The Downs
“Swamp Swag”

It is obviously and unquestionably the truth that Winning Sperm Party are, for the vast foreseeable future, the best-named record label currently operating (though there is arguably competition from A Beard Of Snails and Sonic Oyster). The label has become something of a hubbub for all Scottish acts who laugh mockingly in the face of moulds (see Plaaydoh, Phat Trophies, and (personal favorite here) Ultimate Thrush). Winning Sperm has consequently taken it upon itself to distribute this physical manifestation of 1s and 0s upended into the world by new Glasgow label Stabbed In The Back.

The Downs are taking back wah-wah from pub funk and recovering gothic-galloping guitar music from overblown melodrama. Two important and magnificent accomplishments, of course, but it doesn’t simply stop there. Their music is also listenable.

• Winning Sperm Party:
• Stabbed In The Back:

Azealia Banks

“Nathan” ft. Styles P

Just which Nathan that Azealia Banks is talking about in this new, skittery track is a mystery. Is it the biblical prophet Nathan? Nathan Lane? Nathan’s Famous? All titular ambiguity aside, the fire-spitting up-and-comer from Harlem continues to deliver: over a thumping beat and restless synths, Banks insists that her haters “don’t want no drama,” growing more and more insistent until, finally, the track explodes in a ball of dance-floor fury. There’s also a quick verse from Styles P and lyrics about spreading “leg mustard.” If you didn’t get the message in “212,” I’ll remind you again: don’t mess with Banks if you aren’t ready for an earful of venom.

• Azealia Banks:


“Tropical Winter”

Ashley Huizenga a.k.a. Actually a.k.a. Wet Look is a Los Angeles musician and performance artist. Ashley is the daughter of a Playboy Playmate, and in her own words, she was “born into a Kenneth Anger-like world of privileged Hollywood decadence.” Her similarity to Kenneth Anger does not end with her Hollywood upbringing. Actually’s video work mines a comparable aesthetic universe, combining Tinseltown decadence with a surrealistic approach to mise-en-scène and a preoccupation with the (homo-)erotics of occult ritual. Her videos are sumptuous and dreamlike, and her music is an appropriately glossy iteration of 80s dance-pop pulled through a hypnagogic vortex of satin and sequins. Check the awesome clips for “You Won’t Die” and “Hush” if you need evidence.

Actually’s got a new album entitled Actually due July 21, and “Tropical Winter” is the second official video, the first being the deliciously naughty “sexual May Pole” of “Me and My Late Night Boys,” released last month. The songs are great, the videos are better. But more importantly, we appear to be witnessing the opulent emergence of a unique convocation of pornography, pop surrealism, and conceptual fame whoredom that makes Lana Del Rey look like… well… Lizzie Grant.

• Actually:
• Actually (Bandcamp):
• Actually (Tumblr):

Big Boi

“Gossip” (ft. UGK, Big K.R.I.T.)” [radio rip]

This being the internet age, most of us have forgotten the important role our radios play in hearing new music. Big Boi isn’t about to let us forget it: rather than sending an MP3 of “Gossip” to all the big-name blogs, he chose to premiere the new track on V103, the premiere hip-hop station in his native Atlanta. Over some organic, homespun samples, Big Boi delivers more of his heavily-drawled wit, including some smart lines about old-old-school Coca-Cola “with cocaine in the package.” Stellar cameos from UGK and Big K.R.I.T. round out this tantalizing taste of Daddy Fat Sax’s upcoming Vicious Lies and Deadly Rumours, due this November.

• Big Boi:
• Def Jam:

Chocolate Grinder Mix 49

Absolute Gravitron

Hullo! I’m Strauss. Did you notice me yet? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. Anyway, I’m here, and as you may have noticed, we have started our weekly mix series again! Cool! Mixes! I hadn’t done one of these in a while, so please be kind and gentle. The mix will do you the favor of being kind and gentle in return. Except for track four. That’s the Sac. The Sac doesn’t care about me, you, or this mix. I put the Sac in there to keep you on your toes. Watch for it. Take a deep breath and just dive in. If you can get past the first 30 seconds, you’re golden. Actually, I kinda think you’ll like it.

Elsewhere, you’ll find current jams from the 2012 pool. The effort started out with a typically drippy hip-hop affair from Ohio’s Boy Fruit, and I worked forwards and backwards from there. Have you heard the sweetly melodic, buoyant blips from Jon Coyle (also of Philadelphia prog-pop outfit, Son Step)? Did you know about Discoverer’s supremely sexy lead track to his new drop on Digitalis? What about the Panabrite + Haiduks collab Soft Mirage, hm? Surely you’re hip to the Homotownrecord$$$ crew and white owl brown, no? No? Yes? Does it matter?

2012 has thus far offered mountains of amazing music, and this mix gave me a nice opportunity to include some of the deeper cuts I haven’t had a chance to properly share quite yet (and some that I have). The mix has really taken on a life of its own since I so lovingly spliced these nine tunes together, keeping me in good, friendly company on a fairly regular basis — bike rides to work, walks around the park, weekend afternoon lounge-sesh’s, and the like. We’ve become best friends actually. Ice cream dates, up-all-night truth-or-dare games, cribbage… it’s been fun. We hang out all’a time, and here’s hoping it’ll hang out and be your pal too.

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] Bastian Void - “Canopy Process”
[02:02] Discoverer - “Circular Motherboard”
[06:04] Thug Entrancer - “Tight Lean (Iuengliss Remix)”
[09:29] DJ Embryonic Petit(e) Sac ft. Durty Dawg eF
[14:03] Boy Fruit - “I’ve Come to the Realization”
[16:39] Miró Belle - “Visions of Eclairs”
[18:33] Jon Coyle - “Hear Myself”
[22:28] white owl brown - “brownout”
[25:30] Soft Mirage - “Courtyards of Atlantis”

[Photo by Jamie Bryant]

Tranquility Tapes

Duets C100 [preview]

ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP [slash] It’s here. And peeps is sweating, like mad, yo. Who doesn’t love a good plug? I know. But bit-by-bit, I’ll bum-bust Tranquility Tapes’ newest compilation adventure Duets C100, as I see fit. I’ll definitely be doing that soon, once I can order it off the Tranquility Tapes’ website over the weekend (which is CART ready now, rather than e-mail order only). Like, it’s my birthday next week too. That means I’ll be receiving little presents from Quiet Evenings, Super Minerals (RIP??????), Velvet Chrome, Brother Raven, Seziki Tetrasheaf, Century Plants, Big Sky, Afterlife, Imperial Topaz, Telecult Powers, Concessionaires, Blood On Tape, Sundrips, Grasshopper, The Circle And The Point & Coventry Music. Clean your pants. Clean your keyboard. Crack your knuckles. And order ya copy this weekend [slash] ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP

• Tranquility Tapes:


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.