SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Keep your ears open to the unexpected present, the unpredictable future. To new musicians – when they say, ‘It’s all been done before’, tell them they haven’t heard what you’re going to do next weekend.

Nils Frykdahl, The Prog Rock Website, 2002

Formed: 1999, Oakland, California, USA

Featured album: Of Natural History (2004)

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM’s first performance ‘was done for the benefit of a single banana-slug in an abandoned Newberry’s department store in downtown Oakland.’ At least that’s what the liner notes to their first album claim. As far as origin stories go, it’s ridiculous and, obviously, utter bullshit. But playful mystification and highly detailed nonsense are what this band is all about.

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BJÖRK

Bjork 3

I have this utopian view that the common person – like your gran, or the guy who works in the sandwich shop – actually wants an adventure, to hear something they’ve never heard before. I might seem leftfield, but I’m really not trying to be weird, you know.

Björk, Daily Telegraph, 2005

Born: 1965, Reykjavík, Iceland

Featured album: Medúlla (2004)

SO YOU WANT to be an art-pop genius? Well, it helps if you were born a child prodigy – just ask Captain Beefheart, Diamanda Galás and Nina Hagen. But with the exception of maybe Kate Bush, few gifted youngsters who’ve grown up to traverse music’s outer limits have attained the sort of mainstream recognition Björk has. Maybe that’s because she’s as earthly as she is otherworldly, as attuned to pop as she is to the avant-garde.

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THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

birthday-party-the

We went from a raw garage band through experimentalism back to raw blues almost. It was kind of like that, we just ended up doing raw, violent experimental music.

Mick Harvey, Stranded, 1996

Formed: 1978 (as The Boys Next Door), Melbourne, Australia

Featured album: Prayers on Fire (1981)

IF HELL WERE a circus, and that circus had a strip club, The Birthday Party would be its house band. One of the most blasphemous and licentious groups to emerge from the post-punk movement, their career was an all-too short and brutish plummet from grace, filled with drugs, debauchery and some of the most violently original music to come out of Australia both then or since.

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ALICE DONUT

alice-donut

… we decided that our music would be better and more unique if [we] weren’t ‘scared’ of being stupid and un-cool.

Tomas Antona, Prindle Record Reviews interview, 2007

Formed: 1987, New York, USA

Featured album: Bucketfulls of Sickness and Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life (1989)

JELLO BIAFRA DESCRIBED them as ‘the missing link between R.E.M. and the Butthole Surfers’. There’s a kind of truth to that epithet, because under Alice Donut’s acid-punk slop and crude sense of humour lies a knack for melodic songwriting that could’ve made them huge. If only they weren’t so damn demented.

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LIARS

Liars

…I left Australia when I was young, so being anywhere – in America, or Berlin – I feel like an alien.

Angus Andrew, The Quietus, 2010

Formed: New York, USA, 2000

Featured album: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004)

YOU NEVER KNOW quite where you stand with Liars. One minute they’re making you shake your butt and tap your feet with their funky dancepunk; the next they’re freaking you out with experimental concept albums, or creating their most intimate and personal music using synthesisers. It’s part of the appeal of this art-punk trio, for whom restlessness is a perpetual state of being.

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