>The Best Bands Of 2008 on ANBAD! The List To End Them All!

So, for the last week(ish), the usually calm, collected and rational pages of A New Band A Day have been overwhelmed by mouth-frothing excitement in the pathetically masculine pursuit of list forming. The best gigs and albums and the worst, most brain-scrabblingly bile-inducing bands have been dubiously and half-heartedly celebrated in the time honoured end-of-year way.

But now the truth. All those other lists were really just teasingly laying the groundwork for the Big ‘Un – The A New Band A Day Best Bands Of 2008 List!

In a year that has taken on such diverse and thoughtful topics that have eventually been collected under the headings ‘Strippers‘, ‘Mind Enema‘ and ‘Boost Up Anal Vomit’, as well as drifting all too often into the world of PUN WORSHIP and the multifarious Embarrassingly Pseud Reviews, it is perhaps a minor surprise that any good bands turned up at all. But turn up they did, in spades, and so here are all the best ones from the WHOLE YEAR!*

As per usual, ANBAD‘s shockingly ill-thought-out listing system will swing into FULL DEVASTATING EFFECT, in so much as there’ll be the ten (10) best bands, but in no particular order. Also, there’s no real system for inclusion – a band with one great song written in their bedroom could make it in just as easily as a band who have loads of songs and gig relentlessly.

*actually about 9 months

So here we go:


Ex Lovers – We said: “There’s something softly defiant about Ex Lovers – all the songs sound like they are just about to dissolve nihilistically into warm fuzz. Their songs are like soft electricity, a description which I freely accept is the most pretentious phrase I have ever typed. But it fits.”

Dinosaur Pile-Up – We said (subsequently): “Dinosaur Pile-Up were Band of The Day in April, when, despite grinding out big ‘n’ tasty rock songs like My Rock And Roll, they were surprisingly unsigned. The lesson to be learnt here is that if you do grind out songs like My Rock And Roll, it’s only a matter of time until a great label like, say, Rough Trade snap you up and release it properly, which is what happened.

Awesome Wells – We said: “Awesome name, awesome band. Puns galore in their name, which was almost enough to win that coveted #1 spot. If you combined mid-90’s Tortoise with the entire BBC Sound Effects Library, you may come close to approximating Awesome Wells‘ sound. But you wouldn’t come anywhere near to his precise, caring control – the sounds ebb, flow and weave together to the point where any lingering doubts are assuaged by the gleefulness of the sonic journey you’ve just taken.”

Indica Ritual – We said, breathlessly: “Their song ‘Top Forty’ is all of these things: 1) Bonkers, 2) Super-duper funky, and 3) Sounds like a test version of the 1973 Tomorrow’s World TV theme tune that was rejected for being too ‘out there’. Indica Ritual are quite possibly the band you have been looking for, like, ages. They are actually brilliant, in every sense of the word. You must listen to them now, or your life will be that much poorer.”

Seedy Seeds – We said: “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. 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.”

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – We said (glibly, natch): “It would be glib to say that if you like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus And Mary Chain, you’ll love The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, but what the hell, it’s true. If you love songs that drive forward with breathless abandon, all fuzzy, warm and colourful as a novelty Christmas sweater, then let yourself swoop head first into their songs.”

Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences. We raved like idiots at their song The Battle Is Over, gushing maniacally: “Make no mistake, this is the best song you’ll have heard for a long, long time – since, frankly, All the Rage by the Royal We. If you only listen to one new song this week, it should be this one – it’s truly, brilliantly, wonderfully fantastic. Song of the year so far, easily.”

Envelopes – We Said: “Their fabulous song Sister In Love somehow straddles the late 80’s and early 90’s, whilst luckily missing Shoegaze altogether – no mean feat. “Is your sister in love?” chants the chorus, joyously pinging from person to person in the party, kissing each on the cheek.”

Picture Books In Winter – We Said: “I’ve always had a talent for arts and crafts”, they proclaim over the lolloping guitar line, whilst musing about ex-Blue Peter tea-time-trouser-troubler Konnie Huq. It’s unusual to hear a song which is so wonderfully idiosyncratic from such a new band”

PixelH8 – We said:Pixel H8 may or may not be a minor genius. All the sounds on his songs are made from the sounds off old consoles and computers, and must take most of his time, or sanity, to make work as well as they do. He takes the noises you’ll half-remember from your wasted videogame-playing youth and makes songs that are actually beautiful.”

BONUS 11th BANDThe Alibies – because they were the first band on ANBAD and we still love them.

So there you have it. No controversy, no deliberately obtuse choices, just ten great bands. Yes, we missed some great ones out too, and if you think we missed out anyone truly brilliant, let us know by leaving a comment below. All the really good bands from a large chunk of the year are in the ANBAD ebook – and you can download it for free and read it at your hung-over New Year’s leisure!

>List-O-Matic: Albums Of The Year


***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?

>Will This Hopeless Listing Ever Cease?

***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then…***

The A New Band A Day List-Stravaganza continues – right now – with more compulsive listing without reason, thought or care. Today it’s a dip into the icy waters of 2008’s darker side…

Blandest Band of the Year

A tough, hard fought category, with listless, beige fights to the death between the bands, eliminating such dreary contemporaries as Razorlight and Keane en route. But the winner has to be Coldplay, who produced an album of such overwhelming averageness that every estate agent in the country was instantly compelled, by an unseen magnetism, to purchase a copy from their local Tesco Express.

Truly Awful Band of the Year

There was really only one ‘winner’ here, and it was the execrable, borderline-evil Scouting For Girls. If any band had been crafted by Satan himself to cruelly torment all humans, it would be them. I almost feel a sense of awe that such a hopelessly bad band could be conceived. We should all pity the day this bunch of half-wits discovered their trademark trait of repeating the same dreadful, glib lyric over and over again until blood trickles out of the listener’s nose. The only band who has ever truly made me wish I was deaf.

Worst Song Of The Year

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon was a great song, right? And The Skynyrd‘s Sweet Home Alabama was rootin’ tootin’ awesome too, right? So if we ‘mash’ those two together, you’ll get the best song, like, ever, right? Wrong. What you got was All Summer Long by Kid Rock. Off an album called Rock N Roll Jesus, for crap’s sake. Awful beyond comprehension.

The Moment Where The Portal Of Hell Almost Opened

When the release of UK’s X Factor winner Alexandra Burke‘s cover of Leonard Cohen‘s Hallelujah mobilised the world’s soppiest army. Jeff Buckley‘s wet-behind-the-ears, caring, sharing, new-man fanbase, the majority of whom probably think Leonard Cohen was that actor who played Spock in Star Trek, decided that her version was just not, like, real enough, and tried to get their tragic hero to number one instead.

So this Christmas, the same song, which isn’t even anything to do with Christmas, occupies number one and two in the charts. That warm feeling beneath your feet is our worldly reality only just managing to avoid being swallowed up by the Eternal Pit of Fire.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


>***A New Band A Day is taking a ‘well-earned’ break until the New Year, so no more new bands until then. BUT over the next week-and-a-bit there’ll be a whimsical (i.e. hastily cobbled together) look back over the Best Stuff of 2008! Best enjoyed with a plateful of Stilton, a glass of sherry and an overwhelming sensation of sorrow as you realise that Christmas used to be more exciting when you were a child***

Lists were promised last week, and so here they come: one today, one tomorrow, and then in the New Year – the Big One: ANBAD’s Top Ten New Bands of 2008. Today’s though is a bit more sedate, and, with an end-of-school-term impishness, has virtually nothing to do with New Bands at all. It’s…

The ANBAD Top Five Gigs of 2008!

As usual, these are in no particular order, apart from one which will be deemed ‘Best Gig’. So it is in some kind of order after all.

5) Art Brut, Stoke Sugarmill, February-ish

Here at ANBAD, we’re happy to admit that we’re massively biased towards Art Brut and would, in all honesty, proclaim their greatness even if they released an album full of Kenny G-esque jazz-lite numbers.

This is because they’re just about the most brilliant, consistently fabulous live band out there – great, rabble-rousing songs and a superb frontman in Eddie Argos, whose throwaway ‘n’ carefree attitude is outrageously refreshing. This gig was them at their absolute best and the audience responded by going bananas.

4) My Bloody Valentine, Manchester Apollo, June-ish

The band I’d always hoped would get back together, but thought never would, actually did, and it was a quasi-religious experience. Yes, they were stupidly loud. Yes, you had to wear earplugs. Yes, their songs sounded like you standing next to an passenger jet at take-off.

It was brilliant, jaw-dropping and overwhelming. It sounded like this: WWWWSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF and left normally sane people to say humiliatingly quaint things like, “that was like being reborn” (me).

3) Lethal Bizzle, Bestival, September-ish

Expected nothing. Got everything. Incredible. Loud, brash and brazen. Hyped the audience to the point of explosion, and then pushed harder. Fact: Lethal Bizzle are tougher, smarter and better than 99% of all live bands today. Almost Gig Of the Year, but not quite.

2) Hot Chip, Manchester Academy (& Bestival)

The band that were faintly nerdy electro-rock curios when I first saw them a few years ago 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.

Hot Chip are without pretence (see their fancy-dress costume-wearing performance at Bestival for proof) but are also full of humour and sincerity, and their gigs are electric. They’re pretty much the New New Order, and that’s high praise.

1) GIG O’ THE YEAR – PUBLIC ENEMY – Manchester Academy, May-ish

This was an easy choice. Public Enemy gigging the whole of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back was either going to be awesome or terrible. It was the former, durrr. The best gig this writer’s ever seen, easily. Here’s what I said at the time:

A truly brilliant gig: angry, brutal, and winningly political, inevitably, but the actually important stuff – the songs – were astonishing to hear live. Poundingly brilliant, terrifyingly funky and thrillingly loud – the crowd went berserk as they rolled out each grandstanding song. Flava Flav proved he was much more than his appearances as latter-day reality TV bizarro-fodder, geeing up the crowd until the sweat ran down the walls. Chuck D charged between his twin assaults of his brilliant lyrical polemic and delivering his powerful political beliefs, insistent and sincere.

It was hard to have left without feeling that the world needs Public Enemy today more than it ever has before. Shockingly, brain-rattlingly good.”

And I stand by every overwrought, garbled word.