Spotlight On Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton is the best thing to come along in geek music in ages.  Coulton is a Yale educated, ex computer programer turned geek rocker who play about a dozen instruments and has mastered the art of self-promotion.  His entire catalog is available online (many for free and everything comes with creative commons liscenses), his tour dates are partially based upon fans who have contacted him through his website, and he’s joined Daily Show regular John Hodgman on a book tour and on the show (twice I believe).

His music borrows from all aspects of geek culture.  He’s written songs about zombies, mad scientists, Flickr, engineering, math, and astronomy.  As if that didn’t cement the claim enough he also writes music for Popular Science and wrote the best piece of video game music in history, the ending credits song to Portal, “Still Alive”.

Oh, and lest it go unsaid he’s also really really good.  A lot of geek music gets by on the gimmick at worst, or clever lyrics without much musical talent at best.  But Coulton is a real musician who constantly pushes himself.  His Thing A Week Project was a particular standout, in which he tried to write a new song each week for a year, and managed to produce some of his best work in the process (I’m Your Moon, Code Monkey, Shop Vac).  And the live shows are pretty great too.

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