KONEV, Finland’s Premier Accidental Pun-Merchants

The endless parade of fascinating, brilliant, and fascinatingly brilliant bands emerging from Finland presents one, deeply important problem.

What about the puns? Where to go with the many easy punning opportunities lined up by each of these pop nuggets?

Sample quandary: does one crowbar ‘I’ve started, so I’ll Finnish,’ or ‘A race to the Finnish’ into today’s review of new noise-slicers KONEV?

You may be fooled into thinking that focussing so determinedly on puns is either facile, futile, or some sort of conflation of the two (so… facitile?) – but then you’d be in the wrong place, sunshine. Puns are pretty much ANBAD’s default lazy fall-back topic raison d’etre.

KONEV, a name with frankly little scope for punnage, comes from the Finnish word “kone” which means “machine”. Their music sounds like it organically mutated from bits of old machinery – the weird, Frankenstein-tinkered results of old, dusty, Eastern Bloc car parts crossed with the kind of threatening-looking weeds that grown around railway sidings.

KONEV // Strangers On A Train

It’s the kind of beautifully swirling music that would accompany time lapse footage of vines slowly creeping up a wall and invading the crevices of a house – thin green fingers relentlessly grabbing and prying.

KONEV make music that bring to mind images of things that have no sound of their own – a perfectly still lake, a venus fly-trap, a cobweb. What nature started, KONEV have carefully finished.

Finnished! I meant ‘Finnished’.


Godzilla Black, and Oh No, More Puns

Arrrghh! Couldn’t… resist… today’s… band… because… of… vague… punning…

It’s a sorry state of affairs. I’ll apologise right now. But why even try to put up any defence any more? I’m loud and proud about it now: I just love rubbish puns, and Godzilla Black have a song called Fear of a Flat Planet.

A frankly crummy half-pun, yes, but also one that conjures images of a world made entirely of still-boxed IKEA furniture, with cardboard cut-outs of Chuck D and Terminator X (Flava Flav is already a cardboard cut-out) shouting angrily at all and sundry.

You can tell that Godzilla Black are grimy and sex-fuelled from the lewdly rumbling basslines alone. Lock up your daughters:

Godzilla Black // Fear Of A Flat Planet

Their lyrics aren’t so much sung as much as they ooze out of their lasciviously gopping mouths. By the time sentiments like,  ‘I’m the kind of girl that makes you wanna get a sex change,’ have reached your ears, you’ll find that your skin crawled into a dark corner a long time ago.

Their music is the kind of offensively crotch-thrusting grind that makes you want to weep, black, bitter tears. Godzilla Black: delicious dirt, condemned to tape.


Val Venosta, Horror-Puns, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes

On the face of it, Van Venosta tick all of the boxes needed to appear on ANBAD. Just examine the evidence:

New band? Duh – tick. Protagonists wary of revealing their faces to the camera lest it steals their souls? Uh-huh. Originate from Göteborg, thus satisfying Scandinavian band obsession? Yup. Song titles betray a mutual and ongoing love of weak PUNS? Hell yes.

And so why fight it? They’re pretty much today’s new band by default. It doesn’t mean ANBAD’s quality control has finally, and sadly, shaken its head and dejectedly leapt feet first out of the window though – how could it when Val Venosta make songs that reek of shiny, plinking synth-dance music and ancient horror-movie pun-based titles?

Val VenostaThe Price Is Right

A shuddering four-square house song that samples clips from – that’s right – the Vincent Price movie The Abominable Dr. Phibes should pique the interest of any consumer of trashy pop culture – which, I’d wager, you are too.

They don’t try anything overtly fancy, instead concentrating fully on building exhilarating poppy-house tunes: foundations of heavy bass decorated with wisps of cheerfully piped melodies and musical box sounds. Vincent Price’s campy threats sound incongruous, fun and strangely fitting.

Val Venosta: mixing handsome Scandi-pop songs, dancefloor clout and heavy-breathing horror. A winning combination, right? Right.

>Today’s New Band – The Siegfried Sassoon

>At 11 last night, a hoard of zombies, almost entirely consisting of denim, hair and sweat, were creeping towards me, making a terrible noise. I was scared.

It then became apparent that it was actually the bulk of the crowd who’d just left the huge AC/DC gig in the city centre, and the dreadful groaning was actually a terrace-chant mish-mash of Hells Bells, Givin’ The Dog A Bone and Let Me Put My Love Into You. One group of men – they were all men – had had a particularly great time, were dressed like Angus Young, and were, indeed, young enough to be his children.

AC/DC are the musical equivalent of going to the pub with your friends, drinking lager, talking about football and boobs, and then being hit on by a surprising array of big-haired, tight-skirted supermodels. Going to their gigs must be like that but with a more pervasive smell of body odour.

It would make perfect sense for Today’s New Band to be balls-out, four-to-the-floor RAWK merchants, but that would make ANBAD seem too professional. Instead, here’s The Siegfried Sassoon.

They leapt to the top of my list as soon as the POWER OF THE PUN was unleashed in the form of their song The Al Gore Rhythm, a song which is a handy example of the template for their thrilling, weird, veering, ADHD approach to rock.

I Galactico bounces around wildly; from proggy excess to chanty pop to thrash ‘n’ trash guitar rock, and Muscle Beach presses all of the buttons on the keyboard at once, and miraculously, find musical successes abounding.

The Siegfried Sassoon are a bit like a super-polished, synth-prog Art Brut (who have an ace new album out this week) – which sounds like all kinds of wrong, but it works. And no laboured sexual euphemisms whatsoever in their songs. Listen here!

Band Photo by Tom Pratt

>Today’s New Band – The Covergirls PLUS! Crystal Ball-Gazing!

>It seems important to hit the ground running in the New Year. Christmas was an inevitable blur of overindulgence and snoozing, without thought of the future or the past. Come the first of January though, and both eyes swivel, panicked and wide, towards the TERRIBLE, INEVITABLE AND RAPIDLY APPROACHING future.

It therefore seems reasonable to have a quick look at the year ahead, and what might snare your attention in it. Predictably, not all of this will be pretty.

Music is all about revivals, whether you like it or not. As a quick example of what might happen in the next 12 months, here’s two people who might benefit from this unlovable trend:

2009 might be the year when we find a group of people brave enough to rekindle The KLF‘s art/noise/stadium house/chaos regime again, and if Pop Incorporated start dumping dead sheep around London, we’ll know it worked. Or maybe it’ll be the year when too-cool-for-school ironic-facial hair supremo Master Shortie ‘goes mainstream’, as if his slick late-08’s-with-a-slant pop sound wasn’t aimed there all along. Who knows.

For us at A New Band A Day, though, the news that ANBAD darlings Art Brut are recording an album with Black Francis from The Pixies sent us into spasms of joy, incredulity and OMGOMGOMGOMG. This surely is the musical meeting of minds that will Win Big, as The Kids say. Time will indeed tell.

To keep our feverish minds distracted whilst we wait for the Best Album Ever, we’ll be featuring a great new band, every day, as usual. So dubious congratulations to The Covergirls, who are the first New Band of 2009!

Yet another band unearthed from the rich seam in the Glasgow Great Bands Pit, The Covergirls’ songs are musical ADHD – in turns scuzzy, twinkly and robotic. Songs like Catch The Tiger and La Casilla de la Muerte stomp aggressively just as unexpectedly as they tiptoe melodically, as if the band’s kid sister has crept into the studio and is cheekily flicking the Fuzz/Clean switch on the guitar amps at random.

Riffs, clobbered drums and sweetly cooed vocals all meet in the middle, hoping to reconcile, but just end up having a spectacularly colourful and enjoyable brawl. As a consequence, songs like Say It Don’t Spray It features one of the most violently choppy riffs heard for ages, and the band thrashes around to keep up.

Then, finally, in an attempt to lever more praise from us Pun-Lovers at ANBAD (but probably not), they even bung in a corker of a song title in the form of Slouching Digger Paper Waggon. The Covergirls are a jolting, fun and thrillingly noisy start top the year. Got cobwebs? Blow them away here!

>Eccentric Millionaires, The Worst Band in The World, and Today’s New Band – Weird Gear

>Here’s a horrible truth: the rock ‘n’ roll world is overwhelmingly unfair. Unfairer even than real life, where bad stuff happens randomly to whoever, whenever. In Rock ‘n’ Roll World, the odds are actually stacked against you if your band is one or any of the following:

  1. New
  2. Inventive
  3. Good

This is a bit of a problem. Surely all of those things are what everyone actually wants to hear? And weren’t bands like, duh, The Beatles all of those things and a bit of a success? Well, yes and yes. BUT – here’s the trump card: Scouting For Girls. Not only are they a band utterly devoid of imagination, talent or likability, but they are also hugely successful.

They have sold over half a million copies of their execrable debut album. I have been clinging onto a vain hope that this figure is so inflated because an eccentric millionaire, driven crazy by the gut-wrenching inanity of the omnipresent She’s So Lovely, has been buying every copy available to prevent the general public from ever having to listen to it. But I think this might not be the case.

What is so galling about Scouting For Girls’ success is that, at heart, they are a simple Indie band that plays simple Indie tunes – much like the wonderful Popguns did in the late 80’s. But guess which band sold a bazillion copies of their album, and which one sold half a dozen?

Celebrate the good bands, while you can, is the moral of this story. One of these good bands is Today’s New Band. Weird Gear have taken the soundtrack from a low budget early-80’s sci-fi TV show and made it into music that is both enjoyable and danceable. This alone is some achievement, especially if you’ve ever sat through an early-80’s BBC sci-fi show.

While the title of Hamm Ond Cheese is almost too pun-tastic for words, it bubbles enthusiastically along, pulsing forwards with all the electro lo-fi nerdishness you’d expect of a band that have excitedly drawn up, in mind-boggling detail, a list of every single piece of electronic gubbins they used to create the sounds.

This is all part of Weird Gear‘s charm – electro-instrumental nerds are still outsiders in the four-square guitar-drums-bass-singer world of Rock ‘n’ Indie. Songs like Moulange, synth-o-tronic and sweeping, are so out of place with music today that they travel full circle and become vital in their opposition to the norm. Cobble together a Dalek out of toilet rolls and papier maché and travel back in time with Weird Gear here!

>Today’s New Band – Mirror! Mirror!

>“Simplicity,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “is the ultimate sophistication.” This is a man who invented the helicopter 400 years before it was technically possibly to construct one, so perhaps we should pay heed.

Simplicity is what makes things like the wheel, as well as other more prosaic activities like picking your nose and eating jars of Marshmallow Fluff, so brilliant. Today’s New Band, Mirror! Mirror! are super-simple in many ways. They just want to have the proverbial Good Time, All The Time.

Song Wolfgang Bang has all these things in its favour:

  1. Wonderful, A-Grade, pun-tastic title;
  2. A great disco-tastic beat that drives the song along like a joyrider who’s just popped on his Bonkers! CD (mixed by Hixxy, natch)
  3. More Cowbell!
  4. It is lyrically WISE“On the subject of vegetables, do you get your five-a-day? Do you rubber up? Protect yourself from AIDS?” – these are lessons we could all learn from.

Don’t Mind If I Do doesn’t mind at all, and crashes out at you, before grabbing you by the ears and shaking you until you submit to Mirror! Mirror!‘s uncompromising, uncomplicated regime of Dance! Dance! Until You Submit!

Mirror! Mirror! are simple souls who use complex music and befuddled lyrics to do simple things. Mirror! Mirror!: da Vinci’s favourite band. Probably. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Copy Write This

>Short, sharp shocks. That’s what you need sometimes. Not necessarily like receiving a one-inch punch to the throat from a previously hidden ninja when you pop out to the shop to buy the paper, mind. But an experience or – in particular – noise that shakes you from a slumber or from lethargy, is super-duper for all sorts of reasons. Laziness infects even the most thrusting young soul, and it’d be a huge LIE to say that we don’t all need a wake-up call now and again.

Today’s New Band, Copy Write This, is the aural equivalent of someone pinching your nose when you’re asleep, except pleasurable. Dubiously pun-tastic name aside, and whilst their songs are thin on the ground, the ones they do have are mental smelling salts. Pulling a title from the School of Bleeding Obvious Song Names, Twitching and Salivating is as rabid and jumpy as suggested, using all the build-up-and-drop tricks in the book to create a rumbling face-smasher of a tune. Thumping crudely yet delicately along, it’d be a stone-hearted person who wouldn’t get drawn in to it’s bombastic thrills.

Copy Write This’ other song, Brain Food, samples an oft-visited source of vocal idiocy, everyone’s favourite brain-dead mouth-breather, George W. Bush. On paper, this seems like a cheap and easy target – who hasn’t heard a million jibes at Dubya by now – but the song is actually a nicely abrupt stapling-together of his most cretinous moments, with an equally nice pulsating grumbly bass-heavy carpet beneath it.

So, a great chance to hear a really new work-in-progress musician, whose early stuff turns out to be a blustering rampage through a cauldron of clanking noise. Great. Listen here and wake yourself up!

>Today’s New Band – Ice, Sea, Dead People

>Look, it’s the elephant in the room. Let’s get it out of the way right now: Today’s New Band has the most incredibly pun-tastic name of all time. The name Ice, Sea, Dead People is truly brilliant. Pun-laden names can go horribly wrong – remember Test Icicles, anyone? – but this band have taken the concept, mixed their metaphors and hit it for six. If I’m being honest, they would have been picked as today’s new band on the strength of their name alone, even if they were as limp and insipid as Pete Docherty after a week long camping trip with Amy Winehouse in somewhere as irresponsibly named as, oooh, here.

Whilst Ice, Sea, Dead People may conjure up images of weatherbeaten, salty old sailors singing mournful shanties, the music they play is almost the exact opposite. If you asked them to sing a sea shanty, it would probably be played at a bazillion miles an hour and feature the word ‘shanty’ yelped all over it. That’s pretty much how their great, mentalist, song Hence Elvis pans out, the sound of three fabulously crazy punk songs in one. My Twin Brother’s a Brother sounds like they’ve just realised that being in Ice, Sea, Dead People is the most fun in the world – and let’s face it, it probably is.

Listen for yourself on their MySpace page, and marvel at the joyful way the songs rush off in front of you like a firework. You’ll be making the stereotypical “Oooooh” noises as the songs explode, spraying multicoloured sherbet everywhere, and, like a firework display, you’ll wish that they just went on forever. Ace. Great artwork on the background of the MySpace page too…