Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Da Club

There was a time when I viewed my annual year-in-review post with a kind of disconnected irony. I did it slyly. Wryly. Because it was easy and expected. But, somewhere along the line, all that changed. And I blame YTCracker.

You see, last year I recognized YT for his creative output, his dedication to craft and his undeniable hustle, and it's hard to go back to casual yearly observances after crowning a "Nerd o' the Year" like that.

Thus, from the very earliest moments of 2009, I have been taking notes. I have, to turn a phrase, been making a list and checking it twice, so as to discern who's been nerdy and nice. And this year's seen a number of notable ups, as well as a few downs.

Early in January, that bastion of mystical geekery, the Wizrocklopedia, changed hands. Lizz stepped down to pursue other artistic avenues, leaving Dinah and Freya to captain the ship. Suffice it to say they have kept the old 'Pedia spirit alive, while summarily injecting their own unique energies. Likewise, my pal Anthony launched a staggering array of VGM projects from his own Game Music 4 All, before eventually re-launching the site itself as a bigger, better entity.

Heavy-hitters like YT and Random continued to spit fire with nerdy projects all their own throughout '09, while artists like Shael Riley, Schaffer the Darklord, Epic-1 and Dual Core released what can undeniably be termed the finest albums of their respective careers. And lest we forget the amazing showing from Wheelie Cyberman's first post-Optimus project Supercommuter.

Musically-speaking, 2009 was a banner year for nerds across the board! For the community itself, however, things were rocky at best.

While events like Nerdapalooza, Nerd Invasion and PAX sought to further strengthen nerd solidarity, we still managed to busy ourselves with petty in-fighting. Even as mc chris once again found himself warming to the nerdcore audience (if not the term itself), MC Lars proudly proclaimed that nerdcore was dead. And while we worked ourselves into a collective lather regarding the nature, future and overall health of nerdcore-proper, misfits at large similarly dissected the culture itself. Yes, my friends, 2009 will long be remembered by our kind as the year that many decided that geeks and nerds had become two wholly different animals.

As such, 2009 also came to be the year in which I finally realized the transient, fragile nature of our nomenclature. Rather than attempt to use nerd culture as a galvanizing force, an inspired outreach engineered to embrace our fellow dorks, we reduced it to a set of buzzwords and house rules. Nerdcore wasn't a style that one could apply at will to his music or even a catch-all reference employed to proudly display one's quirky intelligence; it was a genre that you either fully bought into for an easy aesthetic crutch, or avoided like the plague so as not to be associated with those deemed less talented than yourself. Nerd and geek, likewise, couldn’t suffice as equal self-identifiers for the champions of overzealous passion, and instead became a pair of ill-tempered camps: one a slave to the mainstream's pet "geek chic" and the other a casteless cadre of social inepts.

In short, while we moved forward with music, this year we took a step backward with regard to heavy-handed bullshit doctrine.

And while I could easily preach on the ills of nerd-on-nerd violence – including my own unfortunate contributions to the blight – for another thousand words, I will instead jump from my soapbox to extend a congratulatory hand to those who truly wowed me in 2009.

As I said, I've kept a mental tally of geeky highpoints over the past 12 months, and, though it surely belies my obsessive-compulsive nature, I have seen an odd pattern emerge from my findings. In fact, I found a distinct thread that runs through many of my favorite artists and releases of 2009.

Surely no one can deny that a banner year was had by UK chiptuner Superpowerless. Not only was he the winner of an illustrious MTV/Vodaphone contest in early March that afforded him the opportunity to have a single and a music video professionally produced, but Oliver also went on to expand his musical horizons further into the realm of geeky folk-rock. Still, somehow, amongst public touring and personal experimentation, Superpowerless managed to continually release a positively staggering array of new tunes. Truly he is one of the most prolific individuals in our midst!

The same can be said for the mysterious artist that we know as KABUTO THE PYTHON, who, much like YTCracker back in '08, supplemented his own phenomenal yearly output with a nigh ridiculous number of cameos. Under various guises – Beefy once famously referred to him as "the Hannah Montana of nerdcore" – KABUTO has been involved, on one level or another, with nearly every notable geeky hip-hop release of the year.

And while established acts like Superpowerless and KABUTO have continued to rip shit up, notable newcomer Dr. Awkward quickly proved himself more than capable of spitting fire on par with nerdcore's best and brightest. His Next Gen EP was, to put it bluntly, a thing of beauty, a release as literate and self-aware as it was fiercely powerful. As a result, the listener response was equally astounding, on par with the rapidly-developing ZeaLouS1 fandom of '06.

Though the more astute among you have already connected the dots, let me explicitly state that the common theme here is Scrub Club. Over the past year, Scrub Club Records has shown remarkable growth and foresight, along the way bringing each of the aforementioned trio into the fold as well as well as longtime favorites like The Ranger, Benjamin Bear and Z1 himself. But Scrub Club has done so much more.

By embracing Superpowerless, the net label's first distinctly non-hip-hop artist, MadHatter and company sent a message that the Club was open to trailblazers of all striped, regardless of established musical dogma. If it is tuneful and nerdy, Scrub Club welcomes it with open arms.

Most recently, Hatter brought on board Seattle's Southside – winner of my own coveted See-Motherfuckers-I-Told-You-They-Was-Dope Award (originally bestowed to the legendary Schaffer the Darklord) – via an online contest designed to help rappers hone their craft. This, it seems, further elevated the Scrub Club mission by using its already community-centered focus to foster give-and-take between new and existing artists. In essence, they abandoned the a who is best mindset still plaguing much of the musical community at large in favor of asking: how can we all benefit from each other's specialized strengths and experiences?

For years I have spoken about cross-pollination, about the power of true community, artistic outreach and shared ideas, and I am thrilled to say that these are the ideals I see reflected in Scrub Club. Though their methods may seem strange – the "no dough" motto seems to be particularly disconcerting to some outsiders – they have coalesced into a genuine musical family, and I anxiously anticipate what's to come lumbering from the cornfields in 2010.

Along Came a Spider

I should, by rights, be wrapping up my year-end post this afternoon, but instead I have paused to pass on a nerdy public service announcement.

Yesterday I heard some whisperings on Twitter regarding Jeanne Robinson, wife of sci-fi author Spider Robinson, and her delicate health. I didn't actually know the extent of the Geek Family Robinson's woes until my pal Church pointed me toward this post from Matthew Sanborn Smith, which spelled out the problems and what the StarShipSofa online literary community is doing to try to alleviate some of them.

Matthew, for those who missed it, recently gave me and Church a nice shout-out on his podcast, Beware the Hairy Mango, and StarShipSofa is very much a geek lit hub in its own right. In short, this is another case of us simply trying to help our own.

Here's the skinny from Church:

SF author Spider Robinson and his wife have encountered some difficulties. From Spider's blog:

Earlier his year a brilliant surgeon, Dr. Andresz Busczowski, helped Jeanne Robinson beat back a rare and virulent form of biliary cancer. But it’s so rare even he can’t say how much time he‘s bought her, how soon it might recur—and her latest blood tests have been so discouraging they’ve now decided she needs to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. Besides the prescription drugs to counteract the chemotherapy, she needs special therapies and supplements, counseling, and extensive diet and lifestyle changes, to reduce her stress level and the strain on her liver to as close to zero as possible. All those things are expensive...and like many artists today the Robinsons were already running on fumes financially.

By way of Matthew S. Smith, we learn that StarShipSofa, a podcast that has featured Spider's work in the past, has put together an ebook by Larry Santoro (another SSS favorite) with 100% of the proceeds going to the Robinsons. And it's only five bucks. The catch? You have to order it before the year is out. So you should go do that. Sooner is better...

Disclaimer: SSS has put out a rare Z/Church collaboration in the distant past.

So there you have it. Considering some of the things my own clan has been through over the past 12 months, projects like this hit especially close to home, and if you've got a spare 5 bucks I would consider it a personal favor if you'd use it to pick up Santoro's charity ebook. There's only about 12 hours left before the deal disappears forever, so act now.

Think of how good you'll feel knowing that you ending 2009 by supporting nerds in need!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

Why the hell am I the only person using the "geek rock" tag? Seriously. Church recently mentioned that if you use it as a filter it makes it looks like Technorati has a damn Hipster, please! category!

I think that's my New Year's resolution: get other people using the phrase geek rock.

Come on, say it with me now. Geek. Rock.

Doesn't that feel good?
  • Nekkid Nerds: For some of you, there is no higher form of art than a group of nudists in Star Trek themed body paint. Those people are encouraged to click this link. Though probably not while they're at work.
  • Nerd Girl, I Don't Deserve You: You know what we haven’t talked about in a while? geek girls. Thankfully, Autostraddle is there to pick up the slack. As Church points out, blogger Taylor manages to work in the usuals (Tina Fey and Felicia Day) as well as some new candidates (like Rachel Maddow).
  • Very Stimulating: Also from Church comes this link the Seattle Times recent interview with geeky hip-hop pioneer Paul Barman. Read up and get schooled.
  • Exterminate!: Meanwhile, Matt has found a new hero. UK crafter Rob Bosher has built his own life-size Dalek. Powered by an electric wheelchair, this bad boy works via remote control and can even bark poorly digitized orders at unwitting humans.
  • Totally ReTARDIS: Tracy V. Wilson over at How Stuff Works has uncovered a great secret. I am talking some Dan Brown shit here, folks. Apparently Wesley Crusher is a Time Lord!
  • Official Beer of the Empire: What's weirder than a Doctor Who-related Star Trek revlation? Storm Trooper-themed beer.
  • Gabe, Tycho & Dave: Ever wanted to create your own web comic? Well, Dave "The Knave" White has got you covered. His recent session at Podcamp Pittsburgh covers all the basics, especially with regards to technical, behind-the-scenes issues.
  • Because Canadians are Just Better: Sure you've seen nerdy burlesque shows and geeky stand-up routines, but have you seen them in the same place? If you have, you probably live in Toronto. Or you are Schaffer the Darklord.
  • Las Mascaras: Speaking of Schaffer, Coolzey, who guested on STD's recent release, is preparing to drop his new album The Honey late next month. In the meantime, peep the video for "Look." It features ladies and luchadores. And lady luchadores!
  • Paranoid Android: Lately I've been thinking of upgrading to an Android phone. Turns out that our own MC Frontalot was an early G1 adopter, and he recently sang the praises of the device over at Android and Me.
  • Too Many Summers: Wizard Rock aficionado Dinah has made public a demo by WRock group Standing In Line. The release, originally handed out at Wrockstock in very limited quantities, is for personal listening only, so download it and add some more magic to your collection.
  • Science, Every Day: Did you know my boy funky49 has become the official nerdcore rapper of science? I mean, after repping MOSI and now Fermilab, he's really only got one place to go: outer space!
  • Hope Aboard My Starship: My high school chum Brooks directed me to this Gizmodo piece from Joseph Shoer, a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering, about the physics of space battles. It's a lengthy and fascinating geek out concerning theoretical combat.
  • In Space: Earlier this month, Game Music 4 All Records released its very first EP. Challenge!, by Scottish chiptune musician Comptroller, is an outer space adventure aboard an LSDJ-fueled rocket ship. Come along.
  • On the Fly: On the subject of chiptunes, nerdy ally Jonny Nero is positively aflutter about the NESynth virtual synthesizer for the iPhone. Here's why.
  • To the Nines: And I can't talk about chip music without plugging the latest from the great Videogame Orchestra. VGO's Werk is available from Treble Death System for the super-low price of nothing. Get on that shit!
  • Intervention: I would like to applaud Mike Damanskis for finally bringing Yoshi's bulimia to light. He needs our support now more than ever.
  • Grassroots: Excited for Mega Man 10? Of course you are. But think of how much more exciting it would be if the game featured our old pal Mega Ran! It just so happens that there's an online petition for that.
  • Heart and Soul: MC Lars cares about your health and well being. That's why he released "Be the Beat" in association with the American Heart Association. Can a song teach you CPR? Give it a listen and decide for yourself.
  • Romantical: Face it; you need more romance in your life. A hard copy of Ultraklystron's Romance Language 2, that is. But he's only selling them through year's end, so act fast!
  • Mash-tastic: It wouldn't be December without a bevy of mash-up best-ofs. Currently, my two faves are DJ Earworm's annual meta-mash "United States of Pop" and the Best of Bootie 2009 collection. Collect 'em all!
  • Great White Wyrm: Hipster, please! would like to officially welcome the first of what will surely be many I Fight Dragons tattoos. Big ups to Ben Ruberg for going all fanboy on our collective ass. IFD fans will also want to peep Chronicles of the Nerds' recent video interview with Brian and crew.
  • You Can't Kill a Symbol: In other YouTubery, Church tells me that Key of Awesome has put out a musical interpretation of The Dark Knight. Alfred is the shit.
  • Stars and Angels: Closing out the final Nerd News in Brief of 2009 is a bit of Star Wars music. It's "Shut Up & Party" by Pseudo Rebels, and it’s a club banger that harnesses the power of the Force.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 80: The Uplift Mofo Party Planner

In all honesty, I am rather glad to see 2009 go. It has been a truly nasty year. An outright bastard!

But I will concede that it has seen its fair share of top-shelf music. Surely no one can deny the subtle charms of Songs from the Pit or good-natured fan service that is Jokey Jingles.

The great music has come fast and hard in 2009, and, try as I might, a gaggle of excellent songs managed to elude me until this, the last moments of the year. So sit back and enjoy a collection of year-ending ditties sure to please.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 80: The Uplift Mofo Party Planner [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 57.9 MB Running Time: 1:03:15

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Should old acquaintance be forgot, but theme songs remembered forever.

Track 1: Southside – "Runnin' Low"

Looking forward to 2010, I am positively giddy imagining what will come from the Scrub Club camp!

Z's 1st interlude: "Though admittedly not as low as the late Patrick Swayze."

2009 = weirdest celebrity deaths ever!

Track 2: One Republic – "Secrets (feat. Former Fat Boys)"

Apparently the YouTube vid for this track was pulled down right after $ucksex posted it. Not sure how a free fan remix is a threat to one's intellectual copyright, but what the fuck do I know.

Track 3: The Office dialog / YTCracker – "Underground Sewer"

Chrono Nurga is another amazing freebie from the Mighty YTCracker. Go snag it.

Track 4: Philip T. Ridlin – "Mario Kart Love Song"

This track has been sitting in my collection for months. I think it was the first song I tagged specifically for this episode.

Track 5: Schaffer the Darklord – "The Other Devil"

Manslaughterer is an amazing LP, and this is easily my favorite track on the whole album.

Track 6: Heroes dialog / Elfonso – "Parody Us"

Big up to my brother T.Y.T. the White Shinobi for capturing that Heroes clip for me. Where would we be without our friends?

Track 7: Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire – "Asian Kids Have All the Best Moves (Solo Piano)"

There's something about Shael's songwriting that has always appealed to me. After months of soul searching I have decided it hinges on his lyrical vantage point. Shael always writes in the voice of exquisitely flawed humanity.

Track 8: Saskrotch – "Warming Up"

Seriously, if I gave an award for best album title, Saskrotch would win.

Track 9: Supercommuter– "Itty Bitty Pigeons (Klopfenpop Mix)"

Much love to both Klopfenpop and Supercommuter for letting me include this joint. I can not wait to hear more such remixes!

Z"s 2nd interlude: "But enough of my sentimental melancholy."

Sorry if my interludes are a bit of a downer this time around.

Track 10: The Reborn Identity – "Here Comes Your Man, Finally"

CeCe Peniston has the word "penis" right there in her name. I'm just sayin'.

Track 11: Uncle Monsterface – "Like a Prayer"

I have been on Marty and Dan to get me a studio version of this song for ages!

Track 12: Allister – "Fraggle Rawk"

Between Matt Ryd, Kanye and Allister, there is a lot of Chi-Town in this episode.

Track 13: Dale Chase – "Sniped"

Truly the Queen of the Douche Nukers and inventor of the Atheist Cock Punch deserves no less.

Track 14: My Parents' Favorite Music – "ALLYOURBASEMENT"

MPFM fill a very important niche in the nerdcore ecosystem. Steffo makes enjoyable, smile-inducing music like no other.

Track 15: Carl Sagan – "Glorious Dawn (Cosmos Remix feat. Stephen Hawking)"

This Symphony of Science project was that rare YouTube sensation that genuinely lived up to the hype.

Track 16: Matt Ryd – "Poker Face"

Matt joins Shael and Glenn Case in the holy triad of solo singer-songwriters that make me painfully envious of their talent.

Z's final interlude: "So thanks for that."

It sounds cliché, but I genuinely mean it; having you guys listen to and comment on this podcast really adds a new dimension to the experience. It makes it positively therapeutic for me.

Track 17: djBC – "Everybody's Everyday Girl" / A message from YTCracker
YTCracker is all about the science. Even now he is in his secret lab cooking up a cure for wackness.

I've still got a proper year-end post in the works, but let me go ahead and preemptively thank everyone who helped make Radio Free Hipster possible this year.

Thanks to Antisoc, my longtime host, supporter and friend. And much love to all those who guested on this show (like my boys Matt and Church) and who asked me to sit in on theirs (What up, Jarvis!)

The most sincerest of thank yous go out to all the artists that let me share their songs on the podcast, especially those who went out of their way to send me the new hotness. And I graciously bow to all those who didn't clear me using their tunes, but were still nice enough not to sue me.

And, once again, I really wanna say how much I appreciate all of y'all listening, commenting, requesting songs and suggesting new artists. The internet is a big, scary place, but you always make me feel welcome and appreciated.

You truly kept me safe, sane and entertained throughout a turbulent 2009.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Stoke the Fire

The message began simply enough:

"So, let's do a Xmas compilation, huh?"

That was the subtle manner in which my pal Shael Riley launched the project that came to be known as Come Down the Chimney. That email arrived in late October, but, if memory serves, Shael had secretly mentioned it to me a week or two prior. Casually.

But, like everything Shael does, it was a deceptively serious affair.

His direction was minimal; he merely requested that all participating parties record a holiday-themed original or cover, but it was his sole caveat that defined the comp. He advised participants to craft something that they would like to hear on a holiday album. And I think that's the real difference.

Come Down the Chimney is Shael's brainchild, but, with the combined effort of cats like I Fight Dragons, Billy the Fridge, Schaffer the Darklord, Uncle Monsterface, The Double Ice Backfire and Zircon (who mixed and mastered the whole thing), it's a veritable Christmas present for nerdy music fans across the board.

It's a concept album, and the concept is holiday fun. I know all the guys are really proud to be a part of it, and I hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as they enjoyed making it.

So untie the bow and shred the paper. No need to check the label; it's to you, from a bunch of geeks who appreciate your support and attention.

Head over to the official web presence of Come Down the Chimney to snag your copy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Rest Ye Autobeat Allies

Last year it was my pleasure to host Optimus Rhyme's swan song, TransfORmed, as a holiday treat to all my fellow fans. So imagine my surprise when I was offered the chance yet again to present a posthumous masterpiece by the cyber-funk overlords of nerdcore!

Optimus Rhyme's Live - Volume 1 is the first in a series of classic performances that have at long last been compiled for proper release. This initial iteration, drawn from a radio set Optimus did in Seattle over 5 years ago, is particularly special for a number of reasons:
  • It features the work of then co-vocalist Broken English. (A rarity in itself!)
  • Likewise, it boasts percussion by my homey grimROCK, who'd only been in the band a few months at the time of this recording.
  • It marks the first ever performance of "Autobeat Airbus," a song that wouldn't find its way onto an OR album until 2006's School the Indie Rockers.
  • It contains the only official release of "Precognito" (not to be confused with the self-titled album's cut "Precognit2"), as well as a totally different arrangement of the song "Cybernetic Circuits."
Cool shit, huh?

Keep in mind that this is a limited time offer, as I'm only cleared to give Live - Volume 1 away for free between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, so if you want it I suggest you snap it up with a quickness. It's been promised that these tracks will be made available via iTunes at an unspecified later date, but who the hell wants to wait?

So please, enjoy the ultimate musical gift during this, the season of giving. Merry Christmas, Allies!

Download Optimus Rhyme's Live - Volume 1

Sorry, folks, nothing to see here. You can, however, snag Live - Volume 1 from iTunes in the near future!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

The problem with releasing my annual holiday podcast in early December is that I always end up missing a fantastic crop of new tracks from geeky albums that drop well after that show has been recorded and uploaded. Sure, I could silently save these songs for next year's ep., but I'm afraid that runs counter to the spirit of giving inherent in the holiday season.

So consider the following to be an early Christmas (or late Hanukkah) present from me to you. Listen to them in good spirits. And, for that matter, while under the influence of your spirit of choice. 'Cause it's that type of holiday.

"A Ninja Chr1stmas"

Our first stop on the Holiday Highway is the newest offering from my old friend Snake Eyes. Snake is from Canada, a place where, I am told, it is always Christmas. This one is a mash-up – Snake's specialty – that incorporates Dean Martin, Rakim, The Beach Boys, The Notorious B.I.G., Raffi, Baroness, Big Baby Jesus and even Chewbacca into an 8 minutes opus of "old school rap vs. heavy rock vs. seasonal cheese." It's a free download, so head over to Snake's digs to pick it up.

A Very Bootie Christmas 2

Also on the mash-up tip is the follow-up to 2006's A Very Bootie Christmas. This second volume, compiled and mixed by Adrian & the Mysterious D, is a worthy successor to the original, and another amazing Christmas party mix that's free for the taking. From King Of Pants' "Alala Falala Hasselhoff" to A Plus D's own take on "Dick in a Box," it's a holiday must-have. You can snag it (and, in case you slept on the previous release, the original VBXmas) from your friends at Bootie USA.

Wii Wiish You a Merry Christmas 2.0

Another notable sequel is nerdcore titans The Former Fat Boys' Wii Wiish You a Merry Christmas 2.0. A re-release of FFB's original holiday banger, this one comes strapped with brand new material and even more Laotian boys. $ucksex was kind enough to give me two such tracks – your soon-to-be favorite drunken sing-along "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (The Joker Got Away)" and the fiscally irresponsible "Santa Needs a Bailout (Please)" – to freely share with you fine folks, but fans looking to pick up the whole album have a couple of options. You can download a low quality MP3 version of Wii Wiish You A Merry Christmas 2.0 free from the FFB's MySpace until Christmas, or you can support the free market by picking up the retail release (which includes both the CD and a link to download the album in a higher quality MP3 format instantly) from the band's store. There you can also score one of their new "Barack Out with Your Cock Out" t-shirts. You know you want one.

It's a Chiptune Holiday

While you've likely already enjoyed Doctor Octoroc's 8 Bit Jesus and the classic 8 Bits of Christmas compilation from 8bitpeoples, you may not yet have completed the chiptune holiday hat-trick with the amazing new collection from 8 Bit Weapon and Computeher. If that is the case, repent and sin no more. A brilliant, breezy, brassy assortment of Christmas and Hanukkah favorites, It's a Chiptune Holiday is the perfect album for mixed faith families with a fine ear for retro electronica. While "Hanukkah (Festival of Lights)" is an early favorite and the vocoder-heavy take on "Jingle Bells" is instantly lovable, I have to give it up for their "Ave Maria (Well-Tempered Clavier)." It's not only the longest track on the album, but easily it's most awe-inspiring, mixing the somberness of the Catholic traditional with calming and cheerful tones reminiscent of the atmospheric charge found in the Earthbound soundtrack. The collector's edition of this release will set you back a scant $9.95, which makes it quite conducive to the stuffing of stockings. Plus you can check out the opening track, "Deck the Halls (Nos Galan)," on the free.

"Little Drummer Boy (Casiocore Remix)"

Lastly, I have to give a special seasonal shout-out to Chicago singer/songwriter Matt Ryd. Matt generally uses his mailing list (of which I am a proud member) to dispense his hot new tunage, but he was nice enough to pass this one directly to me for dissemination. It's his Casiocore remake of "The Little Drummer Boy." With funky percussion. And four-part harmony. It's the most exclusivest of exclusives, so (after you download it/rock out via the preceding link) please be sure to head over to Matt's site and give him some love. He also crafted this performance video, so give it your kind attention. And maybe a nice 5 star rating. Tis the season, and all that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cousin of Death

While the conventional wisdom that suicides increase during the holidays has long since been proven false, this certainly doesn't mean that those suffering from depression are miraculous cured of their affliction by the self-touted season of goodwill toward men. Depression can strike (and linger) at any time of the year. With this in mind, I'd like to pass on a new project from MC Lars.

Fans of his new full-length This Gigantic Robot Kills have no doubt noticed – among all the good-natured joints about videogames, hipsters and bloodthirsty automatons – a somber track entitled "Twenty-three." It details the life and tragic death of Lars's best friend and Stanford roommate, Patrick Wood.

Patrick lost his battle with the depression in 2006. Not only did his suicide prompt MC Lars to pen a song in his honor, it's also spawned a greater venture. One for which Lars needs the support of the fan community:
We are making a video for this song, as it is the next single off of THIS GIGANTIC ROBOT KILLS.

To make this video be effective and raise awareness, we NEED YOUR HELP!

If you have any friends or family members who know or who have lost anyone to suicide, please get in touch with us. We want to feature photos of loved ones who have taken their own lives. The goal of this video is to help raise awareness that this is an issue that affects us all, and pay our respects to those who have passed on. One of the things that helps me get through losing Pat is having a song about him to sing and listen to. I hope that you will share this with me if you have gone through anything similar.

Please hit me up at - with photos and stories if you have friends who have taken their own lives.

Thank you for all of your help! Together we can help raise awareness and help prevent suicide. We are talking to non-profit organizations to have some promotional support and help change the world together.
Even within the comfortable little tribe that is the greater nerd culture – where we freely exchange stories of bullying, misanthropy and epic failure – we are still remarkably reluctant to discuss the lingering effects of these social pratfalls. Because of our historically dubious station, nerds and depression are often spoken about in the same breath, and the first step to remedying the problem is admitting it. Suicide, depression's unfortunate precipitant, is a demon that we as a culture must face in the name of unity. In the name of growth. In the name of empowerment.

While relying on others' stories of tragedy to make a music video may seem crass or disrespectful, I genuinely believe that Lars is trying to create something uplifting from his own loss and the loss of his friends/fans. Check out his site for full details, including remarks regarding legal release issues attached to the project. Let's make a good thing out of our collective sorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 79: Philip K. Dick in a Box

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Or so they'd have us believe.

But for those of you who are a little tired of the incessant Christmas music that's been insinuating itself into your tender ear holes over the last couple of weeks, there is an alternative. Allow me to present to you the sounds of the season, Radio Free Hipster-style.

We've got some chiptunes and some nerdcore. Some musical comedy and some mash-ups. And also some sweet sounds from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

And you didn't have to get me anything.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 79: Philip K. Dick in a Box [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 47.3 MB Running Time: 51:41

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Baddd Spellah roasting on a open fire, Beefy nipping at your nose.

Track 1: funky49 – "mc christmas with the hoff"
For the record, funky49 wins my "Knowing is Half the Hasselhoff" challenge. Handily.

Z's 1st interlude: "My annual cockeyed tribute to the holiday season."
Yep. It's tradition.

Track 2: Optimus Rhyme – "God Rest Ye Autobeat Allies"
As I mentioned in-show, this one's for my pal Church.

Track 3: Garfunkel and Oates – "Present Face"
I've never played Garfunkel and Oates on the show before, though Kate Micucci (whom I adore!) has appeared once before.

Track 4: MC Lazerous – "Ain't Get Shit for Christmas"
No clue as to the background of this particular track. I simply cribbed it from Shael's extensive collection.

Track 5: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation dialog / John Anealio – "The Millennium Falcon for Christmas"
Consider this my year-end reminder plug for John's Sci-Fi Songs blog. Drop it in your RSS reader of choice. Good stuff.

Track 6: The Lonely Island – "Dick in a Box (feat. Justin Timberlake)"
I played this one back in 2007, but thankfully, with this year's release of the Incredibad LP, I can finally play the studio cut.

Track 7: The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend – "Fairytale of New York"
Venture Bros FTW!

Track 8: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation dialog / Ministry of Magic – "O Holey Night"
Because it's not quite Christmas without some Wizard Rock.

Track 9: H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society – "Have Yourself a Scary Little Solstice"
And this one is for all you Servants of Cthulhu.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Nate Trier and his yuletide ska project Skantily Clad"
Nate's band The Skamatics just released an album. You need to check it out.

Track 10: Futurama – "Elves' Song"
This one's for Talkie Tim.

Track 11: Marc with a C – "Stairway to Rudolph"

I'm presently working on a review for Marc's new 10 year anniversary collection. It's quite good.

Track 12: Mojo Nixon – "Christmas, Christmas"
I love that a considerable portion of this track's lyrical content centers on the fact that Mojo's banging your mom.

Track 13: Doctor Octoroc – "Carol of the Belmonts"
From Doc's 8 Bit Jesus album.

Track 14: Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew – "A Pirate Christmas"
Is it a coincidence that Santa executes a perfect ninja flip? I think not.

Track 15: 227 – "Jingle My Bells"
Check out 2007's An OverClocked Christmas for more holiday madness.

Track 16: Bad Tattoo – "Are You Gonna Stop The White Xmas"
Because you can never have enough Christmas mash-ups.

Z's final interlude: "Each year I try to do a little something extra for the Chosen People."
A very happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish nerds out there!

Track 17: Da Vinci's Notebook – "The Dreidel Song"
Without Da Vinci's Notebook we may never have known the parcel of geeky musical perfection that is Paul & Storm.

The more astute among you have no doubt realized that we are one scant podcast away from year's end. That would prove the perfect opportunity for a yearly musical retrospective to most podcasters, but I ain't most podcasters!

Instead you'll be treated to my regular oh-shit-this-song-is-great-and-I've-put-off-playing-it-'til-the-last-minute show. Not exactly the most elegant of options, but it's the one I choose to take.

But in the meantime, here's wishing the happiest of holidays to you and yours.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Terra Obscura

Have you ever noticed that the same half-dozen videogame soundtracks get covered and remixed over and over again? You know the usual suspects: Super Mario Bros., Mega Man II and those age-old motifs from the Castlevania and Legend of Zelda series.

Well, to quote the late Michael Jackson, you are not alone.

My comrades from The Nerdy Show have not only marked the same trend, but are actively taking steps to remedy it. Specifically, they have recently unveiled a project called the Rare Game Remix Challenge. It's a contest. The kind of contest that offers the requisite fabulous prizes.

The first in this ongoing series of month-long game music remix contests centers on indie rapper Astronautalis and his love of the greatest variation-on-a-theme-puzzler of all time Tetris Attack.

What's the true skinny, you say? Why I've loving copy/pasted it below:

Create a hip hop instrumental sampling from the score of Tetris Attack… BECAUSE ASTRONAUTALIS IS GOING TO RAP OVER IT! You choose the style, you set pace, just make an exceptional track that makes Astro’s heart swell with puzzle tile explosions and he’ll bless it with his expert wordsmithery. But that’s not all… second and third place winning beats will receive rhymes from two mystery nerdcore rappers. Be creative, if you want to re-orchestrate a track - do it, got nuts. Do what must be done in the name of awesomeness.
DOWNLOAD this month's audio collection and let the fun begin!


All Tetris Attack hip hop instrumentals must sample predominantly from the score to Tetris Attack (called “Panel De Pon” in Japan). Tracks should be no longer than 4 minutes and of a quality of at least 128kbps. In your submission e-mail you must list every Tetris Attack track you sampled from, as well as any additional samples. Nerdy Show will judge your track on its overall quality, concept and execution to decide how it stacks up. Contact with any questions.


1st Place: Astronautalis raps over your track. You become a legend.

2nd Place: Masurao of Krondor Krew raps over your track. Your girlfriend still loves you.

3rd Place: MC Coolwhip raps over your track. You find your pet dog.

Winning tracks (with and without vocals) as well as noteworthy runners-up will be hosted on for listening/ downloading and 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place will be played on a forthcoming episode of Nerdy Show.


All contest submissions must be original works composed for this contest. Submissions found to have been previously existing will be disqualified.


Multiple submissions from a single entrant are allowed, BUT only one of the entrant’s submissions will be chosen. Submitting multiple submissions will not increase your chances of winning, so be sure to only submit your best.


The entire month of December! All entries must be sent in by 11:59pm EST December 31st 2009. Judging will commence immediately thereafter and winners will be announced shortly.


Submit your contest entry to (again, must be recieved by 11:59pm EST December 31st 2009)

Be sure to put either “remix contest” or “tetris attack contest” in the subject heading so we know what you’re submitting for. In the body of the e-mail tell us your name/ handle and every game and track you sampled from. Be sure that the e-mail address you send from is your primary address as it’s where we’ll contact you.


Nerdy Show claims no ownership of the provided tracks. We celebrate this amazing and seldom-heard music and hope that this contest will raise awareness of its existence as well as the great work of its composers. Please contact with any legal concerns.
Now that you know the rules, I suggest you download the remix kit and get to poppin'. As a number of my favorite producers/remixers are regular readers of Hipster, please!, I can't help but think that several of y'all are easily up to the task.

Plus, the better the response to this first outing, the more interesting each subsequent Nerdy Show contest will surely be.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

I am pleased to report that Church, Matt, Jason and I have finally unraveled one of life's great mysteries. We have concluded, after weeks of preliminary testing, that Google Wave exists solely to aid in the creation of my regular Nerd News in Brief segment.

Now you know.

And speaking of, I've still got a bunch of Wave invites if anybody needs one. Maybe you can use it to write your own Nerd News in Brief.

'Cause that's what it's for!
  • In-See-Four-Elle on Dee-Vee-Dee: At long last the DVD release of Nerdcore For Life has finally been announced! In addition to shopping the feature around for a European cable release, London's Journeyman Pictures has agreed to help release the film to the all-important home viewing audience. The nerdcore faithful should be able to order their copies mid-month.
  • Tis the Season: Wrockers Dawlish and the Archies have favored the Wizarding World with the first ever Wizard Rock Advent Calendar. Peep Wrock the Advent throughout the month of December for a new free tune every day.
  • Old Dominion: Also on the WRocking side of nerd culture, longtime friend and supporter Snidget has decided to set up her own festival in Virginia. Hit up the official web presence of Sonorus 2010 for further details and a current list of performers. Big ups to Matt for keeping me in the loop!
  • When You Were Young: Harry and the Potters fans looking to expand into the Wizard Rock periphery will be interested to hear that the guys have just reissued Good is Dumb by Ed and the Refrigerators. In celebration of that album's 10 year anniversary it has been recast in its original CDr format, in an expanded 2-disc, deluxe edition with nearly 60 bonus tracks. But wait; there's more! In addition to live shows and demos, you'll also get a linocut-printed patch, extensive liner notes and a certificate of authenticity. Snazzy!
  • All His Drug Use is Accidental: And speaking of 10 year anniversaries, Orlando geeky guitar-slinger Marc with a C has just celebrated his with the release of the RetroLowFi: 10 Years of Marc with a C collection. Get the full scoop (and the exhaustive track-list) via this interview at
  • Shortayyyy: As Mega Ran recently pointed out, The Lonely Island has just been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category for their T-Pain collab "On a Boat." Muthufuckers.
  • Really Rad: From Antisoc comes this link to Asylum's "History of Horrible Rap Music." Unfortunately, as it eschews the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps," I am afraid I must declare said list invalid.
  • The Blastmaster: As announced via Twitter last week, MC Lars is currently in talks with the great KRS-One regarding a future collaboration. If there is a word to express my delight concerning this development, it is surely "squee."
  • Shocking: Thanks go out to my Twitter pal Taloas for hipping me to this amazing sight. It's Dr. Zeus & the Masters of Lightning using Tesla Coils to set balloons on fire. All to the tune of The Legend of Zelda theme.
  • Is it Live?: Jarod of Alienbobz has released his proposed recording list for the month of December. Check out this post for the full list, which includes a number of notable nerdcore gigs.
  • Yo, Yo-Yo: My southern brother Doctor Popular has just launched a brand new site redesign. It's the same Doc you've always loved in a shiny new package!
  • A Renewed Challenger: Also on the recent redesign tip is my boy Anthony and the Game Music 4 All crew. Along with this relaunch comes such delightful amenities as forums and a dedicated netlabel. Way to make the rest of us look bad, guys! ;)
  • Sea-Town: Meanwhile, a brand new project is brewing from Thunderball of Southside/Metaforce fame. Peep his newly unveiled blog Seattle Hip-Hop to stay abreast of all the crazy-ass shit that comes from the Emerald City.
  • True Neutral: If you've ever secretly hoped to see the varying personalities of your favorite Time Lords classified D&D style, then you are in luck. You are also a very special kind of nerd.
  • Don You Cloak: Church ran across this piece on LARPing at, of all places, the web site for the Salt Lake City Community College Globe. For the record, the part I found most interesting was that only 62% of the LARPers in question believe they're nerds.
  • Obligatory: Also from Church comes our regularly scheduled geek chic round-up. First, a dose of nerd superiority from Eunice Beatrice H. Braga of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Next, stare into the hipster abyss with Chicago Now's Will Braggadocio. And lastly, there's whatever the hell this is.
  • Get Up, Get Coffee: Last week saw the birthdays of many prominent nerds. MC Frontalot and Hex Warrior both turned a year older, as did Jonathan Coulton. With that in mind, enjoy this phenomenal AMV of his track "Code Monkey."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Culture Vultures

Because of its unfortunate secondary placement in this blog's mantra of "nerd music and culture," I feel I sometimes neglect the all-important non-musical elements of nerd life. I spend lots of time talking about the significance of nerdy music and where you can find it, and I often allude to nerd culture as this grand, nebulous concept, but I rarely pin it down. I seldom define its dimensions. I almost never make it concrete.

Today I hope to break this trend.

You see, just as the music that I feature springs forth from hundreds of talented and undeniably geeky individuals, my love of nerd culture is similarly nourished by others. Blogs are, by their very nature, cannibalistic; so, in the same way that MC Frontalot and Uncle Monsterface help feed my need for musical geekery, a cavalcade of other bloggers slake my thirst for true nerd culture.

You likely already have a stable of the standard geeky cultural destinations in your aggregator of choice – your io9s and your Topless Robots – but there are other, subtler options.

So where do I go when I want to read nerdy things written by nerdy people? Let me tell you:


The mainstream does not, as a rule, understand the nerd culture phenomenon. They can wax poetic about how Big Bang Theory represents a cultural paradigm shift where nerds can be legitimate protagonists, and they can drone on and on about the dreaded "geek chic," but they just can't seem to grok what we're really about. To them we are at best an unfathomable mystery and at worst another momentary oddity. The caveat to this statement is TIME magazine. More specifically, it's TIME's Lev Grossman. He's sort of our inside (outside?) guy, the one cat on the more conventional journalistic tip that speaks with our voice.

I originally began following Lev through his work at TIME's NerdWorld blog, a project that recently transformed into the newly unveiled TechLand. This new blog shares all the principle earmarks of NerdWorld, focusing on things like gaming, gadgets, comics and TV – all of which are core elements of nerd culture.

Lev manages to avoid the principle pratfall of professional blogging by walking that narrow line between analytical exploration and personal narrative, and along the way manages to craft posts that are both insightful and genuinely entertaining. Plus he and I share joint blog comment custody of a certain Church H. Tucker. So there's an additional bond.

The Life and Times of Jarvis Slacks

I have long held the opinion that a proper nerd can geek out about practically anything, and Jarvis Slacks is proof positive of this postulation. Whether he's sharing his impressions of Borderlands, trying to unravel the complex web of teen angst and poor decision-making that led to the popularity of Jncos or putting those snooty-ass cavemen in their place, he always comes across like a nerd's nerd: intelligent, sardonic and literate as fuck.

Jarvis is an educator by trade, and some of his best stuff comes from that well-worn but still totally serviceable "exasperated teacher "pastiche. (Holler at his Twitter for more info.) Still, for my money there's no one I'd rather see go on a political tear than Jarvis. His takes on subjects like Fox News and why you shouldn't trust the police are like perfectly polished nuggets of geeky genius.

If you're a fan of Halo, Battlestar Galactica or leftist politics, Jarvis is your man.

Wolf Gnards

Wolf Gnards is a blog for people who take their ridiculous pop culture minutiae seriously.

Wait; skip that. Wolf Gnards is the blog for people who take their ridiculous pop culture minutiae seriously.

For the uninitiated, I would describe this blog as a solid bitch slap to modern entertainment media. While most rags (both dead tree and digital) linger over John and Kate or can't seem to get enough of golf pros and their traffic accidents, Wolf Gnards is calculating how long Bill Murray spent in Groundhog Day's temporal loop and the proper bangs-to-face ratio for aspiring indie girls.

To break it down Wolf Gnards style, the blog is essentially snarky pop culture + math. And that shit always = nerd.

Plus, can you really go wrong with a blog that's name is a Monster Squad reference?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

Once again I find myself apologizing for my blogging negligence. I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say that, at the very time I believed things would become easier on the writing front, shit went the other way.

I'm doing my best to at least keep the podcasts coming out on a regular schedule, but I've fallen desperately behind on album reviews, news posts and the (long forgotten) features.

Bear with me folks, and hopefully I'll make it over this hump. And in the meantime, y'all wish me luck. I could certainly use it.
  • Parlez Vous?: Otaku rapper Ultraklystron has just favored eagerly awaiting fans with a direct sequel to his 2007 concept album Romance Language. Dubbed, interestingly enough, Romance Language 2, it's currently available digitally for a mere $ 5, with hardcopies up for general sale mid-month for $14.
  • Once Got Busy in a Death Star Bathroom: Speaking of follow-ups, earlier this month Bent TV released a sequel the original Star Wars Gangsta Rap. The flows are still a little weak, but this time the beat is definitely hot!
  • Channel Changus!: Church hipped me to this Daily Mail piece about two inventors who crafted a Harry Potter-style "magic wand" remote control. He also gave me the snarky tagline. That guy is too nice to me.
  • It's Gotta be the Shoes: Also from Church comes news of a new line of Star Trek-themed Airwalk sneakers. Of course, for those of you who prefer Padawans to redshirts, Adidas has similarly launched a Star Wars line.
  • One of Us!: The Chicago Tribune reports that Bears' linebacker Lance Briggs is a comic book fan. Less newsworthy is his $154 habit. I see guys working construction dropping that much on books at my local shop!
  • Rock of Ages: Spinner has compiled a list if the Biggest Geeks in Rock. Making the cut are such big names such as punk icon Henry Rollins and birth-control specs pioneer Buddy Holly. Oh, and our pal MC Frontalot also makes an appearance on said list!
  • Equal Time: Thanks to the Mass Effect controversy, we are pretty much assured at least one weird coupling per BioWare title. Dragon Age Origins, for example, features the potential for some gay elf love, and I say its about damn time. Homosexual elves are notoriously underrepresented in popular media.
  • Nerds Get Real: Last week Penny Arcade launched the two-part pilot of their reality web show PA TV. I'd love to be all clever and shit, but the bottom line is that the series is nothing short of heartwarming. Watch the PAX Q&A scene during part 2 to find out why.
  • Don't Be Tripping: Nerdcore fans rejoice, for YTCracker has been dropping new tracks like crazy. From space jams to the "Hogg Theme Song" and beyond, the DG has been in full effect.
  • Coming Back Around: After his spat with the scene earlier this year, our old friend MC Lars has returned to the nerdcore fold. At least in as much as he recently preached the nerdy gospel over at Hit up the video to hear Lars drop knowledge re: Front, mc, YT, Beefy, STD and Wheelie.
  • Know Your Roots: Last week Antisocial approached me with a revelation; he believes Roman poet Catullus 16 to be the originator of gangsta rap. Peep his sexcore jam Carmina for more info.
  • We Are Family: Though I've already mentioned this in passing, Scrub Club has recently expanded yet again. In addition to signing my boys Southside, the winners of the Versus Mode competition, the Club also welcomed runners-up Diabeats, King Pheenix, and StarF. Immediately thereafter, ZeaLouS1 also came on board, further strengthening an already impressive roster.
  • Audio Absolution: Taking us out of this much-delayed NNIB is a new video from the White Shinobi himself, T.Y.T. It's his track "Forgive Me (feat. Togo)," and it's from his new album Unusual. Enjoy the hotness.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 78: Book It

The muse, she is a fickle mistress. And whether you're writing blog posts or songs or long-form fiction or technical manuals, sometimes you just can't seem to make the words fit together.

More than anything, I think that's what National Novel Writing Month is about. It's about pushing through that wall that sometimes forms between you and inspiration. It's about committing not so much to the timeframe, but to those 50,000 words.

And that's a lot of goddamn words.

This show is for all the writers out there, but it's also for the readers. It's all about authors and books and writing and creativity, and all the myriad of amazing forms they take.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 78: Book It [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 38.2 MB Running Time: 41:42

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Baddd Spellah and Beefy: the greatest story ever told!

Track 1: Metaforce – "Writer's Block"

As you can tell from the lack of updates over the past couple of weeks, I am currently suffering from a bit of the ol' writer's blockage myself. Ere go this track seemed a proper starter.

Z's 1st interlude: "Help those of you participating in this month's National Novel Writing Month challenge over that final hump."

Big up to all my NaNoWriMoers!

Track 2: Better of Metal, Bitches – "Reading Rainbow"

This song is pretty awesome, but don't take my word for it.

Track 3: Bloodhag – "Madeline l'Engle"

I have long suspected that this show needs more tesseracts.

Track 4: Beefy – "Write a Song About"

A Beefy/Advantage mash-up, of sorts.

Track 5: People Within – "Write All Day"

You can pick up the audio for this entire show for free over at

Track 6: Lords of the Rhymes – "9-Fingered Frodo"

I sometimes forget how very much I enjoy Lords of the Rhymes.

Track 7: mc chris – "Neville"

This one is a personal highlight from mc's Part 6 Part 2.

Track 8: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dialog / Danny Dementor – "Death (Adolescent Mix)"

And I would characterize this as one of the best WRock songs of all time.

Z's 2nd interlude: "But that's also this vocation's drawback."

Another proposed title for this ep. was simply "Writing is Hard." Oddly, while calling oneself a writer is almost effortless, living up to that moniker is significantly more problematic.

Track 9: Switchblade Kittens – "Size 12 is Not Fat"

From the Kittens' Rebel Princess LP, a fine album even for those not into chick lit.

Track 10: TwiRockett Music – "Be Safe"

I entertained the notion of including a number of different Twi Rock songs, but in the end this one won out because it has such a similar feel to the follow-up track.

Track 11: NeverEnding Story dialog / Limahl – "NeverEnding Story"

This song's inclusion may seem a tad counterintuitive, but NeverEnding Story is a fine piece of nerd cinema, so I thought it fit.

Track 12: John Anealio – "George R.R. Martin is Not Your Bitch"

John actually has a song about NaNoWriMo that would've worked even better in this edition, but I've literally been waiting 3 months to play this one!

Z's final interlude: "That annoying voice that is your internal editor."

Due to budget cut-backs, I was recently forced to fire my internal editor.

Track 13: Elvis Costello and the Attractions – "Every Day I Write the Book"

Do you hear the interplay of the bass line and the keyboard lead? That is called songwriting magic.

It seems as though I totally forgot to credit the background music in-show, so allow me to point you toward the Final Fantasy 7 OC Remix "Every Story Begins with a Name." It's by Big Giant Circles and zircon, and comes from the Voices of the Lifestream collection.

I'll go on record as saying that this probably isn't gonna be one my most popular episodes. It alternates at times between harsh metal and ultra-mellow pop fluff, but, in all honesty, that was kind of the point. The creative process is a lot of things, but above all else it is uneven. Messy even.

I reckon that made for sort of a bumpy musical ride, but I actually think it came together pretty well. Here's hoping you think the same.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Experience Nerdapalooza (All Over Again)

Word from the Nerdapalooza camp – and by "the Nerdapalooza camp," I mean my boy Hex – is that the live album from this year's festival is all set to go.

Priced at a scant 10 bucks and boasting some 19 tracks from everyone from MPFM and Doc Awkward to The Megas and Uncle Monsterface, it's a sweet-ass deal in its own right. Of course, when you factor in that all proceeds from the sale benefit Child's Play, it becomes even more of a must-buy!

And since Hex is all about giving back to the community, he also opted to provide a second disc worth of additional promotional tracks even to those bastards too cheap to spring for the album proper. This 9-tracker is available for free download, with an additional 10th song to be made available when/if you purchase the aforementioned charity comp.

Track lists and links are provided below, so as to whet your musical appetite:

Nerdapalooza Live CD 2009
  1. My Parents Favorite Music - "Just a Game"
  2. Devo Spice - "Platform Wars (ft. the great Luke Ski & int eighty of Dual Core)"
  3. Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew - "Yo Ho Ho"
  4. Marc with a C - "Nerdy Girls"
  5. Dr. Awkward - "Geekquilibrium (ft. Scrub Club) "
  6. Krondor Krew - "Sneaking"
  7. 3P!C-1 - "Sungem"
  8. The Megas - "Annihilation of Monsteropolis (Airman)"
  9. YTCracker - "Meganerd"
  10. MC Frontalot - "Tongue-Clucking Grammarian"
  11. mCRT - "Penis Monologues"
  12. Emergency Pizza Party - "Zombie Jesus (ft. Funky49)"
  13. Dual Core - "Hostage Down"
  14. Fred Lives & the House of Black - "The Bleep Out Song"
  15. ZeaLouS1 - "Headshot (ft. Benjamin Bear)"
  16. Uncle Monsterface - "Lobster Building"
  17. The Grammar Club - "Red Cyclone"
  18. Schaffer the Darklord - "The Bender"
  19. MC Frontalot - "Nerdcore Rising (ft. Beefy & MC Lars)"
Nerdapalooza Live Free Sampler
  1. Scrub Club - "Nerd Party"
  2. HDNinja - "FatFoot (ft. MC Wreckshin)"
  3. The Spork - "Scoundrel"
  4. MC COOL WHIP - "Hellen Keller in Space"
  5. Dual Core - "Magnificent 7 (ft. Remmington Forbes, Beefy, YTCracker, Schaffer the Darklord, MC Lars, & MC Frontalot) "
  7. Beefy - "You Can Call Me Beef (ft. Shael Riley & the Double Ice Backfire)"
  8. MC Lars - "Bruce Campbell (ft. YTCracker, Schaffer the Darklord, & ZeaLouS1)" unlockable upon purchase of Nerdapalooza Live CD 2009
  9. Shael Riley & the Double Ice Backfire - "Publishing Rights (ft. Schaffer the Darklord)"
  10. Uncle Monsterface - "Triforce Mike Theme (Live from Nerdapalooza Southeast 2008)"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You Might Also Like...

Far be it from me to suggest that folks stop dropping kick-ass albums, but Christ-on-a-cracker, people, could you at least slow down?! I mean, 2009 has been positively packed with the new hotness! So much so, in fact, that it's been tough to keep up. I've had trouble finding the time to listen to all of these new releases, much less review 'em!

Instead, I've found myself relegated to giving these goddamn Reader's Digest condensed album reviews just to keep my head above the proverbial water.

But today, rather than rehash this familiar and restrictive format, I have instead elected to use what I like to call the "Amazon recommends" method. You see, in addition to giving you a little rundown of the following titles, I'll also talk up each new album by relating it to other releases of similar awesomtude… I mean awesomosity … I mean…. Fuck it, let's move on.

Dale Chase is one of those cats I discovered thanks to Twitter, which, as we all know, is my social network of choice. More specifically, I really got hipped to his stuff after the release of Absodefilutely's debut single "Coder Girl." For those familiar with that joint, the album very much follows suit. Dale's got a tightly metered flow and a genuinely intelligent voice that should speak to nerdcore fanboys and more traditional heads alike. Tracks like "That's So Meta" and "A Walk in the Park" inject a comparable level of smooth soul to the aforementioned "Coder Girl," and "Ganon's Revenge" is a gamer-friendly geek-out that should play well with the typical Hipster, please! reader.

If you're down with the smart, techy hip-hop of Dual Core or the silky-smooth delivery of otaku MC Maja, then you should surely give Dale a listen. The Absodefilutely EP retails for around 5 bones, so it's an easy recommendation based on both price and quality.

My affection for folksy UK game rockers Elfonso is well known. Sadly, as I long ago exhausted the meager song selection of their debut EP Tako wa Chikyi o Suko, I haven't gotten much of a chance to play them on the podcast of late. Thankfully, they've seen fit to remedy this with the release of their new self-titled album. Weighing in at a strong 11 tracks, only one of those being a re-tread from the previous EP, Elfonso is simple, sweet and charming while still managing to achieve a considerable level of unbridled geekitude. Songs like "Retirement from Hyrule" and "The Journey Here Was Long…" manage a palpable level of poignancy while remaining rooted in their respective in-game worlds, and "Parody Us" and "Sixteen Bit" reflect on things equally eloquently from the other side of the controller.

Existing in this odd space somewhere between The Megas and The Pogues, it's tough to compare Elfonso to any singular act. Still, if you're down with the more eclectic side of VGM – the rock opera that is The Protomen or the more classical styling of Select Start – then give Elfonso a try. This new album hasn't yet made international release, but I've been promised that its appearance on iTunes is shortly forthcoming.

Danny's Incredible 8-Bit Voyage
The unbridled originality of Elfonso is the perfect lead-in to this segment's final featured album, Danny's Incredible 8-Bit Voyage. Certainly not your typical work, this piece is an avant-garde musical adventure story wrapped in well-worn videogame tropes. Centered on the exploits of our titular man-child, it follows Danny's journey through a wondrous video game world, with some genuine character development along the way. This trippy, chippy epic is written and performed by songwriter/chip artist/mad genius Jay Tholen and skillfully narrated by Andres Williams, and it boasts alternating moments of traditional exposition and groundbreaking music to power the narrative. I could say more, but it's truly the kind of thing that needs to be experienced to be genuinely appreciated.

Fans of thematic videogame music and original chiptunes will find lots to love about the musical end Danny's Incredible 8-Bit Voyage, but just as inspired is the album's narrative arc. While it's easy to compare Jay's brand of chip music to the best that communities like 8bitcollective have to offer, this album should suit anyone who enjoys a good story and who understands that art can be high concept without being pretentious. Plus, this one's also a freebie, so definitely snag a copy.