Clown Core

clown-core-toilet-album-cover

Last week, a video surfaced on YouTube of a band called Clown Core performing a song called “Hell” inside a porta-potty. It went viral in a matter of days, getting reposted by Adult Swim and written up on various metal sites, because it is awesome. Here, judge for yourself:

Did you catch all that? The horror movie synths, the industrial beats, the death metal vocals, the Kenny G interlude? Can you grasp the sheer, unadulterated genius of it all? Maybe you better watch it again just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. We’ll wait.

Although prior to last week, hardly anyone (including us) was aware that Clown Core existed, the duo has actually been around since at least 2010. That’s when they released their self-titled debut album, which features 13 similarly unhinged ditties with titles like “Diarrhea Inferno Welfare Burrito” and “I Ate a Luna Bar and My Dick Fell Off.” It’s available on Spotify and iTunes, where it’s listed under “Children’s Music.” What’s remarkable is how fully formed the whole Clown Core concept seems to have been, even back then. Mostly using just sax, keyboards and drums, the duo mix punk-rock, death metal, jazz and plenty of comic relief (the Benny Hill theme shows up at one point, and there’s also a death metal cover of “Deck the Halls”) to create a sort of cartoon version of Mike Patton-era Mr. Bungle by way of Moon Hooch. They’re clearly not taking any of it seriously, but they’re also clearly very good musicians — which just makes it all that much funnier.

“Hell” is from Clown Core’s just-released new album, which is called Toilet, presumably because these guys were smart enough to realize that Porta-Potty is a terrible album title. It’s an even nuttier, more tightly wound hodgepodge of abrasive sounds than their debut, with more dubstep-like synths and death metal vocals and song titles like “Google Your Own Death” and “The Area 51 Snack Bar Sucks.”

So far there are no clues as to who’s behind the clown masks. Aside from their two albums, their online presence is limited to a YouTube channel and a Twitter account that’s less than a month old (and already three times more followers than us — thanks a lot, Internet). [Update: They also have a Facebook page.] We’re not even sure where they’re from, although the fact that the Porta-potty in the “Hell” video has a SoCal Industries logo suggests that they’re based right here in Southern California. Maybe they’re a spinoff of our favorite local masked electro-punks, Fartbarf? Although last we checked, no one in Fartbarf plays sax. Maybe it’s a couple of the guys from Kneebody — the jazziest track on Toilet, “Truth and Life” (also, at 2:44, the longest), actually sounds kinda like Kneebody in places.

Ultimately, though, who cares who’s behind Clown Core? Let’s just enjoy the fact that while I was writing this post, they released a second video, this time for Toilet‘s skittering title track. It also takes place inside a SoCal Industries porta-potty — but this time, the porta-potty has moved! What does it mean??? (Also, trigger warning for anyone who was molested by a clown as a child.)

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Weird of the Day: Lauren Bousfield, “Cracknight”

Lauren Bousfield

Some artists are just too weird for any one genre to contain. After getting pigeonholed in the breakcore and chiptune scenes while working under the name Nero’s Day at Disneyland, Sacramento-based producer Lauren Bousfield dropped that moniker and began making even stranger music under his her own name. As great as Nero’s Day was—and some of it was pretty flippin’ fantastic—Bousfield’s first solo album, Avalon Vales, is even better, because it refuses to stay in one place, skipping across genres like a rock across a pond. It still owes a debt to more experimental breakcore producers like Venetian Snares, but it’s on its own trip. No wonder one of his genre tags on Bandcamp is just “____.”

You can stream the whole towering, beautiful mess that is Avalon Vales on Bandcamp. Meanwhile, for a little taste, check out this video for the aptly named “Cracknight,” and remember, if you ever have Bousfield over for dinner, don’t let him her anywhere near the electrical tape.

Babymetal

Babymetal

Look, Japan, I get it, OK? You’re a strange country. You don’t have to keep proving it to me. I know all about your jam bands who dress like giant shrimp and creepy singing robots and game shows where you have to play a harmonica inside a dead fish’s mouth. So you can relax already. You got this weird shit on lock.

But no…every time I open my inbox, I’m greeted with more “what the fuck is going on?” moments from the Land of the Rising Sun. The latest is a band called Babymetal that is, in fact, made up of babies who sing metal. Well, OK, they’re not babies; I think the oldest one is like 14 or something. But the point is, they’re sweet little Japanese schoolgirls who should probably not be allowed to watch any Dir En Grey videos for at least another four years…and yet, they kinda sound like Dir En Grey. Japan strikes again!

Apparently Babymetal is the metal-themed spinoff of another kiddie J-pop group called Sakura Gakuin. They call their music “kawaii metal,” which sounds like metal for surfers but actually translates to “cute metal,” which actually sums this stuff up pretty well. There are definite elements of pop and EDM and even the occasional hip-hop and dubstep…but it all comes back to the double kick drums and drop-D guitar riffs, which are played by a scary-looking masked backing band while the girls dance around in their Hot Topic finery. Never before has the devil’s music been this adorable.

Do I even need to tell you that this shit is huge in Japan? Here’s a link (embedding disabled…fuckers) to a video of them playing a song called “Headbanger!!” for approximately one zillion people at the Inazuma Rock Festival this past September. I believe this is part of a DVD they released last month called Babymetal Apocalypse, which I guess if you’re a metal purist is probably the most accurately named concert DVD of all time. Personally I can’t get enough of this shit, though. It’s like watching a Metallica show inside a Hello Kitty store.

I’ll leave you with one last video because it’s awesome. Spoiler alert: Her microphone houses a tiny samurai sword. In your face, Marilyn Manson!

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