You probably think you can tell what PPL MVR sound like just by looking at them. I mean, it’s three guys dressed up like yetis. It’s gotta be knuckle-dragging, skull-pounding sludge metal, right? Or maybe theatrical death metal a la Band of Orcs. One way or another, it’s metal. Clearly. Only metal guys are willing to sweat that much.
But think again. Although PPL MVR’s sound does in fact rock hard, and their drummer does in fact play with sticks shaped like thigh bones, they owe more to strutting, ’70s-style cock-rock than to anything on today’s headbanger circuit. In fact, once you throw in some pedal-distorted guitar and talkbox-distorted vocals, they kinda sound like ELO trying to do Sabbath covers. At least they’ve got all windmilling-in-the-wind-tunnel moves down, though. Whatever planet they’re from must have Headbangers Ball reruns.
PPL MVR—or “The One and Only PPL MVR,” as they sometimes go by—are from right here in TWBITW’s home base of Los Angeles, but like all good costumed bands, they’ve done a pretty good job so far of keeping their identities secret, going only by their yeti names of SNWBLL, K-PO and Q. They give great interviews, staying totally in character, and we’ve heard their live shows are great, too, though we haven’t yet had the pleasure.
And they must have a really good manager, because even though they’ve only been in existence for about a year, they’ve already appeared at Sundance, Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme, the Playboy offices, and something called the Spike TV Guys’ Choice Awards, because y’know, all those other awards shows don’t let guys give each other enough awards. They’ve even been signed to Elektra Records, which is pretty big time. I mean, yeah, they live in L.A. and their songs are catchy as hell, but still—bands like Extreme Turbo Smash must be looking at PPL MVR like, “Fuck. What do we have to do to get in on that action?”
Not much else is known about PPL MVR at this point, because well, they’ve only been around for a year and the only interviews they’ve given so far have consisted of grunts and snarls. So we’ll just leave you with what appears to be their latest video, for a song called “Let’s Take This Outside.” I’m no expert on yeti social customs, but my strong advice to you is: Do NOT take it outside with PPL MVR. Let the beasts eat their pancakes in peace.
Well, what have we here? Looks like Australia’s differently abled power-popsters Rudely Interrupted have slimmed down to a quartet in preparation for the release of their latest EP, I Am Alive. It’s out Sept. 19th, but available for pre-order now via iTunes. And it features a song called “Ran Over a Lizard,” so you know it’s gonna rule.
Rudely Interrupted have been racking up the frequent flyer miles of late, playing a “carnival of the mind” called Twenty Wonder here in Los Angeles (sorry we missed you, guys) and performing with an orchestra in Italy. They don’t have any other shows booked at the moment but you can bet that Sam Beke’s sparkly cape will be gracing some stages Down Under again soon enough.
Now here’s a sneak peak at their latest animated music video, for I Am Alive‘s title track. If you pre-order the album via iTunes, you’ll get the full video included with the EP.
Listen up, weirdos: Our favorite Australians-with-disabilities power-pop act Rudely Interrupted need your help. They’ve only got about 48 hours left on a Pozible campaign (the Down Under version of Kickstarter) to raise another A$2,000 to finance the release of their latest EP, plus send them out on a promotional tour. So do the kids a solid, as we Americans like to say, and go pledge your support. A mere $9 gets you a copy of the EP and a warm, fuzzy feeling.
For those of y’all not familiar: Rudely Interrupted is a band made up mostly of folks born a bit different than the rest of us. Lead singer Rory Burnside, for example, has Asperger’s and epilepsy and was born without eyes. Hype man/sampler/occasional bassist Sam Beke—he of the trademark sparkly cape—has Down syndrome. But as you’ll see in the video below, none of that matters once they start playing.
Here’s that link to pledge again. Help ’em out, people!
If memory serves me…and between advancing middle age and too much Jagermeister, it doesn’t serve me all that well…we’ve never added a band from Poland to The Weird List before. Well, this week, that’s finally gonna change. Meet Dick4Dick, the band you should in no way confuse with the gay porn site of the same name. By the way, this probably goes without saying, but if you’re at work, you probably shouldn’t click that link. Unless you work at a gay porn site, in which case…are they hiring?
Dick4Dick were introduced to us by a reader from Poland named U.Do. I thought everyone there was named stuff like Zbygnyrw and Wyrzcrskntz and other random combinations of consonants, but what do I know? Anyway, U.Do describes Dick4Dick like this: “Known mainly for their performances – stage used to explode during their fetish, glam rocky and extremely funny shows. Most of their songs somehow paraphrases the old hits with a dirty twist.” Intrigued, we checked out the video U.Do sent our way and it was love at first stolen Sabbath hook:
Did you watch all the way to the 1:18 mark? If not, what is wrong with you? Go back and play the whole thing. We’ll wait.
Awesome, right? Why do they suddenly start singing about Chicago ghettos? Who knows? Like all the best weird music, it makes absolutely no sense and totally works, all at the same time. We were hooked.
With a little more digging, we learned that…well, actually, we learned almost nothing, because very little has been written about this band in English. Here’s what we do know: They’ve been around since 2004 and released four albums. At one time, they had five guys, but now they seem to be down to four: Baron Baye, M.Bunio.S, Goodboy Khris, and Great Adaggio. They haven’t released any new music since 2010, but M.Bunio.S and Goodboy Khris have a new electro-disco side project called Dickie Dreams Soundsystem that released some new music via SoundCloud about a year ago.
But details, shmetails. The main attraction here is D4D’s music videos, which are generally just as mind-blowing as “Drink My Kefir,” even when the music skews more towards not-so-mind-blowing ’80s-style power-pop. There’s more than a little Spinal Tap in these guys, or maybe Die Antwoord if Die Antwoord was more into Cheap Trick and Headbangers Ball than The Prodigy and Atlanta hip-hop. Check out the serious wind-machine rock-god posturing in this clip:
They’ve got loads more videos on YouTube, some just as weird, some just kinda odd in that “I guess they think this shit is cool in Poland” sort of way, like this one where the band plays slithery electro-pop in black hoodies in a park while the lead singer menacingly sips a glass of whiskey, and then a bunch of people collapse in crosswalks all over the city for no reason. (Actually that one has an fucking excellent ending, but I’m not gonna give it away here.)
But we’ll leave you with the clip that, based on everything we’ve seen so far, sums up Dick4Dick’s rock-star/goofball swag the best. It’s called “I know, you need my rocknroll” and after you watch it, you will also find yourself needing a really good pair of sweat-resistant wristbands.
The results of our latest Facebook poll are in and once again the ballot-stuffers…uh, I mean voters have spoken. By a wide margin, Baby Seal Club beat out Charles Manson and two bands you probably never heard of to become our latest Weird Band of the Week. Congrats on beating my namesake cult leader, guys. That’s no small feat in these parts, especially since this video surfaced.
We first heard about BSC when their singer-guitarist, Fudo, wrote to us and shared the band’s video for “Zeroes and Ones,” which you can see below. Fudo admitted he was “hard-pressed” to claim his band’s music was weirder than most of what we blog about around here. But any band that does a video about a marauding band of chickens trashing an Apple Store gets our attention.
Baby Seal Club hail from a podunk town in Northern California called Sebastopol (come for the wineries, stay because you’re too drunk to drive back to San Francisco). They dress in carnival/steam-punk/Burning Man chic and play a style of music I’m gonna call quirky outlaw power-pop. I’m not even sure what that means, but it sounds about right. You can check out samples of their 10-track debut album on their official website. I’m partial to “Mama Delphi,” which starts out with the line, “She didn’t know she was made of Play-Doh.” Man, if I had nickel for every time I’ve dated that chick.
Since writing to us, Fudo and his bandmates (Choklit Chanteuse, Wizzbang Mahnkae, Nashish, Nectar and occasionally a guy called Uncle Stabby, which is now officially my favorite band alias ever) have been on a roll. They’ve opened for The B-52’s (bet Fred Schneider loooooved them) and were voted Best Rock Band at the North Bay Music Awards. We like to think being named Weird Band of the Week is just as prestigious, but who are we kidding? They’ve probably forgotten about us little people already.
Fun bonus fact: Their fans are called “FlipperTrippers.” We’re sure that’s just because seals have flippers and is not in any way a drug reference.
Anyway, here’s “Zeroes and Ones.” Insert your favorite “cluck” joke here. Oh, and go vote in our next poll, OK? The fate of four more bands rests in your hands.
They’re aren’t many things crazier than dedicating 20 years of your life to an all-hockey-themed rock band, but swimming across Long Island Sound is probably one of them. So it seems fitting than the wacky fellows in The Zambonis are playing their next gig at a benefit concert for participants in the 25th annual SWIM Across the Sound Marathon, a 15.5 mile swim that raises money for cancer patients. This is usually the part where we insert some snide comment, but it’s fucking cancer, for fuck’s sake. So we’ll save the witticisms for some future post.
The concert happens a week from Saturday, July 21st, at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Tickets are only $10, so buy a bunch and bring a friend or 10. This is a worthy cause, dammit. Yes, even worthier than that DEVO documentary we told you about last week.
To learn more about SWIM Across the Sound, go here. To learn more about hockey, go to a Zambonis concert. Didn’t know we were an educational website, did you?
It’s been awhile since we checked in with Australia’s leading “differently abled” power-pop band, Rudely Interrupted. So what have the lads been up to since June 2010? Well, they’ve apparently released their debut album, Tragedy of the Commons, available on iTunes, Amazon and elsewhere around the Interwebs. They’ve played North America, Singapore, New Zealand and various other places hither and yon. They’ve lost their only female member, “human metronome” Connie Kirkpatrick, who we can only assume has a solo album and/or an all-girl band with disabilities in the works. And bassist Sam Beke has acquired a really bitchin’ cape. So they’ve been keeping busy.
Most recently, they’re apparently putting the finishing touches on a new EP called Mystery Girl, due out later this year. A few weeks ago they released the first single from it, which we’ll attempt to embed below. It’s called “So Tired” and it’s a catchy little number that lead singer Rory Burnside describes as “cynical and not meant to be serious.” They can’t all be public service announcements, people.
Full disclosure: I have never liked hockey. Maybe it’s because I grew up in upstate New York, where hockey was rammed down every boy’s throat like a puck made of broken teeth and bruises. And yeah, okay, I was forced to play in the Squirt and Pee Wee leagues, and I sucked. So that may have something to do with it.
But The Zambonis are almost great enough to make me a hockey fan. Almost.
Started way back in 1991 in Connecticut (R.I.P., Whalers), The Zambonis are the world’s only hockey-themed rock band. Now you might think this is a somewhat limited genre to work within, and frankly, you’d be right. But somehow, against all odds, these dudes are getting ready to release their sixth—sixth!—album, Five Minute Major (In D Minor), on Feb. 14th. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Because nothing says romance better than songs like “I Got a Concussion (When I Fell for You).”
The Zambonis have built up a pretty decent following among puckheads over the years. They’ve played the NHL All-Star Game twice, written a theme song for the Boston Bruins (“To Bleed Black and Gold”) and even got their song “Hockey Monkey” used as the theme music for The Loop, a short-lived Fox sitcom. The illustrious Jonathan Richman once called them “a beach party on ice.” We like to think of them more as Weezer with mouthguards. They don’t take themselves or their music too seriously (how could they, really?), but most of it is catchy as all get-out.
Side note: Founding Zamboni Dave Schneider is something of a specialist in the art of Extremely Specific Rock Bands. He’s also the co-creator (with Adam Gardner of Guster) of The LeeVees, a band that only writes songs about Hanukkah. And no, it’s not actually all that weird to be both Jewish and into hockey.
Second side note: Believe it or not, the makers of the Zamboni® ice resurfacers actually sent a cease and desist to The Zambonis in 1998. After some legal wrangling, Zamboni® finally let The Zambonis license the name—and, we sincerely hope, granted their wish and finally let them drive an actual Zamboni.
Now, if you’re not already sick of all this hockey talk, why don’t you watch The Zambonis’ latest video, “I’m a Puck.” It’s got a cool sort of NRBQ/Brian Setzer/rockabilly vibe that we’re digging. Maybe it’s…puckabilly? (Ouch. Feel free to cross-check me into the boards for that one.)
At first glance, Australia’s Rudely Interrupted is just a better-than-average power-pop band with a vaguely ’80ish vibe—they’ve got sort of a Cars/Split Enz/Gary Numan thing going on, in mostly a good way (but we’re sorry, those pink pants have gotta go). Not that weird at all, right? The whole vaguely ’80ish thing is pretty trendy right now. So what are they doing on TWBITW?
Well, look a bit closer. Five out of six of Rudely Interrupted’s members are physically and/or intellectually handicapped, some of them severely so. Lead singer Rory Burnside is blind and has Asperger’s syndrome (but also has perfect pitch—one man’s disability is another man’s superpower, you might say); keyboardist Marcus Stone has Asperger’s and is 80% deaf; bassist Sam Beke has Down syndrome; drummer Josh Hogan is autistic and has some physical abnormalities; and percussionist Connie Kirkpatrick, aka “The Human Metronome,” has Down syndrome and is legally blind. The only “able bodied” member of the group is guitarist Rohan Brooks, a music therapist who came up with the idea of forming a band made up of some of his students.
Rudely Interrupted could’ve just been a sort of rock ‘n’ roll Special Olympics, but the tunes are undeniably catchy and there’s a raucous, joyous quality to their live shows (based on the YouTube videos we’ve seen) that a lot of hipster bands could learn from. So OK, their bassist uses a capo to tune all his strings to the main chord of whatever song they’re playing—fine, you got him. But you know what? Dude has freaking Down syndrome. And he’s in a band that has toured the world and played at the United Nations. What have you done lately?
Here’s a video the band just shot as part of an awareness campaign for Scope—not, apparently, the mouthwash, but an Australian disability services non-profit. It’s been nominated for an Inside Film Award, which sounds really cool—although we have to admit we’re not sure what an Inside Film Award is. Awards are given out based on fan ratings, though, so you should go over to their website and rate it a 5. Trust us, it’ll give you a warm fuzzy feeling.
Here at TWBITW, we have very strict criteria for weirdness. Start a fake French garage-rock band in New York? Not weird enough. Start a fake version of the fake French garage-rock band, using the same name? Now you’re talkin!
Details of what exactly went down are a bit sketchy, but we know this: at some point, various members of fake French band #1, Les Sans Culottes, got fed up with the band’s lead singer and ringleader, Clermont Ferrand, and decided to start their own fake French band instead. The problems arose when they decided to keep using the name Les Sans Culottes, even though Ferrand had already assembled a new band and was also performing around town as Les Sans Culottes. Ferrand (real name: Bill Carney) eventually took his old bandmates to court, where we can only imagine the judge was tempted to bitch-slap the whole fake French lot of them. The melee was ultimately resolved, however, with Ferrand able to keep calling his band Les Sans Culottes and the second crew of fake Frenchies rechristening themselves Nous Non Plus (which means something like “us no more”).
To make matters even more confusing, there’s also a NYC restaurant called Les Sans Culottes. The phrase, which literally translates to “those without underpants” or, more archaically, “those without knee-breeches,” was apparently originally coined to describe the poorly equipped conscripts of the French Revolutionary army in the late 1700’s.
Anyhoo, although we were bummed that the original incarnation of Les Sans Culottes broke up (we saw them live a few times and they were pretty great), it’s kinda nice to now have not one, but two fake French bands to choose from. Les Sans Culottes 2.0 still sounds like a cross between the B-52’s and a French Ramones; Nous Non Plus, for their part, have taken the music in more of a power-pop direction, but the silly Franglish lyrics still take center stage.