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New Albums from Unwoman and Mr. B; SPG Crowdfunds Vinyl Release

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Unwoman and Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer are out with new albums this week, though in Unwoman’s case it’s a free pre-release version. Meanwhile, The Cog is Dead has a new single and Steam Powered Giraffe is crowdfunding a vinyl release of their 2013 album MK III.

Unwoman’s Latest

Unwoman is taking an unusual approach to her upcoming album by offering what’s essentially a free beta version in advance of the final release. Desire Paths will be her ninth original album, consisting of 12 tracks, and she’s inviting fans to download it, give it a listen, and offer feedback.

Available now for free download on Bandcamp, it’s “temporary and unfinal,” she cautioned. She mastered the tracks herself, but the final version will be professionally mastered, she said.

On the Bandcamp page, she’s listed the kinds of feedback that will be most helpful, such as the track order, places where instruments are too loud or quiet, or spots where the lyrics are unintelligible.

She plans to release the album in late September and expects to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund production later this month. Feedback is due July 10 if you’d like her to consider it in time for the final release.

The artist will be our guest in the next installment of “A Steampunk Minute,” the Q&A segment of our World of Steampunk video series.

“Roots Chap Hop” from Mr. B

Chap hop artist Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer released his latest full-length album, Quid Pro Flow. He described it as “‘roots’ chap hop, in its most raw form. Just music hall samples, low fidelity beats, and dandy rhymes.”

It originated as a project known as “Flovember,” in which he tried to release a new rhyme each day last November. “It was a means for me to return to a more free creative flow,” he explained on the Bandcamp page for the album. “I had spent many months slaving over the banjolele, trying to come up with brilliant things. But sometimes the best thing to do is not concern oneself with ‘quality’, to just start making. To free oneself to just make something rubbish. I hope I have succeeded.”

Other sources include home recordings and tunes from his School Of Chap-Hop Twitch streams. The album has 21 tracks, clocking in at a lean 38 minutes.

You can purchase a CD from his website or get a download from his Bandcamp page. It will also be available for streaming, but for now you can show your support by forking over “a bit of the old dosh,” as he said.

The release comes as Mr. B finished the first leg of a U.K. and European tour opening for Sparks. The tour continues June 13-22 with stops in Paris, Utrecht, Copenhagen, Berlin, Brussels, and Wolverhampton. Then he’ll be performing at a series of festivals, including the Fantasy Forest Festival on July 16.

In October and November, he’ll be embarking on the National Treasure Tour with shows in Putney, Brighton, Southampton, Ipswich, Northampton, Oxford, Bath, Hull, Manchester, and Doncaster.

See his website for the complete schedule.

Steam Powered Giraffe on Vinyl

Steam Powered Giraffe is running what’s essentially a crowdfunding campaign via Bandcamp to produce a vinyl version of MK III, an album originally released in 2013. This will be the group’s third vinyl campaign following earlier releases of 1896 and The 2-Cent Show.

Here’s how it works: Fans pledge US$40 or more, and if the campaign reaches its funding goal, Bandcamp presses the vinyl and ships the album to backers. Albums can ship internationally.

The album will be packaged as a double LP, each 150g weight, in a gatefold jacket. Both LPs will be transparent, one in blue and the other in cyan.

Backers will also have access to a digital download in multiple formats, including MP3 and the lossless FLAC format.

As of Wednesday, the group had raised $5240 of the $7231 funding goal. They estimate delivery in November if the campaign reaches its goal by the end of June, which seems likely.

The music platform launched a pilot of its vinyl pressing service in 2019 and rolled it out more broadly in 2021.

You can learn more and make a pledge on the Bandcamp campaign page.

AI Lament from The Cog is Dead

The Cog is Dead released “A.I. Stole My Life,” described as “a satirical song about the coming AI apocalypse and how machines may take all of our jobs.”

It’s available now on YouTube and Bandcamp, and bandleader John Sprocket plans to release it more broadly on June 16.

“In some ways it feels like a successor of ‘The Death of the Cog,’” he wrote, referring to the track from the band’s first album Steam Powered Stories.

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