It’s been a while since I’ve put together new solo material, but new 8-bit indie songs are in the works,. I’m planning on releasing a full-length album on iTunes in the coming months. Unlike my free e.p. The Beacon, it’ll cost money, but the quality of the recording and the tunes themselves will be much beefier. This new album will feature the same Game Boy/Guitar sound combination featured in my previous work, though I’m making some songs with LSDJ on an old-school DMG and others on a Game Boy Micro with Nanoloop 2.3 (which I used for The Beacon). Here’s a new tune from the upcoming album. Enjoy!
Color me psyched. So Naughty Dog rolled out the first teaser for Uncharted 3 at the Spike Video Game Awards. While that’s pretty awesome stuff, what I’m really pumped about is this cool mini-documentary that 2 Player Productions just put out featuring some behind-the-scenes action with the Naughty Dog folks. The 2PP guys were nice enough to include a short snippet of my 8-bit music right as the credits kick in, which is super awesome. They used the title track for my e.p. The Beacon. You can still download the thing in its entirety for FREE right here. Feel like streaming it online? Hop on over here at the Free Music Archive. I’m gradually working on more 8-bit music and will be releasing more jams in the future as time permits, but I’ve been pretty busy between freelancing, working on my book Geek Beat Manifesto, and playing with my actual live (non 8-bit) band.
You can check out 2 Player Productions’ Uncharted 3 documentary over here at Joystiq.
I first stumbled across Famicom indie rockers The Depreciation Guild way back in 2006 before the first Blip Festival and was immediately sucked into their absorbing, 8-bit infused shoegazey rock sound. While many artists drawing from the chip music world focus on a purist approach revolving around a favored piece of old school gaming hardware, this group used the retro bleeps and noise hits to drive a very different kind of musical vibe awash in reverb-laden guitars and subdued melodies. Their second full length album, Spirit Youth, showcases an incredible amount of polish and a substantive evolution in the band’s sound.
Listening to Spirit Youth, it’s clear the band has grown and undergone some changes over the years. Where their first album In Her Gentle Jaws showcased more of a raw, edgy sound that was bathed heavily in the pleasant sounds of the Nintendo Famicom, Spirit Youth ventures into musical territory situated on the poppier, safer end of the spectrum. The 8-bit sounds are frequently relegated to the background on most tracks, leaving the listener wondering if there even there at times. That’s a bit disappointing, considering how prominently they factored into the earlier songs – something I enjoyed immensely about the band’s music. But the familiar 8-bit sounds do shine through the highly polished studio mix, and the songwriting remains as tight as ever.
It took some time to adjust to the melded sound, but Spirit Youth got it’s hooks in me soon enough. While the opener, My Chariot, immediately fired off an introductory barrage of NES synth arpeggios, it was the upbeat and melancholy bounce of Crucify You that first grew on me. Midway through the album, the melodic Sonic Youth-esque guitar licks in Trace blended nicely with the subtle downward synth drone in the chorus, making for another standout track. Through the Snow‘s urgent, driving beat and strong undercurrent of pulse channel noodling was equally appealing. Other songs filled in the gaps pleasantly, showcasing the band’s tight musicianship, meticulous guitar work, and ample vocal prowess. There’s not a dud among the lot, though the stylistic peaks and valleys between tracks doesn’t seem as stark as those found among the group’s prior work.
Compared to In Her Gentle Jaws, The Depreciation Guild’s latest effort is a very different animal. It’s a big departure that perhaps plays it safe a little too often. Yet this follow-up album is a tightly crafted effort that I can highly recommend nonetheless. You can pick up a copy of Spirit Youth from Kanine Records.
Most folks who know me from around these parts are probably only familiar with my writing and video game-related work. Prior to making a go of being a writer, I spent many years as a musician playing in bands, putting out albums, doing shows, touring, etc. I don’t do much of that anymore, but I recently got back into writing and recording tunes while doing research and interviews for Geek Beat Manifesto. While exploring the ins and outs of LSDJ and Nanoloop, I also dusted off a few old guitars and started playing. Happy with the sounds I was making, I sat down and started recording everything. The result is my first instrumental 8-bit indie album, The Beacon, which I’m releasing today through my website as a free download. You can freely download all six tracks over at the album’s page here. If you enjoy the music, please consider making a $3 Paypal donation via the button found underneath the download links to help support future albums I’ll be writing and releasing. Please feel free to pass around the linkage and spread the word. Thanks for listening.
Throw down some change, because I’m about to pick that shit up! Many, including myself, have attempted to marry chiptunes with the aesthetics of heavy metal, but I’ve yet to hear anyone fully master those untamably unholy sounds quite like Norrin Radd. No, not the Silver Surfer. The other guy. The product of four years of hard labor in the depths of some presumably warped trans-dimensional intergalactic hell, Anomaly is a dark and brooding concept album of chiptune metal that slams down the hammer of Thor like nobody’s business.
I’ve been to hundreds of metal shows over the years – witnessing everything from the blackest, darkest, most twistedly evil shit to some of the goofiest spoof grind bands ever – and Norrin Radd manages to nail every style in the broad spectrum of heavy metal in classic NES style almost effortlessly on this album. Blast beats, ultra heavy breakdowns, epic wailing solos, demonic growling vocals run through the DPCM channel, crazy technical tempo and rhythm shifts: it’s all there…and it’s brilliant. Excuse me while I form a circle pit and kick stuff around my office. Experience this amazing work of metal epicness by downloading it here.
“Just in time to fill the traditionally quiet release period following the holidays with ample blood spray and excessive cleavage physics, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has arrived on the Wii, and it’s even wilder, gorier, and sexier than its predecessor. After meticulously exploring many of the game’s nooks and crannies, we’ve compiled all the important information parents need to know about this M-rated title.”
Check out the full article here at What They Play.
I have long been a fan of the extremely well-crafted weekly Bytejacker web show and its focus on highlighting some of the most ass kicking indie games around. Indeed, judging from Free Indie Rapid Fire, my man Anthony Carboni (above) and I have very similiar tastes in freeware. The show also features a steady supply of rocking chiptune goodness that provides a great backdrop, which brings me to why I’m so pumped this morning. Aside from offering a killer rundown of great games from the past year, Bytejacker episode 70 also features “Charge into Battle,” a Foecrusher track from my recent forays into the realm of Game Boy metal. Frankly, it’s an honor. Hop on over to Bytejacker and check out the latest show (and the other excellent episodes available), and if you’re keen on scoping out more of my Game Boy metal tracks, hit the link above to find Foecrusher tunes on 8bitcollective. Also, that is one adorable pooch.
File this one under: just for fun. Blip Fest 09 (at least what I was able to experience of it) was a total blast. I haven’t written, recorded, or performed music for years, but it was fun to get out and go hands-on with one of the most fascinating music scenes around. I’ve made Game Boy music before, many years ago, but never released any of it. After re-acquiring some (reasonably well) functioning Game Boy hardware and a copy of LSDJ, I’ve set out to create some new face melting chiptunes in the genre of heavy metal. I’ll be posting my tunes for live streamage as I finish them over at 8bitcollective. The project is called Foecrusher and my first track “Sword of Awesome” is available to decimate your ear drums. Enjoy.