We’ve been getting into the idea of having regular “Flashback Fridays” here at TWBITW. Last week we went into the vaults for some ’70s Italian exorcist rock with Jacula; the week before that, it was ’60s NYC freak folk courtesy of The Godz. The past is fun!
This week, we’re taking the ol’ Wayback Machine for a more leisurely spin, cruising back to the more recent past of 2003. That’s when British electronic duo Plaid made this truly amazing video for “Itsu,” the opening track off Dial P, a mix album that was released only as a bonus insert in some copies of their 2003 album Spokes. Like most Plaid tracks, the music itself is frisky and experimental, with lots of sudden left turns between soothing, ambient electronica and glitchier, breakbeat-fueled passages. But it’s the video that really stands out here. You may never be able to sit through a PowerPoint presentation with a straight face again.
Good luck finding a copy of Dial P—only 2,000 copies were ever made and they’re in very limited circulation. But if you want to find a copy of Plaid’s latest album, Reachy Prints, which just came out in May, that’s easy enough: Just try Amazon. (It’s pretty weird, too, but we couldn’t feature it because hey, it’s Flashback Friday.) And for more of the deliciously offbeat sounds of Plaid, check out their official website.
More details regarding the forthcoming Quintron and Miss Pussycat album, courtesy of Vice’s music site, Noisey: It’s called Spellcaster II: Death in Space and it will arrive Oct. 28th via the excellently named Pizza Burglar Records. Like most Q & Miss P efforts, judging from the just-released album art, it’s being billed as a Quintron solo joint. Which makes sense, since aside from the occasional lead vocal, all Miss Pussycat does musically is play the maracas. She’s more responsible for the visual side of things.
Spellcaster II is the New Orleans duo’s first full-length album since 2011’s Sucre du Sauvage, but they’ve been keeping busy in the three years since, releasing a steady stream of singles, touring, scoring a Grammy nomination (for their song “Chatterbox,” which was covered on the Grammy-nominated album Grand Isle by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys), and playing a show at the fucking Kennedy Center. You know, the usual, run-of-the-mill stuff for your average Big Easy swamp-tech band.
Noisey also premiered the title track off Spellcaster II, “Death in Space,” an ominous, buzzy instrumental that sounds a bit like the soundtrack to a low-budget Bayou zombie flick. After you’ve given it a spin, stick around for the full Spellcaster II tracklist and a link to pre-order the album. Oh, and if you live in North America east of the Rockies, check out their fall tour dates.
Spellcaster II: Death in Space tracklist:
1. Wonder MT
2. Death In Space
4. Do The Raid
5. Home Invastion
6. Mirza’s Marsh
7. Somethings Wrong With Jim
9. Fatal Harmonic
10. Death In Space (reprise)
11. Mirza’s Marsh (extended)
Pre-order Spellcaster II on vinyl from Pizza Burglar Records here.
When our friend Richard There played a few shows in the U.K. two years ago, one of the performers he was on the bill with was a British singer/songwriter named John Callaghan. I guess he turned John onto our website, because yesterday John wrote to us and shared a few of his delightfully eccentric videos, including his latest one, which we’ve embedded below.
“I’ve been described as ‘weird’ quite a bit,” Callaghan says in his email. “I certainly don’t take being weird as my starting point. I’ve always simply tried to be interesting and good because ‘being good is different enough.'” He calls his stuff “eccentronica,” which is our new favorite made-up word.
Callaghan’s songs, while certainly offbeat, also have an appealing retro-pop quality to them; in different arrangements, they could be Thomas Dolby or ’80s-era Bowie. And his videos are often quite ingenious. Here’s the backstory for how he created this one:
Whenever I’m in a large, empty and private space I always think I should record a music video. And I’ve been trying to overcome my inertia by producing more material, too. So when I had an art college studio to myself for an hour (after posing for a life drawing class) I used the costumes I’d brought to pose in and my tablet to record some footage to toy with.
To learn more about John Callaghan and hear more of his music, visit his website.
Meet our latest poll winners: Heiter bis Wolkig, self-described purveyors of “weird German cabaret bullshit.” And when it’s German bullshit, you better bring a plunger. That sausage and sauerkraut diet is murder on the ol’ gut pipes, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, we actually don’t know much about these guys, because they didn’t tell us much and nearly everything that’s been written online about them is in German. But hey, Google Translator to the rescue!
Apparently, Heiter bis Wolkig started way back in the ’80s as some kind of college theater art prank. A bunch of schoolmates from Cologne started making parody songs as part of a cabaret night and I guess things kinda just snowballed from there. They even had a sorta-hit in 1992 with a song called “Hey Rote Zora,” a parody of “Here Comes Pippi Longstocking.” If you speak German, I guess it’s fucking hysterical… although even for us non-Germans, the part where it turns into a snot-punk rave-up is pretty fun stuff.
In case you’re wondering, Heiter bis Wolkig either means “Partly Sunny” or “Partly Cloudy” or possibly both those things, because Germans are complicated.
Back in the day, Heiter bis Wolkig was a whole gang, but only two of them, Marco and Micha, have been crazy enough to keep at it into their forties. God bless ‘em, right? Seems like they revived Heiter bis Wolkig in 2012 after a long hiatus with a couple of releases: a “maxi-CD” called Pop Ma$$akker and a single called “Generation D.” No, I don’t know what a maxi-CD is, either. It’s either a CD that doubles as a tampon or it’s what we Americans call an EP or “extended play” release.
Anyway, Heiter bis Wolkig’s new stuff is still super-satirical, but it covers more ground genre-wise. Here they are making fun Lady Gaga-style electro-pop, while running around London in fat suits because I have no idea why:
Actually, maybe “satirical” isn’t the right word for lyrics like “Stupid Gaga music for fucking silly skanks.” How about we just call it put-down pop? That’s catchy, right?
Here they are making fun of pop-punk. Yeah, they’re shooting fish in barrels here, but there’s something ever so slightly off about the whole thing that makes it just downright delightful. Also, they throw in a “fucking motherfucker” madrigal interlude, just cuz. And they’re wearing white jumpsuits that say “ZOMBIEPROOF” on them. Because fans of pop-punk are a bunch of fucking zombies, I guess? I dunno, the fact that half of it makes no sense at all is what makes it work.
And finally, here’s the German version of their Lady Gaga parody, which honestly works even better than the English version. Side note: Back in my skate-punk days, I totally used to own that baseball cap.
So anyway, congrats on winning our poll, Heiter bis Wolkig! We look forward to you shitting on other forms of music us Americans love soon. Maybe dubstep? Dubstep is always a good target.
We don’t post much math rock on this blog, for the very simple reason that most of it isn’t actually that weird. Technically impressive, sure, but weird? Not so much. Go to any large band practice space in any big college town and you will hear the cacophony of a dozen math rock bands all trying to shred around a diminished seventh chord in alternating 3/2 and 7/8 tempos and I actually nodded off three times while trying to finish this sentence. The sound of music geeks geeking out can go to some pretty weird places—but as with most genres of music, the vast majority of it is pretty by-the-book.
This is why I find Tera Melos so refreshing. Yes, they’re clearly big-time music geeks, but they a.) don’t take themselves too seriously and b.) make songs that, while still full jerky start-stop rhythms and odd, slightly dissonant chord progressions, also have melody and—dare I say it?—a sense of groove. They remind me a lot of Pinback and Minus the Bear, two bands I really like that sometimes get labeled as math rock even though I’m sure the hardcore math rockers think their time signatures are too basic.
But what really puts them over the top into weirdo territory are their music videos, which are nearly always amazing. Here’s a recent one for the track “Bite” that is pretty much exactly how I always imagined it would look if Primus made a J-pop video. And yes, I imagine that sort of thing a lot.
P.S. Thanks to reader matp662 for submitting Tera Melos. Matp662 suggested another video, “The Skin Surf,” and that one’s pretty weird, too.
It’s been a couple of years since we last got an update from the Land of There and its prince, jester and alderman, Richard There. And in that time, we’ve missed his sparse, haunting, occasionally psychotic bedroom folk songs. He was our first-ever Weird Band Poll™ winner, so he’ll always have a special place in our hearts.
So imagine our delight when Richard emailed us an update in the wee hours this morning. “I´m releasing my new album,” he wrote. “It’s the first time I release something on vinyl and I´m very happy with it. I´m doing it as always without any label and all by myself.”
The album is called Less Is Less and you can pre-order a vinyl copy right now from Richard’s website. You can also watch the first video from the record, for a track called “Axolotl,” but only on one condition: That you turn your monitor sideways before you hit “Play.” Trust us, it’s worth it.
See? Pretty cool, right? The song itself isn’t as weird as Richard’s earlier stuff, but it’s really beautiful. We look forward to hearing the rest of it, even if we have to turn the speakers sideways first.
I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite weird music videos are the ones where you can quite tell if the band is kidding or not. When I first watched “Psychedelic Spaceship” from self-proclaimed “sassy synth master” Erleen Nada, I was sure the whole thing was a big goof. Now I’ve watched it like 10 times, because it’s awesome, and I can’t tell anymore. She’s like the sexy lovechild of Jan Terri and Fred Schneider. Is she really gonna take a ride on a psychedelic spaceship? Is she really infinity? I think maybe she is. Take me with you, Erleen!
For more from Erleen, who’s yet another weirdo from right here in Lost Anjealous, check out her website.
So this morning we got a very polite email from a guy from Florida named Robbie Brantley, asking us to check out his band Human Fluid Rot. “Good day to you all,” the email read in part. “I hope you find my project interesting enough to put on your site.” Who says “Good day to you all” anymore? Even with a name like Human Fluid Rot, we were half expecting a chap-hop project.
Happily, however, it turns out that Robbie’s politeness ends with his emails. Musically, he’s as rude as they come, unleashing the kind of shrieking feedback noise assault that clears rooms and busts eardrums. And occasionally, he creates it while taking a dump. He’s our kind of guy, that Robbie.
Anyway, here’s Robbie’s latest sonic stinkbomb, 45 minutes of static and despair called “Kid Songs.” It’s a great way to start your week!
To find out more about Human Fluid Rot, visit their Facebook page.
Our favorite Brazilian tecno brega trio Banda Uó is back with a new music video. This one’s called “Catraca” and while it’s not quite as bizarre as earlier clips like “Gringo” and “Shake de Amor,” it does feature shots of Candy Mel getting off on a washing machine, a woman’s ass covered in googly eyes, and somebody getting drowned in milk and Froot Loops. Y’know, a typical Brazilian house party, at a fancy house everyone broke into.
Incidentally, guest rapper Mr. Catra is not actually a little person. He’s this guy. But no Brazilian house party is complete without a rapping little person, I guess.
“Catraca” is available via iTunes in both its original form and a Bonde do Rolê remix.
Let’s wrap up the week with a little vintage Italian mystic/esoteric prog/psych/horror soundtrack rock. Jacula was a band active in the late ’60s and early ’70s, made up of rock guitarist Antonio Bartoccetti (of the band Antonius Rex), church organist Charles Tiring and experimental keyboardist/sound engineer Doris Norton. They’ve been described as “the most authoritative band of the deeper parabiblical mystic sound.” They recently reunited and released their first album in nearly 40 years, Pre Viam, in 2011, with a promise of more new material coming soon.
This track is from their second album, 1972’s Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus. Kinda sounds like a rock opera version of The Exorcist, no?
Our thanks to reader Giannina for sharing this stuff with us. I didn’t think Italian prog-rock could get any creepier than Goblin, but I think these guys have achieved that.