Saturday, September 15, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 30: The WFWFTW Mixtape

If this is the first edition of Radio Free Hipster you’ve ever listened to, then I’m afraid it may give you the wrong impression. Normally, RFH starts with an intro track, then a little spiel from me, a set of songs, another little interlude, a second set, a final bit of chatter, and a closing song. This episode is an exception. This time around I elected to mix shit up a bit.

I’ve had an urge to release something along the lines of a nerdy mixtape for a while now, and, after a perfect storm of geeky inspiration, this seemed like the opportunity to do so.

A few weeks ago, my pal Church hipped me to a mixtape-esque project that he’d been knocking around, and that sort of got me primed. Then, he, Matt, and I had a little email exchange about some rampant gamer fanboyism over at Lev Grossman’s blog. That started the process in earnest, but only when coupled with Wil Wheaton’s very inspired PAX keynote.

I spend a lot of time alluding to the concept of a nerd community. That is, even more so than the music, what Hipster, please! is all about, but the truth of the matter is that freaks, geeks, and gamers are more like warring tribes. Sure, we form loose confederations from time to time – mostly during convention season – but we seldom see each other as equals, as brothers. Sony fanboys and comic geeks and science nerds and LARPers and Pokemaniacs and nerdcore aficionados and fan fickers and every goddamn other flavor of social ineptitude often look upon each other with disdain.

And yet somehow, every year for one magical weekend, Gabe and Tycho manage to bring all of us together under one roof, under a single banner, and bestow momentary peace to our troubled people.

PAX is a testament to its own importance, and though I’ve never attended (and likely never will, unless they move it to, y’know, Charlotte) the environmental change across the various echelons of casual and hardcore nerd-dom that it precipitates is palpable. While E3, in any guise, is about the industry, and every other comic, gaming, anime, or collectable con is, at the heart, about commerce, PAX is about us. I think that’s something that most of us realize, but Wil really managed to spell it out quite clearly through the vehicle personal rumination. His words serve as a base for this particular podcast.

It’s not secret that I find my own little contributions to RFH to be the weak link. I’m not an ultimate authority about nerdy music by any stretch of the imagination, so I just tend to expound upon what little I know about the artists and tracks provided, peppered with personal observations and my own blend of jackassery. Compared to the fact that Wil is a genuine orator my words fall pretty flat, so you won’t be hearing me in this ‘cast. Instead, the brief bits of necessary exposition are provided by Crystal, AT&T’s text-to-speech automaton. Sure, her diction's a little off, but at least she doesn’t have a southern accent. ;)

I will however, provide, the customary show notes concerning the featured tracks and artists, because this edition is just as much about their contributions as Wil’s.

If you’ve got any questions or comments about the show – or the podcast in general – feel free to hit me up. I guess that’s my own little way of supporting the greater aspirations of a coherent nerd community.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 30: The WFWFTW Mixtape [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 52.4 MB Running Time: 57:16

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – “Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)”
I sort of dorked with the theme song this time around, and I feel kinda bad about it. It almost seems disrespectful. Still, I wanted to alert folks early on that this wouldn’t be a regular episode.

Background Music :
There are actually two background music selections for the voice beds this time around. When Crystal was “talking” I used the old ambient Gamecube menu music. I usually worked Wil’s bits in during song transitions, but two different selections actually cut completely out of the tracklist and use PriZm’s “Bowser is Pissed” OC Remix.

Track 1: MC Frontalot – “It is Pitch Dark
This track played in well with Wil’s “gaming generations” bit. The fact that Front released a video for it earlier this week is happy coincidence.

Track 2: Dual Core – “Hostage Down”
I’ve been saving this song for a special occasion, and I thought it worked well here. It’s sort of Dual Core’s signature piece, and, truthfully, one of my favorites from the album.

From the very fun 4 BILLION HIT POINTS album, which is freely available and highly recommended. This one played solidly into the next track.

Track 5: CheapyD – “Ass and Tetris (You Forgot Poland)”
I really wanted to work a mash-up in here and this one fit perfectly, which was great because Cheapy also knows a thing or two about creating a nerd community. He’s the brains behind Cheap Ass Gamer and co-host of the (recently award-wining) CAGcast, which are, in all honesty, the only gaming BBS and podcast that I even bother to keep up with anymore.

Track 6: YTCracker – “The Legend
YT’s older work holds up well, and this track is a personal favorite from the NES release. Something about the first verse really resonated well with Wil’s lead-in.

Track 7: Temp Sound Solutions – “Son of a Biah (Cex rmx)
I’m not really sure if Shawn Phase prefers to go by that name or the TSS moniker; I reckon it depends on the project. What I do know is that he is a supremely talented chiptune artist, guitarist, and performer and that he has wicked-assed Konami tatts.

Track 8: Random – “Boss Battle Metal Man (The Megas Remix)”
This track is a amazing cut from an amazing album, Random’s Mega Ran release. I’m really interested to know how the collaboration came about, and, as it looks like I may get the opportunity to interview Ran in the near future, I'll hopefully get my answer.

Track 9: Franz Keller – “Metrotransfunk
I wanted to work a Metroid track in there somewhere too, and I was immediately taken by this one. I stand by my longtime assertion that you can pretty much just grab any track at random from OCR and find gold.

Track 10: MAJA – “N.E.S.” / “UUDDLRL”
MAJA was nice enough to hook me up with a copy of The Amalgam Project, and I’ve truly enjoyed it. Something about the blend of personal reflections and smooth delivery of “UUDDLRL” really made it roll well into the mix.

Track 11: Regurgitator – “Black Bugs”
This is some geeky Australian indie pop that Pinky hipped me to. Thus far I had kept the musical selections confined to sarcastic, reflective, and atmospheric pieces, and I sort of had the urge to throw in a curve.

Track 12: mc chris – “Kingdom Farts”
mc’s rapid-fire delivery contrasted the Regurgitator track’s relaxed, dancy vibe. Plus, I love the fuck out of this song! The break gave me a chance to throw in a pretty pertinent Wheaton bump.
Track 13: TZU – “Back Up!”
Another little jewel from Down Under compliments of Grandmaster Pink. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve swapped this one with the YTCracker track, as it also has a lot of 1980’s references, but I’m still pretty happy with it here.

Track 14: The Four Eyes – “Neverwinter Nights”
When I first heard this song – from The Four Eyes’ Five Songs About Videogames... EP – I knew I had to end an episode of the podcast with it. The only problem is that it’s about twice as long as the average song I play. Still, this one was a track I just didn’t feel comfortable editing down; the length plays into the song's progression and is a big part of its garage rock charm. So, I elected to use the long solo sequences to let Wil wrap up his argument. I thought it worked pretty well and hope you feel the same.

Friday, September 14, 2007

ACCEPT? -->?

The video for MC Frontalot’s “It Is Pitch Dark” is currently available for mass consumption. Director Jason Scott is using the song and video to promote his upcoming documentary about text adventure games, Get Lamp, which sounds pretty goddamn awesome in and of itself.

You didn't hear it from me, but it just so happens that this track will also be prominently in the next edition of Radio Free Hipster...

Okay, maybe you did hear it from me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

I sometimes forget that the American public is composed primarily of sheep. Despite knowing better, I desperately cling to the notion that we, as a whole, are capable of making an informed decision.

Moreover, I truly want to believe that people have… y’know taste and standards.

Shit, we can’t even seem to make simple choices right!

Case in point: Last Comic Standing. My wife loves reality shows and I love stand-up, so this seemed like a very rare piece of common cultural ground. Unfortunately, the producers and the voting public have solely dedicated themselves to weeding out all the funny contestants.

I have, however, gleaned from this experience one unshakable fact, one common thread shared by every talented comic the world over; they are not Bill Bellamy.
  • It’s good to be king: Apparently the super secret party that mc chris had been invited to play was unceremoniously cancelled. In a blog post related to the cancellation, mc tellingly remarks, “sometimes i dont like being a nerd rapper, but i love having nerds as fans. especially when they design halo 3.” Truer words were never spoken.
  • If he hits Greenville, drinks are on me!: While he might not be rocking the Halo 3 house party, mc will once again be rhyming his way across the country this fall. Dates are as follows: Oct 28 in San Luis Obispo, CA at The Slo Brewery; Oct 29 in Anaheim, CA at The Chain Reaction; Oct 30 in West Hollywood at The Roxy (hopefully); Oct 31 in Phoenix, Az at The Brickhouse; Nov 1 in Albuquerque, NM at Launch Pad; Nov 2 in El Paso, TX… somewhere; Nov 3 in Lubbock, TX at Jake’s; Nov 7 in Tallahassee, FL at The Beta Bar; Nov 12 in Birmingham, AL at The Zydeco; Nov 13 in either Raleigh, NC or Nashville, KY; Nov 14 in Wilmington, NC or Louisville, KY; Nov 16 in Greenville, SC or Mount Clemens, MI (Please, oh sweet, holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, please let it be Greenville!); Nov 17 in Bowling Green, OH or Cleveland, OH; and Nov 18 in Pittsburgh at The Rex Theater.
  • Rockers need love too: The Half Racks have another marathon gig lined up this Friday at The Comet. Flying in a Tin Can will be opening, the show starts at 9:00 PM, and there’s no cover. Glenn says that their last couple of Comet gigs have been “a fairly rough experience, so [he] would genuinely appreciate seeing as many friendly, familiar faces as possible.” Spokanites are encouraged to attend and show their support.
  • Comic shop chic: My girl Nikki, also known as Nikki Nefarious and/or Buttnik, likes to take pictures. Many of these pictures are of nerdy girls doing nerdy things. And a least half of them are of scantily clad nerdy girls doing nerdy things. She recently did such a shoot for online zine Geeks Magazine, which is solidly devoted to nerdy chicks in all their glory. You can peep the pics and read the interview with the girly in question right here.
  • Better late than never: Church believes that he is the last person in the world to read this Wizrocklopeia interview with Wrock pioneers Harry and the Potters. He is mistaken. I am the last person in the world to read the piece. Unless, of course, you wish to steal my mystic Crown of Procrastination.
  • Battle of the sexes: Who would win in a fight between MC Router and The Goondocks? It’s a question as old as time, and one that is summarily answered thanks to this clip.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

This weekend Church went to the Baltimore Comic-Con and saw the best Transformers cosplay in the entirety of nerd-dom.

Me? I cleaned house.

I think that homeownership has been romanticized so much in this country that everyone dreams of their own half-acre and picket fence. Personally, I miss those halcyon days of apartment living.

A house is less a place to live and more a thing to do. Constantly.

We should all move into townhouses. Have our own little geek resort. Who’s with me?

  • Dissecting Rapbeth: MC Lars is giving away his first three albums (Nothing to Fear, Insectivorous, and Radio Pet Fencing) for the low, low price of free. How’s that for value? With the money left rattling around in your pockets from such a find, why not pick up Lars’s new DVD? It’ll make an MC happy.
  • “If you were a zombie…”: My pal Dennis, necro-crafter extraordinaire and all-around nice cat, was recently interviewed by indie art site He discusses his affinity for the undead therein, and even manages to name-drop both Hipster, please! and ZeaLouS1. What a swell guy!
  • Future Perfect: The artist formally known as Fanatical and now pretty much just know as Jaylyn, has recently dropped a new single at her MySpace. Peep “timesplit” and then tell Jay to pick up the pace and start releasing more songs. I’m serious.
  • FightForRight ReadGoodBooks SpreadTheMusic: This weekend my bro Matt found yet another Wizard Rock band of note. Potter Noyz is an interested blend of indie dance, acoustic rock, and… um… fan fiction. Though a self-professed “virtual band and fan project set after the 7th year” may seem a little odd, don’t let the concept scare ya. It’s well worth a listen.
  • Harry Potter and the Broom of Experimentation: I’m not sure how much truth there is to this (particularly since Matt found reference to it dating back about five years), but this one was another jewel Church dug up that I felt worthy of sharing with the rest of the class. I’m finally beginning to understand why the Nimbus 2000 was such a big seller!
  • Baltimore's own: Now that I’ve gotten all that juvenile humor out of the way, here’s another vid that Church made from his 16 Bit Genocide footage: an Entertainment System double-shot featuring “Ninja Turtles” and “Bubbleman” Enjoy.