Amplifly Aerial Band

Amplifly Aerial Band

Remember that scene in Up in the Air where George Clooney and Anna Kendrick and that other lady whose name I forget all crash a corporate conference party? And in the middle of the party, Young MC comes out and does “Bust a Move” and the crowd goes wild and starts bumpin’ name tags and sweatin’ through their white dress shirts? Looked pretty fun, right? Especially because George Clooney was there.

Now imagine that same scene, except this time…well, OK, this time George Clooney isn’t there, but this time, Young MC flies out over the crowd doing a Britney Spears cover. I just blew your mind, didn’t I?

This is what Amplifly Aerial Band does: Blow minds at corporate events. They’re a “high end corporate event band” from Utah that straps their singers and guitar players into harnesses and flies them around the room, Cirque du Soleil style. They also sometimes dress them up Daft Punk-style in motorcycle helmets with blinky raver lights on them. They call their performers…wait for it…”Flyborgs.” I could never think this shit up, could you?

I assume the only reason Amplifly Aerial Band is not already the biggest corporate event band on the planet is because they’re from Utah. Do they have corporations there? I always thought it was all just Mormons and ski resorts, but then again I don’t travel much.

Anyway, Amplifly Aerial Band crushed the competition in our latest Weird Band Poll, which can only mean that global domination is not far behind. Congrats, guys! If we ever decide to incorporate, we are totally booking you for our IPO party.

Here’s what I believe is known in the biz as a “sizzle reel” showing the Amplifly kids in action. Oh, yeah, did I mention they also play some dubstep? I bet if Skrillex flew around during his shows, he wouldn’t suck nearly so hard.

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Donny Varper

Donny Varper

Anyone know if Michael Jackson visited Nicaragua sometime in the late ’80s? If he did—and sired an illegitimate child during his stay—that’s one of two possible explanations for the existence of the exotic creature known as Donny Varper. The other possible explanation? That he really is, as he claims, from another galaxy.

We first learned of Nicaragua’s weirdest progeny by way of a great little website called EarBleed.com, which is kinda like our site except that—as you might have surmised from the name EarBleed.com—most of the music they feature is fucking awful. I suppose Donny Varper’s stuff is kinda awful, too—it’s basically just shlocky dance-pop, with lots of stabby synths and cheesy breakdowns and Auto-Tuned vocals—but it’s catchy and filled with random references to UFOs and aliens and Aztec aliens who came to Earth in UFOs and…oh, hell, just watch and listen for yourself.

Brilliant, right? He’s like a Lady Gaga impersonator who dropped acid at a Blasted Mechanism concert and had a vision of Jesus and Quetzalcoatl swooping down in a flaming chariot and abducting him into an episode of Ancient Aliens.

We don’t know much more about Varper, except that he lists his gender as “electronic pop” (which kinda makes sense, actually) and he claims to be from another galaxy but now, according to his Facebook page, lives in Los Angeles. If that last part is true: Donny, hit us up! We’d love to be the first (as far as we can tell) American blog to interview you and help you spread your music of cosmic love to the English-speaking masses.

We’ll leave you with Varper’s catchiest and most batshit creation, a little song and video called “E.T.” that should really, if there is any hope left for humanity, become the next “Gangnam Style.” I look forward to your parody videos, YouTube Nation. Get on it.

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Banda UÓ

Banda UO

This week’s weird band hails from Brazil, which has been quite the breeding ground for strange new genres of music over the years: tropicália, baile funk, forró, whatever the hell Os Mutantes does. Add to that list something called “tecno brega,” a Brazilian-style spin on “cheesy techno” that takes corny pop melodies—many of them familiar—gives them a glossy electro finish, and sets them to syncopated cumbia, reggaeton and baile funk beats. The combination of influences can get pretty out there, especially when rendered by the campy, day-glo trio called Banda UÓ.

Banda UÓ started in 2010 as a one-off joke to promote a party. Buddies Davi Savvig (the Daryl Hall of the group) and Mateus Carrilho (the John Oates of the group) got together with a singer friend of theirs named Flora Maria to make a quick video of them singing a tecno brega version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The video was a surprise YouTube hit and when Flora Maria was replaced by Candy Mel (the transsexual Shakira of the group), Banda UÓ was born.

Banda UÓ are probably best-known in Brazil for “Shake De Amor,” an electro-brega remake of Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with a video that got them on Brazilian MTV (which is clearly way cooler than American MTV) despite the fact that it’s mostly just the three of them dancing like idiots. Actually, pretty much all of Banda UÓ’s videos are just the three of them dancing like idiots, but they do it so well, there’s not much point in upping the production values or the plotlines. “Shake De Amor” seems to have something to do with killing someone in the desert, but who cares? Look at the way Candy Mel swivels those hips!

For their debut album, 2012’s Motel, Banda UÓ worked with fellow funky Brazilians Bonde do Rolê, who helped them produce the set and start delving into original songwriting. The results were a bit more polished but no less weird—and the videos, thank Christ the Redeemer, were still mostly just an excuse to film Davi, Mateus and Candy busting out their unique wardrobes and dance moves (this time in a boxing gym, no less).

This year, they released their most seizure-inducing video yet. The track, “Gringo,” was produced by the über-trendy Diplo, but don’t hold that against it—it really is an amazing mix of tecno brega, baile funk and full-on glitchcore freakout.

So are Banda UÓ the weirdest band we’ve ever added to the Weird List? Not really. But they are definitely among the funnest.

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Fol Chen

One of the many reasons we love living in Los Angeles (fuck off, haters) is that it’s a neverending breeding ground for some pretty bizarre music. Today’s proof of hypothesis: Fol Chen, a six-piece from Highland Park (Jake’s hood, and also home to the infamous Avenues Gang) who combine the apocalyptic surrealism of Philip K. Dick and Steve Erickson with the postmodern dance-funk of Hot Chip and Prince. Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s…um, 2012? 2017? How far forward do we need to set our apocalypse clocks now?

Fol Chen, who keep their identities hidden behind masks, face paint, and quirky aliases like Samuel Bing (Chandler’s art school little brother?) and Sinosa Loa, first surfaced last year with an album called Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made. Sure enough, they returned this year with a sequel, Part II: The New December. Both albums vaguely trace an end-of-days storyline that would do Dick proud, but they’re not above the occasional song about a low-rent hookup at a fleabag motel (the fan-fucking-tastic “Cable TV,” a not-too-distant cousin of Beck’s “Debra”) or the oddball cover (they’ve done everyone from Pink Floyd to Mariah Carey to—no, really—the Gin Blossoms). They also hire old actors to do dramatic reading of their songs and write their press releases totally in character. As former theater geeks ourselves, we appreciate this sort of attention to detail.

The band shot numerous low-budget videos for the songs from John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made. All of them are pretty awesome (especially this one), but this video for “No Wedding Cake” gets our vote as the weirdest. We can’t wait for the next chapter in the Fol Chen saga.

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