Steampunk & Other Tom-Foolery! Spotlight on: Humanwine

Humanwine (see also: The Folks Below)
Humanwine (see also: The Folks Below)

I have a dirty little secret: I was not in love with Humanwine the first time I heard them. It was spotty; I liked a song here or there (It’s impossible not to love Rivolta Silenziosa, it’s catchy and addicting and once it’s in my brain it will not go away for hours), but I didn’t really get Humanwine when I first heard them. They existed in a foreign and strange land I wasn’t sure what to make of, and so it took a live performance to really get a feel for them, and fall in mad-fan-love. I have a similar relationship to Green Day’s ‘Insomniac’ album, really. It took a roundabout, subtly animalistic sort of flirtation at first. So, when I say I love Humanwine, it is a love that is far more “Insominac” than “Dookie”, a drawn-out affair rather than a one-night stand. It’s very bohemian. I can not suggest enough that you give them not just a first chance, but a second, and a third. Space those chances out. Take your time getting your head into their universe; it’s worth it.

Humanwine’s music (see also: Folks Below) would be a really easy band to write off as “hippy stuff”, but it is so much more substantial than something to smoke pot to that I will frown at you sternly if I’m ever in earshot when you call it that. Fact: I have never smoked pot. Fact: I love Humanwine. Case closed.

Humanwine isn’t really steampunk. They’re more modern bohemia, less gears and goggles. And, that’s okay. In fact, it’s brilliant. These two worlds have a lot to lend to one another – like the crazy aunt who taught you how to survive the zombie apocalypse, and the cousin who built a fully functioning light saber out of an old toaster oven and the stack of CDs he didn’t need anymore once the world when digital. Neither of these things seem to have any intrinsic value, BUT when the Zombie Apocalypse actually happens, these are the people you will want on your team, just saying. 😉

Lyrically playful and sociopolitical, the music of Humanwine/Folks Below ranges from the sociopolitical ‘Big Brother’

to the creepy and intensely loveable ‘I want to eat your face’.

Through it all the stage dialogue is full of fun-loving and DIY culture, to the point that vocalist, Holly Brewer, wears this gnomish hat on stage (purchased from a neighbor, proceeds go to hospice):

Am I dating myself, or just crazy? This hat rockets me right back to my childhood watching David the Gnome, and I have no idea why.

Heavily tattooed and full of charm and general goodwill, Brewer really gives it all she has, from bouncing around the stage, to playing the hand trumpet, which is an aspect of the music that can only be appreciated live.

Now, I haven’t been a fan that long, I only discovered the band in 2014, an their 2014 SPWF performance rocketed them from non-entity in my universe to ‘OMG, Humanwine! :D’. Last year I purchased both albums. This year, I spent the day hunting down their booth so I could buy the t-shirt I couldn’t afford last year if I wanted both CDs.

Oh, and in case I didn’t mention it (I totally didn’t mention it), Holly Brewer is my favorite female vocalist. I didn’t actually have one before, but her voice  floored me when I heard it up close.

So! Humanwine. Listen to their music. Then, listen to it again. And, if you have a chance to see them live, DO IT! They will not disappoint.

Until Next Time, I don’t want to eat your face, my dear readers, but I still think you rock. 🙂

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