When I first met Patrick and PJ, I was pretty sure they were on hard drugs and I didn't really want to have to deal with them. I sadly kind of shrugged them off for the first hour I knew them, then that all changed when Patrick (aka Redbear.) took the stage at the Oneonta Youth Center on April 14th.
I remeber his opening song very distinctly which happens to be the first track on his new full length "Love Songs for a Nihilist", and according to his live track of the song is his classic opening song about ghosts. His body instantly started a kind of spastic twitch that kept up with the speed strumming of the song and then he started belting out the lyrics in his Devandra Banhardt-esque squeal (and in "Brains!" he says 'sexy stingray', if you haven't heard Devandra Banhardt's "Little Yellow Spider" I would high suggest it). He takes Devandra and Dylan and morphs it into an ominously opaque cloud that's impossible to see through, but inside you're fairly certain there's something beautiful and honest.
Then PJ Famicom (aka Super Famicom) took the 8 people watching the show (5 of them being people in bands) into the backroom of the building, which is the old Armory, donned his facemask (look left), pulled out his travel guitar and began to frantically pace around, ramble about tornadoes and tigers, and play 2 minute songs here and there whenever the mood struck him. Did I mention this room smelled like shit? Did I mention he rolled around on the floor doing backwards summersaults without missing a note? If not, I suppose I didn't mention that afterwards the whole place smelled like crap, for the rest of the night. After the inital shock of their extreme physical weirdness (which many couldn't get past) I realized that I was witnessing something that is truly unique, maybe a little over the top, but as my eyes were questioning what they were seeing my ears were really digging what they were hearing.
Redbear. played along for most of Famicom's set, whether on guitar, banjo, mini-Casio or just carelessly singing along. "Everybody Else In My Band is Romantic" (Tract 045) is 12 tracks that span a whole 25 minutes. In fact you could listen to both Redbear. and Super Famicom's new albums in under an hour, which works well for all us hustle and bustle people. ha, oh man, thats a good one.
All 12 tracks are questions, and the recordings are very different from what I remember in that nasty ass room. There's a lot of Microphones-y sounds going on, and in that vein its kind of darkly melodic, trippy songs that always overwhelm the not so sober brain. I could easily imagine myself getting swallowed by a Lazy Boy while listening to these songs, I think I would be confused... but not in a stressful way, in a way that proves there's still new things to be discovered in the world.
Redbear. sums himself up pretty well in "Fiber!":
"And I know that sometimes my songs can seem a bit sad
so find my underlying message of hope
and this is a song that you can sing out loud when alone
or a song to sing when you want to come home"
www.myspace.com/redbearperiod (there's a really fantastic live sing-a-long version of My Ghost that I highly highly recommend available here)
p.s. they are on a crazy long tour/adventure right now playing shows and generally being weird dudes. so if they come anywhere around you, go see them, it will probably be free and it most certainly be like nothing you've ever seen before.
p.p.s. i'm really bad about chosing mp3s to post, i debate deeply with myself, so once again i can't help but post a lot of them. but listen to them all, they're good.
mp3: Redbear. - My Ghost-Love Jam
mp3: Redbear. - Brains!
mp3: Super Famicom - What Are the Hills White Like?
mp3: Super Famicom - Is This Being Recorded?
(i dont know why i can't get this to space right, but we all must learn to deal with that)