Monday, December 17, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 146: Larry, Did You Know?

Season's greetings, faithful listeners. Apologies for delaying this particular episode, but things have been… complicated.

Unlike the Halloween eps, which I see as a treat, these Christmas shows always strike me as a bit of an obligation. But that being said, this one is probably the best I've done so far.

I hope you dig it, and I further hope it helps you through this most joyous season. Which always seems to come bundled with its own unique complications.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 146: Larry, Did You Know? [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 65.6 MB Running Time: 45:07 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
I probably should've looped a jingle bell sample behind this one, right? That's the poor man's holiday podcast theme.

Track 1: MisCast – "Christmas Don't Be Late"
Jay shared this cut with me early, and I marked it as this show's opener weeks ago.

Z's 1st interlude: "We say 'the holiday season' around here."
Because, y'know, of all the holidays

Track 2: Chaz Kangas – "A JCVD X-mas"
Nothing says the Christmas quite like Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Track 3: Doctor Octoroc – "Super Jingle Bros."
Doc's 8 Bit Jesus is a holiday classic.

Track 4: Uncle Monsterface – "Jingle Bells"
This one is a favorite of my four-year-old.

Track 5: TXL and dj BC – "Rock the Jingle Bells"
A holiday hip-hop track like no other.

Track 6: The Doubleclicks – "Happy Holidays, Too"
My thoughts are with all you poor bastards currently suffering through the hazards of air travel.

Track 7: DJ Flack – "O Chanukah Dubstep Bassline Remix"
Happy belated Chanukah, guys and gals!

Track 8: Paul and Storm – "Backward Santa"
P&S as TMBG.

Track 9: Helen Arney – "Christmas 1994"
In the Dark Ages before DVR.

Track 10: dj BC – "8-Bit Hip-Hop Christmas (Black EL vs Bit Shifter)"
Another inspired dj BC cut.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Let's keep the holiday mash-ups coming."
If you don't already have Santastic 7 in your collection your yuletide playlist is sorely lacking.

Track 11: lobsterdust – "Sister Christmas (Silent Night Ranger vs. The Temptations)"
Pretty much the best title ever.

Track 12: 8 Bit Weapon & ComputeHer – "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
'Tis the season for vocoder.

Track 13: Mega Ran – "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"
This one runs a little long, but it just felt right in the show.

Track 14: John Anealio – "Winter Day"
Probably one of my favorite Anealio tracks. Not as Christmassy as the rest of the EP, but so beautifully textured.

Z's final interlude: "At month's end for 2012's last hurrah."
I already have some quality tracks lined up for this one.

Track 15: Kirby Krackle – "Baby it's Cold Outside (Hoth Version) feat. The Doubleclicks"
Fact: The Doubleclicks make everything more awesomerer.

I ain't gonna lie to you, guys; I have likely never felt less like dispensing seasonal pleasantries in my life. But any way you slice it this is the season of giving, and the least I can do is give y'all some tunes to help you through your own holiday hassles.

With that in mind, I'd like to point out that the name of this episode – while continuing my tradition of bad jokes – references my good friend Datavortex. We've been homies online and off for a long time now, and he and the Missus recently sent me a gift that once again helped me level up my podcasting rig.

Happy Crimbo, Larry!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hoth Isn't Very Nice

"Baby It's Cold Outside," Frank Loesser's weirdly catchy, oddly date rape-y seasonal standard, has taken on new life in recent years. From Glee to Zooey Deschanel that song is everywhere you may-or-may-not want to be. (And I ain't here to judge.)

This week, however, Kirby Krackle—along with a helpful assist from The Doubleclicks—has transformed the track into a tale of two willing participants. Oh, and also they put it in the Star Wars universe.

I reckon that part's important too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

There and Back Again

While we're not exactly having sleepovers and braiding each other's hair—Though god knows I keep suggesting it!—Adam WarRock and I talk fairly regularly. Our communiqués generally concern what he's writing and how an individual recording (or broader project) is coming together. Or, y'know, clothes. But the primary topic of discussion often turns to where Adam is and where he's going.

And I mean that literally.

Eugene Ahn is, like Ricky Nelson before him, a travelin' man. Like Lisa Stansfield he has been around the world. (Though I reckon the very important distinction is that finding his baby was not the primary motivation.)

Adam WarRock has spent nearly two years on the road touring, recording, writing, creating, growing. But now he's back home in Memphis, and in true WarRock fashion he has turned that homecoming itself into a creative endeavor!


Alright, Euge, let's go back in time a few of months. We're standing in the parking lot of the Milestone, and you're telling me about a new project you're working on.

Ahhh, the Milestone. I can smell the bathrooms now. That was the NOFRIENDS tour, right?

Exactly. And you were telling me how this new project is your Mid-South EP. It's your tribute to Memphis, not to mention your exploration of the artist it's helped shape. Hip-hop is very geographic. Always has been, and it only got more so during your formative years of the 1990s. Why wait so long to rep your city?

Mostly, because I wasn't THERE. I grew up in Memphis, and moved back around early 2010 and then proceeded to tour fairly consistently for the next two years. I was just never home. My friends basically stopped knowing when I'd be home and when I'd be gone, so I'd just show up at the bar on Friday and it would be a surprise. I was pretty burnt out after a tour I did in May, and I ended up taking three-plus months off, just hanging out around the city, seeing friends, drinking, having fun. I got a chance to really fall back in love with the city, and know how much of its character became a part of the man I grew up to be. I started working on an EP after August or so, and it was pretty obvious I wanted to show this city some love.

City Beautiful was produced by Rob Viktum, and he brought a lot of bright, beautiful funk and soul to the beats. How did you two hook up?

He's friends with some of The Variants web series guys, and ended up DJing a live art event that I performed at. He kept spinning all this amazing old school and early 90s hip hop, all this indie stuff, and other than the live artists I was the only other music person there. I basically stood next to him and asked him to play random hip hop songs, and he obliged. He's had a pretty rich history with some of the bigger indie houses in the 2000s, but had been done with producing beats for a while. I basically egged him on to make me some beats, and he eventually obliged. The rest is history.

"THX" is your kick-off, and it makes for a really strong start. You name check everyone from Zulu Nation and the Cold Crush Brothers to MC Frontalot, and it almost sounds… cathartic in a way. Are you at peace with your position in contemporary hip-hop? Are you happy being a guy that sort of drifts between indie and nerdcore?

I don't know if it's cathartic, I think I tend to write chronologically when I talk about hip hop. So it just made sense to start the first song off this very "HIP HOP" album with a line about Bambaata, Cold Crush, and all those guys from pre-90's. Talk about Big Daddy Kane getting his slang and hooks stolen. And then kinda compare to how small and insular scenes nowadays have the same problems, though now it's not the Black Spades and Juice Crew, it's Internet message boards and social media and dumb things like that.

The Frontalot line was definitely an intentional shout-out to the fact that everyone seems to think I DON'T want to be nerdcore, or nerdy. I don't know why that is, and I have a healthy amount of respect for people who want to intentionally make nerdcore. I honestly just make music about whatever, without thinking about it. And if it's nerdy, so be it; if it's not, then that's fine with me too. But I love nerdcore. I love Frontalot and the nerdcore genre. People get way too bogged down in that distinction. I'm just happy to be making music, period. I just always want people to know that I know that nerdcore definitely gave me a name in the beginning. Hence the Front line, who most definitely still holds the crown in it. I mean, won't he always? He invented it.

"Rodin" almost hits a G-funk note there, musically...

Huh. I guess you're right, if there was a synth in there. I never thought of it like that.

Yeah, but lyrically you're still very much looking inward and trying to speak this universal truth about living your dreams. The lyric "for everyone who ever swallowed a dream" comes through as uniquely confessional; do you ever wonder what would have happened if you hadn't gotten stuck in a job you hated? To what extent does that experience still power your career?

I'm pretty sure if I was at all content with my job, I would've never gotten here, maybe never started making music again. So it's weird to think that the act of stifling the things you love makes you love them more; and then doing what you love for so long makes you love them less. That's probably a good way to put it. I'm probably over-thinking it. Which is a good way to describe "Rodin."

Each Adam WarRock release has a sort of musical mission statement, and the title track "City Beautiful" is definitely it this time around.

Well you know where that title's from? It's from the fact that Memphis's city beautification commission was the first one formed in the country, back in 1930. It was called, obviously, Memphis City Beautiful. It's a municipal history nerd in-joke.

It seems like a proper love letter to the city that made you. Did you find yourself re-exploring Memphis while you were recording this EP?

Maybe not while recording this EP, other than what happened organically just by having enough time home to have a proper social life. When we made the music video, however, we definitely did explore the holy hell out of the city.

You leaked "Get Smart" as an early single, and I can't say enough about how well you, Beefy, Jesse and Rob gel on that cut, but where did that core allusion come from? The extended reference to Maxwell Smart alongside a critique of lazy, dumbed-down culture was surprising effective.

Ha. It all kinda comes from the original idea me and Rob were going to do for an EP. I was going to name it "Noir," as a sort of shout out to Marvel Noir comics, but mostly because everything Rob was making sounded so…noir-y. When I heard the "Get Smart" beat, it reminded me of some kind of spy movie, and I just started goofing on the hook and that "rappers wanna get buck, I wanna get smart" line came out. Jesse was on it from the get-go, way back when we first were doing the Noir EP, and added that verse. We grabbed Beefy (who ironically got bumped from my Vampire Weekend EP, so I promised him a spot on the next EP) and he added that last verse months later. Those guys really murdered it. I pretty much put my verse down, and then got the hell out of the way.

You've got some solid guest spots on this one, but "CAPS LOCK" seems more like a full-on collaboration with YTCracker. Had you ever worked with Bryce before?

Me and Bryce have talked about doing some stuff, we have a song floating around out there that never materialized into something (hopefully will someday). Bryce is one of those core nerdcore guys that was nice to me from the start, and I always appreciated that about YT. I wanted him on the album for sure, and he sent that verse back in record time.

Okay, I'm still kinda scratching my head about "Oppenheimer."

Hahaha. Okay. Me too, to be completely honest.

How does a post-apocalyptic narrative fit in with the concept of Memphis and the evolution of Adam WarRock? Was it just a good excuse to drop in that sweet Ozymandias line? (Because I am totally alright with that.)

It's weird. I mostly knew I was going to do a track with Schaffer, and every time I start pitching ideas to Schaffer, they always seem to be about Armageddon or dying or something dark and ominous. He has that effect on me, I guess. I fell in love with the name "Oppenheimer," I mean it just LOOKS cool. And I pitched Schaffer and Tribe the idea of doing a song about being scientists that invented the atom bomb. Schaffer came back and asked if he could do it as a scientist who had no remorse, and directed Tribe to be the scientist who felt great regret. I view it as Schaffer being the devil on my shoulder and Tribe being the angel on my shoulder. Which in real life, is kind of accurate.

The EP starts to wind down with "Less Than 3."

Oh god. Here we go.

If "City Beautiful" is a love song to a place, this one is a love song in the traditional parlance. But at the same time it's... more self-aware, I think, than your average romantic fare. You acknowledge the transience of verse—strong feelings might change or fade, but the track itself will always stay the same, frozen in time in your catalog. How hard is it to pen a realistic love song? Isn't the very nature of art form sort of intentionally self-deceptive?

Not so much self-deceptive, but there's definitely an awareness of knowing that you're talking a big game for something that, at least by modern definitions, will most likely not last forever. I mean, isn't it over 50% of marriages end in divorce now? The idea of a one true love is something that we like to talk about, culturally, but none of us really believe it's real, even when you feel something that sort of approximates it, right? You could be totally in love with a girl (or guy) and in the moment think "I want to be with this person forever," but still in the back of your mind thinking "But that most likely won't happen." When you pen a love song, you're basically kinda throwing this thing out there that you know in a week, a month, or however long, it might be all completely untrue and kinda… painful to listen to. But you still gotta sell it as much as you can, or else there's no point in doing it.

Okay, what about that Alex Chilton bit? Are you a serious Big Star fan, or was that a meta-reference to The Replacements song of the same name, or was it simply a skillful namedrop of another of Memphis's native sons?

It's funny, I wasn't a huge Big Star fan until I LEFT Memphis sometime late in college or after it. I was willfully ignorant of anything that wasn't punk, hardcore, and hip hop, so Big Star was not really a concern of mine as a young kid full of piss and vinegar. And I think I found my way to Big Star BECAUSE of The Replacements song, "Alex Chilton," which is basically all about being in love with a song, which I guess has a nice cyclicality to the whole thing.

But really what that line is about: it's a reference to some other b-sides songs that I recorded before, lines written about a particular girl who loves Alex Chilton. Those songs never came out. So I scooped some lines out and put together a nice pastiche to end the track. Really only ONE person in the world will know where all of those are from. I told you it was a self-indulgent track.

Seeing as the work is so personal, it seems rather fitting that you close City Beautiful on a throw-back track to your seminal release. Did you give Rob any direction re: that "Silver Age" remix, or was that all him?

Nope. I basically sent him the a cappellas and said "Do whatever." He sent back the remix, and I asked him to scoop out the third verse spots so me and Tribe could try to do a new verse for fun. It was so boom bappy (I think we said it sounded like Jedi Mind Tricks, but in a good way), we wanted to add something really hip hoppy to it.

So where are we going from here, man? We've only got about three more weeks left in 2012. I reckon that gives you time for 8 or 9 more EPs and a full-length.

God, I don't know Z. I have a handful of ideas for mixtapes and EPs, and I've been working on my next album (tentatively titled Middle of Nowhere) for next spring or fall. But really, I wanted to take a long break from live shows, and mainly just kinda focus on making music for myself again. If that means making music about movies or TV shows, so be it, y'know? But whatever comes next, it'll be what I want to do. Hopefully everyone wants it too.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 145: Murder-Minded

I'm really not sure about this one, y'all. I mean, I sometimes have my doubts about individual shows and I personally really dig how this one shook out, but I gots that angst.

Still, I gotta admit it felt good to just throw the thing together, to just start dragging in tracks and slapping them in haphazard order. Maybe it's a little messier than usual—hell, maybe even a tad dissonant at times—but I hope you find something in there you really dig.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 145: Murder-Minded [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 62.3 MB Running Time: 43:20 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
I know you can't hate on this one.

Track 1: YTCracker – "Swygar"
Damn, Rygar had an amazing soundtrack!

Z's 1st interlude: "A rudderless ship."
My first and last solid metaphor of the show.

Track 2: Mikal kHill – "Damien (Morrowind to Cyradiil)"
kHill's buy product drops tomorrow, but I've already heard it. It is excellent, and you should pick it up.

Track 3: Busdriver – "Everyday Oblivion"
"Motherfucking penguin suit!"

Track 4: Phil Retrospector – "Killing Kids"
There were a lot of MGMT mash-ups making the rounds there for a while, but I just happened to find this one sitting on my desktop. No idea how/when it got there.

Track 5: Kirby Krackle – "One More Episode"
KK tend to have pretty solid videos, but this one is truly something special.

Track 6: Alestorm – "That Famous Ol' Spiced"
I started to play some Dethlehem here—I'm going to see those guys in Charlotte again next weekend—but went with pirate metal instead.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Ruining your high."
/glances at Larry

Track 7: Dj Moule – "303 is TNT"
I wanna say this particular bootleg is at least a couple of years old. Kinda surprised I've never played it!

Track 8: Abinox – "Absolute No Give Up"
I couldn't in good conscience not play a song called "Absolute No Give Up."

Track 9: rockleetist – "Laika (English)"
Did this one bring you down? It… it brought me down.

Track 10: Klopfenpop – "Prime Obsession"
Oh course then Klopf picked shit right back up again. With maths.

Z's final interlude: "Protracted crock-pot related analogies."

Track 11: Tribe One – "Midlife Crisis (ft. Adam WarRock)"
I sometimes worry that many don't yet realize what an amazing talent Niles truly is. I really wish he could tour more. And release that goddamn full-length!

Next up is my annual holiday episode, so feel free to hit me up with your yuletide picks. After that comes my year-ender; I've been squirreling away tracks for that one for months. And after that?

A whole new year, my friends. A whole new year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Like a Lever Flips

There have been a few genuinely triumphant—I'd go so far as to say defining—moments in nerd music over the past several years. From the well documented tentative steps of MC Frontalot's first tour to Capcom's licensing of Mega Ran to I Fight Dragons getting picked up by (and just recently released from) Atlantic Records, we've been on the front row as our guys have made a real splash on the national stage. You can talk about geek chic as a trend or nerd culture as a bonafide zeitgeist or even just chalk all these events up to happenstance, but I instead prefer to think of them as fitting rewards for the righteous, as talented people getting the breaks they deserve.

And the time has come to add another name to the list.

As was revealed yesterday, Kirby Krackle has secured a slot opening for patron saint of musical nerdery Weird Al in Alberta. Details are scarce at the moment, with Al's site only listing a handful of dates, but it’s a full-on, full band arena gig with a huge name, and I couldn't be prouder of or happier for Kyle and Jim and the whole crew!

So why not take a moment to enjoy KK's latest single, "One More Episode," and its amazing video? Then take another to say congrats to Seattle's foremost force in geek rock.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Rappin' Steve Jobs

This morning it is my privilege to share with you the first single from Adam WarRock's forthcoming EP City Beautiful. The project itself won't drop until December 4th, but Euge chose to leak the track "Get Smart" today as sort of an early treat for fans. And also I reckon to give you a break from all that intensive Cyber Monday shoppin'. 

It's a phenomenal selection featuring frequent musical allies Jesse Dangerously and Beefy, and the stellar production comes compliments of Rob Viktum. Oh, and the ongoing lyrical allegory concerning the dumbing down of our music and culture? That shit is straight Don Adams.

So put your shoe-phone on silent, and check out the new hotness.

From the forthcoming EP, City Beautiful. December 4, 2012 - available digitally at
After touring consistently for the past two years, Adam WarRock has returned home to Memphis, TN and recorded a new 8-track EP with Dallas-based producer/DJ Rob Viktum (Definitive Jux, Rhymesayers). A more pensive, introspective and nostalgic album beautifully complemented by Rob Viktum's soulful style, it celebrates a break from the road, a look towards the future, and loving the city you call home.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Spared Every Expense

I don't really get that into Black Friday. I mean, let's be honest here; I don't exactly require a lot of stuff. I've got mad stuff already, y'all. And just as importantly I'm a big fan of sleep. I cannot say enough nice things about sleeping.

Online sales, however, are the shit. We're all sorta sitting at monitors all day anyway, so that's the very definition of convenience. As such, here's a quick rundown of where I'll be dropping a few duckets throughout the day.

I'm sort of obsessed with the Adventure Time and Transformers Mimobots. Today those products and pretty much everything else Mimoco sells are 20% with the code BloohFriday20. And of course there are also further discounts on their dedicated sale page.

ThinkGeek's Black Friday deals are a little thin this year, but the $5 blinking D20 and $10 Star Wars family decals are solid buys.

Let me be clear; I only ever buy Apps from the official Apple store. My music all comes from Amazon  when I want to be thrifty and Bandcamp when I want to make sure the artist gets his/her fair cut of the sale. Even when I do buy Apps I'm hardwired not to pay full price. Today's game deals include Jumping Finn Turbo – by current fave time-waster – and a volumes 1-7 of the Gamebook Adventures choose-your-own-adventure-style RPG stories for 99 cents apiece. Get 'em!

MC Lars
Right now everything at Lars's online merch shop is 50% off. That means $10 tees, $6 CDs and $17.50 hoodies. Now is the time to stock up.

mc chris
mc is doing his regular post-Thanksgiving sale as well, but currently the actual Indiemerch page itself seems to be fucked up. You can browse for merchandise manually, though, where you'll find shirts for $5-$10 and hoodies for $20.

Mikal kHill
This year my homey kHill is throwing his hat in the savings ring as well. He's offering 25% off on a bunch of digital downloads (including the pre-order for his upcoming EP buy product.) and CD/t-shirt bundles. He's also throwing in free CDs and comps with different purchases. Check out his blog for the discount code and for the pledge such deals entail.

Last but not least, Amazon has pretty much everything else you could possibly be looking for. The first season of Adventure Time is under $20 – Have I mentioned I love that show? – and 3DS launch title Steel Diver is appropriately priced at $5. Plus when you buy shit from there using my links I get a little cash on the back end. Which is how I got all that mad stuff I was talking about.


Rusty Shackles
I totally didn't realize that my brother Rusty Shackles also had a Black Friday sale currently in progress! If you read this blog you've obviously seen this guy's amazing work on the old style concert posters of MC Frontalot, Adam WarRock and Mega Ran. Peep Rusty's blog for details and directions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fight the Dawn

Yesterday Kyle hit me up with the latest Kirby Krackle single "One More Episode." Only, y'know, I can't share. Attorney-client privilege or some such.

I can, however, point you toward this here teaser video. I'm… I'm pointing down on account of that's where I embedded the video, but you can't see that on account of this is typing.

Give it a listen, and then keep a sharp eye on KK's Bandcamp page for the proper release, which will be occurring at month's end.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 144: Dork Harvest

With less than a week until Thanksgiving, one thing has become abundantly clear: 2012 is about tapped out. We've drained all the juice from this one, folks, and all that's left is to dispose of the husk and tap another.

But we can't do that until we settle the dirty business that is my final four podcasts. Onward!

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 144: Dork Harvest [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 64.2 MB Running Time: 44:25 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Let us all give thanks for my kick-ass theme song..

Track 1: Jesse Dangerously – "Pumpkin Spice Swag (cold and flu season)"
I believe Jesse is using what is commonly referred to as the "Pumpkin Spice Defense."

Z's 1st interlude: "That autumnal spirit."
You know the one.

Track 2: Mike Phirman – "Thanksgiving Dinner"
I've never actually had a family member come out during Thanksgiving dinner, though apparently that is a thing.

Track 3: Optimus Rhyme – "Anxiety"
It's been a while since we brought the Jackson 5 back.

Track 4: Chaz Kangas – "Check My Bags"
Nice Kaufman reference, Chaz!

Track 5: DJ Le Clown – "Stand on the Sledgehammer"
DJ Le Clown dedicated this particular track to the wrongfully imprisoned punkers of Pussy Riot.

Track 6: Schaffer the Darklord – "Cocaine"
Mark just had a birthday. I hope you bought him something nice.

Track 7: The Doubleclicks – "Imposter"
It's the saddest space robot song of ever.

Track 8: Mikal kHillVince Vandal – "Watch That (featuring MC Stealth aka Blak Angel)"
I still haven't played Retro City Rampage.

Z's 2nd interlude: "No, not really."
That alter call was totally fake.

Track 9: The Four Eyes – "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show"
From the Secret Center Sessions Vol.3.

Track 10: Adam WarRock – "SLVATION (f/ Tribe One)"
Eugene manages to include elements of both Rancid and the Ramones in a song backed up by… Vampire Weekend.

Track 11: 8 Bit Weapon – "Miami Dub Bounce"
The new 8 Bit Weapon Collection is massive.

Track 12: The Efts – "We Can Do Anything"
"We are The Efts / We have several life phases / We can put on different faces."

Track 13: AR Classic Records – "Game of Thrones"
Been sitting on this one for a minute.

Z's final interlude: "A tribute to FX comedy The League."
Which you should definitely check out!

Track 14: Beefy – "Taco Corp"
3 Penis Wine.

One down and three to go!

My December episodes will follow the prescribed themes – all inflexible and shit. The next 'cast, however, is wide the fuck open. Hit me with your song suggestions if you feel so led.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

By the Berk

So I'll admit it; I kind of ignored Hard n' Phirm for a while. I mean, Horses and Grasses gave us "Pi" and "Rodeohead," but that was the better part of a decade ago. And yeah, I know they're back and bigger than ever thanks to the Nerdist thing, but I don't actually follow that particularly closely either.

(Yes, invalidate my nerd card if you must!)

Last month, however, I interviewed Mike Phirman for my GeekDad podcast, and I found him to be a warm, funny, genuinely interesting guy. So when he hinted that a new HnP single was on the way I made a mental note.

Earlier this week the duo dropped "Gersberms (Yer Gervin Mah)" which is pretty much perfect. It combines three of my favorite things – 90s-style R&B, the Swedish Chef and Melissa Rauch – with the only image macro series that I actually still find consistently amusing.

I'll, uh, I'll just leave this right here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Diabolical Neck-Slap

So my homie Eugene has a new EP due out early next month. I've been following its development pretty closely, and I have to say it seems like the next evolutionary step for Adam WarRock; his shit's been getting more personal and simultaneously broadening in overall appeal for a while now, and this one definitely  follows suit.

He and I have worked out a rather unique concept for a hybrid review/interview feature that I think you're gonna dig. It too will drop on or around December 4th, but in the meantime check out this promo video.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The World Ends with Her

Okay, so admittedly, my mind's been on that other site I write for this morning, but that doesn't mean I don't have another heaping helping of musical goodness for you. Remember that forthcoming album from J-rocker/nerdcore hip-hopper/constant cosplayer Rai? That one that's been "coming soon" for, like, ever?

Yeah, well it's still coming soon. But I did get to hear an early version of one of the bonus remixes, and it's pretty fuckin' grand.

If you'd like to hear some new noise from Rai and help her out, peep her piece for Square-Enix's The World Ends with You vocal auditions. Rai's already made it to the second round; if she can make it into the third she'll participate in a live concert with people like soundtrack composer Ishimoto Takeharu, and if she wins she'll actually be featured in the new sequel!

The winners of this round will be partially determined by user votes, so head over to the contest's official Facebook to let 'em know you're on team Raika by voting for entry #5. You can also holler at the project's musical coordinators directly via Twitter: @sem_sep and @ishimoto_t.

The original TWEWY was a phenomenal DS title, and I'm really excited by the prospect of returning to its surreal version of Shibuya. Even more so given that I now have a chance to know someone on the soundtrack!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Irredeemable, Incorruptible, Invincible

Every election year we have yahoos from both sides of the aisle proclaim that if their dude doesn't win they are totally gonna move to Canada. Only the Great White North is having none of that shit -- the last thing that great nation wants is a bunch of surly expats!

And that's a good thing too, 'cause if they weren't so goddamn picky we'd probably all live there. I mean, who wouldn't wanna be Canadian? They've got progressive views on marriage, are chill enough to have two official languages and they freely share their single greatest natural resource with the rest of the world.

Of course I'm talking about the goddamn Wordburglar. That man likes his drawings with words.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Don't Blame Me

Election season is officially over, so we've got that going for us. But whether you voted for that one guy or the other guy the simple truth is you did it wrong. Turns out Death*Star DJ extraordinaire and registered Seattle hell-raiser Bill Beats also had his hat in the ring for the highest office in the land.

You can familiarize yourself with his party platform via his recent release Bill Beats for President Vol. 1. It comes in both the regular flavor and a deluxe edition. Y'know, for you one-percenters.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Back from the Dead

At long last I have returned from my extended stay in the darkest recesses of Mouse Country.

Okay, I kid; it wasn't that bad. Spending my Halloween at Walt Disney World was actually a solid choice because A) it's the off-season and B) mu'fuckin' Haunted Mansion, y'all! I had a great time and the wife had a great time and the children had a great time and we somehow managed to finagle a free meal plan, which means we got to eat on property without getting totally hosed by those outrageous prices. So, yeah, it was a rare win for Team Z.

But enough about that shit. The only thing weirder than being totally sheltered within the walls of "The Most Magical Place on Earth" during one of the biggest storms the East Coast has seen in recent memory was not writing for so long. I mean, aside from the random tweet I was pretty much silent for an entire week.

Yet that didn't mean the world stopped turning. There was a ton of musical news in my absence, and, while I won't endeavor to backtrack and cover it all now, I need to at least point you toward one notable Halloween-themed release that I managed to miss in my pre-vacation coverage.

It's the latest from my friend Mikal kHill, but it's not just his general brand of bleak hip-hop. The Walking Dead is part rap concept album, part audio novel and all southern zombie apocalypse. It has also been a labor of love from kHill and the various other members of the slowly widening NOFRIENDS circle over the past several months. A family affair, if you will.

Zombie epics are currently a dime a dozen and a zombie themed album isn't exactly unheard of either, but the difference is all in the way that Mikal presents the story. There's no camp here, there's no B-movie breaking of the (lyrical) fourth wall. It's a first-person narrative of desperation and hopelessness. It's a tale without heroes, absolutely devoid of noble Mary Sues. I won't spoil the ride for you, as it’s the storytelling itself that really makes it something special, but suffice it to say that the door message from the television show of the same name likely sums up the ultimate fate of most of the project's characters.

Speaking of, you'll hear from many of your favorites on The Walking Dead. kHill's longtime partner in rhyme Sulfur is there, as are Adam WarRock and Jesse Dangerously. Tribe One lends his voice on one of my favorite tracks, and you'll hear shades of other artists like cecilnick, DJ Empirical and Stemage is you listen closely. Hell, even I make a brief cameo – which, I'll state here explicitly, isn't the kind of thing I'd usually do. But kHill's my brother, and I realized after revisiting the album's roots that I wasn't just signing up for some schlocky monster movie parody here.

The Walking Dead is a tragedy told in 12 tracks. It's… well, I started to write "truly fucked up there," but I think that's an oversimplification. Instead I'll go with "uncomfortably personal," "oddly revealing" and "genuinely disturbing."

Yeah, those all work better.

It's available for a mere 10 bucks right now via Bandcamp. Or you can stream it for free, which you should definitely do anyway.

Halloween has come and gone and zombies have all but become passé. But human drama and living (or, y'know, not) with the repercussions of tough decisions? That shit is always relevant.

And Mikal kHill? He's like the Randy Newman of hip-hop horror.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 143: Franco-American Horror Story

Oh, second half of my annual Halloween Crap-tacular, how I love you! How I loathe you! I'm all conflicted and shit.

It's a bittersweet event, y'all. It means that the Halloween season is nearly behind us. But, of course, Halloween itself is almost here. Wrap you heads around that.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 143: Franco-American Horror Story [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 68.5 MB Running Time: 47:37 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
Beefy mentioned via Twitter that he was dressing like Soos for Halloween. Dude better not be joking.

Track 1: Wordburglar – "Fred Broca"
It's hard to pick a favorite 3rdburglar track, but this one definitely makes the short list.

Z's 1st interlude: "Plastic surgery and sleeper agents."
Yeah, it's some pretty twisted shit.

Track 2: CW2K3 – "December 4th (Castlevania III)"
After the nuclear apocalypse the only things to survive will be cockroaches and Jay-Z remixes. I've done the math.

Track 3: Swamp Thing – "Creature Feature"
This album just dropped today. Go get it.

Track 4: Gravity Falls dialog / Superpowerless – "Ghost"
What you know about Halloween Tricksters?

Track 5: Maximalism – "A Beast Approaches"
When Brad Podray isn't spitting rhymes about the briny blue he's making music for the action movie that is your life.

Track 6: VOICEDUDE – "Goblin Style"
Always Alice Cooper. Always.

Track 7: More Gravity Falls dialog / Nuclear Bubble Wrap – "In Space No One Can Hear You Scream"
There's a bit of "Space Oddity" in this one.

Z's 2nd interlude: "My very first Halloween podcast."
Halloween Crap-tacular Prime!

Track 8: DJ BC – "Haunted House of Mash-Up"
I'll play anything that samples "Werewolves of London" save that fuckin' Kid Rock song.

Track 9: Nocturnal Symphony – "Trioxin Theme"
So this guy's office is right next to mine. As you can imagine horror movies and metal are our go-to water cooler topics.

Track 10: Zombie Lou – "Brains on Fire"

Track 11: VOICEDUDE – "Nightmare Maybe"
Not gonna lie; this one's a work of diabolical genius.

Track 12: Sticks Downey – "976-EVIL"
Check out SD's previous Halloween tracks too.

Z's final interlude: "The bigger scares of Election Day."
Because politics is terrifying.

Track 13: Adam WarRock – "I Believe in Harvey Dent"
One of Eugene's best. And that's saying something.

And with that, kids, I'm gone. I'm on vacation for the next week, so don't expect to hear anything from me. At least around here.

There will, however, probably be some noise on Twitter. And some pics of our Halloween shenanigans. So many shenanigans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Nightmares

This year's selection of Halloween-themed releases boasts some of the best (and most eclectic) to date! Obviously you'll be hearing more from each in the second edition of my annual Halloween Crap-tacular, but, in keeping with the dark prophecies traditions of old, I shall also break them down for you here in the prescribed manner.

The Monster Mash-Up collection is always at the top of my list of seasonal projects, and The Curse of Monster Mash-Up is no exception. This two volume set hits numerous diabolical highs with cuts like Thriftshop XL's gritty remix of "Bring the Noise" and Socolfn dubstep-y "Zombie Planet." It includes all the usual suspects – VOICEDUDE's "SCARY CUDA" is oddly satisfying, as is fettdog's "Texas Whip It" – but newer names like brutal redneck ("lily monster aquaviva") also manage to stand out among the album's best. Still, likely the finest selections come from stalwarts DJ BC (the project's original curator who'll again be taking the reins for next year's comp) and current coordinator cheekyboy.

It turns out the cheeky has instead turned his attention to creating original music, and another appropriate release, Sam Haynes's Halloween Carnival, comes courtesy of his evil alter ego. Created as an album that's both podsafe and specifically engineered to serve as ambient music for holiday haunted attractions, Halloween Carnival runs the gamut from the delicate "Creeper" to the dynamic "Haunted House" to the aggro disco of "Something Wicked." Of all this year's releases, this one was certainly the most surprising as well as the most cohesive. Definitely pick it up if you're looking to inject a little atmospheric creepiness into your Halloween festivities.

For those in the market for more rock-inspired instrumentals, I suggest the Something in the Dark EP by one man band Nocturnal Symphony. The light keys of intro "Cellar Dweller" quickly give way to the massive bass and smart leads of what is easily my favorite take on "Trioxin Theme" from Return of the Living Dead, and it only gets crazier from there. Paying tribute to beloved properties like Evil Dead while simultaneously exploring wholly original soundscapes, it's a satisfying slice of symphonic metal that's available for whatever you choose to pay. But maybe you should hit this guy with a couple of bucks for his trouble; David, the man behind the mask, is actually my officemate, and I know he's not exactly making mad bank at his day job.

Surely the biggest arrival on the hip-hop front is the debut full-length from Canadian trio Swamp Thing. Consisting of rapper/producer extraordinaire Timbuktu, Savilion (whose guest work on the latest Toolshed release was nothing short of exquisite) and Chokeules (equally renowned for both his gravelly spit and what is likely the world's greatest Twitter feed), the crew crawled out of the swamp earlier this year with the slasher film-themed Grindhouse EP. Standouts "123" and "All About the Brains" from that release return for the late-night picture show that is Creature Feature, and they're joined by 11 more about monsters ("B-Movie Monster"), time travel ("Time Machine Massacre") and just how goddamn dope Swamp Thing truly is. Oh and also weed ("Reefer Vendetta"). This one's a Hand'Solo joint, which means two things; first and foremost there's not a single stinker among its 13 selections, and secondly there are guests galore. Its closer, which also happens to be the title track, is a five minute, stripped-down posse cut with Modulok, Jesse D, Burg, Ghettosocks, More or Les, Ambition and my pal Mikal kHill all pitching in to rep their favorite movie villains. The bad news is this one won't be available until Friday the 26th, while the good is you can pre-order now. Which you should.

And though it's not a Halloween release by any stretch of the imagination, Random's Language Arts Volume 2 does include a relevant track that, not-so coincidentally, was just released as a new video single. So I will leave you to enjoy the pre-pubescent slaughter of "Zombie High."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Join Together (With the Band)

When I first started writing about music here at Hipster, please! one of my main goals was to enable some cross-pollination between disparate communities. I wanted to see the geeky rock crews working with the nerdcore guys. I wanted the VGM acts breaking bread with the bootleggers.

Now obviously this happened, but I'm not foolish enough to think I deserve any of the credit. It's a natural phenomenon, one that simply precipitates as a result of familiarity, and there are a vast and growing number of sites, podcasts and events that exist with that same goal in mind.

Of course I still don't mind helping it along when I can.

This brings me to the newest project from electronic musician/composer/producer r_garcia. If the name sounds familiar that's because it should. Based in nearby Atlanta, Randy is the head of Nophi Recordings, as well as their annual Nophest Music Festival. Oh, and he's also the cat behind that phenomenal Beasties remix on my recent 90s throwback compilation.

Earlier this week he issued a "challenge," which–let's be honest–is really more of an invitation.
I am releasing an EP called No Holds Bard on November 15. The EP will consist of some new instrumental/chiptune tracks + a cover of a long-lost Nerd Parade song (how hipster is that?) + a remix of a song by a really great artist I know. In addition to that, I’d like to include 4 "b-sides" from My most recent album, Resurgens.
The thing is… I’d like to collaborate with some interesting and talented vocalists/instrumentalists on those b-sides. So, my informal challenge to you is: Download the song(s). Write, and record vocals or complimentary instrumentation, and submit them to me via Soundcloud, Email link, Facebook, Twitter, or what have you. 
The "winners" will be included on the EP, expanding it out to a full length! BTW, this EP will be released for FREE in creative commons. I will press a number of Limited edition CD’s as well, and You’ll be given some to sell, give away, contemplate, etc…
Check out his official site for four instrumentals that, in true r_garcia style, hit everything from surf punk to chiptunes, and for contact information. If anyone has got some half-cooked lyrical/melody concepts lying around begging to be fleshed out or is just looking to collaborate with another cool and talented artist, there's never been a better time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free Fallin'

Earlier this week I watched an Austrian fall to Earth. And it wasn't even part of another horrible Schwarzenegger vehicle!

I'm not sure what I expected from a feat of derring-do sponsored by a company that slings toxic sugar-water, but when I realized I had easy access to real-time coverage I sort of had to tune in. Okay, I'll admit that I initially though Colonel Joe Kittinger was the wacky uncle of daredevil Felix Baumgartner and I was actually watching a cleverly disguised parody of the real jump, but–damn, y'all–when he took that step out into nothingness? It was pretty epic.

Sure, it wasn't exactly "from the edge of space," but it was no less an impressive moment in applied science and soft drink capitalism. It even inspired my buddy John Anealio to pen a song commemorating this most stirring spectacle.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 142: Haunted Garage Sale

I've got the spirit, friends. I already have that Halloween spirit. And I'm inclined to share. By way of, y'know, a podcast or two.

We have a lotta ghosts this time around, with some zombies and assorted demons for added flavor. Oh, and also samples from cartoons. 'Cause I am a grown-ass man!

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 142: Haunted Garage Sale [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 73.4 MB Running Time: 50:17 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
They got them treats for y'all.

Track 1: Gravity Falls dialog / Swamp Thing – "All About the Brains"
Mad excited about new stuff from the Swamp.

Z's 1st interlude: "The geeky apparitions of my Halloween Crap-tacular."
They'll haunt your ear-holes!

Track 2: The Grammar Club – "Super Girls 'n Ghosts" / Gravity Falls dialog
Apparently Beefy got bamboozled. Ghost girls'll do that.

Track 3: The Crimson Ghosts – "Hybrid Moments"
Yep, cribbed this one from Chris Haley's Halloween mix.

Track 4: cheekyboy – "Diary of a Madman"
Never: that is when I'll get tired of Gravediggaz remixes.

Track 5: Kavinsky – "Ghost Transistor"
Really thought this creepy piece of retro electronica fit in nicely.

Track 6: The Aeronauts – "Ghost's Song"
For all you steampunks out there.

Track 7: South Park dialog / A-1 – "Goosebumps"
Yet another cut from After School Special.

Track 8: Sam Haynes – "Phantom Creep"
Much love and respect to cheekyboy/Sam Haynes, without which these annual Halloween eps likely wouldn't exist.

Z's 2nd interlude: "More Gravity Falls dialog."
Expect a lot of clips from that show to continue to crop up in this podcast.

Track 9: lukemounlasolomon – "Gravity Falls Harry Potter Music Box Mashup"
Just stumbled across this one and totally loved it.

Track 10: Armcannon – "Bhost Gusters"
This is probably one of the single greatest cover songs of all time. It's Armcannon at their most Armcannonist.

Track 11: Psycosis – "Giggle Ghosties Inc."
I feel like I've been neglecting the bronies of late. So here you go, folks!

Track 12: South Park dialog / Sci-Fried and Marc with a C – "Cannibal"
From the epic crossover event known as Co-op Mode.

Track 13: John Anealio – "Undead Love Song (Acoustic)"
John Anealio singing about zombie cocks always makes me giggle.

Track 14: Death*Star – "The Devils You Know"
Such a hard joint from three of Seattle's finest.

Z's final interlude: "Shake what your monster mama gave you."
Which was this episode's alternate title.

Track 15: dj BC – "Ghost Wobble"
Have I mentioned you positively have to cop The Curse of Monster Mash-Up?

One down and one to go. That means if you have Halloween-y requests, get 'em to me with the quickness.

Come to think of it, the post-Halloween/pre-Christmas show playlists are starting to fill up as well, so feel free to hit me with non-spooky song suggestions as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Never Fear, Have a Beer

Depending on the granularity of your individual pop culture intake – not to mention your satellite/cable provider – you may or may not be aware of FX's fantasy football-centered sitcom The League. Yes, I know you don't much care for the sportsballs, but bear with me.

Two of my favorite people on these here internets, graphic arts god Rusty Shackles and nerdcore heavyweight Beefy, have just released a freebie EP based on their shared love for the series. It celebrates the sights, sounds and smells of a show that's forth season just so happens to premiere tonight.

But in the meantime get day drunk and snag a copy of Bowling For Shiva: A Tribute To The League.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Adam YachtRock

My go-to gag regarding Adam WarRock simply concerns how goddamn prolific he is; he's an artist that I fear seeing live, because by the time he makes it to the stage he's already replaced all the joints I know with brand new material.

And this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Hot on the heels of his hip-hop retelling of the opera La Boheme – itself a 4 track EP produced by your friend and mine Mikal kHill for Opera Memphis – Euge has just dropped yet another freebie. This one reunites WarRock with Vince Vandal for a fun and infectious collection of rap-pop. It's based on the music of frat rockers Vampire Weekend, and, to paraphrase the piece's mission statement, it's meant to be a bit of a musical pick-me-up for the artist himself as well as anyone who's currently struggling with… life. (God knows it's helped me through a rough week.)

So pop them polos, kids. Shit's about to get preppy.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sci-Fi Superhero

I sometimes struggle with how to categorize artists. For example, while Kirby Krackle is straight-ahead nerd rock and Dethlehem plays fantasy metal, John Anealio is more a… guitar geek troubadour?

The words, sometimes they fail me.

John and I recently made some time to talk about his unique style and his own circuitous musical evolution. Further, amid all this, he also hit me with his official bio. It reads thusly:

John Anealio performs geeky anthems for writers, librarians, lovers of Sci-Fi, Best Buy customers & robots. His music sounds like John Mayer, Weezer & James Taylor playing Dungeons & Dragons together on their iPhones. Check out his music at
I reckon that about sums him up. Read on to discover the hidden mysteries of hair metal and John's own secret identity!


John, despite the acoustic singer-songwriter slant of much of your contemporary output, you actually come from a metal background. Was that the style of music that originally inspired you to create, or was it something you discovered after picking up the guitar?

Definitely. Being exposed to the playing of (hair) metal guitarists like Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Vito Bratta (White Lion) and Reb Beach (Winger) inspired me to play. I was determined to compose and perform those types of fleet fingered solos. Looking back, it's pretty easy to see the connection between metal guitar and geek culture. Thumb through an old guitar magazine from the '80s/early '90s and check out those photos. Those guitarists look like Sci-Fi Superheroes! Long hair, spandex and bright, multi-colored guitars that looked like laser rifles. Musically, the distorted, finger tapped solos sounded like the soundtrack from an '80s video game.

Stylistically, you seem to be drawing from a number of places, so what about lingering influences? Are you still steeped in hair metal? What about lighter fare?

I've always had a voracious musical appetite and I've always been curious about music history. I always wanted to find out who influenced the musicians that I admired. My favorite metal guitarists would usually cite Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin's Jimmy Page would talk about his love of the blues, folk and world music. If you have an inquisitive mind, it's pretty easy to get lost in all of these different styles of music and over the course of my musical life, I have.

Eventually, my love of metal led to instrumental guitarists like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, which led to prog rock. As I became more interested in singing and songwriting, I got into The Beatles and Crowded House. When I started playing the coffee shops, I started to explore folk and acoustic blues. All of these influences impact my creative process in some way. It often depends on my mood or what seems appropriate for a particular song or piece of music.

Your latest release, Laser Zombie Robot Love, has an fascinating title with an even more interesting story behind it. How did you arrive at this unique name?

I co-host The Functional Nerds Podcast. Each week we interview a different sci-fi or fantasy author. Through the podcast, my music and my attendance at conventions, I've gotten to be pretty good friends with quite a few of these folks. I didn't have a set title for the album yet, so I thought it would be fun if some of my author friends submitted title suggestions by looking at the artwork and the track list. I my Twitter/Facebook friends and people on my mailing list to vote for their favorite. Chris F. Holm, Mur Lafferty, Paul S. Kemp, Robert Jackson Bennett, Myke Cole, Matt Forbeck and Karin Lowachee came up with excellent titles, but Chuck Wendig's Laser Zombie Robot Love pulled out the victory.

Speaking of, what's coming down the pike for The Functional Nerds?

More of the same. The strength of what Patrick and I do is consistency. We put out a show every single week. Each week we interview a Sci-Fi or Fantasy author and chat about geeky topics and make music, tech and book picks of the week.

I know from Functional Nerds that you're also a voracious reader; what books or authors are you currently digging?

Well, I'm an enthusiastic reader, but I'm terribly slow, so I don't know if I can describe myself as voracious. Here's a list of my favorite books from the past year:

1. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
2. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
3. Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm
4. Control Point by Myke Cole
5. The Hammer & The Blade by Paul S. Kemp
6. Empire State by Adam Christopher
7. Awakenings by Edward Lazellari

Okay, back to the new release front. LZRL boasts 11 of what I like to think of as "John Anealio classics" as well as 9 bonus remixes and alternate takes. Do you do all your own remixing, and what inspires your continued experimentation with the sounds of electronica?

I did all of the remixes for LZRL. I know a lot of traditional musicians look down on electronic music because it isn't "real" and you're not really playing. I love the "sound" of electronic music. I love how insanely creative some electronic musicians are with the development of their sounds. I also dig that a lot of this type of music can't be played on a traditional instrument. Those flurries of arpeggios and off-kilter rhythms just sound so cool and I like seeing how those sounds can combine with my traditional songwriting.

What's your recording setup like? How do you go about producing, mixing and mastering?

Here's my gear list:

1. Rode NT-3 and NT-1 Condenser Mics
2. M-Audio Firewire 410 Audio Interface
3. MacBook (5 years old)
4. Logic Pro 8 Software

I use the mics to record my voice and acoustic instruments. My electric guitars go directly into the audio interface and are then processed by Logic's amp modeling software and effects.

All of the piano, organ, synth and drum sounds are produced in Logic. I arrange, mix and master everything in Logic too.

In your day job you're a music educator; do your students know about your secret life as a geek rock super hero?

They don't! Anealio is actually my middle name, spelled phonetically. Years ago, I released music under my real name, and I started to get uncomfortable when students or parents would show up at gigs or tell me that they saw my website. When I started doing geeky and sci-fi inspired music, I decided to perform under a pen/stage name. It was a good decision. It really liberated me to write about whatever I felt like.

You recently mentioned to me that you're on the Ladies of Ragnarok bill with Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks when they pass through New Jersey. What's the skinny on that show?

I'm really excited about this. I've had the pleasure of opening for Paul & Storm in Salt Lake City in Nerdtacular as well as Marian Call in NJ a while back. I've been online friends with The Doubleclicks for a few years now, so it just made sense for me to open for them when they come through New Jersey. This is a house concert show, with limited seating, so reserve your space now! Here's the info.

Any other gigs lined up for those who'd like to experience your live performance?

I just performed as the musical guest of honor at Fencon in Dallas, Texas, which was great fun. In addition to the Ladies of Ragnarok show in New Jersey, I'll be performing another house concert in Maryland on Saturday, October 20th. Looking to book some more concerts/cons for 2012.

So what's the rest of 2012 look like for you? Any new projects planned or holiday releases in the works?

I've got a pile of unrecorded songs that I need to get to this year. Even though my songs are fully arranged with electric guitar, bass, drums, synths etc. on record, live I perform them all with just one acoustic guitar. To sound fuller, I finger pick and use various alternate tunings. Quite a few people have been pointing out how they want to hear more of this on my albums. A friend at my recent show in Dallas went as far as to say that my live guitar playing is what makes me sound like "me." He suggested making the acoustic guitar the focus and using subtle electronics and samples to support the guitar playing. I'm really inspired by this idea and I think that is the approach that I'll be taking with my next batch of songs.

And finally, John, what single track from this new release (or any of your previous efforts) best represents what you're about musically? What's the one song that potential fans should check out to get a proper feel for who you are and what you do?

It has to be "George R.R. Martin Is Not Your Bitch." It's poppy and funny and gives a good feel for my melodic and harmonic sense. Has a prog-ish guitar solo and outro and bits of electronica.

Yeah, that's all you, man. That's definitely you.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 141: Uncle Zack's 24-Hour Drive-Through Apocalypse

On a purely artistic level, this is personal favorite podcast of mine. The song selections are superb, and I think there's a cool flow to the sets themselves.

For me personally? It's been a huge pain in the ass. Mic trouble led me to record my bits via iPhone, and with my nice headphones on the fritz mixing it was a bear. And now for some reason the bitrate/file size is coming out all funky. Ugh!

Still, I just hope you enjoy it despite its technical weirdness.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 141: Uncle Zack's 24-Hour Drive-Through Apocalypse [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 37.2 MB Running Time: 45:24 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah – "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
It's still the best damn theme I got!

Track 1: xaeroseven – Gravity Falls dialog / "Call Me Gangnam"
Yeah, totally unrelated Grunkle Stan clip there. Just because.

Z's 1st interlude: "Lo for I am the prophet."
Don’t exactly know what this is about either. Perhaps I am simply ackin' cray-cray.

Track 2: Polaris – "Waiting for October"
Just to be clear, I meant that my current mindset involves waiting for October. Not, y'know, that I'm presently obsessed with doomsday prophecies or anything.

Track 3: MC Frontalot – "Don't Wear Those Shoes"
Man, I lose and rediscover that Weird Al tribute with stunning regularity.

Track 4: Mike Phirman – "Indie"
Finally getting into Phirm's solo work. And with good reason.

Track 5: Wax Tailor – "Magic Numbers (feat. A.S.M. & Mattic)"
This one's for my brother, Larry. There's a Newhart joke in there somewhere, I just know it!

Track 6: Death*Star – "Your Mom"
Guys, I am so sorry for this. I mean, this track is foul, but I love it so fuckin' hard.

Track 7: Gravity Falls dialog / A plus D – "Close to Konichiwa Bitches"
This really seemed like the only song that could possibly follow that Death*Star track up.

Z's 2nd interlude: "Three quarters of Connecticut alterna-rockers Miracle Legion."
For the record: Pete and Pete was the best goddamn show ever.

Track 8: Soul Coughing – "Circles"
Another nice slice of 90s nerdery.

Track 9: Skyway Flyer – "In Circles"
Because circles!

Track 10: The OneUps – "Two Dragons, One Cup… of Funk"
Got a review of this whole release incoming. Short version: I heartily recommend it.

Track 11: Jesse Dangerously – "Aww Shucks"
Saw Jesse do this live in Charlotte. It reminded me how much I dig the number.

Z's final interlude: "The illusive Reba McEntire sex tape."
Yeah, I just included this to see how much country perv traffic it generates.

Track 12: MisCast – "Drive"
Pick up this one and "Name Is (Live)" right now over at Bandcamp. And thanks to Jay for the sweet hook-up!

So I'm going on vacation in late October. This means that I'll be recording both my annual Halloween Crap-tacular episodes back-to-back, and releasing them closer together than usual.

Assuming my podcasting rig holds up, of course. Curse you, fickle technology!