Sign-Ups for 2014/15 Premier League Fantasy are Now Open

afcfpl

Me, year after year, minus the goatee.

After a terrific World Cup – certainly the best in many years – we are roughly a month out from the start of the 2014/15 Premier League (@premierleague) campaign!

We all know what that means: it is time to sign up for the fantasy season!

The official and the Yahoo! games are now both officially open for business.

Most fans of the Yahoo! game should be pleased to see that some of their tweaks from last year (read: rip-offs from the official game) have either been scaled back or removed completely.

Gone are the captaincies and the absurdly inflated £150M budgets.

Team budgets have reverted back to a respectable £100M, though this will pose something of a challenge as the substitutes bench will remain this season.

We will also see the reintroduction of the single point earned for winning a corner.

Another significant change that I hear is taking place is that new players who arrive at the PL mid-season will be introduced with proper starting values.

In the past, mid-season squad additions would enter the Yahoo! fantasy somewhere around the £6.7 mark, regardless of their pedigree.

This year, it sounds like introductory prices will better reflect the real-life caliber of the player.

As for the official game, well, that format has set the standard and it remains tried and true yet again this year with no significant changes.

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2014 has been a bit of a tumultuous year for me and due to that, my 13/14 fantasy series fizzled out prematurely.

Seeing as I intend on doing the weekly recaps again this season, I felt it only right to share my previous results.

OFFICIAL

Overall Points: 2197

Global: 300,733
Fans of Arsenal: 13,770
Canada: 2,950

Although I finished the season with my highest ever points total, I was unable to beat my highest ever finish which continues to stand at 270,816th overall.

At one point, I sat inside the top 100,000 and to finish inside of that was my goal for the year.

Looks like I still have some work to do!

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YAHOO!

Total Points: 4325

Global: 2,885
Fans of Arsenal: 638

My goal for the Yahoo! game was to make it within the top 1,000.

I got within it a few times but couldn’t hold on and petered out a bit towards the end of the year.

Overall though, I was still pleased with my performance, especially given the radical changes to the format.

I was mostly satisfied to have finished within the 99th overall percentile for the second consecutive season.

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How about you?

Will you playing fantasy again this season?

Did you follow my recaps from last year?

Any thoughts / suggestions?

Looking forward to another great season of football!

GO GUNNERS!

arsenalpuma

Helmet’s BETTY: 20 Years Ago Today

Limited Edition Blue Jewel Case Version

On this date in 1994, Helmet (@Helmetmusic) would create what would arguably end up as their creative masterpiece.

Whether or not you agree with that statement, it cannot be denied that Betty is by far the bravest and most experimental offering from within their catalogue.

Releasing this album as the follow-up to commercial and critical darling, Meantime, was a straight-up ballsy move.

Perhaps, the degree of confidence the band were operating under at the time is why the album continues to hold up to this day.

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After wrapping up a collaboration with House of Pain (@houseofpain1) for the Judgment Night soundtrack in 1993, Helmet seemed bit by the rap bug.

Drummer John Stanier was already a noted fan of hip-hop music and his familiarity with the genre may have also played a role in selecting producer T-Ray to helm the Betty sessions.

T-Ray would eventually go on to win several Grammy Awards for his production work with Santana and Ozomatli (@ozomatli) but at the time, he was primarily working with the likes of the Soul Assassins crew, cutting a lot of records for the likes of Cypress Hill (@cypresshill) and Funkdoobiest.

Nowadays, T-Ray (legal name Todd Ray) runs a damn freak show that is the subject of its own reality television program. DAFUQ???

But that’s another story…

Not many people are aware that Betty is the album that allowed T-Ray to get his foot in the door of the rock universe.

I guess in a weird way, we can sorta blame Page Hamilton for that shitty Santana / Rob Thomas (@ThisIsRobThomas) song through association.

Given that this was T-Ray‘s first professional foray into rock music, all of his rap hallmarks remain on full display.

The piercing crack of the piccolo-sounding snare, the massive boom of the bass-heavy kick.. it is obvious that Stanier is beating the hell out of his drums on these recordings but it sounds like he’s playing a rap kit from the early 90s (albeit one that doesn’t sound thin as shit).

And his drums really drive this album.

Have a peek at the intro to “I Know” just before it dives into the heaviest thing ever:

Bassist Henry Bogdan, the most unsung (no pun intended) member of the classic Helmet line-up, is also in rare form here, as he seems to be given a lot more freedom to deviate from following the guitar on this record.

He also earned two co-writing credits here, one of them for one of their weirdest songs:

I would also argue that the often buzz-heavy bass tone on Betty is fairly unique, especially for the the genre during the era of the early-to-mid 90s.

Rap music is very bass-and-drum heavy and being rooted in that foundation allowed for other areas of focus to shine as bright as the guitars usually tend to.

Don’t get me wrong – as with all Helmet records, it’s all about the riffs.

But whereas many rock records treat the more percussive instruments as supporting ones, T-Ray managed to spotlight Hamilton, Bogdan, and Stanier as individuals, with each component being no more vital than the other.

Speaking of Hamilton, his jazz training typically comes across by way of odd time signatures and unique bar phrasing on his rock recordings.

But on this record, he introduces an instrumental piece entitled “Beautiful Love” written by Dizzy Gillespie. And then it gets all Helmet-y at the end.

Betty is also notable for being the only Helmet album to employ a wide variety of vocal effects, most notably on “Biscuits for Smut”.

There were a lot of chances taken on this record at a time when the band was being affixed with “next-big-thing” labels and unrealistic expectations from jerk-off record executives like Jimmy Iovine.

Although critics highly praised the effort, it was a commercial flop, with many fans seemingly expecting Meantime II.

When Helmet contributed the Butch Vig produced “Milktoast” (renamed as “Milquetoast” on the Betty pressings) to the Crow soundtrack, it doubled as a teaser single for the forthcoming Betty, due to drop a month after the release of the film.

What resulted was an album created with eyes forward rather than a comfortable attempt at standing still.

Three years later, Helmet would release Aftertaste, an album that was more in line with fans’ expectations.

However, after going so far left on their previous effort, to be constrained by old band tropes proved too much and the band split shortly thereafter.

The band has since reunited with an ever-evolving cast (Hamilton being the only remaining original member) but have yet to produce a work on par with the quality of their 90s output.

Betty has been looked upon much more favourably in hindsight by the Helmet fanbase.

Most likely because they are now able to compare it against the likes of Seeing Eye Dog.

For me, though, it is an album that has stayed in my rotation for two decades now. And I’ve called it my all-time favourite since practically day one.

* Fun fact: the record was mixed by the god, Andy Wallace.

HELMET '94 L-R: Bogdan, Stanier, touring guitarist Rob Echeverria, Hamilton

HELMET ’94
L-R: Bogdan, Stanier, Rob Echeverria, Hamilton

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OtherBetty Videos

Wilma’s Rainbow

Biscuits for Smut 

Crate Diggers: Back on the Map Edition

It's baaaaaaaaaack!

It’s baaaaaaaaaack!

Well, look who it is!

Crate Diggers has returned.. and I have been sleeping!

My bad as it appears that fuse (@fusetv) has taken to posting the full episodes on their own website, with only the teasers being released through their YouTube channel from this point forward.

Given that this development went completely over my head, there are three entries in the series that have dropped since the show went on hiatus.

The unfortunate thing about this is that the free version of WordPress only supports a handful of sites when it comes to video embedding, so from this point forward, I will have to embed the teasers and post a link directing to the episode.

Crate Diggers 2014 gets underway by sitting down with three bona fide underground legends.

Let’s have at it.

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First off, we are privy to a sit down with Chief Xcel (@ChiefXcel), the DJ and producer for the Blackalicious (@blackalicious_) crew.

His collection is so massive, he has now taken to collecting storage units and hiring interns to sort through his crates.

Blackalicious are prepping for the release of their comeback album, Emoni, scheduled to drop very soon.

In my opinion, Nia is one of the best rap albums ever. I would love to hear a return to that sound.

Expectations are high regardless.

To see episode no. 35 in its entirety, click below:
Chief Xcel on Crate Diggers

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In the next episode, Crate Diggers meet up with DJ Qbert (@DJQbert), he of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and the world famous Rock Steady Crew.

This episode is an entertaining one. In particular, I really dug getting to see his comprehensive picture disc collection.

Qbert has always been a fun dude and it really comes across in this episode.

Enjoy it!

To see episode no. 36 in its entirety, click below:
DJ Qbert on Crate Diggers

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And to conclude, we have the most recent episode with Domino (@hierodomino) of Hieroglyphics (@HieroImperium).

Quite a thoughtful episode, as Domino keeps things old school, speaks upon his pride in the 93 ’til Infinity album, and reveals that the infamous Dante Ross (@DanteRoss) was responsible for his introduction to Del the Funky Homosapien (@DelHIERO).

We also get an impassioned speech pertaining to the value and integrity of vinyl as an audio format.

To see episode no. 37 in its entirety, click below:
Domino on Crate Diggers

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Great start to the new year!

Really looking forward to getting back into the groove of catching a new episode every Wednesday.

To check out the full Crate Diggers playlist, go here.
And follow series creator, Jason Newman on Twitter – @Jasonrnewman

Fantasy Premier League: Week 27-28, In Three Parts

Did you catch Arsenal (@Arsenal) last week?

Talk about a class goal.

COYG!

My week 27 fantasy results are just after the jump.

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OFFICIAL

fplwk27end

Overall Points: 1553

Global: 206,514 (Last week: 285,795)
Fans of Arsenal: 9,797 (Last week: 13,587)
Canada: 2,044 (Last week: 2,748)

Private League I: 3 / 17 (165 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 1 / 11 (133 points clear)
Private League III: 1 / 7 (25 points clear)
Private League IV: 1 / 5 (35 points clear)

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YAHOO!

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Total Points: 3104

Global: 1,752 (Last week: 2,695)
Fans of Arsenal: 390 (Last week: 615)

Private League I: 1 / 8 (225 points clear)
Private League II: 1 / 6 (114 points clear)
Private League III: 28 / 100 (208 points out of 1st)

How did you make out in Gameweek 27???

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You be the judge of my player picks for week 28:

OFFICIAL

fplwk28

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YAHOO!

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

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And here’s how I did this past weekend:

OFFICIAL

fplwk28end

Overall Points: 1609

Global: 211,110 (Last week: 206,514)
Fans of Arsenal: 9,886 (Last week: 9,797)
Canada: 2,108 (Last week: 2,044)

Private League I: 3 / 17 (168 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 1 / 11 (138 points clear)
Private League III: 1 / 7 (26 points clear)
Private League IV: 1 / 5 (22 points clear)

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YAHOO!

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Total Points: 3200

Global: 1,992 (Last week: 1,752)
Fans of Arsenal: 426 (Last week: 390)

Private League I: 1 / 8 (215 points clear)
Private League II: 1 / 6 (98 points clear)
Private League III: 32 / 100 (244 points out of 1st)

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It was a difficult week but I still managed not to slip too far.

Going to be even tougher next weekend with half of the teams in the league not playing.

Will be especially difficult for me in the official format given that I will have only one gameweek transfer available to me and seven of my current squad players are without fixtures.

Oh yeah, Arsenal sucked in their last match and put a real dent into their title ambitions.

Sigh.

How did you make out in Gameweek 28???

Fantasy Premier League: Week 26 Recap / Week 27 Player Picks

The last week of Premier League (@premierleague) fantasy football was a real bastard.

With a couple postponements, I was left with my third week in a row in Yahoo! where I finished around 50 points.

That means, I am now sitting just within the top 3000 – bad time to start dropping off.

On the other hand, things work out favourably in the official league and I actually scraped my way back into the top 300k in that format.

Meanwhile, Arsenal (@Arsenal) look to get back on track today after their nil-nil draw versus Manchester United (@ManUtd) and 0-2 Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) defeat to Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN).

COYG!

My week 26 fantasy results are just after the jump.

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OFFICIAL

fplwk26end

Overall Points: 1474

Global: 285,795 (Last week: 328,822)
Fans of Arsenal: 13,587 (Last week: 15,850)
Canada: 2,748 (Last week: 3,601)

Private League I: 4 / 17 (169 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 1 / 11 (112 points clear)
Private League III: 1 / 7 (10 points clear)
Private League IV: 1 / 5 (13 points clear)

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YAHOO!

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Total Points: 2963

Global: 2,695 (Last week: 2,040)
Fans of Arsenal: 615 (Last week: 463)

Private League I: 1 / 8 (180 points clear)
Private League II: 1 / 6 (42 points clear)
Private League III: 42 / 100 (238 points out of 1st)

How did you make out in Gameweek 26???

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You be the judge of my player picks for week 27:

OFFICIAL

fplwk27

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YAHOO!

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

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What do your XIs look like for Gameweek 27???