Important! This is an old post and I've recently changed my views on this. Please visit my blog entry from July 12, 2016 for my current thoughts.
Not too long ago I came across an online radio service called Radio Riel The site describes itself as follows:
Radio Riel is an Internet-based public radio station supported by listeners and sponsors, with five audio streams providing a unique selection of music, spoken-word and other programming to inform, educate and entertain, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Being a big fan of radio in general, especially internet radio, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of their streams was labeled Radio Riel Dieselpunk, which describes itself as playing, "music from 1920–1940, including Pop Standards, Big Band & Swing, Burlesque & Cabaret & a dash of Film Noir Soundtracks. Currently believed to be the world's only Dieselpunk station."
Also on the site I found that they play the following:
Oldies, covers, remixes and revival, today's programme features Swing and Jazz music from the 30s through to modern day. From the originals like Acker Bilk, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, through the crooners such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald to today's revival with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Royal Crown Revue there's a little something for everyone.
Seeing bands such as Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy listed made me hopeful. I decided to listen to Radio Riel Dieselpunk.
After two hours straight of listening to it I have to report that I’m very disappointed. While I did hear crooners such as Sinatra as well as Big Bands such as Benny Goodman I never heard a single retro-swing band such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or Royal Crown Revue as they claimed on their site. Nor did I hear dieselpunk artists such as The Puppini Sisters or LaVay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. I certainly never heard the edgier dieselpunk bands and musicians such as Diablo Swing Orchestra or Wolfgang Parker.
Unfortunately even their selections of diesel era classics left me cold. Most of the artists played I had never heard before and the choice of songs where rather bland. Another negative was that Radio Riel interrupted their programming with advertisements much more often than other internet radio providers, such as Pandora.
When one combines all of this there was nothing about Radio Riel Dieselpunk that earned the label "dieselpunk." The station owners seemed to have a misunderstanding of what dieselpunk is. Dieselpunk isn’t a reenactment of the diesel era, though many of us at times enjoy reenacting the era's style and fashion, nor is it nostalgia by just replaying the productions from that era. It’s a postmodern movement that draws on the diesel era for inspiration as part of creating something altogether new.
Radio Riel Dieselpunk proves that just because you label a product something doesn’t make it so.