Went to see The Cardiacs play live on Friday and blimey they're good. I've never really heard of them before, but they've been going for about 30 years so they're one of those underground-ish institutions. Like EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten or Faust or (to a lesser extent) The Fall, they're one of those bands that invented their sound sometime in the 1970s and, without ever really making the mainstream, ploughed such a furrow that their influence pops up everywhere in the sounds of loads of cool bands.
The Cardiacs sound a bit like a cross between Frank Zappa and Ooberman, which is a bit of a superficial comparison but it'll have to do. I definitely think Ooberman must have been influenced by The Cardiacs, because they use a suspiciously similar combination of excitable psychedelic indie with twinkly floaty bits.
The other thing that's really cool is that, like Faust and EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten too, they're great live, a whole world away from those "aged rockers" (clichÃ© clichÃ©, sorry) who get back together and go touring for the cheques. I think if you never reached a kind of celebrity status, there's no temptation to fall back on past glories (or to be dragged back by them).
If you want to check that I'm not talking rubbish, check out the free Cardiacs MP3 downloads to hear what they do.