Monthly Archives: December 2011
As we gear up for another round of dysfunctional holiday get-togethers with our respective fam-damnlies, Jake and I would like to take a moment to reflect back with gratitude on all that 2011 brought us here at TWBITW. This was the year in which we had our highest traffic day ever; in which our average monthly traffic nearly doubled; in which we discovered Here Come the Mummies and witch house; in which we got mentioned by The Onion (OK, it was really just the Denver/Boulder AV Club, but close enough); and in which we got to see Peelander-Z in the costumed, squid-kicking flesh. Oh, and somehow I managed to find time to get married. (Jake is still saving himself for the right girl and/or vaginally equipped life form.) It was a pretty great year.
Most importantly, we got a shit-ton of band suggestions, comments, emails, Facebook likes and ego-stroking gestures of goodwill from you, our readers. So thanks for all that. You are the rum in our eggnog.
We’re going to enjoy a little down time for the remainder of 2011, but we’ll be back in 2012, bright-tailed, bushy-eyed and ready to unleash more weirdness upon the world. And we’ll be making some changes to expand the scope (and hopefully the readership) of this site. So stay tuned, ’cause it’s about to go down like Foxy Brown. Or something like that.
In the meantime, we’ll leave you with our favorite Christmas-themed weird band: The Superions. They surfaced last year with an album called Destination…Christmas! that basically sounds like an even campier version of the B-52’s…which makes sense, given that the head Superion is the B-52’s’ shouter-in-chief, Fred Schneider. Apparently they also do a few non-holiday-related songs, too, but we prefer to think of them as Schneider’s secret gay plot to forever associate Christmas with hunky shirtless dudes dancing with fruitcakes. Enjoy your holidays!
P.S. They also have a Fruitcake app, which you can purchase for 99 cents here. We haven’t tried it yet, but we’re guessing it does not contain actual fruitcake recipes.
Today’s weird band…or rather, weird artiste…was suggested by a reader named Aaron, who notes that New Wave opera singer Klaus Nomi was “most defiantly a awesome weird guy.” True dat, Aaron! Even if you meant to say “definitely,” there was also something defiantly weird about Mr. Nomi, too.
Klaus Nomi was an opera-obsessed gay kid from Bavaria, which is sort of the German equivalent of being from Alabama. He moved to Berlin as a teenager to attend a music conservatory and work at the Deutsche Oper where, legend has it, he gave impromptu concerts for his fellow ushers while they were sweeping up after the shows. But he didn’t really fit in with either the Berlin opera community or the gay nightclub scene (which wasn’t used to drag queens singing arias), so like many of the world’s great freaks, he finally washed up in New York City. The year was 1972.
By 1978, Nomi was finally making a name for himself in the East Village art scene, performing arias in a melodramatic counter-tenor and even more melodramatic costumes, engulfed in smoke bombs and sci-fi sound effects. His reputation eventually caught the ear of David Bowie, who invited Nomi and one of his backup singers, Joey Arias, to perform with him on Saturday Night Live in 1979. You can watch clips of the performances over on this site, and marvel at how much tamer pop music is these days (yes, even you, Lady Gaga).
The SNL appearance changed Nomi’s life. Not only did he borrow the oversized plastic tuxedo look Bowie sported and make it his signature outfit, he also scored a record deal and released two albums, Klaus Nomi (1981) and Simple Man (1982), before his AIDS-related death in 1983. He was 39.
Nomi’s music was a bizarre and totally unique mix of original pop tunes done in a campy, New Wave style, avant-garde covers of oldies like Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” and operatic pieces–his set closer was an aria from the 19th century French opera Samson and Delilah. You could call him a trail-blazer, but really, no one’s quite followed the trail he blazed. Everyone from Morrissey to Jean Paul Gaultier has acknowledged him as an influence, but really, there just ain’t that many pop/New Wave opera singers in the world. Klaus Nomi was probably a one-time deal.
Here’s a clip of him performing his most famous tune, “Nomi Song,” on French TV. Purists might prefer the original “Nomi Song” video, but the picture and sound quality are a little better on this version.
- Klaus Nomi ZABAKDAZ (official site for posthumous Nomi album, Za Bakdaz)
- Klaus Nomi on MySpace (unofficial)
- The Nomi Song (official site for Klaus Nomi documentary, released in 2004)
- The Klaus Nomi Tribute Page (fan site)
- Klaus Nomi Keys of Life (fan site)
- A weird little Klaus Nomi Flash animation tribute site
Thank God for Japan. If it wasn’t for that crazy little island nation, this blog would not be half as much fun.
The latest bit of freakery from the Land of the Rising Sun: Trippple Nippples, a nutso female
duo trio who make spazzy, hyper-caffeinated electro-pop and wear costumes that make Lady Gaga seem kinda dull and unimaginative. Supposedly, their live shows include cow costumes that squirt Bailey’s from the teats. Definitely, they include helmets made from rice noodles and, judging from this video, lots of balloons and black latex body paint.
Anyway, here’s the new video for the Trippp’s latest track, “LSD,” which is about the joys of, well, LSD. And screaming till your eyes bleed. Although if you watch this video enough times, you may be able to achieve eye-bleeding results without the aid of either screaming or LSD.
Today’s weird band was brought to our attention by Richard, the man behind Army of Gay Unicorns. Dude knows his weird shit, and by his account, this band Brokencyde is not only bomb-ass weird, they are, in his words, “the worst thing I have ever heard.”
A quick search around the Interwebs for all things Brokencyde reveals that Richard is not alone in his low opinion of these four neon-shirted wiggers from Albuquerque, a city that, thanks to Breaking Bad, we mostly associate with crystal meth and now, thanks to Brokencyde, we will also associate with douchey white kids drinking 40 ounces outside their parents’ McMansions. To hear the music journos tell it, Brokencyde is the worst band on the planet. Which is bullshit, of course. Everybody knows that title still belongs to Nickelback. But yeah, Brokencyde are pretty bad.
Brokencyde’s music, if you could call it that, is basically a combination of shitty club hip-hop and screamo, a mutant strain of emo that’s really, really pissed at you for thinking emo sucks. Apparently Brokencyde’s stuff is called “crunkcore,” although we’re proposing right here that it be dubbed “douchecore” instead. It’s party music, sort of, but only for those parties that are shot through with social anxiety, desperation and the threat of meth-and-alcohol-fueled violence—the kind of parties where the next day, everyone talks about who got his stomach pumped and who got his jaw broken and which girls may or may not have gotten date raped after passing out in the bath tub. It’s party music for people who are, deep down, not really in the mood to party. They’re more in the mood to break shit, up to and including themselves.
Still, it must be said that Brokencyde’s greatest artistic achievement to date, the video to their early hit “Freaxxx,” is such a perfect storm of terrible that there’s actually something kind of genius about it. With its sad little cluster of girls, trying to look hot while the “screamo” guys shriek into their faces, the random dude in the pig suit, the suburban soccer mom-ish choice of rides (Range Rovers and Jaguars? really?)…no wonder someone smarter than me called it “a near-perfect snapshot of everything that’s shit about this point in the culture.”
By the way, if anyone cares, Brokencyde recently released their third (!) album, the aptly titled Guilty Pleasure. Would you be surprised if I told you it’s available exclusively at Hot Topic?
[Update: To give credit where credit is due, it should be noted that while we came up with the term “douchecore” totally on our own, these guys actually thought it up first. They even specifically applied it to Brokencyde. We might have been guilty of unconscious plagiarism on this one.]