Flyer of the Week: Woolly Bandits and the Ratz

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Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 9:02 AM

There are many different approaches to the art of the flyer, as many as there are mediocre photoshop hacks and "artsy" fonts. One glimpse of the flyer wall at Amoeba Records offers proof: between the cheesy rave flyers, half-assed Pen & Pixel ("Your music sounds hot, so now what?") ripoffs and artfully done mini-productions, it's sometimes hard to see the trees for the forest (and what a waste of trees).

But then, of course, one specimen shines through the four-color glossies, and it reads like a secret message:

click to enlarge IMG00152.jpg

There is no bullshit on this flyer. No nothing. Pure, beautiful minimalism. The reader must fill in the blanks. Who are Woolly Bandits? What do they look like? Are they a metal band? An art-punk band? Do they were neon Ray-Bans or wraparounds? Are they stupid and broke, in which case the b&w Xerox is an act of desperation -- PLEASE COME SEE OUR SHOW. WE CAN'T EVEN AFFORD TWO-COLOR FLYERS. Are they historians interested in harkening back to a simpler punk rock time before Paul Frank co-opted the rallying cry of:

click to enlarge now_start_a_band_tee.jpg

Were they so desperate to get the word out about this show that the medium was way less important than the message?

Probably a little of all of it. Woolly Bandits are a rock-hard garage band who have served as Sky Saxon's (he of the Seeds) backing band, have records out on the legendary Dionysus label and whose less-hurried aesthetic is more of the Rat Fink variety:

click to enlarge 15729764.jpg

The beauty of this flyer is its unspoken acknowledgment that design-wise, culture has jumped the shark, has relinquished the beauty and urgency of a handwritten missive to the high-gloss, overproduced message. In other words: if you have to wrap your message in a piece of candy to get it heard, is it a message worth paying attention to?

And who are the Ratz? Are they the same pre-Quicksilver Messenger Service band? Or are they a group whose message is so important that it doesn't matter that you can't find anything out about them online? How intriguing is all this?

Apparently the two bands are playing at the Redwood Bar tomorrow night.

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