Teamforest: Dizzying Sunshine and Shameless Plugs

Although I’m now pondering the wisdom of launching a second blog (oh, go on then: it’s when I don’t even have enough time to run one, there are also gratifying surprises.

When you’ve listened to Sting violently ruining Jimi Hendrix‘s Little Wing for the tenth time, certain occurrences take place. Naturally, there are feelings of horror, confusion and the instinctive desire to stuff soft objects into the ear canals. But chiefly, it is a genuine appreciation of good music.

Bands like Team Forest thus become more vital than ever. Because now, their metronomic, economic sounds are not just blissful and gelatinous, they help shove dreadfully ill-judged music out of my mind.

Team Forest // Leave This Town On Bicycle

Cycling has a excellent, if limited role in music history – in that Team Forest‘s compatriots Kraftwerk wrote an entire album about it – and Leave This Town On Bicycle nails the both the free-wheeling fun and repetitious groove-inhabitation of cycling.

The song is frail but insistent, bright but challenging, like a cold evening’s reedy sunshine strobing through woodland as you cycle by. It’s just as mesmerising and comforting. Calm, gentle, full of promise. Lovely.

Photograph by Stephane Charpentier.

Via Bad Panda records // Creative Commons License: BY-NC-SA 3.0

Lucky Delucci; The Perils Of EU-Funded Urban Renewal

Cardiff is a fundamentally strange place. A capitol city with a small-town mindset. Beautiful buildings side-by-side with deeply ugly, crumbling counterparts. Money sluicing into some areas, and cruelly meandering away from others.

No, there’s nothing too unusual about these circumstances. But Cardiff’s small size magnifies these effects, and it’s the first I mentioned that has the greatest impact. It’s an important place, and yet for many, it’s simply their local town, where they pop into on Saturday to buy sausages. Mmm, sausages.

Anyway – the result is a music scene that is dynamic, fractured and outward-looking, and yet marked with a homely feel. I’m aways expecting a New Wave Of Country and Western to emerge from there.

Until that happens, here’s Cardiff’s Lucky Delucci, typically fulfilling their requirements: gentle Euros Childs-esque folk cross-faded with staccato drums; the Tweecore golden duo of glockenspiels ‘n’ strings pushing up against something a bit more… grand.

Lucky Delucci // December 1986

By twinning these two sensibilities of old and new, Lucky Delucci fulfil Cardiff’s unspoken remit: thrusting forward to the future yet pandering to the past. In the tedious world of town planning, this approach might stultify; in the shimmering world of shiny pop music, it works, if you can do it.

Lucky Delucci can. Sweet, cunning, and gazing hungrily over the horizon. Or at least Cardiff Bay.

Damien*, and Gushing Praise of Epic, Breathless Proportions

Corrr, I tell you what: after a few spins, the new Four Tet album has revealed itself to be a really lovely album. A coiling, Mobius-strip album of sauna-warmth, tangerine-orange sunset glare and organic beauty.

It’s Snivilisation-era Orbital crossed with any-era Boards of Canada crossed with golden, gloopy warmth.

Listening to it is like having a hundredweight of warm, golden, microscopically-granulated mica poured over your naked body; glistening, silver, dazzling, dense.

Well, follow that, Damien*. It’s true that superlatives have been bandied around on ANBAD before, but that was an especially breathless gush.

Fortunately, Damien*, a band whose name suggests that there’s an adjunct lingering at the bottom of every article written about them, are different enough to Four Tet to not stand comparison.

Damien* // Lesser Thoughts

Lesser Th0ughts is a straightfoward song in many ways. Sonic experimentation is not neccessarily the order of the day here, but it doesn’t need to be when you’ve written a good Indie pop song.

Especially so when that song builds and builds from simple chiming guitar beginnings into a rage of bulldozing guitar grime.

Italian guitar pop seems to be reinvigorating itself, if not re-inventing. But the simple things don’t need re-invention. Damien* know the visceral thrills of a good song, and craft them lovingly, brightly and well. Nice.

>Ribbons, Brooklyn’s Mysterious Proliferation and Deeeeep Green

This is getting silly. Half of the bands I review now are from Brooklyn. Perhaps it’s a lot bigger place than I thought – or maybe there really is a raft of great new bands all emerging at once. I hope it’s the latter.

Ribbons are the latest Brooklynites to emerge, panting, from the mad cluster of bands that presumably forms the social make-up there. They have a loud, simple stripped-down sound – rock cut to Ribbons, if you will.

No Clouds‘ guitars peal quasi-automatically, a half-mechanical, half-alive looping chime of hypnotic beauty. Drums plod perfunctorily, the guitar drones and a flat lyric repeats: and really, it’s all that’s necessary – when the song finishes, the sadness felt over its passing is real and quite lovely.

Ribbons – No Clouds

And if Love Is Mysterious states the obvious in the title, the song doesn’t. A fade-in/fade-out, quick/slow, scattergun-drummed dash to the bleakest indiepop of the early 80’s and back again, it yearns and longs in the exact way most songs don’t.

If Ribbons were a colour, they’d be the very deepest of greens: dark, gloomy, but with the slightest, but entirely tangible suggestion of life. A band of direct beauty.

Image courtesy of

>Today’s New Band – Hot Lava

If you could remake classic songs with a contemporary twist, would you? Or does the phrase ‘contemporary twist’ make you retch with the bilious force you’d usually only attain after watching a dozen car TV commercials back-to-back?

If you’re like me (and if you are – 1: heaven help you, and 2: perhaps you’ll have an idea where that limited edition Primal Scream 7″ I misplaced a few years ago is), then you’ll flinch at the notion. But it’s a tempting thought all the same: just think what the Beatles might have done with a copy of ProTools.

So, Today’s New Band offer us a glimpse of yesterday today. Hot Lava make songs that sound old, but new.

YSFW (Deadbeat Daughter) is a bolt from the past, a song that has shot through a wormhole in time – and anyone who has dragged their eyes across A Brief History of Time will know that this means it also partly comes from the future. Or something. Stay with me here.

Shimmering guitars ring and bounce; the soundtrack to an imaginary 60s TV pop show – the kind that has dancing girls with bouffant hair and purple minidresses.

JPG In The Sun and Brainex both blur the line between the past and present even more furiously, rattling drumbeats weaving neatly with eddying pop-psyche noise.

Hot Lava contort sound, and perception of it. The treatment they afford their songs isn’t glib or novelty, but a strange distortion of what you assumed to be the norm. And most importantly of all, their songs needle into your mind and stay there, vibrating just so.

Photography by Ellie Bolton

>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.

>Today’s New Band – Dragon Bazooka

>Sit cross-legged. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let any extraneous noise, thought or feelings fall away. The world is a tropical beach, and you are slowly sinking into its golden sand. Ommmmmmmmm.

Today’s New Band is Dragon Bazooka. The name promises PAIN, DESTRUCTION and NOISE, but the band delivers serenity, vast expanses of calm and sunny, syrupy sweetness.

Semya & The Mighty Dance Of The Gunberry is massive-sounding: dense and overwhelming like a ton of pillows suddenly falling on your head. When you realise halfway through the song that your mind is nearly full up with sounds and ideas, you might then remember with quasi-horror that the song initially limped out of the blocks with a simple marimba roll, promising nothing.

Architecture In My Pinky, simple as it is jaunty, vibrates and oscillates like an emergency siren; not with menace, though, but with alert, cheerful eagerness.

When the Apocalypse comes, I’d like to think that the first signs of terror zipping over the horizon would be dragons armed with some sort of world-ending dark-matter-type bazooka. At least it’d be a surprising way to go. Dragon Bazooka‘s music is surprising too, and is the softly appropriate soundtrack to IMPENDING DOOM. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Play People

>There’s something odd about Today’s New Band, Play People, that has proven difficult to quite pin down. They sound so surprisingly polished and confident for a virtually unknown band that I wondered initially if I’d missed a class in the Rock ‘n’ Pop 101 course that I took all those years ago, and they had just passed me by.

Their songs shine and glisten. Oh What A Life is weary and reflective, yet chimes and rings lushly throughout. Just Don’t is punctuated with a Morse-code stab, and is a perfect example of how a good chord change can loosen the most knotted muscles in your neck as your brain is distracted by the sheer luxury of sound.

Something about Play People’s songs remind me of The Boo Radleys’ less frantic moments, which is high praise, I suppose. Delicate, coy and lovely, their songs are packed with naive charm. They’re a bit like a quick glimpse inside a shy teenage boy’s head, except without being bombarded with thousands of guiltily memorised images of Page 3 Lovely “Keeley, 22, from Bromley”.

Even without her considerable charms (note to self – must stop using dreadful Sun-style puns right away) to tempt you, Play People are an understated example of lovely songcraft – as un-rock ‘n’ roll as that sounds – and as such should be heard by more people, so check out their tunes here!

P.S. – Happy 18th Birthday to ANBAD’s now not-so-little sister Phoebe!

>Stars and Sons – Today’s New Band

>I sometimes feel sorry for bands. Not that sorry, what with all the booze, girls and urinating up against the Alamo that they manage to find time to do, but a bit sorry all the same. It must be tough to keep touring material that you love, only to find that either a) it doesn’t fit in with the majority’s taste; or b) they come under pressure to make it more in fitting with the mainstream. Some bands then choose the “We-do-what-we-do-and-if-anyone-else-likes-it-that’s-a-bonus” route and plough on regardless, whilst others let their record company lead them around like little piggies.

Other bands find themselves in that happy spot which pleases both camps. I think today’s new band, Stars And Sons, might have accidentally achieved that difficult blend of individuality and appealability, and their songs bristle with excitement as a result.

Fights Already Fought is a strangely subdued song that also manages to be uptempo at the same time. It rattles and shakes softly, as if waiting to be released for a big reprise that never arrives. It’s lovely, and dissolves into a quick, quasi-Spiritualized fuzz at the end. In The Ocean is almost its exact opposite, a fun romp that bounds forwards with all the enthusiasm and wonder of a new puppy. A pop-rock puppy that plays the piano, but a puppy nonetheless.

The feeling is with Stars and Sons is one of trying to break away from the norm, whilst still holding with one hand onto their base sound. Calling it ‘quirky power pop’ is just too obvious, but songs like Out of View could be made to sound incredibly mundane very easily by other bands, and yet Stars and Sons keep yanking it over into the leftfield a little bit, keeping everyone on their toes and happy. Good work, Stars and Sons. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – The Shot Heard Around The World

>Yesterday’s yummy, super-twee (but not in an awful ‘Tweecore’ way) band, The Bumblebees, got me thinking. Actually, they got me a-hankerin’ for some more jangly indie. This hankering intensified when I accidentally subjected myself to a video of the Ting Tings’ awful song Shut Up and Let Me Go this morning. Its ultra-hip, consciously-ironic, sunglasses-indoor idiocy made me feel all hopeless. Where’s the fun, or the the sense of reality in their super-slick, focus-group-defined sound?

So Today’s New Band was always going to sound like their music was a) heartfelt, but not sincere; b) enjoyable, but nicely throwaway; and c) both happy and sad. So, say a big ‘hello’ to The Shot Heard Around the World, a band who fulfil those criteria and are as far removed from plastic generic stupidity as possible. They sound like people playing music for the fun of it. LOL!!!, as ‘the kids’ would say. They’re also the second band from Brooklyn to feature on here in a week. Perhaps the A.N.B.A.D. staff are fishing for invites over there or something.

Make of that what you will, but one thing you will definitely recognise is a good indie tune when its tinny-guitar-twinkling winds its way into your brain, and the marvellous is, and does, just that. Rough, ready and engaging, its a song full of harmonies and a sprinking of the pleasantly inevitable glockenspiel that makes you feel happy to be alive. Evening Prayer is homely, warm and sorry – “I treated you less than right, girl that’s true/But everything will turn out right… Nothing ever turns out right,” lamenting and apologising.

Thinking about it, all of the bands this week so far have been very… human. Celebrate a theme as broad as humanity and listen to The Shot Heard Around the World‘s songs here!