Psychedelic Blend

Quintron and Miss Pussycat bring their custom-made instruments and puppets to town

At first, it's pretty damn hard to figure out from what dank and creepy corner of the psyche Quintron and Miss Pussycat's singular art form emanates. But once you suss out their vibe, Q&MP's music can be refreshingly fun, unpretentious and inconsequential.

Don't take my word for it, though. It'd be best to judge for yourself when the eccentric New Orleans music duo plays at Plush on Wednesday, July 5.

Quintron (he often prefers Mr. Quintron) plays a custom-made combination of organ and synthesizer, chopped to look like the front end of a hotrod, as well as his invention, the Drum Buddy, a light-activated analog synthesizer and drum machine.

Miss Pussycat joins Quintron, contributing charmingly shrill vocals--she often sounds like the B-52's on crystal meth--while playing maracas and integrating her famous puppet-theater characters into the show.

On their latest collaboration, the CD Swamp Tech, the pair plays a chaotic, psychedelic blend of minimalist electronic disco and punk, throwing into the mix swamp rock, lounge music, children's music and R&B.

Savvy listeners will recognize elements of faux-naïve music (à la Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and Wesley Willis), some of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' voodoo soul, and the no-wave sound of Mars and Suicide.

Sometimes, such as on their unique cover of the Kiss classic "God of Thunder," the result sounds like Tav Falco and Panther Burns playing video games with members of Deep Purple at a redneck carnival in the Mississippi Delta.

Born in Germany and raised in Mobile, Ala., Quintron first made a name for himself amid the avant-garde noise-rockers of Chicago and Detroit in the early 1990s. He moved to New Orleans 10 years ago, joining with the eccentric singer and puppet-theater impresario Miss Pussycat.

Unfortunately, Quintron was at a family reunion and unavailable for an interview when the Weekly called him this past weekend. But from all accounts, Swamp Tech is the most ambitious project undertaken by Quintron and Miss Pussycat yet.

In addition to the 13-song CD (including two remixes with dirty words bleeped out), the package includes a DVD of the elaborate, 30-minute puppet movie, Electric Swamp, written and directed by Miss Pussycat and a dozen or so voice actors, including Sean Yseult (formerly of White Zombie) and Antoinette K-Doe, the widow of swamp soul legend Ernie K-Doe.

Although K-Doe, famous for the 1961 hit single "Mother-In-Law," and known to fans far and wide as Emperor of the World, died in 2001, he lives on as a puppet version of himself, performing in the film.

The plot of the movie turns on how a nasty gang of termites threatens to take over the swamp and destroy all buildings in New Orleans, while taking time for their own rave parties. (Colonies of Formosan subterranean termites actually pose a serious problem in New Orleans and throughout Southern Louisiana.)

Anyway, when the termites devour the respective homes of Cinnamon the Alligator and Lolly Crawfish, our heroines turn to Mr. and Mrs. K-Doe for help. A music benefit is quickly arranged, and the termite threat is vanquished. For now.

The only human actors in the film are Quintron and Miss Pussycat, as well as a foxy three-girl maracas troupe, all of whom appear in Cinnamon's trippy dream, playing the Swamp Tech track "Dream Captains."

Electric Swamp is airing three times a week through the month of June on public-access TV in New Orleans, but the puppets are coming on the road with Quintron and Miss Pussycat for their month-long American tour.

The unique sounds and visions of Quintron and Miss Pussycat are bizarre, to be sure, but those who appreciate such unusual Tucson music acts as Bob Log III, the Pork Torta and Bebe and Serge--indeed, all those geniuses aligned with the infamous Bloat Records--are likely to easily grok the Q&MP aesthetic.

In fact, the mutant lounge duo and underground heroes Bebe and Serge are slated to open the show when Quintron and Miss Pussycat play Tucson this week. Also on the bill will be Harry Merry.

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