MANDEK PENHA

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TODAY I JOINED a cult*. Before you look at me that way, please understand that this isn’t one of those dodgy cults like Fly Buys or those people who really, really like Tom Cruise.

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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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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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THE FLYING LIZARDS (1980)

Flying Lizards (album)

Artist: The Flying Lizards
Label: Virgin Records
Producer: David Cunningham
Cover art: Laurie Rae Chamberlain
Length: 44:05

RECORDED FOR THE princely sum of £6.50, The Flying Lizards’ breakthrough single “Money” may not prove that the ‘the best things in life are free’, but it suggests that they need not be expensive. The modest production values and absurd humour of this insanely catchy song and its predecessor “Summertime Blues” set the tone for the group’s debut album, which finds homespun fun in the avant-garde.

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THE FLYING LIZARDS

Flying Lizards

… I’ve always toyed with the idea that the Flying Lizards represented rock and roll from some sort of alternative universe.

David Cunningham, Zigzag magazine, 1984

Formed: England, 1976

Featured album: The Flying Lizards (1980)

THEY MIGHT BE remembered as little more than one-hit-wonders for their robotic cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)”. But there’s more to The Flying Lizards than a novelty single, albeit a brilliant one. Straddling the creative ferment of post-punk and the commercial appeal of new wave, The Flying Lizards resist easy categorisation, joining the likes of The Residents and Devo as avant-garde pop deconstructionists of a most peculiar nature.

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