>Today’s New Band – Sister PLUS! High Yield Commodity Price Movements!

>Seeing as people are getting all stroppy about money now the economy’s plunged down the toilet, solid, tangible and safe things suddenly seem attractive. The price of gold has rocketed again as people realised that their money wasn’t actually safe in, say, those 15 unbuilt city-centre apartments that are now mothballed.

This trait has drifted into rock ‘n roll as well. At this point, allow me to engage in a some very minor name-dropping. I was chatting to the drummer out of Pete and The Pirates (CLANG) the other night, and he was commiserating with me over the excessive ticket price for the gig.

Even the bigger bands, he said, make the vast majority of their money from live gigs as opposed to CD sales now. Thus, the one thing that can’t be bootlegged or put on a torrent site – the live gig, the un-digitisible tangible – is now the safe money maker, just like gold and oil and jewels.

So in times like these, perhaps the good ol’ four-square rock band setup of guitars and drums and bass and singers will have more luck. Thus, invest your time, and money, if you have any left, into Today’s New Band, Sister.

None of their songs depart from a standard rock template, giving singer Gemma a solid grounding to leap from. You won’t need to see any of Sister’s publicity photos to guess that she’s very clearly the focal point, and for a truly valid reason – her vocals are engaging, believable and direct. Taking this straightforward rock starting point and create something that deviates from the norm is tough, but Sister have managed it, carving out songs that are bold, brash and yet sweet and articulate.

And as such, Satellite is heartfelt without descending into melodrama. It sounds pounding and sparse. Lovers of Today pops a large chorus into a song that seemed too fragile to hold it, but it works. Listen to them for yourself, right here, and stop fretting about the money you lost on High Yeild Commodity Price Movements, whatever they are.

>Today’s New Band – The Complete Adventurer

>How do you like to end your week? In a rush of activity, clearing your desk/mind before the weekend? Or do you choose to take it easy on yourself from lunchtime onwards? Those Friday afternoons are a great bit of reflection time, and whilst a nostalgic glance backwards is a pleasant indulgence at the best of times, on a Friday, when winding down is the name of the game, it seems to fit that much better.

If you can identify with that, then Today’s New Band might be just right for you, for now. I suppose in some ways, the fun of listening to The Complete Adventurer‘s songs like How Much Does a Polar Bear Weigh is nearly 50% nostalgia. Not that they sound old-fashioned – it’s just that, as a band, their ethos seems to have rushed in from another time. It might be the Pavement-y nature of the half-spoken lyrics, or the enjoyment derived from the knowledge that a guitar can make big, bowel-loosening crunchy noises, and not just the tight jangle that is de riguer, but whatever it is they’re doing, it seems worlds away from the norm.

The Complete Adventurer are pleasingly different because they have had the audacity to look a bit beyond Blondie and U2 when deciding their influences. The Meat And The Milk That Raised It, is, like its title suggests, pretty feral, the expansive guitars and thrashing drums battling with shouty vocals for attention, and yet attaining just the right balance.

If that description makes The Complete Adventurer sound like some awful thrash or two-bit punk band, I apologise. They aren’t. They’re strangely controlled, engaging and dynamic, but coupled with the need for shouty insanity. This is a good thing, right? Right. Listen to them here!

>Today’s New Band – Record Hop

>I always thought that being called ‘pretentious’ would be one of the worst labels you could pin to a band, with the image Über-punchable, po-faced, saint-wannabe Bono popping readily to mind. So when ‘unpretentious’ was the first word that I leant towards when describing today’s new band, Record Hop, I was sure that I was on safe, appreciative ground.

But think about it – ‘unpretentious’ would be unfair: the word smacks of earnest trad-rock lumps who, you know, maaan, ‘just make music we like, and if anyone else likes it, well, that’s a bonus, yeah?’.

Well, Record Hop aren’t anything like that. They say that 80’s/90’s underground rock is their thing, and it sounds like it too, crunchy guitars and drums that aren’t influenced by either disco or New Wave. They make songs that pick from “exciting”, “heartfelt” and “scrappy” as their points of reference. Listen to Giant Babies on their Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/recordhop) to hear all three colliding at once on a sweaty dancefloor.

Record Hop sound like they were designed to play your, and only your, favourite local venue and become the band you tell everyone about in the hope they become much bigger. With songs like Giant Babies and Last Second, there’s a good chance they will. They aren’t pretentious, but are thoughtful; they’re not unpretentious either but are happily shooting forward outside of the mainstream. Good for them.

P.S. Steve Albini engineered their last sessions, and I know that for some people this fact will make the difference between listening and not listening.