Sly & The Family Drone

Photo swiped from ATTN:Magazine
Photo swiped from ATTN:Magazine

Like a mono outbreak on prom night, democracy has struck again here Weird Band HQ, and a new Weird Band of the Week has infested our tender, nubile pages. Did that last sentence totally creep you out? Well, this band might, too.  Meet Sly & The Family Drone, a British crew whose only resemblance to Sly & The Family Stone is that their leader has spent at least a few years living in a van. Possibly. Or not. What do you want from us, research?

Led by a gentleman called (duh) Sly, S&TFD started out in 2010 or thereabouts as a drums and tape effects noise ensemble, sort of a cross between Crash Worship, Wolf Eyes, Whitehouse and that sound my old Gorilla amp used to make when I would get really stoned and just drag my Mexicaster fretboard back and forth across the face of it for hours. They’ve released some studio recordings, including an EP that just came out this past month called Unnecessary Woe, which is the only kind of woe in a world that has bourbon and bands that sound like Crash Worship.

But they’re best known for their live shows, which involve a shit-ton of drums and lots of shirtless dudes crawling around manipulating effects pedals and oscillators and audience members banging on cymbals and just the kind of general, participatory mayhem that makes any good live show more than the sum of its racket. They also sometimes throw some harmonica in there, just to give it a little of that homeless-guy-busking-at-the-bus-station pizzazz. You probably have to be there to fully appreciate the whole thing, but here’s a video clip, anyway. Don’t worry, you don’t have to watch all 51 minutes to get to the weird stuff. It gets weird right out of the gate.

Best line from their official bio: “There is no place for guitars within this band.” It’s about time someone took a stand against all these fucking guitars! Goddamn things are everywhere.

Here’s a track from Unnecessary Woe called “Grey Meat,” which like their live shows was totally improvised. I’m pretty sure you can dance to this one, or at least break stuff.

So congrats on winning our Weird Band Poll, S&TFD! Hopefully this catapults you to enough fame and fortune that you can come wreck some drum kits here in America.

Links:

P.S. After we join our fellow Americans in stuffing our faces with turkey and trampling fellow shoppers in a stampede for the new iPads, we’re taking a little vacation time. But don’t worry, this break will be much shorter than our last one. We’ll be back with more weird bands in a couple weeks. Y’all try to stay out of trouble till then, OK?

Advertisements

Hide your daughters: Metalachi is going on tour

Metalachi

Actually, by the time you read this, Metalachi have probably already impregnated your daughters. Consensually, of course. Emphasis on “sensual.” Yeah, they’re that good.

Yep, L.A.’s favorite mariachi metal band is hitting the road this December, and if you live in Sacramento, Boise or Spokane, you are about to have your minds blown by how great the lead of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” sounds on a violin. You folks in Seattle and Portland, it probably takes a bit more to blow your minds, but you’ll still dig them, anyway.

Also next month, Metalachi continue their Monday night residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is Las freakin’ Vegas. They’re even playing the night before New Year’s Eve…or “New Year’s Eve pre-game,” as it’s known to us professional alcoholics. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Metalachi tour dates:

Nov 25 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas NV
Dec 5 The Catalyst Club Santa Cruz CA
Dec 6 The Blank Club San Jose CA
Dec 7 The Uptown Nightclub Oakland CA
Dec 8 Assembly Sacramento CA
Dec 9 Vinyl Las Vegas NV
Dec 9 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas CA
Dec 11 Neurolux Boise ID
Dec 12 Knitting Factory Spokane WA
Dec 13 El Corazon Seattle WA
Dec 14 Doug Fir Lounge Portland OR
Dec 16 Knitting Factory Reno NV
Dec 17 The Brewhouse Modesto CA
Dec 18  SLO Brewing Company San Luis Obispo CA
Dec 19 Strummer’s Fresno CA
Dec 20 McNears’s Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
Dec 30 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas NV

This fan-made DEVO claymation video is awesome

devo-searching-for

Here’s a fun little thing we recently ran across on ClubDevo.com: a Polish film student named Natalia Brożyńska recently completed a short stop-action animated film called “Searching for Devo,” featuring (with the band’s blessing) the demo version of “Blockhead.” The whole thing is beautifully shot and looks like it probably took more hours to do than we’ve spent on this entire blog in four years. Here’s what Gerald Casale had to say about it: “This sincere, labor-intensive, retro stop-action animation piece from a young girl in Poland is the latest proof that music is indeed the universal language. I felt like Devo were anthropomorphized bacteria performing sonic surgery in a Blockhead’s colon.”

Listen to Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang shred the shit out of “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”

Duo de Twang

Even if you’re not a fan of the mumble-mouthed funk-rock Les Claypool turns out with Primus, you gotta admit the man has chops. Few humans have ever slapped a bass guitar with more frenetic precision. So what happens when you take away Claypool’s electric bass guitar and replace it with an acoustic resonator bass guitar? Well, basically you get an acoustic version of Primus—but hey, if you are a fan, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Claypool’s latest project is the self-explanatorily named Duo de Twang—there’s two of them, and they are indeed twangy. The other half of the Duo is Bryan Kehoe, whom Primus fans may recognize as the guitarist from Claypool’s 2008 mockumentary Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo. Armed only with an acoustic guitar, bass and some stomped percussion, Kehoe and Claypool manage to whip up a pretty good racket, as evidenced by this stripped-down version of “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver.” (If you can’t see the SoundCloud player below, click here.)

Duo de Twang’s debut album, Four Foot Shack, is due out Feb. 4th, 2014 on ATO Records. It’ll be a mix of traditional bluegrass tunes, some Primus and Claypool covers and…wait, “Stayin’ Alive”? Seriously? Looks like the ball’s in your court, Tragedy. Peep the full tracklist after this little video trailer.

“Four Foot Shack” (Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang)
“Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” (Primus)
“Amos Moses” (Jerry Reed)
“Red State Girl” (Les Claypool)
“The Bridge Came Tumblin’ Down” (Stompin’ Tom Connors)
“Boonville Stomp” (Les Claypool)
“Stayin’ Alive” (Bee Gees)
“Rumble of the Diesel” (Les Claypool)
“Pipe Line” (The Chantays)
“Buzzards of Greenhill” (Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
“Hendershot” (Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
“Man in the Box” (Alice in Chains)
“D’s Diner” (Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade)
“Battle of New Orleans” (Johnny Horton)
“Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” (Primus)

Maynard James Keenan is even sicker than you are of waiting for Tool’s new album

Maynard James Keenan

So I guess the title of the last Tool album, 10,000 Days, was a guesstimate of how long it would be before they put another album out. Seven years later, we’re still waiting. Was it something we said, guys?

Now even Maynard James Keenan is expressing his impatience with his perfectionist bandmates. “I wait for them to bring music to me,” he recently explained in a Rolling Stone interview. “They tend to go back over and over stuff. It’s a long process. For a person like me, it can be a very tedious process.”

In the same interview, he added, “You can only help support their talent so long. They don’t have to go through it 700 times. They can trust that first thought. But that’s their process, so you gotta let them do it.” I think we can all agree that the subtext of this statement is clearly, Fuck your process! Let’s put out another record! But kudos to Maynard for being at least somewhat diplomatic about his foot-dragging cohorts.

You can read more of the Rolling Stone interview here, but if you’re a big Tool fan, I must warn you, it’ll probably just bum you out. But then, you already knew it sometimes sucks to be a Tool fan, right?

Tex Haper

Tex Haper

You know what this blog needs? More country music. It can’t be that Hank3 and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy are the only weirdos ever to put on a cowboy hat and yodel about their dog dying. There must be more freaks out there in bolo ties and cowboy boots, doing things to pedal steel guitars that Jimmie Rodgers never intended.

Sure enough, with a little help from you folks out there in reader land, we finally managed to track down some truly weird-ass country. And it turns out most of it is coming from, of all places, Germany. This Metafilter article gives a good overview, covering everything from horrible mainstream crap like Texas Lightning, who represented Deutschland in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, to sort of amazing novelty crap like The BossHoss, who do Teutonic country covers of stuff like “Hot in Herre” and “Hey Ya.” Yep, stick a cowboy hat on a German and tell them to start singing, and you’ve pretty much got yourself an instant what-the-fuck-fest.

But that Metafilter article missed one very important figure in Germany’s proud tradition of pretending to be Texas ranch hands. (Although a few folks were wise enough to mention him in the comments.) His name is Tex Haper and he is “Der Cowboy aus dem Norden.” That means “Cowboy of the North” but like most things, it sounds more impressive in German. Especially if you say it like this.

Tex has been doing his German cowboy/trucker routine at least since the early ’80s. Maybe even longer than that…on his website, there’s a page of photos that shows him performing with five different bands dating all the way back to the early ’60s, but it’s hard to tell whether any of them were country or not. We Googled all of them and came up empty-handed. Could a bunch of German dudes in 1979 wearing matching blue shirts and calling themselves Die Schneuzer have played country music? Maybe, but the likelier story is that they were some kind of Can-inspired Krautrock band.

Since going solo around 1980, Tex has cranked out a steady stream of awkwardly country-flavored ditties, often accompanied by the kind of cover art that collectors drool over for kitsch factor alone. He’s still going strong today, sporting a beer gut and Hulk Hogan-esque mustache. Well, “strong” might be overstating it a bit…his only recent YouTube videos look like they were shot at a glorified karaoke night in Thailand. But he was popular enough at one point to do this:

This is the part where I have to admit that because Andy and I don’t speak German, we really have no fucking clue what this guy’s full story is. There’s almost nothing about him on the Interwebs in English. So what’s that video from, and when was it shot? Ich habe nein frickin idea. If anyone does know, clue us in.

What we do know is this: when it comes to low-budget country music videos, Tex Haper is basically Willie Nelson, Picasso and David Lynch all rolled up into big German hunka-hunka burnin’ man-schnitzel. Some are only available on his website, but most have found their way onto YouTube, which at this point is basically the Smithsonian of genius low-budget music videos. I’m really tempted to post all of them but then this damn page will take forever to load and I know you people have short attention spans. So I’ll restrain myself and just leave you with two. First, here’s Tex’s answer to “Viva Las Vegas”:

And finally, I leave you with Tex Haper’s greatest contribution to humanity, the song “New Wave Country,” which for reasons that will remain forever shrouded in mystery did not spawn an entire new genre of bad ’80s music. And no, “Cotton Eye Joe” doesn’t count.

Links:

November Weird Band Poll: Vote for Charles Bronson & The Sundance Kid, Pottymouth, Sly & The Family Drone, or Twufee the Wondermoose

November is traditionally election season here in America, so I hope you’re all feeling democratic. We’ve got four new bands campaigning for Weird Band of the Week honors and they’re out shaking hands and kissing babies, looking for your vote. If you’ve got any babies, you’d best hide them, because I really don’t think you want them to be kissed by a band called Pottymouth.

Voting ends at midnight on Sunday, Nov. 24th and we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, Nov. 27th. Yeah, we count slow.

[Sorry, this poll has closed. Check back here Wednesday, when the winner will be revealed. And bookmark this page to partake of future polls. We do a new one every month(ish).]

For more information on this month’s bands, read on:

Charles Bronson & The Sundance Kid

charlesbronson

A duo from the San Francisco Bay Area with a thing for fezzes and Casio beats, CB&TSK play lo-fi, garage-y synth-rock “from the depths of our hearts, funny bones,” they say. Here’s a video they made for Halloween, and here’s our favorite song from their Bandcamp page.

Pottymouth

Pottymouth

This costumed band obsessed with all things fecal is from right here in Los Angeles, and let me tell you, we couldn’t be prouder. Led by a singer named Dread Spaghetti, who kind of looks like an Adult Swim cartoon parody of one of those late ’90s wallet-chain bands, they also feature a guy in a gorilla suit called Tumor Master Kush and a guy in a chicken suit called Larry Drunken Liver. Here’s their Reverb Nation page, and here’s the video to their song “Poo Poo Party Platter,” which—fair warning—is not about Chinese food.

Sly & The Family Drone

Sly & The Family Drone

An improvisational noise band from London, Sly & The Family Drone use only drums and processed tape loops to create harsh, droning soundscapes, which as far as we can tell do not include any covers of “Everyday People” or “Dance to the Music.” They do have one studio album out called Unnecessary Woe, but they’re in full effect in a live setting, where they sometimes distribute pieces of their drum kits among the audience so everyone can bang along. You can hear some live sets on their SoundCloud page and read more about the band on Facebook.

Twufee the Wondermoose

Twufee the Wondermoose

Twufee is the solo project of a longtime TWBITW reader named Josh. Josh lives somewhere in Florida and describes his music thusly: “The music I make will span whatever genre I choose. At the moment, I am working on an EP of experimental synth pop music, recording stuff with my garage punk band, smooth jazz beats, and an EP (maybe full album, but I doubt it) of lo-fi indie folk.” Also, he’s only 14 years old, so all you other bands in this month’s poll, please play nice. (For the record, he’s probably also the only 14-year-old musician on Earth who lists Captain Beefheart, The Residents, Merzbow and John Zorn among his influences.) You can hear his first EP on SoundCloud.

So there you have it. Remember to cast your vote before midnight Sunday, Nov. 24th, and may the weirdest band win.