1908 – Crazier Than Liam Gallagher. 1908 Will *Eat Your House*

Good old Liam Gallagher. He never lets us down. It was always pretty obvious that behind the mad-fer-it hoolie swagger there was a fruitcake mind. One who will still be prancing around on stage when he’s 70. One who is capable of reforming Oasis as Beady Eye.

1908, though, knocks Liam’s barminess into a cocked hat. 1908 is beyond nuts, beyond any definition of ‘normal’.

Take Music For Harold To Eat Houses By. No, please. It’s frantically, skin-crawlingly, eye-scratchingly INSANE. If you plugged a 3.5 mm jack into Jeffrey Dahmer’s head, and recorded the results – well, just doing those two things would only be one percent as disturbing as Music For Harold To Eat Houses By.

1908 // Music For Harold To Eat Houses By.

I hesitated for a long time before featuring 1908 on ANBAD. I’m fairly sure that a man who is capable of composing a song that describes – in excruciating detail, mind – the methods he will use to eat your house would also find crawling out from under my bed and murdering me in my sleep a fairly simple task.

However, it’s bands like 1908, – the ones that veer suicidally from eye-narrowing intrigue to too-stupid-to-be-reasonable within a heartbeat – that make music interesting. The ones that remind us that there’s something out there other than another Kings of Leon album. The ones that push the boundaries, get forgotten, and don’t reap a handful the rewards that others grab later on, when the world has caught up.

1908 is also a reminder of why I run ANBAD. You may not like it – hell, I don’t know if I do either – but the creative outskirts are truly the most fascinating, the most bold, the most alive. And it’s a reminder of how far Liam really has to go.


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.

>Wonderswan and A Critical Re-Appraisal Of Toploader’s Legacy

There’s a lot more to be said about band names – though any serious conversation rarely gets beyond the the early-naughties’ monumentally awful, ear-bothering, ooh-look-at-us-aren’t-drugs-naughty fatuousness of Toploader‘s moniker.

They were endorsed by Jamie Oliver, for heaven’s sake, a folly of such magnitude that the repercussions went full circle, beyond the ‘unparalleled idiocy’ category and into the public’s affections.

And the worst news of all? Toploader are reforming. It says so on Wikipedia, so it must be true. Start stocking up on tinned goods now – the apocalypse is nearly upon us.

Some past new bands have chosen more acceptably outré names, producing musical hat-tippings to obscure Japanese videogame consoles – see Golau Glau’s Virtual Boy, and the entire output of fuzzy bleep specialist Kezzie Beat – but Wonderswan are the first to actually name the band themselves after one.

The fact that they produce delightfully grainy rock instead of the 8-bit Chiptune bleeping you’d expect means that extra kudos is to be swivelled towards Wonderswan. Then heap even more on them as you revel in the 90’s Americana lo-fi sounds of Furrrpile, a whining and crunchy song so slack that it is almost anti-rock.

And before you ask, yes, there are great big dollops of Pavement in their sound, but no lo-fi band can avoid that trapping. But songs like Curve step daintily away from Malkmus and co, occupying their own, shoegaze/lo-fi (Shoe-fi? Lo-gaze? Shlo-Faze?) space – cranky, broad and fuzzier than a teenage boy’s chin.

Wonderswan are from Leeds, but could have stepped straight out of the bare, dusty midwest landscape that I (wrongly) picture all US lo-fi/hi-brain function bands to be living in. If their presence is a blast from the past, it’s a very welcome one.

PS: Pavement are reforming too. Look out for the Pavement/Toploader double-header tour.

>Today’s New Band – The Black and White Years

>Just like any other teenager, my bedroom walls were purely a space demanding to be filled with posters. And amongst the Britpop fare that adorned the area next to my bed was a page torn from Select magazine, featuring Donna Matthews from Elastica.

I can’t find the exact image on the internet, which pains me a little, because, for my teenage, hormone-riddled self, she was achingly cute, and more sexy and down-right exciting than all the girls I knew at school. She looked like the kind of girl who’d let you buy her a drink and then tell you to fuck off, just to be contrary. I’d have given anything for that to happen.

Now imagine the surprise when, in the process of trying to find that picture and relive the surge of teenage lust, I found this article on, er, www.discover-jesus.co.uk. Donna Matthews, the gorgeous hellraising indie bleached-hair bleached-mind beached-morals rock ‘n’ roll Donna Matthews, has got God.

Now, I’m not belittling Christians, or people who find peace in religion. But this is Donna Matthews, for crap’s sake. My latent teenage rock ‘n’ roll fantasies wilted with bewilderment at this theological U-turn.

Funnily enough, Today’s New Band, The Black and White Years, have a song called Power To Change. It’s a lithe, thudding song that twists, turns and jabs a finger at believers and non-believers. “Terrified and strange…Still I believe in the power of change,” they sing, winningly. This song alone contains enough tasty hooks to snare anybody into signing up for any type of change you like.

Other songs, like Broken Hand, will leave you swooning at the deft lyricism, sweet intent and sashaying tunes, even before it bursts into skittering life, bounding with enthusiasm and intent.

Donna says: “I love music because it has the capacity to bring me into God’s presence.” Well, good. But I love music like The Black and White Years’ specifically because it shoves me further away from ever understanding the complexities of human creative brilliance. I don’t want connection with a greater force than that. Sorry, Donna. Listen here.

Photograph by Cory Ryan

>Today’s New Band – Worried About Satan

>How about that Devil, eh? You know, the cheeky fella – crimson skin, goat horns, nefariously securing your soul for everlasting agony his sulphuric inferno. He just loves Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Goddammit (geddit?!???!!) if Rock ‘n’ Roll doesn’t just go all dewy-eyed in return.

The devil’s long association with popular music is now more of a gently amusing cliché perpetuated by religio-crazies than an affliction considered to be corrupting our mindless youth.

So it’s fairly safe to assume that Today’s New Band, Worried About Satan, chose their moniker out of impishness, rather than a fascination with the occult. OR WAS IT?*

If songs like You’re In My Thoughts are hooking up a direct line to His Satanic Majesty, their preoccupied and dream-like approach to song-making make it an alluring and calming notion. OR IS THAT WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK?*

Worried About Satan make slight, elusive ambient songs. Evil Dogs creeps, echoing, leeching sound from around it, and eventually spitting out a slowly vital, quiet throb. Noise 01 Reprise chimes like overlapping recordings of a recently used glass harmonica, organic bubbling and wind whistling over bottle tops.

It’s been a stressful week here at ANBAD Towers, and Worried About Satan make it all A-OK, tranquil and calm. AND THEN BEELZEBUB WILL SWOOP WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT!* Listen here.

*these bits were to keep the crazies happy, natch.

>Today’s New Band – Responsible Monster

>When the Brit Awards come around every year, the same old stories get hauled out by the media, like guilty schoolboys in front of the headmaster. The time when Jarvis flapped his buttocks at Michael Jackson. The time when one of the professional anarchists from Chumbawumba threw a bucket of water over the deputy Prime Minister. The time when the KLF teamed up with Extreme Noize Terror, shot blanks at the audience with a machine gun, and dumped a dead sheep on the steps of the venue.

All of those earth-shattering middle-fingers to The Man occurred over a decade ago, but still lend The Brit Awards an edge that its bland, uber-corporate reality doesn’t deserve at all. When this year’s annual back-slapping parade took place, pleasingly, it was tedious, dull and uneventful – hopefully to the point that people will stop caring so much in the future.

The only high point was the Pet Shop Boy‘s medley of hits at the end, which even the combined efforts of Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers couldn’t ruin. The first ever albums that I obsessively listened to as an 8-year old were the Pet Shop Boys’ Please and Introspective, which occupied both sides of a TDK C90 tape. The songs formed my musical grounding, and really, looking back, I’m relieved that it was songs like It’s A Sin and Suburbia and not any other late 80’s pop nonsense.

I don’t know exactly what influenced Today’s New Band, Responsible Monster, but from the sheer unusual nature of their insistently worrying sound, I’d hesitantly guess that it was more Ted Bundy than Bros.

Songs like Darwin revel in some sort of delightful confusion, lingering threateningly between slick funk, boisterously broken clank-pop and then vocal stylings of a deranged mass-murderer. It’s a sprawling, relentless and inventive 8-minute journey into someone’s personal hell – albeit a hell with really lovely furnishings, table service and a sprinkling of concerned-looking Page 3 girls.

Doll Bride Mask is either the first ever recording of the voices in a serial killer’s head, or simply the music he’d listen to to get pumped before another killing spree. Dense, nicely incoherent and filled with contorted, afflicted noises and beats, it reveals that Responsible Monster is in full control of his creative faculties, if nothing else.

Responsible Monster: inventive to the point of sonic schizophrenia and bizarre enough to have you glancing over your shoulder. Mood music for murderers. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Drumcorps PLUS! Rolf Harris!


Annoying people is easy, even when you don’t try. I recently received a Stylophone for my birthday, and even in my most concerted moments, when I’d stopped making ‘Weeeeee-ooooo-eeeee’ noises like an over-excited six-year-old, the awful piercing noises resulted in threats of violence.
The stylophone has had a surprisingly distinguished history in rock music, as long as you ignore the determined efforts of Rolf Harris. David ‘D-Bo’ Bowie used it, as did Pulp, Kraftwerk and Orbital, all charmed by the Stylophone’s whiny, basic, electronic whistling. It’s slightly disappointing for us mere mortals that, when placed in expert hands, something as basic as a 1960’s ‘pocket’ organ can be used to make actually great songs, as opposed to mindless buzzing.

Today’s New Band, Drumcorps (geddit!?), are an unabashedly end-of-the-week act. Not for Aaron Spectre (for it is he) is the delicacy and subtlety of a novelty instrument like the Stylophone.

His philosophy is, “If it don’t clank, don’t record it,” and so his songs are inevitably noisy, disturbing affairs that are what hell would look and sound like if the devil designed it on a Commodore 64 in breaks between jamming with Atari Teenage Riot. Down is a spastic, grunting shove in the back from a sinister stranger, thrashing and screaming fear like a cornered animal. Thin Retro God batters your ears into weeping submission with guitars that sound like awful machines, vocals that sound like a voicemail from Thor and drums that sound like your heartbeat after being directly injected with adrenalin.

Drumcorps make music that turns most of us into genre tourists – you’d like to go and have a listen now and again, but you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a room with dedicated fans, for fear of losing teeth or limbs in an inevitable mosh. But the music is a wild eye-opener and considerable relief from the safe, bland indie that unfortunately blights our lives. Re-boot your mind here!

Next week on ANBAD – aside from all the delightful new bands, there’ll be a new installment of What Happened Next? where we take a look at the bands that graduated from the ANBAD School of Dubious Distinction to the real world of SUCCESS!

>Today’s New Band – Die, Chihuahua Die PLUS! T-T-T-T True Confessions!


In late December (or maybe January – it all seems so long ago already) you all frothed like crazies at the ANBAD Best Gigs Of ’08 list. It was a little heavy on the old bands-side, what with both Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine receiving monster, dizzy praise, but at least it was honest, right?
Here’s a small confession: I left another gig off the list so that it wasn’t skewed too far towards bands from the previous decade. The gig in question was Bis, on a short, ill-fated reunion tour. Bis, for the uninitiated, were Scotland’s premier* Teen-C power-proto-J-pop-trio. Their gig at Satan’s Hollow in Manchester was super-duper acers – the guys looked a bit older, but singer Manda Rin looked just the same as ever, and they sounded just as good as they did when they ground out homemade C90’s back in ’95.

*pretty much the only
Quickly overcoming any dumb attempts at maintaining a distant coolness at the back of the audience, I found myself at the front, pogoing along to the saccharine brilliance of Icky-Poo Air Raid and Kandy Pop. Fast forward a bit to the compiling of the end-of-year gig list, and I remembered two important things: that this gig was actually a year and a half ago, and that my memory is clearly destroyed by idiocy.
A straightforward story of stupidity, simplicity and honesty, then. You might recognise some of those qualities in Today’s New Band, Die, Chihuahua Die!, who play big, simple, stoopid-fun rock ‘n’ roll. Rightly identifying thoughtful musical complexity as namby-pamby nonsense, they’ve plumped for NOISY GOOD ROCK TIMES, and have pulled it off with panache.
Die, Chihuahua Die! have a song called Brian Maiden. We all know Puns=Top Marks at ANBAD. The song is ‘right up in your grill’, as the kids say, and doesn’t let up until you creep away, whimpering.

Happy Song grinds along, its riff clobbering you over the head, nicking your wallet, and running off to buy MORE cheap cider. Action Fuck Action starts at 100 MPH and keeps accelerating, dementedly, towards the wall marked ROCK DESTINY. Meet them there, right here!

>Today’s New Band – Owl Brain Atlas PLUS! Nightmares! Sweat! Christmas!

>Every morning I walk through Manchester city centre. And every morning I listen to my iPod on the way. So far, so mundane. Like everyone, sometimes I find it tough to match the music with my mood. This morning, though, there was a pleasing moment where I found myself to be in the crossover area of a music/life Venn Diagram.

Perched on a traffic island, between two lanes of thundering, aggro-pumped office-drone drivers, Orbital‘s The Box pinged into life, and suddenly, there was a real-time musical soundtrack seemingly reacting to the furious ebb and flow of the whooshing city life. Feeling detached from the real world, I fairly skipped on through the streets.

It’s amazing that music can tally so closely with what you are doing. I imagine that if i was wandering through the mean streets of Bournemouth – a town memorably described by Bill Bryson as “God’s waiting room” – and Cliff Richard‘s Millennium Prayer popped onto the radio, the world might end in a vortex of synchronicity.

If I found myself in the place where the sounds of Today’s New Band fitted perfectly, I’d probably head for the hills sharpish. Owl Brain Atlas (Yes!!!) make sound that would fit in your most lucid nightmares, or most confusing dreams. Also, let’s just dwell on Owl Brain Atlas‘ name for a second. Barking mad, and yet fittingly weird for the sound-poems of J. D. Nelson, the brains behind the, er, Brain.

He says his music is, “spoken noise, ambient word, lo-fi noise poems, electroacoustic sound art,” and this description is a good example of the nail/head interface being struck cleanly. His music/sound/wordless poetry might sound like a pretentious idea, but it’s executed in a pared-down yet dense manner; substance clearly triumphing over style. Like bad dreams, the ‘songs’ are short, direct and terrifyingly evocative of the clammy panic of a turbulent night’s sleep.

There are separate tracks, with titles like Doktor Tongues, 1 and Music For Zilbread, but listen to them altogether for the full dosage. It’s a heady, dizzy experience that’ll leave you even more thankful for the upcoming comfort of Christmas with your loved ones. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Nicholas Stevenson PLUS! Booze, More Booze and Burlesque Dancers!

>Having spent the last five nights ‘entertaining friends’, I’m now in the unenviable position of starting the week feeling exhausted. Beer, wine, tapas, dim sum and a surprising diversion to the middle-class realm of Pimms and lemonade are to blame for my malaise, and spending last night compering a Burlesque show just about finished me off, in a blizzard of nipple tassels and discarded stockings. I suppose if you’re going to have a blow-out, you may as well do it properly.

Having slowly come to the realisation that I’m getting on a bit now and can’t party quite as wholeheartedly as I could when I was 18, I’m feeling pathetically sorry for myself. Feeling fragile, I turned to music for some sort of comfort, or at least empathy. What I got was Today’s New Band, Nicholas Stevenson, who seems to be as fragile as I am.

Perhaps fragile is the wrong word. His songs would fall to bits, just for the hell of it, if they wanted to. They’re sweetly crazed and unusual, sometimes chilling, and sometimes plain odd. Either way, they seem to be formed out of something that might crack apart at any moment.

Anything You Like has as catchy a hook as you’re likely to hear, and an acoustic guitar that is, for want of a better description, crunchy. Ponies is as tender and cosy as a nursery rhyme, albeit one that ends in death and horror. Never in New York‘s yummy, carefree melody is the platform for Nicholas’ fabulously inventive lyrics to skip around.

Nicholas Stevenson‘s songs could have been written to lull children to sleep, but I wouldn’t recommend pushing much babysitting work his way unless you want your child to wake up confused or clammy or screaming. The upside to his aborted childminding career is that us grown-ups can feel our skin creep listening to them.

Even at his most sugary – and his songs do sound delightful – there’s the feeling that the musical sweets he’s offering you are laced with poison. And while that feeling remains, he’s a true (slightly worrying) treat. Listen here!

P.S. – Has the credit crunch left you looking for cheapo Christmas gifts? Give the gift of a printed out PDF of the ANBAD eBook! It’s free AND colourful!