TAPERS: Lethargy-Bargy

tapersAs I spend my time fretting about how I can actually keep writing about new music without going clinically insane (best idea so far: stop writing so much, Joe, you idiot), today had the rarest of occurrences: a day when I clicked on the first email from a band I saw, and thought they were good.

Good enough to wake me from my blog-stupor, in fact. Whoah.

Tapers fulfil all sorts of criteria for me: the marvellously lethargic Green sounds like it was chopped together in the same way people like me cook – grab your favourite ingredients, bruise them with heat a bit and throw them together.


I got a bit over-excited when the billowing reverb almost drowned the entire song out in the last 30 seconds.

It could be because it sounds amazing, although it could equally be because I was just so excited to find the time to write about new bands again. (It’s probably the former, by the way.)

Either way, Tapers are a slightly rare find: a band whose music sounds out of step with the majority I hear. Moreover, I subconsciously allowed their Soundcloud stream to keep clicking onto the next track, and I can’t even remember the last time that happened. Nice work, Tapers.

MORE: https://soundcloud.com/tapers

Catch-33⅓: Too Much New Music To Find Time To Write About Too Much New Music

WARNING: This is a wholly narcissistic post about The State Of This Blog, so if you are faint of heart, skip to the last paragraph, there there is a TL;DR.

Oh, I’ve dropped in some good new music too, as a fish-hook.


A few hardy souls have noticed that, in the last few months, my rate of posting here on ANBAD has deteriorated to the point that the blog’s very title is appearing more ridiculously tenuous than ever before.

What has caused such tardiness?

Did that AIM Award nomination (which coincided with the start of the Blog Post Rot) inflate my prickly ego to the point where I was above writing about new bands? You know, now that I’m a certified tastemaker, and don’t have time for the little people?

Well, no. (OK, a bit). If anything, the generous AIM nod forced me to pull my socks up and keep posting at an artificially-boosted rate until the awards ceremony, simply because I didn’t want to appear there as the editor of a daily music blog that posted only once a week.

Actually, the real reason behind the blogging no-show is, on one hand, far more prosaic, and on the other a Sign O’ The Times.

Five-years-and-a-bit ago, I named the blog A New Band A Day at least partly as a means of forcing myself to overcome creative inertia and write every day; with the hope of becoming passably skilled at something that could help me find a job I enjoyed in the future.

I have thus trodden the literally aeons-old path of: music blogging music PR, and have been very happily working in this capacity since the turn of the year.

So my available time for music blogging has decreased a little bit – ironically, just as I’m being exposed to new music than ever before. (Like this great tune from Backbone, for instance.)


And yet, I can still easily find the time needed each day to write the posts.

The writing bit, funnily enough, is a piece of cake, in terms of time. Generally, I try and knock out an article as fast as I can, with sub-20 minutes being a sweet spot that I can regularly hit.

This rapidity is merely the result of writing 250 words, five days a week, for five years.

In that time, the three key things I’ve learnt are: touch-typing, ruthless on-the-hoof editing of hyperbole, and the ability to trust that what I write is going to be passable at worst, and good at best. Ceasing to agonise over every sentence you write is a truly liberating feeling.

Yes, but why am I only writing about a new band about once a week now?

Well, the part that takes the time – the time I just can’t find – is going through all the new music in the first place.

If you are a masochist, read the Twitter feed of any new-music journalist, DJ or blogger, and there will periodically be an OH GOD HELP ME tweet complaining that they have more music to listen to than there are hours in the day.

My inbox has stood at the daunting figure of “999+ unread” for well over a year, and I suspect that most music bloggers experience the same physical pangs of fear that I do every time I peep into my emails.

In desperation, I have developed a miserable ruthlessness for deleting emails, unread, at the merest hint of perceived inappropriateness.

The mention of ‘post-rock’ in the subject line; a first line that begins “Sorry for the mass mail but…”; the word ‘sophomore’: these, and many more harmless traits are a one-way ticket to the email graveyard. (The below new song by ANBAD faves Painted Zeros is one that somehow dodged the inbox slash ‘n’ burn – and good job too, as it’s a fabulous cut.)

I imagine most music bloggers do the same thing. I guess they also feel the same sense of horrible guilt I do every time I mass-delete 200 unread emails: each of which contains music drawn from months of work, hope, ambition, love, fear, dreams, faith, longing, etc. – you know, what makes us human in the first place.

But even if I grab 30 minutes a day, and devote it entirely to sifting through new-band emails, I can evaluate possibly 20 bands at most: and that’s giving one song per band 15 seconds’ listening time – which, frankly, is unusually generous. And out of 20 bands, I only occasionally find one I think is worth writing about.

Here’s the crux of it: even if I can clear 20 bands’ emails a day, I am only making an ever-smaller dent in an ever-bigger pool of unread mail and unheard music. There is too much. (Including this great Bloum track…)


Simply put: I do not have enough time to go through the music in my emails and identify the good stuff any more.

I have time to write and post the article, but not the time to find suitable bands to write about. Even if I wrote off the blogging part, and just posted a bulleted list of five good new bands every week, I would still be pushed for the time to find five good new bands. The good artists are still out there, in spades. And quality is the only thing that counts, so I can’t concede ground here. It’s agonisingly frustrating.

With this in mind, I have literally no idea how to solve this problem, besides petitioning Parliament for an 8-day week.

I’m not whinging about my lot – who cares about the problems of another fucking music blogger? Yet: I don’t want to quit the blog, because I love new music and I love writing about it and sharing it and discussing it.

I imagine a lot of music bloggers are in this position too. I’m honest enough to concede that ANBAD can’t continue as it used to until a solution to this most modern of problems is found. I’m a bit stuck.

Suggestions in solving this are (very) welcome: joe@anewbandaday.com

TL;DR: ANBAD’s output has tailed-off because I now receive so much new music that the mere act of trying to find the good music in the pile is so time-consuming that there’s none left to blog about it. Woe is me, etc.

Ezra Furman: Life In The New Dog, Yet

ezrafurmanSeeing as these days I’m pushing the (admittedly always-shaky) concept of writng about a new band every day, I feel a lot less troubled by the fact that today’s ‘new’ artist isn’t terribly new in every sense of the word.

This is because Ezra Furman has had his own band, and then spent a bunch of years fronting another (Harpoons), and is now a fully-fledged solo project.

His solo LP’s just come out. Only a handful of blogs have written about this song.

So… I’m off the hook, right?


Doesn’t matter either way, actually, because My Zero is so loveable, so bright, so delicious, that each spin is like a warm embrace from an old friend, and each rollocking sweep through the chorus provides the same joys as an evening holed up in a good pub with a loved one.

Ezra has a voice that cuts through the swathes of bland voices that populate the majority of pop music. How can you help but connect on a very base level to his sprightly, croaky vox? His voice is a springboard for the music to soar from; and vice-versa.

In this way, he reminds me of old ANBAD faves Straw Bear, who weave glorious vocals and glistening music to similarly lovely effect.

My Zero is fabulous. Proof that the old guitar ‘n’ singer combo can still ignite the kind of thrills that nothing else can. What a tune!

MORE: ezrafurman.com

Where Will Your Favourite Artist’s Money Come From If They Get Cancer?; Plus: BLUFRANK

blufrankI’ve stumbled on all sorts of good things online last week, which may account for the absence of posts on ANBAD.

These have been namely: The World’s Greatest Rave Video, The Most In-Depth Prècis of Warren G‘s Regulate Ever, and then – most importantly – the trailer to a documentary called Unsound, which spells out the impact of the new music business model on actual artists.

You know: the people who make the music.

I’m taking the rare step of posting a video on ANBAD, because this trailer contains more thought-provoking sentiments than anything else I have seen, heard or read on this topic, and that anyone who cares about music will intuitively feel too.

Perhaps the most important issue here is that we just don’t know where the music industry is going – and is still making up its own rules.

The kicker is that at the moment the status quo is not just as it ever was (big biz making the $$$, artists getting a rough deal) but now, when we have the opportunity to spread the dough around a bit, the realistic options for an artist to make decent money might be slimmer than ever.

Only making money from gigs is simply not enough, assuming we consumers want to enjoy music as we have done for decades.

Yes, you can make money playing live – but it’s just the old model’s final hurrah: it works on exclusivity alone.

The supply of the product is limited (you have to be in a certain place to experience the gig), just as the supply of recorded music used to be limited (you had to buy a CD to listen to it).

Now there are a zillion technological ways of making/distributing cash, or at least potential ways: micro-transactions, crowd-funding, et al are pretty bog-standard ideas now.

Are there other ways that could help make artists money for the amazing music they make?

Ways that are more direct (i.e fewer slices taken out of the money en route to the artist), less heavy on the purchaser (i.e.: no-one is going to pay £15 for an LP any more – what feels right? £5?) and enabling (i.e. the artist is not compelled to live under the fear of what happens if they cannot play live)

Either we change and start coughing up in new, interesting, this-feels-right ways, or less music gets made. Because when the artist you love can’t, for some reason, perform any more, and thus can’t make money, you can bet your/their bottom dollar that they will choose to put food on the table first.

And their music will fall by the wayside. And that third LP that would have been a true artistic revolution won’t get made. And you won’t hear it. And your life will be poorer. And so on.

Oh, here’s BLUFRANK, by the way, who is buried beneath all this, and is here for two reasons.


Firstly: because he is making the kind of trashy disco quirk-pop that is unpretentious, fun and can hold your attention in a way that, say, a song by any number of buzz-bands can’t, and secondly, because he is apparently from Egypt – and I haven’t featured a band from Egypt before.

I guess that BLUFRANK doesn’t perform live all that much. I wonder if he makes much money from music?

MORE: soundcloud.com/blufrank

Satanicpornocultshop: Yes, Satanicpornocultshop.

satanicpornocultshopI’m considering changing the name of the blog to “A New Curiously-Named Band A Day(ish)”, simply because it would be a lot more truthful than the current moniker.

That said, truth has played very little part in ANBAD’s journey so far, and so the dreadful deception will probably continue, although this is mainly because I don’t have time to design a new logo.

I mean, but of course  Satanicpornocultshop were next on my list the moment I saw their name. And truly, who can say it wasn’t time for some more Japanese Juke House? I don’t think I’ve indulged this maddening obsession for, ooh, at least a couple of months.

Actually, ‘maddening’ is the operative word here.

Say? Say? Say? is the most flat-out, totally-wardrobe, lunacy-fuelled song I’ve ever featured on ANBAD: a wholly absurd, manic, explosion of odd pop-culture samples, 808 noises and furious drum-snaps, seemingly arranged entirely at random.

That said, if you look past the sheer bananas-nature of the song, there’s plenty to admire: odd humour, the entire absence of commercialism, a certain stylishness in the lack of concern about the reception to such mad music.

That’s my excuse, anyway.

MORE: soundcloud.com/satanicpornocultshop

PINCERS: Set Adrift On Memory Bliss

pincersIt’s the fate of all music blogs, apparently, to fizzle and splutter at some point in their lives, and maybe this is exactly what ANBAD is doing right now, as work commitments are making this blog’s titular ‘A Day’ part seem more far-fetched than ever.

Not being able to write about new bands each day any more was starting to get me down.

The cure, as always, was found in a fabulous song. Hello, Pincers!


A Sociopath To Fame plays out like a series of dreamy vignettes or a scattering of half-memories, both sonically and lyrically.

It’s a gorgeous-sounding song: like all the most immediate recordings, some instruments sound like they’re being played just behind you, and other sounds feel like they’ve been beamed in from another solar system.

At one point, I swear the 90s-era internet log-on noise creeps into the mix.

The lyrics – an element that I’ll freely admit to generally ignoring – are a series of remarkably confident statements. (Read them here.)

Sociopath is almost so sparse at times that I worried it would just fall apart, and at that exact moment, it would swell and re-build into a glorious kaleidoscopic flurry of melody.

Wonderful stuff. The rest of Pincers’ debut EP is terrific too. Snap it up!

MORE: abadgeoffriendship.com/artists/pincers

Butchers & Bakers: Donuts

butchersandbakersAs ANBAD has been on an unexpected hiatus yet again, I may as well just jump in the deep end with this one and say how much I think Butchers & Bakers‘ deliciously-named Brunch is simply the kind of song I love to have fall into my lap every now and then.

Just as laptops now allow anyone to make any noise they want – and so many songs have become swamped with everything – synths are no longer luxury products.

All you need is a bit of pirated software and a $25 USB-keyboard to play any synth sound ever, and just maybe you too could be Vince Clarke, right?!

When every noise is within easy reach, the hard part becomes choosing how to narrow down your selection to not very much and finding something cool to do with it.


Thus, Brunch/Emulator’s blooping synth flourishes are agonisingly simple but hideously effective, perfectly and oddly complimenting Rebecca’s (yes, I read the band info for once) vocals.

There’s nothing really obtuse about this song: it’s just a good song, being good and fun, and odd, and slightly off-kilter enough to grab your attention. This might sound like I’m underplaying the band’s abilities: it’s actually about as high a compliment as you can pay any song.

Moreover, Butchers & Bakers were always likely to emerge on ANBAD: in their photo they pose with a plate of donuts.

The band are from Brooklyn. I daydream about the Peter Pan donut bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at least twice a week, and the naive and foolish part of me hopes that those donut pictured above are snatched from those very shelves.

Ah, whimsy.

MORE: facebook.com/Butchersandbakers

ASBJØRN: A Palpable Frisson of Excitement

asbjornIn the continuing quest to fully blur the definition of the world ‘new’, here’s an artist who’s been around for a bit, and is Quite Big In Denmark.

But he’s new to me. And possibly to you too, so our dearly-held definition of ‘new’ is probably safe for now.

I first saw Asbjørn at the First We Take Berlin stage in a huge austere-yet-beautiful aircraft hangar at the disused Tempelhof airport in Berlin.

The environment was weirdly fitting: Asbjørn’s silky and odd pop contrasted nicely with the huge concrete void.


What made Asbjørn’s set really exciting wasn’t just his cluster of well-crafted pop songs, or his foppy, lithe stage presence, or even his extremely tight trousers, but the fact that I was standing in a crowd of people who were almost all discovering him for the first time.

There was a palpable frisson of excitement; a mutual cross-lingual muttering of, “hey, this is really good.”

Strange Ears is a great song, but most of his are, so dig around a bit. These are shimmering, chilly, otherworldly pop songs designed for us all.

MORE: asbjornmusic.com

Son Of Stan: Supermodel or Whippet?


ANBAD took two weeks off to, variously, bask in its own dubious glory at the AIM Awards, where ANBAD got a bewilderingly lovely nomination for “Indie Champion” (Gilles Peterson won, and who better to lose to?); and then I popped across to the brilliant, The Great Escape-threatening Berlin Music Week, and ate my body weight in grilled meat.

Berlin Music Week’s associated new music festival, First We Take Berlin, by the way, is marvellous: highlights included warbly almost-there duo/trio Braids, crunch-pop band du jour Parquet Courts and Asbjørn, who were the surprise best-of-the-bunch.

So back to new bands: Son Of Stan, of course, is another one that got an automatic pass onto the pages of ANBAD simply on the strength of the marvellous pun that is their name. Oh, well, that; and the fact that Corsica (Hatchback Edit) is excellent.

Corsica is gorgeously odd, light and thin, like a supermodel or a whippet. It is understated, but pulses and shoots ahead like bursts of soft light. This is a song that sounds like it may have come together as a happy accident.

I hope so, because they’re often the best kind of songs. Son Of Stan may have a gag in their name, but they’re deadly serious when it comes to making ace tunes, so it all balances out in the end.

MORE: thesonofstan.com

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