Whether or not you think it was bound to happen, it has. Household pets are fronting death metal bands. For a genre that prizes growling in hellish tones, who better than a bunch of animals to make demons with a bad case of stomach upset noises, right?

Baltimore's Hatebeak are co-fronted by a parrot named Waldo, who channels banshees on the band's Reptilian Records single "God of Empty Nest"--a track (available online at reptilianrecords.com, where the band threatens, "The pecking order has been established!") that features "vocals" that sound like Waldo getting swallowed by a garbage disposal. Curious about how a parrot can go from the cages of Pet World to the pages of Thrasher, I e-mailed HB's Blayk, who plays with Waldo and fellow humans Mrk and Crs. Waldo has been on board since the band's inception a couple years ago, but Blayk said the bird--who always enjoyed mimicking--really rose to the occasion when he "learned the sound that the water makes going down the drain." Asked about the recording sessions, Blayk wrote, "We set [Waldo] up in front of a mic and kinda let him have at it." Waldo--a fan of Cannibal Corpse and Slayer, according to his owner--unfortunately can't perform live, as the club setting would be a cruel one for such a nervous animal who doesn't perform on command. But, as Blayk explained, "One generation after the next tries to top what has come before it, and this is our way of saying 'Top This!'.... All false metal bands beware."

Up next for Hatebeak is a split 7-inch with New York's Caninus, a grindcore act fronted by a pair of pit bulls named Basil and Budgie (www.pitbullgrindcore.com). The band has been around since 1992, but according to Caninus' Sudz, the human counterpart "just recently asked [the dogs] to step forward and handle the vocals. Humans are weak and singers are too flaky." Using rawhide as an incentive, Sudz said Caninus channel the dogs' love for such divergent acts as Covenant and Soft Cell into a meaty growl that could double as a Cujo soundtrack. "So many death and grind bands have singers trying to sound like animals," explained Sudz. "We figured why not give people the real thing?" Aside from furthering the future of grindcore, the band wants to increase awareness of animal rights organizations such as PETA and broaden the image of pit bulls--so that, like their human counterparts, even if they sound like they could rip off your nuts with their front teeth it doesn't actually mean they'll do it.

From death metal to the deadly serious: Music-related organizations are continuing to ramp up their efforts to kick George Bush to the curb this November. Local label Barsuk collaborated with Music for America and MoveOn.org for the Future Soundtrack for America, a compilation aimed at increasing involvement in elections (100 percent of the profits from the sales of the CD will go to progressive political nonprofits). The CD mixes indie and mainstream talent, with tracks from R.E.M., Tom Waits, and the late Elliott Smith, and includes the stunning "The Commander Thinks Aloud" by the Long Winters. The CD can be purchased alone or in the initial pressings of its companion book, The Future Dictionary of America, put together by McSweeney's Publishing.

No Vote Left Behind announced the lineup to their end-of-September fundraising shows (the 23rd to the 26th at various venues across Seattle). Pegged to help get people in this city off their asses to vote (Washington is considered a swing state this election) are Pearl Jam, David Cross, Mudhoney, John Doe, Kinski, and members of Nada Surf, the Long Winters, Low, and the Posies, among others. Check out www.novoteleftbehind.net for more info.

Also check out Hint Hint's website (www.hinthint.org) for a specific list of what was stolen--basically all of their equipment--from the Seattle band's van on a recent tour through San Francisco. If you're making a trip down south any time soon, keep an eye out at those pawn shops, will ya?

You should've heard by now, but the Cure's Curiosa show that was supposed to be at the Gorge on the 21st has been rescheduled for the Everett Events Center on August 31. According to House of Blues spokesperson Jeff Trisler, the Washington show wasn't canceled due to poor ticket sales ("Sales were solid at the Gorge, and we expected to welcome nearly 10,000 fans [that] weekend," he said). Instead, the official statement from the Cure camp was simply that frontman Robert Smith had to reschedule due to "personal reasons," and the upcoming show won't feature any of Curiosa's opening acts.

Show of the Week: Animal Collective. Even without their trademark costumes, this Baltimore group still created a cultish aura around their music, which throbbed like a jam band gone interesting. Their ambient, Sigur Rós-like undertones were shot with yelping, aggressive vocals and propulsive percussion, finishing up their show with a very orgiastic dance by the band. Headliner Black Dice's finish was no less impressive, though. The New York noise alchemists were so loud I actually witnessed a neon tube from Neumo's sign come crashing to the ground.


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