Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Strangeness of Kinders

You’re all aware that the last few weeks have been a little rough for your old pal Z. – what with the teeth getting yanked out and whatnot – but it hasn’t been all bad.

There were the drugs, and those are always fun. Of course, I’ve also received an ample infusion of nature’s analgesic: swag. Nothing speeds up the process of convalescence quite like new tunes, and my dorky comrades have made sure to provide me with a nigh endless supply of new entertainment options.

Nerdcore producer nYgel, for example, was nice enough to give me a pre-release copy of his forthcoming mixtape Nature’s Outcasts. I won’t dwell to much on this at present, as I plan to give it a full write-up after its official release, but suffice it to say he brought his A game.

I also received a care package from the very bowels as hell (aka: New York) from none other than Schäffer the Darklord. Schäff provided me with both his debut release Meet My Maker and his new album Mark of the Beast. You’ve no doubt heard a bit of the material from the former, as I played the delightfully profane “Attack of the Clonefucker” on an edition of Radio Free Hipster. In case you missed it, let me sum up: Meet My Maker treads some magical line between the pomp of rap and the unbridled malevolence of metal without ever devolving into the unsavory potage that is rap-metal.


Consequently, Mark of the Beast takes everything that was right about its forerunner and builds on it. It’s more literate, more lyrical, and more lascivious. Plus the production value and overall flow of the album have really been ramped up.

I’m what you might call a comedy purist. Okay, I’m actually what you might call a douche bag, but I’m what I call a comedy purist, and as such I generally feel that musical comedy is only slightly more palpable than the dreaded prop comedy. Still, Schäffer manages to be both musical and comedic in turn without ever leading the listener to feel that one element is a tacked-on shtick meant merely to help the other go down smoothly.

What I’m getting at is that Meet My Maker is good. It’s fun and humorous and enjoyable and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection. Mark of the Beast, however, is a must-own. I know that STD has never fully been accepted by the nerdcore masses, but, as I’m sure anyone who caught him on tour with Frontalot can corroborate, he’s one of us. Come for the “Cat People,” stay for the “Nerd Lust.”

This brings us, of course, to ZeaLouS1’s newest offering The Living Epitaph. BOSSFIGHT’s own Dark Prince was nice enough to hook me up not only with a free copy of Z1’s newest masterwork, but one of the ultra-exclusive limited editions. Included in the slick black packaging was a pair of die-cut stickers (I love stickers!) and a logo pinback (I fuckin’ love pins!), as well as a signed copy of the disk itself.


The album is what you’d expect from ZeaLouS at this point in his artistic development, and that is in no way an insult. As the premiere BOSSFIGHT artist, Z1 has always been about quality, and The Living Epitaph takes that to a whole new level.

From the simple, poignant invocation that begins the disk to the last strains of the album’s closer, ZeaLouS1 takes you an a journey that’s equal parts sci-fi and real life, equal parts fact and fiction, equal part poppy hooks and fierce lyricism. It’s easily his most accessible work, but Z1 stays true to the nerd life just like long-times fans would expect. Tracks like “By Your Side” will both surprise you with delicate aural textures and waylay you with the one-two punch that is the next evolutionary step in ZeaLouS’s musical maturity.

I’m gonna assume that many of you reading this have already purchased this album. Those who haven’t should. It’s that simple.

I know I make a lot of suggestions about how you spend your hard-earned entertainment dollar, so I’ll sweeten the deal: if you’re not an early album adopter, just keep listening to my podcast. I can guarantee that you’ll be hearing a lot from STD and Z1 in upcoming episodes.

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