Mr. Vast’s experimental jazz-pop group Kröter is even weirder than his solo stuff

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Remember Mr. Vast, our favorite fat-suit-wearing, avant-glam-pop Englishman living in Germany? Turns out he’s been keeping busy since we added him to the Weird List way back in 2014 (my, how the time does fly). In addition to releasing his second album, Touch and Go — which is already getting a reissue, on picture disc, next month — he went and formed a whole new weird band on us. They’re called Kröter, which is German for Toad, and he describes them as “tadpoles wiggling in Jazz Pop ponds, then sprouting back legs [as] they begin to jump around in Techno and krautrock.” They released their debut album(s) just last month and they’re gloriously bizarre, stream-of-consciousness jams that pull from all those sources, plus maybe a little Mark E. Smith, Psychic TV and Suicide. Here’s a taste:

Besides Mr. Vast (aka Henry Sargeant), Kröter features Jo Zahn on guitar and bass and Christoph Rothmeier on drums, synths, production and pretty much everything else, along with a rotating group of guest collaborators. Here they are live in Berlin earlier this year:

Kröter’s three albums are called ( kröter ) *a, ( kröter ) *b, and ( kröter ) *c and are all available now via Bandcamp.

In other Mr. Vast news, he also recently created his first theater show, The Peter Pan Syndrome, and made a couple of videos for Touch and Go. We’ll leave you with the more whimsical of the two, for the album’s closing track, a Bowie-esque psychedelic ballad called “Bottlenose”:

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Of course Little Big’s two new music videos are amazing

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I’m just gonna declare it right here: No other band on the planet is making music videos more wildly entertaining and creative than Little Big‘s. The Russian rave band that first caught our eye four years ago with delirious clips like “Every Day I’m Drinking” have, at this point, surpassed their most obvious influence, Die Antwoord. By my count, they’ve released over 20 music videos and they’re all varying degrees of awesome, with their own surrealist sensibility and manic energy.

In just the last three weeks, they’ve released two of their best clips yet. The first one, “AK-47,” bites animation from Walt Disney and Rick and Morty to lampoon gun-nut culture more brazenly than any American artist has had the balls to do. They also shamelessly embedded their tour dates (which, alas, appear to be limited to just Russia) in the video — a marketing stunt so obvious I’m surprised I haven’t seen it before, although it does mean the video will be outdated in just a couple months. Then again, the implication that a video this elaborate was done more for the sake of marketing than to make a Piece of Art That Will Stand the Test of Time is a pretty impressive flex.

They dropped that insanity on Sept. 21. Then, just two weeks later, they returned with a video for a new track called “Skibidi,” off the just-released second half of their two-part album Antipositive. It introduces a new dance called, well, the Skibidi, which in its simplified form can be done while walking down the street, purchasing vodka, and possibly even having sex. It’s also a great way for street gangs to resolve their differences, just like in West Side Story and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

As part of the release of “Skibidi,” Little Big have issued a #skibidichallenge, encouraging fans to upload their own versions of the Skibidi dance to YouTube and Instagram. It’s only been six days, so the Skibidi hasn’t achieved Harlem Shake-like ubiquity just yet. But there already appear to be hundreds of entries, of which this one so far is our favorite. Russian Home Depot looks way more fun than American Home Depot.

And although WordPress apparently won’t let me embed Instagram videos, I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct your attention to this one, because nothing is so funny that an inflatable dinosaur costume can’t make it funnier.

If any TWBITW readers wanna send us their #skibidichallenge dance videos, please do! If we get enough good ones, we’ll include them in a future post.

Vladimir Cauchemar teamed up with rapper 6ix9ine and now he’s blowing up

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When we first wrote about mysterious French “medieval house” producer Vladimir Cauchemar, we made a few wisecracks about the intrinsic uncoolness of his preferred lead instrument, the recorder. I doubt Vladimir reads this blog, but if he does, he apparently took that as a challenge, because his latest release, “Aulos Reloaded,” basically does for the recorder what Dr. Dre did for the talkbox. A rework of Cauchemar’s instrumental track “Aulos,” it features rainbow-haired American rapper 6ix9ine and a video that shows 6ix and Vlad, in his trademark skull mask (now complete with silver grill), rolling through the streets of Paris with a motorbike gang. In other words, Vladimir Cauchemar is now straight ballin’, as I believe the kids still like to say.

I can’t say I was a big fan of 6ix9ine before this release — he’s part of a wave of young rappers whose face tatts are more interesting than their music — but I have to give him props for aligning himself with a masked French producer of self-described “medieval house music” who previous biggest claim to fame was a ridiculously awesome video starring a middle-aged guy in a rust-colored turtleneck who is, allegedly, Cauchemar’s recorder teacher. And it seems to be working out great for both of them — in the week since its release, “Aulos Reloaded” has already racked up 8 million views. If it starts getting played on American hip-hop radio in between Drake and Travis Scott, I might start taking recorder lessons myself. Apparently it’s what the cool kids do now.

Radioactive Chicken Heads get in the Halloween spirit with “Cluck at the Moon”

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Our favorite carrot-fronted, chicken-themed punk band, Radioactive Chicken Heads, are getting into the Halloween spirit early (or right on time, judging from how many aisles of candy and rubber skeletons took over my neighborhood drugstore this week). Their recently released video for “Cluck at the Moon” pays homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Ozzy Osbourne, and your favorite zero-budget B-movie splatter flick as it tells the tragic, horrifying tale of an innocent young carrot transformed by the light of the full moon into a bloodthirsty, teenaged werechicken. Watch.

“Cluck at the Moon” is from the Chicken Heads’ 2017 album Tales From the Coop, a mostly horror-themed collection of ska-tinged, spook-punk romps with titles like “Wiccan Chicken,” “Frankenchicken” and my personal favorite, “Poultrygeist.” (That’s one of those jokes that’s still great even when you see it coming from a mile away, right?) They even do a cover of “Somebody’s Watching Me” — remember that ’80s chestnut, by the instantly forgotten one-hit wonder Rockwell? It featured guest vocals by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, which makes no sense until you find out that Rockwell was the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Usually nepotism produces zero-hit wonders, but occasionally it pans out.

Anyway, we’re sure RCH’s fans will “gobble” this one up. Ha! No wait, that’s a turkey pun. We’ve never had much cluck with poultry puns. Or have we?!

 

Shmu is back and still sounds like 10 of your favorite bands all playing on top of each other

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To say Shmu‘s Sam Chown likes to make densely layered music is akin to saying that Jackson Pollack liked to spatter paint occasionally. His just-released third album, Lead Me to the Glow, isn’t quite as kaleidoscopic as Shhh!!!!, the 2015 masterpiece of organized chaos that first brought him to our attention here at TWBITW. But in places, it still sounds like a music festival with a killer lineup and way too much bleed between stages.

“Hololeaps” is yacht rock capsized by a chillwave tsunami; “All Will Be Erased” starts out like a small army of broken tape decks simultaneously eating the collected solo works of every member of Animal Collective (plus a TLC cassingle) before veering into full-blown prog-rock territory. There’s humor, too; “Your Favorite God” features a heavenly pre-recorded phone greeting: “You’re about to be connected to a special god! Your call is very important to us!”

Chown describes the album as a “combination of post-internet vaporwave aesthetics utilizing sampling techniques used as a backdrop to write honest to God songs.” I’m not sure what the hell that means, but trust me, it translates to an awesome listening experience.

Lead Me to the Glow is available via Bandcamp, as is the rest of Shmu’s mind-expanding catalog. For a taste, here’s that aforementioned yacht rock tsunami, “Hololeaps.” (Note the killer album art, too, but Giant Claw’s Keith Rankin.)

Donny Varper is a “Material Boy”

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Nicaragua’s leading gay alien Madonna impersonator Donny Varper is back and bringing the crazy in a new video we can’t stop watching. “Material Boy” starts with Donny wandering the desert in harem girl drag and ends with him crucified on what appears to be the rhinestone-encrusted dollar sign from a D-list rapper’s chain. Also, there’s something on his crotch we can’t quite identify—although not being able to identify things in the crotchular area on Donny Varper is kind of a given. Basically, it’s what we were hoping the Madonna Grammy performance would be like, instead of whatever that vogue-ing matador bullshit was she laid on us instead. At least at the BRIT Awards, they got to watch her eat it.

The video can’t be embedded. Why, Donny, why?! Don’t fear the embed. But fine, you can watch the goddamn thing on YouTube.

Donny keeps promising to answer some of our questions…and oh yes, we have questions…in a video interview, if we can just get our shit together and send him some damn questions. It’ll happen eventually, we promise.

Mission Man’s new video just gave us the warm fuzzies

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We haven’t been posting as much lately, I know. What can I say? Life shit. But when our old Ohio hip-hop pal Mission Man tweeted us his latest video, we just had to share it with you folks out there in Readerland. (By the way, don’t panic: Mission Man did not die in 2012. That’s just a copyright date range in the above graphic. He’s alive and well and still rockin’ the mic.)

MM’s vid for “Love, Funk and Soul” makes us happy, and not just because it features more cowbell. Mainly, it gives us a case of the warm fuzzies because it proves what we’ve long suspected, but seen precious little evidence of: Mission Man has fans. In the clip, they can be seen taking selfies with him, partying with him, throwing snowballs at him, and, at around the 1:08 mark, getting up onstage and dancing with him. Dude’s grind is definitely starting to pay off. Let this be an inspiration to us all.