Smile Politely

Push Play Gets Freaky

Perhaps in name alone, New Weird America and Freak Folk may be my new favorite genres. When I came across the terms, I searched my iTunes and Rhapsody libraries to see if I had any songs that were categorized as such. I didn’t. “Didn’t,” however, is past tense.

Devendra Banhart and Greg Rogove’s (of Power Mineral) side-project, Megapuss, was the assailant of my iTunes’ regular “alternative” and “rock” genre listings. The Stroke’s drummer Fabrizio Moretti is a tentative member of Megapuss, but since he’s always playing with them I personally would call Megapuss a three-member band. My first introduction to the band was the song, “Duck People, Duck Man:”

Megapuss- Duck People, Duck Man

I’d say this song falls under the large banner of New Weird America and I was apprehensive as to whether or not I was going to accept this as a song into my library. It won me over, however, through the humor provided by Human Giant’s Aziz Ansari. Example: “We buy hummus from Trader Joe’s…Have you ever had hummus with white bean and basil? It’s delicious. We don’t even need pita bread. We just eat the hummus by itself.”

I laughed to myself a bit, and regardless of my similar hummus-eating tendencies, I like the tune. It’s a mellow but peppy song and it prepared me for appreciating their other songs:

Megapuss- Crop Circle Jerk ‘94

Megapuss- A Gun on His Hip and a Rose on His Chest

Though none of these songs indicate what Banhart is wearing on set (likely a plastic penis skirt) I think that the general tone of the music gives the listener an idea of his quirky attire and their engaging sets.
At first Megapuss’ shows were just for kicks, and some of the now “real” songs on the album were created out of ad-lib. Nevertheless, the album, Surfing, in which these songs are featured on, will be released on CD and vinyl through Neil Young’s record label, Vapor Records, in mid-October – for real.

At the end of October, Brooklyn band, School of Seven Bells, will be releasing their first full-length album, Alpinisms (meaning the attempt to reach the highest point of an unclimbed mountain). It features the great song “Connjur:”

School of Seven Bells– Connjur

School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is made up of three members – twin sisters Claudia (vocals, keyboard) and Alejandra (vocals) Deheza with guitarist Ben Curtis (ex-Secret Machines).

The three have a smoother-than-most shoegazing sound with the Deheza sisters on vocals and Curtis’ airy guitar filling in the background. As with many recent electronica, and, in this case, shoegaze music, SVIIB taps into the laptop’s ability to create psychedelic beats and textures.

On November 21 School of Seven Bells, on tour with M83, will be in Chicago at the Bottom Lounge.

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