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.


 

Spell Hound – Now (Not Now)

Yesterday I visited BBC Radio Manchester, at the impressively futuristic Media City UK in Salford (which, when lit up at night looks just like a spaceport), to tip some bands for the coming year.

The show goes out on Sunday night, so I can’t tell you which bands I staked my flimsy reputation on yet, but needless to say it was a uniquely stressful half-hour – not only because I was suggesting who might ‘make it’, but also because I was asked to comment on the state of the modern music scene, and where it was heading next.

Well, what would you say? I made the usual noises about new technology, perpetual musical shape-shifting, etc, etc. In fairness, I could have as easily pointed towards Spell Hound and shrugged, “Maybe like this?”

Strictly speaking, Spell Hound bill themselves as Chillwave, which, frankly, is a misnomer – because Circling sounds a lot more interesting and blunt/sharp than such genrefication suggests.

This is a song with heart, and thought and gloom and light – but above all is an indication of what music is now.

That is: a narrowly-determined set of sounds from individuals who value their own expression and direction over everything else. And, as of now, that’s pretty much the best thing that you can hope for – and Spell Hound personify all this, and then some.

MORE: soundcloud.com/spell-hound

Lapland: is/was One to Watch/to Have Watched

laplandI was about to begin with an apology along the lines of how I’m about six months late on today’s new band. In the world of new music blogging, this is akin to revealing that I still listen to songs on a Minidisc player.

Then I began to wonder whether if that wasn’t an extremely daft way to begin a post.

After all, I’m always telling bands not to rush, to not worry about the churn rate, not to play the agonising here-today-gone-today new band game. I feel SHAME.

Anyway, Lapland‘s Unwise is terrific, so who gives a monkeys if it was sizzlin’-hot in February? This is a lovely song even now, when the song is stone-cold-DEAD*.

 

Softer than marshmallow, lighter than helium, and all-enveloping, Unwise is a curious example of a song that uses every ingredient of The Sound Of Now and makes something with them that is slightly timeless and wholly dreamy.

Lapland is/was one to watch/to have watched (delete as appropriate).

MORElistentolapland.com

*The song is not, of course, anything of the sort.

Redfoot – Keeping It In Reserve

ANBAD is clearly connecting with its inner zen this week, as the music has been resolutely un-spazmodic, non-chaotic and un-complicated.

I can assure you, this was not my intention.

And yet, as my search for divisive, abrasive and difficult music continues, I keep turning up more and more delightfully straightforward and traditional bands making simple, marvellous music.

Again, as regular readers will know, this is rarely my intention.

Redfoot keep it simple, and by doing so, reveal the soft, convoluted underbelly of normality. This is a scarce talent.

 

Make It Quick, unfashionable and serious, is wonderful for the same reasons. Claiming that a song ‘soars’ is Music Blog Cliche #2 (‘drenched in reverb’ is #1), but hell, Make It Quick does just that, soaring from the murk and gloom into the silverly realm of the dreamer, the tall-tale-teller, and the Jackanory.

This is a band who justify their existence purely on the strength of this song’s gorgeous chorus, which by reckoning only really blossoms once during Make It Quick. And yet, it’s enough. Brilliant – ones to keep an eye on.

MORE: soundcloud.com/redfootnyc

Cymbals; Big Mouth Struck Again

Surprises abound in life, if you’re doing it right, or even if you’re not. But everyone wants them to happen, even though they know that the outcome is out of our control.

A minor example: I just discovered that I live not five minutes’ walk from the Salford Lads’ Club, immortalised by the Smiths in the sleeve photo of The Queen Is Dead.

Now, I – like a million other pasty youths – had that photo on my wall when I was a youth. So when I walked past the club quite by mistake, the otherwordliness of the shock was very real, though quickly tempered by the gang of German tourists recreating the famous picture.

Today’s first surprise: Cymbals are not the first band to construct songs with a knowing, polyrhythmic bent, but they are the first for a while to do it with such conspicuous restraint.

Where others may have allowed such a tightly coiled premise rush away from them into generic snappy-disco-pop-rock territory, Cymbals have forged a much more interesting and even thoughtful sound.

Single Printed Name starts sparsely and the band are smart enough to temper their intentions until the very end, when the song explodes into the free-wheeling clatter it always promised.

Before then though, the song diverts our attention in the same manner that watching a leopard slowly stalk an antler might: we’re all just waiting for the slow, slinky movement to stop and the explosive, exciting bit to start. Kind of like life, like, yeah? Great stuff.

MORE: cymbalsmusic.tumblr.com

Midnight Boatman: Calm Rebellion

Constantly searching for new bands leaves you strangely myopic.

Tunnel vision develops insidiously and subtly, until one day you realise that the only bands who will spark your synapses any more are the most obscure, defiant and truly gauche; the bands for whom melody is a dispensable luxury and strange noise-making is all that counts.

These bands are all well and good – and in fact, they might well be my favourites – but focussing on one small niche of anything is a crime against balance. Too much of anything is a bad thing. (With the exception of peanut butter on toast, of which there can never be enough. But I digress.)

Midnight Boatman make old-fashioned, old-time, old-world music. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that this is not a crime.

Midnight Boatman // Forward

Songs like Forward take a tried-and-tested approach: a guitar, a couple of doleful voices, a song about love, loss and life. Honest voices nip and tuck, and the guitars buckle under the weight. It’s a song racked with self-doubt but infused with optimism;  accurately picturing the pinprick of light that spurs the sad onwards.

Perhaps Midnight Boatman have found a new way to be innovative simply by using old techniques. Perhaps I’m trying to look for something that isn’t there. Either way, in Midnight Boatman, charm abounds.

www.myspace.com/midnightboatman

>Today’s New Band – Owl Brain Atlas PLUS! Nightmares! Sweat! Christmas!

>Every morning I walk through Manchester city centre. And every morning I listen to my iPod on the way. So far, so mundane. Like everyone, sometimes I find it tough to match the music with my mood. This morning, though, there was a pleasing moment where I found myself to be in the crossover area of a music/life Venn Diagram.

Perched on a traffic island, between two lanes of thundering, aggro-pumped office-drone drivers, Orbital‘s The Box pinged into life, and suddenly, there was a real-time musical soundtrack seemingly reacting to the furious ebb and flow of the whooshing city life. Feeling detached from the real world, I fairly skipped on through the streets.

It’s amazing that music can tally so closely with what you are doing. I imagine that if i was wandering through the mean streets of Bournemouth – a town memorably described by Bill Bryson as “God’s waiting room” – and Cliff Richard‘s Millennium Prayer popped onto the radio, the world might end in a vortex of synchronicity.

If I found myself in the place where the sounds of Today’s New Band fitted perfectly, I’d probably head for the hills sharpish. Owl Brain Atlas (Yes!!!) make sound that would fit in your most lucid nightmares, or most confusing dreams. Also, let’s just dwell on Owl Brain Atlas‘ name for a second. Barking mad, and yet fittingly weird for the sound-poems of J. D. Nelson, the brains behind the, er, Brain.

He says his music is, “spoken noise, ambient word, lo-fi noise poems, electroacoustic sound art,” and this description is a good example of the nail/head interface being struck cleanly. His music/sound/wordless poetry might sound like a pretentious idea, but it’s executed in a pared-down yet dense manner; substance clearly triumphing over style. Like bad dreams, the ‘songs’ are short, direct and terrifyingly evocative of the clammy panic of a turbulent night’s sleep.

There are separate tracks, with titles like Doktor Tongues, 1 and Music For Zilbread, but listen to them altogether for the full dosage. It’s a heady, dizzy experience that’ll leave you even more thankful for the upcoming comfort of Christmas with your loved ones. Listen here!

Spectral Park – An Endless Void

We’re entering a time where technology and understanding have allowed music to coil itself up into ever-increasing folds of complexity in a way that would have made the 60’s and 70’s most excessive proprietors of psychedelia green (or purple, or orange) with envy.

Even the simplest bedroom-recorded song is stuffed with layer upon layer of sounds filling every nook and cranny. Listening to a new band today is like staring into an endless void of Mantlebrot sets, and it can be exhausting – or at least psychologically demanding.

Spectral Park have embraced the options that technology has brought, but where others have got lost in the layers, they have successfully created songs that swirl and loop with the colour and motion of a kite in a tornado.


L’appel du Vide means “call of the void” – of course – and this neatly sums up not only this song’s appeal, but all of pop music: the endless disposability and the desire to keep on jumping into more blind alleyways in search of another dose.

The Beatles, by the way, recorded Revolver on a four-track tape recorder. It’s always worth remembering that. It’s also worth remembering that there are a thousand ways to skin the pop-song cat – and Spectral Park have their way sussed.

Multi-coloured, multi-faceted songs from the Multiverse. Great.

MORE: spectralpark.bandcamp.com

>Today’s New Band – Drumcorps PLUS! Rolf Harris!

>

Annoying people is easy, even when you don’t try. I recently received a Stylophone for my birthday, and even in my most concerted moments, when I’d stopped making ‘Weeeeee-ooooo-eeeee’ noises like an over-excited six-year-old, the awful piercing noises resulted in threats of violence.
The stylophone has had a surprisingly distinguished history in rock music, as long as you ignore the determined efforts of Rolf Harris. David ‘D-Bo’ Bowie used it, as did Pulp, Kraftwerk and Orbital, all charmed by the Stylophone’s whiny, basic, electronic whistling. It’s slightly disappointing for us mere mortals that, when placed in expert hands, something as basic as a 1960’s ‘pocket’ organ can be used to make actually great songs, as opposed to mindless buzzing.

Today’s New Band, Drumcorps (geddit!?), are an unabashedly end-of-the-week act. Not for Aaron Spectre (for it is he) is the delicacy and subtlety of a novelty instrument like the Stylophone.

His philosophy is, “If it don’t clank, don’t record it,” and so his songs are inevitably noisy, disturbing affairs that are what hell would look and sound like if the devil designed it on a Commodore 64 in breaks between jamming with Atari Teenage Riot. Down is a spastic, grunting shove in the back from a sinister stranger, thrashing and screaming fear like a cornered animal. Thin Retro God batters your ears into weeping submission with guitars that sound like awful machines, vocals that sound like a voicemail from Thor and drums that sound like your heartbeat after being directly injected with adrenalin.

Drumcorps make music that turns most of us into genre tourists – you’d like to go and have a listen now and again, but you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a room with dedicated fans, for fear of losing teeth or limbs in an inevitable mosh. But the music is a wild eye-opener and considerable relief from the safe, bland indie that unfortunately blights our lives. Re-boot your mind here!

Next week on ANBAD – aside from all the delightful new bands, there’ll be a new installment of What Happened Next? where we take a look at the bands that graduated from the ANBAD School of Dubious Distinction to the real world of SUCCESS!

Mujuice: We Found Noise In A Hopeless Place

SXSW is, on the whole, no place to discover new bands (see yesterday’s post for further explanation/muddying of the issue).

Put simply, SXSW may once have been a place for bands to visit, slog the venues and swat away record deal offers until the right one is thrust at them, but no longer.

Just like that other place of music discovery, the internet, there are now so many bands milling around in Austin, TX, that the white noise drowns out any individuals.

Thus most of the bands have already been ‘discovered’ in a business sense – most already have a deal of some kind – and the act of discovery may not even extend to the punters themselves: anyone who has read a major music blog over the last six months will be aware of the majority of the bands attending.

Not all, though: here is Mujuice, a Russian knob-twiddling, pad-pounding, head-nodding musician, who I saw playing his second ever US gig at – yes – SXSW.

The beauty of Mujuice’s songs, like St. Sebastian, is that they are clearly rip-roaring floor-fillers whether you’re watching him produce all the sonic insanity live or listening in your bedroom with the lights turned down.

St. Sebastian bobs, weaves and has huge reserves of cunning: the song sounds vastly more complex than it actually is. This is no backhanded compliment – much of the electronic music now created is over-thought, over-wrought and over-complicated by production.

Mujuice takes a raft of delicious, interesting noises, and weaves them expertly into something truly brilliant.  Worth a trip to Texas to see (if you’re so inclined).

MORE: soundcloud.com/mujuice-promo

>The Seedy Seeds – Today’s New Band

>A New Band A Day is, apparently, indulging in Americanophilia at the moment. Over half of last week’s super-duper new bands were from the USA (scroll down for more, pop-pickers!), and guess what – today there’s another one cluttering up your ears with sweet sounds. An astute reader can draw a few conclusions from this.

Firstly, that A.N.B.A.D. band choices are entirely arbitrary and dependant on the whim of an easily bored writer, desperately looking for new things to listen to, whilst quietly sobbing. Secondly, A.N.B.A.D.‘s geographic knowledge is severely limited – last time a single continent was ‘explored’ for music, it became the needlessly localised and gimmick-y “Northern European Road Trip” , whereas I couldn’t identify Cincinnati on a map if a gun was held to my head and/or groin.

Huge apologies, then, to Today’s New Band, The Seedy Seeds, who, predictably, are from Cincinnati. They’re not content with writing unusually catchy bites of poppy indie, but even have the brass neck to squeeze a Kazoo solo into the joyous The Little Patton. Its zappy keyboard riff is so charming that the big broad chorus that follows it is a huge, lovely surprise. Earned Average Dance America, proudly flaunting its obtuse name, is a great him-her lyric over the hybrid banjo/Bontempi keyboard/accordion melody you’ve always been waiting for.

The Seedy Seeds are a great band, make no mistake. Their songs are cuter than Brad ‘n’ Angelina’s twins and similarly simple and compact. Listen to their super songs here!