Big Ups coalesced during my freshman year of college, but their new single, “Goes Black,” sounds like a relic from the early days of Dischord, the type of twitchy punk that makes you want to start tearing down posters from telephone poles, mosh in the produce aisle, stuff like that. Unlike their peers Roomrunner or Metz, the New York quartet Big Ups uses their sludge sparingly, shoehorning the chaos into tight spaces. “Goes Black” is loosely secured by a spring-loaded bass riff that whirs around behind Joe Galarraga’s quivering deadpan, eventually bursting forth to make way for the dizzying chorus. Think a more restrained spin on Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” or perhaps the Bush Tetras in a bar fight. Or better yet, don’t think. Just close your eyes, click play, and let all that angst come surging back. It’ll feel good, I promise.
Sunset seeps through the haze of 2023’s global warming skyline as purple and green swirls along the curvature of mountaintops and what once were inhabited buildings. The pace of pride swelters in the warmest way, beading sweat upon leaf and photosynthesis in the last bit of surviving intelligent life; metamorph’d with asexual beings to exist, humans at last blended man with plant. Ultimately evolved in a laboratory to live as long as the great sequoia, humans — prior to the great burning of all that is green — figured out a way to thrive on, in light of sun. Growing beyond what is sky, they are now plagued to giant, ever growing bodies, striving forth, gaining nutrition at dusk and dawn, traveling at night, only to never root in a place that is infinite and nearly desolate. Though, the natural promise of future remains, as pieces of their selves fall to the soil and grow more/new life, uprooting and traveling on. Turning from mammal and reptilian intelligent and genome reign to vegetation, beginning the “Problems” of Primitive Art.
Primitive Art is the project of Jim C. Nedd and Matteo Pit, whose new 12-inch Problems is available for pre-order now on Hundebiss Records and will be shipping mid-September; digital download comes with pre-orders. Dance the way of green humanity.
• Primitive Art: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Primitive-Art/236486603061297
• Hundebiss Records: http://hundebissrecords.bigcartel.com
Steddy P & DJ Mahf
True story: back in high school, my friend Brent (then known as Triple B for Big Bad Brent, or Triple for short) used to throw some pretty epic house parties. The events themselves have all melded in my mind into one legendary rager, but I do remember one particular morning-after.
I’d woken up on a recliner in Brent’s living room. Most of my friends and acquaintances were still sprawled about the couch and the floor, but when finally everyone who could rise did, we all walked to the deli down the street to pick up some egg sandwiches.
So far, this all seems pretty routine, right? However, when we reached our destination there were two cops there ordering breakfast; no big deal, except that one of them singled me out of the group, saying something like, “Hey, what’s the matter with you?”
I’d just smoked a little weed and probably still smelled of booze, so naturally I assumed that he was referring to my intoxicated state. Brazen 17-year-old anti-authoritarian that I was, I fired back, “What’s the matter with ME?! There’s a 50-year-old man down the street with little kids locked up in his basement, and you’re asking what’s the matter with ME?!”
Wide-eyed, the cop mercifully returned his attention to the counter. My friends, on the other hand, burst out laughing. I knew what I said was funny in a sick kind of way, but I didn’t think it was that funny, so I was a little bit confused. It was only when I went to grab an orange juice from the drink cooler that I realized what was going on; there, in the reflection of the cooler’s glass door, I saw that overnight my face had been tagged up with more dick drawings than I’d ever seen in one place. I kid you not when I say every inch of my countenance was covered in Crayola marker.
At first I was extremely pissed and embarrassed, but when the cop left without arresting or even searching me, I too was able to laugh at the whole situation, even though it’d take me the better part of an hour to wash my face clean.
Anyway, speaking of breakfast and sophisticated ignorance and drawing on people, the recently released video for “Sophisticated Ignorance” off Steddy P and DJ Mahf’s new album Breakfast with Doctor Gonzo features a woman waking up covered in body art by none other than DJ Mahf’s brother, and my favorite comic book illustrator in the whole world, Jim Mahfood a.k.a. Food One. How’s that for a co-inky-dink?!
IU used to be known as the little sister everyone wish they had in Korea. Then last year, the just-turned-20 star was caught having relations with an “older man” (Super Junior’s Eunhyuk, who was — brace yourselves — six years older than IU at the time), and suddenly she became the little sister everyone in Korea wish they knew. Ridiculously, she was still pleading for forgiveness in the Korean media more than half a year later — and even moreso, that’s lucky by Korean standards. The notoriously chauvinist community of K-Pop “netizens” have recently rained hellfire on the careers of girl groups for things as benign as looking at someone the wrong way, crying on a radio show for being pressured to make cute faces, and misusing the term “democratize.” So yeah - add senseless witch hunts to the Korean music industry’s tally of strange evils.
Fortunately, IU seems like she’ll be just fine. It helps that her comeback single is pop at its most earnest and sugar sweet. Title aside, “Monday Afternoon” sounds more like a lonely night beneath the disco ball; its progression, a “Viva La Vida,” reimagined on piano à la classic house. The fake strings sigh with just the right wistfulness; IU’s chorus shouts fall on just the right side of twee. It’s a beguiling, evocative little tune, not exactly the IU I’m always hoping to glimpse again (i.e., Korea’s best answer to Shina Ringo, as heard on “4AM” and “길 잃은 강아지”), but a fine addition to one of the better idol pop discographies around.
Various Artists: #FREEJONO
Jónó Mí Ló needs our help! Yes, that Jónó. Daytime Television, Teamm Jordann, Dior Nights — you know, Jónó Jónó. Unfortunately, we’re not at liberty to discuss the details of what’s going on, but the good man behind AyGeeTee (a.k.a. Actress Pets) has put together a 48-track benefit compilation called #FREEJONO, which features the likes of Saint Pepsi, Infinity Frequencies, Teams, Lenticular Clouds, and many, many more, all in the service to help good ol’ Jónó. And it’s priced at a minimum of only $3!
According to the #FREEJONO Bandcamp page:
This compilation was free to download in name & practicality only - but too many did (take it free) - so now it’s $3 - the cause of this is to aid our friend Jónó Mí Ló &, in that spirit, we would all appreciate the contribution for download - or anything more, however small (or large) that may be ….
Don’t Go Into That Bad Night
Usually outta nowhere, my good pal and long-time musician idol Rob Magill tosses his new tracks at me for a first-crack listen, which is way humbling in a public Choco post kinda way. This time he sent me Don’t Go Into That Bad Night, a three-track burner, including “The Bad Night,” “The Drink of Love,” and “This Song.” They hot off the recorder and sizzling raw. I gave it five listens straight through the first time I gripped it digitally (‘cause I can do that), and each time my ears caught something different.
First time reminded me of how much I love recorded music straight from inception to conception to file/cassette/reality, sort of like the new El Topo cassette. Second listen I was in chills, thinking about an ex who has a remarkably similar voice to that of Fanny Ali singing on this here Don’t Go Into That Bad Night. Third round captivated me by the way each member (Rob Magill on sax, Brett Childs on guitar, Nick Ali on drums, and Dustin Emery on bass) took it upon themselves to strive for singularity on their instrument through equal symbiosis. Fourth lap was more of the title’s Don’t Go Into That Bad Night reminder of that one Moondog track “Why Spend A Dark Night With You” (humor, hi!). Fifth and final for the day was all about my pop and his love for motion in music, and I’m just imagining the feel of this music, how it looks being played.
• Rob Magill: http://rob-magill.bandcamp.com