I discovered the many talents of Leah Hayes one after the other, by accident or happenstance, or because I live in Brooklyn. Maybe it was witchery. But last Fall/late summer it began and hasn’t stopped. First, and I don’t recall how, I came across her band Scary Mansion. Contrary to my initial impression of the name, which immediately conjured the best time of my life at Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the band’s sound is a matured haunting. Beautiful but grave, Leah Hayes delivers stark vocals on the verge of breaking over organs, guitars, drums, in the room with the locked door down an impossibly long hall.
Not long after hearing Scary Mansion, atop a house show’s roof one night in Brooklyn, Leah Hayes appeared. In the dark all I could really see was her glasses. Having a mutual appreciation of appropriately sized spectacles we began to speak in the shadow of a colossal two-towered Cathedral that dwarfed everything around for several blocks. She struck me as incredibly well spoken and well adjusted.
Later that night I witnessed, in a sweaty candlelit living room, her transformation into something altogether different. And upon the wooden floor, with various gadgets strewn about, she knelt by a candle, wearing a mask and began to sing strange laments. The animated doll of a mastermind girl child. A skinny spell caster pouting out lewd stories set to spare drum beats and damaged melodies. This incarnation of Hayes is aptly called Bad Lobotomy.
A few weeks later, in a bookstore an odd graphic novel caught my eye. It was “Funeral of the Heart,” by Leah Hayes because she does illustration for a living (McSweeney’s, Punk Planet) and has two books published with Fantagraphics. She just returned from a Scary Mansion tour in Europe where she opened for Will Oldham and signed with the French label Talitres. The debut record is called “Every Joke is Half The Truth” already out on Zum records and a new one is in the works. Her twin sister sings with her at live shows. You can also hear her vocals on TV On the Radio’s album Return to Cookie Mountain.
As for Bad Lobotomy, Hayes has started her own label called, Bad Lobotomy Records, and a record is due out in June. Check the myspace and dig the song “Give Me A Twenty” too.
I’m sure there will be need to follow up on Hayes and her varied endeavors. One gets the feeling she keeps an apothecary cabinet of many drawers, some filed with wonder, others with horror. If she let’s you open one, what will you find?
“Combine,” Bad Lobotomy.
The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.
But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)
It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.
A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.
This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.
The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.
It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.
Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com
Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.
Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.
Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk
Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.
Lane 33: Twins
You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.
Lane 27: Broken Windows
Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.
Lane 69: Filthy Cars
You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.
Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles
It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.
Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.