After spending so much time enjoying his recommendations in the awesome forum thread "the daily song you should listen too" -- Yes, I realize the error. Loosen up! It's part of the fun. -- I've come to truly respect long-time GWCer Pike's take on music. In short, he doesn't steal music, but he doesn't pay for it, either. Instead, he puts in a bit of effort to find and consume music that's offered freely by the artists.
Last week I asked him if he'd be willing to help some of us n00bs dive in by assembling an annotated playlist that we could find, download, and assemble ourselves into our own DIY mixtape. Thankfully, he agreed.
The result: a kick-ass ride through bit pop, nerdcore, VGM, geek rock, chiptunes, wizard rock, and filk that'll change the way you buy find music. Enjoy.
GWC Playlist #1 (by Pike)
John Peel's Voice, by Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson: Available at her offical site. Delia is best known for her work at the Radiophonic Workshop, primarily as the arranger of the Dr. Who Theme. She was a pioneer in electronic music at a time when that required an intimate knowledge of electronics.
Doctor Who - Slow 'n' Sleazy, by Anthony Perry: Available at the Whomix site. Whomix is an amazing collection of different takes on the Dr. Who theme. This one is a favorite of mine, because it slows it down to the point that it's barely recognizable as a Dr. Who remix.
Transformers, by Jarek Zabcynski: Available in the music section of tfcog.net (direct link). Jarek is a multitalented singer/musician/designer/car/robot. (And for those willing to spend a buck or two, Pike also recommends Meatbee's version of the Transformers theme, in both fully-instrumented and acoustic versions. Pike says, "A wonderful take on the original theme. Ever wonder what a 'transformative' work was? This is it. Pun not intended, but I'm not editiing it out." Sadly, though, while you can listen to all their music on their Myspace page, it's only available legally through iTunes.)
On Target, by Nullsleep: Available from his site. Chiptunes (making original music with old gaming electronics) is sort of the retro version of what Delia Derbyshire was doing fifty years ago. This was composed using a Nintendo Gameboy.
Livin' At The Corner Of Dude & Catastrophe, by MC Frontalot (feat. Brad Sucks): Available at Songfight. Songfight is an interesting site, and a great source of free music. The idea is that the title for a song is thrown up each week, and various musicians compose a song around it. Then the public votes for the winner. MC Frontalot (here helped out by Brad Sucks) is undefeated. This song is apparently about the webcomic Achewood. I don't understand any of it, but it's so great that it stands on its own.
How Did I Google This?, by Beatnik Turtle: Available from their Song of the Day site. In an apparent effort to make Jonathan Coulton (see below) look like a slacker, these guys put up a new song EVERY SINGLE DAY of 2007. A surprising number of them were very good. Since the new year, they've dialed it back to a leisurely song-a-week.
Tetris, by Powerglove: Available from their myspace page. Video Game Music (VGM) is almost the opposite of chiptunes. They take the tunes that were composed for 8-bit and 16-bit game systems and rearrange them for modern band instruments. This take on the Tetris theme is a shining example of the genre.
Blood Gulch Blues, by Trocadero: Available on their site. These guys are more of a normal indie band than the rest, but they do have an in with the Red vs. Blue guys. (If you have the first DVD, this is the title track.)
Eulogy, Book IV, by Philosopherock: Available on their myspace page. Philosopherock are a Wizard Rock band (a band that basis its material on the Harry Potter universe.) They hearken back to the older Filk tradition of folk songs about science fiction.
Thing a Week 29 - Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton: Available from his Thing A Week feed. If you've been on the internets lately, you've probably heard this. His year of "Thing a Week" posts ended in 2006, but it is still hosted on his site. He's a fave of geeks both for his subject matter and his Creative Commons licensing of his music.
Ginny and Me, by The Mudbloods: Available on their myspace page. The Mudbloods are another Wizard Rock band, but they take it to a different level. They use the source material more for metaphor and color than narrative. The results are sublime.
Alternate Ending, by The Grammar Club: From their debut album, Bremelanotide. The Grammar Club is a collaborative project of a bunch of internet-based musicians from disparate parts of the intarwebs. Essentially, it's a nerd music supergroup. They make beautiful music together, despite never having met IRL.
Thanks, Heather Garland, for the great CC-licensed photo. And thank you so, so much, Pike, for all the effort you put into this.