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.


 

>Laurel Collective, and The Coldplay Pleasure Principal Denial

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Coldplay must have a whole raft of fans who own their records and yet won’t admit it. It’s a shame that so many people can’t live with the reality of preferring slick MOR rock to the Skins/OC prescribed-cool bands; groups whose names are dropped like discarded chewing-gum now, but will be forgotten when drumming the steering wheel along to X+Y on the school run in ten years’ time.

Music is a great truth-bringer in that sense – it’s so intertwined with pleasure that, when really needed, you will always reach for the record that really makes you happy, which is not necessarily the one that will bolster your cool quota. And if that record is by U2, then so be it. But, yes, we’ll all still be sniggering at you.

And so, the rarity of hearing a band that actually try to veer away from the safer Keane-esque route to success is all the more heartening. I’m sure that Laurel Collective have it in them to make a record that would snag that discerning Radio 2 audience, but they deliberately have not. For this they deserve all the plaudits they will surely get.

Take Carrie. The template is the standard rock set-up, but here is proof that it can still be applied in creepy and unusually new ways – still capable of the necessary emotional pull, though without sacrificing creativity and the thrill that fresh sounds bring.

Laurel Collective – Cheap

Or take Cheap: shoving twitchy drums and a wired bassline to the fore is often a recipe for disaster, but here rewards are reaped and heads are turned – or yanked even, such is the ferocity and excitement of Laurel Collective‘s aural onslaught.

New, sharp, aware: Laurel Collective are a joy. And if they do become a middle age/class favourite, it won’t be for want of trying.

Photography by Gareth Jackson

Arc Vel – Memory, Objects, and the Journey Between

The hippocampus is little more than a tiny nugget of nerves buried deep within that blancmange inside your skull, but it aids your day-to-day existence in a gratifyingly basic manner: by encouraging your brain to remember things and helping you walk around objects instead of ploughing straight through them like a simpleton.

I mention this for two reasons: to point out that the small things in life often have the greatest and most welcome effects, and that – with that in mind – Arc Vel has a small but perfectly formed musical sweetmeat in Hippocampus.

 

What is most charming about Hippocampus, and all music like it, is that it seems to be composed of snippets of other lovely songs – which to an extent is entirely true.

The difference with Arc Vel‘s dreamy, anti-brash, anti-form soundscapes is that these other lovely songs may only exist in the world of Arc Vel, and that we’ll never hear them.

No matter. He’s selected the best slivers and woven them into mesmeric, shuffling journeys. Delightful.

MORE: soundcloud.com/arc-vel

Chris Devotion and The Expectations, and Lessons In Luck

Chris Devotion and The Expectations are lucky. They’re lucky in more than one sense, which must make them extra lucky. Lucky is what bands need to be.

Their most important slice of luck materialises in their ability to write tasty, up-and-at-’em rock  songs like A Modest Refusal – the type of song that doesn’t get written often enough, with a howl-along chorus, a genuinely anthemic feel, and the kind of gosh-darn perfect chord changes that make grown men leap about with joy.

The song below is not A Modest Refusal. It’s Blister, which is a good song, but not as good. And here’s where CD/EX are extra lucky.

EDIT: The band’s label Armellodie have made A Modest Refusal available to all and sundry now, and it’s embedded above. I urge you to listen, because it’s a smash. Thanks guys! 

The reason you can’t hear A Modest Refusal here is because I can’t embed it on my website. You’ll have to visit Myspace – remember that? – or purchase their album to hear it.

Usually, if a band makes showcasing their work enormously restrictive, I can’t be bothered to invest any more time in them, will pick another band, and move on. CD/EX are lucky that I liked A Modest Refusal enough to feature them regardless.

When they (very occasionally) ask for advice, I always tell new bands to make their music as easily accessible as possible. All of it.

The old here’s-one-track-now-buy-the-rest tease doesn’t work so well now. It limits your exposure in an industry where exposure is now king, and money will only reveal itself once you have that exposure.

I had to visit the label’s private Soundcloud page, then the band’s website, then the band’s Facebook page, then the band’s Twitter feed and finally the band’s Myspace page before I could find a legitimate shareable link to the song I really, really liked.

Most people searching for their next favourite song will grant you one click if you’re lucky. Which, apparently, Chris Devotion and The Expectations are.

MORE: www.chrisdevotion.com

Piran; An Exercise In The Theoretical Stalking Thereof

You know when you think you know someone, but you can’t swear to it? It’s a bit like when you accidentally catch a glimpse of your own reflection and momentarily think you’re looking someone completely different, but with all the social agonies of not knowing whether to head on over and say ‘hi’.

So, I’m sure I’ve seen Piran around and about in Manchester – I know his face. But I’m equally sure that this is nonsense. There are millions of people in Manchester. Stupid brain. This has become a weird exercise in non-existent stalking. Time to move on.

If I ever do see him, though, he’s owed a hearty congratulations – because this one-Man(c)-band has scrabbled together a great song:

Piran // Rip Off

Being a one-man operation is a minefield of pros and cons – on one hand, you have total creative control and, unless you have a personality disorder, there will be no messy break-ups due to ‘creative differences’ (though if you do have a personality disorder, it will be an extremely messy break up).

The flip side is that the emphasis is squarely on you: no-one to take the strain when you’re exhausted, and every stumble means a long and lonely trip back to draw from the well of inner strength.

So the fact that Piran, my mysterious stranger, has whelped this pristine jewel of a song by himself is a minor triumph. The song is clearly one person’s work – you can always tell – but Rip Off is measured, quirky, clever and still idiosyncratic.

Piran: neat, charming and fun.

www.myspace.com/iampiran

Free Swim: Shunning and Embracing The Inner Rock Star

It’s happening more and more: bands that don’t provide photos of themselves are rife. What are they hiding?

I always assumed that music makers actively want attention. Perhaps my projections have been tainted by one L. Gallagher of Burnage, Manchester – a man whose aggressively I don’t care, me stance is diametrically opposed by the plain-as-day fact that he loves the beery, bellowing hordes before him.

Free Swim is one of the new breed: the ones for whom the anonymity granted them by the internet has freed their latent rock-star.

 I could find no photo of him other than the pencil-and-paint drawing above. This mysterious shunning of the limelight is – like in the case of Liam – both at odds and in keeping with his chosen subject matter.

The kernel of truth in lyrics like, “I want to get out  of here, I want to be a mountaineer,” is one that we’ve all settled on fleetingly, at some point or other. And in essence, isn’t a grab at dangerous freedom what being a free swimmer is all about?

After all, what is the use of being in a rock band – especially one as punchy, enthusiastic and enthralling as Free Swim – if escapism isn’t the primary driving desire? I Want Be A Mountaineer has escape writ large all over it: a rich- – decadent, even – swirl of precisely chosen guitar noise casually cranked up to leave us with a luxuriantly freeing fuzz.

It’s a song that doesn’t get made too often – well, it does, just not this well. Most stabs at this kind of song emerge as a dreadful sub-MC5/Stooges boogie; I Want Be A Mountaineer is defined by its clear-cut, deep-down muddiness.

Free Swim are the embodiment of rock’s thrust and indicative of its alluring twinkle. No posing, no faux-coyness – just bags of wide-eyed, low-key thrills. Excellent.

MORE: myspace.com/freeswimswimfree

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 8th February 2012

Another week, another brief missive from the Great ANBAD New Band Pile That Threatens To Topple At Any Moment And Kill Us All.

Whilst stationed in Brooklyn, I’ve been missing most of the breathless reporting on what mildly-degrading actions Official ANBAD Mascot Alex James is undertaking this week.

Thus please accept another endearing image of our favourite bassist from the stockpile that has steadily built up.

MIXTAPE:

FIRST! Front and, indeed centre on this week’s mixtape is the gloriously be-monikered Hooded Fang, who have spliced together kaleidoscopic (is there any other kind?) 1960’s psyche, naive-jangle-pop and a breathless sense of abandon that is almost beyond endearing. A fabulous start to any mixtape; a fabulous start to anything. Lovely.

 

SECOND! Anne-Marie Sanderson makes the kind of folky piano-driven music that never features on ANBAD. Don’t take it personally, Anne-Marie. Blue Room is a song that slips in, then slips out again: graceful and delicate.


 

THIRD! Reid has been on ANBAD before. And once before that, too. It’s not my fault, obviously – it’s his for continuing to make such smash-hit, thumping, widescreen house hits like this:

 

FINALLY! If you can’t include an experimental German artist called Astronaut Penguin on a blog like this, where can you? Devastatingly gauche and truly weird, this is exactly the kind of music that gets made and heard too infrequently for my liking. Bizarrely great.

BREEK: Default

I often wonder whether I’ll get tired of certain strictly genre-ified types of music.

It’s happened in the past: my short-lived infatuation with lo-fi tweecore lasted for the precise amount of time it took me to learn to loathe the glockenspiel, for example, yet other by-numbers music – drum ‘n’ bass, for example – continues to tickle my synapses even when I know the songs I’m listening to have all used the same Amen Break since ’92.

You can add house music to that list: I’ll listen to any of it, all day long, as long as it never veers into the ‘Funky’ or ‘Bounce’ sub-genres-from-hell.

So Breek were always a shoo-in, especially given that I have work coming out of my eyeballs, and thus am liable to drift to default musical settings, and because, frankly, Inuit is a whole lot of crystal-clear, squelchy fun.

 

Inuit makes use of the ebb-and-flow, give-and-go, drop-and-rewind frolics that make all good dance music work well; and to this, they add droplets of weirdness. Screeching synths, hypnotising clicks and sloshing basslines are always welcome, and in this instance, they are vital.

Clever construction, bright beats and a lack of pretention: excellent.

MORE: www.breek.me/

>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!

DREAM LOVERS’ BRASIL [INSERT WEAK JOKE ABOUT ‘BALL SKILLS HERE’]

A remarkably brief post today, because I’m still coming to terms with the actual madness that was the stag-do I went on in Ibiza last week, and because I don’t have a huge amount of info about today’s remarkable new song/band/video.

Dream Lovers are a mysterious side project of a couple of bands I love, and as I’m uncertain if I am allowed to reveal who is behind it, I’ll keep mum and simply fuel the mystery.

Anyway – everyone knows all World Cup songs are rubbish, barring World In Motion, but the above video bucks the trend.

It is an instrumental, language-barrier-straddling song that is vaguely Brazilian, vaguely dreamy and totally brilliant.

The video shows a man standing on a wall by the Sacre Cour, overlooking Paris, juggling a football in a remarkable display of remarkableness. It suits the song perfectly, and this is also remarkable. Lap it up.

Bestival 2011 Review: Mud-Free, Dub-Heavy and Ultra-Happy

Since music festivals became part of the summer social scene, and started to get crowbarred into mobile phone companies’ TV ads as part of yeah-we’re-down-with-the-kids campaigns, and become an item to tick off a tedious bucket list, the way they are reviewed has had to change too.

Before, you could get away with simply writing about the bands. The parameters are different now – it’s about the experience, yeah? As such, this article is about the festival itself – reports on the music will arrive tomorrow.

Here’s how to spot a music festival veteran: look at the left hand of the person next to you. If they’re holding a smartphone aloft with its glamorous, as-seen-on-TV, LCD touch-screen displaying the band as a speck on the faraway stage, you’re in the presence of a first-timer.

Because everyone who has been to a festival before will be clumsily thumbing and swearing at the buttons on an old Nokia 3210 – a phone dug out from the back of a drawer but can survive a plunge into mud, a trample in the mosh and a week without needing a £5-a-visit trip to that most modern of festival additions, the phone charging tent.

Bestival, of course, is awash with kids with fancy mobile phones. A few of these kids are interested only in scoring Ketamine, ensuring that their artfully scruffy hair is pristinely coiffed, or applying facial glitter in the belief that its presence on their well-bred, ruddy cheeks equates to ‘proper’ festival lasciviousness. Or at least, in the hope that photos of these these daubings will garner squeals of appreciation when shared on Facebook.

But at its heart, Bestival has always been the least ‘cool’ and least ‘fashion-magazine’ summer festival – and these latter attendees are the exception, not the rule – simply because Bestival has core values to shame almost all other festivals. These values are as follows: book great bands and then assemble the festival with care, love and the intention of simple fun for all.

This is not only an admirable approach, it’s the only approach that any festival ought to take: as anything is else is merely a procession of helicoptered-in bands playing in a soullessly fenced-off park – which in turn is merely a break from playing in soulless inner-city mega-dromes.

So at Bestival, it becomes easy to ignore the bits that would usually drive down the human spirit, because there is so much else to delight – the wonderful sculptures, the fantastically curated line-up, the smartly designed venues (one was inside a giant tree, another hidden behind the curtain of an innocuous-looking Photobooth leant against a fence), the excellent sound and location of the stages. 

Oh, and the LASERs in the Big Top tent. Those LASERs were incredible, and I reached for them like it was ’89 all over again. Whistles were blown. Glowsticks were snapped and waved.

I could go on, so I will: the vast selection of  music that on offer may have been weighted heavily on Dubstep’s WUB-WUB-WUB tendancies, but there was just so much of everything else that bordom really did then become the sole preserve of boring people.

Because if you did get sick of seeing tremendous, visceral live sets on the well-positioned stages, you could hop into a pub staffed by little people, or bedouin cafés with comfy sofas, or get drunk and vomit prodigeously on an old fairground helter-shelter. Et cetera.

And then when the brain’s grumpy lobe begins to idly wonder what the self-absorbed, loud-mouthed, rich kids did before summer festivals became cool, consider that Bestival has merely become a victim of its own success: a festival so good that everyone is eager to be there, burrow in and find their own furrow to roll around in for a weekend. And you’re probably one of them, getting stuck in, having a blast.

One final, scatalogical story about what festivals are. I was once reminiscing about The Good Old Days At Glastonbury with someone I met in a pub, and relayed a story about a visit to a portaloo on the Sunday night, when the toilets were at their most ironically bowel-clenching.

Using the kind of hand gestures one rarely uses in polite company, I described how the pile of human excrement rose like a hellish pyramid abover the rim of the toilet itself. “And on the very top – ” I enthused, “you’ll never guess what was perched right on the top of the pile.”

My new aquaintence leapt in: “It wasn’t a cherry Bakewell tart?” And you know what? It was. There was a cherry Bakewell tart, unsheathed from its little silver foil cup, sitting right on the top of the pile of shit.

I have no idea what the statistical likelihood is of him seeing exactly the same pile of shit, with exactly the same confectionary on the top, in exactly the same toilet. The world is a confusing place.

And that, friends, is what a music festival is all about: shared experiences to be re-told forever. Sometimes they’re about the amazing one-off gig you’ll never be able to top, or about the totally awesome LASERs, and other times they’re about cherry tarts, piles of shit, and gangly youths on the prowl for Ketamine.