Friday, July 18, 2008


Shael shot me a message earlier this morning to let me know that he, djptretzel, and a number of other artists from the OverClocked ReMix community would be providing the soundtrack to Capcom's Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. How fuckin' cool is that?!

The guys have already done a trio of interviews concerning this most amazing feat (at Ars Technica, Console Arcade, and Fidget), so the buzz is definitely starting to build.

That being said, this is still very much a grassroots movement among geeky musicians, and fan support is paramount. If you'd be so kind as to Digg the Ars Technica piece and/or give the guys a little love at the official Capcom forums, I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

Fans go pro: how OC ReMix put its stamp on Street Fighter II:

The musicians and fans at the popular site OverClocked ReMix were given a dream assignment: remix the songs from Street Fighter 2 for a new high-definition revamp that Capcom is releasing on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. We talk with the remix team about the challenges involved in remixing an iconic piece of video game history.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

The public – and by “the public” I mean, like, half a dozen people – has spoken; apparently some of you do want these stickers.

So here’s the deal: if you’ve got a little scratch to kick in to help with the printing and shipping costs, that’s super cool. You can use the Paypal link in the sidebar to make a donation to the cause in whatever denomination you see fit. There should be a notes field in the Paypal interface where you can input your address, but if there’s not just email me your shipping addy and we’ll be straight. The stickers cost me about 35 cents apiece to print and a stamp’s, like, what? 39 cents. But let your conscience be your guide as to how much (if any) you want to part with for these cheesy decorations; I’m not looking to finance a bicycling trip through central Europe with them or nothin’, and anything I make will just go into printing more rudimentary “merch,” picking up new music for the ‘cast, or, failing that, buying amusing t-shirts.

If you find yourself financially destitute - which I know is far easier these days than one would think - and still want a sticker or two, just hit me up via email and I’ll see what I can do. You’re kind of doing me a solid by taking these things off my hands, and I don’t wanna nickel and dime y’all any more than I have to.

Yuck! That seemed an awful lot like business.

Now, on to the news.

  • What do you call a baby Wombat?: Heartfelt congratulations go out to Wombat (of CAGcast fame) on the new addition. Yesterday at 1:00 PM, he and Mrs. Wombat welcomed Sabrina Eden to the world. Welcome, my friend, to the long, hard road of fatherhood.
  • You can call him Beef: Beefy specifically asked me to pass on this nugget to all the producers in the audience; for his next album, he’ll be accepting sample-free beats from “anyone interested.” Are you anyone? Are you interested? Then holler at Beef Thompson.
  • The Dork Knight: Church has found some more nerd ink. It’s ties in well with the release of The Dark Knight, so it seemed a shame not to call your attention to it. Wait, did the last Indiana Jones movie get any nerdy tattoo love?
  • A change of plans: Earlier this week mc chris announced that he would not be able to make his promised return trip to the PAX stage this year. mc apologized, but didn’t exactly state why he would be unable to appear. But now the reason for his withdrawal seems to be that he’s going to be touring with Reggie and The Full Effect at the time. Good news for mc, bad news for fans who wanted to catch him on the Penny Arcade Expo stage.
  • A secret that everyone knows: On to something that’s sure to please fans, geek rockers The Four Eyes have released their two disk Secret Center Sessions Volume 3 as a free download from their official site. It includes nerded up cover versions of everything from “Hey Ya” to “Everybody Hurts,” and is not to be missed. If you’re quick enough, you can also catch Secret Center Sessions Volume 2 featuring “The Joker” and the theme from Knight Rider. Is it any wonder I love these guys?
  • Funny guys doing good work: While I'm probably as guilty as anyone when it comes to adding arbitrary distinctions within the larger scale of geeky music, I’m also the first to admit that comedy music artists are a huge part of our culture. With that in mind, please take a moment to check out the recent FuMP charity comp. It benefits filker Tom Smith, who’s facing a shit-ton of medical bills following an accident earlier this year. The project features covers of Tom’s work by Sudden Death, Possible Oscar, The Great Luke Ski, and more, and all you have to do is make a donation to check it out.
  • Corny, but in a good way: Con on the Cob, Akron’s foremost geek culture festival, will be featuring a number of these same comedy artists, as well as nerdcore hip-hoppers Dual Core. What’s more, the musical portion of the show is being brought to you by our friends at The Awful Show. Should you be in the area between October 2nd and 5th and have the urge to try and weasel your way onto what’s sure to be an amazing bill, holler at Tha Mike.
  • Magical, yet also technological: Those of you wishing to relive the geek glory of festivals past should check out Magitek’s full Nerdapalooza set over at YouTube. Personally, I’d recommend you peep “Weapon Select: Quartz Relic” and “Weapon Select: Thugmasta J,” new cuts from the band’s forthcoming EP.
  • Scarred for life: Matt was also nice enough to point me toward some great vids from an amazing event that I was, unfortunately, unable to attend, Portus. Scarhead Productions has some amazing cuts from The Mudbloods, Catchlove, The Moaning Myrtles, and other WRock heavyweights. Take a gander at them, and be sure to leave nice comments.
  • Covering all the bases: Nerdcore vids - check. WRock vids – check. Oh yeah – VGM! Not to be forgotten are also these videos from GM4A's Level Up! Level 2 event. With The Megas, ZeaLouS1, and Super Barrio Bros,what’s not to love?
  • Sort of like MC Lars lite: While you’re getting your YouTube on, also check out this Olympic Trials Rap that Soc found. It’s pretty damn informative. Especially if you’re interested in women’s discus. And ducks.
  • Her achy breaky heart: Just to clarify, the hackers taking credit for the new round of (alleged) racy photos of Miley Cyrus cribbed form her cell phone? They make their home at YTCracker’s I reckon you’ve all figured that out yourselves, but, y’know, it seemed topical.
  • This just in: I regret to inform you that I’ve just been informed that Glenn Case’s band The Half Racks have disbanded. In the wake of split, which was amicable and not wholly unexpected, the decision has been made to release their forthcoming debut album Coffee Now not as a CD, but as freely downloadable mp3s. I wish the guys my best in all their post-Racks endeavors.
  • Z phones home: In the latest edition of Little Miss Gamer, Z explore what makes a bad game bad. More specifically, she examines what made the Atari 2600’s E.T. (and its modern descendants) so awful. Will she survive her time trapped in a pit? Watch and find out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stick it!

Remember those stickers I ordered for Nerdapalooza? Yeah, they finally showed up. (Fat fucking lot of good they do me now!)

At any rate, here they are in all their glory. I included my DS Lite in the picture to give you a sense of the dimensions of the decals themselves. And also because I was playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 at the time.

I know a couple of my Nerdapalooza cohorts had called dibs and a number of loyal readers had requested some as well, but I can’t help but think I’m pretty much stuck with 100 bumper stickers and significantly less bumpers.

I suppose I could use them as the raw materials for a guerilla art project. Or, I reckon, I could fashion a crude but admittedly dapper wallet out of ‘em. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nerdapalooza Wrap-up 3: A Journey into Sound

I’ve spent an entire week trying to figure out the best way to approach the subject of the performances at Nerdapalooza. Talking about each and every participant is out because it is both time-consuming and a little insincere; I did, admittedly, miss a number of sets and a far greater number of half-sets. Likewise, talking about the headliners seems a bit of a disservice to the other 28 artists on the roster that put their blood, sweat, and tears into making this event the often overwhelming spectacle that it truly was.

As you can see, my options have already worn thin.

What I am left with is less a description of concrete events, catalogs of lengthy set lists, and stage mechanics, and more an account of intangibles. Of feelings. Of energy. Brief snippets of pure geeky genius.

I truly felt that energy during my first full set of day 1: Random. Ran took the stage early, and managed to deliver with both nerdcore and non-nerdcore content. A personal highlight was Ran’s rendition of “City Boy,” a favorite track of mine that is surely no nerdier than any other hip-hop meditation on one’s youth and old neighborhood. The lead-in for the track was particularly interesting, as Ran led an entire room of geeks (and obviously perplexed Taste staffers) in a rousing rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” It was a wonder to behold.

Shortly after Ran left the stage, Wizard Rocker The House of Black favored us with a wholly different flavor of musical content, her style mixing sharp electronica with classic acoustic folk. All of which was, of course, Potter-related and wholly beautiful. That gave way to acts as disparate as lo-fi rocker (with no “w”) marc with a c, who punctuated his set with a rap number of his own; MC Gigahertz, who showed us the true meaning of Absurdcore; and an oddly patriotic pre-recorded set from chiptune maestro in absentia Pixelh8.

An underlying theme of the event, which could assuredly be felt in the offerings of the aforementioned, was a genuine sense of fun. Whether the crowd was packed-in or sparse – which I can’t imagine affected Pixelh8 either way – these artists gave it the proverbial 110%. Their music, their energy, was transmuted into pure enjoyment.

Audience reception was particularly strong for ZeaLouS1, who seemed at home on the stage even during an early onset of the dreaded technical difficulties; Sudden Death, who proved that funny musicians are nothing if not serious performer; and funky49, whose blistering set featured Colon:P, Redvoid, Sir-Up and MC Wreckshin, party poppers, 3D glasses, and anyone/anything else that happened to stray near the stage.

funky49 served as a perfect example of the very unique dynamism inherent in all of the local Floridian artists featured. And while the turnout for heavy-hitters like Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew and Killer Robots! was high – and rightfully so – it was the contributions of comparatively smaller acts that continued to wow me over both days of the event. Rocket Propelled Geeks functioned seamlessly, almost as a single rhyming entity. (I’m attempting not to make a reference to an old Japanese cartoon involving robot lions here, but you get the idea.) Krondor Krew managed to make what could well have been off-putting stage attire compelling by proving that their lyrical chops are just as striking as their ninja garb and giant swords. Magitek, who played to an early and obviously heavily hung-over 2nd day crowd, functioned just as cohesively as RPG, albeit with an underlying feeling of family togetherness that made their set as emotionally appealing as any I’ve seen. And the center of the Orlando nerdcore community, Emergency Pizza Party, made up for their glaring lack of a Betty Rebel with ample on-stage dynamism and by reuniting with former EPPers Benjamin Bear and Jaylyn.

Suffice it to say that headliners MC Frontalot, Uncle Monsterface, Math the Band, and Harry and the Potters were also easily as epic as one would expect. Front played to a small (albeit packed) room as if it were a record-breaking PAX crowd, and welcomed to the stage a trio of special guests from the festival’s nerdcore ranks. An eager throng of fans seemed wholly unfazed by the fact that Uncle Monsterface vocalist Marty Allen sang their entire set in his lower register, the side-effect of a particularly rousing gig played earlier that day. Moreover, The Potters brought to the table a stage presence and musicality that I found genuinely polished when contrasted with their famed modesty as musicians/performers. The 3rd group of the Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo, Math the Band, put on a show that was so rich with vigor as to be literally staggering; I had to catch my breath afterwards to even begin to process the amazing power that emanated from their meager 3-piece stage setup.

In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine that so much happened during those two blissful days. Watching old-acquaintances-turned-new-friends like Myf, DJ Snyder, int eighty, YTCracker (Who did his entire set in black fuckin’ toesocks!), Whore Moans, and mCRT rock a pair of tiny stages in a manner that would make any rapper proud was inspiring. Equally inspiring was seeing acts running the gamut from Halifax’s superlative Wordburglar to Boca Raton’s unfathomable Zombies! Organize!! charm a heavily uninitiated audience into their own unique schools of musical thought.

While “energy” may be this missive’s buzzword for Nerdapalooza, it could just as easily be “change” because that is what each of us in attendance experienced. Just as the music changed from rap to rock to WRock to poppy electronica and back again, so did each of us change with it. And while there were certainly a few among us who were there for one band and one band alone, the vast of majority of faces in that sea of warm bodies and cold beer were familiar by the end of the 2nd day. Old favorites were supported and new favorites discovered. Preconceived notions about certain genres and acts were challenged and, hopefully, shattered. And just as we ebbed and flowed from one stage to the next, never quite knowing what to expect, so did the spirit of Nerdapalooza wash over us. We were baptized, baptized by music and nerdy brotherhood, and we emerged changed.

And though each artist, audience member, and bewildered passerby surely has his own opinion about the single defining moment of the festival, many of the attendees I’ve queried agree that it rests squarely on the shoulders of one man. That man walked into the venue early Friday as an unassuming chap named Mark Schaffer, but by nightfall he had transformed into the sinister, sexual Schaffer the Darklord. His metamorphosis mirrored the change, whether subtle or extreme, that occurred in all of us, and while we each remember different aspects of the events of Nerdaplooza ’08, I’ll wager everyone in attendance remembers STD’s set. It was a geeky work of art. A perfect aspect of nerdy beauty from a weekend that will not soon be forgotten in the annals of our tribe’s history.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The MC Lars Show

Whether you call his music nerdcore hip-hop or post-punk laptop rap, if you’re reading this blog chances are you’re a fan of MC Lars. With lyrics touching on everything from internet relationships to Moby Dick, Lars is geeky rapper who always manages to make his rhymes accessible and truly enjoyable. He is also – and I’m sure others who have interacted with him can back me up on this – a totally amiable and wholly courteous cat.

For those among you who’d like to experience the subtle charms of the man we call Lars while simultaneously enjoying his first class lyricism, I humbly suggest you check out the MC Lars Live channel at It features a weekly freestyle show in which he uses topics from the chat room as the basis for his characteristically witty (and utterly improvised) rhymes, and it just so happens that this week’s show is scheduled at 9:00 PM PST tonight.

So tune in and give Lars some love, some support, and some song ideas.

I’m sure he’d watch your Ustream show!