Listen up, weirdos: Our favorite Australians-with-disabilities power-pop act Rudely Interrupted need your help. They’ve only got about 48 hours left on a Pozible campaign (the Down Under version of Kickstarter) to raise another A$2,000 to finance the release of their latest EP, plus send them out on a promotional tour. So do the kids a solid, as we Americans like to say, and go pledge your support. A mere $9 gets you a copy of the EP and a warm, fuzzy feeling.
For those of y’all not familiar: Rudely Interrupted is a band made up mostly of folks born a bit different than the rest of us. Lead singer Rory Burnside, for example, has Asperger’s and epilepsy and was born without eyes. Hype man/sampler/occasional bassist Sam Beke—he of the trademark sparkly cape—has Down syndrome. But as you’ll see in the video below, none of that matters once they start playing.
Here’s that link to pledge again. Help ‘em out, people!
[Most Sundays, we give a little hype to a fellow blog, website or other source for all things related to weird music and the people who love it. Check the tag "Sunday Shout-Out" for other recommendations.]
As anyone who’s ever been a baseball game knows, you’re not really immortalized in American pop culture until someone makes a bobblehead doll in your likeness. So God bless the people at Aggronautix for inventing the “Throbblehead,” which is basically a bobblehead doll for the punk-rock crowd. Now you too can glue a jockstrap-clad GG Allin to your dashboard and watch his head waggle every time you hit a pothole. It’s almost better than listening to “I Wanna Fuck Myself” on a $10,000 stereo system. Actually, wait, the jockstrap GG is sold out. You’ll have to settle for the fully clothed version. Sorry.
Throbbleheads are the brilliant idea of a dude by the name of Clint, whose day job is working at MVD, a company that specializes in reissuing old punk records and DVDs and underground films. A few years back he started using his punk and indie music connections to get the rights to the likenesses of various icons of the scene, including more than a few of our favorite weirdos. Since making a splash with the GG Allin Throbblehead, he’s gone on to release figurines based on everyone from Mojo Nixon to DEVO to Wendy O. Williams. Most are limited to runs of 2,000 dolls or less and sell out quickly.
Aggronautix puts out other cool stuff, too. They were the folks behind that GG Allin prison diaries coffee table book we
made fun of told you about awhile back, and they’ve also put out everything from picture discs to skateboards to homoerotic comic books starring Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig. If you’re into punk rock collectibles, they’re basically K-Tel, Target and the Hummel Figurines catalog all rolled into one.
We’ll keep you posted about future Throbblehead releases. Who knows, maybe Clint will find inspiration for his next loose-necked doll right here in the virtual pages of this here blog.
When I think of Chicago, I think of deep dish pizza, Da Bears, Ferris Bueller, and that one time I bumped into Trent Reznor at O’Hare (true story). I certainly don’t think of weird music, but I may need to recalibrate my mental image of Da Chi. The city that gave us Wesley Willis and Jan Terri seems to be a reliable breeding ground for eccentric musical artistes. And carrying on in that grand tradition is the mysterious duo called Univore.
Univore first surfaced in 2010 with an album called Casale Project, which set the occasionally poetic ramblings of Italian-born artist Marco Casale to a series of breezy jazz/prog/disco/space-rock instrumentals. The music on Casale Project is semi-weird at best—though it does feature the occasional out-of-left-field blast of Love Supreme saxophone—but Marco Casale is a wonder, over-enunciating in his thick Mediterranean accent about America’s hair (“is like wheat on fire!”) and the dude he’s gonna bust up for stealing his bicycle seat. And when Univore started casting Casale is a series of zero-budget videos—all, for no apparent reason, with Asian subtitles—well, shit just got crazy in the best possible way.
Now it’s important to note that Casale is merely a guest vocalist and that, really, Univore is the work of two gentlemen by the names of David Bachmann and Nicholas Flandro. They describe themselves as a “media production duo” who are available (according to their website) for “original music, video production, content creation, ideating, as well as art direction and copywriting.” If I ever find myself stuck in O’Hare again (and Trent Reznor is nowhere to be found), I know who I’m calling when I’m in need of some ideating.
In addition to Casale Project, Univore have released two other albums: Love Letters, a 2011 concept album made up of “letters of affection to various fictional women” and Beasts From a Silk Womb, a “confluence of apocalyptic imagery” masquerading as makeout music from the ’70s. Here, for example, is a shag-run and lava-lamp jam about how we’re destroying the planet. Our technological advances will be our ultimate undoing, am I right, ladies??
Love Letters and Beasts From a Silk Womb don’t feature the campy vocal stylings of Mr. Casale, but Bachmann and and Flandro clearly know a good thing when they’ve found one and have been careful to cast the photogenic DeNiro/Aeillo lookalike in all their videos. Last year, they finally did a proper reunion with him and created a one-off song and short film called “I Dream the Video,” which is almost too well-produced for its own good. It left us longing for the simpler pleasures of their masterpiece, “Champagne Taste,” which against all reason and logic is impossible to stop watching. As one YouTube commenter put it: “Oh, no! I shouldn’t be watching this video.”
P.S. Many thanks to new reader Jake Kirby for turning us on to the unique charms of Univore, along with several other weird artists. Sorry we didn’t pick Hasil Adkins, Jake. Maybe next time.
Four Foot Shack, the debut album from Les Claypool’s back porch pickin’ project Duo de Twang, hits stores this Tuesday, but you can hear the whole thing now over at RollingStone.com. And yes, the bluegrassified, Dixie disco version of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” is every bit as bonkers as we’d hoped it would be.
Why the sudden interest in stripped-down, acoustic guitar/bass/foot stompin’ arrangements? “This record represents what I personally listen to these days,” Claypool told Rolling Stone. “Guys like Johnny Horton, Jerry Reed and Vernon Dalhart are the soundscape of my world as I’m boiling up crab in the backyard or working on my old Chryslers, so the notion of ‘twangifying’ my tunes seemed like a damn good idea.”
You can pre-order (or just order, if you’re reading this on or after Feb. 4th) Four Foot Shack via Amazon.com or Claypool’s own Club Bastardo online store. And you can still catch Les and his Duo de Twang partner-in-crime Bryan Kehoe on tour, with the following dates announced so far:
2/26 – New York, NY – The Heath at McKittrick Hotel
2/27 – New York, NY – The Heath at McKittrick Hotel (SOLD OUT)
2/28 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
3/1 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
3/3 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
3/4 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
3/6 – Kent, OH – The Kent Stage
3/7 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
3/8 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
3/9 – St. Louis, MO – Plush
3/11 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
3/15 – New Orleans, LA – Howlin Wolf
6/15 – Snowmass, CO – Snowmass Mammoth Fest
Get tickets here.
As much as I sometimes wish Americans were into better pop music, our bad taste does have its benefits. If nothing else, it often means that when cool superstars from overseas come to our Black-Eyed-Peas-afflicted land, they play much smaller venues than they do back home. Case in point: Harajuku J-pop icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who can fill arenas in Japan but will hit comparatively intimate theaters when she tours here next month. God bless America and our isolationist monoculture!
We’ll be going to see Kyary when she plays the small-ish (2,300 capacity) Club Nokia here in L.A. on Feb. 16th. And I gotta be honest, I have no idea what to expect. It’ll be our first real J-pop show, unless you count Trippple Nippples, which I don’t. The crowd at that show was a hipster-palooza. The crowd at Kyary’s all-ages show is likely to be a lot younger and screamier.
KPP WORLD TOUR 2014
Feb 13 Seattle / Showbox at the Market
Feb 15 San Francisco / The Regency Ballroom
Feb 16 Los Angeles / Club Nokia LA Live
Mar 5 Chicago / House of Blues
Mar 7 Toronto / Sound Academy
Mar 8 New York / Best Buy Theater
We’ll leave you with Kyary’s latest eye-popping video, for the track “Mottai Night Land.” In this one, she dresses up like a giant fluffy cat, dances with skeletons and plays a spastic piano solo. It’s one of her more restrained efforts.
When the Tiger Lillies take the stage tonight at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, England, I really hope lead singer Martyn Jacques begins the show by declaring, “This is a play Lou Reed and Metallica stole from Frank Wedekind—we’re here to steal it back!”
Yes, the Tiger Lillies’ latest opus, a 19-song suite called Lulu – A Murder Ballad, is based on the same source material as the ill-fated “Loutallica” collaboration Lulu from a few years back. Both draw their inspiration from a pair of pitch-black plays by the German playwright Frank Wedekind, about a dancer-turned-prostitute named Lulu who endures a series of abusive sexual relationships in turn-of-the-century Berlin, Paris and London on her way to an untimely demise. With all due respect to the late, legendary Lou Reed—truly one of the greatest artists ever to wield a black leather jacket and an electric guitar—I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Tiger Lillies’ version will be the better of the two. At the very least, it will almost certainly not feature any songs in which Jacques declares himself to be a table.
The Lillies have already been performing Lulu – A Murder Ballad elsewhere around Europe, but tonight marks the show’s premiere performance in their native Blighty. It also marks the first release of the show in album form.
For now, the only places you’ll be able to see Lulu are Leeds, Coventry and Manchester—for full dates, visit the Tiger Lillies’ website. But Martyn and the boys tour more or less non-stop, so I’m sure they’ll be mounting further presentations of it (complete with visuals by Mark Holthusen) elsewhere around the demimonde in the months ahead.
We’ll leave you with the first official video from from Lulu: “Jack,” an eerie meditation on the mind of Jack the Ripper. Not only was Jack a character in Pandora’s Box, the second of the two Lulu plays; he was played in the original production by the playwright Wedekind himself. No wonder the Tiger Lillies were drawn to this guy’s work.