Exposure - Jonathan Coulton
- Graeme Virtue
- 16 October 2008
Tomorrow’s music today. This Issue: Jonathan Coulton
From his secret lair in Brooklyn, New York, evil genius Jonathan Coulton has been hatching plans for world domination since 2005. His hook-filled fuzz-rock anthems about zombies, Tom Cruise, the Mandelbrot set and cyborg girlfriends have won him a fierce geek-friendly following worldwide. Now the internet’s finest troubadour is about to make his Scottish live debut, as part of an entirely independent UK tour
Hang on, did you say geek-friendly?
It’s true that Coulton has written songs that might particularly resonate with programmers (‘Code Monkey’), geneticists (‘That Spells DNA’) and, um, giant squids (‘I Crush Everything’), but his melodious appeal is pretty universal. Pan-galactic, even.
I don’t like comedy musical acts …
Coulton writes songs that are funny, but they aren’t ‘funny’ songs. More often than not, his self-delusional, self-important and/or self-medicating characters are infused with heartbreaking pathos, bathos and/or the other Musketeer. Basically, he makes Flight of the Conchords seem about as sophisticated as Chas’n’Dave.
So where can I hear this so-called genius?
Since quitting his job to pursue music full-time, Coulton has regularly uploaded new songs to his website - including the year-long Thing A Week experiment, which yielded a sensitive folk-rock cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s bahookey hymn ‘Baby Got Back’. With a back catalogue of over 80 tracks, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there’s a cherrypicking ‘Best of’ at www.jonathancoulton.com/primer/listen/ You can stream entire songs, then buy ‘em for a buck apiece.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sat 25 Oct.