Is it me, or do the randomest things happen in the indie music scene? I, personally, have been quite disillusioned with the pop music machine for some time now, and have turned my fanship toward less conventional musicians such as Rasputina, and Linda Strawberry. Still, I must admit that this subculture of un-pop produces bizarrities such as the Young @ Heart Chorus or Beatallica, which simply cannot parade as pop music, even in the underground.
My friend Darren introduced me to Rasputina several years ago. This band, like Apocalyptica, relies on the skill of playing cello rather than guitars and bass. Unconventional, yes. Catchy and raw? You betcha. Where the girls of Rasputina write their music based on quasi-depression era themes, and base their looks on not-quite-16th-century bar wenches, the gentlemen in Apocalyptica made their place in the world by covering Metallica, hence the name of the band. Apocalyptica has also written some originals, and re-made songs like Hall of the Mountain King (which is bad-ass in their rendition).
Linda Strawberry, on the other hand, is a twenty-something, blue-haired beauty who simply does not fit into the molds or genres of the current machine that is the music industry. She had a contract brewing with Chrysalis Records that didn’t pan out because she would not compromise her art for the label. (Good girl!!!) You can read all about that here, or you can buy her CD here, and I don’t mind plugging her in my blog, because I’m proud of her for her talent in songs such as Orchid (which isn’t on your CD, Strawberry – we may have a score to settle here – pun intended), and her refusal to belittle herself to get more album sales. Let me not fail to mention, by the way, that the link on Orchid will take you to another fantastic blog. But, I digress. This girl has toured with many big-name bands, and has performed on several night talk shows, as you can read in the interview at the link above. She is chocked full of talent, and I’m really looking forward to all that she has to offer the world.
The Young @ Heart Chorus may be the least conventional example I have to offer here, as it is a group of 80+ singers that cover popular music from the seventies to current. Probably my favorite of their pieces is this little ditty, in which a gentleman on oxygen sings “Fix You” by Coldplay. Wow! What more can you say. These people pick the music deliberately to bring new meaning to familiar music. Before the above performance, I didn’t even really like Coldplay. Now, when I listen to them, I start to choke up, thinking about this performance. There are other songs that they have done, that are equally moving, and still some others that are just silly. I would encourage you to buy tickets if they ever come to your town, and to do more research on these senior rockers. Who ever said “youth is wasted on the young” obviously can’t see the obvious advantages of age.
Others of this hidden layer of “popular” music clearly define their own micro-genre. Many of these groups were started on a dare, or a drunken joke. The latter is the case for Beatallica. This is a group that attempts to blend the music of the Beatles with the style of Metallica. As unconventional as this may sound to you, they actually pulled it off quite well. My brother, who works for Keely Electronics, and chats with superstars on a regular basis, was highly skeptical about this melding until he heard Garage Day’s Night. You know, it’s not exactly like I would pop this in my CD player to create the mood for the moment, but I can’t listen to these guys without giggling with admiration for their drunken creativity and flawless execution of their goals. It’s actually pretty funny that I’ve singled out two groups that emulate Metallica. Huh. I didn’t even think about that until now.
I nearly forgot about one of my absolute fav underground indies! The unasked question is this: What do you get if you cross punk rock, Christian music, and bagpipes? And the answer that you didn’t know you wanted to know is this: Flatfoot 56. And, with that, I will leave you with this little excerpt from this innovative (if not half-loony) band of odd, God-loving musicians.
So, that’s it for now. Signing out. Time to listen to unconventional music that is still music, and not formulaic noise produced by the big music industry machine.