“The Tears of a Clown” [Smokey Robinson cover]

P. Diddy may hate the Smokey Robinson classic “The Tears of a Clown” — as he explains in “Coming Home,” he feels like he’s always being addressed whenever it comes on, something that’s obviously quite unsettling — but that doesn’t stop the track from being covered by an ever-growing number of artists. This version comes to us courtesy of Pond, an Australian garage-psych band featuring several Tame Impala alums (not to be confused with the 90s alt-rock band from Portland of the same name). It’s a punchier take on the familiar track, riddled with swaths of swampy guitar buried in reverb. Nick Albrook’s crackly falsetto is backed up by the modest backing harmonies we’ve come to expect from Tame Impala and now this stellar side project. It’s certainly one of the muckier covers to be recorded, but you can’t always please the purists.

• Pond: www.myspace.com/mickmanmoose
• Modular Recordings: http://www.modularpeople.com

Some Ember

Hotel of Lost Light [album stream]

Keith told me to scope Crash Symbols. He got me talking about it and forced his musical knowledge down my mental cavity, eventually pulling an opinion out of me about this release. My concluding opinion? Some Ember’s Hotel of Lost Light is a good effort, but there could be way more than this. Like, them vocals totally could have given a bit of a breakdown. And they ain’t playing the slow-slow card either; they’re on the line of choosing either/or. Oh, but they don’t. Not saying it lands flat or nothing; it’s just in constant fluctuation. Maybe it’s a stressful release. If that’s what they were going for, I’m into it. I mean, I like that whole suspense stuff, just not all the time. If you’re into it all the time, though, buy Hotel of Lost Light off Crash Symbols. Good New York highway driving music.

• Some Ember: http://soundcloud.com/some-ember
• Crash Symbols: http://crashsymbols.tumblr.com

Wanda Group

“Almost Never Got Out”

Damnit. I spend all this money on these really nice headphones, and Wanda Group just up and releases “Almost Never Got Out,” seamlessly slipping back into the murky beat-fuck production he used to scare listeners with when he still called himself Dem Hunger. It feels like a big slap in the face, leaving a mark that reads “NO HEADPHONES WILL CONTAIN ME!” like some smirking noise floor coat of arms. It pisses me off.

Stream “Almost Never Got Out” (part of a split single with “U U I (Super 32)” by another of his aliases, The Hers) below or download here. Then kill some time on his eerie Tumblr page and try to find all of the other pseudonyms he releases music under (Hint: there are six total).

• Wanda Group: http://alienpaint.tumblr.com

Ether Island

“Season Of Risk” / “Be Light”

Ripping their way through the Mythical Beast and off the grid in Coyote, NM, Corinne Sweeney and Jeremiah Cowlin keep the pseudo-exotic sounds of Not Not Fun in heat with their newest 7-inch “Season Of Risk,” trouping under then name Ether Island. Providing an earnest and genuine atmosphere, “Season Of Risk” and its flip-side “Be Light” fluctuate between the ransacked and the fleshed out: “Season Of Risk” being that hesitant moment when you question our modern American individualism involving storytelling, technology talk, food, fashion, easy-to-do, etc., and “Be Light” being more free-spirited in smash-grabbing any kind of individual thought and restricting it with 21st-century philosophy. Oh, wait, 21st-century American philosophy revolves around vampires and the apocalypse? Perfect! Slap Ether Island on ya player and bugg-out!

“Season Of Risk”:

“Be Light”:

Keep a look out for “Season Of Risk” and way-way more goodies on Not Not Fun.

• Ether Island: http://etherisland.tumblr.com
• Not Not Fun: http://notnotfun.com

DJ Earl & Traxman

“Back From 2030”

The Ghettoteknitianz show no signs of slowing down. Coming on the heels of the announcement of DJ Rashad’s TEKLIFE Vol.1 album and DJ Spinn’s new heat “She Bad” (both due on Lit City Trax), DJ Earl and Traxman have revealed a joint album called The Chi Project. The news itself comes on the heels of their own recent solo albums, DJ Earl with Above & Beyond and Traxman with Da Mind of Traxman (TMT Review) on Planet Mu, both released last month.

Word of The Chi Project has been circulating for quite awhile now, but they promise that the album will be out “soon,” which is likely since they’ve just released a track from it. Check out “Back From 2030,” a cut with so much forward momentum that it’s sure to convince any postmodern skeptic to follow these producers into “the future.”

• DJ Earl: http://soundcloud.com/djearlteckz
• Traxman: http://soundcloud.com/traxman
• Lit City: http://twitter.com/#!/LITCITYTRAX

Azealia Banks


Azealia Banks had to cancel a bevy of summer festival dates to meet recording obligations, but she’s making up for it with a proliferative spring: she has plans to drop her 1991 EP within the month, followed closely by her summer mixtape, Fantastic. Meanwhile, her debut LP, Broke With Expensive Taste, is slated for a September release. In the meantime, the New York rapper has released a track from Fantastic, the Hudson Mohawke-/Nick Hook-produced “Jumanji,” which, although devoid of a Robin Williams guest verse, is chock-full of the tropical sounds you’d expect from the title. It’s been a while since we’ve heard steel drums in a song about “reefer and cabanas” and “bougie bitches,” but this is definitely not Parrothead territory. Think of it as dancehall percolated through Harlem bombast — “212” at the beach.

• Azealia Banks: http://azealiabanks.com
• Interscope: http://www.interscope.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.