10 Awesomely Masked Indie Bands
We’re pretty sure we have some sort of fetish for masks. We’re not going to show up to work wearing one of those black leather zipper-for-a-mouth jobbies anytime soon, but we’ve found that we get overly excited when we see anyone in a mask — be they celebrating Halloween, robbing us at gunpoint or rocking out onstage.
Speaking of the latter, we’re not the only music fans that feel this way. Millions of people the world over scream their lungs out for bands that have made their names by hiding their faces from the public. Whether the facial disguises derive from vanity or gimmickry, we think mask-wearing is the cat’s meow. Hence, this list of 10 Awesomely Masked Bands.
We’re putting these guys at the bottom of the list, because they’ve shied away from wearing masks during public performances. The electro-psych indie band has become wildly popular among the hipster elite, and we caught them live several years ago on the same bill with Radiohead, so they ain’t messin’ around. But they used to wile out in zany disguises — check ’em out in the primitive video below, doing their best mash-up of a hippie drum circle and the ’80s cartoon ‘M.A.S.K.’
A band that performs surf-rock instrumentals in Mexican “lucha libre” masks? Sign us up! Nashville’s Los Straightjackets are pretty much a dream come true for mask-aphiles. Hey! You’ve got to hide your face away.
No, we’re not giving you another excuse to watch the ‘Goats Screaming Like Humans’ video (but we just did anyway). This GOAT is a weirdo Swedish band that performs in masks — and unbelievably enough, this is NOT the only Swedish band on our list. Apparently, having blonde hair and blue eyes is something to hide from.
One of our favorite new punk bands signed to Fat Mike’s (NOFX, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) label Fat Wreck Chords, Masked Intruder don blue, red, green and yellow ski masks. It’s like international terrorism meets the Wiggles meets really catchy punk rock.
If Swedish duo the Knife were a Holy Roman Emperor, they’d be called Pretentious Maximus. Rarely performing their odd brand of electro-indie rock without obscuring their faces in some way, the pair have been known to wear those ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ sex-scene masks — you know, with the long-ass beaks. The hipsters love them, so we’re just going to shut the hell up now.
The lone Canadian on this list, Deadmau5 wears a giant mouse mask in concert but doesn’t seem to care about having his visage seen in public — the paparazzi are all over his ass now that he married a famous hottie (Kat Von D). On Foo Fighters’ last record, he remixed the tune ‘Rope’ and it was nominated for a Grammy. Take that, non-mask-wearers.
We can only imagine that the insides of this French duo’s robot masks smell, well, European. But potential olfactory offensiveness aside, Daft Punk has been wildly popular in the States since the early aughts, and they’re coming back in a big way, thanks to a super-catchy disco number (‘Get Lucky’) featuring Pharrell Williams and Le Superfreak/guitarist Nigel Rodgers.
Now this guy is a find. We had to dig around for actual performances to sort out whether he exists or not, but he does. Meet Brian Chippendale, aka Black Pus. Imagine a dude wearing the most insane mask you’ve ever seen banging on drums like the Muppets’ Animal on speed. Just watch this video of BP and fix your gaze on the poor bastard behind the drummer at the 1:31 mark. Yep, it’s so loud, he’s decided to try to put the ‘ole sponge in the bells. Not gonna help.
Unjustly thrown into a Russian prison for using what we call “Freedom of Speech” here in the U.S.A., this punk collective wore knit ski masks to hide their identities in their now infamous video at a church. PR puts all of these other masqueraders to shame, given the price they’ve paid for speaking/playing out. One member has been released, but two are still locked away. We say, protest at your local Russian embassy, wearing a ski mask and a “Free Pussy Riot” tee. JUST DO IT NOW.