Friday, June 13, 2008

The 2nd Time Around


I had a little downtime this afternoon while I was feeding my daughter, and I took advantage of it by watching the festival cut of Nerdcore For Life. Since I've already shared my thoughts on the rough cut of the film I screened earlier this year I don't feel the need to elaborate too much, but let me say that the doc has been cleaned up, streamlined, and brilliantly refined.

A few notable additions have been included with regard to the film's talent pool, and some of its more extraneous sequences have been nicely trimmed. It's good to see a few "newer" - meaning not overtly present in the scene during the documentary's primary filming - artists represented and a couple of elder statesmen more properly profiled. There was even a nod to the newly refurbished Hipster, please!, which was both totally unexpected and a genuine honor.

While the rough version of the doc I viewed back in January was enjoyable and certainly well representative of the movement, I've got to say that this cut is significantly more visually appealing not to mention a smother overall ride.

While it still has it's share of embarrassing moments, these are contrasted nicely against our triumphs. Moreover, the high and low points of nerdcore are, in my opinion, illustrated fairly and through the words and actions of the parties involved. It's still our story, but now it's got enough flash to help it appeal to a bit of a broader audience.

Suffice it to say that those of you catching the second showing this Sunday at STIFF are in for a treat.

I don’t understand Time Zones.

While its domestic flavor is still weeks away, we now stand at the cusp of Nerdapalooza UK. At Delius Pub in Bradford, at 3:30 PM local time on June 14th, the whole of the United Kingdom will get its geek on in a fashion most musical.

So if you find yourself across the pond this Saturday – which, I believe, is either tonight our time… or possibly right now… or maybe even a couple days ago… maybe – be sure to stop in and revel in the Euro-geekiness. And say hello to my pals MisterB, Dan Plus Add, and Category. In case you're wondering, I have it on good authority that they like the beer. Also possibly the football.

The rest of us, I’m afraid, will have to observe from afar. To aid in this exercise, my bro Anthony has crafted the following image.

I’m sure it’s gonna be just like that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

Starting tomorrow, I go back to my old part-time stay-at-home-dad routine, and, honestly, I’m a little worried. It’s not that I don’t relish the role (and the hyphens), it’s just that this time I am outnumbered. When it was just me and Li’l X I had a distinct advantage, but now with Twiggy joining the fray I feel a bit outgunned.

There are two of them. What if they conspire?

On a semi-relevant note, I’m not sure how this will affect my blogging time for the foreseeable future. Slapping words together in my downtime at the office is a breeze, but coordinating writing time at home takes finesse and planning. I reckon there might be a slight drop in output as I recalibrate to “life at home,” but hopefully that’ll be short lived. Here’s hoping I can keep up with my admittedly meager output in this transitional interim.

In other personal minutiae, I finally figured out how to update the kernel in my EZFlashV. Hurray for DLDI auto-patching!

  • 24: Congratulations are in order for mc chris, whose new album mc chris is dead was recently included in Billboard Magazine’s Heatseeker charts. Okay, so the chart only has 25 positions and mc was 24, but that still totally counts!
  • Strategy Guide: Do you like good, nerdy music? Are you a cheap bastard? If you answered yes to both these questions, proceed directly to the MySpace of VGM/nerdcore duo Super Barrio Brothers. For a limited time, the Bros have a fine selection of songs available for free download on their profile’s music player. Will they still be free when you hit the link? You never know until you try.
  • It’s a helluva town: Did you know that everyone loves Shael Riley? Okay, maybe not everyone, but most people. He’s downright lovable. He’s also planning to start playing gigs again and is looking to put together a live band. He’s specifically looking for a primary (read: lead) guitarist and a keyboardist. Applicants should “be able to read music to the degree that you can learn songs from midis,” live in the NY area and preferably be familiar with some of Shael’s music. Additional info can be found at Front’s BBS.
  • PacNW and NC4L: This Thursday – that being June 12th – at 7:00 PM at Capitol Hill Arts Center, the Nerdcore For Life documentary makes its Seattle premiere at the True independent Film Festival! The NC4L after party (featuring Ultraklystron, Beefy and YTCracker) will commence at 10:30 PM at the Jewel Box Theater. All access passes are still available, and individual tickets can be bought online or at the door.
  • Never say die: Ultraklystron has just released a new DJ mix for free download. It includes a movement from the never-before-heard track “Maho,” a song omitted from his Solace album due to time constraints. Check it out.
  • More news from Sea-town: Troy from Kurtis Empire Records was nice enough to let me know that some new releases are on the horizon. Southside’s Southside Liquors is currently being tracked and Metaforce’s Feared Science is being mixed. Southside also has a couple of gigs lined up this month, on June 16th at the High Dive (a 21+ event) and a free all-ages in-store at Bop Street Records in Seattle (Ballard) on June 21st at 8:00 PM.
  • A slippery slope: Matt points out that J.K. Rowling has again taken up the pen to write about Harry Potter. Sort of. This one-off, 800 word prequel will be auctioned for charity later this month. How long it takes the info from said prequel to make its way into a WRock song remains to be seen.
  • For those about to… GRock?!: Last weekend Matt made his way out to both local Accio Bodyguard tour stops. Of course he picked up the newest releases from performers The Butterbeer Experience and Lauren Myrtle. He even put together a really cool piece about his impression of Lauren’s album over at his blog free_geek. Read it, and then go grab the album for yourself.
  • It’s fabulus!: In other (sort of) WRock related news, Wizrocklopedia’s Lizz is now selling Potter-pleasing clothing and accessories as Fabulus Fashions. Check out the wares over at her new MySpace. I especially like the guitar pick necklaces.
  • Like from the future: Jephso put together a cool interview feature with Tim of one of my favorite game rock bands Year 200X over at one of my favorite blogs Game Music 4 All. I suggest you read it quickly and with a harsh tone for maximum metalosity.
  • Math the Genre: My pal Antisocial hit me up last week to tell me of an unsettling trend he had uncovered: math songs. Let the Youtubery commence! And continue! And conclude!
  • Enka 2 - Electric Boogaloo: Church recently sent me a link to this odd article about Japan’s newest enka sensation Jero. I passed it on to our resident expat Justin (of Hidari fame), and he dug up this video. I think it’s cool that Japan, a nation typically painted as heavily xenophobic, is open to an “outsider” performing such traditional music, but, y’know, it still ain’t enough to get me into enka.
  • Wily beware!: The infallible Random has just done a small Q&A for Wired’s Listening Post, a sister blog of GeekDad. While not exactly the most in-depth interview in music history, it does hit the high points of his Mega Ran album, and, most importantly, puts Ran’s name out there via another avenue. Give it a read and then leave a comment. Trust me, Wired bloggers love comments.
  • I watched this city burn: Taking us home today is a live performance video of The Protomen’s “Will of One,” which is probably my favorite song from their debut album. Take a gander and then go watch a much prettier version at their site.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 46: Nerdapalooza Bound

From its inception, Nerdapalooza has been about more than just nerdy music, it has also been about community. While the individual nerdcore, chiptune, WRock, VGM, and geek rock scenes have managed to stay fairly disconnected in the face of a growing familiarity with, at the very least, the existence of each other, Nerdapalooza has focused on bridging those gaps.

So when, in the course of our regularly scheduled bullshitting, mCRT, Hex Warrior, and I struck upon the idea of dedicating a special edition of Radio Free Hipster to the event, it seemed all too fitting.

I’ve always dreamed of having special guest co-hosts for the ‘cast, but I could never quite nail down the logistics of such an undertaking. And while the recording setup we employed for this exercise was probably less than ideal, it has opened up the possibility of doing more eps like this in the future.

But more importantly, despite any technical difficulties, I had more fun putting together this edition than any that came before. Rob and Hex are intelligent, personable, unbelievably entertaining guys who have pooled their energies to make this Nerdapalooza far surpass its forbears. The boundless enthusiasm that they brought to something as inconsequential as Skyping in to rap with me about the project highlights their dedication to making this event everything it should be.

Download Radio Free Hipster EP. 46: Nerdapalooza Bound [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 55.3 MB Running Time: 60:27

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – “Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)”
Because there’s simply no better place to start.

Track 1: Uncle Monsterface – “This is an Adventure!”
If you missed out on This is an Adventure! during it’s free download period, you’d still do well to pick it up. Even at the going rate it’s a solid musical investment.

Z, Hex, and mCRT’s 1st interlude: “The dynamic duo behind Nerdapalooza ’08.”
Having mCRT and Hex Warrior on the show was a real treat for me. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Track 2: Emergency Pizza Party – “It’s a Pizza Party”
Groups like EPP have helped to make Florida the nerdcore mecca that it is, and the truly unique, supportive community that has sprung up around such local acts has served to make Orlando an ideal location for Nerdapalooza.

Track 3: Math the Band – “Shark Attack”
I had actually picked out a quirky cover song from Math to include in the show, but Hex suggested “Shark Attack.” His was the better choice.

Track 4: The Killer Robots! – “I AM ROBOT”
If you’ve ever thought I really like GWAR but I wish they were geekier, Killer Robots! is for you.

Track 5: In Real Life – “Hip Hop Saved Me”
I’ve really become a believer in EMPulse records over the past few months. They’ve got a great roster, and they anchor a number of amazing projects rooted in the nerdy music meta-community.

Z, Hex, and mCRT’s 2nd interlude: “The Tootsie Roll center.”
EPP’s MC Wreckshin actually helped out on the technical end of the podcast. While he didn’t exactly co-host with Hex and mCRT, he did lend his place as a recording pad when we had some early difficulties. Thanks, Wrecks!

Track 6: Dot.AY vs. Zombies! Organize!! - “F-Bombs and 1-Ups
I actually had a really nice lead-in for this Zombies! Organize!! Track (in which I named dropped GM4A’s Here Comes a New Challenger),but I failed to record that bit. My bad. :(

Track 7: Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew - “It’s All About the Booty”
Because what good are zombies without pirates?

Track 8: Marc with a C - “Life’s So Hard”
mCRT introduced me to Marc with a C in this very episode. I really think he’s gonna bring an interesting element to Nerdapalooza.

Track 9: mCRT - “Penis Monologues”
No one does nerdcore porno rhymes quite like mCRT. I’m hoping he’ll emblazon that slogan on a t-shirt.

Z, Hex, and mCRT’s 3rd interlude: “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!”
I love that the guys got all spontaneously piratical on me. :)

Track 10: Wordburglar - “The WBmix
I finally picked up Burglaritis last week. You should too.

Track 11: Sudden Death - “My Atari
Comedy rap at its finest, Sudden Death always satisfies. This cockeyed take on a Run DMC classic is one of my personal favorites.

Track 12: Magitek - “Armagetdown
I totally flubbed the title of Magitek’s Distorting Reality For Better Perception in the podcast, which is a shame. It’s a damn fine album that alternates between goodtime nerdcore and danceable electronica. Check it out.

Track 13: Maja - “Here I Come (Outro Remix)
Maja’s “Transformer” was originally on the play list, but I subbed this track instead. I’ve played “Transformer” before on RFH and on HipTrax, and I featured Snake Eyes’ “Transformer” mash-up just a few episodes ago. The Amalgam Project is so chockfull of excellent material that it seemed a shame to retread on that one song.

Z, Hex, and mCRT’s 3rd interlude: “Your one and only destination for the intersection of classic sci-fi literature and dick jokes.”
This is a lie. mCRT has already proven that he is the true source of sci-fi lit/dick joke juxtaposition.

Track 14: Schaffer the Darklord – “Nerd Lust (Peeved Mix)
Peeved mentioned to me that STD had asked him for an instrumental of this remix. Here’s hoping we get to hear it live at Nerdapalooza!

I really regret that I wasn’t able to spend more time talking to Hex and mCRT. They are fascinating cats, and the huge amount of support they’ve given my little blog alone should have guaranteed them some more face time. But alas, it was getting late and Skype was being flaky. Such is life.

One thing that was sort of glossed over in our discussion of Nerdapalooza is exactly how hard these two gentlemen have been working to make it a success. This was not due to time constraints, but rather to their own modesty. Sure, the fact that they’ve ponied up their own money for previous events was briefly mentioned, but neither copped to the sheer force of will that goes propping up such a major undertaking, particularly in its earliest stages.

They won’t brag, so let me do it for them: Hex and mCRT have damn-near killed themselves putting together Nerdapalooza. In the process, they’ve created a cultural event that is nerdy but not niche, sponsored but not commercial, and affordable but not worthless. And then they’ve turned around and promised the proceeds to charity.

That’s nerd love, ladies and gentlemen, and you can share your own by buying Nerdapalooza tickets. Get 'em while they're hot!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Pre-Nerdapalooza Silliness

We are less than a month away from Nerdapalooza 2008, and I, for one, am excited. I’ll get to make a long-awaited return trip to central Florida, hear some amazing bands, meet up with some old friends, and, quite possibly, get a little drunk. What’s not to love?

Last week I had the honor and/or pleasure of featuring my pals Hex Warrior and mCRT as co-hosts on the newest edition of my Radio Free Hipster podcast. (MC Wreckshin was there too, although he was mostly a silent contributor.) That episode is being finalized at present and should be made available later this week, and, despite some technical difficulties, it was an unbelievable amount of fun. Moreover, it served to stoke the interminable fire in my breast for the whole festival experience. Though there’s still much to be done before I head southward, I am, in my mind’s eye, already there. The weather is balmy and good times are plentiful.

With the new baby, my finances aren’t exactly what they used to be, but it seems as though the stars have aligned to make this trip possible. I’ll be making the drive down with my best friend Josh (AKA: Seamonkey, AKA: Superfudge, AKA: The Hebrew Hammer), the best damn travel companion a fellow could ask for. And we’ve been offered lodging with craft-meisters and recent transplants Denika and Dennis of Joined at the Stitch, which further serves to soften the fiscal blow. This means I just need to round up gas and beer money, which seems doable.

That being said, should any of you care to contribute to my Nerdapalooza travel fund, feel free to use the Paypal donations link in the sidebar. Don’t feel obligated to give or anything, but if you have a couple of bucks lying around I’d be happy to take them off your hands. Apparently this gas stuff is expensive.

Since I’m essentially sparing for change here, it seems only fair to let you in on my itinerary. And while most of my July 4th weekend will be spent either A) in a car on the drive down/back, B) at Taste Restaurant soaking up the nerdy goodness, or C) asleep, there are a few things I hope to accomplish, a few things I’d like to experience.

Here’s my wish list:

I had originally included “Broker Israeli/Palestinian agreement re: Gaza Strip” on the list, but that seemed a pretty tall order considering I’ve just got the weekend to work with. Maybe I’ll just try and get a diasporic Jew and a local Sunni Muslim to shake hands. That’d count, right?

I know this is a blog dedicated to music and that I am currently writing about a music festival, but the abundance of nerdy tunage is only one of the symbols in the larger equation that is my boundless anticipation. Mostly, I’m excited about the people.

I correspond directly with a number of you guys, some on a near-daily basis, and the opportunity to actually sit in the same room with you is positively exhilarating. Perhaps I’m being presumptuous, but my thoughts on Nerdapalooza can’t help but turn those of geeky brotherhood and camaraderie. I know that Hex and mCRT have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into fostering just that short of environment of communal solidarity, and I genuinely believe that the show will be a rousing success on this front.

If you’re going to be in the Orlando area for Nerdapalooza, please let me know. I know I’m not much compared to the Frontalots and EPPs and Randoms of the world, but I’d love the opportunity to hang out and maybe share a drink or a joke.

I’ll be the short guy.