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.
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.
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.”)
o1 Good Graces
02 Great Equator
04 Henry Lee (Trad.)
o5 Need Some Sun
06 Don’t Be a Tool
07 Electric Ant
09 Stop Counting
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
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!
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.
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
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.
It’ll probably never happen. but I really hope that someday, Leslie & The LYs open for tUnE-yArDs. Even though their music is very different, their stage shows share the same sense of childlike wonder and DIY inventiveness. And they both have great backup dancers. And look good in gold lamé.
It’s not just the music that’s different, of course. Where Leslie Hall is all tongue-in-cheek irreverence, Merrill Garbus is an earnest performer who inspires a kind of rapt attention in her fans that I haven’t seen at a show in months. There were hardly any outstretched cell phones (which is why I didn’t take many pictures—I didn’t want to be the only asshole with a camera) and often, when she was building a loop with her percussion and vocals, you could hear a pin drop in the packed Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. “You guys are so quiet,” she noted at one point. “It’s so awesome to play for such a respectful audience.”
She focused her set on material from Nikki Nack, the latest tUnE-yArDs album, which is growing on me even though I still think it’s not as good as 2011’s brilliant w h o k i l l. Nikki Nack is both noisier and sparser than its predecessor, made up almost entirely of layered vocals and percussion and Nate Brenner’s fluid basslines. Live, many of the tracks seemed clearly designed to get the crowd moving, and most of them did. But nothing in the show got a bigger cheer than Garbus’ ukulele, which she broke out for two w h o k i l l tracks (it never appears on Nikki Nack): “Bizness” and an absolutely show-stopping version of “Powa,” tUnE-yArDs’ version of a lighters-up power ballad (except this crowd was, of course, far too respectful to hold up lighters, real or virtual).
Still, I came away from this show with new-found appreciation for several Nikki Nack songs, particularly “Wait for a Minute,” which showcases Garbus’ underutilized gift for melody, and “Time of Dark,” whose soaring, Afrobeat-tinged chorus has a Peter Gabriel-like sense of grandeur and mystery. She also did a great encore version of “Rocking Chair,” bringing out Amelia Meath from opening act Sylvan Esso to provide haunting harmonies while Garbus and her backup singers stomped and shouted like a chain gang in an Alan Lomax field recording.
My other favorite part of the show was on a more personal note: It turns out Garbus’
boyfriend father Bill has the same birthday as me. She had the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to him so she could record the whole thing on her phone and send him the video the next day. Us June 6th babies sure do get around!
When Charlie Salas-Humara started his Panther project in Portland, Oregon around 2006, he wasn’t really expecting it to become his main gig. The goal, he said later in a video interview, was “mostly just to irritate people.” Legend has it that for Panther’s first gig, he showed up to an acoustic singer-songwriter night with a drum machine. I’m sure he succeeded in pissing plenty of people off at that gig and others since, but he also produced some of the most entertainingly awkward, tongue-in-cheek electro-funk of the late ’00s. Especially on Panther’s first album, Secret Lawns, on which Salas-Humara comes off like Demetri Martin doing a Beck parody.
Beginning with their second album, 14 KT God, Panther became a duo, thanks to the addition of drummer Joe Kelly. They also signed to Kill Rock Stars, which is hardly the biggest label on the planet but was a pretty huge step up from the tiny Fryk Beat imprint that put out Secret Lawns. Perhaps inevitably, Panther’s KRS output became more accessible, sounding like the work of an actual band rather than a Prince stalker alone in his bedroom. But they still had a knack for quirky videos like “Birds That Move,” from their 2009 swan song EP, Entropy.
As far as we’ve able to discern, Salas-Humara hasn’t released any new Panther music since Entropy. He’s been busy with numerous other projects, including a solo synth-drone joint called Grapefruit; an experimental five-piece called Regular Music that once released an album in the form of a tiny speaker housed inside a CD case; and Sun Angle, a sort of post-rock/punk/cumbia fusion trio. Together it adds up to one of the weirdest and most unique bodies of work we’ve run across in ages, although none of it tops the brilliant absurdity of Panther’s finest moment, a song and video called “You Don’t Want Your Nails Done” that we’ve featured before and will now feature again, because we love it so.
Watch Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus do their “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” cover at the Billboard Music Awards
Much as we’re loathe to admit it, collaborating with Miley Cyrus was probably a pretty smart career move for Wayne Coyne and his ragtag band of psych-rockers, the Flaming Lips. On their own, the Lips have pretty much a zero percent chance of getting invited to perform on any nationally televised awards show these days—but with Miley in tow, they’re not only invited to the party, they’re given full permission to let their freak flags fly. Their appearance on last night’s Billboard Music Awards (video below) would have been the talk of the Interweb today, had the entire awards show not been upstaged by that stupid Michael Jackson hologram.
Wayne and Miley were decked out in warpaint, feathers and tinsel (including, in Coyne’s case, a tinsel codpiece) to perform their cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which the Lips recently announced is but one track of a forthcoming Sgt. Pepper tribute album called With a Little Help From My Fwends. Shrewdly, they began taking pre-orders for the album last night, even though it’s not due out until October. I wonder how many hyperventilating Miley fans have already pre-ordered their copy, blissfully unaware that most of the record will be old dudes like Coyne and Moby doing weird Beatles songs they never heard of?
With a Little Help From My Fwends is due out Oct. 28th on Warner Bros. Records. A portion of the record’s profits will go towards the Bella Foundation, which helps elderly, low-income and terminally ill pet owners pay their vet bills. So every time we make fun of this project in the months ahead—and my guess is we’ll make fun of it A LOT—a portion of us will feel like assholes for doing so.
In other Lips news: Coyne recently fired the band’s longtime second drummer, Kliph Scurlock, prompting Scurlock to write a long letter to Pitchfork accusing Coyne of, among other things, “endless verbal (with threats of physical) abuse.” (You can read the entire letter here, if you’re so inclined.) While it’s hard to say how many of Scurlock’s accusations are true, it’s definitely true that Coyne chose to respond in the douchiest way possible, by giving a lengthy interview to Rolling Stone in which he repeatedly describes Scurlock—who was with the band for 12 years—as hateful, immature and uncreative. “Anybody that knows him knows what a hateful pathological liar he is,” he says, before adding, moments later, “But I don’t even want to speak about the hate, you know. I don’t have any hate for him.”
Well, we don’t have any hate for you either, Wayne. But I gotta be honest. Between the Rolling Stone interview and that moment at the Billboard Music Awards where you kissed Miley’s feet—we’re a little worried about you. Maybe take a little hiatus after this Beatles album, yeah? You seem like you could use some R&R.
The universe really did not want me to see Kirin J Callinan at the Echoplex last night. First, I wasn’t on the guest list as promised by his label. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m about to be unemployed so I’m trying to avoid frivolous expenditures like weird band concerts. I was about to spring for the $20 when a woman who had arrived just behind me said, “Want to be my plus-one?” So maybe the universe was on my side last night after all.
But then, just as Callinan was about to go on, I got sucked into a bizarre debate about the biological and ethical imperatives of veganism with my new friend at the bar, which in the Echoplex is at the very back of the venue, approximately one million feet from the stage. “Humans didn’t evolve to be carnivores,” my guest list savior was explaining to me and two other women she had just met at the bar. “We don’t have carnivore teeth. Our stomach acids can’t break down animal protein. I’m going to send you a YouTube video of a lecture on this. It’s all been proven scientifically.” Meanwhile, Callinan was setting up his guitar pedals, dressed in a white silk kimono, as though he had just wandered in from a spa. Even under the kimono, he looked paradoxically both gaunt and muscular. I wondered if he was vegan.
I escaped the veganism debate just in time to score a spot right up against the stage right drum riser, where the thunder of the drummer’s kick drum made my non-carnivore teeth rattle. It was so loud next to the drums that I couldn’t even tell you what the first song was, but it was rivetingly intense and aggressive. Live, Callinan has the tightly coiled stage presence (and impressively large, imperious schnoz) of a young Pete Townshend. I feared for the safety of a heckler who kept yelling, “Take it off!” “You want it?” Callinan shot back, fingering the collar of his kimono. It was unclear whether the “it” was the kimono or Callinan’s nakedness. “You can start by buying me a drink, don’t you think? I’m serious.” (The heckler did not buy him a drink.)
Callinan’s three-piece backing band—drums, bass, keyboards—had clearly been instructed to remain entirely expressionless. The drummer, a sinewy German whose name was either Hunter or Gunter, had an impressive knack for staring out into the audience and not moving his head at all, even when the rest of him was wailing away on a particularly frenzied passage. Even when Callinan introduced the band—the keyboard player, it turned out, was his younger brother—not one of them cracked so much as a smirk.
The brute force of “Come On USA” certainly knocked the audience back on its heels a bit—”Very Marilyn Manson!” one person exclaimed—but for me, it was the gentler songs that best showcased Callinan’s talents, both as a crafter of melody and as an emotive, room-silencing performer. “Victoria M.” is every bit the New Wave anthem live that it is on record, and “Landslide” is a broken-hearted hymn worthy of Leonard Cohen. When Callinan starts to howl, “The stars are all dirt, and God is in the water, and Hell is right here on Earth,” you catch a glimpse of what a superstar this guy might become.
Did he eventually take off that kimono, and also his shirt? Of course he did. Every Kirin J Callinan performance, as near as I can tell, has a bit of a striptease quality to it. Before he even played a note, he began the show by taking off a pair of white gloves.
Callinan ended the show, as I’d hoped he would, with “The Toddler,” his hilarious a cappella number sung from the point of view of a swaggering two-year-old who brags, “All the pre-school cougars wanna get with me, they’re nearly twice my age!” The crowd helped him keep the beat by clapping along, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to help him sing the chorus, though he kept asking us to. Kirin J Callinan isn’t really the type of performer one sings along with.
I have to end this review by thanking my new concert buddy, Karrie from Minneapolis. We may never agree on veganism, Karrie, but next time you’re in L.A., I owe you a plus-one!