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Musical Duo Records New Album Using Only Sounds Generated by a Washing Machine

Matmos, a Baltimore-based conceptual art and electronic music duo, has announced it will soon be releasing an album recorded using sounds generated by a washing machine in the basement of their home.

It might sound strange, but it’s actually very typical of Matmos, who have previously played the uterus and reproductive tract of a cow and and opened for Björk on canisters of helium. This is what they do – use unusual materials to create unique sounds that end up sounding like actual music. For their upcoming album, Ultimate Care II, they used a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine, drumming on it, rubbing it, prodding it and, obviously, doing laundry, before processing the samples and creating a single 38-minute track.

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Hamburgirl Z – Japan’s Hamburger-Themed Girl Band

When it comes to idol groups in Japan, good ol’ music just doesn’t cut it anymore. They’ve got to throw in an additional gimmick or two, just to standout among the massive competition. And Hamburgirl Z is doing just that – it’s the world’s only hamburger-themed girl band!

In the words of Japanese culture blogger Tofugu, the new West Japan band is a “group of cute, smiling girls dancing and singing in hamburger costumes. Their sole purpose is to serenade hamburger lovers, by singing only about, well, burgers.

The girls are dressed like different hamburger ingredients – there’s beef, lettuce, egg, tomato, fish, chicken, onion, pork/bacon, avocado, pineapple, and even eggplant. There are a total of 15 members in the band sporting 14 ingredients. They perform at a variety of events across West Japan, and sell merchandise after the concert is over.

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Introducing Okilly Dokilly, the World’s First Ned Flanders-Themed Metal Band

Phoenix-based heavy-metal outfit ‘Okilly Dokilly’ call themselves the world’s first ‘Nedal’ (Ned+metal) band – a tribute to the well-meaning, yet super-annoying Simpsons character Ned Flanders.

The members of Arizona’s most ‘neighborly’ rock band are bespectacled, mustachioed, and always dressed in Flanders’ signature costume – pink shirt, grey trousers, and green sweater. They even have creative names for themselves – Head Ned – vocals; Red Ned – synth; Thread Ned – bass; Stead Ned – guitar; and Bled Ned – drums. Most of their songs feature ‘direct Ned quotes’.

Lead singer Head Ned revealed that the idea for the band came about when he was shopping for groceries one day. “Myself and our drummer were in line at a grocery store, entertaining ourselves by coming up with really cutesy names for really hardcore, brutal bands,” he said, speaking to Australian magazine Rip It Up. “The name Okilly Dokilly came up and was very funny to us.”

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Meet Ladybeard, the Bearded Crossdressing Australian Man Taking Japan by Storm

When you think “kawaii” and “J-pop” the first image that comes into your head is probably not of a fit, hairy Caucasian dude wearing pony tails and tiny women’s clothes. Which is exactly what makes “Ladybeard” so unique and popular in Japan.

Richard Magarey hails from the Australian city of Adelaide, but moved to Hong Kong in 2006 to pursue a career in martial arts stunt career. Drama had been the only thing he was good at in school, and because he also practiced martial arts, he decided to pursue a career as a stunt actor. He worked as ‘Mirrorball Man’ for a while, a persona that required him to put on a giant mirror ball, go to clubs and get patrons grooving to dance music. As weird as that may sound, Magarey claims the gig changed his notion of what a performance could be. “I was in a costume and environment that stripped me of my usual physical, vocal and emotional expression,” he said, in an interview with Japan Today.

But it wasn’t until he got involved in wrestling and adopted a truly bizarre persona that the Australian entertainer discovered what destiny had in store for him. After training in a wrestling gym for over two months, Richard showed up for his first match wearing a skimpy Lolita dress and his hair tied in two childish ponytails. He still had his fuzzy beard and hadn’t bothered to shave his hairy body either. He remembers sitting backstage and thinking to himself “What am I doing? I’m wearing a dress, about to go do this thing that I’ve been doing for two months, in front of a bunch of people. What is wrong with me? Why did I make this decision?” But he eventually did it anyway, and everyone loved it. Ladybeard was born that night, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Two-Year-Old DJ Still in Diapers Is Taking South Africa by Storm

Oratilwe Hlongwane, a.k.a. DJ AJ, has become a viral phenomenon in South Africa with a dedicated fan following of thousands. But here’s the twist – he’s actually a two-year-old kid! While he can barely speak, the incredibly talented toddler can work a DJ console like a pro.

AJ is so good at DJing that he has fans hankering after his heavy-bass house music. The record spinning toddler has made a few special appearances and also bagged sponsorship deals with various brands. His most recent performance was at a shopping mall in his hometown of Johannesburg, where a large crowd gathered to groove to his music.

AJ’s mother, Refiloe Marumo, attributes the boy’s astounding skills to his father Glen Hlongwane’s decision to buy him an iPad even before he was born. Glen, a gymnastics coach, wanted to use the iPad to download educational apps to speed up the kid’s education. Incidentally, he happens to be an aspiring DJ, so he also downloaded a DJ app for his own use.

Oratilwe Hlongwane

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ArnoCorps – A Band Whose Lyrics Are Based Exclusively on the Films of Arnold Schwarzenegger

San Francisco-based rock band ‘ArnoCorps’ is the world’s first musical group to feature lyrics that are based exclusively on the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The lyrics mainly parallel movie dialogs and plots from Arnold’s action flicks in the 1980s, like The Terminator, Predator and Total Recall.

ArnoCorps is generally regarded as the pioneer of Action-Adventure Hardcore Rock and Roll. Founded in 2001, the group consists of six members who look like highly-trained militant Austrian action-rock heros. Each member has a pseudonym and a heroic backstory. At every performance, they are clothed in combat fatigues and camouflage paint, and they address the audience in ‘ballsy’ accents.

ArnoCorps

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This Booty Drum Lets You Make Music by Twerking

The Booty Drum is a high-tech musical device that, unlike most instruments, isn’t operated by your hands, but by tour butt cheeks ! All you need to do is attach the drum to your behind, start twerking, and let it transform your movements into beats.

The device was created by headphone brand AIAIAI, in an attempt to give their users some “new music to enjoy on their headphones or  on the dance floor.” They wanted to make a unique music track from scratch, using nothing but body movements. So they teamed up with Portuguese electronic musician Branko, professional dancer Twerk Queen Louise, and OWOW, a Dutch design and technology company to create something really unique. Together, the team took the widely popular twerk dance and converted it into an instrument in its own right.

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Meet the Moranbong Band – North Korea’s Version of Spice Girls

Believe it or not, North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, is actually a big fan of K-pop music. In fact, he’s so passionate about it that he hand-picked every member of the girl group ‘Moranbong Band’ – his country’s answer to the Spice Girls.

As a result of Kim Jong-un’s endorsement, the band has been playing sell-out gigs across the country. Their first concert was so popular that the streets of Pyongyang were apparently deserted during the broadcast. Often dressed in conservatively sexy attire – with skirts cut well above the knee and hair clipped short – the Moranbong girls have received good reviews from local critics as well.

Although the band has been around for a few years, they appeared to have fallen out of favor in late 2013. But after a six-month hiatus, they were back to performing in April 2014 to rave reviews from Korean media, thus reclaiming their status as queens of North Korea’s pop scene, and the darlings of primetime TV. Their comeback concert featured ‘colorful numbers’ such as ‘O My Motherland Full of Hope’, ‘Our Father’, and ‘We Think of the Marshall Day and Night’.

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Mac Sabbath – A Crazy McDonald’s-Themed Black Sabbath Cover Band

You would think McDonald’s and heavy metal don’t really mix very well, but a new band is actually ‘rocking’ the combination. L.A. based ‘Mac Sabbath’ is a heavy metal group made up of four rockers who dress up as McDonald’s characters – Ronald Osborne, Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Mayor McCheese – and perform Black Sabbath songs with burger-themed lyrics.

According to the band’s Facebook page, they are ‘not a joke page to sell T-shirts’. Instead, they describe themselves as “Ronald Osbourne and the whole gang in full regalia playing all their hits like ‘Sweet Beef’ and ‘Chicken for the Slaves’ in a multi-media show with video, theatrics, audience participation and sing alongs.”

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El Rodafonio – The Craziest Musical Contraption Ever Created

The street theatre scene in Barcelona was completely transformed in 2010, with the invention of the Rodafonio – perhaps the weirdest musical contraption in the world. Created by renowned designer and musician César Alvarez Bayer, it consists of a gigantic wheel that’s four meters high and only 15 cm wide, like a huge waffle iron.

The wheel can accommodate a crew of five – the members of the Catalan music band ‘Factoria Circular’. Three musicians sit inside the wheel in their respective metal circles, playing their musical instruments – a guitar, a saxophone, and a set of drums – to various tunes, while occasionally spinning inside the giant wheel. The other two members are actors who pedal the wheel into motion, bringing the huge mechanical device to life.

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Aptly Named Aztec Death Whistle Makes the Creepiest Sound You’ve Ever Heard

The Aztec death whistle produces a sound so horrifying, it will chill you to the bone. Described as the ‘scream of a thousand corpses’, the death whistle sounds like the cry of the un-dead, or the torment of a human being burned alive.

Interestingly, the skull-shaped whistles were discovered 20 years ago by archaeologists, but were dismissed as mere toys. Most studies focused on how they looked, but no one really thought to blow into them. Now that the fearsome sound of the whistle has been discovered, it is attracting the attention of scientists, musicians and historians alike.

According to 66-year-old mechanical engineer Roberto Velazquez, who has spent several years recreating the sounds of his pre-Columbian ancestors, the Aztecs played the mournful ‘Whistles of Death’ just before they were sacrificed to the gods. Some historians believe that the Aztecs used to sound the death whistle in order to help the deceased journey into the underworld. Tribes are said to have used the terrifying sounds as psychological warfare, to frighten enemies at the start of battle.

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Hatebeak – A Death Metal Band Whose Lead Vocalist Was a Parrot

I suppose nothing complements the loudness of heavy metal better than ear-bleeding screeches. And when those sounds come from a bird instead of a human, it’s bound to make an impression. Meet Waldo, a Congo African Grey Parrot, a heavy metal prodigy and the lead vocalist of a Baltimore-based band, ‘Hatebeak’.

The band was formed in 2004, by audio engineers Blake Harrison and Mark Sloan, who played the guitar and drums respectively. Hatebeak was a strictly studio project with unintelligible lyrics and no real melody. They never toured so as to not torture the bird. “We don’t play live,” Blake once explained. “It would be absolute torture for the bird to experience decibels at those levels. Waldo is the only vocalist for Hatebeak. He does parrot noises and also says some words.”

In the years they were active, Blake and Mark never revealed their last names on their releases in order to maintain the mystery surrounding Hatebeak. They were signed by Reptilian Records (which is now on hiatus), and most of their discography had an avian theme with titles like ‘Number of the Beak’, ‘Beak of Putrefaction’, and ‘The Thing That Should Not Beak’.

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Concussion Turns Ordinary Man into Musical Genius, Overnight

If getting hit on the head means that I’d get to be a kickass musician for the rest of my life, I think I would seriously consider it. It sounds impossible, but something of the sort happened to 41-year-old Derek Amato. He really didn’t have a choice about it, though.

Derek had no idea his life was about to change forever when he dove into the shallow end of a pool to catch a football at a party. He hit his head and had a concussion, resulting in Acquired Savant Syndrome – a rare condition where people display profound abilities (called savant skills) after suffering head trauma, abilities that they didn’t have at birth. In Derek’s case, the acquired ability is music.

Derek is one of only 30 people in the world with this rare condition and the only one to have acquired music as a savant skill. Before the fall, he just dabbled in guitar and had no idea how to read or write music. And now he can play eight different instruments with the ease of a professional musician. Watching him play on video, it’s pretty hard to believe this man has had no formal training in music at all.

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Japanese 88-Member Pop Group Selects Lead Singers in Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament

Japanese music group AKB48 currently holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest pop group, with an impressive 88 female members split into various teams. But fitting all the girls on a single stage is tricky, so every time they launch a new single, AKB48 members hold a knockout rock-paper-scissors tournament to select a limited number of singers.

AKB48 is the brainchild of producer Yasushi Akimoto, who wanted to create a girl band that, unlike other pop groups who are mostly seen on TV and hold concerts sporadically, could perform for its fans live, every day, at their own theater. The band debuted in 2005 with 20 members chosen from almost 8,000 girls. In April of 2006, another group of 18 girls were chosen to form Team B of AKB48, and there are currently four different teams making up the 88-strong all-female idol group, as well as various sister groups Japan and various Asian countries. The team concept of AKB48 was meant to take load off of its members, since daily concerts at the group’s theater in Akibahara, Tokyo, are performed by only one of the teams, and also allow the others to make appearances at different locations around the world. In the eight years since its inception, AKB48 has become a social phenomenon, with record sales of $226 million in Japan alone. The girls have become so popular that tickets for their daily performances are not even sold anymore, but distributed by lottery. Even their unique rock-paper-scissors tournament to select lead singers for each new single is a sold-out event held at the giant Nippon Budokan arena.

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Playing with Lightning – Chinese Band Uses 1-Million-Volts Tesla Coil in Its Electrifying Concerts

If you’re ever passing through China’s Fujian province, make sure to stop by Dacuo Village and catch a performance by local band Lightningfan. The group specializes in producing electric arcs from Tesla coils that are charged with 1 million volts of electricity, and are in sync with the music they play.

31-year-old Wang Zengxiang, founder and leader of the 10-strong band Lightningfan, is a huge fan of the Tesla coil invented by geek hero extraordinaire Nikola Tesla. “When I was young, my family opened an electrical appliance repair shop. I have loved to study semiconductors and electrical equipment since I was a child,” Wang told the local press. But it was in 2001, when he enrolled in the school of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University that he discovered his first Tesla coil. He was so fascinated by the electrical device that he spent nearly all of his free time studying it. In 2007, he managed to build his very own 1.2-meter coil above his house, quit his comfortable job with an electrical company and dedicated himself to combining his passion for music with electricity. Together with a few like-minded friends, Wang founded Lightningfan, which started entertaining fellow villagers with its electrifying performances.

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