New York’s hottest new rap duo may or may not owe their name to a disgusting and obscure breakfast porridge. Rising up last year straight from a steaming pile of goat feces (their words, not mine) the Buckwheat Groats are all about taking their special brand of comedic-but-actually-strangely-accomplished rap and shoving it into your eagerly awaiting ear holes.
Their newest track, “(Take U 2 Da) Shopping Mall” just dropped on Christmas like a fat miracle turd. Hell, there’s even a cameo by our Satan Surfer Tee. The Groats did some guerilla ass shooting in various NJ shopping malls, hitting on chicks at Hot Topic and getting bounced by mall security for repeatedly riding the carousel. It would make you feel uncomfortable if you weren’t belly laughing the whole time.
Full disclosure, the Groats are homies of mine, but it honestly doesn’t matter. They’re funny as fuck, the beats are dope, and the amount of work/quality of production put into the videos shoots them way beyond your average YouTube rappin’ comedians. I expect nothing but great things from these dudes in the future. and now, when they blow up, you can claim you were gettin’ Groat-nasty back in the day.
New Zealand’s Witchrist mixes a maniacal dose of death, doom and black metal to form one of the most maddening audio experiences of 2010. Sure, the ends seem like an easy task but the means are what often fail in this sub-genre of metal. While this is by no means OSDM, it is a throwback to all genres involved. An era where black metal was heavily distorted and death metal was as gruesome as you can muster. Think if Portal and Incantation joined forces to make an aberration of everything holy.
Witchrist’s first full-length, Beheaded Ouroboros conjures imagery of occultism, death and the rituals involved in both. A dark look into grim rituals filled with rotten blood and rasping last rites. As the blade cuts into the beast, Beheaded Ouroboros gets more and more twisted. Eight tracks and 38-minutes filled with the darkest metal the modern age has to offer. Don’t worry, this experience is filled with mid-tempo excruciation that never lets up!
“Sorcerer Of Lightning”, “Devour The Flesh” and “Temple Of War” start the war and throughout “Adoration Of Black Messiah”, the sacrifice is made. This is intensity at its most adorned. Each track is filled with despair and possesses great depth. “The Cauldron” is layer upon layer of disgusting filth, riddled with black arts and occult-themed hymns to the dark lord. With music built upon a “Shrine Of Skulls”, Witchrist delivers a fatal blow with a sacrificial knife.
You are know their “Deathbitch”, riddled with blast beats and howls. Prepare for “Judgement And Torment”, the final strand of tendon, bone and skin before Beheaded Ouroboros is completed. As a pleasant surprise and a rather fitting to metal reviews of 2010, Witchrist’s healthy interpretation of modern blackened death metal shines through in Beheaded Ouroboros. Hailing from a land used to depict Middle-Earth in the LOTR trilogy, these guys prove that they’re born of fire and brimstone.
This is Press Start! The gaming column where I drop five happenings from around the scene in the past week. But! It’s New Year’s Eve. Last day of the year. The Earth, soaring in its majesty is back at the solar starting line. The masses, us in the civilized world, we have intent. To drink, and celebrate, and generally not give a fuck. The goddamn world shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Everything is reduced to a trickle. The gaming world isn’t any different. It bares the same marks.
Everything’s stopped. It’s boring. Cobbling this list of five things together took effort. But more than that, it took feigning interest. Here’s hoping when we all sober up next week shit gets poppin’ again. Until here’s the last, which didn’t start this way, but in hindsight turned oddly retrospective.
#1: Black Ops Is Most Pirated Game of 2010.
Black Ops has made more money than is fathomable. It’s crushed the billion dollar mark in record time. So when the BitTorrent site TorrentFreak announced this week that Black Ops was the most pirated game of 2010, I didn’t exactly cry for Activision. I bought a copy, what the fuck else do you want!
Specifics? The PC version of the game has been pirated 4.2 million times. Even if you round down, and assume that every copy costs $50, and that only 4 million copies were pirated, that’s 200 million dollars. Good lord! On top of that, the console version is reported at being pirated 930,000. That’s a lot of fucking money being non-spent.
#2: Play WoW With Kinect. Cool?
It seems fitting to have a Kinect shout out in the final column of the year. (And like I said gaming news has been slow.) The latest hack? Why by golly, now you can play World of Warcraft! Using only the powers of your uh, body. You know, that gelatinous thing that wheezes when it walks up the stairs? I typecast. But it isn’t without precedent to back it up. Kinect hacks can be cool – flying robots, molestation simulators, and shit. However, then there’s stuff like this.
Use Kinect to move your Tauren Druid through the Barrens! Totally elite, man.
Kinect though. It isn’t going away. Not even close. It’s selling like fucking gangbusters, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t depress me much. Since we’re getting retrospective, let me say that the combined effort of motion controls and 3D media is enough to get me building my log cabin. So fucking help me if someday you need to be wearing goggles to play your PS4, which is only controlled through bodily motions.
Fuck. I think I’m getting old. Curmudgeony.
#3: Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe Continue To Rule.
Forget Jordan and Bird. Fuck Crosby and Ovechkin. The greatest rivalry in the world is between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe. The close of 2010 brings a final week of news pertaining to Wiebe and Mitchell. Over in Chicago, Stevey is planning on running a clinic on how to regulate at Donkey Kong. For only 12 bucks, you can learn from a legend. However, not to be outdone, Billy Mitchell was interviewed by Moviefone. They wanted him to reflect on his behavior in King of Kong. Frankly? Don’t listen to it! Let me have my ultra villain. My Vader. My Sauron.
Every medium needs a villain.
Kudos to the two dudes for entertaining us throughout the year. Just when you think their eternal struggle is over, one of them bodyslams the other. We won’t see the end of this shit until someone hits the max record. Which according to Wiebe, is still another 100,000 points away.
The Blogin’s Best of 2010 is back for one more installment of unnecessary, numerically ordered madness! Last year, we found out how frustrating trying to order the best movies of the year can be. There was a lot of shuffling around until we reached the final list – possibly because so many damn good movies came out in 2009. We even had a tie for number five! This year the ordering wasn’t as difficult. Our favorites seemed to be more concrete this time, as in, “I totally loved this movie more than this one.”
There was some shuffling towards the end, but nothing like ’09. Does this speak about the quality of films this year? Well, I felt like overall 2009 had more to enjoy than 2010. But don’t worry, Мишка is here to tell you what to watch from the 2010 bin.
If there are some themes that run through a good chunk of the list they’re reality, deception, and teenage girls kicking ass. There’s a movie here that intentionally tricked its audience and one that still no one knows the truth about. There’s some ambiguous ones and some straight-forward action flicks. Horror to indies to animated to foreign, we watched a lot of movies this year.
And though we watched quite a fair share of films between all of the Bloglin staff, we are only human and couldn’t see them all. I’m sure Colin Firth stutters really well and hanging out between James Franco and a rock is enthralling and I know Crook kept wanting someone to watch and review Tiny Furniture, but we never got around to it so screw those movies. Next time send us screeners, yo! So here is the best of what we saw (after the break) which was still a lot.
A D.C. area crook storms a bodega armed with a big fucking stick…like a giant tree branch! Dude looks like one of the Foot Clan armed with a bo! The hapless clerk tries to defend himself with a hammer. These dudes have an awkwardly hilarious stand-off for way too long before they start wrestling behind the counter. Stick beats hammer.
This time one decade ago, Dntel (Jimmy Tamborello) quietly entered the public’s radar and subsequently turned our notions of electronic music upside down, becoming a poster boy for experimentation and collaboration. Through a cast of guests, Tamborello combined the separate worlds of indie rock and electronica, and inspired so much of what is now so common in music. Broken Bells would most likely not exist without the groundwork laid by Dntel. A cameo from Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard on 2001′s Life Is Full Of Possibilities would result in the formation of one last decade’s most successful and likewise influential indie acts, The Postal Service. It seemed with Tamborello that innovation was inborn. It is with a measure of sadness then that the Dntel project reemerges after several years of silence with a behind the times release that finds Tamborello running to keep up with contemporary electronica.
The first entirely original Dntel work since 2007′s Dumb Luck, After Parties 1 and 2 are two EPs in a completely new direction, intended to be listened to in succession. Vocals are absent and the collaborator list sits at zero with Tamborello the sole creative force facing the challenge of impressing without a support system. After Parties 1 is the shorter of the two releases, containing three tracks: “After Parties”, “Lindsay” and “Soft Alarm”. The jaunty “After Parties” shows promise with a bouncing intro that fades smoothly into a blissful expanse. “Lindsay” turns up the notch with a blurred soup of whip and pit-er-pat synth sounds. “Soft Alarm” falters in its attempt at minimalism, not offering enough interest in the context of the preceding tracks. After Parties 2 takes cues off “Soft Alarm”, five quieter selections that fail to measure up to the creativity of “After Parties” or “Lindsay”. “Flares” is more lullaby and crackle and “Aimless” earns its name, woozy, pale and generally lackluster. The subtle basslines on “Peepsie” and “Leed” provide the best moments of After Parties 2, little reminders of Dntel’s ability to surprise.
Had these two EPs come out ten years ago, they would have been a groundbreaking pairing. But they’re too little too late from a musician who built a name by off innovation. Buried amongst the Gold Pandas and Pantha Du Princes of contemporary electronica, After Parties 1 and 2 are easily forgotten.
“I suppose it’s more an aesthetic, than a sound,” is the simple answer that Caden Moore gives when asked why someone with his talent would choose to identify LAKE R▲DIO with the world’s most unwelcome genre. Once the kid that Witch House didn‘t want, he started up his own netlabel (with fellow outcast necromancers GuMMyBE▲R! and H△UNT3D HOUS3) to distribute his music. His first EP Blair, made the ▲rchim▲ges on the Bo▲rd of Direc†ors scratch their heads in bewilderment. Why was it they didn’t want him in the first place?!?
Perhaps Witch House is the right fit though. Anyone who has taken the time to check out the bedroom IDM blogs knows full well that Babel Fish must have some serious issues regarding the translation of both intelligent and dance. Blair is both, as well as an early sign that Witch House was about to switch styles as it sought to find its own true voice. Still slow and dark, LAKE R▲DIO’s glitchy drag would not sound out of place on a 1999 Warp compilation, a far cry from the Flexipop facsimile of other artists at the time.
With two EPs and a full-length already under his baneful belt, it is no surprise that Moore chose to send a remix of Scottish pioneers Boards of Canada‘s “Julie and Candy” (off their seminal masterwork Geogaddi) Almost proto-drag itself, Moore’s take on it actually speeds things up a little, yet manages to morph the vocal samples into a creepy creepy crawl.
Instead of trying to understand [their] music I began making my own collection of drones, sounds, and clanks. In my music I try to cast the same spell on others that Geogaddi cast on me the first time I listened to it. Satan did not help make Geogaddi, but if he did, I doubt it would sound much different.
Take the above from his accompanying email with the remix, our own IDM trickster stresses the importance that Boards’ music has had on his own development.
This year was fucking fantastic in the world of Donkey Kong. Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell. The day that Billy Mitchell was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame, he took back the world record in Donkey Kong. How fucking bad ass is that? If Mitchell is the Darth Vader of video games (gorgeous, righteous, will choke a bitch), then that was his Empire Strikes Back. But regular dude Steve Wiebe wasn’t going to take that shit sitting down. No sir. He knuckled down and defeated evil. Back and forth. Good and evil. The eternal struggle.
Well, guess what fanboys. Steve Wiebe is willing to teach you the inner workings of the Donkey Kong. For a price. According to Joystiq, Chicago’s Logan Hardware “has hired Wiebe to not just teach a Donkey Kong class, but also to spend nearly five hours attempting to best his own high score on January 15.” How much does that shit run? Twelve bucks.
That’s it? To learn from a legend? Holy shit, sign me up. This is like Luke teaching you the fucking Force. Sure you’ll never be able to save the galaxy, but maybe you can glean enough to persuade sexy green space babes to take off their pants. And show you their salacious crumb.
If I was anywhere near Chicago, I’d be down like a clown. I know some may scoff at having to pay, but the guy is just a regular dude. I’d happily give him so money, to hang out, learn some bullshit, and watch him tear it up.
Here’s to another year of jostling between Vader and Luke, some records changing hands, and at the very least: more of Billy Mitchell’s mullet.