Pope Joan – I Like The Popes, The Popes Are Dope

Oh what the hell. It wouldn’t be the most glib occurrence on ANBAD. So here we go: to coincide neatly with His Holiness The Pope’s visit to the UK, here’s a band who have been rubbing their hands together for months in anticipation.

I mean, just think of all the cross-referenced Google-search traffic that will be accidentally diverted to their Myspace page. They’ll be rolling around on hotel beds covered in banknotes and Page 3 girls by the end of this week, mark my words.

I Can’t Stand You At All (WIP) by Pope Joan

All of which is rather unfair. Not that they don’t deserve the money or the glamour girls, but the idea that they need a mainly unconnected monster of a news item to boost their profile – because Pope Joan are a band of such transparent excellence that they oughtn’t need it at all.

I Can’t Stand You At All is the kind of rubberised, contorted and deconstructed pop song that you’ll have thought no longer got written. So while its mere existence is a balmy treat, the song itself is a heady and thick soupy rumble: all the most pleasing elements of popular music have been carefully pieced  into one – and there really is no other suitable word – glorious assemblage of soaring, thrilling pop.

I listen to hours of music as a by-product of running ANBAD. After a while the thought of walking into a record shop and actually purchasing music just feels far too gauche to seem feasible. But I’d walk all the way into town on a rainy Saturday to buy Pope Joan‘s CD, and in the age of free-everything, that’s as high as praise gets.



>Today’s New Band – AIDS Wolf

>***See below for the EXCITING CONCLUSION of GLIB COMPARISON WEEK – the gimmick that wouldn’t die***

So, we’re finally at the end of a great week on A New Band A Day, and to round it off, here’s a band that will extinguish any lingering lethargy from your withered, useless bodies. That is unless you are a footballer’s wife, in which case looking withered and being useless is all part of the job description, along with painting your skin with creosote and wearing the vilest, gaudiest clothes that frankly, have probably been invented as a joke by a blind tailor who lights his cigars with your £50 notes. Actually, if any footballer’s wives are actually mentally capable of reading this, please let me know so I can contact the Guinness Book Of Records.

So, you’ve already probably noticed that Today’s New Band is called AIDS Wolf. That’s right, AIDS Wolf. Just slosh it around your mouth slowly, then suck some bubbles of air through it and really savour the name. AIDS Wolf. AIDS Wolf. I could just keep repeating the name over and over again for the rest of this post and, frankly, it would be enough. However, let’s be fair – their music is ace. If you like fuzzing noises, half-terrified screaming and what may be the sound of a drummer being murdered as he’s still playing, you’ll love AIDS Wolf. If you’re not sure whether you love those things or not, you must listen to their song Bethlehem Embargo Crystal immediately so that you can form a considered opinion. Then listen to Letter to Al Johnson, and wallow in the sound of the noise that The Terminator probably heard as he was lowered into the molten metal at the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Fry your brain, repeatedly, and listen to their noise-mentalism at their MySpace page!

TODAY’S (FINAL) GLIB COMPARISON: Bunnies playing in a field made of delicious soft fudge, cutely nudging bubbles of champagne to each other. Not really, they sound like a Wolf with freaking AIDS, for God’s sake.

>Today’s New Band – The Whiffs


So again, after reeling from the glut of greatness in today’s previous post, which rounds up the best bands this month on ANBAD, we again take a delve back into our pockets to see what new great bands lurk within. (And to make that mangled mixed-metaphor-analogy work, try imagining we’re wearing big clown trousers, filled with every band in the world. I think I’m digging myself further in a hole here.) And today’s New Band is yet another nail in the Johnny Halliday-shaped coffin for people who think that French music stinks.

It’s been a bumper year for French music however you look at it – and I prefer to look mainly at Sebastian Tellier’s brilliant entry to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, a song that shouldn’t have only won, but was so universally wonderful that it should have been put into those birthday cards that play a song when they’re opened. So, yes, today’s New Band is French, and are called The Whiffs – a name which virtually guaranteed them a place on A New Band A Day the moment the words hit my retina.

The Whiffs write songs which are slight, gentle and snappy, and whilst they stick with the tried-and-tested format of guitars ‘n’ drums, there’s a lovely Gallic, non-mainstream influence seeping through the verses. Conned in Adelade is catchy, simple and the sound of two people having fun. Fun is a quality all too sadly missing in a lot of music, and choose to follow the ironic ‘FUN’ (Hi, The Tings Tings) or determinedly sullen (Hi, every band wearing purple and black stripy cut-off socks on their arms) route instead. Let’s face it, if you’re called The Whiffs, you can’t take yourself too seriously. Listen to their tunes here, and forget your troubles.

TODAY’S GLIB BAND-COMPARISON: Like if someone had stolen the early Dandy Warhol’s fuzzboxes, Valium and skinny T-Shirts and enrolled them on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Happiness Programme.

>Today’s New Band – 747Music

>One accusation that I sometimes hear levelled at the truly incredible Boards Of Canada is that they’ve found a ‘sound’, and just ground out three albums’ worth of songs that are all slight variations on a theme. There is probably an element of truthiness in this, but frankly, fans of BoC don’t care. They just want MORE, because even assuming that BoC are a one-trick pony, it’s such a wonderful trick, complaining just sounds silly.

But what would BoC sound like, if, you know, they shuffled things up a bit? Well, maybe somewhere close to Today’s New Band, 747Music. Hailing from Ontario, 747Music is a self-confessed BoC nut, as an initial listen to his music will confirm. The love of softly and harshly deformed analogue-y sounds are all there as well as the samples of voices, and the tasty beats. But his work is no mere copying exercise – Untitled is a rolling, crunchy electric behemoth and Electric Epiphony is 10 times harder and faster than anything BoC have ever done, punching forward until it falls to bits. The songs are short, lilting and worm their way into your mind, and in some ways, they’re mini-epics – a series of mental day trips, if you will. Worth a listen, without doubt – so do so here!

Today’s Glib Comparison: Well, yes. Boards Of Canada having sex with The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Whilst, inevitably, The Pixies watch, silently.

>Today’s New Band – Paul Hawkins &Thee Awkward Silences – GLIB COMPARISONS WEEK CONTINUES!

>Weirdness is an underrated virtue in pop ‘n’ rock music, and for understandable reasons. It’s too often, rightly, associated with acts who use a veneer of ‘kooky’ as an execrable cover-up for lack of talent – take a bow, Babylon Zoo. However, if these awful aberrations can be forgotten, weirdness is a Good Thing – if only as in indicator of deliberate step away from convention. Anyone with a pair of ears and a skull that isn’t used as spare storage space for semi-ironic glow-sticks, back-combed hair and slogan T-shirts knows that the bands who tow the line and trudge the well-worn skinny-jeans-and-aimless-posturing path rarely innovate.

What really sets the pulse racing and induces involuntary grins of deee-lite is that moment when you hear something new, something that sounds enough like everything else to be bearable, and far removed enough from exactly the same things to be exciting, surprising and, well, new. If you don’t quite follow, Today’s New Band, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, are a good place to start. There are a number of antecedents that his music could be favourably compared to (see the super exciting SECOND INSTALLMENT of today’s GLIB COMPARISON GIMMICK for more details), and yet his grouchy, slightly deranged vocals and frankly tremendous tunes are something that are enticingly sparkly and new.

In The Evil Thoughts, he chunters through a scenario about a woman who is shunning him, and the result is, indeed, slightly sinister – “And even though I’m nice to your face, the evil thoughts form in my brain.” An even better track, though, is The Battle Is Over, a similarly half-crazy, all-wonderful story of a man returning home from war to find his woman telling him that, whilst he, “went away to play soldiers with your friends/I had to rely on other men”. The female vocals are sung by the fabulously voiced Candythief. 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. Listen to it, and the others, here, now, or you’ll regret it, young ‘un!

TODAY’S GLIB COMPARISON: Like Nick Cave having a drunken brawl with a theoretical newly-acoustic-folk-change-of-direction Pop Will Eat Itself, whilst Shane McGowan watches, caressing his knuckle duster. And the Pixies. Again.

>IT’S GLIB COMPARISON WEEK ALL WEEK! – Today’s New Band – William

>After the RIP-ROARING SUCCESS of the lazy comparisons undertaken whilst reviewing last Thursday’s Band Of The Day, Monster Island, I took a long, deliberate ponder during the 25-minute ‘Holocaust’ brain-destroyer section at the end of the My Bloody Valentine gig on Saturday. Just before their mind-bogglingly loud replication of the sound of 20 jet planes all taking off at once, then crashing one by one into a volcano caused my soul to leak out of my ears, it occurred to me to continue this easy reviewing style for one week only, and brand it Glib Comparison Week. So expect this week’s dazzlingly good array of new bands to be wholeheartedly sullied by an increasingly stupid method of review.

Moronic, bowel-looseningly-loud-noise-induced decisions aside, this week’s first New Band Of The Day is really rather special. They’re from London – but isn’t everyone? – and are called William. Like James, The Smiths, and, er, The Johnsons out of Antony and the Johnsons, they’re following in the noble tradition of having a band name that’s also a person’s name. It’s a mystery as to which William they’re named after, though I’d hazard a guess that it’s more likely to be this one than the tabloid-friendly Prince. William, frankly, sound great, with punchy melodies and half-yelped, half-casually drawled lyrics. South of the Border is urgent and a bit weary at the same time, and Five Minute Wonder is even better, picking up pace as it rattles along, churning guitars not able to mask a lackadaisical cry of “I spend too much time on my own…You do too? Well, alright.”

Their songs are a huge stride ahead of the mundane identikit rock that’s polluting CD players worldwide at the moment. Listen to their great songs here, and catch them live in the next month – but only after you’ve been overwhelmed by the half-baked lump of lazy reviewing below:

TODAY’S GLIB COMPARISON: “A bit like the Pixies slowdancing suggestively with the White Stripes as Art Brut play non-po-faced Jam covers.”