The Dreary Inferi

Band: The Dreary Inferi
Website: Myspace

When you hear the band name “The Dreary Inferi”, you sort of assume their music must be, well, more dreary. That is to say, the first time I heard their music and discovered it to be upbeat on the whole and just plain fun to listen to, I wasn’t entirely prepared. But I have to say, I love what they have given us.

The one opportunity I have had to see the Dreary Inferi perform live, I ended up unable to watch as I was off in search of amplification for their keyboard (which reportedly showed up 5 minutes after my search began). I made it back in time to listen to their last song, but was too winded to enjoy the performance. However, I was excited to see them called on stage during the Diagon Alley set to join them for a song. While I was already enthralled with Diagon Alley, I finally got to learn to be just as caught up in the Dreary Inferi during that performance.

It didn’t matter that they were singing about killing Muggles with Diagon Alley. What mattered was how much fun they were having, the quality of what they produced, and how much fun the audience was having – I being a member of that audience. But not all of their music has such “questionable content”, as it were. One of the first Dreary Inferi songs I ever heard was ‘Fandom Fangirl’, about being in the Harry Potter fandom. This song references other fandoms, but always brings it back to the Wizard Rock boys (*sings* doo doo doo doo doo [doo doo]). “You’re close to my age unlike Colonel Brandon / And you get pudgy unlike Edward Cullen / You don’t have a TARDIS / But that’s okay / ‘Cause you’re a Potter fanboy / And I’m a fandom fangirl”

I absolutely love this song and all the connections it makes. Not only the direct ones in the lyrics themselves (Jane Austen, Twilight, “Doctor Who”, etc.), but the connection it makes apparent by the nature of the song as a whole. Within the Wizard Rock Community and the Harry Potter fandom at large, we are all prone to like one another based on the sole fact that we know we have love of the Harry Potter books in common. It is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these groups of people that I have observed. Without knowing anything else about a person, if a member of the Wrock Community discovers another person who listens to the music, there is an instantaneous bond. Perhaps it speaks to my personal nature, but I have experienced a higher likelihood of trusting someone I hardly know upon learning they are a Wrock and/or HP fan like myself. The deeper the other person is in the Community aspect, the more I am bound to trust them.

This has not been isolated to myself alone, though I have experienced it in others quite often. I have traveled around the UK and a bit of Europe, staying in the homes of people I had only ever met over the internet because we had first started emailing as mutual Wizard Rock fans. Additionally, a friend of mine spent 2 months straight travelling the US and Canada, staying with Wizard Rock people everywhere she went. To my knowledge, she never had to stay in a hotel (unless she and other Wrock friends were attending an event) in the entire time she was travelling.

In my opinion, the Dreary Inferi hit the nail right on the head with ‘Fandom Fangirl’. “We’re basically soul mates / ‘Cause we read the same books.”

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23 November 2009. Tags: , . Band of the Day. Leave a comment.

Catchlove

Band: Catchlove
Website: Myspace

When I think of Jace and his band Catchlove, one of the first things I think about in relation is Kelly Clarkson.

Let me give you a moment to let that sink in.

Yes, I wrote “Kelly Clarkson”. I know it sounds particularly odd, especially as my initial thoughts about a male Wrocker who bears no resemblance whatsoever to the female pop artist. My reason for this is because every time I have seen Jace perform as Catchlove, he has included his filk of ‘Since U Been Gone’ in the set. To be honest, it’s actually a little on the epic side. I remember the first time I saw it happen, I was a bit confused, to say the least. Honestly, I had never heard the original song prior to the performance, but I could tell it wasn’t his usual personal style. As per usual (as I discovered later), he got Alex Carpenter to join him on stage and sing with him. This first ‘Since U Been Gone’ experience was at a small, single day Wrock event in Anaheim, California.

I didn’t think much of it until, a year later, it happened again during Jace’s set at Wrockstock ’08. I was particularly baffled because almost everyone in the audience seemed to know the lyrics already (but the sort of imperfect knowledge of the lyrics, like they knew the original but not the filk). Everyone was singing along and I was just dancing along because it was still unexplored territory for me, strictly speaking. After all of it, though, I have developed a true fondness for the song, filk and original alike. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that each time I’ve been around to see Jace and Alex perform it have been at some seriously exciting events (my first Wrock fest, Wrockstock).

Besides, Jace clearly has fun in his performances. But not just that, he honestly loves his music and it’s apparent in what he produces. And I’ll tell you this about Jace – nothing can keep him from his music. Officially, Jace was on hiatus from being Catchlove and making music for approximately a year due to time constraints with his job and personal life. Despite that, he still released a couple songs and kept everything up to date with Catchlove. He broke his hiatus officially by performing at Wrockstock ’09, but it felt more like he was coming back out of the back room he had been keeping himself in for recent months. As if we were all just out there waiting, listening in as he was working on some new music, but not technically being able to say he was there with us. So it was a bit of a homecoming and a “well, it’s about time you stopped saying you were on hiatus! I mean, I heard you making music back there. *wink*

I know this write-up is a bit of a ramble-fest, but sometimes that’s the only way to talk about a band. Jace has been in Wizard Rock for long enough to have produced an extensive discography (don’t believe me? Look him up in the iTunes Store. Seriously!) and he has done amazing things for raising awareness and money to fight the genocide in Darfur. He is just another example of one of the amazing men that are involved in Wizard Rock to a major extent. He’s awesome, his music kicks some serious butt, and he loves Wizard Rock clearly too much to be kept away from it for very long – so what are you waiting for? Go listen to some Catchlove and make your day just that much more awesome.

22 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 2 comments.

The Moaning Myrtles

Band: The Moaning Myrtles
Website: Myspace

I first started really exploring the many bands in Wizard Rock not long after the Moaning Myrtles came into existence. At the time, I wasn’t aware of how long the bands I was discovering had been around. In some cases, I feel like I just assumed the band was long-standing and/or well-established in the Community already simply because they had music available. In retrospect, this assumption was particularly silly, but at the time I didn’t know the history of Wizard Rock so well as I do now.

Now that I have spent so many years following Wizard Rock as I have, I now know just how new the Moaning Myrtles were when I first started searching around and how influential they have been in the past years. Lauren and Nina have not only produced a prodigious amount of music as the Moaning Myrtles, but each of them have followed their own musical paths.

This is, yet again, one of the big reasons why I love the Wizard Rock Community so damn much. Not only are we all supportive of all Wizard Rock endeavors we encounter, but if a Wrocker branches out and produces Muggle music (non-Wizard Rock music), that pursuit is equally supported by the Wrock fans. So I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the Muggle music of Nina Jankowicz and Lauren Fairweather. They have each released at least a bit of music (all of which can be found through the appropriate searches in the iTunes store), and I cannot deny enjoying all of it that I have had the opportunity of listening to.

Nina’s Muggle music is more typical of an independent musician armed with little beyond her keyboard and her voice, while Lauren’s Muggle music has more of a nerdy bent. To a certain degree, I would even consider Lauren’s music to be within the realm of nerdcore (another burgeoning genre of music that is about all things nerdy as opposed to the particular focus on Harry Potter that is found in Wizard Rock). Lauren’s music covers topics from Harry Potter (in a meta-wrock sort of way) to Firefly and a song about how Kaylee is turned on by engines (hilarious).

Back to the work of Nina and Lauren as the Moaning Myrtles, their latest EP from this year’s EP of the Month Club, Bathroom Acoustics, is absolutely brilliant and a true pleasure to listen to. Under normal circumstances, I would tell you all about this a capella album (the first of its kind in Wizard Rock to my recollection), but instead feel like the best possible option is to point you in the direction of the review my friend Laura wrote for this EP on the Wizrocklopedia.

To say the least, Lauren and Nina have been amazing to listen to over the past 4 or so years that they have been writing and performing as the Moaning Myrtles. They have both grown musically as a duet as well as individuals and it is so fun for me to hear it in their music from over the years!

21 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 1 comment.

X. Lovegood

Band: X. Lovegood
Website: Myspace

The band I am about to share with you, I regret to inform you, has no music posted at this time. However, I am going to direct you all to head over to their Myspace page (linked above), add them, and encourage them to record and post their music! X. Lovegood is made up primarily of two very passionate girls named Cate (Luna C) and Daisy (Luna D).

They performed in the Wampum Willow at Wrockstock and I am extremely pleased that I was there to listen. Cate and Daisy are both huge Harry Potter fans (duh) and have a talent for expressing that love in creative ways through original songs, filks, and covers of Wrock songs. They already have a wide range of music that they listen to and use it to their advantage. They have filks of songs by Ed in the Refridgerators, the Beastie Boys, and even a filk of the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song.

To begin, I’ll answer the question that I’m sure some readers are thinking this very moment, “What in blazes is a filk?!” I read your mind, didn’t I? Word for word. Anyway, back to “filks”. A filk is the term used when referring to a song written and/or sung by Artist A that is purely a re-working of the words from a song by Artist B. For example, there is a song called ‘Abracadabra’ by The Steve Miller Band. I know of a musician who re-wrote the lyrics to be about Harry Potter and the song she recorded is called ‘Avada Kedavra’. This is what filk is. Filks have played a pretty significant role in Wizard Rock. Some of them are such high quality that listeners don’t always realize that it is a re-working of a song that was already released by another artist.

As for the girls of X. Lovegood, they have more than a knack for just writing filks, they also have a great time with writing their own lyrics. In fact, one of my favorite songs to listen to by them was a rap they wrote simply because they thought it would be fun to write one. While it was clear that neither Cate nor Daisy have experience rapping, listening to the lyrics they came up with and watching them have so much fun performing it more than made up for any lack of polish in the rap department.

However, my very favorite part of their performance was when Tawni, Daisy’s mom, joined them for a song. Tawni prefaced her performance with, “This is the awkward song – there’s a lot of sexual innuendo and I’m her mom.” You see, they were gearing up to play ‘Wizard in the Kitchen’, a song written by fellow Wizard Rock band Tom Riddle and Friends. What followed was a fun rendition of the song which was, as Tawni predicted, a little awkward when some of the more suggestive lyrics were sung from mother to daughter. “We can toss each others’ salads / Sounds kinda gross but it’s nice on the palette.” And think of it this way… I chose one of the more mild suggestive comments in the song.

But the thing that matters most in this situation to me is the support Cate and Daisy are getting from their families. Not every mother would be willing to sit in front of 30-some-odd people and sing suggestive lyrics with their young daughter at a four day music fest in the woods in Missouri. Instead of waxing long on the subject, I’ll keep this final part brief:

I love seeing such amazing, supportive families in the Wizard Rock world! To all of you out there who are supporting your very own Wizard Rockers among your friends or family – you are my heroes!

20 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 1 comment.

Snidget

Band: Snidget
Site: Myspace

One of the things I appreciate most about Grace Kendall is her candid manner. For the uninitiated, Grace Kendall (along with her dulcimer) is the Wizard Rock band Snidget. Until recently, I had never had the opportunity of seeing her perform live. I have always been told amazing things about Grace’s live performances, so I was more than thrilled to know that I would get to see the wonder first-hand at Wrockstock.

To begin, the dulcimer is a daunting instrument for someone like myself who is more likely to break an instrument through sheer clumsiness than to play anything with a modicum of talent. If you have never heard of a dulcimer, allow me to give you a very basic description. From the unpracticed eye of a writer, not a musician, it appears to be a kind of harp, but is actually played by striking the strings with small hammers (much like one would see inside a piano, but these hammers are held by the expert hands of the player). To help you understand more clearly, I will post some videos of Grace playing her dulcimer at another point today. (Video Footage of Snidget)

Back to Grace and the personality that forces me to love her. To begin with, I have had some contact with Grace over the internet (a.k.a. “teh interwebz”) and met her in person very briefly at LeakyCon 2009. So I already had a base for liking her very much. But at Wrockstock, I was able to get so much more of a grip on her nature. When she set herself up in the Wampum Willow, she said to the audience gathered, “For those of you who don’t know, all of my music is about one of two things: Death and Women!” Throughout the weekend, she and friends of hers would make jokes about how depressing Grace’s music is. When asked to describe her musical style, she answered, “I write depressing songs about Harry Potter on an old folk instrument you’ve probably never heard of.”

I find it absolutely glorious that Grace can write such beautiful songs (I’m a particular fan of ‘Bella’), but still be so down to Earth and realistic about the fact that they primarily are a bit depressing. It’s great to have a sense of humor about such things, or else she would likely be perpetually in a funk when considering her music.

As for the musical performance itself, I was sitting quite close to Grace as she struck the dulcimer during her performance. I cannot pretend but to have been absolutely enthralled with the action. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the dulcimer – constantly amazed at the precision with which Grace played the instrument. As a student of the piano for less than two years when I was but a child, I can tell you with absolute surety that there is no way in all the seven hells that I could ever achieve that level of ability and confidence with an instrument of that nature.

So huge props to Grace for stepping out there, trying something different, making it work like no one’s business, and having the sense of humor to keep up her spirits and those of her friends and fans (despite how depressing it is to listen to her music)! 😉

19 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 6 comments.

Draco and the Malfoys

Band: Draco and the Malfoys
Website: Official Website

I think this is one of the first times I have ever so much as considered writing “What can I possibly say about this band/group/individual member(s)?” where I felt like, after the fact, I was being entirely honest about it. Draco and the Malfoys are amazing. There is so much coursing through my mind about Brian and Bradley that I haven’t a clue where I can begin when writing about this band.

Should I begin with the absolutely hilarious lyrics? Or the (basically) Wrock Opera that is the Family EP with the EP of the Month Club, or perhaps the fact ( yes, I wrote fact) that Brian really has a Hufflepuff heart deep down under that Slytherin facade?

In a way, I would like to focus on the latter of the options. To begin with, beyond the amazingly fun music and the dynamic performances, Brian is one of the most fantastic huggers I have ever met. “But who are you to deem someone a particularly glorious hugger?” you may be asking yourself. To put it simply, I have a large number of individuals (close friends and near strangers) who I have deemed my “hug buddy” for a specific night or event. They can all vouch for me. As for Brian, he is one of the few people I would consider a rival, were there such a thing in the world of excellent hugs.

To expand beyond just the hugging specifically, I have observed in Bradley one of the most loving and caring husband and father I have had the good fortune of meeting. I know that sentence was absolute rubbish, but there it stands. I’m having trouble re-wording it in such a way as to express how wonderful he is. Bradley has dedicated his life first and foremost to his wife and family, no matter how much he loves his brother Brian, and no matter how much he loves his time spent as one of the most exciting and well-known Wizard Rock Stars in the musical movement. Who needs to be a Wrock star when you are always a star at home?

I think something about this that is most interesting to me is the counter-point to my write-up on Swish and Flick the other day. In that write-up, I discussed how, while I am a Hufflepuff in almost every way, it can be nice to recognize the Slytherin side of my life and to embrace it when I need to. I find that Draco and the Malfoys represent the opposing side of the argument for Interhouse Solidarity: the Slytherins who can and will allow their own Hufflepuff tendencies to take over from time to time.

I actually would like to leave this rather open-ended at the moment and open the topic up for discussion here in the comments. I love the idea of Interhouse Solidarity (I’ll go ahead and post a playlist I created for a CD I handed out at a Harry Potter Party I threw with a friend a week following the release of Deathly Hallows at some point), but more than just the idea as I see it in my mind, I love to hear the thoughts of others on the same topic.

18 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 8 comments.

Professor Hooknose and his Greasy Gits

Band: Professor Hooknose and his Greasy Gits
Website: Myspace

One of my absolute favorite things about being at Wrockstock is spending time in the Wampum Willow, the second stage area for smaller bands to perform between the bigger sets on the main stage. Very rarely do I get the opportunity to get to know some of the lesser-known bands in Wizard Rock so well. At this most recent event, one of the bands I had the opportunity of meeting was Professor Hooknose and his Greasy Gits, a rather recent addition to the world of Wizard Rock, having gotten started just over a year ago.

In the time that Cory and John have been writing and recording Wizard Rock, they’ve gotten a decent number of songs posted to their Myspace, have played at a major Wrock event, and are quite clearly just having an absolutely amazing and fun time with their music and the scene in general!

Cory and John impressed me greatly with their immense amount of energy at Wrockstock. This applies not only to their performance in the Wampum Willow, but to every time I saw them around the event – especially when other bands were playing and it was the type of music you found yourself dancing to. The dancing, in particular was primarily John. The first time I noticed his sheer joy and lack of concern for what others thought was during the Professor Hooknose set. During some of their songs, if there was a small break between lyrics, John would proclaim it time for a “Dance break!” and would just go crazy. Crazy-good. Not crazy-bad. In fact, at one point (between breaths from my laughter) I leaned over to a friend and said, “You know the funny thing is… he has all the same dance moves as I do!” So whether that means we’re both excellent dancers, or we could both be mistaken for epileptics on the dance floor is yet to be discerned.

Beyond the wild dance moves, the Professor Hooknose crew (is it okay to call them a crew if it’s just two of them?) impressed me with their music as well. I particularly was a fan of the song ‘Double Agent’, which was written with the intention of not spoiling listeners. Chris explained how, when writing the song, he wanted to make it clear that Severus was a Double Agent, but the listener wouldn’t necessarily be able to determine who he was a Double Agent for based on the song alone.

In general, however, I just enjoyed the music that Chris and John played for us. And as one final note, they actually brought a sheet of rice krispy treats that were frosted like a cake with the title of their upcoming EP, Awwww, Snape written across it in frosting. How freaking awesome is that? My only regret regarding Professor Hooknose is the fact that I got so busy with other stuff that I ended up forgetting to grab a rice krispy treat.

17 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 8 comments.

Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls

Band: Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls
Website: Myspace

Christian Caldeira, who is Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls, is a very intriguing member of the Wizard Rock Community. In a conversation I had with him at Wrockstock, he informed me that his initial discovery of Wizard Rock wasn’t as exciting for him as it was for me (I recall shock, amazement, joy, and jumping about in my own personal discovery story). He soon came to realize what the Community was and what it meant and proceeded to write music at that point.

Though I’m sure there are plenty of Wizard Rockers and Wizard Rock fans alike who first came upon Wizard Rock in a similar fashion – so what is it about Christian that makes this so interesting to me? Four words: ‘End of an Era’.

There is a style within Wizard Rock known as meta-wizard rock or meta-wrock. Essentially, the content of meta-wrock songs is no longer directly about Harry Potter and his cohorts specifically, but about the effect the characters, the stories, and the music have had on us as people in the real world. There are any number of meta-wrock songs out there now, but when Christian wrote ‘End of an Era’, it wasn’t as big of a craze… yet.

This song was written in anticipation of the release of the final Harry Potter book. For well over a year, it felt like all fans of the books and the music were taking this song, listening to it time and again, and sharing it with every other HP fan of their acquaintance. Unless that was just me… because boy was I in that camp! I knew that the final book release would cause some of the people I had been talking to about the books and discussing Wizard Rock with to suddenly drop off the face of my Earth. They would still exist, but no longer would they be in the chats, forums, and around Myspace on band pages.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been moved to tears by listening to any of the versions of this song out there. I have heard the original version, the acoustic version, the Marked As His Equal version, the Roonil Wazlib version, the acoustic instrumental version, and now the rocked out version that Christian prepared for and performed at Wrockstock ’09.

At this point, it has become one of the first songs I turn to when I am feeling the Harry Potter nostalgia, the Wizard Rock longing, and the direct need to spend time with the many amazing people around the world that I have met through this fandom.

‘So I will miss the train ride in / And the pranks pulled by the Twins / Though it’s nowhere I have been / I’ll keep on smiling from the times I had with them’

16 November 2009. Tags: , , . Band of the Day. 6 comments.

Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills

Band: Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills
Website: Myspace

I bought my first Justin Finch-Fletchley (JFF) CD about a year before I first saw him perform live. I had ordered it at the same time as a whole slew of other Wizard Rock albums, so I listened to it and didn’t give it terribly much thought after that, to be perfectly honest. This isn’t to say I just ignored the album from that point on, but when I was in the mood for some rockin’, I would only occasionally pull out the JFF as opposed to some other band.

So when one year passed and I was at Wrockstock ’08, ready to truly wrock out for the first time, I was sort of standing at the edges of the crowd when Justin took the stage (as opposed to front and center as I was with other bands). As Diagon Alley was for so many people at Wrockstock ’09, JFF was the big “surprise, I fucking ROCK!” performance of the weekend for me that year.

A few weeks before Wrockstock ’08, I had had the opportunity to attend a Whomp the House Tour show featuring JFF and the Whomping Willows, but passed on the opportunity thinking it was sad, but not something I would overly regret. About halfway through Justin’s set, I learned I was dead wrong in that assumption. By that point, I had worked my way into the heart of the crowd and was wrocking at least as hard as anyone within a mile radius.

So what is it that makes Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills such a special and amazing band? It’s all in the energy they put into their performance, the sheer joy Justin has playing and singing his lyrics. While I originally enjoyed the music but wasn’t drawn to listen to it regularly, after seeing a live performance, I see it again in my mind when I listen to his music now, whether or not I’ve seen the song live.

I don’t want to give the impression that I only enjoy JFF when live or that I’ve only liked his music since I saw my first live JFF set. This is by no means the case, but my Justin experience was enhanced so thoroughly by the live performance that I felt the overwhelming desire to share that with all of you.

15 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 6 comments.

Swish and Flick

Band: Swish and Flick
Website: Official Site | Myspace

I would like to start this off with a simple fact: I am a hardcore Hufflepuff. I have the photos and the stories (with people to vouch for me) to prove it. Yet this doesn’t stop me from singing along with ‘S-L-Y in Slytherin’, proudly proclaiming myself to be “the S-L-Y / the SLY in House of Slytherin / the H-O-T / the HOT in House of Slytherin / the S-I-N / the SIN in House of Slytherin / the S-L-U-T / the SLUT in House of Slytherin.” So… what? Should my Hufflepuff Prefect badge be rescinded for this?

Hell no!

The above proclamation is actually a piece of lyrics from the title song off Swish and Flick’s album, In the House of Slytherin. To say the least, Stacy and John inspire a loyal following of all their listeners, regardless of House allegiances. It must be true if I regularly wrock out to and sing along with the song ‘Pure-Blood’, which makes comments about “Mudblood bitches” and making House Elves sleep in kitchens.

For those who are new to the band, Swish and Flick is among the ranks of hip-hop / rap artists in the Wizard Rock world. It’s true, this genre is not overly represented, but Swish and Flick definitely hold their own among them. In fact, for many years, I would just avoid listening to any hip-hop or rap music if I could help it. Even for a while after getting into the Wizard Rock scene, I didn’t pay much mind to the bands that fit into that category. This isn’t to say I didn’t love such songs as ‘House Elf 4 Life’ by MC Kreacher or other similar “singles”, but I didn’t exactly go out of my way to track down more of the style.

That changed quite suddenly with Swish and Flick. I was just starting to appreciate the style when I was told to listen to ‘S-L-Y in Slytherin’. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a whirl, being the Hufflepuff that I am. Boy am I glad I went for it! I have always said that everyone has a little Slytherin in them, not least of all me. The way I see it, Swish and Flick helps bring that side of me out in the most positive way possible.

I know that sounded like one big oxymoron, but hear me out. Slytherins get a bad rap because of the whole Death Eater thing with the Dark Lord and the Muggle attacks. But not all Slytherins are like that. Even I know that. Swish and Flick reminds me that everyone needs to have some amount of ambition, that sometimes we can’t just play to the whims of everyone around us. As a Hufflepuff, I like to keep people around me happy, but sometimes I need to look out for myself as well. I can’t let people take advantage of my eagerness to please all the time.

So thanks, Stacy and John, for making the music that gets me dancing and singing along, brings me joy, and reminds me that the Slytherin in me isn’t all bad.

14 November 2009. Tags: . Band of the Day. 11 comments.

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