Archive for May, 2012

cracksman betty LIVE on bandcamp

Cracksman Betty, alternate history songs of riot and revolution, is live on Bandcamp now. The album of not-entirely-traditional songs we never really intended to make is online, 13 tracks on the web, including “The S-100 Bus” (also available as a free download) as a bonus.

I really said the best of what I think I have to say on Friday. This is CRIME and the Forces of Evil – or various subsets thereof – not taking everything quite so seriously. It’s an alternate history lesson, it’s kicking back in the studio just to have fun, it’s riot girls dyking our way around Vancouver starting fights (not that I’d know anything about that, aheh), it’s cyborgs doing it for the lulz…

…and it’s kicking out some good old alternate-world Cascadian piracy, riot, and revolution folk.

It’s also a good lead-in for the Faerie Blood/Bone Walker soundtrack we’ll hopefully be doing in a couple of months; that’ll be somewhere between this and Dick Tracy Must Die in tone, depending upon where you are in the books. 😀

This new album leads off with a brand new track, “Song for a Blockade Runner/High Barbaree,” something you’ve never heard. It’s a new song, with new music, telling a different version of the High Barbaree story, one with enough references to the original to mention it – but it’s from the pirates’ side, and set in the Republic of Cascadia’s 1973-1974 war for independence. Hit PLAY now:

Oh, if you bought the pre-remaster Cracksman Betty for money, at a show or something? Contact me. Send me a photo with your CD. I’ll throw you a download code.

I worry a little about this album, I admit it. We’re mostly about the elfmetal, and the rage. This has elements of that, but it’s a different angle, less complex, and absolutely as sedate as we’ll ever get. I don’t want people to think we’re losing our edge. Din of Thieves will disprove that in 2013, but that’s a year away.

Despite that, as much to my surprise as anybody else’s, I’m convinced of this album. My beta listeners certainly were. If you forgot the reactions I quoted, here they are again:

everything I hear in these tracks is totally Next Level from what came before.

…followed by an assortment of “impressive,” “SO MUCH BETTER” [capslock as per original], “awesome,” and “I love Dalek Boy so much.”

I hope you do, too. Hit PLAY. Find out. Tell your friends.

what is cracksman betty

Put simply, this is the album we never meant to make. It was a record-something-every-month project, named for a safecracker (a “Cracksman”) and a blackjack with a woman’s name (a “Betty”), adorned with pirate skull and burglar’s tools, and we finished it up last December… or so we thought.

But the thing is, I went back and gave those recordings another good hard listen, and realised that I’d improved a lot both as a vocalist and an engineer over that year.

So I decided to clean it up, and do some new vocals, and oh, I can totally make Dalek Boy funnier, and Old Black Rum can be a lot more rowdy, and oh, I have this new song (“Song for a Blockade Runner/High Barbaree”) that’ll fit in just great, and…

…somewhere along the way, this became an album. It became a piece, a thing, not just an assemblage. Not a complex a piece as Dick Tracy Must Die or far-reaching as Din of Thieves will be, perhaps, but an entity, a set.

‘Or,’ I asked myself, ‘did it? Really? Am I just making that up? Let’s ask some beta listeners.’

And the first response back was:

everything I hear in these tracks is totally Next Level from what came before.

…followed by an assortment of “impressive,” “SO MUCH BETTER” [capslock in the original], “awesome,” and “I love Dalek Boy so much.”

So I guess I wasn’t making it up!

But what is it? Here’s the track list:

  1. Song for a Blockade Runner/High Barbaree
  2. Captain Kidd
  3. Paddy Murphy (Victory Boulevard Style)
  4. I’m a Rover (Live in Juanita Bay)
  5. Columbia (Scene from a Revolution)
  6. Danny Boy (Instrumental) (Live at El Dorado)
  7. Red is the Rose (with Leannan Sidhe)
  8. Great Big Sea
  9. Old Black Rum (West Coast Style)
  10. Dalek Boy (Cyborgs Behaving Badly)
  11. Red is the Rose (Live in Studio – bonus track)
  12. Dalek Boy (Radio edit – bonus track)
  13. The S-100 Bus (Live in studio – web-only bonus track)

I think it’s CRIME and the Forces of Evil – or various subsets thereof – not taking everything quite so seriously. I think it’s an alternate history lesson, and it’s kicking back in the studio just to have fun, and it’s riot girls dyking our way around Vancouver starting fights (also fun), and it’s piracy, and it’s kicking out some Cascadian folk and cyborg lulz.

And it’s dropping on Monday. Of that much, I’m sure. 😀

oh so many

Wow, I hope some of you were there for Monday night’s The House of Julie with Julie Cascioppo – it’s hard to tell, since we filled Chapelspace, and that’s a pretty big room! Thanks again to Julie for having me, and Bill White for handling booking.

 
Meanwhile, it’s Wednesday, May 2nd, and the new album – the remixed/remastered/rerecorded Cracksman Betty – drops Monday. So many last minute things to do!

I wanted to mention a few of the guest performers who are on this album, so I’ll start with them.

 

  • Angela Korra’ti of Twelve Good Measures provides some key backing vocals on the rewritten “Old Black Rum (West Coast Style).” This is the same Angela who has this Kickstarter project running to get her fantasy series back into print after her original publisher folded. If you haven’t seen that, go look. We’re doing the soundtrack album, which is going to be awesome.
     
  • Paul Johnson – who spends most of his time as a visual artist – provides the raw voices for MC Dalek and MC Cyberman on the track, “Dalek Boy.”
     
  • And finally, Leannan Sidhe provides lead vocals for “Red is the Rose,” probably the most traditionally-performed song on the album. Her band is currently working on their second studio album of dark and reinterpreted faerie tales. Check that out, too.

I have to admit, being mostly into elfmetal, I’m a little hesitant about doing a “traditional” album. But it’s not entirely traditional – not with all the Republic of Cascadia alternative-world material! And it’s a good lead-in to the Faerie Blood/Bone Walker soundtrack.

There’ll be new music on that one, too. Elfmetal-folk hybrids! Here, have a teaser, a snip from a rough draft of “Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now:”

…I’m not afraid of your power and
your stupid money’s no good here because
a new millennium of pointless grudges
Is sim!ply! not! my! idea! of fun! I’m gonna

START!     by ignoring all your strictures
START!     by sitting all this out
START!     by bailing on this conflict
START!     by building my own map…

Yeah. That. 😀

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