In the immortal words of Monty Python, “And now, for something completely different!”

I enjoy music, but it has never been one of those big things for me.  I’m not the guy that can sit down and name ten albums that have changed my life or has a song that marks the important occasions.  It isn’t that music doesn’t move me, because it does. I freely admit to thrashing about as a young adult to the sounds of Nine Inch Nails and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.  I get my geek on with books and reading.  Music, at most, has been a weak third place for my attention.  I never truly connected with any artist or song at the most primal level that I hear most people speak about when they are geeking about music.

I want to tell you that this has all changed and I am now an ardent fan of music but that would be lie.  What I can tell you is that I love Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra.  I can say without reservation that I love their new album Theatre is Evil.  I attribute my discovery of this album to Twitter and this new love to Amanda Palmer and the music itself.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I discovered music via Twitter.  You see, I follow a metric crap-ton of people.  Yes, that is a technical term, look it up. It just happens that I follow Neil Gaiman on Twitter and he happens to be married to Amanda Palmer.   His tweets would often have links to a kickstarter by his wife.  I, being a curious sort, clicked on the link and watched the video.  I was hooked.  I was aware of the idea of Kickstarter.  Support the things you love and receive cool things for doing so.  I had even backed a few projects but the connection was never this strong.  I went out and listened to some Dresden Dolls and really liked the sound and Followed her on twitter as well.  Fuck, that was a floodgate that I didn’t know existed as she is a tweeting machine.  Now, I understand that twitter can be a rather brief contact with a creator of something you liked but it really does give you the feeling of being connected to a project.  She used this tool with skill and really kept those of us looking forward to the album in the loop and excited to see what was coming next.  Her energy is contagious.

Art by David Mack: Comic Book Connection Achieved!

This is the fucked up part though.  I backed the project back in May and it was funded and closed on May 31.  Which means that the interminable wait has been long to received my copy of the CD in the mail.  Yes, I did say copy of the CD.  You see, one of the levels of backing gives you not just a digital download of the music but a special cd/art book.  The art in this CD is phenomenal.  I took a picture to show you my favorite piece.  The whole thing is just fucking gorgeous. Once I got home, I ripped open the package, slapped that fucker into the computer and put it onto my iPhone. Once prepared, I took my iPhone to the gym so that I could listen to the music at my place of Zen.

This where things get a little fucked up again.  One of the drawbacks of not being a music geek is that I don’t have the vocabulary to communicate to you why I loved this album.  I can not talk about tonal qualities or draw comparisons between this and the Dresden dolls or some other band.  I just do not have the depth of experience to draw you this type of picture.  Now Lyrically, I am on somewhat firmer ground.  I have always thought of songwriters as the successful poets of our modern age.  The songs on this album easily conjure up the same feeling I get from reading T S Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and E E Cummings’ I Carry Your heart with Me.  If I was forced to pick out my favorite song on the Album it would be a tie between The Killing Type, The Bed Song, and Massachusetts Avenue.  Each is very different from the other but I could not really decided if I liked one more than the other. Massachusetts Avenue  and The Bed Song are both quirky love songs.  They are stylistically very different.  The Bed song has this theme of alienation over time thing going on throughout the song but still holds onto the core of being a love song.  Massachusetts Avenue is a bit more upbeat about it whilst still dealing with a love that is over now.  The Killing type is a bit more cerebral rock.  Lyrically it is captivating  as well as being a bit of a rougher sound that I really enjoyed.  You can see the video here.

I am in love with this album.  It fires on all cylinders for me.  I enjoy the indie rock sound and the mix of Piano and synthesizers used throughout.  Each songs has a an edge to it that makes listening to the album from beginning to end a pleasure.  I am glad I backed this project and hope there will be more albums forthcoming.

2 thoughts on “Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra: Theatre is Evil

  1. My experience has been very similar, music has always been third player in the background, and I discovered AFP via Neil Gaiman and twitter. I wanted to know what her music was all about so one day I played 52 of her youtube videos while I went about other things. I would find myself stopping to watch and listen, the feeling that I was on to something grew. What she and this album represents for me is a flashback to ’60’s and being a twenty-something when all the music was new and breaking all the rules to get at the art in it.

  2. I backed for the same level you did and I’ve listened to the album as I drive around. While I like it, I still think AFP peaked with Dresden Doll’s Yes, Virginia… album. Still, I really like a few tracks on the new album, Grown Man Cry and Trout Heart Replica standing out in my head.

    I don’t know if you like Murder by Death at all, but they did a split cover LP with AFP at one point, they cover Another Year: http://murderbydeath.bandcamp.com/track/another-year and she covers Three Men Hanging: http://murderbydeath.bandcamp.com/track/three-men-hanging-live-in-portland

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