Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Music = Good Times

It is currently News Year's Eve. Or New Year's Eve Day. Or… Wednesday. Something like that.

At any rate, I have a sneaking suspicion that you'll be getting extravagantly drunk tonight. The kind of drunk that requires a soundtrack. Thankfully, you have me to turn to with regard to such matters.

First, let me remind everyone that today is the last day you'll be able to download Optimus Rhyme's TransfORmed EP for free. It's from Optimus, so you know it's a quality release, but moreover it's all about growth, evolution, and moving on. Thus, it's exactly the kind of thing that would suit an epic New Year's party. Grab it before the ball drops.

Also on the subject of relevant music for tonight's festivities, it's been brought to my attention that a pair of retrospective mash-up compilations have recently been released, also on the free. Simon Iddol, whom I am proud to consider one of my Tweeple, dropped his Mash-ups of the Year a week or two back. It's an exemplary collection that manages to touch on a number of tracks that stayed under my radar throughout 2008.

Also on tap – and I actually got a message about this directly from A plus D, which makes a lad feel important – is Best of Bootie 2008.The Bootie collections are always heavily slanted toward the most danceable bastard pop constructs of the previous year, and this is certainly no exception. It boasts a 20-track continuous mix plus 13 bonus cuts; not a bad deal for the low, low price of nuthin'.

So listen in good health, and happy New Year to all.

Oh, and my suggestions for your last song of '08/first song of '09 are as follows:

"Darryl Hannah" - Optimus Rhyme available on TransfORmed
"Paper Rump (Wreckx-N-Effect vs. M.I.A.)" - DJ Tripp available on Best of Bootie 2008

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I typically like to end the year in one of two ways; either by thanking all those who contributed to the success of Hipster, please! and the greater nerdy music scene in the preceding 12 months, or by simultaneously congratulating and challenging our meta-community.

This year I said fuck that shit.

First off, the usual suspects – folks like Matt and Church, Dennis and Denika, Hex and Ant, Beefy and Soc, Snake Eyes and Doc Pop, Baddd Spellah and DON VITO – know how much I appreciate them. They understand that this project exists no less by their whim than mine, and, though I seldom remember to say it outright, I'm pretty sure they know that I am eternally thankful for all they do. And further, whether you send me music, help out with comps, offer artistic support, or just read this blog on occasion, you are my kung fu action hero, and I am genuinely in your debt as well. I reckon that's a given.

Secondly, we've been doing this dance for so long that I am positive everyone knows my steps by now; I am a proud but minuscule part of the greater whole of music-minded geeks, and, while I revel in the progress we've made, we could sure as hell use a little more inter-scene support and artistic interdependence. Our energies are better expended there than in looking for some "big break" from the ever-fickle mainstream. We are our own greatest strength. But that too should be obvious.

Because I tend to focus on these broader issues, I am often slow to crown a "Nerd of the Year" or a "Most Valuable Player." This is partly because I understand that the success of one depends on the work of many, and partly because it simply doesn't seem like my place. This is the year I make the exception.

So, rather than take this post into the familiar territory described above, I am going to forge new ground by saying what I am fairly certain everyone else is thinking: that 2008 belonged to YTCracker.

When I look at my favorite songs, events, or projects from '08, Bryce Case, Jr. is the silver string that runs betwixt them. When I scrutinize all that was good and pure and truly geeky about the year, he seems to be a party to the overwhelming bulk of it.

He was featured in what I consider the most entertaining of G4's "It's a Nerd's World" promo spots and was interviewed by Web geek Martin Sergeant. He contributed to a number of the best tracks of the year, including "911 AM (Rudy Giuliani)" with Doc Pop and MC Lars, "Fantastic Four" by Dual Core, nYgel's "1to3for," and both the 8-Bit Boys and Sinister Six projects. His own Nerdy South Records released exemplary albums in the form of Beefy's Rolling Doubles and his Serious Business EP, which boasted yet another best track of the year, "I am a Pirate." He toured with fellow heavy-hitters Lars and Frontalot, and he took part in arguably the biggest single musical event in nerdcore history, Nerdapalooza 2008.

And that, my friends, is just the shit I can think of off the top of my head!

I have long since abandoned my aspirations to rip people off help out my fellow humans as a motivational speaker, but, if you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: YTCracker, after all these years, all his triumphs and failures and ups and downs, still has love for this nerd game.

He works with established and up-and-coming artists with an equal measure of DG swagger, and thereby elevates both himself and those around him.

Sure, he's always going to have that hacker side that likes to cause trouble, but he also has a nurturing, almost paternal instinct that leads him to chip in, help out, and simply share the wealth of his credibility.

An easy high-point of my year was when, at a local show, YT gave me and Hipster, please! a shout-out on stage. He didn't have to; it didn't serve him to do so, but he gave some lyrical dap because that is what YT does. He gives respect. Even when it doesn't necessarily behoove him to do so.

So with 2009 already breathing down our collective neck, I only ask that everyone from the realms of nerdcore hip-hop and beyond take a little YTC with them into the awaiting proceedings.

In the words of my boy Beefy, ask yourself "What would YTCracker do?"

Holla at P.Nis for more info.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 58: Lest We Forget

The end of the year means one thing to me: obligation. There are a number of tasks that I, as a fake Web journalist, am honor bound to perform before the ball drops and scores of drunken party attendees share awkward and shameful smooches. The first of these is my year-end podcast, which I present to you now.

I liked the idea of an end-of-year wrap-up show, but elected to save that for January. Instead, we're gonna run out 2008 with a good, old-fashioned free-form playlist. You see, a lot of the songs I wanted to play this ep. are, y'know, old, so promoting them as the "best of the year" seemed misleading.

Still, there're some excellent tracks represented herein, and I can honesty see you grooving to 'em as the clock winds down.


Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 58: Lest We Forget (hosting provided by Antisocial) Size: 45.6 MB Running Time: 49:50

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
All I can rightly ask for is another year with Beefy and Spellah!

Track 1: DJ Topcat – "More Than On Point"
This is from Best of Bootie 2007, but, oddly enough, it was mid-2008 before I really got into the track.

Z's 1st interlude: "Some random jewels you might have missed."
There's a dreadful hiss behind my spoken interludes this episode. Sorry about that. I am having mic difficulties.

Track 2: Scrubs dialog / Beefy – "You Can Call Me Beef"
Doesn't the Turk/Kelso dialog work well in the intro? I think so.

Track 3: I Hate You When You're Pregnant – "Gary Sinise"
This is from the 2nd IHYWYP demo, circa 2003, so "new" doesn't exactly describe it. Awesome, however, does.

Track 4: audiobytes for autobots – "143 CHP"
N.W.A. vs. the Jackson 5. This is a thing of beauty.

Track 5: Snake Eyes – "Never Say What They Mean"
Buy Snake's Golden Country Hits. It will assure peace and prosperity in the new year. I think.

Track 6: Warp 11 – "Spock Me Shock Me"
Here's a 2000 classic from Warp 11's 1st studio album. I recently realized that I've thus far neglected to play these Trek rockers.

Track 7: KABUTO THE PYTHON – "The Face Kicking Song"

Track 8: 8 Bit Weapon "Defender of the Crown (Royalty Remix)"
This is from 8BW's Confidential 2.0 album, which I am currently reviewing. I'm serious this time.

Track 9: MisterB – "Kept My Job!"
Anthony and MisterB like to use their Letters vs. Numbers podcast as a bully pulpit from which to generate beef, but I ain't gonna beef with 'em. Them's my boys.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Tragedy has reared its knobby head."
Goddamn, but I can turn a phrase!

Track 10: The Four Eyes – "Jackpot"
I misspoke in the 'cast itself; this song is from The Four Eyes'2004 album Rock and Role Playing.

Track 11: Year 200X – "05 Ghosts N' Goblins (Intro – Level 1)"
I'm also reviewing Year 200X's We Are Error. Not to ruin a potential albums-of-the-year post, but it's probably the best game rock CD of 2008.

Track 12: This is Spinal Tap dialog / Austrian Death Machine – "Get to the Choppa"
This year, the vocalist for metalcore outfit As I Lay Dying actually did something great. This is it.

Track 13: The Grammar Club – "Red Cyclone (vocal version)"
Whenever I play a Grammar Club track, I have an odd compulsion to play solo work from its members. Thusly, the background music for this edition is Shael Riley's "We Sell Potions and Shit Here."

Track 14: nYgel – "Have You Seen Rain (ft. TYT)"
Both nYgel's Free to Good Home and T.Y.T.'s Jelly Brain are must-owns from 2008.

Track 15: Atmosphere – "Yesterday"
After my father passed, my friend Glenn Case directed me to this Atmosphere cut. It actually helped a lot.

Z's final interlude: "The great Captain Dan of Scurvy Crew fame and the fine folks from Brilliant Gameologists."
Yep, got these guys 'n' gal on-tap for special episodes of RFH. Excitement. I has it.

Track 16: Dual Core – "Orbit (Remix)"
Fun fact: No less than 65% of my recent reminisces regarding this year's Nerdapalooza directly reference the fun I had hanging out with int eighty.

That's all I've got, folks. I am tapped. I should be back mid-January with my picks of 2008 podcast, and then again later that month with the Cap'n.

I'm currently working on my written year-end wrap-up, and suffice it to say it's a break with form. Look for that later this week to see what I mean.

Thanks for listening, and for another fun filled year of full frontal nerdity. I hope you'll join me again in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Post Xmas Wrap-up

It's the day after Christmas, and all is quiet in the House of Z.

No, that's bullshit. The air is thick herein with the swears of a man having to put together one too many Hot Wheels playsets. It's that kinda thing.

And since I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday, what with my roving the countryside in search of hillbilly relations bearing gifts (and ham), I figured I'd hip you to a few things you may have overlooked due to your own festivities.

For those who missed it the first time around, I am still hosting Optimus Rhyme's final EP TransfORmed. This will be offered as a free download until January 1st, after which time it will disappear until the final, full version becomes available for purchase mid-month. Of course, as grimROCK recently let slip that this iteration will also feature some long lost live cuts, I'm gonna have to recommend that you buy it after its release whether you already scored the freebie version or not.

And speaking of things you may already have, Doctor Octoroc's 8-Bit Jesus album has been re-released, this time in its entirety. Download it again for the first time and hear several new cuts that are just as amazing as the previous tracks.

Another free holiday EP was made available yesterday, this one from my pal Nate (also known as Trier Music). It's from his band Skantily Clad, and it's a seasonal ska release entitled Skantaliy Clad Christmas. Deck the dancehalls!

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, the PBC Productions crew have just posted Little Miss Gamer's holiday episode "SNESmas." Will Santa come through with that Super Nintendo Z's been askin' for, or will the fat man let her down again? Watch for yourself.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Optimus Rhyme EP Free for the Holidays!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. And that fat bastard got my letter!

Here's a copy of the new (and final) Optimus Rhyme EP TransfORmed. Just for you. Just for free. Compliments of my man grimROCK. I'm only allowed to give this seasonal delight away until January 1st, though, so act now.

Enjoy it in good cheer. And Wheelie bless us, every one.

Download TransfORmed

EDIT: No longer available. Sorry, folks, but the album will be released for realsies later this January.

UPDATE: A short reprieve! Optimus Rhyme’s TransfORmed is still alive and well. And free! Wheelie and Co. gave me the green-light to continue giving it away for the foreseeable future.

UPDATE: Going, going, and gone, my friends. With the first days of spring, the freely downloadable version of TransfORmed is no more. You can, however, now purchase the release through iTunes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Further Proof

I'm spending the week at home with the fam, so I honestly don't expect to get too much blogging done in the immediate future. Still, I was just treated to an unexpected slice of awesome this afternoon, and I felt like sharing.

Well, more specifically, I felt like bragging.

My friend Denika - who, you may remember, provided me with my swanky new banner art, a place to stay over Nerdaplooza weekend, and, well, a veritable grocery list of other niceties over the past couple of years - sent a surprise parcel my way. It contained one of MC Frontalot's new Final Boss t-shirts autographed by the man himself for little ol' me! How fuckin' cool is that?

Denika's boyfriend Dennis did the back cover art for Frontalot's most recent album, and she also spent a good bit of time snapping photos of Front and the other artists at 'Palooza, so you could say she is down with the Godfather. And apparently on his most recent stop-over in O-town she decided to give me the hook-up via signed swag.

Further proof, faithful readers, that my friends are awesome.

Now quick, head over to the Joined at the Stitch Etsy store and buy some zombie art. We all know you have some morbid last minute Christmas shopping to do!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

Project for Awesome launched last Thursday at YouTube. It featured videos not of skateboarding dogs, drunken party girls, or irate television hosts, but of real users talking about real issues.

It's nice to think that even YouTube, that bastion of time-wasting ridiculousness, can take a few moments a year to talk about charities in need of donations. It kind of makes me wonder if I should occasionally turn this blog into an engine for change.

Someday that might happen, but today ain't it.

Today let's simply enjoy another mindless Nerd News in Brief!
  • Last Minute Gift Idea: Still short a gift for the impotent Jedi in your life? Why not treat him to this t-shirt so that every 2-bit bounty hunter and wannabe Sith Lord in the sector knows his secret shame?
  • Like No Other: What would you do if I told you that Just Another Lazy Podcast was returning to the (fake) airwaves? Would you scream and soil yourself? Fine then; I won't tell you.
  • Totally Glitched: The venue for the European premiere of Nerdcore For Life and its related concert has been announced. The event will occur at Amsterdam's Club Panama, and tickets are available now.
  • The 2nd Time Around: Rhyme Torrents Volume 8 CD 2 is also now available for download. It features some tight work MC Lars, Random, Grandmaster Pink, nYgel, and many more. It's cover art features KABUTO and, like, some other dudes.
  • You Will Be Crushed: Some more nerdy hip-hop newness also arrived in the form of Id Obelus's The Inevitable Crushing EP. Id prides himself on having a style that's a bit beyond the ordinary with regard to content, flow, and presentation, but whether or not you've felt his previous releases I'm gonna have to highly recommend that you check this one out. It's got an energy all its own, and it has joined The Digital Gangster LP on my list of superlative late-comers for 2008.
  • Pirates vs. Wizards: And also on the subject of new music, we will shortly be treated to freshness from both Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew and RiddleTM. Yep, we're covering all bases.
  • Knitting Nerds: Jason of Geek Studies passed on a link to Geek Central Station, an amazing blog dedicated to geeky crafting. It's this kind of stuff that makes me lament the fact that I am totally incapable of creating such nerdery. Quick! Someone knit me a Little Sister and Big Daddy!
  • Payment Due at the Time Services are Rendered: Random took a little time away from his Mega Man 9 project to breath new life into an old classic. What's not to love about Ran covering Eric B and Rakim's "Paid in Full?" Nothing.
  • The End of an Era: Jesse Dangerously recently blogged that CD Baby has the last known physical copy of Eastern Canadian World Tour 2002. Yep, the last of the Mohicans. And Jesse says he's decided not to press anymore, so get it while you can!
  • Survey Says!: Quick poll – what's of more interest to you, A) a WoW-themed restaurant or B) a Star Trek-themed casino? If you answered B, you are very old. Just like me and Church.
  • Back on the Road: Once again the Geek Comedy Tour is coming to town. Assuming that, in your case, said "town" is the greater DC area. The rest of us will just have to get our geek comedy the old fashioned way: by watching Robocop as a Rap Musical.
  • Spit Wack on the Mic: Pinky hooked me up with a link to this bit from D*Face's aPOPcalypse NOW doumentary. It features a little music from our old friend MC Frontalot around the 2 minute mark, and is awesome throughout.
  • SPUN: And speaking of Front, the Godfather of Nerdcore was recently named Artist of the Day by SPIN. Sadly, he is no longer indier than thou.
  • For the Cause: You can hear exclusive tracks from Frontalot, Beefy, The Grammar Club, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, Jonathan Coulton, and many more on the newly released Child's Play CD 2008. Not exactly the flashiest title in the world, but it tells you what you need to know; it's great music for a great cause.
  • Ladies Night: In the event that you've recently taken to living under a rock, a pair of particularly talented geeky artists – both of whom happen to be of the female persuasion – are getting some much-needed attention. The first is Alaskan songstress Marian Call, whose Got to Fly album is thematically centered on Firefly, Serenity, and Battlestar Galactica, as well as the nerds who enjoy them. Meanwhile, ukulele ninja Molly is currently laying the ultimate smackdown on YouTube thanks to an intoxicating blend of inspired covers, impressive co-conspirators, and undeniable charm. And of course, Matt is hopelessly in love with both.
  • Out to Do You In: Thanks to reader Oli (who actually found the site via the namedrop in Beefy's track "Disconnected") for turning me on to Euro geek rockers The Do You Inverts. They write songs about Gears of War and Too Human. And are fuckin' amazing.
  • Santa in his Prius: Taking us out on this delightful pre-Christmas weekend is the new video for MC Lars's "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas." It features Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup, as well as a cameo from Trogdor the Burninator at the 2:25 mark. Freeze-frame it and see!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

You know what I didn't expect to find in my Inbox this morning? A coupon code for Hipster, please! readers. And yet, I did!

Myke from NESBuckle was nice enough to hook me up with $10 off code for orders of the original NES controller belt buckle. Do you need a belt buckle made from a genuine NES controller? No, of course not. But you want one. You want one because it is awesome.

So if you're gonna take that plunge, why not use the code hipsterplease and save yourself come coin?

And once you're done with today's digital shopping excursion, head over to GeekDad to throw your name in the hat for today's 7th Day of Geekmas prize pack. It is from my friends Uncle Monsterface. And it too is awesome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 57: Let's Put the X in Xmas

This year has seen some of the longest episodes of RFH yet, due in no small part to the fact that I've begun entertaining guest hosts.

I like that. I like it a lot.

Having another pair of hands on deck gives the show a different feel. Plus, I sometime get the lonelies, so it's therapeutic to have someone with which to riff. Lengthier podcasts are thus a necessary evil.

Still, in an attempt to combat Bloated Podcast Syndrome, I have intentionally trimmed this episode down to a scant 40 minutes of Yuletide glee.

I hope you dig it.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 57: Let's Put the X in Xmas (hosting provided by Antisocial) Size: 36.1 MB Running Time: 39:30

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
I got you a Baddd Spellah! I hope it's the right size.

Track 1: Mojo Nixon & the Toadliquors – "Happy Birthday" / "Trim Yo' Tree"
Thanks to Matt for treating me to an early Christmas present.

Z's 1st interlude: "Some of the most inappropriate (but still relatively nerdy) Christmas jams I could find."
There's something to be said for seasonal filth.

Track 2: Jonathan Coulton – "Podsafe Christmas Song"
This one also gets some play on today's HipTrax Stocking Stuffer.

Track 3: Marty Allen – "2 Many Santas"
Uncle Monsterface, much like egg nog, is a delightful concoction that is too often underutilized.

Track 4: A plus D – "Give Da Jew Girl Toys" / Clark Griswold dialog
I think I used this same Christmas Vacation clip a couple of years back.

Track 5: Doctor Octoroc – "Ryu the Red Nosed Ninja"
Doc's 8-Bit Jesus album is, as the kids say, blowing up.

Track 6: MC Lars – "Gary the Green Nosed Reindeer" / Clark Griswold dialog
I think this clip is a repeat too.

Track 7: Nerf Herder "I've Got a Boner for Christmas"
I can't be the only person who finds this song hilarious!

Track 8: The Moaning Myrtles "Holiday Revenge"
With this we transition from sexual innuendo to scatological musings. Tis the season!

Z's 2nd interlude: "Probably the least sacrilegious track included in this episode."
Check out "Winter's Town" by [Tweex]. It sounds even better without me yapping over it.

Track 9: 8 Bit Weapon and ComputeHer – "Jingle Bitz"
I'm currently working on an 8 Bit Weapon album review. Look for it in early January.

Track 10: bad gods – "Nine Inch Noels"
This is the only time since my teens that I've found NIN particularly interesting.

Track 11: Abney Park – "Little Drummer Boy"
For all you steampunks. Who are inevitably listening on some sort of clockwork MP3 player.

Track 12: HPLHS – "The Carol of the Old Ones"
The words delightfully creepy come to mind.

Z's final interlude: "But if any of you nerds wanna smother me with presents…"
I kid, I kid. I won't beg for gifts. Or, at least, not until my birthday.

Track 13: Mau Brown Cow – "Chipmunk Christmas Mash-up"
It's always interesting to hear mash-ups from people who are not mash-up artists.

Bonus: Dr. BLT – "You're Not the Kind of Ho (That Santa Had in Mind)"
This is a request from Church that I've neglected to include in all previous holiday episodes. And this time around I only played the first quarter. Apparently I am a shitty friend.

There you have it, friends; some holiday cheer blown right up your pants.

Are you not in the spirit? Are you not entertained?

Thanks for hanging out with me for yet another year. It's been a great ride, and (hopefully) there is even better stuff yet to come. In 2 weeks I'll favor you with a year-end wrap-up, and then start planning out my events for 2009. I've got a couple of ideas, and I've already secured a pair of special guests.

Excited? You should be.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

Today marks the 1st Day of Geekmas. It's only the second major project I've ever attempted at – the other being HipTrax – and I'm really hoping it will be successful.

I mean, seriously, the guys and I were able to score an amazing amount of cool shit this year when the giveaway was more or less a whim, so I can only imagine the kind of stuff we could get if this were to become an annual occurrence!

So go by GeekDad and toss your name in the hat to when a wicked-awesome mini R/C R2D2. But first, Nerd News in Brief.
  • Old Beef, New Beef: Earlier this week, MC Lars announced that he had squashed his beef with mc chris. Of course, later he unwittingly tagged over the old R.E.M. graffiti at Charlotte's Milestone, so y'know, Peter Buck is gonna be on that ass now.
  • Eight is Enough (Or Not): In case you missed it, there's a new addition to the Rhyme Torrents family. The community birthed the eighth volume of its continuing nerdcore compilation project last Sunday. Congrats to its many proud parents.
  • Please Don't Call it a Period: Also from the RT meta-community comes episode 5.5 of Vagina Deep in Podcast. This edition features a new theme song by my pal funky49 and an interview with Whore Moans. And also a decimal.
  • Move Over Santa: According to our friend Hex Warrior, December is Random's month. Hex named Ran Nerdpalooza's artist of the month this week, and I can't help but agree that he's a most worthy candidate.
  • Turkish Gold: And speaking of Nerdapalooza, an article about the event recently appeared in the Turkish version of Billboard magazine. Images of me are inexplicably included with those of actual important people. But how were the poor Turks to know?
  • Moving on Up: I will now pause to reflect on the fact that my friend Church got front-paged at Tech Dirt earlier this week after submitting a story about an alleged MP3 resale site. See? He does everyone else's research too!
  • Meh: And speaking of Church, he hipped me to this list of 10 Essential Nerd Rock albums from InsideNOVA. For the record, my list is totally fuggin' different. (Okay, maybe I'll give them Flood.)
  • And Also: Church is currently looking for a musician to create three short
  • pieces for a news podcast: an intro, outro, and bridge. If you're interested, just leave a comment here, as Church is far more aware of what goes on around this blog than I am.
  • More Calls For Help: Also looking for an assist is Jason Scott. Jason is planning to film Frontalot's New Jersey show on December 14th. If you've got adequate gear, he'll cover door and drinks. Full details here.
  • They Call 'em Snogs: On the WRock front, Matt presents a lusty clip from this year's Yule Ball. Behold as Lauren Myrtle lays a wicked smooch on Whompy. Now feel free to descend into fits of bitter, bitter jealousy.
  • Fa-la-la-la-la-EX-TER-MIN-ATE!: Only in Baltimore would it be traditional to decorate your Daleks for Christmas. In a related story, I totally need to move to Baltimore.
  • Why Chicago? Why Not!: Dan (of Nerdcore For Life) won second place in the "Why Chicago" Olympic video contest. This netted him $5,000 worth of the video production gear, which is, oddly enough, better than the first prize. And with that Crapbot Productions slinks ever closet to legitimacy.
  • Does This Count as Nerd Ink?: Owls are the poindexters of the animal kingdom. I'm just sayin.'
  • And They Said it Couldn't be Done: Taking us out this week is the new video for GOSHone's "Newteknowledge." It was shot entirely on GOSH's iPhone, which makes it extra-nerdy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Help Me Help You

By now you’re all familiar with the fact that, in addition to my nerdy ramblings here-abouts, I write for the GeekDad blog over at It’s a great outlet for me because it generates a little cash for the fam and even lends a modicum of legitimacy-by-association to what I do at Hipster, please! It also gives me a chance to mix my musings regarding nerd culture with talk about issues (like fatherhood and children’s music) that wouldn’t exactly fit the tone of this blog. In short, it’s a little extra work, but it’s worth it.

The thing I like most about GeekDad is that often the things I do there play directly into the goings-on here and vice versa. This holiday season, for example, the GeekDads and I have put together a very special promotion that I think you’ll all be interested in.

It’s called the 12 Days of Geekmas, and it’s essentially a dozen days of giveaways. Starting this Friday, Ken Denmead and I will post a written piece and a related podcast each morning to celebrate the season, talk up some nerdy music, and, most importantly, give away a ton of cool shit.

Up for grabs will be everything from Lego sets to bead sprite art, from t-shirts to DVDs. And of course there’ll be lots and lots of geeky CDs. We approached 15 or so sponsors, each of whom was more than happy to give us stuff to give to the readers. As I look as the growing pile of swag in my den, I am rather amazed by both the quality and quantity of what’s to be presented.

While I can’t explicitly tell you what we have, I am at liberty to mention that sponsors include ThinkGeek, MAKE, PBC Productions, MC Lars, Uncle Monsterface, Year 200X, The Protomen, and Doctor Popular. Pretty sweet, huh?

What’s even better is that all you have to do to enter is write a response to the daily 12 Days of Geekmas post before midnight. Each morning we’ll choose a winner at random before we unleash upon the unsuspecting yet another fine selection of prizes.

So whether you’re a parent or not, keep a keen eye on GeekDad over the coming weeks. We will be brightening up the holidays. With swag.

Monday, December 08, 2008

On Paying Dues

Saturday night, my pal Seamonkey and his lovely wife Nikki Nefarious drove down from Charlotte to check out the local MC Frontalot/YTCracker show with me. It’s kind of interesting that they made the hour and a half drive down to Spartanburg given that Front, YT, and MC Lars (who had double-booked Saturday and was instead in NH) were all playing a Charlotte show mere minutes from their home the following evening, but they’s my peeps and that is, indeed, how we roll. The gig in question was at Ground Zero, the same venue that hosted the inaugural show of Front’s first tour, so it was a lopsided homecoming of sorts.

Sadly, much like his Front’s previous expedition into the upstate, the club was sparsely populated. Still, there was a nice nerdy vibe amongst the crowd, an excellent local opener – The Dreaded Paranoids, please give them some love – and, of course, our esteemed headliners put on an amazing show.

The relaxed atmosphere and relatively low attendance served to make the night more intimate, and I’d go so far as to say that everyone had ample opportunities to meet and mingle with the talent. I personally shot a horrendous game of pool with Blak Lotus (after he shed his cue of a distasteful hanger-on), listened to Nikki talk shop with Sturgenius, and enthusiastically annoyed Mssrs Case and Hess throughout the evening. At one point I even found myself minding the merch table, which was a little odd. But I did sell a copy of Nerd Life, so I reckon I pulled my weight.

Seamonkey and I had caught YT and Front this summer at Nerdapalooza, and the significantly larger crowds at the event did serve to give their performances a more epic edge. Yet even in the dingy setting of a more-than-half-empty dive bar in rural SC, they played/rhymed their hearts out. Moreover, the on-stage chemistry they’ve cultivated over the tour’s preceding weeks really showed.

The tour itself has been fraught with misfortune from auto accidents to booking woes, but when I asked the guys if they were disappointed by such a mediocre turnout in its waning weeks, particularly after playing such nerd-friendly locales as Orlando, they simply laughed it off. I was assured they were merely "paying dues."

Yes, the men who have been the subject of documentaries, have been featured on MTV and G4, have been profiled in magazines internationally, are still paying dues. And they’re fine with that.

The Internet has become a bit of an echo chamber with regard to nerd culture, particularly nerdcore. Because of this it’s easy to lose one’s sense of pure relativity. PAX, Nerdapalooza, Rhyme Torrents, hell, even lesser conduits of geeky culture like this very blog make it easy to forget that, despite our pride and our growing numbers, we constitute a small pond.

It’s nice to know that the biggest of our fish, guys like YTCracker and Frontalot, don’t get sucked in by this ego-inflating (but undoubtedly toxic) sense of entitlement. It truly makes their successes all the more rewarding.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

It's been another huge week for geeky news, but before we get into this veritable wealth of nerdstuff I'd like to comment on recent developments at The Wizrocklopedia. You see, Lizz just announced her retirement. After years at the helm, she is passing the mantle of editor on to Freya and Dinah so that she can pursue other avenues. Lizz will still be acting webmistress, but other than that her 'Pedia-related activities will be limited.

I've got an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for Lizz because of all the work she does for the WRock community and, moreover, simply because of the really genuine person that she is. She's a class act, and I am thankful to count her, along with folks like Ant, Matt, Church, and Jason, as a like-minded cyber-sibling. So while I'll miss having her around ye olde Internets, I wish her the best in all her endeavors.
  • Not to be Confused With Uwe Boll: Also on the Wizard Rock front comes news from Harry and the Potters regarding this month's Yule Ball in Cambridge, MA. The guys are looking for some extra musical help this year, in the form of live brass accompaniment for tracks like "New Wizard Anthem" and "Song for the Death Eaters." If you are interested in performing, contact the band (harryandthepotters-at-yahoo-dot-com) for further instructions.
  • Newman!: Geek rockers Paul and Storm are currently in the early stages of the 25 Days of Newman. The boys are writing all the Randy Newman movies tunes he never got around to doing himself. Hilarity ensues.
  • From the House of Karl: Omitted from last week's NNIB due to lazy-assedness, is great new stuff from Karl Olson. Ultraklystron has released a new 13-song electronica album for free download, as well as a DnB remix of Random's "Grow Up." You need both.
  • From the Tweetosphere: I've also recently received news from both Beefy and Jesse Dangerously regarding new albums. Mr. Thompson has another freebie disc in the works, and Jesse D a new mixtape. Details are, at the moment, a little vague, but I'll pass on more news as it becomes available.
  • Nerdcore Explosion: The Rhyme Torrents community has also unleashed a ton of new hotness in recent weeks. High points include the re-mastered version of the highly anticipated Heightened Titans debut, the 3-year labor of love that is GOSHone's ctrl_alt_ego, a fine collection of rarities and unreleased tracks from the Scrub Club family, and a brand new single from my Florida ninjas Krondor Krew called "Baby Drama" (available at their MySpace.) Consider them all required listening.
  • Flying Dinosaur Team: There's also a new 3-way split from our friends at Pterodactyl Squad featuring arcadecoma., L'homme Manete, and seal of quality. Like all things from Pterodactyl Squad, it is guaranteed to be face-meltingly awesome!
  • Chippy Holidays: And on the seasonal tip, there's also the amazing 8-Bit Jesus chiptune Christmas album from Doctor Octoroc. I honestly can't recommend this one highly enough.
  • A Forceful Xmas: Church also hipped me to the fact that The Wonderful Wonderblog has posted the (god-awful) Star Wars Christmas album for download. Get it now before George Lucas unleashes the clones!
  • Nerd Ink: Speaking of Star Wars, this edition of Nerd Ink is brought to you by Justin of Hidari. He thought these wicked sleeves from Geeks Are Sexy would please a great many of his geeky brothers/sisters. I concur.
  • From the Desk of Antisoc: Since I've spent the bulk of this post recommending albums, I'll change shit up and instead recommend some live video footage. My pal Soc got all of the recent YTCracker/MC Lars/MC Frontalot show in Dallas that his poor Flip could take, and has been nice enough to share it with the rest of the class. There are appearances by Shawn Who and T-Byte (in the crowd), Rivercrest Yacht Club, and the historic first live performance of MC Lars's "Download This Song" featuring Bowling For Soup's Jaret Reddick. There's a ton of stuff to see, and it's all well worth the time.
  • G4 Continues to Not Suck: And while we're talking about nerd rap royalty, be sure you check out Random's recent interview with G4's The Feed. It's a nice piece wherein he may or may not drop the release date for his new Capcom project Mega Ran 9. Okay, he does. Now go read.
  • Kids Today: From Church comes an interesting link from youth writing magazine Teen Ink about nerd pride. It's actually kind of a reassuring sentiment, especially given the typical high school-era nerd rage.
  • Apparently They Shimmer: Perhaps the holiday season's biggest piece of movie news is the release of Twilight. For those who, like me, haven't found time to read the books, Church also suggested some Cliff's Notes. In the same vein (no pun intended), BSDPunk recently explored the inherent corruption of the nerdy vampire archetype by the same series.
  • Your Hookup: Nerdcore MC Conyeezy has recently taken a position at Sweetwater Sound, providers of fine instruments, recording technology, and various other implements of musical destruction. So the next time you find yourself in the market for a purchase, don't forget to holler atcha boy.
  • America's Got the Next Top Videogame Mascot: To take us out this week, I'm gonna throw straight to Little Miss Gamer. She's involved in a reality show, I hear. Perhaps she'll finally garner the fame she so richly deserves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear Fro-ooooont!

Please join your fellow MC Frontalot fans in wishing Mr. Hess a happy 35th birthday. Yes, Front is celebrating his b-day on the road, so those who plan to catch his show with YTCracker and MC Lars in Orlando tonight should probably feel honor-bound to buy him a drink. 

Those of us not in the central Florida area will simply have to celebrate in our own fashion. I, personally, plan to do the Margaret Thatcher. But that's just me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We Hardly Knew Ye

For those who may have missed the news thus far, Scrub Club’s Midwest Nerdfest event has been officially cancelled. Like all things, particularly in these trying (read: shitty) economic times, it was simply a matter of funding. The story goes a bit deeper than that, specifically concerning some mounting medical bills for MadHatter’s young daughter. The full skinny of which can be peeped at his announcement thread at Rhyme Torrents.

Pulling together even a small local show is a huge undertaking, and, as anyone who attended this summer’s Nerdapalooza can attest, it requires not just a high level of dedication, but a sizable stroke of good fortune to pull off a big event. That being said, things of this nature fall through at the very whim of the fates, but that doesn’t make the loss of another potential game-changer like Midwest Nerdfest suck any less.

Still, to my mind, the important things to remember are: A) Hatter and his family are fine, B) those who had pre-booked rooms should be able to get their reservations cancelled fairly easily, and C) I wouldn’t be surprised if MWNF wholly arose from the cornfields of the Heartland in the foreseeable future.

MadHatter and the Scrub Club crew are good people, and I’m sure this particular setback will prove to be just that. They have other plans in the works that are unaffected by this – like the KABUTO mixtape – that will surely remind us that, while plans sometimes change, excellence stays the same.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 56: Hufflepuff-Puff-Pass

If you're not a fan of Wizard Rock, chances are you ain't gonna be feelin' this episode. Of course, if you don't dig WRock, chances are you haven't hung around this long to begin with.

My co-host for this all-WRock endeavor was none other than Lizz of The Wizrocklopedia, and it was an honor and a privilege to have her aboard. I seldom entertain guests at my humble virtual abode, and she more than delivered on her end of the hosting duties.

And yes, for those of you wondering, I did crib this edition's title from Tycho Brahe.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 56: Hufflepuff-Puff-Pass [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 65 MB Running Time: 1:11:00

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Baddd Spellah is magical!

Track 1: Snidget – "Hedwig’s Theme"
Snidge is the rare example of a WRock artist who actually knows who the hell I am. For that, she is an enduring favorite. Of course, her talent doesn't hurt either.

1st interlude: "A lot of ground to cover."
This edition of the podcast features an elaborate track list that Lizz helped to put together. She picked a ton of great songs, and I hope they can expose you to some WRockers that were previously unknown to you.

Track 2: The Parselmouths – "Illegal Love Potion"
The Parselmouths employ what we call in the business "feminine wiles." Look it up.

Track 3: Peeved – "Pretty Girl"
Peeved is an interesting case, as every track he has ever released is simultaneously my favorite Peeved song.

Track 4: RiddleTM – "Hey Mr. Olivander"
Wands for sale. Cheap.

Track 5: Gred and Forge – "The Making of a Puking Pastille"
"Spell. Eat. Puke. Repeat."

2nd interlude: "Where all my Ravenclaws at?"
Feel free to shout this at your next Wizard Rock show. It's totally gonna be a thing.

Track 6: Draco and the Malfoys – "Voldemort is Awesome"
I like the Malfoys' music. I also like that they are old like me.

Track 7: Catchlove – "Wake Up Harry"
As Matt and I drunkenly discussed: note the lack of a definite article.

Track 8: The Whomping Willows – "Ginny is a Punk Rocker"
The world needs more Ramones filk covers.

Track 9: The Remus Lupins – "Hey Whompy"
Which further explores the forbidden love between a tree and a lycanthrope.

Track 10: Dobbie and the House Elves – "The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black"
This track is almost criminally good. Seriously. I thought of pressing charges.

Track 11: Snape dialog / Harry and the Potters – "Felix Felicis (Dumbledore's DS Mix by Paradise Dan of Monsterface Industries)"
Longest. Title. Ever.

3rd interlude: "Rapid-fire Q&A"
Lizz was a trooper. 500 dumb-ass questions from me, and yet she soldiered on.

Track 12: The Sectumsempras – "The Offer"
Whenever I talk to Lizz, I am reminded of how much great music I manage to miss.

Track 13: The Basilisk in Your Pasta – "Bad Guy"
There is currently a basilisk in my bathtub. Film at 11:00.

Track 14: The Mudbloods – "Eulogy for an Acromantula"
Apparently, they are Lizz's favorite WRock outfit. That alone speaks volumes.

Track 15: Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons – "Break This Spell"
Simply haunting.

Final interlude: "Wizard Rock Thanksgiving."
See the 'Pedia for full details.

Track 16: The Brothers Black – "Hogwarts is Home"
I'd go so far as to call this a fitting end. And a nice place to pick up for next episode's holiday theme.

Now that I have both dedicated WRock and nerdcore shows under my belt, I am primed for a full-on chiptune/VGM ep. Anthony, please stand at the ready. You will surely be called upon.

But that will have to wait until 2009, as my final two episodes of this year will be the aforementioned holiday edition and my annual crazy-assed year-end wrap-up. (This year with extra hyphens!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

It's hard to concentrate on this week's NNIB with the Interwebs positively abuzz over the newly released Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. You know: the game for which our friends at OverClocked ReMix created an exclusive fan-made soundtrack.

It features everyone from djpretzel to The Grammar Club, and it's pretty goddamn exciting. Even for folks like me who don't play an exorbitant amount of Street Fighter.

Even if you don't wanna spring for the game – which you kinda should – the soundtrack itself is available for free from OCRemix. Snag it now, and continue your Black Friday festivities as planned.

  • You Better Watch Out: Santa Nerdy Claus is coming to town. What he'll do when he gets here is anyone's guess, but I'd recommend friending him on MySpace. Y'know, to avoid being on any unfortunate lists.
  • Just Like the Ones I Used to Know: On the Xmas tip is a new release from MC Lars. It's entitled The Green Christmas EP, but it's more thematically centered on GNR. Seriously. Watch the video.
  • Jingle All the Way: Also on the horizon is another installment in The Leaky Cauldron's Jingle Spells series. This year's disc features Peeved, The Mudbloods, RiddleTM, and a solid metric ton of awesome.
  • From One of Us Old Ones: Church has found an interesting site called Advice to a Young Geek by Cynbe ru Taren. It's exactly the brand of after-the-fact meditations that are an integral part of the lives of our people. And while the individual entries may or may not move you (depending on your relative age and circumstance), the idea is truly inspiring.
  • How We Roll, Mofo: Also from Church comes more info on the Nerd Nite phenomenon you may have read about at Inkling last year. Here's hoping the idea continues to spread.
  • Both Happy AND Hardcore: Random has another free remix available for the masses. This one is a happy hardcore remix of "Grow Up" by Ultraklystron. Do you wants it? Oh yes you do!
  • A Painful Experience: Some people just don't get nerdcore, and that's okay. What's not is poor writing and unconstructive criticism. Here's an example as pointed out by Baddd Spellah. It's a review of Frontalot's new Final Boss album. In Spellah's own words, "It reads like a 15-year-old's last-minute scramble at their due-tomorrow book-report."
  • Over There: Earlier this month, I pointed out some interesting info regarding a Dutch showing of Nerdcore For Life. Since then, a number of details have come to light. The long and short of it is that the gig is for realsies, but a full-on European tour is not currently in the works. That certainly answers that.
  • Working for DFTBA: Matt sends news that John Greene (of Nerdfighter fame) has both released his debut album for pre-order and has co-founded a record label specializing in YouTube-centered music. Already onboard are Trockers Chameleon Circuit (whom I love.) I anticipate good things. Experience the fast-talking here.
  • I Never Travel Too Far: This month, my pal Glenn Case celebrated his 13th wedding anniversary with a cover of Big Star's "Thirteen." This was apparently the song of the month, as Molly from Roonil Wazlib posted a similar vid. I couldn't settle on which to end with, so here are the links. Watch both. It'll do you good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This Dual Core Music Has a Grip on Me

Last year I wrote the following: "In a genre that sometimes seems more interested in talking about music than actually making it, Dual Core stand out as a beacon of musical integrity."

Allow that to stew in your brain pan for a moment?



It’s not the quote that strikes me as so odd – if anything, their continued output has proven my point – but merely the timeframe. Though I’ve known their music for only around 18 months, I simply can not fathom a time when I didn't listen to Dual Core. Like a good book or a fine film, their music exists in a space outside of the temporal. It’s a feast for the ears, and, indeed, for the mind, that seems familiar much in the same way that a foreign beach or exotic mountaintop may seem familiar; it appeals to some baser instinct, some unnamed part of the human psyche that marks and responds to veracity.

From the opening strains of the first track to the gradual fade of its unlisted final remix, Lost Reality, the group’s third album, continues their well established reputation for excellence. I can’t recommend it highly enough, but that won’t stop me from trying.
  1. "For Real"
    Dual Core have made no secret of their problems with radio rap’s commercialism and lack of greater artistic depth, so it’s logical that they open Lost Reality with a celebration of "the true heart of hip-hop." Producer c64 makes his presence felt through a favorable combination of light, airy piano and a heavy beat while int eighty "dedicates" the album to his hip-hop forbears: b-boys, DJs, MCs, and graffiti artists. The opening salvo summarily reminds the listener that Dual Core, while doubtlessly nerdy, have their hearts in hip-hop culture, and sets the template for the album to come. And on a purely personal note, never before have I heard a more convincing validation of nerdcore as a style.
  2. "Beginning of the End"
    "Dear Mama" for the hacker set? Maybe. Personal but not sappy, "Beginning of the End" lets you know how eighty became eighty through slick storytelling and a well-metered flow. 64 once again demonstrates his knack for incorporating just the right sample at just the right time for maximum impact. The track further helps to establish the album's recurring motifs, but, at a healthy five minutes, manages to keep things interesting.
  3. "Unplug"
    A turning point of sorts, this is a song for programmers, developers, or anyone else who lives the bulk of their life online and plugged in. It’s another long one that keeps things personal but expands its scope to include elements imminently relatable to fans. Props to the guys for their skillful reflection on "Dull Boy" from their debut album, and the effortless way that song’s refrain carries through. But don’t be fooled; this is less a continuation of that theme than a different (perhaps more universal) look at the same sort of digital miasma that plagues so many of us who work in the tech sector. With lines like "my desk lamp burns midnight oil," int eighty’s penchant for quotable lyricism remains, quite obviously, intact.
  4. "Hold On"
    A musical change-up that takes you by surprise, "Hold On" kicks up the tempo a bit as well as the aggression. eighty comes through as hip-hop motivational speaker while 64 lets us see a side of his production style that he seldom reveals: his inner musical mad scientist. The beat that is so compressed and intense as to put you almost on edge, but all the way eighty admonishes you to hold tight, not merely for this track, but for the rest of the album to come. A musical signpost, this song serves as an aural cue, telling you that Lost Reality’s artistic peak is fast approaching.
  5. "My GF is…"
    Trailing in expertly from the previous track, "My GF Is…" is another amazing story-song. You could call it "Hostage Down" for non-gamers if you felt so led, and I, at present, do. This tribute to geek girls is certainly on par with modern classics like Schaffer the Darklord's "Nerd Lust." Easily one of c64 and in eighty’s finest efforts, its sing-along chorus – an element, which, while prevalent in Dual Core’s music, is often the shortcoming of CS rap in general – contains just enough humor, just enough doe-eyed infatuation, and just enough allusions to Hackers. Though I’m nothing short of thrilled with eighty’s contribution, this is easily a track in which 64 displays his musical mettle.
  6. "Fantastic Four (ft. Beefy, YTCracker, and Wheelie Cyberman)"
    The third in a trio of veritably flawless offerings, "Fantastic Four" is, conservatively speaking, the finest nerdcore posse track since "Nerdcore Rising," and quite possibly the best of all time. 64 exercises amazing restraint by letting these four epic MCs do what they do in a manner that is very Jurassic 5 (and, yes, that’s a huge compliment). eighty’s slow and steady flow is a nice counterpoint to Wheelie’s speed, while Beefy’s sharp annunciation plays well off YT’s thick, nasally drawl. A highlight of this or any album that is sure to please. Truthfully, this is the sort of track that almost makes an album hard to review because you just wanna keep listening to it over and over! If I didn’t know better, I’d think this song was crafted just for me.
  7. "Random Bits"
    With listeners breathless from the previous barrage of razor-sharp witticisms and tag team MCing, this track trails in with an oddly dissonant flavor to the beat. Surprisingly short and very techy, "Random Bits" boasts a level of smooth DG posturing that would make YT proud. A nice change of pace, this one reminds us that Dual Core, while now wholly entrenched in their "sound," are unafraid of experimentation.
  8. "Lost Reality (ft. Ill Poetic)"
    Damn it’s nice to hear some political venom for a change. Am I sick of hope? It’s a possibility, but it’s much more likely that, like eighty himself, I’m simply a bit tired of election year promises and bought-and-paid-for optimism. This uniquely nerdcore take on the current political state features the best use of Bushisms in recent musical memory, and guest rapper Ill Poetic comes through as another Class A contributor. While a political track on such a personal album may seem an odd choice from which to draw a title, the song is yet another high point on a disc full of superlative material. While eighty has long demonstrated his ability to convey sorrow, elation, and resonant concern, the anguish and frustration inherent in lines like "Do you even know who your representative is?" further serves to highlight his scope as a vocalist.
  9. "Judgment Day"
    Another movie song in the spirit of "A New Hope" (the first cut from Zero One), "Judgment Day" takes on the Terminator mythos with skill and vigor. At once a counterintuitive follow-up and a perfect transition from "Lost Reality," it serves to blur the line between political reality and nihilistic allegory. While int eighty’s stark rhymes seem firmly placed at the forefront, this track all but belongs to c64 as he pulls out all the stops to draw you deeper into the dense undertones of his creation.
  10. "Rock It"
    In short, this is just as big a banger as the title implies. After plying his skills as a lyrical chameleon up to this point, eighty sort of reverts to his default flow for this track, but, to his credit, it still sounds great. The hook is screechy, pitchy, and somehow totally fitting, and lets you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this song was made to be performed live. Concert attendees take note: learn the chorus now. You will be expected to sing along.
  11. "Dual Core"
    Thus far I’ve bandied the word "personal" about fairly liberally with regard to this album, but this track takes that concept to its logical conclusion. We’ve admired Dual Core for three albums now with only the slightest inkling as to their origins, but at last their story is told. In verse, no less. With a lead-in I can only characterize as "crazy-ass" and a beat that is wholly fitting such an epic tale, this one links nerds and rap better than any song before in a firsthand account of triumph and gratitude.
  12. "Take It Forward"
    Slow and deliberate both lyrically and musically, "Take It Forward" confronts stereotypes head on and in a manner most eloquent. Much like the overall album, it brilliantly combines substance with uniquely relatable hip-hop. A song for anyone who’s sick of having to explain what they are as opposed to demonstrating who they are. eighty uniquely defines himself not merely as a hacker, a gamer, or a rapper, but as a complex individual who refuses to hide behind labels, even those with whom he proudly associates. Again, this is exactly the kind of personal, universal fare upon which Lost Reality is built.
  13. "Take It Back (ft. Stephanie KB)"
    A great counterpoint that tweaks the musical motifs of "Take It Forward" to make a completely different animal. While still figuratively centered on showing what you are by being who you are, it is quite literally about the tenacity of the gamer. While lyrically on-point, this track is so musically impeccable that it seems almost wrong not to tip the artistic hat to 64. Though I wasn’t exactly sure about Stephanie KB’s vocal contribution going into the track, by the last chorus I was singing along myself! Her voice adds a really different element – an additional aural texture, if you will – that compliments the booming beat and tight guitars perfectly. Another song that manages to remind you that Dual Core is much like gaming at its best: all about friendship, camaraderie, and frenetic action.
  14. "Player vs. Player"
    If there’s one thing historically missing from hip-hop, it is existential angst. This song remedies that by having eighty confront what can rightly be called his dark side. This nerdiest battle rap on record pits our own hero against a mainstream caricature of his genuine substance and style. While it features some of eighty’s sharpest couplets to date, it also shows an inherent understanding of the reasons behind his distaste of the overly simple nature of much of commercial rap: anti-eighty’s rhymes are funny but not necessarily fun and memorable without ever being clever. 64 again shows great restraint by letting the song be as opposed to trying to shoehorn in unnecessary elements. Seriously old school and really different than the rest of this album’s tracks in sound, but wholly at home in scope and still undeniably Dual Core.
  15. "Fantastic Four (Remix)"
    A second helping of the earlier musical excellence that was "Fantastic Four," this take lets c64 flex his muscles via a totally re-orchestrated backing – which is, oddly enough, the song's original take. Looser, with its lilting harmonica, but also somehow more appropriate in its less frantic state, this "remix" is every bit as good as the song's first instance. Once again, 64 proves that the best Dual Core remixes come from their own lab. A smooth jam that refuses languish, it wraps up the album nicely... except that it’s not quite the end.
  16. "Hidden Track"
    Taking us home is what can only be described as a crazy acid house remix of "Give Me Wings" (my favorite track from Zero One). While he’s come to the forefront several times in the album proper, this one is all 64. Further, it proves that, no matter how you slice it, he’s easily one of the best nerdcore DJs/producers out there. This one mixes well with alcohol for late night partying. It’s like a gourmet mint on your pillow at a luxury hotel; it’s not strictly necessary, but it reinforces the excellence of the overall experience.
One of the reasons I tend to eschew the word "review" is that it is positively packed with pretense. Most disturbingly, it gives the impression that I have done your requisite listening for you, when, in fact, it should do the opposite.

Whether I love or hate a track, I hope that my words don’t color your opinion so much as they challenge you to listen for yourself. My impressions are merely, as I’m so fond of saying, one asshole's opinion. And yet I hope you see it, at the very least, as an informed opinion.

And my (hopefully) informed opinion is that you should immediately purchase Dual Core’s Lost Reality. Not just because I enjoy it, mind you, but because I believe you will enjoy it.

It has a sort of universal appeal that can be attributed both to an obvious love of craft on the parts of both eighty and 64 and a uniquely relatable approach to songwriting. I think eighty summed it up best when he admitted that while their previous efforts may have presented opportunities to "get to know about Dual Core," Lost Reality offers the listener a chance to "get to know Dual Core."

And I highly suggest you do.

"The beat’s in the speakers, so we gotta rock it."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hard to the Core

Do you know what I like? Bacon!

But I reckon this isn’t exactly the place to talk about that. On the other hand, this is the perfect place to talk about something else I like, in this case international nerdcore combo Dual Core.

A few weeks back, int eighty promised me an update concerning the various exciting things the band’s been up to in recent months, and such a communiqué just graced my inbox. And since I know y’all dig Dual Core too, I thought I’d share the wealth.

Think of it as an artist-specific NNIB, in all it’s bulleted glory.
  • New Digs: At long last, the new version of the official Dual Core Web site is now online. It features an RSS feed, snippets from their albums, and photos from recent shows. Peep the knowledge.
  • Missing: 1 Reality. Slightly Used. Reward.: At even longer last, the duo’s new album Lost Reality is now officially available online through said swanky new site. You can also score it via iTunes and Amazon, so there’s no reason not to own it. (I’ll elaborate on this fact later this month in my official album review.)
  • Friends Like These: You can also hear the dulcet tones of eighty on the newly released Digital Gangster LP from the dynamic duo of YTCracker and MC Lars. Did I mention that this is an album you need to buy as well?
  • On the Road Again: Dual Core also joined the Digital Gangster tour with MC Frontalot, MC Lars, and YT for three glorious shows in Bowling Green, Chicago, and DeKalb. And they’ve appeared at a number of conventions including Toorcon X (San Diego, CA), Con on the Cob (Akron, OH), Ohio Linux Fest (Columbus, OH), Day-Con II (Dayton, OH), and Phreaknic 12 (Nashville, TN).
  • The Future is Now: Perhaps most importantly, eighty let slip that they are already hard at work on their next album, which will, I am assured, boast "more awesome production from c64." Not only that, but they’re slated for guest appearances on several other upcoming releases. Of course, they didn’t want to spoil the surprise by telling me which releases. But trust me; as soon as I know, you’ll know.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nerdcore's European Vacation

What is the meaning of this?!

Okay, admittedly that came off a bit too demanding, but check out the link and see if you don't have a similar reaction. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Done? Good.

Let's discuss:

When this site was brought to my attention this weekend, I was a little skeptical. I mean, why would some as-yet-unknown (at least to me) Dutch organization purport to be bringing nerdcore to The Netherlands? That seems, y'know, a little unbelievable. But the more I looked into this, the more legit it appeared.

First and foremost, the idea of a European screening of Nerdcore For Life certainly isn't out of the question. And both the site's info concerning the doc and its presentation seem to jive with the overall feel of the film, as well as its established modus operandi. (To this end, I've hit up Dan for details and will share them when/if they become available.)

Secondly, the site's footer links the Glitched event with, the R&D arm of Dutch Internet application firm 4worx. So this, too, makes sense, as I have no problem believing that such a company would benefit from sponsoring what amounts to a Euro-centric geek celebration.

Then we have the clincher. Check Beefy's sig file over at Rhyme Torrents, and you'll see a link to the same event page. So it doesn't exactly take Adam fucking Savage to state that this is, at least on the surface, wholly plausible. But there are many unanswered questions.

If Lars, YT, Beefy and Router have been confirmed to perform – which, again, makes sense when attached to a film screening – will this be an isolated event or can we expect a full-on European tour? Moreover, does this mark Router's official return to the nerdcore fold? And there's always the question on money; I mean, is 4worx really footing the bill to fly these folks all the way to Amsterdam?

In the end, what I'm looking for is details. Failing that, I'll also accept theory and/or conjecture.

My fellow nerds, you now have the floor.