Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Northwest Nerdcore at Fuel

I’m not one to tell people what to do. “Live and let live.” That’s what I always say.

Actually, what I always say is “he who smelt it dealt it,” but this is no time to split hairs.

I would urge every man, woman, and child amongst you – assuming, of course, that the children in question are at least 21 years of age – to make his or her way to Fuel, a delightful club located in scenic Seattle, this Friday for a nerdcore show of nigh-biblical proportion.

Featured artists include my boy Beefy. My other boy Ultraklystron. His girl Nursehella. My favorite mythological-talking-raccoon-dog-thingy MC Tanuki. His partner in crime TG 2005. And a guest who is, apparently, special.

It’s the kind of event that you can only expect in the great northwest, which, consequently, is brought to you in part by news site/podcast/regional artist collective Northwest Nerdcore.

Fuel has been instrumental in disseminating nerdcore to the local masses through their venue’s continued support of the scene and its artists, so be sure to do your part by showing up. It’s 8 bucks at the door, but booze, CDs, and various nerdcore trinkets ain’t free, so make a pit stop by your preferred ATM before heading out.

And be sure to cheer extra loud. Let the guys and gals onstage know that you love ‘em. Let ‘em know I love ‘em too!

Be there!!!

In A World Gone Mad (It's Hard To Think Right)

The last week or so has been mad, and I mean mad in the most positive manner possible. Things have been, from my standpoint at least, undeniably odd and getting weirder every day. It seems that, once again, everything is coming up… nerdy.

When nerdcore invaded CES, I didn’t bat an eye. It was surreal, sure, but I had steeled myself against the inevitable onslaught of such an occurrence; I had mentally prepared. When said event generated press buzz, if you will – I was pleased. It’s hard not to be proud when exposed to the spectacle of Doc Pop being interviewed in a luxury bathroom!

But that just didn’t seem to be enough.

The universe obviously wanted to geek things up another notch.

And thus came news that prolific producer Timbaland may have completely ganked the music for a track from Nelly Furtado’s new album Loose from the nerdiest of sources: a Finnish chiptune musician named Janne Suni.

Could it get any stranger than that?

How about rumors of a forthcoming mc chris interview at! Add to that additional mumblings that mc may finally be warming to the idea of the nerdcore scene!!

Surely things couldn’t get any more bizarre?

Things can. Things will. Things did.

Last night I spoke to a fellow named Jason Tanz. You may’ve heard the name before, as the gentleman in question is the writer of the soon-to-be released "Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America." The book, if memory serves, was recently mentioned by our own venerable MC Frontalot, but Front's link to a book about white guys rapping isn’t teh w31rdn3z of which I speak. Jason contacted me regarding a small article he was writing concerning nerdcore hip hop for Esquire magazine. Yes, the gentleman’s periodical that once played host to the works of Ernest Hemingway is considering publishing a piece on nerdcore.

I try not to get excited about things like this. The scene has, unfortunately, been burned before. To his credit, Jason was brutally honest concerning the article: 300 words, no guarantee that any specific quotes or names would be published, with the aforementioned Newsweek piece looming as a detriment to the actual publication of his. Still, he came off as a genuinely likable guy. He asked questions that were seemingly pertinent, and, as evidenced by the subject of his book, Jason seems to have an actual interest in hip hop.

So, questions of will it find its way to publication aside, I think we can agree that an actual writer working on an actual story for an actual magazine about nerd music is oddity personified… compounded, of course, by the fact that he actually contacted me on the subject.

After all, if nerdcore is a museum, then guys like Frontalot and Doctor Popular are the featured artists. Folks like High-C and Dan Lamoureux, the guys who put together the projects that make the world take notice of the creative energies exhibited by our little corner of the spectrum, are like the curators. Cats like Jason Tanz are the guides; they show the public the exhibits and answer all the questions they can. Me? I’m pretty much the janitor. I mostly just try to keep things presentable, keep the dust from settling.

And a world where you ask the janitor for his input is a world gone mad.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nerd News In Brief

It’s a good time to be a nerd. There’s simply so much going on in nerdcore at present that it’s actually hard not to be excited. No matter where you’re located, there is surely some nerdy goodness coming your way in the near future.

The esteemed MC Frontalot has just announced that he will, once again, be touring this spring in conjunction with the release of his new album Songs From the Future. It gets better: said album will feature cover art by the equally esteemed Gabe. Better still: the tour will also feature, on its first leg, MC Lars, and headway is being made at including Optimus Rhyme in some of the west coast shows as well. Unfortunately, April is, alas, quite a ways away. (<-- I speak southern.)

For those of you looking for somewhere to go this week, may I humbly suggest moving that ass down to Pioneer Square in Seattle where this Friday Fuel will play host to Beefy, Ultraklystron, Nursehella, MC Tanuki, TG 2005, and an enigmatic “special guest.” Why should you be there? Shit, why should you not?!

Since this info, as grand as it is, doesn’t do much for those of us on the east coast, I shall offer a delightful conciliation prize in three parts.

Part, the 1st: Ringtones have been cleaved from a small but eclectic array of second-gen nerdcore classics by the noble Singed Long Int., and are offered free of charge from SLI’s Web site. Can we expect more? Who’s to say? But I do plan to do my part by badgering the hell out of SLI over the Nintendo Wii messaging service, “suggesting” that he whip up some more.

Part, the 2nd: There are a scarce few of a very, very limited run of original Nerdcore For Life t-shirts currently available to interested parties. This particular design has been scrapped for a number of reasons, which were recently detailed on the Rhyme Torrents board along with cost and contact information. While I’m not going to go so far as to tell you that these will become valuable collector’s items, I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good t-shirt and would like to own a little piece of nerdcore history.

Part, the 3rd: Lastly, I present what is my personal favorite piece of video footage from last week’s Beauty Bar show. It’s those lovable scamps from the Emergency Pizza Party performing their recent Song Fight!-winning track “Glutton.” This clip is dear to me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the EPP are, geographically speaking, the closest thing I have to a nerdcore home team; whenever I sense a warm and tingly feeling coming from my immediate southeast, I know that the Party are doing their thang. Secondly, “Glutton” is a favorite track, and what I consider their best work to date. And lastly, the energy of said footage not only exemplifies everything that is right about my Florida brothers and sisters, but also visibly resonates with the extended nerdcore family present. Don’t believe me? Check out Karl at the end of the clip.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

While I’ve spent the last few days engrossed in other projects (which I’ll elucidate upon later this week), my blogging brothers have done an excellent job covering the two-day nerdcore extravaganza that was last week’s Beauty Bar and CES shows. Of course, I’m not going to let their exemplary musings on the subject preclude me from putting in my own two cents.


Because the better part of blogging is, generally, writing concerning items about which others have already written. May the circle be unbroken.

While Tuesday’s Beauty Bar show may have been merely the precursor to the much talked-about CES gig, it was, in its own right, nerdcore history. While we’ve had other instances of full frontal nerdity from the scene, the previous examples (such as the Post-PAX show at The Shark Club) have been mostly regional affairs. The Beauty Bar, on the other hand, played host to artists from all major pockets of nerdcore civilization save Texas and the far Northeast.

The general consensus concerning the gig seems to be that things started out well enough, but tended to lose some momentum as the night wore on. “The Beauty Bar show was great for the first half,” said Benjamin Bear (to whom, I am lead to believe, the night belonged), “ until the venue decided they needed to have a DJ spinning ‘real’ music between artists, which just made things longer until the venue then decided everyone needed to hurry up and get out.”
A mini-review of the show even made it’s way into Las Vegas Weekly, and, snarkiness concerning hairstyles aside, seemed generally positive. Pictures from the venue tell a story all their own; as much as the overall setup was, to quote Doctor Popular, “far from ideal,” you get a genuine sense of warmth and community.

Not surprisingly, the real story was at CES.

As Doc Popular also points out, “the sound at the DivX booth was ideal… for the audience.” Onstage? Not so much.

I asked Ben about this, as well:

“The CES show could have been done better...for some reason they had it as the convention was closing for the day, so everyone was leaving as we were setting up...not to mention the horrible feedback problems that kept us to the rear of the stage. However, some good performances still came out of the show, and I suppose the fact that it happened is more important than how well it happened.”

Despite sound problems and the overly corporate feel of the CES environment, many artists made themselves known in indubitable fashion. YTCracker brought his “A game” (both during his scheduled set and during his impromptu Bloghaus performance), while MCDJ and DJMC (who has blogged about the event both personally and professionally) proved, once and for all, that LA knows nerdcore just as well as its neighbors up the coast.

So what can truly be said about the exploits of dozens of displaced nerds (and one local: Hi, MceeP!) in Vegas?

On a lot of levels, it was more of the same: High-C was high and Ultraklystron and Nursehella were incredibly cute.

On others, however, the world was turned on its ear: as when, in a moment of earth-shattering synchronicity, Monzy and MC Plus+ declared a lyrical ceasefire.

When I asked Benjamin Bear if the shows, their press, and the overall experience would truly change the landscape of nerdcore, he had, in his typical, realistic fashion, this to say:

“I think it will just make its underground lair bigger for now. It will make people curious, but the general consensus is still that we're ‘those wacky nerd rappers.’ … [And] while not everything went smoothly, the important thing is that everything went.”

I can only think of one thing that sums things up better than Ben’s ruminations.

Snaked from the images of a certain DJMC.