I really enjoy discovering and searching out new music. A few weeks ago I decided to see what would happen if you typed the word ‘Victorian’ into Bandcamp, a website that helps you find independent music.
Here’s what I found…
- Victorian Dads
From the North-West of England, this group describes themselves as ‘Trouser-flapping, steam-driven musical maestros extraordinaire’. This band would make the perfect accompaniment to Julie-Marie Strange’s new book on Victorian working class fathers.
I love the steam punk elements of this video
- New Victorians (Part 1)
I’m not sure why this Pittsburgh group are called the ‘New Victorians’ as their programmatic albums are inspired by the Second World War. Still, this hasn’t stopped Spotify listing them as ‘Bands under the Radar 2014’.
Their second album is haunting, especially their song ‘Ghosts in Machines’.
- New Victorians (Part 2)
Another group to play on the ‘New Romantics’ name are the Maltese band ‘The New Victorians’. Their first song is entitled ‘Dustpile’, which in a recent interview with The Sunday Circle was described as being ‘about trying to be a good person – sweeping up dust – and someone else – the cat jumping in – and making a mess all over again”. So I would recommend this to anyone reading Lee Jackson’s new book, Dirty Old London.
- The Dead Victorians
Turning to the Victorian music hall for inspiration, this lively and fun band ‘provides a sing-a-long show in the finest British tradition. The chaps play a host of instruments such as accordion, ukulele, tuba and washboard. Also included are more bizarre instruments such as musical saw Chinese chastity bells and sheep’, according to their website.
What’s not to love about them!
- The Victorian Era
The lyric ‘Coz I’m Victorian Era’ comes from Casanova, the second track of the album Telether by The Victorian Era. Songs mix Rock and Blues together.
I’m not sure why the word ‘Victorian’ is used in some songs. Take for instance this song by Gosti
The rapper Rozay Mo also penned a song called ‘Victorian‘ for his album No Hollywood in the Jack.
Having listened to Emily Jane White’s ‘Victorian America’, I am still none the wiser as to why the term ‘Victorian’ is used to describe the nineteenth century in American history. The opening lines to this song, nonetheless, anchors America to the Victorian past; ‘Women at home in Victorian American. Women at home in Victorian American. I lost my love in Victorian America’
I never thought I would hear the word ‘Victorian’ sung by squirrel called Foamy in his song ‘Victorian Mob‘.
This hasn’t been a scientific post. I could have included more. I don’t really have any profound conclusions. These bands and artists once again illustrate how expansive the term ‘Victorian’ can be.
So, is the Victorian past usable in contemporary songs? I think I’ll leave that for you to decide….