The Uncommon Houseflies are a band from Louisville, Kentucky USA that play fun indie pop. They are punky power pop with witty lyrics and tunes that say the sort of things that you really want to say when you’re feeling naughty. Put it this way, they say that your mother probably would not approve of them. Maybe your mother would approve of them if your mother enjoys having fun, like these guys do, usually at someone else’s expense. If I tell you that their band interests are “beating up clowns” (and as an ex clown I could take offence at that, but many people could take offence at these guys so I’m trying not to take it personally), or I tell you that their general manager is the bass player’s dog, Darby, you will get the picture. However, these details may just be a bored response to answering ridiculous questions when creating Facebook pages. Let’s give you a better clue to this band by naming some of their tracks: from their Christmas EP you can indulge in a murder ballad reimagining a holiday classic called “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” or, from their 2010 release, you can hear “Beating Up Hippies”, “Na Na the Spatula” and “Cotton Candy in the Rain”. The last one sounds desperately sad to me.
The track I’m going to recommend is actually “Things I Hate”. I suggest it mostly because I love it, but also because it’s one of the few Uncommon Houseflies tracks that I thought wouldn’t offend too many people. Ok it’s a track about things we hate and many of those we can agree on, but it’s also a song about rhyme, song writing and just the pure pleasure of being a bit silly. Listen out for my favourite line “Hate doesn’t rhyme with bum.” Enjoy a lesson in versification with The Uncommon Houseflies and “Things I Hate.” Stream the track for free from FaceBook.
The Uncommon Houseflies: Press
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Review: The Uncommon Houseflies
The Uncommon Houseflies - Wretched Radio (Better Days Records)
In 1986 Frank Zappa posed the question “Does Humor Belong In Music?” Considering Frank’s oeuvre included such gems as “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” and “Penguin In Bondage” we must conclude that his own answer was affirmative. I think it’s safe to assume that The Uncommon Houseflies are very much in agreement. Previous albums “Zombie Clowns Ate Your Sister's Kitty” and “Excrement Weather” have featured many sing-a-long family favourites including “Disgruntled Shooter (In the Nursing Home)”, “Pink Party Vomit” and “Beating Up Hippies”, and fans of those particular recordings will not be disappointed by the fare on offer here.
“Wretched Radio” is chock full of irreverent subject matter, from being dumped for a longhair (“The Jam Band Incident”) to misguided religious enthusiasm and giving up underwear for lent (“Commando for Jesus”). Originally inspired by The Ramones, they’re not averse to wrapping feisty power-pop-punk tunes around their words of wisdom, but other styles, including alt. country and rap get a look in. Needless to say, your own response to the original question will help make your mind up whether this is a band you want to hear. If you’re partial to a bit of comedy then jump right in. I’m sure you’ll have a chuckle or two when you hear the tracks already mentioned, and you’ll be equally chuffed with “Border Disorder (The Canada Song)” and “Space Monkey” – everyone likes a hairy astronaut song.
Uncommon HousefliesBETTER DAYSThe Uncommon Houseflies’ new album parodies radio broadcasting (and its importance in society) across generations. The lead-in and fade-out blips, “Station Identification” and “Sign Off,” reinforce the “station marketing” in the title song, the effect of which is to create a strongly themed album. The band explores rock music from across the decades from 1950s pre-Beatles influences to a modern, yet lo-fi, Porcupine Tree-like metal haze. Traversing all these genres, singer (and LEO columnist) Kevin Gibson’s familiar voice carries the listener through gap after treacherous gap without faltering. Combined with the quirky true stories that inspired the lyrics — “Border Disorder” is about getting kicked out of Canada, “Commando for Jesus” is about a kid who gave up underwear for Lent — the record’s realism is a refreshing hiatus from an industry that tends to take itself too seriously.
Wretched Power Pop
Wretched Radio (Better Days Records)
The Uncommon Houseflies
The back cover of the Uncommon Houseflies' latest disc offers this caution: "Listening to the Uncommon Houseflies has been shown to cause disorientation and incontinence in laboratory animals." Listener, consider yourself warned.
For their third disc, this Louisville band continues to show steady growth in both their songwriting and showmanship. On their first two discs, the Houseflies mixed their bizarre humor with more poignant songs about love, loss and dogs (yes, I said, "dogs," and I meant it). But Wretched Radio is straight-up satire and snark, with the band covering a lot of ground in six songs (book-ended by radio jingles).
The amp-up in humor can be attributed in part to the addition of Butch Bays, who wrote and sings on three of the songs. His conversational style of humor is a nice balance to bassist Kevin Gibson's darker, more irreverent tone ("Commando for Jesus" made me wince and laugh out loud at the same time). Bays' contributions include "Border Disorder (The Canada Song)," a true story about a failed attempt to enter "America's Hat," and the gay (both definitions intended) "Bowling Buddy," a homage to a bowling alley bromance that features a hilarious give-and-take between the two protagonists that plays like a Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton duet: "I'll roll the ball." "I'll mark the score." "We're out of wings." "I'll order more." Insert smoky haze and clinking beer bottles here.
Lest you think the Houseflies can only do power pop and Yankovic, check out "Space Monkey," a trippy tale about a pioneering simian, complete with an actual recording from a NASA space launch (which may or may not be authentic). The song's sound goes where this band hasn't gone before, exploring strange new chords and seeking out new harmonizations.
For a band that almost shut things down after their last disc, the Houseflies sound rejuvenated and ready to create some serious buzz.
View the original review here.
LEO's The Bar Belle talks Houseflies. Scroll down; it's there.