Video debut: Swahili Blonde's 'Le Mampatee'
Swahili Blonde, the warped brainchild of vocalist-drummer Nicole Turley, sounds like what would happen if a bunch of cool-kid records melted together in a fire pit and were then doused with acid rain. It's an inspired goop of funk, post-punk and no wave that could only be held together by the ridiculous, raunchy title, "Man Meat." Like fellow Angeleno Ariel Pink, Turley seems to view the radio landscape as a surrealist's playground, something like Salvador Dali in the studio.
What sets this further apart is Turley's guest players: ex-Chili Pepper John Frusciante on guitar, violinist Laena Myers-Ionita from The Like, bassist John Taylor of shock-haired Duran Duran fame, and multi-instrumentalists Stella Mozgawa from Rough Trade signees Warpaint and Michael Quinn of Corridor.
It's been plastered around the Web that this is Frusciante's band -- and while it's true that he plays guitar on the lion's share of "Man Meat," he's no longer a part of Swahili Blonde; word is that he quit last month, something he did a couple of times with the Chili Peppers too. I guess these are the kinds of inexplicable mash-ups that happen in Los Angeles: One moment John Frusciante is sending out blasts of guitar skronk in your quasi-experimental band and then the next, he's gone with the pink sunset.
All the same, Turley will trot out an enviable lineup for her show on Sunday at Bootleg Theater with Gangi and Lucky Dragons. Myers-Ionita, Dante from Dante vs. Zombies, Quinn on guitar, and drummer Alan Myers from Devo will fill out the stage.
In the meantime, you can check out their video, a Pop & Hiss exclusive, for "Le Mampatee," which looks like a tribe of art school kids depicting their favorite tales of Greco-Roman mythology without much use for fidelity but with plenty of saturated neon color and costumes left over from "Princess of the Nile." If only they'd gotten directors Adam Harding and Burke Roberts on that "Clash of the Titans" remake instead of Louis Leterrier.
-- Margaret Wappler
Swahili Blonde plays the Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. (213)389-3856. Music starts at 9 p.m.; $8.