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.