California Republic [mixtape]

For a free mixtape, Game’s latest offering, the California Republic, is stacked with enough high-end guest spots and production credits to justify a proper commercial release. Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Drake, Busta Rhymes, and Lupe Fiasco are just a handful of the friends Game’s recruited this time around, against some equally impressive tracks by the likes of Cool & Dre, the Neptunes, and Boi 1DA. Building upon last year’s solid R.E.D. Album, California Republic has plenty of high points: “Roll My Sh**,” which mixes classic West-Coast stylings with ominous choir music; the spooky posture-off with Fabulous, Eric Bellinger, and Slim Thug in “Death Penalty;” and “Come Up,” which is being included in this list on the basis of Drake’s hilarious gunshot onomatopoeias. Sure, some of the purported features are missing — no Schoolboy Q or Kendrick Lamar here — but if you’re having doubts about nabbing this, let me just say that again: Drake makes gunshot sounds.

• Game:

DJ Earl

Above & Beyond [album stream]

At 21, DJ Earl is one of the younger producers in the Ghetto Tekz crew (Rashad, Spinn, Traxman, Manny, etc.). He’s also one of the most well-known. Earl’s been on two Planet Mu releases (Bangs & Works Vol. 2, the Ghettoteknitianz EP), regularly DJs at footwork events in Chicago, releases blistering monthly footwork mixes via his SoundCloud, and was on Lit City’s recent monster mixtape.

Above & Beyond, DJ Earl’s latest album, was released yesterday via Bandcamp. It features 11 tracks, all of which serve as good representations of his minimal, jazz/funk, synth-heavy aesthetic. The whole album’s definitely worth listening to, but please do yourself/humanity a favor and pay careful attention to “Open Up to the Circle.” It’s fucking amazing.

Stream Above & Beyond below and purchase for $12 at Bandcamp:

And while you’re in the DJ Earl mood, check out his DJ work at a footwork battle. Argh, it kills me that the best footwork out there may never see proper release. Make us proud, Lit City!

• DJ Earl:

Lieven Martens / Dolphins Into The Future

26 Shores of Chorals [Underwater Peoples Mixtape #5]

Mm, Lieven Martens. Listen to that seductive introduction. I’m not sure how many times the warm weather can “officially start” on the internet, but with this mix, it HAS! Just, the most beautiful melodies and harmonies, reality smacks you so hard on this mix you might have to constantly check your environment. Best part about this is I was making my summer “RITUAL” mixtape last week and was tracking it similar to Lieven’s tape here, but with less of an island theme. However, I’m more satisfied with 26 Shores of Chorals because of my extreme deserted-island fetish. Thanks, The Blue Lagoon. And thank you, Lieven, always forever (next summer, maybe?). ALSO-ALSO, don’t try and purchase this shit; it’s just digital. So, take ya cassette recorder, crank your car stereo, and smack that red button for maximum shit-fi pleasure!

• Dolphins into the Future:
• Underwater Peoples:

Peaking Lights

“Lo Hi”

Peaking Lights are about to drop a new full-length, Lucifer, and they’ve got a track from the album to prove it. “Lo Hi,” the psychedelic-dubfuck number that it is, features Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis’ son Mikko on vocal/cooing duties. Check it out:

Look for Lucifer June 19 via Mexican Summer and Weird World. It has great artwork.

• Peaking Lights:
• Mexican Summer:
• Weird World:

Water Liars

“Dog Eaten”

Acoustic folk has a long, deeply mined history; unlike the fare of more transient, hip musical movements, a folk song does not necessarily strive for innovation or reinvention as its primary goal. Instead of concerning itself with blazing new trajectories through music’s constellations, a great folk song just retools old ideas and strives to attain a Platonic form. Water Liars’ “Dog Eaten” operates in that vein.

But that doesn’t mean a song like this can’t surprise and thrill, and in doing so leave you with at least a little heart ache. Listen to the accumulative images that singer and songwriter Justin Kinkel-Schuster offers. His voice is ideally tailored to express the song’s emotional strain without becoming tastelessly conspicuous. It’s the way you not only expect folk to sound, but how you hope it will; expectations are at the heart of this song and at its most potent line, which comes in the middle. “My father was quietly taken” makes us imagine the man’s Pa swept away in the night, but the image is undermined by something much more complex in the song’s next line: “The money that I had been makin’…” Immediately, the earlier “taken” transforms to “takin’.’” The “dog-eaten wallet” makes its appearance moments later, and even though those words make up the song’s title, we know where Kinkel-Schuster’s pain really roosts.

• Water Liars:
• Misra:


Fez soundtrack

If you’re anything like me — and by “like me,” I mean really into video games — then you probably already know about the video game Fez. You probably already downloaded it on Xbox Live Arcade. You probably already love it so much you want to squeeze its cute little marshmallow-looking main character to death like Elmyra from Tiny Toons.

The game itself is pretty outstanding, but one of the things that’s made me obsess over it even more is the soundtrack. Created by one Rich Vreeland (a.k.a. Disasterpeace), the soundtrack takes chiptune into a very blissed-out drone heaven. Think the music of Lone, Boards of Canada, Emeralds, and early Oneohtrix Point Never done using only the hardware inside an NES, and you’re on the right track. The soundtrack isn’t out yet, but you can stream most of it through the Disasterpeace Bandcamp page and pre-order a digital copy for a mere $5.

• Disasterpeace:



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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.