Friday, March 02, 2012


As I wrote last year: "I propose that we officially make March 4th 'Alternative Marching Band Day.' March 4th = March Forth. Geddit?" And, thanks in part to comments left by some of you good Maniacs, I've got another batch of alt-brass band goodness for ya this year. So put on your mismatched band uniforms and go marching around the house whilst listening to more spazz-jazz/non-guitar rock/Sousa-free tubas than you can shake a baton at:

March Fourth 2012

- Boba Fett and the Americans, a Denver-based band that doesn't appear to have any albums out, but I did find a few stray things on the web: covers of the Beatles "Birthday," Hugh Masakela "Grazing in the Grass," a 'Star Wars'-themed parody of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" called "Bootie Hunter," and Run-DMC's "It's Tricky" (tho the vox are too low - you'll have to rap your own version.)
- Hungry March Band - these alt-march pioneers started in 1997, have 4 a
lbums out, and I've got one of 'em, "Critical Brass," from 2005. It features plenty of jazzy funky originals, and kooky kovers of tunes like Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," as well as solid originals like the one featured here, "Jupanese Ju Ju." Bonus points for covering Pigbag's classic early '80s instro "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag."
- The itchy-O Marching Band (pictured above) are also from Denver, but could not be more different from the comedic Boba Fett gang. The 32-person strong multi-media group somehow march with hand-held electronic instruments like synths and theremins, and have a powerfully compelling dark sound. Their debut 6 track ep features tracks like "Inferno No Corridor," a song that blew me away with its gargantuan sound, like if Glen Branca wrote for dozens of percussionists instead of guitars. Bravo!
- MarchFourth Marching Band were the Portlanders that were featured in last year's collection and gave this March 4th concept it's name. Their new album "Magnificent Beast" features no kooky kovers, tho still has a sense of humor as evidenced by the 'SNL'-skit inspired "Cowbell." Elsewhere, the album ranges from James Brown rhythms to Caribbean/Latin influences ("Sin Camiseta") to New Orleans jazz. Unlike most, they sometimes feature vocals, often of the simple, chanted variety.
- Raya Brass Band: These Balkan/Eastern European-inspired New Yorkers have produced an album of absolutely crazed, twisted melodies over rhythms as difficult as the the pronunciation of the song titles. "Dancing On Roses, Dancing On Cinders" starts off pleasantly enough with the toe-tapper "DJevadov Čoček" (that's easy for you to say) before piling on song after song of head-spinning complexity leavened with irresistible buoyancy. Your head may be ringing after listening to this, but you can't possibly be in a bad mood.
- Seed & Feed Marching Abominable: this Atlanta combo have
been around since 1974, which def. pushes the timeline back, but they apparently don't have any recordings. All I could find was an interview that features some generous chunks of their music.
- The Residents never used marching bands (that I'm aware), but, as a bonus track, I've included a song ("Washington Post March") from their "Stars & Hank Forever" album that remade the marches of John Philip Sousa inna electronic stylee, complete with parade sound effects. Sorta the inverse of the rest of this collection of trad bands playing non-trad music.


Chris Mayer said...

Has it been a full year already? I remember thinking after last year's post this would be a great project for my neck of the woods. This place needs shaking up every once and a while. Next year, we will definitely March Forth in River City. Thanks for the great music, and the inspiration, Mr Fab!

Hok said...

It's posts like this that make me fall in love with this site all over again.

Anonymous said...

Loving this site. But a tad surprised not to see The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band/the Leland Stanford Junior Marching Band here. I know nothing about them other than a couple of gems by them I picked up a few years ago. Seek them out and you'll understand.

Dirk Bill said...

Wow, I would love to hear this. I've actually had some marching band arrangements published, and there's nothing better! But this link and the previous year's post are dead. Any chance for a re-up?

Anonymous said...

extra action marching band along with hungry march band, paved the way for all these other "alt marching bands.
both bands were started after crash worship had dissolved.
hungry was started by ex cw member drieky capriece.
and extra action by simon the same time ,more or less

extra action really did a lot of the "inspiring that started the likes of -itchy -0 ( ex extra action)
march 4th
what cheer brigade
mucca pazza
infernal noise brigade
credit given where credit due

James Stewart said...

Thanks!! I loved your post so I had to share it :) And I'm so glad you like the feature.

marching band field show music