Heavy Hawaii
“Super Bowl XXIX”

How did an instrument as deeply rooted in religion as the organ ever become a surf-rock staple? It’s huge, heavy, and nearly impossible to actually play on the beach. It was probably some kid who died in a surfing accident and his friends held the funeral “where, like, he would have wanted it to be, bro: on the beach” — and just like that, the connection was made. A new religion comprised of beach-bums as disciples, stoned conversations about life as the gospel, and some mix of worship-style harmonizing and instrumentation as the choir. Granted, most of this just takes place in garages and basements now instead of on the beach, but the idea is still nice. And I’ll be God(?)-damned if that classic surf-rock formula doesn’t still work today.

Check out Heavy Hawaii’s “Super Bowl XXIX,” off a three-track 7-inch on Art Fag.

• Heavy Hawaii: http://heavyhawaii.bandcamp.com
• Art Fag: http://www.artfagrecordings.com

DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn

“We Trippy Mane” / “Just Jam [ft. Gant-Man]”

OMG — I got this nasty television last year, and I’d love to see DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn’s new video on it. Oh, wait, don’t watch the TV? I-I-I-I-I-I-I guess I’ll just check-ck-ck-ck-ck this track out YouTube(s)-at-work-style. I love how this video is probably only five real minutes of footage. Seriously, much respect to the editor of this video. It’s arguably just as artistic as this music is edited. Mmm, and grimy little melodies get my feet fluttering, while stuttering doooods together in a room for too long WILL get grimy. That’s probz why the length of these shots are so short. But who knew minimalism was such a gigantic source of a good time? Rashad and Spinn do, duh. Instead of television-watching, they trippy, just jammin’, and enjoying [7:38]. And there’s nothing more artistic than a girl footworking good.

Check out Rashad’s new album TEKLIFE Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi off Lit City. #ghost #ghost #ghost #ghost #ghost

• DJ Spinn: http://soundcloud.com/dj-spinn-1
• DJ Rashad: http://soundcloud.com/dj-rashad
• Lit City Trax: http://www.facebook.com/LITCITYTRAX

Matt Jones & The Reconstruction

“Hand Out The Drugs”

Two years ago, Matt Jones almost died — and the twist here is, unlike some sappily spun story about a bearded, dumped dude finding hope in some hackneyed Thoreau-esque cabin-escapism, Jones readily admitted that even if it was Music that saved his life, it was Music that almost destroyed it, too. Indeed, his airy voice sweeps with devastation and delicacy, that breathy scrape that tails into sweetly clawing trills like the comforting hand that grasps, almost violently, at your shoulder to comfortingly rear you back from the edge, from collapse. Yes, dark and beautiful, as the cliché goes, the kind of heavy shit that makes you glad you’re only inside the narrator’s shoes (or roped to the narrator’s chair) for just four minutes at a time, but damned if he doesn’t wind it all together with such poetic allure.

I’m not here to spin the same old story that Jones deserves just as much romanticizing and rabble as the big Grammy-folkies or any other; I’m just here to remind you that there’s always something you’re missing, that one might never know what poignant, revelatory musical moments can be mined from unassuming voices, moments, songs that prove more rewarding and endearing than any of that stuff that Starbucks is selling you. Peek into Michigan’s folk scene — it’s been churning along for a while now — particularly with Jones’ recently-released Half Poison / Half Pure. Then peek down an overlooked street in Detroit’s northwest corner through the lens of director Oren Goldenberg (Our School). A hazy, daydreamy drift along crumbled curb-sides in front of the houses and the people of the suburbs of post-post-industrial America that often get left outside the frame.

It builds. It starts to roll. The clapping begins. Clap along.

• Matt Jones & the Reconstruction: http://mattjones.bandcamp.com
• Cass Corridor Films: http://casscorridorfilms.com

Lunar Miasma

“Expanded Dimension”

For me, it’s that low, pitch-shifted vocal sound (probably just a synth?) that makes Lunar Miasma’s “Expanded Dimension.” When it creeps in, I instantly picture the steam punk Blade Runner city: dark, pensive, filled with neon lights bursting through ambient smoke ‘n’ shit. Mission accomplished? I should also add that “Expanded Dimension” reminds me of how utterly burnt out I am on moody synth-ambience — a matter of overexposure I guess. But forget that; sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and listen with fresh ears. Props to Lunar Miasma for keeping it real, sticking to his guns.

• Lunar Miasma: http://lunarmiasma.blogspot.com
• Moon Glyph: http://moonglyph.com

Derek Rogers

“Linear Truths”

Ladies and gentlemen, Derek Rogers, since 2008:

Cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, 3-inch CDr (ooooOOOOooo!), CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, CDr, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette, cassette. And now, as of Wendesday June 13th, 2012, we have vinyl.

Yes, the list of tapes and CDs above is massive (that’s no less than 40 releases in less than four years), and many including myself have only had the chance to listen to but a fraction of Rogers’ output thus far. Still, the move to wax marks a very grand occasion for this particular purveyor of drone, and this video preview for Saturations (magnificently put together by TMT’s own Lee Noble) ushers in the Greenup Industries release with humbling aplomb, announcing the vinyl as especially important somehow.

The music features waves of shimmering, trembling ambience beneath a seance of singing strings (generously bowed by collaborator Petra Kelly). The visuals really add to the piece’s overall impact with the camera’s slight unsteadiness and woozy, dream-like qualities making for a nice match to the music’s shy, transcendental beauty. Also, word on the street is that the video has the mausoleum from the 1979 flick PHANTASM in it. (Anybody…? Okay, I haven’t seen it, but that detail seemed important enough to mention.) Anyway, Rogers and Noble give the lifeless so much life here, taking on stationary objectivity and packing it with the emotive locomotion of a million love-of-your-life breakups happening simultaneously, all the while staying ingeniously subtle.

Have I reviewed this yet? Here’s the review: “Linear Truths” is gorgeous.

• Derek Rogers: http://derekrogers.bandcamp.com
• Greenup Industries: http://greenupindustries.com

Joey Bada$$

1999 [mixtape]

1999 was a rough year for East Coast rap: Bad Boy Records floundered in the wake of Puff Daddy’s dud of a second album, Ma$e retired from the game unexpectedly early to follow a Christian calling, and talented Big L was murdered just blocks from his home. Now, 13 years later, we’re back in 1999 — only this time, it’s the debut mixtape from Joey Bada$$, a 17-year old rapper from Brooklyn who steeps his sound in the hearty, break-heavy beats of the 90s. Bada$$ may still be in high school (“Fuck trigonometry!” he sneers on FromdaTomb$), but his flow is startlingly mature, recalling A1 or perhaps even a young Nas. The top-notch production from DOOM and Freddie Joachim provides the perfect canvas for the MC to show his skills — deft syllabic switcheroos, hazy stoner pontifications, and plenty of nostalgia.

• Joey Bada$$ - http://badassjoey.tumblr.com

  

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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.