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 V.18 No.30 | July 23 - 29, 2009 

Music to Your Ears

Bud Melvin's Popular Music

What do you get when you mix banjo, 8-bit Nintendo and karaoke? (Aside from a Missourian out on the town in Japan.) You get programmer/picker Bud Melvin’s LP release for Popular Music.

Bud Melvin creates a solo novelty using the banjo and chiptunes—music produced by older video game and computer systems that generate sound in real time. It’s both retro digital and pastoral, an unlikely combination that interacts with the dynamism of yin and yang. On Sunday, a live collision of Luigi and Jed awaits release party revelers at Ed's Pub, Leisure Bowl's wood-paneled, karaoke-fraught watering hole. The show is free and followed by a night of open karaoke. In the meantime, the Alibi shipped off a few electronic questions to Melvin about the record.

Why release digital chiptunes on an analog record?

Doing an LP is sort of an experiment for me. As time goes on, it seems that people are abandoning CDs for digital formats like MP3. I am offering digital downloads of this record, but I wanted to do something for the people who still want something tangible. Vinyl still has its niche popularity and I thought it would be ideal for this purpose and also help it stand out a little more.

One of your songs was in The King of Kong, a 2007 documentary about Donkey Kong. How did you get involved?

I got a nice message from one of the producers asking if I would include a song for a chiptunes jukebox they were planning for the bonus features. I was recommended by 8 Bit Weapon, from L.A., some really nice folks I've met through and MySpace.

Why Leisure Bowl?

Mainly because Leisure Bowl is one of my favorite hangouts and I thought it would be fun to do something a little different for this release show. Also, because I'm basically a one-man act singing along to my own backing music on the Game Boy, it already bears a strong resemblance to karaoke anyway, so doing it at a karaoke bar seemed appropriate.

What's your guiltiest music pleasure?

I'm not too guilty about any of my pleasures, but some people might be surprised at how much Lawrence Welk and terribly cheesy '80s synth soundtrack music I listen to.

Sunday, July 26, 4 p.m.

Ed's Pub, inside Leisure Bowl (7400 Lomas NE)

Download Popular Music at


See Bud Melvin's Game Boy camera photos on

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