Charamel

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Recently, music biz veteran Eric Alper posted a tweet that read simply, “When you’re overqualified for the job,” and included a video featuring some person in a big red Japanese anime costume playing drums at what seems to be, judging from the music, some sort of children’s concert. (It’s hard to tell because the camera never leaves the drummer, but the music sounds like something you’d hear on the Japanese version of Barney & Friends.) Then, about 45 seconds into it, things take an unexpected turn. See for yourself:

Needless to say, we had to know more. Some commenters on Alper’s Twitter post (which has been retweeted over 70,000 times, as any Japanese anime character playing drums like Dave Lombardo rightly should be) said the character was part of a band called Charamel. Futher digging, with the help of Google translator and KnowYourMeme.com revealed that the character itself is called Nyango Star, and it’s been making the rounds for about three years, releasing drum cover videos like this insane pass at Japanese kawaii metal darlings Babymetal’s “Akatsuki.”

Nyango Star even has his/her/its own website, which includes an origin story that explains the character is a hybrid cat/apple — the reincarnated spirit of a dead cat buried in an apple orchard who was told by the spirit of an apple tree that only by going to Hollywood and becoming famous could it return to its original cat form. So it decided to become a famous drummer. See? It all makes perfect sense.

Somewhere along the way, Nyango Star teamed up with three other costumed characters to form the rock group Charamel. I could find almost no information about Charamel in English beyond their character names — besides Nyango, there’s Funassyi (the lead singer, who I think is supposed to be a canary, or a pear, or maybe a canary/pear hybrid), Akkuma (the guitar-playing bear) and Kapal (the bass-playing turtle). [Update: Our readers inform me that Kapal is definitely not a turtle but a “water goblin,” and Funassyi is a “pear fairy.” They’re also all examples of Japanese “yuru-chara” mascots, which are like American sports mascots except they tend to be cuter and more surreal and can represent anything from cities to corporations to public transit systems.] I think they formed sometime in early 2017 and debuted with this music video, which is probably my favorite thing to come out of Japan since the aforementioned Babymetal. (Give it about 23 seconds; much like Nyango Star’s drumming at the children’s show, it takes an extremely abrupt turn for the awesome.)

I’m sure we’ll learn more about Charamel very soon, as nothing from Japan this amazing stays under the radar for long. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this video of Charamel in concert — the sound quality sucks, but it’s worth watching just to see a glowstick-waving Japanese crowd go apeshit for this stuff. Also, Funassyi’s got some sick moves.

Links:

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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?!

 

Behold Vulvatron, GWAR’s awesome new female lead singer

Vulvatron

The post-Oderus incarnation of GWAR continues to exceed our expectations. Instead of replacing the irreplaceable entity that was Oderus/Dave Brockie, the band’s reportedly totally revamped their stage show and added not one, but two new lead vocalists fill Oderus’ massive platform boots.

After unleashing Blothar on the unsuspecting masses at the GWAR-B-Q, they presented his female counterpart, Vulvatron, at Riot Fest in Chicago this past weekend. And she is pretty much everything one could hope for in a lady GWAR demon. She’s hot. She shoots blood from her massive breasts. She takes great selfies. And she fucks shit up with the boys. We’re sold.

Vulvatron’s human counterpart is one Kim “Kylla” Dylla, who’s just as much of a badass IRL, as the kids all say these days. Just check out her CV on her website: degrees in art and computer science, a painter and costume designer, wrestler, frontwoman of her own metal band Thismeansyou. She’s going to have human filth lining up around the block after every GWAR show hoping to be her disposable sex slaves.

Speaking of GWAR shows: The band’s also announced a massive, 45-date tour that’s also being billed as the band’s quest to find the missing Oderus. Here’s what guitarist Balsac the Jaws of Death says about the tour on the GWAR website:

“Dark clouds of war and ill omen have gathered around GWAR. In our hour of greatest peril, Oderus has left us and our enemies stand poised, ready to strike while they sense weakness. But we shall no longer cower in our Antarctic stronghold, awaiting Destiny’s final blow. This Fall GWAR sets out on the most trying quest of our career. We shall scour our leader’s favorite stomping ground, North America, leaving no city unsearched, no venue unraised, and no sheep unmolested. GWAR will venture to the depths of Hell or to the very end of Time itself, and though I fear what we may encounter out there, I know that we can never return home until we have the answer we seek: ‘Where is Oderus Urungus?’”

So what say you, GWARmy? Do you stand ready to help your demon overlords in their hour of need? Are you ready to get sprayed with blood from the almighty udder of Blothar and the unspeakable breasts of Vulvatron? Goddamn right you are.

Here are the dates:

GWAR W/ Decapitated and American Sharks:

10/15: Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
10/16: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
10/17: Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
10/18: Worcester, MA @ The Palladium – “Rock and Shock Festival”
10/19: Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
10/21: Louisville, KY @ Expo Five
10/22: Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theater
10/23: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
10/24: New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
10/25: Austin, TX @ Emo’s – “Housecore Horror Film Festival*
10/26: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
10/28: Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/29: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub
10/30: Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
10/31: Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall**
11/1: Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
11/2: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
11/3: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
11/4: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/5: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
11/6: Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
11/7: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live
11/8: Magna, UT @ The Great Salt Air
11/10: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/11: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
11/12: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO

GWAR W/ TBA and American Sharks:

11/14: Vancouver, BC and Commodore Ballroom

GWAR W/ Corrosion of Conformity and American Sharks:

11/15: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/16: Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall Ballroom
11/17: Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
11/19: Fargo, ND @ The Venue
11/20: Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
11/21: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
11/22: Detroit, MI @ Harpo’s
11/23: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
11/25: Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
11/26: Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
11/28: Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
11/29: Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
11/30: New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
12/2: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
12/3: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
12/4: Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
12/5: Orlando, FL @ Firestone Live
12/6: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
12/7: Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
12/8: Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theater
12/9: Toronto, ON @ Opera House
12/10: Montreal, QC @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theater
12/11: Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
12/12: New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
12/13: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage

*No American Sharks
** Havok plays on this show

Radioactive Chicken Heads, The Rhythm Coffin and the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra are playing our first-ever Weird Band Night

Weird Band Night at CIA

[Update: Due to circumstances beyond our control, Haunted Garage had to cancel their appearance. The Rhythm Coffin will be rockin’ Weird Band Night in their place. Our apologies to all you Dukey Flyswatter fans out there. We’ll try to book them for the next one.]

So how’s this for sweet? After many months of trying to track down a venue dumb cool enough to host a show for us, we finally hooked up with the good people at the California Institute of Abnormalarts to bring you our very first Weird Band Night. It’s all going down on Friday, July 11th, so if you plan on being anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area that night, get your ass down to the CIA or I will personally hunt you down and make you watch One Direction videos until you’re begging for the sweet release of death.

Our lineup is pretty excellent for our first time out, if I do say so myself. Co-headlining are legendary poultry punks the Radioactive Chicken Heads and monster rockers The Rhythm Coffin. And to open the show, we’ve got the unholy man/machine duo of the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, up from San Diego and making their L.A. debut. All this for a mere 10 bones, and possibly a dry cleaning bill if you stand too close to the stage.

For more info or to RSVP, check out our event page on Facebook. Not that you have to RSVP or anything. It’ll be first-come, first-served at the door the night of the show. But RSVP anyway so we can show our parents that some people actually take this blog at least somewhat seriously.

And now, to help you get as pumped as we are, here are some videos from our bands. You know you gotta come out and see this shit.

Public memorial for Dave Brockie set for Aug. 15th, one day before the GWAR-B-Q

This amazing Dave Brockie photo lifted from this even more amazing
This amazing Dave Brockie photo lifted from this even more amazing Metal Sucks article

GWAR fans still shattered over the death of their hero, Oderus Urungus, now have something to look forward to: On Friday, Aug. 15th in Richmond, Virginia, a public memorial service will be held honoring Oderus and the crazy, incredible dude behind him, Dave Brockie.

The memorial happens one day before the 5th annual GWAR-B-Q, which might be a slightly more solemn affair this year. Although let’s hope not, because I’m sure Oderus would’ve wanted his minions partying till they puke in his honor. Maybe they can puke first and then cry later. That seems like the way to go here, I think.

In a video statement, the surviving and unmasked members of GWAR also announced that they’re creating the Dave Brockie Foundation, a charity that “will be a resource for artists in the fields of music, film, literature and all visual arts who cannot find funding through mainstream channels.” So basically, every single band we’ve ever blogged about should apply.

You can read more about the Dave Brockie Foundation here and get updates on the GWAR-B-Q here. So far the only band that’s been announced is…GWAR! GWAR without Oderus? Can such a thing be possible? Maybe they can get Joan Jett to be like Oderus’ long-lost sister or something. She did a pretty good job subbing in for Cobain with Nirvana, I hear.

Here’s that video statement. Mark your calendars, GWARmy!

Ten things I’ll miss the most about Oderus Urungus

Oderus

I’m not gonna get all misty-eyed about the death of GWAR main man Dave Brockie, who for 30 years strapped on the Space Barbarian suit known to fans the world over as Oderus Urungus. I never actually met Dave, unless you count the one time in ’91 or thereabouts when I yelled “Great show!” at him after a gig and he yelled back, “Thanks, human!”

But even though I didn’t know him, I’m guessing he wouldn’t have wanted people to get all sad and weepy at his passing. He might want us to break shit, but cry? Fuck no. There are many bodily fluids I associate with GWAR, but tears are not one of them.

So instead of some pussy-ass eulogy, here’s a list of just 10 of the many things I will miss about Oderus. And probably about GWAR in general. I mean, maybe the surviving members will morph into some kind of GWAR tribute band, the way the Murder Junkies still tour with GG Allin songs, but it’s not like you can replace Oderus. In fact, this list could probably also be called “Ten Reasons GWAR Should Just Break Up Now.” I know that sounds harsh, but fuck it. It’s been a harsh day.

1. His bloody stage antics.

Especially when he dismembered Hitler. A million times more cathartic than Inglorious Basterds.

2. His interviewing skills.

Comedians should study this guy.

3. His crushing vocals on GWAR’s “Carry On Wayward Son” cover.

So much better than the original, Kansas should pay him royalties.

4. His giant Scumdog dick, aka The Cuttlefish of Cthulhu.

Yes, I know saying I miss someone’s dick is totally gay. But I don’t care. I’m gay for GWAR.

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5. His appearances on Fox News.

I love how the Fox commentators keep trying to be in on the joke and failing miserably.

6. His love for the children.

7. The blood. Oh, the blood.

I suppose this may continue after Oderus is gone, but it won’t be the same. (Photo swiped from this excellent article.)

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8. The witty stage banter.

And the disembowelment of Justin Bieber is a nice bonus, too.

9. The music.

Yeah, fine, no one ever went to a GWAR show for the music. But you know what? Some of their earlier punk/metal stuff is pretty fucking catchy.

10. The man behind the mask.

Did I say wasn’t going to get all misty-eyed? Well, fuck it, I lied.

I’m going to miss the hell out of Dave Brockie: his music, his humor, his insane stage shows, and his all-around weirdness. We basically started this blog specifically for bands like GWAR…you know, the ones that come up with something completely original and fucking commit to it. Brockie did GWAR for 30…fucking…years. Most people can’t even stay married that long.

We call the bands on here “weird” because it’s funny and it gets a reaction and because we didn’t want to crawl up our own asses and talk about “the avant-garde” or “experimentalism” or some other bunch of pretentious horseshit. Calling the bands “weird” just made the whole thing sound like more fun.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The best bands on our Weird List…maybe not all of them, but the best ones…aren’t just weird. They’re fucking extraordinary. They do shit no one else would have the creativity or perseverance or sheer balls to do. Dave Brockie embodied all of that and them some. There will never be anyone else like him.

We read a lot of great things about Dave Brockie today, written by a lot of cool people. But you have Google so we won’t bore you by reprinting them all here. We’ll just print this one, from a 2010 article about GWAR in Decibel magazine, reprinted on Deadspin. It’s from Brad Roberts aka Jizmak Da Gusha, GWAR’s drummer and it sums up Dave pretty well, we think:

I’ve known Brockie since we were little kids going to hardcore shows in the early ’80s. He was always the guy with his shirt off; he always had pit grime all over him. Nobody would drink out of pitchers of beer after he’d been drinking out of them. He would slam dance the wrong way, and everyone fucking hated him. He was chaos incarnate—that was my first impression. But I remember thinking, “He’s nuts. I gotta get in a band with that guy.”

Rest in peace, Dave. And Oderus, safe travels back to your home planet.

We’ll leave you with video of GWAR’s first-ever performance, which we discovered thanks to Boing Boing. They were so freakin’ adorable, weren’t they?

R.I.P. Dave Brockie of GWAR, aka Oderus Urungus

Oderus Urungus of GWAR

Like a lot of people, we just assumed that GWAR front-demon Oderus Urungus would be around forever. Yes, we knew there was an actual human being underneath the codpiece and monster makeup; we’re not fucking five-year-olds. But anyone who could strap on that much plastic armor and latex and churn out buckets of fake blood and real metal night after night for 30 years—we figured that guy was probably just as indestructible as the alien overlord he portrayed.

Turns out we were wrong. Dave Brockie, the man behind Oderus and the heart and soul of GWAR, died yesterday.

At this point, we’re too stunned and depressed to write much more. You can read more details (what few there are) here or here if you’re so inclined. We’ll scrape together a longer tribute to The Man, The Myth, The Scumdog later tonight. But for now, we’ll just be here cranking “Sexecutioner” and crying.