As most people know by now, Jonathan Coulton is one of my major geek crushes. Thankfully the hubby is okay with that (you will always be my #1 geek crush, sweetie). Coulton, (or JoCo, for short) produced a song every week for an entire year (to get caught up, check out the "Listening Suggestions" on www.jonathancoulton.com). What started as a way to explore the creative process and maybe amuse a few friends and reassure concerned family members that really, there were more than three songs in him (and he just wrote the third), became an internet phenomenon. The songs, while not all bright and shiny winners, are consistently listenable and re-listenable. It's one hell of a sophomore album (the first full album was the 2003 "Smoking Monkey"). And it's not just one album, it's four!
Thing a Week ended in September 2006 and Coulton hit the road, accompanying John Hodgman on his book tour for "The Areas of My Expertise." He also started to combine tour stops with concerts and eventually began to tour on his own and with the dynamic duo, Paul and Storm. The fans wished him well, thanked him for the music, and bought tickets and t-shirts and box sets and tried to find other ways to get their fix through video footage from cel phones and tapings at live concerts. A happy collaboration with Ze Frank in March 2007 (you can hear "I Knows Me Some Ugly" in the NY Times Video "Jonathan Coulton: Internet Superstar" ) and a recent cover of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know" helped keep the addiction fresh.
In a very un-Superstar Divo manner, JoCo has managed to post at least once a week if not more often than that, even while on the road. It's the sort of thing that "they" say can't be done, but JoCo is not one to leave his fans behind and rest on his laurels. So you can imagine the fans' excitement when JoCo announced that rather than requiring a bucket of chicken or a can of soda to watch him twiddle with knobs and sing into a microphone, he was going to allow us to be proverbial flies on the wall. Coulton set up a web cam across from his computer and for a few days streamed an hour or so via UStream.tv. To see for yourself, go here.
The feedback and practice from touring, being able to harmonize and collaborate with Paul and Storm, and just generally being a really talented singer/songwriter has resulted in a new song. It's well worth the wait. "Octopus" has all that we have come to expet and love about a JoCo song - catchy hooks and smart lyrics with tight harmonies. This isn't a bone being thrown to hungry fans to distract them with fluff. It certainly bodes well for the longevity and persistence of one of my favorite artists.
And here's the conclusion, to be delivered in end-of-an-NPR-feature style: Based on the celebration in the comments section, I don't think JoCo's career will be on the endangered species list any time in the near future.
As an added treat and in record time, Len Peralta from Jawbone Radio posted one of his amazing "Monsters by Mail" videos to commorate the new song: