The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

So what exactly is "steampunk" music? Abney Park seems to be the gold standard, but what does everyone else think?

Along the subject of music, what does everyone like?

And even if it may not be a steampunk band, what gets everyone in a steamy mood? ;)

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I have a preference toward Vernian Process, but I like Abney Park too. On other sites I have read some debates about whether just adding cellos and violins to rock music is enough to make it "steampunk," and others cite the more vaudeville sounds of folks like the Decemberists as more in keeping with the spirit. Either way, there's a growing amount of steampunk and neo-Victorian bands out there, and hopefully they'll find their way to the Steampunk Empire soon.
I would suggest checking out our musical collective: Gilded Age Records - http://www.gildedagerecords.com

Look at the list on the side of our MySpace profile for a bunch of contemporaries that we think you would also dig.
I shall send vous a proposal via your Official Aetheric Universal Realm Locator to propose Yours Truly's inclusion as well, for we are already fellow Sepiachordians...

Merci beaucoup for your consideration,

MADemoiselle Veronique

http://sepiachord.com/pha.htm
Hmm I listen to alot of different things, firewater, the decemberists, Rasputina, midevil babes, Abney Park, On the non strictly steampunk side I love tom waits,and old school music like Andrews Sisters to Louis armstrong.
I would suggest listening to our show, The Clockwork Cabaret, to get our take on steampunk music. It airs every Monday @ 11pm on WCOM 103.5 LP-FM, you can listen live via streaming at http://www.wcomfm.org or listen to it via podcast at http://clockworkcabaret.podhoster.com.
I personally believe that there is no such thing as "Steampunk" music. There is music that steampunk enthusiasts particularly enjoy, but they are all their own genre. I suppose really what I mean is, if a band is accepted by the Steampunk community then that's what matters, and trying to define the disparate artists beloved by the community into an overarching genre is silly and restrictive. Surely in the age of steam there is more than one musical genre allowed?

When it comes to musicians who bill themselves as Steampunk I am fond of The Extraordinary Contraptions. Abney Park look cool but they have maybe four songs that I actually like and the rest are rather uninteresting as far as I am concerned (but I realize that I am not a fan of industrial and dark wave in general, I'm more fond of twee and ska and dance rock, so my lack of enthusiasm is hardly an indictment of their music.)

Music that makes me actually think of steampunk worlds usually have a very vaudevillian influence. Several songs by Panic! At the Disco, The Scissor Sisters, Beirut, The Rosebuds and Rufus Wainwright, among others, apply here. Just a few songs, mind, not all the output of these bands and musicians put me in mind of Victorians on the moon and goggles. And of course I must here mention Jeffrey Straker (thank you, Penny Dreadfuls, for introducing me to his wonderful music!!)
I like Extraordinary Contraptions (obviously since I invited them to join Gilded Age Records). They make good pop/rock, but so far none of it really sells me on their Steampunk influences. I think that their sophmore effort will have a lot more variety, and I'm really looking forward to it. I believe they mentioned something about still finding their sound (though I may be mistaken, so don't quote me on that).

In general I agree with you, in fact what you said coincides with the definition I posted on last.fm for the Steampunk tag:

"Steampunk isn’t a genre of music. It is a genre of fiction. Some bands, and solo artists like to attribute its aesthetics to their music, either through visual, musical, lyrical, or thematic influences."

In general I think that their are existing genres that appeal widely to Steampunk afficiando's, but we don't have our own genre.
Well, their debut album was largely written before they ventured into the Steampunk subculture, I think they can be cut some slack there. We've accepted them locally, that has to count for something. Also, they happen to be very much fun to dance to, which is very important (to me). Besides, I like that all their songs have different influences, much as Steampunk can have influences from many different cultures, not just Victorian London. That just happens to be what most people go for.

I'm going to stick by my claim that we can have multiple genres of music in the Steampunk subculture -- and I do realize you just agreed with that -- because if all the "Steampunk" bands are Industrial or Metal or other flavors of Goth I will be so sad. I don't dislike those genres, but I crave variety.
Ok well that explain a lot about them then. Seems odd they would jump on the Steampunk thing before having an album that supports that transition. Don't get me wrong though. I like them regardless of whether or not they sound Steampunk. I mean Steampunk related music makes up about .10 percent of the styles of music I listen to anyways.

And speaking of variety in Steampunk, that's kind of one of the main reasons Evelyn and I organized Gilded Age. We have bands that fall under every genre you can think of and more. In fact there's only a handful of the 27 or so bands that fall under the G/I umbrella. We happen to have a lot of those influences, because both Martin and I are long time fans of classic Goth and Industrial. I mean one of my other projects is the website http://www.post-punk.com so it's pretty obvious where my inspirations come from. I'm totally comfortable with being called a Goth band. I believe AP have some issues with that, and are trying to distance themselves from that label. But we say bring it on. I'm honored to be compared to such magnificent songwriters as Dave Vanian, Peter Murphy, Siouxsie Sioux, Ian Curtis, etc.
They do have a very steampunk name, though, and that is in fact the original name of the band. And they use their eclecticism well. I mean, in their shows they have their story about time/space traveling, so every different song is while traveling to a different place. It works for them. Not that I am biased. At all. Yeah. Definitely not.

And yeah, I hear ya on not listening to much that is overtly "Steampunk"....but, that seems like it would be silly, just because I associate with the Steampunk subculture, to limit myself to musical output that I can call "Steampunk"...I don't think I could commit to any subculture that way. I mean, I even listen to country and hip hop, the two most reviled musical genres known to man. Which just goes to show that I have no taste am too open-minded to commit to any musical genre. Yes, that's it. =p

Haha, I'm sorry if I am being harsh about I/G music. They are not my favorite genres, but that doesn't mean I dislike them. They just seem to saturate the fantasy-world/geek cultures and I want to differentiate. Not that my opinion counts for much, if everyone else in the Steampunk world prefer harder sounds then I can't change that. Everyone else can listen to what they want, and I will be loudly opinionated that they should branch out.

I know, I have been slack about checking out the other artists on Gilded Age. I suppose I should do that before I continue my tirade on diversity. Ah, sorry for being so long-winded and opinionated. I am maybe sometimes a little rabid when it comes to music.
No problem. I also really like a lot of Country and Hip-Hop, I dare say there are even a few Hip-Hop artists I consider amongst my favorites of any genre. I.E. The Pharcyde, Lupe Fiasco, Deltron 3030, just to name a few. In country I like that more rambunctious bluegrass style and Spaghetti Western influenced artists. But I also have a soft spot for classic stuff like Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, etc.

I always tell people that there is no such thing as a bad genre of music. There are just certain artists one person or another will prefer over others. I too am a huge music nerd, but I wouldn't say music snob. Because I'm way too open to new things. However if I hear something that doesn't do anything for me, or outright offends my ears (lol) I know that particular artist probably isn't going to be someone I'm interested in researching further.

And yes, go right now and listen to the GAR mp3 player. Just browse through and click on random bands, you will hear all kinds of interpretations of 19th Century themes. I'd like to think that the song we have up isn't G/I at all, and has more in common with Dreampop/Shoegaze.
First, Dryope, you are welcome to being introduced to Jeffery Straker. He f****** rocks!

As for music, I am a big fan of it all being called sepiachord. And sepiachord.com has a lot of good stuff!

I find that things that are "my" steampunk music are just sort of ones that remind me of steapunk but not necessarily what others might consider.

HUMANWINE
Jason Webley
Dr Steel (very atomicpunk!)
Professor Elemental
some Dresden Dolls, some Amanda Palmer
Jeffery Straker
Vernian Process
World Inferno/Friendship Society
The Decemberists
Voltaire (particularly his latest album)
Luminescent Orchestrii
Two Man Gentleman Band
Gogol Bordello
Creature Feature
Circus Contraption
Vermilion Lies

um, and many many more. And if I had my iPod on hand, I could list more of them. ^_^ But I embrace all kinds of 'punk into steampunk, because I use it as an umbrella term. So deiselpunk, atomicpunk, gypsypunk, dark cabaret, dark circus, and so on are all happy times to me!

Much love,
Whisper

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