Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Playing With Power

Ever since my boys MadHatter and Tha Mike started singing their praises last month, I've entertained a number of inquiries regarding my thoughts on Wichita-based synth-punkers POWERLIFTER. But since that ain't exactly the kind of thing I can properly explain in 140 characters, I've held my full comments until I had time to put together a proper blog post on the subject.

In case you missed the obvious, this is such a post.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band, let me first explain what POWERLIFTER is not. They aren't an 8-bit metal act (like Norrin Radd), nor are they a chip-rock outfit (a la I Fight Dragons). Hell, they aren't even a part of the intriguing but poorly named "Nintendocore" movement. In fact, though POWERLIFTER could both easily and accurately be showcased alongside the LSDJ-driven aggression of HORSE the Band, they actually share little more than superficial earmarks with the aforementioned.

Instead, think of them as an unholy amalgam of the hardcore sleaze of Fear and the industrial grind of 90s-era Ministry. Now add to that the performance energy of Andrew W.K., replace the guitars with DMGs and melt it all together under a strobe light.

It's an elaborate equation, but a fairly apt deconstruction of the trio's overall sound, if I do say so myself.

Since I've gone to such great lengths to describe the guys, it probably goes without saying that I am, as they say, buying what they're selling. And I am. What POWERLIFTER is doing with chip music certainly isn't stylistically unheard-of, but there's an underlying element of their specific approach that genuinely speaks to me.

You see, while the music of videogames itself is moving toward the concert hall, POWERLIFTER seem intent on dragging it back to the basement. Kicking and screaming if need be. Their music seems less about exploring the minimalist sonic palate of an 8-bit sound source, and more about shoving that sound source right down your fucking throat.

It's body music with poor impulse control. Party music that only gets louder after the cops show up. The overall sound is noticeably hostile, occasionally crude and a far cry from the universal appeal of a Super Mario medley.

In short, it's a gamble. It's a niche. But it's a good niche.

Since hearing is believing, I all but insist that you head on over to Scrub Club and cop POWERLIFTER's new freebie 1 ("Arctic Submarine"). And pay close attention to the opening track, "DOOM__GIVER." It's pretty indicative of the ride ahead, so if you don't feel that then simply back away from your iPod. Slowly.

If, however, you find yourself intrigued, continue on through the subsequent levels. But may I suggest drinking a beer and a shot and taking a Powerglove punch to the scrote before proceeding. You know, for the full effect.

12 comments:

killsaly said...

Sounds bad ass Z. Ill need to cop this when i get home from work...

Tha Mike said...

This review is right on Z. You continue to rule.

Kabuto said...

Agreed. Indeed. Woof!

Kabuto said...

WTF, My name should say Kabuto the Mastiff. Please do not confuse this beast with that doper beast.

Z. said...

I think you'll dig it, ks.

And right back actha, Tha Mike and KtM. I appreciate the love!

killsaly said...

I do dig it. Downloaded it last night and gave it one listen to. Not bad chiptune. I dont think I would like ti as much, however if it didnt have vocals, they really tie the whole thing together.

antisoc said...

I gotta make me some of this nintendocore music that creates such wanton undulation amongst the ladies.

I've always said my next project is probably going to be nerd-pop or nerd-metal, although with my current release schedule, it will probably be sometime late 2013.

antisoc said...

I'm sorry, I must have misread that - I want whatever sort of music this POWERLIFTER band is.

Z. said...

Honest mistake, Soc. Also, I'd love to hear your rock out some nerd metal!

Denika said...

I cannot get scrubclub's website load properly :(

Denika said...

Aack, it's a Chrome problem.

Z. said...

Oh, Chrome, why hast though forsaken me?