As the co-creator of one of Steampunk’s first major music festivals, I have loved Steampunk music for a decade and a half now. The range of creativity, passion, and musical ability within Steampunk’s musical culture is, like Steampunk itself, limitless, brilliant, and inspiring.
After a long winter, we’re coming towards what looks like a beautiful spring, and I am chuffed and getting ready to go out and get things done! And in thaat spirit, I’d like to share with you….The Top 5 Steampunk Songs To Get You Pumped.
5. Frenchy & The Punk, “Dark Carnivale”. Frenchy & The Punk are Steampunk’s #1 cabaret performers, and when I say “cabaret”, people tend to think of lounge singers. Nothing of the sort, though – Scott Helland’s guitar may now reflect a rippling, fast melodic tone, something akin to Queen’s Brian May, but his punk rock roots are evident in the pace and energy of the music, and Samantha Stephenson’s beats and voice might be called hypnotic – if it were the goal of the hypnotist in question was to get you on your feet and moving. The song is neither fast or slow – it moves with the inevitability of night, falling slowly over a mad scientist’s lair.
4. Abney Park, “Building Steam”. Abney Park are Steampunk’s prototypical band, and continue to be one of the most recognized. What would you call the multi-instrumental attack of Nathaniel Johnstone, paired with that relentless drumming and Captain Robert’s rapid, calm, yet urgent vocals? If there were ever such a thing as “attack accordion”, you can hear it in this track.
There’s a good live recording, but it’s a dark, and I really loved this AMV version, so that’s the one I chose for you.
3. This Way To The Egress, “Pound Your Bones”. My kudos to whoever caught this live performance – I don’t know if that Youtuber is a professional, or a very gifted amateur, but if this performance doesn’t wake you up, please see a medical professional, because it is possible you are dead. Just look at the joy on the faces of Sarah Egress and Tyrant Taylor Galassi. These are people who can’t help dancing to their own music. I can’t describe this Klezmir-mazurka-rock in any adequate way; just watch it for yourself!
2. Professor Elemental, “Fighting Trousers”. Because Steampunk needed an old Sherlock Holmes-style bareknuckle beat-down rap dis video, in bombastic 1880s style, and The Professor was there to give it to us. Or, as he puts it:
“Don’t look around sir, I’m speaking to you
Roll up your shirt sleeves, Queensbury rules
Never test professors with the cleverest wits
Let’s settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks.”
1. Dr. Steel, “Build The Robots”. Who was Doctor Steel? He appeared, he set the Steampunk music world on its ear, and he vanished, cryptically, with barely a word, and we haven’t seen him in years. But we still have his legacy of musical dominion, including this unbelievably catchy tale of one man’s humble quest to create a nice little endless army of robot soldiers and take over the world. Yes, I totally know that this fan-made video is quite old and not sophisticated by modern standards; but it’s a great, creative use of old-school video animation, and be forewarned: you may find yourself marching around your dwelling place for the next hour or two, randomly shouting, “BUILD THE ROBOTS! BUILD THE ROBOTS!”
Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks). He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.