This month we have a couple of new releases from various members of the Backburner crew. Plus, since we’re already visiting Canada (if I’d planned ahead, I would have made sure this went up on July 1, but oh, well), I decided it was a good time to mention some music that’s come to my attention via a call out on Twitter for podcast guests. I’ve already scheduled or done interviews for two of them (Kraken Not Stirred and Rock/Paper/Cynic), so look for those soon.
Ambition, Timbuktu, and Uncle Fester – My Giants (NSFW)
When members of the Backburner crew get together, they always make great music. This release is no exception. Actually, this also reminds me of a Swamp Thing release, which is appropriate considering that all three members appear on this album.
So, what do I mean by that? Well, there are tons of references to big monsters (hence My Giants) used as metaphors for being big in the hip-hop world. Take “Davids & Goliaths” featuring Chokeules, Savilion, Wordburglar, & More Or Les (which even mentions both Backburner and Swamp Thing, actually), for example. Mentions of T-Rex, raptors, Man-Ape, and others round out the giants along with Goliath. Similarly, “This Tall To Ride” featuring Ghettosocks & Muneshine features plenty of “giants,” in multiple senses of the word: Elephant Man (another Swamp Thing reference, I assume), Vin Diesel, Kareem & Magic, Coltrane, and even Danny DeVito (“twins with the Terminator”).
The album is fairly short at only eight tracks and twenty-eight minutes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack its own giant punch. They have some pretty big shoes to fill with the obvious comparisons to Backburner and Swamp Thing, but you know what they say… “Big shoes, big… socks.”
More or Les and Recordface – Post Millennium Tension (NSFW)
Once again we have a relatively short release from the always awesome More or Les plus producer Recordface. This release deals with many issues facing us today, from technological fails to Internet surveillance. In other words, stuff that causes tension in the new millennium.
A good example of this is one of my favorite tracks about an American hero, “Snowden” (yes, that description obviously shows my bias on the subject…). Because of Snowden, we now know the kind of government we have and the type of world we live in. We can no longer ignore the lack of privacy and security online, and thankfully steps are being taken to help boost both (although there are plenty of people and corporations out there who oppose these changes). More or Les reminds us of the importance of these revelations in this powerful track.
There’s also “Heads Down,” a track about “personal electronic devices” and how addicted we are to them (as an aside, since the song starts with a recording of the former airline message about turning off personal devices, I have to note that it’s pretty awesome to finally be able to listen to my iPod and / or tablet from gate to gate on an airplane). We’re all guilty of paying no attention to the world around us while staring at our devices. Of course, does it really make us isolated or more social? It’s not necessarily as simple as it may seem, as More or Les reminds us.
If you’re getting too stressed out by all this tension, though, you can always take a “Long Weekend” by getting back to nature (a track which features The Mighty Rhino on the chorus). Of course, we’re nerds, so maybe some other break would be better for us. Don’t want to ruin that perfectly good lack of sun we’ve been cultivating for all these years…
In short, Post Millennium Tension is a really great album. I highly recommend that you go grab it right now.
Rock/Paper/Cynic – Various
Since Rock/Paper/Cynic doesn’t really have a full album out (just a few random songs in various places), I figured I’d just mention a couple of tracks that I particularly like (though they’re all good). His word play and philosophical bent really drew me in immediately.
Keeping with the theme of Post Millennium Tension, there’s “Hello NSA (A Love Song of Mass Surveillance).” It’s a funny take on the idea of the NSA listening to and watching everything, but not really paying attention (kind of like in a relationship). Plus it includes most of the words on the NSA watchlist, often in clever puns (“Al Qaeda to your every wish and whim / Iraq-en that one day you’ll bring me in”). The style makes it sound like a straight-forward love song, which just adds to the humor.
“I Don’t Need You (I’ve Got Netflix)” reminds me of The Doubleclicks’ “Cats and Netflix,” although the reason behind staying inside and watching Netflix is different in both. In Rock/Paper/Cynic’s version, he’s clearly just broken up with someone and doesn’t want to deal with anyone else. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how I’d react, too; wait, who am I kidding — staying in and watching Netflix is pretty much exactly what I do now (though, thankfully, I get to watch with my wife).
In addition to his music, Peter also has a comic called Rock/Paper/Cynic that’s definitely worth a look. Go check them out now!
The Blast Processors – Genesis
There are plenty of bands that take their inspiration from all things Nintendo, so it’s refreshing to see a Sega-based band. The name of the band comes, of course, from the “blast processing” that the Genesis claimed to use to speed up its games back in the day. Their sound is straight-up rock with some noticeable chiptune influence provided via Sega Genesis.
Now, I’m not as up on my Sega games as I am on my Nintendo games (I don’t really have a particular preference, I just never actually owned a Sega, though I have used emulators), but I can recognize a couple of the games behind the tracks. “The Last Stand of Dr. Ivo Robotnik” is pretty clearly about Sonic. Doctor Eggman monologues to Sonic about how he will win the day, just like you’d expect from a final boss.
“The Streets of Rage” is based on another Sega game that I’ve actually played (shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one…). I like side-scrollers like this game. The song itself is just a narration over music based on the game’s soundtrack. It’s a fitting end to the album.
The Blast Processors are a fun band. You really owe it to yourself to check them out, even if you’re a Nintendo fan. You won’t be disappointed.
Kraken Not Stirred – Slithery When Wet
Most filk out there is acoustic, but Kraken (that’s “Kray-ken,” to rhyme with Shaken) Not Stirred has created a whole new style that he calls electro-filk. The description fits the music quite nicely, I think.
Most of the songs on the album are about a particular fandom, ranging from Buffy to Star Wars and plenty of others. I particularly like “The Ballad of Han Solo.” Told from Chewbacca’s perspective, the song totally gets Solo’s character right. Not only does Han shoot first in this version, he’s the only one who shoots. Just as it should be. I also really love the driving “Reaver Attack.” If the reavers had a theme song, this should be it (well, maybe the lyrics wouldn’t fit for their perspective, but the point still stands). But it does raise a good point: how do cannibalistic freaks manage to organize an entire fleet?
There are some more general fandom tracks as well. I think anyone who has ever been to a con can identify with “Confunk.” In fact, I’m pretty sure just mentioning the title should give you a clear picture (or, rather, smell) of what it’s about. There’s also “Tech Support Blues,” the title of which also describes the song perfectly. Some of the questions in it… I mean, I’ve read lots of descriptions of people who are clueless about tech, but insisting that not giving tech support to someone who isn’t a customer is elitist? That’s pretty crazy!
Take a look at the track list for Slithery When Wet, and I’m certain you’ll see something that will grab your attention. Then give it a listen; it’s good stuff!