VG orchestral rock band The Icarus Kids release debut Red Shell EP

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The Icarus Kids break out to a strong lead on the back of their debut EP, Red Shell. A small collection of live arrangements by this five piece Seattle based band.

Though the EP is small, the songs are big. Making the most of the limited track list, The Icarus Kids go right for the throat. The album opens with lively renditions of "Dark World" from The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past, and Super Mario Kart classic "Rainbow Road". 

Besides the known classics, The IK close out the EP by digging deep for the obscure track Flandre from The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, a Japan only vertical shooter released for PC in Japan.

Just the way I like my video game music, obscure and intense. Just for teaching me a thing about Touhou shmups is worth the $5 for the album.

Grab the EP now for $5 via the Red Shell EP page on The Icarus Kids bandcamp.

Over six hours of 16-bit love in SNES XX by Shiryu

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It's not easy to encapsulate six hours of music into a few sentences, but Shiryu's tribute to 20 years of Super Nintendo, SNES XX, has forced my hand.

To get a scope of this album, just know that the shortest track on the album, "Pilotwings Suite" clocks in at about seven and a half minutes.

So now you must be wondering what the longest song is. The albums grand finale is a nearly 40 minute long tribute to underrated SNES title Secret of Mana. This song alone could have been a full album release.

You can grab this collection of over 6 hours of nearly two dozen different SNES based medley for approximately $13 over on Shiryu's bandcamp page.

Atari Blitzkrieg's 'Super' hip hop album

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Rap tribute to over 20 years of SNES classics.

Released back in October of 2011 to celebrate the very important year that the SNES turned 20 years old. Blitzkrieg blasts through the 16-bit super classics with skill. Shout out to Nameless for the dope Actraiser beat! Cop the album physically, digitally, or in shirt form. Heavy rhymes, eclectic beats, bumping tunes.

The album kicks off with the masterful, simply unreal remix of my absolute favorite track from the Mother / Earthbound series. The baffling radio static of Dusty Dunes Desert. The original Hip Tanaka track struck a special cord with me, since growing up in Los Angeles meant many traffic jams in desert heat. This remix uses the original instrumental as a disorienting undercurrent to introduce a full album in tribute to the greatest console of all time.

Dreamcast vaporwave Pleasant Specter OST by Kobayashi Yamato

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Kobayashi Yamato was the composer for a Dreamcast title Pleasant Specter, expected to launch sometime in 2000. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled due to disagreements with the game's financial backers, and the game was lost to the ether. 

The strangely nostalgic soundtrack of the game lives on though, thanks to Yamato self publishing the tracks via bandcamp as the Pleasant Specter OST. The album has an upbeat vibe reminiscent of Sega Dreamcast and arcade games of that era. 

This album also marks the first time I have heard the term 'vaporwave' and I am more than happy to absorb that into my music writing vernacular.

B-Type forms band, releases nerdcore rock rap album Galactic Dinosaur Patrol

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B-Type has transformed, much like the mighty Megazord, into a being stronger than any of them could be separately. They use that power to release an EP length collection of the group's most eclectic tunes.

Tracks like "Party Robot" and "Only Godzilla Can Judge Me" endear themselves to me for obvious reasons. Though tracks like "Bibble Bibble Brain" and "Human Girls" grew on me quickly as well due to some catchy hooks. All the songs on this album move at a snappy pace, giving this collection of songs a great pop rock album feel to it.

I really wish I could see what these folks could do live, since these songs seem specially built to rock the crowd.

Metroid Metal - Other Album available now

Metroid Metal. Listen to this band to know the definition of those two words. Of course, my favorites on Other Album are the Super Metroid tracks, with "Maridia (SM)" taking a huge lead in my own playlists.

Whenever someone asks me about the best bands creating video game music arrangements, my mind always turns immediately to the math metal stylings of Metroid Metal. Ever since Stemage belted out tunes solo under the guise, I've been enamored with the lovingly rearranged music contorted into headbanging tracks that would have had my teenage metalhead self crying in ecstasy.

Download it on Bandcamp for $6 or grab the digipack for an extra $2.

FIGHT! Leblanc - Device Crusher album release

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An intriguing blend of ominous breaks and foreboding chiptune vibrations and bubblegum chip dance music befitting the neon album cover of Device Crusher. Some moments in the progressively decaying "Dark Forest" are reminiscent of the unnerving drill sounds Hip Tanaka made use of in Earthbound.

Slow hand clap for the perfect use of fuzz from Dark Forest to lead into "Tragedy Brothers, Return" a song I imagine as the title theme to this adventurous seven track album as it merrily encapsulates the multitude styles present in this album. Price of admission is $5 via bandcamp.

hiphopmcdougal - ...Needs Space a hip-hop sci-fi nerdcore adventure in space

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A pop punk rap rock hybrid of the joys of adventure, the need for space, and lots of other nerdy rhymes in the cleverly titled album ...Needs Space. My outer space loving heart has to have a soft spot for the everyman in orbit storyline of opening track "...in Space!". The video game love on display in "Boss Fight" and the clearly Zelda-centric track, "Zeldaddiction". Grab these bouncing jams for download or in the shape of a compact disc for $10 via hiphopmcdougal's Bandcamp page.

Sammus - Another M album of Metroid inspired Hip Hop

Sammus has upgraded her armor and unleashed Another M, a new album of Metroid based Hip Hop. Clever rhymes and an adventurous story are fitting for one of the best video game series in history. Next time I play Metroid: Other M, I'll just play Sammus' Another M during the cut scenes.

I can't get enough of the smooth rhymes of tracks like "Brinstar" and album closer "That Feeling (Beat the Game)". Although it's the heavy hitting tracks like "Power-Ups" and "Smash Bruhs" that solidify the album into an epic adventure.

The well produced album really takes things to another level. The deep dark beats lurking beneath Sammus' rhymes and the impeccable use of Metroid sound effects provide a lonely depth to the album, and do Hip Tanaka and Kenji Yamamoto proud. 

It's clear that Sammus understands the aesthetics of the Metroid series and those who have produced music for it (much like my beloved Metriod Metal, now if only they could collaborate somehow...). I certainly hope we get another Another M from Sammus in the future.

I personally recommend you download the album for $6 or grab a physical CD for $8, both via Bandcamp.

Flying Fortress - Gatekeepers 2.0 album release

Flying Fortress is riding through on vanilla chrome, again! Over the top rhymes and and epic beats await you when you meet the Gatekeepers 2.0. That's right, this shit has upgraded to a whole new level. The group combines underground Los Angeles rap with the largely internet based territory of nerdcore emcees. Flying Fortress is a hip hop group made up of video game playing, anime loving, nerd embracing emcees and producers, NamelessLCk!x, and Illgill. The group combines their powers like a mecha tank ready to take over Los Angeles. I've had the pleasure of seeing them perform on several occasions, and the same energy they bring to their live sets are certainly present on this album. Gatekeepers 2.0 is the groups sophomore album and was released December 2011 for download via bandcamp. The official liner notes read,

"The album "Gatekeepers 2.0" embodies influences from Los Angeles' eclectic Hip-Hop scenes and the Nerdcore phenomenon. The four emcees/producers fused their distinct styles to make this music project the entrance to their further works and histories. This album delivers a healthy dose of electro-funk with a "Party On!" attitude. Raise your drinks and prepare for take-off with Flying Fortress' "Gatekeepers 2.0"! "

I can tell you one thing. Kirby Superstar's The Great Cave Offensive theme has never sounded this intense or offensive until Flying Fortress' track Hungry. Beside the instant Kirby classic, I have a strong smattering of favorites from this album. Vanilla Chrome remains a modern nerd classic. The free to download bonus track Anime drops a ton of old school anime references. The album finishes off with Final Fantasy Finale, a track that quickly veers into a dirty but driving victory theme for Flying Fortress to ride out in style. The album is available to stream, or to download for $5. You can also download the aforementioned track Anime for free.

Random aka Mega Ran - River City Random album release

Mega Ran is back, and he's gone from Robot City to River City in his latest adventure. Run with Random as he raps right through the  rough roads of River City Random. Random lays down some dope rhymes about living in the fight or be fought world of River City. Hear some heavy beats, some catchy tunes, and help stop some bullying by grabbing this album.

The Electric Witch - NEScapism album release

Escape with The Electric Witch into a world where NES games are always playing, and their music breezes across your ears like a soft wind. There is a word for that feeling, and The Electric Witch calls it NEScapism. Listen to this album when you are driving alone at night, or as your life is flashing across your eyes.

The World is Square - No Phoenix Down Can Save You Now album release

Not since a noble pair known as Elfonso popped out of the UK have I heard some music that is so simultaneously catchy and strange. Much like video games, I have an affinity for novelty in music. I like new experiences and the eclectic sound of The World is Square definitely fits those parameters. I can just see myself listening to No Phoenix Down Can Save You Now at the millennial fair, and chugging down beers sodas. Listen to this album when preparing to finally settle a mystery once and for all, or when sitting around a campfire.

An Hobbes - Diaries of a Space Cadet album release

Space is always important. I for one hope we continue to explore space, so that our descendants can rap about life in the slums of Saturn. An Hobbes tears open a window into this future in his Diaries of a Space Cadet. Half rap album, half classic radio drama.

Got to mention K-Murdock, producing the beats for my two favorite tracks on the album, Best Served Cold and the Trigun inspired Planet Gunsmoke.

@AnHobbes has also made this album pay what you want all this weekend!

 

Infinity Shred - Future, Towards the Edge of Forever album release

The Future was before, but now the future is now with Future, Towards the Edge of Forever by Infinity Shred. Grab the even more futuristic sequel to the futuristic Future, and It Doesn't Work album.

Jay Tholen - Vainglory EP release

Jay Tholen, the man I have fawned over as a musical genius for the last couple years, has an EP out. Blending his styles from experimental albums along with his chiptune side to create a strange journey through a crackling, strangely soothing world. Haunting vocals, and effective use of, well, effects, create a soundscape that is easily recognizable as a brand of music it seems only Jay Tholen can make. I could write quite a few things about my view of music, as shaped by this one man's fusion of narrative and music. Look at me going on again, this was supposed to be just a few quick sentences.

Well, one day I will write the 6,000 word essay that Jay Tholen deserves. Until then, I'm just going to listen to this EP one more time. Then probably listen to all the other Jay Tholen albums too...

Alex Mauer - Koalie is Dead album release

Originally due to be killed in 2010, Koalie has survived on the edges of the internet. Now, Koalie is Dead, and it's all because of Alex Mauer. Dig the ominous NES catchiness like only Mr. Mauer can provide. Great music to get lost to, whether in a dark cave, or the open sea.