Nashville doesn’t have a reputation as a hotbed of weird music, but maybe it should. Between Here Come the Mummies, H-Beam and now our latest Weird Band Poll winners, The Chewers, Music City U.S.A. has been flying its freak flag at full mast of late.
The Chewers are Travis Caffrey on (mainly) guitar and Michael Sadler on (mainly) drums, although their songs also feature a lot of programmed sounds and the occasional oddball instrument. (We’re particularly fond of the instrumental track “Don’t Go in the Tent,” which manages to make the usually goofy Siren Whistle sound like it’s coming to suck the breath from your body.) They describe themselves as “two freaks from the woods of West Virginia” and there is definitely a creepy, Deliverance-y quality to their off-kilter tunes, as though a couple of tattooed hillbillies decided to retire early from the bathtub speed trade and form a band based on the Residents and Tom Waits records they found at a yard sale in Wheeling.
But just because they’re hillbillies, don’t mistake them for rubes. There’s a smart, satirical edge to a lot of The Chewers’ best songs, like this two-for-one send-up of organized religion and the pharmaceutical industry (if you can’t see the SoundCloud players below, click here):
Then again, they’re also pretty great at just grunting salaciously, basically turning the first 30 seconds of The Doors’ “Back Door Man” into an entire song:
Finally, here’s a more recent track, “Burn It Down.” The vocals have gotten even weirder, but the music’s gotten groovier, too. We’re digging it.
They also make pretty good videos. Here’s one for “Techno-Slaves,” a track from their latest album, Chuckle Change and Also. We especially like the little saloon-keeper singing trio croaking away in the lower right hand corner.
So congrats on winning our April Weird Band Poll and keeping Nashville weird, guys. And if you see Brad Paisley, please bitch-slap him for us, OK? That “Accidental Racist” song might be the worst thing we’ve ever heard.
Despite our crusty, cynical exteriors, we’re really softies here at Weird Band HQ. So when a band loses one of our world-famous Weird Band Polls™ by just a few votes, it breaks our hearts. But not for very long, because we can just go ahead and add them to the Weird List anyway. You didn’t think that poll shit was binding, did you? This ain’t fuckin’ American Idol and I’m way better looking than that douchebag Ryan Seacrest.
So congratulations, H-Beam! You may have come in second to Barbara, but second place with over 500 freakin’ votes is still good enough in our book.
H-Beam are from Nashville, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they are not gunning for a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They’re more Dr. Demento than Grand Ole Opry. The brains of the operation seems to be a singer/guitarist/banana aficionado named (duh) Banana Matt. When he’s reeling off guitar-god psych-rock solos, they kinda just sound like another Bonnaroo side stage jam band. But Matt likes to write songs about talking hot dogs and masturbating pandas, and he’s surrounded himself quite the band of misfits: a magician/saxophonist, a dude who gives rides on his giant moustache, a lawyer pig named Bert DerHam, and a manager/hype-man named Mitch Huffman who wears a thrift-store pimp hat and says “Who touched all my shit?” a lot for no apparent reason. Even the masturbating panda shows up occasionally.
Banana Matt and company just released their third album this week: Episode 1: Shorn to Secrecy, a follow-up to the excellently titled Useful Box of Hair. It’s full of wacky skits and Zappa-like jams and it will make you smile. You can download the whole thing name-your-own-price-styley from Noisetrade. There’s an entire song about bacon, so you know that shit’s worth at least a fiver.
Now I will admit: 500 votes aside, half the reason H-Beam is scoring Weird Band of the Week honors is because they got Bert DerHam to make this awesome video giving us a shoutout. But the other half…maybe even the other two-thirds…is the video for “Love Panda.” Enjoy.
Quick, what do Primus and The Hobbit have in common? If you answered, “they can both test audiences’ patience”…well, technically, you’re right, but that’s not the answer we were going for. No, they’re both in 3D, dude! Apparently last fall’s “Primus in 3D” tour was so successful, they’re bringing it back. Turns out Primus fans really love watching hallucinatory visuals that seem to distort space and time itself. Who’da thunk?
Anyway, here’s where Primus will be laying down the 3D jams this year. Except in places marked by an asterisk. You’ll have to settle for the low-tech, 2D version.
5/9 – Bottle Rock Festival – Napa, CA *
5/10 – Eureka Municipal Auditorium – Eureka, CA
5/12 – Revolution Center – Boise, ID
5/13 – Wilma Theater – Missoula, MT
5/14 – Shrine Auditorium – Billings, MT
5/16 – City Auditorium – Colorado Springs, CO
5/17 – Santa Fe Community Convention – Santa Fe, NM
5/18 – Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
5/19 – Fox Theater – Pomona, CA
5/21 – Majestic Ventura Theater – Ventura, CA
5/22 – Fox Theater – Bakersfield, CA
5/24 – Cuthbert Amphitheater – Eugene, OR
5/25 – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Portland, OR
5/26 – Sasquatch Music Festival – Quincy, WA
5/28 – Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – Edmonton, AB
5/29 – McEwan Hall – Calgary, AB
5/31 – Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
6/1 – Myth – Maplewood, MN
6/2 – Riviera Theater – Chicago, IL
6/6 – Mountain Jam Festival – Hunter, NY *
6/7-8 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON
6/9 – Niagara River Rocks – North Tonawanda, NY *
* – Not 3D show
In other Primus news: Remember that $5,000 video contest we told you about? Well, either you all suck and no one won, or the band is really taking their sweet time picking a winner. The contest supposedly ended Dec. 15 but as far as we can tell, there have been zero updates since. Could no one contain the awesomeness of “HOINFODAMAN” in a single, low-budget video? Where are Your Fuzzy Friends when you need them?
If you haven’t been to a Peelander-Z show yet, you really need to get off your ass and rectify that situation, stat. Where else can you do a punk-rock conga line, play the band’s instruments and get knocked over by a giant squid riding a unicycle? It’s like Disneyland for drunk hipsters.
If you’re still not convinced, go read our review of their Halloween show here in L.A. last year. We’ll wait. Now, see if you’re lucky enough to be one of the handful of cities that get to play Tokyo to their Godzilla:
03/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
03/26 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
03/27 Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
03/28 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
03/29 Tucson, AZ @ Plush
03/30 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
03/31 Flagstaff, AZ @ The Green Room
04/03 San Antonio, TX @ War Room
04/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Europa Brain-Cave Festival 2013
If they’re not playing your town, don’t sweat it. These guys tour like Willie Nelson after an IRS audit. They’ll be back around soon.
Can robots trip balls? We’re about to find out. Captured! By the Robots, the world’s greatest Journey-covering nearly-all-robot band, is heading out on tour this April and May, and they’re promising a mind and/or CPU-expanding show the likes of which we sad little meat puppets have never seen. There will be baby eating. There will be dildo trombones. There may or may not be some unicorn riding. Or maybe there will baby riding and unicorn eating. You don’t know, and neither do we. All we can do is tell you the dates.
4/17/2013 Slabtown Portland
4/18/2013 Chop Suey Seattle
4/19/2013 The Palace Missoula
4/20/2013 The Shredder Boise
4/21/2013 Urban Lounge Salt Lake City
4/24/2013 3 Kings Tavern Denver
4/26/2013 The Brick Kansas City
4/27/2013 Triple Rock Minneapolis
4/28/2013 The Aquarium Fargo
5/1/2013 JD’s Bar Green Bay
5/2/2013 The Frequency Madison
5/3/2013 Cactus Club Milwaukee
5/4/2013 Martyrs Chicago
5/5/2013 House Cafe Dekalb
5/7/2013 TBA Marshall
5/8/2013 Mac s Bar Lansing
5/9/2013 Blind Pig Ann Arbor
5/10/2013 Grog Shop Cleveland Heights
5/11/2013 The Note West Chester
5/12/2013 Chameleon Club Lancaster
5/15/2013 The Hideaway Johnson City
5/16/2013 Milestone Club Charlotte
5/17/2013 The Jinx Savannah
5/18/2013 The Earl Atlanta
5/22/2013 Artmosphere Lafayette
5/23/2013 TBA Austin
5/24/2013 Double Wide Dallas
5/25/2013 Rubber Gloves Denton
5/28/2013 LAUNCH PAD Albuquerque
5/30/2013 Rhythm Room Phoenix
5/31/2013 TBA San Diego
6/1/2013 TBA Los Angeles
I’ll repeat here what I already told C!BR on their Facebook page: When you gearheads come to L.A. (and you better, godammit), you should play The Smell. That place is awesome. Bring a few robot floor fans, though. Otherwise you’ll probably blow a gasket when the temperature hits 120 and the walls start sweating.
We’ll leave you with a behind-the-scenes video of C!BR drummer DRMBOT0110 stress testing his double kick-drum. If you’re a drummer in a death metal band, you might wanna start looking for other work.
Hey, Primus fans! Put down the Dorito Loco Taco and listen up. This is important. Primus is asking fans to shoot the video for their next single, the annoyingly all-caps “HOINFODAMAN.” Maker of the best video wins five thousand bones and a place in music video history alongside such classic clips as “My Name Is Mud” and “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.” Your video probably doesn’t have to be that good…so long as it’s better than “Tragedy’s A’Comin,” you probably have a shot.
“HOINFODAMAN” is three minutes of pure Primus weirdness, including references to foot-long sandwiches and juicy burgers…so if you wanna get all literal on us, you could just film your friends pigging out on fast food. (Are you reading this, Zayde Buti?) We suspect something a little more creative is in order, however.
Hit up Primus’ website for more details on the contest (including the all-important video specs) or keep it here to enjoy the stoner-funk strains of “HOINFODAMAN.” And to all you budding would-be Finchers and Scorseses: Best of luck. We really hope one of you is this guy.
This week’s band comes to us from Norway, which seems to have more weirdness per capita than most EU nations (see also: Mayhem, Hurra Torpedo, etc.). And even though Norway is only like fifth on the list of Countries Where They Actually Read Our Blog, this band kicked major ass in our latest Facebook poll. Somebody from the Obama campaign should hire them to run their get-out-the-vote efforts in Ohio. Ohio is kinda like Olso, right? They both have shitty winters and begin and end with an “O.” Close enough for government work, as they say.
But about this band, which is called Ping: They’re a prog/psych-rock/jazz/fusion/whatever five-piece who have been around since 1999, when they were started by guitarist Mattis Janitz and bassist/vocalist Jørgen Greiner. They list such TWBITW favorites as Frank Zappa, Mike Patton and Ween among their many influences (also Wilco, but probably just for the Nels Cline guitar solos). And one of their albums is called Discotheque of Darkness, but is neither disco nor especially dark. So while they’re hardly the weirdest band we’ve ever blogged about, Ping definitely keep the quirk factor high.
The fan-made video below isn’t really Ping at their weirdest (for that, I’d have to recommend checking out the very Zappa-like “Anyway But Now“), but it does feature a truly amazing array of misfit goth/metal fan photos, plus a few shots of some of our favorite bands (keep an eye out for GWAR). Our kinda people!
Ping’s fourth album, The Hurricane Spoof, came out this past May. You can get it, along with the rest of their catalog, from the Norwegian version of iTunes.
P.S. Want your heart and/or other body parts to swell with pride when you see next month’s reader-voted Weird Band of the Week? Then go vote in our new Facebook poll. You’ll have to like our Facebook page first, but don’t worry, we’ll keep it casual.
Well, lookee here, campers. It says right here that the latest Primus tour is gonna be in 3D! That’s great, because that last tour where they just stuck cardboard cutouts of Les, Larry and Jay onstage was kinda bullshit.
No, but seriously: Primus’s fall tour dates will be “3D-enhanced,” creating what their latest press release promises will be a “one-of-a-kind psychedelic experience.” (Your mileage may vary, depending on the potency of those shrooms you saved from Bonnaroo.) We’re not sure if that means any 2Pac hologram cameos or what, but knowing these wacky fellows, anything’s possible. Oh, and the shows will also feature Quad Surround Sound. Dude! It’ll be as if Les’s bass strings are slapping against the inside of your skull.
Primus Tour Dates:
Oct. 12 – Poughkeepsie, NY – Mid Hudson Civic Center
Oct. 13 – Burlington, VT – Memorial Auditorium
Oct. 15 – Washington, DC – The Fillmore
Oct. 16 – Wilkes Barre, PA – Kirby Center
Oct. 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Tower Theater
Oct. 19 – New York NY – Hammerstein
Oct. 20 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theater
Oct. 21 – Providence, RI – Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Oct. 23 – Niagra Falls, NY – Rapids Theater
Oct. 24 – Detroit, MI – Fillmore
Oct. 26 – Asheville, NC – Moogfest
Oct. 27 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theater
Oct. 28 – St Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House
Oct. 30 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theater
Oct. 31 – Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle
Nov. 2 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown
Nov. 3 – Denver, CO – The Fillmore
Nov. 4 – Wichita, KS – Cotillion Ballroom
Nov. 5 – Dallas, TX – McFarlin
Nov. 7 – Austin, TX – Bass Hall
Nov. 9 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock
Nov. 10 – Miami, FL – Fillmore
We’ll play this post out with Primus’s new-ish video for “Lee Van Cleef,” which premiered on Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco website back in May. Apparently we’re kinda out of it when it comes to Primus news. I blame the shrooms.