Brainiac vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: who would win! Bassist and band diplomat Juan åMonasterio predicts, “The pink ranger would be the only one left standing. She would win purely by style – we’re blinded by her style.” Ifs a modest prediction, considering that the Dayton. Ohio lads have style coming out of their collective ass.
Barring the fact that Brainiac wields no weapons and boasts no tumbling experience, a typical Brainiac performance would leave a power ranger feeling stymied. pants down. Armo..- ed with a classic uncanny rock star attitude. songwriter/vocalist Timmy Taylor is volatile on the stage. Spastically toying with gravity in a way that humans aren’t usualJy inclined to do, he attacks his Moog keyboard with a zany confidence that has made fans moshless and starry-eyed.
Put simply, Brainiac live is Devo on 13 cups of coffee. You can see It in the Devo-like way they hold their guitars, and the way they single you out and stare you down from onstage as if they’re trying to set your hair on fire. It’s all part of their traditional New-wave rock sur image, which they take very seriously. “We’re trying to build back the wall between audience and performer that has broken down in the last ten years [in the alterna• live rock scene],” explained Monasterio. He criticizes “nice guy” bands like Pearl Jam for taking the mystery appeal out of rock. “The mysterious classic rock star is more interesting than just wearing flannel and being everybody’s buddy.”
Even though critics have repeatedly described Brainiac’s records as not having met the standards of their intense live shows, they are two completely separate versions or the Brainiac sound. says Monasterio. Bonsai Superstar, their latest release, is not the average Brainiac live appear• ance; It’s a lucid display of Brainiac’s unparalleled approach to pop-punk songwriting.
Extrapolating on Brainiac’s sound, Monasterio ignores the conventions of category. He coined it, “future people music.” However, after a few spins of Bonsai Superstar, “future people music” seems to be a rather fitting little modifier.
Since the recording of Smack Bunny Baby In 1993 (evidently influenced by the highly fashionable Sonic Youth), they have personalized their sound to the point that one may find tacking on likeness or labels a difficult and annoying task. Even so, regional influences like Devo, the Cramps. the Dead Boys. Pere Ubu and other traditional Ohio acts have given Brainiac a weird Ohio twist that will always be a conspicuous part of their style. “It’s classic midwest weirdo music,” said Monasterio, playing with generalizations.
In their three year existence as midwest weirdos, they’ve toured with the Breeders, Shudder to Think, the Jesus Lizard, and Girl Against Boys. Scaling the walls of the just recently acclaimed Dayton/Cincinnati rock scene, Brainiac has become one of the mid-west’s most esteemed new bands. After two full-lengths on Grass Records, they inked a deal with Touch and Go and are slowly but surely becoming food for other hungry record labels.Their current plans include the release of a 7″ single produced by Dayton comrade Kim Deal in September, and a Sub-Pop single with Steve Albini in October. This summer, they’re doing a ·second suge Lollapalooza midwest tour.
Judging from the humidity problems in Dayton, it is likely they will swing out to our end of the continent for a breather this fall, returning to Olympia’s Lucky 7 house, where they played June 13th • and possibly a Seattle show to patch a few more “nice guy” holes in the Northwest wall.