Culture Dealer
Video Door: VHS Compliation [preview]

So, I don’t know where I’m going with this, but it’s been on my mind recently and I’m going to put it out there. Because who’s gonna stop me? And I figured Video Door is a good starting point cause it’s (maybe) the perfect example, and Chocolate Grinder is the best (not really) place to state this: what is reality today? Is it the cassettes, CD-Rs, VHS/PALs, vinyls, or digital media? What about the nostalgic-music made now compared to what our parents were listening to at they’s same age? How about Drake’s musical voice versus the way he speaks? Or Animal Collective playing their music opposed to programmed samples? And I could go on and on about synthesized sounds, but I’d get pinched? Passed music, what is reality? “For real,” even putting your most vile thoughts on the internet is the modern day equivalent of the proverbial falling tree.

But aye, y’all go to the most local thrift store and pick up a VHS player. Already have one? Buy another. Cause this green VHS compilation will melt everything and ya minds. Now, I don’t know how many of you were digging the Miko Revereza or Hobo Cubes flicks, but Video Door is a nice little peak into VHS musical subculture. Maybe visuals ruin the mystery of individual musical thought. Um, maybe it’s not that at all, or maybe this video holds the answers to all my questions. Whatever. Check out the artist list at Culture Dealer Home Video on a webpage near you.

• Culture Dealer:

Cough Cool


Bathetic Records blogged this video for their band Cough Cool: the sounds are from the track “Months,” visions are by Melissa Cha. Cha (cha-cha-cha!) finds a nice visual analogue for this kind of music — her sources are generally mundane (canals, fields, skies), and, wisely, she applies only the slightest effect, adding reflections where reflections should not exist and playing with the palette. At first, with the river shot, there seems to be nothing odd, but when we head to the fields, there’s some crisp distortion at work, not unlike the specific control Cough Cool keeps over its fuzz and reverb. This sort of video, with the marriage between familiar and strange, keeps Bathetic true to its name.

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“Back In The Days” (featuring Buggsy, Shadz, Scarz & Double [KHK-SP])

Like how they’s clothes change after exiting the building? It definitely defines the audio/visual of “Back in the Days.” First of all, the video unintentionally (yet brilliantly) follows the way Tree of Life progresses as a memory montage through various chopped, blurred, and quickly obscured profiles of each musician. Maybe it was intentional, but under a very convincing amateurish light. Second, the way in which the video was shot presents the song’s lack of interest in being over-the-top. And at the video’s end, it’s just them blokes, on stage, enjoying the “sou-ou-ong” because we all listening.

More so, they create symbiosis: Buggsy cutting lyrics with the video-frame cuts, Shadz vocalizing Joker’s woozy beat, and Scarz and Double (KHK-SP) subconsciously (maybe) repping egolessness. Scarz being driven by Joker on a motorcycle. Double (KHK-SP) looking off camera always, almost accidentally. Evey one at the concert with they hands up. “Joker,” *crosses arms*. Conclusion, @random lady in beginning, just let them dudes have fun. ‘Cause I’ll be having my fun November 8 when Joker’s debut album The Vision hits the US (November 7 in the UK) via 4AD.

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Hunting Rituals

Brooding Forest (album preview)

It’s Monday. I am all puffy-eyed and groggy, and I want to listen to something that will make me feel as far away as possible from this office desk. How about some grating outsider noise from Canada, released on Mr. T. Moore’s unpredictable Ecstatic Peace label? I have never heard a more appropriately titled piece of music than Brooding Forest. This literally sounds like field recordings from deep inside some dark labyrinth of poisonous trees on the edge of the gateway to the world of the Old Gods, swarming with foot-long mosquitoes and deadly rabid beasts howling out for flesh. But not in a goth way, more like the kind of place Wernor Herzog was talking about. Now I am frightened and will turn on the extra fluorescent lights next to my desk. Actually, this piece was recorded by Scott Johnson (Thoughts On Air) and Jeremiah Buchan (Bottom Feeder, Fossils) in the basement under Sonic Unyon Records. You can pick up your copy from Experimedia.

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“Roads” (Damscray Juke Mix)

Portishead fans, especially veterans who battled through the decade-plus wait between the self-titled album and the release of Third, know that Portishead-land is plagued by droughts, slow gestations, and tortuous interludes between spurts of new music. Fortunately, now is a relatively lush time for the work of Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons: having curated and played a few festivals this summer, Portishead is now getting set to kick off a North American tour and are talking about new music next year.

But we haven’t seen anything new just yet. So consider yourself beholden to Damscray — Russian dystopia and cosmic wardrobe enthusiast, and one half of his own dark music duo, Demokracy — who now offers his metamorphosis of Portishead’s “Roads.” Originally on Dummy waaaaaaaay back in 1994, “Roads” was a synth-draped, trembling ode to wrong-feeling; Damscray’s juked-out version is a veritable and very-good stutter, complete with rump-slapping back beat. Didn’t see that coming? Damscray knows you didn’t, and so does robot Beth Gibbons, who throughout the track repeats a taunting and glitchy “can’t see” until her eventual disintegration.

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Wonder Beard Tapes is responsible for unleashing a smörgåsbord of notable chillwave releases (Waskerley Way, Blackbird Blackbird) and a cornucopia of other music that effortlessly evades categorization (Ghibli, Walsh). Now the label is scheduled to release the debut full-length of Knoxville’s ecstatic eight piece Coolrunnings, a uniquely produced effort that bristles with unrelenting percussion stabs and frantic fretwork. Dracula Is Only The Beginning will hit the metaphorical shelves September 25 in cassette format, with a thoroughly disturbing but engrossing cover (see above). Choice picks from the record include “Brunettes,” which never ceases to cause you to lurch in unexpected directions when the beat slams in. It also comes with a dose of brutally misanthropic lyrics: “I could have been with another girl/ Is she the dream or another world/ Drunk every night/ I’ve spent so many wasted.”

Stream the rest of the album for your delectation here.

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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.