Oakland, California's Sleepytime Gorilla Museum are one of the weirdest acts in the world, with a prog-heavy, circus-psych sound that you either love or find annoying.
I haven't quite decided which side I fall on.
Their band name has always struck me as particularly lame, but it does have a somewhat interesting genesis. STGM took their tag from a similarly-monikered crew of Dadaists, Futurists and artists who owned and operated what they called a "museum of the future" which was "anti-artifact, non-historical and closed." [Wikipedia].
I dig the band's Renaissance fair-gone-electric sound, but the over-the-top arrangements can get a little wearying. They're at their best when aping Red-era King Crimson, with smartbomb riffage and distorted violin.
Guitarist/vocalist Nils Frykdahl possesses an unearthly baritone that sounds like no other frontman I've ever heard. Well, maybe the dude from Crash Test Dummies. (Did I really just bring them up? What the fuck is wrong with me?) His work with the equally bizarre Faun Fables is among my favorite stuff in the New Weird America canon, if there is such a thing. Frykdahl is also handy on autoharp, flute, Tibetan bells and recorder.
Co-founder Carla Kihlstedt sings and takes turns on autoharp, bass harmonica, electric violin, nyckelharpa, pump and "regular" organ. I like her pretty voice.
Toss in a few more multi-instrumentalist members, and you've got a major fuckin' racket on your hands.
Here are a couple of cuts from Sleepytime's latest effort, In Glorious Times. OK, OK — I think it's awesome.
If you like what you hear, buy it from your local rekkid shop, or maybe even e-Music...