Friday, October 31, 2008

Brobee Pumpkin Says Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

I’m trying to keep my Happy Halloween mojo working, but the truth is it’s hard.
Having just discovered that David Tennant is leaving Doctor Who, I’m a little bummed. I mean, he didn’t have a sweet cravat or a crazy-ass scarf, but he was a great Doctor and I’m sad to see him go.

That being said, I think it’s time for a new direction. Time for a new Doctor unlike all those that came before. Someone short and thin with a delightful accent and floppy hair. Someone truly different. Maybe, y’know, Franco-American.

Yes, I am throwing my hat into the ring to be the new Doctor. I need your support. We can make a difference in sci-fi television.

Yes we can!

  • Cross-Culture Make You Jump!: This edition of nerd ink comes complete with an impromptu history lesson. Thanks, Church! That takes care of today’s requisite book-learnin’!
  • Sneak(y) Preview: Though I am forbidden from discussing the specifics for a couple more days – that is, until it’s official release – I am beholden to you, faithful readers, to let slip that I received a copy of the Digital Gangster LP earlier this week. And without giving too much away, let me state that it probably features the best work from both Lars and YT to date. I’ll elaborate on my praise come November 1st.
  • Excel-sior: It’s sort of telling that the geekiest video of the moment is from crusty old blues rocker’s (and harbingers of economic doom) AC/DC. Not that I have anything against AC/DC, mind you. I mean, I did grow up in a trailer park! Still, I now propose that the next Schaffer the Darklord video be done entirely in PowerPoint. I'm just sayin'.
  • Lame, as in Duck: Church also brought to my attention that mc chris recently won an award. Sort of. Yes, the mc chris Menu Navigation widget was voted one of the 10 lamest Firefox add-ons. Matt was quick to point out, though, that mc’s site is so cumbersome that this app actually makes sense.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: That high-toned honky known as mc chris will be playing the Zydeco in Birmingham, AL tonight with opening acts Totally Michael and Lisa's Son. He’ll also be in Huntsville tomorrow night for some Halloween festivities. Specifically catching Zak and Miri at 7:20PM at the Regal Hollywood 18 and hitting up some local haunted houses afterwards.
  • Better Z.E.D. Than Dead: Also going down tonight at Orlando’s BackBooth is A Comic Shop’s Zombie Dance. Not only will this event feature such Halloween treats as a Marvel Zombies costume contest, it will also host the debut live performance of Emergency Pizza Party’s new Z.E.D. album (with stage direction and production by EPP’s own Fanatical.) Tickets are $8 at the door, and the party starts at 8:00 PM.
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!: And on the subject of zombies, Discover Magazine has provided me with 8 more reasons to fear the zombie apocalypse. Thanks a lot. Douche bags.
  • Don Hoimicidal Maniac: And just in time for Halloween comes this monsterpiece of modern music. It is Michael Myers. Playing the ukulele. Who can ask for anything more?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

5 Halloween Treats

As we find ourselves mere days away from Halloween, I feel it is my duty to remind you that there are sinister forces at work. Yes, there are shadowed figures in dark and furtive corners who would seek to sully this geekiest of holidays, to bend it to their own will. Our enemy is varied, they represent a veritable hodgepodge of social, religious, and political elements with but one common goal: to ruin our fun.

While some prefer to subscribe spiritual significance to October 31st, I, personally, like to see it as the last great bastion of immaturity. You see, each of our other major Western holidays – your Thanksgivings and Christmases, your Valentine's and Independence Days – are resplendent with responsibility. You are expected to buy gifts, cook food, visit family, etc. Halloween, comparatively, asks for very little. You simply need to buy some candy and cut some eye-holes in a sheet.

Shit, you can even avoid that by simply putting off your porch light and refusing to open your door!

What I'm getting at is that Halloween is about tricks and treats, candy and booze, silly costumes and scary movies. It is, in short, dedicated to the things we already hold dear in our glorious state of retarded adolescence. All it takes is a little motivation to get your average nerd into the swing of things. And perhaps the best motivator is music.

To that end, here are my picks for your seasonal soundtrack. Each is delightfully dorky and hot off the press. Check the out. If you dare!

The Triple Six Mixtape:
The Triple Six Mixtape isn't without its rough spots, but it gets extra credit for being the first nerdcore Halloween album out of the gate. The brainchild of Rhyme Torrents regular Mad DPS, this project boasts some fun, creepy, and just plain weird work from YTCracker (who celebrates the dastardly pastime of candy snatching in "Bag Snatcher"), T.y.T. (whose "Hypmotized" is a disturbingly chipper recount of fratricide), and Epic 1 (who takes us on a supernatural killing spree in "Talk 2 The Reaper"). Also of note is Ham-STAR's "Nevermore," which helps to reinvent the artist as well as much of Poe's best source material. Probably the comp's best work comes in the form of DPS's own "Vicious Attack" that features 3rror and The Ranger. It's a Halloween anthem that combines great rhymes and a totally seasonal-appropriate beat.

This one is still available for free download over at RT.

Invasion of the Mic Snatchers:
While not exactly Halloween-themed, The Sinister Six's Invasion of the Mic Snatchers weaves a plot of terror and otherworldly domination amidst a number of epic cuts from this nerdcore supergroup. The thematic elements – in this case spoken-word or sample-based bumpers that tie together the overall narrative arc of the album – seem almost overly abundant, but the polished production and unique musicality of each lends itself well to the cohesion of the work.

The real meat of Invasion of the Mic Snatchers is, of course, the songs themselves. From the skillful blending of Ben's frantic braying and the amazing scratches that punctuate "Break Down" to YTCracker's motor-mouthed musings in "Rise Up," this is an album that's nothing short of inspired. The lyrical wealth is equally spread amongst YT, BBear, ZeaLouS1, MadHatter, Chester, and Loki, as well as a few high-profile guest MCs. And on subjects as varied as gaming ("Roll the Dice") and the power of the underground ("Deeper"), the Six take things to another level in the most Sinister manner possible.

Pledge your allegiance to the Six at the Scrub Club Records site and snag this one for the meager price of your immortal soul.

Before It's Too Late:
Zombies! Organize!! easily won me over at this summer's Nerdapalooza festival, and their demo has been in heavy rotation ever since. Thankfully, this month saw the release of the final product: Before It's Too Late. Including everything I loved about the demo plus a handful of fresh cuts, it's an album not to be missed (even if some of the newer material isn't quite as inspired as I'd hoped). Tracks like "Trioxin" and "Sycophantic Drudgery" are still as creepily charming as they ever were, and a few even feature a little added polish. Blending politics with pop culture, Z!O!! paints a world where zombies are both brave iconoclasts and mindless political pawns, heroes and villains. It's a world where the mall is cast as the high temple of the church of consumerism and the Nike Swoosh is the exploitative angel on your shoulder. In a word: brilliant.

This is album is for sale via the Zombies! Organize!! MySpace. It's also available for free at the Zombies! Organize!! MySpace. The choice is yours.

Halloween 3.0:
The Rhyme Torrents compilations are, by nature, a mixed bag, and this one is no exception. Still, it offers an amazing selection of styles for every taste. Antisocial blends hip-hop and futurepop in "Emergency Evacuation," Sudden Death brings the funny in "PC Halloween," and Wholemilk's "Colonel in the Study with a Pipe" manages to make Clue fun again. There are a couple of interesting covers (MC D20's take on "Sleepwalker" and High-C's spoken-word retelling of "Mind of a Lunatic)," but it's new originals by the likes of Myf and MC Loki that make this an easy sell. It's noteworthy that The Ranger also has a song on this comp called "Trioxin" which is not a Zombies! Organize!! cover. Trust me. Just as well, it's hard to bitch about more great songs thematically centered on Return of the Living Dead.

Like those that came before, Halloween 3.0 is a free release from your friends at Rhyme Torrents.

Zombie Emergency Defense:
Perhaps the most surprising of this year's crop of Halloween releases is this zombie-themed project from Orlando's Emergency Pizza Party. Though EPP made no secret that it had something big planned for 2008, they were fairly tight-lipped about the specifics, and Z.E.D. comes through as an interesting blend of disparate elements. Part concept album, part radio play, part b-movie, and part promotional tie-in for A Comic Shop's proactive zombie response program of the same name, it manages to inject some much need charm into the undead apocalypse. By blending good music with (intentionally) bad acting, Z.E.D. stalks the line between the frightening and the fun, the sublime and the silly, and along the way it boasts some of Emergency Pizza Party's best work to date.

While it opens with a pair of retreads ("Lost in the Woods" and "Necronomicon Ex Robotis" from RT's original Halloween EP), it quickly blossoms into "Safety Cabin," an early highpoint that features some great rhymes from Fanatical and guest rapper funk49 Dr. BassWave. Speaking of, this album marks the return of both Fanatical and Benjamin Bear to the EPP fold, which helps to take the sting out of the fact that Betty Rebel is missing from much of the action. MC Wreckshin and Sir-Up, who act as hero and villain respectively, are in abundance, and really help to power the story on, all the while redefining the zombie epic.

Touching on everything from zombie preparedness ("The Escape") to undead homophobia ("Phone Frantic Panic") to surprise guest stars ("Journey Ongoing!!!!"), Zombie Emergency Defense is a fun ride that succeeds more often than it flounders. Sure, the dialog and narration can get a little cheesy, but that's sort of the genius of it.

For a very limited time you can check this one out for free, so grab it while it's hot… or cold… or whatever sort of clever corpse reference floats your proverbial boat.

Bob Hope is a Vampire (and Other Simple Truths)

I am a lazy, lazy man. In fact, it could be argued that this is my defining characteristic. In all honesty, it is from this rather unfortunate trait that things like my Nerd News in Brief segment arose. I get lots of tips and leaks and links in an average week, and rather than ration them out to you in bite-sized chunks, I simply elected to slap 'em all together and give you a whole meal. mostly 'cause it was easier for me.

But some things can't wait. Some things are time sensitive.

Such is the case with the new Tom Riddle and Friends single currently being featured at the Wizrocklopedia. "Nagini's Lullaby," from their forthcoming Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club release Bob Hope is a Vampire is available for free download compliments of your friends at the 'Pedia, but only for a few more hours.

So head over there forthwith and get to WRockin'!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 54: Super Nature

Can you feel it? There is something in the air. The wall between dimensions, that fragile curtain between the world of the living and the land of the dead, grows thin.

I mean, if you believe that type o' shit.

Regardless, Halloween is almost upon us. I have candy, a fresh jack-o-lantern, and a couple costumes for the kids. I'm all set.

The only thing missing is the second installment of this year's Halloween Crap-tacular.

Oh wait. Here it comes now!

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 54: Super Nature [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 44.6 MB Running Time: 48:47

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Can you carve a Beef Thompson pumpkin? I can.

Track 1: Cheekyboy – "This is Halloween"
Halloween is a totally danceable holiday.

Z's 1st interlude: "Good afternoon boils and ghouls."
Okay, where the fuck did that come from? Oh yeah.

Track 2: Little Shop of Horrors Soundtrack – "Little Shop of Horrors (Prologue)"
"And this terrifying enemy surfaced, as such enemies often do, in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places."

Track 3: The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack – "Time Warp"
I resisted for years, but finally caved and played this one.

Track 4: Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – "I’ve Got a Theory"
It could be bunnies. Really it could.

Track 5: Young Zombies in Love soundtrack – "Zombie King"
Gaby's actually done a number of other cool musicals in addition to YziL. Check 'em out.

Track 6: Blacula trailer / Pimpdaddy Supreme – "Snap Yo Specials"
The jump from Blacula to Lil Jon wasn't that far. I mean, you've seen his grill.

Track 7: Mustin – "Super Mario 64 Haunted Hell (IncuCujoKondoD.Bros Mix)"
Mustin is a goddamn genius.

Z's 2nd interlude: "That lengthy set of musical tunes."
I'm doing more and more selections from musicals these days. They represent a widely untapped vein of nerdy music.

Track 8: Zombies! Organize!! – "Trioxin"
Z!O!! have just released a proper album, so you can add this jewel to your collection.

Track 9: Luzid – "Greater Evil" / Night of the Creeps dialog
My greatest fear concerning Resident Evil 5 is that it can't surpass the glory of RE4, one of the greatest games of all time.

Track 10: YTCracker – "Bag Snatcher"
Check out the Triple Six Mixtape for more seasonal tracks.

Track 11: Christopher Walken – "The Raven" / Bloodhag – "Edgar Allen Poe"
I love Bloodhag, but I seldom get the chance to play them. This seemed like a great opportunity.

Track 12: Wednesday 13 – "House by the Cemetery"
Horror rock is gloriously geeky simply left to its own devices.

Z's final interlude: "I hope it provides an ample soundtrack to your Halloween festivities."
I often wonder when you folks actually listen to the podcast. I generally listen to my preferred 'casts during my commute or while doing housework. I am oddly domestic.

Track 13: Cripple Camp "Ghosts n’ Goblins (La Dulce Mix)"
Looks like Power Up! Mutations and Mutilations of 8 Bit Hits is now available via the Amazon MP3 store, so put those Pepsi points to good use.

I've only got 4 more podcasts left in 2008, and I think I've got them pretty much planned out.

Early in November you'll get a politically-themed Election Day special ep., and December will see the annual Holiday edition as well as my year-end round-up. I'm also kicking around the idea of doing and all-WRock show in late November. That is assuming, of course, that Lizz is willing to come and guest host it with me.

Time will tell.