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.


 

MSC – Musical Sudoku For The Ears

ANBAD doesn’t feature a lot of remixes, even though they clutter up my inbox more than just about any other type of mp3 mail-out.

Remixes have always been a promo tool, but now that every man, his dog and his dog’s dog has a laptop with a hooky copy of Fruity Loops, it’s become a promo epidemic. Bands are remixing each other, addicted and incestuous, as if they were all taking part in some sort of sinister remix love-in.

So, yes, the absence of remixes on this site has stemmed mainly from an ill-judged dismissal of their value. Which means, apparently, that I’ve been missing out on gems like MSC‘s remix of Mondeo, by Manchester band Keyboard Rebel.

MSC // Mondeo (Keyboard Rebel) [Remix]

See – that’s part of the problem isn’t it? Writing about remixes is so long-winded. The Blah version of This by Such-and-such remixed by You-know-who. But when a remix like this one is substantially different to the original, it surely becomes a song in its own right.

And so as such, MSC has cobbled together, out of lumps hacked from an separate song, a tune that might be – ouch – better than the original. Here, a song by a deeply pleasant olde-worlde folk band becomes a perky, funky and blisteringly fun disco-workout.

MSC is a brilliant remixer: make no doubt. Pulling all these disparate strings – deliberately unlike the end result – and forming a new song as good as this is hard. Making songs as good as this from something else is the musical equivalent of Sudoku: tough, maddening, but outrageously satisfying when you get it right. MSC has nailed it.

Listen to more: msc-rxp.de

(Beware) Greeks (Bearing Riffs)

I still don’t understand the reasoning behind wilful rock anonymity. Far be it from me to dribble my mindless opinions into the ears of nascent rock stars, but isn’t the point of strapping on a guitar and recording a racket to be noticed?

OK, there have been a few occasions where shoving the music front and centre and carefully managing the photographs that appear has worked, creating the desired mystery and drama.

But by its very nature, this can only work for one band at any given time, and right now, it’s Wu Lyf (them again) that have got a secretive stranglehold on the whole anonymous shtick. Everyone else who tries it gets swallowed up in their vacuum.

Enter the excellently grimy Greeks, of whom I could find no photos, besides the usual obtuse out-of-focus group shot (see above) and carefully cropped studio environmental shots. Unless they’re so hideously ugly that we’d all be offended, or are a Wu Lyf side-project, Greeks need to shove it out there and wave it around. Go on, no-one will bite.

A Ghoul! A Spook! is satisfyingly gritty, appealing to the same part of the mind that finds oily, noisy machinery strangely alluring. Its constituent parts form a series of thrilling spikes puncturing a blanket of muddy fuzz that swaddles the song.

This kind of music is like sausage, egg and chips: musical comfort food of the very highest order. It won’t win plaudits for subtlety – although this song is carefully structured – but will be hankered for and enjoyed on a more human level than most bands can muster.

Unless they’ve got a Big Reveal coming, and it turns out this is how Wills and Kate are filling the time before their nuptials, they might be setting themselves up for a fall.  Ignore the masquerade and get stuck into the gut feelings they’ve spilt all over this monstrously tactile and exciting lo-fi buzz-rawk.

MORE: greeksgreeks.tumblr.com

Chalk and Numbers: Haute-Pop and Teleportation

Having spent the last week in the deepest, darkest countryside of the Welsh borders, I’ve lost track of the sense of bustle that accompanies the city. It also explains the short and late nature of recent posts – those internets are hard to come by in these parts.

Maybe this palpable disconnect has been good for my ears. I haven’t heard any Chill Wave/Witch House/whatever for a while now, and I can only imagine the cleansing effect it’s had on my mind and soul.

It might also explain the presence of, or at least provide empathy with, Chalk and Numbers, whose laser-bright haute-pop seems to have been teleported from another, vaguely-defined era.

But which era? Sure, there’s the inevitable 60’s Motown pop feel, but the last twenty years of Indie irreverence lingers throughout. Frankly, this winning other-timely feel is only part of their considerable charm.

He Knew is a rollicking, determinedly swinging and chipper song that sports the ultra-glossy sheen that I thought had been sent down with Phil Spector. For a band to reach out and grab onto this particular branch of the pop tree is unusual and bold.

Such derring-do is rewarded – He Knew is as sharply-honed a pop song as you’ll have heard for a while, bristling with drive and looking for a home. You’ll be compelled to welcome it with open arms.

chalkandnumbers.bandcamp.com

www.myspace.com/chalkandnumbers

>Today’s New Band – The Witch and The Robot

>
Oh yes, I’ve been to Cumbria. For the uninitiated, it’s the very northern, remote part of England; full, as I remember, of natural beauty, rain and – in Barrow-in-Furness at least – very large and intimidating men. It’s also the home of the strange and brilliant band British Sea Power, whose album The Decline Of British Sea Power is an oft-overlooked classic.

Today’s New Band, The Witch And The Robot, are from the same green, lush part of the world and are championed by, indeed, British Sea Power. This is as suitable recommendation as any, and The Witch And The Robot don’t disappoint. The same air that gave BSP a crazed edge has blessed a second band with a similarly obtuse outlook on life.

The Best Free Show On Earth whistles one flute-loop over and over so many times that an entirely unexpected Orbital-esque feel blossoms out of the song’s lovely, Byrds-y, sun-soaked roots.

That song is shot with vanilla-flavoured normality in comparison to Sex Music (Beef On Wax), which is a song in several, absurd, contemplative parts. It starts here, then peers over there, and then is suddenly distracted by something else. You know how you’ve always longed for a song that combines safari parks, feline disaster, cod-funk and spoken-word pieces? Well, prepare to sleep easily again: you’ve found your perfect song.

Despite the cream-pie attacks at their gigs, The Witch And The Robot aren’t zany-kids-TV-pranks crazy, they’re just wildly inventive; free-association idea-forming as they play their old/new songs carefully and cleverly. They don’t deserve sympathy, or confusion, or apathy – just your full attention.

>Today’s New Band – David Cronenberg’s Wife

>Oasis are in the process of releasing their new album, Dig Out Your Soul, at the moment. This is still Big News in the UK, and especially so here in Manchester, their home town. Seizing on the fact that this new-fangled ‘internet’ thing might be a good promotional tool, they have used a little-known website, MySpace.com, to allow YOU, the public at large, to listen to the whole album in it’s entirety before it’s released, you know, in shops.

So, here’s the brief A New Band A Day review:

  1. It’s a clunker
  2. Noel isn’t even the best songwriter in Oasis any more.

I don’t enjoy criticising Oasis, though it’s fashionable to do so. I was 14 when they released Definitely Maybe, and it was one of those fabulous defining moments that you get now and then in your teenage years.

Oasis list The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols among their influences. Today’s New Band, David Cronenberg’s Wife, list the Germs, Swans and The Birthday Party in the same section. One band is producing interesting and inventive music, and the other the same old cobblers. You guess which one is which.

Runaway Pram is a swirling, organ ‘n’ guitar-led, echoing stomper of a song that seems to have been recorded to deliberately disorientate the listener. At times, it’s so heavily soaked in reverb that I wondered if it had been accidentally remixed by Lee Perry in one of his more bloody-minded moods. It’s equal parts mid 60’s Psych and Garage, Goth and 96 Tears by ? and The Mysterians. Their music swirls around you, teasing and taunting you into having a good, weird, time.

David Cronenberg’s Wife – blurring the line between so many genres you’ll experience the pleasant feeling of been punched in the head with the contents of a Virgin Records bargain bin. Listen to them here!

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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.

Popular Culture (No Longer Applies)

popularculturePopular Culture. Now there’s a fucking great name for a new band. A bit daring, too. No room for anything other than Solid Gold Hitz with a name like that – and guess what?

Popular Culture deliver, over and over; and remarkably, in new ways each time.

Apparently, Popular Culture is the result of holing up in a home studio for two years; it sounds to me like it’s the result of a lot of talent and the careful application of patience.

What I like most is that the waypoints are blindingly obvious – the bands I compare his music to are no educated guesses.

This is endlessly refreshing, because we’re in an era of bands whose sole starting point is to find an established rock sound that hasn’t been used for a while, alter a few superfluous dynamics (haircuts, attitude, more/less synths) and claim to be the Next Big Thing.

Popular Culture cuts out the bullshit. The tracks that sounds like New Order sound very obviously like New Order, but with the finesse, brio and craft that ensure the songs are easily the most important thing happening.

 

This track, Affair, sounds a lot like The Jesus and Mary Chain, and while I would usually find a similarity like this entirely tiresome, this song is so adept at putting a finger on the *exact same* visceral thrills that the JAMC did, you can’t help but smile as your synapses light up.

You’ll have to buy Popular Culture’s album (which is highly recommended) to listen to opener Spirit – which warps from a long aching gasp of keyboard-choral groans into a New Order-esque pop crescendo – but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t hunt it down.

“Popular culture no longer applies to me,” sang Eddie Argos of Art Brut. Popular Culture (the artist) is having it both ways.

MORE: http://popularculturemusic.com

Fists, and Radiohead’s Hot Chocolate Rock Covers

Remember when Radiohead were just a classic rock band?

No, I’d forgotten too – but there it was, plain as day, when The Bends shuffled onto my iPod (is using one considered retro yet?). The slick, wide, guitar sound is there. A four-square rock structures to all the songs. The lyrics are tangible, comprehensible, forward. It’s classic rock, all right.

The Bends offers no hint of the genre-busting right turn they would take over the course of their next three albums. The Bends‘ big, beautiful rock could just as easily be an album by a band who were about to morph into U2.

With hindsight, it’s possible to see The Bends as an album of skewed and troubled songs played by a talented rock covers group. The band’s sound is a rich, glossy chocolate that gloops over the songs; and yet – shards still prick through. In the end, Radiohead learnt to love the shards alone.

And here is the inherent beauty of any new band: potential. They might – might – surprise everyone, themselves included. Train all eyes, then, on Fists, a Nottingham band that specialise in deceit.

Fists are happy to pull the wool over your eyes in two ways: with their name, which tricks you into thinking they’re a Doom Metal band, and secondly, with their sound itself, fooling the listener into thinking that they are another twee-rock band.

Fists // Weekend

You too will feel a sense of shame when you realise that they are  a much better band than that. Weekend is slow, then fast, then heartfelt, then manic. Weekend grows organically, caressing you as it twists its spindly, slender frame around your accepting body until the melody is so tightly coiled around you, submission is the only option left.

Fists remind me a lot of the wonderful, defunct, Royal We, and I can think of no higher praise. Royal We were a band who had potential, produced one great mini-album, and then vanished. It would be a crime – a crime – if the same happened to Fists. Tough, fragile, crazed, and excellent.

www.myspace.com/fistsmusic

AND AND AND, White Noise Bliss and The Genius DJ From Hell

Urgh. My ears are ringing really badly. It’s worth admitting this right now, as it might have a bearing on the quality of today’s new band, because I can’t really hear them properly.

It’s the fault of last night’s Anonymous Manchester Indie Club DJ. He played a succession of such truly drab songs that I was forced to stand right next to the speaker so that all the bland, anonymous guitar jangle became one pacifying white noise SHOOOOOOOM.

Initially I thought I was mistakenly at a themed night where only really half-hearted B-Sides were played, and then I realised that he was actually the cleverest  DJ of all time: after playing a full half hour of interchangeable Landfill-Indie and just when dancefloor spirits had lagged to the point of near-tears, he slipped on Arcade Fire‘s Lies.

The contrast turned an already astonishing song into a revelatory Second Coming, and smiles of true joy were carved into all faces. Then, to prove his point, the DJ played another hour of sub-par jangle-crud. Thanks.

AND AND AND’s songs quake with echo, reverb and lo-fi buzz to my ears, but then that could just be the tinnitus. You’ll have to let me know if it’s real or not. They could be Brian Eno-slick for all I can tell.

And And And – The Great Tide

Either way, a song of such glinting beauty as The Great Tide ought not to be missed whether it’s drenched in a layer of warm fuzz (which it might not be), or pristine and sparkling (which it might).

And And And have forged a strong and bold sound out of the most delicate and wispy musical straws. The Great Tide is a song of syrupy charm, twinkling hope and crooked beauty. Just lovely. I think.

www.myspace.com/andandandmusic