Author Archives: weirdestband

Weird Band of the Week: Mr. Vast

Mr. Vast

So as usual, we got something wrong when we first wrote about this week’s weird artiste, the inimitable Mr. Vast. We said he’s from Germany. But that’s not quite right. He is apparently based, at the moment, in Germany. But he’s British. His accent should have tipped us off, but we were probably day-drinking again. Anyway, our apologies to the entire nation of Great Britain for not properly crediting you with bestowing Mr. Vast upon the world.

Mr. Vast is the alter ego of one Henry Sargeant, an actor, musician and performance artist whose previous musical project was (or maybe still is—they’re still releasing music and Sargeant might still be involved) a jokey crew called Wevie Stonder. He relocated to Germany in 2005 and took a break from Art to become a Dad. (Not that those two occupations are mutually exclusive, but the hours are pretty brutal in both.) He returned to music in 2012 as a solo artist called Mr. Vast, making what I shall tentatively describe as tongue-in-cheek New Wave electro-glam-pop until somebody comes up with something catchier to describe his bizarre but surprisingly infectious tunes.

At his best, Mr. Vast reminds us a little of our current favorite Australian weirdo, Kirin J Callinan. Like Callinan, there’s something highly theatrical and fully formed about Mr. Vast, like he’s already a rock star and the world just hasn’t discovered him yet. Also like Callinan, he’s capable of being both unabashedly pop and slightly avant-garde, often in the same song, and doing both in a way that feels both fully committed and slightly tongue-in-cheek. Take, for example, “Teflon Country,” which might be a country-fried psych-rock parody, or it might be actual country-fried psych-rock, albeit one with a junkyard dog impersonation in the middle of it:

That’s from Mr. Vast’s one and only album, by the way, a brilliant, 14-track opus called Grievous Bodily Charm that we pretty much can’t stop listening to. It’s got sci-fi Afro-pop workouts (“Process of Illumination”), fuzz-toned heavy rock freakouts (“Henry the 8th”), Groove Armada-style downtempo makeout music (“Elemental,” which contains the high-five-worthy lyric, “The sangria made me angrier”). You can listen to the whole thing on SoundCloud and decide for yourselves if it’s a masterpiece. We’re leaning towards yes, but it might be the sangria talking.

We’ll leave you with a few videos, because that’s how we do it. First up: An extended experiment in toast physics called “Buttercide.” For the record, this is one of Mr. Vast’s weirder tracks, so if you can’t hang with it, don’t give up on him yet.

Next: The far funkier “Ease & Speed,” which we maintain is best described as Gary Numan meets Professor Elemental (I think last time we said Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, but hey, po-tay-to, po-tah-to).

And finally, here’s a glimpse of Mr. Vast live and in concert. Well, it’s not so much a glimpse as a bit fat fucking eyeful. Not since David Byrne has oversized costumery looked so sexy.

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Weird of the Day: Dancing Deadlips, “Imaginarium”

Dancing Deadlips

We just got an email from Dee, the mysterious Polish lady behind Dancing Deadlips, asking, “Are you still interested in weird drone ambient?” Sorry, Dee, we’re more into Japanese synth-punk these days. Kidding! Of course we’re still interested in weird done ambient. What kind of weird music blog would we be without sharing the occasional tune that resembles some noxious vapor seeping up from the bowels of the earth?

Dancing Deadlips’ latest is a 20-minute mini-album called Imaginarium. It consists of a single, atmospheric track that sounds like it was recorded while dragging something heavy through a graveyard. Check it out.

Weird Live Review: Bob Log III

Bob Log III

Well, we finally got to witness firsthand the human blues-bomb cannonball that is Bob Log III, and the one-man party band did not disappoint. You can read my full review of the evening’s mayhem on LA Weekly (yeah, I got paid to write about this one—I’m a fucking sellout, I know) or you can just look at these blurry Instagram photos, which actually sum up the show as well or better than I ever could. Suffice it to say, I’m pretty sure Bob Log III is the baddest motherfucker ever to simultaneously play a banjo with his hands and drums with his feet.

By the way, a special shout-out to our new friends Rico and Gidget, who were there for their second Bob Log III all the way from Duarte, which, for those of you who don’t know L.A. geography, is fucking far. That’s Rico raging at the edge of the stage in the above photo. I tried to get a decent picture of his girlfriend Gidget bouncing on Bob Log’s knee, but she was such a blur of tossed green hair and extended middle fingers that my poor little camera was not up to the task.

Also, best Bob Log III quote of the night that didn’t make it into my LA Weekly review: “Oh, my god. You lucky, lucky people. How did you make it here tonight? Hey, is this someone’s bra?”

See you next time, Bob!

Bob Log III and his "disco banjo"

Bob Log III and his “disco banjo”

Ain't no party like a Bob Log party

Ain’t no party like a Bob Log party

Weird of the Day: Bloody Death Skull, “Girls Like You”

Bloody Death Skull

When we saw Bob Log III on Friday night (review coming soon), there was a local band opening for him called Bloody Death Skull who gave him a run for his money on the weird-o-meter. With no fewer than 10 people onstage, half of them sitting down and playing toy instruments, they played a chaotic but catchy mix of ’60s-style girl-group pop, garage-rock and ukulele-led freak-folk. They wore an assortment of costumes that were alternately adorable and menacing: a guitar player in a gas mask, a backup singer in a burqa, a wolf, a frog, a forest nymph with green hair and a fake bird perched on her shoulder. It was sorta like watching The Raveonettes play at a daycare center on Halloween.

We couldn’t find any videos that do justice to their charmingly odd live show, but we did run across this video for their song “Girls Like You,” which sums up their cutely dark (or maybe it’s darkly cute) style quite nicely. It stars a bunch of Barbie dolls who can really work that pole. Enjoy.

For more Bloody Death Skull, check out their Bandcamp page.

Tim Alexander, drummer for Primus and Puscifer, to undergo open heart surgery

Tim Alexander of Primus

Photo via Jambase

We’ll be putting our usual snark-fest on hold this weekend and sending lots of positive vibes towards Tim “Herb” Alexander, the amazingly ambidextrous drummer for Primus and Maynard James Keenan’s bizarro side project, Puscifer. Some time in the past few days, Alexander suffered a heart attack, and he’s scheduled for open heart surgery early next week. The news first broke via a post on Puscifer’s Facebook page. Today, a post by Les Claypool on Primus’s Facebook page confirmed the bad news:

Hello all,

As some of you my already know, our friend and über drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander is having a bypass procedure to remove blockage from arteries near his heart. He is a strong Herculean fellow and we all expect him to be up and around in no time but with all surgical endeavors we want to make sure he has the best energy working for him so let’s all throw our coins in the nearest fountain, wish on the first star of the night, blow out the birthday cake candles with him in mind, pray to whichever deity seems appropriate and generally send good thoughts his way so we can soon, once again, experience the glory that is the magnificent percussive rhythm of the mighty Tim Alexander.

Alexander joined Primus in 1988 and played on all those “classic” albums you probably had in your dorm room: Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda, Tales From the Punchbowl. He’s been in and out of the band since, but had started performing with them again just last year, replacing Jay Lane. He joined Puscifer in 2010. He’s also played drums with Blue Man Group, Laundry and Attention Deficit.

Here’s hoping Tim’s surgery is a success and he’s back behind the kit doing stuff like this soon:

Little Big put on their happy faces for “Public Enemy”

Little Big

When your last videos featured zombies dancing in a junkyard and real-life hooligans beating the shit out of each other, how do you top yourself? For Russian rap-ravers Little Big, it’s simple: Get a bunch of dumb, off-the-shelf Halloween costumes and make a video so relentlessly, children’s-television shiny and happy, it somehow comes across as the darkest, most punk-rock shit you’ve done yet.

“Public Enemy” starts off pretty silly, with Little Biggers Olympia Ivleva, Ilya Prusikin and Sergey Gokk Makarov dressed up as, respectively, a carrot, a banana and a lobster. (Worst smoothie ever.) There’s also a bunch of other folks dressed up as various animals and vegetables, as well as cops, prisoners and that evil clown guy who shows up in all their videos. There’s even a dashingly blue-eyed guy in a turban flying an airplane who can’t possibly be a terrorist because he’s all smiles, right, Little Big? Right? What, what the fuck is happening? Are those the World Trade Center towers? And a bear, the symbol of Russia, biting a Crimea-sized chunk off a map of the Ukraine? Oh, now I get it. You’re smiling ironically. This is secretly a video about how much everything sucks. You got me, Little Big!

This video would probably have a bazillion plays by now, but for some reason, they’ve disabled embedding on it. Maybe they figure Putin will never see it if it’s only on YouTube? Anyway, yeah, it’s only on YouTube. Follow this link if you want to watch it, as I highly recommend you do.

“Public Enemy” is the opening track off Little Big’s first album, With Russia From Love, which is now streaming in its entirety (at least we think it’s the whole thing) on their website. Hopefully they’ll be making more videos for the rest of the record soon, because they continue to create some of the most outrageous, eye-popping stuff this side of Die Antwoord.

Weird of the Day: Nautical Almanac

Nautical Almanac

When they’re not heading up their experimental noise project, Nautical Almanac, Twig Harper and Carly Ptak (that’s them in the above photo) run Be Free Floating, a Baltimore company that puts people in those sensory deprivation tanks. Which is ironic, because their music—and some might take exception with calling it “music”—is kind of sensory overload. Weird vocals and noises made on homemade synthesizers scud along the surface of a thick stew of arrhythmic percussion and guitar feedback that doesn’t so much overwhelm you as totally disorient you. After listening to a few hours of it, you could probably use some time in a sensory deprivation tank just to decompress.

Reader The ∞ NSA sent us this clip of a half-hour performance by Harper, Ptak and a third guy (possibly Max Eisenberg?) from back in 2005, which seems to be the last time they released any new music. Since then, Harper’s done some solo stuff and Ptak has gotten into photography. And of course, they help people float. Wish they had an L.A. branch, because I just had a long-ass week.

Most of Nautical Almanac’s catalog is pretty obscure, but they do have one album, Rooting for Microbes, available on Amazon.com.

Weird of the Day: Beep!, “Alien Mating Call”

Beep

When he’s not playing bass in tUnE-yArDs, Nate Brenner is one-third of an even weirder band called Beep! They’re just about to release their latest album, Too Physical, and it’s a wonderland/wasteland (wasterland?) of keyboard squiggles, funhouse vocals and mysterious rhythms. Here’s the video for opening track, “Alien Mating Call,” which wants to know if there’s somewhere we can get down. (Answer: Why, yes, there is! At the Hammer Museum right here in L.A., which is hosting a Too Physical release party on Aug. 7th.)

You can pre-order Too Physical from Beep!’s label, Data Garden. It’s due out Aug. 5th.

Weird of the Day: Polysics, “Mega Over Drive”

Polysics

Reader Aaron calls Polysics the “bastard Japanese offspring of DEVO.” Polysics themselves call their music “technicolor pogo punk.” We just call is awesome. Next party I go to, I plan to dance by flailing my arms around my head like I’m fending off an invisible swarm of bees, just like the girls in this video. Though I won’t look as cute in a Mylar tutu.

For more Polysics, visit their website or browse their entire catalog on Amazon.com. “Mega Over Drive” comes from their most recent album, Action!!!

MC Frontalot is releasing a children’s album

MC Frontalot

It happens to the best of us: We get old, start having babies, rediscover the joys of blanket forts and bedtime stories, and lose our “edge.” Fortunately for MC Frontalot, nerdcore hip-hop was never especially edgy to begin with. So for him to make a children’s album doesn’t sound like a huge stretch.

But wait: He’s not just rapping nursery rhymes. On Question Bedtime, Front reinterprets classic fairy tales with a whole slew of fellow rappers and famous friends, including Kid Koala, MC Chris, Jean Grae, Busdriver and one of the funniest dudes on the planet, comedian Paul F. Tompkins. The album isn’t due out until Aug. 16th, but you can hear a track called “Much Chubbier” right now over at The A.V. Club. Based on the Norwegian folk tale of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” it co-stars rapper Open Mike Eagle as the troll. It’s fun stuff, even for us grownup types.

Frontalot has a slew of U.S. tour dates coming up following the release of Question Bedtime. And need I mention that he’ll also be appearing at Comic-Con? With a Star Wars-themed burlesque troupe, no less. Cue the nerd stampede! (Tickets for that show are available, probably not for long, here.)

MC Frontalot 2014 tour:

Aug. 19—Rex Theater—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Aug. 20—Tiger Room at CS3—Fort Wayne, Indiana
Aug. 21—Subterranean—Chicago, Illinois
Aug. 25—TBD—Denver, Colorado
Aug. 26—The Stateroom—Salt Lake City, Utah
Sept. 1—El Corazon—Seattle, Washington
Sept. 2—Dante’s—Portland, Oregon
Sept. 4—Brick & Mortar—San Francisco, California
Sept. 7—TBD—Phoenix, Arizona
Sept. 9—Three Links—Dallas, Texas
Sept. 10—TBD—Austin, Texas
Sept. 11—TBD—Houston, Texas
Sept. 12—Northgate Tavern—Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sept. 13—Beatnik—New Orleans, Louisiana
Sept. 14—Center Stage—Atlanta, Georgia
Sept. 16—TBD—Charlotte, North Carolina
Sept. 17—King’s Barcade—Raleigh, North Carolina
Sept. 18—TBD—Baltimore, Maryland
Sept. 19—North Star Bar—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sept. 20—TBD—New York, New York

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