>Today’s New Band – Sleepy Sun

>I woke up this morning with a sore head and a note with a code-number on it, written in my handwriting. I was in a room I didn’t recognise and, looking out of the window, in a part of town I didn’t know.

As the memories of the previous night’s celebration with some Spanish Barcelona-supporting friends slowly returned, I pulled on my clothes, realised the code was needed to get through the security gate out of the apartment block, and tried to figure out how to reach ANBAD Towers.

Taking a wild directional gamble, I travelled across the city on a completely alien route. I passed legions of grey-suited officinistas clutching onto cardboard cups of sweet coffee for dear life; young lawyers wearing double-breasted suits, desperate to disappear amongst anonymous legal peers; nervous men in their best clothes queueing outside the army recruiting centre.

My decision to sleep on the floor of friends (Gracias Alex, Diego and Victor) allowed me to see Manchester with new, if bleary, eyes. Bleary, you say? How about Today’s New Band, Sleepy Sun, who are the aural equivalent of a slow, hungover morning in bed.

Song Sleepy Son lurks, the guitar leering and growling. The songs lurches, creeps and surges with the fuzzy confidence drawn from that morning-after-a-successful-night-before feeling. New Age is 50% feedback-shriek and 50% feline prowl.

Sleepy Sun are appropriate for hungover times, come-down times and dreamtimes. Cosy, awkward, glancing backwards, forwards and drifting with considered aimlessness, if they don’t slide slowly into your day, nothing will. Listen here!

Photograph by Brett Wilde

>Today’s New Band – Julien Fargo PLUS! Repressed late 90’s rock!

>As if further proof were needed that life is full of weird coincidences, just a couple of days after musing on The Only Ones and their reunion gigs, a friend mentioned that he’d gone to see them on Saturday night. And the verdict is: The Only Ones still sound great, but singer Peter Perrett’s voice was shot. He then went on to make several unsubstantiated substance-abuse allegations, which I probably shouldn’t recount.

In fairness, perhaps he had a sore throat, or the mic was at the wrong level, or any number of reasons could account for his croaky voice. But it didn’t matter – the band played the hits, and the fans danced and went home happy. So any lingering cynicism I had about band reunions vapourised. Except then I remembered that Kula Shaker reformed a few years ago, and are troubling venues all over the world again.

This kind of assault on common decency must not stand. Kula Shaker are the second worst band of all time. To banish the resurfaced memory of the woeful quasi-mystic rock nonsense of Tattva and Govinda, here’s Today’s New Band, Julien Fargo, who don’t sing songs in Sanskrit and don’t make ill-informed statements about swastikas. What they actually do is make really good music, which is enough.

L’Homme 100 tetes – which as far as my schoolboy French is aware, means ‘The Man With 100 Heads’ – is just fabulous, a twinkling swoosh through multi-coloured starfields. Wait – sorry about that. I think Kula Shaker’s faux-psychedelia must have leeched into my brain. But it is a beautiful, simple song, built on simple repetition and echoes of sounds, and ends up as a dreamy, woozy soundtrack to whatever you are doing as you listen to it.

Le Jardin de Roses clambers up and up using a genuinely lovely, plinky-ponk melody to find its way to wherever it might end up. Carefree, lively and with just enough world-weariness to make it lovable, it’ll immediately ping an image into your mind. The one that popped into my head was the view from a bar stool in Parisian cafe. I don’t know why. But it was a nice moment.

In these two songs, Julien Fargo – the man, the band – has made two little glimpses of something that’s annoyingly intangible, but special. And so much better than retreading your musical past. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – Dave Osbourn PLUS! The Apocalypse Cometh!

>Why is it that at the exact point that you think that things are calming down, in reality – the reality that you can’t see or feel or taste until it’s poking you in the ribs and sneering – it’s the exact opposite and suddenly you have a bazillion new things on your plate? Thanks, life. Thanks also to Today’s New Band, who, usefully, provided an equally sudden calm today.

Dave Osbourn is Today’s New Band. Dave Osbourn might not even be a band, using friends and acquaintances to pad out his sound. Either way, Dave Osbourn doesn’t have the usual name you’d associate with gentle, electronic-y, folk-y hybrid music. I suppose I expected something more… post-apocalyptic, which is a moderately stupid thing to say, but is an adequate indicator of my mindset, and much more importantly, of the softly troubling music Dave makes.

Imagine the world ended in a nuclear catastrophe, and you were lucky enough to survive, and in the new wilderness you found a radio and scrolled through the dial. Dave Osbourne’s music would be tucked away in the hiss. And you’d feel at ease with everything. Night Time Chances is a bitty, bare, mournful song that only just lifts itself off the floor, but with grace.

In his songs are one or two sounds that are just too quiet to be fully recognised, and the effect is slightly disarming. Right By, a song that almost reaches the dizzy heights of ‘happy’, but not quite, is full of echoing knocking sounds and faint washes of noise to spread warmth and confusion.

He says his songs are meant to be reassuring. They are. Self-intervene and soothe by listening to his songs here!

Coming Tomorrow: we’re all thrilled to welcome new writer Jamie into the ANBAD ‘fold’. His first post will be tomorrow and will not only delight, but inform, it says here. So come, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, tomorrow for his first dalliance with A New Band A Day!

Oh, and apologies for those of you that have been using Internet Explorer and wondering why the homepage has been so mangled. We’re confused too. I’m working on it RIGHT NOW!

In the meantime, try the ANBAD eBOOK for happy memories of when ANBAD worked properly!

>The Mourning of British Summer Time, Sleepless Nights and Today’s New Band – Cut Cut Shape

>The clocks going back a single measly hour confused me almost completely this weekend. On the night itself, I woke up repeatedly, churning over the bowel-loosening possibility that I might be waking up a WHOLE HOUR earlier or later than I thought. This, apparently, is of great importance to my subconscious self, much to my sleepy frustration.

If my mind boggled so pathetically at the prospect of gaining an extra hour in bed, imagine what turning back the clock 20 years or so might do. Bands manage to do this all of the time, endlessly recycling, rejuvenating and scrabbling for new scraps of interest to find new sounds and new directions, without spending all night thrashing around with worry. Perhaps it’s another sign that I would have been a hopeless rock star.

Conversely, Today’s New Band, Cut Cut Copy, have all the signs of making a very good rock band. It’s hard to tell whether Heart For You is an of-the-moment rock song, with its angular, choppy guitars and urgent drumbeat, or a song which shows a band deliberately not courting Cool. Cut Cut Shape find themselves looking back to when big echoey guitars were de rigeur and even bigger, croony vocals weren’t something to be embarrassed about. Swirling and cavernous, but without any bloat or pretence, Heart For You is a neat calling card for their sound.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about the manner in how whichever Cut Cut Shaper it is that delivers the vocals (it might be one or more from: Tom, Joe, Jake, Josh or George – which sounds a bit like the line-up from a crime-solving gang in an Enid Blyton book). It’s a voice that’s heartfelt, unconcerned with artifice and not at all worried about trying to force an awful faux-Estuary Accent down our throats like The Kooks, Scouting For Girls et al. Crossing The Line is a good song made better as the vocals’ directness engages with you, lapel-grabbing and alive.

There’s something indefinable about Cut Cut Shape that, I dunno, sounds old and yet new. A hopeless description, yes, but that’s about as fully formed an opinion as I feel capable of. This is hopefully due to their unusually dynamic and powerful sound, and not my unreasonable confusion that has arisen since the clocks went back, but who can know for sure? Well, you can, young ‘un, by visiting their Myspace page, right here.

>Today’s New Band – David Cronenberg’s Wife

>Oasis are in the process of releasing their new album, Dig Out Your Soul, at the moment. This is still Big News in the UK, and especially so here in Manchester, their home town. Seizing on the fact that this new-fangled ‘internet’ thing might be a good promotional tool, they have used a little-known website, MySpace.com, to allow YOU, the public at large, to listen to the whole album in it’s entirety before it’s released, you know, in shops.

So, here’s the brief A New Band A Day review:

  1. It’s a clunker
  2. Noel isn’t even the best songwriter in Oasis any more.

I don’t enjoy criticising Oasis, though it’s fashionable to do so. I was 14 when they released Definitely Maybe, and it was one of those fabulous defining moments that you get now and then in your teenage years.

Oasis list The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols among their influences. Today’s New Band, David Cronenberg’s Wife, list the Germs, Swans and The Birthday Party in the same section. One band is producing interesting and inventive music, and the other the same old cobblers. You guess which one is which.

Runaway Pram is a swirling, organ ‘n’ guitar-led, echoing stomper of a song that seems to have been recorded to deliberately disorientate the listener. At times, it’s so heavily soaked in reverb that I wondered if it had been accidentally remixed by Lee Perry in one of his more bloody-minded moods. It’s equal parts mid 60’s Psych and Garage, Goth and 96 Tears by ? and The Mysterians. Their music swirls around you, teasing and taunting you into having a good, weird, time.

David Cronenberg’s Wife – blurring the line between so many genres you’ll experience the pleasant feeling of been punched in the head with the contents of a Virgin Records bargain bin. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – MISTER BEEP

>Just as the Emo scene attracts people who like to wear black, cut outrageously stupid fringes and look identical to one another, and the Nu-Rave scene attracts 15 year olds who want a legitimate reason to dance to Scooter, the Chiptune set attracts people who are A) Nerds and B) Musicians. This is an unusual combo – mathematically-minded musicians are hard to come by – you don’t hear Thom Yorke yapping about logarithms. Actually, that’s probably a bad example, but you get my point. Nevertheless, the Chiptune scene is a monster on the Tubular Interwebs, and we have lavished much praise on it’s luminaries such as PixelH8 before.

Much of the enjoyment of chip music can rely heavily on nostalgic memories of late 80’s video games, though occasionally people like PixelH8 transcend those boundaries. However, just because Today’s New Band, MISTER BEEP, produces music which sounds like it really could be from an 80’s ZX Sinclair Spectrum game (because it has, kind of), doesn’t mean the music is like listening to someone on the bus play all of their polyphonic ringtones to their ‘bezzie mate’.

MISTER BEEP‘s music sounds great, at least to my ears – the ears of someone who spent much of their youth trying to complete Switchblade and Fantasy Island Dizzy on their ZX Speccy. Like how Orbital produce music that sounds like the soundtrack to a film never produced, MISTER BEEP‘s sounds like the tune that would have accompanied Chase HQ 3, had it ever been made. Those of you who used to revel in the excitement of spending 10 minutes waiting for the screeching loading noise for Operation Wolf to finish will find Who’s That Robot and Escape From 16-Bit Land leaving them joyously happy. Perhaps that’s the point of the chiptune: nostalgia through new (old) music. Pleasure through rubber keyboards. Mmm, sexy.

Listen to his ZX-tastic tunes here!