Friday, March 23, 2007

Concerning Anniversaries

Next month marks the legitimate one-year anniversary of Hipster, please! Sure this blog was around for a bit before that, but it was mostly just me fucking about, a lonely man-child trying to find his place in this big ol' Internet.

Once I settled on a tangible purpose, I began working. Alone.

If you'd asked me back then where I'd be with this project a year later, I would've remarked the same: alone.

I would've been greatly mistaken.

Some people actually read this blog. It's a fact I try to deny, but I know it to be true. And though their number is far from legion, they are – you are – good, decent, nerdy people whom I appreciate greatly. But there's more than that.

Hipster, please! has become, I'm both pleased and surprised to say, a legitimate team effort. Fine folks like Beefy and Antisocial provide me with storage space and bandwidth for Radio Free Hipster for no other reason than to help out. I'm also fortunate to have new friends like Denika, Church, and Matt who share with me their music, pass on tips concerning nerd news happenings, and are always quick to hip me to any new artists they happen to come across, and old homies like my boy Brüx helping to keep me on top of events that I couldn't possibly attend myself.

I guess what I'm saying is that Hipster, please! wouldn't be possible without all of you. Whether you're a reader or a direct contributor, I humbly thank you for your time and for making the past year so damn much fun. You're too good to me.

But there's one person who helps more (in a way that is both more palpable and more nebulous) than anyone else, and that's my wife Em. Now, as a rule, she doesn't read the blog – hell, the odds of her actually reading this are slim, at best – and she has only the vaguest idea what, exactly , it is I do when it comes to my writing. Still, she supports me, even though the concept is foreign to her.

She works harder than I do and makes more of a financial contribution to our little family, but she never gives me any shit about it. As I'm whiling away my lunch hour in my little office, ignoring my real duties in favor of trading emails with Dan or YTCracker or adjusting my podcast's track list, she's busting her ass dealing with new mommies and even newer babies. In more ways than one, her hard work affords me the opportunity to do this – writing about music – which is what I long to do.

Interestingly enough, our five-year wedding anniversary is today, and, even though she probably won't see this, it seemed important to mark that celebration as well.

It's just nice to realize that the solitary task that I set for myself is not nearly as solitary as I thought.

I'm no braggart. I don't like to boast, but I am full aware that I'm a very lucky man.

Hopefully, I'll find some novel ways to celebrate Hipster, please!'s first birthday. I've got a couple ideas in the works already.

And as for celebrating the wedding anniversary? Five words: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie.

What can I say? Y'all know I'm a huge nerd!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Help a brother out!

Matt just let me know that, in response to a recent run o’ bad financial luck, a gent named Eric Burns is currently auctioning off a hefty portion of his worldly belongings via Ebay. This is of interest to you, the nerdly public for two reasons:
  1. Eric is, for the initiated, the fellow behind Websnark, where one goes to read witty things about the sometimes less-than witty world of Webcomics. He’s a fellow blogger and, more importantly, a fellow nerd.
  2. Many of the items he is currently auctioning are tabletop RPG sourcebooks and the like. He’s looking to make a deal, and that stuff is normally ridiculously expensive. Trust me; I walked into my local Boardwalk and Park Place yesterday on a lark and summarily shit a proverbial brick when I accidentally glimpsed a price sticker.
If you’ve got a minute and want to peruse Mr. Burns’ tale of woe, please check it out. And if you’re in the market to make a steal on some geeky swag thanks to another man’s misfortune, then have at it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

I try to adequately space my NNIB segments. The last thing I want to do is overload anyone with nerdy news. Still, my Inbox overfloweth. And thus, I present to you More Nerd News in Brief – early edition.

  • Goddamn you half-Japanese girls : Fans rejoice, for J-nerdcore princess Rai has just informed me of the immanent release of her double A-side Internet single “Mechanical World”/”Sleeping Forest.” The official drop date is currently set for April 1 st , and the MP3s (as well as some promo pictures) will be available first on Rai's LJ and later at Rhyme Torrents. Special thanks to for Weezer for writing that title line for me and for Rai for finally making it relevant! ;)
  • Timbaland, don't you understand?: Always on the cutting edge of, y'know, shit the rest of us were talking about months ago, Wired magazine has recently elected to post an article on the Timbaland/Tempest thing. Snide shots at Wired aside, the piece has a pretty nice timeline of the events that have transpired thus far. Big up to my pal Church for hipping me to this.
  • “Nerd music” and “search engine” and not furries: Speaking of my Internet homies, Glenn over at Nerd-Music has added the Google Co-op Nerd Search engine to his site's sidebar. The project itself is still in the works, and if you'd care to contribute to the effort just let the man know.
  • Depleting his new music fund for a good cause: In other nerd music blogger news, my bro Matt (from Headphone Sacrament) just dropped some knowledge concerning Wrockers The Whomping Willows' charity auction for First Book. Up for grabs are original drafts of the band's song lyrics, songwriting brainstorming notes, a CD featuring demo versions of some songs from the group's new record, and exclusive photos from the studio. What's more, Matt has agreed to match the winning bid with a donation of equal value out of his own pocket. What a guy!!! More info is available here.
  • And SC gets the shaft!: Projected dates for the southern/eastern leg of MC Frontalot's forthcoming tour are as follows: Saturday 4/28/2007 Phoenix, Sunday 4/29/2007 Tucson, Monday 4/30/2007 Albuquerque, Tuesday 5/1/2007 Off, Wednesday 5/2/2007 Austin, Thursday 5/3/2007 Houston, Friday 5/4/2007 Off, Saturday 5/5/2007 Memphis, Sunday 5/6/2007 Atlanta, Monday 5/7/2007 Chapel Hill, Tuesday 5/8/2007 Richmond, and Wednesday 5/9/2007 Baltimore/DC . Though certainly not set in stone, if you'd care to join Frontalot's street team for any of the above dates and plastered your region with flyers, instructions for contacting Front can be found here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.'” Such were the words of Master Yoda.

So when I say that I tried to make it to the Pacific Northwest to witness the opening shots of the Mediocre Tour and the triumphant release of the Goondocks' International Metamorphosis, understand that such plans did not come to fruition. I simply did not do .

Fortunately for me, my trusted associate and all-around bro Brüx has long since escaped our common southern purgatory to the cool and drizzly climes of Seattle, putting him a literal stone's-throw away from the venue in question. As he was already planning to attend last Saturday's massive St. Patrick's Day gig, I summarily deputized him as an A-fficial Hipster, please! correspondent.

His three-fold mission was simple: attend, document, and enjoy.

But, always being the type of cat to go above and beyond, Brüx took it a step further; he spread the nerd love.

What follows is one man's journey into the heart of the nerdcore homeland.

Special thanks go out to Router, Beefy, Doc, and the Goondocks guys for taking some time to mug for the camera. And of course extra-special, super kung-fu monkey thanks to Brüx and company for taking the time to rep Hipster, please! in my stead. Y'alls is the greatest!


Tommy's Nightclub has a rep on The Ave as sort of a frat/sports bar where the larger of the human species come out and watch the even larger of the species (in full contact sport) attempt to injure each other for mating rights. To host a Nerdcore fest such as this is, no doubt, a special occasion: one producing anxiety in the audience as they wonder if they will soon enter the mutant realization of that prophetic David Allen Coe song.

Not to worry. Nerdcore brightens the universe; streets are cleaned in its presence, and birds alight on your shoulder as a stray Baddd Spellah beat enters your head.

We arrived WAY early in order to snag interviews with the following:

Nerd cred: General encompassing nerd knowledge, D&D player.

MC Route
Nerd cred: She builds robots!

Doctor Popular
Nerd cred: Pro-yo-yoer, makes beats and comics

The Goondocks
Nerd cred: Worked tech support jobs, cleaned many an IE browser cache.


Our impressions:

We were impressed. We went to be impressed, and expectations were exceeded a hundred-fold. Nothing screams NERD! ROCK! more than when the device producing your backing tracks is one iPod nano! (color: cold-as-ice blue, location: on top of someone else's bass amp) It's almost too simple: load up your playlist, plug into the PA, and make some Nerdcore converts on the spot.

The Mediocre crew kicked it into high gear first off with "The Sound" which saw Doc Pop and Beefy trading verses as Router got her boogie on. They all joined in on the choruses, and then it was on. On! I was thrilled and impressed that they traded songs and performed the whole set as a crew, and not as individual artists "doing their own thang," as it were. There was obviously a lot of give-and-take between frequent collaborators Pop and Beefy that was not quite so prevalent when Router took the lead, but overall they were surprisingly tight.

The set was packed and there was hardly any down-time. What minor lulls appeared were easily filled as Router dispensed little nuggets of back-story concerning some of her songs: riffs about the Wired article that left out female nerdcore artists and her account of becoming famous on Boing Boing for her new tattoo.

My initial thoughts were thus: this Nerdcore thing is for real. Seattle is notorious (in my experience) for being the home of indie-stand-and-stare kings/queens even when the music is bumpin', but not tonight. As you can see from the video, I had trouble filming while not busting my trade mark moves all over the dance floor. So eventually I put my camera away and boogied like it was graduation day.

Beefy comes across as whip smart, and from talking to him I can tell you he is (and will be) the heart of Nerdcore. He's super excited about the promise of the 'core and his strengths are as follows: his perfectly clear voice with two handfuls of style, his impeccable flow, and wit for days.

Doc Pop, while not having the flow of Beefy, slings lines like a Thai fisherman at low tide - the man just lays down science. His beats incorporated some classic soul tracks that really got the crowd on its feet.

MC Router, whose verbal velocity may only be a fraction of the gents on the tour, punctuates each line with her intense delivery. Her voice - husky and exhibiting seasoned stage presence - when flowing is like a caged animal. It makes each song a thrilling event. Not as much intensity as, say, Cobain at the end of "In the Pines," but definitely in the same neighborhood. Even more so when she starts doing the robot! The robot was classic. That she builds robots only spices the dish to a fragrant scrumptiousness of robot stew. Or cyborg harrira, perhaps?

Sadly, due to time constraints the Mediocre Tour set needed to be cut short. Still, much dancing was had and laughter laughed - and yes - the brows of the audience were as sweaty and flushed as those on stage. It was, in a word, fantastic.

I was pleased to make the acquaintance of Jake, Chas, and Jeremy from The Goondocks. Having never heard their music, I was hopeful. As we talked pre-show, I learned that the trumpet player, Jake, edits a great music magazine in Seattle. They let me know in the interview that the tentacle theme on the CD cover paid homage to a deleted scene in The Goonies, and adrenaline gave a boost to my heart-rate as I danced a little jig of anticipation.

Friends, the Goondocks are five minutes from blowing up so large that they will affect the rotation of this dank and glorious mud ball we call Earth. They Brought It. They Brought It, and then they flung it all over that sports bar... every member of the audience was covered in - not rock, mind you - hip hop glory. We were anointed. They opened with a quick and up-tempo rendition of "Jump Around" and the crowd was eating out of their hand within seconds. Bass, Drums, Keys, Trumpet, and 2 MC's and that place turned into a Tesla coil of excitement. And it's didn't stop. The bass just kept pounding, and the horn(s) filled us with angular, minor key bad-assery till we could take it no more.

[special nerd aside: The Goondock's horn "section" is one guy. One smart guy who plays his trumpet through a Digitech harmony pedal so as to play the chords a normal horn section would. NERD! ROCK!]

The Goondocks left too soon, but any more would have drained us all of the vital essences we needed to navigate the treacherous avenues to our slumber. But know this: The Goondocks walked off that stage champions and knowing full well that they filled the hearts of their audience with the blue flame of unexpected delight.

Friends, this is where my recounting falters. I didn't get to chat with Nerdcore Superstars Optimus Rhyme. I had dancing to accomplish, but I looked forward to their set nonetheless. And I was not let down. MUCH tighter in person than the few tracks I've heard - I give OR MAD props for being a Hip-Hop act with A) No Turntable, B) No Keyboard and, C) No Sampler. They are a strict Drums, Bass, Guitar, Vocals outfit - the same as your "Regular Indie-Rock Band" (REM, Portastatic, what-have-you). And friends, the funk and groove they dispense to their audience come generously and with deep love. That bass player they've got [Stumblebee] is quite something else: aggressive tone, tons of skill, and, above all, a deep sense of how to get bodies moving in sync. I could not take my eyes off him. Though not overly familiar with the songs and the MC's [Wheelie Cyberman] delivery, I can say that he's much more stylistically akin to Big Boi , than, say, Kurtis Blow. I had zero comprehension of the content, but that didn't stop the crush of fans that appeared from packing firmly around the stage, as had not otherwise occurred that night. Personally, I really appreciated the Misfits-like choruses of WHOOAAA and such so everyone could join in on the fun.

Alas, every kick drum at this point seemed to rocket right through me in a not-pleasant fashion, and we had to bow out before OR were finished. Warm, genuine, and generous goodbyes were shared and the fact that I had really been a part of something dawned on me.

We stepped out into the cool, damp, and thrilling Seattle night, the air clear and fresh with new possibilities, grabbed the first cab to Ballard, and spent the entire ride reliving the high points of the night.

Thanks to Z, for letting me name-drop, and thanks to Beefy, Router, Doc Pop, Chas, Jeremy, Jake, and all the rest for one of my favorite nights in Seattle thus far.

Nerdcore 4 Lif3!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

For those of you watching in black and white, I'll spell it out for you: we've finally broken the environment. Last week it was pushing 80. This morning? 35 degrees.

I blame the Republicans. Of course, I'll blame them for pretty much anything, so take that as you will.

But enough of my conjecture; on to this Monday edition of Nerd News in Brief.

  • Standing at the gates of the West: By all accounts, the first half of the Mediocre Tour has been a rousing success. The biggest bump in the road so far was an unscheduled trip to the ER for MC Router. Apparently she had some pretty serious inner ear trouble immediately following her plane ride to the PacNW, but, always the trooper, Router wasn't about to let the threat of deafness ruin her good time. A detailed account of the goings-on at Saturday's Saint Patty's Day gig in Seattle (the CD Launch party for the always excellent Goondocks) is forthcoming thanks to my bro Brüx.
  • Rage Against the mc: While Beefy, Router, and the Doc were feeling the love up Seattle-way, mc chris was having a ball in Texas. By his own admission, mc wowed ‘em at SXSW. Shit, he even got to jam on-stage with Tom Morello of Rage!
  • Epic Nerd: In other tour news, the MC Lars/MC Frontalot tour kicks off in less than a month. In addition to these two titans of rhyme, the list of “special guests” helping out along the way reads like an all-star nerdcore roll call, with names like Optimus Rhyme, YTCracker, and the undeniable DJ Snyder being bandied about. Peep the dates: 4/6 Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears ( tickets ), 4/7 Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's ( tickets ), 4/9 Columbus, OH @ The Basement ( tickets ), 4/10 Chicago, IL @ The Abbey ( tickets ), 4/11 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock ( tickets ), 4/12 Des Moines, IA @ The House of Bricks ( tickets ), 4/13 Papillion, NE @ The Rock 4/15 Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theatre ( tickets ), 4/16 Salt lake City, UT @ Kilby Court ( tickets ), 4/17 Boise, ID @ Bourbon Street ( tickets ), 4/18 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon ( tickets ), 4/20 Portland, OR @ Dante's ( tickets ), 4/21 Reno, NV @ Stony's 4/22 San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord ( tickets ), 4/24 Fullerton, CA @ The Alley ( tickets ), 4/25 San Diego, CA @ Epicentre ( tickets ), 4/26 Los Angeles, CA @ The Knitting Factory ( tickets )
  • William Fucking Shatner: Anyone seeking a brief respite from their pr0n surfing is encouraged to check out the conclusion of Wil Wheaton's two-part recollection of the time Bill Shatner took a dump on his dreams. It's over at the geek news portion of the Suicide Girls Web site, so the proximity of the article itself to naked, tattooed girly-parts is minimal at best.
  • Spelled with a “K”: I recently received a really nice email from a cat in Prague named Jeremiah Palecek . Jeremiah is a painter who has, for the better part of two years, been participating in his own painting-a-day project. What's makes the paintings of particular note is the subject matter; each day Jeremiah cranks out an oil painting centered on “nerd art, pixelated paintings, video game art, and other nerd related crafts.” In addition to creating nerdy visual arts (and his own brand of nerdcore hip hop), Jeremiah also supports the broader Nerd Arts, including Machinima, mash-ups, chiptunes, sci-fi, and all of the delicious flavor of artistic dorkiness. Y'all be sure to head over to his site, check out his wares, and give some nerd love to our brother holding it down in the Czech Republic.