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Zammuto’s new album, “Anchor,” now streaming on NPR’s First Listen

Zammuto

Photo from zammutosound.com

Anchor, the second album from Zammuto, comes out next Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. But you can hear the whole thing streaming now via NPR’s First Listen series. It’s like your traveling into the future! But with fewer contrived plot twists.

We’re cranking it now and loving it. As good as the first Zammuto album was, it definitely felt like former Books collage artist Nick Zammuto was still trying to figure out what he wanted to sound like working in a more conventional rock band format. Anchor is more sonically consistent—and, at first blush, less weird, although most of these songs still percolate with interesting little electronic filigrees, quirky rhythms and unexpected lyrical turns—even on a song like “Henry Lee,” which is based on a traditional folk ballad but features the startling image, “Now the crabs crawl out of your skull.”

We’ll leave you with this video for one of Anchor‘s more uptempo tracks, the sorta-New Wave-ish “Io,” which also features tons of action shots of the massive trebuchet (sort of a cross between a slingshot and a catapult) Nick and his buddies built on the Zammuto farm in Vermont. I’ve heard of album “launch parties” but this is ridiculous! Am I right, people?

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Hear a track Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s new album, “Spellcaster II: Death in Space”

Quintron, Spellcaster II: Death in Space

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
3. Carnival
4. Do The Raid
5. Home Invastion
6. Mirza’s Marsh
7. Somethings Wrong With Jim
8. Steve
9. Fatal Harmonic
10. Death In Space (reprise)
11. Mirza’s Marsh (extended)

Pre-order Spellcaster II on vinyl from Pizza Burglar Records here.

Weird of the Day: Tera Melos, “Bite”

Tera Melos

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.

“Bite” is from Tera Melos’ latest album, X’ed Out, which you can buy from Amazon.com or their label, Sargent House.

P.S. Thanks to reader matp662 for submitting Tera Melos. Matp662 suggested another video, “The Skin Surf,” and that one’s pretty weird, too.

Zammuto gets microscopic in new “Great Equator” video

Zammuto

Nick Zammuto is quite the renaissance man. When the Ex-Books multi-instrumentalist isn’t making music or tinkering on the house he and his wife built, he’s designing 36-foot-tall trebuchets or laser projectors that respond to bass frequency. I think it’s fair to say that after the Apocalypse hits, the best parties in what was once the state of Vermont are gonna be at the Zammutos’ place.

Nick’s latest accomplishment that makes us feel like total slackers is a video for “Great Equator,” a track his band Zammuto‘s forthcoming sophomore album, Anchor. Shot on two microscopes, one that uses visible light and one that reads electrons, the video reveals a beautiful world of intricate patterns hidden within LP vinyl, USB electronics, coins, insects and other stuff you’d probably never think to stick under a microscope.

If you want to pre-order a limited-edition, splattered-vinyl copy of Anchor direct from Nick himself, go here. If you just want the boring old CD or digital version, try Amazon. Anchor is due out Sept. 2 on Temporary Residence.

Quintron and Miss Pussycat are hitting the road with their inflatable puppet theater

Quintron and Miss Pussycat

It’s been two years since Andy and I got to see Quintron and Miss Pussycat do their swamp-tech-and-puppets thing here in L.A. and I can still see the headlights of Quintron’s Oldsmobile organ every time I close my eyes. But it was totally worth the hearing loss and retinal damage. They put on one helluva show.

So it is with great sadness that I must inform you that Quintron and Miss Pussycat have announced some fall tour dates. Why sadness? Because they’re not playing L.A. and I am a selfish prick. Fuck you, Winooski, Vermont! I hope the top of Quintron’s Drum Buddy flies off and smacks you right in the ol’ syrup sucker.

Word is that Mr. Q and Miss P will also have a new album out this fall, but we don’t have the details on that just yet. Word is also that Miss Pussycat has invented a brand-new inflatable puppet theater that fits in her purse. The press release didn’t specifically say that she’s bringing the blow-up puppets on this tour…but I mean, if they fit in your purse, why wouldn’t you?

The press release also mentions that Quintron spent some time earlier this year completing his latest homemade musical gadget, a drone synthesizer called the Weather Warlock that’s controlled by the weather. Maybe that’s why they’re not playing L.A….we don’t really have weather here. He needs to invent a smog-controlled synth next time. That thing would sing like a canary in our neck of the woods.

Anyway, here are those L.A.-skipping tour dates. Enjoy the show, ya bastards.

Sep 4 – Knoxville, TN- Pilot Light
Sep 6 – Lafayette, GA- Cherokee Farm
Nov 2 – New Orleans, LA- Voodoo Festival at City Park
Nov 7 – Memphis, TN- Hi Tone !
Nov 8 – St. Louis, MI – Firebird *
Nov 9 – Lawrence, KS- Replay Lounge *
Nov 10 – Iowa City, IA- The Mill *
Nov 11 – St. Paul, MN- Turf Club *
Nov 12 – Milwaukee, WI- Cactus Club *
Nov 14 – Chicago, IL- Hideout *
Nov 15 – Ann Arbor, MI- Blind Pig
Nov 16 – Cleveland, OH- Beachland Tavern
Nov 18 – Buffalo, NY- Buffalo Iron Works
Nov 19 – Toronto, ON- Horseshoe Tavern
Nov 20 – Ottawa, ON- House of Targ
Nov 21 – Montreal, qc – Il Motore
Nov 22 – Winooski, VT – Monkey House
Nov 23 – Portland, ME-The Space Gallery
Nov 25 – Allston, MA- Great Scott
Nov 29 – Brooklyn, NY- Baby’s All Right
Dec 1 – Asheville, NC- Double Crown
Dec 2 – Durham, NC- The Pinhook
Dec 3- Savannah, GA- Dollhouse Studios & Productions
Dec 4 – Tallahassee, FL- Club Downunder (FSU)
Dec 8 – Orlando, FL- Will’s Pub #
Dec 9 – Jacksonville, FL- Underbelly #

* w/ Babes
! w/ Manatees
# w/ White Mystery

Oh, and here’s a demo video of an earlier version of the Weather Warlock. Back then it was called the Singing House. Weather Warlock definitely makes it sound way cooler.

Weird of the Day: Bloody Death Skull, “Girls Like You”

Bloody Death Skull

When we saw Bob Log III on Friday night (review coming soon), there was a local band opening for him called Bloody Death Skull who gave him a run for his money on the weird-o-meter. With no fewer than 10 people onstage, half of them sitting down and playing toy instruments, they played a chaotic but catchy mix of ’60s-style girl-group pop, garage-rock and ukulele-led freak-folk. They wore an assortment of costumes that were alternately adorable and menacing: a guitar player in a gas mask, a backup singer in a burqa, a wolf, a frog, a forest nymph with green hair and a fake bird perched on her shoulder. It was sorta like watching The Raveonettes play at a daycare center on Halloween.

We couldn’t find any videos that do justice to their charmingly odd live show, but we did run across this video for their song “Girls Like You,” which sums up their cutely dark (or maybe it’s darkly cute) style quite nicely. It stars a bunch of Barbie dolls who can really work that pole. Enjoy.

For more Bloody Death Skull, check out their Bandcamp page.

Zammuto announce tour and new album, “Anchor”

Zammuto

It’s been over two years since ex-Books multi-instrumentalist Nick Zammuto released the eponymous debut album from his new band, Zammuto. For those of you who, like us, have been eagerly waiting for a follow-up, we now have a date to look forward to: Sept. 2nd. That’s when Zammuto will drop Anchor, their sophomore effort. (Also, get used to hearing that “drop Anchor” pun, because I guarantee you every blog from here to My Old Kentucky won’t be able to resist it.)

To celebrate Anchor‘s droppage, Zammuto will embark on a 21-city North American tour, starting Aug. 28th. Tracklist and tour dates are below, right after this here little embed featuring the groovy, melodic “Need Some Sun,” one of three Anchor tracks currently available on Zammuto’s SoundCloud page. (The others are “Great Equator” and “Sinker.”)

Anchor tracklist:

o1 Good Graces
02 Great Equator
03 Hegemony
04 Henry Lee (Trad.)
o5 Need Some Sun
06 Don’t Be a Tool
07 Electric Ant
08 IO
09 Stop Counting
10 Sinker
11 Your Time

Zammuto North American tour dates:

8/28 New Haven, CT The Outer Space
8/29 Burlington, VT Signal Kitchen
8/30 Portland, ME SPACE Gallery
9/6 Montreal, QC Il Motore
9/7 Toronto, ON The Garrison
9/9 Chicago, IL Schubas
9/10 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
9/11 Omaha, NE Waiting Room
9/12 Denver, CO Lost Lake
9/13 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
9/15 Seattle, WA Barboza
9/16 Vancouver, BC Media Club
9/17 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
9/19 Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place
9/20 San Francisco, CA Brick & Mortar
9/21 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite
9/23 San Diego, CA Casbah
9/24 Phoenix, AZ Last Exit
9/25 Tucson, AZ Flycatcher
9/27 Austin, TX Holy Mountain
9/28 Dallas, TX Index Fest

Weird of the Day: AroarA, “#4″

AroarA

I know it’s the Fourth of July and we should probably be featuring Ted Nugent or something instead of some random Canadian band. But we got turned onto this track from Montreal duo AroarA earlier this week and we can’t stop playing it. Plus it’s based a book by American poet Alice Notley, and poetry is nearly as American as burgers, hot dogs and blowing shit up. So put your Independence Day festivities on hold for five minutes and crank this shit up.

Amazing, right? If I may continue stuffing way too many Fourth of July references into this post, it’s like someone grilled up some American dustbowl folk music, shoved it into a bun of Canadian indie pop and topped it with a squirt of African desert blues. Or as Leslie Feist, who sometimes jams with them, puts it, far more succinctly, they play “ghost science faux-folk.”

AroarA is the work of Andrew Whiteman, best-known for his work with Broken Social Scene, and Ariel Engle, formerly part of Montreal orchestral pop collective Land of Kush. This track is from their debut album, In the Pines, which as we mentioned earlier takes its name from the Alice Notley book of the same name. It’s already been nominated for the Polaris Prize, which is sort of Canada’s version of the Mercury Prize. It’s available in a vinyl+digital package from the duo’s website.

OK, you may resume stuffing your face with barbecue and/or watching the World Cup. Happy July 4th, y’all!

Polyphonic Spree tour and remix album are coming to happy up your summer

The Polyphonic Spree

No band on the Weird List makes us happier than the Polyphonic Spree. They’re basically Zoloft in band form. So today we have two pieces of happy news to relate: 1.) The Spree are doing a massive summer tour; and 2.) They’re releasing a remix album on Aug. 12th. Called Psychphonic, it’ll feature remixes of every track from the Spree’s latest album, Yes It’s True, done by a bunch of remixers we’ve never heard of but who all have awesome raver names: Miyamigo, Sunglitters, Candy Claws. Keep it PLUR, kids!

You can hear a track from Psychphonic exclusively on Paste.com, and check out the full tracklist and tour dates after this little tour teaser video.

Psychphonic tracklist:

1) Heart Talk (Miyamigo)
2) Raise Your Head (Rachel Boyd)
3) Carefully Try (Little People)
4) Battlefield (K-Conjoy)
5) You’re Golden (Candy Claws)
6) Let Them Be (sTILL cURRENT)
7) Popular By Design (Sunglitters)
8) What Would You Do (Malachai UK’s Scott Hendy)
9) Hold Yourself Up (Miaou)
10) Blurry Up The Lines (DJ Jel)
11) You Don’t Know Me (Set In Sand)

Polyphonic Spree summer 2014 tour:

Wednesday, July 9th – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
Thursday, July 10th-New Orleans, LA – Southport Music Hall
Friday, July 11th-Austin, TX – Central Presbyterian Church
Saturday, July 12th-Dallas, TX – Club Dada
Tuesday, July 15th-Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg HiFi
Wednesday, July 16th-San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
Thursday, July 17th-San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brew
Friday, July 18th-Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
Saturday, July 19th-Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Atrium
Sunday, July 20th-North Lake Tahoe, CA – Wanderlust Festival
Monday, July 21st-Seattle, WA – Triple Door
Wednesday, July 23rd-Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Friday, July 25th-Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
Saturday, July 26th-Denver, CO – Soiled Dove Underground
Friday, August 15th-Oklahoma City, OK – ACM Performance Lab
Saturday, August 16th-St Louis, MO – The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
Sunday, August 17th-Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
Monday, August 18th-Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar Cultural Center
Tuesday, August 19th-Evanston, IL – SPACE
Thursday, August 21st-Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
Friday, August 22nd-Ferndale, MI – The Magic Bag
Saturday, August 23rd-Cleveland, OH – Music Box Supper Club
Monday, August 25th-Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Tuesday, August 26th-Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
Wednesday, August 27th-Philadelphia, PA – Prince Music Theatre
Thursday, August 28th-Washington, DC – Black Cat
Friday, August 29th-Carrboro, NC – The Arts Center
Saturday, August 30th-Atlanta, GA – The Loft at Center Stage

Weird of the Day: Los Doggies, “Pari Passu”

Los Doggies

Los Doggies are an “indie prog” band from Upstate New York who make music that’s simultaneously poppy and full of music-nerd plays on harmonic theory and whatnot. (I say “whatnot” because I know next to nothing about music theory, but I believe “whatnot” is a technical term meaning “stuff jam bands do”). Their drummer Evan sent us a bunch of tracks last night, our favorite of which is this video treatment for Los Doggies’ version of a sexytime song, “Pari Passu.” I say “version of” because…well, you’ll see. Most sex songs don’t contain references to cephalopods and philtrums. (Or is the plural philtra? Philtrae? I bet the Los Doggies guys know. They seem like smarties.)

“Pari Passu” is from the band’s latest album, e’rebody, which you can hear and obtain via Bandcamp.

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