It’s been too long since we posted a new Weirdify playlist, don’t you think? Let’s make up for lost time with an extra long mix for your first of what will hopefully be many backyard summer shindigs. Fire up the grill and dig in, kids. Memorial Day is just around the corner.
1. Signmark feat. Osmo Ikonen, “Speakerbox.” We’ll kick things off with our favorite feel-good jam from the world’s only (as far as we know) deaf Finnish rapper, Signmark. No, this song isn’t actually the least bit weird, but you don’t want to start your guests off with Caroliner, for Christ’s sake. Let the poor people ease into it.
2. Here Come the Mummies, “Freak Flag.” OK, now we’re getting at least slightly weird, courtesy of Tennessee’s most decomposed funk band. We’ll have a Mothership connection in 3, 2, 1…
3. Parliament, “Rumpofsteelskin.” If all you really know about George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic is “Give Up the Funk,” you’re probably wondering why we included them on the Weird List in the first place. This song should help clear that up.
4. That 1 Guy, “Funk Bean.” Nearly as funky as a fully operational Mothership, Mike Silverman’s Magic Pipe can summon Primus fans from miles around like a giant dog whistle. Even to non-Primus fans, it’s pretty groovy. (Also, apologies to That 1 Guy for jacking the cover art to his album Packs a Wallop! for this playlist. Don’t wallop us with your Magic Pipe, K?)
5. Fol Chen, “Cable TV.” Because nothing says summer like a song about watching Pay-Per-View in a fleabag motel. Or does that say “meth deal”? Either way, it’s got a beat and you can bop to it without spilling your margarita.
6. Hank3, “Six Pack of Beer.” After much deliberation, we decided to spare you and your BBQ guests the mighty racket that is Hank3′s cattlecore (that’s cattle auctioneers set to speed metal, y’all) in favor of this pickin’ and grinnin’ ode to the beverage of choice at BBQs everywhere.
7. Bob Log III, “Shake a Little, Wiggle It and Jiggle It Too.” The other great “III” on our Weird List, Bob Log III dresses up like a down-on-his-luck Evel Knievel and plays gutbucket slide-guitar blues, preferably while a willing young lass perches on his knee. And yes, he’s our hero.
8. tUnE-yArDs, “My Country.” This song from Merrill Garbus and her oddball, lo-fi jam band is perfect for Fourth of July parties. Sort of.
9. Dolchnakov Brigade, “Dating in Space.” It’s about time in the party for a little jam for the ladies, don’t you think? This DEVO-esque electro-pop freakout from our favorite pseudo-Russian Brooklyn band is just the ticket for getting the girls moving, at least in a confused, slightly epileptic way. (Can you be only “slightly” epileptic? You can when Dolchnakov Brigade is playing.)
10. DEVO, “Beautiful World.” Name-checking DEVO reminds us—every good party mix needs a little DEVO, don’t you think? Also, is it DEVO or Devo? Discuss.
11. Yip-Yip, “Slime Shuns Sun Shine.” Quick, say that song title ten times really fast. Now quick, try dancing to it. Which is harder? Discuss.
12. Waylander, “Re-Born to the Fight.” We’ve neglected the headbangers at your little backyard shindig for far too long. A little Celtic metal should satiate their desire for something more rockin’, while giving your other guests a chance to do a little jig and/or whiskey shots. Everybody wins.
13. The Misfits, “Teenagers From Mars.” You might think the punk band most closely associated with Halloween is not a very appropriate choice for a summer-themed party mix. And you’d be right. But fuck it, we’re throwing them in there anyway. Have another beer and roll with it.
14. The Flaming Lips, “Fryin’ Up.” Not the weirdest song the Lips ever did by a long shot, but it’s got a good party-rock vibe and that lyric about “blowin’ everything off on Monday,” which seems appropriate. Plus, the title is a reference to fryin’ burgers, right? Right?
15. The Upper Crust, “Eureka – I’ve Found Love.” We continue the rock portion of this mix with a tender love song from our current Weird Band of the Week, the Boston-based AC/DC-meets-Marie-Antoinette awesomeness that is The Upper Crust. Bibo ergo sum! Look it up, motherfuckers.
16. Bang Camaro, “Pleasure (Pleasure).” Boston’s other great novelty rock act (seriously, it’s like no one there can just headbang without irony), Bang Camaro achieve that multi-tracked ’80s hair-metal vocal sound with a ten-plus member “dude choir.” They have also clearly studied Pyromania to an unhealthy degree. OK, that’s enough rock for one party, don’t you think? Moving on…
17. Fool’s Gold, “Surprise Hotel.” This Afro-Hebrew-jam-pop band was one of the first acts we ever blogged about. In hindsight, they actually don’t seem all that weird compared to most of the bands on the Weird List, but damn if songs like this one don’t shout “summer!” like a happy parent shouting “mazel tov!” at their daughter’s wedding.
18. MaxNormal.TV, “HipnWidIt.” We’ve never featured our current No. 1 Weirdest Band on a Weirdify playlist before, and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to, considering Waddy Jones and co. pretty much scrapped this whole band when they reinvented themselves as Die Antwoord. But amazingly enough, Spotify does have some Max Normal tracks, including this shameless “Blue Monday” rip. But hey, even a secondhand version of the familiar New Order synth riff should get your more well-lubricated guests shaking a leg or two.
19. Dirty Sanchez, “Really Rich Italian Satanists.” Let’s keep the dance party vibe going with a little high-camp electroclash. Nothing says “party” like a bunch of drag queens channeling an Italian Satanic murder cult, am I right? Now pass the Campari, bitch.
20. Sir Ivan, “Hare Krishna.” We interrupt this party for a hands-in-the-air hippie moment from our favorite Raver Billionaire. Everyone loving one another? Good, let’s move on…
21. Sparks, “Now That I Own the BBC.” We really don’t mention often enough how freakin’ awesome Sparks are. This is from their Pet Shop Boys on Acid phase, as I like to call it. Enjoy.
22. The Superions, “Who Threw That Ham at Me.” We introduced this band from Fred Schneider of the B-52′s as a strictly Christmas-themed group, but they do summer-themed songs, too. And then they do this song about canned-meat tossing. You might want to make sure all the meat at your BBQ is in a secure place before this comes on.
23. The Wet Spots, “Do You Take It…?” (Dr. Feelin’s O.R. Dance Remix). By this point in the party, you’re probably wondering which of your guests like to get freaky. Here’s a hint: The ones who won’t look you in the eye while this track is playing? Not freaky.
24. Mojo Nixon, “I Ain’t Gonna Piss in No Jar.” OK, so by now, if you’re a party host worth your margarita salt, most of your guests are too drunk to dance. But too drunk to sing along to a Mojo Nixon song? We’re pretty sure that’s not physiologically possible.
25. Naked & Shameless, “And Then the Drugs Ran Out.” At all of Jake’s parties, this song is basically last call.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s mix. And remember: Always recycle your empties. Unless someone peed in them.
When we first wrote about the Die Antwoord precursor, Max Normal (aka MaxNormal.TV), they remained something of a mystery, a group that had once performed “high energy hip-hop power point presentations” in business suits but had since erased nearly all of their online presence. But with the growing interest in Die Antwoord and their uniquely South African spin on foul-mouthed party rap, we’re happy to report that several enterprising souls have restored significant chunks of the Max Normal catalog to YouTube.
A quick YouTube search now reveals about 20 Max Normal tracks, including such hints at future Die Antwoord brilliance as “Punch My Teeth Out” and “Angel Claw,” as well as a 2007 interview with Waddy Jones (the future Ninja) and Yo-Landi Visser (the future Yo-Landi Vi$$er) that seems disarmingly frank and honest. At the time, Jones was 33 (which would make him 37 or 38 now) and Visser was a vegetarian (and maybe still is). Who knew?
Of all the Max Normal tracks and videos that have resurfaced of late, this montage from one of their live shows is probably our favorite. It gives you an idea of, on the one hand, how incredibly talented Jones and his crew were even back in the day and, on the other, how hopelessly dorky the whole Max Normal concept was. Then again, if the Jones hadn’t spent all those years doing his rapper-as-motivational-speaker shtick, he probably never would have had the wherewithal to transform himself into Ninja. Like Max Normal says in the intro, “If you conceive it and you believe it, you can achieve it!”
Of all the weird bands we’ve blogged about here on TWBITW, the one that’s gotten by far the biggest response so far is Die Antwoord, the South African “zef rap-rave crew” fronted by a scrawny, prison-tatted MC named Ninja and an even scrawnier singer/rapper/fly-girl named Yo-landi Vi$$er. Like a lot of baffled yet undeniably delighted observers, we suspected the whole thing might be a put-on, but there was something so awesome about the group’s outlandish attitude that we decided they were probably for real.
Well, it turns out we were had—sort of. Die Antwoord is actually the latest incarnation of another group called Max Normal, an earlier hip-hop crew which also featured the inimitable Ms. Visser (minus the dollar signs) and a fellow by the name of Waddy Jones, an actor/musician/artist/troublemaker who, before he created the Ninja character, fronted his Max Normal crew in a three-piece suit and (according to a band site that’s been taken down but is still viewable in archive form) performed “motivational speaking style raps” to deliver “high energy hip-hop power point presentation[s].” Quite a far cry from Die Antwoord’s ghetto fabulous approach, although judging from the above publicity photo, both groups do share the same Keith Haring-esque design aesthetic.
Waddy and co. have clearly attempted to cover their tracks: the old MaxNormal.tv website has been taken down and replaced with a deliberately primitive-looking WordPress “advertising blog” [Update: It's now been taken down altogether] ; http://www.waddyjones.com similarly features a very plain-envelope
article directory link farm, which we’re guessing (although we can’t find an archived version) has not always been the case. Even the Max Normal Wikipedia page was just taken down yesterday—ostensibly for copyright infringement. [Update: It's since been restored and gives a very good and seemingly accurate history of the band.]
Not that we’re complaining about any of this. As the rest of the blogosphere has already widely proclaimed, what Jones and his crew are doing is so clever that an added layer of Borat-like chicanery is all just part of the fun. So enjoy this Max Normal video—which, as near as we can tell, is about two years old—and appreciate a.) how fucking versatile these guys are, and b.) how much better they’ve gotten in just a few years. If Waddy Jones doesn’t have his own HBO special by this time next year, we’ll guzzle the juice in this fish paste jar.
[Update: The video we originally posted has since been taken down due to a copyright claim. This one is even older, apparently dating back to 2001.]
[Bonus factoid: the dude in Die Antwoord with progeria has been widely identified as an artist/DJ named Leon
Bartha Botha. Another zef rap-rave mystery solved! (And thanks to reader David for correcting our fucked-up spelling of his name.)]
[Sad update dept.: Botha died on June 5, 2011, of complications from progeria, which among things apparently speeds up the aging process. He was 26 and the oldest known survivor of progeria at the time of his death. We belatedly pour one out for you, Leon.]
- Yo-Landi Visser goes hard in new Die Antwoord video, “Baby’s on Fire”
- Max Normal is all over YouTube
- Weirdify Playlist 9: Summer Freaks