Friday, March 18, 2011

A Magic Missile on My Heart

Lately I've noticed a disproportionate number of female musicians crafting songs about D&D. Okay, admittedly in this context "disproportionate" means >1, but I'd still call that anomalous.

I'm certainly not saying that ladies don't game, nor am I saying that they don't make music. It's just that the overlap on that particular Venn diagram is fairly slim. Or at least it used to be. So here's to positive change!

This one comes to us from Portland duo The Doubleclicks, composed of sisters Angela and Aubrey. They're a self-described "nerd folk" duo heavily inspired by geek rock icons They Might Be Giants, anti-folker Kimya Dawson and nerd troubadour Jonathan Coulton – which certainly comes through in this particular track.

The video below is for the song "This Fantasy World" from their Beta Testing 1-2-3 EP, and it was animated by Brad Jonas. More importantly it is far superior anything Stephen Lynch has ever done. But then again, what isn't?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 107: Ballyhoo

It's funny the things you notice after a podcast has been completed. For example, the songs in this particular episode contain lots of derogatory terms. I mean lots.

I'm sort of famed – well, as famed as one can be with such a small but loyal listener base – for playing rather ribald content, but I actually considered scrapping this show when I realized how much potentially offensive language was used in the selected tracks. In the end, though, I realized both that most of these songs and artists aren't likely new to you and that you folks tend to have an incredibly thick skin when it comes to musical debauchery.

I mean, how many complaints did I get about mc chris's freaky Japanese maid fetish? Zero.

So I guess what I'm saying is enjoy this episode. In spite of yourself.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 107: Ballyhoo [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 43.6 MB Running Time: 47:40

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
The RFH theme song is 100% free of ethnic slurs and hate speech. Just so you know.

Track 1: Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire – "Skyway"
I decided to start the show with Shael's tuneful take on the Apples in Stereo. 

Z's 1st interlude: "Some of the featured tracks are really tight and, moreover, really mellow. While others harsh and loose."
As a result, this one won't likely be judged my best mix. 

Track 2: Fishy – "Game On (~Opening~ Demo)"
I am currently playing Pokemon Black. Obviously, it doesn't fuck with the age old formula, but I gotta admit the first game of the 5th Pokemon generation has some nice new bells and whistles.

Track 3: Mashup-Germany – "Sexy Bitch in Memphis"
The lyrics to "Sexy Bitch" boast some of the most unintentionally hilarious phrases uttered by modern man.

Track 4: The Grammar Club – "No Homo"
There's something about the ham-fisted way in which Beefy's narrator tries to reconnect with his old friend that makes this song more than the simple joke track it could easily be interpreted to be.

Track 5: Untested Methods – "Just Dance"
Untested Methods actually gave you a present for his birthday.

Track 6: The ThoughtCriminals – "Liquid Happy"
Damn – I shoulda saved this one for Drunken Podcasting Month!

Track 7: Voltaire – "The USS Make Shit Up"
Church sent this one my way, and I simply had to share it.

Track 8: A-1 – "Doug (Funnie Bitch)"
Another fine selection from A-1's After School Special.

Z's 2nd interlude: "It's a chiptune interpretation of 'Blood of Cuchulainn.'"
I humbly suggest that you celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a little Shamroctoroc.

Track 9: MagiTek – "Dynamite Kid"
The new Magitek is a lot of fun, but this instrumental in particular hit me just the right way. 

Track 10: mc chris – "IG-88 (killsaly remix)" / Star Wars dialog
killsaly recently followed up his Warrior Class mixtape with the cleverly titled Class Warrior.

Track 11: John Anealio – "Mr. Roboto"
Check out John's new freebie The Robot EP.

Track 12: Benjamin Bear – "Bloodclot"
I know by this time everyone else has already moved onto Ben's new album Tuesday, but there's something to be said for the rough and imprecise nature of Everything Left.

Track 13: Adam WarRock – "Hopeless Savages"
I am also still loving WarRocks' Oni Press Mixtape. My only complaint – needs more Blue Monday and Barry Ween!

Z's final interlude: "I think genres are, as a rule, often more for fans and the media than for the artists themselves."
I have been making a concerted effort not to sermonize of late, but little rants like this sometimes creep out before I can beat them back into submission. 

Track 14: Childish Gambino – "New Prince (Crown on the Ground)"
"Yeah, I stay fly like a pelican / Get new kicks everyday like an ottoman."

I also notice that this episode has some weird audio artifacts – some popping and crackling that I somehow missed in post-production. My voice sounds a tad rough too, although whether that's a legitimate sound issue or the lingering effects of flu is anyone's guess.

Still, if anybody wants to donate to the buy-me-a-new-computer-before-this-one's-totally-fucked fund, feel free.

The late March edition of Radio Free Hipster will likely not come until... well, April. Moreover, it will (hopefully) be my annual Podswap episode. I'm currently trying to convince one of my many talented podcasting peers to helm the show on April 1st, as is tradition.

I have no doubt that you'll be pleased with the outcome, whatever it is.

Monday, March 14, 2011

If We All Chip In

I am incredibly lucky in that A) I live in an area well outside that ravaged by the recent earthquake/tsunami activity and B) all of my friends and acquaintances in said area have been accounted for. Unfortunately, a lot of other folks can't say that.

In the wake of a disaster of this scale people often feel a marked urge to pitch in, to help out. Some would argue that this is a hollow, self-serving gesture to make the more fortunate among us feel better about ourselves, but I believe otherwise. Instead I see it as a function of human nature, both in our eternal struggle to try an exercise order in a chaotic world and as a perfect example of our innate goodwill to strangers fallen on the hardest of times.

There are lots of ways to give, and I'm not gonna tell you which one is the best way. But what I will say is that a number of artists from the global chiptune community are offering their support in the best way they know how, through music.

Pixelh8 and True Chip Till Death are presently pulling together a fundraiser album of chip music in the hopes of raising donations and awareness for the people of Japan – it is, after all, the spiritual and technological home of the chiptune. The crew isn’t collecting any money directly, but they are asking that you give generously in exchange for the album.

Let me state explicitly that, though it is shortly forthcoming, the compilation is not yet available, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to donate via your charity of choice (the Red Cross, for example.) Moreover, if you're a chiptuner interested in contributing to the project, you are likewise encouraged to holler at @pixelh8 and @TCTD for more details.

Thanks for you kind attention, and the very best of wishes to all involved.