Bermuda Bonnie; and Piña Coladas, Elvis Impersonators

It’s rare to find a band that manages to wholly inhabit a different plane to the majority, and even rarer to find one that makes music in that place that’s palatable. Bermuda Bonnie has hula-hooped past these markers with flying colours.

Stepping into Bermuda Bonnie‘s world is to open the door of a musty pop charity-shop, a bewildered plunge into retirement-home kitsch. Normal rules do not apply here.

After ten minutes of listening to songs like Houseboat, an evening of piña coladas, Elvis impersonators and leafing through well-thumbed copies of National Geographic sounds just peachy.

Bermuda Bonnie // Houseboat

If we could listen to the reminiscent dreams of an old lady with senile dementia, we’d hear these lingering, pristine moments of life suddenly bubbling to the surface.

Or they could be the wild, naive dreams of a seven year-old. Such are the inherent quandaries of Bermuda Bonnie‘s songs. These thoughts are cute, longing, lusty and, in a way, as deeply sad as they are intensely happy.

You could be fooled into thinking that Bermuda Bonnie‘s songs are simply an exercise in retro-indulgence. You couldn’t be much further from the truth. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

>Today’s New Band – Sister PLUS! High Yield Commodity Price Movements!

>Seeing as people are getting all stroppy about money now the economy’s plunged down the toilet, solid, tangible and safe things suddenly seem attractive. The price of gold has rocketed again as people realised that their money wasn’t actually safe in, say, those 15 unbuilt city-centre apartments that are now mothballed.

This trait has drifted into rock ‘n roll as well. At this point, allow me to engage in a some very minor name-dropping. I was chatting to the drummer out of Pete and The Pirates (CLANG) the other night, and he was commiserating with me over the excessive ticket price for the gig.

Even the bigger bands, he said, make the vast majority of their money from live gigs as opposed to CD sales now. Thus, the one thing that can’t be bootlegged or put on a torrent site – the live gig, the un-digitisible tangible – is now the safe money maker, just like gold and oil and jewels.

So in times like these, perhaps the good ol’ four-square rock band setup of guitars and drums and bass and singers will have more luck. Thus, invest your time, and money, if you have any left, into Today’s New Band, Sister.

None of their songs depart from a standard rock template, giving singer Gemma a solid grounding to leap from. You won’t need to see any of Sister’s publicity photos to guess that she’s very clearly the focal point, and for a truly valid reason – her vocals are engaging, believable and direct. Taking this straightforward rock starting point and create something that deviates from the norm is tough, but Sister have managed it, carving out songs that are bold, brash and yet sweet and articulate.

And as such, Satellite is heartfelt without descending into melodrama. It sounds pounding and sparse. Lovers of Today pops a large chorus into a song that seemed too fragile to hold it, but it works. Listen to them for yourself, right here, and stop fretting about the money you lost on High Yeild Commodity Price Movements, whatever they are.

>Today’s New Band – Spazzys

>Women often get left behind in rock ‘n’ roll bands. Usually relegated to the status of either doe-eyed ‘n’ slutty hanger-on or occasionally bunged the token role of bassist (because it’s ‘easy’ and ‘not as strenuous as drumming’), women are severely underrepresented, with only the fearsome Courtney Love a household name.

I suppose one of the joys of hearing a woman-centric band is that, at a very basic level, they are simply a break from the masculine norm. As a male listener, it’s a happy change to hear women singing about the same things as men – sex, having a good time all the time, etc – but from a different perspective. I presume (but may be wrong) that women enjoy hearing the same things for the same reasons.

It’s therefore always a bit of a thrill to hear an all-female band, and Today’s New Band, Spazzys are that bit of a thrilla triple-pronged Australian one at that. On their Myspace page, they list a bewildering assortment of female movie and TV characters as ‘influences’ – some are cutesy, and some are obscure, but all of them could kick your arse.

Spazzys are more than ‘just a break from the masculine norm’ though. They have sex, sazz and guile – “When the show is over, drive off down the street and when it gets dark, slip into the back seat,” they sing on Zatopeks, a buzzy song full of hooks and big, dumb, satisfying chord changes. Like their other songs, it’s a heady mix of 60’s Shirelles pop and 80’s girl-punk – a neat link between two different eras.

I Want a Divorce is a straight-up punk thrash, and while the title is a request, it’s actually a statement of intent. “I’m taking everything you own”, they yelp, and then have the temerity to nick Tammy Wynnette’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E. refrain too. Great. Listen to Spazzys here!

>Today’s New Band – Ten Tigers

>I like surprises. Well, to a point – those, “darling, I’m pregnant,” shocks don’t get easier even the 14th time around – but as a rule, happy accidents and unexpected pleasures are the best bits of life.

Bands that spring a tasty surprise make me want to hunt them down and smother them to death with hugs, such is the prevalence of charmless, bland bands. So, usher in quietly Today’s New Band, Ten Tigers from Southend, whose songs veer from spazzy-punk to contemplative-campfire singing, and don’t give a monkey’s what you think.

For example: their song Superlucky is a simple, crunchy, yelpy, sharply-female buzzfest that sounds like it’d be a great song to open a gig with. It’d set out the stall, to use football manager’s parlance, and everyone would know exactly what to expect. Except their other songs aren’t even like it at all, or even like each other. Possessing the shortest attention span in pop, song ’82 has a verse that’s a bold attempt to rescue the Wah-Wah pedal from Blaxploitatio-clichés, before strolling into a lovely, heavy, yomping chorus of “Everyone was gay in 1982”. It goes without saying that Runaway and Sunny Shades are altogether different again (a summertime lilt and the aforementioned campfire sunset sing-song respectively).

They’re hit-and-miss, but that’s a given – it seems an ingrained part of Ten Tigers’ nature. So what if you only like half of their songs? It’s better than having middling feelings towards a band that treads a carefully safe route. A sensation of swinging between love and hate makes you feel alive, dagnammit, so ponder their songs here!

>Today’s New Band – The Brownies


The world of rock is mainly cock-centric – guys singing about them snaring weak-kneed women and then strutting off towards the next conquest. Actually, that’s how it used to be, in the days when the codpieced, moronically-coiffured Whitesnake, WASP et al thrusted their collective groin towards us unfortunate listeners. Today, though, the majority of indie bands that pollute the charts are so busy pouting and imagining they’re in Skins that they’re incapable of waggling their hips at the girls in the front row.

So today’s great new band – The Brownies – are here to pick up that slack. Sophie, Stevie and Maxie leer out from behind the band’s bouncy, buzzy noise with a sexual predatoriness that is fun, confident and, for a very welcome change, female. “Not every girl wants to be surrounded by naked ladies – Naked, naked men for me!” they yelp on Vaseline Kid.

Listen to their bunch of great songs on their MySpace page: and then lock up your sons, for their own safety.

And look: I went through the whole post without mentioning them being from Norwich and making a glib connnection with Alan Partridge.