San Diego’s Art Fag Recordings has this way of releasing music on albums without sacrificing any of the live energy of its artists. The self-titled debut from Plateaus is no exception. If it weren’t playing out of the computer speakers directly in front of me, I might be inclined to think that the surf-rock band that lives next door to me was practicing in the middle of the day again. It’s a refreshing sound, like a backyard barbecue house show that you can enjoy year-round.

Stream the entire album below and enjoy endless summer in your cold and/or rainy and/or snowy city whenever you please! I suppose this is kind of what it’s like to live in San Diego.

• Plateaus:
• Art Fag:


“Schulze and Shaffner”

Full volume. Come on, try it for this one. I warn you though, this is louder than normal. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, everything about this is just… bigger. As it should be. This here track “Schulze and Shaffner” is a tribute to those Tjutjuna members we have lost: Brendon Schulze and Adam Shaffner. For those of you who don’t know/didn’t know about the history of the mythical Denver beast known as Tjutjuna, the former iteration of the band as Mothership, the concept album about alien spores they did, or that show at the planetarium (yes, a planetarium, and yes, it was probably amazing)… well, now you do. And the loss of these members? No… no, it’s not a big deal. It’s a huge, fucking gigantic fucking deal, got it? What was lost: some psych. Some. Just enough to hurt. Just enough to enlarge, engorge, and enrage. Slowly, stately, professionally, “Schulze and Shaffner” marches forth in an epic eulogy. Keep your nerves. Deep breaths. Oh okay, cry already. But of course, we persevere. We buck up, keep our chins high, and we stomp on, in this case while traveling at warp speed through a wormhole. We still have these massive drums. We still have these euphoric harmonies stacked to the stars. We’ve got the gently unfurling melodies and the riptides of guitar. We’re going to be okay.

This track is the “b/w” part of the “Desert Song” cassingle from the Colorado psych outfit, who are fresh off an East coast jaunt that took them to CMJ last month. Check out the track below and hit up Fire Talk for a copy of the tape.

• Tjutjuna:
• Fire Talk:

E-40 & Too $hort

“Say I” [ft. Wiz Khalifa]

It’s been a really, really long wait, but at last, E-40 and Too $hort are preparing to release their collaborative, two-disc LP, History: Function/Mob Music. Sure, Jay-Z and Kanye was a nice team-up, but this pairing is 2000% more hyphy. Which is probably why it took so damn long. “Say I” is classic Bay Area rap, with a menacing choral beat and recurring pledges to get very, very intoxicated. E-40’s deep-throated squawks are a perfect match for Too $hort’s sharp monotone. And, through some sort of magic, Pittsburgh’s beloved stoner prince Wiz Khalifa sounds right at home in this Cali-indebted track. History drops today, on Election Day; just try to resist the urge to ghost ride the whip at your local polling place.

• E-40 -
• Too $hort -

Mind Over Mirrors

Check Your Swing

This year marks the 170th anniversary of the harmonium, a wind- and reed-powered keyboard instrument that has joined the bagpipes as premier drone-based musical instruments of the modern age. Now, over a century and a half later, we can mark the instrument’s birthday with a new wind- and reed-powered record, Check Your Swing, courtesy of drone artist and master harmoniumist Jaime Fennelly as Mind Over Mirrors. Using both an old instrument and some other not-so-old ones, Fennelly (Peeesseye, Phantom Limb) creates a lush, swirling listening experience that fittingly evokes the characteristics of the dense, green wilderness cover art: constant and monotone, yet full of ornate detail and variety.

Pre-oder it from Hands In The Dark here, and listen to the entirety of Check Your Swing here:

• Mind Over Mirrors:
• Hands In The Dark:


“Your Cast Will Tire”

Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is the title of electronic duo Raime’s upcoming full-length on Blackest Ever Black. The album drops as a 2xLP (and CD, but I’ve been told that is “uncool” and that most of you guys don’t buy those) on November 19. “Your Cast Will Tire” is our first exposure, and it starts with some spindly string-scraping on a guitar that’s eventually overtaken with a beat that sounds like it came from one of Andy Stott’s 2011 EPs. The strings create an unsettling drone in the treble range, while the heavy weight of the consistent knocking in the lower register drags you to the bottom of some murky lake. Halloween was last week, but for those of you still holding a bag of candy, Raime’s got some negative creep for you.

• Blackest Ever Black:

Kyle Bobby Dunn

“In Praise of Tears”

During the recording sessions of what may well prove to be the most impassive album of 2012, ambient composer Kyle Bobby Dunn crafted five fresh formations on his 1968 Jazzmaster at L’auberge de Belleville, Canada. Each piece was assembled with very little processing and the desire to propel the frontiers of what elongated torment might embody sonically.

The result is an arresting resuscitation of the sullen ambient aesthetic this sagacious composer has become so renowned for — a selection of calm, peaceful, and melancholic works that brood and dilate perfectly under the precise title of his latest record. In Miserum Stercus, or “Most Miserable Dung,” is said to embody the feeling of being more miserable than thou, a state one can only hope the artist does not truly find himself in, for these are some of the most seductive ambient compositions of the year.

Have a listen to “In Praise of Tears” in preparation for Kyle Bobby Dunn’s second release of 2012, which is out on November 27 through Komino.

• Kyle Bobby Dunn:
• Komino:



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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.