More indie album wonderfulness courtesy of sites like Bandcamp (and remember, you can always listen for free) from geniuses that would otherwise go unheard because no label in their right mind would ever give 'em a record deal. This time we're spotlighting colorful cartoonish craziness - after all, "novelty music" is not a bad word 'round these parts. To quote one of the album titles featured here, let's have fun:
Twink the Toy Piano Band "Miniatures Vol. 2": I can unhesitatingly recommend this brief, kooky album, performed on toy piano and other whimsical sound-making thingies. I actually think this is one of Twink's finest efforts of toy-tronic pop instrumentals. Price: FREE
1000 Needles: "Osiris": More toy tunes, this time from a band using modified Nintendo and Gameboys playing 8-bit melodies while guitars and drums rock along. Some great songs in this 7-track set that, as on the stand out tracks "Error 537" and "Monument 101," skillfully mix rinky-dink electronics with rawk power. Price: $4
The Invertebrates "Let's Have Fun": Not a new release this time, but a re-issue of some classic New Wave post-punk weirdness from a criminally underrated San Fran combo who we first featured here a few years back when we posted a vinyl rip of their "Eat 'Em While They're Young" EP. That one's long gone off-line, but maybe it will get the re-issue treatment like this gem, which sports concrète and backwards tape effects, dada lyrics that sometimes sound like they're being sung verbatim from magazine articles, B52s-ish femme vox and electric organ, and on one of the album's catchiest songs "Atilla The Hun," Jews harp, and a crazed percussion break. Price: $7
The Kominas "Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay": I guarantee you've never heard any punk rock like this before: a Muslim American band hitting us with stuff like the Sex Pistols-quoting 'Sharia Law in the U.S.A,' campy sound bites, a great surf-punk song ('Ayesha') that ends with a Muslim chant sound-collage, and a catchy funky rap song called (heh heh) 'Suicide Bomb the Gap.' Apart from courting controversy (and they did indeed get media coverage that scarcely described their music), there's actual good sounds here that break out of the punk mold, e.g.: the unique, rhythmically complex, kinda Caribbean-sounding 'Layla' (no, not that one). Price: FREE, but you'll probably end up on all kinds of watch lists for downloading it.
Carton Sonore "Modarn": And now for something completely different - a collection of musical fragments only seconds long that are meant to played on shuffle play, effectively creating a new song every time. Like Eno's "generative" works, it's never the same twice. Price: 1€
Thiaz Itch "Frivolurium": Like Carton Sonore, another funny Frenchman. The description tags tell the story: "carnivale, circus, comedy, electro, space-age-pop." Utterly delightful modern vaudeville cut from the same zany cloth as Twink...not to mention Perrey and Kingsley, Spike Jones, and Monty Python, who's "Bright Side of Life" gets brilliantly covered here. But this album is no child's play - it gets almost proggy in it's experimentation: the polka-esque "Splooshy il Chiocciolo" features everything from Chipmunk vocals to heavy rock guitar to fruity horns. My current Favorite-ist Album In The Whole Wide World. And remember, "don't step on my foreskin!" Price: 5 €