Here at Pennington Trading House we have discovered many wonderful aspects of Steampunk that branch beyond visual art. Way beyond! As many of you know, the genre of Steampunk also engulfs musical groups as well as many other spheres of entertainment such as plays, books, and movies to name a few. In order to classify something as being truly or even remotely Steampunk in content the subject matter has to mostly (not entirely) consist of gears, clockwork, steam technology, Victorian themes and a few more complicated topics so for time sake I will only list these tops.
For music, Steampunk offers an outlet that stimulates your ears just like all music truly does. While many bands talk about romance or pain, Steampunk music does so with an added dimension of industrial lyrics and sounds. Personally, I find this branch of music both fascinating and enjoyable. So, without boring you longer, here is the first in many lists I hope to create about Steampunk music.
The Clockwork Quartet
One of the first bands we at Pennington heard. One of their more memorable pieces is called “The Watchmaker’s Apprentice” about a man who was replaced by a clockwork worker and the revenge he then exacted on the watchmaker. The theme is dark but you can’t help but feel happy when listening to the narration since the beat is kept throughout. With the time kept with a ticking watch consistently in the piece the song sounds almost like a dirge.
The Cog is Dead
Another quintessential Steampunk band. A good song about the tragic state of gear powered clocks is a song called “Death of the Cog” in which the artists condemn the inventor of the digital clock and blame him for “killing” the mechanisms that essentially made clocks enjoyable for most people. This band loves to utilize the accordion giving this particular song a very nostalgic feeling. I pity Mr. Hamilton.
Some say this Seattle based band is the top Steampunk band thus far. I suppose you would call them more mainstream, but they truly are a wonderful band. A very interesting song (for us anyway) is “Airship Pirate”. With many themes about Steampunk out there, dirigible + piracy = fantastical. And that is how the song sounds and feels. Violins mixed with incredible techno-dance beats give this song a beautiful sound. And this song doesn’t even define this band because they are so versatile they constantly surprise. Be on the lookout for this one.
An odd band to classify really. From one song to the next the music is both fascinating and complex while being very melodic. One piece which we couldn’t really clarify with a solid train of thought would be “Something Wicked (That Way Went)”. The song sounds remarkably like a circus tune (which puts us on edge) but it is nostalgic in this particular way of when entertainment was meant to be a spectacle.
Believe it or not! We never really characterized this band as anything close to Steampunk, but upon further research we found they have amazing similarities to the genre. They do love their Victorian fashion. One of their most famous songs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack is “Transylvanian Concubine” but that is only one of many songs that endured for this trendsetting band.
By far one of the most entertaining personalities in the scene. His stage and public appearance presence is that of a mad scientist bent on world domination. And therein lies his theme. His song “Lament For A Toy Factory” could be honestly be made into a musical in which we at Pennington would definitely watch! A mad scientist who works at a toy factory making “dangerous” toys and then set an invasion of his dolls on the factory…brilliant. The man even does his own propaganda…again, brilliant.
The Men That Will Not be Blamed for Nothing
A band after our own heart…named after blood stained graffiti that might have been discarded by Jack the Ripper. Though the name is a mouthful the music is even more so. It’s like The Sex Pistols with Steampunk themes and lyrics but then strumming guitar with spoken lyrics such as their song “Fox”. Just please listen to it and tell me what you think! I thought it was hilarious!
Professor Elemental This is really, really hard to define. Hip hop with British Steampunk lyrics. Anyone who can use the term ‘Queensberry Rules’ in a rap song is okay in our book. His song “Fighting Trousers” demonstrates just that. It sounds like the good professor is responding to a chap hop against the “nefarious Mr. B”, a gentleman rhymer. You simply must watch that video, it is amazingly funny and brilliant.
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
I just had to add his since Professor Elemental started his chap hop about him, he must be worth taking note. I didn’t even know there was a musical instrument called a banjolele for crying out loud! The song “Crack Cocaine” is beyond words. I’m still not sure if he’s for or against it but it’s worth taking a listen to.
At first we thought “Oh, how cliche!” but how wrong we were. The lead singer’s voice is very interesting to listen to. The songs are also very narrative such as “Mr. Soot’s Little Black Book” which sounds much like a street advertisement about the middle section. However, the violin does become a bit redundant but still quite intriguing.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the list. Note to everyone, this list is not in a particular order of worst or least. That is for you all to decide. Enjoy!
Steampunk Musical Artists Volume 2 is now up!