Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Of Dreaminess and praiseworthy males

Allow me to get a little, er, Tiger Beat on your ass here and gush about my love for these beautiful New Zealanders that call themselves the Flight of the Conchords.

I felt like I was 13 again when I picked up this magazine, only a bit of a world-weary, nuanced one at that. Alongside the Conchords were Ira Glass from This American Life, David Sedaris, Errol Morris (director of Fog of War), Kool Keith and Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses. Excellent selections this year, lady editors!

The recent BUST was wholesome pornography at its finest, well worth the money for the pictures alone. And if you've seen it, you may get the Tiger Beat reference.

I recently came across this one from a recent Maxim article on the boys (Jermaine Clement and Brent McKenzie), which steps up the eroticism just a notch. (Brent's mustache is painted on to look like Jermaine's):

Why are they so hot right now? Just youtube the hell out of them and look at every music video they've ever performed live or from their HBO show. As Daryl Hall (Hall & Oats) put it in Maxim: “The songs are really intelligent, really advanced. It’s not like ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. What he does is bullshit. What they do is music.”

Beyond the obvious talent, it's easy to see why there are legions of budding young "Jermainiacs" and "Breterosexuals" (as they refer to their fans). The characters they play are just so sensitive and lovable. Especially Brent, who suffers from body image issues, and is tricked into having a one-night stand by a woman who lies and says she has to ship out to Iraq the next day.

Although FOTC has been casually gigging it since '96, they haven't really become recognized in their hometown of Wellington, NZ until this year. Apparently they were voted "Wellingtonians of the Year" by the local newspaper, the Dominion Post. They even beat out Nobel prize-winning climatologist David Wratt for the top spot.

I won't spoil everything from the BUST article, but here is my favorite excerpt, where the interviewer (who seemed to be totally crushing throughout the entire interview) asks about the FOTC's musical influences:
B: ...I guess Bowie was always being played in the flat.
J: But [the Conchords' song "Bowie's in Space"] came from...not even a song. We just started imitating his voice around the place.
B: And then there was this radio competition.
J: It was from the bottle store, and it was called "Brown Paper Bag," and the question was: What kind of things would you put in a brown paper bag?
B: It was in the early days of cell phones, and so we called up and said--
J: [Bowie voice]"You'd put Bowie in a brown paper bag!"
B: I think we spent about 70 hours pretending to be Bowie, and at the end of it, we came up with that song."

From the "Bowie's in Space" episode:

I don't know when the next season is supposedly beginning, but here's what I gathered from Maxim:

"While the first season was written around the Conchords’ existing set list, they’re now fresh out of material — though neither one seems particularly anxious about it. McKenzie is eager to do a Queen parody, tackle acid jazz, and attempt an R.Kelly homage. 'Trapped in the Closet was a big inspiration for the show,' he says. 'He’s definitely one of our favorites.'

'Bret urinates on all the girls,' Clement explains."

In the meantime, they just released and album and are set for a promotional tour, the details of which are not released just yet.


Sean Wraight said...

To borrow a phrase from our Kiwi friends... "Choice", post Amity!

My favourite piece of Conchords trivia/minutia was their press release where they billed themselves as "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" (having been bumped by a tribute band of themselves, Like of the Conchords.)

Funny, clever stuff and Ira Glass as well; I'll have to search out that one for sure.

amityb said...

What? Their own tribute band beat them out of a top spot in New Zealand? That is so sad. I would curse my own country if I were them.

gjg said...

Yes, the Conchords have been rocking my world for a few years now, ever since Yellie's parents (always on the cultural cusp) sent her a videotape of the duo's first live performance on HBO.

By the way, I think that thing about the tribute band was a little joke of theirs. Cheeky fellows.