California X
“Sucker/Mummy”

People living outside California tend to think California is a place inoculated to rage. Sunshine breeds sterility, it seems. Well, while there may be more breathing room along the Bay than in a Manhattan tenement, less brittle air than in a Chicago slum, more mild-mannered Googlers in a West Coast acre than in the entire swath of Baltimore, the truth is that the complacency is maddening, invigorating, combusting. The sunshine and its cults can become ecstatically infuriating. Life isn’t this sunny! Wake up, CA! You Sucker! The same thing everyday! Petrified! You Mummy! Although California X may actually be from Amherst, Maryland, they nailed their name, nailed the sound of physical ecstasy paired with emotional putridity. This writer applauds, being from Virginia at first but now lodged in the Golden State herself. There’re all kinds of afflictions, and each kind needs its own soundtrack. But truly, California aside, “Sucker” is pitch-perfect, every raucous pitch. If you’re craving guitars in these dark digital times, this may be your panacea.

The two-side single “Sucker/Mummy” became available March 12 from The Sounds of Sweet Nothing.

• California X: http://californiax.bandcamp.com
• The Sweet Sounds of Nothing: http://thesoundsofsweetnothing.tumblr.com

California X

“Sucker/Mummy”

People living outside California tend to think California is a place inoculated to rage. Sunshine breeds sterility, it seems. Well, while there may be more breathing room along the Bay than in a Manhattan tenement, less brittle air than in a Chicago slum, more mild-mannered Googlers in a West Coast acre than in the entire swath of Baltimore, the truth is that the complacency is maddening, invigorating, combusting. The sunshine and its cults can become ecstatically infuriating. Life isn’t this sunny! Wake up, CA! You Sucker! The same thing everyday! Petrified! You Mummy! Although California X may actually be from Amherst, Maryland, they nailed their name, nailed the sound of physical ecstasy paired with emotional putridity. This writer applauds, being from Virginia at first but now lodged in the Golden State herself. There’re all kinds of afflictions, and each kind needs its own soundtrack. But truly, California aside, “Sucker” is pitch-perfect, every raucous pitch. If you’re craving guitars in these dark digital times, this may be your panacea.

The two-side single “Sucker/Mummy” became available March 12 from The Sounds of Sweet Nothing.

• California X: http://californiax.bandcamp.com
• The Sweet Sounds of Nothing: http://thesoundsofsweetnothing.tumblr.com

Nas

“The Don”

Fuck that. I ain’t gonna spit on you about his career length or that his voice on this track sounds like Kanye and flow like Ghostface. Moreso, is Nas still killing hip-hop? Uhhh, yeah, have you not played “The Don” yet? Orange circle down below. Click it. It’s proof that when people speak about the death of hip-hop, Nas should replace the phrase “swan song.” If Nas were butter, I’d slather him all over white bread and toast it good. Outcome: delicious. Seriously, I’ve listened to this track more than 40 times now, and my nipples are still hard. AND THE BASS!!!!!!!!! Cops would only pull you over to axe if you legitimately bought this track. Then tell you, “Drive safe. And blast that shit, old man.”

• Nas: http://www.islanddefjam.com/artist/home.aspx?artistID=7312
• Def Jam: http://www.islanddefjam.com

Pretty Lightning

“Down With The Moon”

Pretty Lightning hail from the hamlets of Southwestern Germany, but they play the type of scuzzy blues you’d expect to hear in a dusty Arizona biker bar. “Down With The Moon” is roughed-up, Kraut-y goodness, with a catchy folk melody at its core. High above the familiar chugging rhythms float wisps of psychedelia: winding guitar spirals, dreamy falsettos, fuzzy bass.

The album that mothered this cut, There Are Witches in the Woods, was the result of the band shutting itself in a cavernous room to grapple with its sonic visions in full breadth. And yet, listening to “Down With The Moon” produces the opposite effect. It’s liberating, built-for-the-outdoors type stuff, enough to make even the worst cabin-fever metamorphose into a burning desire to take an old pickup truck, grab a few friends, and drive down Route 66 with the radio blasting. Or at least sit out in the sun with a beer.

• Pretty Lightning: http://prettylightning.com
• Fonal: http://www.fonal.com

Mount Eerie

“House Shape”

Phil Elverum, a.k.a. the best thing that’s ever happened to music, has just released the first track off his upcoming album, Clear Moon. Both the album and its forthcoming companion LP, Ocean Roar, were recorded at The Unknown, Elverum’s new recording studio (a “de-sanctified church” in Anacortes, WA). Hear how it all sounds in “House Shape,” and look for Clear Moon on May 22 via P.W. Elverum & Sun.

• P.W. Elverum & Sun: http://www.pwelverumandsun.com

Legowelt

“Spring Equinox”

Western metereology geeks/Google users won’t need telling that March 20 was, for those in the northern hemisphere of the obscure planet “Earth,” the time of the vernal equinox.

How appropriate, then, that Newcastle’s über-hip, über-mysterious underground acidtechnodisco label Signals has just brought out this storming four-tracker from Danny Wolfers — a.k.a. Legowelt, a.k.a. Franz Falckenhaus, a.k.a. Danny Blanco, a.k.a. Gladio, a.k.a. Dickie Smabers & the Moerwijk Crew, a.k.a. Seaside Houz Boys, a.k.a. Venom 18, a.k.a. Florenza Mavelli, a.k.a. the Psychic Stewardess, a.k.a. Raheem Hershel, a.k.a. Jackmaster Corky, a.k.a. Twilight Moose, a.k.a. Squadra Blanco, a.k.a. Phalangius, a.k.a. Sammy Osmo, a.k.a. Westside Box Savants, a.k.a. Polarius, a.k.a. Salamandos, a.k.a. Nacho Patrol, a.k.a. House of Jezebel, a.k.a. Klaus Weltman, a.k.a. Smackos, a.k.a. Danny Wolfers, one half of Catnip, one half of the Chicago Shags, one-fifth of Legopel, one half of Macho Cat Garage, one half of Los Hermanos Rodriguez, one half of Smackulator, one half of Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui, one third of Mr Clavio — packed full of what the man himself would probably refer to as “moody, arcane, tape-smudged, ghetto North Sea houze trax and raw, dirty, nefarious, autistic, Detroit unicorn, forest-techno futurism. And when I say ‘techno’, I don’t mean that boooooooooooring contemporary shit they call techno nowadays, with over-rated, talentless, pretentious, douchebag, cunt DJs playing a few halfassed dumb mongo beats and being all arty fartsy about it.”

Lock the door, close the curtains, turn off your phone — and get gloomy with the reeeal shit. A storm’s coming. Buy the 12-inch here.

• Legowelt: http://awolfe.home.xs4all.nl
• Signals: http://www.facebook.com/signalsMMX

  

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.