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Archive for the ‘Nerdcore’ Category

That’s it, time to pull up stakes and move on to something else

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There’s an old adage that by the time Time Magazine starts talking about something, it is fully and completely dead.

Well, looks like Nerdcore is finished.

Its been fun folks. May be I’ll see you around.

Written by Matt

January 28th, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,News

Ben and Mena

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I was going through some entries in an old blog I have, scrapping out posts of value for a new project that I hope launch soon, and came across this old chestnut.

Ben and Mena
by Steven Frank.

Released by in 2003, the song has been tagged as the first “Blogging Anthem”

Here are the lyrics. I’ve included a few hints for folks that may not get the jokes.

Blank page, nothin’ to say
Just pictures of my cats today
Thought about the war a bunch
Now let me tell you what I had for lunch

Boys all hate me, my girlfriend dumped me
They’re bombing Iraq, my oatmeal’s lumpy
Wi-Fi networks in Central Park
Funny Photoshops up on Fark

(Chorus)
I wanna be Ben, I wanna be Mena
If only for a moment or two
I wanna be Cory, I’ll even be Winer
If that’s what I gotta do

I wanna be Ben, I wanna be Mena
The master of my domain
So send me a ping, send me a trackback
I promise I won’t complain

Referers say no-one came today…

That perfect link I hope to find
Check MetaFilter for the 40th time
I left a comment, I hope you see
How this issue pertains to me

Semantic web, RSS, and e-mail
Single white guy seeks athletic female
I’m busy building the digital commons
Cook me up another bowl of ramen

(Alt. Chorus)
I wanna be Ben, I wanna be Mena
If only for a moment or two
I wanna be Haughey, I’ll even be Stile
If that’s what I gotta do

I wanna be Ben, I wanna be Mena
The master of my domain
So send me a ping, send me a trackback
I promise I won’t complain

Referers say no-one came today…

Not sure who Stile is. Anyone know?

Written by Matt

January 27th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,New Tracks,pop

Speaking of Ultraklystron

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Gotta have love for the videos.

Karl has some Video footage from this weekend’s Fuel show on his blog here. Pretty cool version of Nerdcore For Life.

I love these video clips (especially whole songs). Makes the fact that there’s nothing going on in this town Nerdcore wise a little easier to take. So, more videos!

Hmm… Considering that Ultraklystron and Nursehella are huge anime fans. I wonder if they’d be up to do a show to coincide with Otakon. There’s a fun idea.

UPDATE: Guess I should of done a little more poking before posting that link. Looks like the video comes from MC Tanuki who actually posted five videos to his YouTube account.

Let me just take a moment to say that I now love MC Tanuki!

Seriously, thanks for giving those of us who don’t live in the NW or FL some love. It is definitely appreciated.

I wonder if this is the start of regular videos from Northwest Nerdcore?

Written by Matt

January 21st, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,News

Release date for new Ultraklystron?

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Aren’t I just a posting mad man today?

Well, this will probably be it for me today, but I needed to drop this little nugget since it definitely warmed my heart. Over on his blog Ultraklystron (I’m still shocked that I can spell that from memory now) mentions that he’s just booked a show for Feb. 14th at the Columbia City Theater (I’m guessing that’s somewhere in the NW). The real treat though is word that this show will act as the official release for his new album Romance Language. Which, if your like me, is definitely awesome news. Hopefully the release of RL will be followed soon after by word on the release of Opensource Lyricist.

Written by Matt

January 21st, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Nerdcore

Fun Doc Pop vid

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So, there’s been all kinds of various videos that have popped up since my last comment on the CES stuff. I had hopped to link to them, but I came down with a cold earlier in the week and I’ve been pretty out of it since (see the previous two posts as examples). Check out Hipster, please and Nerd Music for all the crap that I missed.

One video that’s just popped up and I don’t think has been linked to yet is a new interview with Doc Pop. You can find it here. Bonus features include Doc doing his yo-yo magic at the end and him showing off a Math and Spell that he’d modified.

The above link comes from the Make Blog.

Written by Matt

January 21st, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,News

Juxtapositions

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Jesse Jarnow posted an old review today that was never published by the magazine he’d sent it to. The review is of the Dave Matthews Band performance in Central Park a couple of years ago. As I was reading it I was struck by the following quote about the fans who were waiting to get into the show,

Besides how they got their tickets, they rarely spoke about the band they were there to see (unheard of at show by Phish or the Grateful Dead, two bands the DMB is frequently lumped with). They didn’t even speak with particular frequency about other bands, but mostly about movies or television shows.

While this might not seem worth remarking on at first, it seems some indication of the way the Dave Matthews Band (and, thus, the rock concert as an entity) might now be viewed by young fans: music as something undifferentiated from other pop culture mediums, as opposed to an autonomous experience that exists outside of the mainstream of American life. In other words: rock not as rebellion at all, but as a completely sanctioned experience. Though this has probably been the norm for some time, the concert form has seemingly transformed around this ideal.

The above idea strikes me as alien and, in fact, Jesse later hints that this may be more a by product of DMB’s relaxed approach to music as much as a general shift in public opinion. While I would like to completely disregard the concept out right, I’ve already seen that my views on music are far from common.

A couple of years ago I was talking to a friend of mine. For some reason I made some comment about that moment when your frame of mind and the music your listening to just sync perfectly. The idea that is summed up in the old cliche “ saved my life.” The friend admitted to me that she had never experienced that moment before. That music just didn’t reach her in that way. I was dumb founded. I still can’t quite wrap my brain around the idea that there are people who don’t know what that experience is like.

Before I rebooted this site, there used to be a post here explaining the name of this site. I ended up deleting it because it just didn’t capture what I wanted to say in the post.

The name for the site comes from those moments when the world becomes to much for you to handle and you retreat into music. More specifically, it refers to that moment where you find meaning in the songs (either lyrically or just emotionally). Suddenly you are aware that you’re not alone. That someone who you have never met understands what you are going through. The experience becomes a source of energy to over come the issues that have bogged you down. And when the music stops, you feel rejuvenated. The simple act of listening to music, takes on elements of a baptism of sorts. And when the ritual has ended, you feel reborn.

Because this has been my relationship to music for as long as I can remember. Because it has been the source of my salvation on so many occasions. The concept of music as disposable media, as little more then a sound track for something else, just seems alien to me.

The juxtaposition to this review from Jesse is my choice in music over the last two days. On Tuesday, while hunting through my iPod looking for something I hadn’t listened to in awhile, I came across The Make Up.

The Make Up, for those who are unfamiliar with the group, were a collection of musicians from Washington, DC and Olympia, WA. Formed out of the ashes of the DC band Nation of Ulysses, the band combined 60s style r&b and rock & roll with performance techniques borrowed from gospel music (specifically the use of the audience as a part of the ensemble) to create a style of music that they called Gospel Yeh-Yeh. Ideologically, the band owed a great deal to Situationalism and other mid-century leftist movements.

The whole point of a group like the Make Up was involving the audience in what was happening. The group even went so far as to improvise large portions of their shows (especially the lyrics) so that they could incorporate things that were happening at that moment into the performance.

Given their influences, the comparison between the Make Up and the music of the 60s is obvious. The comparison is not that clean though. While the band did borrow from these genres heavily. And the influence of these genres is obvious. The sound is also one that is obviously punk, in aesthetic, if not strict form. The real comparison between what the Make Up were doing in the 90s and the music of the 60s is the idea of music as political statement.

Now when I say this, I’m not talking about political songs in the vein of Bob Dylan or Rage Against The Machine. I’m talking about the music itself, the entire experience, as a political statement. One forgets that one of the greatest victories in the struggle for civil rights was won when white kids started listening to black music. The lyrics themselves were largely apolitical, but when those records left the strict confines of who was supposed to be listening to them, they became components in a larger political struggle.

Juxtaposing what the Make Up were doing against Jesse’s review brings this element of the band into even greater contrast. In a world where music, a form of expression that was once associated with communing with the divine and community, has become yet another form of disposable media, what is more revolutionary then a group that openly challenges it’s listeners to become part of what is happening. To pick up instruments and create their own sound. To express themselves and leave their heart and soul on the stage.

I think this is probably one of the things that I am most fascinated with about the Nerdcore scene. (you knew it had to come back to Nerdcore at some point, didn’t you?) The aspect where it is giving voice to a group that has been largely left out of the equation until now. There have, of course, been geeks who have moved with in the realm of music. Who have even succeeded at it. For the most part though, they have either hidden or dressed up the uniquely geek aspects of their lives though. Nerdcore is perhaps the first opportunity for us to not only express ourselves, but to revel in who we are.

This is why I’m a bit perplexed by some of the things that I’ve heard and read from with in the scene. Again and again I see people, who are active participants in what is happening, faced with the question of ‘what is Nerdcore’ fall back on talking about surface issues. Its nerds rapping about nerdy things, like video games and role playing and computers; seems to be the standard formula for the response. And yes, it is those things. Their responses are neither out right lies or even misdirections. They leave unsaid an important question though. Why? Why do they do these things? Why are these things important? The answer is, because they are us. These things are important to us because they are the things that we do. They are the things we use to bind ourselves together. Because they are important to us. And because Nerdcore is about us. It is us celebrating and reveling in who and what we are.

I bring this up in relation to everything else I’ve written here, because I wonder about the repercussions of such a conscious open acknowledgment of what Nerdcore is. I wonder if or how such an acknowledgment would change Nerdcore. I wonder if those changes would increase a sense of unity and pride in the geek mindset. If so, I wonder what kind of effect that would have on the larger world. In the trailer for Nerdcore For Life, Monzy talks about the ‘geek revolution’ as our version of the civil rights movement or women’s lib. I wonder what role this might play in such a revolt.

Though, perhaps I’m only projecting my own views on others. Which, of course, is unfair. If I care so much, I should pick up a mic and do it myself.

Written by Matt

January 16th, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,Thoughts

Nerdcore and the New York Dolls

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I had a bitch of a time trying to sleep last night. At one point I got up and ended up flipping through music critic Frank Kogan’s Real Punks Don’t Wear Black. In an essay where he talks about the times he saw the New York Dolls back in the 70s he writes the following paragraph,

That was a year when a few crucial critics (Christgau, Paul Nelson, Dave Marsh) liked the Dolls, but most others and the music press in general had a general attitude of contempt. “All flash and no music” was what they said. I remember constantly reading putdowns. One jerk I think it was in Rolling Stone joked that the Dolls were really dental students who only dressed that way for the money. This was part of the atmosphere too, part of the event for me, standing up and dancing, withstanding the contempt.

And of course, that was part of what was happening with the Dolls. Yeah, I’m sure they wanted to be famous, but the contempt ran both ways. The fact that the established music media didn’t get the Dolls just showed how out of step they were. It created an elite group that anyone was open to join, but few bothered to. Entrance was simple, if you dug the Dolls you were cool. If you didn’t, then you were out of the loop. To borrow a metaphor from the wrong time period, the bus came by and you either got on or you didn’t.

After reading the quote though, I started wondering about that idea though. Taking all the negative press and dismissals and flipping them around. For those in the know about the Dolls. For the select few who ‘got it.’ Magazines didn’t write bad reviews because the Dolls weren’t great. The wrote bad reviews because they didn’t get it.

Specifically, I started wondering if something like that could be pulled of in the Nerdcore scene to fight the ‘those wacky nerd rappers’ stories (nod to Benjamin Bear for the quote). I’m not sure if it would work though. There doesn’t seem to be the necessary level of contempt to pull something like this off.

OK, there’s more to this idea, but I’m operating on three hours sleep and I don’t think I’m going to last much longer. Instead of going into a half coherent rant about post-structuralism and identity politics and the glory of geek kind, I’m just going to stop this here.

Nighty Night.

Written by Matt

January 16th, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,Thoughts

More CES Video

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OK, I’m heading off to bed, but I thought I’d post this real quick.

Ultraklystron posted a link to a Youtube video of him and Nursehella doing their new track. A track who’s name I’m not even going to pretend to type right now. May be when my eyes aren’t going blurry on me.

Anyways, clip is here.

BTW, I’m giving myself props for now being able to spell Ultraklystron from memory. Yeah me!

Written by Matt

January 14th, 2007 at 2:58 am

Posted in Nerdcore,News

Even more CES crap

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So, I’m plowing through Nerdcorehiphop.org looking for stuff on this past week (as an aside, why isn’t this site just set up as a blog? Is there a fraking reason I can’t get an RSS feed with out have to scrape the page myself? OK, deep breaths…)

Not much new, but here are some pictures that were taken.

here
here
here
here
here
here
here

BTW, I’m thinking of having the tag line of this site being, ‘info you could easily find somewhere else’ What do you think?

Written by Matt

January 13th, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Nerdcore,News

New Tracks – Benjamin Bear

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New Benjamin Bear track over on his myspace page called ‘oh crap vampires’

I’m liking it, has that nice laid back vibe. Just noticed that Benjamin is dropping an album in April on Home Row Records. If the tracks playing on that site are his, then I’m definitely jazzed about that.

Written by Matt

January 13th, 2007 at 5:37 pm