Author Archives: weirdestband
Last year, we told you about an amazing indie sci-fi film from Finland called Iron Sky that featured music by military-industrial rockers Laibach and a story about a secret Nazi base on the moon. Well, the film was such an international success that they’ve decided to make a sequel—and this time,
it’s personal they need your help to fund it.
Yes, for Iron Sky: The Coming Race, the filmmakers have taken to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise $150,000 worth of seed money for what they hope will eventually be a $15 million budget (which sounds like a lot but is still about 1/20th what they spent on Iron Man 3). Backers of the film can score such goodies as T-shirts, posters and even a first draft of the script, all the way up to all-access set visits and a speaking role in the trailer. So far they’re still about $110,000 short of their goal, with only 13 days of fundraising left—so pony up, people! (Although, unlike Kickstarter, projects that don’t hit their fundraising goals on Indiegogo get to keep the money—so don’t worry, those crazy Iron Sky kids will be fine even if they fall short.)
According the filmmakers, Laibach is already on board to do the soundtrack, as are the original writers, director and special effects folks. What the storyline will be is anyone’s guess—so far, they’ve just released some mysterious artwork depicting what appears to be some kind of high-tech outpost in the middle of a lush wilderness, with the tag line, “From the ashes of mankind, a new breed of superiority will rise.” Does that mean more Nazis? Or something else? We’ll just have to wait and see.
So head over to Indiegogo to pledge your support, and enjoy the Indiegogo teaser video starring director Timo Vuorensola and some North Korean soldieresses I would not want to mess with.
This week’s weird band was suggested by an excellently named reader called Adam Whybray. He describes a.P.A.t.T. as sounding “a bit like a glitchy Mr. Bungle cult that formed down the pub.” And while that’s probably as good a description as any of these cheeky Liverpudlians (although it doesn’t contain the word “Liverpudlian,” which is one of those words you should use every chance you get), it really only scratches the surface of what this avant-pop art-school project has achieved in its 15-odd years of existence.
a.P.A.t.T. (what does it stand for? how do you pronounce it? who knows? who cares?) formed in Liverpool in 1997 or 1998. Their early goal, according to their Wikipedia page (which the band links to from their official site, so let’s assume it’s semi-accurate), was to “make, find, imagine, and create ‘secret music,’” by which they seemed to mean music that abandoned traditional song structures and instrumentation. You can hear some of the band’s early stuff on Welcome to a.P.A.t.T. Island – A collection of earlies, which veers sharply between abstract, ambient noise and bursts of spastic, genre-hopping art-pop that reveals some of those Mr. Bungle influences that Adam picked up, as well as an even more direct early influence (and another favorite of ours around here), Cardiacs.
By 2005 or so, the band’s music had become even harder to categorize. On the Fre(e.P), they started doing Girl Talk-like mashups, mixing recognizable pop and classic rock samples with trip-hop beats and trashy club rap, but doing it in a style meant more to be unsettling than party-starting. Check the amazing “Megamix Part 1″ for a taste of what happens when you cram the Jackson 5, Coolio, Portishead and “What a Day for a Daydream” into the same track.
Meanwhile, they were also developing a live soundtrack for the silent-film-era vampire classic, Nosferatu, complete with strings. Because hey, why not?
In 2008, they reinvented themselves yet again, transforming into a Zappa-like prog/jazz/metal/psych-rock orchestra on the epic, 27-track Black & White Mass. Most recently, they released Paul the Record, a split album with a band called Peepholes, then decided to embrace the “playlist on shuffle” mentality of our modern age with Ogadimma, a 14-track set on which no two songs are done in the same style. They’ve also shot videos for all 14 songs; taken collectively, they’re pretty amazing. Here they are, for example, in full-on Prince-meets-Of-Montreal mode:
Now try to remember, as you watch this next video, that this is the same band:
They also cite Ween as one of their influences, which honestly didn’t make sense to me until I heard the casual, tongue-in-cheek virtuosity of the Ogadimma stuff: “Oh, you want to hear us do some ’80s synth-pop? Sure, here you go. No big whoop.” (Among their other listed influences: The Residents, Duran Duran, Captain Beefheart, John Zorn, Slayer, Claude Debussy, ABBA, and The Beatles. Much like a.P.A.t.T.’s actual music, this list simultaneously makes no sense and all the sense in the world.)
You’ll notice up until now that I haven’t mentioned any of a.P.A.t.T.’s members by name. That’s because, quite frankly, I have no idea what they are. a.P.A.t.T don’t perform wearing masks or anything, but they do (mostly) stick to an all-white costume palette that seems to help them maintain a semi-anonymous quality. That plus, let’s be honest here, a.P.A.t.T. is not the world’s most Google-friendly band name. According to their Wikipedia page, their core members go by the names General MIDI, Field Marshall Stack, Dorothy Wave, Master Fader and The Researcher, but that’s all I know.
We’ll wrap this post up with a clip of a.P.A.t.T’s live show (non-orchestra version), which looks like jolly good fun. That lady keyboard player (Dorothy Wave, we presume) has sure got some sick dance moves.
June Weird Band Poll: Vote for The Electric Grandmother, Pan, Residude X, Travelled Meat or The Wiggins
Poll time again, kids. Ready to exercise those voting buttons? I know mine is quivering in anticipation so hard I can barely type.
Let’s meet this month’s bands, shall we? A more motley bunch was never before assembled, here or on that other weird band blog you read. But they’re all awesome in their own special way. Like really jacked-up snowflakes.
[Sorry, folks, the poll has now closed. Check back here Wednesday, when the winner will be revealed.]
Read on to learn more about this month’s bands:
The Electric Grandmother
Started in Hawaii and now based in Washington, DC, The Electric Grandmother is a husband/wife duo named Pete and Mary Alice. They call their music, which is based entirely on TV shows and movies from the ’80s, “Sitcom-Core.” (Turns out you really can stick “core” on the end of anything and invent a new genre of music.) Here’s their website, and here’s a link to one of their videos, “Virtual Reality Helmet.”
Pan is either from Detroit or Los Angeles or possibly both. One of their members, John, wrote to us and described Pan as a “musique-concrete folk duo” and gave us a link to their Bandcamp page, saying, “This is our ‘music.’” Anytime someone feels the need to put “music” in quotation marks when referring their own stuff, that’s usually a good sign.
This mysterious figure posted a few YouTube links on our Submit a Band page, with the comment, “Here are a couple of tunes you folks might find interesting.” We did. Here’s his Blogspot, too. And that’s literally all we know about him. Well, that and that he has at least one rabid fan who wrote in several times this past week, asking when the new poll would be live. Sorry to keep you waiting, Charlotte!
The trio of Super Anchovy, Chop Suey and The Shits, collectively known as Travelled Meat, hail from Tamworth, Australia and make music that might best be described as “electro-darkwave-noise-pop about animal proteins and poor sanitation.” Here’s their latest EP, Too Much Good Slop, on Bandcamp, and here they are on ReverbNation, where you can listen to other toe-tappers like “The grey meat is all gone.”
The Wiggins is Jon Read, a one-man noise-rock wrecking crew from Houston, Texas. Here’s how he describes his stuff: “Fucked-up white noise surf-rock and rusty nail salt-in-the-wound folk ballads. All delivered with the pill-drunk unsteadiness of Gene Vincent after the crash.” Here’s his Bandcamp, and here’s a video for his song “Golden Age.”
Voting will end at midnight on Sunday, June 16th, with the winner announced the following Wednesday. So vote early and often, and may the weirdest band win!
A few weeks ago, we got an email that began: “Please allow me to introduce myself! My name is TODD TAMANEND CLARK, and I am notorious for having made the weirdest album of all time.” Jaded fuckers that we are, we proceeded to ignore this email for the next two weeks, because when people write to us claiming to have recorded the “weirdest album of all time,” they usually sound more like this.
But eventually, we did get around to checking out Mr. Clark and his allegedly weird oeuvre, including Nova Psychedelia, the collection of tracks from the first decade of his career (1975-1985) that stands as (allegedly) the weirdest set of music ever assembled in one package. And while we’re not gonna crown him Weirdest Artist of All Time just yet, we gotta admit: Todd Tamanend Clark, you are one weird dude.
Here’s Todd’s story as best as we’ve been able to piece it together from various sources, including the man himself, a brief Facebook bio, and a rapturous (but, according to Clark, somewhat inaccurate) review of some of his early work by none other than Julian Cope. He was born in 1952 in Greensboro, Pennsylvania, a small town near the West Virginia border, where he continues to live to this day. A poet, singer and musician, he released his first album under the name The Stars in 1975, then joined a Pennsylvania band called The Eyes and put out an excellently titled release called New Gods: Aardvark thru Zymurgy (sometimes mistakenly credited to a non-existent band called New Gods, though for reasons obvious to those few who’ve ever been lucky to get their hands on an original copy).
During the Stars/Eyes period, Clark’s music was still heavily influenced by the ’60s psychedelic rock of Hendrix, the Doors, the Electric Prunes (who he covered) and especially the United States of America, one of the first bands to use early synthesizers in a psych-rock context. But he was also clearly attuned to the newer, harsher sounds of early punk, and would go on to collaborate with people like The Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators and Cheetah Chrome. Later, in the early ’80s, he dove more deeply into full-blown experimental rock, taking equal inspiration from bands like Pere Ubu (another occasional collaborator) and the works of sci-fi and stream-of-consciousness writers like Harlan Ellison and William S. Burroughs. And yeah, he also collaborated with Burroughs, too. For a smalltown boy from western Pennsylvania, the guy got around.
For awhile there, Clark appeared to be well on his way to, if not fame, at least a sizable cult following. But something seems to have happened between the late ’80s and now that caused Clark to drop even further off the radar than he already was. Maybe his combined interests in his Native American roots (he added the Indian “Tamanend” to his name sometime in the ’80s) and vintage synthesizers (he’s an endorsed Moog Music artist) was too much for most listeners to handle. Or maybe he just didn’t release much music; there seems to be a gap in his catalog between 1984′s Into the Vision (the album that features the aforementioned Burroughs collab, as well as appearances by some of the Pere Ubu and Dead Boys guys) and 2000′s Owls in Obsidian, the first in a trilogy of instrumental tribal-prog-synth-rock explorations that also includes Staff, Mask, Rattle (2002) and Monongahela Riverrun (2004). Todd offered to proofread this article for us for “factual errors,” so hopefully he can either enlighten us.
[Update: Todd did enlighten us. Here's what he wrote: "What I did during the recording gap... After Into The Vision, there was a vinyl single in 1985 ('Flame Over Philadelphia' b/w 'Oceans Of She') which along with my 1980 single ('Secret Sinema' b/w 'Nightlife Of The New Gods') were my college radio hits, the most commercial I ever got. I released no new recordings during the years 1986-1999, although I continued to compose music and play occasional concerts. During that time, I went to graduate school and was a devoted father to my (at that time) five children. (I've since had another son who is now thirteen.) I also immersed myself more deeply into Haudenosaunee and Lenape culture, as well as networked with indigenous activists from other native nations." So there you have it.]
More recently, Clark’s been hard at work on his first vocal album in years, a magnum opus called Dancing Through the Side Worlds. Based on this one interview we found, it was originally slated to come out in 2008 as a four-CD set, but based on our latest email transmission from T.T. Clark himself, it’s now due to arrive in November of this year, just in time for Native American Heritage Month. “If you can imagine Iggy Pop backed by Skinny Puppy and Adrian Belew doing a cyberpunk re-make of Forever Changes with new lyrics by William Burroughs and production by Trent Reznor, you will be somewhere in the aesthetic ballpark of this album,” Todd tell us. OK, then!
Clark’s body of work encompasses so many styles and genres that it’s impossible to cover all of it here, but we’ll skim the surface as best we can. Let’s start with some of his ’70s basement psych-rock stuff, from Aardvark thru Zymurgy:
Then fast-forward to 1984 and Into the Vision, on which he sounds vaguely like Jim Morrison fronting The Residents:
And finally, here’s an extended taste of the Native American-influenced prog-synth freakery he was getting up to circa 2001, with one of his kids, X Tecumseh Clark, playing some of the synths. (Yes, he has a kid named X Tecumseh. And another named Shaman Manitou.) (Bonus fun fact: X Tecumseh is the cover boy for Crystal Castles’ 2010 album.)
So here’s hoping we can do our small part in broadening the audience of this truly original oddball. And here’s hoping he really does release his next album in November as promised, because we cannot wait to break out the thesaurus and the review the hell out of it.
Something old and something new from our penis-nosed friend Dr. Reecard Farché, aka Anklepants: He’s just released a 12″ single on off-white vinyl featured a massively extended club-anthem rework of “[speak you little facehead],” the track that (along with its hallucinatory video) first introduced us to pleasures of this Aussie breakcore/tech-glitch weirdo over a year ago. Called “SPEEK YOU LITTLE RE-ƒacéé,” the new version clocks in at nearly 12 minutes and features a long four-on-the-floor outro that sounds like 4 a.m. in a Berlin S&M club. You can stream the whole glorious thing below via Soundcloud.
“SPEEK YOU LITTLE RE-ƒacéé” is out now on Love Love Records and available for purchase here. DJs who still spin vinyl, do your record crates a favor and score a copy. It’s worth it for the baboon cover art alone.
America, your long chap-hop drought is finally about to end. Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer will soon grace our savage shores with his refined, banjolele-fueled ditties about big pimpin’ Victorian style. Huzzah!
Sadly, the esteemed Mr. B’s Stateside social calendar currently boasts but two invitations: The CONvergence sci-fi and fantasy convention (whose 2013 theme, fittingly, is “British Invasion”) in Minneapolis on July 4th, and the Antiquarian Music Festival at Steamstock, a steampunk festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, on July 28th. Between those two dates, we can only assume he will be making the arduous trek across our great American wildernesses via horseless carriage, or possibly one of these things. Will he call upon various saloons and public houses along the way and delight them with impromptu chap-hop recitals? The gap-toothed hoi polloi between the Twin Cities and the Golden Gate can but fervently hope.
Mr. B hasn’t released any new tunes of late, so we’ll leave you instead with this adorable Steamstock promotional video, featuring the many highlights and elaborate hats of Steamstock 2012. Please to enjoy.
For some bands, reinventing the wheel would be a form of sacrilege akin to watching an old bluesman suddenly bust out into Justin Bieber song. So we’re happy to report that Cryptic, the sixth album from undead funk-rockers Here Come the Mummies, is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a band whose previous albums include such WYSIWYG titles as Single Entendre and Bed, Bath and Behind. There are songs are partying, songs about sex, and songs about how too much partying can lead to sex. It’s a sweeping epic about the human condition, really. Baz Luhrmann should buy the film rights.
You can listen to extended clips from all 12 of Cryptic‘s tracks right now on the revamped HCTM website, which has a slick new look and all sorts of interactive features (the fan photos from past shows are especially nifty). And speaking of interactive…here’s a live video of them performing the Cryptic track “Everything But” that was made using the French website Evergig.com, which splices together fan-shot videos into a seamless concert clip. Pretty high-tech for a bunch of dudes who’ve been dead for five thousand years.
Big news from Electric Phantom, the record label home to Chimney Crow and Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin. It arrived on our Facebook page earlier this week in the form of a video press conference hosted by Electric Phantom spokeswoman Melody McGinn and attended by the dying remnants of the music press. Let’s watch, shall we?
Very melodramatic, no? Next time we have a big announcement, we’re totally hiring Melody and her gang of ghouls to make it for us.
So now that you know the big news (you did watch the video, right? if not: Spoiler alert!), head over to electric-phantom.com and check out all the new goodies. Happy shopping.
It’s been a year or three since we last heard from Malaikat dan Singa, the Tuvan throat-singing trance-punk project of Old Time Relijun lead singer Arrington de Dionyso. But just the other day, we got an email from Arrington himself, alerting us to the arrival of a brand-new Malaikat dan Singa album and music video. Thanks, Arrington! It’s because of proactive artists like you that we get to sit on our asses looking at Passed Out Juggalos all day instead of trawling the Interwebs for, y’know, music news and stuff.
Anyway, the album is called Open the Crown and it’s out now on the ever awesome K Records. Based on what we’ve heard of it, we’re happy to report that Arrington is full freakout mode, complete with throat singing, bass clarinet and ranting and raving in his preferred rock ‘n’ roll language, Indonesian—although he now mostly belts out in English. The other new wrinkle here, besides the semi-intelligible English lyrics, is a growing interest in the hip-skankin’ beats, loose-limbed basslines and tape echo of Jamaican dub and reggae—an interest that becomes a full-blown homage in the first Open the Crown song to be released in video form, “I Create in the Broken System.” You might think there’s no connection between throat singing and rude boy toasting, but there’s something in Arrington’s growling delivery that’s totally Tibet by way of Trench Town. Also, there are cheetahs and lions.
You can preview more tracks from Open the Crown and I dunno, maybe buy the damn thing for just $6.99 on the K Records website. Think of it as doing your small part to stick it to The Broken System.