The Stranger
“So Pale It Shone In The Night”

James Kirby is nothing if not generous with his fans. For proof, one only needs to do a rundown of albums released in the last five years to see just how much he’s given. All of them worthy of your consideration:

- 2008 The Stranger - Bleaklow
- 2008 The Caretaker - Persistent Repetition of Phrases
- 2009 Leyland Kirby - Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was (triple CD/6 fucking LPs!)
- 2011 The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
- 2011 Leyland Kirby - Eager to Tear Apart the Stars
- 2011 Leyland Kirby - Intrigue & Stuff (three volumes worth!)
- 2012 The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald) soundtrack

So what if he’s been quiet since mid-2012? That’s a pretty well-earned vacation. But it’s a vacation that ends on October 28, when Modern Love (Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Vatican Shadow) releases a new album called Watching Dead Empires In Decay from Kirby’s The Stranger alias. Those who came to his work via The Caretaker or Leyland Kirby or, hell, even V/vm for that matter, may not immediately recognize Dead Empires on first pass. There’s little of the crackling hiss of ballroom 78s or the future-leaning synths and haunting melodic work in his namesake project. Instead, the common thread here would be that exacting sense of melancholy and dread, exemplified through slow-grinding percussive hits and a generally oppressive atmosphere. Check out new track “So Pale It Shone In The Night” and hear it for yourself.

• The Stranger: http://www.brainwashed.com/vvm/artists/the_stranger.html
• Modern Love: http://www.modern-love.co.uk

Chief Keef

Almighty So

Chief Keef, Chicago drill rapper and controversial in-house nanny, released his long-anticipated, much-delayed mixtape Almighty So on Saturday at 10:17 PM (“Brick Squad o’clock”). It’s his eighth mixtape, and it sees Chief Keef doing what he does best: putting babies down in cribs without waking them up. Wow! He apparently raps on this here release, too, so do check that out.

• Chief Keef: http://www.chiefkeef.com

Chocolate Grinder Mix 93

Hi!

Hi! My name is Clifford Jameson Morrissey. Like all of you, I am a slave to this world. I just returned from moving things with a pal, it’s 12:34 AM, and I’m enjoying one of my favorite things: sitting in the dark on my second-floor apartment porch. It’s windy out. I should probably take down the metal chime.

The neighbors downstairs were arguing loudly before I left. Their two babies were crying, and the eldest kid was calming them on the front stoop as I drove off. Incidentally, I unavoidably ran over a raccoon on the way home whilst listening to one of last year’s Angels in America tapes; I think they broke up.

Got a call from mom tonight. At 7:30 AM, I must move a television into Grams’ bedroom before work ‘cause they’re painting the walls around her usual sitting spot. A moment ago, there were raccoons banging loudly by the garage. Circle of life, right? The eldest son from downstairs chased ‘em off with a snow shovel and kicked a dual stroller on his way inside. His mother at the back door said, “They’ll be back Tuesday.” Right.

[Writer’s Note: Said metal chime fell during the night and tangled itself in the chair I was sitting on while writing all prior text before brackets.]

On a current note, this mix I made is hardly more than 22 minutes. Please, listen to it entirely. I implore you. It goes through a lot in such a short amount of time. Thank you for considering the sounds and reading. Hi!

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] 20013 Heavy Meditation - “The Dreams”
[00:10] D/P/I “IN DREAMS”
[02:02] Sean McCann - “Character Change” [excerpt]
[03:24] Paisley Parks - “GMF” [excerpt]
[03:32] Ras G - “_G Spot Connection” [intro]
[03:34] Free Weed - “Ballbreaker (She’s Fine)”
[04:59] Giant Claw - “Wombs-Coda”
[05:04] Sun Araw - “TWO FROM THE DESERT: YUCCA VALLEY 2012” [into]
[06:03] Dean Blunt - “Four”
[06:15] Filthy Huns - “Sun Rider” [into]
[06:24] Ghostface Killah - “Beware Of The Stare” [intro]
[06:50] FAMILY EVENT - “SIDE B” [excerpt]
[07:33] Rice Master Yen - “Russian Blue”
[08:04] Rene Hell - “var_len 3” [excerpt]
[08:21] アドブロック+ - “못쓰게 만들다”
[08:56] Tech N9ne - “SMB”
[08:59] Arca - “Feminine”
[09:28] D/P/I - “VOID”
[09:33] Kool Keith - “Death Star Pimp Mobile” [excerpt/screw]
[10:07] Bataille Solaire - “Documentaires” [excerpt]
[10:22] d’Eon - “Putrid Water” [excerpt]
[10:23] Senator Ted Cruz - “Green Eggs and Ham”
[11:26] copeland - “Fit”
[11:30] Giuseppe Ielasi & Andrew Pekler - “07”
[13:28] Seth Graham - “Wet Shit”
[13:34] Lil Ugly Mane - “Side-Two” [excerpt]
[14:37] AyGeeTee - “Blue Preview”
[15:21] PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises - “Newgroup”
[15:28] Bigg K - “Freestyle on Sway in the Morning”
[17:02] Edward Snowden - “[PRISM secrets]”
[17:06] PLVS VLTRA - “私は小人”
[17:41] Miley Cyrus - “Wrecking Ball” [maybe]
[18:08] JFM - “How Many Hearts Do You Hold” [excerpt]
[19:01] 야광토끼 - “왕자님”

Quasi

“See You On Mars”

Oh how I wish more modern indie rock bands drew influence from Quasi. I mean, come on you guys, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss’ blend of noised-out sonic fuckery with pop classicism is a territory that gets examined too infrequently these days. The band’s label-mate Deerhoof and Women (RIP) are two artists whose work mines similar territory, but other than a handful of aesthetic similarities, all three groups have distinctive musical languages. Quasi’s particular voice has been pretty well established since their debut record and has remained singular ever since. As a result, Quasi have managed to fully explore/subvert every angle of their particular brand of noise pop throughout their career, and their latest album Mole City might be their most expansive and complete statement yet.

Mole City is a sloppy and sprawling 24-song record that plays with multiple facets of the duo’s sound. Quasi are true songwriting craftspeople, so nearly every tune is a structurally perfect pop gem that then gets subjected to their lo-fi experimentation. Just about any track from the record could’ve been their lead single, but the two that were chosen (“You Can Stay But You Gotta Go” and “See You On Mars”) are some of the most immediate tunes the duo has ever written. “You Can Stay But You Gotta Go” is a riff-heavy blast of gloriously disgusting gated-fuzz pop, and it’s great. But I just can’t get enough of “See You On Mars,” which recalls the keyboard-heavy work of Featuring Birds. “See You On Mars” has some of the silliest lyrics of any Quasi song, but they are still laced with Coomes’ trademark flippancy, and when coupled with the song’s hook-laden, suite-like structure, they make for a particularly memorable Quasi tune. So, put down your Haim records , listen to Mole City, and submit yourself to Quasi’s gloriously fucked-up pop.

Mole City is available now via Kill Rock Stars. You can watch the video for “See You On Mars” above.

• Quasi http://www.theequasi.com
• Kill Rock Stars: http://www.killrockstars.com

Gary Lucas

“Vertigo / Psycho”

The officer walks you into a tiny concrete room and sits you at the table. You feel your pulse throbbing in your temples. “Don’t worry kid, we’re gonna figure out who did this to you,” he tells you. He presses a button on a panel by the door and speakers descend from the ceiling. “I know you don’t remember much, But listen to these guys and tell me if one of ‘em sounds familiar. Maybe we can ID the bastard.” He presses [PLAY] on the remote and the first guitar hits, all major seventh chords and nice little jazzy flourishes. This is not the man you saw on stage last night. The second sample sounds scuzzier, distortion damaged. Almost there, but not quite right. The third kicks in with chunky block chords, pristine atonal fingerpicking, straight up raw, man, each note at once perfectly right and perfectly wrong. Jackpot. You clutch your head, and it all comes flooding back.

You went to the show alone. The guitarist stood on stage with a sombrero sitting way back on his skull, surrounded by pedals. He bent down to adjust a knob, and when he looked up for a second, it seemed like he looked right at you. A cryptic smile spread across his face. He flipped on his amp and started playing, no, like, spewing notes out in a cascade of tritones, all horror-score-core, and that’s when you recognize it. Among all the looping, whammy-ing, ring modulating, string mangling — it’s Bernard Hermann’s theme from Psycho. By the time the Vertigo theme emerges from a massive swirl of delay feedback, it’s over for you. You’re falling through a monochromatic red expanse with nothing to grab onto, as a white tesseract spirals off before you into the abyss.

“That’s the guy,” you tell the policeman. He starts to laugh.

“Whaaaat, hearing Gary Lucas konked you out? The man’s a walking legend. Played with the goddam Captain Beefheart himself. Ever heard of ‘Flavor Bud Living?’ Yes? No? We’re talkin’ 20+ solo albums, kid.” He claps you on the back and points at the door. “You’re gonna need to grow a pair, real quick, ‘cause Lucas’s new album Cinefantastique is all solo guitar reinterpretations of movie themes and — guess what? — it’s already available.”

• Gary Lucas: http://www.garylucas.com
• Northern Spy: http://northernspyrecords.com

Clay Rendering

“Nature’s Confusion”

Mmmdamn! And you were thinking Liz Harris’ new project was hot? Yo, think AGAIN! ‘Cause Clay Rendering, consisting of Mike (Wolf Eyes, Failing Lights) and Tara Connelly (The Pool At Metz, The Haunting), is ripping it this year via two singles on their release Vengeance Candle. They had formed around this time last year, put out a 12-inch of their tracks “Nature’s Confusion” and “Vengeance Candle” during the winter-into-spring time(s) on Hospital Productions, and now (to this writer’s contentment) have released it on cassette via Sans Issue.

It don’t matter if I gotta keep catching it on the flippity flip. I will wear my welcome on that reel with a passionate ear. Also, if you live in Boston or NYC, you can scope ‘em live on the tail end of their fall tour, making sweet sound love to you in the audience. Ima convince my fiancée to hit ‘em up this FriFri. If you’re out, I’ll be wearing my C Monster shirt (got it at Urban Outfitters for $5, fuck on me). Come say “Hi!”

• Clay Rendering: http://clayrendering.com
• Sans Issue: http://sans-issue.net
• Hospital Productions: http://hospitalproductions.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.