Gout Pony

Gout Pony

I hate the English. When they aren’t busy playing our super-villains or dominating our television, they’re beating the competition in our monthly Weird Band Polls. Three of the last five polls have now been won by Brits, with Ipswich’s Gout Pony claiming the latest victory. How can a tiny nation of tea-drinkers kick so much ass?

Anyhow, Gout Pony have been together about three years or so and describe themselves as half “brilliant, budding musicians, half bearded, bedraggled tramps.” They call their music “trampcore,” so they must really like the word “tramp.”

Their lead singer is a gentleman by the name of Adam Whybray, aka Generation Y Bray. He has a blog called Cage Wisdom that’s mostly reviews of Nicolas Cage movies, and I’m only telling you that because we don’t know very much about these guys and this post would only be about 50 words long if I didn’t throw in a few random factoids. Here’s another one: When we first contacted Adam about Gout Pony being in the poll, he sent us this photo with the comment, “Here is a picture of the only attraction in Ipswich.” Maybe so, but what an awesome attraction.

The rest of Gout Pony is made up of The Saddest Thing (guitars, keys), The Nation (woodwinds, keys, stylophone…and no, I didn’t know what a stylophone was either, but I guess it’s this thing), and Timerous Ham (drums, Theremin). I’m not sure which ones are the brilliant musicians and which are the bedraggled tramps. Actually, after listening to their music, I’m pretty sure they’re all just bedraggled tramps. But hey, that’s OK. Some of our favorite weird musicians were bedraggled tramps, too.

Gout Pony have released one album, an eight-track collection available on Bandcamp called A Family Gouting. It’s all pretty weird, but I think this track captures them at their Goutiest.

They also do a mean cover of “Smart Girls,” from Brian Wilson’s unjustly overlooked hip-hop period:

So congrats on winning the poll, Gout Pony. And don’t worry, we were totally kidding about hating the English. Except One Direction. Fuck those little punks.

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Dig: Chimney Crow covers “Groove Is in the Heart”

Chimney Crow

I’m probably a bachelor for life at this point, but on the off chance I ever do meet “The One,” she’s going to have to accept that at the wedding reception, we’re just going to play “Groove Is in the Heart” on continuous loop for three hours. This little nugget of 1990 disco goodness is not just a great dance party track…it is the only dance party track in history that doesn’t totally suck. Well, that and “Give Up the Funk,” but when white people play P-Funk at a wedding reception, it’s just embarrassing.

Well, my hypothetical bride-to-be is in luck. We can now alternate between the Deee-Lite version and this sweet cover by our friends Chimney Crow. So yeah, I’m pretty much going to have the most awesome wedding ever.

Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer just dropped the ballsiest hip-hop track of 2014

Mr. B at your service

Yeah, you read that headline right. We’re calling this one early. No one for the rest of 2014 will release a hip-hop track more fearless than “Hip-Hop Was to Blame After All,” the first video from chap-hop superstar Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer‘s latest wax cylinder, Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop. You may not entirely agree with Mr. B’s irony-drenched but still scathing indictment of mainstream hip-hop—especially coming as it does from a white, banjolele-playing Englishman—but you gotta at least admit he’s right about one thing: it’s pretty whack that DJ Kool Herc almost went broke paying his medical bills. (And yes, I just used “whack” in a sentence. Stick around and I might also describe Mr. B’s music as “stupid fresh.”)

You can order yourself a copy of Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop from Amazon.com or Mr. B’s own Chap-Hop Shop. Jolly good!

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R.I.P. Bob Casale, DEVO guitarist

Bob Casale

Anyone who reads this blog probably knows this by now, but we lost another member of DEVO this week. Bob Casale, one of the band’s founding members, died Monday of heart failure at the age of 61. His death comes less than a year after former DEVO drummer Alan Myers died of cancer. Yeah, it’s been a rough couple of years for DEVO and their fans.

Casale played guitar and keyboards and was known as “Bob2” because guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh was “Bob1.” Here’s what his brother, DEVO co-founder Gerald Casale, said about Bob2 on the band’s website:

As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning.

He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got.

He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again.

His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.

Added DEVO frontman Mark Mothersbaugh:

We are shocked and saddened by Bob Casale’s passing. He not only was integral in DEVO’s sound, he worked over twenty years at Mutato, collaborating with me on sixty or seventy films and television shows, not to mention countless commercials and many video games.

Bob was instrumental in creating the sound of projects as varied as Rugrats and Wes Anderson’s films. He was a great friend. I will miss him greatly.

I know we’re usually a bunch of snarky snarkheads on this blog, but not this week. Our hearts go out to everyone in the DEVO family.

Let’s play this post our with some live DEVO circa 1979. It really sucks that two of the five guys in this clip are no longer with us.

HGich.T

HGich.T

Thank Christ for Google Translator, because otherwise I would have nothing to tell you about this week’s band. They’re a “performance collective” from Germany…and I guess “performance collective” is German for “crazy art freaks making deliberately stupid techno” because that’s what these guys do. They make bad techno and sing over it like a bunch of people pretending to be retarded, as if to say, “Look how retarded this music is!”

Then they shoot videos that are even weirder and dumber than the music. In this one, a bunch of white girls strut around trying to look hard while eating candy bars in front of a gas station. In this one, a nerdy guy masturbates slowly and tenderly to a bad painting. In this one, two of the collective’s members, Tutenchamun and Maike Schönfeld, just dance like idiots in various public places.

They seem to release a new video every month or so. In their latest one, released just last week, a girl dances on a chair for four minutes while a fat biker dude flips off the camera and opens his mail. I know that sounds incredibly stupid, and it is, but the video is fucking great. Trying to describe a HGich.T video is like trying to explain to your wife that the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life was when your best friend in college spontaneously moonwalked across an entire frathouse basement because he was trying not to puke on his shoes. It was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen but…you just had to see it.

One of the best things about binge-watching HGich.T videos is all the recurring characters you can follow. There’s the obvious star of the show, Tutenchamun, who’s like a German parody of that douchebag from The Prodigy, if said douchebag had forgotten to take off his yellow safety vest after ditching his picking-up-trash-by-the-highway community service stint. There’s Dr. Diamond, who seems to spend a lot of time hanging out in his room and having arguments with his mother. There’s Pussy Cat Diddel, who wears cat mouse makeup. And of course there’s my personal favorite, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, aka Opa16, the group’s creepy old man in residence. I have a soft spot for creepy old men, being only a few years away from becoming one myself.

The video they’re most famous for is “Tutenchamun,” sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Goa Goa MPU” (we had this totally backwards, and also failed to realize that Diddel was supposed to be a mouse, until reader Iesus set us straight—thanks, Iesus!). In it, Tutenchamun rides around with Maike on a motorbike with broken shocks and tells a long, increasingly surreal story about getting pulled over by a cop, played by the least cop-like man in all of Germany, Dr. Diamond. Like all HGich.T videos, it’s incredibly stupid and you might not be able to stop watching.

So I think we can all agree that from here on out, anytime anyone tries to tell a long, rambling story about how fucking hard they partied last night, we’re going to say “Ja?” every five seconds in a bored monotone until they stop. Right? Ja?

As great as “Goa Goa MPU” is, the HGich.T clip that’s my favorite so far…and I say “so far” because they have like 60 some odd videos and I never quite got baked enough to watch every single one…is “die letzten titten von betlehem.” This one has everything: Drugs, vandalism, jailbait, wasteful use of toilet paper, an oddly creepy sequence in which a dude terrorizes a girl with a Sharpie. It’s like a German rave meets a scared-straight after-school special meets a Fellini film. Plus the track fucking goes off.

So anyway…next time I go out dancing, I really hope the DJ plays a HGich.T track so I can storm into the ladies’ bathroom and do my best Tutenchamun impersonation. I am so getting laid with that action.

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Weird Live Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at Club Nokia Los Angeles February 16 2014
This and all other non-sucky photos by Hernan Perez

I gotta be honest: I have no frame of reference for reviewing a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert. I had never been to a J-pop show before, unless you count Trippple Nippples, which I don’t. Where the Trippp Nippps are clearly trying to be a little edgier and more “arty,” KPP is gleefully, blissfully, unironically out to sweep her audience away under a raging torrent of cuteness. It was quite possibly the most ridiculous show I have ever been to, and definitely one of the happiest. If you walk out of a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert wearing a frowny face, you need to adjust your meds.

So is KPP fairly typical of a J-pop show? I have no idea. All I know is not since the ’90s heyday of candy raving have my eyeballs been bombarded with such a colorful display. Oh, and the music was pretty good, too. Even though it was all just a pre-recorded backing track, including most (all?) of the vocals. You don’t go to a KPP show because you want to hear an extended version of the piano solo on “Mottai Night Land.”

kyary-hernan1-sm

There was a set that looked like the bedroom of a giant toddler. There were Oompa-Loompa-like backup dancers. There was a dancing rabbit and a dancing bear. There was an inexplicably bizarre video interlude, to cover for one of Kyary’s many costume changes, that featured her playing poker with a bunch of scary-looking Americans and posing next to a motor scooter like a kawaii James Dean. There were not, sadly, any of the dancing fuzz-monsters from the “Invader Invader” video, but they did throw in that song’s dope-ass dubstep breakdown—and in case you’re wondering, yes, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is still totally adorable, even when dancing to dubstep. Her adorableness defies all logic and the basic laws of the space-time continuum. All the kitten videos on YouTube contain less cumulative adorableness than a single KPP dance move. I can’t explain it, but it is so.

The crowd was almost as much fun as the show, full of elaborately costumed J-pop fans of all ages, races and even styles—there were more than a few goth/steampunk dolls in attendance, sprinkled amidst the expected packs of girls in frilly pink princess dresses. I tried to snap a few pics but when you’re a middle-aged guy at a J-pop show, you have to be careful about who you point your camera at. Fortunately, others with more balls and better cameras were there, too.

My arms are still tired from doing the “Fashion Monster” dance, so I’m going to stop typing now and just leave you with a couple more photos. As you can see, we got there late and our seats weren’t the best. I did try to capture the energy of the crowd in that one shot, though. Yeah, people were really into it.

kyary-hernan3-sm

kpp2

February Weird Band Poll: Vote for Astro Al, Ebola Ape, Gout Pony, Iris Von Gul or Potworow

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been binge-watching the Olympics all week and wondering why I wasted my youth on comic books and video games. Fierce competition pushes people to pinnacles of achievement that are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Can it have the same effect on weird bands? Probably not, but it’s still fun to pit them against each other and see who can ascend to the winner’s podium.

You people know the drill by now: Voting ends Sunday, Feb. 23rd at midnight and we’ll announce the winner on Feb. 26th. Got your judge’s hat on? Here we go…

[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 on this month’s bands, read on:

Astro Al

Astro Al

Astro Al is a duo from Boston outer space named Paul Angelosanto and Debbie Nash. “Imagine if William Shatner replaced Jim Morrison in the Doors” is how they describe themselves, which is such a great image that I kinda wanna run out right now, buy a Shatner mask and start a cover band called The Crystal Shat. Here’s their website and here’s a video that’s more Deliverance than Doors, but still pretty weird.

Ebola Ape

Ebola Ape

Ebola Ape is a DJ from Poland the Congolese jungle who claims to be the world’s first gorilla turned music producer. What kind of music are gorillas into, you ask? I would’ve guessed Kool & the Gang, too, but it turns out it’s more of a cross between glitchy downtempo, witch house and something I guess the kids these days are calling chillstep. Here’s his website and here’s his SoundCloud page.

Gout Pony

Gout Pony

Gout Pony is a band from Ipswich, England who don’t claim to be from anywhere else. They call their jazzy/lo-fi/folk/stream-of-consciousness music “trampcore” and list The Residents, Cardiacs and a.P.A.t.T. among their influences. Here’s a link to their album, A Family Gouting, and here’s their Facebook page.

Iris Von Gul

Iris Von Gul

Iris Von Gul is an electro/industrial/math-rock band from Bordeaux, France. They were formed last year by Sam Barbier and Denis Dedieu, formerly of the electro-punk band Decay. Now a quartet, they’ve put out one EP called, appropriately enough, Decay Is Dead, which includes a nifty cover of Marilyn Manson’s “Dead to the World.” Here’s a video of them performing their song “We Are Vicious” in the studio, and here’s their SoundCloud page.

Potworow

Potworow

Potworow is a young woman from Poland who makes sparse ambient music, short films and self-portrait photographs, all of which are both lovely and more than a little ominous. Here’s her blog, and here’s her YouTube channel, where we recommend starting with “Longing Blue” or one of her little films like “Gone” or “Dinosaurs.”

So there you have it. Remember to cast your vote before midnight Sunday, Feb. 23rd, and may the weirdest band win.