Friday, February 09, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

After taking a day to recover from a robot overdose , I am back in the saddle again. Much like the late Gene Autry . Here's some nerd news you can use, and, truthfully, some you could probably do without. Which is which? Why, that's for you to decide!

  • Help a brother out : Tickets for the pivotal “secret” mc chris gig are half sold-out. This could be a career-defining show, so pre-order and be there as history is made! See mc strut his stuff in front of a room filled with important people in suits. Also, there may be pie.
  • Dead Circuits : Say goodbye to MCDJ and DJMC and hello to Philo Farnsworth and Mr. Fingers . After strutting their stuff at last month's nerdcore assault on Las Vegas , our favorite LA natives decided to retool their name to match their style, henceforth: Dead Circuits . Personally, I think they picked a winner.
  • Clash of the Titans : Though it's a –ways off, I think this still bears repeating : El Corazon in Seattle will play host to MC Lars , MC Frontalot , and Optimus Rhyme on April 18 th as part of the Beta Nerdcore Tour. Three words: holy fucking shit!
  • Pizza and comics : Emergency Pizza Party will be playing a free show on February 24 th at A Comic Shop in Winter Park , Florida . I love a venue that both sells comics and uses an indefinite article in the name.
  • Thankee, Sai : In other comic-related news, I would like to fervently recommend the first edition of Marvel's comic adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower to fans of Mr. King , comics, sci-fi, fantasy, cowboys, epics, apocalyptic literature, allegory, words, and pictures. It's good. You should totally pick it up.
  • Oh, what a feeling : As one of those over exuberant lovers of the lunchbox , I'd like to say that the new 2008 Scion xB looks silly. And I don't mean silly in the delightfully angular manner of its first-generation predecessor. I mean silly like if Robocop fucked a Sherman Tank .
  • [dumbasses] :And lastly, my pal Church made his own version of the Adult Swim apology to the people of Boston . Truthfully, I think his is a bit more accurate.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 16: Robot Friends Module A

Doctor Popular is the artistic equivalent of an atom bomb; his scope is broad and his effect astounding. Whether he's drawing comics , dropping rhymes , bending circuits , or letting a yo-yo fly , he always brings two things: quality and creativity. To say that I'm a fan is an understatement.
Doc is also one of the nicest cats you'd ever want to meet. He's not merely friendly, he's genuinely pleasant. He is an independent thinker, a man of principle, and, luckily enough, a fellow lover of all things robot.
Doc and I try and keep tabs on each other's endeavors. We exchange emails and read each other's blogs and generally try to be supportive and helpful. And when we realized that both of us were on the same track with our respective podcasts, it only made sense to combine our efforts.
Submitted for your approval is my half of a project we've dubbed Robot Friends – in homage, if you must know, to one of my favorite Drown Radio tracks – and I hope you find it to your liking. Though Doc Pop and I collaborated concerning theme and set lists, our work was mostly independent. After all, we didn't want to ruin the surprise for one other!
This edition of Radio Free Hipster is centered squarely on robots. It contains songs by, about, and referencing androids, cyborgs, bionic men, and hi-tech beasties of all description. It's dedicated to all the technological marvels and fantastic figures that have fascinated, motivated, and scared the hell out of me since my childhood. It's also dedicated to Doc and to all you out there, to everyone who takes part in this fantastic community of like-minded misfits that an eerily similar technology has afforded.
Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 16: Robot Friends Module A [ mirror provided by Antisocial ] Size: 40.5 MB Running Time: 44:19
Show Notes
Intro: Baddd Spellah (feat. Beefy ) – “Radio Free Hipster Theme”
Is this my favorite song of the podcast even though it ain't robot related? I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations.

Track 1: Optimus Rhyme – “Super Shiny Metal”
Man, I love that kid. That bot's got super shiny metal!

Z's 1 st interlude: “Everything from benevolent automatons to skull-crushing killing machines.”
I love how robots can play such disparate roles; they can be saviors or enslavers. Robots are just like people. Only shinier.

Track 2: Emotron – “1989”
Emotron songs tend to go there own way after a point. Which, I guess, is how you go from robots to Helen Keller to urinary incontinence. Did I mention he catches his dick on fire?

Track 3: Tenacious D (dialogue) / 1337 GEEK BEAT – “ Hutzumi ” / $6 Million Man Theme
How could I do a robot themed podcast without including MC Router? She's like our very own bad-ass Borg Queen !

Track 4: Chris Taylor – “ Robots Are Great
This is not, as far as I know, the same Chris Taylor who developed Dungeon Siege , but we can pretend if you want.

Track 5: 8bit – “ You Ain't No Robot
I am currently working under the assumption that 8bit are, in fact, a Bizarro World version of Emergency Pizza Party . I'm just sayin'.

Track 6: Cartman & Butters (dialogue) / Drown Radio – “ Robot Friend
After Robot Friends has concluded, Doc is doing a podcast about sex. He is a complicated man.

Track 7: Futuristic Sex Robotz – “The Positronic Pimp”
Once again, this track was a no-brainer. You can't talk robots without talking Robotz!

Z's 2 nd interlude: “Z. is Transformers fanboy.”
Guilty as charged.

Track 8: MEATBEE – “ Theme from Transformers
I found this track by accident. Behold the glory of the Intertubes!

Track 9: Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” / The Kleptones – “ Love Song for Yoshimi
Okay, so the Kleptones track ain't exactly robotical. It is, however, fan-fuckin'-tastic. (Plus, it enabled me to sneak a mash-up in there.)

Track 10: Johnny 5 (dialogue) / Captured By Robots – “ Speed Food Pyramid
When one tries to craft servile automatons to do ones musical bidding, one sometimes has one's guts cut out and becomes enslaved by the aforementioned. Let this serve as a warning.

Track 11: Interrobang Cartel – “ The Robot Song (Data Version)
?! Cartel is part Song Fight! , part artistic collective, all awesome.

Track 12: The Protomen – “ Will of One
Am I the only one who finds The Protomen's take on the Mega Man story to be astoundingly poignant?

Z's final interlude: “I'm going out with an exclusive track by Rai Kamishiro .”
I'm a big fan of Rai, and she makes it a point to leak a new track to me now and again, to throw me a bone, as it were.

Track 13: Rai – “Mechanical World”
She's actually Mechagodzilla , in case you didn't know, so her inclusion was mandatory. I really dig this track, and I'd like to publicly thank both Rai and her esteemed producer Karl Olson for allowing me to premiere it here.

I grew up in a robot-heavy era. Maybe that explains my fascination. Or maybe it has to do with what robots represent; a creation cast in man's own image, created to thrive where mankind has floundered, a creation both independent of and ultimately reliant upon a flawed creature. It's quite poetic, actually. Almost biblical.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to see what Doctor Popular has done with his half of the project . You can come with. In fact, I insist that you do.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It was 1974...

In anticipation of tomorrow’s unveiling of the Robot Friends project, I thought I’d post this animated short. It’s by a UK YouTuber called s3r4phyn, and it was inspired by Optimus Rhyme’s “Sick Day.” Good stuff!

You down with OPP?

You may remember Jason Tanz as the gentleman who interviewed me last month for a small piece in Esquire magazine. You may also remember him as the precocious Jamie Lawson from ill-conceived 1980’s sitcom Small Wonder.

Okay, I totally made that last part up. Actually, you probably know Jason as the writer of Other People’s Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America.

As today is the release date of this cherished tome, I thought I’d pass along to you some info concerning the launch party and a few readings in NYC and the Pacific North West. Those of you in advantageous locales may want to head down to any of the following vendors to meet one of the noble few writers referencing nerdcore who actually listens to hip-hop music.

If you happen to run into him, tell him Z. says hi.

"[A] thoughtful and often insightful work of long-form journalism."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Takes exploration of pale-faced rappers to a new level."
-- Seattle Weekly

"Unfailingly empathetic. Hip-hop's transformative capacity is the book's most powerful theme."
-- Washington Post Book World

"A penetrating journey through the semiotics of pigmentation, and a hilarious, self-deprecating look by a white man at whiteness in a black-dominated genre."
-- Henry Chalfant, co-director of Style Wars

At long last, OTHER PEOPLE'S PROPERTY: A SHADOW HISTORY OF HIP-HOP IN WHITE AMERICA hits bookstores tomorrow. An eye-opening look at race and identity in our country today, OPP blends memoir, history, cultural analysis, and on-the-ground reportage to explore hip-hop's decades-long journey through white America. Author Jason Tanz -- a hip-hop-loving white boy who grew up in the suburbs of the Pacific Northwest -- provides a one-of-a-kind look at how hip-hop is lived far from the inner cities that birthed and sustain it: from "nerdcore" rappers, who rhyme about Star Wars conventions and computer code; to a group of would-be gangstas in a neighborhood so insulated it's nicknamed "the bubble"; to a breakdancing class at an upper-crusty dance academy in New Canaan, Connecticut. Tanz interviews dozens of fans, artists, producers, and promoters, including some of hip-hop's most legendary figures -- Public Enemy's Chuck D, white rapper MC Serch, and former Yo! MTV Raps host Fab 5 Freddy, among many others. The result is a hard-edged, thought-provoking, and humorous snapshot of the particularly American intersection of race, commerce, culture, and identity. In bookstores everywhere.

Feb 28, 8:30PM
New York City
Jonathan Shorr Gallery, 109 Crosby St.

Get down with OPP at the following panels/readings:

Feb 12, 7PM w/ Jeff Chang and Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
New York
Makor, 35 W. 67th St.
Tix: $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Feb 20, 7:30PM
Portland, OR
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside

Feb 21, 6PM
Tacoma, WA
University of Washington-Tacoma bookstore, 1754 Tacoma Ave. S.

Feb 22, 7PM:
Seattle, WA
University of Washington-Seattle bookstore, 4326 University Way NE

Feb 28, 7PM w/ Alan Light, Sacha Jenkins, and Northern State
New York
Housing Works bookstore, 128 Crosby St.
[Launch party immediately follows this event]

For more information:

Monday, February 05, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

Apparently there was some sort of sporting event yesterday. I don’t know what happened, but, as near as I can tell, Prince won. Generally speaking, I only follow professional hockey, and, as a Ranger’s fan, I usually only do that half-heartedly.

One thing I do try to stay on top of is nerd news. And here’s some of that. Briefly.

  • RTVI: Rhyme Torrents vol. 6 had been (sort of) dated. The final date for submissions is currently touted as February 15th, with the release date still forthcoming. With all the new (and old) artists recently coming into the community, this one promises to be an interesting effort to say the least.
  • Family Ties: Last week’s “What the fuck?” moment was handily won by DJ Snyder when he hipped the nerdcore community to the fact that high-octane noise rocker Andrew WK is, in fact, his cousin. Calls for a collaborative project between the two have been ardently requested ever since.
  • Wookies are incorrigible bastards: Runner up in the “What the Fuck?” category goes to Chewbacca. What a dick.
  • Joys of the season: The New Year always reminds me of the cyclical nature of life. Each and every year, I am struck by how recurring elements transpire in such perfect orchestration; the ebb and flow of the oddly ambivalent southern winter, the crumbling of well-minded resolution after well-minded resolution, Jesse Dangerously’s nominations for another score of regional awards for his superlative musical efforts. To read more about the latter and what you can do to help, hit up Jesse’s LJ.
  • Somebody set us up the bomb: As a resident of the rural south, I would like to sincerely thank the city of Boston for collectively shitting itself in response to the recent Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerilla ad campaign. Normally, when I read about this level of comical overreaction, such responses are limited to the unholy North Carolina/South Carolina/Georgia triad. Thanks for taking the heat off of us for a while, Beantown!
  • Nekkid nerds: Loren, an associate of the esteemed Dan Lamoureux, just so happens to be working on a sexy site devoted to nerdy girls. This risqué undertaking is called DirtyNerdy, and its coordinator is currently looking for prospective models. Information concerning the project can be found at the Rhyme Torrents BBS.
  • Whose space?: Dan has also lent his hand to the "get Nerdcore a genre on MySpace" campaign. He even put together a placard image for use in said crusade.

Nerd up!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Terrible Twos

Though I generally refrain from posting about wholly personal issues, I couldn’t let the day go by without at least a passing mention of the fact that this is the second birthday of my beloved progeny Little X. In lieu of gifts for himself, however, X. humbly requests that you pick up a copy of School the Indie Rockers by his favorite band Optimus Rhyme for your own bad self.

So selfless, that boy o’ mine!

Fightin' crime in the suburbs.