God bless Die Antwoord. If those crazy South Africans hadn’t pointed the way with their over-the-top rap-rave anthems and even more over-the-top music videos, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have the Polish “Slavschool” hip-hop of Donatan and we definitely wouldn’t have the Russian rap-rave anthems of Little Big, who are basically Die Antwoord after too much vodka.
On one level, Little Big resembles Die Antwoord so much that they almost seem derivative. Their music is glitchy and uptempo; their videos are grotesque, absurb and occasionally shocking; their lead singer is a skinny tattooed dude who used to be a hip-hop-loving performance artist. (Die Antwoord’s Ninja, aka Waddy Jones, got his start doing more high-brow, satirical with projects like Max Normal; Little Big’s Ilya Prusikin honed his mic skills doing raps dressed up as Josef Stalin.) Even Little Big’s two midget members, Olympia Ivleva and Anna Kast, are reminiscent of Leon Botha, the late Die Antwoord collaborator with progeria syndrome—although that’s probably a totally unfair comparison because for all I know, Kast and Ivleva are integral singers/songwriters/producers in Little Big who just happen to be little people.
And yet, for all the obvious indebtedness to Die Antwoord—and, I suspect, to the videos of Donatan—there’s something about Little Big that is thrillingly original, too. Their hyper-kinetic videos are especially addictive, recasting the stereotypical images of Russian culture—the folk dancers, the vodka, the tracksuit-clad hooligans, the drab, Cold War-era military uniforms, even a balaclava nod to Pussy Riot—as the ghetto-fabulous trappings of a non-stop dance party. And even though their music is almost entirely electronic, there’s a manic, gypsy-punk energy to it. They’re like a raver version of Gogol Bordello, especially on their most popular track, “Everyday I’m Drinking”:
And if you thought that was a wild ride, get a load of “Life in da Trash,” in which a junkyard doubling as a zombie prison camp turns into an apocalyptic dance party and, judging from some heavy-handed title cards, a metaphor for modern life. Prusikin told Vice UK that he’s also a big fan of Cannibal Corpse, which makes total sense after you watch this.
Little Big have an album coming out later this month—their first, I believe. They have a pair of album release shows coming up in St. Petersburg and Moscow and just released a new video earlier today to promote them. It’s called “With Russia From Love” and it gives me oddly amorous feelings towards goats. And makes me want to dance like a Cossack on meth.
P.S. Huge thanks to reader Vass for introducing us to these guys. You made our week, Vass!
Just to clear up any possible confusion: No, this week’s weird band has nothing to do with Christmas or Santa Claus. Their name is merely a statement of fact because, let’s face it, Santa has never actually given you shit. Spoiler alert: It was your parents the whole time!
Now that we’ve cleared that up: Santa Hates You is a self-described “dark electro” duo from Germany who make industrial-tinged dance music accompanied by goofy/creepy/sexy videos that we can’t seem to stop watching. The goofy part comes from Peter “PS” Spilles, a German singer/producer also known for his electro-industrial group Project Pitchfork. The sexy part comes from Jinxy, an Italian singer about whom we know very little, except that she looks great in red vinyl. They both get in on the creepy part. (Actually, Jinxy gets a little goofy sometimes, too, and I suppose Spilles might be sexy if you’re into cigar-chomping German guys in evil clown makeup.)
Santa Hates You’s graver (goth + raver—yes, that’s actually a thing) music isn’t actually all that weird—honestly, we mostly picked them this week because Christmas falls on a “Weird Wednesday” and they have Santa right there in their name—but they bring a twisted sense of humor to everything they do that’s definitely unique. How many other electro-industrial bands can you name who’ve released a pirate-themed album? With track titles like “Watch Out Motherfucker, I Know Karate“? You can’t, because there aren’t any. Santa Hates You has cornered the market on pirate karate goth electro tracks.
But it’s in their videos that Santa Hates You’s weirdness really shines through—especially thanks to Spilles, who mugs his way through them all like some kind of demented mix of Rammstein‘s Till Lindemann, the Tiger Lillies‘ Martyn Jacques, and Heath Ledger’s Joker. He’s hysterical, in every sense of the word. And yeah, Jinxy’s pretty great, too. And not just because she looks amazing in vinyl. She, too, sells the whole goth/industrial “I’m so evil. And sexy. But mostly EVIL!” thing with a giggle and a wink.
SHY’s latest album, released last year, is called It’s ALIVE! and trades in the pirate theme for more of a classic monster-movie motif. But it’s not all reanimated corpses and vampires. Some of the monsters PS and Jinxy take on are just the religious hypocrites and raging dickheads who watch too much Fox News. Merry Christmas, you fucking scum!
P.S. We almost forgot to give a shout-out to reader Emily Brown for recommending that we plunge into the electro-goth funhouse that is the Santa Hates You oeuvre. Thanks for the early Christmas present, Emily! We love you, even if Santa doesn’t.
This week’s weird band hails from Brazil, which has been quite the breeding ground for strange new genres of music over the years: tropicália, baile funk, forró, whatever the hell Os Mutantes does. Add to that list something called “tecno brega,” a Brazilian-style spin on “cheesy techno” that takes corny pop melodies—many of them familiar—gives them a glossy electro finish, and sets them to syncopated cumbia, reggaeton and baile funk beats. The combination of influences can get pretty out there, especially when rendered by the campy, day-glo trio called Banda UÓ.
Banda UÓ started in 2010 as a one-off joke to promote a party. Buddies Davi Savvig (the Daryl Hall of the group) and Mateus Carrilho (the John Oates of the group) got together with a singer friend of theirs named Flora Maria to make a quick video of them singing a tecno brega version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The video was a surprise YouTube hit and when Flora Maria was replaced by Candy Mel (the transsexual Shakira of the group), Banda UÓ was born.
Banda UÓ are probably best-known in Brazil for “Shake De Amor,” an electro-brega remake of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with a video that got them on Brazilian MTV (which is clearly way cooler than American MTV) despite the fact that it’s mostly just the three of them dancing like idiots. Actually, pretty much all of Banda UÓ’s videos are just the three of them dancing like idiots, but they do it so well, there’s not much point in upping the production values or the plotlines. “Shake De Amor” seems to have something to do with killing someone in the desert, but who cares? Look at the way Candy Mel swivels those hips!
For their debut album, 2012′s Motel, Banda UÓ worked with fellow funky Brazilians Bonde do Rolê, who helped them produce the set and start delving into original songwriting. The results were a bit more polished but no less weird—and the videos, thank Christ the Redeemer, were still mostly just an excuse to film Davi, Mateus and Candy busting out their unique wardrobes and dance moves (this time in a boxing gym, no less).
This year, they released their most seizure-inducing video yet. The track, “Gringo,” was produced by the über-trendy Diplo, but don’t hold that against it—it really is an amazing mix of tecno brega, baile funk and full-on glitchcore freakout.
So are Banda UÓ the weirdest band we’ve ever added to the Weird List? Not really. But they are definitely among the funnest.
- Banda UÓ Tumblr (full site coming soon, but apparently not yet fully functional)
- Banda UÓ on Facebook
- Banda UÓ’s SoundCloud
- Mateus Carrilho’s YouTube channel
- “Brazil’s Banda UO Proves Electrobrega is the New Black” (one of the few other English-language articles on them, from MTV Iggy)
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.
You Europeans love to look down on us Americans, don’t you? With our guns and TMZ and politicians dumber than a sack of hammers. Well, we’re about to give you a new reason to feel superior to us. For a whole month, we’re sending you our skankiest drag queen, Christeene, to serenade you with songs about weeping pussies, anal sex and tropical abortions. La Cage aux Folles she ain’t, folks.
Cristeene’s first-ever tour east of the Atlantic includes stops at the SONAR Festival and muthafuckin’ Glastonbury. Not even the Rolling Stones are cool enough to play both SONAR and Glasto. Christeene is killin’ it, y’all.
She’s also playing a date in New York, which isn’t part of Europe but may as well be.
June 7 – NYC – Webster Hall Studio
June 12 – LISBON – Musicbox
June 14 – BARCELONA – SONAR Festival
June 21 – MANCHESTER – Islington Mill
June 22 – LONDON – Duckie
June 23 – LONDON – Lecture/Soho Theater
June 24 – LONDON – Vogue Fabrics
June 25 – LONDON – Vogue Fabrics
June 28 – SOMERSET – Glastonbury Festival
June 29 – BERLIN – Haus der Berliner Festspiele
So Europe: Now that we’re giving you Christeene, you can give us Winny Puhh, right? I mean, fair is fair.
When we got a message a few days ago from our favorite Texas shemale, Christeene, telling us she had a new video on the way, we had to strap on the Depends so we wouldn’t shit ourselves. Christeene’s videos are pretty much always trashy, tasteless and awesome. And this one is for the track “Big Shot,” which is definitely one of our faves off her bananas album, Waste Up Kneez Down. How can you not love a track with lines like, “Needle riding to the red on the jizz tank”?
Well, Christeene and her pals at Three Dollar Cinema clearly went all-out for “Big Shot.” Production-wise, this thing is like a fucking Lady Gaga video. It’s also pretty darned disturbing, even by Christeene standards. Are those two creepy dudes raping her? Why do all her stuffed animals come to life and start attacking her? Who strapped her to the ceiling? What’s with all the fucking rabbits?
We recommend watching the video in its original high-rez form over on Vimeo, but if you’re too lazy to click a link, we embedded it below, too. Sweet dreams, y’all.
So it turns out we kinda had a ringer in our last Weird Band of the Week Facebook Poll. At the time we added Ghostigital to the poll, we literally knew almost nothing about them, except that they were from Iceland and had an awesome video called “Hovering Hoover Skates” that appeared to feature an Icelandic ladies roller derby team. Well, it’s since come to our attention that the dude behind Ghostigital is none other than Einar Örn, the even-weirder-than-Björk co-lead singer of that most legendary of Iceland bands, the Sugarcubes. So don’t feel bad for losing our poll, other bands! You were up against weird band royalty.
Einar started Ghostigital as a solo project about a decade ago, although his producer Curver has since become the band’s full-time second member. Their music is heavily electronic and generally features Einar delivering rambling, semi-coherent monologues over pulsing synths and a mishmash of techno, dub and hip-hop beats. “Masses of dark!” goes one typical Ghostigital lyric. “I could slice it up and eat it like a cake.” At least I think it’s a lyric. We pulled that from a live Ghostigital performance for KEXP, and honestly, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether Einar is delivering lyrics or just spewing improvised rants off the top of his head. And yes, I mean that as a compliment.
Not surprisingly, Ghostigital was briefly hooked up with Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings, which released their second album, In Cod We Trust, in 2006. Einar then apparently took a break from music to start dabbling in politics; he even got himself elected to Reykjavík City Council in 2010, an office he still occupies. He’s a member of the Best Party, which sounds almost as wacky as Ghostigital’s music. Among the planks in their campaign platform: free towels at all public swimming pools and a polar bear at the Reykjavik Zoo. And, y’know, ending political corruption and improving living conditions for the poor and lots of other important stuff less “wacky” political parties all over the world seem only too happy to ignore. But…a polar bear! Even the New York Times couldn’t get over that part.
Last November, Ghostigital finally returned with a third album, Division of Culture & Tourism, releasted on Einar’s own Bad Taste label. You can hear the whole thing on Soundcloud. It’s pretty dope. It’s got cameos from David Byrne and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and there’s a Dougie reference in the very first song, which is called “Don’t Push Me,” on which Einar hoots and hollers and makes it abundantly clear that it would be a really, really bad idea to push him. He’s like Mark E. Smith, Andy Kaufman and Eminem all rolled into one cantankerous former punk rocker who’s been deprived of sunlight for the past six months.
We can’t decide which of these two Ghostigital videos is weirder, so we’ll include both of them. First up, from In Cod We Trust, we give you “Northern Lights.”
Next up: “Hovering Hoover Skates.” You didn’t think we’d tell you about a video full of roller derby girls and not show it to you, did you? We wouldn’t play you like that.
So congrats on winning our latest Facebook poll, Ghostigital! Although we’re pretty sure that in your list of lifetime accomplishments, this probably doesn’t even break the top 10,000.
We got introduced to this week’s weird band by Ms. Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin. Like Petunia herself, they remain something of a mystery. They’re called Chimney Crow. They’re from Michigan. Their leader calls himself Paulisgone. They wear fox-as-done-by-a-third-grader masks. They have a song about DMT. There might be three of them, or it might all be the work of Paulisgone and some carefully posed mannequins. And one former member might have killed himself in some kind of weird sex ritual. And that’s about all we know.
Well, that’s not quite true. We also know that their music is dark, electronic and generally quite groovy. They’ve recorded some stuff with a lady vocalist named Sarah Kristina, who also appears all over their Facebook photos, draped over various Chimney Crow members and sashaying around a basement in a little red dress. The other members of Chimney Crow are Ben Daschle and Buck Anders. Buck replaced the dead guy, Alan Bain. Here’s a song the band was in the midst of recording when they found out Ben had offed himself. Naturally, they finished the song. You know, out of respect for the dead and all.
Chimney Crow have uploaded all kinds of wacky videos to their YouTube page and a shit-ton of songs to Soundcloud. Here’s one called “Aliens are just gnomes for our paradigm part 14 (section 8)” that we’ve been jamming to (if you can’t see the Soundcloud player, click here):
They also recorded a very timely song called “The Flu.” I feel sicker just listening to it.
But my favorite thing they’ve done so far has to be this video for the track “17 Guns,” which features someone even more batshit than Petunia and Chimney Crow: an artist from Arizona named Diana Campanella who has uploaded approximately five zillion YouTube videos of herself “freestyle dancing” in her gallery. Usually she dances to stuff like Michael Jackson and Taylor Dane, but somehow she hooked up with Chimney Crow and did a little interpretive boogie to a song of theirs called “17 Guns.” Ain’t the Internet grand?
Even though Die Antwoord have always traded in the bizarre and unexpected, they’ve also never been above a good dick joke. So it’s not that surprising that the teaser for their next video, “Fatty Boom Boom,” is basically just an extended (ExtenZed?) riff on “male enhancement” products. Yes, Die Antwoord are hawking penis enlargement cream! Or rather, some dude named Dr. Lediga is on their behalf.
Honestly, the joke seems a bit hackneyed and obvious. But is this Die Antwoord’s jump-the-shark moment? Or will “Fatty Boom Boom” turn out to be just as deliciously twisted as “Enter the Ninja” and “I Fink U Freeky”? Check back here next week and we’ll have The Answer. (Which is what “Die Antwoord” means in Afrikaans. See how we did that?)
Update: You can now watch the full “Fatty Boom Boom” video here. Turns out the penis cream was a bit of a red herring. Then again, we hear a little herring cream on your johnson will keep you laying pipe all night long.