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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.
How do you say “crowdfunding” in Portuguese? Tribal-futurist electro-rock weirdos Blasted Mechanism have just launched a campaign on a Kickstarter-like Portuguese site called PPT to raise fan funding for their “eighth generation,” or “eighth album” as other, less tribal-futurist bands might call it. They’re hoping to rake in 8,000 Euros by Jan. 7th, 2014, so go visit their campaign page and give generously.
We probably should have figured this out back when we made them our Weird Band of the Week earlier this year, but apparently Blasted Mechanism totally reinvents their look with each album—hence the “generation” term. Past looks, as handily recapped in their PPT project video, include Mind at Large, Namaste and our favorite, the totally bonkers, Japenese-meets-Aztec (Japaztec?) superhero outfits from their fifth generation, Sound in Light. Actually, the costumes from each generation are pretty freaking cool—except maybe generation one, Balayashi, when they kinda looked and sounded like a bad Red Hot Chili Peppers knockoff. But hey, it’s cool. We all made bad style choices in the ’90s.
So what form will the eighth generation of Blasted Mechanism take? We’ll just have to chip in and find out.
Jolly good news, ladies and gents: Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer has announced the arrival date for his latest chap-hop opus, Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop. It shall arrive in all antique and modern formats (save, alas, for wax cylinder) on November 5th. You can pre-order it here for a mere £10, which I believe is equivalent to five guineas, four sovereigns, a half crown, two shillings and sixpence. At least I hope that’s right, because that’s all the change I could find in the cushions of my chaise longue.
Can’t Stop is the fourth Mr. B long player, following up last year’s redoubtable Tweed Album. You can sample a little solo piano rendition of one of the album’s most titillating ditties after the full tracklist below.
1. Shelltoes Or Brogues
2. Ladies Have Friends Who They Hate
3. (I’ve No Wish To) Keep It Real
4. Hip-Hop Was To Blame After All
5. Pop Song
6. Grammar Song
7. In A Club
9. Rude Britannia
10. It Doesn’t Pay To Turn Up Late To An Orgy
11. Reasons To Be Unsuccessful (Part One)
12. The Corinthians
13. The Neglect Of My Duties
14. Brushed Tweed In The Hour Of Chaos
Is Mr. B touring in support of his latest masterwork? You bet your brass buttons he is. Here are the dates.
1st: Whitby, Steampunk Central, Whitby Rifle Club
8th: Southampton, Orange Rooms
9th: Brighton, Concorde 2
16th: Leeds, Wet Spot @ The Wardrobe
18th: New York, I Am Dandy book launch
27th: New York, The Slipper Room
29th: King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania USA, Gilded Festival
6th: Canterbury, Penny Theatre
7th: London, The Grand Anarcho Dandyist Ball, Bloomsbury Ballroom
12th: Doncaster, Cast
13th: Brighton, The Haunt
20th: London, Lost Theatre, Wandsworth
21st: Portsmouth, Beats And Swing @ The Wedgewood Rooms
If you’re still mourning the passing of cult sound-collage duo The Books: Well, first of all, you really need to get over it. Get some therapy or something. But in the meantime, you can now cry yourself to sleep every night listening to Music for a French Elevator and Other Oddities, a double LP set of B-sides, soundtracks and other Books miscellanea previously only available on last year’s massive A Dot in Time box set. I know, you probably already have a shrine to that box set in your living room—but get Music for a French Elevator anyway. Maybe it will help give you some much-needed closure.
Music for a French Elevator is a vinyl-only release limited to 2,000 copies, and last we checked there are only 154 copies left. So as a late-night informercial that The Books might sample might say: Don’t delay, order your copy now!
In other Books news: Nick Zammuto continues to release a steady trickle of groovy tracks from the forthcoming second album of his post-Books project, Zammuto. And Paul de Jong continues to enjoy his new life as a Christian minister in New Zealand. Kidding! He’s actually been working on a solo show called Mild Stimulants. Here’s a sample.
Here’s a SoundCloud player featuring a few of Nick Zammuto’s favorite tracks from Music for a French Elevator, along with the collection’s full track list.
Music for a French Elevator and Other Oddities track list:
4. It’s Musiiiiic!
5. The Joy of Nature
6. Meditation Outtakes
7. A Long Villainous Sequence
8. Millions of Millions
9. Of the Word God
10. Ghost Train Digest
11. You’ll Never Be Alone
12. ‘Ah…, I See’
13. Three Day Night
14. Classy Penguin
15. 8 Frame
16. Smack My Bishop
17. Biospheric Quiet
18. Happy Lawyers
20. John’s Arp
21. Foreign Country and Western
23. Biospheric Doubletime
24. Drowned But Survived
25. Pickup Dark
27. Circle of Fifths Loop
28. Past Comes Welling Up
29. Electro Lawyers
30. Mars, OK
31. Biospheric Dark
33. Running Down
34. 8 Tons of Oxygen
35. 10,000 Crows
36. John’s Epiphany
37. Lawyer Lullaby
38. Hokie Ranch
39. 2over3 Lawyers
40. Glass Glass
41. Biospheric Zither
42. Found Frozen Corndog
43. Cello Song Feat. Jose Gonzales
If you live within shambling distance of Nashville, Tennessee, we strongly advise you to pack up your Cowbelt and get your ass down to Music City U.S.A. to cheer on Here Come the Mummies as they mug for the cameras of their next concert documentary. We’d get our own asses there, but Jake can’t get off work in time to make the 28-hour drive. Also, I swore off trucker meth in the ’90s.
For those of you who can make the trek: It all goes down Friday, Oct. 4th at the historic War Memorial Auditorium. (Atoms for Peace is playing the night before, so maybe HCTM percussionist/hype man Java will bust out some Thom Yorke dance moves.) You can buy tickets to the show here. The Mummies promise something called “Rejuvannihilation” to all who attend—which sounds like the name of a death metal day spa, but it’s probably way cooler than that.
Lest you doubt the awesome power of a fully operational HCTM concert, here’s our review of their show at the West Hollywood House of Blues last year. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
We will leave you with the new lyric video for “Everything But” off the Mummies’ most recent album, Cryptic. And I know, most “lyric videos” suck—but trust me, you’ll actually want to watch this one. If you don’t, you’ll never know what a “fader-mum” is.