Monday, February 23, 2015

Torche VS Robots: Annihilation Affair [FREE video game] + new album Restarter & Tour

Torche was formed in 2004 by Steve Brooks, Juan Montoya, Jonathan Nuñez and Rick Smith after the dissolution of Brooks & Montoya’s cult-favorite doom band Floor. Floor actually reunited in 2010 (sans Montoya) and released Oblation last year, which we named one of our top albums of 2014. Now Brooks and his fellow Torche-members have released their new album Restarter, and have created an interesting promotion to go along with it. The band and their label Relapse Records has developed a free video game to go along with the album.

In Torche VS Robots you can play as one of the band members in a single-player, side-scrolling game jumping and fighting robots to save a post-apocalyptic Miami while their new album Restarter plays in the background. You can download the game for free in the Apple Store or Google Play and there is a desktop version available as well. This is an interesting promotion and possibly one of the first of its kind - plus its fun to hear some good stoner sludge play in the background while you shoot at robots and try to not fall through the cracks. There are links to get the game below, as well as a link to their new album on Bandcamp, and you can check out dates for their tour after the jump.

Desktop Version: www.torchevsrobots.com

Apple Store Version: itunes.apple.com

Google Play Version: play.google.com

Stream Restarter here: torche.bandcamp.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Relapse Records: 25 Years of Contamination [FREE] Relapse Sampler

Unholy metal slab Batman! Relapse Records is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a ton of events, including a free digital compilation release of over 180 tracks from their roster! 180+ TRACKS! In addition, Relapse will be reissuing a significant amount of titles from throughout the label's history on deluxe vinyl. 

Albums from artists like Mastodon, Nile, Dillinger Escape Plan, Neurosis, Amorphis, Incantation, Human Remains, and many many more will get the deluxe reissue treatment after being long out-of-print or never-before-available on wax. Plus, a special, super limited silver colored vinyl of every record released/reissued in 2015 will be made available exclusively from www.relapse.com.  That's way more vinyl that you can shake a stick at!

Relapse will be publicly celebrating its silver anniversary at next year's Maryland Death Fest alongside current and former Relapse artists Amorphis (playing Tales From The Thousand Lakes in its entirety), Obituary, Neurosis, Suffocation, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Cephalic Carnage, Primitive Man, YOB, Tombs, Devourment, Origin, Skinless, Inverloch, Inter Arma, Serpentine Path, and Noisear.

Relapse Records was founded by Matthew Jacobson in 1990, and the label quickly became one of the most celebrated and influential underground labels in heavy music history. Here’s what founder Matt Jacobson had to say about the occasion:

"In 1990 I started Relapse as a teenager in my parents’ basement. It was a dream with a simple mission: to share the music that I was so passionate about with as many people as possible. Over the course of 25 years we have had the honor of working with a diverse array of amazing artists and releasing a vast catalog of incredible records that includes numerous influential and genre defining albums. We are very proud that we have been able to bring the music that we love to a global audience."

Download the comp at the link below (or donate a few bucks for it) and check their website for updates on the vinyl releases and other Relapse-related news.

Download Here: relapsesampler.bandcamp.com 

Website: www.relapse.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eric Powell's GOON Statue debuts at Toy Fair 2015

The Goon is a comic book series written and drawn by Eric Powell and published by Dark Horse Comics. It follows an enforcer and his sidekick Franky as they battle thugs and supernatural threats such as zombies, aliens and skunk apes.  It’s unique blend of comedy, violence and gorgeous art has earned it a cult following amongst fans.  This past weekend at the annual New York Toy Fair, a high-end collectible statue of The Goon was revealed at the Dark Horse booth.

This piece was originally a Blur Studios produced limited-edition faux-bronze statue produced for fans as an incentive for the Kickstarter of The Goon movie.  Now Eisner Award–winning creator Eric Powell and Blur Studios are set to release this gorgeously painted version of the statue for those that missed out on the original! The Goon statue stands over 8 inches tall and will be packaged in a full-color, oversize collector box. Its slated for release for summer 2015. Suggested retail price is $150.  Head to your local comic shop to pre-order and click on the jump for another view of the statue!

GOON Stuff: darkhorse.com 

Comic Shop Locator: comicshoplocator.com

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Happy Birthday Dilla!


It's that time of year when we celebrate the birthday of the late, great producer/rapper J Dilla!  The legendary beat-maker passed away away in 2006 just 4 days after his birthday from complications due to a rare blood disease, and possibly lupus.  Besides his music, Jay Dee holds a special place with us for sharing a birthday weekend with our Editor in Chief.

To help celebrate we're sharing a Crate Diggers documentary on James Yancey sponsored by Fuse.  The video features Talib Kweli, DJ House Shoes, Dilla's brother Illa J and mom Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, and an emotional appearance from DJ J Rocc.  You will also find embedded below a mix made by an all-Miami crew of DJ Manuvers, DJ Sharpsound and LouiArson from the Chocolate Sundays crew. The mix features The Pharcyde’sBe Like That,” the Slum Village classic “Fall In Love,” Jay’s solo cut “So Far To Go,” and a rare remix of De La Soul'sStakes Is High,” and rare micro-joints plucked from the legion of Dilla beat tapes that have been recovered.


If you want to celebrate in person there should be various Dilla parties being thrown in most major cities, but there will also be huge gatherings behind held in Miami and New York with "Dilla Weekend" and "Donuts Are Forever."  Taking place Feb. 5th through the 8th, the Dilla Weekend event will be hosted by Ma Dukes herself and will feature a line-up which includes Joey Bada$$, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, Slum Village, Madlib, Black Milk, ESTA, Camp Lo, local Miami artists and more.  The following week in NY will hold the 9th installment of Donuts Are Forever at Brooklyn Bowl on Sunday 2/15, with proceeds benefitting the Donuts are Forever Scholarship Fund.  That will feature MICK, Rich Medina, and our host Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest on hand this year, along with a DJ lineup that includes P.U.D.G.E., DJ Applejac, DJ Raichous, DJ Tap.10 and DJ Parler.  Links to those events can be found after the Bangin Like a Dilla" Soundcloud link, enjoy the weekend!




#DillaWeekend: www.jdillaweekend.com/


Donuts Are Forever: www.brooklynbowl.com

Donuts are Forever Scholarship Fund: www.donutsareforever.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of 2014

It's time once again for Idol Threat's Top 20 Albums of the year!  2014 was a great year for music, even in the 'mainstream,' the area which we rarely cover.  Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World was one of our favorites reaching #3 on the Canadian Billboards.  Mastodon once again succeeded in impressing us with their Billboard Top 10 release Once More 'Round The Sun, and the 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers' album 'Dead' stayed in heavy rotation with us as well.  

But this blog has always been about the under-appreciated so forget those chart-toppers (although Snoop Dogg DID show up in our list TWICE somehow!)  Our list comes later than last year's but we hope we've made up for it by making it one of our longest written yet!  So without further ado, here are our Top 20 Albums of 2014 in no particular order (and as always, click on the "jump" to see the rest of the list):

DJ QBert– Extraterrestria

DJ QBert is a legend amongst DJs and turntablists. Besides winning many competitions and creating countless scratch techniques, both alone and with his crew the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, QBert also released the 1998 classic Wave Twisters (which was turned into an animated movie in 2001.) The highly innovative, all-scratch produced album was a huge change from the mixtapes and scratch practice sessions he has made before and after. Wavetwisters provided a structure and narrative to the turntable acrobatics while the scratch tapes he released merely featured DJs scratching for hours over bare drum and bass heavy beats. Extraterrestria lies somewhere in the middle of all that, falling short of perfection yet providing the composition and mass appeal that his scratch tapes lacked.

The world of scratching has had many greats discussed and argued about, but inevitably the conversation always leads to D-styles and QBert. Stylistically, Q has pretty much been John Coltrane to D’s Miles Davis. The scratching on this album has been less frenetic and shown more finesse than what can be found on Wave Twisters, proving how much influence the two has on each other much like Davis and Coltrane. The Trane comparison doesn’t just end there however, as there is a strong Indian influence that can be found throughout most of the samples (Coltrane was heavily influenced by Indian music towards the end of his career, and sought out tutelage from the famed musician Ravi Shankar before he died.)  It is apparent that Q shares Trane's relentless desire for exploration and self-improvement.

Qbert’s latest is more diverse yet less lush than his previous effort, but heavier, concise and more composed than his marathon-like bass & drum scratch tapes. Extraterrestria combines the worlds of scratching, Hip Hop and instrumental electronic music with the spirit of Jazz making something not quite as ground-breaking as its 16-year predecessor, but unique nonetheless.


Conan – Blood Eagle

A trio of victorious Vikings drags their fallen foe through the muddy battlefield, the long dredge punctuating the doom ahead. Set to his knees atop a sacrificial hill the one time messiah is anointed with a crown of talons, bloody and wrenched from birds of prey. Helpless the leader. The begotten savior's heart pumps faster as he imagines what is to come. The heathen followers of the trio rise and encircle them, their hoarse shouting echoing in reverb - “DO WHAT MUST BE DONE!” The total conquest of the fallen blankets grief upon the land.

In the distance the three's fellow Torche-bearers can be heard on horseback, the steady plod of the steeds slowly rumble the battlefield Floor as they approach. The victim's heart races to match the oncoming horde, his dread only interrupted by pain as a blade pierces his skin at the spine. The blood eagle begins. The disowned king is cut by the blade of the blackened, a feat more brutal and bludgeoning than surgical or precise. Once through, the three torturers rip him asunder and break his ribs outward one by one from the backbone down to his loins, taking care to move sluggishly lest they hasten his ending too soon.

Blood pumps steadfast and heavily from the great chasm in his back as the warriors nod their heads in unison to match their goading chants. Lungs are pulled out from within and set upon his back, existing only in pain he wishes to be dead at all costs. The unending spite of his newfound primitive masters refuses him a swift death. The now forgotten messiah's descent into the endless Sleep is prolonged as they salt the wounds, until his spirit finally escapes fast leaving his body upon an altar of grief.


Tobacco-Ultima II Massage

The year is 2069. Android pornpopstar Fec 2.0 grows weary of the stale future music scene. Calculating an algorithm to take him back in time, he travels 100 years into the past to 1969 to sculpt what would become porno groove into his own twisted genre. Creating a synth-sleaze masterpiece, he buries the recorded tape in mounds of dirt in an undisclosed location before escaping back to the future to avoid the Time Police. Decades pass until the tape is uncovered in present day Pittsburgh with the words “Ultima II Massage” scrawled upon it…

If Thomas Fec’s Black Moth Super Rainbow group is a folktronic, vocoder-filled tribute to the 60s, then Tobacco is Fec’s foray into the next decade with Ultima II Massage being his latest solo tribute. It incorporates elements of porn soundtrack funk, psychedelic tones and shades of Hip Hop blending them into experimental synthpop sludge. This album is about filth and decay, covered with digitized heavy breathing and sweetly dirty synth notes. This is the sound of over worn cassette burn, or the dance musical equivalent of that one really great scene in a VHS porno flick that has been rewound way too much.

Ultima is a weapon and spell in the Final Fantasy franchise, a popular role-playing video game created in the late 80s. It is considered to be Black Magic and so it’s a fitting subject to be used as a title to this album; which shares similarities to the melodies found in old 8-bit video games. Tobacco definitely delivers the goods with this record, and you can bet this magic massage will give you a happy ending.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Marvel Announces more details for Secret Wars 2015 at Live Event in Midtown Comics


Marvel held a live event at Midtown Comics in Manhattan this past Thursday, and clarified many questions people had about their upcoming crossover event. As previously announced, the eight-issue series Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic will come out in May of this year.

It has now been revealed that Secret Wars will mark the culmination of the incursion story that Hickman began at the outset of Marvel NOW with Avengers #1 and New Avengers #1 way back in 2012, and will brings together multiple continuities and alternative universes in a single “Battleworld.” What has also been confirmed at the live event is that this series will reshape the Marvel Universe as we know it. Marvel Universe’s main Earth — designated Earth 616 — will collide with the Earth of the Ultimate Universe. The result will be a melting pot of different universes that will forge the new Marvel Universe.  This will be the end of both the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe.

We originally thought this would happen last year when Earth 616’s Galactus invaded the Ultimate universe, but he only wreaked havoc on Earth leaving the rest of the Ultimate universe intact. This storyline is also reminiscent of DC’s famous 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover which also resulted in the combination of multiple earths and realities.

Secret Wars will kick off with a #0 issue on Free Comic Book Day May 3rd, which will also contain the first part of Marvel’s Attack On Titan manga crossover story. You can watch the announcement on YouTube, above (just fast forward through the first 13 minutes of technical difficulties.)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Caught in the Middle Magazine: Issue 1 & 2 [FREE]

In 1994 underground Hip Hop educator-activist Kevin Beacham started Chicago-based hip-hop magazine "Caught in the Middle" after a stint as a writer for another Chicago based zine Fly Paper, as well as contributing to a variety of websites and Hip Hop magazines such as FifthElementonline.com, Urb Magazine and 312 Magazine. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, releasing only 2 issues in its brief career.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, founder Kevin Beacham is giving away digital copies of both issues of CITM! The magazines includes content from and about legendary Chicago rapper Common (Sense), The Nonce, The B.U.M.S, Funkytown Pros, Stedy Serv, Ang13, Art of Origin (Chino XL), Pink House, JUICE, JP Chill, Boogie Boy, Cash Money Brothers, J Bird, Elements of Nature, Twista, Cage, Company Flow, Beat Terrorists, Kool Keith, Godfather Don, Lumba Of Rubberoom and more! The mag published great interviews and unique articles, including a Hobo Junction VS Hieroglyphics lyrical analysis and a Redman Lyrical Analysis!

As long as we’re on the subject of Chicago Hip Hop, there is also currently a Chicago hip-hop documentary film project in production involving Kevin Beacham titled "Midway: The Story of Chicago Hip-Hop." The documentary will be directed by Ryan Brockmeier and is written by Ryan Brockmeier, Kevin Beacham and Maisy Draper. Expect that project to come out sometime in 2016.  You can find Dropbox links to download the issues below, as well as a link to the documentary website.

Download Issue 1: Caught in the Middle Issue 1

Download Issue 2: Caught in the Middle Issue 2

Midway: The Story of Chicago Hip-Hop