Dull Knife
“Excavating”

Seattle’s weirdo super-collective Dull Knife has now, after six years of terror-jams, been pared down to just two, Garek Druss (Tecumseh) and Adam Svenson (Karnak Temples). Here, the duo ushers in a new era for Debacle Records with the label’s first-ever vinyl record, which, an impressive 78 CD-Rs later, is kiiiiiind of a big deal. So we rejoice in the bounty of wax, full of tones that are paradoxically razor sharp and blunt as brick. “Excavating” finds Dull Knife combing stacks of textures out into the tall walls of synthetic drone. It’s an intense mix of high frequencies grinding into one another to paint a dark and murky landscape with forlorn melodies hiding in the storm. And bleak. This is fucking bleak, by the way. But the entire effect ends up sounding gloriously holy, awe-inspiring, and enveloping like church organs or dare-you-think-it Tim Hecker. This short excerpt is but a modest peek into the group’s sense for sonic molding and compositional balance, features that make the self-titled effort a killer offering of improvised doom on the whole and Dull Knife stand out within 2012’s incredibly fruitful world of drone.

• Dull Knife: http://debaclerecords.bandcamp.com/album/dull-knife
• Debacle Records: http://debaclerecords.com

Yeasayer

“Henrietta”

If you’re not taking hallucinogenic drugs, Yeasayer’s new video will probably seem boring, like some type of corrupted screensaver. Even if you are taking said drugs, I can’t guarantee that watching the clip for “Henrietta,” the first track off the Brooklyn band’s forthcoming Fragrant World LP, will produce some type of life-changing epiphany. But talk about some awesome colors — A/V wunderkind Yoshi Sodeoka has whipped together beautiful fractals and visual noise to make one of the most hypnotic music videos we’ve seen yet.

Fragrant World is out August 21 on Secretly Canadian.

• Yeasayer- http://www.yeasayer.net
• Secretly Canadian - http://www.secretlycanadian.com

Inga Copeland

“B.M.W.”

First Dean Blunt, now Inga Copeland. “B.M.W.,” which we are going to go ahead and assume is a ‘solo’ Copeland track, is due on a forthcoming 12-inch called “Faith.” Listen here before the track is taken down (or before my editor takes down this post, which I guess is more likely because he is a total FUCK):

• Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland: http://youtube.com/pollyjacobsen

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: http://winningspermparty.com
• Stabbed In The Back: http://stabbedinthebackrecords.bandcamp.com

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: http://www.azealiabanks.com

Actually

“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: http://www.actuallyactually.com
• Actually (Bandcamp): http://wetlookvshardplace.bandcamp.com
• Actually (Tumblr): http://actuallyhuizenga.tumblr.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.