>Today’s New Band – Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene PLUS! Birdwatching!

>Today, I’ve mostly been looking at tits. Great Tits. But also Blue Tits, Robin Red-Breasts and Green Finches. Oh dear. If you subscribe to ANBAD via email, I’m not sure there’s much chance it’ll get through your spam filter.

Still, it’s been an ornithological day, taking a breather from the city, and sitting in a warm conservatory in the countryside. Watching birds zip in and out of your frame of vision to attack a series of nut-distributing cages hanging from a rickety birdtable is so soothing it ought to be available on prescription.

It’s fun to self-diagnose your mood by the choice of music. In the city: albums of in-yer-face noise (Big Black‘s Atomizer) to compliment the pressures of inner city life. In the countryside: stuff that, if not complimenting birdsong, then doesn’t entirely obscure it (Endtroducing by DJ Shadow) to mirror the calm, zen-like inner peace that green hills, old oaks and dribbling streams induces.

By choosing to listen to Today’s New Band, Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene, then even the most quasi- of philosophers would sum up your mood as ‘cheerful’. The words ‘cutely twee’ and ‘football-obsessives’ don’t often find themselves paired up in describing any band, but then Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene aren’t any old band.

Their songs bumble and wander, light, free and happy, musing on such uncomplicated issues. Remember Your Shinguards reminisces about childhood football heroes, cut knees and sweet childhood love. Edwin And The Physio is more urgent, but no less cuddly and Jonathan’s Present is short, sweet and the kind of song you’d like your loved one to record for you for Valentine’s day.

La-la-la choruses and guitars that are so carefree that they jangle with palpable happiness punctuate Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene‘s happy songs. They end this week on such an upbeat note that it must surely mean that Monday will bring a Blackened Doom Metal band, just to restore the cosmic balance. Until then, swoon along with Miabeane & The Asthmatic Scene here!

Photo by Jenny Baker

>Today’s New Band – Yes Please!, Miserablism and Grey Skies

>Winter has well and truly arrived here in Manchester. Initially, it came in fits and starts, drunkenly staggering frostily here and there, but now it’s running its icy fingers up and down all our spines, and my extremities are in a constant state of chilly anxiety.

Manchester is renowned for its dreadful weather. Pewter-grey skies are the norm, usually accompanied by a constant fine drizzle which, helpfully, saps one’s will to live within days. Look at this webcam, and I’m willing to gamble the image you’ll see will be 50% fuzzy grey. Living in Manchester is like living inside Tupperware. It’s no wonder Mancunian bands like The Smiths, Joy Division and The Fall are so relentlessly downbeat.

Today’s New Band, Yes Please! hail from the outrageously named places of Espoo, Olari, Uusimaa in Finland. If that isn’t making you splutter into your mug of coffee, then you, sir/madam, are not human.

At ANBAD, we have a soft spot for bands from the north of Europe, due to their almost unwavering lust for jangly pop songs. Yes Please! proudly exhibit this love too. Imaginary Success is about as growlingly hostile as Finnish guitar pop gets, a big heaving song that runs and runs and runs and then collapses. Enjoy and Laugh also flits between their twin ideals of brassy pop and earnestness.

Yes Please! was the name of the Happy Monday’s last, dreadful album. They were from Manchester too, but their music was stupendously, well, happy – though this may have had something to do with the industrial quantities of drugs they consumed. Yes Please! the band are nothing like the Happy Mondays, but their music is just as joyfully enthusiastic. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Voo

>Another Liverpool band? This is getting silly. A New Band A Day has been littered with them recently, with Indica Ritual and My Amiga most recently using all their Scouse powers of persuasion on us. And look, here comes another one, with stereotypically jaunty tunes, and melodies coming out of their eyeballs.

When will these bands learn that if you want to be a rock star these days, it’s not about having good songs, but about being photographed falling out of nightclubs, getting shabby on crack and slinging out a half-hearted Boomtown Rats sound-a-like album every 18 months? Some people just don’t get it.

So, Today’s New Band, Voo, steadfastly refuse to go all New-Rave or New-Gaze or New-[insert most recently dug-up old genre here] on us. Instead, with songs like Favourite Films, they demonstrate a keen ear for chipper, slightly anthemic pop-rock. Schnik Schnak Schnuk is an ace, building crunchy song that has not one, but two! of everyone’s favourite rock tricks – the false ending and a “na-na-na-naa” bit. Acoustic For Sake of Space is either a title or a disclaimer, I’m not sure, but it definitely is light, delicate and mournfully enticing.

I get the feeling that Voo would sound even better live. They’re touring soon, so keep ’em peeled. Listen to their songs here!

>Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Today’s New Band

>So after frothing at the mouth a bit yesterday over Band Of The Day Indica Ritual, here’s hoping for something a little less mentalistic and more soothing today. And that’s exactly what Today’s New Band, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, are. In many ways, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin are perfect A New Band A Day fodder – in so much that they fulfil all these precise and extensive A.N.B.A.D. criteria:

a) The band has great tunes; and, for bonus marks,
b) The band has needlessly complicated/amusing/pun-laden name.

Obviously a) is the most important parameter, but SSLYBY (much easier to type) don’t disappoint on either count. Oregon Girl is one of those Byrds-y, 80’s-Indie-y, Teenage Fanclub-y songs that sounds like it’s a breeze to write, but isn’t. It’s a fantastic, fleet-footed dash of a song that touches all four corners of Jangly Summer Rock, and then goes around again on an excited lap of honour.

In fact, SSLYBY are so relentlessly upbeat that they make a song titled Think I Wanna Die sound like exactly the sort of song you’d want to listen to whilst driving a convertible down Highway 1 to Big Sur. Best of all might be the soaring Glue Girls, which is a happy, swift spin of fun.

SSLYBY are from a town called Springfield. Insert your own half-hearted Simpsons reference here. Then when you’re done, listen to their super summer songs, right here!

>My Amiga – Today’s New Band

>When I was a young ‘un, before I bought a guitar and sat in my bedroom mangling Smiths songs and wondering if I could convince my parents to let me paint my bedroom walls black, i used to while hours away playing on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It had sticky rubber keys, 48k of memory and the games took five minutes to load off a C90 tape. It was my nerd-baby though, and I’m still proud that I completed Magicland Dizzy without losing a life. These halcyon days were tarnished a bit though, when my friend Dan got a Commodore Amiga for Christmas – a computer which made the Spectrum appear weak and feeble in comparison (which, of course, it was).

The Amiga was ace. I presume Today’s New Band, My Amiga, harbour similarly nostalgic feelings about unwieldy, grey early-90’s computers. They’re from Liverpool and have that seemingly genetic Liverpudlian way with treble-tastic rock melodies. My Amiga are what the Famous Five would sound like if they formed a band on their days off from drinking lashings of Ginger Beer and solving suspiciously family-friendly crimes.

That is to say, My Amiga sound young and sprightly enough to make the inevitable A&R men at their gigs feel like fuddy-duddies with try-hard haircuts. Though to be fair, they’re like that anyway. Thank Heavens for Little Victories is a surprisingly deft and floaty throwaway pop tinkle, with a shouty bit to prove that they’re actually of drinking age. Untitled is a brisk and jangly pop fizz which explodes frenetically with youth, the sonic equivalent of a child trying to build the tallest lower of Lego possible, and then laughing manically when it falls over.

My Amiga are as fun as drawing the curtains on a sunny day and playing Sensible Soccer until teatime. Though you probably won’t get wrist ache from the joystick. Unless you really like them. If you known what I mean. Listen to their songs here!

>Mammoth Life – Today’s New Band

>I have a friend who runs a sweetshop, called Kandy Pop, in Manchester. She spends all day selling all the best sweets from your childhood – Dolly Mixtures, Fried Eggs, Flying Saucers – that kind of thing. It’s the cutest, most sugary place on the planet, and to compound the outright sweetness of the experience, she plays cute punky music all day long. If you manage to leave the shop without looking or feeling like you’ve been dunked in sucrose, then you, sir, are a stronger man than I.

So then – what about cuteness in music: as yummy and sweet as the pinkest, softest frosting on the world’s sugariest cupcake, or as cloying and syrupy as the pinkest, softest frosting frosting on the sugariest cupcake? Today’s New Band will polarise your opinion, because, frankly, they are as cute as a box full of buttons.

Mammoth Life are from Kansas in the USA. Their music isn’t cute in a Japanese J-Pop way, or in a Bis way, but in a wholesome, twinkling, harmonising way that’s a bit of a delight. Their song To Suffer For Passion is terminally bright and happy, the vocals droning and intertwining around what sounds a bit like what would happen if mandolins and violins were birds courting in mating season. It’s quite close to being a twee-er Shiny Happy People, with a driving twang, a snappy hook and a melody that bounces around like a child on a spacehopper.

Bicycle Rider is even more fun – honking horns and ringing bells, buzzing and flitting from here to there, enjoying the feeling of luxuriating in happiness. Mammoth Life aren’t just sugar-fiends on a mission to uplift though – there’s a hint of melancholy if you listen hard enough, but why would you want to do that? Just grab a toffee apple and remember how much fun it was to just have fun. Listen to their great songs here!

>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 Bumblebees

>There’s something to be said for shy and fey voices in pop. Whilst Axl Rose et al growl, howl and grunt into the microphone, spraying the front row with saliva that is composed of 40% ALL MAN, 40% TESTOSTERONE and 20% COME BACKSTAGE AND BLOW ME, BABY, not everybody’s songs benefit from such overt, Jack-Daniels-and-cigarettes, oversize-codpieced masculinity. Anything that goes some way to redressing the balance is welcome.

So, yup, Today’s New Band, the lovely Bumblebees, are about as thrusting and masculine as Brian Sewell nibbling on cucumber sandwiches. This is A Very Good Thing, as evidenced by their Über-cute and happy songs that litter their Myspace page.

My Kaleidoscope starts and ends with the sugariest, yummiest, bloopy organ-line for, like, ages. This is the song that you’ll play in your head this autumn when you look back fondly to summer and whizz through the memories of playing in the sea on holiday.

Fluffy Clouds Of Joy is a jerky, gentle and twee treat which metamorphoses into a children’s TV show theme tune. It’s also possibly begging for a post-post-post-ironic ‘mash-up’ with the Orb‘s Fluffy Little Clouds, which might cause the twin internet moron tribes of the Tweecore-ers and the Ironic Haircut-ers to either implode with rage (bad) or become best friends, ever (worse).

The Bumblebees are tons of fun in the same way that making your own Lemonade is, and with the similar qualities of sweetness masking sharpness. Great! Listen here, now, youngster!

>Today’s New Band – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

>Possibly the most idiotic, frustrating thing about rock music right now is its tiresome and seemingly endless ability to create new ‘scenes’ out of old ones. Nostalgia has infected the one thing which, in the wake of punk, would supposedly tear up the past and focus solely on the future. Maybe bands or journalists or radio pluggers or whoever it is that actually makes things happen in the murky depths of rock have lost their nerve waiting for a new, exciting movement to begin and are happy to brand old ideas with the dumb, shiny sheen of a “New-” prefix. Take an undeserved bow, New Rave, New Rock, Nu-Metal and all of your unwanted friends.

Perhaps it’s pop ‘n’ rock music’s innate simplicity (See yesterday’s New Band, The Gravity Crisis, for more guff on this topic) which means that old sounds are endlessly recycled, and really, it’s one of it’s most endearing qualities. Who hasn’t ever thrilled at the moment when a new song you hear reminds you – for a split second – of one of your favourite bands? Well, this happened to me, today, as I was listening to Today’s (superb) New Band, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.

After only a millisecond of listening to the cracks and explosions of drums and guitar fuzz that is the wonderful Come Saturday, I suddenly had a brain-flash of being 16 again, when I first heard, in quick succession, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain. This is good nostalgia, the type that leaves you a bit giddy and wide-eyed with joy, and not the sort that is dreamt up by someone with an ironic haircut who’s, you know, getting into this Indie music stuff, yeah?

It would be glib to say that if you like MBV and JAMC, 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. The fact that they have a song about Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan is the cherry on the icing on the frosting on the cake.

The worrying element of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart‘s ace-ness is that they’ll get lumped in with the dregs of the latest music revival – the return of the dreaded Shoegaze (though by now some smug idiot has already termed it “New-Gaze” as they were riding their micro-scooters to work). This would be a travesty and must not happen. Reclaim them as your own, right now, by listening to their fantastic songs on this Myspace page, here!