Today’s weirdness was passed along to us by reader Mateusz. Merci, Mateusz! Robotnicka are (or were—it’s not clear whether they’re still together) a French synth-punk quartet active in late ’90s and early ’00s, fronted by a bundle of spazzy energy in a cow hood named Zeseal Goubet. Not much information about them is available online, except for an official bio that’s fun to read (“the singalong dancetrack to the fall of corporate empires and fascist governments”) but short on actual biographical details. They seem to have released one album in 2004 called Spectre en Vue, which includes this delightful little lo-fi dance jam, “Discowgirlz.” The video features trash monsters, so if you’re afraid of cardboard, you may want to avert your eyes.
As obscure as it is, you can actually buy Spectre en Vue in CD form from Amazon.
We’d like to wrap up another awesome week here at Weird Band HQ with an oldie but goodie from digital hardcore legends Atari Teenage Riot. Back when I worked in a cube farm, I prayed every week that something like this would happen right around 5 p.m. on Friday. Well, except for the part where everyone’s faces turn to digital soup. No, on second thought, even that would have been preferable to the mind-numbing drudgery of corporate life.
Happy Friday, y’all!
Reader Aaron calls Polysics the “bastard Japanese offspring of DEVO.” Polysics themselves call their music “technicolor pogo punk.” We just call is awesome. Next party I go to, I plan to dance by flailing my arms around my head like I’m fending off an invisible swarm of bees, just like the girls in this video. Though I won’t look as cute in a Mylar tutu.
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.
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.
I don’t know about you, but after all the shit that went down in April, I could use a little happy action in May. So let’s start the month off on a candy-colored electro-punk note, shall we? Meet Räuberhöhle, the happiest band ever to emerge from Berlin. (Sorry, Einstürzende Neubauten.)
Räuberhöhle, which is German for “Robber’s Cave,” is the brainchild of a tattooed, J-pop-obsessed Kirsten Dunst lookalike called Krawalla Chan. Since 1999, Krawalla has been turning out bleepy, hyper-caffeinated electro-pop over which she sing-shouts like a cross between Kathleen Hanna and an army of rioting Japanese schoolgirls. There are elements of punk, disco, electroclash, chiptune and Japanese synth-pop, none of which would be weird in and of itself, but all of which Krawalla combines in some highly quirky and occasionally brilliant ways. Add to that a live show that often features puppets and a guy in a bear suit (named Bärchin) and you got yourself one unique bundle of ausgezeichnet.
Given Krawalla’s candy-raver/My Little Pony cosplay aesthetic and the fact that many of her songs have titles like “Shake Yr Anus” and “My Heart Bleeps Noisy Beeps,” you’d be forgiven for assuming that Räuberhöhle is just a feelgood party band. But she’s also written an anti-Pope song and has another one titled “The Collective Face Of German Volkszorn” which we’re pretty sure is political even though we’re not actually sure what it’s about. It has lots of spoken-word samples of German people sounding angry, so it must be about something.
Mostly, though, Krawalla writes songs about having fun and feeling good about yourself—especially if you’re a girl or, as she charmingly puts it on her website in broken English, “Gays, women, handicapped. These whole fringe groups… I am down with them as long as the personal level is okay.” Take this awesome video for the song “I’m not part of the shit,” which is all about letting your freak flag fly and not being, well, part of the shit.
But perhaps no video better sums up the fearless wackadoodlery of Räuberhöhle than this clip for “Shake Yr Anus,” in which Krawalla and her furry friends torment mall security and (no, really) fart glitter. Many thanks to reader Irrealidad for sharing this with us a few weeks back. It’s the best thing to happen to anuses since…no, that’s a sentence better left unfinished.
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.
We kinda lost track of our old pal The Emotron for awhile there, but lately the man known to his daddyTron as Kyle Knight has been posting up a storm on Facebook. We keep checking to see if there’s any, y’know, Emotron news we can share with y’all, but really, all of his posts kinda read like the work of someone on a killer combination of Red Bull and shrooms—you know, the kind of high where they’re just talking non-stop and at a certain point you give up trying to figure out what’s real and what’s hallucinatory bullshit and just enjoy the ranting and raving for its own sake.
So: Did The Tron really take a massive shit onstage in North Carolina last week? Is he really selling jewelry for infants? Did he really perform a gig with Cowboy Troy in his dad’s backyard? Fuck if we know, but whether any of it happened or not isn’t the point. The Emotron’s Facebook posts are their own reward. Behold:
I’m kinda bored tonight. I think I will go around town & find some baby’s ears to pierce. any mother who lets me pierce their baby’s ears starting tonight & any other night in the future=will get a free pair of Emotron earrings! I’ve also got some nose rings for your baby & shit!
I never thanked The Kickstand, Treasure Fest, and the fans of Charlotte NC for coming out to see me take the biggest shit ive ever taken. It took me nearly my whole set to shit out 4 days worth of shit.
cowboy troy is coming over to my dad’s house tomorrow. come over Tuesday about 7-9pm. turn into that neighborhood off the Locust Grove Hwy. my dad isn’t gonna do his old style tron performance, but he will bring out some of that dmt he shared with Capt’n Beefheart at The ATL pop fest of 1970.
Why was it such a big deal that Chipper Jones hooked up with a Hooters waitress back in the day? I say hell yeah! Hit that…..it’s all pink on the inside & shit.
I could go on, but really, just follow the fucking dude on Facebook and enjoy the ride.
Emotron, we heart you, man. You are the box of chocolates to our Forrest Gump. When are you coming back to LA? This time, we’re not gonna miss your show, dammit.
Today’s weird band was brought to our attention by a reader called Hola-Ebola, who is rapidly emerging as our new MVR (Most Valuable Reader). Hola-Ebola (“H to the Ezzo” to his friends) also turned us on to Dirty Sanchez. Truly, H-E, you are a veritable geyser of weirdness.
This band is called Gidropony, which is apparently Russian for “hydroponic”–or so says the one English-language article was could find on this band. That article also notes that the band hails from the small industrial city of Saransk, about 400 miles east of Moscow, in what is apparently the Russian equivalent of the Rust Belt. And there’s definitely something uniquely Russian about Gidropony’s mishmash sound, which mixes the crazy videogame synths of chiptune with elements of punk, electro and drum ‘n’ bass in what sounds like some bored Russian kids’ vague, thirdhand idea of what hipsters in Brooklyn must be listening to. They’re like the aural equivalent of cheap knockoff Levi’s, or that fake version of Donkey Kong you downloaded off BitTorrent that bombs your PC with Russian porn pop-ups.
Gidropony, who appear to be made up of a guy-girl duo plus some additional live musicians, call their sound “discoviolence” (also name of one of their records, which you can actually buy on Amazon) or sometimes just “trash.” Occasionally it’s downright catchy, other times it sounds like someone having a Nintendo-induced seizure. And when they make videos for their songs, they really delve into the pop-culture scrap heap, as they do on this fairly mind-blowing clip. Warning: it gets dirty. And we’re not just saying that to get you to watch to the end.
(Photo by Austin Young)
Today’s band was suggested by a reader called Hola-Ebola…and no, they have nothing to do with the Jackass-like British TV series Dirty Sanchez, although those guys are pretty great. This Dirty Sanchez is an electroclash band from Los Angeles. What is electroclash, you ask? Well, I’m no expert, but as far as I can tell, it seems to be an intentionally cheesy/campy style of dance music with lots of songs about cocaine and gay sex and Hollywood. I think Lady Gaga probably ripped off half her act from the electroclash scene.
Anyways, there are loads of weird electroclash acts out there, like Fischerspooner, Peaches, Chicks on Speed and Princess Superstar. But Dirty Sanchez stand out for a couple reasons. First, many of their songs are just flat-out, hilariously bizarre, as you can tell from just the song titles alone: “Fucking on the Dancefloor,” “Really Rich Italian Satanists,” “Tranny Sex,” “We Hate Youth and Beauty.” Second, they seem to be one of the few (only?) electroclash bands to feature a full-on tranvestite as one of their lead singers. His/her name is Jackie Beat and even though I feel kinda gay for saying this, she rules. In their early videos, she’s like a cross between Dee Snider and Cher. Now she looks more like a cross between Eddie Izzard and that fat chick from The Gossip, but she’s still pretty fabulous. (Did I just use the word “fabulous” to describe a drag queen? Wow, now I really feel gay.)
Dirty Sanchez seem to have been inactive since 2008–that’s the last time their website news was updated (back then, they said they were working on a new album, their second one, but it doesn’t seem like it’s ever come out) and also the year they released a new single, “Give Head and Be Beautiful.” Here’s the video for it, which for our money is the most awesomely weird thing they’ve ever done. Next time I go out dancing, I’m totally gonna picture everyone with their heads off.
(Update: It seems like Jackie Beat is now based in New York and might be more focused on her cabaret act and her solo career–although it also seems like she forgot to pay her domain name bill, so it’s hard for us to confirm this. Still, this parody video posted in late 2009 does feature fellow Dirty Sanchezian Mario Diaz, so there’s still hope we may hear more from Dirty Sanchez yet.)