For some performers, the weird is not something they rinse off after the show. Their weirdness runs soul-deep. Such a performer is this week’s artiste, Australia’s Kirin J. Callinan.
We first discovered Callinan through the Beggars Group, probably the closest thing us weirdos have to a major label. Among the Beggars Group’s many imprints is a newish label called Terrible Records, which also recently became home to rap provocateur and Weird List inductee Le1f. Who’da thunk our new favorite label would be co-founded by one of the guys from Grizzly Bear?
Anyway, Beggars sent out a press release a couple months back announcing Callinan as the opening act for fellow antipodean eccentric Connan Mockasin on an upcoming U.S. tour (dates below). So right away, we were intrigued. Then we read this, about a video he just shot in New York for YoursTru.ly: “Never one to bore, the video features Kirin getting interviewed whilst being massaged (a non-negotiable requirement of his interview policy).” So now we were really intrigued. Non-negotiable massages? Who is this guy?
Sure enough, in the YoursTru.ly video, there’s Callinan, getting worked over on a massage table as he talks about his childhood (“My parents would offer me two dollars for any report that didn’t say ‘easily distracted’; I don’t think they ever gave me any money”). Then he goes into an awkward yet oddly compelling solo piano performance of a song called “Victoria M.” Before you watch the YoursTru.ly video, I recommend starting with the original:
That’s the campiest of Callinan’s videos, but it’s far from the weirdest. That honor probably goes to “Way to War,” a flickering, mostly black-and-white video in which a series of disturbing tableaux appear to be seen through a broken View-Master. It won something called the J Award in Australia for Best Music Video in 2012.
As you can probably tell from those two tracks, Callinan’s style is pretty eclectic. But they really only hint at the range of his 2013 debut album, Embracism. Over the course of 10 tracks, he tackles everything from minimalist electronic noise to stately, Leonard Cohen-esque hymns to turgid, quasi-industrial freakouts like the amazing “Come On USA,” which somehow manages to name-check Springsteen while still sounding like Ministry. Vocally, his rubbery baritone owes a lot to avant-garde singer-songwriter Scott Walker; in an interview with V Magazine, he admitted that it wasn’t until he heard Walker that became confident in his own singing abilities. “It’s over the top and ridiculous,” he says of his own singing. But hearing Walker, he told V, “validated, in a sense, that vision I had of my own voice. I wasn’t ready for anyone to hear it before.”
Callinan’s music is so compelling he almost doesn’t need a backstory, but we’ll give you a brief one anyway: He got his start as the guitarist in a surprisingly conventional post-punk band called Mercy Arms, but quit over creative differences with the band’s singer. He briefly did improvisational tribal/ambient rock with a loose collective of musicians called Fashion Launches Rocket Launches, but apparently the collective was too loose to stay together long. In the same interview with V Magazine, he says his solo career started after the end of a long relationship, which might explain the raw-nerve quality of his music.
Most descriptions of Callinan’s live shows seem to focus on how he likes to get naked, or at least strip down to his skivvies. But based on the few good clips we’ve been able to find online, these descriptions seem to overstate Callinan’s nudist tendencies. Yes, there’s something overtly sexual about Callinan’s music and stage presence, but there’s also a lot of humor, goofy charm and a genuinely innocent quality, too. He might just be taking his clothes off because it gets hot up there. Or he wants to feel free. Anyone who finds his bare skin either confrontational or vulnerable might be projecting a bit.
We’ll leave you with Callinan’s most recent video, for one of Embracism‘s loveliest songs, “Landslide.” It’s actually an incredibly simple setup, but the effect, combined with Kirin’s aching baritone, is pretty disconcerting, no?
Kirin J. Callinan’s U.S. tour dates (all with Connan Mockasin):
4/28 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
4/29 Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
4/30 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
5/1 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
5/2 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall Of Williamsburg
5/4 Montreal, QUE – Cabaret Mile End
5/5 Toronto, ONT – Lee’s Palace
5/7 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
5/11 Seattle, WA – Barboza
5/12 Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
5/13 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
5/15 San Francisco, CA – Independent
5/16 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
It’s been a rough week here at Weird Band HQ, what with the passing of one of our idols, GWAR’s Dave Brockie. But let’s end the week on an up note, shall we? Courtesy of Merrill Garbus and her brilliantly quirky musical alter ego, tUnE-yArDs.
Garbus is gearing up for the release of her third album, Nikki Nack, which is due out May 6th on 4AD Records. She teased us earlier this month with an album “mega-mix,” but now she’s finally giving us a full track to chew on. It’s called “Water Fountain” and it makes us want to jump rope in the spray of a busted fire hydrant.
tUnE-yArDs also announced a bunch more tour dates, which is good news for us, because her first gig here at L.A. sold out in about five seconds. We should have better luck scoring tickets to her second L.A. show at the much larger Fonda Theater, so we can post a review and some crappy Instagram photos for your delectation. Full dates after the clip.
tUnE-yArDs 2014 tour dates:
4/23 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center*
4/26 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre*
4/27 St. Louis, MO – Chaifetz Arena*
4/29 Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center*
5/1 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena*
5/2 Atlanta, GA – Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood*
5/5 Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever
5/7 Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
5/12 London, England – Village Underground
5/14 Berlin, Germany – Berghain
5/15 Hamburg, Germany – Nochtspeicher
5/16 Brussels, Belgium – Les Nuits–Cirque Royal
5/18 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Bitterzoet
5/19 Paris, France – Cafe de La Danse
5/23 Bend, OR – Les Schwab Ampitheater†
5/25 George, WA – Sasquatch Festival
5/26 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
5/27 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
5/3 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
6/1 Houston, TX – Free Press Summerfest
6/3 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
6/5 Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre
6/6 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
6/13 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
6/15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
6/16 Boston, MA – Royale Boston
6/18 Montreal, Quebec – La Tulipe
6/19 Toronto, Ontario – NXNE, Massey Hall
6/21 Dover, DE – Firefly Festival
6/22 New York, NY – Webster Hall
6/23 New York, NY – Webster Hall
6/26 Brighton, England – Concorde 2
6/30 Manchester, England – Gorilla
7/1 Leeds, England – Cockpit
7/2 Bristol, England – Trinity
7/17 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
7/19 Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
7/20 Louisville, KY – Forecastle Festival
9/3 London, England – Brixton Electric
*opening for Arcade Fire
†opening for The National
I threw up three times while writing this headline: Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus are collaborating on a Beatles cover
Why, Wayne, why? Are you having a midlife crisis? Are you just trying fuck with us? What is the deal with all the shitty pop collaborations of late? It wasn’t bad enough you did a song with Ke$ha, now you have to team up with Miley fucking Cyrus?
Actually, the very notion of Miley/Flaming Lips collab is so perverse, it just might work. In a way, it already has; the Lips joined Miley onstage at the Tulsa, Oklahoma stop of her current “Bangerz” tour to perform “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” and much as we hate to admit, it didn’t actually suck (video proof below). But they’ve also been up to no good in the studio, and that’s where the story takes a really scary turn: They’re teaming up with one of the guys from MGMT to do a Beatles cover. And not just any Beatles cover: They’re doing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” I think I speak for all Beatles fans when I say this has all the makings of a sacrilege on par with Katy Perry’s recent butchering of “Yesterday.”
But hell, what do I know? The Lips minus Miley are actually the perfect band to give “Lucy” an appropriately trippy interpretation. So maybe they can tame The Tongue long enough to get a decent vocal take out of her.
Then again, this recent post to Wayne Coyne’s Instagram account, accompanied by the caption, “Miley in the studio vomiting diamonds while singing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!!”, does not fill us with hopeful anticipation:
On a brighter note: Here’s that video of adoring Miley Cyrus fans cheering Wayne and Miley’s rendition of “Yoshimi.” Some of them even pelted Wayne with their bras. I believe in midlife crisis terms, that’s known as “Unlocking the Tom Jones Achievement Badge.”
It’s been three years since we heard any new music from tUnE-yArDs, the hard-to-type-but-fun-to-listen-to musical project of Merrill Garbus. After conquering the indie rock world and landing on pretty much every critic’s “Best of 2011″ list, Garbus went to Haiti to study Haitian drumming and dance and hand out some free food and clothing to earthquake victims. Then she came home to make a “wild mess” of a new record called Nikki Nack, which is now scheduled for release on May 6th (May 5th, if you live anywhere except the U.S.) on 4AD Records.
No tracks from Nikki Nack are out yet, but last week, Garbus released a “megamix” of the whole album, which you can check out below. She’s also announced a handful of North American and European tour dates, including an already-sold-out stop here in L.A. that we’re going to try to get into anyway. We’ve actually still never been to a tUnE-yArDs show and we really need to fill the Merrill Garbus-sized void in our lives pronto.
Tour dates after the megamix clip.
May 5th – Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles, CA
May 7th – Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
May 12th – Village Underground, London
May 14th – Berghain, Berlin
May 15th – Nochtspeicher, Hamburg
May 16th – Les Nuits-Cirque Royal, Brussels
May 18th – Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
May 19th – Café de La Danse, Paris
May 23rd – Les Schwab Ampitheater, Bend, OR (w/ The National)
May 23rd – 25th – Sasquatch Festival, George, WA
May 31st – June 1st – Free Press Summerfest, Houston, TX
June 18th – 22nd – NXNE, Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
June 19th – 22nd – Firefly Festival, Dover, DE
July 19th – Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
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!
If you left any Flaming Lips fans off your Christmas list, there’s still time to get them a cool stocking stuffer: a blue seven-inch vinyl release of the band’s second demo from way back in 1983, when they were just another scruffy post-punk college-rock band with a shouty lead singer (Wayne Coyne’s brother Mark, who left the group in 1985). The untitled four-song demo was originally recorded on cassette tape and has never been previously released to the public. Only 2,000 copies of the blue vinyl were released, all on Dec. 24th to independent record stores. Our friends over at The Future Heart have diligently assembled a list, via Twitter, of which stores still had copies left as of yesterday. There are also apparently still some copies of the Lips’ first EP floating around green vinyl, as well.
Wanna listen before you buy? Of course you do. It’s an on-demand world. So here, feast your ears on what the press release aptly describes as the Lips’ early “primitive shambolic drug-damaged punk-pop.” These first two tracks are called “The Flaming Lips Theme Song 1983″ and “The Future Is Gone”:
And here’s “Underground Pharmacist” and “Real Fast Words.” Dig that walking bassline from Michael Ivins.
Well, we sat out Comic-Con again this year. I haven’t been too heavily into nerd culture since the ’80s and Jake’s afraid of crowds (although when he heard there was a Breaking Bad panel, he almost downed half a bottle of Xanax and went anyway). But it turns out we missed out on more than just a chance to conquer Jake’s agoraphobia and ogle cute nerd girls in Catwoman suits. We also missed out on a chance to buy Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne’s first-ever comic book! (Except we didn’t, because it’s still available online. But it debuted at Comic-Con, so anyone who bought it there definitely has nerd bragging rights over the rest of us.)
Wayne’s been on a bit of a naked kick lately, so it should come as no surprise that The Sun Is Sick gets the nudity (and giant eyeballs, another running theme of his of late) rolling right on the cover. Inside, readers can expect to find 40 psychedelic pages illustrated by Coyne himself, telling the trippy tale of a blind princess who gives birth to, well, a giant eyeball. Hilarity ensues!
Lest the cover art and Coyne’s boundary-pushing reputation not be enough to clue you in, the press release helpfully notes: “WARNING!! The Sun Is Sick may be a comic book but make no mistake; this is not suitable for children and depending on what sort of person you are, it may not be suitable for some of you non-children either. If you have doubts at this moment then The Sun Is Sick is not for you.” Okay, press release writer person, you’ve convinced us. We’ll go back to our Nancy Drew mags.
If you want to learn more about The Sun Is Sick, may we direct your attention to this interview Coyne recently gave with The Huffington Post, which also includes a peek at some of Coyne’s child-like yet evocative drawings, which feature aliens tripping balls on some kind of blue goo called Virgo 2151. (Now sure to be the nickname of at least some of the LSD circulating at Bonnaroo 2014.)
That Wayne Coyne’s a busy guy; in addition to releasing comic books, he’s still on an extended tour with the Lips, promoting their latest album, The Terror. Dates after the jump; meanwhile, here’s the latest video from The Terror, for the harrowing (or patience-testing, depending on your point of view) track, “Turning Violent,” on which Coyne takes a much-deserved breather and hands over most of the vocal duties to Steven Drozd.
Flaming Lips summer/fall tour dates:
07/25 Salt Lake City, UT – Twilight Concert Series, Pioneer Park
07/27 Troutdale, OR – McMenamins Edgefield
07/28 Seattle, WA – Capitol Hill Block Party
07/30 Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
07/31 Costa Mesa, CA – The Pacific Amphitheatre
08/01 Las Vegas, NV – Bud Light Music First, House of Blues
08/17 Omaha, NE – Maha Maha Festival
09/06 Isle Of Wight, UK – Bestival
09/07 Stekene, Belgium – Crammerock Festival
09/30 Boston, MA – Agganis Arena (w/ Tame Impala)
10/01 New York, NY – Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/02 New York, NY – Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/03 Philadelphia, PA – Penn’s Landing, Festival Pier (w/ Tame Impala)
10/04 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion (w/ Tame Impala)
10/21 Tokyo, Japan – Blitz
10/22 Tokyo, Japan – Blitz
10/23 Osaka, Japan – Hatch
10/24 Nagoya, Japan – Club Diamond Hall
OK, this time it’s true (no, really): Polyphonic Spree album coming in August, not May. Also, tour dates!
Hey, remember how we told you awhile back that The Polyphonic Spree would be releasing their new album, Yes, It’s True, in May? And hey, notice how it’s not May anymore? Well, turns out Spree frontman Tim DeLaughter may have been a little overly optimistic about when he could deliver his chamber-pop army’s next opus. But hey, “overly optimistic” sort of describes DeLaughter’s entire M.O., so we’ll let it slide.
Anyway, the new no-really-we-mean-it-this-time release date for Yes, It’s True is August 6th, so look for a review of it in these virtual pages sometime around that date—or as soon as Jake and I can tear ourselves away from the blissful euphoria of the Spree’s latest superhappyawesometime sound bath.
In other Spree news, the band is on tour as we speak, and we highly recommend checking them out. Revisit our review of their holiday show (complete with lots of shaky Instagram pics) for a sample of positive-vibe onslaught that awaits you at a Spree concert. They might not have Santa Claus with them this time around, but you never know.
The Polyphonic Spree 2013 Tour Dates:
6/28 — Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
6/29 — Kansas City, KS @ Kanrocksas
7/01 — Chicago, IL @ Park West
7/02 — Muskegon, MI @ Coast West Music Festival
7/05 — Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of The Living Arts
7/06 — Washington, DC @ Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
7/08 — Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
7/09 — Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
7/10 — New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
7/26 — Ansan, South Korea @ Ansan Valley Rock Festival in South Korea
7/27 — Byron Bay, Australia @ Splendour In The Grass
8/04 — Dorset, UK @ Camp Bestival
8/09 — Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
8/11 — Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
8/12 — Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
8/15 — Seattle, WA @ Neumos
8/16 — Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub
8/17 — Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
8/19 — San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
8/20 — Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory
8/22 — Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey
8/23 — San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
8/26 — Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
8/27 — Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
8/29 — Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
9/07 — Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival
You know how the last Flaming Lips video, for “Ashes in the Air,” featured an alien with an eyeball for a head and lots of dead naked people? Well, their latest clip features no aliens or death, but it’s pretty much just one big ol’ nakedfest. It’s for “You Lust,” a 13-minute epic of their latest album, The Terror. Thankfully it’s been edited down to more like four minutes for the video, because four minutes is about as much flaccid penis close-ups as I can stand. Watch and you’ll see what I mean. (Heads-up: NSFW on account of it being a nakedfest and all.)
Holy swampballs: Quintron and Miss Pussycat are gonna play the fucking Kennedy Center. Plus a few other places.
If you’re like me, you probably get sucked every year around Christmas into watching the Kennedy Center Honors, because your aging parents have pumped you so full of leftover turkey and Pinot Grigio that you can’t get off the couch and so you’re stuck watching that boring-ass parade of old actors and ballerinas and cellists and ohmygodisthatLedfuckingZeppelin? OK, so the Kennedy Center Honors aren’t all bad. Especially when you’re on your third bottle of Pinot Grigio.
Hosting the Zep was pretty cool…even though they got that talentless douchebag Kid Rock to massacre “Ramble On”…but the Kennedy Center is about to get even cooler. Because on April 13th, they will play host to none other than Quintron & Miss Pussycat. Yes, the New Orleans ambassadors of down ‘n’ dirty “swamp tech” are on the bill for something called the New Orleans Bingo! Show, which also features the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a jazz cellist, and this guy. Your tax dollars at work, people!
We ran most of these Q & Miss P tour dates back in January, but we’ll run them again here because there have been a few updates…also because they made this awesome “tour commercial” video and we need an excuse to post it. Full dates after the clip.
Here are the dates. Oh and I should’ve mentioned: “The Mystery in Old Bathbath” is a new Miss Pussycat puppet movie. So bring your popcorn.
4-8 – Jacksonville, FL @ Sun Ray Cinema – live show and screening of THE MYSTERY IN OLD BATHBATH
4-9 – TALLAHASSEE, FL @ Downunder Club
4-10 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
4-12 – Purchase, NY @ SUNNY Purchase Culture Shock festival
4-13 – Washington DC @ Kennedy Center (Yes the real Kennedy Center) – more info TBA
4-17 – NEW HAVEN, CT @ Cafe 9
4-18 – NY, NY @ Anthology Film Archive – NYC premier of THE MYSTERY IN OLD BATHBATH – Q and A to follow film
4-20 (dude) – BROOKLYN, NY @ Secret Project Robot with K-Holes, Black Dice – Spring Fever / smoke lots of weed festival
4-21 – Richmond, VA @ STrange Matter with Bermuda Triangles
4-25 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s downstairs
4-26 Dallas, TX @ Doublewide with Darktown Strutters!
4-27 Austin, TX @ Psych Fest – Q and P, King Kahn and Bar-B-Que, Acid Mothers Temple, more trippy bands than ever
4-28 Waxahachie, TX @ Webb Gallery