Monthly Archives: May 2014

Weird of the Day: Hervé and Zebra Katz, “Tear the House Up”

Herve + Zebra Katz Tear the House Up

We first ran across Zebra Katz when we were doing research for our Weird Band of the Week post about fellow queer hip-hop artist Le1f. He’s produced a lot of eye-popping videos, but never anything as colorful as his new video for “Tear the House Up,” a collaboration with British DJ/producer Hervé. The track itself is fun but pretty straightforward, minimalist electro-house, but the video, directed by Ghost+Cow, is some of the best eyeball crack we’ve seen in a long time.

Gonna watch it again right now, aren’t you? We thought you might.

You can buy “Tear the House Up” via iTunes.

OK, now Donatan and Cleo might be going a little overboard with the whole pro-Slavic hip-hop thing

Donatan and Cleo

We still can’t get enough of Polish hip-hop producer Donatan‘s Równonoc: Słowiańska dusza project, which celebrates Polish history and culture by lining up seemingly every rapper in his country and having them bust rhymes over Slavic folk music. But we’re less enamored of his more contemporary collaborations with rapper/singer Cleo, who we’re going to keep describing as Poland’s answer to Fergie until she proves us wrong. But we’re going to share their latest track “Slavica” with you anyway, because even when Donatan is cranking out cheesy, mainstream hip-hop, he’s still pretty weird.

“Slavica” is basically a sequel to Donatan and Cleo’s smash hit “My Słowianie,” except it’s sung in English and the video features more twerking. Like, way, way more twerking. Like, Miley Cyrus would watch this and go, “Woah, tone it down, guys” levels of twerking. It also continues Donatan’s up-with-Slavs theme, which was fun for a while but we think might be wearing a bit thin at this point. Or are we being too harsh?

Ultimately, though, who gives a shit what we think, because in the two weeks since the video for “Slavica” hit YouTube, it’s already racked up over 6 million views. So clearly Donatan’s hot-chicks-with-chickens formula is working. You might even say it’s reliable like a Kalashnikov.

Weird of the Day: Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Yat-Kha

Hearing Albert Kuvezin apply his Tuvan throat singing technique to Joy Division’s monument to bumitude, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” has got me wondering if maybe Ian Curtis faked his death and has spent the past 30 years hiding out on the steppes of Mongolia. OK, not really—I’ll save the rock-star conspiracy theories for the Jim Morrison fans—but if he had lived long enough to discover Albert Kuvezin and his band Yat-Kha, I bet he would have been a fan. This version manages, thanks mostly to Kuvezin’s eerie, low-frequency drones, to be even creepier and more despondent than the original.

Kuvezin is better-known for his more traditional Tuvan throat singing band, Huun-Huur-Tu. But Yat-Kha, which mixes elements of both Tuvan and western folk music, is well worth seeking out, too. This is from a 2005 album called Re-Covers that also features throat-sung versions of songs by Captain Beefheart and Motorhead among others. A tip of the mouse to Dangerous Minds for turning us on to it.

Foot Village

Foot Village

We found this week’s weird band right in our own backyard. One of their videos was even partially shot in the parking lot of the 99¢ Only Store right down the street from Jake’s house. Actually, we found them in our inbox from a reader named William, because we don’t get out much. Which might be just as well, because Foot Village is not the kind of band you’d want to bump into in the dark parking lot of a 99¢ Only Store.

Foot Village is a self-described “drum-n-shout assembly” that makes insanely intense music almost entirely out of percussion and vocals. We’ve covered a lot of other drum-heavy bands on TWBITW over the years—starting with the granddaddies of them all, Boredoms and Crash Worship—but what Foot Village does with this limited palette is pretty special. Sometimes their songs are like invocations of dark, primal forces, and sometimes they’re like a schoolyard beatdown after a drug deal gone bad. In fact, one of their heaviest gut-punch numbers is actually called “This Song Is a Drug Deal,” and it has a video that’s like a William Burroughs short story set at a Coachella after-party.

Foot Village’s music would be intense enough on its own, but they have a knack for making equally intense videos, even when they don’t rely on gobs of black paint to make their point. Here’s the aforementioned 99¢ Only Store video, a disturbingly fresh spin on child abduction set to a thunderous war whoop of a song called “New Jersey.”

And finally, here’s a glimpse of their balls-out live show, filmed at L.A. noise-rock mecca The Smell.

Links:

Weird of the Day: Stupeflip, “Stupeflip Vite !!!”

Stupeflip

Photo by Patrick Auffret

You know what I bet you didn’t think you’d see when you woke up this morning? A bunch of French dudes dressed up like knights spitting French gangsta rap. Well, prepare to have your day slapped sideways by Stupeflip.

We don’t really understand what’s going on with Stupeflip, either. But for more, check out their website. Or their Last.fm page, which is in English. Or even buy their shit on Amazon. Once you’ve figured it out, report back to us, OK? Oh, and join us in giving a big “Merci” to reader Lou for sharing this video with us.

Weird of the Day: Jack Topht, “Why Live When You Can Die”

Jack Topht

When I did a post a couple weeks back about Well Worn Boot’s Wild Wild Fest, there was one act on the lineup I couldn’t get out of my head: Jack Topht, a bearded Buffalo rapper who reminds me of every functioning alcoholic I went to high school with in Upstate. Jack simultaneously makes me want to go back to Buffalo and stay as far the fuck away from there as I can. He’s awesome and I bet hanging out with him would turn me into a non-functioning alcoholic in a hurry.

Most of Jack Topht’s songs are about things like beer, pizza and hospital waiting rooms, but this track, which is my favorite, is a little more epic. It’s called “Why Live When You Can Die” and it’s basically his “Hey Ya!”, “Sabotage” and “99 Problems” all rolled into less than two minutes.

For more Jack Topht, check out his Bandcamp and SoundCloud pages.

Weird of the Day: ZU, “Carbon”

ZU

ZU is an Italian jazz/metal band on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label who make music that sounds like a cross between Morphine, Naked City and one of those extreme metal bands that uses crazy time signatures like Meshuggah. Using only sax, bass, drums and electronics, their sound is so heavy they can probably wipe the stage with most guitar-based heavy bands.

The video below was passed along to us by reader DFox; it’s a track from their most recent album, Carboniferous. Mike Patton appears in the video, which is from a live performance in Chile, but I’m not sure if he’s actually anywhere on the track, which seems to be the studio version. (To definitely hear Patton with ZU, check out “Soulympics.”) But with Patton or without, “Carbon” is a pretty gobsmacking track.

To hear more or pick up a copy of Carboniferous, go to Amazon.com.

Fuck you, purists: Drew Daniel of Matmos is releasing an electronic black metal covers album

Drew Daniel, The Soft Pink Truth

Photo by M.C. Schmidt

We knew electronic duo Matmos had a punk streak when we saw them rock the fuck out of a Buzzcocks cover on their last tour. But we weren’t expecting this: Drew Daniel, the younger, punkier half of Matmos, is releasing an entire album of black metal covers. And he’s doing it mostly with electronics. And he’s doing under the name of his weirdo house music alter ego, The Soft Pink Truth. And he’s putting it out on pink vinyl.

So basically, he’s making a black metal album specifically designed to piss off black metal fans, which…since the whole point of being a black metal is to be pissed off at pretty much everything…might make Why Do the Heathen Rage? the most black metal of all time.

The Soft Pink Truth’s Why Do the Heathen Rage?: Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics is due out June 17th on the greatest label in the history of everything, Thrill Jockey. It will feature guest vocals by such totally non-metal singers as Antony of Antony & the Johnsons and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and promises, according to the press release, to transform its source material from such corpse-painted doom mongers as Mayhem, Venom, Darkthrone and Hellhammer into “hyperactive dance-floor bangers.”

We are so excited to hear the whole thing we can hardly stand it. Here’s a taste: a cover of Venom’s genre-defining classic, “Black Metal.”

Side note: Although Daniel is apparently a for-reals fan of the black stuff, he’s also gay and therefore has some issues with the genre’s more extreme racist/homophobic/white-supremacist elements. So he explained the whole concept behind the album in part by noting, “Just as blasphemy both affirms and assaults the sacred powers it invokes and inverts, so too this record celebrates black metal and offers queer critique / mockery / profanation of its ideological morass in equal measure.” And in case that’s all a little too intellectual for you to process, he also makes his point by ending Why Do the Heathen Rage? with a cover of “Grim and Frostbitten Gay Bar” by our other favorite black metal piss take, Impaled Northern Moonforest.

If you want to pre-order one of the pink vinyl copies of Why Do the Heathen Rage?, and watch a trailer video, hit up the Thrill Jockey online store.

Weird of the Day: TomCattt, “Yes Love”

TomCattt

Why does the Internet genius called TomCattt have three four “T”‘s in his name? Because he’s a fucking stud, that’s why. He’s in his fifties (I’m guessing) and still rocks a mullet. He’s karate-kicking a keyboard in half on his website. He dances with not one, but TWO hot chicks in his videos, because one day-hire dancer is not enough to slake his unquenchable thirst for dancing with hot chicks. He’s basically the Chuck Norris of midlife-crisis DIY pop musicians. He even looks plausible in a black cowboy hat.

Our thanks to reader and Weird List inductee Army of Gay Unicorns for sharing with us the glory that is TomCattt and this song, “Yes Love,” that will now slowly eat away my brain from the inside. At least I’ll die laughing.

P.S. The album that this song comes from is called Hiiyaaaaaaaaaaa!, which I assume is supposed to be said like you’re just about to karate-kick a keyboard in half. The alternative is that it’s the sound TomCattt makes when he climaxes, but I don’t really want to contemplate that possibility.

Let’s spend Memorial Day weekend in Sir Ivan’s “La La Land”

Sir Ivan

We got an update a few days ago that our favorite batshit billionaire Sir Ivan had released another of his flower power dance remixes on Spotify. We were all set to blog about how his “chillout club mix” of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” was the feelgood insult to George Harrison’s memory of the summer, but it turns out you can only hear it on Spotify, so instead we’ll help you start your three-day weekend* with this amazing video for Sir Ivan’s 2012 smash hit (no, seriously, it cracked the Billboard Top 40) “La La Land,” which we overlooked until now because, as regular readers know, we are bad at our jobs. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

*For our non-U.S. readers: This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday on which we ostensibly honor our troops and military veterans. But mostly we just grill things and/or get stuck in horrible traffic jams on the way to the beach.