Friday Music

Pretty extensive entry this week, so here we go:

I’ve been dipping into an unfamiliar pool — steampunk music. I’ve been a fan of steampunk since well before it had a name, and now it’s experiencing a bit of a popularity explosion, including an extension into the musical genre. Abney Park is a Seattle-based industrial/electronic/gothic band — who have the best goddamn website I’ve ever seen, EVAR (no, seriously, go check it out). The particular angle they’ve taken is Steampunk — the band’s conceit is that they’re the crew of the airship Ophelia. The music is quite good as well. I’ve linked two tracks from their website:

I first thought that this song was going to be a cover of the Bauhaus track of the same name, but no — it has no connection beyond the shared title. Abney Park – “Stigmata Martyr”

This track starts with a nice synth approximation of strings and horns before mixing in more electronic sounds. Abney Park – “The Wrong Side.”

Both tracks are great, but I’d love to see the steampunk aesthetic reach further into the goth/industrial sounds — Hmmm. Something for me to work on, perhaps.

Moving away from Steampunk, but still in the realm of technology — the new iPod Nano ad features an earworm that I had to hunt down. Irresistably catchy work from a Canadian singer-songwriter, and former member of Broken Social Scene: Feist – “1, 2, 3, 4.”

Leaving the Steam entirely, but moving into another variety of punk — the Cyber kind. One of my favorite tracks from the Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex soundtracks: Origa – “Rise.”

A while back I posted “Thou Shalt Always Kill” from the UK experimental hip-hop outfit Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Here’s another single from the same guys, and, in my opinion, of similar quality: Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – “The Beat That My Heart Skipped.”

Another group that gets the “experimental hip-hop” label, although really it’s more a melange of hip-hop, rock, electronic and more…although without a doubt experimental. The album, For Hero, For Foolis a concept work, following the epic adventures of a character they call “Hour Hero Yes.” Subtle – “The Mercury Craze.”

A Mountain of One (AMO1) is a UK-based group that does modern progressive/psychedelic and has been called “the sound of England dreaming.” Their debut album, “Collected Works” (gathering all of their 12-inch singles) is out next week. I am so glad that I stumbled across them this week. A Mountain of One – “Can’t Be Serious.”

Occasionally, I am reminded of just how good an album Paul Simon’s Graceland actually is…the mix of Simon’s poetic lyrics with the sounds of South African pop music of the 80s was a winning combination — and this praise comes from a person who knows and likes the real stuff (Simon caught flak in some circles for co-opting the South African sound). Hard to pick a song to feature, since they’re all so good, but I know that loves this one, and it features some of my favorite lyrics on the entire album: “She looked me over and I guess she thought I was alright….Alright in a sort of a limited way for an off night.” Paul Simon (feat. The Gaza Sisters) – “I Know What I Know.”


12 Replies to “Friday Music”

  1. Who am I…

    to go against the wind? ;-)

    Thanks & I’m in agreement w/ you about Graceland. What I heard was that most of those artists were actually thrilled to be able to work w/ PS.

  2. Glad to see that you’ve discovered (Leslie) Feist. Terrific Ottawa musician, and has a unique sound of her own.

    Btw, GMS, I’m wondering, comics-wise, what you think of Jim Shooter becoming the writer for Legion of Super-Heroes again. Any thoughts? I’ve posted mine on my blog, of course, along with links to two interviews.

  3. been meaning to ask for while now…

    How exactly you’re hosting these songs. Do you have a server of your own or do you have a place where you host them remotely. Being similarly musically ececlectic, i am tinkering with the idea of doing a music day on my LJ too.

  4. Re: been meaning to ask for while now…

    Most of the links are hosted elsewhere on the internet — artist websites, record-label sites, other mp3 blogs, etc., which I discover in my daily meanderings (going through mp3 blogs has replaced radio for me as my source of new music). A couple of tracks every week are hosted on my own server.

  5. The Levitz/Giffen period was my favourite period as well, although the Shooter period of the 1960’s was the point that influenced a lot of LSH history that came after it.

    Did you read the Shooter stuff back then?

  6. The Abney Park stuff is fab. What especially struck me was a piece of synchronicity: Magdalene Veen. I’d seen her before via great photos taken of her that Warren Ellis linked to in his feeds. That she’s in this band is gravy.

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