True Womanhood – Plugging Ears Into A Mysterious Machine

I just spent a week in Paris. One of the joys of continental European bars, besides the deliciously cheap wine, is the ever-present TV burbling in the corner: sometimes showing news or a slightly obscure sport, but most usually blaring out Euro-pop.

As such, I can report that in Paris, is in the fiendish grip of this hopeless cover of Somewhere Over The Rainbow; although such was her ubiquity on the TV and radio that my overriding memory of the city is of Katy Perry standing on a balcony and bellowing into the night as her bosom erupts with fireworks.

Now I’m back in the less maddening world of the new band, and what a band to come back to: True Womanhood‘s Minajah is overwhelmingly exciting in a way that blitzes any drab memories of anything, ever.

True Womanhood sent me an email in which the band claimed, variously, to have Stevie Wonder’s personal blessings, to have founded a recent dance craze and that they shunned Ableton jiggery-pokery and crafted the whole song with effects pedals.

I am yearning for the former to be true, but am only truly willing to believe the latter, as this is indeed dance music freed from the iron-clad restrictions of laptop paraphernalia; instead infused with feeling, ruffled with ragged edges, displaying its humanity.

Minajah is  so overwhelmingly dense it swaddles its listeners entirely. Some songs throb, some songs pulse, but this one hums deeply, as if we’re suddenly able to tune into the circadian rhythms of a mysterious machine buried deep in the earth’s crust. It’s not often you find a song as breathlessly enveloping like Minajah: a real thrill-ride, which could only concievably be improved by a live implementation of Katy Perry’s boob-firework-eruption trick. High praise indeed.

MORE: // Photo by Alyssa Lesser

Nice Nice: Nice

Sometimes reviews of new bands write themselves: this is an occasion where the band have written it for you and then made it into their name as well.

So, Nice Nice. What more is there to add? A little more detail is probably required. Try this then: if Nice Nice are an enigma wrapped inside a puzzle, then I’m A Human Person is a solid silver sledgehammer wrapped around the back of your head.

Nice Nice // I’m A Human Person

There is also what you might euphemistically call a ‘companion piece’, You’re A Human Person, each of which successfully mirrors the other without sounding anything like it.

The effect is slightly mesmerising, like when you see someone in the street who looks just like you, and you only realise that you’ve stopped dead in your tracks when people start muttering obscenities.

Nice Nice are, indeed enigmatic: their sound varies so haphazardly you’d be forgiven for thinking several bands had released songs under one name as some sort of Situationist prank.

One quality remains throughout: the organic, burbling noise of origami-delicacy. Songs unfurl like plant shoots, and while some grow into raging carnivorous beasts, others are light-as-air and fine as silk. Nice Nice: Nice.

King Antics; and Meaningless Achievements – Featuring A Guest Appearance From Eddie Argos!

These days, it’s all about numbers. So whether reaching the nicely-rounded 500 mark in Twitter Followers is a big deal or not is a moot point. It just is, OK?

For me, added excitement  came in the suave and witty form of Art Brut‘s Eddie Argos, who, with a click of his mouse, became ANBAD’s 500th follower. Such delightful serendipity is one of life’s most enjoyable quirks.

Eddie is currently gigging with his ‘other’ band, Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now (Smug Face alert: they featured on ANBAD nearly two years ago). His band rights the wrongs of other songs, settling scores with both Avril Lavigne and Martha and The Vandellas.

King Antics don’t rail against such perceived wrongs. Don’t hold this against them. Not everyone can be so altruistic. Instead, they train their considerable talent into the manufacture of vast, strenuously epic songs like Liars.

King Antics // Liars

Dig into songs like Liars and you’ll find layer after layer of satisfyingly outré sounds, textures and intent. Liars is a good demo. There are inherent problems with this.

The danger of a good demo is that the high points become taken for granted, and – with good intentions – improvements are sought in the final mix. This invariably results in the ironing out of the prickly, exciting bits in favour of a smoother sound.  Fingers crossed that the ‘real’ version will retain the shards, the strange out-of-place/right-on-the-mark sounds and the sharply quirky edge.

Photography by case@lesfauves

Sissy And The Blisters, and The Folly Of Rock And Roll Adoration

Forming a rock ‘n’ roll band is one of the more deceptive and fickle actions a group of young men (and it’s almost always young men) can take. It seems so easy: get a self-confident frontman, grind our some satisfying guitar parts that allow just as much time for posing as for riffola, get sweaty – then lie back and watch as the groupies roll in.

So easy, so tempting. Except: unless your frontman is really good, and really knows how to engage a room full of arched eyebrows, you fail. Unless the ‘Us Versus The World’ schtick comes across as genuine, you fail. And if those boogie-woogie riffs that have worked for so many bands for so long aren’t just so, you won’t so much fail as be laughed out of town.

Hence the arrival of a rock band that get it right is always to be appreciated. Enter Sissy And The Blisters, who tick rock ‘n’ roll boxes whilst lightly skipping around those labelled ‘Massive Cliché Nonsense’.

Just listen, and look and admire: Sissy And The Blisters’ togetherness is real, not forced, their crashing guitar and clunky drums have grown out of an organic process and their songs are tread old paths, but the band are wearing new shoes.

Sissy and The Blisters – Things May Change

In Things May Change, gloom and misdemeanour wallow, hand in hand. Masculine pride and assuredness compete with discomfort and crumbling confidence.

The guitars wax, wane and rattle. The song follows a verse-chorus-verse format, just like it should. Sissy And The Blisters are rock ‘n’ roll like it ought to be: blunt thrills performed on the cheap, eyes greedily spying the future. And they only formed in December, too.

>Today’s New Band – Shark?

I’m not going to lie. The primary reason I listened to Today’s New Band was because of a lightly-obsessive punctuation fetish. This is a confession of sorts, so here goes: I’m drawn, moth-like, to bands with question marks in their name.

It was once Northern Irish spazz-rockers Therapy?, then marvellous 60’s US fruit-loop garage rockers ? And The Mysterians, and now I’ve tractor-beamed onto today’s super new band, Shark?.

I don’t know why. It’s probably the air of mystery again. What would cause such an exclamation? Is it the last derisive snort of a soon-to-be-devoured, cocky sailor? The unused and alternative title for Jaws? If you too obsess over minor, idiotic details like this, you’ll understand the maddening attraction.

Querying-punctuation marks aside, Shark? is a bit of a grubby thrill. **CLICHÉ ALERT** A shark needs to keep moving forwards to survive (Zing!), but Shark? has shot backwards and found a richly gunky and dirty sound to thrive on. This is superb grimy garage-rock, with the added benefit of 30-odd years’ hindsight.

“I’ve got friends in low places/ I’ve got bones to pick with everyone (but you),” half-threatens I’ve Got Friends. The song chunters and grinds; a wild mechanical blur of fuzzy guitars and stark drumbeats.

If that was a song to be appreciated, then I’m An Animal is one to throw yourself around the bedroom to: the chiming riff pealing insistently, the hi-hats constant, the vocals growling, weary but happy.

As I’m An Animal explodes in a maelstrom of cute overlapping melodies and frenzied drums, you might dwell on the thought that such greatness is often achieved in this kind of simplicity. Songs like these leave nothing else on which to ponder. They’re simple, straightforward and yet convoluted enough to make you wonder. Shark?: scuzzy and pure. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Castrovalva

>I remember stumbling out of a nightclub once at 3am, to be greeted by a crowd of several hundred people, all looking up to the night sky. In those situations, it is impossible not to involuntarily crank your own neck upward too. The moon was surrounded by a large, perfect, circle.

The ring stayed there and we stood, rooted, for a long time, to see what would happen. Nothing did, apart from a renewed sense of wonder at the confusing beauty of the world, a realisation that we are just tiny, insignificant specks of nothing in a vast, uncaring universe, and the usual onset of 3am munchies.

Today’s New Band, Castrovalva, have surely also pondered on the unfathomable nature of infinity. Their music is overwhelmed with menace, chaos and dread, and we are just passengers, swept along or aside as the wild sound deems necessary.

My Father Bleeds History screeches into life, then delivers a slab of heavy, unforgiving noise, interrupted by electronic howls. The effect of all these layers of noise is not a grating head-shred, but bleeds into soft, white, enjoyable noise.

Triceratops clatters in the true sense of the word; a slew of sloppy destroyed drums and outrageously distorted instruments. Making music in this way must be almost illegally enjoyable.

Music like Castrovalva’s is to be enjoyed in any way you like; dumb noise blast, careful deconstruction of rock normality, whatever. There are no rights or wrongs. Castrovalva are the eight-track cassette for a certain-death trip to the edge of a black hole. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Now, Now Every Children

>Say what you like about Oasis’ Noel Gallagher – and it’s not uncommon for these opinions to be accompanied by rolling of eyes and/or heavy sighing – but the man gives good soundbite.

This article in UK right-wing red-top rag The Sun is further proof that Noel should unburden himself of the task of writing drab pub rock and become a full-time commentator on Liam Gallagher’s wellbeing.

Quotes like, “He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup,” are far too good to be interrupted by long sessions in the studio to produce more plodding MOR songs. (It’s also kind of cute that The Sun suddenly finds itself coy enough to use asterisks to censor such corrupting words like ‘arse’ and ‘knobhead’.)

Today’s New Band are a world away from middle aged rock bloat, but who knows – give them 20 years and maybe they’ll succumb too. In the meantime, enjoy Now, Now Every Children for their youth and vigour.

Everyone You Know is a barnstormer of a song, in turns luscious and rawkus, the vocals honey-sweet, the guitars acid and taut. Cars – stand down Numanoids, it’s not a Gary Numan cover – harshly beats a bare drum and slips almost accidentally into a noisy climax.

Now, Now Every Children are detached and distant but induce a strange and strong sense of intimacy. Their songs will always be theirs, no matter how hard you may try to make them your own. Maybe one day they’ll fire off endearingly crude witticisms about their siblings, but for now be happy just to listen to their songs, and hope it doesn’t happen.

>Today’s New Band – Projekt A-Ko

>So, one of your favourite noisenik bands from the 90’s falls to bits and then slowly builds itself up again, like possessed Lego, into something new, but of the same constituant bits. Does the new band constitute a ‘new’ band, or not? Are we allowed to ramble quasi-coherently about them or not?

Such complex philosophical demands are placed upon the bewildered ANBAD staff all the time. In the spirit of exploration, let’s just go with it and see. Today’s New Band are Projekt A-Ko, are named after a Japanese cartoon, and make ace clanky lo-fi indie. They used to be the ace Urusei Yatsura, who were named after a Japanese cartoon, and made ace clanky lo-fi indie. So far, so Naughties ‘brand reboot’, right? Well, no – that’d be almost entirely unfair.

Of course, there’s a smattering of Urusei Yatsura-ness about them, but Supertriste Duxelle is entirely, excitingly, its own band’s beast – shuddering, skittering and crashing along, with a charming tune and a lovely chorus.

Here Comes New Challenger! ought to take you straight back to your childhood days spent in the arcade at your local bowling alley. If it doesn’t – congratulations, your early teenage years weren’t wasted after all. Still, when the song hits its considerable stride, it rains sonic blows on you in the same way that Eddie Honda from Street Fighter II did when you played your mate Dave, who really should have found something better to do with his life.

Possibly the best compliment to pay Projekt A-Ko is that memories of their previous incarnation don’t register when you’re listening to their lovely Lo-Fi songs. Proof then, that moving on, in the forever backward-looking world of RockNPop, is possible. Good work, Projekt A-Ko! Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Drumcorps PLUS! Rolf Harris!


Annoying people is easy, even when you don’t try. I recently received a Stylophone for my birthday, and even in my most concerted moments, when I’d stopped making ‘Weeeeee-ooooo-eeeee’ noises like an over-excited six-year-old, the awful piercing noises resulted in threats of violence.
The stylophone has had a surprisingly distinguished history in rock music, as long as you ignore the determined efforts of Rolf Harris. David ‘D-Bo’ Bowie used it, as did Pulp, Kraftwerk and Orbital, all charmed by the Stylophone’s whiny, basic, electronic whistling. It’s slightly disappointing for us mere mortals that, when placed in expert hands, something as basic as a 1960’s ‘pocket’ organ can be used to make actually great songs, as opposed to mindless buzzing.

Today’s New Band, Drumcorps (geddit!?), are an unabashedly end-of-the-week act. Not for Aaron Spectre (for it is he) is the delicacy and subtlety of a novelty instrument like the Stylophone.

His philosophy is, “If it don’t clank, don’t record it,” and so his songs are inevitably noisy, disturbing affairs that are what hell would look and sound like if the devil designed it on a Commodore 64 in breaks between jamming with Atari Teenage Riot. Down is a spastic, grunting shove in the back from a sinister stranger, thrashing and screaming fear like a cornered animal. Thin Retro God batters your ears into weeping submission with guitars that sound like awful machines, vocals that sound like a voicemail from Thor and drums that sound like your heartbeat after being directly injected with adrenalin.

Drumcorps make music that turns most of us into genre tourists – you’d like to go and have a listen now and again, but you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a room with dedicated fans, for fear of losing teeth or limbs in an inevitable mosh. But the music is a wild eye-opener and considerable relief from the safe, bland indie that unfortunately blights our lives. Re-boot your mind here!

Next week on ANBAD – aside from all the delightful new bands, there’ll be a new installment of What Happened Next? where we take a look at the bands that graduated from the ANBAD School of Dubious Distinction to the real world of SUCCESS!

>Today’s New Band – Joe Gideon And The Shark PLUS! ABBA Confessional!

>It was my birthday the other day, and when you grow up, you become increasingly less bothered by what others think of you. For proof of this, casually ask your grandparents for their views on immigration. I think I’ve reached an age where honesty about various musical preferences become easier. So here goes. Deep breath.

ABBA are… OK. Actually, no, not just OK – songs like Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) have melodies that worm into your brain so deep that they’ll never leave without a Spandex-clad fight; melodies every other band would sell their grandmothers for. ABBA‘s best songs – and there aren’t that many, honestly, but Waterloo is one of them – are songs that could punch you between the eyes with the sheer force of their choruses.

It’s not all fun, of course. Looking now, with our cynical eyes, at the sheer, gleeful awfulness of their clothing – which may or may not have bankrolled the world’s satin jumpsuit industry – we can see that ABBA have not only been sullied by their own hand, but also by 70’s theme bars, lazy nightclub DJs and local radio stations, whose reliance on their hits borders on the criminally insane. And a lot of their ‘most loved’ songs, like Dancing Queen, have been bashed viciously into the ‘Horrible Disco Nonsense’ category by one too many Hen party.

Still, any band aspiring to success could do a lot worse than to take ABBA as a starting point. If Today’s New Band crowd around their Dansette in the evenings and listen to Voulez-Vous, they’ve hidden it well, because Joe Gideon and The Shark are crashing, guttural and bloody in the exact way that ABBA aren’t.

As brother and sister, they are a rare commodity in rock. Whereas in the pop world, sibling relationships are a lot less unusual, here, the music jars hard against their shared blood, and is all the bettor for it.

DOL creeps up on you, chanting menacingly, drawing you into its uneasy world with hypnotic repetition. It’s no simple blues-lite knock-off though, revealing itself to be an urgent, suspicious, love-song/warning. Civilisation tells the tale of “learning the ways of man”, a young man’s journey of discovery, told with the hormonal sneer of youth, and the tale takes the twists of success, failure and griminess that most young men’s lives take.

Grinding, raw, direct and shorn of rock pleasantries, Joe Gideon and the Shark are a fantastic grubby stab of clunky rock. Listen here!