Sufjan Stevens
“Take Me”

It’s 2 AM in the morning. In the dining room directly outside my office door, a woman is having a conversation with someone who isn’t there. (Don’t worry. There’s no meaningful intervention at the moment. I just have to let it play out.) I’m exhausted and work is exhausting. I wish I was home… in bed… asleep.

Instead, I’ve been online, looking for little distractions. Curiously, my friend (hi, Alain!) just shared a link on Facebook, and it directed me to Sufjan Stevens’ awesome Tumblr. In particular, I was linked to a post in which he [Sufjan] shares the “sloppy lo-fi demo [he] found on an old hard drive” entitled “Take Me.” Yes! This is exactly the distraction I needed.

I love Sufjan Stevens. He’s one of my favorite favorites. Unfortunately, he’s here to tell me that this song “don’t go nowhere so don’t expect nothing.” The quadruple negative is misleading, but I won’t speculate. I’m too tired to speculate. What I can tell you with some authority, though, is that we may have a recording of his Planetarium to look forward to in the future. There are, as Eliot says in a completely different context, hints and guesses. With any luck, Mr P will let me review it when it comes out. I trust that I’ll be more awake by then. Perhaps gainfully employed elsewhere? Only time will tell.

Okay. I really should get back to work. Sigh. Goodnight.

• Sufjan Stevens: http://www.sufjan.com

Ô Paon

Quatorze-Quinze Ans

Collin was right about Ô Paon: profound dimensions of her art resist translation, even transliteration. Perhaps the most unfair dimension of her work that (almost) refuses to come across in recordings is the intensity of her performance. I still remember the first time I saw her play in the Port Warehouse in Anarcortes, during What the Heck? Fest (R.I.P.) in 2009. Through the floorboards, in punctuating silences, you could hear the water underneath shift about in the dark. But our eyes were transfixed ahead the entire time. What later on became Courses, which comes across mostly as an experiment in looping, in front of me live was a kind of incantatory exorcism. When Ô Paon’s set was over, I stepped out in silence with the audience and took a necessary smoke break. It felt like we had survived something. Unfortunately — for many artists, really — that kind of thing just can’t translate.

That being said, I think that Quatorze-Quinze Ans is the best translation of Ô Paon we have so far. Differing somewhat from her previous album Courses, the four songs here are less about building loops and cathartic outbursts, and more focused on deep tones, pulses, and slow, intimate revelations. They are naturalistic, wandering, and contemplative things. (Imagine perhaps the point at which Lucrecia Dalt and Pharmakon cross.) There are times that, in the short span of a song, they become terrifying spaces to inhabit. Then it’s appropriate that the thematic space Quatorze-Quinze Ans (as well as the recent Castrée graphic novel Susceptible) occupies is the tumultuous surrealism of being young while having to grow up: that is, a time that brutally resists translation and, too often, transliteration.

• Ô Paon: http://www.opaon.ca

Dylan Ettinger

“Life Power Church (Fourth Dimension)”

Although Pocahaunted and Raccoo-oo-oon got me into this whole weirdo cassette tape-driven “underground” (but mostly just community) music, the first two tapes I ever owned were Solar Meditations and New Age Outlaws. So it’s a sad day when Mr. Ettinger himself messages you asking to post “the final Dylan Ettinger release.” Yo, humbling for sure, but extremely sad. Once, Ettinger convinced a villager pal of mine there were other worlds out there when he was alone in the old Tipp City historic post office at midnight as he listened to New Age Outlaws in pitch dark. The kid saw colors. Ettinger also popped one of this year’s deepest Night People cassettes too: Crucify Your Love.

Anyhow, this track, “Life Power Church (Fourth Dimension),” is intended as “[the] RING ENTRANCE THEME FOR PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER JAKE OMEN COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY DYLAN ETTINGER.” But ya know what? It’s probably the most teasing and fourth-coming exit I’ve ever heard from an artist. And brilliantly so. Decipher that how you will. However, do NOT sleep on these $1 cassingles Flannelgraph Records is putting out of the final release. It’ll be WAY rare and will literally complete your reel collection of Dylan Ettinger’s majesty. Pick it up ASAP and be proud of living in an age of such greatness as Jordan and Gretzky and Ettinger.

• Dylan Ettinger: http://www.dylanettinger.com
• Flannelgraph Records: http://flannelgraphrecords.com

YACHT

“Party At The NSA” ft. Marc Maron

• YACHT: http://teamyacht.com
• Electronic Frontier Foundation: https://www.eff.org

Outer Limits Recordings

Birds, Bees, Babys, Bacteria

It cannot BE! A new Outer Limits Recordings album. ALBUM!? And it came out digitally on September 30? I mean, to be honest I thought it was another REhash. And before that, I don’t think Sam “Mehran” has surfaced since Matrix Metals, which listeners ALL need more of, please! Also, there’s no WAY Ariel Pink and James Ferraro helped Sam “Mehran” out either. Although, I DID see the three play live (with pre-Software Autre Nu Vuet) one New Year’s Eve in an NYC warehouse.

There’s probably no way of knowing ANY of this as something practical. Or REAL. Question this release until you’ve ended up like Sam Neil in that one Carpenter flick. At any rate, I’m into the pissing contest of reality surrounding Birds, Bees, Babys, Bacteria. Hit me up (not really) if you know. But most importantly, dig Birds, Bees, Babys, Bacteria by Outer Limits Recordings while streaming it below:

• Outer Limits Recordings: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Outer-Limits-Recordings/195564310462829
• Sewage Tapes: http://sewagetapes.bandcamp.com

Free Weed

“Ballbreaker (She’s Fine)”

Erik Gage — huge perpetuate of Gnar culture/lore and who recorded one of 2013’s greatest albums — is the brains behind heavy hook-hitting Free Weed, rippin’ into the minds of all kinds on his newest cassette Splash With Me. And as the album description states, it’s “virtually anything you can think of that involves having a good time with a smile on your face.”

Specifically, this track “Ballbreaker (She’s Fine)” makes EVERYTHING all right. It’s probably a way shitty Monday/Wednesday and you’re heading to work, “Ballbreaker (She’s Fine)” pops on the speakers and all the frowns and stress and hangover eyes worsh away. Instantly, your day becomes a jam. Traffic around rush hour? “Ballbreaker (She’s Fine)” will make you think there’s never been a better reason for the repeat function.

Free Weed will make your car bounce like a fiend on tones, and the punishing you give the driver’s seat will be inevitable. People will stare as you air out them moody stress pits with arms up outta the sun roof. Fuck fall. This party is made to get down. Find Free Weed’s Splash With Me via virtual download on Splash Tapes now for maximum party whenever you want.

• Splash Tapes: http://splashtapes.bandcamp.com
• Free Weed: http://erikgage.bandcamp.com

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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.


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