Friday, May 04, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

This has been a great week for me with regard to television. This week's episodes of Heroes, Lost, and Scrubs were all fan-fuggin'-tastic. And that's good, 'cause TV has been my only brief respite from the toils of the various and sundry projects in which I've been enthralled.

How a man as unabashedly lazy as me can manage to have so much to do is... Well, it's damned near counterintuitive!

But enough of tales of my boring personal life. The time has come for More Nerd News in Brief.

  • The Scissor Sisters: Nerdy musician Glenn Case recently clipped off nearly a foot of his hair for donation to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces for disadvantaged children suffering from long-term hair loss due to causes such as alopecia and chemotherapy treatment. Check out Glenn's MySpace for before, during, and after pics, and be sure to say a kind word to the man for his altruism.
  • When Yo-Yos attack: Anyone within driving distance of St. Paul, MN should be aware that Doc Popular is serving as a featured performer at the 18th Annual MONDO Jugglefest. The good Doctor will be teaching some workshops and performing on the main stage. Skill toy debauchery will surely abound.
  • You down with RPG?: At this weekend's JACON in Orlando, Rocket Propelled Geeks will be hosting a panel about nerdcore. It's slated to begin at 4:00 PM on Saturday. Afterwards, interested nerds are invited to go out drinking/carousing, and then eventually to see Spider-Man 3.
  • They'll give love back: For you folks a little further West, Oddioblender recently announced that he and his band will be playing a Battle of the Bands at Dreamworld in Arlington, TX that same Saturday. He even provided a map. It's an all-ages show, so go support your boy and feel free to bring the kiddies. Show 'em some love!
  • "Punk bands who have [fallen] in in love with me":Hot on the heals of the recent Mediocre Tour, nerdcore's foremost Whitesican is planning another, larger tour throughout the summer with regional punkers Better of Naked and Bomb Threat Wednesday. When pressed for info, Beefy said, "Sadly I don't have too many details besides it starts in Santa Cruz on June 18th." I'll happily pass on more info as it becomes available.
  • Once more, with feeling: Lastly, after following the story in a manner so delightfully obsessive as to only be appreciated by me (and... y'know... him), my pal Church has made his own "Oh Nine, Eff Nine" video. Take a gander, and let its hypnotic qualities see you through to another wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Making my money work for… us

So apparently - totally unbeknownst to me - I recently took part in Paypal’s Spring promotion. I won’t bore you with the details, but bottom line: I just got a $15 credit to my account. Suffice it to say, that shit didn’t last long.

(I know right now most of you are wondering why, exactly, you should give a damn, but bear with me; it’ll become relevant momentarily.)

There have been a few notable nerdcore releases of late, and, sadly, I’ve been a little lax in picking them up. I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to remedy these oversights.

Therefore, I just ordered “Secrets from the Future” by the venerable MC Frontalot and “International Metamorphosis” by those delightful friends of Hipster, please! The Goondocks.

But wait. There’s more.

I also bit the bullet and picked up Optimus Rhyme’s first album. I really needed a copy in my collection anyway.

The grand total out o' pocket for this mini shopping spree? $23, which ain’t bad at all for three disks I know I'm gonna love.

This, of course, means that multiple tracks from each of these releases will be making their way into upcoming editions of the podcast.

That way we all win!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

After taking a couple of days off to recover from the ridiculous amount of time and effort it took to bring the Nerdcore Top 10 to fruition, I am back at 100%.

Okay, truthfully I'm never at 100%. My optimal function is 45%. Maybe 50%.

But that is neither here nor there; the important thing is that I'm back with the Nerd News in Brief.

  • The best part of waking up: Beefy has secretly replaced the coffee his fans usually drink with rich tasting Folgers Crystals… Maybe he didn't, but he did replace the regular array of studio tracks in his MySpace player with a collection of 5 live cuts from his gig at El Corazon. Check ‘em out.
  • And my man Queequeg: The poor, unfortunate bastards amongst you who (like me) missed the first leg of the MC Lars/MC Frontalot tour should rejoice, for the fine folks at Live105 recorded a few videos from the recent Cafe Du Nord show in San Fran. Check out MC Lars performing “White Kids Aren't Hyphy” and “Ahab.” Lars also requests that you continue to take a crack at remixing the former over at for a chance to win prizes. Sweet, glorious prizes!
  • With that in mind: Church has done some recent digging on the subject of collaborative music sites, and came across this Wired article. It's contains a pretty nice primer and tons of links.
  • The man never sleeps!: Church also hipped me to the 215 free Wu-Tang tracks available for download from Wu-Tang Corp. Bitrates vary, but the mixtape material alone is definitely worth a listen. Bring th' muthafuckin' ruckus!
  • Everything Gets the Kick: The Tenth and final episode of Internet sensation The New Adventures of Captain S is scheduled for release on May 11th. In the meantime, why not check out all the madness that has occurred thus far? You might even learn a little something.
  • Guess who's back?: At long last, Ultraklystron has his Web site back in operation! After… well… a damn long time, is once again online. Why not head over and check out some samples from Karl's Romance Language release? That question was rhetorical.
  • In case you missed it: Enerbrat, that connoisseur of fine mixtapes, recently turned the community on to the Motherboard E-Compilation. There's no viable reason not to download this.
  • Somehow I missed it: In semi-related news, how did I not know there was a Halifax hip hop crew called Alpha Flight ? I bow my head in shame. I stand ignorant in the faces of Jesse Dangerously and Snowbird.
  • A Fire Sale, of sorts: Year 200x are drastically cutting prices on a fine selection of band merchandise. This sale is CRAAAAAAAAAAAA-ZY, but will it be crazy enough to finance their trip to Pennsylvania for Video Armageddon 3? I sure as shit hope so. Right now you can score a Mega Man T-shirt for $10 (includes shipping), and with that purchase you get a free sticker and a free copy of their demo CD.
  • The SoundExchange and the Fury: I'm sure by now you've heard this, but it bears repeating: Internet radio is currently facing an astronomical hike in royalty fees. On May 15 th , the Copyright Royalty Board will change the basis of royalty rates from a percentage of revenue to a per-song, per-listener fee that is estimated to force up expenditures between 300 and 1200 percent! As a result, many Internet radio stations will cease operation. This isn't simply a blow for Internet radio, but also to the scores of independent artists who use this mechanism to reach new fans. Seems unfair, huh? Well, call your congressman. Write a letter. Make some noise.
  • And lastly: All this “09 F9” stuff has gotten totally fuckin' crazy! I'm completely cereal.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Top 10 Nerdcore Artists of all Time

With all that's happened within the sphere of Nerdcore Hip Hop over the past year, I thought now would a good time to take a look back on the landscape of geeky rap and those major players who have populated this strange and very often misunderstood world of beats, rhymes, and… dice.

This list, of course, is not solely my own; it's a compilation of the ideas and opinions of many nerdcore fans and some of the artists themselves. Special thanks go out to Dan Lamoureux, director of the upcoming Nerdcore For Life documentary; Gabriel of Nerdcore News; the fans, musicians, lurkers, and mildly interested passersby over at Rhyme Torrents; and friends of Hipster, please! who spread the word about the project.

And now that all the formalities are out of the way: on with the show.

10. UltraklystronUltraklystron
Karl R. Olson's lyrics are such a beautiful tangle of otaku imagery and slice-of-life recollections that one sometimes has to stop and ponder exactly how deep his metaphors run. Is each track, on one level or another, a personal account? Does each Ultraklystron song contain a single player that signifies Karl himself? Are all characters – like some hokey dream interpretation rubric – a figurative embodiment of Ultraklystron? Despite all the questions, all these lines blurred between straight narrative and alliterative impressionism, Ultraklystron manages to deliver a unique brand of nerdcore that is both satisfying and enlightening, even to the non-otaku constituent.

Visit - Listen - Watch - Befriend


9. Futuristic Sex RobotzFuturistic Sex Robotz
With the release of their 2006 free-to-download album Hotel Coral Essex, Futuristic Sex Robotz burst onto the fledgling nerdcore scene with an eclectic sound that preached the glory of marathon gaming sessions and recalled the golden age of the BBS. Coaxke, PC Speaker, BonzoDog, Recycle Bin, and Subrandom traded verses over cleverly crafted hooks incorporating everything from movie samples to Motherboard's own silky-smooth vocals. The result was a cohesive release that dwarfed the output of all but the most established acts of the age.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


8. MC RouterMC Router
MC Router proudly calls herself The First Lady of Nerdcore, and few would disagree. Whether backed up by her longtime collaborator T-byte, her Mediocre Tour ally Doctor Popular, or any other of a rotating cast of characters, Router's unmistakable voice and in-your-face disposition uniquely color any track she touches. Recently, MC Router has become one of nerdcore's most talked-about artists, garnering attention from the media at every turn. With her longtime feud with Nursehella squashed and a new release in the works, MC Router is both an important part of nerdcore's past and of its continued evolution.

Listen Watch Befriend


7. MC HawkingMC Hawking
Stylistically situated somewhere between the educationally caustic rap of MC Paul Barman and the comical mimicry of Dread Zeppelin lies MC Hawking. Web developer Ken Leavitt-Lawrence adopted the persona of this foul-mouthed, hard living parody of famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in the early 2000s, and in doing so helped to define nerdcore in its earliest stages. Though the Hawkman is less musically active now that nerdcore hip hop has blossomed into a full-fledged movement, his influence, impeccable comic timing, and robotic flow are still remembered and admired.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


6. MC LarsMC Lars
MC Lars calls his style “post-punk laptop rap,” but it bears all the earmarks of nerdcore. Lars effortlessly blends roots hip hop with the musical spirit of punk rock in a manner that produces both head-bobbing studio tracks and frenetic live sets. With a lyrical style that owes as much to classic literature as it does the modern sensibility of a man steeped in the digital age, his songs handily create the soundtrack for the lives of college students everywhere, whether they realize it or not.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


5. BeefyBeefy
Beefy, Keith A. Moore, His Beefyness, and, most recently, Beef Thompson are just some of the names ascribed to Pasco, Washington 's resident rhyme slinger. With a healthy ego, a grocery list of nerd cred, a love for rap, and talent to spare, Beefy manages to make tracks about Chun-Li, comic books, and heartbrokenness seem equally weighty. Perhaps more than any other artist, Beefy embodies the spirit of 2nd gen nerdcore: he proudly wears his influences on his sleeve without ever sounding hackneyed or overly referential. With his previous release Tube Technology still fresh in the minds of his fans, Beefy is already hard at work for a projected June release of its follow-up Fighting Crime.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


4. Optimus RhymeOptimus Rhyme
Optimus Rhyme are the Elvis Costello and the Attractions of nerdcore hip hop; they contribute to the strength and legitimacy of the movement by simply doing their own thing and wholly refusing to sound like anything or anyone else. Stumblebee, Powerthighs, Grimrock, and Wheelie Cyberman (occasionally aided by fellow Seattle MC Broken English) bring a mixture of rap, funk, and sci-fi storytelling the likes of which can't be adequately explained in this constricted communiqué. Their Jack Endino-produced School the Indie Rockers is, without a doubt, the most polished and professional nerdcore release to date, and their live shows are the stuff of legend.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


3. mc chrismc chris
mc chris is surely the unlikeliest of heroes, but there's clearly no other way to describe him within the context of nerdcore. At odds with the classification from the start, mc recently realized that, while he may not consider himself a part of nerdcore hip hop proper, his influence and inspiration have helped to shape the landscape like no one else. Many fans first became aware of the concept of geek rap through his work on Adult Swim's Sealab 2021 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and many artists cite his seminal Life's a Bitch and I'm Her Pimp among their early nerdcore influences.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


2. YTCrackerYTCracker
The battle for the number one spot on this list was, from the get-go, a two horse race. It can truthfully be said that YTCracker's fans are a rabid legion, and, consequently, it's hard to hear YT – or to see him perform live with his Spamtec group-mates – without becoming a fan. With a style that's equally accessible to nerds and non-nerds alike, a writing credit on Too $hort's 2003 release Married to the Game, an impressive list of DJ and performance credentials, and a celebrated hacker past, YTCracker is a big fish in the small pond with his sites set firmly on the ocean. Interested parties are encouraged to sample his freely downloadable 2005 album Nerdrap Entertainment System, but save room for the main course: 2006's Nerd Life.

Visit Listen Watch Befriend


1. MC FrontalotMC Frontalot
MC Frontalot was not the first geek to turn to music as a creative outlet. He wasn't even the first dork to bust rhymes. And when he coined the phrase “Nerdcore HipHop” in 2000, it's doubtful that he actually intended to craft a term for a style of music that would launch its own mini cultural awakening. Yet this ironic, self-deprecating description of his own style became a rallying cry for nerds everywhere. Featured in video games, honored in comic books, undefeated at Song Fight!, and praised by nerd culture prophets Gabe and Tycho, MC Frontalot showed the world that that rap and nerd life were not only compatible, but congruent.

Of course, this list would not be complete without acknowledging at least a handful of the other notable artists who merely skirted inclusion in the above. And, with that, Nerdcore Superlatives:

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Exemplary Musical Nerdiness: Baddd Spellah
Baddd Spellah is admittedly not nerdcore, but his unique production style has left fingerprints across the breadth of the musical community. Through his work with MC Frontalot, his masterful remixing of artists like mc chris, and his own solo work, Baddd Spellah has left an indelible impression on the sound of nerdcore hip hop.

Visit Listen Befriend

Ultimate Nerdy Musical Collective: Emergency Pizza Party
EPP, either by design or simply necessary function, encompasses a staggering array of Florida nerdcore artists: from founding members Betty Rebel, MC Wreckshin, and Sir-Up to new additions Jeff MK, Benjamin Bear, and Fanatical to unofficial associates like Signed Long Int and funky49. Their collaborative style is astounding, and the sheer number of participants guarantees that everyone will find something to their liking.

Listen Befriend

Most Important Beef: MC Plus+ vs. Monzy
Though thoroughly fabricated, the conflict between these two CS Gangstas attracted attention to both their own musical undertakings and the concept of nerdy rap itself. Nerdcore owes a great debt to these two programmers/PhD students.

MC Plus+: Visit Listen Befriend
Monzy: Visit Listen

50% Nerd, 50% Hip Hop: Metamystiks Inc.
Demonstrating a style much more akin to the conscious alt-rap of Jesse Dangerously than the rapid-fire geekery of Lords of the Rhymes, DJ Snyder, myf, and Super Dragon X are a trio of musicians separated by geography, but flawlessly united by a shared passion for music. There style is adequately described as both nerdy rap and rap that just happens to be produced by artists with nerdy predilections.

Listen Befriend

New Artist to Watch: Zealous1
Zealous1 was thrilled with the discovery that his life-long love of music and poetry seamlessly melded into the nerdcore style. In the short time he has been actively involved in the scene, Zealous has managed to cultivate tremendous fan support and a reputation for excellence. His album Collaboc1de, literally packed with special guests, is a testament to his love for nerdcore and its ardent reciprocation.

Visit Listen Befriend

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 21: Meat & Potatoes

After a hectic (read: shitty) week, putting together this podcast was a noble diversion. The bulk of these songs are silly and borderline uplifting. As a result, I have to say that this is one of my favorite overall track lists in a while. I hope you dig it.

Right now I think I might have one more free-form ‘cast in me before I go back to themed eps, but I'll just have to see where I'm at come RFH 22. In the meantime, peep the freshness and let me know what you think.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 21: Meat & Potatoes [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 43.1 MB Running Time: 47:10

Show Notes
Intro: Baddd Spellah (feat. Beefy) – “Radio Free Hipster Theme”
I'd take a bullet for either of these boys.

Track 1: Zealous1 (feat. Super Dragon X & Spontane) – “Double Dragon
Collaboc1de is well worth the time it'll take you to download it. Trust me.

Z's 1st interlude: “A collection of tracks that I am currently listening to.”
Which pretty much sums up every episode.

Track 2: Baddd Spellah - “Gawd Particles
This song contains the word penis .

Track 3: Mr. Door - “Video From NWNC @ Fuel
This song contains the word testicles .

Track 4: King of Pants - “Badd to Me
This song contains – even in its original, non-mash-up form – the word vagina .

Track 5: Datarock - “Computer Camp”
This song also contains the word penis . Oddly enough, all of this was purely coincidental. It wasn't until my final playback that I noticed this disturbing trend. Believe it or not, I had not planned to focus this set so firmly upon genitalia. I'm just sayin'.

Track 6: Stemage - “Brinstar
Stemage has a new (non-Metroid) album available. You should check it out.

Track 7: Ultraklystron - “Front to the Back (K-Beam Remix)”
Karl can rock the house. Rock the house indeed.

Track 8: MC Router - “Routerlicious”
Your little brother thinks I'm purdy / LAN parties signin' up to get a piece of this dirty nerdy.”

Z's 2 nd interlude: “It'll make you feel good.”
Well, it made me feel good.

Track 9: Oddioblender - “Lullaby of Cosmic Dust”
Odd's Gustuf Young is Dead is one of those disks I find myself going back to regularly. It's really got a lot to offer.

Track 10: Grandmaster Pink and Diabolik (feat. Dexy) - “The OC
When the show got cancelled , I actually felt a little bad for Pink and the boys. :(

Track 11: The OneUps - “Summers
Once again, let me plug the Game Music 4 All Music EXP comp. The line-up is outstanding!

Track 12: Commodore64 - “Dutch”
Just say yes.

Track 13: Mawatari Matsuko – “Hohoemi no Bakudan”
See? There's no way in hell I coulda said that!

Track 14: Stark Effect - “Bunny Rabbits, Satan, Cheese and Milk
There's more to Stark Effect than “mic in track” songs. Check it.

Z's final interlude: “I'll be sure to butcher some more Japanese in a later episode.”
My inability to pronounce words in any tongue is a constant source of amusement for me. I imagine you've come to expect it as well.
Track 15: MC Frontalot – “Secrets From the Future
Buy Front's new album here, or see him on tour and get it in person.
I'm still amused that I subconsciously themed a huge chunk of set one around brief references to naughty bits. How positively Freudian! ;)

Thanks for stopping by and being a party to my madness. I owe you one.

Please holler at me and let me know your thoughts on this episode. And, as always, your song suggestions and show ideas are welcomed and appreciated.