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August Weird Band Poll: Vote for Aeron’s Wake, Astral Knife, Britches, Heiter bis Wolkig or Plankton Dada Wave
How is it August already? These polls are supposed to be monthly. Oops. Well, better late than never, right? Plus this month’s batch was worth the wait, I think.
Regular readers know the drill but we’ll explain it again anyway: Voting ends midnight Sunday, Aug. 10th (California time). Based on your votes, one of these lucky, lucky bands will be named our next Weird Band of the Week. So choose carefully! The integrity of our blog rests in your twitchy little hands.
[Sorry, this poll has closed. Check back here Wednesday, when the winner will be revealed. And bookmark this page to partake of future polls. We do a new one every month(ish).]
For more on this month’s bands, read on:
Astral Knife is a band from New York that does experimental noise and abstract soundscapes. They sometimes do guerrilla performances at art galleries, which is really the only way any self-respecting band should ever play an art gallery, in my opinion. They’re headed up by a gal with the fairly awesome name of Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz. Here’s their SoundCloud page and here’s an excerpt of their ninja art gallery gig. I bet the art patrons were doing spit takes with their Chardonnay.
Britches are a noise-rock band from St. Louis who seem to be one of those “no two shows are alike” acts. Sometimes they play wearing stuffed-animal masks; sometimes they play in the dark (no video available); sometimes they play covered in bedsheets. Here’s their Bandcamp page, which features a five-track sonic assault appropriately titled Demolition.
Heiter bis Wolkig
A guy named Marco sent us this stuff in an email with the subject line, “Weird German Cabaret Bullshit.” Marco, you had us at “Weird German.” They’ve got sort of a HGich.T thing going on where they do pop and dance music parodies with guerrilla videos where they run around terrorizing people in fat suits and shit. It’s good fun. Here’s their YouTube channel and here’s a direct link to “Gaga Gogo,” which is their most entertaining clip.
Plankton Dada Wave
These guys contacted us via Facebook with a link to a video for their song “Dope Without Hope,” which is sorta sounds like a combination of ska-punk and an Italian version of Mr. Bungle. Their SoundCloud profile is all in Italian, which we can’t read, but one part says “come i Ramones live a Teletubbilandia,” which I’m pretty sure means something like “it’s what The Ramones would sound like if they were Teletubbies.” Check out their EP Haus of Dada on Bandcamp and see if you agree.
So there you have it. Remember to cast your vote before midnight Sunday, Aug. 10th, and may the weirdest band win.
So yesterday someone named Brad Cow Dizease (his actual name, it turns out—what are the odds?) sent us a link to a video by a fellow from Pittsburgh called Weird Paul Petroskey—or, to use his full YouTube handle, Original Vlogger 80’s Weird Paul Petroskey. Apparently he decided to start calling himself the “Original Vlogger” when he unearthed a VHS tape of himself back in 1984 doing a video review of a McDonald’s breakfast that is uncannily similar in style and structure to the awkward vlogger fast food reviews of today. It’s almost like he somehow time traveled back to 1984 and coached his younger self through the whole thing just so he could post it on YouTube 28 years later. But I digress.
Anyway, it turns out Weird Paul is a semi-famous outsider musician (by outsider musician standards) who’s been making music since the late ’80s. We’re sure he’ll be a Weird Band of the Week eventually, but in the meantime, I couldn’t resist posting this “We Love Computers” clip now, because having been the proud owner of a Commodore 64 in the ’80s, it gave me so many flashbacks I thought maybe I was time traveling back to 1984. The syntax errors! The clunky floppy disc drives! Zork! Man, we all thought we were living in the future.
To learn more about Weird Paul and his music, check out his website.
Merrill Garbus releases her third tUnE-yArDs album, Nikki Nack, on May 6th, but you can hear the whole thing now over on NPR.com. Does having your album streamed on NPR automatically make you less weird? Probably, but Merrill had weirdness to spare, so we’ll give her a pass.
Nikki Nack is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from tUnE-yArDs: lots of school-yard chant vocals, simple but syncopated beats and basslines, sparse instrumentation that sounds like it was recorded inside a mason jar. It’s a bit cleaner and more percussive than 2011’s w h o k i l l, and occasionally even sounds like Garbus’ take on modern, high-octane pop-R&B, like on the epic “Real Thing.” But it’s still one of more idiosyncratic things you’ll hear get any mainstream media attention this year.
You can pre-order Nikki Nack for a mere $10 from Amazon.com. Now let’s play this post out with tUnE-yArDs’ Pee-wee’s Playhouse-inspired video for “Water Fountain,” shall we?
Wolf Eyes’ nightmarish mix of avant-garde noise, drone and post-industrial doom rock hasn’t gotten any less aggressive or unsettling, even as the band has approached something like mainstream status with releases on Sub Pop Records and tours with the likes of Andrew W.K. and Sonic Youth. Their latest album, No Answer: Lower Floors, came out last year and is, according to the Moogfest website, something like their 150th release. Here’s the video for opening track “Choking Flys,” which I believe doubles as a tutorial for how to gather firewood in post-apocalyptic (i.e. today’s) Detroit, Michigan.
Wolf Eyes play Moogfest on Thursday, Apr. 24th, as part of the festival’s most must-see lineup for fans of weirdness: Also playing the New Earth main room that night are electronic noise legends Black Dice, synth-jam master Dan Deacon and avant-electro oddballs YACHT. For more info, visit the Moogfest official site.
Those of you who follow us chattering classes and our continued hand-wringing over technology might have noticed a lot of us bitching lately about Facebook. You might have heard us chatterers throwing around terms like “organic reach” and “filtered feeds” and “social media extortion.” I just wrote a very long post explaining all this shit, but then I decided to delete it because none of it is really all that interesting. If you want all the gory details, read this. Or better yet, watch this video.
Bottom line, here’s what’s happening: If you’ve “Liked” our Facebook page, you now have only about a 7% chance of seeing any of our Facebook posts. This is because Facebook has decided that content from pages you’ve liked is somehow less relevant or “spammier” than posts from your friends.
So if you like our posts and want to keep seeing them, there are a couple of things you can do:
1. Follow us on something other than Facebook. Options here include:
- Our RSS feed (old-school, but reliable)
- The “Follow” feature on WordPress (only works if you have a WordPress account…but it only takes about two seconds to create one)
- Twitter (for now, this is the only other way to get our awesome #WeirdoftheDay posts…but thanks to Facebook’s nefarious ways, we’re considering posting them on the blog, as well, where more folks can actually see them)
2. Like or, better yet, share our Facebook posts. You might have to hit our page directly to see our posts in the first place, but the more “Likes” and “Shares” they get, the more they’ll actually start to appear in our other readers’ news feeds.
We will, of course, continue to strive to bring you content that’s actually worth liking and sharing and whatnot. If we start sucking, we deserve to have our posts buried. Who knows, maybe that’s what’s already been happening. But I don’t think so. I just think Facebook is being a dick.
As always, Jake and I humbly thank you for reading. More weirdness coming your way very soon.
Thank Christ for Google Translator, because otherwise I would have nothing to tell you about this week’s band. They’re a “performance collective” from Germany…and I guess “performance collective” is German for “crazy art freaks making deliberately stupid techno” because that’s what these guys do. They make bad techno and sing over it like a bunch of people pretending to be retarded, as if to say, “Look how retarded this music is!”
Then they shoot videos that are even weirder and dumber than the music. In this one, a bunch of white girls strut around trying to look hard while eating candy bars in front of a gas station. In this one, a nerdy guy masturbates slowly and tenderly to a bad painting. In this one, two of the collective’s members, Tutenchamun and Maike Schönfeld, just dance like idiots in various public places.
They seem to release a new video every month or so. In their latest one, released just last week, a girl dances on a chair for four minutes while a fat biker dude flips off the camera and opens his mail. I know that sounds incredibly stupid, and it is, but the video is fucking great. Trying to describe a HGich.T video is like trying to explain to your wife that the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life was when your best friend in college spontaneously moonwalked across an entire frathouse basement because he was trying not to puke on his shoes. It was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen but…you just had to see it.
One of the best things about binge-watching HGich.T videos is all the recurring characters you can follow. There’s the obvious star of the show, Tutenchamun, who’s like a German parody of that douchebag from The Prodigy, if said douchebag had forgotten to take off his yellow safety vest after ditching his picking-up-trash-by-the-highway community service stint. There’s Dr. Diamond, who seems to spend a lot of time hanging out in his room and having arguments with his mother. There’s
Pussy Cat Diddel, who wears cat mouse makeup. And of course there’s my personal favorite, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, aka Opa16, the group’s creepy old man in residence. I have a soft spot for creepy old men, being only a few years away from becoming one myself.
The video they’re most famous for is “Tutenchamun,” sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Goa Goa MPU” (we had this totally backwards, and also failed to realize that Diddel was supposed to be a mouse, until reader Iesus set us straight—thanks, Iesus!). In it, Tutenchamun rides around with Maike on a motorbike with broken shocks and tells a long, increasingly surreal story about getting pulled over by a cop, played by the least cop-like man in all of Germany, Dr. Diamond. Like all HGich.T videos, it’s incredibly stupid and you might not be able to stop watching.
So I think we can all agree that from here on out, anytime anyone tries to tell a long, rambling story about how fucking hard they partied last night, we’re going to say “Ja?” every five seconds in a bored monotone until they stop. Right? Ja?
As great as “Goa Goa MPU” is, the HGich.T clip that’s my favorite so far…and I say “so far” because they have like 60 some odd videos and I never quite got baked enough to watch every single one…is “die letzten titten von betlehem.” This one has everything: Drugs, vandalism, jailbait, wasteful use of toilet paper, an oddly creepy sequence in which a dude terrorizes a girl with a Sharpie. It’s like a German rave meets a scared-straight after-school special meets a Fellini film. Plus the track fucking goes off.
So anyway…next time I go out dancing, I really hope the DJ plays a HGich.T track so I can storm into the ladies’ bathroom and do my best Tutenchamun impersonation. I am so getting laid with that action.
You seriously still don’t own a copy of DEVO’s “The Complete Truth About De-Evolution”? That’s OK, they’re reissuing it again next month.
Although they’re still mostly remembered for “Whip It,” DEVO made some of the greatest and strangest music videos of the MTV era, beginning with early avant-garde classics like “Jocko Homo” and culminating in eye-popping performance clips like “Peek-a-Boo” and “Time Out for Fun.” Most of these videos were first collected in 1993 on The Complete Truth About De-Evolution, released exclusively in the ill-fated Laserdisc format. The collection was later reissued on DVD in 2003 by Rhino Records, but that set went out of print. Maybe third time’s the charm?
On Feb. 11th, MVD Entertainment will release the latest incarnation of The Complete Truth About De-Evolution on DVD. As near as we can tell, it’s the same material that was included on the Rhino release, which is to say that the band’s 1984 cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are U Experienced?” still doesn’t make the cut (apparently the Hendrix estate really didn’t like DEVO’s take) but a bunch of cool bonus materials do, including some early live footage and Bruce Conner’s short film version of “Mongoloid.” There’s also commentary by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, which is the worth the price of admission alone.
No details yet on where you can find the newest version of The Complete Truth About De-Evolution but most MVD Entertainment releases are pretty easy to track down via Amazon.com and elsewhere. If we can get our hands on a copy, we’ll post a longer review of the full package soon.
Let’s play this post out with some classic DEVO eye candy from the 1981 New Traditionalists era, aka that time when the guys all wore fake plastic Reagan hair for a year. This is “Through Being Cool,” which I’m tempted to say is the weirdest video they ever did, except they’re all pretty weird in their own ways. I do believe, however, that this is the only DEVO video to feature some sweet breakdancing spin moves. [Update: Nope. Turns out this one does, too. We apologize for the oversight. We also blame the Hendrix estate.]
So it seems that while the rest of us were unwrapping presents and/or going out for dim sum this past Dec. 25th, the folks over at weirdo label Electric Phantom were hard at work. They released two Christmas Day videos from their top artists, Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin and Chimney Crow—but they also threw in a twist: Petunia does a Chimney Crow song, and the Chimney Crow does a MacPumpkin song! It’s like that Peter Gabriel Scratch My Back project, except that it’s actually worth listening to.
If you want the full story of how this little project came about, watch this video and all will be revealed. (You’ll also find out which member of Chimney Crow is obsessed with The Residents—I would’ve assumed they all were, but it turns out the other guys are more into horses and stuff.)
But let’s get right to the good bits. Here’s Petunia turning Chimney Crow’s “Teddybear and His Bullet” into a spooky, skeletal hymn:
And here’s Chimney Crow sneaking a nifty little dance groove in under the funhouse nursery rhymes of P.L. MacP’s “Houseplants.” With audio-visual aids, no less!
So thanks for these little surprise Christmas presents, Electric Phantom. We look forward to more of your inimitable weirdness in 2014.