2. Mr. Bungle
Trey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3 is far more famous for his role in probably the strangest band ever to sign for a major label, Mr. Bungle. The band is known widely as Mike Patton's (of Faith No More) "other" band, but real fans of Patton know that Bungle is the most fascinating project he's ever been involved with. Snapped up by Warner Bros. based on the success of FNM, Bungle are just as eclectic as Praxis/Naked City, just as virtuosic as Ruins, just as chaotic as Boredoms and just as fun as Melt-Banana. Their self-titled debut album is totally crazy carnival ride through metal, funk, avant-garde, jazz and ska that refuses to sit still. But it was their two other albums that really marked the group out as an exceptional bunch of musicians: the terrifyingly weird Disco Volante and the gorgeous avant-surf pop of California. Disco Volante sounds like Naked City running riot through a fairground. As Greg Prato puts it,
The group tackles plodding death metal (Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead), deranged children's songs (After School Special), and a Middle Eastern techno number that has to be heard to be believed (Desert Search for Techno Allah). Many of the songs radically change genres mid-song, encompassing the sounds of Ennio Morricone, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, and other heretofore unthought-of musical mutations.
It's a fidgety, hyper-eclectic album with production that sounds like its been ravaged by an angry animal. It's totally uncompromising and definitely the most experimental thing to have been put out by any label anywhere. California finesses the diversity, focusing on luscious production and genres that are more accessible, from lounge to surf rock, rockabilly to new age, doo-wop to cool jazz. It remains, 16 years after its release, one of the most innovative and finely produced albums of all time. DV and California are bibles for fans of weird music. They are incredible. The band dressed up in crazy costumes, covered pretty much every pop song and musical soundtrack you could ever imagine, and had a feud with the Red Hot Chili Peppers that culminated in jokes at the expense of the band's deceased friends and former members. Bungle were controversial and off-the-wall. Their reign over avant-garde rock/metal ended far too soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtDEmtwuTlI