There have been a number of notable mad scientists throughout history. Robert G. Heath, Paracelsus, Dr. Frankenstein, the list goes on! However, none of them have ever tapped into the immense power of Rock music quite like Professor B. Miller and his robot lead singer SPO-20. Together they have quenched our human race’s insatiable thirst for all things Rock. Be it Metal, Surfpunk, Ska, Synth-wave, or mind-bending … Christmas carols? That’s right, I speak of nonother than Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra!
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Whose tenth album, as part of their quest to release twenty albums on vinyl, is slated to be released on August 8th, candidly titled “Have an Existential Crisis.” There’s a twist to this album, however, as the professor has enslaved, or should I say enlisted, quite a talented group of human guest singers to accompany SPO-20 on vocals. On every song, but not on every song at the same time. Allow me to explain.
There are 14 tracks on the album. Yet, there are only seven songs. There is a robot version and a version with a human singer featured. But just you wait, we haven’t even gotten to the twist yet. The vinyl is pressed with parallel grooves. What does this mean? The listener won’t be able to control which version they will hear when they spin the record! The record is a concept album, based on parallel universes and alternate realities. Mind. Blown. The professor is truly mad. A mad genius.
I am highly intrigued by the work and see this as a “must-have” in my vinyl collection. EXTRA bonus point in particular regarding my enthusiasm for the record: one of the human guest singers is Spencer Moody of M.Krebs, a band that we’ve not only previously covered here on #LT1KF, but one I’ve personally had to the opportunity to review!
In case you haven’t for some reason picked up on how stoked I am for this album yet; I’ll top it all off by saying this has got to be one of the most artistically creative albums of not only the year but in the realm of concept albums in general.
In case you aren’t familiar with the odyssey that is Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, or “SPO,” then perhaps now is a good time to become acquainted with their music in anticipation of the upcoming album:
The band has been around since 1996 and as a matter of notably awesome fact, they have been featured on the legendary “Dr. Demento” show a few times. If you’re curious as to who SPO-20’s “influences” are, the Professor has stated that SPO-20 is a hybrid of inspiration from the writer and dark humorist Kurt Vonnegut, and of course, who else but DEVO.
Having the pleasure of hearing the album prior to its official release, my ear detects a lot of Ska/Ragae influence, or as the Professor cites it, the more eclectically related sub-genre known as “Rocksteady.” The band specifically cites direct influence on the sound of this record from artists such as Toots, Skatalites, and Desmond Dekker. Of course, SPO-20’s influence takes what is usually a feel-good, uplifting vibe, and pivots the journey into dystopian science fiction. It’s like Sublime coming down hard off a bender in outer space.
Speaking more to the concept behind the album, one that is certainly new to me as of the time of writing this, the professor explains that the inspiration for parallel grooves has been an idea in mind for a while ever since first hearing old horse racing records where each groove led to a different race outcome. He also drew inspiration from the classic compilation “The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered.”
This is where the concept of having humans put a new spin on the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra’s songs came to fruition. Combining the two ideas is where “Have an Existential Crisis’s” foundational concept comes from. So, there you have it, humans in alternate realities singing SOP’s songs sporadically throughout parallel grooves, where does “existential crisis” fit into all of this? The professor elaborates:
Why an existential crisis? Some of our previous themes may have seemed light on the surface, like grocery stores and ice cream. But beneath the surface, we’ve always infused heavier concepts into our music. It’s like a subtle trick, inviting listeners to explore deeper ideas. With this album, it’s a natural progression for us. Plus, in the world we find ourselves in today, an exploration of existential crises feels incredibly fitting.Professor B. Miller on “Have an Existential Crisis”
Happy to announce that we will be spinning some of these new tracks from Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra on AMS Radio! The soundbite sent into the station by SPO-20 is indeed “pretty cool.” Tune in to LT1KF Indie Hour time slots for a chance to hear some of the new record!
Don’t forget to support this project and follow Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify. You can also visit their official website. If you enjoy their music and can provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp.
It also helps to stream and share their music; you can find it in the following Playlists as soon as hits Spotify (coming soon): Less Than 1,000 Followers, Fresh Singles, Indie Only, Female Rising Stars, 12 New Songs This Week, Sickest & Dopest, and Unknown But Essentials!
Remember that you can always find me here AMS Radio for all my social media and collaborations.
P.S. If you enjoy discovering new artists and brand-new music, subscribe to this blog Less Than 1,000 Followers, and follow the Playlist with all the artists we have presented here!
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This coverage was created via Musosoup #sustainablecurator