While we were away, an old reader called Sick Nick resurfaced and alerted us to the existence of this duo from the Czech Republic called Harmony Bay, which sounds like the name of a company that makes aromatherapy gift baskets but, in this case, is actually a couple of guys who make crazy, spazzy experimental comedy metal that sounds sort of like a cross between Naked City, Pryapisme and Mr. Bungle. Who knows, maybe the scent of their matching black and multi-colored suits has aromatherapeutic properties, but we suspect it just smells like a couple of sweaty Czech guys.
Anyway, their music is truly something special: cartoonish but also extremely technical, headbanging and hilarious. We have no idea what the songs are about, since they’re all in Czech, but we assume the lyrics are as surreal as the music.
You can hear a whole bunch of their tunes on this Czech website called Bandzone, but to get a complete earful and eyeful of Harmony Bay insanity, look no further than the video Sick Nick shared with us, “Palindrom lučního koníka.” Oh my god, the vocals alone. These guys are amazing.
I know we’ve been doing “Flashback Fridays” around here lately but I don’t care. This video is too fucking good to wait till Monday. Besides, it came out in February, so that counts as a flashback, right? Ah, Feb. 2014. The good old days, before Ferguson and ISIS and Robin Williams and Christ, what a depressing summer this has been.
Anyway, this is yet another French band from Apathia Records, the same lunatics who brought you Pryapisme. Hardcore Anal Hydrogen aren’t quite that out there, especially on this track, which is pretty straight-up post-hardcore with some fun tempo changes and electronic elements. But the video kills me every time. I almost hope the next metal band I see just sends cardboard versions of themselves onstage. It would probably be more entertaining than some shows I’ve been to.
You can find out more about Hardcore Anal Hydrogen on the Apathia Records website.
France continues to be an unexpected wellspring of weird music, especially of the experimental metal variety. Today’s weirdness comes to us from a French reader named Arthur who sent us a long list of bands, including several we’d never heard before, like Empalot, a short-lived side project of French groove metal master Gojira. Empalot might best be described as Gojira meets Mr. Bungle, with maybe a dash of Primus and a smidgen of Sebkha-Chott. It’s heavy and funky and above all, silly.
Sadly, Empalot seems to have only existed for one album, Tous aux Cèpes, before disbanding in 2003 or 2004. Their live shows were apparently quite the spectacle, with the band wearing giant masks and helmets and songs interspersed with “mini-plays,” according to their Wikipedia page.
Black metal’s been around for long enough now that most of it isn’t really all that “black” anymore. Most of it is beige, formulaic bullshit, recycling ideas thoroughly explored by Mayhem and Emperor 20 years ago. Even Mayhem’s current guitarist, Teloch, told us recently that he’s stopped listening to black metal “since most albums released is shit.”
That’s what makes Missouri one-man black metal band Jute Gyte so awesome. Adam Kalmbach has figured out a way to make black metal interesting again: by adding microtones, those notes between the notes that you usually only hear in certain kinds of non-Western music. When you add those tones to black metal, suddenly the music is just as evil and ominous and disorienting as it was the first time you heard it.
Jute Gyre has cranked out a ton of material since 2002, but he just started getting into microtones of his last two albums. Here’s a track from his most recent, Vast Chains. Warning: may cause seasickness and/or feelings of utter despair.
For more Jute Gyte, check out his Bandcamp.
P.S. Shout-out to reader Yodeling James for reminding us about this guy. Definitely one of the few black metal artists pushing the envelope these days.
Today’s weirdness comes to us from France’s thriving avant-metal scene (also home to Sebkha-Chott and Pryapisme) and a reader named Lou (sup, Lou?). Pin-Up Went Down was a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Alexis Damian and vocalist/artist Asphodel. I say “was” because in January, Asphodel announced that she was leaving the group. I guess she got tired of singing “insane music for crazy people,” as PUWD describe their sound. Or maybe the last straw was posing for an album cover with snails on her face. (Actually, her new project, öOoOoOoOoOo, sounds just as insane, and she did all of PUWD’s album artwork. So maybe Pin-Up Went Down wasn’t crazy enough.)
Anyway, Lou sent us a link to the song “Cadavre Exquis” from their 2008 album 2 Unlimited, and we’re sharing it here because it is indeed a manic mix of death metal, Goth-rock, jazz and creepy, funhouse pop. It’s too bad we won’t be hearing any more collaborations between these two, but I bet whatever Damian and Asphodel do next will be just as nutty.
In our dystopian future, when the machines take over and we humans are forced to live in abandoned subway tunnels, our new cyborg overlords are gonna have massive raves in ruined sports arenas, where they’ll blast Author & Punisher out of speaker stacks mounted atop piles of human skulls. This is ambient/industrial drone metal for Terminators, played on machines that appear to be just a few microchips away from bidding us “Hasta la vista, baby” and cranking the bass up till our internal organs turn to jelly.
Under his Author & Punisher nom de drone, Tristan Shone records and performs music made entirely on homemade instruments that look like a steampunk fusion of exercise equipment and a B-movie mad scientist’s lab. Percussion emanates from a massive side-mounted piston made of cranks and tank treads; vocals echo forth from gas masks and lunatic asylum neck restraints. Even an otherwise traditional set of keyboards gets mounted to a Tim Burtonesque set of pipes and levers that Shone maneuvers into place with the grim yet frantic determination of an axe murderer trying to drag a body down the basement stairs. It’s sort of like watching the Willy Wonka of industrial music; every song reveals a new mind-boggling toy, an Everlasting Gobstopper of skin-crawling noise and organ-liquefying bass.
At first it all seems a bit gimmicky, but there’s a raw, visceral quality to Shone’s music that transcends the machinery. He’s especially compelling at coming up with cool new ways to manipulate his voice. At one point, he appeared to be just throwing his head back and making angry faces while twisting the knobs of a handheld device that emitted a series of guttural roars; then it became clear that the device was attached to some kind of microphone or vibration sensor strapped to his throat, and those guttural roars were coming from him. At the end of the song, he thanked the whooping crowd, except it came out sounding more like a caveman grunt: “Hhhunku.” High-tech machinery aside, the components of Shone’s music are primitive: grinding drones, pounding beats, an anguished human voice.
We saw Author & Punisher this past Sunday night at the Echoplex here in Los Angeles. To see the rest of his January tour dates, click here.
I’m pretty sure everyone assumed by now that Krysta Cameron would not be singing on the new Iwrestledabearonce album, but in case anyone was still holding out, we can now officially dash your hopes: Late for Nothing, the
grindcore mathcore metalcore experimental metal band’s third full-length album, will exclusively feature the vocals of Courtney LaPlante, who took over for Krysta last summer during the Warped Tour. Sorry, Krysta fans. For now, metal’s greatest girl death growler seems totally happy being a mom and selling stuff on Etsy.
To close the book on IWABO’s Krysta era once and for all, here’s the lead track from Late for Nothing, “Thunder Chunky.” It’s a bit more conventionally structured and—dare we use the “M” word?—mainstream than past IWABO offerings, but there are still some whiplash tempo changes, including a nifty little ska-like bridge, and LaPlante toggles between clean and dirty vocals almost as effortlessly as Krysta ever did. Have a listen.
Recorded in L.A. in guitarist Steven Bradley’s home studio, Late for Nothing is “our most diverse album to date,” according to Bradley. “It’s a more evolved version of the band. We explored new styles and genres as well—especially in terms of the more spacey, epic, and beautiful parts. It’s got the most melodic moments of our career as well as the heaviest.”
Late for Nothing is due out August 6th on Century Media Records. You can pre-order it here.
Say hello to our latest Weird Band Poll winners: Godswounds. They’re a bunch of hairy dudes from Australia who play a sort of math-rock/metal/dub/videogame-soundtrack combo featuring double drums, lots of choppy guitar, some trumpet and an instrument that sounds like a Theremin but I think is just some kind of vintage synth. They’re fun. They also have an excellent weird band pedigree: That’s Mr. Bungle‘s Danny Heifetz on one of the two drum kits and their latest album, Death to the Babyboomers, features members of The Melvins, Oxbow, Red Sparrowes and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Remember, kids: You’re never too weird to network.
You can stream all of Death to the Babyboomers on Bandcamp and even buy the whole thing for US $7 if you’re living large. Meantime, here’s an example of their live show, which takes awhile to get to Crazytown but makes up for lost time when it gets there. What’s Australian for “melt your fucking face off”? Sound is a little low, so crank it.
So congrats on winning the poll, Godswounds! And for the rest of y’all: Keep an eye out for our next poll in a couple weeks. It’s gonna be the most bonkers one yet, and I’m not just saying that because Andy beats me if we don’t get enough people voting.
By now I assume y’all are familiar with Winny Puhh, our current #1 Weirdest Band in the World and the pride of Estonia. If you’re not familiar, for the love of all that’s holy go watch the video of their failed bid to represent Estonia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. We’ll wait.
Did you make it back in one piece? Barely? OK, good. Because I’m about to take what’s left of your senses and assault them even harder with this video for the song “Peetus.”
At first, when someone named Promote Your Product left this clip on our Facebook page, we assumed it was just the work of some jackass spammer, on account them being named Promote Your Product and all. Then, because it was really good, we assumed it was some new official Winny Puhh video. Then we did a little more digging, and now we’re assuming it was just put together by this guy using found footage.
Ultimately we have no idea what the full story is behind the video, because the clip’s creator, Kirill “agale” Pozharsky, writes everything on his YouTube channel in Russian. But who cares? The video is amazing and really captures the spirit of Winny Puhh. Especially towards the end when everything gets super stabby. (Warning: NSFW. Not like Cattle Decapitation NSFW, but close.)
In other Winny Puhh news: There’s now a Facebook campaign to make them Estonia’s 2014 representative at Eurovision. Go like that shit!
You blew it, Estonia. You could’ve given that stupid fucking Eurovision contest its greatest moment since the year monster-rockers Lordi won it for Finland. But no. Instead of sending Winny Puhh, you had throw your nation’s hopes and dreams for pop music domination behind this steaming pile of sentimental horseshit from some chick named Birgit Õigemeel. Why, Estonia, why? You had your chance…and you bleeeewww it!
See, in order to decide who they’re gonna send to Eurovision, Estonia hosts a little music competition of its own called Eesti Laul. Most years it’s basically just Eurovision Lite, with lots of schmaltzy pop singers and cheeseball Eurodisco acts strutting their tired-ass stuff. But this year, Estonia’s most popular…only?…costumed punk/metal band Winny Puhh decided to enter the contest and…well, just watch:
I mean, c’mon. Tell me this insanity wouldn’t have kicked ass at Eurovision. It’s already kicking ass on YouTube…956,000 page views and counting. Think Birgit’s Eesti Laul performance, posted on YouTube the same day, has racked up that many hits? Not even close, brother. Again, I say: Estonia, you totally blew it.
Before this past month, pretty much no one outside the Baltic states had ever even heard of Winny Puhh. But they’ve been weirding it up since long before they decided to suspend their drummers from the ceiling and cover their lead singer in Teen Wolf fur. Somehow, everyone west of Warsaw missed this when it came out:
And we were all really fucking asleep at the keyboard to have missed this shit, from 2009:
But hey, better late than never, right? So we salute you, Winny Puhh! And we hope your brush with Eurovision superstardom gets you across the Atlantic soon. Sooner than that human Ambien tablet Birgit Õigemeel, at least.
- You know what’s even crazier than Winny Puhh? This video made by a Winny Puhh fan.
- Wait, did Winny Puhh really just play a fashion runway show in Paris? Yes, yes they did.