My new album “Robots. Lasers. Awesome.” is now out on iTunes, which is very exciting and, well, awesome. You can preview tracks and purchase the full album or individual tunes by hitting the button below to jump to the album page on iTunes. Very cool. This latest release kicks things up a notch from my e.p. “The Beacon” without losing the similar vibe and tone. Most of the songs were written with LSDJ on an old school Game Boy (DMG) and I also play guitar over all of those good blips, thumps, and bleeps. If you enjoyed The Beacon, you should dig this too.
It’s here! My new album is wrapped up, and you can buy it as a digital download over at CDBaby right this very second. “Robots. Lasers. Awesome.” is a rocking collection of indie tunes crafted with guitar, LSDJ, and an original DMG Game Boy system. The album will soon be up for sale on iTunes and other distributors shortly, but you can nab this 9-song album of rocking chip music for $8.99 right now. Feel free to tweet, facebook, write a review, and spread the love if you dig it. Thanks for the support! Anyone interested in doing a review can get in touch for a review copy.
Check it out HERE on CD Baby. And you can stream the first track, Doomlaser, for free down below:
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.
Ok, I’ve been “chipping” away at writing and recording some new 8-bit indie rock tunes using my old school Game Boy DMG, LSDJ, and my trusty old six string. I’ve got three new tunes recorded at the moment for what will be my next full album, and I’m posting this here for regular readers to check out, download, and provide feedback on. These tunes don’t have names yet, they’re not necessarily the final mixes, and they’re simply the first pass at recording and mixing the tunes. I’d love to get some feedback on these few songs, particularly in how they contrast to the six songs on The Beacon e.p. (which you can still download for free, by the way, but I do like $3 donations for the effort). In any event, here are the three new songs for you to check out and critique:
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 a quick note. A few demo recordings of a new instrumental indie-rock-esque chiptune project I’ve been working on are now up on 8bc under the Foecrusher stuff. Though this is a separate project that will eventually be available in an album form, I wanted to get the first few tracks up to get feedback and share the tunes. This first batch of tracks were made with Nanoloop 2.3 running on a Game Boy Micro and added guitars that were all dubbed on an digital 8-track. The second wave of tunes after I’ve done a few more with Nanoloop will use LSDJ as the base chiptunage. There are three songs available, unironically titled Song1 … Song2 … and Song3 respectively. Feel free to stream or download them and leave comments. I’m really happy with the way the audio quality came out. I’ll post more on this here as the project continues to develop.
I’m particularly excited to now have the April 2010 issue of Nintendo Power in-hand, because it features two large community pieces I wrote and am quite proud. First, there’s my community feature on pg. 92 about hip-hop artist Random (aka Mega Ran) who kicked off his musical career in the independent rap world and more recently has circulated in the nerdcore hip-hop scene. His two Mega Man themed albums are super fresh and he’s already got a track up on his site inspired by Mega Man 10. Also, I attended Blip Festival 2009 in December and was floored by the sheer level of badassitude on display. Great music made by some very interesting folks. My write-up of the event appears on pg 95. Bummed you missed the show? Don’t worry, because there’s a ton of videos and mp3s floating around from the event’s killer performances. The April issue also contains my reviews of Dawn of Heroes and Squishy Tank, both on DS.
I like that Kevin Hagge decided on an abbreviated chip music moniker that blends imagery of sword-wielding heroes and fireball casting magic users. And the classic NES reference certainly does not escape me. As Wizwars, he busts out some hard to resist Game Boy tunes in the oh-so-lovely 8-bit aesthetic that titillates my cranium. On Game Boy Rock, Hagge’s particular blend of chiptunes falls somewhere between fist pounding chiptune rock and super catchy dance tracks. It’s been on heavy rotation in my iPod for a few weeks now, keeping me company on trips to GameStop and the super market.
Each song on this short e.p. is tightly crafted and chock full of delicious melodies. Game Boy Rock has been out for a while, but that’s no reason to pass it by. You can download the album for free or support Wizwars by spending human money to purchase a hard copy on CD for $8. Either way, check it out.
You have to the love the fact that Joey Mariano aka Animal Style released his latest EP, Teletime, on an actual NES cart. That’s pretty hard to top on the awesomeness scale. Unfortunately, the old school format and limited release means getting your hands on the cart isn’t going to be easy. They’re sold out. The good news is you can download the album for free in mp3 format over at Pause or you can also get hooked up with the ROM file to play in an emulator to get the full audio/visual experience.
Teletime pairs Mariano’s dancy chiptune rock with snazzy artwork that cycles through like a slideshow with each track. There’s definitely a stronger video game vibe to the compositions this time around, perhaps due in part to the presentation. Musically, the high caliber tracks are on par with the tightness Animal Style fans are accustomed to. However, Mariano’s stellar guitar work (if it’s even present on this album – hard to tell since he masks it with an 8-bit sounding pedal) is far less prominent than on his Open Air EP.