One of the things that makes Monomakh stand out is his carnivorous flair for crafting remarkably involved and absorbing material before wrenching it through the lowest possible grade equipment he can get his hands on. At least that is what it sounds like on his latest abomination, Triptych. Through degrading the audio quality, it appears as though a perpetual loathing for any creative output is integral to the congenital artistic process; the final construct is required to undergo a state of self sabotage before being released into the public domain.

Indeed, Triptych is the second free release to come from Adelaide’s finest blackened death metal solo act in as little as four months. As with previous bombardments, any feasible detriment caused by external forces stands no threat of impinging on the artist’s innovative bent, for this sickening thrash of blood curdling noise is what made his debut, MMXII, such a barbed and challenging listen. Cale Schmidt, the man responsible for these malevolent undertakings, utilizes his apparently inoperative gear in applying a coarse and resilient texture to his music; the percussion is just as precise as the carefully crafted guitar riffs and gnashing vocals, but each track feels like it was recorded through a battered mic in a darkened corridor, with the musician thrashing these jams out in a boarded up apartment somewhere down the hall.

Whatever the procedure, both albums make for grand examples of what the metal underground has to offer right now and are well worth picking up, if you are into that sort of thing. MMXII and Tryptych are both available for free download at the Monomakh Bandcamp.

• Monomakh:

Luxury Elite / SAINT PEPSI


Heeeyy, man.
Come on over and hop on my cloud right here.
We’re gonna take a trip, man — over the cities and into space.
That’s right; my head is the moon, and I’m wearing sunglasses.
Come on, take these pills, and drink this jungle juice here, man.
It only lasts 10 minutes or so, but it feels like it lasts all night, man.

New music from Luxury Elite, featuring a hella tight split with SAINT PEPSI. Tape is limited to 50!

• Luxury Elite:
• Saint Pepsi:
• Illuminated Paths:


“Extract 2”

Here’s a video I want you to stare at for a few minutes from UK duo Sculpture, who are known for infusing their music with optic tricks, like printing animations on picture discs, etc. Their new album on Digitalis (the first for the label in what will certainly be a very successful year to follow) comes on slime-green vinyl, has a little zoetrope on the label, and just plain looks awesome, which should come as no surprise. The eye-popping video embedded above is no less the stunner, creating intermittent illusions of stationary birds through varying speeds of a rotating set of images (I… I think that’s what’s happening — basically mirroring the effect of a stroboscope, like you find on a lot of record players). But in addition to letting your pupils dilate over all this stuff, it’s just as important to dig the music as well, so maybe while you’re busy rubbing your eyes after getting through the first run-through, hit play again and give yourself a chance to check out the gyroscope of synths splattering all over the audio field as this extract whips itself around.

• Sculpture:
• Digitalis:

Various Artists

Milo Turns 50: Songs of The Descendents

It’s been over 30 years since Descendents frontman Milo Aukerman went to college — and started a punk renaissance in the process. Green Day, The Offspring, Blink-182 — they, and practically every other pop-punk band of the past 20 years, all cite The Descendents’ upbeat, melodic hardcore as a major influence. Aukerman turned 50 on New Years’ Day, and FILTER magazine is celebrating the seminal punk hero’s birthday with Milo Turns 50, a free 13-song compilation composed of covers of classic Descendents tunes. FIDLAR, Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, and Mike Watt all show up to pay their respects, although the most interesting offering, a cover of “All,” comes courtesy of YACHT — you read that right, the electropop group. It just goes to demonstrate the massive scope of the band’s influence, as well as the degree to which Aukerman has become a legendary figure in scenes all over the world. Here’s to you, Milo: you put the “punk” in AARP.

Download the album here, and read FILTER’s take on the compilation.

• The Descendents:

Dinosaur Jr.

“Pierce the Morning Rain”

If you’re ever caught with a case of suburban existential angst, there’s only one thing to do: trick out your ride with a sound system massive enough to induce a trance-like state in which a pugnacious Henry Rollins — or alternately, a golden retriever — challenges you to a duel. In their wacky new clip for “Pierce the Morning Rain,” Dinosaur Jr’s punchy, crunchy rock serves as the soundtrack to a classic scene of suburban angst and the solution brought forth by a seemingly-passive dad (played by James Urbaniak of Venture Bros. fame).American Beauty director Sam Mendes’ idea of transcendental beauty was a plastic bag floating carelessly in the wind; Scott Jacobson — the Emmy-award-winning comedy writer who directed the video — sees it instead as a Gucci Mane t-shirt, undulating to the relentless bass rumbles in an drag racing parking lot. And if that isn’t profundity, we don’t know what is.

• Dinosaur Jr.:
• Jagjaguwar:

Julia Holter

“You and Me Both” (Arthur Russell cover)

As the title of her 2012 list-topping album implies, Ms. Holter’s Ekstasis progressed through a hazy world of pause, touched briefly and inconsistently with touches of pop ecstasy. This live cover of Arthur Russell’s “You and Me Both,” bootlegged by Leaving Records founder and electronic scientist Matthewdavid, strips essentially every aspect of the original song, opting to create another slow-moving world based on the soft longing in its lyrics, and with only light piano droplets and Holter’s un-effected voice ringing through a chattering, disinterested crowd. That state of pause is pushed further than even the softest moments of Ekstasis. I imagine it was something no one attending that night’s Arthur Russell tribute show could have expected.

“You and Me Both” is Holter’s contribution to Dual Form, a split release between LA’s Stones Throw and Leaving Records, which also includes gems from Run DMT, Dem Hunger, Sun Araw, and Dntel, among others. It is available now on LP and cassette.

• Julia Holter:
• Stones Throw:
• Leaving Records:


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.