Monthly Archives: March 2011

The White Mice

Today’s weird band was suggested by a reader named spunj13, who posted a whole shitload of bands on our Submit & Vote page recently. Dude should probably start his own weird band blog, but lucky for us, he decided to share his toys instead. So thanks, spunj13! And sorry we haven’t posted more math-metal, since that seems to be your thing.

The weirdness of The White Mice is pretty self-explanatory, as you can probably tell from the above photo. But let’s break it down anyway: They’re a noise-rock band from Providence, Rhode Island who wear scary mouse heads and bloody lab coats and play a combination of punk/thrash/sludge-metal insanity and electro/glitch/bent-circuit insanity. They title most of their stuff with various bad puns on all things mouse-related: “Gouda and Evil,” “Cheesus Saves,” “Rattarddead,” you get the idea. The band members, as far as we can tell, have all managed to remain anonymous, using aliases like Ol’ Durty Mouse Turd, Hail Cheesus, Vincent Mice and…you knew this was coming,  didn’t you?…Anonymouse. And they’ve been doing this shit since 2001. So suck it, Deadmau5!

So…who wants some cheese?

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Peelander-Z

Whew! SXSW really kicked our asses this year. Too much free beer, not enough free tacos. That dumpster behind the Scoot Inn will carry a little piece of Jake with it forever.

Still, we managed to see a lot of bands, both weird and non-weird, including one we’ve been hearing about for awhile now: Peelander-Z, a self-styled “Japanese action comic punk band” who we always kinda dismissed as a Japanese version of the Aquabats. And while it’s true that the whole costumed punk-band thing isn’t exactly original, we still came away pretty impressed with how much creativity and manic energy these guys bring to what they do. You will not go to a Peelander-Z show and be bored. On that you can rely.

The core members of Peelander-Z wear conveniently color-coded outfits and look sort of like a cross between the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Sex Pistols. As you can probably guess, they’re called Peelander Yellow, Peelander Red and Peelander Green. There used to be a Peelander Blue, but he quit—or, as the band likes to say, he had to return to the band’s home planet (they’re all from the planet Peelander, natch). There’s also a Peelander Black who plays some guitar, a Peelander Pink who’s basically just a cheerleader, and a dude in a weird squid costume who sometimes shows up so the audience can go squid bowling. Did we already mention that you won’t be bored at a Peelander-Z show? It’s true.

To give you an idea of the silliness that is Peelander-Z, here’s the video to their song “Ninja-High Schooool.” Imagine the Ramones’ “Rock & Roll High School” crossed with “Godzilla vs. Mothra.” Yes, it’s that awesome.

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Naked & Shameless

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Greetings, weirdlings. Once again, your votes have landed another band on our carefully tended Weird List. So pat yourselves on the back and give it up for Naked & Shameless, the undisputed punk kings of acoustic kitsch rock! (It says so, right on their website.)

We first learned about these roaring drunks right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Buck F. Naked (BFN, to his friends) wrote to us and proposed that we blog about him and his partner, Dave Shameless, and their “brand of Good Times and Strange Salvation.” After a little spirited back and forth on the relative merits of Buck’s band and our website, we finally agreed to a truce and decided to give our readers (or Naked & Shameless’s fans, who—let’s not kid ourselves here—probably outnumber our readers) to vote on whether N&S were weird enough for us. Over 90% of you said, “Hell yes.” So here we are.

Now at first glance, Naked and Shameless might not seem all that weird. They play stripped-down rockabilly-influenced rock (“drunkabilly,” they call it—catchy!), wear Hollywood cowboy hats and Elvis shades, and sing wacky Mojo Nixon-ish songs about what one song neatly sums up as the “Four Food Groups”: caffiene, nicotine, alcohol and pussy. (Mostly alcohol.) Every rockabilly bar in America probably has a house band like this, right?

But it’s at their live shows (or so we hear—haven’t made it out to one ourselves yet) that N&S really bring on the weirdness. There are inflatable bananas. There’s vomit. There’s “pan-substance wrestling,” which apparently consists of Buck finding willing young things in the audience and tussling with them in vats of mud, beer, BBQ sauce or whatever else is handy. Buck’s also been known to drink everything behind the bar, including the cleaning supplies. So there’s a little G.G. Allin in these guys, too…if G.G. were more of a happy drunk and less of a violent, drug-fueled psychopath.

Oh, and then there’s this: Buck married beer. No, really. There was a ceremony with its own website and everything. And by all accounts, their union is still a happy one. So kudos to you, Buck and beer! Turns out some things in this world were meant to last.

Anyhow, here’s a video of Buck’s “I drink everything” stunt, which we really hope is either a clever deception or not something he does much anymore. That can’t be good for the stomach lining. Also, what would beer say? Probably, it’d call you an unfaithful bastard, Buck. And rightly so!

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Ghedalia Tazartes

One of the hazards of doing a blog like TWBITW is that you tend to get pretty jaded. Jake and I sift through so much oddball music that after awhile, we start to get a little hung up on the dog and pony aspect of the whole thing. It’s like—yeah, okay, you guys sound kinda weird, but do you wear goofy costumes or claim to be from another planet? No? Next!

But every so often, someone introduces us to a piece of music that’s just so downright bizarre, so totally unlike anything we’ve ever heard, it really doesn’t need any kind of wacky backstory or WTF visual accompaniment. Such was the case with French musician-composer Ghédalia Tazartès and his 1979 masterpiece, Diasporas.

We got wind of this completely wackadoodle album thanks to a cool little reissue label called Dais Records, who have only been around since 2007 but have already rescued a shit-ton of weird music from the scrapheap. Apparently it’s not quite available yet—we’re not sure what the release date is—but we got an email with a download of the track “Un Amour Si Grand Qu’il Nie Son Objet” and it pretty much knocked us on our asses. You can hear the whole sighing, moaning, nine-minute monstrosity in the YouTube clip below. [Update: No, you can’t. And the Diasporas reissue is sold out. Read more below.] Trust us: Don’t listen to it alone after dark or in an altered state of consciousness. Actually, listening to this will probably alter your consciousness all by itself.

We haven’t been able to find out too much else about Tazartès. We do know that he still occasionally does concerts (and he and his music are as bizarre as ever) and, according to his French Wikipedia page, he still releases music. He also apparently operates out of a home studio in Paris that looks like something out of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie. He was interviewed in the September 2008 issue of Wire but as far as we can tell, the interview’s not available online. The only other English-language article we could find on him is this unreadably pretentious mess. So he remains a bit of enigma, at least to us poor Americans. Hopefully the Dais reissue will help to change that.

We could attempt to describe Tazartès’ music–French avant-garde gypsy trance minimalism?–but really, there’s not much point. You just have to hear it. This guy is attuned to some other frequencies, for real.

P.S. We originally embedded a YouTube clip of this track from a YouTube channel called Undergroundedful, but the whole channel has since been taken down due to copyright claims. While we totally recognize the right of copyright owners to protect their work, we also think it’s a bummer when obscure and hard-to-find music gets taken off the Internet and put further out of the reach of potential new audiences. Anyhow, hopefully the above YouTube video stays up a while longer.

P.P.S. Okay, so the second YouTube clip was also removed due to copyright claims. Apparently Mr. Tazartes, or one of his representatives, really doesn’t want the Internet to know he exists. But hey, third time’s a charm, maybe?

P.P.P.S. A kindly reader provided a Soundcloud link to “Un Amour Si Grand Qu’il Nie Son Objet” in the comments, but we decided to delete it because, unfortunately, we have to be careful about such things. If anyone knows of any authorized Tazartes music available online, let us know about it, please! We’d like our readers to hear more of his weirdly beautiful stuff for themselves.

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