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Archive for the ‘Wizard Rock’ Category

Oh teh drama

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So the WRock scene has been seeing a little drama over the past couple of days. Luckily, it looks like it may(?) be cooling off, so it is a perfect time to chime in with my thoughts and throw a few logs on a dyeing fire.

For those not playing along at home, here’s the deal. Back on Wednesday MTV posts a year end list of the Top 10 Wizard Rock Bands. The lists generates the usual round of drama and what not. Honestly, if you’re a music geek you know the routine and can probably recite most of these messages by heart with out even thinking about it. For completeness sake, round ups can be found here (see comments) and here. So pull out your bingo cards and see how many squares you can fill in.

Of course the whole thing has the added dimension of WRock being a young idealistic scene who are experiencing this little holiday tradition for the first time. Given this, it is forgivable that they may take it all with a little to much seriousness. For those who are taking this list a little to seriously and for those who are now beating themselves up over the fact that they did take the list to seriously, some words of advice.

For those who are still taking the list seriously.

These lists are not monuments of journalistic integrity. They are in fact fluff pieces intended to pad out end of year extravaganzas/drive up circulation or page views by generating “controversy”/justify a complete unwillingness to work after Thanksgiving. They are nothing more then expressions of personal taste and opinion. And they are only that if the writer(s) can clear their hangover from the latest holiday party long enough to think for 10 minutes. Otherwise, they’re just scribblings, which the writer(s) may or may not disown upon re-obtaining sobriety.

And for those who feel bad for taking the list seriously.

The only people who actually care about these lists are geeks. Normal people glance at these lists and go “hmm.” Occasionally they may remark to a friend standing near by about how they disagree or agree with a certain choice. Even less frequently, they may allow such a list to influence their buying decisions for themselves. Much more frequently, they will allow the list to influence their buying decisions for people who they have no idea what to get for the holidays. (you didn’t think the timing of these things was a coincidence did you?) The people who study these lists? The people who argue over these lists? The people who become emotionally involved in how their most favorite band in the whole entire world only rated a number 3 on the list? Yeah, those are geeks. So, if you read the Top 10 list and thought to yourself, why didn’t they mention Oliver Boyd and the Rememberalls or the Mudbloods or some other WRock band, then you are in fact a geek. In fact, if you had any reaction above, “meh”. Then chances are you are also a big fat geek. It is OK, geeks are cool. And these lists are designed to trigger such responses in us. So, don’t sweat it and don’t beat yourself up. And forgive your friend who was dumb enough to think that Catchlove was rated to high or that the Malfoys were robbed by being rated lower then the Lupins. Its Christmas after all.

Honestly? I’m kind of happy over this thing. I’ve always kind of wondered in the back of my head about how the WRock scene fit into the over all geek scene. I mean they show so many traits, it seemed a no brainer, but I was still a little unsure. So, seeing the scene react the way they did, I had to crack a smile.

You are indeed one of us. And that makes my heart grow five sizes bigger.

Written by Matt

December 8th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock

Be Safe Bella

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Devin, of the WRock group The Owl Post, has a new project called Be Safe Bella. The project isn’t a WRock group, but it also isn’t a traditional “muggle” rock group either. Instead the project is inspired by the YA book series The Twilight Saga. It is a little early to say exactly where this project is going (the tracks are just demos thrown up to get feedback). I’m guessing though that the idea is to do something like WRock, but with a different series. I’m not sure if any other WRock groups have played around with this idea yet. And obviously she isn’t the first person to mine literary works outside of the Potter series for musical inspiration. I am curious about this development though.

I’ve been wondering now for several months about the future of WRock. The book series is over, and the movies have only 2 more years left. What happens to the scene after that? While WRock does seem to have only just hit its stride now that the series is over, with more bands then ever. It only stands to reason that it has either just now reached its peak, or soon will. With no new source material, unless JK goes back on her word or let’s other writers play in her playground, the fandom will surely begin to contract in size to something that is a bit more manageable from a social standpoint. And that decrease in size of the overall fandom, will likely have an effect on the WRock scene as well.

I doubt WRock will vanish completely. There will likely always be a handful or so groups that occasionally release material and will probably play at conventions and the like. The “scene” though is likely to be a little more fragile. Will the scene continue, or will it dwindle until it is a group of fans following the surviving bands? Not that there is anything wrong with this, but it does change the dynamics some.

Which is why I’m curious about Devin’s new project. There is the seed of an idea here that I think could bear some very interesting fruit. The idea, as I envision it at least, is that the WRock scene blossoms into something much larger and more expansive. Abandoning the limitations of music inspired just by the Potter series, the scene grows to incorporate a wide variety of books and literary series. Bands could exist that focus on a single series, like WRock is currently. Other groups may decide to branch out even further, covering a variety of books and series.

This idea would be a lovely expansion on WRock’s core idea of encouraging people to read, introducing people to new books and authors through songs. When I saw Devin’s announcement about the project one of the first things I did after listening to the music was to go looking for the series on Amazon.

The idea also gives WRock an existence that does not come with a time table. One that embraces its diversity in styles and genres, but also gives it a central theme around which to grow and evolve. It keeps the scene’s quirky sense of purpose and its unique approach to the geek identity, but also gives it room to grow and expand.

I’m not sure where Devin’s new project is going, but hopefully it does go somewhere. And hopefully it does not go there alone.

Written by Matt

December 6th, 2007 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Thoughts,Wizard Rock

WRock Events

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So last weekend saw two major events happening in the WRock world, one here in the US and the other across the ocean in England. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, we’ve got video from both.

Let’s start with the US.

The event was WRockstock, held just outside St Louis, MI in the Ozark Mountains. WRockstock was a two day WRock festival that included a huge line up of almost every major band in the scene. I haven’t come across a whole like of video from this show, but the fine folks over at WizRockLopedia have put up two fun clips from the event.

First up is a teaser video. Hopefully this means a lot more video is still to come from them.

Next, we’ve got the closing song from the event, Draco and the Malfoys, with literally everyone sitting in, doing a cover of Harry and the Potters’ The Weapon.

To give you an idea of the scope of this thing, there are even videos up on YouTube featuring people moping about not being at WRockstock. Here’s my favorite,

The second major show last weekend was Potter Rocks, the first multi-band WRock show to occur in England. Thanks to the fine folks over at Fandom Forecast there’s a lot more video of this event. For the full list of videos, check out this link. Here are a couple of favorites though,

RiddleTM doing Ode to Voldemort. It really should be illegal for women so young to have so much talent.

The Black Sisters doing Voldie Is Our King. I’m now officially nominating The Black Sisters as the UK’s answer to the Parselmouths. BTW, that’s a good thing.

Siriusly Hazza P, covering the Moaning Mrytles‘ Then I Died. Definite points here for the vocal arrangement.

OK, instead of just listing every video from the event (they’re all pretty cool) I’ll just bring it to a close with two collective efforts from the bunch,

First the Mysterious Ticking Noise. No, I’ve got no idea where this is from.

And because all major WRock events need a reference to Harry and the Potters, here’s a cover of Save Ginny Weasley.

OK, that’s about it from me for today.

Alright, one last video from Potter Rocks. Bella and the Deatheaters doing a song who’s name I don’t know.

Written by Matt

November 3rd, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock

Stop Standing Still

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So, last month I dropped a couple of hints about a top secret project that I’ve been working on. Well, today’s the day of the grand unveiling.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Geeks of all fandoms.

I give you…

Stop Standing Still!!!

For those that may be curious, Stop Standing Still is a site that I’ve set up to help promote the idea of geek culture. For now, it does this by providing a listing of geek centric shows that are happening around the world. Overtime, and after I develop an application with a better tool set for users, I’ll expand on this idea to include other things.

Heading over to the site, you’ll probably notice that the listings are a little sparse at the moment. This is just the beginning. I wanted to get a core list of artists into the system so people could get an idea of how things worked. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to work on expanding the offerings available for the geek music connoisseur.

Speaking of which, if you would like to help, please let me know. There’s a breakdown of the kind of help I’m looking for in the FAQ on the site.

OK, if you’ll excuse me, I’m kind of beat. Between the site and work and other things, I’ve been going non stop for the past 4 or 5 days. At the moment, I need to go to bed. More later.

Written by Matt

October 31st, 2007 at 9:18 pm

A manifesto

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Several weeks ago Z pointed Church and I to an article over at Something Awful, titled The 8 Most Awful Minorities. Specifically, this page which talks about nerdcore.

To quote,

The genre amounts to a bunch of people aping that MC Hawking joke site from like 1998, but that hasn’t stopped Internet losers from falling head over Mass Heals for nerd rappers. Get a microphone in front of a CS major and you can rest assured that an unintentionally racist pantomime of thug tropes will come spilling out of their mouths.

Church’s reaction was a simple and elegant, “Meh. That makes us even.” I got a bit more verbose.

While the original comments were pointed at nerdcore specifically, I see it as an echo of other questions that have been floating around recently as the mainstream and underground try to grapple with the question of how to approach the alien world of geeks. We have existed outside their view for so long that now that our culture is bleeding through into theirs, they don’t know what to do with it. Consider this my attempt at shining a little light on the issue

To whom it may concern,

This is ours. It is by us, for us, and about us. You are more then welcome to indulge in our world if you want, but you must understand that it is our world. There is no use in ridiculing our actions. If you do not understand what we are doing, then you are not one of us, and so this is not for you. Your ridicule only proves just how out of step you are with us. It only serves to show that you don’t get it.

What we do is not a joke, except when it is. It is not parody, except when it is. It makes sense to us and that is all it needs to do. This is not something that we will translate for you. We will not explain it to you. Not out of spite, but because it is something that you can only understand if you are one of us.

If you can not understand why we do what we do, then that is fine. This is not meant for you, it is meant for us. We do not ask you to understand. We do not ask you to come to terms with what we are doing. We simply ask that you leave alone those things that you do not understand. Pretend that we do not exist, that is fine with us. Do not try to explain us though. Do not try to understand where we come from or what motivates us. If you are not one of us, then you will never understand these things.

This is ours. It will always be ours. You will never grok it, unless you become one of us. Do not try to make it yours. Do not try to co-opt it for your own ends. If it inspires you to create your own thing, then fine. The thing that you create though is not the thing we have created. Do not pretend otherwise.

You are welcome to join us. Otherwise, leave us alone.

The Geek Community

I’ve created a page for the manifesto itself which can be found here. That link may be a little easier to send around.

Written by Matt

October 12th, 2007 at 10:13 pm

WRock Chicago

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So the WRock world is a giant ball of squee today as twenty four WRock bands simultaneously announced their involvement in WRock Chicago, possibly the biggest WRock show to take place so far.

Since Brian, from Draco and the Malfoys, has taken on the thankless job of helping to organize this undertaking, I’ll give them the link love, read the announcement here.

Here are the basic stats though.

The show will go down on Aug 6th, 2008. It is a pre-conference event for Terminus, a 5 day Potter conference in Chicago. The event will run from noon to midnight on the 6th and feature 25 bands in all. Twenty four bands are already booked, with the final band being decided by a contest in February.

Currently, tickets are only available to conference goers. Any remaining tickets will be available in the spring. The show itself will run $20. Registration for the conference between now and Halloween is running $140.

Looking over the official press release from Terminus, which you can find here, it looks like the day is going to break down as follows.

noon – 5PM
20 bands playing on two stages. (I’m guessing 20-25 minute sets?)

5PM – 7PM
dinner break

7PM – Midnight
5 headliners on one stage.

Here’s the breakdown of who’s playing,

Headliners:

Draco and the Malfoys
Harry and the Potters
The Remus Lupins
The Switchblade Kittens
The Whomping Willows

Also featuring:

The Butterbeer Experience
Catchlove
Celestial Warmbottom
The Chocolate Frogs
The Cruciatus Curse
Danny Dementor
Ginny and the Heartbreakers
Gred and Forge
The Gringotts Grrls
The Hermione Crookshanks Experience
The Hinky Punks
Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills
Lord Voldi and the Dark Marks
The Moaning Myrtles
The Mudbloods
The Parselmouths
The Quaffle Kids
Snidget
Thomas & Finnigan

So, who’s offering up some crash space in Chicago for me?

Written by Matt

October 1st, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock

Oh now this looks like fun

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The Pedia folks broke the story that a new WRock fest is in the works. And the best part is that it looks like it’ll be local for me! (i.e. general mid-atlantic area)

The name of the fest is Magus and it is being organized by Anna of The Grey Ladies, Grace of Snidget, and their friend Emily. According to the site they are shooting for an April/May ’08 timeframe for the fest.

According to this entry on the fest’s web site, these are the band’s currently showing interest in the project:

  • Catchlove
  • The Cedric Diggorys
  • The Chinese Chomping Cabbages
  • The Grey Ladies
  • Gryffindor Common Room Rejects
  • The Gryffinpuffs
  • Honeydukes Finest
  • Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills
  • The Morphing Werewolves
  • Snidget
  • Tonks and the Aurors
  • The Trace
  • The Whomping Willows

You can be damn sure that I’ll be following the developments of this little story and keep you up to date with any new news I find out.

Written by Matt

September 17th, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Posted in News,Wizard Rock

Riddle(TM)

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So a little while ago I did a run of posts talking about Wizard Rock groups that had some serious potential. Thanks to Squib Girl I’ve found another, Riddle(TM).

I could sit here and go on and on about the talent to be found in this piano based singer/songwriter duo. I could talk about the beautiful vocals. Or the expressive arrangements. Honestly though, you just need to listen to the songs and the degree of talent these two sisters have is obvious.

I definitely recommend checking out the song For Jo (lyrics here). A heartfelt thank you to JK Rowling for writing the Harry books. Look at Me is another great song, though it is something of a spoiler for those who are still savoring the final book. Hey Mr Ollivander is also a solid, some what more up beat, track.

Once you listen to the tracks at their site, it also shouldn’t be terribly surprising that they don’t just do WRock. You can find their muggle music here.

So go check out Riddle(TM).

Written by Matt

September 1st, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock

Another video

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Well, Church was able to squeeze another video from the WRock show in Vienna, VA a couple of weeks ago. Sounds like there may be one or two more. I’ll post if they pop up.

Written by Matt

August 25th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock

WRock video

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I just updated my write up, but in case you missed it. Here is some video that Church shot at the show this weekend.

Whompy:

Lupins:

Written by Matt

August 14th, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Wizard Rock