Zayte Buti’s tribute to Dustin Pedroia and coconut water should replace “Sweet Caroline” as the thing Red Sox fans sing during the 7th inning stretch
I was born in New England, so I’ve pretty much been a Red Sox fan since before birth. If Mom could’ve shoved a tiny Red Sox cap up her baby chute, I’m sure she would have. So like everyone else in Red Sox Nation, I’ve spent most of the past five days curled in a fetal position around a case of Sam Adams Octoberfest, occasionally yelling out “Boston Strong!” and the lyrics to “DIrty Water.” It’s the traditional way we celebrate a World Series victory, dating all the way back to 2004.
I’m sure many Red Sox tribute songs will be coming out in the days ahead, most of them focusing on facial hair. But none will be weirder than “Dustin Pedroia Hydrates Natural-l-y” for our old pal and former Weird Band Poll champ, Zayde Buti. Take it away, Zayde.
For those of you who weren’t around way back in 2010, when we first discovered Zayde: He used to make cheesy synth R&B anthems about fast food, often dressed up in full-on Wendy’s drag. When we heard he had decided to switch things up and make a folk/country/blues album, I have to admit we were kinda bummed out. But we needn’t have worried. Even strumming an acoustic gee-tar, Zayde’s still a 9.2 on the weirdo scale.
Zayde’s promising a new album called Going, Going, Gone! sometime in December. We’ll keep you posted on its impending release. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go curl up in a fetal position around a case of Vita Coco coconut water. Well, I love that coconut water, oh, Boston you’re my home…
I honestly can’t remember how we first heard about this week’s weird band. Somebody posted one of their videos on our Submit a Band page, I think, but I’m too lazy to go back and find it. Anyway, we had sort of forgotten all about them, because we have the attention span of ADHD cats, but just yesterday they emailed us and were all like, “Hey, I think we were featured on your website before.” And we were all like, “Not really, somebody just put one of your videos in the comments, but you know what? You should be featured. Let’s do this!” And here we are, introducing you to the ridiculousness that is pee pee po.
Pee Pee Po (or P.P.Po, or peepeepo…dudes like to mix it up) is a couple of guys from Murfreesboro, Tennessee named Cooper and Josh, who have been making a racket together since 2006. As Cooper explained to us, they originally set out to be a “serious” band, but all they had was a microphone and a Casio MIDI keyboard and because they didn’t really know how to use the keyboard at first, all they could really do was make really fucked-up drums and strings sounds with it.
“It was so funny that we just decided to make weird shit like this all the time,” Cooper explains. And that became pee pee po. It’s an inspirational story of triumph in the face of adversity.
Pee Pee Po still get a lot of mileage out of that Casio keyboard, although they eventually started mixing in some guitar and stuff. Their signature trick, probably going back to their early Casio days, is to constantly change tempos, sometimes speeding things up so fast that the song just becomes a zillion-BPM smear of noise, like a skipping CD player. The songs occasionally have lyrics, but more often the “vocals” are just randomly shouted words, unintelligible gibberish, and rude bodily noises. Lots of rude bodily noises.
There’s a shit-ton of music on their SoundCloud and even more on their YouTube channel, which is called Omahamaho and also features random silliness like fake newscasts and Michael Jackson parodies. But their crowning achievement is without a doubt the song and video “Going Weest.” It’s like New Age guitar music for crackheads. Done by a bunch of dudes who wear their sunglasses upside down, which is a pretty good look if you’re a no-budget weird band making New Age guitar music for crackheads.
We’ll throw in one bonus video from Omahamaho’s vast YouTube catalog. This is called “Slovakian Death Concert 1989″ and while I guess it’s not technically a pee pee po video (though they do make an appearance), it makes me wanna smoke out and watch an Adult Swim marathon.
P.S. Turns out we were able to find the reader who turned us on to pee pee po after all. So many thanks to FastestPossum! I’m wearing my sunglasses upside down in your honor.
One of our favorite new readers, Josh Gold, introduced us to this week’s band with the immortal words, “I think you’d enjoy them though I don’t get too much enjoyment from them.” You know us so well, Josh. What to others is aural diarrhea, to us is a melodious eargasm. Well, in the case of Baboon Torture Division, “eargasm” might be overstating it a bit. “Long, satisfying sound dump” is probably more accurate.
BTD is a duo from Vancouver made up of one guitar/singer/synth player/Ronald McDonald commemorative plate collector named Steve Biloba and one bass-playing, gas-mask-wearing humanoid called Pocketron XP. They’re also occasionally joined onstage and in videos by Ronald McDonald himself (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), Ronald Reagan (sometimes even two Ronald Reagans) and a guy in a cartoon bear suit who looks like he wandered in from a really creepy children’s party.
They’ve released 10 albums, although many of their “albums” are really just long-form jokes: a 44- minute send-up of ’80s hip-hop and electro called The Breakdance Sesh, an album of cheesy dance pop called Background Music for a Party, and not one, but two pseudo-8-bit albums called Digital Masturbation and Digital Masturbation 2. (Sample track titles: “Fuck Pizza Hut,” “Bowser Is Too Easy to Kill,” and perhaps their greatest achievement, a tender one-minute glitch ballad called “The Last Thing You’d Want to Hear If You Were Jacking Off Your Father While He Watched the Sylvester Stallone Wrist Wrestling Movie.” OK, maybe just the title is their greatest achievement.)
BTD’s twisted sense of humor is perhaps best captured in their two finest video offerings. First up, “Ice Cream Truck Music,” which is literally just five solid minutes wind-up monkeys dancing in front of my college acid dealer’s screen saver. Don’t worry, the music changes more often than the visuals. Way more often, actually.
Next: The kind of amazing “Sexy Times,” a disco/industrial jam that’s actually got a great groove, along with some of the cheesiest office romance lyrics of all time and backup dancers that look like they escaped from Mummenschanz. “I was prepping demos for the 12 o’clock meeting/You were wearing slacks and your nails were green”—finally, a love song us cubicle dwellers can relate to.
So thanks, reader Josh! And yeah, you’re right, we should totally add Sun Ra to the Weird List. One of these days.
Despite our crusty, cynical exteriors, we’re really softies here at Weird Band HQ. So when a band loses one of our world-famous Weird Band Polls™ by just a few votes, it breaks our hearts. But not for very long, because we can just go ahead and add them to the Weird List anyway. You didn’t think that poll shit was binding, did you? This ain’t fuckin’ American Idol and I’m way better looking than that douchebag Ryan Seacrest.
So congratulations, H-Beam! You may have come in second to Barbara, but second place with over 500 freakin’ votes is still good enough in our book.
H-Beam are from Nashville, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they are not gunning for a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They’re more Dr. Demento than Grand Ole Opry. The brains of the operation seems to be a singer/guitarist/banana aficionado named (duh) Banana Matt. When he’s reeling off guitar-god psych-rock solos, they kinda just sound like another Bonnaroo side stage jam band. But Matt likes to write songs about talking hot dogs and masturbating pandas, and he’s surrounded himself quite the band of misfits: a magician/saxophonist, a dude who gives rides on his giant moustache, a lawyer pig named Bert DerHam, and a manager/hype-man named Mitch Huffman who wears a thrift-store pimp hat and says “Who touched all my shit?” a lot for no apparent reason. Even the masturbating panda shows up occasionally.
Banana Matt and company just released their third album this week: Episode 1: Shorn to Secrecy, a follow-up to the excellently titled Useful Box of Hair. It’s full of wacky skits and Zappa-like jams and it will make you smile. You can download the whole thing name-your-own-price-styley from Noisetrade. There’s an entire song about bacon, so you know that shit’s worth at least a fiver.
Now I will admit: 500 votes aside, half the reason H-Beam is scoring Weird Band of the Week honors is because they got Bert DerHam to make this awesome video giving us a shoutout. But the other half…maybe even the other two-thirds…is the video for “Love Panda.” Enjoy.
You know what automatically makes just about anything cooler? Robots, that’s what. By that measure, Captured! by Robots (no relation, as far as we know, to Panic! at the Disco) is the coolest band on the planet. There’s only one human in this nine-member band, and he’s a whiny douchebag in a gimp mask with fake intestines hanging over his beer gut. Whereas the guitar player, GTRBOT666, is like eight feet tall and plays a double-neck Flying V combination guitar and bass. Because shit, why not? He’s a fucking robot. They can vacuum our carpets and assemble our automobiles. How hard can it be for them to play three-chord hesher bait?
Actually, the robots aren’t really the driving force behind Captured! by Robots. It’s that lone whiny human (but we had you going for a second there, didn’t we?). The joke perpetuated by Jay Vance, aka JBOT, is that he started building robot bandmates because he was sick of his flesh and blood ones…but then the robots rose up and enslaved him, and now they run the band. There’s a cautionary tale in there somewhere, but we’re not sure if it’s “Stick to your human band” or “Skip the robots and taking up DJing.”
Anyway, here’s a clip of C!bR’s live show, which is really the main attraction here. Musically, they’re in no danger of replacing us meat puppets. Although their “Don’t Stop Believin’” cover ain’t half bad. (By the way, high-fives to reader Aaron for suggesting these guys. Hold on to that feeling, Aaron!)
Sad news in the world of weird bands this week: Ween have broken up. At least according to Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman they have; Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo, heartbreakingly, seems to have been totally blindsided by the whole thing. “This is news to me, all I can say for now I guess,” Dean posted on Ween’s Facebook page. Poor guy.
We never got around to adding Ween to the Weird List sooner because, frankly, we’ve always classified them more as “quirky” than out-and-out weird—more left-of-center than, say, They Might Be Giants and Barenaked Ladies, but part of that same continuum of late ’80s/early ’90s bands whose reaction to the bloviated mainstream rock of the era was to genre-hop with cheeky abandon. But we know plenty of our readers are big fans, so when news of Freeman’s breakup announcement hit yesterday, we decided to revisit their gargantuan catalog (extra-gargantuan, if you include all their self-released ’80s material). And you know what? These dudes were pretty weird.
The hardcore fans don’t really need a tally of all their wackiest moments, but for the punters, let’s include one anyway:
Their early, self-released cassettes, mostly recorded when they were still in their teens and getting baked in the totally adorable Philadelphia exurb of New Hope, PA (I’ve been there and, trust me, it’s like if Martha Stewart designed an entire town), included such immortal titles as Axis: Bold as Boognish and Erica Petersen’s Flaming Crib Death. They recorded everything on four-track and would frequently speed up or slow down the playback to achieve various creepy psychedelic and underwater effects, like on this track.
Their first major-label release, 1992′s Pure Guava, included such track titles as “Reggaejunkiejew,” “Poop Ship Destroyer” and “Touch My Tooter.” Amazingly, it also produced a hit single, “Push th’ Little Daisies.” When their label, Elektra, made them release a radio edit of the song that omitted the word “shit” from the lyrics, they replaced the word with a Prince sample and titled the new version “Push th’ Little Daisies (Shitless Radio Edit – No Shit).”
In 1996, they went to Nashville and made a country album. It was actually pretty good, too.
They followed that up in 1997 with The Mollusk, a nautical-themed concept album that many consider to be their best work—or at least their weirdest. It also inspired at least one great Lego-mation video.
They became one of the first bands to fully embraced digital music formats in 1999, when they released their next album, Craters of the Sac, exclusively on MP3.
They committed fewer acts of weirdness in the ’00s, although they did release their one and only full-on house track, the awesomely ridiculous “Friends.”
Even post-Ween, Dean and Gene have been keeping it weird. Gene’s first solo album under his real name, Aaron Freeman, is made up entirely of Rod McKuen songs. Dean Ween, meanwhile, has mostly gone fishin’—literally. You can charter a fishing trip with him on the Delaware River or off the Jersey Shore through Mickey’s Guide Service.
It’s also worth mentioning that arguably no other band, over the course of the past 20 years, covered more musical terrain. Ween songs range from punk to psychedelic rock to lo-fi bedroom folk to ambient tape loop experiments to country to reggae to bossa nova to funk to sea shanties to Led Zeppelin covers and back to punk again. They could seemingly do anything—and while much of it was done with tongue firmly in cheek, it was all executed with undeniable skill, which may be the single quality their fans love about them the most. Listening to the Ween catalog is like listening to a really good barroom jukebox after a really good bong rip.
We’ll leave you with “Push th’ Little Daisies,” which for me remains Ween’s crowning achievement (and yes, I know, that’s sacrilege to all you hardcore fans, but c’mon—how great is this song?). Also, how freakin’ cute are Dean and Gene in this video? They look like they’re barely old enough to drive.
We look forward to your Coachella 2014 reunion, guys!