M. Akers
“Tough To Kill”

Mmmmmm. M. Aker’s new Tough to Kill LP on Retrograde Tapes… shit, is some soaring stuff, shit. After 10 minutes, I realized I was listening to the same song (and title track) “Tough To Kill,” descending level upon level of imagination. For me, it’s actually hard to decide what scenario to choose:

- Being raised from the ding dungeon marsh that has imprisoned my existence the last 500 years. Absorbing materials around myself, I become golem to the one who de-Earthed me. Smashing through the swamp, I head toward forest cities and mountaintop villages to pummel life and consume their being into mine, providing my body strength and vitality.

- It’s 1930s Japan and I’m a geisha traveling to Nansei-shotō for a week of entertainment and needs. Fireworks fling into the air, followed by streams of smoke draping over my eyes and face, as the boat arrives at the bay. Cheering ensues as I step off the boat, and flashes accentuate the pockmarks, wrinkles, and blemishes on the faces before me.

- I’m sucking in the slowest dragged cigarette at 4:37 AM on a Wednesday and watching the sun rise along the January horizon. Everything is frozen, and the smoke appears thicker with my cold breath. The fields and fields; barks of trees bare everywhere, and jagged lines fill in their shape. Vacancy freezes your body and void becomes one while exiting.

M. Aker’s Tough to Kill is Retrograde’s first LP release. First 50 copies come with a Deleted Scenes C50 tape too. Imagination is endless.

• M. Akers: http://futurebarbarian.blogspot.com
• Retrograde Tapes: http://retrogradetapes.blogspot.com

M. Akers

“Tough To Kill”

Mmmmmm. M. Aker’s new Tough to Kill LP on Retrograde Tapes… shit, is some soaring stuff, shit. After 10 minutes, I realized I was listening to the same song (and title track) “Tough To Kill,” descending level upon level of imagination. For me, it’s actually hard to decide what scenario to choose:

- Being raised from the ding dungeon marsh that has imprisoned my existence the last 500 years. Absorbing materials around myself, I become golem to the one who de-Earthed me. Smashing through the swamp, I head toward forest cities and mountaintop villages to pummel life and consume their being into mine, providing my body strength and vitality.

- It’s 1930s Japan and I’m a geisha traveling to Nansei-shotō for a week of entertainment and needs. Fireworks fling into the air, followed by streams of smoke draping over my eyes and face, as the boat arrives at the bay. Cheering ensues as I step off the boat, and flashes accentuate the pockmarks, wrinkles, and blemishes on the faces before me.

- I’m sucking in the slowest dragged cigarette at 4:37 AM on a Wednesday and watching the sun rise along the January horizon. Everything is frozen, and the smoke appears thicker with my cold breath. The fields and fields; barks of trees bare everywhere, and jagged lines fill in their shape. Vacancy freezes your body and void becomes one while exiting.

M. Aker’s Tough to Kill is Retrograde’s first LP release. First 50 copies come with a Deleted Scenes C50 tape too. Imagination is endless.

• M. Akers: http://futurebarbarian.blogspot.com
• Retrograde Tapes: http://retrogradetapes.blogspot.com

The Plums

Nixon’s Mess

Ninety minutes worth of noise rock is enough to get a guy down. This guy. That was me listening to The Plums’ massive (and admittedly awesome) White 2xLP last year — just a lot to handle in one sitting. Two sides of a tape at 16 minutes each, though? Much more manageable. Nixon’s Mess is a new c32 release from the 10-year-running quartet, out now on the Prison Art label, who is responsible for such recent radness as Sarongs’ self-titled tape and Each Other’s brilliant Taking Trips. This has “DC” as a state of mind written all over it, with its gales of feedback and angsty, pummeling aggression, likening the sound to some of Dischord’s finer moments. Traversing an amazing amount of riffs and motifs in these relatively short blocks of improvisation, the band hammers out drunken rages, prickly moments of nervous tension, dizzying electric scrambles, periods of hypnotic drone, and lulling psych jams, everything laced with a nice (if also rough) layer of sandpapery fuzz. And in the end there, beneath the wails of electric guitar, is that a bit of sweetness? You bet your sweet ass it is.

The tape is limited to 60 copies, so get over to Prison Art and grab one while you can.

• The Plums: http://plumsband.blogspot.com
• Prison Art: http://prisonartcatalog.com

Fatima Al Qadiri

“Ghost Raid”

Fatima Al Qadiri, expert beatmaker and multimedia artist from New York, is releasing an EP on Fade To Mind, a fairly new US-based club label/movement that operates as a sister imprint to Night Slugs, putting her in the company of Nguzunguzu, Massacooramaan, MikeQ, and Gremino. Titled Desert Strike, the EP is a sonic interpretation of Fatima’s experiences both growing up in Kuwait during the Desert Storm bombings and playing a first-person shooter video game released a year later, called Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf. The EP’s first track, “Ghost Raid” (named after bombing raids by “The Ghost” F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter), can be streamed here:

Desert Strike is out October 23 on Fade To Mind.

• Fatima Al Qadiri: http://fatimaalqadiri.com
• Fade to Mind: http://fadetomind.net

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

“Thrift Shop”

I’m writing this post swathed in the itchiest cardigan known to man. It’s camel-colored, and someone must have stubbed out a few camels on this thing, because there are some curious holes near the elbows. But there’s something really magical about the art of digging through dirty racks of clothes at your local senior center or thrift shop and finding your own little treasure. Well, Seattle rapper Macklemore has come up with a nice little ditty to hum to yourself while you pore over some itchy sweaters. “I’ma take your grandpa’s style!” he boasts, romping around the Goodwill with reckless abandon. There are also funny jokes about R. Kelly’s bed sheets.

• Macklemore: http://www.macklemore.com

Andreas Brandal

Staying is Nowhere

A post about a tape on Field Hymns is almost just an excuse to put another fabulous work of visual art from Tiny Little Hammers up on a website. Take this one, for example. I mean, look at that fuckin’ thing. I want to hire this guy to put a mural on my body. Fortunately for everyone, the music that goes with these beautiful j-card inserts is always top notch. Here we have new sounds from Norway’s Andreas Brandal, who’s been releasing music since the 1980s or something crazy like that. I’m not super hip to everything he’s got out, but this new one is equal parts ohm and “ommmmmm.” Something of an alien wasteland is painted, subdued colors and somber melodies streaking across a black canvas, Brandal culling mountains, valleys, and softly rolling waves of tone from what seems like sheer nothingness. The sum feels like a universe slowly expanding and contracting; at times claustrophobic, at others wide-open and free-floating. Total zoner.

• Andreas Brandal: http://www.andreasbrandal.com
• Field Hymns: http://www.fieldhymns.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.