Ok guys, let’s talk steampunk. I promised a series of posts on the bands I saw this month at the Steampunk World’s Faire in Piscataway, NJ, which happens once a year in mid-May at the Raddison & Embassy Suites, and the midway between them.
Now, there’s a lot to the steampunk sub-culture, and I originally got into it because I like old books, and because top hats are cool. But, I stayed for the music. Now, without going into too much detail on things not directly related to music, Steampunk is a Maker Culture. It is all about ingenuity, innovation, and handmade STUFF. So, naturally, as an extension of that, there is also a indie music scene within steampunk that is certainly not insignificant, with some bands being cult famous the way New Kids on the Block was famous among 11 yr old girls (am I dating myself here. lol. Maybe I should have said Justin Beiber? Bieber? I am not googling how to spell his name, because google will then think I’m interested in what crazy shit he’s up to this week.)
Now, I wasn’t quite sure who to start with, what order to go in, so I’ve decided I’ll start with my first steampunk music love: Frenchy and the Punk.
I’m going to have to admit this post is going to sound a little like a fangush, because they are actually one of my favorite groups, period, steampunk or otherwise.
Frenchy and the Punk are a Punk Cabaret Duo. They play Steampunk Faires, Fairie Festivals, and all the various subcultures in between. They have an entire album dedicated to drum music (Elephant Uproar), and it’s fantastic.
Frenchy (Samantha Stephenson) is a French, British, has lived in Brazil…and all these things add up to a love of drums and a wonderful sense of lyrical wit, like in ‘Yes, I’m French’.
Scott Helland comes to us from the punk scene, where he was a founding member of the bands Outpatients & Deep Wound (and I literally just found out he played bass in both of these bands, which I did not know until this precise moment, as I checked the wiki page for the name of his other associated acts.) He also does some solo atmospheric stuff with a sort of celtic flair, and this is what I ended up buying at the festival.
I already own all the Frenchy & the Punk albums, and I really can’t justify buying a 3rd t-shirt, but they’re one of the reasons I go to the Faire every year, so I do like to try to buy SOMETHING every time. Since they haven’t released anything as a duo that I haven’t already picked up, I went in knowing Scott’s solo work was probably what I would be leaving at, and ended up buying Earthbound and Brocade, which are both atmospheric guitar albums.
I’m not disappointed. There’s such consciousness of music as art in all of these albums, and of a sense of fun, and of doing it all on your own, carving your own path, that they’re a duo I find it impossible not to love.
They had a special guest, Peter Ullrich, from Dead Can Dance, at this year’s set, who they will be joining up with for a show at Webster Hall on June 20th, so a good opportunity for anyone in that area who might want to check them out will be coming up soon.
And, they deserve their own post (and I have to get my butt to work), so just one band in this post.
Until Next Time, rockin’ out – steampunk style. 🙂
(PS: if anyone can tell me why sometimes my youtube links show up as videos, and other times just as links, I would love to know.)