Friday, July 13, 2007

Nerdcore hits MTV

Okay, so maybe not our MTV - MTV Canada - but that still totally counts! Dan dropped the knowledge over at the Rhyme Torrents forums yesterday, and the response was... a tad underwhelming. Suffice it to say that this is, perhaps, the biggest thing to happen to nerdcore as a whole in the ( admittedly brief) history of the scene.

Peep the unbelievable:

In case you ain't heard the word, Nerdcore is finally set to hit MTV. MTV Canada that is. A few weeks ago a producer from the network's "flagship" show, MTV Live contacted me and asked if I was interested in calling in and doing a phone interview about Nerdcore and the doc. He also asked if any nerdcore rappers lived in Toronto (home of mtv live) or planned to be there sometime this summer. If so, they would be interested in devoting more time to nerdcore and Nerdcore For Life.

Long story short, two nerdcore megastars, Nursehella and Ytcracker stepped up and volunteered to head to Toronto to do a live appearance....on mtv. Is that some crazy shit or what?

The producer described MTV Live as a more cerebral version of TRL. One of their gimmicks is to do remote interviews via webcam. That's how I'll be doing my interview. They asked me to send a copy of the trailer so they'll air at least a bit of that too. This whole thing is so absurd that I've been apprehensive to mention it to anyone in case it fell through. But the plans seem to pretty solid at this point. It sounds like they're even going to let me send a camera guy to get some behind the scenes footage.

Now I'd really, really love to see this episode as soon as possible or at least get a recap. Does anybody here get MTV Canada? It'd be great if parts of the show were to make it on to youtube long enough for we Americans to see it. And it would be even better if someone in canadialand could tape it or dvd record it for me. The show could probably get me a copy but that could take weeks and in my experience, when people say they're going to send you a copy of their show or footage, they usually forget to do it.

But anyway, yeah, Nerdcore on MTV Canada;
Tuesday, July 17th,
sometime between 6 and 8 pm EST.

Now move to Quebec and watch it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

All in all, I’ve had a pretty fair week.

Sure, Li’l X. has taken to some late night hall wondering – always a dangerous hobby in the home of a rampant zombi-phobe – and E3 hasn’t yielded quite as much earth-shattering news as I’d’ve liked.

Plus, y’know, it’s not like I haven’t discovered yet another reason why Japan is cooler than the States.

But still, not a bad week at all, especially for Nerdy News.
  • First-Person Gothloli: MC Handler scored a head-shot for nerdcore fans everywhere by not only getting some music in the newest iteration of open-source FPS OpenArena, but also helping to have a character named after our own Rai! Apparently, she has hover-boots. No good can come from Rai having an ability to fly; mark my words!
  • A new dimension of awkward: In other gamer-centric news, Halo fans are no cooler than the rest of us. Ya hear that ya homophobic, face-humping ingrates? Cardboard Mjolnir armor ain’t gonna earn you any extra tail at the Greek mixer!
  • WizRockStock: There’s something in the water in Washington. How else do you explain the high concentration of nerdy artists therein? Why, that state is even home to WizRockStock, which is a lot like Woodstock… only not so offensive to the olfactory sense… maybe. Anywho, check out Harry and the Potters at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library on Friday the 13th and The Parselmouths at University Book Store Mill Creek on Saturday the 14th.
  • The Nerdcore Beach Party Massacre: The following Friday, July 20th, check out Optimus Rhyme at Alki Beach. OR will be performing at The End’s Beach House (2530 Alki Ave. SW in West Seattle), right across the street from the beach as part of the station’s summer festivities, and they’ll be doing it “BBQ style (think acoustic guitars and ocarina's).” The set’s only open to the first 40 folks who grab a spot, so come early and help the boys celebrate the release of their new album He Dies In Rocket School.
  • Fuck-to-the-yeah!: The Advantage on tour! Check some high-quality game rock at one of the following events: 08/14 Salt Lake City, UT (Kilby Court); 08/15 Denver, CO (Hi-Dive); 08/17 Omaha, NE (Sokol Underground); 08/18 Minneapolis, MN (Triple Rock); 08/19 Chicago, IL (Beat Kitchen); 08/20 Detroit, MI (Magic Stick); and 08/21 Cleveland, OH (Grog Shop). Check their MySpace for more dates and locations.
  • Nerdapalooza FTW: In other concert news, my brothers from the Nerdapalooza crew have just announced the final line-up for the nerd music festival to end all nerd music festivals. The (alphabetized) list boasts a most impressive array of artists:
    8 Bit Bandit, 8-Bit w0nder,
    8bit bEtty, The Alphabetics, Beefy, Big Beat Battalion, Category, Decepticon-19, Drown Radio Therapy, Dual Core, Dungeon Master, Electro Static Discharge, Freezepop, The Great Luke Ski, Hot Waffles, Josiah the Messiah,
    Love You Long Time, MC Gigahertz, MC Lars, The Megas, My Parents Favorite Music, The OneUps, Optimus Rhyme, Pixelh8, Powerglove, Random, Rappy Mcrapperson, Robotronica, Rocket Propelled Geeks, Shael Riley, The Stunt Junkies, Super Barrio Bros, Temp Sound Solutions, Uncle Monsterface, Wordburglar, Worm Quartet, YTcracker, & ZeaLouS1
  • Thank Church for This One: In lieu of further pimping this site's first ever free-to-download nerdy cover song compilation album, let me shift focus to another inspiring cover artist. Stand in awe as cutewithchris’s Chris Leavins recites the ever-poignant lyrics to T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drank.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nerdcore Undercover

The title of this compilation is totally misleading.

First off, not all of the submissions are hip-hop, and some of the artists themselves actually eschew the nerdcore label. Second, it’s not simply a collection of covers; it’s more a selection of reinterpretations ranging from covers to parodies to full-on rewrites.

Of course Nerdcore Undercover has a much more pleasing aesthetic than An Anthology of Song Reinterpretations by Artists That Are Nerdy But Not Necessarily Nerdcore. That shit just sounds silly.

I’ve been working on this compilation for the last few months, and I have to say that by “working on this compilation” I mean haphazardly emailing artists to ask for submissions. They did all the real work. This is their project. Clearly, I’m just here to hijack the credit.

Let me reiterate: a lot of hard work went into putting this release together, and very little of it was on my end. Guys like funky49 and Ultraklystron did more than their fair share by creating excitingly fresh covers and helping others do the same. Cats like Doctor Popular and My Parents Favorite Music scoured their back catalogues for old gems. Hell, artists like Shael Riley and Goondocks even went so far as to have brand-spanking new songs deftly recorded and competently mastered, almost as if this were a legitimate album and not just a downloadable freebie from some hick’s blog.

I truly can’t thank them enough.

The same can be said for folks like my pal BrĂ¼x (who tried to distill years of recording and sound engineering experience and instruction into a half-dozen emails for my benefit), my faithful comrade Church (who helped me wade through my text-heavy elucidations concerning the project), and my friends Dennis and Denika (who put together the cover art amid moving cross-country.) Truthfully, I owe tons of thanks to a bunch of people. So much so that I gush over them in the liner notes, so please read ‘em.

If you're still scratching your head concerning where, exactly, this album came from, that's totally understandable. I obviously didn’t do a lot in the way of pre-release promotion for this project, and that was due to a number of reasons.

The most straightforward is that I had to forgo an open submission process in order to limit the number of tracks I was dealing with. Even though mine was the easy part, there was no feasible way to get more than a single disk’s worth of music together and still meet my self-imposed deadline. I started down a list of nerdy musicians – beginning with those with which I already had a working relationship – and then stopped when I got close to 20 interested parties. As a result, a lot of really deserving artists got left out, and that’s the only thing about this comp that saddens me.

The most compelling reason, however, is that I’ve developed a recent allergy to hype. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but with all the publicity nerdcore’s been getting of late I thought it might be fun to work in secret, to simply focus on putting together what I hoped would be a really fun CD and not worry about making too much preemptive noise along the way.

That’s what this is all about: fun.

I had fun putting it together, and you can tell the artists had fun with their individual submissions.

I hope you have fun listening.

Moreover, I hope you hear some material from some folks you know and love as well as some you might not be so familiar with.

Mostly, I hope that some part of this compilation strikes a chord with you and reminds how much fun it is to sing someone else’s song at the top of your lungs as you motor down the highway with the windows rolled down.

Thanks for reading, and happy listening.

-- Right-click and Save Link As --
Download Nerdcore Undercover (in its entirety)

Individual track downloads available for the finicky and those poor bastards still on dial-up:

1. My Parents Favorite Music – “Just Try and Sue Us”
2. Beefy – “Move Somethin’”
3. Shael Riley – “Umbrella”
4. mc chris & Modd Jobs – “Dare to Be Stupid”
5. Nursehella – “Keep It Real (Represent My Nuts)”
6. funky49 – “Intergalactic Pizza Party”
7. Glenn Case - “Alex Chilton”
8. Goondocks – “Posse Needs Upgrades”
9. Ultraklystron – “Daydreamin’”
10. LogicOne – “You Don’t Know Me”
11. ZeaLouS1 – “Paparazzi”
12. funky49 – “Everything (I Own)”
13. Drown Radio Therapy – “Vapors”
14. myf - "Paid in Full (feat. Kal-L & DJ Snyder)"
15. Shael Riley – “I’m Yours”
16. Dual Core – “What Have We Done”
17. Optimus Rhyme – “Train in Vain (live)”
18. Rai – “Shiki No Uta”
19. YTCracker – “Summer Girls”

Brilliant front cover
Equally brilliant back cover
Tiny iTunes cover

And don’t forget the liner notes!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

Last week: Transformers. This week: Order of the Phoenix.

I’ve got high hopes for the latest Potter movie. First off, the book itself was an excellent read, and that definitely helps. Plus, I find it hard to believe that it’ll be plagued by quite as many ridiculous product placement spots as Transformers.

Then again, you never know. I’m sure they’ll work a plug for the new iPensieve in there somewhere.

  • I’m in yer projects choosin’ their titles: Last week I got an interesting email from my pal Beefy. He was bummed to report that his summer tour plans had fallen through, and, truthfully, I was a little saddened as well. And yet, he was happy to report that this extra free time will permit his new album, formally called Fighting Crime but now entitled Rolling Doubles, to be pushed up from September. That album will be “sellable and whatnot and released by Nerdy South Records.” It will also be accompanied by a free album called – wait for it –The Adventures of Beef Thompson: Private Dick that will “collect sample-heavy songs … recorded since Tube Technology as well as a private investigator story for the ages!” I win! I fuckin’ win!
  • The show that was: Of course I’m not gonna let this opportunity slip by without mentioning the recent mc chris show in Eugene, OR that featured HP supporters Beefy (whom mc recently described as “polite, gracious, [and a performer who] nailed his set, and didn't come off like a tool”), the lovely and talented Nursehella, and the equally lovely and talented funky49. funk himself was nice enough to do a really in-depth write-up about the show and its surrounding events that he posted over at his blog. Take a few minutes and check it out.
  • Musical weirdness: In other nerdy music news, Shael Riley just dropped a cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella.” I’m not even joking. Listen for yourself.
  • Even weirder: Church found something too strange not to share. I know: shocking! ;) Apparently, PowerFX has just released “Vocaloid Sweet Ann, a Saucy Virtual Vocalist Who Sings Your Words and Music.” It gets better; Annie’s got a MySpace. Is it me, or does this whole thing reek of some obscure perversion? Some very, very specific fetish? Oh, just me, huh?
  • Back to reality: The fine folks at the Sedgwick Avenue Alliance had their own good news/bad news scenario this week. The good: they've added 2 new artists to the group. One being the undeniable YTCracker, and the second being “a very talented rapper/singer/musician from Chicago by the name of Savant.” Unfortunately, they also lost founding member, Q. Ledbetter due to a current inability to contribute.
  • W-R-O-C-K in the U.S.A.: Wrockers Harry and the Potters have some show lined up in the nerdy Northwest this week. Check ‘em out July 9 in Spokane, WA - Caterina (All Ages); July 10 in Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom; July 11 in Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Armory; July 12 in Olympia WA - Olympia Timeberland Library; and July 13 in Seattle, WA - Seattle Public Library.
  • Mama said knock you out: Probably the biggest nerdcore news of late came from the Nerdcore For Life camp this weekend; nerdy perfection, thy name is NERCORE HIP-HOP LIVE AT THE 2007 SAN DIEGO COMICON! Oh yeah, kids, Capcom approached Dan Lamoureux about this early in the year thanks to all the buzz generated from the YouTube trailer. And, after some deliberation, a “full-on nerdcore concert” was settled upon “and eventually one concert turned into two.” The pertinent info is as follows: “two Nerdcore concerts featuring YTCracker, Beefy, The Sucklord, Ultraklystron, Nursehella, and The Former Fat Boys….in a boxing ring…at the Capcom booth…in the middle of the San Diego comicon….during peak afternoon hours.” Huge, huge news! Congrats all around, guys. Make us proud!
  • Sparing for change: With that in mind, Beefy is currently trying to get some scratch together to make the long trip down the coast. Originally Beef had planned not to attend, what with the tour and all, but since that turned into a no-go he’s very fortunate to have this opportunity to play at the Capcom booth for the Nerdcore For Life event. But don’t think of it as charity; think of it as a purchase! “[T]o anyone who donates $5 or more [Beefy] will e-mail him/her [the] song "Tilt" from [the] upcoming album Rolling Doubles. If you donate $10 or more [he] will send you both "Tilt" and "Ball Pit".” Sounds like a solid investment to me.
  • “They have not told me that this is going to happen…”: Today’s closing clip comes from my boy Matt. I had actually picked another piece of mc chris footage, but, upon closer inspection, I do believe that this is one packed with more nerdy goodness. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Inclement weather

Due to yesterday’s little power outage – and thanks to a helpful suggestion from my man Church – I’ve elected to postpone the official release of the Hipster, please! no-longer-so-secret cover song project until Tuesday.

Sunday didn’t seem like such a great time to launch and album. And Monday? Well, Monday is Monday. So Tuesday it is.

The artists involved seem cool with that, and that’s good enough for me. Thanks for bearing with us through this minor logistical snafu. Your patience will be duly rewarded. Trust me.