>Spanish Horns, Change and Today’s New Band – Sincerely, Iris

>One of the problems of constantly searching for new bands to feature on A New Band A Day is that, having heard all the great new stuff out there, all the music on my iPod is left sounding stale and old. I’ll frequently spend 10 minutes spooling through all the bands on it, only managing to think of reasons not to listen to them. Why listen to an old Mansun album when you could be playing the new bunch of craziness from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs?

Well, as I reminded myself yesterday when my iPod picked it on shuffle, because it’s great, and that’s why you bought it in the first place, you sieve-memoried-idiot. Mansun‘s vaguely stupidly-titled Attack of the Grey Lantern is a wonderfully overblown, pompous rock epic, nestling somewhere between daft camp and deft rock heroics, I rediscovered.

Today’s New Band is a bit of a change from the norm. Sincerely, Iris is a folky singer/songwriter who sticks out from the usual ANBAD fare of buzzy guitar crazies and bleepy weirdos like a pork chop in the rabbi’s pocket, in the determinedly offensive words of my old Art teacher, Mr Baker.

If I’m being honest, his type of music is the kind that I’d usually skip over. The whole male voice/acoustic guitar thing usually dredges up horrible memories of Damien Rice, which is tantamount to torture, or at least a waterboarding-type ‘interrogative technique’, in my eyes. Deja Vu, though, is such a rambling, shuffling and urgent song that my preconceptions were rightly swept aside. Also, it’s got Spanish Horns on it, for crap’s sake. I love Spanish Horns.

Boys, Girls and Fools is the kind of plaintive love song which appeals to the tiny fraction of my heart which isn’t black and withered, and maybe this is the lesson for today. Even if you’re avowedly against something, there’s always an exception that finds a gap and pierces home. However much I wanted one of the songs to suddenly explode into Primal Scream’s Accelerator, ultimately, I’m glad it didn’t.

So change is as good as a rest. Listen here, and keep listening even if it’s not usually your thing. You might surprise yourself. Talking of change, that Irish guy, O’Bama, won too. Good on him.

>Today’s New Band – The Gravity Crisis

>If you were to draw up a list of all the necessary things to make an acers band, it’d probably be surprisingly light on ingredients. The list might read along the lines of: great choruses, satisfying chord changes, Keep-It-Simple,-Stupid Lyrics and a working knowledge of what makes the audience decide to get sweaty and excitable – a list that’s temptingly short and sweet. It’s probably this innate simplicity that is the reason for hairy teenagers everywhere to ask for a £69.99 Argos guitar for Christmas in the first place.

The truth is though, that, like unicycling whilst juggling flaming chainsaws, combining all of these things is a lot easier said than done. It’s also why we have to settle for bands like the Kooks et al whilst we wait for the really good bands – who can alchemically squeeze all the simple stuff into their songs – to come along. So, tip your hat, then, to Today’s New Band, The Gravity Crisis, who might just have got it all right.

What’s most exciting about their un-self-consciously fun, catchy songs is that just when you think they might start to wander dangerously close to convention, or repetition, or conservativeness, they veer off in a burst of fuzzy guitar happiness, tails wagging and tongues lolling. Japan is HUGE and crunchy, Animator has all the whoa-oah choruses you’ll ever need and Medicine has howly, simple guitar lines that you’ll spontaneously hum when you’re pouring your cereal next week. The Gravity Crisis are the indie dictionary definition of early promise. Fingers crossed!

Listen to their bounce-a-delic songs here – it’s like the feeling of meeting an old friend you’ve not seen for ages.

And Finally…

A Brief Overview of 2000 Trees Festival –

  1. Mud
  2. Rain
  3. Cider
  4. Hayfever
  5. “Gong Showers”
  6. Lovely People
  7. Sunshine that comes too late
  8. Best band of the weekend – Art Brut. Like, durrrr.

>Today’s New Band – The Muscle Club

>A New Band A Day Towers has been a bit of a biohazard zone this week. First there was the tinnitus, which was followed by similarly excruciating Public-Enemy-induced pulled calf muscle, and then most of Thursday was spent at home nursing a cold, thus enjoying plenty of hot baths, lemony drinks and hours browsing through back issues of Playboy. If that list of ailments sounds frankly pathetic, that’s because it is. Clearly, I’m not fit to face the real world and meet it head on. I need to buff up and GET MANLY.

If you think that this talk of fitness and gymwork is all building towards a tenuous link to Today’s New Band, you’d be stupefyingly, depressingly right. And so, to continue ignorantly in this vein, Today’s New Band, The Muscle Club, surely never would whinge about minor illnesses like that. Not that they’re so rock-hard that they don’t feel pain, but by the sounds of songs like I’ve Never Read Anything and Alright OK You Win, they’re just too busy joyfully joining in in huge, shoutalong choruses to even tell if they’re ill or not.

The songs build from the get-go, as if the whole purpose of their existence is to be a springboard for the big chorus, which then pounds the listener into submission the fun way, until refraining from singing along isn’t even an option anymore. If you like putting your arms around people and howling along to choruses in nightclubs, this band is for you. Actually, with those parameters in mind you may well also be an Oasis fan, in which case, The Muscle Club are definitely for you – it’s time to leave 1994 behind now.

Listen to their songs at their Myspace page (and download their demo FOR FREE!) here!