Friday, February 13, 2009

Nerd News in Brief

If Twitter is to be believed, practically every artist in the sphere of nerdcore hip-hop is currently on a boat. Mutherfucker.

But even without invoking Incredibad, it's still been sort of an odd week.

Apparently the general public gets all bent out of shape and shit when their celebrities use drugs or launch into profanity-laden tirades. Thankfully, here-abouts all the entertainers do these things publicly, thereby neutering these particular taboos.

I'm not saying our ways are better. Merely that we are more transparent regarding our vices.
  • I'm a Carpool Lane Outlaw: It has long been a dream of mine to have my theme song, Optimus Rhyme's "My Piroshky," play each time I enter a room. Thankfully, this technology now exists.
  • NCR in NYC: Nerdcore Rising's two and only NYC showings are this Friday night. (Which is tonight, for those playing at home.). Come see the doc at the Tribeca Film Series, Friday, February 13th at 8:00 PM or 10:15 PM. Grab tickets here. And give Gaby my love.
  • Bits & Pieces: Shael Riley has confirmed a pair of dates in locations not NYC. The first, as recently announced by my boy Ant, is March 14th at A&G Ohio. The second is March 25th at Baba Budans in Cincinnati. Has anyone noticed that these are both in int eighty's neck of the woods? I'm just sayin'.
  • Neon Nightlife: Groundbreaking chiptune artist zircon has just released the Mass Media Constant EP via Protagonist Records. It's aggressive, electro-tinged drum and bass that Zen Albatross described as "full of breakbeat and win." Peep the hotness.
  • It All Makes Perfect Sense: My pal Glenn Case is kicking his February Album Writing Month project into high gear. Check out his tracks "Think it Over" and "Reasons" over at, and then feel really unproductive.
  • Fear the Beard: It appears as though the long-awaited live CD/DVD from Jonathan Coulton will soon be seeing the light of day. Boasting audio and footage from last February's San Francisco show, "a bit of documentary/interview type stuff," and an audio commentary track featuring JoCo, Paul and Storm, and Kristen Shirts, this one looks to be a must-buy.
  • The Setup: And for those fans who desperately need to know about Jonathan's recording setup, check out his recent interview with waferbaby. Why don't I have a Mellotron emulator plugin?!
  • Comic Book Rock: Whilst reading a Village Voice piece about New York Comic-Con, Church came across a reference to geek rockers Kirby Krackle. They write songs exclusively about comics and comic book culture, and their album cover was designed by my underground hero, Jim Mahfood. In short, they are the shit.
  • Come, All Ye Faithful: Matt just let me know that the lineup for the 2009 WRock EP of the Month Club is fucking phenomenal! Last year, the project raised $16,000 for First Book and the Harry Potter Alliance, and I can seriously see this year surpassing even that. With acts like Harry and the Potters, The Whomping Willows, The Moaning Myrtles, RiddleTM, and Peeved onboard, this is $60 well spent. Sign up here. Immediately.
  • WRock On: Also on the Wizard Rock front, Megan, from The Wizard Rockumentary, and Mark, of WRockers Marked As His Equal, have created a new project entitled From Beneath These Ashes. It's a 2-disk compilation with some 30 contributors split between light- (The Remus Lupins, Catchlove) and dark- (Draco and the Malfoys, House of Black) themed disks. All proceeds benefit Save the Children, and pre-orders can be made via the project's MySpace.
  • Bring Your a Game: The Ranger was nice enough to point out that Rhyme Torrents is putting together another quality-controlled compilation. Nerdy Rotten Scoundrels is a heavily hip-hop oriented comp with Ranger, DJ Snyder, Entity, Super Dragon X, D-Form and Poopy Hands at the helm. It's due to be released on March 1st, and with those cats involved you can be damned sure it'll be worth your time to check it out.
  • Get 'Em While They're Hot: Random is clearing out his cache of surplus beats. (No, not beets.) MCs are encouraged to visit Ran's Soundclick to peruse the selection.
  • That Hocus Pocus Focus Juice: Remember when we all needed that green? Needed that Surge? Antisoc sure does. In fact, he directed me to a Tribute to Fallen Sodas that references the classic YTCracker masterpiece "Surgerunner."
  • Extreme Close-up: Earlier this week, MC Lars was featured in G4's Freestyle 101. In addition to bringing the rhymes, he also talked a bit about nerdcore as a movement. Here's what transpired.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 61: Dare Not Speak Its Name

A certain oft-cited religious text tells us that love is patient, kind, and neither envious nor arrogant. What it doesn't say is that love is volatile, complicated, and, more than occasionally, messy.

That's why we have music.

Songs put a human face on what is a fairly spiritual concept. Sometimes that face is content. Sometimes it is incensed. And sometimes it is Patrick Swayze.

Each of these bases is covered herein.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 61: Dare Not Speak Its Name (hosting provided by Antisocial) Size: 49.5 MB Running Time: 54:06

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
There's a lot of love in this song.

Track 1: Shael Riley – "I'm Yours" / Say Anything... dialog
I actually heard Shael's cover long before I ever came across the Mraz source material. Therefore, I tend to associate it more with him than the original artist.

Z's 1st Interlude: "I wanna know what love is."
I want you to show me.

Track 2: Switchblade Kittens – "Valentine's Day Massacre"
The Kittens recently released their 3rd album, Rebel Princess. Check it out.

Track 3: Party Ben – "All the Single Ladies in Mayberry"
You probably won't see fat dudes on YouTube dancing to this version, but you should.

Track 4: The Grammar Club – "Girl Trouble"
Will The Grammar Club's follow-up release be on par with their debut EP. My sources say yes.

Track 5: Snoopy Come Home dialog / Zen Albatross "No More Oceans"
I really wanted to drop this Charlie Brown sound bite into the ep. Thankfully, it played well into this fantastic track from Zen Albatross.

Track 6: Schaffer the Darklord – "Nerd Lust (Peeved Remix) (live)"
Whether you made the trip to Orlando or not, I highly recommend picking up The Nerdapalooza Tapes. It manages to catch a ton of highlights from a weekend made entirely of win.

Track 7: MC Lars & YTCracker – "Nerdcore Players"
A true player does, indeed, always wrap it up.

Z's 2nd interlude: "For extra credit on this subject, check out YTCracker's 'Hardly Tell.'"
This episode's background music is nYgels' instrumental remix of the aforementioned song. You can grab it on his latest release.

Track 8: Jonathan Coulton – "Shop Vac"
There's just really no way to describe how amazing this song truly is. It's one of JoCo's best.

Track 9: DJ FOX – "Hypnotized Gypsy"
This one was included to help me get in my requisite level of smut for this edition.

Track 10: Metaforce – "Stepmom Fox"
This track also helped on that front.

Track 11: The Whomping Willows – "In Which Draco and Harry Secretly Want To Make Out"
Slash-fic Wizard Rock. I'm kind of surprised we haven't gotten a veritable avalanche of such songs.

Track 12: Ted and the Gooch – "Screw You"
This was a last-minute addition, and I think it caps the set well.

Z's final interlude: "Totally useless insights into the phenomenon of coupling."
I should really incorporate that phrase into my business cards.

Track 13: The Four Eyes – "Dirty Dancing Medley"
This was one of those songs I heard and I knew I had to save for the Valentine's ep. Love me some Four Eyes!

I don't for a minute think that this show will ever teach anybody anything about any subject, particularly love. But it's fun to operate under that pretense.

There's this basic human need to try and pass oneself off as an enlightened expert in matters well beyond one's grasp. I call this the Dr. Phil effect.

Still, while I can't teach you anything about life, love, or relationships, I genuinely think that music – that art – can. Maybe that makes me an idealist or a hopeless romantic, or simply just a run-of-the-mill dumbass, but it's a belief to which I fervently cling.

The romantic verse is a subtle language all its own through which information, especially uniquely personal information, can be disseminated to the rest of our tribe. So whether it's the metaphysical poets or The Grammar Club, it pays to take note. How else can we learn to appreciate each other's passions, or the raw power of each other's heartbreaks?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Next Level

The history of nerdcore hip-hop is interwoven with the history of the Rhyme Torrents community, and, while the former certainly precedes the latter, let it never be said that RT hasn't done more than its fair share to spread the nerdy gospel. By the same token, it's also been a conduit for beef, hurt feelings, and inexplicable schisms.

But, as Mrs. Garrett learned upon leaving Mr. Drummond's employ for Eastland, you take the good and the bad.

A constant source of static amongst RT contributors since the project's inception has had to do with quality, and, while this issue has been addressed more directly in recent compilations, it remains a bit of a sore spot. The question being: Is it fair to give a new artist rhyming into Audacity via a RadioShack mic a spot alongside the Fronts, Jesse Ds, and Optimuses (Optimi?) of the world?

I could certainly argue that covering the gamut of styles and skill levels inherent in nerdcore is the only way to truthfully portray the movement, but that is neither here nor there. The issue at hand is that many in the community desire more stringent quality control, and they've taken it upon themselves to provide such.

Masters of the Interweb is a nerd music compilation of a different color. Thugmasta J, Madhatter, nYgel, MC_Loki, and wholemilka have created this "quality regulated" project to specifically address the oft-cited issue. Their rallying cry? "Help make Nerdcore History!"

Peep the details:
If you want to submit to what could possibly be the greatest multi-artist Nerdcore Hip-Hop compilation ever assembled, submit your best new and unreleased tracks today!


February 26th - Official deadline for all tracks.

Quality and Subject Matter

*Vocals need to be clear and crisp and loud against the beat

*No drown-out bass, keep the tracks well balanced

*Bear in mind, complex beats don't always equal good beats

*Keep it nerdy

*File standards: mp3 format @ 320 kbs minimum

Where To Submit Tracks

All tracks must be submitted to this address:

Remember, these comps are quality controlled. When submitting, know that we are trying our best to constructively help you improve not only your tracks, but your music as a whole.

After your track is submitted, it will be privately judged by the committee members listed above. Within a reasonable time, you will then be advised whether your song has made the cut or not. If not, you will given some feedback on why not and allowed the opportunity to work out these issues with the song and re-submit. See dates above.
As you can see, the submission date is close at hand, but interested parties are still invited to step up to the proverbial plate (or a similar sports metaphor). I've also been informed by nYgel that the project is open to all nerdy artists, so if your flavor of musical geekery is a little to the left of nerdcore, you're still invited to participate.

This really seems like a worthwhile project, and I'd encourage anyone who's considering submitting a track to throw their hat in the ring (or another similar sports metaphor).

Let those collaborative juices flow!