SubscribeStar Saturday: The History of Electrock

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

With the release of Frederick Ingram’s new albumInitial Exposure, I’ve decided to look back at some of my musical compositions, and to explain the history behind them.

Next Saturday is Christmas, so I will probably take that day off from posting, then do my usual end-of-the-year retrospectives and New Year’s predictions, but after Christmas I plan on dedicating six Saturdays to doing a track-by-track analysis and explanation of the songs on Contest Winner EP, my only record consisting of my vocal work.  I get asked about the origins of those songs quite a bit, so I’m going to give exclusive, behind-the-scenes details to subscribers (and, if I can figure out how to do it, some free download codes).

Today, though, I thought I’d give a brief history of my Electrock series of albums, specifically the three main releases in that series:  Electrock Music (2006), Electrock II: Space Rock (2007), and Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012).

To read more of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

December Bandcamp Friday

Yep, it’s my monthly Bandamp Friday post!  I know it’s not the most exciting post in the world, but, by God, I’ve gotta try.  Can you blame me?  It being the holiday season, there’s never been a better time to buy my music, my merch, or my book.  Read on.

It’s the first Friday of December, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £15.01 as of 30 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.14) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and with Christmas comes parties—and what self-respecting doesn’t have a White Elephant gift exchange?  Those almost always call for a $10 gift, and you’d definitely have one of the oddest contributions at the party.

For that matter, why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday CXLI: Thanksgiving Stuff(ing)

Another glorious Thanksgiving Break has come and gone, so yours portly will have to struggle through another three weeks of work before enjoying another ridiculously generous break at Christmastime.

In keeping with the spirit of doing a lot of “rerun” posts this past week, here’s a Lazy Sunday dedicated to various Thanksgiving posts from yesteryear:

Apparently, I write a lot of posts about Thanksgiving, and I recycle almost all of them every year.  I think a good bit of that is because I am usually worn out by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, and rather than tax my weary brain with fresh material, I just reuse the treacly tripe I wrote in prior years.  Also, pageviews are way down during the week, chiefly because people are enjoying time with their friends and family, rather than wasting time at work reading the angry screeds of a portly man.

Regardless, Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Midweek TPP Update

This past weekend I attended my girlfriend’s brother’s wedding in Mississippi.  I’d intended to write about the trip (and the long drive), but the combination of the eleven-hour trip home; a busy Monday; and catching up on schoolwork put the kibosh to that plan, especially after Murphy and I fell asleep on the couch last night as I was beginning to write it.

Oh, well.  I’ll have that up next week, more than likely.

Instead, I decided to write a short update post on what is going on with yours portly, the blog, and the like.

Read More »

November Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first Friday of November, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.64 as of 1 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.09) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

I’m also sitting on a lot of great, but unsold, Spooktacular merch, including my shocking original painting “The War on Halloween.”  If the price tag is too rich for your blood, contact me and we’ll work something out.

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and it’s a great time to read absurdist, ludicrous detective stories by the fire (or to give as gifts—why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?).

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Playing Catch-up: TPP Update

Apologies to my regular readers for the very delayed post today.  Now that I have a large contingent of British readers, I really like to hit the 6:30 AM EST posting time, which I imagine is around lunchtime for them, so they have something to read over their tea and crumpets while my American readers have something to read over their grits and coffee.

As I’ve alluded to in other posts, the past two weeks or so have been absolutely insane for yours portly.  As my school’s music teacher, I’m also the audio-visual wizard on campus.  With Homecoming Week last week, it was my responsibility to make sure the sound system at the football field was working properly, and to assist with setup for some of the Homecoming games.  I also set up another ad hoc sound system for my High School Music Ensemble to play a couple of songs at a pep rally Friday morning.  When most of your musicians play guitar and piano, the logistics of plugging everything in become more daunting when taken outdoors.

Needless to say, all of my planning time was consumed with these activities, and I spent most of my Music classes using student labor to move equipment to and from the football field.  That meant more time in the evenings and early mornings working on school-related stuff, and less time to focus on the blog.

In the midst of all of the Homecoming Week wackiness, I’m also running for reelection to Lamar Town Council and practicing and preparing for the 2021 Spooktacular.  Tonight I have a candidates forum for the former, and last night my buddy John and I practiced for the latter.

Add to all of that a whopping dollop of after-school music lessons, and you can tell I’ve had precious little time for much else.  I had a fun-filled day with my girlfriend on Saturday, then turned around Sunday and immediately set to work finalizing first quarter report card grades.

I’m not complaining—I like being busy—but I hope readers will extend some graciousness and excuse some occasionally late posts.  My poor dog has been getting the short end of the bully stick, too, though we both collapsed into a snoring heap on the couch last night after John departed.

Such are the rhythms of life.  Here’s hoping things return to a more stately tempo after the frenetic rhythm of the last few weeks.  Again, I don’t want to be bored, but having a little more time to focus on writing would be great.

Read More »

October Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first day of the best month of the year!   My annual Halloween Spooktacular is tantalizingly close—just twenty-nine days away!—and my interest in horror movies now takes on a seasonally appropriate veneer, instead of just the odd obsession of a potentially deranged individual.

It’s also another Bandcamp Friday, which means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.76 as of 28 September 2021, according to Bing, for my newfound British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.10) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

What better time to spin my classic hit “Ghostly,” a spookily unhinged ballad in creepy 3/4 time, or the electronic opus “Zombie Unicorn,” featuring irregular multi-meter insanity and shades of Saint-Saëns?  They’re on Contest Winner EP and The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, respectively.

Not in the mood for spookiness?  Then enjoy the boppy, poppy fun of perennial fan favorite “Hipster Girl Next Door“—or the pleading piano-pop balladry of “Greek Fair.”

Are your tastes inclined in a more heavenly direction?  Then check out The Lo-Fi Hymnal, a love letter to hymn singing and playing recorded on over a tiny phone microphone.  Trust me—it’s better than it sounds!

In short, ’tis the season for merriment and fun—and for forking over your hard-earned cash to support the blogger, musician, and teacher you love:  me!

Read More »

SubscribeStar Saturday: 1000 Days

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Well, here it is—the 1000th consecutive day of posting to WordPress (I hit 1000 posts about 114 pieces ago; now I’ve reached 1000 days of consecutive posting).  It’s crazy to think, but this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico has been going for roughly two-and-three-fourths years, a fresh post every single day.  I’ve written so much at this point, I’ve forgotten a lot of it.

Granted, some of those have been filler posts, saying, “Oops, I will have to post a real post later,” but I tried to avoid those as much as possible, and I have generally made them up (especially to you paying customers).  I’ve also come up with some series, like Monday Morning Movie Review and Supporting Friends Friday, to help with ease the load a bit (not to mention Lazy Sunday and TBT, both of which let me off the hook with some reblogging of old material).

It being the 1000th day, I’ve decided to look back at this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico—where it was, where it is, and where it’s going.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

The Inexorable Forward March of Bandcamp Friday

Yes, poor readers, here it is again: another Bandcamp Friday.  Other than one of the earliest times I posted about this glorious monthly holiday—during which Bandcamp waives its usual commission on sales through its site—I don’t know that I’ve ever made a sale hawking my musical wares via the blog.

Well, if at first you do not succeed, pester, pester again (alternatively, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, but all musicians are a bit crazy… right?).  Also, with my lovely new readers from the British Isles, it’s never been a better time to bilk them out of their hard-earned pounds sterling.

Fortunately for them—and you, my fellow countrymen!—my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.50 as of 1 September 2021, according to Bing).  That’s $2.85 (£2.07) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

Read More »