It’s been a rough week here at Weird Band HQ, what with the passing of one of our idols, GWAR’s Dave Brockie. But let’s end the week on an up note, shall we? Courtesy of Merrill Garbus and her brilliantly quirky musical alter ego, tUnE-yArDs.
Garbus is gearing up for the release of her third album, Nikki Nack, which is due out May 6th on 4AD Records. She teased us earlier this month with an album “mega-mix,” but now she’s finally giving us a full track to chew on. It’s called “Water Fountain” and it makes us want to jump rope in the spray of a busted fire hydrant.
tUnE-yArDs also announced a bunch more tour dates, which is good news for us, because her first gig here at L.A. sold out in about five seconds. We should have better luck scoring tickets to her second L.A. show at the much larger Fonda Theater, so we can post a review and some crappy Instagram photos for your delectation. Full dates after the clip.
tUnE-yArDs 2014 tour dates:
4/23 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center*
4/26 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre*
4/27 St. Louis, MO – Chaifetz Arena*
4/29 Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center*
5/1 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena*
5/2 Atlanta, GA – Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood*
5/5 Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever
5/7 Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
5/12 London, England – Village Underground
5/14 Berlin, Germany – Berghain
5/15 Hamburg, Germany – Nochtspeicher
5/16 Brussels, Belgium – Les Nuits–Cirque Royal
5/18 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Bitterzoet
5/19 Paris, France – Cafe de La Danse
5/23 Bend, OR – Les Schwab Ampitheater†
5/25 George, WA – Sasquatch Festival
5/26 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
5/27 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
5/3 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
6/1 Houston, TX – Free Press Summerfest
6/3 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
6/5 Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre
6/6 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
6/13 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
6/15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
6/16 Boston, MA – Royale Boston
6/18 Montreal, Quebec – La Tulipe
6/19 Toronto, Ontario – NXNE, Massey Hall
6/21 Dover, DE – Firefly Festival
6/22 New York, NY – Webster Hall
6/23 New York, NY – Webster Hall
6/26 Brighton, England – Concorde 2
6/30 Manchester, England – Gorilla
7/1 Leeds, England – Cockpit
7/2 Bristol, England – Trinity
7/17 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
7/19 Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
7/20 Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
9/3 London, England – Brixton Electric
*opening for Arcade Fire
†opening for The National
I know a lot of you foreign types read this blog, so let me explain something. Here in America, we have this thing every year called “March Madness” where suddenly everyone is expected to care about college basketball. It’s a tournament and the team that wins gets to bone every chick at the losing team’s school…at least I assume that’s what happens, because there’s no other explanation for why everyone gets so fucking excited about it.
Anyway, around here we had our own little version of March Madness with our latest Weird Band Poll, and the band that gets to cut down the net (look it up) is a little combo from Upstate New York called Well Worn Boot. I am excited about this because I grew up in that part of the world and these guys represent my favorite part of Upstate, which is the white trash part. They’re from Buffalo but they may as well be from Pigfuck, Arkansas. Except they’re probably a little too weird for that.
Well Worn Boot’s lead singer is a flute-playing hillbilly named The Plainsman. Their guitarist is a horse called Horse. Their bass player is a big baby called Baby Buckingham. Their drummer is a dead guy named Billy Klubb who, for reasons no one can explain, wears a tiny cow-colored top hat. They play music that has been described as “Johnny Cash meets Captain Beefheart,” and yes, it is very nearly as awesome as that sounds. Especially when The Plainsman lets rip with a flute solo. Then they’re like a cowpunk Jethro Tull.
They release comic books with their EPs, which chronicle the adventures of Well Worn Boot like they’re a bunch of drunken Upstate superheroes. The first comic/EP was called Fully Torqued and you can preview it here. The next one comes out next month and will be called Boot in Space. I assume it’ll be set in space but from what I know so far about these guys, it might just be set in Billy Klubb’s basement and guest star a nitrous tank.
Oh and they also have their own festival. It’s called the Wild Wild Fest and it’s happening this year Aug. 29-30 at the Willow Creek Winery in Silver Creek, NY. I’m usually more of a beer and bourbon guy, but I’ll drink whatever that place is pouring.
We’ll leave you with the video from “Drunk on the Highway,” which is pretty typical of the WWB catalog in that it features aliens, drinking and sex. Not necessarily in that order.
Actually, hold up. That one didn’t have enough flute in it. So here’s another one.
It’s been awhile since we heard anything from our favorite white Ohio rapper (sorry, Machine Gun Kelly), so we were tickled silly to discover that not only is our man Gary “Mission Man” Milholland still out there on his grind—now he’s doing it with company! Yep, Mission Man now has (for some gigs, at least) a full backing band. Watch your back, Roots!
We don’t have the full details yet, but apparently The Mish has even recorded a live album with said backing band and plans to release it later this year. It will be called RnR Playdate after the open mic night in Fairborn, Ohio where this crew, The RnR Playdaters, serve as the house band. Even before I knew about the whole open-mic element, I was sure these tattooed bros would take Mission Man’s defiantly weird music and turn it into bar-band dreck, but they actually stay pretty true to the herky-jerky rhythms and random slap basslines of the original material. They throw a gratuitous guitar solo in there, too, but Gary’s obviously loving it and hey, if he’s happy, we’re happy.
More news on Mission Man, his new posse and RnR Playdate as soon as we have it.
I threw up three times while writing this headline: Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus are collaborating on a Beatles cover
Why, Wayne, why? Are you having a midlife crisis? Are you just trying fuck with us? What is the deal with all the shitty pop collaborations of late? It wasn’t bad enough you did a song with Ke$ha, now you have to team up with Miley fucking Cyrus?
Actually, the very notion of Miley/Flaming Lips collab is so perverse, it just might work. In a way, it already has; the Lips joined Miley onstage at the Tulsa, Oklahoma stop of her current “Bangerz” tour to perform “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” and much as we hate to admit, it didn’t actually suck (video proof below). But they’ve also been up to no good in the studio, and that’s where the story takes a really scary turn: They’re teaming up with one of the guys from MGMT to do a Beatles cover. And not just any Beatles cover: They’re doing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” I think I speak for all Beatles fans when I say this has all the makings of a sacrilege on par with Katy Perry’s recent butchering of “Yesterday.”
But hell, what do I know? The Lips minus Miley are actually the perfect band to give “Lucy” an appropriately trippy interpretation. So maybe they can tame The Tongue long enough to get a decent vocal take out of her.
Then again, this recent post to Wayne Coyne’s Instagram account, accompanied by the caption, “Miley in the studio vomiting diamonds while singing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!!”, does not fill us with hopeful anticipation:
On a brighter note: Here’s that video of adoring Miley Cyrus fans cheering Wayne and Miley’s rendition of “Yoshimi.” Some of them even pelted Wayne with their bras. I believe in midlife crisis terms, that’s known as “Unlocking the Tom Jones Achievement Badge.”
If this blog were a game of street hockey, FCKN BSTRDS would be the fat kid from the end of the block who showed up in full pads and started checking all the other kids into the pavement, screaming the whole time, “You want a piece of me? YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME???” They’re scary weird…intimidatingly weird. I’m not sure if people get physically hurt at a FCKN BSTRDS show, but I’m positive there’s some emotion scarring.
FCKN BSTRDS are from the Netherlands and have been around since at least the late ’90s. They’ve put out a bunch of singles, cassettes and DVDs over the years, but the best way to experience the BSTRDS is through their live shows, which are as close to total anarchy as anything we’ve seen this side of Caroliner or Crash Worship. Dressed up like giant trash monsters, they generate a wall of feedback, noise and primal screams, then run around like lunatics, dry-humping objects, audience members and each other, tossing trash everywhere, and basically reducing the performance space unlucky to have them to a rainbow-colored pig sty. It looks amazing.
The leader of these self-described “misfits from the margins of the Dutch music scene” is a guy named Peter Zincken, who’s been part of the Dutch noise scene since the ’80s. His other projects include Odal and Dr. Bibber, which you should not bother Googling because most Odal results will lead you to a German pagan black metal band (not him) and the Dutch version of the game Operation (still not him). Dude doesn’t have a big digital footprint, as the NSA spies like to say.
We did manage to find this four-minute documentary about Zincken. It’s all in Dutch, but it has some great clips of his old solo Dr. Bibber performances, which are basically the MTV Unplugged version of FCKN BSTRDS. Even minus the costumes and the feedback, he’s still more abrasive than a pair of steel wool boxer shorts.
It’s kind of pointless for me to even attempt further description of a FCKN BSTRDS show, so I’ll just let you view the carnage for yourself. Warning: May contain major dick-wagging.
You might think that such insanity would not work in the harsh light of day, but you’d be wrong. It is daylight that is no match for the awesome power of the FCKN BSTRDS. Behold:
P.S. Shout-out to readers to Blaffie and Steven for suggesting these guys.
We were gutted today to learn that Gary Burger, lead singer/guitarist for our current Weird Band of the Week, The Monks, passed away on Friday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 72. Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current broke the story on Friday, with a local paper called the Bemidji Pioneer filling in some additional details of his post-Monks life in the tiny Minnesota town of Turtle River, where he was the mayor (and still played the occasional Monks reunion gig).
Despite The Monks gaining a sizable cult following over the last 25 years, Burger led a pretty quiet life, producing the work of other bands and musicians out of a home recording studio and occasionally working as a filmmaker. He was elected mayor in 2006.
Burger remained modest about The Monks’ legacy. “We all knew that we were doing a different sort of music,” he told Minnesota music journalist Andrea Swensson in 2009, “but as far as being a forerunner band—that was the furthest from our minds. We really weren’t thinking that. We were thinking that we were playing rock and roll with a twist, and the twist was the electric banjo, the feedback, the drums, basically not using cymbals but lots of tom toms. We had no idea that we were creating a new movement. And I’m still thinking, hey, we were just a rock and roll band that really had a lot of fun.”
With Burger’s death, only two of the original Monks are still alive: bassist Eddie Shaw and organist Larry Clark. But their spirit lives on in countless bands that owe a huge debt to their innovative sound, from The Raincoats to The White Stripes to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
We’ll leave you with a clip of Gary and The Monks from 1999, still rocking out just as hard as they did in the ’60s. Here’s hoping their reputation continues to grow, even after Gary’s passing—they still haven’t gotten all the recognition they deserve.
March Weird Band Poll: Vote for The Hermits of Suburbia, Man With a Mission, RV Carcass, Toxic Chicken or Well Worn Boot
After the week I just had, I need a weekend of less thinkin’, more drinkin’. Which means it’s time to leave the thinkin’ part of this blog to you folks out there Readerland. Yep, it’s time for another Weird Band Poll™! Ready to crush the hopes and dreams of four out of five bands? I know you are.
We’ll have our usual insanely long voting period, because procrastinators need love, too. So voting ends at midnight on Sunday, March 23rd, and the winner will be crowned Weird Band of the Week on March 26th. Play fair and only vote once, K? If you really feel the need to cheat, do it on something that matters, like your taxes or Words With Friends.
[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:
The Hermits of Suburbia
These guys are from Atlanta…or the suburbs of Atlanta, I guess…and call themselves a “drinking band with a ska problem.” I hope you get your ska problem sorted out soon, guys, cuz that shit’ll kill you. Here’s a song of theirs called “We Races the Car (So You Don’t Have To) or Who Says a Ska Band Can’t Funk,” and here’s their Bandcamp page. Oh, and their ukulele player is an ordained Dudeist in the Church of the Big Lebowski. Also, they’re a ska band with a fucking ukulele player! Mind = blown.
Man With a Mission
Man With a Mission is Japan’s only wolf-headed alt-metal band named after a Don Henley song. Trust us, we checked. Their backstory is all about how they were created in a lab and then frozen in Antarctica for centuries or some shit but let’s not worry too much about that part. Here’s one of their videos and here’s their official website, which for a band that dresses up like wolf janitors does not have anywhere near enough videos on it.
RV Carcass are named after their recording studio…literally, these guys record all their music in a broken-down RV they’ve rigged up with all sorts of high-tear electronics and converted to run on corn whiskey. You had us at “runs on corn whiskey,” buds. They’re based in San Francisco now but they “escaped” from Morocco, although I’m not really sure what they were escaping from. Judging from this video, I bet drugs were involved. Here’s their website.
We don’t really know much about this dude, except that he’s a Dutch guy living in Bangkok. He makes lo-bit bedroom electronic music which this guy Graham puts out on Wrieuw Recordings. Apparently one of his records came out on a floppy disk wrapped in a diaper, so he’s got that going for him. Here’s his My Cat EP on Bandcamp and here’s a video for the song “biscuits with jesus,” which for some reason co-stars Hitler.
Well Worn Boot
Well Worn Boot are from Buffalo (Upstate NY represent!) and are led by a singer/flute-blower called The Plainsman, so they’re sort of an American white-trash version of Jethro Tull. Their press kit calls them “American folklore inspired” but I’m pretty sure that’s the same thing as “American white-trash inspired.” I bet they and the Hermits of Suburbia could have an epic drinking contest. Speaking of drinking, here’s a live video of them doing a song called “Drunk on the Highway.” And here’s their website.
So there you have it. Remember to cast your vote before midnight Sunday, March 23rd, and may the weirdest band win.