Category Archives: Experimental

A Different Memory Of Michael Jackson

We all know what happened today…  The world paid tribute and said goodbye to one of the most important people in music history.  Michael Jackson you will be missed.

A lot of people remembered Michael Jackson today.  I chose to not watch the media circus that was the public viewing/memorial for the late singer.  Instead I hung out at work all day and tried to keep up with all the memories going on in my head.

With all of the memories going on in my mind about Michael Jackson one seemed to stick out over the others.  The memory is not even of a song that Michael Jackson created or a movie that he was in.  The memory is a song by the experimental act Negativland.

The song is called “Michael Jackson”.  I used to listen to it all the time…

DEVO Announce New Studio Album To Debut Fall 2009!!!

I just received word that Akron, OH’s DEVO has announced that they will be working on a studio album for a Fall 2009 release!

Direct from the email I received:

What the iconic new wave, art punk pioneers cautioned us about almost 30 years ago is no longer a humorous theory. It’s pretty much fact–we now live in a devolved world that’s getting wackier each and every day.

The fall of 2009 will bring a new DEVO studio album, their first one since 1990’s Smooth Noodle Maps. It’ll mark their first new music since the strong fan reaction that greeted the 2007 single “Watch Us Work It,” their first new song in 18 years and one that was produced by Sweden’s TeddyBears (Robyn). They’re now in the studio putting the finishing touches on their new album (title TBA).

The five-piece–featuring co-founders and songwriters MARK MOTHERSBAUGH (lead vocals, synthesizer innovations) and GERALD CASALE (lead vocal, bass) and rounded out by BOB CASALE (guitarist), BOB MOTHERSBAUGH (guitars/vocals) and JOSH FREESE (drums)–are set make a special U.S. appearance at SXSW this year including a press conference (4:00pm) and keynote panel (5:00pm)–moderated by radio veteran Nic Harcourt–set for Thursday, March 19 at the Austin Convention Center (500 East Cesar Chavez St.). They’ll follow that up with a Friday, March 20 one-night-only SXSW concert at the Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces St.). Pre SXSW, DEVO fans in Dallas can catch a special one-off show on Wednesday, March 18 at the Palladium Ballroom.

In May, DEVO will head to the United Kingdom for a series of dates. On Wednesday, May 6, DEVO will perform their debut album, the seminal Q: Are We Not Men, We Are Devo! in its entirety from beginning to end at London’s Kentish Town Forum. Released in 1978, the seminal album produced by Brian Eno and recorded in Germany features such notable tracks such as the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Mongoloid” and “Jocko Homo.” Next up on Friday, May 8, they’ll headline the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Somerset at the Butlins Holiday Centre.

Formed in 1972 in Akron, OH, DEVO–short for “de-evolution”–began as an art project cautioning that humans were devolving and regressing into a herd mentality of American society, not evolving. A conceptual band from the beginning, DEVO were ahead of their time, incorporating elaborate aesthetics into their live shows and seamlessly combining their music with visuals years before MTV or any music-video culture existed. Indeed, the group’s first appearance at Kent State University in 1973 was recorded with a black and white portable video system. Societal satirists, DEVO’s lyrical mix of comedy and quirky wit, warned of the dangers of rampant capitalism in “Whip It” and “Freedom of Choice”, and the devolution of society in “Jocko Homo” and ”Beautiful World.“ Onstage in their early incarnation, the group began with a mixture of synthesizers and rock instruments; as they developed in the late seventies and early eighties, DEVO became one of the first American acts to perform using only synthesizers. DEVO have now returned with an evolved look, ready to impact the vastly devolved world we now find ourselves trying to navigate.

Expect more news regarding DEVO soon and catch up with them at:
www.clubdevo.com
www.myspace.com/devo

Nobunny – Love Visions – CD Review

Nobunny
Nobunny

Chances are if you were to pick up a CD and see a Ramones looking cover with a guy wearing a bunny mask dressed like Joey Ramone, you would put it back down and continue with life.  In the case of solo act Nobunny, I almost did the very same thing.  In fact I have had the CD for a few weeks now and could not for the life of me force myself into playing it; that is until today.  Today was like any other day except I finally put Love Visions into my CD player and what I got out of it was a complete surprise.

What is Nobunny you ask?  Nobunny is a man of sorts, a jokester performer who is more of a modern day GG Allen. A gimmick act who sounds a lot like a mix between the Dead Milkmen and the Ramones, all while sporting  a bunny mask.  His live shows are for the less timid mostly because the masked Nobunny loses his pants during performances after drowning himself in booze and sings into a microphone that looks like a carrot.  The result of his actions, on top of his music, however have won over an elaborate array of fans.  This is Nobunny’s first CD release thanks to 1234 Go Records.

Not much is publicly known about the man behind the mask or the band that backs him up.  The only known fact about Nobunny is that he is from Tucson.  From there it is said that he was living in a trailer with no utilities and came to realize he wanted to be an Animal Elvis impersonator to help pay the bills.  Soon thereafter Nobunny was writing his own material and booked his first show in Chicago on Easter Sunday in 2001.  The set was in fact dedicated to Joey Ramone, who had actually died that day.

Nobunny has been known for his shenanigans while touring.  He once booked two shows on the same day, at the same time, and had a fill in for the show he did not perform.  Sometimes he doesn’t even show up to the venue at all leaving fans with a not so funny feeling.  Nobunny even mentioned receiving a gift while on stage at Cleveland’s Tower 2012, but you will have to read the interview to find out that gift.  You would not think that someone who acted like this would have fans, but the truth is a lot of folk like him and have paid outrageous amounts of money to acquire his Love Visions record on Ebay.

With knowing what Nobunny is all about I finally checked out Love Visions.  As soon as “Nobunny Starts” played I could not decide what I liked about it except that it was a direct rip off of a classic song from the past that I can not for the life of me grasp the title.  I only imagine Junior Senior while listening to it and realize it is only a gimmick.

The second “I Know I Know” started I realize I was hooked.  I am reminded of classic punk rock from the 70s like Iggy & The Stooges.  “Mess Me Up” started mixing that said 70’s punk with good, garage rock fun for a great sing along of sorts.  I loved the guitar and simple drums and the baritone “Bo bo bo bo” at the end. 

“I Am A Girlfriend” is a clear imitation of The Ramones and I loved it as well as the following “Tina Goes To Work”.  Perhaps one of the more memorable songs “Chuck Berry Holiday” had me thinking at times of the Rolling Stones in the earlier years.  The song was a continuing surprise to my ears as I moved through.  “Boneyard” was a track that stood out above the rest with a drum machine sounding beat backing up some easy going distorted guitars.  It almost sounds like a White Stripes b-side with a twist.

Ending the CD is the DIY sounding “Not That Good”.  I sure hope the song was not how he felt about his debut because I would have to disagree.  I enjoyed the simple punk rock entertainment throughout.  The CD is not solid by any means and the songs are short and sweet, possibly aiding in the appeal to the act. 

Having not heard of Nobunny before and reading a very short bio on him I was not expecting much of anything when I initially put the disc in.  I was guessing what I was about to hear was going to be either too artsy for a simple guy like me to understand or just downright ugly.  I was wrong.  I was dead wrong.

Indie rock, punk rock, and even a little garage rock, it’s all there in Love Visions.  Even if the guy wears a mask that is sure to scare the hell out of small children he should not be underestimated and will be heard.  His live performances are to be left determined as I have not had the opportunity to see Nobunny in the flesh yet but I did notice on his MySpace page that he will be playing at the SXSW this spring in Austin, TX. 

Catch him live if you dare as I have heard good and bad things about him.  The bad outweighs the good of course mostly because by the time Nobunny has finished he is hammered and pants-less which may not be appealing to all viewers.  The good thing is that regardless how he presents his act, solo or with a touring band, he is there to entertain, bunny mask and all.

Here are a couple of videos I found of Nobunny…  Try not to be too scared.

Thursday / Envy Split (CD+LP) – CD Review

Thursday / Envy
Thursday / Envy

American screamo teams up with Japanese screamo on the recently released Thursday / Envy split EP on Temporary Residence Limited.  The two powerhouse bands contribute songs to this limited release that is being sold strictly CD+LP only (there will not be a sole CD or LP available) and can only be found in independent record stores.  There is also a hand printed limited edition version that can be ordered exclusively on their website of on their label’s site.  Both bands comprise exceptional tracks and really do a great job in doing so on this release.

Formed in New Jersey around 1997, Thursday has been a staple in the post-hardcore scene.  Having released multiple albums, the band has had a very successful career despite ping ponging from record label to record label after mishaps and disputes.  Currently the band is signed with Epitaph records for this full length to be released in 2009.

Screamo experimental rock act Envy, hailing from Japan, are unique in their own way with songs sung in their native tongue layered over post hardcore music, as well as a little experimental chill out on some tracks.  Well respected all over the world by many and commonly known for their explosions of screaming on songs, I was really looking forward to finally hearing them.

So how did the two come to unite?  Truth is Thursday is a huge fan of the experimental Envy.  Back in April the Thursday posted news of the release on their site:

“It’s our pleasure to announce a split release with one of our favorite bands in the world.   We are currently in the studio recording tracks for a 12” release with Japan’s Envy.  For those of you unfamiliar with Envy, they are an experimental, epic, lush post-rock band that’s heavier than just about anything we’ve ever heard.  Despite the enormous geographical distances between us, the bands have evolved from the same thrashy underground post-hardcore scene.  Honestly, there’s no way to properly describe them.”

The split CD started out with four tracks by Thursday and opens with the impressive “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain”.  Geoff Rickly and crew provided a solid track full of the sporadic singing styles I grew accustomed to with their previous releases, layered with some sick guitar playing and insane drumming.  I really enjoyed this track a lot and after hearing this I can not wait to hear their next full length.

The dark instrumental “In Silence” was more of something you would hear the Crystal Method crank out.  The techno strong song is far from the post-hardcore material the band is known for and I myself loved it.  Full of distorted synthesizers, electronic drum beats, and a mellow piano solo, this song really showed a different side to the band usually known for their screamo.

“An Absurd And Unrealistic Dream Of Peace” had it’s moments with more of an emo feel throughout the song and really did not do much for me.  “Appeared And Was Gone”, another instrumental track, continued the dark trend and was remixed by Anthony Molina of the 90’s alt rock band Mercury Rev.  The track once again is more of a techno experiment that had a God Lives Underwater feel, but was just amazing.  Lyrics added to this track might have enhanced the song a little further.

Envy really impressed me with “An Umbrella Fallen Into Fiction”, having not heard any of their material before.  The song started out slow and really reminded me of The Cure for some reason but with a Japanese spoken word behind it.  Think slow Dir En Gray, that is until you hit just after the 4 minute mark and the song completely explodes with lead singer Tetsuya Fukagawa’s dishing out some insane screaming over a faster tempo.  The song was quite beautiful throughout although my lack of understanding the Japanese language wished to be informed.

“Isolation Of A Light Source” had enough screaming to push you to the ground.  Again, I had not the faintest idea of what was going on, but I enjoyed the severity of the screams added along with the heavy music.  The final track on the other hand,“Pure Birth And Loneliness,” was a gentler track than the previous two Envy songs… that is until about the four minute mark again.  Surprising screaming snuck its way into the mostly mellow song and you could tell how full of emotion it was.

This really is one of the best split CDs I have heard in a while.  Being happily introduced to Envy on this split may have added to some of the charisma but I have been listening to the whole CD over and over and so far have not grown bored with either party contained.

Thursday’s instrumentals on the track were the winners as it was something unexpected yet appealing.  I almost wish there were more tracks on the CD as I was left with a craving for more.  That’s ok though because I can now get more involved with Envy’s catalog and no longer wonder why they were so enthralling to Thursday.

Want to hear?  I found the following songs on the Temporary Residence Limited website:

Thursday – “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain”

Envy – “Isolation Of A Light Source”

And while I am at it, here are some videos from both bands:

Thursday – “At This Velocity”
(This song/video reflects a true story about the band almost being involved in a plane crash…hence the beginning)

Envy – “Scene”

Japanther – Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt – CD Review

I didn't know Shaun White was in a band...
I didn't know Shaun White liked ice cream...

Japanther, an amusing, Brooklyn, experimental, trash punk rock act has recently released Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt on Wantage Records.  This twosome do-it-yourself band has been going strong for over seven years thanks to their inimitable style and rareness.  If you are artsy or into performing arts, chances are you may have already heard of this duo.  Far from being in the spotlight, they hold their own having played shows in famous NYC museums and venues but have caught a taste of mainstream recently opening for Against Me!

I heard their band name before I ever actually heard their music and I must say after checking out Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt I have to say this is a weird yet interesting band reminding me of Negativeland meets the Dead Milkmen.  It’s good though in the sense that the duo, art school heroes, do things all by themselves with limited assistance.

Opening tracks “Um, Like Your Smile Is Totally Ruining Me” sounding like a high school basement project and the unusual “Bloated Corpse” made it clear that these guys are in their own little world.  Their sound is not what I thought at all but I found myself enjoying it.

“Bumpin’ Rap Tapes” was a cute friendless love track with lyrics that reminded me of something I might have written back in the days of high school hell.  The cover of New Bad Things “The Dirge” entertained with under processed rock, but just wasn’t enough for me.

I was impressed to see that legendary Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud was not only the executive producer of their album but also contributed some of his poems for use in “Africa Seems So Far Away” and “I Thee Indigene”.  Both tracks were spoken words of sorts with strange beats accompanying Penny Rimbaud reciting his works.  Perhaps boring to some but when you are a fan of William S. Burroughs or spoken word in general, like I am, you tend to like stuff like this.

MC Spank Rock from Baltimore added his style to “Radical Businessman” an indie sounding track inspired from actual events of MC Spank Rock getting arrested.  “Before The Sun Goes Down” closed out the CD with a track I favored over the rest.  The song was a little more punked out over the previous.

The CD may not seem too exciting at first listen but then again this band is more of a DIY performing arts band and probably could care less what anyone thinks.  They are known to take their music to the next level with interesting live shows that have featured synchronized swimmers at one show and puppets fighting at another.  Not knowing this in advance may really stray you away from their material but once you see a clip of a live performance you can start to understand what the hell is going on…maybe.

The following videos are from previous releases. After viewing them I really see that Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt really strays in a different direction and I am thinking it was a result of Penny Rimbaud working with the duo.  From what I have seen I think it would be best if I checked out Japanther’s catalog.