Thee Oh Sees
“Carrion Crawler”

Look, other than Carrion Crawler/The Dream being vastly superior over Castlemania, all I’m saying is Thee Oh Sees is the American version of Boris. Using “Carrion Crawler” in comparison with “Tokyo Wonderland” to support my accusation. Standard pop-stuff; lyrical melody; sing alongs and brain fogs; that good ol’ steady beat; gutting guitar solos. Boris being all about the noise. Thee Oh Sees being all about the lazy. Hah — America. So, yes. From noise to instrumental to garage to rock, Thee Oh Sees seem to have taken the same business model as Boris. Check out Carrion Crawler/The Dream on In The Red Record, and skip Castlemania #RE:reiterate. I love melts *wink*.

• Thee Oh Sees: http://www.theeohsees.com
• In The Red Records: http://www.intheredrecords.com

Catamaran

“Krokodil”

This self-titled cassette debut of Vincent Brunetto’s beats/remixes project was recorded during the producer’s move from Buffalo to New York, and seems to have absorbed the tension of frigid Northeastern winters and the uncertainty of transition. Although the tropical gemstone artwork — goofy font and all — might suggest otherwise, Brunetto says the project was created out of isolation, as perhaps most solo/software music is, even when the attitude is nothing but “I Just Wanna Party.” “Krokodil” hints at more than that with subtly dark chord progressions. This thing is out now on L.A.-based MJMJ (twomichaeljordans) Records.

• MJMJ: http://twomichaeljordans.tumblr.com

Ensemble Economique

“To Feel The Night As It Really Is”

Let us all rejoice at the release of a new record by Starving Weirdos member Brian Pyle as Ensemble Economique, who enthralled us all ‘round this time last year with the stunning bag of tricks that was Psychical on Not Not Fun. His new record, Crossing The Pass, By Torchlight, is a step away from the more overt 80s VHS soundtrack explorations of some previous work, but somehow by stitching guitar and keyboard lines to a jumble of synth drum kits, EE manages to scare up a host of evocative moments and cinematic flavors. This would work as the theme to the next James Bond movie. 007 in To Feel The Night As It Really Is! It would be the coldest, most existential, and mysterious Bond movie since, uh, Goldeneye?

• Dekorder: http://dekorder.com/060.html
• Ensemble Economique: http://ensembleeconomique.tumblr.com

Daniel Bachman

“Grey-Black-Green”

It has always been hard to describe the music of Daniel Bachman (formerly known as Sacred Harp) without mentioning a few old Takoma Records folks like John Fahey or Robbie Basho. This time, it is impossible. According to Debacle Records, the title Grey-Black-Green is a reference to Basho’s “Esoteric Doctrine Of Color & Mood.” Sounds pretty rad, right? Right. Basho apparently created a sort of color wheel that coincided with the circle of fifths, and subsequently certain moods and emotions are associated with each key. As Bachman himself puts it, “Grey-Black Green is the most fucked up sounding one.” Basho’s model states that D minor (or frog minor?) is equivalent to grey-black green, that the associated mood is “anguish death, and full sweetness,” and that it is the “most solid model, with tight boundaries.”

When listening to the music that Daniel Bachman makes or that Robbie Basho made (or any of the original American guitar raga guys, for that matter), it is easy to hear it as aimlessly wandering improvisation that is effortlessly streaming out of the musician, when in fact there are some very strict rules being followed. Bachman restrains himself to D minor through the entire album, traveling through grey and black and finally ending in green. As Basho already explained, the journey is dark and full of anguish, yet emits a genuine sweetness throughout.

Listen to “Grey, Take 3” below, a particularly lovely part of Grey-Black-Green, which you can stream entirely on Debacle’s Bandcamp.

• Daniel Bachman: http://debaclerecords.bandcamp.com/album/grey-black-green
• Debacle: http://debaclerecords.com

Tigerbitch

“Canatuna”

Glad tracks like “Canatuna” remain a click or reel away, and far from “popularly.” It just seems bloodier that way @raw/rare[period] And speaking of popular, Tigerbitch’s first release is on our man Pete Berends’ mysterious new label Brunch Groupe. IMO, Tigerbitch is a lick away from the juice. Peter’s thoughts, “It’s the first release from my friend Grant who sorta set the bar for [peeps recording] music on their own.” Also, heard Grant made Self Titled in a condemned church basement pirate studio. The drumming is all peg-leg because he fell while restoring the church roof. Tigerbitch and two other cassettes are being birthed Friday. Whoa, and a slew of new Brunch Groupe cassettes early 2012 too? —R.I.P. C Monster

• Brunch Groupe: http://www.brunchgroupe.com

Christina Vantzou

“Your Changes Have Been Submitted”

Christina Vantzou, Brussels resident and former Dead Texan, is keeping symphonic post-rock alive (in a good way) with an album of beautifully layered string meditations for 7-piece orchestra. By ridding the genre of all that melodramatic drumming and excessive guitar riffage — oh wait, this is basically a classical album! This is some Penderecki shit right here. This is some Koyaanisqatsi shit. Turn this on and your plants will grow faster. It’s quite a lovely batch of recordings, and it has all those moments you find in ambient drone where the melody sort of gets lost in its own wake. It’s perhaps another gateway (to abstract music) release from Kranky Records, which has been dominating this year.

• Christina Vantzou: http://christinavantzou.com
• Kranky: http://www.kranky.net

  

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.