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Need New Body

Need New Body comes from the Philadelphia psych scene that has produced such outstanding bands as Bardo Pond, Aspera Ad Astra, Lenola, and the Lilys over the past decade, but don't make any assumptions about their sound based on that statement. There are some similarities in cover art, but that's about it. Need New Body, whose core members used to be in another Philly psych band called Bent Leg Fatima, makes deranged, ferociously eclectic music where the wheels always seem about to come off -- and that's meant as a compliment. They're not just unpredictable, there's an element of danger to the band's experiments with genre and free noise. Zappa and Beefheart are almost inevitable as points of reference here, because Need New Body make music with a great deal of spontaneous humor and an almost improvisational style that seems to draw from vaudeville, free jazz, and various ethnic musics as much as it does the fundamental tenets of pop music. You can also feel the heavy influence of the weird, hypnotic splice and drone of '70s Krautrock throughout the band's songs. If all this genre-riffing and experimentation sounds overwhelming and pretentious to you, well, you've just got to hear it to understand that it's not; somehow Need New Body manage to sound totally organic and weirdly accessible.

The band recorded and released their excellent self-titled debut album in 2001. It features the contributions of the aforementioned ex-Bent Leggers as well as Blue Hawaii of the like-minded Chicago experimental/prog revivalist trio Bablicon, and members of the Lilys, Aspera, and Ink & Dagger. Need New Body's first album is both revelatory and extremely enjoyable, offering proof that for creative musicians there remain numerous means of playing with musical idioms and stylistic reference points outside the staid and stale formulaics of conventional post-rock.

NNB released their second album, UFO, in September 2003. Here they take the madness even further, but it's madness with melody. They've diversified their instrumentation and incorporated new musical influences like bluegrass, while shaping a more melodic kind of rhythmic chaos that had been in evidence in their live peformances throughout the previous year.