Friday, October 15, 2010

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 97: Famous Monsters

Oh, Halloween Crap-tacular – how I adore you!

These horror-themed episodes were my very first regular podcast feature, and much of what Radio Free Hipster is today was shaped by this diversion into the macabre. It led to both my regular use of background music and to my heavy reliance on film and television samples.

It's one of the reasons I so love my two-part October special edition. Well, that and the fact that Halloween is the geekiest of holidays!

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 97: Famous Monsters [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 42.6 MB Running Time: 46:28 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Not a lot of people know this, but Baddd Spellah is totally a werewolf. It's a common affliction in Canada.

Track 1: John Anealio – "Lonesome October Night"
I misspoke. The Roger Zelazny novel is actually entitled A Night in the Lonesome October.

Z's 1st interlude: "Or not."
I try my best not to use time-sensitive greetings while recording the podcast. Shit, I have no idea when you're gonna be hearing this thing!

Track 2: Ghetto Lee Lewis – "Panic at Camp Crystal"
To my knowledge, this is the only OverClocked ReMix of a track from the Friday the 13th video game soundtrack.

Track 3: Kabuto The Python and Dr. Awkward – "Thinkin' Lincoln"
This episode features two appearances by Dr. Awkward. This is the first.

Track 4: Uncle Monsterface – "[feed mysterious creature]"
"You've been eaten by a chinchilla."

Track 5: Cheekyboy – "Busta Ghosts"
From this year's Monster Mash-Up double album!

Track 6: Darkest of the Hillside Thickets – "Space Ghosts"
How did I not toss a SGC2C sample into this?

Track 7: Grover – "Smell Like a Monster" / Vernian Process – "Monster Dance"
Best Old Spice parody ever!

Track 8: The Aquabats – "The Thing on the Bass Amp"
This one's a special request from my friend Dave the Knave.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Let me pause for a moment here to big up the creator of the background music."
virt is the shit.

Track 9: Schaffer the Darklord – "The Invisible Man (feat. Shael Riley)"
The narrative in this song has the sort of twist ending that could only come from the mind of STD.

Track 10: Tetrastar – "Skullcrusher Mountain"
I think Jaylyn really sells the role of mad scientist storyteller. Better, even, than JoCo.

Track 11: Mikal kHill – "The Walking Dead"
I dig that Mikal's zombie tale ends with the narrator giving up. It's an interesting take on the undead apocalypse.

Track 12: The Bossfights – "Left4Dead"
And this is Doc Awk's second appearance.

Track 13: DJ TOPCAT – "Grave Puppets"
I've never been a big follower of horrorcore, but there was always something really enjoyable about hip-hop supergroup Gravediggaz.

Z's final interlude: "A track both near and dear to my heart."
There are few things more beautiful and precious in this life than a Replacements parody.

Track 14: Illbotz – "Here Comes the Predator"
It saddens me to think that Illbotz are just far enough away to prevent me from actually seeing them live. :(

Obviously, episode 98 will also be Halloween-themed, so feel free to hit me up with your ghoulish requests.

After that we head straight-on into November with an un-themed episode (#99) and my all-important 100th show! I'm still taking song requests and begging soliciting for listener voicemails to play in-ep. Please do your part to remind me that I'm not just talking to myself in this podcast.


I'll be your best friend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

20-Sided Rhymes

Dave the Knave is a genius!
If I had any credibility at all, the 20-Sided Rhymes project would've blown it to hell. You see, this compilation hasn't been in the works for weeks or months, but for years – two of them, in fact. And like most things, what it ultimately became was not what I had initially intended.

The original idea that I pitched to a close circle of friends shortly before Nerdapalooza 2008 involved little more than a tribute album to the classic role-playing game (a la Dungeons & Dragons). But as tabletop gaming proved a bit of a limiting concept for our friends in the video game music scene I soon expanded the scope to include the electronic games that were the direct successors of pen-and-paper RPGs.

Since I was projecting forward it only made sense to also look back, and so the piece was altered again to encompass not only the more modern and technological flavors of role-playing but also the literary roots that inspired this entire movement in interactive entertainment.

But somehow that still wasn't enough. So in the end, 20-Sided Rhymes, this clean and simple concept that I thought I had totally hashed out years ago, somehow became something bigger. Because at some point I realized that the iconic die role and the eternal plight of Hyrule's green-clad hero and even the simple nerdy pleasures of seeing The Lord of the Rings series competently brought to life on a big screen weren't in and of themselves what I was looking to capture.

These were, if you'll allow me the luxury of hyperbole, merely manifestations of the true spirit of nerdom.
The thing that excited me about this project was the same thing that excited me about D&D and comics and sci-fi/fantasy and all the other trappings of my geeky adolescence – it all hinged on the ever-so appealing concept of losing yourself in a character.

Call me crazy, but I believe that we as nerds game and read and write and create more or less for the same reason. These activities are all about stepping outside ourselves, they are about exploring other lives and worlds and personalities. Some would likely attribute this to a sense of innate self-loathing, to the worst kind of escapism, but I have learned that playing another part or latching on to the experiences of a fully rendered external character actually serves to help me gain a firmer grasp on what it really means to be me. It allows me to further quantify my own motivations and reexamine my ideas and my attitudes.

From Nate's lament of his healer's lack of physical prowess to ZeaLouS1's gangstalicious take on CCGs, and even to Marc's rejection of the D20 in favor of a little transgender theatrical cosplay, 20-Sided Rhymes represents the musical equivalent of the fantastical character-driven narrative. Some of said characters may not belong to these performers outright, but the stories are all theirs. And that's the important part.

So please enjoy this fine selection of rarities, remixes, re-releases and more than a couple of tasty originals with my compliments. If you enjoy this project, please spread the word and support the artists represented.
As usual, I offer this compilation to you free of charge, although this time around I do ask that you consider doing one of the following:

Should any or all of the songs presented herein remind you of that magical journey you once took in the purely metaphorical shoes of another character, consider treating yourself to a new game or film or novel. And feel free to lose yourself within the power of an enchanting narrative. It's healthy.

More to the point, you could also donate a couple of dollars to the Child's Play charity to afford a sick kid that same opportunity to escape the drudgery of real life for a few scant moments. It's what a Lawful Good character would do!
And now that I've said my piece, on with the show.
Download 20-Sided Rhymes in its entirety
All songs mixed/mastered by The HT at Studio 6, Port Orange, FL except where otherwise indicated.
Individual track downloads:

1 – Videogame Orchestra – "Conan the Barbarian – Riders of Taramis"

2 – Beefy – "20-Sided Rhymes (feat. Snake Eyes)"

3 – The Four Eyes – "Painting Guys"

4 – My Parents' Favorite Music – "Rambo MacGyver (feat. Snake Eyes)"

5 – Spheres of Chaos – "Random Encounter in the Cereal Aisle"

6 – Glenn Case – "D&D at the Public Library (feat. Adam!)"*

7 – ZeaLouS1 – "I Get Mana"

8 – Nate Trier – "The Healer's Song"

9 – MC Frontalot – "Hassle the Dorkening (8 Bit Weapon Remix)"**

10 – Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire – "The Great Marbulu" [EXPLICIT]***

11 – The Ranger – "Stat Sheet (Massive DMG remix by Zen Albatross)" [EXPLICIT] 

12 – Brian Mazzaferri (of I Fight Dragons) – "Offering"

13 – Sinister Six – "Roll the Dice" [EXPLICIT]

14 – Uncle Monsterface – "LOTROMG"

15 – Epic-1 – "Sun Gem"

16 – Marc with a C – "Don’t Know a Thing about Role Playing"

17 – Krondor Krew – "I Play D&D (The HT Remix)" [EXPLICIT]

18 - Superpowerless – "120 Seconds to Save the World"

19 – Elfonso – "Retirement from Hyrule"

20 – Dual Core – "Natural 20s"

* Mixed and mastered by Adam! and The HT
** Mixed and mastered by 8 Bit Weapon
*** Mixed and mastered by Shael Riley and Ty Guenley

Amazing cover design by the one and only Dave "The Knave" White:

Wicked-awesome front cover

Equally wonderful back cover

Tiny little thumbnail

And don't forget my ridiculously lengthy liner notes!