Monthly Archives: April 2011

BAANEEX

Democracy has struck again here at TWBITW. The latest band featured on our Submit & Vote page, a London outfit called BAANEEX (why all caps? because they’re shouting it at you, that’s why), was overwhelmingly declared Weird by you, our ever-fickle readers. So congrats, BAANEEX! Apparently it was not presumptuous of you to name your debut EP Weird Dance after all.

We actually don’t know very much about BAANEEX, except that some of them used to be in another band called Muarena Helena and they’ve been together since 2009 or so. They’ve also apparently been known to describe their music as “Dracula-inspired garage punk/noisepop/roarcore.” So there’s that.

They also have a couple of videos, our favorite of which was apparently created by their drummer, who’s either called Rosie or Risoe (or maybe someone in the band is just mildly dyslexic). It’s called “Cool Count” and it’s posted below.

BAANEEX is one of those bands that isn’t overtly weird. They don’t have any clever gimmicks or a wacky stage show. They’re basically just a noise rock band. But there’s something about them that’s definitely a bit off. Plus, how great is that publicity photo? So we’re happy they made the Weird List.

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Rancid Penguin Molestation

There’s kind of a long story behind how we stumbled across today’s band, so bear with me. It all started when a reader named Steve posted about 87 suggestions for bands we haven’t featured yet. Most of them we’d either heard of or (sorry, Steve) didn’t sound all that interesting, but one jumped out at us. Partially because the band’s name is—pardon me while I copy-paste this shit—Omphalectoicxanthopsia. And partially because Steve, after obsessively including links and/or long descriptions of every other band he mentioned (if you’re really bored, you can read his whole post on our Submit & Vote page), suddenly got all cryptic on us.

“A friend told me they were weird,” Steve wrote. “so I googled them, saw some weird pictures, and just thought ‘I’m staying the hell away from that.'” And you know us. Anything that makes normal people (and even weirdos like Steve) say “I’m staying the hell away from that”—we dive into it like it’s a swimming pool full of unicorns and rainbows.

So we too Googled Omphawhatchamacallit, and here’s where it gets interesting. It turns out that this band makes something that even I, degenerate that I am, had never heard of before called “pornogrind.” (They also call it “pornoise,” but that seems to be a term they just made up.) And they’re not the only ones. There are literally dozens, maybe hundreds of bands out there tagging their music as “pornogrind.” Apparently I lead a very sheltered life.

At first, based on the first tracks of Omphalectohforfuckssake we could find, I thought pornogrind was just a really harsh form of grindcore on which everything’s so sped up that it just sounds like an ugly smear of ear-fucking noise. That’s basically what their tracks all sounded like, although one did have a wacky acoustic guitar solo buried in it. Then we Googled “pornogrind” and learned that—duh—it’s basically exactly what it sounds like: Grindcore with really, really foul porn-related band names, song titles and I guess lyrics—although the lyrics are without fail completely unintelligible because they’re delivered in that guttural Cookie Monster style that afflicts so much bad metal these days.

Anyway, long story short, there’s a LOT of these pornogrind bands floating around out there in cyberspace, and after you spend a few hours Googling their names for more info, you’re going to have to spend many more hours clearing your browser history so your girlfriend doesn’t kick you out of the house. Most of the search results for things like “Enema Bath” and “Cock and Ball Torture” (yes, actual band names) are not music-related, is what I’m saying. You have been warned.

Still, we plowed through as many of these pornogrind bands as we could stomach because, hey, the whole damn genre is pretty weird and hey, when you see this much horseshit in one place, there’s just gotta be a pony in there somewhere, right??

Well, no. Here’s the thing about pornogrind: It sucks. All of it. It’s just sped-up death metal/grindcore noise with porn samples and titles like “Anal Cum Shot” and “Regurgitated Semen.” In a way, it’s actually the opposite of weird—it’s the sort of shit 10-year-old boys dream up to gross out their friends, played in a we’re-just-pounding-the-fuck-out-of-our-instruments style almost totally lacking in any of the more technical aspects of true grindcore and extreme metal. It’s probably all meant to be funny on some level, but listen to enough of it and—much like actual porn—it just becomes depressing. Who spends days, weeks and months of their lives writing, rehearsing and recording music in their garage, and then decides, “Hey guys, let’s call ourselves Engorged Vaginal Abyss (yes, another actual band name) and write songs about raping strippers”? Sad people, that’s who.

It was in this context that we stumbled across Rancid Penguin Molestation and their pornogrind parody song/video, “Placenta Pudding Polka.” After all the necrophilia and pedophilia and coprophilia and whatever-philia, it was like a breath of fresh air. Actually, Rancid Penguin Molestation appears to be the work of just one man, a dude from Wisconsin named Cody. Here’s his MySpace page [Update: It’s apparently since been deleted] on which he declares that “Except for grindcore, I detest anything else that ends with a -core.” Amen to that, brother!

So thanks, reader Steve, for sending us down this particular internet rabbit hole and indirectly leading us to so-stupid-it’s-awesome charms of Rancid Penguin Molestation. And in case I wasn’t clear on this point: No, we won’t be featuring any more pornogrind bands. So don’t even ask.

P.S. No, we’re still not sure how being “fart raped” differs from being actually raped. Pretty sure we don’t want to find out though.

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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Well, kids, we really missed the boat on this one. A whole bunch of you out there in Weirdo Land have been suggesting almost since we started this blog that we write about Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and we were always like, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll get around to it.” And we blew it off, and blew it off, and now Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is no more.  Last week we got an email announcing SGM’s final L.A. show this past Friday, and final San Francisco shows yesterday. “As it turns out,” read the email, “we are being replaced.”

For those of y’all not familiar: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is basically what happens when a bunch of SF art freaks get together and decide to make Dadaist-inspired prog-metal on a combination of traditional and homemade instruments. They were started in 1999 by Dan Rathbun and Nils Frykdahl, who used to be in a band called Idiot Flesh, and also featured members of Tin Hat Trio, Skeleton Key and a dance company called InkBoat. To give you an idea of how friggin weird these guys were, here are the names of some of their other projects: Vacuum Tree Head, Immersion Composition Society, Thinking Plague and Moe!kestra. Wonder which one is “replacing” them?

Supposedly the band was named after an actual museum that burned down in 1916, one founded by a futurist and a “black mathematician” and one that did not allow human visitors. Among the many odd instruments featured in their shows were something called a sledgehammer dulcimer and something else called a “popping turtle.” One of their songs, “Helpless Corpses Enactment,” features lyrics based on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake; another, “FC: The Freedom Club,” uses texts from the Unabomber. It’s all very intellectual stuff, even if it’s being delivered by guys in topknots and what kinda look like neo-pagan prom dresses.

Although SGM have sadly played their last gig, we supposedly haven’t heard the last from them. The same email that announced the last shows also promised some new studio material, a short film and a live DVD compiled of performances from the past six years. So maybe they haven’t been totally replaced after all.

Anyway, here’s their totally bitchin’ and (we think) mostly tongue-in-cheek ode to Satan (or Lucifer, if you wanna get all techincal), “A Hymn to the Morning Star.” Never has pure evil looked so silly.

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The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

So last week, we got an email from one of our favorite little oddball labels, a U.K. outfit called Tummy Touch, and they brought us great news. The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are still in business! Apparently they played a private showcase in New York on March 28th. Our Lear Jet was in the shop, so we couldn’t make it out from L.A., but hopefully this means there’ll be more Trachtenburg merriment coming soon.

For those of y’all not familiar: the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are an “indie-vaudeville-conceptual-art-rock-slideshow band” (their words) made up of husband-wife team Jason and Tina Piña Trachtenburg and their daughter, Rachel. Jason plays guitar and keyboards and sings; Rachel plays the drums and a little harmonica and ukulele and sings; and Tina “plays” the slide projector and sings backup. All of their songs are accompaniments to vintage slideshows from the ’50s and ’60s, scrounged in thrift stores and estate sales. The Trachtenburgs comb through these slide collections and make up stories about the people in the photos. Basically, it’s postmodern, multimedia folk art, in which most of the participants are unwitting and possibly even deceased.

Much of the attention devoted to the Trachtenburgs has focused on daughter Rachel, because how many bands can you name in which the drummer is an adorable nine-year-old girl? She’s now 17 and has her own band called Supercute!–and yes, they live up to their name. They have a song called “Candy City,” for goodness’ sake. If that Cute Overload website had a music section, they’d be featured like, all the time.

Here’s a video of what may still be the Trachtenburgs’ most famous performance, a 2003 appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. According to the band’s MySpace page, they were the first unsigned band to appear on Late Night, which is pretty cool. We’re guessing it was also the first time something called the Festival of Gas ever got mentioned on a late-night talk show. But we’ll have our research dept. check on that.

P.S. In case you were wondering: No, these Trachtenburgs are no relation to the actress Michelle Trachtenberg. Although she’s pretty adorable, too.

P.P.S. We’re happy to report that since we first posted this, the Slideshow Players have released a new album, Lost and Found, their first new material in seven years. Go over to iTunes and get it.

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