Big news from Electric Phantom, the record label home to Chimney Crow and Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin. It arrived on our Facebook page earlier this week in the form of a video press conference hosted by Electric Phantom spokeswoman Melody McGinn and attended by the dying remnants of the music press. Let’s watch, shall we?
Very melodramatic, no? Next time we have a big announcement, we’re totally hiring Melody and her gang of ghouls to make it for us.
So now that you know the big news (you did watch the video, right? if not: Spoiler alert!), head over to electric-phantom.com and check out all the new goodies. Happy shopping.
Last time we checked in with our avant-hip-hop hero Mission Man, he had decided to finally quit his day job to pursue music full-time. Now it’s three months later and he’s…well, he’s back to the working grind again, but not to worry. The new job is just part-time and as he puts it on his website, “music is a bigger, more beautiful part of my life than it’s ever been!” So Mission Man’s, er, mission to bring “hip-hop without ego” to the masses continues apace.
Last week, Gary “Mission Man” Milholland released his latest opus: A brand-new video for the pep-talk track “Extra” off his most recent album, M”. In true MM fashion, the clip features all sorts of zany composite shots of Mission Man dancing on flowers and planets and flying away in his Chevy Cobalt, plus some scenes of him busting moves in some shitty sports bar that probably doesn’t deserve him, and a whole sequence involving footprints in the snow that hopefully he can explain to us over a beer someday. But our favorite part of the whole video is probably the part where he looks directly into the camera and raps, “You look extra today: Extra tall, extra smart, extra talented, extra sexy, extra amazing.” Back atcha, Gary!
In other Mission Man news, he recently performed a new track, “Love, Funk and Soul,” with a live band. He’s taking this shit to the next level, y’all!
It’s the freakin’ weekend! And I don’t know about you people, but I’m ready to celebrate like a Mad Hatter with a belly full of special tea.
Two of our favorite web buddies, Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin and TommyTopHat, have joined forces for a new track called “Mad Hatter’s Ball.” It might be the most festive tune we’ve heard yet from Ms. MacPumpkin. I guess using Alice in Wonderland as source material just does that to people. And that Tommy fellow seems pretty festive, too. His manbehindthecurtain blog is chock full of cool shit.
Anyway, here’s the track. Fire it up and let’s get this ball a-rollin’! Or something like that.
Our friend and former Weird Band Facebook Poll™ champ Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin has been bugging us all week to post her first-ever music video. So here it is finally! Sorry it took us awhile, Ms. MacP.
The song in the video is called “Carnival (Introduction’s Aside)” and it’s the first track on her album Fish Drive Edsels. It’s a pretty cool visual representation of the funhouse world that is Petunia-Liebling’s music. Hope she’s got more trippy visuals in the works.
So it turns out Moby was wrong. According to the latest song from Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin, we are all made not of stars, but of monads. I had to look up what a monad is, and according to Dictionary.com, it can be either a “simple, single-celled organism” or “an unextended, indivisible, and indestructible entity that is the basic or ultimate constituent of the universe and a microcosm of it.” I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing the second option.
Here’s the new song “Monads,” uploaded mere hours ago to the Soundcloud page of MacPumpkin’s label, Electric Phantom, along with some tracks from the mysterious Rosewater Treacle Tart. The perfect soundtrack to a slightly hungover Sunday afternoon, don’t you think? (If you can’t see the Soundcloud player, click here.)
When we first encountered Gary “Mission Man” Milholland back in 2011, he was a struggling underground rapper who delivered pizzas by day and spit rhymes by night. But now it’s 2013 and guess what, bitches? He’s rapping full time! Well-played, Gary. It’s success stories like yours that give us hope for weird and misunderstood artists everywhere.
In addition to honing his mic skills at, he promises, “5 open mike shows per week, plus hopefully a full show or two each week, as well,” The Mish is embarking on some January and March (not February, for some reason) tour dates. He’s dubbed his little eight-city jaunt the “I Quit My Job (please don’t make me go back)” tour. It starts on Jan. 19th, his birthday. So buy the man some cake, Dayton.
Jan 19 Blind Bob’s Dayton, OH
Jan 20 One Eyed Jack’s Fairborn, OH
Jan 21 Southgate House Revival Newport, KY
Jan 22 Stadium Bar and Grille Oxford, OH
Jan 23 Scarlet and Grey Cafe Columbus, OH
Jan 24 King Avenue 5 Columbus, OH
Mar 09 Southgate House Revival Newport, KY
Mar 14 Annabell’s Akron, OH
Mar 16 Checkers N Trophies Kent, OH
Here’s hoping Mission Man becomes enough of a force in 2013 that he can finally play the West Coast. As much as we enjoy his YouTube videos, something tells us you really need to see the man live to fully appreciate his unorthodox approach to beats and rhymes.
Man, I love our Facebook polls. If it was up to me, we’d do one every week, but my partner in crime Andy is a fucking control freak so we only do them every month or so. The rest of the time, we get to pick the bands. But honestly, you guys out there in Readerland kinda do a better job at it.
Case in point: This month’s poll winner, a one-man/one-doll band from Vermont called Caring Babies. Actually, this is the second winning band in the past few polls that features inanimate objects as band members. Your Fuzzy Friends, who we featured in November, are a one-man/three-animal-hand-puppets band. We should find a few more and organize a festival. We could call it Fluffstock or some shit.
The human member of Caring Babies is apparently a dude named Matt Mazur who sings like David Byrne and, as you can see, has excellent taste in sweaters. He had this to say about being our Weird Band of the Week: “I will wait as patiently as I can for this article, but I am doing some dances because it’s cool and because I’m excited.” Well, wait no more, Matt! But keep doing those dance moves anyway, because judging from your live show, you need all the practice you can get. (I kid! If it wasn’t for spazzy white-guy dance moves, this whole blog wouldn’t exist.)
The non-human member of Caring Babies is a Cabbage Patch-like doll named Redgei. She had nothing to say about being our Weird Band of the Week, but since she’s a doll, she’s probably not real good at writing emails. Then again, she’s credited as playing all the band’s computers, so who knows? Maybe she’s just less impressed with us than Matt is. As she should be.
Caring Babies have been around since 2009 and are from a town in Vermont called Wilder, which is so fucking appropriate I can hardly stand it. Their songs are catchy little synth ditties that mostly seem to be about friends and balloons and generally happy stuff. They also have a song about cell phones, which by their standards gets kinda dark: “Mr. Cell Phone, I thought you were talking to me.” It’s biting social commentary you can spazz-dance to.
For more on Caring Babies, check out their Blogspot or peep the videos below. Oh and go vote in our next poll, OK? I’m pretty sure this one is 100% doll, hand puppet and stuffed-animal free. We try to mix things up.
P.S. We’re taking next week off to go torture our families during the holidays, so this is our last Weird Band of the Week for 2012. All kidding aside, thanks for supporting us so much these past 12 months and get ready for even more weirdness in 2013. We’ve barely scratched the surface, people!
So the winner of our latest Weird Band Facebook Poll™ seems to be a big fan of our site (she’s been sharing links on our Facebook page like crazy), but we still know almost nothing about her. Then again, maybe that’s OK. Certain acts work better if there’s an air of mystery. We probably don’t really need to know the full story behind Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin. Or maybe she’ll decide to share it with us someday and it’ll be just as weird as her music. Although that’s asking a lot, because her music is some of the trippiest shit we’ve heard in a long time.
MacPumpkin is (we think) the creation/alter-ego/bizarro version of a lady from Florida named Melody Felicia-Baril McGinn. We first heard about her from a new reader named TommyTopHat. Sup, Tommy? Thanks for the tip.
Melody apparently grew up a huge fan of The Residents (hence her fondness for top hats) and Renaldo & The Loaf (another band we really should add to The Weird List one of these days). She says she started making her heavily Residents/Renaldo-inspired MacPumpkin music back in the early ’90s and is only just now getting around to releasing it via Bandcamp.
Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin’s one and only album is called Fish Drive Edsels and it’s completely insane. Vocals and rhythms speed up and slow down like some kind of cracked funhouse carnival music. The lyrics, when you can make them out, are about cowboys bagging groceries, conversations with frozen fish, and something called the Bedazzler, which we thought was just some tool chicks use for putting sequins on shit but is apparently also, in Petunia’s world, a shapeshifting monster who “usually comes at night when there’s a storm.” When I was a little kid, I was afraid of a similar monster called the Beshatter who would come at night and take a dump on your head. But I digress.
Besides Fish Drive Edsels, MacPumpkin has also released a few new tunes on Soundcloud, including one that sets Edward Lear’s poem “The Jumblies” to music that sounds like acid rock for Oompa-Loompas, and another inspired by electro-soul weirdo Gary Wilson. Apparently she and Wilson have some kind of mutual admiration society going, because on her website, MacPumpkin has this quote from Wilson: “After a pleasant listening, Petunia inspired us to go out and have some fish and chips.” High praise indeed. Here’s the Wilson-inspired track, “He Cried.” (Note: If you see a blank space below instead of a Soundcloud player, click here and that should fix the problem.)
Melody Felicia-Baril McGinn may or may not also be the lunatic behind another musical persona called Rosewater Treacle Tart. Petunia-Liebling MacPumpkin hasn’t made any YouTube videos…or actually, it looks like she once had YouTube videos and for some reason she’s taken them all down. But this Rosewater Treacle Tart video is amazing, so we’re including it here, even though we haven’t confirmed it’s the same chick. Us, fact-check? Fuck that. Even the New York Times barely does that shit these days.
So congrats on being our Weird Band of the Week, Petunia! And to all our readers: If you wanna see more quality artists like PL MacP make the grade around here, go vote in our latest Facebook poll. I know, Facebook sucks now, but at least it’s not as bad as Google+. Yet.
This week’s weird act was suggested by reader jlrake, who wrote in with all sorts of worthy weirdo contenders. We’re going with Gary S. Paxton because he’s responsible for one of the most
popular overplayed Halloween songs of all time and a catchy little tune called “Vote Em Out Boogie,” both of which seemed pretty apropos for this week. If only he’d written a song about hurricanes, we’d be hitting the timeliness trifecta.
Throughout his 40-plus year career, Paxton has been a master of the novelty song. His very first hit, “Alley Oop,” was a Coasters-style R&B goof about a caveman from a popular comic strip, recorded with fellow nutjob Kim Fowley and a thrown-together group called The Hollywood Argyles. He followed that up with the revered/reviled Halloween party staple, “Monster Mash,” which he produced with singer Bobby “Boris” Pickett in 1962. But surprisingly, his music really took a turn for the weird after he converted to Christianity in 1970. His early Jesus stuff was fairly conventional, easy-listening ’70s gospel—like his most successful Christian song, the oft-covered “He Was There All the Time.” But his Amish-on-steroids facial hair was a clue that the dude behind “Alley Oop” and “Monster Mash” was, well, there all the time.
That dude—the Paxton who would eventually start wearing, y’know, gold boots and masks with his initials on them—really busted out on his second gospel album, More From the Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable Gary S. Paxton (a sequel, obviously, to The Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton). Alongside more conventional Bible-belt fodder like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” were such immortal Paxton originals as “Jesus Is My Lawyer in Heaven,” “When the Meat Wagon Comes for You” and my personal favorite, “There Goes a Cigar Smoking a Man.” If Bible Camp had been more like this, I might have gone for more than one weekend.
Paxton’s next album, Terminally Weird/But Godly Right, further cemented his status as sort of a Christian cross (Jesus pun!) between Randy Newman and Wavy Gravy: a lovable but irascible old hippie writing catchy little songs that were easy to dismiss as silly but full of sly social satire to anyone who was paying attention. You can listen to excerpts of the whole thing on The Pax’s website. We recommend starting with “Fat, Fat Christians.”
A bizarre and tragic event nearly ended Paxton’s life in 1980. He was living in Nashville at the time and producing a lot of country artists. Depending on which version of the story you believe (Paxton’s, or that of his current wife, Vicki Sue Roberts), Paxton was shot three or five times by two hitmen hired to kill him over a contract dispute with a country singer he was working with. He survived, only to run into troubles with the IRS and develop a near-fatal case of hepatitis C. Oh, and he might have also had an affair with Tammy Faye Bakker. So the ’80s were a particularly odd time for The Paxman.
Since 1999, Paxton has lived in Branson, Missouri with Roberts, where he by all accounts (well, his and Vicki’s) keeps a fairly low profile. He can’t perform any more because of his health problems, but that hasn’t stopped him from churning out a steady stream of increasingly bizarre novelty songs, including “When I Die Just Bury Me at Wal-Mart” and “Frankenclone” (The Pax does house music!). He also does the occasional conservative wingnut screed, but he’s old and white and lives in Missouri, so we’ll let that slide.
So Happy Halloween and Happy Almost-Election Day, My Gary S. “Monster Mash/Obamascare” Paxton! We hope you’re still keeping it weird in Branson, even if we also hope “Vote ‘Em Out Boogie” only applies to the Tea Party and not our boy Barack. He’s not perfect, but Romney and Ryan scare the shit out of us.
Most of Paxton’s weirdest stuff sadly is unavailable on YouTube, but we did rather enjoy the zany lyrics (though not, it must be noted, the gratuitous use of gruesome Holocaust imagery—sorry about that part) of this little pro-gun ditty. You’re totally right, Gary, no handgun ever drove itself to a schoolyard. All inanimate objects are inherently harmless! C4 and hand grenades for everyone! And anyone who disagrees is Hitler.