good at, repeating variations on the same sound again and again and again until they mean something special.

It’s hard to imagine who could be so cold hearted and lacking in heart to not love Here We Go Magic. Delicate, bold and inventive, the sounds they make will linger in your head long after you’ve heard them; if the melodies themselves don’t loop crazily in your memory, then the feeling they induced will. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Check them out here!

Gold Blood, Audio Filthmakers Extraordinaire

The thought of the pristine being smudged is always guiltily satisfying.

Scouting For Girls have been at number one in the pop charts, with a typically limp suggestion of a song for two weeks now. This will not stand. What better way to wreak vengeful havoc than hearing their Auntie-Rock desecrated with a really filthy remix?

My nomination for such audio vandalism is Gold Blood, who seem to have the New Band Holy Triumvirate clutched tightly in their clammy hands: substance, momentum and a damn good name.

In songs like Don’t Waste My Time, the legit-retro stainless style of Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s Neon Neon project is slathered with a thick, grubby smear of dirt.

Gold Blood // Don’t Waste My Time

Their sound is rich, compelling, satisfying. Their style is crazed, obtuse and wholly splintered beyond the realms of normality. Their name is… well – just picture a cut on your forearm, oozing blood that shone golden, like millionaire’s mercury. Just picture it.

Sometimes, music has to be its own language, and only the most outré imagery can attempt to describe it: Gold Blood.

Gold Blood are playing at Club NME @ Koko in London on the 23rd of April

www.myspace.com/goldbloodband

Prairies – On A Wing and A Prairie

The rapidity of musical genre-mutation has left me in a tizzy more than once.

However, upon discovering Prairies I was shunted into a rigid, chin-scratching trance, whilst racking my brain to remember if I’d heard of ‘Trop-Pop’ before; and if not, then what is it?

Upbeat Trip Hop with steel drums, maybe? Or is ‘Trop’ pronounced as the French do, thus making the genre ‘too much pop’?

Oh, who knows. Fortunately, solid facts abound in Prairies’ songs, such as this one: Hotline is a fabulously off-kilter, dark summer smash.

 

A simple Bontempi-organ synth-stab has never sounded so menacing and inoffensive all at once. Warm, reedy strings sluice through the verses, and you too will kid yourself that the uneasy feeling in your stomach are actually butterflies of joy. (They aren’t).

Where has this sound come from? I can think of some antecedents – for some reason T.V.O.D. springs to mind, apropos of almost nothing – but in all honesty, Prairies may as well be beamed from the future.

Perhaps they actually are. Excellent.

MOREsoundcloud.com/prairies