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Why Live Music? A Serious Question

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Your car stereo. Your computer. Your MP3 player. Your phone. We’ve never had more technology enabling us to listen to music, and that technology has never been more mobile. And with services like Tunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp Last.fm, GrooveShark, et al, we’ve never had more ways of discovering new music. And due to incredible advancements in personal recording technology, it’s never been easier for amateurs to produce songs on our own, load them on every service and sync them to every device. There is recorded music everywhere, and everyone is making it.

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The Art of Distortion: Tradition & Reaction in Folk & Punk

A fiddler tunes. A woman on upright bass stretches her hands. The banjoist adjusts his strap while the mandolinist takes a drink. In this moment before a song, the possibilities of sound are only as limited as the experience and the vision of the artists onstage. From the lineup of instruments, you might expect a traditional bluegrass tune from such a group, but why not arrangements of Bach or a Rush cover or a surreal ballad in the style of David Bowie?

An instrument can really play any type music you make it play. It’s true!

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Photo: Lou D'Aprile of Louography

The Majestic Bellowphone - Hungarian Dance #5

My friend Len Solomon writes: "Here's a clip of the Hungarian Dance #5, performed on the Majestic Bellowphone. The piece was originally scored for 4-hand bellowphone, but I come to find out that I'm the only one who plays this contraption, so I used my version; adapted for 2 hands and a foot."

Seattle rock show! 10/13: Ghost Town Gospel, The Mongrel Jews, and Thee Hobo Gobelins

 

 

This weekend (Sunday, October 13th) in Seattle THREE count 'em THREE of SPWS's favorite bands are playing together! The Mongrel JewsGhost Town Gospel, and Thee Hobo Gobbelins are going to be rockin'  it up at Ballard's 2 Bit Saloon. I'll be there, jumping around and having a good time, and if you're in the area (or not! I flew here! In a plane!) you should come check out a great folk-punk-hobo-rock-hoedown. Info here. 

 

Dungeons & Dive Bars: A Music Industry Role Playing Game

The second in a series of articles from our friend Aaron Shay! - Jake

Welcome, dear adventurer, to the Land Of Music! A mystical and mysterious land where you are one of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of musicians are battling the beasts of poverty, hunger, debt, poor credit, rocky relationships and bad business practices, all in the name of someday succeeding. And EVERYONE can succeed, if your ambitions are humble enough!

Work together as a tight-knit community of like-minds, or against the other players as cutthroat, solipsistic prima donnas to achieve (and maintain) a Living Wage! Will your class be acoustic, or electronic? Will you incessantly play concerts or will you be a mysterious hermit who records one insanely good album every decade? Will you live in the quaint charm of Smalltownsbergville, the populous but unfashionable Middle City, or the overwhelming bustle of Mecha-Metropolis? The path towards achieving a Living Wage is yours to choose! 

Photo: JessyLou D'Aprile of Louography

Not Enemies!

Brand new from my bestie Nathaniel Johnstone and 2Tall Animation comes this re-imagination of a childhood classic!

The Music & The Theory: An Introduction To Your Place In Musical Culture

A big welcome to our newest writer: Aaron Shay!  - Jake

Imagine a world without a record player. A world without recording studios, or record labels, a world without even radio to play us the music that we’d like to hear. Imagine such a world.

Is that world depressing, or is it empowering?

...

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Orchestrions

"An orchestrion, if you’re wondering, is like a souped-up player piano from the early 1900s. These automatic music machines encased in beautiful wood cabinets don’t just play piano but also drums, bells, and pipes that can imitate violins as well as woodwinds and horns. As MP3 players get smaller and smaller, certain people are rejecting this miniaturization of the music-listening experience and full-on embracing orchestrion nostalgia."

Collector's Weekly has a lovely piece up about these automated music machines.  

If you are interested in these machines I'd also suggest that you check out House on the Rock outside on Madison Wisconsin where you will find several mamoth version of these mechanica music boxes include the very steampunk Organ Room.

'International Orange', first new Firewater album in 5 years, out now

I honestly lament not finding and listening to Firewater sooner- I think my musical life suffered for their absence.  I'm a recent convert- maybe 2 years- but others have been waiting far longer to hear more of the klezmer-gypsy-rock that Todd A. and the slew of amazing musicians create.  It is powerful stuff; This is My Life, Borneo, and Some Kind of Kindness fequently gracing my speakers and playlists.  Just by the feeling it gives I'd liken them somewhere between Morphine for haunting lyrics, Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box for use of Klezmer and Gypsy stylings. International Orange, out today, does not dissapoint. It's got the same verve, using hints of several genres to accomplish it's sound. Somehow even the sad, slow songs have a beat you can move to.    Link to the album on iTunes,    link to the band's site

My kind of Steampunk

From The Men That Will Not Be Blaimed for Nothing. This is how I like my Steampunk. \m/

Super Adventure Club, I can't stop rocking out to you.

Are you feeling down in the dumps? Not feeling so awesome in your yoga pants these days? Do you have a serious lack of rocking the [bleep] out? Not enough zombies or unicorns romping through your music library? Well, there's good news, bucko. Super Adventure Club.

I'd liken it as pop-dance punk rock, kind of. Like if the Aquabats went to Tokyo, got down with some pop-electronic super-happy cosplay chicks from Harajuku, and then they raised their sexy music baby in San Francisco. Look, just listen to it. It's amazing. 

Their first album, ÜNTZ, is available on iTunes; their second Expensive, is available on BandCamp. If you have any worry that you might not have enough awesome any time soon, I'd get both. 

Here's a little taste. Taste it. 

Splendid!! Professor Elemental

I was sorely dissapointed that I was not able to spend  time with the lovely Professor Elemental at the Steampunk World's Fair this year. I only got the briefest of "Hellos!" in as we passed in the hallway heading to our events. It's nice to see that the Professor is doing well, in fact, everything seems SPLENDID!!

The Oomphalapompatronium!

My friend and fellow citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Len Solomon demostrates his Oomphalapompatronium! 

The Bodice Rippers: EP volume II

Previously blogged band the Bodice Rippers have a new EP out, and it is wonderful. Vocalist Megan Fenske  throws herself full-on into her vocals- singing their sinister, strange, poetic lyrics with rich and gritty passion.  I last compared them with Decemberists/Tom Waits, and while that still holds true, they've matured and added jazzy/swing sound that I find totally irresistible. I want to dance-flail around, swinging arms and stomping feet when it's on. EP Volume II is on Itunes for a meager six bucks, and it's worth every penny. Link to their Itunes store, and their Facebook page.

 

Blackbird Orchestra at SteamCon II

Update: It's even better because I just found out that Unwoman (Erica Mulkey) is playing 3 songs with Blackbird Orchestra at SteamCon!
OMG! Squee! her
Casualties and The Keys albums have been in my rotation since she issued them.

Oh Cool! I've just discovered that Blackbird Orchestra is playing SteamCom II next week (Sunday 1-2 PM in the Cabaret) so I will be able to see them live! I am really enjoying their latest Fables and Fields Green You should probably buy a copy now lest they sellout at SteamKaaahn!.

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