Monthly Archives: January 2014
As much as I sometimes wish Americans were into better pop music, our bad taste does have its benefits. If nothing else, it often means that when cool superstars from overseas come to our Black-Eyed-Peas-afflicted land, they play much smaller venues than they do back home. Case in point: Harajuku J-pop icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who can fill arenas in Japan but will hit comparatively intimate theaters when she tours here next month. God bless America and our isolationist monoculture!
We’ll be going to see Kyary when she plays the small-ish (2,300 capacity) Club Nokia here in L.A. on Feb. 16th. And I gotta be honest, I have no idea what to expect. It’ll be our first real J-pop show, unless you count Trippple Nippples, which I don’t. The crowd at that show was a hipster-palooza. The crowd at Kyary’s all-ages show is likely to be a lot younger and screamier.
KPP WORLD TOUR 2014
Feb 13 Seattle / Showbox at the Market
Feb 15 San Francisco / The Regency Ballroom
Feb 16 Los Angeles / Club Nokia LA Live
Mar 5 Chicago / House of Blues
Mar 7 Toronto / Sound Academy
Mar 8 New York / Best Buy Theater
We’ll leave you with Kyary’s latest eye-popping video, for the track “Mottai Night Land.” In this one, she dresses up like a giant fluffy cat, dances with skeletons and plays a spastic piano solo. It’s one of her more restrained efforts.
When the Tiger Lillies take the stage tonight at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, England, I really hope lead singer Martyn Jacques begins the show by declaring, “This is a play Lou Reed and Metallica stole from Frank Wedekind—we’re here to steal it back!”
Yes, the Tiger Lillies’ latest opus, a 19-song suite called Lulu – A Murder Ballad, is based on the same source material as the ill-fated “Loutallica” collaboration Lulu from a few years back. Both draw their inspiration from a pair of pitch-black plays by the German playwright Frank Wedekind, about a dancer-turned-prostitute named Lulu who endures a series of abusive sexual relationships in turn-of-the-century Berlin, Paris and London on her way to an untimely demise. With all due respect to the late, legendary Lou Reed—truly one of the greatest artists ever to wield a black leather jacket and an electric guitar—I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Tiger Lillies’ version will be the better of the two. At the very least, it will almost certainly not feature any songs in which Jacques declares himself to be a table.
The Lillies have already been performing Lulu – A Murder Ballad elsewhere around Europe, but tonight marks the show’s premiere performance in their native Blighty. It also marks the first release of the show in album form.
For now, the only places you’ll be able to see Lulu are Leeds, Coventry and Manchester—for full dates, visit the Tiger Lillies’ website. But Martyn and the boys tour more or less non-stop, so I’m sure they’ll be mounting further presentations of it (complete with visuals by Mark Holthusen) elsewhere around the demimonde in the months ahead.
We’ll leave you with the first official video from from Lulu: “Jack,” an eerie meditation on the mind of Jack the Ripper. Not only was Jack a character in Pandora’s Box, the second of the two Lulu plays; he was played in the original production by the playwright Wedekind himself. No wonder the Tiger Lillies were drawn to this guy’s work.
[Every Sunday, we give a little hype to a fellow blog, website or other source for all things related to weird music and the people who love it. Check the tag “Sunday Shout-Out” for other recommendations.]
One of my annual New Year’s traditions is to make a resolution to travel more and then totally not travel more. The world is full of amazing sights, strange events and even stranger people, and if my couch wasn’t so darned comfy I’m sure I’d spend more time exploring them. Fortunately for me, I can live vicariously through websites like Wicked and Weird Around the World, a travel website for people who like to get off the beaten path—way off.
The creation of a totally normal-seeming young writer and filmmaker named Cat Mills, Wicked and Weird seeks out bizarre festivals, attractions and competitions in far-flung corners of the globe, like cow-racing in Australia, the World Gurning Championships in Egremont, England and the one that really caught our eye, the absolutely bananas-looking Rijeka Carnival in Croatia, at which a bunch of people dressed up like lobsters is pretty much business as usual. In addition to conveniently sorting all her discoveries by country, Cat also produces and stars in a web series chronicling her own travels to some of the weirdest and wickedest events, like the Toe Wrestling World Championships—which, in addition to being completely ridiculous, also looks like the most painful form of wrestling ever invented.
Wicked and Weird only occasionally covers music-related events (like the annual World’s Fastest Drummer competition), but if you’re a fan of weird culture in general, it’s definitely worth a look-see. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep tabs on upcoming web series episodes. Here’s a trailer of past and future highlights (including that painful-looking toe wrestling).
The world was a different place back in 2006, the last time Slovenia’s Laibach released a new studio album. The iPhone didn’t exist yet, most folks still had MySpace accounts, and Barack Obama was still just some senator from Illinois with a funny name. Into that more innocent era, Laibach unleashed a mindfuck of a record called Volk, which featured grimly Laibach-ian reinventions of national anthems from American, England, China and other global superpowers. For a band that could make even “The Final Countdown” sound like nationalist propaganda to record actual nationalist propaganda was unnerving, to say the least.
Now Laibach’s back with what sounds like another politically charged record: Spectre, an album of original songs about everything from Edward Snowden and Julian Assange (“The Whistleblowers”) to the Arab Spring (“Koran”). It also contains a song, “No History,” that includes “a mini-‘manifesto’ about the album itself, its sonic expression, and the position of the group in relation to its own history,” according to a press release. So for anyone who’s still not sure whether Laibach is actually a bunch of fascists, or just pretending to a be a bunch of fascists, or appropriating fascist iconography to deliver an anti-fascist message…well, you’ll all probably go on arguing about it, anyway.
Spectre will arrive March 3rd in several different packages, including one that includes a 32-page “Party Book” outlining Laibach’s plans to “form an international Party in order to create a possibility for an organised and synchronised international movement, helping to change the world.” You know, typical fan club stuff. The book and CD and/or vinyl also comes with a Spectre logo sticker bearing the slogan, “Fight for Your Right to Party for Your Right to Fight.” We can only hope this means that a Laibach Beastie Boys cover is not far behind.
Speaking of covers…Spectre includes at least two, available only on the CD version of the album. One is Laibach’s take on “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” a blues standard by Blind Lemon Jefferson. The other is their whips-and-chains rendition of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Love On the Beat,” which we include here (in a bootlegged live version) for your listening pleasure. Industrial is so sexy.
Oh and did we mention tour dates? Of course there are tour dates. Check ’em out after the clip.
The Spectre of Laibach European Tour:
Mar 06, 2014 CH Luzern – Schüür
Mar 07, 2014 DE Weinheim – Cafe Central
Mar 08, 2014 FR Paris – Trabendo
Mar 10, 2014 BE Leuven – Het Depot
Mar 12, 2014 UK London – Koko
Mar 13, 2014 NL Amsterdam – Melkweg
Mar 14, 2014 DE Köln – Stollwerck
Mar 15, 2014 DE Schorndorf – Manufaktur
Mar 16, 2014 DE München – Technikum
Mar 22, 2014 CN Hong Kong – The Vine
Apr 02, 2014 IT Rome – Orion Club
Apr 03, 2014 IT Trezzo (Milan) – Live Club
Apr 04, 2014 DE Frankfurt am Main – Mousonturm
Apr 05, 2014 DE Dresden -Reithalle
Apr 07, 2014 DE Berlin – Volksbühne
Apr 08, 2014 DE Hamburg- Uebel & Gefährlich
Apr 10, 2014 SE Malmö – Babel
Apr 11, 2014 DE Rostock – Zwischenbau
Apr 12, 2014 PL Poznan – C.K. Zamek
Apr 13, 2014 PL Gdansk – B90
Apr 15, 2014 AT Wien – Arena
Apr 16, 2014 HU Budapest – A38
Apr 17, 2014 CZ Olomouc – Šantovka
Apr 18, 2014 CZ Praha – Archa Theatre
May 09, 2014 HR Zagreb – Tvornica kulture
May 16, 2014 SI Ljubljana – Križanke
Remember that scene in Up in the Air where George Clooney and Anna Kendrick and that other lady whose name I forget all crash a corporate conference party? And in the middle of the party, Young MC comes out and does “Bust a Move” and the crowd goes wild and starts bumpin’ name tags and sweatin’ through their white dress shirts? Looked pretty fun, right? Especially because George Clooney was there.
Now imagine that same scene, except this time…well, OK, this time George Clooney isn’t there, but this time, Young MC flies out over the crowd doing a Britney Spears cover. I just blew your mind, didn’t I?
This is what Amplifly Aerial Band does: Blow minds at corporate events. They’re a “high end corporate event band” from Utah that straps their singers and guitar players into harnesses and flies them around the room, Cirque du Soleil style. They also sometimes dress them up Daft Punk-style in motorcycle helmets with blinky raver lights on them. They call their performers…wait for it…”Flyborgs.” I could never think this shit up, could you?
I assume the only reason Amplifly Aerial Band is not already the biggest corporate event band on the planet is because they’re from Utah. Do they have corporations there? I always thought it was all just Mormons and ski resorts, but then again I don’t travel much.
Anyway, Amplifly Aerial Band crushed the competition in our latest Weird Band Poll, which can only mean that global domination is not far behind. Congrats, guys! If we ever decide to incorporate, we are totally booking you for our IPO party.
Here’s what I believe is known in the biz as a “sizzle reel” showing the Amplifly kids in action. Oh, yeah, did I mention they also play some dubstep? I bet if Skrillex flew around during his shows, he wouldn’t suck nearly so hard.
You seriously still don’t own a copy of DEVO’s “The Complete Truth About De-Evolution”? That’s OK, they’re reissuing it again next month.
Although they’re still mostly remembered for “Whip It,” DEVO made some of the greatest and strangest music videos of the MTV era, beginning with early avant-garde classics like “Jocko Homo” and culminating in eye-popping performance clips like “Peek-a-Boo” and “Time Out for Fun.” Most of these videos were first collected in 1993 on The Complete Truth About De-Evolution, released exclusively in the ill-fated Laserdisc format. The collection was later reissued on DVD in 2003 by Rhino Records, but that set went out of print. Maybe third time’s the charm?
On Feb. 11th, MVD Entertainment will release the latest incarnation of The Complete Truth About De-Evolution on DVD. As near as we can tell, it’s the same material that was included on the Rhino release, which is to say that the band’s 1984 cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Are U Experienced?” still doesn’t make the cut (apparently the Hendrix estate really didn’t like DEVO’s take) but a bunch of cool bonus materials do, including some early live footage and Bruce Conner’s short film version of “Mongoloid.” There’s also commentary by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, which is the worth the price of admission alone.
No details yet on where you can find the newest version of The Complete Truth About De-Evolution but most MVD Entertainment releases are pretty easy to track down via Amazon.com and elsewhere. If we can get our hands on a copy, we’ll post a longer review of the full package soon.
Let’s play this post out with some classic DEVO eye candy from the 1981 New Traditionalists era, aka that time when the guys all wore fake plastic Reagan hair for a year. This is “Through Being Cool,” which I’m tempted to say is the weirdest video they ever did, except they’re all pretty weird in their own ways. I do believe, however, that this is the only DEVO video to feature some sweet breakdancing spin moves. [Update: Nope. Turns out this one does, too. We apologize for the oversight. We also blame the Hendrix estate.]
Hey, remember last month, when we told you that our favorite experimental/Nintendocore French band Pryapisme was releasing a collection of 8-bit tracks and remixes on limited-edition (and Satan-endorsed, judging from the cover art) pink cassette? Well, as the Feb. 3rd release date for that set, Blastbit Rococollider, draws nigh, we’re finally getting a little taste of the chiptune insanity that’s in store for us. Here’s one of the EP’s six tracks, “Lesbian Bordello (Warp Zone).” Hang on to your joysticks.
As previously mentioned, Blastbit Rococollider will be released in an extremely limited run of just 100 cassettes, and it appears that no pre-orders will be accepted. So bookmark this page on the Apathia Records website and on Feb. 3rd, be prepared to hit the refresh button like you’re mowing down lesbian zombies in a post-apocalyptic bordello. Good luck!
Remember how last week we went apeshit over Polish hip-hop producer Donatan and his Równonoc project? You know, the one in which Polish rappers bust rhymes over traditional Slavic folk music? Well, that was before we knew the lyrics to any of the songs. Now a helpful gentleman by the name Słowiańskie Korzenie has added English subtitles to the craziest of the Równonoc videos, “Nie lubimy robić” (“We Don’t Like to Do Anything”) and we love Donatan and his cohorts even more. Check it out.
Obviously the granny asking Donatan if he gassed up the Ferrari is an instant classic of a line on par with Betty White declaring that her muffin hasn’t had a cherry on it since 1939. But I still think my favorite bit has to be where Borixon aka BRX raps, “Getting smashed is the shit. No work? Excellent!” No wait, it’s when he goes, “Here’s Donatan and the guys, lackadaisically scratching their heads.” Oh hell, I don’t know…it’s all brilliant. Drink it in, people!
We hardly ever do this, but help out our new Polish pal Słowiańskie and click this link to watch the subtitled video on YouTube, just to make sure your viewing pleasure gets counted as a hit. Let’s make sure Donatan knows he’s got fans in the English-speaking world. Also, let’s make sure that everyone starts calling this shit “Slavschool rap” because then TWBITW would finally get credit for coining a new genre name. Spazztronic never took off for some reason, but I have a good feeling about this one.