The Sandwiches Are Wicked And They Know You At The Mac Store: The Discography Of Amanda Palmer

amandapalmer

Amanda Palmer is one of my personal heroes. I discovered her a few years ago completely by accident when her song Astronaut popped up in Spotify, and I fell for her instantly. Her piano-banging, open and honest and not-giving-a-fuck style of lyric writing and living in general, she’s been a real inspiration to me as a musician, an author, and a person, and a lot of time it’s been her music that inspired me to keep writing. Her discography is pretty scattered, as her relationship with record companies has always been difficult, and she has jumped from project to project, meaning that she has technically been in four bands and performed as a solo artist as well, but it all began with the Dresden Dolls in 2003. This is not really a compendium of B-Sides and rarities, more a guideline of what albums and singles she’s released, so that anyone looking to get into her music will have an idea of where to start. It should also be noted that almost everything on this entire list is available completely for free on her official website and her Bandcamp page, where it’s almost entirely “pay what you want,” meaning you can choose to have it for free or support her as an artist, a sales model I really love and support. When I first discovered her I had no money, so I took her up on the offer and downloaded the albums all for free, but later when I had the means I threw her a bit of money when buying an album to support her art. This incidentally is really the way I plan to release my music, if I can ever get an album put together (although as a side note, I finally finished compiling my demo album and put it up on Bandcamp, a decision largely inspired by Amanda). So let’s dive right in, shall we?

The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden Dolls

Amanda began her career as one-half of the Dresden Dolls, playing piano and singing while her partner Brian Viglione provided drums, guitar, and the occasional backup vocal. They invented a genre they call “Punk Cabaret,” which is essentially where all of the Panic! at the Disco / Moulin Rouge / The Killers / New Orleans whorehouse / circus freak aesthetic you’ve seen in a million bands since the mid-2000’s came from. It’s not like they’re to first people to ever dress like mimes and have circus acts at their shows, but they should really be credited with having a huge part in the movement of that aesthetic in popular music. In total they released four albums in their career, the first of which was a live album that served as a kind of teaser for the their debut album, and the third of which consisted entirely of B-Sides and cut material from the second album. Later on Amanda released a digital version of a their live album on Bandcamp. They also released a self-titled EP, but as far as I know the only track to ever surface online is the demo version of Girl Anachronism, which they included on their “Live and Unreleased” downloads page on their website, consisting almost entirely of live recordings by fans, and featuring several guest performers, including The Ambitious Orchestra and Ryan Ross of Panic! at the Disco. The downloads page is still active, and all of the songs are still available for download, though they’re not greatly formatted, so I’m going to include my compilation “Live And Unreleased” as I have it in my music library with suggestions on how to organize the tracks.

A very important thing to know if you’re interested in purchasing Amanda’s music is that she purportedly gets paid NOTHING by the album company if you purchase the albums on iTunes, Amazon, or any place other than her official website or on her Bandcamp page, which includes all of her albums, including those in which she’s involved with a band. So, if you want to support her by buying the music, do so on her Bandcamp page, because if you purchase the albums on iTunes or Amazon, all of that money just goes to a record company that doesn’t even support her music anymore, so you’re literally throwing money away. Even if you paid full-price for all of her music on iTunes, you wouldn’t be supporting her art in any way. In summation, buy the music from her Bandcamp page, or download it all for free from there.

Dresden Dolls EP

The Dresden Dolls [EP]
Released: 2001

1. Half Jack
2.  Girl Anachronism
3. The Perfect Fit
4. Colorblind
5.  Good Day

Notes: All of these songs are demo versions. As far as I know the only demo ever to be released online is the Girl Anachronism demo, available on the Dresden Dolls’ downloads archive on their official website.

Original Cover

Original Album Cover

A Is For Accident
Release Date: May 27, 2003 (Original Release)
October 20, 2009 (Bandcamp Re-Release)

1. Missed Me (Live Demo)
2. Coin-Operated Boy (Live At TT’s)
3. The Time Has Come (Live At The Milky Way)
4. Mrs. O (Live At Luxx)
5. Christopher Lydon (Live At Sanders Theater)
6. Glass Slipper (Live At TT’s)
7. Thirty Whacks (Live On WBRS)
8. Bank Of Boston Beauty Queen (Live On WMBR)
9. Will (Album Outtake – B.C. Studio)
10. Truce (Live Demo)

2009 Bandcamp Re-Release Bonus Tracks

11. Stand By Your Man (Live At The Lizard Lounge)
12. A Night At The Roses (B-Side From the Good Day 7″ Single)

Bandcamp Album Cover

Bandcamp Album Cover

The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden Dolls
Release Date: September 26, 2003

1. Good Day
2. Girl Anachronism
3. Missed Me
4. Half Jack
5. 672
6. Coin-Operated Boy
7. Gravity
8. Bad Habit
9. The Perfect Fit
10. The Jeep Song
11. Slide
12. Truce

Physical album cover

Physical album cover

Yes, Virginia…
Release Date: April 14, 2006

1. Sex Changes
2. Backstabber
3. Modern Moonlight
4. My Alcoholic Friends
5. Delilah
6. Dirty Business
7. First Orgasm
8. Mrs. O
9. Shores of California
10. Necessary Evil
11. Mandy Goes To Med School
12. Me & The Minibar
13. Two-Headed Boy
14. Sing

Notes: Track 13, Two-Headed Boy, is a cover of a Neutral Milk Hotel song. It isn’t available on physical editions on the album, and appears as track 13 on the Bandcamp release, as well a bonus track 14 on the iTunes release. Pretty In Pink is a cover of a song by The Psychedelic Furs. Also, there is an advance version of Yes, Virginia… that contains an earlier version of Sing in which the first line is “There is this thing that’s like fucking except you don’t fuck,” as opposed to the line on the final version, “There is this thing that’s like touching except you don’t touch.”

Digital album cover

Digital album cover

Standard edition/physical album cover

Standard edition / physical album cover

No, Virginia…
Release Date:  May 20, 2008

1. Deary Jenny
2. Night Reconnaissance
3. The Mouse And The Model
4. Ultima Esperanza
5. The Gardener
6. Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner
7. Sorry Bunch
8. Pretty In Pink
9. The Kill
10. The Sheep Song
11. Boston

Special Edition Bonus Tracks
12. Glass Slipper (Live In St. Louis)
12. A Night At The Roses
13. I Would For You

Notes: I Would For You is a Jane’s Addiction cover, and the version of Night At The Roses included here is exactly the same recording from A is for Accident, which incidentally is featured as track 12 on the Bandcamp version of the album. Also, The Gardener, The Kill, and Boston are all purported to be Yes, Virginia… B-Sides, and I don’t deny that, I just can’t find the singles or material they were B-Sides on)

Special Edition Album Cover

Special Edition Album Cover

Dresden Dolls

Live And Unreleased
The following is a compilation of all the available tracks from the Dresden Dolls’ official downloads page, in the order they were released. I’ve titled them with where they were recorded, though the downloads page includes more specific informtation about the exact dates, venues, guest appearances and who recorded the audio.

1. Girl Anachronism (Live in Portland, OR)
2. Bad Habit (Live in Munich, Germany)
3. Two Headed Boy (Live in Cambridge, MA)
4. Gravity (Live in Munich, Germany)
5. Add It Up (Live in Boston, MA)
6. Backstabber (Live in Munich, Germany)
7. Mandy Goes To Med Shcool (Live in Brussels, Belgium)
8. Sorry Bunch (Live in New York, NY)
9. One (Live in New York, NY)
10. Half Jack (Live in Providence, RI)
11. Dance Me To The End of Love (Live in Boston, MA)
12. Modern Moonlight (Live in Knoxville, TN)
13. The Ghost In You (Live in Cambridge, MA)
14. Seven Nation Death Squad (Live in Boston, MA)
15. A Night at the Roses (Live in Boston, MA)
16. Blueprint (Live in Brooklyn, NY)
17. Life On Mars (Live in San Francisco, CA)
18. The Kill (Live in Boston, MA)
19. Colorblind (Live in Waltham, MA)
20. Ultima Esperanza (Live in Washington, DC)
21. Mother (Live in Portland, OR)
22. Cosmic Dancer (Live in Vienna, Austria)
23. Will (Live in Edinburgh, Scotland)
24. Umbrella (Live in Edinburgh, Scotland)
25. Girl Anachronism (Demo)
26. The Sheep Song (Live in Boston, MA)
27. God Damn the Sun (Live in Cambridge, MA)
28. Hate (Live in Boston, MA)
29. Karma Police (Live in San Diego, CA)
30. Science Fiction Double Feature (Live in Providence, RI)
31. Sing (Live in Munich, Germany)
32. Rid Of Me (Live in Portland, ME)
33. Train (Live in Boston, MA)
34. Imagine (Live in Cleveland, OH)

Map of Tasmania

Amanda Palmer (As A Solo Artist)

Amanda went solo in 2008, co-producing her first album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, with musician Ben Folds, along with producing an art book with several writers, including Neil Gaiman, to whom she would later marry. She also took to referring to herself as Amanda Fucking Palmer, after having a falling out with her record company, who finally released her from her contract after fans protested them and she was allowed to release her music for free. She officially released two albums, as well as a lot of other EP’s and goodies.

Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Standard Album Cover

Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Released: September 16, 2008

1. Astronaut (A Short History Of Nearly Nothing)
2. Runs In The Family
3. Ampersand
4. Leeds United
5. Blake Says
6. Strength Through Music
7. Guitar Hero
8. Have To Drive
9. What’s The Use Of Wond’rin’?
10. Oasis
11. The Point Of It All
12. Another Year (A Short History Of Almost Something

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks

13. Straight (In The End)
14. Leeds United (Lounge Version)
15. Guitar Hero (Alternate Version)

Who Killed Amanda Palmer Deluxe

Special Edition Album Cover

Who Killed Amanda Palmer [Alternate Tracks]

Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Alternate Tracks)
Release Date: December 24, 2008

1. 1.1.94
2. The Point of It All
3. Night Reconnaissance
4. Runs in the Family
5. Blake Says
6. Strength Through Music
7. Guitar Hero (Note that this is NOT the alternate version on the Special Edition of Who Killed Amanda Palmer)
8. Boyfriend in a Coma
9. Oasis
10. You May Kiss The Bride
11. I Will Follow You into the Dark
12. Ampersand
13. Straight (with Strings)
14. Astronaut
15. Have to Drive

Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her

Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele
Released: July 20, 2010

1. Fake Plastic Trees
2. High And Dry
3. No Surprises
4. Idioteque
5. Creep (Hungover at Soundcheck in Berlin)
6. Exit Music (For A Film)
7. Creep (Live in Prague)

Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under

Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under
Release Date: January 21, 2011

1. Makin’ Whoopie
2. Australia
3. Vegemite (The Black Death)
4. Map of Tasmania (feat. The Young Punx)
5. In My Mind (feat. Brian Viglione)
6. Bad Wine and Lemon Cake (feat. The Jane Austen Argument)
7. New Zealand
8. On An Unknown Beach
9. We’re Happy Little Vegemites
10. Doctor Oz
11. Formidable Marinade (feat. Mikelangelo & Lance Horne)
12. The Ship Song

Singles

Who Killed Amanda Palmer [Neil Gaiman Reading]

Who Killed Amanda Palmer: Neil Gaiman Reading

1. Neil Gaiman Reading (feat. Zoë Keating & Lyndon Chester)

Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing

Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass

1. Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass

Ukulele Anthem

Ukulele Anthem

1. Ukulele Anthem

Yes, Virginia

AFP Reading: Yes, Virginia (A Letter To The New York Sun, 1898)
(released online with the 2011 Christmas merchandise sale)

1. AFP Reading: Yes, Virginia (A Letter To The New York Sun, 1898)

Behavior [feat. Mat Devine, Erica Iozzo, and Caroline]

Behavior [feat. Mat Devine, Erica Iozzo, and Caroline]

1. Behavior [feat. Mat Devine, Erica Iozzo, and Caroline]

Dear Daily Mail

Dear Daily Mail (Live) [Official Bootleg]

1. Dear Daily Mail (Live)

The Thing About Things

The Thing About Things (Live) [Official Bootleg]

1. The Thing About Things (Live)

Here Comes The Rain Again

Here Comes The Rain Again
(released only on Soundcloud)

1. Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics Cover)

Photo of Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn

In 2010, Amanda teamed up with fellow musician and friend Jason Webley to form an extremely weird band called Evelyn Evelyn, releasing one concept album in which the two play the characters of conjoined twin sisters, which they reported to be two real sisters who they had found and whose music they were attempting to promote to help spread their story. In the end, Evelyn Evelyn was actually just an act played by the two, but they kept the facade up on Amanda’s blog and during shows, in which they pretended to invite the sisters on stage and played songs in character after their respective individual shows. The album contains not only songs by the sisters but also three songs that consist of spoken dialogue and background music and sound effect detailing the twin sisters’ tragic lives. After the album and the tour, Evelyn Evelyn has never returned, although Amanda and Jason have played some of the songs on tour together and individually.

Bandcamp Album Cover, featuring artwork by Cynthia von Buhler

Bandcamp Album Cover, featuring artwork by Cynthia von Buhler

Evelyn Evelyn
Release Date: March 30, 2010

1. Evelyn Evelyn
2. A Campaign of Shock and Awe
3. The Tragic Events of September – Part I
4. Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?
5. Chicken Man
6. The Tragic Events – Part II
7. Sandy Fishnets
8. Elephant Elephant
9. You Only Want Me ‘Cause You Want My Sister
10. The Tragic Events – Part III
11. My Space
12. Love Will Tear Us Apart

iTunes Album Cover

iTunes Album Cover

8in8

Amanda Palmer as a member of 8in8

In 2011, Amanda was set to attend a conference to discuss the state of music, and she decided that it would be more fun to that with friends, so she contacted Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman and Damien Kulash (of the band OK Go), and Ben proposed that rather than just appearing together, why not lock themselves into a studio and attempt to write and record eight completely original new songs in eigh hours? They did just that, only it took them twelve hours and they only produced six songs, but the results were pretty impressive nonetheless.


8in8

Nighty Night
Release Date: April 26, 2011

1. Nikola Tesla
2. Because the Origami
3. One Tiny Thing
4. Twelve Line Song
5. I’ll Be My Mirror
6. The Problem With Saints

Current Bandcamp Artwork

Amanda-Palmer-The-Grand-Theft-Orchestra

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

I believe it was at some point in 2011 that Amanda joined forces with musicians Jherek Bischoff, Michael McQuilken, and Chad Raines to create The Grand Theft Orchestra, and used the website Kickstarter to fund the album. The project met with incredible success, and I can say personally that I’ve only ever seen one Amanda Palmer album in stores, and it was this one. Kickstarter backers got a lot of extra tracks on their copies, which until recently were pretty much unobtainable, but Amanda recently released a “complete discography” download for free on her website, which includes the Kickstarter version of the album, containing all eight bonus tracks.

 

Physical Album Cover

Physical Album Cover

Theatre Is Evil
Release Date: September 11, 2012

1. Meow Meow Introduces The Grand Theft Orchestra
2. Smile (Pictures or It Didn’t Happen)
3. The Killing Type
4. Do It With A Rockstar
5. Want It Back
6. Grown Man Cry
7. Trout Heart Replica
8. A Grand Theft Intermission
9. Lost
10 .Bottomfeeder
11. The Bed Song
12. Massachusetts Avenue
13. Melody Dean
14. Berlin
15. Olly Olly Oxen Free

Bandcamp Bonus Tracks

16. Denial Thing
17. The Living Room
18. Ukulele Anthem (New version, not the same as the earlier single)
19. From St. Kilda To Fitzroy

Kickstarter Bonus Tracks

20. Video Games (Lana Del Ray cover)
21. Provanity
22. Assistant
23. Not Mine

Kickstarter Album Cover

Kickstarter Album Cover

 

Polly

 

Polly

 

1. Polly (Nirvana cover)

Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman

Amanda Palmer And Neil Gaiman

Amanda’s most recent foray has been a return to working as a solo artist, though she went on tour with her husband Neil Gaiman, performing something of a variety show that included music, readings, and question and answer segments from the audience. She released one album, and two live albums, the first of which consists of covers of Lou Reed and Velvet Underground songs, the second of which is included as a fourth disc on the final release of An Evening With Neil Gaiman And Amanda Palmer.

Lou Reed Surprises

Several Attempts To Cover Songs By The Velvet Underground & Lou Reed* For Neil Gaiman As His Birthday Approaches
Release Date: April 10, 2012

1. Attempt To Sing A Birthday Song / Lou Reed Misgivings
2. Satellite Of Love
3. Walk On The Wild Side
4. Another Birthday Song Attempt In Another Theater
5. I’m Waiting For The Moon
6. I’ll Be My Mirror
7. Vancouver Birthday Song Attempt
8. I’ll Be Your Mirror (feat. The Jane Austen Argument)
9. Sad Little Portland Birthday Song Attempt
10. Caroline Says II
11. Blake Says
12. I’m Sticking With You (feat. John Cameron Mitchell)
13. Perfect Day (Intro)
14. Perfect Day

An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer (3-Disc Edition)

An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer
Release Date: November 19, 2013

Disc 1

1. My Last Landlady
2. The Rhyme Maidens
3. The Day The Saucers Came
4. Feminine Endings
5. The Winter Gardens
6. In Relig Odhrain
7. The View From The Cheap Seats
8. I Will Write In Words Of Fire
9. The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury
10. Making A Chair
11. 100 Words

Disc 2

1. Margaret Cho introduces the Show
2. Makin’ Whoopee
3. (Introduction to The Problem with Saints)
4. The Problem with Saints
5. Jump (for Jeremy Geidt)
6. Ask Neil and Amanda
7. (Introduction to Broken Heart Stew)
8. Broken Heart Stew (by Amanda)
9. Poem for Amanda (by Neil)
10. Poem for Neil (by Amanda)
11. Electric Blanket (a duet, Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley)
12. Psycho
13. (Introduction to I Google You)
14. I Google You

Disc 3

1. I Want You, But I Don’t Need You
2. (Introduction to Dear Old House)
3. Dear Old House
4. (Introduction to Gaga, Palmer, Madonna; A Polemic)
5. Gaga, Palmer, Madonna; A Polemic
6. (Introduction to Judy Blume)
7. Judy Blume
8. I Don’t Care Much (with Lance Horne)
9. Map Of Tasmania
10. (Introduction to Do You Swear to Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass)
12. Do You Swear to Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass
13. (Introduction to I Will Follow You Into The Dark)
14. I Will Follow You Into The Dark (for Ashlie Gough)
15. Look Mummy, No Hands
16. Ukulele Anthem

Prelude To An Evening With Neil Gaiman And Amanda PalmerDisc 4
A Prelude To Evening With Neil Gaiman And Amanda Palmer

1. Intro
2. Ampersand
3. Runs in the Family
4. Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar
5. Blake Says
6. Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire
7. Do You Swear To Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass
8. Zombies and Shy People
9. Drinking with John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester
10. Making Mixtapes
11. Everyone Should Have a Hobby That Could Kill Them
12. It Was All Going So Well
13. On-Stage Dating Service

 

Amanda Palmer

Afterward

This is not a complete history of everything Amanda has ever done. On her band camp are some more releases: a collaboration with Kim Boekbinder, a collaboration with Murder By Death, a podcast of she and two friends discussing sexuality with an audience, and a really cool compilation called AFP’s Webcastacular NYC Extravaganza! that features songs from Kim Boekbinder, Bitter Ruin, and even a cover of Missed Me by Meow Meow and Lance Horne. Suffice it to say this is a compendium of mostly everything she has released as a solo artist and with bands that she was an active participant in. If you’ve never listened to Amanda, you should. If you’ve never heard her speak, you should listen to her TED Talk, or read about her life as a human statue, or her experience couch surfing in fans apartments while being on tour, or tweeting that she needs a ride to a show or that she’s welcoming any musicians who want to come and open for her. She’s a revolutionary: she embraces the idea that music and art are free for the taking,that if you like an artist, you should support them, and that decisions don’t have to be dictated by record companies whose main interest is in making money and not making art. She strips her clothes off on stage, she reveals her unshaven legs and armpits with pride, like everyone else she is sometimes terrifying and sometimes incredibly beautiful, and sometimes a little of both. She embraces her fans, she embraces the world around her, and she has been inspiring to me not just as an artist, but as a person. Carry on, Amanda.

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The Goal Isn’t To Get Stronger, But To Enjoy Life

Things have been frantic lately. The past week has been almost unbearable. But I’m feeling like I’m myself again, and I’ve gotten stronger after all that’s happened.

I really wish that my news was that I were living somewhere other than Georgia, that I were far away from my mother and that I’d never have to see my family again, but that isn’t what happened. I fantasized about it a lot though, I imagined a rock band’s tour bus breaking down in the neighborhood across the street, and while I walked to the gas station with two of the band members, I sang for them and they invited me to come on the road with them and I began living life as a musician, and experiencing all the love and excitement and youth that I’ve dreamed of.

I actually considered, closer to reality, asking Jimmy to take me back. Not as his boyfriend, but to let me stay with him. It kind of goes to show that all I’ve learned from my mother is how to manipulate people and make them feel sorry for me until they assume responsibility of me. Jimmy didn’t respond though.

I quit the job at Five Guys. I knew from the moment I walked in on the first day that it was a mistake. I don’t know how. It could be that I went in with such a bad attitude that I stopped myself from ever succeeding there. But I just knew that I couldn’t do it. I could have held on longer, but the best way to describe it is being trapped, and that was after only four days of working there. Because of an argument with my mother in which she, as usual, behaved like the mean, selfish child that she is and decided that the best method for punishing a ten-year old is to attack her on a personal basis, hurt her feelings, and tell her that she’s not as good of a child as her other children, and my response that she was acting like a bitch, as well the ensuing argument about her being a bullshit Christian (as though Christianity isn’t bullshit to begin with), during which I was told that I was kicked out of her house earlier this year for “denying Jesus Christ,” and when I replied that I don’t give a shit about Jesus Christ, well you can imagine.

She was doing this weird thing of not saying she was putting me on the street, but saying she was going to move the camper to a trailer park and make me pay to live there. When I have no money. Even had I kept the job at Five Guys, I wouldn’t have had money to live on my own. Progress is not enough for her, she expects me to go from completely dependent to completely independent immediately; when I told her I quit the job I had, she assured me her fiance would kick me out, which he did not, because I have another job lined up at Pottery Barn. I talked to one of the manager’s and he all but assured me the job, and today my mother (who is also a former employer) missed a call about a background check, so my chances of getting this job at Pottery Barn are looking very good.

It’s taken me a few days to calm down. To calm down from the panicked feeling I had a few days ago. Not panicked like a panic attack, more panicked like I simply cannot handle life. It wasn’t emotional, it wasn’t raw and open and filled with tears and yearning and longing, it was dry and frantic and I felt maimed and incapable. I cannot live here much longer. But I think I’ll do better at this job at Pottery Barn, much better, and I may be starting school here in Georgia soon. I need to be away from these people, and take care of myself. I need to have freedom.

For now, though, I’m alright. My situation seems to fairly stable enough, and I’m going to try and go back to North Carolina for this weekend, and maybe see Nathan. I’d like to walk around the block there and experience that again, with my new ability to survive out in public that a few days of working at Five Guys gave me. I did not overcome my anxiety while there, but it just stopped controlling me. And I never want to come home smelling like wet potatoes, raw meat and onions ever again. No more restaurants for me.

I got my keyboard hooked up, though the smaller amp will only let me plug in one half so I have the old problem of it being loud on one side more than the other. But playing piano has made me feel a little more like myself, maybe a little calmer and more stable, and probably relieved me of some of the things floating around in my chest and my brain.

I’ve discovered a new musician, her name is Amanda Palmer, and she is one half of The Dresden Dolls. I had heard about Amanda Palmer from a Tori Amos podcast, where someone mentioned Amanda saying that she tried to listen to Tori and wasn’t very into her; people seem to think Amanda hates Tori and having read a couple of her blogs where Tori is mentioned, she has a lot of respect for her and is completely honest about her opinions on Tori, which pretty much are about the same as mine. She sometimes hates Tori’s music and sometimes loves it, and mentions that the first couple of albums have some great songs, and that she may hate this song and love that one. That’s pretty much how I feel. I’ve tried very hard to like Tori’s newer music, but after her third album it all went downhill, with one or two songs worth listening to on an album and a lot of other’s that just aren’t worth the effort. Her music doesn’t really have discernable melodies anymore, her voice is hard to listen to, and frankly a lot of it is boring. She seems to make songs that could have some potential and then just leaves them at that. That’s how I feel about her music anyway, and having tried to force-feed myself Tori’s entire catalogue, I’m entitled to have my opinion and feel how I want to about it. The Tori magic is the 1996 Dew Drop Inn Tour; that’s where the soul-shaking stuff happens, the demon and the goddess clawing their way out of Tori’s mouth and rushing through her fingers and moving her body and screaming and bleeding all over the stage.

But back to the Dresden Dolls, and Amanda Palmer. The Doll’s first album was released in 2004, and it’s the one I’ve listened to the most so far, with some really inspiring and refreshing songs. Right now my favorite is Amanda Palmer’s 2008 solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I discovered Amanda and the Dresden Dolls when I came across Astronaut on a nifty music program called Spotify (it’s like last.fm and iTunes thrown together), and I’ve been watching interviews with Amanda and listening to her music and I even learned to play Astronaut in a very basic form. She performs the way I want to, she throws herself at the audience and the emotion and the music erupt out of her all over the room. As it turns out, she also uses Kurzweil keyboards, which is the very kind I have. It gave me a nice boost of confidence in the electronic instrument I once deemed unfit to play because it didn’t have weighted keys.

But as for the music itself, I wasn’t able to purchase anything because I have no money. I did learn, however, that Amanda’s debut, as well an “Alternate Tracks” version, and a reading by Neil Gaiman that is something of a prologue, are all “name your price” on her website, taking a page from Radiohead when they gave fans the opportunity to pay whatever they felt their newest album was worth. What I didn’t realize is that there is literally no minimum, and you can download the music for free if you want to. I wanted to support Amanda but I have no money and my accounts are in the negative, so I downloaded them for free, as well as all of the Dresden Dolls albums, which are also “name your price” on her website.

Apparently, however, the record company screwed Amanda over and she gets absolutely none of the proceeds from the sale of the album if you purchase it from any retailer other than herself, which is probably the reason why there’s no minimum on the album. If you’re going to be getting the album and she’s not going to be making any money, you may as well get it for free from her instead of donating twelve dollars to the record company, who isn’t going to give her a cent of the profits from her own major-label, Ben Folds-produced album.

Also on a related note, the other Dresden Doll, Brian Viglione, is seriously sexy. I don’t know what it is, because in truth he looks a bit weather-beaten, but he’s so well put-together and always shirtless and well-defined, there’s something extremely masculine about him, more so than in other men. I think it adds to his sexiness that he enjoys cross-dressing, and he just seems like a genuine, awesome person. I’d tap it. For sure. Although since he’s straight, I’d probably have to settle for him tapping me. I’m down.

And, get this! When Amanda goes on tour by herself or with Brian, they don’t stay in hotels. THEY STAY WITH FANS. Yep. They come and crash at your place. That is awesome. Amanda and Brian are more in touch with their fans than anyone I’ve seen in their position: they answer all questions, if you send them something to autograph they’ll autograph it and mail it back to you, they encourage you to send in your music if you’re a musician and promise they listen to everything, and if they like you they may bring you onto their label and they may let you open for them. They’re just so genuine, and it’s really about the music for them. One person mentioned that the Who Killed Amanda Palmer songbook had a binding that snapped shut, and Amanda said they were working on a new binding for future editions and that she could trade it in. So genuine!

She’s really just an inspiration and exactly the kind of musician I want to be. I don’t feel the need to mimic her either, because I just get her; she makes me want to be myself, and not copy Tori Amos or anyone else.