“Fruiting Bodies / Liberty Capped” [excerpt]

UK duo Pausal may have created the musical sigh of the year. I’m not sure yet; this is only an excerpt from their forthcoming sophomore Barge release, Forms (a follow up to 2010’s exquisite Lapses), a partial of what could very well be the most blissfuly airborne dream-state any of us might have the chance to exist in for a long time. I recommend it. Much better than the ground I was on when I started writing this post. Float away, folks:

• Pausal:
• Barge Recordings:


“The Night”

Some of you who already know Exitmusic might disapprove of their music in advance, by virtue of demographic. They’re a “celebrity band,” you see. I believe, however, that this is a moot point. For those of you unfamiliar with Exitmusic, read about it yourself: send your probes into the first few hits of the Google Machine and you’ll see that the story of Aleksa Palladino and her husband Devon Chruch is the hook for every article about the band. But who cares. In my humble opinion (now foisted upon you, meek reader!), Exitmusic’s product thus far has been too excellent to be relegated to mere Palladino “side project.” At this point, I would not be stunned to see Palladino’s primary career become one of the stage rather than the screen.

What’s most remarkable about Exitmusic is how they can flirt with aesthetic peril yet escape unscathed. Their first music video, for “The Sea,” consisted of a collage from Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, which could have come off as presumptuous and damning. Preposterously, it works; it triumphs, even. Meanwhile, the video at hand, for “The Night,” has a second or two that treads mighty close to last year’s Lars von Trier film Melancholia. A lesser band would look foolish openly mingling with such mighty auteurs (see Thrice’s silly album Vheissu, which attempts to make something of Thomas Pynchon’s V), but Exitmusic manages to fend for itself, which is due in no small part to Palladino’s strangely saintly, though gruff, performance. And as for Devon Church, we see that he is a master of reverb here — an epithet he duly earns — and manages to frame his wife’s voice in a well-conceived and purposeful vision.

What’s also nice (and, indeed, possibly due to Palladino’s acting pedigree) is the clarity and confidence of the video itself. Directed by WIll Joines, the video is of unabashedly high production value, which may put off some modern children of lo-fi fuzz, but the images bear the clarity well. Let’s thank Aleksa’s acting chops, and long brown shocks, for that.

Exitmusic’s first LP, Passage, was recently released by Secretly Canadian.

• Exitmusic:
• Secretly Canadian:

Witch Gardens

R-I-P [EP stream]

I thought shitgaze was going the way of the trash spectrum. It seemed like each new release was recorded to a lower fidelity medium. Cassette tapes are now all over the place. Home-burned CD-Rs have come and gone and showed up again. Even Times New Viking recorded to a VHS tape in 2009. Hell, if we’ve figured out how to press music to a piece of paper, then why is Seattle’s Witch Gardens now abandoning suit and recording clean guitars and un-reverbed vocals to vinyl? Just what in the hell is going on here?

Listen for yourself below and check out this fancy, highfalutin 7-inch EP over at Waterwing Records.

• Witch Gardens:
• Waterwing Records:

Samantha Glass

“Return to the Sky Pt. 2”

Hey everyone, time to jam to this new Samantha Glass (Beau Devereaux) video. The jam is simple: keys, bass, swelling voice, tappings, etc. So, what’s the secret to getting on Not Not Fun after Beau’s Mysteries from the Palomino Skyliner LP (NNF226) drops late June/early July? Um, I dunno. Be real real. Feel it all around. Develop a personalized aesthetic. I don’t know. Make simplicity unique. Begin niche interest. Bring a recorder to a second-world country and get “American-unique” on they aces. Maybe grow your hair out and obsess about nature, like our pal Beau Devereaux. Everyone ready for his debut LP?

• Samantha Glass:
• Not Not Fun:

Balam Acab

“Ass Pop”

20-year-old electric wunderkind Balam Acab has always had a penchant for filthy, bass-heavy beats — less dancehall-ready, more haunted-house-in-the-swamp. It’s not surprising, then, that “Ass Pop,” his brief but nonetheless fascinating take on the strip club jam, is more spooky than sexy: you’ve got your standard handclaps and turbo-bass, sure, but the main attractions are the oozing, molasses-thick drum samples, which may be the strangest accompaniment for any song with “ass” in the title. Oh, and there are some barking dogs in there for good measure. Acab knows one of the key rules of trap music: it isn’t a jam without the woofs.

• Balam Acab:
• Tri Angle:


“Heart Finds the Beat”

Don’t be fooled by the name of the band or the fact that the group has serious ties to shoegaze with hints of dark pleasure pop like The Cure, Slowdive, Pale Saints, or any of that stuff that peers, plays, and pounds decidedly downward into the concrete below. Yes, yes, it’s all here: haunted melodies, the brooding groove, the heart-pumping pulse. But Landing does little work on the ground. Landing, paradoxically, spends most of its time not landing. They are constantly lifting off, soaring ever higher, ever farther into the outer reaches. To listen is to feel the cool winds whistling by, the wetness of enveloping clouds, and the unending freedom of the outstretched blue. Wispy vocals, crispy drums, driving bass, and the mix just soaking in an ocean of reverb all make “Heart Finds the Beat” quite the aerial swim.

This track is the first single from the band’s new self-titled LP, which is out this month on Geographic North and may be pre-ordered from the label right this very minute.

• Landing:
• Geographic North:


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.