Almeeva, and Avoiding MOR Road Tragedies

I read an interview with Chris de Burgh a couple of days ago. Madness, I know, but bear with me.

In it, Chris revealed that he once cried so hard at a Mike and the Mechanics song that he almost crashed the car he was driving. Aside from his avoiding the Most MOR Death Ever, this revelation does highlight the unique properties of Driving Music.

Driving music doesn’t have to be wall-to-wall Creedence (although it wouldn’t hurt if it was) and at least Almeeva was bold enough to state that his music is ideally suited to ploughing along an empty, ribbony, highway late at night.

He’s right, of course. His songs are relentless, mechanical rushes into the night; half analogue, half digital – all speed, smooth lines and finesse.


Echoes, fine, silvery and menacing, accelerates from a standing start and mutates into a blur of steel, rumble and computer-controlled curves.

If Chris de Burgh listened to Almeeva in his car he’d probably crash it on purpose. This is only one reason to enjoy Almeeva.


>Laurel Collective, and The Coldplay Pleasure Principal Denial

Coldplay must have a whole raft of fans who own their records and yet won’t admit it. It’s a shame that so many people can’t live with the reality of preferring slick MOR rock to the Skins/OC prescribed-cool bands; groups whose names are dropped like discarded chewing-gum now, but will be forgotten when drumming the steering wheel along to X+Y on the school run in ten years’ time.

Music is a great truth-bringer in that sense – it’s so intertwined with pleasure that, when really needed, you will always reach for the record that really makes you happy, which is not necessarily the one that will bolster your cool quota. And if that record is by U2, then so be it. But, yes, we’ll all still be sniggering at you.

And so, the rarity of hearing a band that actually try to veer away from the safer Keane-esque route to success is all the more heartening. I’m sure that Laurel Collective have it in them to make a record that would snag that discerning Radio 2 audience, but they deliberately have not. For this they deserve all the plaudits they will surely get.

Take Carrie. The template is the standard rock set-up, but here is proof that it can still be applied in creepy and unusually new ways – still capable of the necessary emotional pull, though without sacrificing creativity and the thrill that fresh sounds bring.

Laurel Collective – Cheap

Or take Cheap: shoving twitchy drums and a wired bassline to the fore is often a recipe for disaster, but here rewards are reaped and heads are turned – or yanked even, such is the ferocity and excitement of Laurel Collective‘s aural onslaught.

New, sharp, aware: Laurel Collective are a joy. And if they do become a middle age/class favourite, it won’t be for want of trying.

Photography by Gareth Jackson

>Today’s New Band – From Saturn PLUS! Theology!

>It’s the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin‘s birth. His theory is being debated as furiously now as it has ever been – perhaps even more so. Most people broadly accept evolution as a sound explanation for life’s progress – it’s just that the crazed and dissenting minority are more tooth-rattlingly, mouth-foamingly vocal than ever.

What I enjoy hearing the most is not the mentally disturbed rantings of Creationists, but those who are trying to reconcile their centuries-old religions with a 150-year old scientific theory, a bit like how David Bowie jumped on the Drum ‘n’ Bass bandwagon in the mid 90’s. Hilariously, the Vatican claim that St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas actually got there first, and so if you think about it, evolution is actually all to do with God, yeah?

People love clinging onto their beliefs, especially ones that are specifically meaningful to them alone. Music means different things to different people, and rabid followers of bands are particularly befuddled individuals. I was once stuck on a ferry to Belgium with, apparently, the Queen fanclub, and they all had matching double-denim jackets ‘n’ jeans with Queen badges and patches all over them. They looked like particularly grumpy, beardy children’s entertainers and/or real ale fanatics.

You can be a crap band, but summon emotions way beyond the feasible. Today’s New Band, From Saturn, definitely aren’t crap, but may eventually conjure similarly fanatical tendencies. They’re from Sweden – which bands aren’t these days? – and make songs that sound as if they’ve been recorded in the bottom of a well filled with dry ice and guitar effect pedals.

Sometimes smashes softly, like the dense mist at the foot of a waterfall, and is appropriately welcoming, calming and dangerous all at once. There is so much guitar fuzz in the song that it even seems to have leeched into the vocals’ nihilistic drone. Buddies is hyped on uppers and, peering through a woozy fug, lurches forward, having too good a night for its own well being.

From Saturn have found what they like – fuzz, echo and wispy confusion – and they pound each song into submission with their ideals. The songs bend to their will, and not the other way around. I’m not sure if there’s a religious parallel to be drawn here or not. I am sure that you should listen to their songs, right here.

>Today’s New Band – Death of Concorde PLUS! Changes are afoot!

>The A New Band A Day Internet Monkey has been hard at work behind the scenes recently. Changes are afoot, and shortly, ANBAD will ‘relaunch’ (i.e. look a bit different, but not too different) with a whole host of ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ ‘features’ to scroll unexcitedly through before clicking on the link to The Onion.

If you are one of the zillions of our lovely email-subscribing readers, have one last look at the old site – it’ll make you feel even more underwhelmed when the new one is whelped, jaundiced and screaming into the internet world. Otherwise hold tight and prepare for wide-ranging, skyscraping* change!

People don’t like change, as a rule. In ANBAD‘s case, change was deemed necessary because the website looks a bit like it was cobbled together by a computer-illiterate colour-blind idiot with a mild obsession with vinyl-munching robots. In music, band after band claw onto what they know and daren’t change a thing. As anyone who has attended a business seminar and is well versed in corporate bullshit will know – sharks have to keep moving, or they die. If we extrapolate this information to the music world, this makes Oasis a dead Hammer-Head.

We hold the most admiration for bands who, at the very least, try something new. So here’s Death Of Concorde, Today’s New Band, trying something new. The fruity-sounding Bath Partners is a jittering delight, lush and sparse all at once. Old Hammond organs swoosh about, deforming and collapsing into new sounds as and when needed. Communism is a song title that sounds like it ought to be on Side Two of David Bowie‘s Low, but wouldn’t fit, what with it being a mentalist, mechanoid monster of a song, sampling both heavy metal riff-o-rama and fairground organs.

It sounds like Death of Concorde are eager to squeeze the wrong shaped blocks into the wrong holes, and manage to do it too, without their sounds becoming either a mess or contrived. Concorde Museum shimmers, wanes and echoes like a tape recording of an orchestra put through a guitar chorus effect pedal, always just on the right side of becoming all-out white noise. Melodic and dense, it’s a soundscaping delight, pushing textures here and there excitedly.

So, as you hold your breathe excitedly for the ALL! NEW! ANBAD!, why not tune in and space out with Death of Concorde, and ease your passage into oxygen-starved unconsciousness…

*actually quite minor

>Today’s New Band – Kayaka

>Last night, the A New Band A Day “gang” went to see Public Enemy at Manchester Academy, who played the whole of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back from beginning to end. It was a truly brilliant gig: angry, brutal, and winningly political, obviously, but the actual important stuff – the songs – were astonishing to hear live. Poundingly brilliant, funky and loud – the crowd went berserk as they rolled out great song after great song. Chuck D veered between delivering his brilliant lyrical polemic and talking, insistently and sincerely, about his political views, that I was left with the feeling that the world needs Public Enemy today more than it ever has before.

I was also left with a splitting headache and (hopefully) temporary tinnitus that manifested itself this morning and hasn’t quite gone away yet. Coincidentally, Today’s New Band, Kayaka, sounds like the inside of my head, yet better. Kayaka makes noise, unapologetically and insistently, but noise that, in terms of construction at least, is vaguely reminiscent of that other band who will be gigging old material soon, My Bloody Valentine.

Muggy Hair is tinny, mechanical and driven by a beast of a beat. Gusty Gadget Lucky Joe is a bouncing bomb in a room full of drums and tinfoil, but it’s important to note that Kayaka aren’t just making noise because they’ve found new buttons to press on their computer – there’s structure and a waft of melody under all that brain-spazzing screeching. If nothing else, Kayaka’s songs will shake you out of any Monday morning lethargy. And remind you of the dubious joys of that post-gig feeling.

Listen to their noise-mentalism here!