Weird of the Day: Palais Schaumburg, “Kinder der Tod”

Palais-Schaumburg

We’d like to dedicate today’s post to new reader Jörg, who pointed out (quite rightly — thanks, Jörg!) that for a site about weird music, we’re sorely lacking in Neue Deutsche Welle or New German Wave — a particularly Teutonic strain of synth-heavy post-punk that arose in West Germany in the early ’80s. It had a brief run of popularity, leading to the crossover pop success of acts like Nena of “99 Luftballons” fame and this guy. But the original, more underground NDW was way too weird even for most Germans to fully embrace it. A lot of it sounds like a cross between Einstürzende Neubauten and early video game music — the kind of video games that might give you a small electric shock every time you lose, maybe.

Jörg was nice enough to send us links to a whole mess of this stuff, but the one that really jumped out at me was Palais Schaumburg, a band from Hamberg whose stuff managed to be both robotically stiff and kinda funky at the same time, in that way only Germans seem able to pull off. Plus, the video below for their 1981 song “Kinder der Tod” (“Children of the Death”*) is the kind of amazing ’80s artifact YouTube was made for. Suspenders and bad perms abound, and there’s a menacing figure encased in black stretchy fabric and a little performance-art piece about how you’ll die if you let anyone steal your flowers, or something. It’s all deadly serious but probably meant to be funny but it’s hard to tell because another thing Germans are great at pulling off is humor so deadpan it makes you feel like there might be something wrong with you when you can’t stop laughing at it.

Bonus fun fact: Palais Schaumburg was the first musical projects of one Thomas Fehlmann, who would go on to achieve greater renown as a member of another excellent weird band, British ambient electronic pioneers The Orb. I would never have guessed there was a direct link between Neue Deutsche Welle and ’90s rave chillout rooms, but there you have one.

*After we posted this, Jörg wrote us and explained that a more accurate though grammatically confusing translation of “Kinder der Tod” is “Children the Death” — from a lyric that translates to, “Children, (the) death is not that bad at all.” Thanks for clearing that up, Jörg! Or making it more confusing, which is probably more in the spirit of Palais Schaumburg anyway.

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Weird of the Day: Patricio García, “Monotone Talk”

patricio-garcia

Listening to the news lately can be a pretty depressing experience. It’s mostly idiots and assholes, spouting vague platitudes or outright falsehoods, repeating the same nonsense over and over again until an increasingly dim, disengaged public stops questioning their bullshit.

But one person’s bullshit is another person’s raw material for making art. On his new single “Monotone Talk,” Argentinean producer Patricio García synthesizes the voices of Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler, Marie Le Pen, King George VI, ISIS leader Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and, for some reason, Emma Stone — among many others — into a techno Tower of Babel. Dancing to it feels like dancing on the grave of history, which we’ll probably have to start digging any day now.

Before he went solo, García was a member of Argentinean post-punk group Los Chicles. He’s also done film and TV soundtrack work in a variety of electronic and symphonic styles. When he sent us “Monotone Talk,” he said he’s “looking for a new pop music.” I’d say he’s found it.

“Monotone Talk” is from a forthcoming LP of García’s work called Listen in Awe. The single comes out Oct. 18 and is available for pre-order now via Bandcamp.

Weird of the Day: Flying Lotus, “Ready Err Not”

Flying-Lotus-Tim-Saccenti
Photo by Tim Saccenti

Today’s weirdness comes from reader MyaIsDead, who belatedly brought to our attention the so-insanely-gross-you-can’t-stop-watching video for Flying Lotus’ “Ready Err Not.” FlyLo’s work here in Los Angeles is hard to escape; he more or less single-handedly invented the experimental fusion of hip-hop and glitchy electronica called “beat music” and was the most famous product of Low End Theory, the long-running Northeast L.A. club night that just ended last month. And I knew he had made some crazy videos, as well as a 2017 feature-length film called Kuso that some have called “the grossest movie ever made.”

But somehow I missed the video for “Ready Err Not,” which came out way back in 2014 — though I’m kinda glad I did, because even just having read descriptions of Kuso without actually watching it, David Firth’s cutout animation of “Ready Err Not” now seems almost quaint by comparison. If Clive Barker had been the seventh member of Monty Python, maybe their cartoons would have featured dismembered babies and in-bred eyeball-eaters, too.

Weird of the Day: Can’t Hold Waffles, “Spare Change Chicken Incident”

Cant-Hold-Waffles

Of all the internet goldmines for weird music — and they are legion — my favorite is probably Bandcamp. Something about its simple format and tagging system seems to make it an especially inviting playground for freaks from around the globe who want to label their music “experimental,” “art sound” or, in the case of Can’t Hold Waffles, “hélicon deep video game polka.”

Can’t Hold Waffles has two EPs on Bandcamp, both released last month. Studies for Piano and Burning Kitchen Appliances is as delightful as its name implies (especially a dancefloor banger called “Healthy as a Pumpkin”) but I have to give Spare Change Chicken Incident the nod as the weirder and more intriguing of the two. The reader who brought it to our attention, Frank Bähr, describes it as “gamelan composed through algorithms and performed by preschool escapees.” I’d say it reminds me more of what fellow Bandcamp prankster Buttress O’Kneel might put together if you said, “Write a bunch of 30-second loops that sound like Four Tet having a nervous breakdown and give them titles like ‘Robotic Weather Processor Device’ and ‘It Was Getting Late and the Dental Hygienists Weren’t There Yet.'”

So who’s behind Can’t Hold Waffles? Hell if we know. Allegedly it’s one of the 5,000 people who live in the fishing village of Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia — which, come to think of it, is probably true, because anyone making up a fake hometown for this project probably would’ve chosen one of Sheet Harbour’s more colorfully named neighboring communities, like (I swear these are real) Sober Island or Mushaboom. Their bio lists Francis Bacon and Wittgenstein as influences and explains, “Our songs explore the relationship between oral hygiene and multimedia experiences.” Does this mean Can’t Hold Waffles’ music sounds better if you listen to it while brushing your teeth? I’ll try that tonight and report back.

Weird of the Day: Mykki Blanco, “Loner”

mykki-blanco

We’ve always had a thing for Mykki Blanco, the rapper who reinvents his sound and image with seemingly every new song and video. Most recently, he put on whiteface to talk about race and privilege in America; before that, he was the Juliet (or the Romeo? in Blanco’s work, gender roles are often up for grabs) in a modern-day tale of star-crossed interracial lovers pursued by white supremacists. In between those projects, in late 2016, he released the below video for “Loner,” a track from his debut album Mykki, via an unexpected outlet: Pornhub.

There’s nothing overtly pornographic about the clip for “Loner,” although judging from the way everyone’s writhing around, the folks wearing VR goggles are getting off on something freaky. Still, it’s a showcase not for naked bodies, but for amazing, surreal costumes (I kinda want that silver Mylar ensemble), the electric blue lips of guest vocalist Jean Deaux, and plush digital animation that resembles a bunch of Jeff Koons sculptures having an orgy.

As far as we can tell, Blanco hasn’t commented on why he decided to partner with a porn site for “Loner.” Hopefully it’s just because they gave him a ton of money and creative freedom, and not because porn sites are, in a culture where everyone’s increasingly terrified of offending one another, the last refuge for a queer hip-hop artist who likes to confront our assumptions about race, sex and gender. But hey, either way, points to Pornhub for supporting an artist as out-there as Mykki Blanco.

Army of Gay Unicorns wants you to start 2015 “Concussed and Terrified”

Army of Gay Unicorns

Since the traditional way to start a New Year, at least around my house, is with lost keys and a raging hangover, I figured we should start off 2015 here at Weird Band HQ with a track that evokes Jan. 1st in all its skull-splitting glory. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the aptly named “Concussed and Terrified,” the latest cold shower of noise from our old pal Richard, aka Army of Gay Unicorns. If you by some miracle do NOT already have a hangover, crank this one up and it’s the next worst thing.

Happy New Year, weirdos!

Weird of the Day: Funturistic, “Rural Kerfuffle”

Funturistic

Our friend Kai from Toxic Chicken sent us this bonkers track by a Canadian producer working under the name Funturistic, on which very formal, almost Baroque-sounding music is performed entirely using sampled animal sounds. It’s called “Rural Kerfuffle” and it’s a 10-minute epic with movements and everything. It is, admittedly, not far removed from those stupid Christmas novelty records where cats meow “Silent Night” or whatever, but taken to a pretty crazy extreme. Enjoy.