SUPER EGO The slightly "meh" body of 2011 isn't even cold and already we have two completely ridiculous yet ridiculously adorable, new deliberately manufactured subcultures to pretend argue on blogs about, because who blogs anymore? Seapunks and bronies, yep. I hope they fight, too, because it'd be the 2012 apocalypse in one cute, handy metaphor. Sparkly rainbow annihilation now!
Luckily, both also provide some cotton candy for thought. Bronies (and Pegasisters) are adult fans of "My Little Pony," spanning the glittery spectrum from dedicated furries to wayward anime admirers. And yes, they dress up, and yes, there was a packed Bronycon in NYC last week. The Brony dance music of choice is variously called rainbowstep, ponystep, or dubtrot, and consists mostly of "My Little Pony"-based samples ("Fluttershy will snuggle you in your sleep!") laid over basic dubstep tracks.
Many will find this to be divine justice for the much-maligned dubstep genre; I'm fascinated by both the ever-evolving cuddlecore-kawaii movement — humanity is so awesome — and the strange amalgamation of retro commercialism and celebratory fetishism, dancing together to something someone whipped up on a laptop for the occasion.
Seapunk is a bit more complex, a wonderful bit of subcultural engineering masterminded by elfin LA producer Fire for Effect, of underground pop group Ssion, who wanted more environmental consciousness in the club scene. (The original concept came from a "GIF dream" designed by Twitter personality Lil Internet, according to the legend.) Seapunk's aqueous adherents, mostly in the Midwest but spreading fast — SF just got its first octopussy Seapunk mural at Market and 12th Street — have been characterized as goth mermaids, which certainly captures the look and feel: think turquoise-dyed hair and an embrace of all things oceanic, yay for steampunk jellyfish outfits.
But the whole idea is perhaps appropriately diffuse, nay watered-down: it's more an "immersive Internet concept" than a pre-packaged lifestyle. And the music isn't punk at all.
Besides an odd bubbly noise or two, it would be hard to identify any seapunk tracks (by Zombelle, Teams, Slava, Unknown, mostly on the Coral Records label) as anything but deep, dreamy tech house and bass music, a bit drowned-sounding, with those chipmunked rap samples now back in vogue. The lighter side of witch house, maybe.