In recent years, the Stone’s Throw Records has mutated from a label catering solely to dusty-fingered beat freaks to an altogether more psychedelic proposition. It was always going to end up that way, given label founder Peanut Butter Wolf’s proclivity towards 70s psych samples, loud shirts, loud weed and loud drums. The rap junkies can still be appeased by Stone’s Throw artists like Mndsgn, but now weirdoes like Teeth Agency are getting their chance to shine. Teeth Agency are Chicago visual artist Mariano Chavez and London producer and touring Gorillaz member Jesse Hackett. Their latest video for the track “Do You Like Bunnies”, from their new album You Don’t Have To Live In Pain, perfectly encapsulates their approach. As Chavez is an artist well known in the galleries of Chicago, all videos and artwork for the project are aesthetic with a capital A.
The song smoothly slides into the group’s self-described “Lizard lounge jazz French noir sleaze” sound and, being a sucker for unnecessarily wordy genre names, I was already on board before the first saxophone note gently breezed within earshot. When the lyrics “Do you like bunnies” were wrung out with such hilarious yearning, the deal was sealed. Having tried out the 360° experience in their previous video for “No Laughing No Crying”, Teeth Agency opt for the limits of our immediate eyeline for this video, but make it as mind-expanding as possible within these parameters. The video is animated in an unsettling, cut-and-paste style, bringing to mind what Terry Gilliam would have created for the Monty Python title sequence if he had access to modern techniques.
The plot is simple: a nervous man reads a newspaper on a bench while hypno-bunnies lurk in the bushes and nearby men are attacked by killer ants. The bunnies then take over and the nervous man strips to his boxers. It definitely feels like less of a “music video” and more of a “visual art piece” but there isn’t a section for that on this website. The vibrant yet vaguely creepy animation aligns perfectly with the music, essentially easy listening but with a mild sense of dread and unease, which is missing from a lot of easy listening these days.
We need more of the kind of absurdist humour displayed by Teeth Agency in modern music, it could be just the antidote to get us through these Troubling Times™. As well as the lounge sleaze of “Do You Like Bunnies”, their album explores crypt rock, stoner doom psych, swamp sounds and surrealist soul. If that’s not enough to tempt you to grab their album right here, there may be a vital piece of your soul missing.
Connect with Teeth Agency: Website
Connect with Mariano Chavez: Instagram
Connect with Jesse Hackett: Instagram