James Ferraro
“THE PRELUDE” / Trailer #3


• James Ferraro: http://twitter.com/LIL_ICEBUNNY
• Hippos in Tanks: http://hipposintanks.net

Mike Donovan

“New Fieldhand Bop”

In case you haven’t heard, Sic Alps broke up :’( . But never fear, because frontman Mike Donovan is coming down from the Alps-aintop with his first solo LP, Wot. “New Fieldhand Bop” marks a departure from the buzzy, fuzzy Sic sound, venturing into more acoustic territory; think of it as a front-porch affair, consisting of our boy, his acoustic guitar, and little else. Clearly, he’s in a pastoral, “Wild Horses” mood this time around — then again, he’s always been somewhat of a nature boy. According to Rian Murphy, our in-house expert on all things Sic, Donovan is “still alit on allusive trips, lost in crystal canyons, turning a phrase with an acid flick of the wrist-watch.” Lost in crystal canyons? Can’t wait to hear how that turned out.

Wot’s that? You want to know when the album is dropping? Drag City will deliver the Californian troubador’s latest bundle of joy on October 15. In the weeks leading up to the LP’s release, Donovan will also be hitting the road with Ty Segall, Huxley Anne, and Sun Foot for a brief West Coast tour. If you’re living on Pacific Standard Time and are still down with the Sicness, the three-week stint will be just the thing to help you get over your post-breakup blues.

• Mike Donovan / Sic Alps(RIP): http://www.sicalps.com
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com

Lil Ugly Mane


“Speak of the devil and he shall appear.” Yesterday, I referenced Lil Ugly Mane in a totally unrelated post. Later that day, totally unannounced, the soon-to-be-retired sorcerer-apothocary debuted a compilation of new old material: three cassette-length sides of “Instrumentals and Unreleased Shit 2008-2011” to be exact.

Now, I’m not saying that Ugly is staking out the Chocolate Grinder, following our every move, awaiting our cues to unleash his brand of demonic possession upon our minions of unsuspecting vaporwave enthusiasts. I’M NOT SAYING THAT. I’m just saying it’s an eerie coincidence — that’s all.

My advice: download this gem for a price of your choosing while you still can, and pray to The Goat of Mendes that this isn’t the “FINAL mixtape” to which Ugly alluded last month.

• Lil Ugly Mane: http://liluglymane.bandcamp.com

Waka Flocka Flame

“Activist” (ft. Ben G)

Don’t let the title fool you: the new Waka Flocka Flame video doesn’t feature Bono, Toms® or any organic tote-bag-ready #catchyslogan (unless you count the “BSM” plastered on Flocka’s head, but I’m pretty sure that’s still too nondescript for Target’s marketing execs). Nope, “Activist” is actually just a clever bowdlerization of Actavis, a brand of promethazine cough syrup that the Brick Squad exec is quite fond of. In other words, we’re in for another leantastic luau, filmed in blacklight for optimal, Juicy-J-level trippiness. At one point, the blue camera filter creates the illusion that this is actually a party on Pandora, and you might find yourself getting distracted picturing Flocka as a Na’vi. Elsewhere, up-and-comer Brick Squad signee Ben G impresses by spitting a catchy verse with a face slathered in neon paint, while the crowd waves their styrofoam cups in unison. “Activist” won’t save the polar bears or fix the water crisis, but seeing as how its creator has already fought fur and stood up to animal abuse, I think it’s only fair that we cut him some slack.

• Wacka Flocka Flame: http://www.wakaflockabsm.com
• 1017 Brick Squad: https://facebook.com/pages/1017-Brick-Squad/110722132272401

Dustin Wong

“The Big She”

“The Big She” from Dustin Wong’s upcoming Thrill Jockey release still bubbles with the same eagerness of his earlier releases, but progresses with much less intention. Each layered guitar loop is explored to a much deeper degree, rather than feeling like a stepping stone up a mountain of loops toward the eventual peak. In that regard, the album title, Meditation of Ecstatic Energy, is surprisingly apt, resembling the more ambient, repetitive nature of one of Wong’s older projects, Ecstatic Sunshine, which used the same process of looping guitar cuts toward infinity, but in a much less intentional way. If the rest of the album moves like “The Big She,” I think we are all in for something really transcendent.

Meditation of Ecstatic Energy is out September 17 on Thrill Jockey.

• Dustin Wong: http://soundcloud.com/dustin-wong
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com

Sutekh Hexen

“Five Faces of Decay”

While you sleep, the members of Bay Area black metal noise project Sutekh Hexen don’t. Right? How else could they put out 15 releases in three years, tour the US, and, in the case of guitarist/mastermind Kevin Gan Yuen, find time to develop an endless string of eye-popping album designs for everyone from Aidan Baker to Ash Borer? The band embodies the rare combination of a prolific release schedule and a finely tuned sense of quality control, which has won them a metal militia of fans devoted enough to snatch up every release before the casual listener even has a chance to sample the goods. After the more widely available Behind the Throne LP on Magic Bullet and this year’s collaborative album with Andrew Liles, Sutekh Hexen’s profile is higher than ever, but this doesn’t mean that they’re resting on their thorn-laced laurels. More releases on more formats, more shows, more sonic doom, perhaps deeper than ever; the sleepless existence carries on.

After a sold out die-hard collector edition on reel-to-reel tape — the grimmest physical medium? — the Become sessions see a wider release on vinyl via King of the Monsters Records. Check out an excerpt from the EP’s first side, “Five Faces of Decay,” below. Hear a haze of static and low-end drone bury Yuen’s ominous two-chord guitar progression while A.C. Way’s vocal shrieks reach us from what seems to be a bottomless chasm of delay. As the session moves through multiple dynamic movements (each one its own “face of decay,” maybe?), voices and guitar lines funnel down into a layered mire of blackened noise capable of splitting speakers right open at maximum volume. Sutekh Hexen find the middle ground between evil ambience and distorted ferocity, resulting in a side-long composition capable of terrifying and entrancing its audience.

The order page for Become is up on the band’s webstore, but no release date has been listed yet. Keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for the moment to strike.

• Sutekh Hexen: http://sutekhhexen.org
• King of the Monsters: http://kingofthemonstersrecords.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.