Jonathan Coulton is from the Internet. While a struggling music industry fell to pieces over file sharing and shifting business models, he quietly and independently amassed a small army of techies, nerds, and dedicated superfans. Featured in the New York Times, NPR and slashdot, his songs cover an eclectic range of subjects, from zombies and mad scientists to marriage and parenthood. In concert he moves fluidly between pathos and ridiculous fun. Seeing your first Coulton show is like walking into an insider club meeting, but one that gleefully welcomes and indoctrinates you in short order.
I Fight Dragons
I Fight Dragons are precisely the sonic "power up" that pop culture needs.
On their debut EP, Cool Is Just a Number and their follow up EP Welcome to the Breakdown (Photo Finish/Atlantic Records), the Chicago rockers wrap warm harmonies in sounds generated directly from vintage Nintendo soundcards. The EPs showcase the five-piece's digitized, daring approach to music, mixing chiptune and pop rock. Equally nodding to Weezer and Final Fantasy, I Fight Dragons approach alt-rock with just the right controller.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Brian Mazzaferri describes the band's enigmatic style best. "We've got pop rock elements, but we've also got original music made using old video game soundcards. We abuse those Gameboy and NES soundcards in a set of musical modes that were defined by early video game music."
"We're basically trying to be a cyborg band," jokes guitarist Packy Lundholm. Whether or not they're terminators sent back in time on a mission of rock 'n' roll doesn't matter, because no soundcard is safe from I Fight Dragons. In early 2008, Brian partnered up with keyboardist Bill Prokopow in order to transform a solo demo of "Heads Up, Hearts Down" into something more. "Bill and I stumbled upon chiptune," says Brian. "I told him that I wanted the beginning of the song to sound like Nintendo music. We used synthesizers at first, but we learned about chiptune soon after. We realized there were ways to access those soundcards and control them in the studio. From there, it was a no-brainer to connect the dots and do rock music in the songs we were making."
MC Lars, real name Andrew Nielsen, (born October 6, 1982 in Berkeley, California) is an American rapper. He is the self-proclaimed originator of "post-punk laptop rap". He has recorded for Truck Records in the UK and his Laptop EP is licensed to Sidecho Records in the USA. He was formerly known as MC Lars Horris but changed his pseudonym to MC Lars in 2004 for the sake of simplicity.