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.


 

Money; OR: Another Post Weighing Into The Am*nda P*lmer Debacle

If you have eyes, or ears, or both, and you like new music, you’ll have heard all about the fuss surrounding noisy, all-pervasive, social-media devouring rock star Amanda Palmer and her new tilt at the whole “getting money” thing.

I won’t bore you with the gory details, because you probably know them already – so here’s the TL;DR:

*Amanda Palmer raises a minor fortune in crowdsourced funding for a new album;

*Amanda Palmer prepares to tour aformentioned album, gaining a ton of publicity en route;

*Amanda Palmer – she who has $1.25 million sloshing around in a bank account somewhere, asks lots of people to, er, play for her for free;

*Shitstorm ensues.

There are a few ways to make money (money that could buy you – oh, I don’t know – a cheap iPod touch) in music, but they’re all tough. This is well documented, although it is possible – from advertising, sponsorship, getting music placed in adverts, but this was a paradigm shift, yeah?

All of sudden, everyone owned a bit of an artists’ aims, dreams and proclamations. So it was inevitable that when someone suddenly became a millionaire, and then asked fans to play for free, people would display quite strong opinons on the matter.

Again, you’ll probably know them by now, but anyway: here’s Steve Albini’s lumbering and brutal take, whilst good friend of ANBAD Louis Barabbas has a more considered opinion.

Whatever your opinons on Amanda Palmer or her music (mine: a large, considered meh), you can’t help but admire her tenacity. But a millionaire musician deliberately choosing not to pay fellow musicians is a mis-step, to say the very least.

BUT HEY! – she’s made a minor U-turn and is paying them now, so that’s OK, right?

Well, not really. Here’s her caveat, after announcing that all the horn players and violin-pluckers will now be getting cash money now, too:

i hope this does two things: i hope it makes the volunteers surprised and happy (they’ll be getting some dough they had no idea was coming) and i also hope it makes our family circle feel good about speaking out.

when we handed the musicians their surprise cash backstage in new orleans the other last night, they laughed like mad and said “after ALL THAT, you’re going PAY US??!!”

This is tiresome: it reinforces the terrible idea that musicians should be grateful for receiving any money at all. And they shouldn’t, just as painters shouldn’t, just as writers shouldn’t, just as artisan wood-lathe sculptors shouldn’t: they simply *should* be paid, if their work is consumed.

Yet the nasty lie remains, and an artist like Amanda Palmer, publicly-funded millionaire or not, should know this most keenly of all.

Because whatever your opinion on musicians making money (money, remember, that  is useful when you realise that – oh, I don’t know – high street retailer Argos provides Acoustic Solutions), I’ll wager a penny to a pound that it boils down to this: the extreme opposite of getting paid is being taken advantage of.

People who get taken advantage of eventually have enough. And a brain drain of musical talent fuelled by hypocritical stinginess would be the worst thing to happen to music since The Pigeon Detectives.

DEXTER STRANGEWAYS – Monikers

dexterstrangewaysEven though Manchester’s Strangeways prison has long been named the significantly less poetic HM Prison Manchester, it is still known widely and colloquially by its former, creepier name.

It has snagged the attention of musicians before, of course, and in some respects is such a powerful, engrossing name that it steamrollers all around it.

Few people will focus on the first part of Dexter Strangeways’ name, for instance, even though Dexter is one of the most satisfying and unusual English names, but such is the power of words.

Still. All this chit-chat about band names, again. What of the songs, durrrr?

 

Stop Haunting Me is such a gloriously gloomy and deluxe song that any physical copies sold will be packaged in black paisley-embossed velvet. This song, remarkably is billed as a B-side (if they even exist any more) which seems like a terrible shame on one hand, and incredible fitting on the other.

Because this song is all about exclusion and desolation, and is incredibly beautiful because of it. Much braver and befitting to be slipped out as a B-side than showcasing as the song deserves. It builds beautifully into an incredible Gothic climax (note – not Goth). Excellent.

MORE: facebook.com/dexterstrangeways

CLEAR: The Song Noel Gallagher Wishes He’d Written

clearsunlightWell. Just to show that things don’t really work out the way you ever expect, it turns out the kind people at AIM have nominated A New Band A Day for an award  – the Indie Champion Award, indeed, along with the kind of names that made me initially think that there had been a clerical error.

So, I will be schlepping off to London in a month to drunkenly humiliate myself in front of people I admire.

In the mean time, huge thanks and hugs and hearty back-slaps to the kind people at AIM. It’s genuinely lovely to get a nod like this.

And speaking of genuinely lovely, Clear‘s Sunlight sounds like a song I know really well, but can’t put my finger on.

I initially spent a while racking my brain and googling the lyrics, and then I realised that it was an original song and that there is no better measure of a song than one that tricks you into thinking it’s a well-thumbed classic.

 

Well, indeed, this is exactly what Clear have written – a well-thumbed, much-loved classic. It’s just that the wider world doesn’t know it yet.

But you can’t hold a track like this – one that is so gloriously orange and golden and barley-hued – back from a wider embrace. It’s too good. There are no gimmicks or post-modern knick-knacks or VST-plug-ins-de-jour in this song. Instead, they lean on the oldest gimmick in the book: writing a terrific, moving, addictive song.

If someone like – say – Noel Gallagher had released this as his new solo single, people wouldn’t talk about anything else for the rest of the year, because it’d be so brilliant and so out of character. This is endlessly lovely.

MORE: facebook.com/clearsheffield

>Today’s New Band – Tent

>Mmm, camping. My last experience in a tent was at Glastonbury 2007 , and while I wasn’t shivering, soaking wet under a tree, scooping wet food into my mouth trying to keep warm whilst listening indifferently to the music being played, I was vomiting into black bin bags in my tent, having hilariously contracted sickness and diarrhea. Not great times, but memorable at least.

So to make New York’s Tent today’s New Band Of The Day was a minor, slightly pathetic, personal triumph of eschewing awful canvas-related memories from my mind. Still, it was worth it, because Tent make some great music. Stop and Go is alternately dense and sparse, with thin drifting vocals – and Tight Squeeze is similar, basic and minimal but coupled with a dreamy vocal melody.

In some ways Tent are like a groovier version of Kings of Convenience, but without any of the blandness that that may imply. Their music is a tightly contorting glide, slightly spaced-out and wide-eyed. I’d be tempted to describe it as techno-folk if that didn’t sound like the worst genre of music of all time. Perhaps the best thing to do is to listen to it for yourself at their MySpace page.

MIDWEEK(-ish) MIXTAPE // 27th Jan 2011

ANBAD is taking the week off and dodging the fact that it’s a Landmark Birthday of the sort that leads people to ask if I shouldn’t really be getting a proper job by now.

Don’t be distracted by my existential crisis – Drebin’s holding the new Duran Duran single is only moments away from playing it. The playing of this could only multiply any agonies that any of us may be experiencing right now. Here’s the Midweek Mixtape instead:

FIRST! Sen Segur appear to tick all my boxes: Very young, new band? Check. Recorded EP with ex-member of Gorky’s Zygotic Munki? Check. Welsh Language vocals so I can make up my own meanings? Check. Lovely, soft psyche pop songs? Oh yes. Great stuff.

Sen Segur // Cyfoeth Gwlyb

SECOND! Blondes In Tokyo are a band of whom I’m unsure of collective hair colour or geographic location. However, I do know that they make throbbing monster pop songs like Running Miles, and frankly, that’s all I’m interested in.

THIRD! No Monster Club: making songs like The Last Bottle In The World must be a lot of fun. If it isn’t, then they sure are good at making it sound like it on their scrappy, scruffy, loveable recordings. Rip-roaring fun:

FINALLY! De Staat are, apparently, “Holland’s No.1 act right now”. I’m far too lazy to verify a claim like that, but with such excellent, hypnotically clanky songs as Sweat Shop up their sleeves, I’m inclined to believe it.

NB: ANBAD will be back as usual, a little older, a little wiser, next week.

MIDWEEK MIXTAPE // 16th November 2011

 Sad news reaches ANBAD Towers again this week, as the revelation that Alex James’ Cheese ‘n’ Music “Worstival” has been quietly led behind the summer festival barn and put out of its misery.

The cheese/music dream is over. Worstival had a brief, glorious reign at the top of the “Music Festivals Tory Prime Ministers Choose To Attend” tree.

Thus today, Official ANBAD Mascot Alex James pours scorn, in the form of molten cheese, onto Alex James. Whoa. Inception.

MIXTAPE!

FIRST! Markus Hulthén‘s instrumental soft-psyche pop nugget, Visa från Svedmyra, is the kind of song you’d want to hear over a sad time-lapse montage of footage between acts two and three of a low-budget surprise-hit Indie movie. To wit: it’s lovely, melancholic, yet hinting at good things to come.

SECOND! New Hands have somehow achieved what I thought was impossible: an enjoyable riff on the super-shiny, pristine hate-pop of the mid-80’s. Their songs ought to be a catastophe. Actually, they’re pretty terrific. Success!

THIRD! Les Etoiles means ‘The Stars’ in French. I think. Assuming I’m not wildly wrong, this is a bold move in the band-naming department. Fortunately, A Year is quite dazzlingly bright, and cold, and crisp – like mid-winter snow. Nice.

FOURTH! There was a moment in Flash Bang Band’s video (see below) where, suddenly, The Pixies popped into my head. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the punchiness of their music. Why bother wondering, anyway? This is a good throwaway rock song, and they are an increasingly rare occurance.

>Today’s New Band – In Grenada!

>Having seen Oliver Stone’s JFK for the first time, here are my considered observations:

  1. After three hours of a movie, both my buttocks go numb
  2. Back and to the left back and to the left back and to the left ZOMG BLACK OPS!!1!!!1!!
  3. If any film was destined to be identified as a ‘dizzying tour de force’ by lazy journalists and film students everywhere, this was it.

It’s hard not to be entirely in thrall with such a brilliant assembly-job like JFK. It pulls so many different strands together with such intelligence and coherence, it doesn’t really matter if the story itself is bananas or not.

Today’s New Band pull off a similar trick, I suppose. In Grenada have created a dense, warm, attractive sound by fusing the old and the new, the grand and the slight.

Broken Castle
is what the Arcade Fire might sound like if they weren’t so humourless – it’s a cheery, clobbering romp. Beating Heart, suitably pulsating, throbs with drive and determination. In these songs, they sound world-weary and happy to be alive all at once.

Whatever it is that their songwriter eats for breakfast, I want some, because all of In Grenada’s songs are urgent and confident, piledriving their folksy melodies into a bigger rock template. Need vim? Need vigour? Listen here!

ANBAD’s Best Bands Of 2010 // Fifth, Fourth and Third Place

L-R: Ducktails // Young British Artists // Yuck

L-R: Ducktails // Young British Artists // Yuck

When narrowing down the 200 or so bands featured on ANBAD this year to the final few, I tried to consider the words I wrote about the bands at the time as much as how much I like them now.

This way the band has been reviewed twice: with fresh and familiar ears. I’m sure I’ve missed a number of brilliant bands who deserve to be listed. Please leave a comment if you feel that any poor souls have been unkindly overlooked.

The selection is entirely arbitrary, of course – just as it was at the time of writing. A good chunk  of the bands I raved about 10 months ago seem less thrilling in retrospect. Such is life.

Rule #1 of ANBAD, of course, is, “There is no merit in consistency”, and it’s nice to have that fundamental belief verified by my own maddeningly haphazard choices. So, with that caveat, here’s the fifth, fourth, and third best bands of the year:

NUMBER 5 // Ducktails‘ song Hamilton Road was the golden nugget of lolloping pop beauty that ensured Ducktails’ inclusion in the Top 5. A lazier, more warmly arousing musical re-enactment of a slow day in dry, hot heat was not heard all year.

ANBAD said: “If any song was to be played whilst laying on your back, on a Californian beach, surf lapping around tired toes, then this is it. The song lollops happily, shifting its weight with the elation of someone who has stayed up all night having a good time, and is now enjoying the quickly warming sunrise on the way home.”

Ducktails // Hamilton Road

NUMBER 4 // Young British Artists’ Lived In Skin manages to sound more alive in the space of five minutes than most  bands manage across a whole career (I’m looking at you, U2). This is a band that connect directly to your cerebral cortex by way of their knack of making their songs sound like they’re played just next door, just for you.

ANBAD said: “Young British Artists shoot pinholes of laser-light through the fug, and deliver songs more taut, more deliberately designed and more attack-minded than the majority of their contemporaries. Jolts of pleasure, life, and bright, white light.

Young British Artists // Lived In Skin

An Exclusive (And Very Quick) Interview With YBAs:

How has 2010 been for you?

Highlights were probably playing live for Steve Lamacq on 6 music during In The City and having him call our 7” one of the best of the year. That and playing a bunch of killer shows.

How have the audiences reacted to you?

Best shows of the year have been one we played for Matt Horne at the Queen of Hoxton in London. We really went for it and were a good level of drunk to play well and play right. The crowd really got into it and we even had Matt Horne air-drumming to one of our songs.

Which bands have caught your eyes/ears this year?

We’re all really big fans of the band WOMEN and all really enjoyed their album this year. Generally we think they have a nice liveness to their music which really comes across on record. Plus Dutch Uncles have massively honed their sound this year. We’re exceptionally proud to be going on tour with them in 2011.

What have you learnt that you wish you’d known in January 2010?

Cables and power supplies break more often than you ever want them to, no matter what you do.

NUMBER 3 // Yuck‘s Georgia doesn’t so much hit the ground running as much as it thumps it happily, skipping, strutting and punching forward; a jumble of cloying fuzz, golden sunlight and cotton-soft melodies. A sweeter song hasn’t been heard this year.

ANBAD said: “This is a song that conjures visceral mental images. All the best songs do. And this song dredges up flashes of orange-hued summer days of sweltering heat, cooling dips in rivers, fun, love and happiness. And cider. But that last bit’s probably just me.”

YUCK! // Georgia

POW! Only two more bands to go – check in  tomorrow for the second placed band, and then on Wednesday for the grand fromage of 2010’s New Bands. The thrills!

Val Venosta, Horror-Puns, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes

On the face of it, Van Venosta tick all of the boxes needed to appear on ANBAD. Just examine the evidence:

New band? Duh – tick. Protagonists wary of revealing their faces to the camera lest it steals their souls? Uh-huh. Originate from Göteborg, thus satisfying Scandinavian band obsession? Yup. Song titles betray a mutual and ongoing love of weak PUNS? Hell yes.

And so why fight it? They’re pretty much today’s new band by default. It doesn’t mean ANBAD’s quality control has finally, and sadly, shaken its head and dejectedly leapt feet first out of the window though – how could it when Val Venosta make songs that reek of shiny, plinking synth-dance music and ancient horror-movie pun-based titles?

Val VenostaThe Price Is Right

A shuddering four-square house song that samples clips from – that’s right – the Vincent Price movie The Abominable Dr. Phibes should pique the interest of any consumer of trashy pop culture – which, I’d wager, you are too.

They don’t try anything overtly fancy, instead concentrating fully on building exhilarating poppy-house tunes: foundations of heavy bass decorated with wisps of cheerfully piped melodies and musical box sounds. Vincent Price’s campy threats sound incongruous, fun and strangely fitting.

Val Venosta: mixing handsome Scandi-pop songs, dancefloor clout and heavy-breathing horror. A winning combination, right? Right.

>Today’s New Band – Southside Stalkers

>
Anyone who watched man-witch Derren Brown predict the lottery results on TV last week couldn’t have failed to have been massively underwhelmed by his subsequent explanation that it involved “deep maths and patterns within random behaviour.” The real explanation, though, was obvious: Derren Brown sold his soul to the devil and can travel through time.

Still, the more I thought about it, the more I was swayed by his account. I realised that there’s a hint of ‘deep maths and patterns’ within the A New Band A Day archive, in so much that there are a disproportionate number of Swedish bands in there. Check for yourself and drown in Swedish bands here.

Perhaps it’s some sort of musical reflection of sub-molecular cosmic order. Or maybe it’s just that Sweden keeps cranking out great bands, one after another. Take Today’s New Band, Southside Stalkers, from Stockholm. Their songs are typically brief bursts of poppy rock, exploding into your life, wiping a smile all over your face, and skipping quickly away.

Bones is just plain daft, a riff on an anatomical song you’ll already have sung at nursery, albeit with a new, sweary ending. The band just about stay in control to create a neat, playful song, despite the fact that they sound like they’re having all the fun in the world.

Even more shiny pop happiness is in Robert Downey Jr, which is on one level a meditation on the perils of massive drug addiction, but most obviously a truly brilliant, knock-about jangly pop blast. And it’s under two minutes long. All the best pop songs are under two minutes long. It’s the song The Kinks or The Monkees should have written, but couldn’t.

Southside Stalkers are a crsytal-clear, 100%-added-sugar delight – life affirmation doesn’t get much better than this.