Monthly Archives: April 2014
Today’s weirdness comes to us from our pals at Yeah We Know It Sucks and their marathon all-Mark weekend. One of the bits of Internet detritus they salvaged from the Mark pile was this delightful little novelty tune from one Mark Lowry, a Christian comedian from Texas. I know “Christian comedian” sounds an oxymoron, and when you throw in “from Texas” it’s basically its own punchline. But whatever god you may or may not pray to, Mark Lowry is a funny f…ellow. I was going to use another word, but since he’s a nice Christian boy, I’ll save the sailor talk for the next post.
If you liked that, there’s more where it came from on Mark’s 1995 DVD, Remotely Controlled, whose cover proves that by 1995, even white dudes from Texas had shirt collections inspired by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Merrill Garbus releases her third tUnE-yArDs album, Nikki Nack, on May 6th, but you can hear the whole thing now over on NPR.com. Does having your album streamed on NPR automatically make you less weird? Probably, but Merrill had weirdness to spare, so we’ll give her a pass.
Nikki Nack is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from tUnE-yArDs: lots of school-yard chant vocals, simple but syncopated beats and basslines, sparse instrumentation that sounds like it was recorded inside a mason jar. It’s a bit cleaner and more percussive than 2011’s w h o k i l l, and occasionally even sounds like Garbus’ take on modern, high-octane pop-R&B, like on the epic “Real Thing.” But it’s still one of more idiosyncratic things you’ll hear get any mainstream media attention this year.
You can pre-order Nikki Nack for a mere $10 from Amazon.com. Now let’s play this post out with tUnE-yArDs’ Pee-wee’s Playhouse-inspired video for “Water Fountain,” shall we?
So here’s a fun fact: In Eagle Rock, the part of Los Angeles I live in, there is a Sizzler that smells like dogshit 100% of the time. To clarify: On the street just outside the Sizzler, it always smells like dogshit. Inside the Sizzler it could smell like jasmine and Jack Daniels for all I know. But I’ll never know because outside the Sizzler it smells like dogshit 24-7, so I never go anywhere near the place.
Now the dogshit-Sizzler might sound pretty grim, but here’s another, less fun fact: In poorer countries throughout the world, pretty much everything smells like human shit pretty much all the time. In India, for example, 620 million people do their business in the open every single goddamned day. No amount of jasmine and Jack Daniels can cover up that mess.
Fortunately, there’s now a handy PSA from…and I could not make this up if I tried…the guy behind the theme music to Life of Pi. His name is Shri and the name of his catchy PSA ditty is “Poo2Loo” or possibly “Poo Party” or something adorable and gross at the same time and it’s part of a campaign sponsored by motherfuckin’ UNICEF and it’s basically a cute way to try to educate the people of India about how shitting in the street is bad.
Now I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this video and the whole Poo2Loo campaign does nothing to address the underlying causing of street-shitting in India, which is lack of access to indoor plumbing. But hell, what do I know? Maybe all 620 million Indians with no flush toilets will watch this and start shitting into plastic bags instead.
You can learn more about the Poo2Loo campaign here. Now who’s hungry for some Sizzler?
P.S. Thanks to reader Wesley for dropping this deuce on us. Your shit will never stink to us, Wesley.
Our latest Sunday Shout-Out is a little biased. OK, more than a little. We had already stumbled across the “absurdist review blog” Yeah I Know It Sucks and enjoyed their irreverent humor and penchant for unearthing obscure treasures like Mark Templeton’s ambient/chopped-n-chilled remixes of cheesy ’80s ballads. Then they actually took the time to interview Jake and me for a feature about Weirdest Band in the World and made us feel all special. So we’re returning the favor.
Discerning taste in fellow blogs aside, YIKIS really is a fantastic source for music that escapes the attention of pretty much the entire rest of the blogosphere. It’s not all weird, but most of it is well worth checking out: Mark McGuire’s abstract guitar reveries; Logosamphia’s chiptune/breakcore freakery; the tape-hiss and field recording experiments of To-Bo. That it’s all served up with the sort of goofy, friendly, free-association humor you usually only hear from your friends after their third bong rip is just the icing on the Suckitude cake. Here, for example, is a line from their review of a release called “Piece of Shit,” from an artist called MARK (they’re currently in the midst of an all-artists-named-Mark binge…you know, just cuz): “I have no idea what MARK eats, if he has a special diet or uses special ingredients because his ‘piece of shit’ is the most chilled out funkiest space jam that ever came out of an anus!” I guarantee you that is the single greatest sentence anyone has ever written on the subject of MARK and his “Piece of Shit.”
YIKIS is the work of a whole team of music obsessives, including one Kai Nobuko, the man behind our current Weird Band of the Week, Toxic Chicken. He’s also the guy who did that interview with me and Jake that I mentioned earlier. Have you read it yet? No? You should, it’s really rather quite good. Here’s the link again. Go read it and every burning question you’ve ever had about TWBITW shall be answered.
Today’s weirdness comes from our new MVR (Most Valuable Reader), a dude by the name of William who emailed us a list a few weeks back of approximately eight gajillion weird bands, most of which were new to us. We’re still combing through William’s list but so far, the one that blew our minds the hardest is an all-drums punk band from right here in Los Angeles called Foot Village.
Now usually, all-drum bands are one baton-twirler away from just being a glorified college halftime show. But Foot Village are punk as fuck. They’re like Lightning Bolt minus the bass or Crash Worship minus the naked hippie dance party.
Turns out they’re affiliated with the Deathbomb Arc label, which should come as no surprise. They’re also the folks behind our favorite noise-rappers clipping. and Black Pus, the solo project of Lightning Bolt’s Brian Chippendale. So yeah, we pretty much have a huge label-crush on Deathbomb Arc at this point. Those guys know how to tickle our earholes.
One of our latest obsessions is something called “shangaan electro,” a new style of electronic dance music from South Africa whose leading emissary is large gentleman with a penchant for strapping pink feathers to his arms by the name of Nozinja. Shangaan electro is the latest offshoot of a whole host of pop music styles from South Africa and neighboring countries that combine traditional African folk music with synthesizers and elements of house, disco and hip-hop. The music itself is probably only weird to western ears, but I’m guessing that even to South Africans, Nozinja is a pretty unique character. We’ve been binge-watching shangaan electro videos on YouTube all day and no one else comes close to his dance moves or fashion sense.
Fun, right? Nozinja just signed to the U.K. electronic label Warp, home to the likes of Autechre and Grizzly Bear, so every hipster blog on the planet will probably be freaking out about him shortly. You can brag to all your hipster friends that you heard him here first.
Wolf Eyes’ nightmarish mix of avant-garde noise, drone and post-industrial doom rock hasn’t gotten any less aggressive or unsettling, even as the band has approached something like mainstream status with releases on Sub Pop Records and tours with the likes of Andrew W.K. and Sonic Youth. Their latest album, No Answer: Lower Floors, came out last year and is, according to the Moogfest website, something like their 150th release. Here’s the video for opening track “Choking Flys,” which I believe doubles as a tutorial for how to gather firewood in post-apocalyptic (i.e. today’s) Detroit, Michigan.
Wolf Eyes play Moogfest on Thursday, Apr. 24th, as part of the festival’s most must-see lineup for fans of weirdness: Also playing the New Earth main room that night are electronic noise legends Black Dice, synth-jam master Dan Deacon and avant-electro oddballs YACHT. For more info, visit the Moogfest official site.
Next up in our ongoing celebration of Moogfest‘s weirdest artists: New York rapper Le1f. We’ve already featured the man born Khalif Diouf as our Weird Band of the Week, but he deserves another shout-out, because nobody else right now is making hip-hop that’s simultaneously this provocative and (potentially) commercial. If any gay hip-hop artist can break the genre’s homophobia barrier, it’s Le1f.
Here’s his latest video, for the track “Boom” off his recently released Hey EP. Would you like fries with that?
Le1f plays Moogfest on Saturday, Apr. 26th. For more info, visit the official Moogfest site.
The lesson of Chimney Crow’s new “Sarah Kristina” video is: Don’t accept a ride home from Chimney Crow
Hey, Chimney Crow! How’s it hanging? Hey, listen, I love what you guys have been doing lately with the Muppets and Deee-Lite covers and all, but I gotta be honest: Your latest video is freaking me out a little. Are you OK, Chimney Crow? I mean, do we gotta send in an FBI unit to pull up your floorboards and shit? ‘Cause you’re sounding a little…well, just listen to yourself, man!
But hey, I’m sure you don’t really know anyone named Sarah Kristina, right? This is all just an artful meditation on the alienation of modern life or some shit, right? I really hope so, because I don’t want to have to hide all my drug paraphernalia when the detectives show up on my doorstep asking, “So, how did you know the suspect?”
Today’s Moogfest performer needs no introduction, but I’ll do one anyway: Kraftwerk, unarguably the most influential electronic musicians of all time. Without their pioneering, all-synths version of krautrock, it’s fair to say that most of today’s strains of electronic music wouldn’t exist.
To this day, Kraftwerk live shows operate on two levels: as a purist expression of button-pushing electronica at its most mechanical, and as a sly commentary of the increasingly mechanical, button-pushing nature of modern life in general. I’m not sure if they’re still trotting out their robot doppelgangers for “We Are the Robots” these days, but I do know they’ve got some crazy 3D projections and are digging pretty deep into their catalog, playing classic albums like Autobahn and Trans-Europe Express in their entirety.
Kraftwerk plays three shows at Moogfest, one on Thursday, Apr. 24th and two on Friday, Apr. 25th. Visit the official Moogfest site for more details.