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.