Bad News From Houston is a duo consisting of John Dieterich and Thollem McDonas. John you may know from a little band called Deerhoof. But who the hell is this McDonas character? Where the hell did this guy come from? And what the hell is he doing to that piano? That. That is not what a piano sounds like, usually, I don't think. I saw these guys down at Festolano 2011 pretty randomly (back then they were called Tone Team), which was a double-house show/BBQ/shit-show in the seedier suburban end of Albuqueque, NM. "Prepared piano" would be a way to describe what McDonas does that you'd recognize, but somehow his approach goes a little further. He really accentuates the percussive qualities of the instrument, figuring its acoustics in totally new ways amid an array of drums, cymbals and electronic effects - a real kitchen-sink setup that incorporates not only a lot of different textures, but his entire body. What he put together for his instrument is something else, but how he's able to use it is another thing altogether. Lightning fast playing, but incredibly tempered and under control, a splintering of the beat into its multitudinous divisions, each clip, ping, pang, pong, clap, splat or bong at its own specific volume. It's crazy. And Dieterich's spiky guitar work is an easy match, also really highlighting the moments of soft tenderness that the band can just sweep themselves into.
What? Oh yeah, this is a Videodrone, I almost forgot. Check out this rad claymated clip by Tuia Cherici, which features a guy who's probably not a lot unlike yourself, sitting there glued to his laptop and watching videos for weird jazz-noise bands who played at a random house-show festival in Albuquerque, NM once. Only one difference is that this guy is willing to just take a shit without leaving the comfort of his desktop. .. at least I hope that's a difference.
This Videodrone brought to you by Crawf
p.s. Bad News From Houston also has an album, and it's amazing.
**Editor's note: After chatting with Mr. McDonas, it has come to my attention that Tone Team was ANOTHER batshit crazy spazz-jazz-improve/duo featuring John Dieterich and Jeremy Barnes, not McDonas. Similar configuration and sound, which explains the mixup. Apologies to all parties involved! I EVEN CHECKED THAT FACT AND IT WAS STILL WRONG. amazing.