The View From… Brazil (Pt 2)

Murilo Portescheller does not only have a fabulously beguiling name, but he’s a native of Brazil who is studying here in Manchester for a few months.

Having left the endless beaches of his homeland and swapped them for the endless  drizzle of Manchester, no wonder he is eager to reminisce about his country’s music scene…

In the past few years, Brazil’s got some emerging bands that may have changed the image of the country’s alternative music scene. Indie Rock and Experimental bands got back on track.

Jennifer Lo-fi is the most exciting new band that came out from São Paulo in many years from now. With influences from experimental, post-rock bands like This Town Needs Guns, Sigur Rós, Circa Survive and The Mars Volta, they created something that Brazil was not used to listen to.

Their gigs are definitely intense, energic, well played and veeery noisy, such as their two EP’s, Summer Session (2010) and Nóia (2011). Technically talking, they are one of the best bands in Brazil.

Another experimental band is making some noise in the Brazilian alternative music scene: Dorgas. This fresh new band – they’ve got only a single, Loxhanxha (2011), and an EP, Verdeja Music (2010), released – from Rio de Janeiro makes an experimental-druggy sound, with broken guitar riffs and drums, synth backgrounds and reverbed vocals. A band to watch out for!

The ‘biggest Brazilian new band’ is called Holger (which is already known in ANBAD – they appeared in The View From Brazil Pt. 1). They’ve grown a lot since their first EP, The Green Valley, was released. The press and the public literally embraced the band when they released the debut album Sunga, late in 2010.

It sounds like a mix of the early riff-indie rock from USA (like Pavement and stuff) and the african music beats – I could easily compare it to the self-titled Vampire Weekend’s debut album.

The funky band Garotas Suecas, from São Paulo, is a clear revival from the funk scene of Brazil in the 70’s and 80’s. They toured in NY last year and released the full-length album Escaldante Banda, which had got such great reviews from the local and worldwide music press.

Rock’n’roll Black Drawing Chalks deserves some attention too. The band with heavy melodies and great riffs from Goiânia are well known in Brazil.

They already reached a good place in the alternative music scene with two LP’s released, Big Deal (2007) and Life Is A Big Holiday For Us (2009), and their single My Favorite Way was chosen by the Rolling Stone Brasil magazine as the best song of 2009.

It’s worth to keep the eyes on new artists from Brazil. Some really good stuff are coming out and not arriving in Europe. I’d say the next things to come are The Tape Disaster (a very talented instrumental band from Porto Alegre), Apanhador Só and Inverness.

PS:if you want to translate some Portuguese names of the bands:

Garotas Suecas = Swedish Girls
Apanhador Só = Lonely Catcher
Dorgas = Durgs, a joke with the word ‘drugs’…

The View From… Milton Keynes

If you mention the town of Milton Keynes to anyone in the UK, they will immediately replace their previous expression with one of furrowed concern, and mutter the word, “roundabouts.”

Milton Keynes is punctuated with more roundabouts than even begins to make sense. It’s a true shame that the town is mainly known for this, and as Vickee Tweed is at pains to stress – there’s a lot of new music screeching around those circles too…

With the recent double whammy of Foo Fighter’s gigs which saw a packed out Bowl, I dare anyone to say that Milton Keynes is little more than a land of concrete cows, roundabouts and a namely confused football team. From the air a place that resembles little more than your granny’s crossword with all it’s endless grid squares has some unearthed musical treats.

Ok so I guess we have the tour managers, promoters and general ‘powers that be’ to thank for that weekend’s fine feast of rock and Indie delights. However small and stuffy Milton Keynes is, over the past few years we’ve had some highly talented bands and individuals sprout through the concrete and add a little life into the mix.

Anyone remember Capdown? The progressive Ska band who made it onto the Lock Up stage at Reading and Leeds year after year, having a key supporter in the shape of Radio 1’s Mike Davis. Well they are indeed Milton Keynes born and bred.

I say it like they’re a thing of the past, actually do kids still skank? Apparently so, as it shows with their long list of gigs scheduled this year including Reading and Leeds alongside Boy Sets Fire and Come Back Kid. Well done to them I say. Another band hailing from MK was a Kerrang favourite, Fell Silent a progressive metal band who seems to have the grubby Pitz Club (RIP) kids under their experimental spell. After a long spell of touring with friends Enter Shikari and releasing a killer album the band went their separate ways last year to pursue separate projects.

Enough with the past, lets think present and take a look at all of the talent currently oozing out of the pores of this multi-faceted town (yeah, still not a city – not that we’re bitter).

The MK music scene has evolved and shifted in recent years, like any other big town there are trends and fashions that these kids are all too eager to to follow. A band breaking that mould and just making music because they like to be rowdy are Action Beat.

The ever-growing band have become well respected in Europe, touring every summer, serving up their thrashy, bashy, mashy mashed up lyric-less delights. These guys are mental, and over the years the band have seen over 40 band members and a heck of a lot of instruments – an average show could see up to four drum kits. Definitely an experience. Catch them in the UK in August. If you like something a little prettier but still with it’s experimental inner workings, think Bon Iver on speed. check out the solo project from former Beat boy Dean Spacer, House of John Player

If you’re a fan of the softer end of the spectrum there’s a couple of top acoustic acts in Milton Keynes worth opening your ears for. Toulouse Wolfe features the musical talents and pitch perfect tones of Goldsmith student Heather Britton.

Her EP is dark in places, almost haunting giving depth and character to her emotive lyrics. It’s astounding to think that this is her first release, already mastering and fine tuning her unique sound – I think there may be some accomplished artists turning a slight shade of emerald in the wake of TW. Lastly we celebrate the talents of Nick Fisher, charming both in character and in song. His music is so pleasurable to listen to, soothes the soul and puts a swing in your step. If you’re having an angsty five minutes Nick will sort you out. Sorted!

The View From… A Small Town

Alex Webster is nowt but a youngster: one who’s just finished his exams and is probably spending the summer mugging grannies to get money for Miaow Miaow or whatever it is that kids in small towns do for fun these days. 

Anyway, before he went about his crime spree, he was kind enough to jot some words to shine some light on the inner workings of a small-town music scene – namely Dorking in Surrey, UK…

Dorking is a sleepy town nestled in the heart of South-East England and, while placed in the centre of sleepy country living, its proximity to London and Brighton provides the potential and setting for a surprisingly vibrant music scene.

Many familiar faces are seen nursing a pint around the pubs at each (and often every) open mic providing a supportive atmosphere for those testing the water before taking to plunge in the nearby capital.

Several young talents have emerged from them, most notably Kate Ross, a regular at The Star open mic, she produces melancholic and moving acoustic music with a sly wit.

The Lincoln Arms has one of the longest standing Dorking music nights, now becoming well established as a venue, once open to 16 plus (a blessing in a dull town on a Friday night) but now unfortunately 18 plus.

The Lincoln is organised by many people in and around Dorking but two stand out bands/artists are: Springtime Radio, who provides a exciting and emotional pop-punk/folk crossover, and straight up punk band with a historic twist – Wegrowbeards.

Another Band heard in and around Dorking is Finest Minds (previously mentioned on ANBAD) who combine a plethora of styles in their genre spanning You Are Here EP.

The proximity of Dorking to London also creates a fair selection of electronic artists considering the size and nature of the town.

Dubstep producer Brett Heaslewood a.k.a Hiloxam a young producer with the talent to ride the dubstep wave right to the top. Dark//Tides is a young producer showing great potential in his bedroom productions.

Another electronic musician found in Dorking is the DJ-turned producer Finlay Reid with only a few productions under his belt yet each is as awesome and playable as the last listen to Mellow Memories.

The View From… Camden (Again)

Tim Osboune is a journalist who likes going to gigs. A fortunate combination.

When he offered to write for ANBAD, I immediately said ‘Yes!’; when he offered to write the article on Camden’s music scene, I said, ‘Oh, go on then,’ because, even though it’s been discussed before, Tim’s view is very different… 

An (Unpretentious) View From… Camden

Camden Town in London scores highly in the hipster stakes as a small melting pot of fashion and music culture that has bred international superstars like Amy Winehouse. That said, the music scene around Camden is often criticised for its plethora of pretentious post-superstar bands trying to cash in on the ‘all-eyes-on-us’ feel of the place.

But fear not, for there are still a handful of no-nonsense rock bands who are taking the heart and soul of Camden nationwide.

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time at The Wheelbarrow in Camden it’s likely that you’ll have come across the trio called Them Changes. The band hosts a regular night called Hooligan Soup at the venue once a month, inviting other bands to support them.

They describe themselves as a “psychedelic space punk power trio” with huge guitar riffs broken by great harmonies and vocal ranges. It’s a set-up that’s earned them a local reputation as ‘the next Kings of Leon’, a fair comparison when listening to their recently-released track Lie To Me.

Then there’s the extraordinary Tom Cawte and David Thornley who front the band Babeshadow.

Babeshadow have been regulars in Camden since their formation last year, a pair of modern-day renegades of sorts; an anti-modernist calypso-pop outfit that fits perfectly into the London indie scene with their Buddy Holly inspired sound… and they’re letting the music do the talking.

This means, shocking as it is given the current state of the music industry, until recently there has been very little to see or hear of the band without making the trek to London to see them perform live.

Despite having already been signed to LuvLuvLuv Records and toured with Florence and the Machine in November they appear to be rejecting much of the modern hype machine and social networking and simply concentrating on creating great tracks.

Their fresh, laid-back style of guitar plucking makes their new EP fresh enough to stand-out from the crowd. The lead track ‘Sea Serpents’ has won national airplay and, for reasons that are somewhat unclear, seems to be a hit on many shop playlists in supermarkets and beauty treatment outlets as well.

Camden locals FC-20 are another fine embodiment of the very spirit of Camden as a cultural melting pot with tracks that are heavily influenced by reggae, electro rock, ska and rap among others.

The five-piece band only formed last year but are already calving a reputation for themselves locally in the area as a Happy Mondays influenced, no nonsense band with a ton of attitude.

The boys have already supported fellow-Londoners, The Rifles, at various gigs including The Roundhouse and are regulars at The Monarch in Camden.

Their live set is an electrifying mix of punkish screaming vocals and dubstep infused indie beats. It’s an odd, but winning combination that seems to have raised a few eyebrows among the locals.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 23rd May 2011

NB: The ANBAD ‘posse’ is taking a (partly) well-earned holiday for a couple of weeks.

You can quit yo’ jibber-jabber though: there will still be Midweek Mixtapes, which is still a band a day, if you ration them out. Até breve!

FIRST! Sadly, Wild Years accidentally fell down the ANBAD Memory Hole. They should have been on here about six months ago, but I forgot. It’s a shame, as their heavily Pavement-influenced songs are a a splashy joy. LIke a bright summer spent indoors.

SECOND! Low Duo sound like a cheerful lot, don’t they? And, lo, so their music came to reflect their name, or vice-versa: No Happier is, naturellement, a bit of a gloom-fest. Still, it’s a pretty gloom and enjoyable in the same way that introspective self-analysis often is.

THIRD! Hook Moon also fell down the back of the ANBAD sofa, which is a shame, because their minimalist/slick/spaceman rock is wide-eyed, ambitious and gently sweet; giving short shrift to bands whose ambition doesn’t match their own.

FOURTH! The Helmholtz Resonators Bombs made me wonder whether big dumb remixes aren’t all that bad after all. Who could deny a stupid-fresh song that utilises lyrics like “I can smell bombs but he can smell medicine”? No-one, that’s who.

No Flash: A New Band’s Perspective

No Flash are a band. They’re a band in Manchester, a city full of other bands, gloomy gigs, shifty promoters, and people who like to tell you how all of those things mean much more to them than they do to you.

It can be hard to be heard above the din.

Being in a new band is tough – and that’s partly why bands are bands: you may well be penniless and frustrated, but at least you’re all penniless and frustrated together, right?

I spoke to No Flash, a band who are steadily and determinedly grinding their way through the same boggy musical ground trudged by every Mancunian band before them.

They shed light on what it is like to balance desperate ambition with the drudgery of real life as a band on the way up. Their demeanour flitted from partly-thrilled, via partly-weary, and finally to partly-confused by the dizzying scale of their task.

But above all they were infectiously fun, insightful and happy to be doing something they love.

If you’ve ever considered taking tentative steps along the grimy tightrope of New Bandhood, listen to this and decide if you still really want it…

No Flash: A New Band’s Perspective


Photo by Chris Walker

The View From… Brazil

My knowledge of the Brazilian music scene is hopeless, beginning and ending with late 80’s, er, “groove metalists”, Sepultura. Aside from a solitary band – the excellent Top Surprise – Brazilian music has been absent from ANBAD. Thankfully, the kind Brazilian music fan Ana has decided to shine some much-needed light on the music I’ve missed to put a partial end to my ignorance…

Brazil is a rather big country, so it would be hard to write about all the bands and styles we have here. After some gigs and new recordings I’ve decided to talk about some bands from Campinas, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre.

Starting with Porto Alegre, there’s a band called Charutos Cubanos. Starting in 2007 they played tributes to The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, but since 2008 they’ve started doing their own projects, launching now their second EP, Appaloosa.

The boys already have their space in the musical scene from the South of the country and now, thanks to internet, in the other states hoping to be playing soon around Sao Paulo.

In Campinas, city where I live, was hard to choose just one band to talk about. Shake Heartbreak, Libs, Ya Cult! and Scotch Tape were my options.

I’ve decided to talk about Scotch Tape, a bad formed by girls playing punk rock. Known as The Distillers tribute band, the girls started to play when the American lead singer, Alessandra, met the bass player, Dani, and decided to form a band.

Without knowing who would play what, they started to chase by musicians, finding Luiza and many other people who passed by. They were constantly looking for a new drummer, but the search seems to have settled down. Scotch Tape is often playing in Campinas and close cities, having full agenda every weekend. Their music, Right to Choose, inspired by California punk can now be found in their MySpace.

From Sao Paulo there’s a band called Holger, which has played recently in Campinas. I just knew the band by name, but a friend showed me their video and took me to the gig saying they were a great live band.

She was right, the band has a strong energy and a great way of dealing with the crowd. Creating a good atmosphere and unusual events such as girls taking out of their shirts, play fight rolling in the street and dance competitions for t-shirts and albums.

The View From… Kilburn // London

This is the third look at local music scenes in London, after Camden and North-East London, and if it reminds us of anything, it’s that London is a) VAST and b) all things to all people. Cat Dal‘s blog,, is run from Kilburn. She also ‘does’ new music ‘stuff’ for a national newspaper, and as such, is in a perfectly poised to comment on her neighbourhood’s foibles, its scuffed charm and the enforced silence which must be obeyed

North West London hasn’t yet manage to pull in the Shoreditch ‘cool’ crowd and frankly we couldn’t be more smug about it. For the locals, like myself, Kilburn has that smelly old relative appeal, it really should wash more and there’s some food stuck on their face, but you love ‘em all the same.

If you were to survive the altitude high up on the Jubilee line, Kilburn High Road has some of the most exciting venues in London. Dedicated to playing credible new acts alongside returning legends: we are of course talking about the Good Ship and the holy grail that is The Luminaire.

The Good Ship is a music-orientated pub and club perfect for dipping your toe into the murky waters of new music. They have set up the bar just far away enough so you can easily nurse a pint without stretching your vocal chords to Steve Tyler levels to be heard.

However if you want to get up close and into spitting territory, the stage allows you to get cozy and well acquainted with your favourite music-makers. Come the weekend, the ‘plub’ gets its sparkly leggings on, and the dance floor is heaving until 4am.

Two minutes from the Good Ship’s doors lives its older, cooler brother, The Luminaire. Dark, brooding and mysterious, The Luminaire is a place for true-music lovers searching for rare intimate acoustic sessions with phenonmal sound.

Co-owner Andy Inglis insists on a silenced room when the acts are playing, and in return provides the obliging audience with fair priced drinks, chummy staff and a precious experience.

Warpaint, Horse Feathers, Aidan Moffat and the Editors are just a few of the acts to have graced the velvet lined room, and if you glance (quietly) around the room and you may see Jim Scalvunous, or Edwyn Collins amongst the bearded crowd.

With 100 Club and the Flowerpot facing closure, its important to embrace and support natural, music-orientated venues before they face extinction.

Otherwise, we could end up succumbing to watching Andrew Bird taking on a very noisy Koko, whistling so forcefully, he bursts a blood vessel.

© Cat Dal //

The View From… Birmingham

Neil Ward lived – until just a few days ago – in Birmingham. Birmingham is known mainly for producing a slew of globe-straddling hard rock bands a few decades ago, and apparently little since. Don’t take his leaving town as a bad sign. (He left to pursue a career and a girl, and they’re both good enough reasons for me.) Before he left, he wrote this article, which aims to redress the balance…

I’m not here to provide a musical history lesson. It is common knowledge that Birmingham has been home to some of the biggest bands the world has ever seen.  But, in my generation no one has come close to the dizzy heights of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath (you’re welcome, by the way).

We have had notable contributions from both Mike Skinner and Mr Hudson, but Skinner fled to London faster than you could say “mockney accent”, and Hudson got auto-tuned to death for a bag of money from Kanye West. What does that leave us with? The Twang?

I feel we’ve been slightly misrepresented of late. There’s a long list of hard-working musicians in the city and it seems like it’s just a case of who will get the next opportunity to break through.  Here are two real diamonds that I think could make waves in the near future:

TANTRUMS // Everyone in the city is pretty excited about these guys right now.  Taking all the best bits of New Order, Fleetwood Mac and electronic dubstep guy Rusko, their songs are filled with enough catchy hooks and great lyrics to justify this current maelstrom of hype.  Their new(ish) single ‘If I Don’t Try’ is pretty much a fully fledged pop hit.

TOM PEEL // His geek-chic allure and folksy warblings share a lo-fi charm with groups like The Moldy Peaches, with a naivety you could liken to Daniel Johnston.  He has four releases available, with his most recent ‘Blockbiscuits’ on Birmingham label-du-jour Speech Fewapy.

It is perfect fuzzy indie pop music exhaled through a distinctive Americana haze.  When you see him live, you can’t help but smile. His party trick?… using a vintage reel-to-reel tape deck strapped to his chest. It’s a real show stealer.

The smaller DIY touring and local bands desperately need a 100 capacity venue in the city centre.  People have tried and failed, others haven’t even bothered. Although there is plenty of stuff going on here, it’s nothing in comparison to Manchester, let alone London.  Nods go to the Yardbird for their free gigs and although it is out of town The Hare & Hounds always has great shows.

Maybe the mass of recent noise abatement orders has made potential venues think twice about putting on shows. Still, the promoters are the unsung heroes of Birmingham, constantly working to enthuse the population with great gigs and nights out.

© Neil Ward //

The View From… Camden

Guy Fawkes lives in Camden. When I was 16, Camden was the coolest part of the UK, merely because Blur, Elastica and, er, Menswe@r used to drink in Britpop haunt The Good Mixer. These days it still retains a certain caché, except that now it’s Amy Winehouse falling out of pubs there rather than Damon Albarn. Here, Guy reveals the duality of the Camden scene…

Like many places, where I live has some advantages and some disadvantages. Among the best things about living in the vicinity of Camden Town is that everyone has heard of it around the world it seems, so enlightening them as to the environs of your habitation is certainly a deed made easier. But most seem to think that living in Camden would be the best thing around.

Suggested listening #1:

Well they’re just wrong. Maybe living in the capital has made me a little spoilt in terms of music. Granted, Camden is much better than say Crawley or Coventry – but let’s not get bogged down in that. When it comes to the music and the atmosphere, it is certainly not the case that Camden is second to none.

Let’s have a look at some of the more established venues: Roundhouse, Barfly, Electric Ballroom, Koko, Dingwalls. These are full of shirt-wearing, beer-slurping businessmen who would much rather prey on innocent teenage girls and listen to Oasis than whatever poor new band is trying to win their attention at said venue.

They don’t care about the music or creating an exciting atmosphere. It’s a saddening state. Either that or the nights at these venues are all booked up by big promotions companies like SJM who flood the repertoire with tame radio-friendly trash.

Suggested listening #2:

You will get some decent bands playing now and then but these shows will inevitably be filled with industry. A prime example was The Drums playing the Barfly last year, rammed – not with punters eager to catch them in an intimate atmosphere – but with shedloads of industry figures.

Perhaps this is a good thing – providing up and coming bands with the opportunities to establish themselves onstage with audiences that can propel them to further glory. But it feels like watching meat churning out of the grinder. The Drums were already set for their giddy heights – their set at the Barfly appeared to be little more than a congratulatory self-pat on the back for the industry at large.

Suggested listening #3:

Walking around Camden is devilish. It is not so much the tourists that are irritating – it is a famous area, rich in history and colour so why not visit? But the people who come down to pretend they were/are a member of a subculture are the most infuriating. Specifically punks who seek to extract money off tourists for photos. How punk is that?

Camden needs a fresh start, fresh venues and fresh promoters. Unless we want to see it become a sordid bastion of “nostalgia” and milking the past, because that’s where it’s heading to.

My tip for finding reliably good music is to check out what’s happening at The Lexington on the nearby Pentonville Road. Always a great sound, always a lovely ambience, seemingly always good bands too. It exudes a great ethos, something that is regrettably clearly lacking in Camden.

Suggested Listening #4: