Talibam! may have come from the school of spontaneous noise-rock, but they’re now riding the surreal shitstorm of whatever-the-fuck — and they’re getting weirder by the minute. This year alone, the duo released with Sam Kulik one of the more puzzling releases in awhile (Discover AtlantASS), unveiled the world’s first #noschoolrap track (“Step into the Marina”), forced Rhys Chatham to show his true colors on camera, and overdubbed some deliciously crazy sounds/noise/etc. on top of the entirety of Dirty Projectors’ new album.
Talibam!’s latest, a rap video for “It’s a Tough Day, Hard Day,” is equally absurd. It’s also really awesome/extremely terrible. Inspired by the likes of The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords, Talibam! bitch and whine, sarcastically (I think) yet somewhat honestly (I think), about their oddball role in the music industry: “It’s nice to hypothesize what could have been/ But that’s a bad idea ‘cause you’ll reach for the gin/ And my future is open and I bought a new suit/ It’s crazy orange leather made from alien antelope poop,” raps Matt Mottel on the first verse. Kevin Shea continues the could-have-beens: “Talibam!: we got 27 records, 19 tours of Europe, yet we can’t do any better? With bands like Wavves too doped to play a show, we be professional musicians who can be trusted with yer dough.” Elsewhere, Mottel gives props to an old Minneapolis favorite of mine (Quad Muth — called Quad “Muff” in this song), while Shea points out how artists he used to hang with (TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, Battles’ Ian Williams) are all famous while he’s decidedly not.
It all adds up to an extremely brilliant pile of shit, an incisive/limp criticism on the state of the music biz. I love/hate it. I hate/love it. It’s actually really fun to wrap your mind around/impossible to listen to, and I can/can’t imagine anyone wanting to willfully listen to this stuff. But/And it doesn’t/does matter, because Talibam! are effectively showing how taste itself is pretty fucking boring and that humor, even of the most absurd, idiotic kind, can shake us from a stupor. But does anyone want to be shaken at this point? I do! And don’t!
Check out the also-absurd video for “It’s a Tough Day, Hard Day,” directed by Steve Five (producer of the forthcoming film I RAZOR):
• Talibam!: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Talibam/102564367491
• Critical Heights: http://www.criticalheights.com