Hey, ChipWINners! You might recognize D&D Sluggers from their track on Chiptunes = #SrsBsns, ‘Slam Jam of the Year’, and if you live on the East Coast, you may have seen a live show on the Odds ‘n Ends Tour that featured SkyBlew, Mega Ran, and D&D Sluggers. I’m definitely one of the latest D&D Sluggers converts due to this tour; unbelievably, the Odds ‘n Ends Tour made a stop in little old Ithaca, and getting to see Tim White play live was definitely an amazing experience. This month, we’re going to run through his latest release, ‘Hot Banana’, a perfect blend of chip, pop, and rock.
The album opens with ‘Robot Girl’, telling a tale of impossible love between himself and a robot girl incapable of feeling emotion. Organic vocals and guitar strumming play over a drum machine and a chip-emulating program – both run on the Nintendo DS, might I add – to create the defining sound of D&D Sluggers. The melody is well written, and the lyrics that adorn this melody definitely fit the title and tone of the song; a few of the things that the robotic subject of the song states are “She says she can’t go against her programming” and “She says she ain’t got no time to waste with you on cute sentimental things”.
‘Villain of the Week’ is another downtempo song; while ‘Robot Girl’ takes on a slightly darker tone, the tone of ‘Villain of the Week’ could be interpreted as comedic. The song opens with two chip voices leading into vocals, bass, and percussion with each passing phrase. The lyrics and the title of the song might – just MIGHT – be allusions to spoilers of a television series, book, or other type of entertainment in progress. The first lyrics of the song are “Please don’t tell me how it ends/I will learn at my own pace”, with a later complaint in a verse being “You don’t know how far I need to go before I’m there”. D&D Sluggers creates another memorable melody with comical and entertaining lyrics to boot, and this song is sure to be a favorite for many listeners.
Having played shows with Math The Band in the past, I expected at least a few hyperactive chip-rock-pop fusion ballads on ‘Hot Banana’, and a number of songs on the album satisfied my hopes. ‘Fight’ is an autotuned, danceable track that tells the listener to stand up and fight in order to get the girl. No, really. Listen to the lyrics. Heavy kicks and claps, a major key, and a vast amount of autotuned goodness help make this one of chiptune’s HOTTEST SUMMER JAMS THIS YEAR. ‘Rock Wild R’, the fifth track on ‘Hot Banana’, might be my favorite track just due to its energetic vibe. So much is happening within the song that you’d almost expect it to burst at the seams. ‘Rock Wild R’ is fast with regards to tempo, has punchy percussion, awesome vocal work, and throws a Mega Man riff at the listener during its guitar solo, should they be familiar with the series.
‘Hot Banana’ is definitely not an album to be missed. While more organic instruments are used than are present in most chipmusic, the blend of instruments in addition to D&D Sluggers’ vocal style are both phenomenal. Try something new. You’ll love it. I promise.
Rather than write about my personal experience at the Ithaca stop of the Odds ‘n Ends Tour, I’ll leave you winners with a link to the playlist showcasing many of the shows that the Ithaca Underground has hosted, starting at D&D Sluggers’ set. Check the links! <3