Beauty belongs to the sphere of the simple, the ordinary, whilst ugliness is something extraordinary…
Marquis de Sade
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Hunter S. Thompson
SOME MUSIC INSPIRES with its beauty. Some music comforts you in times of sadness, the poignantly expressed melancholy of others providing a salve for your own gloom. Some music gets you excited, its ebullient energy pumping you up before a big sports event or night out on the town.
But some music is weird. Ugly and weird. It doesn’t do what you expect music to do. It freaks you out, makes you feel uncomfortable, irritates you, maybe even repulses you.
Such music exists in the spaces between genres. Like an experiment gone wrong, it slithers around in the underground and pushes against the gooey membrane that surrounds the familiar sounds of popular music, blurring its boundaries and letting the corrupting influence of the avant-garde ooze in.
Unlike most popular music, Ugly ‘n’ Weird isn’t desperately seeking the listener’s approval. It doesn’t need to be liked. In fact, Ugly ‘n’Weird pushes most would-be listeners away. This is the sort of stuff you put on to clear a dance floor or to get those last few stragglers to leave your party at 3AM. It’s music that might urge you to skip to the next song, change channels on your radio or douse your iPod in lighter fluid and set it on fire. Such music can provoke extreme reactions. To some, it is so repellent that it doesn’t even qualify as like music. But this music exists all right, and not only is there heaps of it out there, there are plenty of people who, despite or perhaps because of its best efforts to irritate and unsettle, actually enjoy it.
I am one of these people.
Ugly ‘n’ Weird music is seldom ordinary and not always pretty. Its singers croon with the prodigious octave range of opera stars, chatter in silly cartoon voices, grunt like cavepeople, scream like orgasming lunatics, drone in the metallic monotone of robots. Musicians play fabulous instruments of their own design, including but not limited to the amplified spring and the ‘peddle-action wiggler’. They beat on cement mixers and sides of pork as well as drums. Keyboards don’t so much play notes as supply ‘weather’. Snippets of TV and animal noises compete for space alongside trumpets, and when brass instruments are not available, a burp or a fart does just as well. When instruments as commonplace as guitars are played, they might sound nothing like guitars at all; rather the chime of Tibetan bells or the sucking churn of some cosmic vortex. All of this may be distorted, flanged, delayed, played backwards, cut up, and stuck back together. And when the familiar sounds of your average pop or rock song do occur – a melody, a chorus, a steady beat – they sound all the stranger for their association with all this weirdness. Because weirdness and ugliness are relative, the yin to the yang of normality and beauty, the existence of each giving meaning to the other.
This site was created to document the bizarre, absurd, grotesque, but always entertaining world of Ugly ‘n’ Weird music. It will detail the histories of its most important contributors in artist biographies and feature reviews of their key albums.