I went from really loving the music of Superorganism to being a transformed super-fan the moment they sent me an email ahead of their Tiny Desk performance asking, "is it okay if we [bring] inflatable whales when we play?" Now I feel like the kind of fan I was when I wore a yellow radiation suit to a Devo concert in 1978.
The multinational band of theatrically fun and talented musicians in Superorganism mix melody and mischievous with almost Seussian folly. In addition to the 20-plus inflatable whales they provided, the band requested via email that we provide "7 x Crunchy apples, 7 x cans of Coca Cola (or similar, as long as they are 330mls/12oz cans it doesn't matter)." They added, "PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT A RIDER BUT PART OF THE PERFORMANCE."
When the seven members of the band arrived and huddled behind my desk, they blew into straws, making percussive noises, used toy cars and radios for sound effects and added lots of handclaps. And in the midst of it all was Orono Noguchi, a small-framed, self-described "average 17-year old Japanese girl living in Maine." (That's from an email she wrote me last year). The band set up a couple of belt pack guitar amps for their Moog and electric guitar, along with a big Anvil road case to beat on for percussion – and then they sang about prawns.
"Oh, have you ever seen the prawn cause a world war?
Have you ever kissed a prawn; got a cold sore?
Have you ever seen a prawn kick off?
Have you ever seen a prawn in a pair of handcuffs, oh
You people make the same mistakes
Over and over, it's really kinda dumb, oh
Slow learning is kinda your thing
You do you, I'll do me
Chillin' at the bottom of the sea and I say...
I'm happy just being a prawn.
If all this hasn't made you curious enough to watch this Tiny Desk, we'll never be friends and it's probably best if you skip this. But I'm going hit the play button again and, after that, listen again to their debut, self-titled album!
- "The Prawn Song"
- "Night Time"
- "Something for Your M.I.N.D."
Producers: Bob Boilen Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Jenna Sterner/NPR.