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The top 10 geek rock artists

From nerdcore rappers to dork-folk acoustic acts, we run down the top 10 geek-rock artists recording today.

According to some of the less savory corners of the Internet, today's date is synonymous with certain mind-altering substances that make it easier to appreciate unconventional music. While we here at Geekend do not condone these implied activities -- the universe is crazy and wonderful enough without actively impairing your faculties -- we can recommend some geek-worthy music to enhance your daily experience.

Thus, we present the top 10 nerd-rock artists recording today.

10. John Anealio BIO: The official guitar teacher of Wired's GeekDad nerd-instructional empire, he gives away more awesomely geektastic music than most wannabe nerdcore artists and trumped up filk-fest sellouts ever dream of even writing. He's the underground folk-rock balladeer of the geek era. (Disclosure: John's a friend and fellow podcaster.) STYLE: James Taylor as teleporter-fused with the blog of Wil Wheaton. WHERE YOU (MAYBE) HEARD HIM: "The GeekDad Podcast Theme Song" SIGNATURE TRACK: "I Should Be Writing" 9. Ookla the Mok BIO: The ultimate incarnation of sci-fi convention filkdom, this deceptively goofball ensemble offers a surprising range of musical styles and talents -- which they use to convert every idle argument you've overheard in a comic book shop into a catchy two-minute burst of audio pop. STYLE: Coffee shop acoustic rock meets Kevin Smith's PG-rated id. WHERE YOU (MAYBE) HEARD THEM: Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes #7 Compilation SIGNATURE TRACK: "My Secret Identity" 8. Kirby Krackle BIO: A couple of guys who actually know the nickname for a signature style of illustrating comic book energy blasts -- but who also want to be mainstream alt-rockers. Apparently, the Seattle music scene is broad and deep enough to have its own geek subset. STYLE: Fountains of Wayne as produced by The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy. WHERE YOU (MAYBE) HEARD THEM: Rock Band (the game) SIGNATURE TRACK: "Up, Up, Down, Down" 7. MC Chris BIO: The in-house rap artist for Williams Street Studios, which produces Cartoon Network's Adult Swim animation lineup. When he's not cutting gangsta-geek rhymes, he's a scriptwriter for those bizarre nerd-centric cartoons you're sure are aimed explicitly at college stoners. STYLE: The Beastie Boys gene-spliced with Patton Oswalt. WHERE YOU (MAYBE) HEARD HIM: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, where he was the artist behind MC Pee Pants SIGNATURE TRACK: "Fett's Vette" 6. Marian Call BIO: She's the classically trained Stanford vocal major who made the mistake of listening to the director's commentaries on a Firefly DVD box set. No, seriously. She now makes a living as a serious indie recording artist treating geek culture with respect. STYLE: Ingrid Michaelson if she was raised by Joss Whedon. WHERE YOU (MAYBE) HEARD HER: The 49>50 Tour, which took Call to every U.S. state (and then some) SIGNATURE TRACK: "I'll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks It's Chic" Find out which geek rock artists I rank five through one.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

24 comments
pbileci
pbileci

Tenacius D cause we know those guys are big old nerds AND The Protomen will be doing three shows with them in Toronto. In other Protomen news, they are releasing a live tribute to Queen called A Night of Queen. Also the band Nerf Herder that preforms the song "Chewbacca" from the movie Clerks and The Bloodhound Gang (with songs like "Fire Water Burn" and "Mope.")

christine.lawrie
christine.lawrie

They Might Be Giants?!!!!!!!!! OK, maybe they don't have a specific song about being a geek, but they did an entire children's album about hard science! How the hell does that not count as geekiness!

sumbloke
sumbloke

Tripod are, I gather, not well known outside Australia. They do many geeky songs, including "Hot Girl in the Comic Shop", "On Behalf of All the Geeks", "Science Facts are Useful", "Star Wars Love Song" and "X-Box Song"

sboverie
sboverie

Tom Lehrer wrote a lot of geeky stuff from "Masochism Tango" to "Verner Von Braun". He also wrote songs about math like "New Math" and "Lobachevsky". He is (or was) a math teacher in the UC system. Devo wrote a lot of nerdy music, "Whip It", "Smart Patrol" and "Mongoloid" fit this well.

jfuller05
jfuller05

YES *steeples fingers then rubs them back and forth*

Mr. King
Mr. King

What about The Bare Naked Ladies??? If that isn't nerd Rock, who really is?

CORDFrank
CORDFrank

Really, just that. MC Front. The frontin'est Nerdcore MC.

pbileci
pbileci

The Protomen are an outstanding rock band with two geek-themed concept albums, both based on Mega Man. The self-titled album, The Protomen, tells the basic story of the first two Mega Man games while their second album, Act 2: The Father of Death is a prequel that focuses on Dr. Light and Dr. Wiley when they were younger and how Dr. Wiley assumed control of the city by using Dr. Light's robots. They are excellent in concert and put on a very theatrical show. You can compare them to bands like Styx and Rush. They even have a member named Kilroy, who wears the Kilroy mask featured in the videos for Styx's Kilroy Was Here and they performed an awesome cover of Mr. Roboto. I'd also have to include Styx as honorable mention considering albums like Kilroy Was Here. I'll also have to second Rush as a geek favorite. Other notable bands/artists would be Tool (The song Lateraelus is based on the Golden Ratio), Nightwish (who have songs based on Lord of the Rings, Beauty and the Beast, and pretty much every major Disney animated feature), Voltaire (who is well known for singing songs about Star Trek at Dragon Con), and They Might Be Giants (whose signature song is Constantinople).

Snazzy191
Snazzy191

He should top the list.... Not too many people write songs like, ""Lord It's Hard to Be Happy When You're Not Using??? the Metric System."

JJMach
JJMach

Metal band dressed as though KISS accidentally fell into a SuperNES? Had enough cred to open for Sonata Arctica and get on the Summer Slaughter Tour? Worth mentioning for anyone that wants to headbang whilst getting their "geek" on.

kenjwsu
kenjwsu

While their music may not be geek or nerd lyrically, dude is an avid comic book collector and also had a custom 10-piece drum kit put together with several comic book artists providing artwork. I'd think that should give him at least a nod for being awesome.

dlauer
dlauer

What about Dualcoremusic? He's played at the EFF's Party in Vegas for Defcon. I've also seen him at Notacon, ShmooCon, Ohio Linuxfest, and Derbycon! What makes him special is that he's one of the community! I forgot He aslo has done talks about making evil PDF's and Anti-forensics. :)

labattomy
labattomy

They were one of the reasons I got my first computer - an Atari 400 ! That is what they used on stage... Like a geeky DeVo for sure..

robert_b_dittrich
robert_b_dittrich

Ditto on the Brian May. Also, Rush wrote songs about relativity from a philosophical perspective (Natural Science), black holes (Cygnus X-1), and the forthcoming album is (I believe) a steampunk concept album. Their heyday of mainstream acceptance may have been the early '80s, but Rush is still making music by, for, and about geeks (also by, for, and the snow dog).

YuncoFoobar
YuncoFoobar

Jeez, who writes this stuff? How can you miss that two musicians that pioneered technology in their music?

sboverie
sboverie

Good choice. How about Emerson, Lake and Palmer for songs like "Brain Salad Surgery"? ELP was big into Moog instruments.

kenjwsu
kenjwsu

Rush still rocks, caught them on tour a year and a half ago and wish they would come to Kansas again.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...the list was limited to active artists who are specifically working in the geek music subgenres.

sboverie
sboverie

Funny, I was thinking of that song and forgot it when I wrote the comment.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

and started selling his homemade 'onboard signal-processing tech' to music retailers. His tone-circuits and familiar-looking/sounding guitars are available at Musician'sFriend and other online or B/M music stores. BTW, inventor/guitarist Les Paul (the only man in THREE separate Halls of Fame), was the original archetypal "Rocker Geek'--and thought up such now-taken-for-granted concepts as 'multi-track recording', and inventions from the 'reverb tank' to the now-ubiquitous 'solid-bodied electric guitar'....Like Mary Ford, though, he's *not* "still recording original stuff".