Friday, March 07, 2008

Nerd Aid

Okay, so somehow I managed to miss this until Glenn Case mentioned it on his MySpace yesterday. I'm not saying I'm the most "plugged in" cat on the Intertubes or nothin’, but I figured if I had somehow passed this over then some of you may have as well. As such, let me relate the following:

The long and short of it is that Shael Riley's brother (and frequent co-conspirator) Devon underwent emergency surgery late last month. Thankfully, he's recovering, but, like so many of us, the ensuing hospital bills are presenting a brand new, long-term problem. In addition, bills for little incidentals – like say food and rent – tend to pile up regardless of whether or not you’re physically able to drag your ass to work.

I don’t know Devon Riley, but I am familiar with his work. Moreover, I have every indication that he’s a great guy. A great guy who has, unfortunately, had a run of pretty shitty luck.

His friends have set up a little blog where folks can go to wish Devon well as he recovers. While there, you can also give a little donation through Paypal, should you feel so inclined. Surely the great Nigel Edmund Silverman deserves a little love from fellow geeks and gamers.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More Nerd News in Brief

The problem with pulling double duty between Hipster, please! and Geekdad is that, many times, the things I do for one don’t necessarily translate well to the other. Sure, there’s a commonality, but I don’t expect that GD readers would respond to my foul mouth and healthy disrespect for copyright laws quite as warmly as you do.

Still, there are some exceptions. I actually have a couple of things coming down the Geekdad pipe in the near future that I think you folks will really dig. I’ll not divulge too much so as to keep a minimal level of mystique, but as plans solidify I’ll be happy to drop some knowledge.
  • Ghosts I (available intravenously): I don’t like Nine Inch Nails – a 40-year-old man trying to be angsty is just a little bit sad – but I do like Antisocial. As such, I’d like to call you attention to his new project. Soc is working on “a quick little project called Seven Inch Spikes: Apparitions. Basically the concept is derivative (remix, rap, rework, cover, inspired by, parody, etc) works of the new Nine Inch Nails album.” Parties interested in participating should give Soc a holler and/or peep RT for further details.
  • G4 - Now with 50% less suck!: YTCracker is seeking to help G4 reclaim its former glory(?) via the power of music. He has recently licensed his track “DugDig” for a year as the BGM for a commercial for X-Play. Yes, Warwick Davis was Willow and an Ewok and Leonard Nimoy was Galvatron and Spock. But Adam Sessler? He’s just kind of a tool.
  • A place to call home: Nerdapalooza has a new and improved online presence. The URL is humorous and borderline inappropriate so I really can’t help but love it. The site was also designed by Game Metal mastermind Girlz Melon for added rock-ass geek cred!
  • Japanese stunt man?!: T.Y.T. has a new video available for your perusal, and this one’s not on YouTube. You can, however, peep “Saturday Night SYN” elsewhere. And trust me, you’ll want to watch what T.Y.T. describes as “a totally retarded hyphy in face skull crushing video!”
  • Here I am…: Thanks to my brother Matt for hipping me to a special new track by Wrockers The Owl Post. This one’s a collab with Adam from The Mudbloods. It’s called “Scarhead Theme,” and it’s available at the Post’s MySpace.
  • Wrock you like a hurricane: In other Wrock news (also courtesy of Matt), Lena (of The Butterbeer Experience) and Lauren (of The Moaning Myrtles) are planning a joint tour. The duo is also working on an EP together, and are currently looking for artistic assistance for cover art design. There’s a tentative Baltimore date on said tour, which hopefully means Matt and Church can do a post-gig write-up. /stern look
  • Further developments: Earlier this week, it was widely reported in Wizard Rock circles that The Parselmouths were parting ways due to the approaching nuptials of member Brittany. The band’s forthcoming gig in Kansas was expected to be their last, with remaining Parselmouth Kristina soldiering on with a new huckleberry. A recent follow-up, however, has clarified the previous information; it now looks like Brittany is just taking the summer off to get married, and fans can expect more of the classic Brittany/Kristina lineup in the future.
  • Tag-team: On the VGM front, my pal Anthony has officially announced the next GM4A compilation Here Comes a New Challenger. This one features collaborations between nerdcore vocalists and chiptune/VGM musicians. He even included a preview track to tide us over until its release.
  • Across the pond: Speaking of game music, congrats go out to the fine folks at the Gamewave Podcast. Much like my own Radio Free Hipster, the Gamewave guys have just celebrated the posting of their 40th podcast. (No small feat, I assure you!) If you haven’t yet, I’d highly suggest giving the ‘cast a listen. Joe and Mike are not only VGM aficionados, they’re also game musicians themselves, and their show is not to be missed.
  • 1D4 moments of silence: I’m gonna break with tradition and end NNIB without a video today. Instead, here’s a little image that Church found that sort of managed to stick in my brain. We all know that Gary Gygax shuffled off this mortal coil earlier this week, but did you realize he did so - fittingly enough - on GM's Day? Moreover, did you know that his passing is the only thing that could make a lolcat utterly despondent? Didn’t think so.

DnD Kitteh iz sad

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You Brought us Geeks Together

In the wake of the yesterday’s passing of tabletop legend Gary Gygax, geeks everywhere have memorialized him in their own indubitable fashions. Though the various epitaphs scrawled across blogs and Internet message boards may seem sardonic and mocking to outsiders, those of us in the know realize that these references to Constitution modifiers and saving throws are, more often than not, the result of genuine, heartfelt sentiment regarding the passing of a man who helped to craft those undeniably dorky concepts.

And while the Web’s foremost comics mark Gygax’s passing with images and its most studious bloggers do so with words, nerdy musicians pay tribute in song. The first of these, to my knowledge, comes from self-described “Sock Puppet Rock Band and Multimedia Extravaganza-thon-a-rama” Uncle Monsterface.

Frontman Marty Allen says, regarding the track,
we realize all too well the unfortunate truth is that too often, folks wait until someone has kicked the proverbial bucketcan before they say all the nice things they meant to say about them. that isn't reason enough not to, let it just serve as a collective reminder to us all that we should tell people that we like them and that we like what they do. before they [d]ie. people have tried to convince me otherwise, and i refuse to believe it. but if you miss the boat, make them a song.
And with that, I submit for your approval “(thank you) Gary Gygax,” freely downloadable from

Irreverent? Yes. Strange? Absolutely! But also sincere and ridiculously nerdy. Because Gary deserves no less.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

On the passing of Gary Gygax

For those of you who haven’t caught wind of the recent news, Ernest Gary Gygax – co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and a pioneer of tabletop roleplaying – has passed.

Even now, Gary is being memorialized by our geeky peers in a manner befitting a gentleman of his standing. I’m sure there’s little I can say that hasn’t already been covered by those more astute and well-spoken than I, but I don’t reckon I’ll let that stop me. I can't imagine many of us who are active participants in the geekier side of popular culture would be doing what we do if not for Gary, particularly those of us who fancy ourselves writers.

The worlds he helped to forge provided many of us a canvas upon which to paint idealized versions of our flawed and corruptible selves. Around that table we weren’t lonely and awkward kids; we were paladins, warriors, and rogues. We found ourselves transformed from a motley crew of neighborhood chums to a party of daring adventurers.

His game gave us a voice. It gave us a realm of wonder and fantasy to explore with our friends. Goblins to slay and treasure to discover. It rewarded our creativity and helped to foster our ingenuity. Moreover, it provided us a mechanism through which to tell our own stories.

In truth, it wasn’t until I discovered D&D (and, yes, a number of other similar games) that I ever felt I had tales worth telling, that I ever felt that I was a part of that grand tradition of southern storytellers. My now infamous and much mocked tattoo isn’t just about embracing my dorky nature, it’s about acknowledging the reason that I began to write. And now it’s about memorializing yet another in a long succession of fallen heroes.

Gygax was just a man, as small and flawed as any of us, but he helped a generation embrace storytelling and nerdy camaraderie as an active pastime. He helped an innumerable number of misfit kids find brotherhood with paper and dice. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.

For we are that legacy.

If you know the dir of the nerdcore rhyme

While my attention was focused on other matters my pal Anthony managed to scoop me on this, but I thought I’d toss it up just in case any of you missed it. It’s an outtake from Nerdcore Rising that features “Gabe & Tycho explaining every single accursed little lyrical twist in their official theme song.”

It’s a spectacle that could easily be described as slap-nuts funny. Observe.

And all you SXSWers, please don't forget that you have three chances to check out Nerdcore Rising at the festival next week. Front will be around for a little Q&A after every showing, and of course, he and the boys will be performing at the premiere after-party Sunday night. Prince Paul has been officially confirmed as has an open bar, but you’ll need a festival pass or a premiere ticket stub to get in.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

I try to do good. I honestly do. Sometimes it just doesn’t pan out.

Last week, acting on the urgings of a number of Radio Free Hipster listeners, I submitted the podcast to iTunes. I figured it would make it easier for y’all and it might even bring in a few new listeners. (Sure, I’d have to deal with mocking, sub-literate reviews from every yahoo with an account, but such is life.)

The submission process was painless enough, but it was almost immediately rejected.

I can only imagine it had something to do with that magical mixture of profanity and copyright infringement upon which the podcast is based. Apparently, I’m just not iTunes material.

The resubmission process seems to involve me changing some information within the RSS feed and trying to trick iTunes into giving me another shot, which, honestly, sounds like a lot of work. I’ll try and get to that at some point in the foreseeable future because my stats show that most RFH listeners use that app, but I’ve got other fish to fry at present.

In the meantime, the handful of you that use Podcast Alley – who were more than happy to accept my feed submission, I might add – should feel free to review the show over there.

Likewise, anyone wishing to speak their piece about this humble blog can direct their adulation and/or venom at my listing over at Blogged.
  • Nerds heart Violet: The always delightful Violet Blue has posted a handful of her favorite nerdcore videos over at her blog Tiny Nibbles. Included among them is her preferred selection from mc chris’s recent “Nrrrd Grrrl” video contest. Violet also gives some love to Radio Free Hipster favorite Schaffer the Darklord and a number of other notable nerdlinders. I demand that you all reciprocate!
  • The Viking of Rap: Nerdy rhyme-slinger extraordinaire and all-around great guy MC Lars took some time last week to let fans know what he’s been doing since the 2006 release of The Graduate. The answer: lots of stuff. Most importantly, Lars confirmed the speculation that his next album will drop later this year. I, for one, can’t wait.
  • It’s an Oddworld: Game music composer Michael Bross recently made the multitracks for one of the songs from the Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath soundtrack available for remixers. Bross was kind enough to pass this info along to Anthony of GM4A who was, in turn, nice enough to pass it on to me. I’m now telling you about it, thus keeping this chain of nerdy love intact. You can grab the “Fighting Outlaws” multitracks at Michael’s site.
  • Myf’s got a story to tell: After a brief hiatus (due to some recording issues), Myf is back with a vengeance! He just dropped a rough mix of a new joint called “Pieces (It All Falls)” over at Rhyme Torrents, and you simply must check it out. Moreover, Myf’s promised “a lot of new stuff now that everything works again.” This is indeed good news.
  • RPM Challenge Round-up: As I mentioned previously, several notable nerdcore artists participated in last month’s RPM Challenge, and now the time has come to bask in the glory of their collective artistic outcome. DJ Snyder and Entity created the phenomenal Calvin & Hobbes album, which combines smart hip-hop and ample guest stars to create an affair to remember. Redvoid and funky49 again activated their Wonder Twin powers to create another Superfiends release; Prestidigichillitation is a concept album designed to “comment on the state of life in the Western world but locate the true nature of the self amidst the chaos and greed of modern life.” And lastly, Emergency Pizza Party came through with their most compelling release to date Ughuuhghhhh, which sees the group recapture their former glory as Florida’s most surreal geeky rap trio.
  • And yet I do it alone: In other new release news, Hand’Solo is offering to sell early bird copies of their new release Aging is What Friends Do Together (technically not due out until mid-April) to interested parties. The price is $15 payable via PayPal or money order/certified check, and that includes mailing costs within North America. Info and links to sample tracks can be found at RT.
  • Celebuglies is the word of the week: mc chris’s much talked-about track with Talib Kweli is now available for your listening pleasure. Check out “Screamin (feat. mc chris)” at the Idle Warship MySpace. For those not familiar with IW, it’s a musical project of Talib and Res that focuses heavily on the modern American fascination with celebrities and their often troubled lives. Check it out.
  • Everybody’s stoked: Are you excited about SXSW? Of course you are! Church points out that the certified “docu-geeks” at the Second Skin blog are particularly excited about the premiere of the MC Frontalot documentary Nerdcore Rising. What? You’re particularly excited about it too? What are the odds?!
  • I promised I wouldn’t get heavy on this joint: Random will also be in Austin this week for SXSW. On Friday, March 7th he’ll be at - wait for it - the Second Skin movie premier, the film featuring his track “Grow Up,” at the Austin Convention Center Theater at 9:00 PM. And on Saturday, March 8th he’ll be performing at The Music Gym Lounge at 6:00 PM.
  • Apparently, he likes Harry Potter: Last week that bastion of nerdy musical excellence Penny Arcade finally acknowledged the unmitigated badassery of Wizard Rock. While Tycho admits that he’s unable to work any more bands into the program for this year’s PAX concert, this could be a sign that some Wrock may make its way into future events. Wait… Gabe and Tycho like nerdcore, mash-ups, and Wrock, and yet they don’t listen to RFH?! Probably because it ain't listed in iTunes. ;)
  • The year in Wrock: Leave it to Matt to remind us that the results from the 2008 Wizrocklopedia People’s Choice Awards are in. Fervent congratulations go out to The Remus Lupins and The Moaning Myrtles for multiple wins as well as to The Whomping Willows for snagging the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Just him: UK Wrocker Peeved, whom I mentioned last week, has just been interviewed over at Marisha's Wrockin Meet the Band's Journal. Peeved a really interesting cat – not to mention an incredibly talented musician – so head on over and take a look. Marisha’s also got a ton of other great Wrock interviews over at her place as well, so be sure to hang out and take ‘em all in.
  • Everything's shiny, Cap'n.: In one final piece of Wizard Rock news, Lauren (of the aforementioned Moaning Myrtles) has a new track on her MySpace player called “Engines Make Me Hot.” It’s about Kaylee from Firefly, and it’s pretty much the bestest song ever. So, for continuing the grand tradition of Wrockers covering non-Wrock topics, not to mention her amazing piece of Cheap Trick filk, I award Lauren these Internets. May she do with them as she pleases.
  • Your Heart’s in Your: To take us home today, here’s a little behind the scenes piece from the shoot of the as-yet-to-materialize video for The Grammar Club’s “Heart Tits.” It was filmed by the PBC crew in September of last year in Brooklyn. It features lots of dancing. Mostly by Shael. It’s a good time.