Friday, January 16, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

I know, I know; you just can't get enough of my delightfully rural voice.

And how could you? I mean, I only record, what? Four podcasts a month?

Thankfully, there is a solution.

You can catch me drawling my way through a piece of short fiction written by my good friend Church on a recent edition of Starship Sofa's Aural Delights podcast.

It's a stark look into the future of digital music distribution. And no, it's not slash fic.
  • Eat it, Picross!: Zen Albatross – known to some as the micro-musician in Shael Riley's live band – recently posted a really interesting piece over at Racktboy. It's about how Mario Paint kicked off his career as a digital artist, and it's damn well worth a read.
  • Fireproof: And speaking of, here's some footage of the guys playing in the MAGfest Jamspace. The rendition of "Bank Holiday" in the second vid is especially cool. Also, this year: no fire alarm.
  • Nerd Girls Wanted: Female roleplaying gamers are currently being sought for help with research for a forthcoming book on the subject. This celebration of female contributions to gaming culture needs your help, so head over to Geek's Dream Girl for the full skinny. And yes, guys, we can help too.
  • The Balmy One: Big ups to my pal Joey for worming his way into a recent Popular Mechanics post on Guitar Hero/Rock Band hacks. His work comes in at number 7, and shows how to use the Rock Band drum kit as a midi controller in FL Studio.
  • My Peeps: And also on the subject of worming one's way into the big time, Church has yet again hit Techdirt. The producer of the film adaptation of The Watchmen recently posted an open letter explaining why Fox – who has stymied the project in every way imaginable – shouldn't make any money off the finished product, but why they inevitably will anyway.
  • Lost-core?: Also from Church comes this Washington Post article about concept band Previously On Lost. They get bonus points for having a band name that explicitly explains their purpose. Church even found the related NPR interview, for those who dig that sort of thing.
  • I Hardly Even Know Her!: Bangor-area geeks, take heed! This weekend you must attend SnowCon at the Black Bear Inn and Convention Center. Running from 9:00 AM to midnight Saturday, January 17th and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Sunday the 18th, this homespun con features tabletop gaming, film screenings, and even some live VGM from The Sides Scrollers. Peep the official site for more info.
  • In Which Schaffer Wants to Make Love to Me: Announced last week, and hinted about before the fact, is the live event compilation CD The Nerdapalooza Tapes. This collection of cuts from last summer's festival is currently available for preorder for a mere $10, which also grants you immediate access to the MP3 version. I scored an early release last month, and I gotta say that the recording quality is pretty amazing. Plus it manages to hit a lot of the high points from that lost weekend.
  • The Sound of the DJ: One of my favorite nerdy producers, the ever-prolific nYgel, has just released a collection of b-sides. The cleverly named Self-titled presents a collection of older originals, remixes, and instrumentals that have yet to grace your ear hole. Plus, it'll give you something to groove to while nYg works on his forthcoming mixtape.
  • Find Me Online, Search c64: And speaking of new old music, my boys Dual Core have just made available a pair of non-album tracks on their site. Peep a 2007 collab with the great ZeaLouS1 and the band's intro for the Lotta Linux Links podcast for free right here. Then, immediately thereafter, begin making plans to attend this year's iteration of Washington DC's ShmooCon, as the boys will once again be performing.
  • Super, Like Schneider: And while you're checking out all the free goodness, don't neglect this new video from Maja. It's a remix of The Game's "Superman." Check out the vid, and then proceed to his site for a free MP3 download. I've also been assured that Maja is currently writing new material, and plans to hit the studio later this year to begin recording his sophomore release.
  • Alive and Wily-fied: Random has dropped a number of interesting teasers of late relating to his new Mega Ran 9 concept album. The biggie, however, is this sneak preview of the phenomenal "MegaLude 9." Listen. Watch. Post comments.
  • Early and Often: Please take a moment to vote for The Protomen in Deli Magazine's Best of Nashville 2008 poll. They are your constant heroes. Also, who the fuck else are you going to vote for? You don't even live in Nashville!
  • Ninjas and Vampires: And on the subject of other fun things to do, have you tried out Scrub Club's heavily-nerdified text adventure RPG yet? It's called Burst Nexus and is, of course, free to play from your bestest friends in the whole Midwest.
  • Dancing Nerds and Gratuitous Monitor Humping: And taking us home this week is another piece of greatness from the Scrub Club family. It's a video for MadHatter's "Overheat" from our brothers and sisters at PBC Production. Much of it was recorded at this year's MAGfest, and features a ton of hilarious cameos. Plus, the song itself fucking slays.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 59: Hindsight

The year-end wrap-up is a fickle beast. That is why I chose to release mine late. And yet still it feels incomplete.

Part of this is because my focus is simply on what are, in my opinion, the best tracks of 2008, and, of course, I’ve already played the shit out of a number of those songs.

Therefore you won’t be hearing Beefy’s "Tabletop" or Dual Core’s "Fantastic Four." You know I love those, as I was quick to play them directly after their initial release. You also won’t hear anything from nYgel’s Free to Good Home mixtape or T.Y.T.’s Jelly Brain. Again, simply because I’ve played them, though more recently than the former.

Hell, I even went so far as to avoid including songs from my own projects (like Old Nerdy Bastard) and those particularly close to me (like the Game Music 4 All comps, to which I occasionally lend my limited expertise.)

And even with those omitted, I still couldn’t cram in all my favorites. Last year saw so many amazing releases that time simply doesn’t afford me the opportunity to highlight each one. So instead I elected to spotlight just a few of my top picks.

Hopefully you’ll reciprocate.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 59: Hindsight (hosting provided by Antisocial) Size: 44.6 MB Running Time: 48:45

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
A classic in any era.

Track 1: MC Lars & YTCracker (ft. Doctor Popular) – "911 AM (Rudy Giuliani)" 
This one is my best-of-the-best. It boasts what is probably my favorite Doc Pop beat of all time, and some great lyrical content.

Z’s 1st interlude: "My New Year's resolution was not to stand on ceremony."
Hey, at least I can stick to it!

Track 2: Optimus Rhyme – "Click-Click" 
TransfORmed is easily Optimus’s greatest single release to date. School the Indie Rockers is my sentimental favorite, but this one is impeccable.

Track 3: MC Frontalot (ft. Jonathan Coulton) – "Diseases of Yore"
Likewise, I also see Front’s Final Boss as a personal best. Even the special guests are top-shelf!

Track 4: The Remus Lupins – "Weasley Clock" 
Despite the doomers who said that the 2007 release of Deathly Hallows would mark the end of WRock, the scene favored us with a number of fantastic releases in 2008. This was one of them.

Track 5: Math the Band  – "Everyone is Embarrassing"
While nothing compares to the Math the Band live experience, this track has an energy all it’s own.

Track 6: DJ Tripp – "Paper Rump"
This M.I.A. track had been a single for a while before it hit as the background music in the Pineapple Express trailer. Still, I love M.I.A., and was just glad to see her get some press. This DJ Tripp mash really punches up the track’s natural Wreckx-N-Effect element.

Track 7: Zombies! Organize!!  – "F-Bombs and 1Ups"
Zombies! Organize!! is probably my band of the year. I understand they are an acquired taste, but they went from a quirky contributor to a GM4A comp to a RFH staple in a matter of weeks.

Z’s 2nd interlude: "In heavy rotation."
Another band I really fell in love with in 2008 was Spheres of Chaos. I’ve got nothing but respect for the Pterodactyl Squad!

Track 8: Year 200X  – "Mega Man 3"
On the other hand, I’ve been a fan of Year 200X for ages, but it wasn't until last year that I finally got a chance to really connect with the band.

Track 9:  Random – "New Grind"
Ran is a class act all around. The 8th Day is another amazing album that walks the line between underground style and nerdy substance.

Track 10: the doyouinverts – "A Little Too Human Tonight
This is an act I found thanks to a listener suggestion, and the doyouinverts went on to be one of the greatest finds of ’08.

Track 11: The Mudbloods – "Since March, Since September, and Still"
There’ s really nothing I can say about The Mudbloods that hasn’t already been stated more eloquently by others. Even if you don’t think you like Wizard Rock, you owe it to yourself to check this band out.

Track 12: EvilWezil – "Spastic Surgery"
Pause Records also cranked out an amazing array of chiptune-centered VGM in 2008. EvilWezil is a personal favorite.

Track 13: The Grammar Club – "Balloon Flight (Flighty-Ighty Fo0dNippl3 Mix)"
I’d love to tell you of the glory of The Grammar Club’s forthcoming hotness, but I am contractually obligated to refain.

Z’s final interlude: "My ultimate message."
"Fuck all those stupid fuckers, don’t listen to what they say. ‘Cause they are jerks, and they’re no fun. We’re gonna rock-rock-rock ‘til the end of the day."

Track 14: Uncle Monsterface – "Rock 4 Luv!"
One day, my fellow nerds, I will pass on from this world of digital geekery. On that day – be it due to imprisonment by the FBI for my flagrant disregard of their copy warnings or due to the inevitable zombie apocalypse – I simply ask that you all Rock 4 Luv.

And that is 2008 in a musical nutshell. To my ear, it was probably the greatest nerd music year to date, but I’ll leave that up for individual interpretation.

I know I probably missed a lot of your favorites, so please feel free to tell me what geeky jams rocked your world in the previous year. I'd love to hear them.

Truthfully, I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities of ’09. The bar has been raised, but I’m content that many will step up their game accordingly. 

I'll keep my ears wide open in anticipation. Hopefully you'll join me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cybernetic Extension

I will not lie to you, my friends; it’s early yet as I pen this, and it’s already shaping up to be a gloriously shitty day. Thankfully, I do have some good news to spread, and that helps to take the sting away a bit.

I spoke with Wheelie Cyberman over the weekend, and he indicated to me that Optimus is not yet ready to release TransfORmed in its completed form. Further, he gave me the band’s blessing to continue giving away the digital holiday-release of the EP for free for the foreseeable future. So until such a time as I’m asked to take it down, everyone is welcome (and, again, encouraged) to peep the hotness.

Download TransfORmed

Whilst conversing with Dub Cyber I also tossed out the idea of a fan-based video project for Optimus’s swan song "Daryl Hanna." He seemed cool providing the community was willing. With that being said, would any of you be interested in trying to put together a fan vid for the track? Not only would it be an excellent opportunity to put the wealth of Transfomers – or, consequently, Splash – footage available on YouTube to good use, but it would also help to spread the word about the final release from everyone’s favorite hip-hop robots.

Also, as promised, here are the lyrics from the EP’s 5 tracks. Wheelie explicitly states, however, that these are the original words and thus might not entirely jive with the recorded verses, as he tends to re-do things in the studio. Still, it should give you a fairly clear idea of the lyrical content of some of his speedier couplets.

"God Rest Ye, Autobeat Allies"

My name is Wheelie Cyberman and I rep AutoBeat.
I rock the mic with Powerthighs, Grimrock and Stumblebee.
From Manhattan to Hollywood we’ve rocked the whole country.
And we finally destroyed the Wackacons.
And now it’s off to planet Mercury.

"Worms" (AKA: "Segmented Annelid")

Cyberman, more wild than a loose worm.
Knock, knock. Let me in your in box.
Watch. I can deconstruct your system touch your network.
It’s easily done for an annelid like me.
I ran with an analysis that said “Victory is likely.”
There might be some who consider me spineless.
You think I mind this? I kill them with kindness.
Like “Hi! Guess What! I Love You!”
Open me up, and one click – you’re through.
I like to wriggle. I like to squirm.
I like to get down and dirty – watch your data burn.
Reproduction? That’s my secondary function.
Just one look at your address book, and then I’m gone.
Call it population eruption.
I like to touch people in these intimate ways.
It ain’t symbiotic, you won’t see me for days.

Segmented annelid, migrating herds.
Gather with my brethren, we crawl and converse.
We touch underground as we pass.
It’s pitch black.
We don’t mind that. We’re all from the Earth.

When you eat, I eat.
When you sleep, I eat.
When you watch TV, I eat.
When you walk around the city, I dine on your nutrients.
There’s no need for etiquette or accoutrements.
See I’m suited for this. Check the hooked scolex.
I’m through with intermediate hosts. Yo what’s next?
I gotta slow down. Wait it out.
Show patience. One day, I will make it out.
So I incubate and think primary thoughts.
I detach and dock to the wall, y’all. Shot like a dart.
I stop just like I was taught and start doin’ what I do –
Which is feeding a lot.
Not competing for slop – see I barely move at all.
It’s scary but I’m better off than almost all of y’all.
I got no rent, free food and drink top shelf.
I never gotta go to work. I have sex with myself.

Segmented annelid, migrating herds.
Gather with my brethren, we crawl and converse.
We touch underground as we pass.
It’s pitch black.
We don’t mind that. We’re all from the Earth.

Segmented annelid, do you comprehend?
I don’t want your money, I just want to get in.
We touch in your gut as we pass.
It’s pitch black.
I don’t mind that, I am what I am.

Segmented Annelid.
Squirm! Squirm!
Segmented Annelid.
Squirm! Squirm! Squirm!
Segmented Annelid. Superhero candidate.
Squirm! Squirm! Squirm!
Segmented Annelid. Superhero candidate. Zero people stand with it.
Squirm! Squirm!
Segmented bred with a fragmented head that’ll breed when you need it I eat and I’m fed and I’m

Wheelie Cyberman,
Wheelie Cyberman,
Wheelie Cyberman lives underground
Where we find him writing lines
That help to make the world go ‘round.

I live in the dirt. I like it there.
I’m already low so nobody stares.
I’m not really scared, doesn’t matter how I fare,
And I never worry about wearing clean underwear.
I don’t worry much at all, keep it calm mostly.
I already know what I’m supposed to be.
Most people never try to get close to me
Cuz they know that they’re nothing but a host to me.


Dub Cyber. Hyper Vision. Click Click.
Wide open lens, focus in Mega Bit.

Dub Cyber. Hyper Vision. Click Click.
Wide open lens, focus in Mega Bit.
Yeah I’m back. I told you that
I was packin’ up my bags.
Didn’t you believe me? Still you’ll never see me.
Look – I’m up on your roof with my
Light weight, power zoom, tight frame 80-star spy glass.
Click click. I’m never backlit.
Plasma shift for the development.
I stay up late just to get the job done.
I’m paid by the frame so I wait for the perfect one.
Oh here they come. Sorry, gotta go.
Pop the lens cap, sit back, relax for the show.
Then it’s click click. The sound of success.
Pack up my shit then I hit your address.

Develop it ...
Let it soak kid. Dunk it, shake it off, toss it on the rope then ...
Sell the shit ...
It's easily done, just make a phone call, cash in, it's nationally run. Or you ...
Treasure it ...
Build a little shrine. Tape it to the basement wall where you hide for the ...
Hell of it ...
It's really not a joke, we Develop it. You gotta let it soak, see?

Dub Cyber. Hyper Vision. Click click.
Call the police, you can never make it stick.
See I’m neat. Organized, thorough and discreet.
I judge my subjects by the company they keep.
Look it’s clear. I’m always here.
You might not know that I’m near.
Feel like someone’s creepin’?
That’s probably my peepin.
Click. No beepin’, I keep it classic.
Bad forecast? Just wrap it up in plastic.
I never let a little drizzle keep me home.
I got my tarpaulin, wax pencils and a phone.
Twist the wrist right, zoom in kinda tight.
See it’s Wednesday night, I know you’re watchin’ Top Model.
I even know the type of bottle that you’re gonna buy
When your boyfriend steps in to have a sip of a wine
Then it’s click click. I capture toast.
Infactuated from afar like a ghost.

Develop it ...
Let it soak kid. Dunk it, shake it off, toss it on the rope then ...
Sell the shit ...
It's easily done, just make a phone call, cash in, it's nationally run. Or you ...
Treasure it ...
Build a little shrine. Tape it to the basement wall where you hide for the ...
Hell of it ...
It's really not a joke, we Develop it. You gotta let it soak, see?

I am over on your roof. I like watching what you do.
I got shots that show you're mine. Please just do not close the blinds.

Hey girl, welcome to the neighborhood. I noticed you like French toast late at night.
Hey girl, welcome to the neighborhood. I saw your new jeans, I don't think they fit right!

"Anxiety" (AKA: "Human Anxiety")

I feel that I’m fairly well adjusted mostly
But I hate it when these people stand closely.
Most folks just love hittin’ parties.
Bust through the door, run and hug everybody.
Not me. I kinda creep in slowly.
Scan the room for people that know me
And if it’s none then holy crap.
Somebody gotta hold me back.
And if the keg is tapped then I’m on it.
I mean on and on and on on it.
And if you paid a little more to get the good pour
Then you know Wheelie be fallin’.
But I don’t want to be the one that’s stuck
Head in the toilet, throwin’ up.
Wander back home then I wonder what
That I did to get my head hit and thumped
But listen. I can’t relate
And you better stand back three feet away.
Because my head gets red and I start to shake
And it’s clear that I got a problem, OK?

I am an ROBOTIC MIC freak
With human anxiety. Anxiety.

If I gotta speak up, then I start to sweat
In a room full of people that I’ve never met.
You know I’d rather be home stuck in the apartment
Cuz my shirt’s now soaked through, soppin’ wet.
Oh no. Here we go God not again.
My heart starts beatin faster and then
I can’t breath cuz my throat’s all full of phlegm
I can’t see cuz I got tunnel vision.
Oh crap. It’s a panic attack.
Somebody hand me a paper sack.
I new it’d be bad when the room was packed
And now I feel myself faintin’, fallin’ back.
I mean STAT. I think I need some medication
Cuz I’m always in these bad situations.
And I swear that I’ll be a good patient
I hate it when I gotta be sedated and complacent.
Face it. I could use some therapy.
Cuz I always feel these people gotta stare at me.
Sweatin’ like I’m on methamphetamines.
This is why everyboy’s always ahead of me.

I am an ROBOTIC MIC freak
With human anxiety. Anxiety.

Bring the Jackson 5 back.
Bring the Jackson 5 right back, bring ‘em back.

Now my head isn’t really that bad, is it?
My therapist told me that last visit.
And I have considered benefits of better livin’
But I’m givin’ up on it, I need a hand get?
Got it? Good. Tell me what I should
Do to repair what is wrong under my hood.
Should I pay some white-suited dude
To look into the circuits of my mind?
I need much more than a mechanic, though.
I feel weird bot, yo I can’t stand it so.
I get stressed out, about to hit panic mode.
I need help, buddy, hand me the antedote.

I am an ROBOTIC MIC freak

"Daryl Hanna"

We’re adaptable. We can change everything.
Collapsable covering, you know what we mean.
Assess situations and blend.
We don’t have to test people’s patience, we fit right in.
It’s natural. You could say it’s ingrained.
Multiple primary skeletal frames.
But you know all of that, it’s a terrible bore.
Just another unbearable story to explore.
Yeah, we transform, but you’ve heard it all before.
Additional forgettable folklore.
And besides. There’s 30 fuckin’ Optimus Rhymes.
Some took the name, others just assimilate the lines.
So fine. We don’t mind, go ahead.
You can even have the words that we invented.
They’re yours. See we don’t need ‘em anymore.
You won’t believe the etymology we have in store.
Throwback vocab, constantly shift.
You know that we outgrow that automated shit.
Let the fluid flow down deep into the ground so
We are overheated and in need of immediate help.
Seemed like we’re defeated didn’t care how it felt
Because we couldn’t stop it, sittin’ there repeating ourselves.
So we toss off layers, throw gears to the ground.
Burn tattoos and we lower flags down.
Toss Energon. Because you know that we don’t need it.
Optimus, transform into human beings.

Reanimate and shed.
Toss Energon technology.
Assimilate and head.
Hit the best planet in the galaxy.

Eh you Beesus.
Yeah dude?
When they gonna feed us?
I don’t want it all, but I kinda wish they’d meet us halfway.
See this Positronic Pathway? Step on it.
It’ll lead us to last place.
And we’ve been down that road.
Sold a lotta downloads.
And just gave ‘em away, cuz they’re easy take.
We don’t need to get paid, go ahead and burn ‘em OK?
It’s like Daryl Hanna. I’ll give up my homeworld.
It’s like Daryl Hanna. I’ll give up my homeworld.
It’s like Daryl Hanna. I’ll give up my homeworld.
It’s like Daryl Hanna. Cuz that’s my home girl.
My enemies disintegrate into mist.
Just fade into nothingness.
Kiss them goodbye. Whattup all my AutoBeat allies.
I need five with the same blood type.
Take this matrix, trade it for a baboon heart.
And how soon can you start?
But will you love me when I gotta breathe oxygen?
Will you love me when I can’t shift shape?
Will you love me when this new box stops again?
How will you feel with an expiration date?
Hesitate. Contemplate repurcussions.
Negotiate and open floor for discussions.
Evaluate and my peers all agree.
Reanimate, shed technology.

Reanimate and shed.
Toss Energon technology.
Assimilate and head.
Hit the best planet in the galaxy.

Toss off undercoated lining.
Brush off loose bolts, tell us what you’re finding.
Push pistons. Molecular binding.
Drop mad hubcaps, never look behind me.

Reanimate and shed.
Toss Energon technology.
Assimilate and head.
Hit the best planet in the galaxy.

You that we reanimate we shed technology.
We move it to the middle of the planet, no more enemies.
We cannot stand it anymore, we will not hunt for energy.
We will not remain in this form we will become true human beings.

Toss off undercoated lining.
Brush off loose bolts, tell us what you’re finding.
Push pistons. Molecular binding.
Drop mad hubcaps, never look behind me.
Shed metal – Radiator king pin.
Yank off break pedal, push it leave it leakin’.
Snap axels, need it overheatin’.
Leave it on E, energy, we don’t need it.