Weird of the Day: Dustin and Takako, “She He See Feel”

Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa
Photo by Hiromi Shinada

Baltimore guitarist Dustin Wong hasn’t gotten any less prolific or weird since his band Ponytail disbanded in 2011. After releasing several intriguing solo albums, Wong has now joined forces with Japanese singer Takako Minekawa to push his experiments into something resembling pop music, if pop music was a delicate vase just begging to be shattered into a million pieces.

The duo’s debut album, Savage Imagination, is due out next month on Thrill Jockey. For a taste, check out this video for the track “She He See Feel,” which features a diorama Dustin and Takako created for the album cover and some rubber-limbed dance moves.

You can pre-order Savage Imagination via the Thrill Jockey website.

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Weird of the Day, Moogfest Edition: Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon

Next up on our countdown to Moogfest (Apr. 23-27 in the bucolic mountains of North Carolina): Baltimore synth ninja Dan Deacon. Deacon first gained attention in the mid-’00s with a sound and performance style that married the raw energy of punk with the danceable, programmed beats of techno and synth-pop. He probably also helped make giant glasses and beards popular with hipsters, but try not to hold that against him.

On more recent albums like 2012’s America, Deacon’s been incorporating more live instrumentation; he even toured with a 14-piece band for 2009’s Bromst. But he remains best-known for synth freakouts like this seizure inducer from 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings. (Apologies for the poor quality; YouTube was a primitive place in 2007.)

Dan Deacon plays Moogfest on Thursday, Apr. 24th. For more info, visit the official Moogfest site.

pee pee po

pee pee po

I honestly can’t remember how we first heard about this week’s weird band. Somebody posted one of their videos on our Submit a Band page, I think, but I’m too lazy to go back and find it. Anyway, we had sort of forgotten all about them, because we have the attention span of ADHD cats, but just yesterday they emailed us and were all like, “Hey, I think we were featured on your website before.” And we were all like, “Not really, somebody just put one of your videos in the comments, but you know what? You should be featured. Let’s do this!” And here we are, introducing you to the ridiculousness that is pee pee po.

Pee Pee Po (or P.P.Po, or peepeepo…dudes like to mix it up) is a couple of guys from Murfreesboro, Tennessee named Cooper and Josh, who have been making a racket together since 2006. As Cooper explained to us, they originally set out to be a “serious” band, but all they had was a microphone and a Casio MIDI keyboard and because they didn’t really know how to use the keyboard at first, all they could really do was make really fucked-up drums and strings sounds with it.

“It was so funny that we just decided to make weird shit like this all the time,” Cooper explains. And that became pee pee po. It’s an inspirational story of triumph in the face of adversity.

Pee Pee Po still get a lot of mileage out of that Casio keyboard, although they eventually started mixing in some guitar and stuff. Their signature trick, probably going back to their early Casio days, is to constantly change tempos, sometimes speeding things up so fast that the song just becomes a zillion-BPM smear of noise, like a skipping CD player. The songs occasionally have lyrics, but more often the “vocals” are just randomly shouted words, unintelligible gibberish, and rude bodily noises. Lots of rude bodily noises.

There’s a shit-ton of music on their SoundCloud and even more on their YouTube channel, which is called Omahamaho and also features random silliness like fake newscasts and Michael Jackson parodies. But their crowning achievement is without a doubt the song and video “Going Weest.” It’s like New Age guitar music for crackheads. Done by a bunch of dudes who wear their sunglasses upside down, which is a pretty good look if you’re a no-budget weird band making New Age guitar music for crackheads.

We’ll throw in one bonus video from Omahamaho’s vast YouTube catalog. This is called “Slovakian Death Concert 1989” and while I guess it’s not technically a pee pee po video (though they do make an appearance), it makes me wanna smoke out and watch an Adult Swim marathon.

P.S. Turns out we were able to find the reader who turned us on to pee pee po after all. So many thanks to FastestPossum! I’m wearing my sunglasses upside down in your honor.

Links:

New Fabulous Downey Brothers video “Do It Again” is 42 seconds of awesome

fabulous-downey2

We love us some Fabulous Downey Brothers. They’re like DEVO for people with really short attention spans. Case in point: Their latest video (last we checked—I tweet slower than these guys make music videos) is just 42 seconds long. It’s for a song called “Do It Again” and it features some of the sickest dance moves we’ve seen in quite some time. And by “sickest” I mean “it really seems like this person might be about to collapse at any moment.”

In other Fabulous D Bros news, they’re playing a gig in Seattle tomorrow night (we can’t make it, but somebody go and yell “Freebird!” for us) and they have some new costumes that look both wildly impractical and totally fucking awesome. I give those outfits five shows before they’re completely trashed, tops. But what a five shows they’ll be.

The Fabulous Downey Brothers

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And they say our democracy is broken. Tens…nay, dozens!…of you took to our Facebook page over the past month and by a pretty wide margin, you made The Fabulous Downey Brothers the winners of our latest weird band poll. And we gotta say, you people got this one right. These guys are straight outta Crazytown, back when that still meant “You are completely fucking nuts” as opposed to “You are a shitty rap-rock band that sings about butterflies.”

There are two actual Downey Brothers, Sean and Liam, and four honorary ones: Chandra (that’s her losing her shit in the photo above), Alex, Frederick and Myrtice. (Myrtice? Yes, Myrtice.) There may also be one or two additional Downeys from time to time but we’re not sure if they’re part-timers or got fired for not being wacky enough. They’re from Olympia, Washington, which is also where Nirvana got their start, which I only mention because that’s pretty much the only thing I know about Olympia. But whatever Olympia did to Kurt Cobain, it seems to have had the exact opposite effect on The FDB’s. They are the manic to Kurt’s depressive. Although I do believe they’re both big DEVO fans.

We’re not sure how long the Sean, Liam and co. have been doing their thing, but it doesn’t seem to have been for very long. This is the oldest video we could find of theirs on YouTube, and it’s only from 2009. They’ve only released a pair of EPs, but have made a shit-ton of videos, nearly every one weirder than the last. My personal favorite, “Fizz,” is below, but if you like catchy New Wavey punk and dorky dance moves, I also highly recommend “Mush Mouth.” Their live show looks fun, too. Those big blue bug-like headdresses are apparently their signature look, but they’ve also shown up in everything from giant eyeballs to cupcake helmets. Yes, cupcake helmets. Don’t believe me? Check the photo labeled “Royal Lounge” on this page. Delicious, right? Blue frosting is my favorite. Artificial food coloring always makes me trip balls.

So congrats on being our Weird Band of the Week, Brothers! And sorry we missed you when you played SoCal last month. Come back soon? We promise to show up this time.

P.S. Actual voting sucks, right? We have to decide whether to ban gay fracking or partial-birth marijuana or genetically modified Indian casinos or whatever. Don’t we have elected representatives who are supposed to take care of this shit? (Sorry, that was a very California rant. All of you who live in states and countries that aren’t quite so obsessed with direct democracy, move on…)

Fortunately, there’s an easier alternative. Just go vote for a future Weird Band of the Week in our latest poll. Better yet, submit a weird band for consideration on our aptly named Submit a Band page. Now that is some direct democracy.

Links:

Trippple Nippples show their softer side with Oli Chang remix

Even the spazziest of J-pop bands has to mellow out once in awhile. So once you’re done getting your freak on to “Drink the Haterade” and giving yourself seizures watching their “LSD” video, go unclench your earholes to “Golden Road,” a surprisingly pretty, soothing track from Trippple Nippples, the band I recently described (reductively, I must admit) as the “Japanese Lady Gaga” on public radio. Then get even more chill with the dream-poppy Oli Chang remix, which also comes with its own video featuring lots of shots of trains cruising through tunnels and winter landscapes. We kept waiting for the Trippp Nippp ladies to show up and start smearing rice noodles everywhere, but it ain’t that kind of clip.

Side note regarding Oli Chang: He’s also the man responsible for “Chicken Techno,” which might be the single most awesome thing we’ve seen all week. Better than the “Funky Chicken,” you ask? Much.

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