Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks had to cancel a bevy of summer festival dates to meet recording obligations, but she’s making up for it with a proliferative spring: she has plans to drop her 1991 EP within the month, followed closely by her summer mixtape, Fantastic. Meanwhile, her debut LP, Broke With Expensive Taste, is slated for a September release. In the meantime, the New York rapper has released a track from Fantastic, the Hudson Mohawke-/Nick Hook-produced “Jumanji,” which, although devoid of a Robin Williams guest verse, is chock-full of the tropical sounds you’d expect from the title. It’s been a while since we’ve heard steel drums in a song about “reefer and cabanas” and “bougie bitches,” but this is definitely not Parrothead territory. Think of it as dancehall percolated through Harlem bombast — “212” at the beach.

• Azealia Banks:
• Interscope:

Mpala Garoo

“Vive L’immensite”

Back in 2010, Sweat Lodge Guru released a cassette full of rich, dripping, tropical ambience produced by Mpala Garoo, a guy whose real name is Ivan Karib and lives in Moscow. The release was so soaked with humid condensation that some of us may have missed it. Lucky for us, Aguirre Records (which is hotter than any tropical analogy I could think of right now) has re-released the record as a scorching full-length LP. And with the fresh release is a spanking new music video that features the most interesting circles and triangles you’ve seen in a long time. The funny thing is that the video accompanies the least “tropical”-sounding track on the album, and you’re like, “Wait, what?” But, hey, Aguirre says, “The tropics invade Russia and clatter to the floor.” And Sweat Lodge Guru said, “We can all exist in the same balmy and tropical headstate no matter what our physical locale may be.” So there.

Listen to the whole sticky thing below.

• Aguirre:

Modeselektor & Thom Yorke


Why does everyone cut the shit out of Thom Yorke’s voice? As an audience, are we all just sick of hearing him cry about shit? At least, that raven-cartoon-hoodied chick loves making fun of Yorke’s dancing movements in this “This” video. And Yorke always trying to get up on the hot new peeps @Burial @Flying Lotus @Modeselektor. Well, “new” compared to his prior works. Yo, but isn’t this video way 90s? Like, the visuals, the acting, storytelling, the fucking top at the end, out-of-place slow-motion dancing, etc. Hey, at least he’s not losing his retro edge while “progressing” the sound of music. Above all, Modeselektor lays it down #untrue. Just that beat is so nasty #untruetoo. Though, they mix up Yorke’s vocals real fresh, so they on my level of cropping his voice box. #thatsthatnewshit

• Modeselektor:
• Thom Yorke:

Ocean Age

“Hard to Begin”

Is “organic” a process, evolving through scientific breakthroughs and technological advances? Or does it just mean that someone pulled something straight out of the ground and served it up to the rest of us? Way back in 2010, Portland’s Ocean Age released their simply yet appropriately named EP, Forest, which sounded as pulled-from-nature as pop music made with a laptop and a bunch of electronics could sound. “Hard to Begin” still feels like some tree-hugging dance party, except the trees have evolved into those laser-light-show-type trees from the forests on the planet in Avatar.

Listen to a preview of the song below, and look for the full version on their debut album, Vision Quest, to be self-released at some point in the future when the band gets back from prancing whimsically through fields, arms raised as leaves fall around them slowly. Hippies.

• Ocean Age:

Oneohtrix Point Never

“I Only Have Eyes for You”

Tomorrow (Friday, May 11), visual artist Doug Aitken will present a “Happening” event for his public project, “SONG 1,” at Washington, D.C. ‘s Hirshhorn Museum. The event features music by Geologist (Animal Collective), Oneohtrix Point Never, Nicolas Jaar, No Age, High Places, Tim McAfee-Lewis, and Leo Gallo, and they’re all including a cover of my dad’s favorite song “I Only Have Eyes for You” (for real) into their sets!

Oneohtrix Point Never’s version is now available to stream. Here’s what C Monster had to say about it:

Rewind to where calm meets hesitance. Cast yourself into the most familiar zone possible without knowing the location. Let nature tunnel your mind and virtuality pleasure your nerves. Shimmers of digital ingratiation infiltrate and singe the surface between your reality, vision, control, and human being. Reason with it, fight it for a bit, but let it slide off your chair and sink into your beliefs, facing your face, reading, “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

I love him! Check it out for yourself here:

If you can’t make it to the Happening, don’t worry: will stream the performance (via YouTube) tomorrow at 8 PM EST.

• Oneohtrix Point Never:
• Doug Aitken:
• Hirshhorn Museum:

Gem Jones

“Smokin’ in the Girls Room”

When I first heard “Smokin’ in the Girls Room,” I assumed the track was pieced together using the same cut-and-paste sample method Gem Jones had been using to repurpose pop on his past few releases. In fact, it sounded so similar to an early-1980s ATCO release that, even when I found out that his sampler was stolen, I was sure he had just bought a new sampler and gotten back to chopping up bargain-bin records. Turns out, the guy just channeled Prince through some secondhand keyboards and released an album so true to the sound of 80s pop that it’s perhaps only appropriate that it was released on cassette.

Listen to “Smokin’ in the Girls Room” below, and buy the whole tape, Symphony in P, from Portland’s CGIFriday Enterprise.

• Gem Jones:
• CGIFriday Enterprise:


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.