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.


 

>Turncoat, And Britpop Rears It’s Ugly, Pretty Head

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One day, 90’s Indie music is going to be rediscovered by a new and enthusiastic set of youthful scavengers, and we’ll be plunged back into a world of Union Jack guitars, grand, empty choruses and second albums with lots of orchestration.

For now, the memory of Britpop’s eventual excesses is still too raw, and any hint of a Britpop re-imagining is accompanied by fearful shudders and nightmares of Kula Shaker reunions.

But there are shoots of 90’s endeavour emerging – and just look at Turncoat‘s 90’s-scented list of influences. Ride, Gene, and Trashcan Sinatras are all present, and for them to be there is somehow mildly daring.

Brighton Blanks isn’t Britpop. Let’s be clear about this. But is there a hint of that wide-eyed belief of the scrappy Indie bands who were good Britpop in there? And look: the song is a good one too. Power chords, ooh-ooh backing vocals, an actual lead guitar – it’s a large step away from the Twee Indie Pop that’s cluttered our lives for a while.

Turncoat – Brighton Blanks

Despite all its associated horrors, the ebullience of Britpop was alluring at the time, and still is now. If Turncoat lead the charge for one more splash in Britpop’s murky waters, it wouldn’t hurt… would it?

Andrea: An Uncertain Ratio

One day Bad Panda Records will stop releasing good songs by great undiscovered artists on their admirably free-spirited, free-thinking label.

But a delve into their amazing back catalogue of releases indicates that the hit ratio they have managed so far will continue for a long time, possibly beyond merely mortal lifespans.

Thus we can stop worrying about an impending (Bad) Bad Panda-pocalypse and continue filling our boots with glorious low-end sunshine-songs like Andrea‘s Work The Middle (Kodak to Graph Rmx).

 

As The Kids veer further away from guitars and more towards laptops and samplers, a strange thing is unfolding before our very eyes: we’re witnessing the shunning of old rock posturing, and the embracing of sonic delicacy.

So Work The Middle is, despite its of-the-moment beats and bass wobbles, a delicate and thoughtful song, more in tune with the brain and the groin rather than the sneer and the fist.

Songs like Andrea‘s are the future: maybe not sonically, but in intent. But right now, this is just perfect. An almost sublime song.

MORE: Andrea/Bad Panda Records

Record Store Day: Redux

Remember Record Store Day? It was only a week ago. Has it changed your shopping habits?

Will you keep buying your exclusive, 1000-only, limited edition, 7″ glitter-flexi-disc vinyls from your local shop now? Or will you continue to order it off the internet like you did before?

Record Store Day enjoyed its highest-ever profile this year. Stories about eager music fans queuing to buy one-off singles featured in the news on non-music radio stations, and every newspaper trundled out someone capable of writing a thousand words on the joys of purchasing a CD without hesitating to think beyond happy teenage memories.

This all seems very heartening, very healthy, very important, doesn’t it? Record stores are special, aren’t they? Aren’t they?

When I was at school, I used to visit Mike Lloyd Records at least three times a week. I’d go after class with my best friend Andy, and we’d loiter among the record racks until the shop closed when we’d get turfed out.

I bought my first ever single there, and walked home with my head down, devouring the words printed on the inlay, desperate to absorb every bit of information before I got home.

Andy and I would buy CDs on the basis that we liked the cover art, or that the band had a good name, or had a terrible name. Plonking down the still-ludicrous sum of £15 for an unknown CD represented a huge, thrilling gamble to a 16 year old, but it was a roll of the dice we were more than willing to take.

This was years ago, though. Mike Lloyd’s no longer exists. Most record shops don’t either. I loved Mike Lloyd Records. It gave me my musical education. Now and again, I mourn the halcyon times I spent there.

But things have changed. Almost no-one releases singles any more. I discover music via the internet and can listen to it instantly, as often as I like, without having to scribble down the band’s name as the DJ segues to another song, and then scamper off to a shop to buy it.

Remember: Record Store Day is primarily an event to bolster an ailing industry. Lots of industries  do it. The British Potato council has National Chip Week.

What grates is that in Record Store Day’s case, this truth is obscured by waves of blather about how record shops are essential to find out about new music, and how they are very important to sustain the fabric of our music society. You can even discuss music in them, with people who know about music!

Amusingly, writers were especially keen to point out that record shops are no longer intimidating places: hey, now anyone can come along and shop in them!

Most people won’t, and will continue to download their singles and albums in whichever non-physical format they desire, cutting the old middleman out and paying a new one instead.

Shops are a place to buy physical commodities. Music only fell into this category for a very short period of time, and music isn’t a physical commodity any more.

You don’t need a 12″ plastic disc and the accompanying artwork to listen to your new favourite song, as pleasurably tactile as those things may be. And when people no longer need something, they tend to suddenly become overwhelmed by ambivalence towards it.

I want record shops to exist. I love them. But if they are no longer viable, then their useful lifespan has ended, and the ruthlessly pragmatic human race will just move on. No number of special one-off singles by thoughtful bands will change that.

Record shops are lovely, but so are steam trains. You can’t get a steam train to London any more, and the Virgin Pendolino gets me to London hours quicker than I could by steam. And ultimately that’s what counts, isn’t it? People have a funny way of getting down to brass tacks when the need arises.

It’s also why steam trains are now the reserve of hobbyists and holidaymakers, and why Record Store Day might be viewed as an exercise in faux nostalgia – of a time when such places were successful businesses.

If record shops vanish, we will still find people to discuss new music with, and places to do it. We will still discover new sounds from new bands. The music and the associated happiness won’t change, just the delivery of it.

When I was at college, I had an evening job in a bakery the size of a terraced house. It was a remnant of the time when small local shops, not supermarkets, would provide our staple food – bread – to all and sundry. I knew the family who ran it. It was a happy, tasty, friendly place. It smelled amazing.

In the early Noughties, the bakery closed, suddenly, amid mounting debt and horrendous personal crises. It was soundtracked by the tears that flow from broken lives, and it was the passing of a small, local, wonderful institution.

But no-one gave a shit. They shrugged, and began buying their bread from a supermarket just like everyone else. An old way of life disappeared. Why did no-one campaign for Bread Store Day?

The View From… Stoke-On-Trent

Dan Grose is a student in the dubious confines of Stoke-On-Trent, a grimy town now more famous for its extreme right-wing politicians and absence of job prospects than its music scene.

It’s also my home town  – one that I left years ago – and I was interested to hear what was happening there now, and what an outsider thought. Dan spies the glint of treasure in the Potteries’ slag heap

Nestled just inside the North West Staffordshire border, Stoke-On-Trent is often regarded as the ugly, deformed cousin of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham when it comes to music.

Yet beauty lies beneath the surface, and there is considerably more to the scene than meets the eye. Boasting a rich and diverse musical history, there are many strings to Stoke’s bow to this day.

One of the thriving hubs of Northern Soul in the late 70’s and playing host to the likes of Led Zepplin in the early 80’s, there is still plenty alive in the current decade.

One thing you will get in abundance is passion. Travel to any gig with a local contingent and you will find a crowd full of enthusiasm and energy. Playing host to some of the best up and coming bands the country has to offer, The Sugarmill is the home of the Stoke music scene.

At a four hundred capacity it is by no means the biggest venue in the world, yet when packed to the rafters there are few to rival it’s atmosphere.

Swing across the town centre and you will find the rather dishevelled but undeniably charming Underground. Reportedly one of Pete Doherty‘s favourite UK venues, it holds few and boasts one of the stickiest floors you are likely to find. But again, much like the ‘Mill, fill it with a few hundred locals and a loud band and you’ve got yourself an evening.

Although very few local acts are on the brink of prominence, the quality and enthusiasm of many cannot be faulted. Travel to either of the aforementioned venues to see an established band and you are guaranteed to witness one if not two promising local support acts.

Often guitar driven – it seems to be a northern favourite – they regularly command a better crowd reaction than the main event.

A prime example are The Control; short, snappy and roguishly charming they are supporting the beleaguered Automatic later this month. With astute lyrics and catchy melodies they have already flirted with 6 Music and, no doubt, will command more respect than the headliners.

Yet diversity is also present amongst the endless supply of Indie bands, and none more so than the very talented Daniel J. Nixon. Stripped down acoustic at it’s best, Nixon regularly inhabits the Sugarmill whilst playing various venues across the North West. Blessed with a voice to melt the heart, his live shows are captivating and popular amongst the locals.

And as if that is not enough, the city’s history still thrives beneath the surface, with Northern Soul nights regularly happening across the area. Far from being sedate jaunts down memory lane, they remain the chaotic all – nighters they always were, attracting seasoned fans and young enthusiasts alike.

Yes, Stoke-on-Trent, may not have the pedigree or chiselled bone structure of it’s Northern relatives, but you cannot fault it for endeavour and substance alike. For passion, enthusiasm and commitment, you could do a lot worse than the Potteries.

>Today’s New Band – Munch Munch

>There’s a lot to be said for precision and organisation. Streamline your life for mega profit! A tidy home is a tidy mind! De-clutter your surroundings for SUPER ZEN! There’s a reason that Chuck D is such a furious individual, you know – he hasn’t tidied his Rumpus room for years.

Whilst the idea of Chuck D calming down purely because he’s broken out the Dustbuster might be slightly* untrue, there really is as much to be said for disorganisation too. OK, so a desk chock full of papers might cause your plate of toast to fall to the floor, inevitably butter-side down; but how else would you find out whether you like the taste of floor fluff on your toast or not?

The point is that apparent chaos can have pleasant, unexpected results. Today’s New Band don’t seem to merely thrive on the unexpected noise that’s made as they bash instruments, but have adopted it as an ethos. They’re the appropriately named Munch Munch, chomping, as they do, through instruments, sounds and styles, all with fabulous disdain for convention.

The gloriously bonkers-named Endolphins is a twinkling frenzy of invention, clattering, shimmering and splashing all over the place through all of its 3 minutes – and yet there’s a lovely melody that occasionally resurfaces when it feels brave enough. Wedding begins in barely-there chaos, all noise and no direction, before suddenly transforming into a super-fun fairground organ-led pop song, and then reinventing itself for a second time in the same song a few minutes later.

Gloriously deranged, Munch Munch are flailing, crazily, sticking thumbs into pies here, there and everywhere and yet managing to pull out a plum each time. Welcome back, insanity. Embrace it wholeheartedly here!

*wholeheartedly

>List-O-Matic: Albums Of The Year

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***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then***
So, the end of the world year is here. On New Year’s Day, we’ll be struggling out of bed to post the wetly anticipated New Bands of The Year List, which will also be the end of this List Mentalism. So here’s the ANBAD Top Four Albums of the Year! Why Four? Because, that’s why.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – M83 – Saturdays=Youth
Happily shrugging off fiendish attempts to be shoehorned into the mercifully brief Nu-Gaze ‘scene’, Saturdays=Youth instantly transports you back to your youthful summers when limbs were gangly, oily skin was a given and the opposite sex was so irresistible that even the most ham-fisted attempts at conversation were minor victories. Kim and Jessie is bold enough to utilise the 80’s synth-pop palette and, against the odds, create a song of soaring, simple, touching beauty. If you were ever young or shy or awkward or all three, you’ll go all doe-eyed and tongue-tied at this album.
Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
We said: “The album where The Chip finally mutated into the acid house-rock monster that they always hinted at becoming. Their live act is in turns charming, banging and air-punchingly fabulous, and this album is where that live brilliance is equalled in the studio. Hot Chip are without pretence but are also full of humour and sincerity. They’re pretty much the New New Order, and that’s high praise.”
Frank Black – Svn Fngrs
Frank Black only popped into the studio to record some B-sides, and yet whelped this ace mini-album. Full of the same cranky inventiveness that made the Pixies so stupidly great and also the rock anthem tricks that makes album climax When They Come To Murder Me the first song for a long time that made me go to the record shop the moment I heard it.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Angles
Because DLS V SP‘s album was greeted either bilious hatred or fawning praise – but nothing in between – it’s one of the stand out albums of the year. They must be doing something right to earn such polarity of opinions. Whatever you think of Scroobius Pip‘s voice, delivery or quasi-poetry-slam lyrics, it’s tough to argue with songs as catchy as The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Yes, sometimes it feel like we’re being preached at, but you don’t have to align your philosophy with everything that’s being said to appreciate it, do you? Or do you?

>All Sorts of Idiocy, Failure and Today’s New (OLD) Band – The Unicorns

>So, two stories to tell today. Firstly, I somehow only remembered at the very last minute that I wouldn’t have time to post anything today, due to innumerable computer/human interface-complications. Panic set in immediately. This is Idiotic Moment Number 2.

The GOOD NEWS, though, was that the consequences of Idiotic Moment Number 2 has been rescued by Idiotic Moment Number 1, which was usefully conceived and executed a few weeks ago, and then stored away for a rainy day like this. I knew this combination of a hoarding instinct and innate stupidity would pay dividends one day.

Idiotic Moment Number 1 began when I was recommended a band, who were so great I immediately began typing the review, before I’d checked small details like, “are they new and/or still functioning as a group?” only to find after writing that neither was indeed the case. This particular band has been around for a few years and split up a while ago. Durrrr.

So I saved it anyway, and now it’s reprinted below for your delectation. Yum. Enjoy the flavour of stupidity.

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Like a few bands we’ve featured recently, Today’s New Band The Unicorns have our ipod generation’s mix-and-match hotchpotch of influences. And sure enough, they metaphorically scroll the clickwheel and skip from one tune to another, all within one song.

Look at their most brilliant song I Was Born A Unicorn. The guitar starts out as an African jangle before veering off into a garage-punk crunch. The vocals are a croon, a yelp and then a drunken sing-along. The drums pound from military to dancefloor to disco. You get the idea. From here to there and then over there too, for good measure.

See also Tuff Ghost – the song has the music you’d hear on a spooky Japanese-only imported SEGA game from 1989. Jellybones is the sound of a dial-up modem remixed into a surprisingly lush and heartfelt song.

If you can’t find what you want in The Unicorns, you must be a James Blunt fan. And as that’s about as overwhelmingly good a recommendation as I could give them, why not listen here?

>Today’s New Band – Extradition Order

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Everyone loves demo tapes. Ask any indie wannabe in any indie hang-out what they’re doing, and they’ll tell you, either excitedly or haughtily, about the demo they’re recording with such-and-such local producer you’ve never heard of, but get the feeling you ought to have.

The phrase ‘demo tapes’ itself has so much indie-cool cachet that having one is almost better than an actual album. In truth, most demo tapes are crud: the sound grim, the songs ropey, enthusiasm overtaking craft. And yet, The PixiesCome On Pilgrim is a series of demos off a C90 tape. The demo world is fraught with such confusion.

Today’s New Band, Extradition Order, have some of the most impressive demos this writer has heard for a while. In these tapes, the songs themselves are at the fore, and the time and effort put into writing them is clear.

Take Matches Meet Petrol – a rock song without a guitar shoved right under your nose; a song where jittering drums, rhythms and bottle-tapping take precedence; a song that excels, screaming, in its self-constructed arena of mania and threat. It’s as thrilling a song as you’ll have heard all week.

Or take Laura In The Winter, flooded with gothic (note: not ‘Goth’) melodrama and strange lust, the sheer attentiveness of which shows Extradition Order to be a band with their eyes fixed firmly on bigger and better things.

The Come On Pilgrim demo was released as it was, because label bosses were worried that rerecording them would detract from their impact and power. Extradition Order might well ponder the same concerns. Their demos are good. A great way to end the week – Listen here!

Fou De Toi – Pristine

Although it rarely appears on ANBAD in its purest form, I’m an enormous pop fan, cutting my eight-year-old musical teeth on Pet Shop Boys LPs borrowed from my cousin and copied to TDK 90 cassette.

It’s fair to say that on ANBAD I regularly – wait, a better word would be snobbishly – hide this particular soft spot under a bushel, and eschew the straight-up delights of Call Me Maybe in preference to some oddball bedroom music instead.

I sleep uneasily, but with my perceived dignity intact.

Anyway. Fou De Toi made a brilliant pop song that I wasn’t going to ignore. The Korean neo-2-Step song I had planned to feature will just have to wait.

 

With an inevitability that you undoubtedly anticipated two paragraphs ago, Fou de Toi are from Sweden, heartland of the solid-gold pop song, the silvery chorus, and the smart things done with agonising simplicity.

Heartless is precisely three minutes long, gets the chorus out of the way early and regularly, and is exactly 130BPM. These guys are good. They know the pop secrets, and wring every ounce out of a cute, happy, joyful song with beautiful, surgical precision. It’s the kind of song that you think you already know, and yet have never heard before.

Put your cool aside, and jump in: the water’s lovely. You’ll be humming the chorus all day. Perfect pop.

MORE: foudetoi.se

>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!