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.