’s RAINN Benefit Album & Fundraising Campaign Official Launch!’s RAINN benefit album & fundraising campaign officially launches this month! Donate $10 (or more) at’s fundraising page to receive your free digital album of for RAINN. This magnificent 25-mp3 album features: Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, Sandman author Neil Gaiman, Midlake, Flogging Molly, Poe, My Brightest Diamond, The Mynabirds, The Voice‘s Kat Robichaud, The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, Man of Steel‘s Allison Crowe, Nashville songwriter Trent Dabbs, Meursault, Elysian Fields, Pamela Means, Fisher, Catie Curtis, Anielle Reid, Heidi Saperstein, Hannah Fury and poets Crystal Good, Kevin Kantor, and Clementine von Radics.
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Press Release:’s RAINN Benefit Album (Johnette Napolitano, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Poe, Flogging Molly, My Brightest Diamond & more!)

Johnette Napolitano, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Poe, Flogging Molly and My Brightest Diamond among artists on’s RAINN benefit album

To celebrate 15 years of sharing great music in July, has partnered with for a fundraising campaign and digital benefit album of music, poetry and art. for RAINN features music and poetry by Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, My Brightest Diamond, Poe, The Mynabirds, Celtic Punk band Flogging Molly, The Voice‘s Kat Robichaud, Man of Steel‘s Allison Crowe, Nashville songwriter Trent Dabbs, Sandman¬†author Neil Gaiman, YouTube sensation Kevin Kantor and Ted Talker Crystal Good among many other talented musicians, poets and visual artists.

Cover Art by Muruch, Image ©Kate Zambrano

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Vagabond Opera: The Zeitgeist Beckons

Six-piece Portland ensemble Vagabond Opera is a new addition to my demented circus genre. But despite some similarities to twisted bands like The Dresden Dolls and Tiger Lillies, Vagabond Opera’s new album The Zeitgeist Beckons centers on a more traditional cabaret sound (akin to Camille O’Sullivan) with elements of opera, Eastern European folk, jazz, swing, and klezmer. Led by operatic tenor and accordion player Eric Stern, the band features a wide selection of instruments and styles with a revolving cast of female vocalists.

The cabaret style is omnipresent throughout the album, but front and center in “Welcome to the Opera.” The song introduces the musicians, showcases their eclectic stylistic madness, and finishes with a sample of Verdi’s “Traviata.”

Songs like “Chimaeras Be Met” and “Farewell Kabarista” are heavier on the jazz and swing. The manic cover of Tom Waits’ “Tango ‘Til They’re Sore” can’t compete with Holly Cole‘s interpretation, but it’s not really trying to anyway.

“Milord” is a torchy homage to Edith Piaf that I love, but the sultry snarl of “Ganef” is probably my favorite track on the album. So much so that I was tempted to share it (the band was kind enough to let me choose the mp3), but I feel this track is a better introduction to the band…

Vagabond Opera – Welcome to the Opera (mp3 expired) *

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Vagabond Opera will perform at Mountain Stage next month, and I think it’ll be a very entertaining set.

Vagabond Opera Official Site

*mp3 posted w/ permission of the band

Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat: New Mp3s

Likening a band to The Dresden Dolls, Marlene Deitrich, and The Cramps is one way to ensure I’ll listen to their music. Unfortunately, Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat don’t live up to such a lofty comparisons. Still, I do like their songs. Their rough, quasi punk but mostly cabaret sound is more like Camille O’Sullivan or Vermillion Lies (particularly in the song “Grey”) than Amanda Palmer. It needs some honing, but they definitely fit into my demented circus genre. Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat are Austin, Texas duo Stephanie Stephens and Adam Sultan, and the following songs are from their debut album Take That!

Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat – I Hate Cabaret (mp3) *
Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat – Grey (mp3) *
Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat – Little Death (mp3) *

*mp3s hosted by & posted w/ permission of band’s PR rep

Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat Official Site

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Mistress Stephanie and Her Melodic Cat