“Stay Free”

As most comedy movies play out, characters being funny never actually talk about where they learned or picked up their wit or humor. While walking around the office in which I work, I never hear people being funny. It’s all just refurbished jokes from movies/television that they told the day before, or people repeat sports announcers verbatim, which at first makes it sound like they’re misusing words, but then realize the English language is dead.

Since JAWS’ debute album in 2011, the man’s been slaying the public by way of audio and performance, drawing from wires and vocal chords to sculpt his sound of life, within all the infinite secrets. In “Stay Free,” JAWS nearly demands for independence of others so he himself can continue on his pathway of no-nonsense art. An art he continues also through his collaboration with Milan’s Dracula Lewis as the Sex Boyz and the Hippos In Tanks duo-act White Car. Here’s what JAWS unabashedly bits about:

A first person account of a life lived upon high, ‘Stay Free’ reimagines everyday power struggles from the vantage of an ambivalent observer, liberated from humanistic concerns and trapped within a narcissistic house of mirrors. The tension transfer inherent in the modern master-servant dynamic rubs shoulders with spectral optimism and the steely self-reliance of the singular Individual. Fueled by motor oil, confidence and delusion, ‘Stay Free’ looks at America and asks: how, why, and where’s mine?

JAWS’ upcoming LP Keys to the Universe will be out mid next month on Hundebiss Records. Listen to the single “Stay Free” streaming below:

• Hundebiss Records: http://hundebissrecords.bigcartel.com

Chimurenga Renaissance

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It’s not every day that you get to watch an album, so if you don’t mind, I’ll respectfully shut up the fuck up and let Tendai “Baba” Maraire, his collaborators, and the accompanying film do all the talking. Music video movie streaming above, tracklist resting below, custom wooden USB stick containing digital album awaiting purchase here.

1. Red, Black & Green
2. The B.A.D. Is So Good
3. Wow
4. Nobody Think Nomo (feat. Mall Saint)
5. Lean
6. The Race for Cush Naptha
7. It’s Bigger Than You (feat. Palaceer Lazaro)
8. They Pray In Vain
9. We Don’t Give a Brah (feat. Malitia Malimob)
10. Medeas Theory (feat. Thee Satisfaction)
11. The Taste of Her Lips
12. Go Go Gettem (feat. M1 & Palaceer Lazaro)
13. The Shackles Are Off (feat. Moon)
14. Everyone Don’t Love You (feat. Nyoka)

• Chimurenga Renaissance: http://chimurengarenaissance.cloudnice.com
• Brick Lane Records: http://music.bricklanerecords.com

Chocolate Grinder Mix 104

Easy Like Someday Morning

It’s all been said about spinning and drifting. “It’s all been done” was done before it even started being finished. And this armchair meta’s been beaten into the moldy cushions, and it’s likely that no one ever wanted it. Sincerity has become an affect — wait, no it hasn’t. You wanna know something? I believe every one of these songs, and moreover, I believe people will listen to them, relate, and feel good about it. We all speak the same language; we’re just stuck in a loveless marriage with ego (ours and everyone else’s) that is occasionally invigorating enough that it seems worth clinging to. Never mind that someone just wants to talk, just wants to feel moderately worthy. We have such riches to bestow with our mere attentions! But we hide our common language behind grasping, ego-based judgments of character. Like a lot of us out there, these songs might bring some love into your life if you give them a proper try. No one’s dead inside. Not truly. That’s just something people (and vampires, I bet) say. We’re just in need of a little sympathy. Well, here you go, sourpuss! Feel the wonderful stupid burn of smittendom. So much plainspoken taboo on this thing that I had to throw in a coupla grey-matter bogies. But this is some easygoing, sweet/sad soul of the blue-eyed variety, and some of us need to stop pretending it’s wrong.

Jeez… So bossy! I feel like General Elton John in “Sad Songs Say So Much,” barking orders at every passer by. But seriously guys, “TURN EM ON!” “TURN EM ON!!!”

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:15] Cibo Matto - “Check Out”
[02:42] Real Estate - “Primitive”
[06:34] Tara Jane O’Neil - “This Morning Glory”
[08:59] Mac DeMarco - “Let My Baby”
[12:32] Magic Eye - “Golden”
[15:35] The Savage Young Tater Bug - “Jacking Boy I Never Knew”
[17:33] Angel Olsen - “Iota”
[20:53] Pure X - “Valley of Tears”
[23:47] Dean Wareham - “Happy and Free”
[27:16] New Bums - “Black Bough”
[31:49] Amen Dunes - “Splits Are Parted”

Serious Thugs

“Ur Not a Baller”

In an exhibition from last year about links between the economy and everyday life, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz re-enacted various ‘Class Drag’ performances from the life of Lorenz Hannah Cullwick (1833–1909), a domestic servant in Victorian London.

They describe how “Her diaries, letters and photographs document her labour as well her sadomasochistic relationship with Arthur Munby, a bourgeois gentleman fascinated by working (as in working-class) women. In many of the images Cullwick posed as herself, drawing attention to her powerful muscles, large calloused hands and the black bracelet she wore to mark her servitude to Munby. In others she appeared as a bourgeois lady, a young male and a ‘blacked-up’ slave.

Serious Thugs are all smooth hands, but their fashion-shoot London pop videos fall on the same lines of class, taste, and sex that Cullwick and Munby’s story epitomizes:

Whereas a band like Sleaford Mods (arguably Serious Thugs’ polar antithesis) return a condemnatory government gaze with spit and rage, ST create enough ironic distance to act as both the ‘subject’ and ‘object’ of class exchange – building an unsettling, cartoon model of council estate life that plays on wider fantasies about working class urban areas.
They fix and eroticise an aesthetic that has been so repeatedly washed out of wider representational existence, or wilfully attacked as repugnant. Musically, it’s a similar story: a cameo by Hannah Diamond reinforces Serious Thugs’ connections to the “BabyCakes” school of proactively saccharine speed pop, while DJ Warlord’s plastic sound-board is dangerously near enough to THE BEST SONG OF 2013 to make the harbingers of taste who compile such lists feel uneasy.

The reception to Serious Thugs’ videos seems to be either outright derision and vitriol or proclamations of ‘liking’ and ‘getting’ it that presuppose such a negative response, theirs is a music acutely interested in finding and amplifying the nuggets of provocative unpopularity within pop itself. Self-defensive assessments like, “you could discount it as a fad or whatever you will but this is actually a mirror of their friends and close realities.” miss the point – Serious Thugs know full well that the world they foreground is not their own, that’s its very attraction.

This is class drag meets accelarationist pop, horrible yet compelling. As such, the song ‘package’ feels scarily fitting for – as the critics it mocks might put it – our shitty, contemporary epoch.

• Serious Thugs : http://seriousthugs.tumblr.com



It’s 47° outside. Totally damp. My car smelled heavy of reefer from the night before. Heartburn like a motherfucker. Hung over just enough. Struggling because Yoncé still in this mouth like liquor. But I can’t. Not even Rick can help jack me up. So I pop on “ENDING” by yeule and fade all the fucked in perfection of aura.

“ENDING” is just the supreme balance of vibration and serenity. Lofty in an ethereal way. Glaring as a bright light that must be stared at. Vocal chops like carefully stacking glasses next to each other on a shelf; chimes happen at random and ring for merely a moment. All this and I’m still in my whip, slinging around cars, drafting them trucks, and majorly getting my angry morning commute on, but it’s melting in yeule melody. So, I take it down a notch. I smile more. I become apart of “ENDING” and share a sound pillow with yeule.

Listen to yeule’s first single “ENDING” below off her self-titled release on ZOOM LENS coming out April 8:

• yeule: http://yeule.tumblr.com
• ZOOM LENS: http://zoom-lens.org

Armand Hammer

“Willie Bosket”

It’s important to remember that, though trap music is most closely identified with triple-time hi-hats, the genre takes its name not from percussive onomatopoeia, but from street slang, and further, that the trap is not just an institution, but a system of institutionalization. What better name for a trap song then than “Willie Bosket?”

If you Google the name, you’ll see two New York Times articles: 1989’s “A Boy Who Killed Coldly Is Now a Prison ‘Monster’” and 2008’s “Two Decades in Solitary.” The titles say it all, except that it was Willie Bosket whose youthful recidivism led New York State to change its laws so that violent offenders as young as 13 could be tried as adults under the Juvenile Offenders Act a.k.a. The Willie Bosket Law. Institutions foster institutionalization. Traps begat traps.

Institutionalization is personified in “Willie Bosket” by two characters (although they could theoretically be one and the same; after all, loss of identity is a symptom of institutionalization) portrayed in verses by Elucid and billy woods: the first, an “underprivileged over-medicated” youth at the mercy of broken courts and schools; the second, a crack and PCP user for whom “every day is drama — Mr. Zone 6.” Their tales are told over longtime woods collaborator Marmaduke’s best trapproximation, and here, captured on video by director Boombaye, who constructs a trap of his own by cutting black-and-white film samples with footage of Elucid and woods rapping in front of a projector playing said film.

“Willie Bosket” was a standout track on Armand Hammer’s Race Music (TMT Review), which, in case I haven’t already said, was my favorite album of 2013. The next Armand Hammer project is an EP called furtive movements, which is both “the most common reason listed by the police for a ‘stop and frisk’” and a lyric from the billy woods/Elucid collaboration “Freedman’s Bureau.” The furtive movements EP will be released digitally and on custom limited-edition vinyl in May.

• Elucid: https://twitter.com/elucidwho
• billy woods: https://facebook.com/williambodega
• Boombaye: http://aliboombaye.com
• Backwoodz Studioz: http://backwoodzstudioz.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.