>Today’s New Band – The Voluntary Butler Scheme

If gentle and quaint are crimes, then Today’s New Band, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, are such career criminals they may as well be wearing stripey jumpers and carrying bags marked ‘Swag’. These traits are not the wishy-washy characteristics they might always seem. In the right hands, they become the perfect tools to squeeze the most basic and endearing feelings out of their audience.

The Voluntary Butler Scheme, then, are dexterous in the extreme. Crazed and cute love couplets, plus persistent handclaps, and a cheap ‘n’ cheerful guitar chunter appear in one song: Trading Things In is a song to warm your cockles and leave you charmed by the smallest things in life. Lyrics like”If you were broccoli I’d turn vegetarian for you” and “If you bought running shoes, as out of breath as I’d get, I’d buy running shoes too,” don’t grow on trees, you know.

Tabasco Sole, driven by a guitar jangle that hints at and out-shimmers ABC by the Jackson Five, skips and bounces with delight: a kitchen sink love song that’s so desperate to embrace the world that the sounds themselves spring out of the speakers and have a damn good go.

It’s further proof that The Voluntary Butler Scheme are incapable of writing songs other than breathless exhortations of the world itself. Fasten your belts tightly – they’ll charm your pants right off. Listen here!

photo by Mark Sherratt

>Today’s New Band – The White Noise Supremacists


Unable to resist taking a trip for the umpteenth time to the Fountains Of Pun, we valiantly returned with Today’s New Band, The White Noise Supremacists. Like me, you’re probably unable to shake the image of skinhead thrash metal from your minds. Good – their music will do that for you.
So, the unexpected: These Walls Will Burn and Splinter, sweeter and softer than marshmallow, is a bit tender, a bit gentle and a bit lovely. Meant To Be is similarly sad, drowsy and raw, coasting easily along a line that is often abused too create bland rock, and instead making something pure and good. She’s Soft Inside is tough and brittle and rounded.
The White Noise Supremacist’s name is part funny-ha-ha, part stroke of genius; jilting your expectations so hard that when you actually hear their songs, it’s with the freshest of ears. Clever devils. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – Disco Nasties

>At the end of the Pete and the Pirates gig I went to a few weeks ago, I was lingering on the dancefloor, looking for money dropped during the jumping around (old teenage habits die hard). A girl approached me who was either drunk, or high on life. She excitedly thrust a CD into my hand, told me that, “this band are amazing!” and stumbled away.

The band was called Disco Nasties, a name that is satisfying in a Bis kind of way, and they’d supported P&TP that night, though I’d missed them.

Inevitably, I lost the CD immediately, but my friend Mort found it again at his house the other day. I dutifully listened to it, liked it, and – guess what? – Disco Nasties are Today’s New Band.

Little Bit Sorry pings with jittering guitar, youthful exuberance, a cracked structure and a chorus that puts an arm tightly around you and pulls you into the mosh pit. Textual Deviance is even better, in turns falling apart and putting itself back together again – all the while jamming in as much choppy jangling as is reasonable. O2 Molecules grabs an ‘oh-oh-oh’ chant and won’t let it go, but will let you join in.

After looking at their Myspace page now, I think the drunk girl may have been the drummer, but I’m not sure. Either way: thank you, wandering drunkard. Disco Nasties are the zippy funsters you’d expect them to be, and more. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – In Grenada!

>Having seen Oliver Stone’s JFK for the first time, here are my considered observations:

  1. After three hours of a movie, both my buttocks go numb
  2. Back and to the left back and to the left back and to the left ZOMG BLACK OPS!!1!!!1!!
  3. If any film was destined to be identified as a ‘dizzying tour de force’ by lazy journalists and film students everywhere, this was it.

It’s hard not to be entirely in thrall with such a brilliant assembly-job like JFK. It pulls so many different strands together with such intelligence and coherence, it doesn’t really matter if the story itself is bananas or not.

Today’s New Band pull off a similar trick, I suppose. In Grenada have created a dense, warm, attractive sound by fusing the old and the new, the grand and the slight.

Broken Castle
is what the Arcade Fire might sound like if they weren’t so humourless – it’s a cheery, clobbering romp. Beating Heart, suitably pulsating, throbs with drive and determination. In these songs, they sound world-weary and happy to be alive all at once.

Whatever it is that their songwriter eats for breakfast, I want some, because all of In Grenada’s songs are urgent and confident, piledriving their folksy melodies into a bigger rock template. Need vim? Need vigour? Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Dirt Dress

>So we’re all going to die from Swine Flu. I recommend PANICKING, HYSTERIA (not the Def Leppard album) and STOCKPILING FOOD, as well as voracious consumption of newspaper reports to confirm these actions as correct.

When you’re hermetically sealed into your Pig Flu-Proof Isolation Den, choose between cowering in a corner, rocking back and forth and listening to Today’s New Band, Dirt Dress. The latter is encouraged.

An Introduction fulfils the Sacred Rock Criteria: it’s under three minutes long, snaps into a chorus you want to hear again and again, and has a louche, detached, attitude. It’s a rock song from the future sung by a band in the 50’s. Go To Sleep, tinny, rambling and on the edge of coherency, grabs you like a swaying drunk and wanders off in a similar vein.

So many bands flag The Pixies as an influence, but few interpret the QUIETloudQUIET template successfully. Dirt Dress understand; the weirdness, the off-kilter guitar, the willing disassociation with normality. Good stuff. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Now, Now Every Children

>Say what you like about Oasis’ Noel Gallagher – and it’s not uncommon for these opinions to be accompanied by rolling of eyes and/or heavy sighing – but the man gives good soundbite.

This article in UK right-wing red-top rag The Sun is further proof that Noel should unburden himself of the task of writing drab pub rock and become a full-time commentator on Liam Gallagher’s wellbeing.

Quotes like, “He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup,” are far too good to be interrupted by long sessions in the studio to produce more plodding MOR songs. (It’s also kind of cute that The Sun suddenly finds itself coy enough to use asterisks to censor such corrupting words like ‘arse’ and ‘knobhead’.)

Today’s New Band are a world away from middle aged rock bloat, but who knows – give them 20 years and maybe they’ll succumb too. In the meantime, enjoy Now, Now Every Children for their youth and vigour.

Everyone You Know is a barnstormer of a song, in turns luscious and rawkus, the vocals honey-sweet, the guitars acid and taut. Cars – stand down Numanoids, it’s not a Gary Numan cover – harshly beats a bare drum and slips almost accidentally into a noisy climax.

Now, Now Every Children are detached and distant but induce a strange and strong sense of intimacy. Their songs will always be theirs, no matter how hard you may try to make them your own. Maybe one day they’ll fire off endearingly crude witticisms about their siblings, but for now be happy just to listen to their songs, and hope it doesn’t happen.

>Today’s New Band – Mazes PLUS! Pub-Sharing With Andy Rourke

>So there’s this guy who drinks in my local pub. He’s in his 40s, and is always dressed in expensive, new, young-ish clothes. He looks like someone – a retired rock star maybe, but not the lead singer or guitarist. I don’t know, someone, like, say, Andy Rourke, from The Smiths.

You can probably now see where this is going, but I couldn’t, and eyeballed him over my pint for a good six months before the cogs in my head finally clicked into place and the little voice piped up, “Look, idiot, it’s Andy Rourke from The Smiths, sitting next to you in the pub.”

Thus, my new claim to fame: I’ve been sitting in the pub with a member of one of my very most favourite bands for months, but didn’t even realise.

And now I do, how do I act next time I see him? Tentative approach for autograph? Awkward chat about bassline composition? Or just the usual nod of neighbourly recognition, and then go back to the usual pub conversations of how all these foreigners are coming over here and stealing our jobs?*

*For those of you who aren’t sure: this is a joke.

Today’s New Band don’t sound like The Smiths, which is good, all things considered. They’re Mazes, and they make lazy, crunchy rock that’s fuzzy enough to scour out your mind and leave you feeling… refreshed.

Bowie Knives, lolloping and kind, is a confident, slow song that is reminiscent of a comforting lie-in after a good night out. Vampire Jive is a quick stab (maybe ‘bite’ is more appropriate) of buzzy pop rock, which seemingly consists of just one chorus after another.

Mazes‘ songs scratch a particular itch that I didn’t know I had. Their songs give you a rush of happy warmth. Yum yum yum. Recommended. Listen here!

>Today’s New Band – Dirtblonde

>Is there anything wrong with simplicity? For anyone who considers Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘s complicated time signatures, endless multi-tracking and finger-wrecking chord changes as the pinnacle of human musical achievement, the answer would probably be ‘yes’.

The others who thing that The StoogesRaw Power is dumb fun done right would probably disagree, but they’d be too busy pogoing to even think about such complications. Today’s New Band are Dirtblonde, and they know the truth in unassailable Rock ‘N’ Roll Fact #1: a loud guitar is better than a quiet one.

The Hangman whistles and howls into your personal space, roughs you up and saunters off. “Yeah, I’m so wasted, and I’m sorry I ruined your life,” they offer by way of explanation, in the song of a similar name.

Listening to Call It Art, it occurred to me that I could barely remember the last time I heard a song where a chunky guitar and vocals were the only sounds to trouble the listener. No synth washes, drum machines or bleeps to fill the space, no lush engineering tricks, nothing other than tape hiss and a song. In a time when even the newest, greenest bands equate good ‘production values’ with success, this is welcome respite indeed.

They’ve just played the South By South West Festival (sorry, ‘SXSW‘, for you super-cool types), if that matters to you. It shouldn’t, really. They have no Myspace page. I like that. Their songs can be downloaded – for free! – at their website here. I like that too. Listen to Dirtblonde and revel in simplicity itself.

>Today’s New Band – Cats For Peru PLUS! Estate Agents Must Die!


What’s the opposite of a story that warms your heart? One that sends a chill to your very soul? Or maybe one that sends poisonous hatred coursing through your veins? Whatever it is – the following story may result in one, the other, or both.
Strolling languidly through Manchester’s busy morning streets the other day, I was nearly hit by a car. I’d hate to make assumptions about the moron who swung his Chelsea Tractor onto Cambridge Street at 50 MPH, but I guess that, by his obese, pasty pallor and the ease with which he raised a venomous middle finger as he nearly turned me into so many lumps of twitching meat, he was a banker, an estate agent or both.
I spluttered in impotent rage, but quickly consoled myself that he’d soon be the victim of crunch-induced bankruptcy and then dead, either by his own clammy hand, or, hopefully, due to a hugely painful heart attack.
Attaining satisfaction from a world that seems geared hopelessly against you is a tough business. Just read this fascinating, wonderful, depressing article by Steve Albini on what he considers the realities of getting a recording contract. If Today’s New Band, Cats For Peru, have also read that article, it doesn’t show, as they’re grinding out fine songs with an attitude that suggest they’re not glumly reaching for the bumper pack of Aspirin yet.
In Love In A Lift, Cats For Peru show they have whatever it is that separates the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys and the Pulps from the Menswe@rs. Even if we sidle past the title, a fabulously UK-centric variation on the Aerosmith standard, there’s plenty to love in just this one song.
Being able to fit chanting choruses, keyboard whistling, blisteringly fuzzy guitars, single-mindedly direct lyrics, rat-a-tat-tat drums and a laser-focused rock punch all in one song is the mark of a band with vision and determination. As a song, it’s brilliant; as a statement of intent, it’s even better. It’s more of a manifesto than, ironically, Manifesto, which is a good song, but after the soaring cut-and-thrust of Love In A Lift, you’ll find it hard to fully concentrate.
It’s hard to define what elevates one particular band above others. So any attempts to justify why I think Cats For Peru are just peachy are doomed to end in failure. But they are, and have, something – an attitude, and angle, a bloody-mindedness – which means that their particular attempt at cracking the same rock ‘n’ roll nut is a crunchy, idiosyncratic delight. Their hardest task will be to match their own early standards. It’s going to be fun for all of us as we find out. Listen here!

As the second band in two days to hail from Sheffield, they may also find themselves as the meat in a Sheffield New Band Triple-Bill, if we can get our act together and find a third for tomorrow…

>Today’s New Band – The Trees PLUS! SEX, PAEDOPHILES and the DECAY OF BRITISH LIFE!

>In the mornings, whilst I’m shoveling yoghurt, museli and toast into my flapping mouth, I need to watch TV to to kick-start my addled brain. The only real option outside of the dull and worthy news channels is GMTV, which is the televisual equivalent of reading the Daily Mail whilst eating a full ENGLISH breakfast and complaining loudly about IMMIGRANTS and IT WASN’T LIKE THIS IN THE OLD DAYS.

This morning I wasn’t able to perform my usual trick of phasing out all the moronic elements of GMTV, treating it purely as a mass of moving colours and shapes, and was forced to look elsewhere, in fear that I’d start worrying that a PAEDOPHILE IS ON EVERY STREET CORNER OH WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO.

I landed in desperation on an infomercial for a compilation of ‘Midnight Soul’ songs that featured tight harmonies and even tighter trouser crotches. The gist of the infomercial was, “Buy this nine-CD collection for only £39.99 and you are guaranteed SEX”

This is a decent selling point, I suppose, though one of the collection’s featured artists was someone called Keith Sweat, which, unless you like spending sweaty intimate time with crooning men called Keith, is about as anti-sexy a name as there is. Today’s New Band won’t guarantee you sex. Let’s make this absolutely clear now. They are The Trees, and they are from Basildon.

Neither of those details reek of imminent sexual gratification, but then again, would you want them to? The Trees are also another recession-friendly band (see yesterday’s post), accessible to all and ready to jump into a Transit Van and tour the country. Their music is both comforting and sharpening, like a mug of cocoa laced with ground-up caffeine tablets.

Stop Talking, after warming up, pummels you into submission, drums relentlessly splashing and pounding. The song occasionally stops to ponder whether to cross the perilous line into late 80’s baggy. Fortunately it never does, and we are all winners because of this. It sounds like lazy thrash. Good.

Dirty Money is a straight-up, excitable Riff-O-Rama, which all makes their song Odd One Out, the, er, odd one out, being folksy, dreamy and soft as a pile of goose down. The Trees are a band to end a tumultuous week on ANBAD with appropriate and disparate tumultuousness. Listen to them here!

PS – Oh, and next week, we’re proud, in every sense of the word, to welcome a brand new writer on ANBAD, who’ll be thrilling you with another New Band Perspective. More info, tantalisingly, next week…