Not much to say by way of introduction for Part Two of the new releases, so let’s just get to the music, shall we?
Ultraklystron – Unwarranted Self Importance
Somehow I’ve managed to completely ignore Ultraklystron in this column. I briefly mentioned him only one time, basically saying that I’d ignored him. Man, how the heck does something like that happen? It’s rather ridiculous given that this is his seventh album. I feel like one of the people Ultraklystron calls out on the title track: “It’s all you guys’ fault that I’m not popular.” Well, I can’t do anything about the past, so let’s at least check out his newest album.
The album begins with “This Music Lives,” a celebration of nerdcore that decries the declaration that the genre is dead. It’s clearly a fitting start to an album about all things nerdy, especially anime and manga. Admittedly, this means that many of the references go over my head since I’ve never really immersed myself in the world of the otaku. Despite this, I especially like “Web Toons,” a sing-songy (and very catchy) track about, well, web cartoons like Deadly Space Action, Bravest Warriors, and even Homestar Runner. I also find myself getting sentimental about the ’90s with “Nineties Kid” even though I’m more of an ’80s kid (and acted an awful lot like a kid for most of the ’90s…). There’s even some political commentary on “Blind Consumers,” a track about the deplorable conditions of many of the workers who make the tech we nerds all love.
There’s a really cool minimalist feel to the production and Ultraklystron’s flow on the album that gives it a different vibe from other nerdcore albums out there. I’m really surprised that I haven’t explored his music before given that I’ve been hearing his name since I’ve been writing this column. Suffice it to say I’ll be paying better attention in the future.
King Pheenix vs. Untested Methods – Balrog’s Boombox (NSFW)
An album of songs about Street Fighter 2? Yes, please! It’s been a long time since I’ve actually played the game, but I spent many hours playing on the SNES back in the day. This album brings the nostalgia with tracks about each of the original playable characters, using music and sound effects from the game. Probably the best example of this mix is the song about Ken, “Show Off,” which incorporates the warrior’s famous cry of “Hadouken” into the song. That said, Ken was never really my favorite character; I always preferred Blanka, with his various electrical attacks (and the head bite). His song is the tribal “Animalistic,” about getting away from everything. If I was playing Blanka, my second choice was always Chun-Li. Her spin kick attack is surely part of the inspiration of her song, “Goes Around,” which also relates to her overall story of revenge for the death of her father. The track also showcases KPX’s vocal ability; the way he attacks the lyrics works particularly well on this album given that it’s about a fighting game. If you’re a fan of Street Fighter 2, you really ought to go download this album; it, like everything else on Scrub Club Records, is completely free.
Death*Star – In-Con Sequential Art
Death*Star wrote three of the four songs on this EP for Kracklefest 4 while the fourth was only found on the second Grandpa Funnybook compilation. The title is particularly appropriate given that the songs are about comic books. Of course, I don’t think Saga or Transmetropolitan are at all inconsequential (and I’m sure Death*Star doesn’t either), but it’s clever nonetheless. The former comic is represented by “Family Man o’ War” while “I Hate it Here” describes the latter. I’m actually kind of surprised that there aren’t more nerdcore songs about Spider Jerusalem; he’s highly quotable and quite the colorful character. Anyway, the third new song, “Ex-Men” is basically a list of terrible mutant powers, keeping with Death*Star’s usual humorous style, while the final track is a “reissue” of “Penitent,” a track about Riddick (and possibly other penitents since it quotes Shawshank Redemption). It’s “Name Your Price” over at Bandcamp, so go grab it now!