Steampunk music discussion

There are a bunch of essays on Steampunk at the website this month. A few of them have to do with Steampunk music, and have great comment threads. The first music post is by Brian Slattery: What’s the Soundtrack of Steampunk?

At this point, steampunk’s visual and literary aesthetic has become specific enough that it’s useful as a generic and critical term. Its musical boundaries, however, appear to be fuzzier.

My contribution?

As a DJ for steampunks in Second Life, I once somewhat tongue-in-cheek blogged:

“What exactly is Steampunk music?”

Performer self-identification? Minor key and moody vocals? Retro-futurism? Appropriation of historic styles? Subject matter? Fan appreciation? DJ whim? Unusual instrumentation? Eccentricity? Goth musicians looking for a niche? Do-it-yourselfism? All of the above? Other?

I agree with @25 AeolianDissent that “steampunk seems to be based more around an idea than a music genre,” but dissent (groan!) from his conclusion that steampunk music doesn’t make sense.

The ideas that I think are at the heart of much steampunk music include:

* transgression
* anachronism
* appropriation of world influences
* diy
* post-modern winking at the listener

Some groups and musicians I would add to those previously mentioned (many of which I haven’t heard of before and will eagerly look for):

Clare Fader
Dandelion Junk Queens
Diego’s Umbrella
A Hawk and a Hacksaw
Hungry March Band
Jonathan Coulton
Max Raabe und das Palast Orchester
Ode Hazelwood
They Might Be Giants
Vermillion Lies
White Ghost Shivers

Why, yes, I do have peculiar taste in music. Why do you ask?

So my particular list leans towards dark cabaret, gothic roots music, and Klezmer fusion.

I also suggest that any band that produces acoustic pop music using the accordion, tuba, hurdy-gurdy, or jaw harp is pretty damn punk without being, you know, punk rockers.