Black Marble
“A Great Design”

Pop music in the 80s was really in no hurry. It makes you wonder what it says about the times. Take any pop song from the 50s and 60s and the first verse is thrown at you within the first 20 seconds. We don’t have time for your damn instrumental intros! We gotta get things moving! And then the 80s roll in like a calm ocean with their minute-and-a-half synth-layering introductions and four-plus-minute pop songs. It’s like we lost interest in what comes next. That’s probably why all of that 80s [insert word here]-wave is still being pushed and explored today. But while most bands who lean that way tend to get stuck in that same laxidasical rut, bands like Brooklyn’s Black Marble still seem to be asking, “What comes next?”

“A Great Design,” from their forthcoming Hardly Art full length, A Different Arrangement, is an archaeological dig, dusting off some of the oldest coldwave trends and realizing we still have a lot to learn from them. Listen to “A Great Design” below and pick up the CD/LP from Seattle’s Hardly Art records in October.

• Black Marble: http://www.blackmarblenyc.com
• Hardly Art: http://hardlyart.com

Hooded Menace

“Summoned in to Euphoric Madness”

Finnish doom band Hooded Menace is preparing to release its Relapse debut, Effigies of Evil, in early September. Although they’ve definitely planted a flag on Planet Sabbath, this band cherry-picks other genres to increase the brutality factor — listen for the familiar grinding grit of death greats like Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death mixed in with all the sludge. There’s no Ozzyesque bleating here, just brutal guttural goodness that only makes the ear-bludgeoning sweeter.

• Hooded Menace: http://hoodedmenace.bandcamp.com
• Relapse Records: http://www.relapse.com

Black Marble

“A Great Design”

Pop music in the 80s was really in no hurry. It makes you wonder what it says about the times. Take any pop song from the 50s and 60s and the first verse is thrown at you within the first 20 seconds. We don’t have time for your damn instrumental intros! We gotta get things moving! And then the 80s roll in like a calm ocean with their minute-and-a-half synth-layering introductions and four-plus-minute pop songs. It’s like we lost interest in what comes next. That’s probably why all of that 80s [insert word here]-wave is still being pushed and explored today. But while most bands who lean that way tend to get stuck in that same laxidasical rut, bands like Brooklyn’s Black Marble still seem to be asking, “What comes next?”

“A Great Design,” from their forthcoming Hardly Art full length, A Different Arrangement, is an archaeological dig, dusting off some of the oldest coldwave trends and realizing we still have a lot to learn from them. Listen to “A Great Design” below and pick up the CD/LP from Seattle’s Hardly Art records in October.

• Black Marble: http://www.blackmarblenyc.com
• Hardly Art: http://hardlyart.com

Traxman

Heat [EP stream]

It’s been a good year for Traxman, which also means it’s been a good year for us. Back in April, Planet Mu released Da Mind of Traxman, an 18-track beast so in command, so refined, so seductive that the album effortlessly footwork’d its way onto our mid-year list of favorite albums. Traxman soon followed the album with Unreleased Trac, a compilation of over 20 equally-great odds and ends, all while making a shit-ton of edifying dance mixes, readying a release for Lit City Trax, and uploading even more unreleased tracks to his many SoundCloud accounts.

But that’s not it from this crazy Ghettoteknitian. Yesterday, the mighty Sewage Tapes released Heat, a new EP that features five more tracks to throw on the Traxman heap. It’s an unexpected but fitting collaboration, and the resulting tracks are, of course, really great. THANK YOU TRAX GOD! Listen here:

• Traxman: http://soundcloud.com/traxman
• Sewage Tapes: http://sewagetapes.bandcamp.com
• Planet Mu: http://www.planet.mu
• Lit City Trax: http://litcitytrax.com

Alex Cobb

“Landscape Dissolves” [directed by Paul Clipson]

The last Paul Clipson-directed video this site premiered, Young Moon’s “Crystal Text,” was a study in dissection. The man took pieces of plants and bodies and put them side by side to underscore their associations. Now, in this womb-like meditation for Alex Cobb’s lush, intimate track “Landscape Dissolves,” Clipson dissects for the more classic purpose of dissociation. Look at all these objects that Clipson films with such invention, so intensely, that you can no longer see them plainly.

Alex Cobb’s music is one of wide-eyed wonder. These are the kinds of sounds that assist your vision in going panoramic, that soundtrack moments of astronomical scope. It’s interesting, then, that Clipson’s video chooses instead to get close up, to find feelings of the sublime in the micro. It is in turn a form of distortion; the landscape dissolves as the camera crumbles it into its infinitesimal individual parts. When light glitters against the water, the mirage becomes a robust cosmos. When Clipson films a globe of light through the abstract flicker of tree trunks, then repeats the footage, it looks like a time-lapse of twin setting suns.

The very first image, a dust-shrouded sky scraper, suggests that this video will be dark, harrowing, catastrophic. But, staying close to Cobb’s warm sounds and optimism, the video instead demonstrates a cycle, where dissolution doesn’t lead to oblivion, but ever new landscapes, again and again.

Alex Cobb’s Passage to Morning will be available from Students of Decay on August 30.

• Alex Cobb: http://studentsofdecay.com/098
• Students of Decay: http://studentsofdecay.com
• Paul Clipson: http://www.withinmirrors.org

Magnétophonique

Tales From The Earth, And Beyond [album stream]

Tales From The Earth, And Beyond from French electronic musician Magnétophonique is a manifestation of nostalgia that would sound at home in both a made-for-television sci-fi soundtrack or an 80s downtown nightclub. It is documented on home dubbed cassettes courtesy of Sunup Recordings. It seems that the altar of cassettes as a medium in a digital age was originally built around secrecy; the only way to hear the contents was to purchase the tape. However, there’s been a shift of the physical artifact embrace that sheds the coyness. Tales From The Earth, And Beyond is available in its totality through Sunup’s Bandcamp site, and even with a handy Mediafire link to download if it behooves you.

• Sunup: http://sunuprecordings.bandcamp.com

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.