24 March 2009

f: this noise.

The Faint - "indie" harder-than-normal rock, featuring occasional violin and a heaping helping of guitar pedal aptitude. Does he say "c-c-c-c-company trucks"? Extra credit for reminding me how to count to eight auf Deutsch, and for being permanently attached to Kyle in my mind.

Fantômas - this is easily some of the most "huh?"-inducing music I have.

For aficionados of the weird, consider their initial lineup: founder Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, etc.) on "vocals" and other random stuff, Buzz Osborne (The Melvins) on guitar, Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) on bass, and of all people, drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer(!). Just imagine what this supergroup of sorts would invent, and you're pretty close.

For the less music-nerdly, the sound is just nuts. Our favorite online encyclopedia calls them "avant-garde metal", or more accurately, "absurdism" (oh no, I did more research!). It's loosely-organized, slightly metalish noise. All of their original tracks are fairly short (<2min) bursts of noise from the instruments, combined with occasionally melodic nonsensical vocal explosions.

Each album is themed weirdness. Suspended Animation has 30 tracks, each named for a day of April 2005 (the album is still only 40min or so). The Director's Cut is a bunch of Fantômas-ized covers of themes from movies, like the main title from The Godfather series. Never would you think of these songs like they did them.

To me, Fantômas serves the same purpose as Melt-Banana, providing brief ??? interludes within otherwise normal randomized playlists. I must admit, it's hard to listen to them for more than a few minutes at a time.

So, "huh?"

Fatboy Slim - the well-known DJ/knob-turner of the Big Beat genre, though I can't think of anyone else who qualifies as Big Beat. You at least know "The Rockafeller Skank", with its agonizingly repetitive sample "right about now, the funk soul brother \ check it out now, the funk soul brother", from its infinitude of TV commercial and movie/game soundtrack inclusions. You might also recognize "Weapon of Choice" (extra credit for featuring Bootsy Collins) from its hilarious music video showing Christopher Walken dancing and prancing along to the beat through a giant hotel.

Listening to enough Fatboy songs (three or four), you can pick up on his standard songwriting formula, but oh well. Even if the constructions aren't that innovative, every track is frustratingly catchy. He's got that whole rhythm thing down, for sure. "Slash dot dash dot slash dot dash dot slash dot dash dot slash dot com!" somehow becomes fun...

Norman Cook (the sole Fatboy DJ) is also famous for remixing other people's work, either on his albums or on the original artists' releases. For example, as I mentioned quite a few letter-days ago, he redid Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" on the album Palookaville (more bonus points for featuring Bootsy on vocals again!), and he appears on the Beastie Boys' anthology, as well as Groove Armada's Vertigo, to name a few. The remixes are notoriously better than the originals - compare the terrible original "I See You, Baby" with the slightly less bad Fatboy remix. Eh, I guess that's a bad example...

People tend to have a love/hate relationship with the Slim; most songs are patently repetitive into submission, so popularity revolves around the irritation level of a song's featured sample. For a well-hated song, check out today's next artist. But I argue, isn't repetition part of what makes music what it is?

Oh well. No matter what, "Fatboy Slim is [something] in heaven - [something] in [something] in [something] in heaven". Hmmm, maybe that's why people don't enjoy.

PS, Tim's fault.

Five Man Electrical Band - überhippies who wrote that song "Signs" back in the day. Unlike most people, I don't really like that song. Also unlike most, I prefer Fatboy Slim's "Don't Let the Man Get You Down", which samples the first line - "the sign says long-haired freaky people need not apply" - into submission, Fatboy-style.

Focus - go hunt down the closest thing they had to a hit, "Hocus Pocus". There are many brands of weird, and this is yet another. Thanks, Nate!

Foo Fighters - fightin' foos! I don't care about their music, but I greatly appreciate the deep coffers of Foo-related puns.

The Foundations - fans of the Powerpuff Girls, it seems, as Buttercup built them up (just to let them down).

Frank Martiniq - not particularly unique electronica, but A+ for consistently releasing albums on vinyl. Remember what "records" are?

Frank Zappa - I already mentioned his main outlet, Mothers of Invention, but Zappa by himself is worth mentioning for zillions of other reasons. He created music in almost every genre out there, from hard rock to "huh?" to classical. He was good enough on guitar that they released an album of just his solos, cut out of the middles of songs. He has asteroids and animal species named after him. Two of his children are Dweezil and Moon Unit. Anything else to add?

Frankenstein Brothers - the duet of Buckethead on guitar and That 1 Guy on his "Magic Pipe", drum rig, etc. etc. etc. Their instrumental album, Bolt On Neck, is technically impressive, but disappointingly nonweird. You would be shocked by their normalcy, Madi!

Frankie Yankovic and his Yanks - yay, pure accordion polka! This counts as one of the more publicly-pleasant flavors of weird. She probably won't appreciate this disclosure, but the mom can play accordion.

Fred Astaire - he's really a famous dancer from the days of yore, but his rendition of "Cheek to Cheek" was indeed a ubiquitous van tune. What a high voice! eek.

Frou Frou - we started the day with "indie" from Kyle, and we finish with more. Frou Frou is a bit more relaxing and "pretty" than The Faint, but oh well. Just as there are many flavors of weird, so are those of good.


  1. Frank Zappa was a friend of Don "Van" Vliet, more commonly known as Captain Beefheart, since childhood, despite occasionally having bizarre feuds with him. The Captain appears on some Zappa tracks, but I'm sure you already knew all that.

  2. Frank Sinatra

    'nough said.