Comfort Link
“The Gentle Sounds” [excerpt]

Whatever/whoever the fuck Comfort Link is, it’s my favorite thing I’ve heard this year. Mysterious mechanical drones that evolve eons over the course of two short sides on a tape from Baltimore’s super-intriguing label, sPLeeNCoFFin. This excerpt should be enough to give you one of these, but for the full effect, you’d be better off hearing the whole thing on the cassette.

• sPLeeNCoFFiN:

Big Boi

“Lines” (feat. A$AP Rocky & Phantogram)

Here’s another track off Big Boi’s upcoming LP, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors: “Lines,” a collaboration with A$AP Rocky and Phantogram. Carried by a gritty electro-funk riff, the dynamic track features exactly the kind of clever verses you’ve come to expect from the two MCs (topics covered include: success, PETA, Jesus, and being a total badass), set adrift in trippy synths. Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel lends her characteristic smooth melodies to the mix as well. But what makes the track so good is the, ahem, “line” of tension running through it; the shifts in both tempo and delivery pop up when you least expect them. It makes for an intense and rewarding listening experience.

Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors is out December 11.

• Big Boi:
• Def Jam:

Slim Twig

“All This Wanting”

Slim Twig is a very close friend of U.S. Girls; he even runs Calico Corp with U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. And it’s through his own label and Toronto’s Pleasence Records that he’s released A Hound at the Hem, a fascinating whirligig of an album that includes collaborations with fellow Torontonian Owen Pallett. The melodies are straightforward and Gainsbourg-esque but suddenly and thrillingly give way to creepier stuff — foreboding brass blasts or counter-melodic piano — which is fitting for an album that pays tribute to Nabokov’s Lolita and Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson.

The video below is for “All This Wanting,” the first single from Hem. It was shot in Montreal by Emily Pelstring (who has also made videos for U.S. Girls, AIDS Wolf, and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan) and her puppeteering friends using a vintage camera to, as Pelstring put it, “give it an ’80s Sesame Street-gone-wrong vibe.” And it shows: the video begins cheesily enough, with goofy lighting and silly looking puppets. But as the song progresses, the sunniest of pop songs turns very, very dark. It’s a playful take on pop, one of the strongest from the Toronto psych scene.

A Hound at the Hem is available now through Calico Corp/Pleasence.

• Slim Twig:
• Calico Corp:
• Pleasence:
• Emily Pelstring:


“122 Hours of Fear”

“122 Hours of Fear” is a song originally by The Screamers, a phantom LA punk band of the late 70’s who never recorded or released a record. Now, the Detroit duo ADULT. is covering the track to herald their return back to recorded music. Their cover should maybe be called “113 Minutes of Fear,” however, as they’ve spent the past several years engineering Three Grace(s), their three-film horror cinema experience, which runs at that length and was screened with ADULT.’s live soundtrack accompaniment.

This cover employs a bit more control than the original, as delivered by frontman Tomata du Plenty. The clarity makes it disarming in its own way, while also giving it a sense of B-movie melodrama by allowing us to hear the paranoia in the lyrics, and later the seemingly arbitrary yet highly sinister “122” repeated again and again until the song goes off it’s tracks.

ADULT.’s Shari Vari / 122 Hours of Fear 7” is available now from Ghostly International.

• Ghostly:

Young Smoke

The Galaxy 1.0

Footwork, by its very nature, leads to prolificacy, with Traxman, DJ Roc, DJ Taye, and DJ Manny in particular having released an incredible amount of tracks/EPs/albums throughout the year, but Young Smoke has been on an absolute tear recently. He released the extremely limited Smoke Session v.1 earlier this year, followed it up with his Planet Mu full-length Space Zone, and has since released a joint EP with DJ Metro (iFlight v. 1) and a solo EP (Pluto Lounge). He even recently re-released his 2010 album, The Track Lab.

Now, not even a month later, we have a new 10-track EP, this one titled The Galaxy 1.0. The EP, characteristically chill and exploratory, features tracks like “The Matrix,” “Above the Stars,” and “Super Future,” which further articulate his footwork-in-space concept The tracks by themselves are solid, but I’m a sucker for his mixes. Listen to the entire EP at his Bandcamp page and/or check out this 11-minute mix:

• Young Smoke:

Virtual Flannel

“Now There’s More Triangles”

Canada’s favorite “indie” beats specialist Chris Bridge, a.k.a. Virtual Flannel a.k.a. ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ, coming at you TODAY via digital shelf with his new Self Titled album on Noorden. The release includes 3D glasses, (3) 3D posters, 24 stickers “all in [a] really cool envelope,” and — oh, right: it’s in CD format. Hoping it’s a lot like this here “Now There’s More Triangles” track too. Love that combination of beats and 100% Silk-style runway synth sounds. Kind of like that Azealia Banks mixtape this year, only Chris brings that funk in a more hackk’d glitch sort of way. The man is a hard worker; he came out with two cassettes on his own this year, and from what I’ve heard, he’s “working” with Justin Kelly, who is planning on popping Virtual Flannel on his label WTR CLR sometime soon too.

In the meantime, snag a copy of his amazing piece of Self Titled and bump it until it skips. Then you got the Virtual Flannel footwork/juke remix!

• Virtual Flannel:
• Noorden:


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.