Friday, March 16, 2012

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 129: Straight Down the Middle

As I type this I am not playing Mass Effect 3. That likely goes without saying, but it's an important point. Because I want to be playing Mass Effect 3.

Instead I'm writing podcast notes for you, my friend. Much in the way that when I sat down to record and edit and mix the show itself I wasn't playing Mass Effect 3.

All I'm saying is that I care enough to compromise my gaming for your amusement. I don't need your pity or your gratitude or anything; I just figure it's never a bad idea to tell folks that they mean something to you.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 129: Straight Down the Middle [hosting provided by Antisoc] Size: 58.9 MB Running Time: 44:51 Subscribe to RFH

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah - "Radio Free Hipster Theme (feat. Beefy)"
My podcast theme song could beat up your podcast theme song.

Track 1: Klopfenpop - "Stillwield (Klopfenpop vs. Jonny Nero Action Hero)"
I really dig this track. It's got a different feel for Klopf—sort of a spoken-word kinda thing—and I love how it plays off Jonny's chiptune backing.

Z's 1st interlude: "Really happy that you are."
Thanks so much for listening! I feel like I don't say that enough.

Track 2: Adam WarRock - "Active Squad (feat. Beefy, Mikal kHill and Kabuto the Python)"
Mordin died in my game. I don't reckon that's spoilery, as your play-through might be completely different. But in mine he is dead. It was a noble sacrifice, and I miss him.

Track 3: Nosaj Thing - "Fog"
This one's for Larry. For some reason it reminds me of the Mass Effect 3 home screen, which I guess explains its placement.

Track 4: DJ Le Clown - "Do You Really Want to Tchiki Boom?"
I'm only just realizing that a significant portion of my listeners likely have no idea who the fuck Culture Club is. #old

Track 5: Service Lab - "BouncingHead Volleyball"
There's a strong electric groove in this one. I dig it.

Track 6: King Pheenix - "Bottle It (feat. Dale Chase)"
I'm kinda hoping Dale and KPX form some sort of hip-hop duo side project. I love how well they play off each other!

Z's 2nd interlude: "Hip-hop and electronic-music focused set."
I usually try to mix things up, stylistically-speaking, but this time around stuff seemed to gel into two distinct sets.

Track 7: Finntroll - "Trollhammaren"
Again, I blame this one on Steve. And also on the fact that I just found out I can watch Trollhunter for free via Amazon Prime.

Track 8: Alestorm - "Keelhauled"
Church turned me on to this one. He knows I dig metal and pirates.

Track 9: The Aeronauts - "My Marvelous Toys"
You might remember these guys from my recent "Steampunk Boba Fett" post.

Track 10: The Doubleclicks - "The Way I Glow"
This one is actually the counterpoint to the Molly Lewis track I played a couple shows back.

This is not my first atonal "Ninja Turtles" cover.

Z's final interlude: "Specialty metal."
That totally needs to be a thing.

Track 12: Shael Riley and The Double Ice Backfire - "Area Dolls Guy"
If you missed Songs from the Pit the first time around—which may be the case, as it was a cassette-only release in its original iteration—you need to snag this one. Hell, even if you do have the original, this one offers lots of expanded material.

I feel like I should be writing something thoughtful about how I usually piece together shows and how this one was a little different, but I reckon I've already elucidated enough on that. So instead I will simply bid you adieu.

Have a great St. Pat's! And if you're down for some multiplayer, holler at a scholar!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hermione Everdeen

Considering the dogged persistence of the Wizard Rock community—stalwart defenders of the Wizarding World Harry and the Potters, for example, kick off a new tour next week—and the growing Rockingjay music movement, I thought that this item might be relevant to your collective interests. It's a new mash-up tee from our friends at the International Quidditch Association that combines these two incredibly popular and uniquely nerd-friendly series into a single clever package.

Behold the District 9 3/4 shirt. (I can only imagine their chief industry in broomstick and Time-Turner manufacture.) It was designed by the IQA’s very own Melissa DeVarney and Allyson Burton, and is available now for $19.99.

All the profits benefit the International Quidditch Association's twin missions of physical activity and social awareness, which is pretty damn cool in and of itself. Plus, if you order by at 7:00 AM Eastern tomorrow, Friday, March 16th, you'll get yours in time to sport it at next week's Hunger Games movie premiere. Use it as a divining rod to root out potential row-mates. If they get the joke, they are your kinda people!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It Came from the Past

My pal Jarvis is a big fan of vinyl. (He's a big fan of Pearl Jam too, but that's irrelevant at this juncture so we'll let it slide.) My buddy Marc with a C is doubly-so. They've both said some really compelling things about the medium itself, about the warm, crisp, genuine fidelity of analog audio, and I tend to agree. And yet I seldom buy or even listen to traditional LPs.

For me the record has become a different sort of animal altogether. It's a rare treat—part Thanksgiving turkey, part prize trophy. Something I can enjoy both as an active consumer and an object that provides me with some strange semblance of residual pleasure just by continued proximity. The back wall at my office, for example, is festooned with framed albums and covers along with other keepsakes like my Star Trek phaser and my signed Sci-Fried drum head. I keep them there as just another reminder that music, though I typically hear it via insufficient earbuds played as tinny MP3s through my iPhone, is a thing that has a perfect physical mass.

I delve into this realm of the oft-forgotten format because one of the most interesting hip-hop collaborations of the past year was recently released as a limited edition collectible 12 inch. My Canadian homey The Garthim-Master was nice enough to send me a copy and, as I neglected to write a proper review of Ghosts of Nostalgia when he and German-based producer DJ Extend originally released the full downloadable version back in October, it seemed only fitting to share my thoughts about this newer, leaner iteration.

Totally forgoing the original song lineup for the sake of its own cohesion, the vinyl release kicks off with the Heroes-inspired "Save the World," a deep cut on the original album, before seguing into the funky, haunting cautionary tale of "MMORPG." It then backtracks to the comical groove of "Dude, Where's My AT-AT At?," featuring the incomparable Wordburglar. This one was one of my favorite joints of 2011, and its inclusion alone should likely make this a must-buy for indie record collectors with a fine ear for the stranger side of Canadian hip-hop. Side A concludes with Dune tribute "Fremen Oath," another genuine stand-out.

The lengthy "Rorschach's Journal" kicks off program two with a sharp guitar groove and The Master at his abstract best, and that flows nicely into "Krang," a song about the titular TMNT foil that, while not a favorite on my first listen, has slowly grown on me. "Mynocks & Jawas," another fabulous Star Wars send-up, marks the album's final decent, and The Garthim-Master's rapid fire lyrical meditation on D&D, "Multi-Class" closes things out with a dissonant bang.

Admittedly, there are other songs from the original release I would've loved to've seen included in this iteration. The deeply personal "Action Figures" is one example, as the appropriately epic "The Crystal Shard," but it's hard to disagree with the results. This 8-track redux is certainly leaner than the full version, but it still manages to pack a punch.

When I mentioned the album in my Halloween music round-up I talked about how DJ Extend's thick beats played well off The G-M's story-driven narratives. I may've even touched on how, lyrically, the album walks a line between the autobiographical and impressionistic—and both these things are still genuinely true. But mostly what this new release provides is a bit of tangibility to a notably interesting (and still free, I might add) downloadable release.

It doesn't come in a fancy sleeve, which is kind of a shame given Jacek Grzeskowiak's exquisite cover art, but the marbled blue vinyl fits the album's tone perfectly. Dark and whimsical, Ghosts of Nostalgia is an intoxicating blend of pop culture reverence tempered with personal recollection. And if you enjoyed the project in its original form, $11 is a small price to pay for a literal keepsake of your musical journey.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rather Be Your Iron Man

Not to be outdone by MC Frontalot's recent puppet-related shenanigans, my southern brothers Sci-Fried have just unveiled their own felt-heavy music video. It's for their new single "Tech Support," a song that (if pressed) I would call my very favorite from their 2011 release Future Tense.

Further, the vid itself is a healthy slice of ska-tinged geek rock at its finest that also happens to look like an unceremonious melding of Office Space and Sesame Street!

Also, I gotta say puppet Sunni is spot-the-fuck-on! Uncanny even!