Monthly Archives: April 2013
There are few things in this world more satisfying than drawing a Sharpie dick on your friend’s face after he’s conked out from one too many Jägerbombs. But among those few things is a shapely female ass in a thong. So you can imagine my delight when I recently discovered the miracle combination of these two beautiful things that is Passed Out Juggalos.
Passed Out Juggalos is a Facebook page started by a bunch of chicks who go to Gathering of the Juggalos and other events where the eyebrow-pierced fans of Insane Clown Posse congregate, find the dudes who are passed out (trust me, it’s not very hard), and take pictures of themselves shoving their scantily clad asses and boobs in said passed out dudes’ faces. It’s like some kind of crazy, genius cross between teabagging, a strip club lap dance and a Take Back the Night march. Okay, that last part might be a stretch, but you have to admit, there’s a turn-the-tables layer of female empowerment to all this. You could almost call it girl-on-guy sexual harrassment…except that for 99.9% of these guys, unless there’s a huge gay Juggalo contingent we’re unaware of, this is a fucking dream come true. Or it would’ve been if only they’d been awake for it.
Like all true geniuses, the women behind Passed Out Juggalos are misunderstood. Scattered amidst the “Fuck yeah!” and “I wanna pass out when you’re around” comments on their Facebook page is a fairly steady stream of “You’re all dumb sluts” and “Why are you doing this?” POJ girl Neveah answers that last one pretty well in this Q&A she and two other POJ girls did with Vice.com: “It’s hella funny, because you see people hella passed out in these crazy positions that look so uncomfortable. What could be better than putting your ass right in their faces?” Neveah, we hella agree with you 1,000%.
On a related note: Tickets are on sale now for the next Gathering of the Juggalos, happening Aug. 7-11 in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. Gentlemen, start practicing your uncomfortable-looking fake-passed-out poses now.
If there’s one thing Andy and I love, it’s when a band that we already thought was pretty weird gets even weirder. Well, our March Weird Band Poll winners Barbara have done just that. They’ve just released a music video for the song “TUM”…their first proper video, as far as we know…and it’s big ball of deep-fried crazy dipped in hot ‘n’ spicy freak sauce. Here, watch:
What’s your favorite part? Mine is the totally random shot of trash cans at around the four-minute mark. Also, all the parts where they’re singing and wearing what look like windbreakers that have been stitched to their faces. Also, the part where the girl says, “You all have drinks?” OK, fine, I love the whole fucking thing.
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.
Listen, we all already knew that Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale was one crazy motherfucker, but he just keeps out-freaking himself with this Black Pus project. The music, which is mostly just Chippendale wailing away on larger-than-life drums, looped-to-death vocals and swarm-of-bees synths, is crazy enough all by itself. But now he has to go and add the kind of visual accompaniment that has me creeping around on all fours to find the gremlins that dosed my nightcap. Yes, I just watched this video five times in a row and I am now actually hallucinating. Either that or my socks really are full of ants. Nah, let’s assume I’m hallucinating.
Anyway, the video is for the chanty/ranty track “Hear No Evil” and you can watch it below. You can also read all about Brian’s unlikely trip to an avant-garde drumming workshop in the United Arab Emirates. Even without the peyote-punk videos, the man leads a pretty interesting life.
Bonus Pus nugget: Chippendale is taking his Black Pus show on the road in May. In case you missed ’em the first time, you can read all the dates here.
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but today marks the addition of our 200th band to The Weird List. I don’t think anybody, including us, thought we could keep at it this long…and honestly, without you amazing readers out there in Interweb Land, we wouldn’t have. So thank you. And now that we’ve gotten all that mushy shit out of the way…
We couldn’t make just any band our 200th. We had to go with a classic. And few weird bands are weirder or more classic than John Zorn’s Naked City, the whiplash jazz/punk/surf/lounge/thrash/ambient/noise quintet that blew into the world in the late ’80s and blew out again just five years later, leaving a trail of ringing ears, confused jazzbos and grotesque album covers in their wake.
Naked City grew out of an eclectic downtown Manhattan music scene in the late ’80s that coalesced around the original Knitting Factory. Punks went to see jazz combos; jazz musicians joined punk bands. You could see free jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor one night and Sonic Youth the next. Mike Doughty, the future lead singer of Soul Coughing, worked the door. If I had a time machine, right after I killed Hitler, I would go to the Knitting Factory circa 1990.
The ringleader of Naked City was an angry 36-year-old saxophonist named John Zorn, who had been active as an experimental composer and musician for over a decade. A fan of both avant-classical experimenter John Cage and cartoon soundtrack composer Carl Stalling, Zorn spent much of his early career devising what he called “game pieces”: essentially, highly structured improvisations featuring a mix of jazz, rock, classical and unconventional instrumentation. For some reason, most of Zorn’s game pieces had sports-themed names; here’s one, for example, called “Archery,” and another called “Lacrosse.”
To give you the best idea of how weird Zorn’s game pieces could get, here are two different versions of his most famous game, “Cobra”: first, from a 1992 documentary called On the Edge: Improvisation in Music; next, from a 2008 Zorn concert in Tel Aviv featuring Naked City drummer Joey Baron, jazz guitar god Marc Ribot and members of Mr. Bungle. In both clips, you can see Zorn “conducting” the game with yellow cue cards, which he mostly seems to use to whip his musicians into ever greater frenzies of atonal chaos.
In addition to his game pieces, Zorn also dabbled in experimental rock music (with Golden Palominos, among others), duck calls as musical instruments (most notably on The Classic Guide to Strategy), traditional Japanese music, and Ennio Morricone. But he was also listening to a lot of punk, speed metal and early grindcore—influences that really began to exert themselves on his music in the late ’80s, first with Naked City and then with even more overtly hardcore-influenced projects like Spy vs. Spy, his album-length tribute to free jazz legend Ornette Coleman, and Painkiller, his jazz/dub/grindcore trio with Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris and bassist Bill Laswell.
But enough about John Zorn’s lengthy CV. Let’s get to Naked City already, shall we?
Zorn founded Naked City in 1988 with fellow NYC jazz players Bill Frisell on guitar, Fred Frith on bass, Wayne Horvitz on keyboards and Joey Baron on drums. Borrowing the Naked City name from Weegee’s notorious book of gritty tabloid photography and the 1946 film noir inspired by it, Zorn seems to have originally envisioned the project as a chance to playfully riff on gangster movie soundtracks; the group’s self-titled debut album (which featured a graphic Weegee photo on its cover) included punked-up versions of the James Bond theme, complete with gunshots, and Jerry Goldsmith’s music from Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. But it also featured several hyper-condensed blasts of sheer noise, with titles like “Igneous Ejaculation” and “Demon Sanctuary,” often featuring the banshee-getting-a-prostate-exam vocals of Yamatsuka Eye of the Boredoms.
The band’s second album, Torture Garden, ditched the gangster-soundtrack angle entirely and just crammed 42 “hardcore miniatures” onto a single disc (including a few repurposed pieces from their debut). The shortest, “Hammerhead,” was just eight seconds long. The one that sounded the most like some kind of mission statement was called “Jazz Snob Eat Shit.”
Over the next four years, Naked City would release five more albums, each more bizarre than the last. By the 1992 album Radio, they were skipping with abandon from thrash metal to prog-rock to country to free jazz to Looney Tunes soundtracks, sometimes all in the same song. Their live shows became breakneck tours the last 50 years of popular music, often accompanied by the otherworldly shrieks of Eye or their other favorite live guest vocalist, Mr. Bungle’s Mike Patton.
Alas, it was all too weird to last. After 1993’s moodier, more ambient Absinthe, Naked City broke up and John Zorn went on to other, only slightly less nutty projects like his klezmer-inspired group Masada and the Moonchild Trio, his long-running collaboration with Joey Baron, Mike Patton and Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn.
But for awhile there, Naked City was truly, in the eyes of many, the Weirdest Band in the World. Naked City fans are a diehard breed, even among fans of weird music. This, from a 2005 review of the band’s complete recordings, is only slightly more extreme than usual: “Every time I move into a new place—even before I cart in the boxes—I set up a stereo and blast that [debut] LP in the living room: It cleans out the evil spirits and even clears out bad smells.” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the guy who wrote that probably moves a lot.
We generally cater to short attention spans around here, and Naked City’s oeuvre offers plenty of material for the ADD crowd. So here’s 55 seconds of Zorn and co., with Eye on vocals:
But believe me when I tell you: To fully appreciate how truly, awesomely insane Naked City was, you need to watch all 93 minutes of this 1990 performance from a jazz festival in Switzerland. Or at least watch until about the 7:05 mark, when it takes Zorn longer to introduce the song “Igneous Ejaculation” than it does for the band to play it.
So to all you Naked City fans who read this blog: Sorry it took us 200 bands to get to them. And now, on to the next 200…
(P.S. Many, many readers have asked us to add Naked City to The Weird List over the years, but we have to give a special shout-out to reader Salvatore Intravaia for answering our call for 200th band suggestions on Facebook. Well-played, Salvatore! As soon as we get around to printing more T-shirts, you’ll get one.)
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!
April Weird Band Poll: Vote for The Chewers, Clockwork Orchestra, Clowns and Fetuses, Scab Queen or Tupper Ware Remix Party
It’s that time of the month again, Weirdlings: the time when we stop doing our jobs and saddle you with the onerous task of choosing our next Weird Band of the Week. Don’t take this responsibility lightly, OK? Many a band has gained a whole new fan or three after winning one of these here poll puppies. So it’s kind of a big deal.
[Sorry, folks, the poll has now closed. Check back here Wednesday, when the winner will be revealed.]
Wanna know more about this month’s bands? Read on:
The Chewers are self-described “freaks from the woods of West Virginia making deliberately off-kilter music.” Here’s a link to their Soundcloud page; we recommend starting with “Funnel Head” or “Techno-Slaves.”
Clockwork Orchestra is the solo project of Dublin-based songwriter/producer/”control freak extraordinaire” Paul Mangan. “Some people seem to think it’s quite weird,” he says of his music, which he describes as a “bewildering menagerie of sound.” Here’s his Soundcloud. Recommended starting point: “Talking to the Flowers.”
Clowns and Fetuses
Drummer/singer/artist/Theremin-player Rich Polysorbate 60 posted this clip from his band Clowns and Fetuses on our Submit a Band page awhile back, and we’ve been disturbed by it ever since. They’re from right here in Southern California, from a crappy industrial town on the outskirts of downtown L.A. called Vernon, but further details regarding their history or current activities remains a bit sketchy. Rich describes their live shows like this: “One show will be contact mics on power tools; the next show, Casios and lap steel guitar.” Here’s a video from one of their recent shows/installations.
Scab Queen is Michael Lauden, a producer/noise artist from Athens, Georgia. His debut EP, Tiny Coffins, was recorded in “a server room, laundromat, punk-house combo” and is available on Bandcamp. Here’s a clip of his solo live show, which seems to consist mainly of live drums and improvised, laptop-generated noise.
Tupper Ware Remix Party
Tupper Ware Remix Party hail from Toronto, the same city that gave us last month’s Weird Band Poll winners, Barbara. Here’s how they describe themselves: “Daft Punk, Iron Maiden, Justice and Parliament all smashed into five spandex-clad, keytar wielding, pylon wearing, pelvic thrusting, wildly out of control individuals claiming to be from outerspace, except with way more lazers, confetti, projection screens, and sci-fi references.” Here’s their official website and here’s a link to their EP, The Device, available via Bandcamp.
So there you have it. We’ll close voting at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 21st, so help us get the word out…and may the weirdest band win!
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. 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