Back in early 2010, everybody was looking forward to MGMT’s Congratulations. Personally, it was a flop. Congratulations represented, for me at least, the epitome of a sophomore slump album. It tried too hard to be something that blew everyone’s mind. Sure, Oracular Spectacular was amazing because it was weird. It was just that Congratulations pushed the boundaries past the line where it seemed acceptable.
The new Youth Lagoon album, Wondrous Bughouse, reminds me a lot of that attempt to go down the path where MGMT’s second album failed. To begin with, the name Wondrous Bughouse makes the album
scream feel weird. That is exactly what it is. From the get go, with the first song, “Through Mind and Back”, I found myself wondering what was going on. What mess did I get into? Did I just enter the mindspace of some avant-garde film?
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Pounding the books too hard can crush even the biggest social butterfly back into its hermit cocoon. After a few months of an 18-credit semester, that was me. My usual appetite for fun turned into a mission to get weird. Luckily the stars aligned and the Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR) show at U Street Music Hall answered my freaky prayers.
The opening act did not disappoint my urge for the insane. Hailing from Savannah, Georgia, out came the Casket Girls in blonde wigs and bug-eye glasses. The two girls had vomited up early 2000s Paris Hilton tabloid culture all over themselves and it was cool. They did their best plastic ballerina impressions decked out in masks and black gloves. Someone behind me thought they looked like failed California porn stars, and they were spot-on. Listening to them jam out, whisper into the mic, and boogey down to a dance number, I couldn’t help but feel massively ironic. Their music fluctuated from “meh” to slightly above mediocre as quickly as these head banging barbies could twirl each other. At least their art performance piece was beginning to quench my weird thirst.
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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from NYC-based experimental/psychedelic rockers Gang Gang Dance. They’ve been touring sporadically for the past couple years since their last album, 2008’s Saint Dymphna. I got to hear them test drive their new material last year at the Rock ‘n Roll hotel, and one song in particular really stood out to me. As it turns out, this song has ended up being the first song on their upcoming LP Eye Contact, out in the US on May 10 via 4AD. You can hear the 11-minute “Glass Jar” in all its progressive, glowing glory over at Pitchfork.
You can also check out this live version back from 2008 in NYC, when the track was still called “Crystals.”
Continue reading “Listen: Gang Gang Dance – Glass Jar”