So I’m running behind on reviews, but I wanted to get something up this week so there are only three fairly short reviews this time. I should have more next week, but we’ll see. It’s almost summer vacation time for me, so I’ll be able to get caught up soon enough for sure!
404 Device – The Anarchist Rhymebook (NSFW)
There aren’t that many political albums in the geek music community (I can’t really think of any, actually), but this is an excellent example of exactly that. 404 Device consists of Scrub Club artists King Pheenix, Untested Methods, Illuminerdi, and MadHatter. They combine hip hop and metal together into a high energy commentary on the state of politics today. The title is an obvious nod to The Anarchist Cookbook which was originally released as a protest against the Vietnam War, just as this album is, in part, a protest against the Iraq war (e.g., “9-12”). Of course, like its namesake, the album is more than that as well. In the anthemic “Occupy,” 404 Device takes on corporate greed just like the movement of the same name. KPX and ‘Hatter are vocally perfect for the anger of the music, attacking the vocals with an intensity that truly drives home the message. Despite clocking in at only twenty-two minutes, The Anarchist Rhymebook feels like a full album with its depth of passion and anger. If you’re at all interested in the politics of protest, it’s definitely going to be right up your alley.
Service Lab – Blow Me
Service Lab has officially left Scrub Club, but they’ve left us with a three song EP of their unique form of electronic music. The title track is about video games, specifically those old cartridge-based systems which somehow magically worked when you blew on them (yeah, I know it didn’t actually work, but it seemed like it did to us). Of course, there’s also the obvious double entendre, and the song certainly plays with that. There’s also a cover of The Simpsons theme and finally is “Falafel Guy,” a weird and kind of rambling story about the various exploits of the falafel guy which I’m pretty sure was written mostly based on the rhymes and the pun of balls of falafel. The song also features a brief cameo by Madhatter. It’s short and a little on the odd side, but that’s pretty much what I’d expect from Service Lab.
Various Artists – Canadian Geek Band Sampler
Debs & Errol have started a new web site dedicated to geeky bands from Canada. To help promote the site, and to introduce people to many of the artists on the site, they’ve put together a sampler of music from some of them. Three of the artists I’ve mentioned in this column before: Debs & Errol (“TIE After TIE”), Nerds with Guitars (“Sympathy for the Daleks”), and Kari Maaren (“Everybody Hates Elves”). One I knew and hadn’t yet checked out: Copy Red Leader (“Tatooine Blues”). The other four I didn’t know (The Blast Processors, Kraken Not Stirred, Press Start 2 Play, and Peter Chiykowski). And, of course, that’s one of the main points of this compilation. It’s a great way to find other artists you didn’t know. Which is, of course, also the point of the new web site. The site features plenty of other geeky Canadian artists to explore, many of whom are new to me. So it looks like I’ll be spending some time this summer checking out Canadian music. And you should, too, if the bands that I already know are any indication.