What? Let's face it: From his band's 1998 concept album The Bedtime Drama: A Petite Tragedy to his performance -- stark naked! -- in Las Vegas last year, no one may ever fully understand Of Montreal's oddball bandleader Kevin Barnes -- or his black transsexual alter ego, Georgie Fruit. And Of Montreal's ninth record to date, Skeletal Lamping, is Barnes at his zaniest. Performed and produced entirely by the frontman himself, Skeletal Lamping is spring-loaded with a myriad of melodies and genre-blending experiments, from hedonistic funk ("Id Engager") to Imagine-era John Lennon balladry ("Touched Something's Hollow"). Your feet won't stop moving -- even when your ears are freaking out.
Who? Though Barnes has been writing and performing the entirety of Of Montreal's albums since 2004's Satanic Panic in the Attic, the group started out as a trio in Athens, GA, with members of the local Elephant 6 psychedelic music collective fleshing out its lineup. Of Montreal are widely known for their extravagant live shows -- where Barnes is now joined by a five-piece band -- which feature elaborate costumes and props. Currently, Of Montreal's live lineup is comprised of Barnes, Bryan Poole (guitar), Dottie Alexander (keyboards), Jamey Huggins (drummer/multi-instrumentalist), Davey Pierce (bass), and Ahmed Gallab (percussion).
Fun Fact: Often to their fans' ire, Of Montreal have licensed their music for use in commercials by companies such as Outback Steakhouse, NASDAQ, and Garmin Global Positioning Systems.
Now Hear This: Of Montreal - "An Eluardian Instance"