Spanish Prisoners
“Rich Blood”

If ya ain’t making them man/boy sounds, it’s either old-man this or shoo-wop that. Shit, chillwave and witch house? So, where the hell does that leave Spanish Prisoners? Dancing in silk sheets? Yachting with bourgeois ghosts? Alternative rock? Yo, isn’t “indie” rock this generation’s version of straight rock? What changed the “underground” feel? The internet? Is music now just a competition of who best communicates their brand of rock via information technology?

The nitty gritty is Spanish Prisoners are having fun. They all romancin’ that live-mastered feel, buried in acute yet relaxing communication between members, and, oh hello, xylophone. They rock their roll, swaying hips to carefully crafted noises and fidelities, without contrasting they’s own style. “Rich Blood” is on their album Gold Fools to be self-released October 4. Check out they’s album release party at Death By Audio October 6; they’re expecting you (@Mexican Summer, @Carpark, @Ghostly International, @Dovecote).

• Spanish Prisoners:

The Stepkids

“Shadows on Behalf” (Wilcox Sessions)

Award The Stepkids the virtue of honesty, or at least the allure of no nonsense: they have zero gimmick (unless you count their conspicuously white wardrobe). If this band wants your attention, they’re determined to get it solely with their groove and the purity of their performance. Go ahead, watch their recently released live session of “Shadows on Behalf.” They can all sing, and they’re all songwriters. They can all play. If that bass line isn’t your kind of hook, if that ascending chime isn’t what wrangles you in, then you’re not these guys’ kind of fish — and they’re probably fine with that.

The Stepkids, whose self-titled debut is due September 27 from Stones Throw, are currently on tour with London act The Horrors, and the two bands together make for a compelling show. Although the Kids’ gig is markedly different from those Brits’ breed of brooding, glorious, shoegaze psychedelia, their performance is a trip in its own right. It harkens back to an earlier pedigree of the psychedelic line, with precise harmonies, falsetto yawns, and ooo’s in the chorus. The lyrics are of lesser importance, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear such giveaway diction as “essence,” “boogaloo,” “infinity,” and “shaba daba bop ba ba.”

• The Stepkids:
• Stones Throw:

Thom Yorke

“The Twist”

As AtEase reports, Thom Yorke, the Billy Corgan of Radiohead, unveiled a new chubby-checkin’ track called “The Twist” on Mary-Ann Hobbs’ XFM show. Check out the rest of Yorke’s mix at Hobbs’ Mixcloud.

• Radiohead:

Ford & Lopatin

“I Surrender”

Daniel Lopatin, the man behind the genius of Oneohtrix Point Never (who is set to release a brand spanking new one in November), also makes music with a guy named Joel Ford. They used to be called Games, remember? As Games, they released a stellar EP called That We Can Play last year, which took the whole 80s revival thing to an entirely new level. Earlier this summer, they released their first full-length album under their new, straight-forward, even more 80s-sounding name, Ford & Lopatin. Channel Pressure (TMT Review) was released on their own Brooklyn-based imprint of Mexican Summer, called Software.

A few days ago, Adult Swim premiered this new video for one of the more catchy tunes from the new release, entitled “I Surrender.” It was directed by Danny Perez (the crazy mo-fo who directed the mind-boggling Animal Collective film, ODDSAC), so of course it’s wacky, weird, and totally trippy. And that psycho girl in it is Natasha Lyonne from American Pie!

• Software:


“Two Horns”

With the ghost of post-punk lurking underneath the floors, NY duo TJ Richards and Yuchen Lin make focused tumult of shifting styles and segments with drums, blown-out electronics, and plenty of samplers on their debut EP, Slow Pageant. Part The Ex, part Deerhoof, a dash of The Dead C attitude, and the equivalent energy of an entire marching band (you can actually hear it), Trabajo make all their work seem like a lot of fun. That was a Spanish language translation joke there. Forgive me. This thing is available as a 3-inch CD-R on Murfreesboro, TN label Kimberly Dawn.

• Trabajo:
• Kimberly Dawn:

Sneaky Snake

“Sunday Dumb Day”

At a recent show in L.A. (disclosure: at my house), sneaky snakes George Jensen and Ian James wired up somewhere between five and eight keyboards across a couple tables and chairs with various speakers, mixers, and junk growing up out of the corners — everything that happens to a living room when there’s a house show; they were practically building a fort of keyboards. Then George changed into this frock, looking like a Sherpa about to lead us on a treacherous mountain path, and everybody in the room settles on the floor, staring up as if someone’s going to read us a story; the lights go red, and they let rip… not a screaming assault of noise, not a psychedelic freak out, but a slow-motion sonic river of soft-as-snow notes that lulls us all to trance. In his hat, George is climbing on some piece of furniture and holding up this kaossillator to the sky waiting for a lightning bolt, but it’s just this gentle wash unfolding like jasmine tea pearls. It was a great show.

Sneaky Snake have a new tape called The Sprawl, which they describe as “hot slow jams for the megalopolis,” out this week on Dance Craze Records.

Sneaky Snake:
• Dance Craze:


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.