MC Lars - This Gigantic Robot Kills (Cover Artwork)

MC Lars

MC Lars: This Gigantic Robot KillsThis Gigantic Robot Kills (2009)

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: William_DavidWilliam_David
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The self-proclaimed post-punk laptop rapper returns with his first full-length since 2006's The Graduate in the nominally Wesley Willis-influenced This Gigantic Robot Kills (TGRK). And from the first track to the last, it is an all-around better effort, but not without a few slight problems. The .
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The self-proclaimed post-punk laptop rapper returns with his first full-length since 2006's The Graduate in the nominally Wesley Willis-influenced This Gigantic Robot Kills (TGRK). And from the first track to the last, it is an all-around better effort, but not without a few slight problems.

The most obvious downside (other than the one long-time critics will shout -- "He's a nerdcore rapper!") is that of 14 tracks, six have previously appeared, whether on his split with YTCrackker, The Digital Gangster LP, his holiday EP, The Green Christmas, or various singles released via MySpace over the last three years. That's not to mention a seventh (pretty much) previously heard tune in MC Lars' cover of Atom and His Package's "(Lord It's Hard to Be Happy When You're Not Using) the Metric System," which misses the idea of putting an original spin on a cover, instead mostly recreating the track with a slightly different beat and delivery.

Consequently, fans who have continued to follow Lars may feel slightly ripped by the amount of new content, but everyone else will find TGRK to be a mostly fresh album. Moreover, it flows surprisingly well for such a mix and match of old and new tracks, which is the primary area where it surpasses The Graduate. While The Graduate was full of solid songwriting concepts and great beats, it sometimes sounded forced and a couple of tracks ("Six Degrees of Kurt Cobain" most notably) were arguably throwaway.

This Gigantic Robot Kills also feels like a more honest album for Lars, who has grown confident in his sound as nerdcore has risen. Just as importantly key to TGRK's success is the lineup of featured performers Lars brings to his newest effort is how well he utilizes them and how awesomely he emulates the sounds of the different genres to which he's paying tribute or lambasting.

The album opens with "Where Ya Been Lars?", a slow-burning intro track on which Lars drops lines about his career and names galore. It includes a dis (nerdcore beef alert!) of MC Chris for reportedly asking for $3,000 after recording "The Roomate from Hell" on The Graduate, and the great line -- "I DJ'ed Johnny Philips wedding / Gerard Way was there / I was like, ??We have the same booking agent' / He was like, ??Ask me if I care.'"

It is followed by a more proper introduction in "True Player for Real," featuring a clip from Wesley Willis, and Lars' childhood idol "Weird Al" Yankovic on accordion. The title track will be the gem for ska-punk fans, however, featuring performances by Suburban Legends and, more importantly, MC Bat Commander of the Aquabats.

Back before Gwen Stefani started rapping with Pharrell / Gas cost $1.15, and Goldfinger could sell ? Billy was obsessed with third-wave ska / The Mighty Bosstones, Real Big Fish, Less Than Jake, he's seen them all / He longed for a time when even Bill Clinton played the sax on the White House lawn, and kids wore shades and checkered slacks"
Musically, the track is a brilliant melding of mid-`90s ska-punk, calling to mind many of the bands it name-drops. It's followed by "No Logo," a duet with Nova Scotian indie rapper Jesse Dangerously that examines anarchism, Howard Zinn and the like. It's followed perfectly with a mood-changer in "35 Laurel Drive," a throwback to early quirky Lars tracks with simple lyrics playfully bashing his drummer, Jon Thatcher Longley, for having "the messiest house in New Jersey."

Later, Lars tackles gaming in "Guitar Hero Hero (Beating Guitar Hero Does Not Make You Slash)," featuring Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder and Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big, and "O.G. Original Gamer," with fellow nerdcore artists MC Frontalot and Jonathan Coulton. "We Have Arrived" brings k.flay, YTCracker and the Former Fat Boys together for a proclamation of the success of nerds and nerdcore, and is likely one of the best rap tracks that will appear this year, playing off the abilities of the individual artists in a showcase of talent.

Again, MC Lars isn't always tackling the most controversial of topics in his lyrics -- with tracks about "Guitar Hero" not making people real musicians, white kids not being hyphy and hipster girls being, well, pretty lame. But as is always the case, it's mostly a fresh stream of good, creative fun for the nerds in all of us. Lars also surprises by taking an incredibly serious turn with "Twenty-Three," a somber track about a college roommate (who was featured on Lars' debut album, Radio Pet Fencing) who committed suicide. Aside from the sad tone, the track helps personalize the artist, bring more attention to depression and suicide, and balances the flow of the album.

This Gigantic Robot Kills continues the evolution of MC Lars and follows through on the promise of truly great rap and quality songwriting mixed with an original personality steeped in `90s culture that came with The Laptop EP in 2004. In his own words, "This is the victory anthem."


People who liked this also liked:
MC Lars - The GraduateRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessMy Chemical Romance - The Black ParadeFlogging Molly - FloatAgainst Me! - New WaveAlkaline Trio - Remains [CD/DVD]Alkaline Trio - Agony & IronyThe Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in AmericaThe Hold Steady - Stay PositiveThe Hush Sound - Like Vines

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
slowstupidhungry (March 23, 2009)

MURS is one of the most overrated MC's in real underground hip hop... He is symptomatic of the problem with so much underground stuff these days: He can freestyle hardcore but his writing skills need work.

The Blueprint might be the last really good mainstream hip hop album to come out.

fallingupwards84 (March 23, 2009)

the biggest mainstream diamond of the 2000s, in my opinion, is Jay-Z's Blueprint album... came out in 2001 and was incredibly influential on both mainstream and underground audiences

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 23, 2009)

I'm actually looking for mainstream gems. With the influx of shit there has to be atleast ONE diamond in the 00's. Checking the dude you mentioned out though.

icapped2pac (March 22, 2009)

Edan is good, but the dude he occasionally works with, Insight, is even better. http://www.insight.fm Check out his solo stuff and don't forget his group Electric's album "Life's A Struggle".

icapped2pac (March 22, 2009)

This shit and Mac Lethal (and the like) get the motherfuckin' Gas Face. This shit is the horrible truth of Murs' "And This Is For" alive before our very eyes, but with an awful kitschy twist.

fallingupwards84 (March 22, 2009)


a really good underground rap artist right now that hasn't gotten much exposure is Edan... he's the greatest white rapper i've ever heard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edan

listen to these songs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBnbosEgZxc&feature=relate d

he samples a lot of 70s rock, produces all of his songs, very creative artist

damnitsderek (March 22, 2009)

I like how you said "tackles gaming" as if it were even a controversial or difficult subject to tackle. MC Lars is just insulting to listen to.

However, in agreement with the guy below me, Cecil Otter is fucking amazing.

eazyd2 (March 22, 2009)

fuck this shit is so fuckin gay.

teaessare (March 21, 2009)

saw this dude live....fucking sucked

hate him

blanktapesemptybottles (March 21, 2009)

check out p.o.s's crew doomtree... sims, dessa, cecil otter and mictlan

meesta3k (March 21, 2009)

"follows through on the promise of truly great rap and quality songwriting"? I mean, the dude's kind of funny, but I have a lot of trouble believing this.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 21, 2009)

By the way, I'd gladly take some american rap recommendations, I've got the good shit from def jux/anticon, I'm not really into Rhymesayers at all and I've got most of the worthwhiles from the 80's/90's, but i'd gladly take recommendations on gems from the 00's. I like grimier stuff over funky stuff.

This is such a white thing to say, but the new p.o.s is the greatest i've heard in a few years.

slimpunk (March 21, 2009)

Good review, and I agree with it for the most part. I'm not a big fan of 'We Have Arrived" though - it's a bit too over-dramatic for the album, and some of the lyrics are just laughable.

bwisott (March 20, 2009)

I love MC Lars. He works his ass off and i think he is brillliant. Dont care what the haters say

blanktapesemptybottles (March 20, 2009)

generic mc chris is better comment

Dante3000 (March 20, 2009)

I'll say it again, this guy makes a name for himself stating the obvious, "Hot topic is not punk rock" "White Kids aren't hyphy"(Which is a dying trend so way to jump on that) "Guitar Hero doesn't make you a musician".
This aren't issues and they aren't funny. It's annoying and I'm sick and god damn tired of people acting like Guitar Hero is a slap in the face of musicians. People have been playing sports games for years, it doesn't mean they can dunk a ball. Music should just be happy they found a way to make money on video games.

Ravnos (March 20, 2009)

I always see this backlash against Guitar Hero from self-important musicians, and I never get it. I mean, if you're not into it, fine, but the accusation that people who play these games think they're musicians is baseless and I'm pretty sure the people who say it just use it as an excuse to look down on people enjoying something they don't like. I've never met anyone who thinks that pressing 5 plastic buttons is at all comparable to a real guitar, though I do know a few people who've started to learn to play a real guitar because of GH and Rock Band. I'm at a loss to see how that's a bad thing.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 20, 2009)

This guy is a waste of life.

Now don't get me wrong, I even like the 90's work of Voodoo Glow Skulls and The Aquabats and I'm a big pre 00's beastie boys fan so I have nothing against goofy, cheesy stuff but this is just a waste.

Half-cocked "concepts", bad production and uninteresting guest-spots all over every single record.

mikexdude (March 20, 2009)

Ain't no Kanye.

fallingupwards84 (March 20, 2009)

if you think MC Lars actually has skill as a rapper (which this reviewer obviously does), I'll be more than happy to give you a list of hip hop albums that will absolutely blow your mind compared to this shit

punk_sk (March 20, 2009)

hipster girl ftw

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