Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay

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.

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Weird of the Day: Hardcore Anal Hydrogen, “COI”

Hardcore Anal Hydrogen

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.

Weird of the Day: Empalot, “Jeannot”

Empalot

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.

Weird of the Day: Jute Gyte, “Semen Dried into the Silence of Rock and Mineral”

Jute Gyte

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.

Weird of the Day: Pin-Up Went Down, “Cadavre Exquis”

Pin-Up Went Down

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.

You can browse Pin-Up Went Down’s whole catalog on Bandcamp or Amazon.

Weird Live Review: Author and Punisher

Author and Punisher gear

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.

Author and Punisher at Echoplex

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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.

Iwrestledabearonce release first studio track featuring Courtney LaPlante: “Thunder Chunky”

Iwrestledabearonce

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.