Laura Groves
“Waterfalls”

Some cover versions are a blurry photocopy of last year’s bare arse from the Christmas party, cashed in and pinned up, embarrassing for everyone involved: progenitor, distributor, ‘interpreter,’ No such debauchery with Laura Groves, formally Blue Roses, originally Laura Groves in the first place. This is a photo of a photo, developed in its own light. Video director Laura Coulson bears this in mind with her beautiful single shot dark-room portrait; allowing Groves’ to play with each of McCartney’s potentially cloying words, clearly deeply appreciative of the song, yet sometimes allowing a coy smile at its occasionally baffling lyrical oddities (“Some big friendly polar bear might want to take you home” – see original video for wonderful green screen fireworks display with said polar bear). She render’s his smooth Rhodes bed into something all encompassing, almost claustrophobic, finding the core of a ballad where TLC found an anthem.

Groves looks and sounds happily in control of her frankly remarkable voice, which we’ll no doubt hear more of soon, following last year’s Thinking About Thinking EP.

• Laura Groves: http://www.laura-groves.com
• Deek Recordings: http://deekrecordings.co.uk

Headboggle / Collin McKelvey

Split

Though it never died in the first place, the recent “revival” of the cassette tape in our collective (un)consciousness owes much to the efforts of Mike Haley A.K.A. Wether — co-host of the Tabs Out podcast, and founder of 905 Tapes. You may have scoped the Tabs Out posse’s columns on AdHocFM (Who Has Tapes Anymore?) and this very site (Laser Focus), and then confused relatives over brunch with requests to unearth the ancient tape deck from the crawlspace (“Remember now, there’s no ‘shuffle’ feature on this one.” *wink* *grimace*). 905’s catalog reads like a Who’s Who of Champion Zoners, encompassing everyone from Mick Barr to Derek Rogers, Quicksails to Merzbow, M. Geddes Gengras to Helm (damn [Editor’s note: DAMN]). The label’s new batch, decked out with Sailor Jerry-core classic tattoo J-cards, continues to deliver the goods.

If anyone is exploiting the experimental underground’s cassette proclivity to the fullest, Headboggle (born Derek Gedalecia) is that human being. The restless multi-multi-instrumentalist’s third physical release with 905 finds him conjuring synth-noise chaos from his arsenal of modular, analog, and homemade electronics. Sir Boggle’s ecstatic, randomized bleeps and confounding “song” structures, conveyed to our brains by his hi-fidelity recording practices, beg comparisons to electronic music forefathers like Morton Subotnick while sounding unlike pretty much anything released in this decade / century. Flip over the tape for thirty minutes of eclectic improv from solo synth wizard Collin McKelvey. His live session cycles through enough mutant tones, churning rhythmic passages, and squalls of ‘verb-drenched noise to keep true heads engaged for its whole mind-expanding duration.

The new batch of 905 Tapes is available now.

• Head Boggle: http://headboggle.tumblr.com/
• Collin McKelvey: http://slaughteringdolphins.blogspot.com/
• 905 Tapes: http://www.905tapes.com/

Gunge

ÜBRMNSCH-BLWY-PLX

What exactly have we come to expect from the anonymous online beat-maker, particularly when they chose to adopt such a weird and dubious title? Probably not much. Not when there are new producers causing havoc every other day at the Choco HQ with their own personal, refined, or sentimental touch to this month’s hottest micro shit storm.

Gunge. Well if this isn’t another butt-plug in the face of expectation. Dripping with cheesey guitar solos, filthy trap snares, pitch-fucked R&B vocals, unstoppable happy hardcore breaks and a hint of transgressive hip-hop… Wait. That’s all just baggy genre-tagging; an attempt at turning this outrageous offering into something familiar, something we can relate to. No. The latest release from “electronic label concept” Interscape is another epic failure for expectation. This thing is unhinged.

Download ÜBRMNSCH-BLWY-PLX for free over at the Interscape Bandcamp or stream below. It’s Wednesday. Melt yourself.

• Interscape Records: http://interscaperecords.bandcamp.com

Boy Froot

ßITCH $HIFT

Crimin’ and dimin’ on the internet. Sluggin’ dem bullet speeds into sludge. Grippin’ all the grime a Boy could Froot. Hefty bags full of skulls. Making it hail diamonds into a vat of molasses. Uzi fire snappin’ spines in slow motion. Jazz’zz on that straight stutter. Smashin’ out the freshest features: KEIKI, DEPRESSIVE TONGUE POSSE: SHARXXX & AGGRESSIVE PROFESSOR, THE SECRET PROVIDER, and H E X X X O F F N D R. Grids of smoke hangin’ low in the air. Hundo$ floating on booze poured out a 40oz. Tryin’ to walk long enough without crawling. Sobriety, amirite?

Boy Froot continues on his wobbly journey, yo: stewed-brain style lyrics are phucked with just as reluctantly confident as ever before. But this time, he’s switchin’ gears with ßITCH $HIFT. How? Well, you gotta listen, sucka! Stream ßITCH $HIFT below by Boy Froot, and take a trip into the steamy world of digital underground:

• Boy Froot: http://boy-fruit.bandcamp.com

Palm

Into The Bulk

Refried, bossa, bass, rock, noises: a few words utilized by NY band Palm in the dreaded genre field of their latest Bandcamp release Into the Bulk. Such dynamically self-imposed genre tags serve best to characterize Palm’s multi-dimensional sound, especially evident in the latest EP. Though only three-songs long, Into the Bulk captures an ambitious breadth without ever intellectually imposing or losing continuity. The band churns jazzy dissonance with raw brawn, transitioning in and out of the beautiful and bestial in perpetual progression. With a few singles and an earlier EP recorded at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen under their belt, Into the Bulk is a powerful release, drawing strength not only from its’ moments of raw vigor, but from its extraordinary dynamism, as well.

• Palm: http://palmnewyork.bandcamp.com

Meishi Smile

“TEARS”

Taking it a step further, you’re going about 30 over the speed limit listening to Techno Imoco, and the sky is balling its eyes out. Maybe the tangible reads through frustrating speeds; everything is wet except for the interior of your car. The tires spin out, your car goes spinning across three or four lanes of traffic (it’s hard to tell), and the vehicle flips, smashing out the sunroof. NOW, everything this wet. Ejecting out the smashed hole in the car roof, you tare against shards, and colors are mixing everywhere as your body is flung into oncoming traffic.

One never thought the afterlife ever existed, or was made of hair. ALL hair. Like being in a dry car wash. Only surrounded in a droplet of air floating across what you can see is the sea. Below is moving within the water and pouncing up at the bottom of this bubble your encapsulated within, so you climb up the thick strands. Atop of this immersion is a pulsating sky, thick with clouds, erupting in color, and not really interesting. Sometimes it’s the tiniest of measures: you begin to tear up slowly. Not because of death. Not because of anything, really. Just to feel the “TEARS.”

Meishi Smile’s first album LUST releases January 28th via Attack the Music and Zoom Lens in digital, LP and CD forms. You can pre-order here and feel the multitude of “TEARS” streaming below:

• Meishi Smile: https://soundcloud.com/meishismile
• Meishi Smile: http://meishismile.bandcamp.com
• Attack the Music: http://www.attackthemusic.com
• Zoom Lens: http://zoom-lens.org

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.