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People talking about the Quasars [round 2]

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:52 pm
by Jake
Because the original thread somehow got deleted, I'm posting the press clippings here. Some of the links no longer work.


Off City Limits, September 19, 2004:
The first release from Glorious Noise Records will be from Quasar Wut-Wut, who hail from Chicago and give a skewed take on country-rock. Three tracks from the new album Taro Sound are available here, including the brilliant 'Enola Gay'.

Motor City Rocks: "There's three solid mp3's available on their website."



A nice write-up on the label and our darling boys. Nice photo too.
November 18, 2004
DIY Media
With all the growth in new technology and media mergers alike, it’s both easier and more important than ever to create, not just consume. As we head into the unofficial start of the weekend (is it OK to start the weekend on Thursday night or does that kind of thing become gauche after you leave college?), two events illustrate the possibilities:

Chicagoist believes there aren’t enough people writing about music solely because they get off on telling other people about a kickass new band and not because they’re drunk on their own perceived power (Jann Wenner, we’re looking at you). The folks over at Glorious Noise believe that "rock and roll can change your life” and everything they do springs from that mantra. So rather than just write about music (because we all know what that’s like), GLONO went the Rob Gordon route and formed their own record label: Glorious Noise Records. The newly minted label is throwing a record release party for Quasar Wut-Wut’s Taro Sound album tomorrow night at the Hideout (with Devin Davis and Darren Hanlon opening and a rumored appearance of a burlesque fan dancer). Quasar Wut-Wut describes their music as the soundtrack to an Edward Gorey cartoon and that's not far off. Samples of the clever arrangements of Taro Sound can be found on the CD Baby and Glorious Noise Records websites.

Chicago Reader, The Treatment (Friday, November 19, 2004)
QUASAR WUT-WUT When I wrote glowingly about this local act back in 2000, it wasn't entirely without reservation: it seemed all too likely that Quasar Wut-Wut's inspired, free-for-all loopiness could easily turn into tiresome self-indulgence. Once again, I'm glad to be wrong. This show is a release party for its third full-length album, Taro Sound (Glorious Noise), and the band's not only lasted but matured. As much as you'd want it to, anyway: its springy, crunchy art pop has depth and texture now, and a wide-angle sensibility reminiscent of Camper Van Beethoven. --Monica Kendrick

Rock de siempre:
Recibo un mensaje de una compañía muy pequeña (sacan sólo 2 Cds al año), Glorious Noise Records, para que escuche a Quasar Wut-Wut. Tienen una canción llamada enola gay, pero que no tiene nada que ver con la de Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, que puedes excuchar aquí. Gran éxito en su tiempo, los dorados 80.

Which means, according to Google translator:
Receipt a message of a very small company (they remove only 2 Cds to the year), Glorious Noise Record , so that it listens Quasar Wut-Wut. They have a called song enola gay, but that does not have anything to do with the one of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark , which you can excuchar here . Great success in its time, the golden 80.

What a Splendid Review!
Stupidly gifted and versed in several genres, they make pit-stops at calypso ("Beaver Fever") and tropicalia ("Oh My Dear"'s Hawaiian guitars). "Ass-Kissin' Lips" flaunts their ease with a proggy epic, while "Enola Gay" imagines Zappa maneuvering within the gutted-out, wiry world of The Feelies. Glockenspiel, mandolin, vibes, accordion, jaws harp and one brutally spry bassist (Jordan Frank) all contribute to Taro Sound's propulsive vastness.
I've always thought the boys were stupid--ly gifted...


Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times:

"...brilliantly inspired...musical mischief..."


PopMatters Reviewby David Brecheisen. Rating: 7
Stylistically, Taro Sound is all over the map, providing a sound that refuses to be easily categorized. The album is comprised of song after song of bizarre lyrics, incongruent lyrical phrasing, and complex, often angular guitar melodies. Somehow, Quasar Wut-Wut manages to blend these facets of its music into a cohesive, peculiar brand of rock that you will likely have difficulty putting your arms around on the first listen or two. Subsequent listens (and there will be subsequent listens) will reveal well-crafted, pop songs that are as sincere as they are witty and catchy as they are puzzling.

Chicagoist, December 30, 2004.
Best Local CDs Released This Year That No One Else Has Mentioned In Their "Best Local CDs Released This Year" Lists:
In this week's Reader, Bob Mehr covers some of the major Chicago releases that hit CD bins this year. But two of our favorites didn't make his list or anybody else's (we think): Taro Sound by Quasar Wut-Wut and the debut album from The Manhandlers. If drunken pirates set out to compose the great American musical then the result would be the wickedly ambitious music of Taro Sound (provided said pirates possessed a sharp musical acumen and a horn section). The Manhandlers' album delivers a solid primer on their Stooges-meets-X-Ray-Spex sound though seeing them live is still the better bet.

Blue Mag, March 16, 2005
Taro Sound is certainly a record that gives more with each listen, as the mad scientists in Quasar Wut-Wut buried plenty of musical Easter eggs to stumble upon. Once the listener reconciles the overriding goofiness with the well-honed ambition, however, Taro Sound pushes past the obvious gimmicks and reveals itself to be a fairly deep well.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:02 pm
by Jake
Listen! - Americana
Quazar Wut Wut do a great version of The Partisan

Being Michael Staples:
On Saturday night, I saw Buster Keaton's silent classic The General for the first time. It was shown with a live musical accompaniment by Quasar Wut Wut who wrote an original score for the film. Both were brilliant.

Gapers Block:
July 09, 2005 - Hometown heroes Quasar Wut-Wut will be at the 3030 performance space tonight, performing their original score to the Buster Keaton silent film The General. If you're not familiar with Buster Keaton or this particular film, then you GOTTA go check it out. If you need convincing, check out Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" review of the film. The show starts at 9:00 PM, with Can.Ky.Ree as the opening act, and Quasar Wut-Wut taking the stage at 10:30. The show is BYOB, and donations are accepted. 3030: 3030 W. Cortland. (773) 862-3616.

Search: Empathy:
my cmj awards


most random band name: mel gibson and the pants (honorable mention: quasar wut-wut)


Illinois Entertainer: Best Of Around Hear
It’s been six years since Quasar Wut-Wut moved from Detroit to Chicago, but almost a decade and a half since this band’s inception. It has obviously taken this four-piece some time to craft its country rock sound, which is as bizarre as it is catchy. Quasar Wut-Wut could be called Okkervil River’s younger, quirkier brother, but from the lyrics to the musicianship, the band has created something to call its own. The group’s latest LP, Taro Sound, was the debut release of Glorious Noise Records, a start-up label and offshoot of the Chicago-based online magazine of the same name. (
– Joseph Simek

Time Out Chicago, January 12-19, 2006:
Manic but loads of fun, Quasar Wut-Wut is one of Chicago's most eccentrically enjoyable live acts. Against all odds, its 2004 debut, Taro Sound, keeps it together despite sounding all over the place.

Chicago Tribune, February 10, 2006:
Multiplexes and auditoriums--yawn. Heading out to see a movie at the cinema or a dance onstage at a theater is just so ... so ... ordinary.

Why not mix it up a little this winter? On the Town sought out some of Chicago's most unexpected and original juxtapositions of entertainment and venue. A puppet show in an art gallery. A silent film scored by an indie band. These events may be just the thing to make your next night out a little more out of the ordinary.


Quasar Wut-Wut and "The General" at The Darkroom

Local indie band Quasar Wut-Wut called on all its music sensibilities--from post-punk to ragtime to pop to Eastern European folk--to compose an original score for Buster Keaton's 1927 silent classic "The General." Expect to hear a toy piano, glockenspiel, accordion and kazoo as the foursome provides live musical accompaniment to the 75-minute movie, screened at the Wicker Park club The Darkroom.

The film is a Civil War epic comedy and considered Keaton's masterpiece. It follows the story of a Confederate engineer who sets out in pursuit of his beloved locomotive (The General) and his girl when both are stolen by Union spies. Quasar wrote a score to accompany the picture for a performance last winter at Northwestern's Block Museum cinema.

"The General" required a varied sound, says guitarist Matt Schwartz. "Doing comedy is tough. You don't want to make a mockery of it, but you want to bring out the dynamics of the film," he says. "A lot of the film is frantic because of chase scenes, but then there are periods of pathos and a love story."

9 p.m. Feb. 26 at The Darkroom, 2210 W. Chicago Ave.; $7. Contact 773-276-1411 or

--By Alison Neumer Lara

Only Angels Have Wings
...a lot to love here. Songs like “Thankful Hank & the Guzzard” remind me of The Flaming Lips a little bit, with more of a country bar band jive. Fans of Americana or quirky indie pop will revel in the sounds of songs like “The Tramps of Taro Sound” and “Little Crimes.” The band has a little in common with The Decemberists too, if only that they both create songs where stories are told with melodic precision. There are also a few short interludes on the record; “The Carrion-Eaters’Lullaby” sounds like it could have been background music to a Tim Burton film. These songs are animated and carefully attended to...

Quasar Wut-Wut have been around and making music since '95, but I only got on board with them upon the release of their latest (and possibly greatest) release Taro Sound. The self-proclaimed third best band in Chicago have a bit of a sense of humor about their musical careers, from coordinating silly outfits for live performaces to their lyrics and write-ups on their website. As far as the music, well I like it. Quite a bit. My favorite comparisons include Tom Waits on crystal meth, Frank Zappa hosting the Muppet Show, compelling & strange like an onion loaf. Mostly QW-W get extra credit for their odd instrumentation & crunchy art pop, the obvious draw for the local scene obsessed with all that is Jeff Tweedy.

Quasar Wut-Wut has taken the spoils of their latest release to build themselves their own recording studio and get back to work, this time scoring a comedy film called The General. My advice is to take this with a grain of salt til we can actually get some kind of outside verification. Jokesters.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:09 pm
by Jake
Lost at Sea
Rating: 8/10 ?

The circus that is Quasar Wut-Wut has come to town, bringing with it the quirky pop sensibility, sinister lyrics and rousing, oddball klezmer feel of Taro Sound. Thrill to the elastic, pumping bass of Jordan Frank, and the nimble twin acoustic guitar finger-picking salvos of Frank and his partner, Brent Sulek. Marvel at the crisp timekeeping, deft tempo shifts and eerie vibes of percussionist Doug Walsh, toiling away unfazed by the album's frenzied instrumentation — the wild accordion whirls, the angry strums of mandolin, the warped strings and howling tape manipulation. It's fun for the whole family ... the Manson family that is.

Under the big top, Quasar Wut-Wut spins dark yarns like the story of "Thankful Hank & The Guzzard", two sons of "An orphan in pearls [who] crank the handles of a great machine" and kept the villagers awake all night "with their banging and their clanging." One day, they were killed by a mob of angry villagers; when they awoke, the found that "the morning never came; the sun was delayed/Forever the dark sky and no one knew why." The tale is told with weird, electronically altered vocals drowning in watery vibes and shimmering guitar effluvium. The ending is a noisy, pagan bonfire of blustery drums, wailing keyboards and xylophone.

The show doesn't stop there. "Beaver Feaver" sounds like an old vaudeville tune, with burlesque show piano and accordion setting the stage for a striptease act of blaring horns and lyrics about a brokenhearted man who is “going down the river in [his] 4-door canoe" and takes off an acid trip that causes him to ask, "How many pancakes does it take to shingle a doghouse?" I guess that's what love can do to a guy.

Taro Sound is like some fevered dream that Tom Waits has never told anybody about. In it, the Squirrel Nut Zippers are doing the Charleston with The Decemberists in a seedy bar in sweaty New Orleans, while carnival folk gather round to watch and listen to the nerdy pop of They Might Be Giants.

The action is hot, hot, hot; every song offers a different set of rules, from the folk-pop psychedelia of "Enola Gay" to the ponderous funeral organ and disorienting cello of "Ass Kissin' Lips", which devolves into a riot of vintage hooks. "The Tramps of Taro Sound" is a bit of quiet melancholia, with electronic found sounds whirring above darting acoustic guitar. Then, there is "Oh My Dear", a haunting soundscape of Gram Parsons-style psychedelic country.

Quasar Wut-Wut rarely lets you take a breather. Your dance card is always full. When the action slows, there's a disturbing presence in the music, like the ghost of a murdered, painted prostitute or an alcoholic, peg-legged ship captain in limbo walking the halls of a condemned bar in the French Quarter. It's good to know that when Waits and other music eccentrics like him pass from this world, there are lunatics like Quasar Wut-Wut to take their place.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:15 pm
by Jake
Praise for the Holiday Song:

Speed of Dark
I am a legendary hater of Christmas music. In high school, I worked in a music store, and for at least three months out of each year, I was drenched in happy tunes about snowmen, sleighs, and Santa. For someone who grew up in Southern California, where it's often 80 degrees outside on Christmas, all of those songs about snow grated on my nerves. I don't know how many times I wore shorts on Christmas day, and I'm sure there might have been times when we actually had the air-conditioner on.

Today I received an email from Jordan, who is part of an eclectic group called Quasar Wut Wut. This band has a great version of the traditional Christmas hymn, The Holiday Song (12 Snowman, 24 Snowballs). My favorite part is when they name-check "grandma's flask". Check it out.

These guys look and sound like they're having a lot of fun, and that means a lot to me in a band.

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means - bloggers posting hundreds of Christmas songs! Well, here at QBiM, we aren't going to give you lots of Christmas songs. Just a few. This being one of them.

When I got the email from Quasar Wut-Wut, I really didn't want to like this song. Not that I have anything against "the third best band in Chicago," but...well, take a look at the write-up:

There are a lot of Christmas songs out there, a few Chanukah songs, but not enough songs about winter and anatomically correct snowmen, so we wrote “The Holiday Song (12 Snowmen, 24 Snowballs)” to fill that void.

With this as the Post Script:

Billy Idol would fucking kill to have a holiday song this awesome.

I guess I didn't have anything better to do, so I gave it a listen. And that was when I decided to share it with you guys. Though you may feel that a song about snowmen testicles is somewhat below you, the song is undeniably catchy, and, though it isn't going to be the best Christmas song of this generation (The Killers already filled that gap), it's a fun indie-pop romp. A must for any 2006 Christmas Mix.

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:26 am
by Jake
Song, by Toad:
Well it's taken me long enough to properly review this album. I first heard about Chicago's Third Best Band (their words, not mine) over a year ago, when I downloaded the songs below from their website.

How these nutters aren't more famous is beyond me. Taro Sound is one of the best albums you'll hear, and some of the crazy circus mayhem in their more nutty songs is about as joyously infectious as I have heard for years.

At their best they are like The Muppets covering The Decemberists, and with all the fiddle and accordion they are easily compared to the latter, but Quasar Wut-Wut are a mile away from Colin Meloy's lit-rock troupe. Whilst the means are much the same - actual proper instruments and an often overtly old-fashioned sound - the end is far different. Listening to Quasar Wut-Wut is a bit like riding a bicycle downhill as it slowly dawns on you that you're going just a bit too fast. And then you squeeze the brakes and they don't work...

This is not to say that they can't be melancholy and sad when called upon to be, and they do keep the pace changing nicely, just that there is an anachronistic double- and triple-time beat that permeates most of the album, bringing unstoppable toe-tapping and anarchic, circus-tinged jollity with it.