Sleaford Mods
“Tie Up In Nottz”

There is a strange paralysis gripping those people stuck somewhere between Birmingham and Berwick-Upon-Tweed in this potentially un-United Kingdom. It’s a crisis of political language and of capacities to dream new futures, but mostly it’s a crisis based on a legacy of Thatcherite destruction (yes, you too, Tony, you smarmy fuck); first the material tenets of a state that working people built, and then the very rungs of its ‘safety net.’ It’s a paralysis made all the more acute by the fact that no matter how radical Scottish independence may turn out, the notion that it will ‘inspire’ The North (never mind the Midlands) to take similarly progressive steps seems like a cold comfort. This is not enough in itself to vote ‘No,’ but when the cultural output accompanying independence gets lost in “platitudinous liberalism,” or seems to just treat ‘culture’ as a middle-class museum piece with a crucially high price-tag – a pretty piece in Scotland’s economic puzzle – it’s fair to be concerned. Luckily, Sleaford Mods have found their own political language, a sewer of FUCKS, wit and rage, flowing through the cracks of a Britain deemed ‘broken’ so that it was just that bit easier to sell-off.

The bus, the pervasive grey damp, the circling pummels of a post-punk backing track; all indexing a familiar Midlands/Northern experience, environments built with love and exasperation. Sleaford Mods let you scream each line back at yourself, a cathartic deliverance aimed at a world where the problem is not exposing the fact that everything is fucked (that’s evident), but finding a way to move beyond analysis when every critique just underlines the fact of our desperation. There is what Zizek might call a ‘Divine Violence’ to songs like “Tied Up In Nottz,” not a simple revenge, or a calculated move towards political goals, but a Popeye’s Spinach can of rage for your post-fordist anomie. Songs to make you feel ready to punch through walls. Of course, the Mods would stick up two e-cigarette-smoked fingers at such academic wankery, each tune on recent singles collection “Chubbed Up” and last album “Austerity Dogs” doubling as a sonic bullshit-detector for our (my?) personal lapses into the dying language of the ‘undergraduate humanities student.’ This is an eruption from a world that politicians in London and Edinburgh seem to be willfully constructing as a ‘desolate’ foil to their Capital dreams. In such times we remember that hope rarely comes with a 10 point prospective, and though (or perhaps because) “Tied Up In Nottz” is all derision, destruction, and post-colonal screaming, Sleaford Mods are a fucking life-line.

“Tied Up In Nottz” is taken from the new Sleaford Mods album Divide and Exit, ‘out soon’ on Harbinger Sound.

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• Harbinger Sound:

Chocolate Grinder Mix 102

Almost Everything

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American Culture

“And That’s Enough For Me”

It’s been a long time since I first saw Chris Adolf perform solo as Bad Weather California with a guitar and a glockenspiel at Breakdown Book Collective on Ogden Street circa 2007 or ‘08. You know what’s in that space now? A goddamn Pilates studio. Things change, huh? Even I’m getting older. ME. Luckily, what’s filled the void that was once BWC isn’t quite so useless – yes, Adolf retired the brand after a solid run that included several years of patronage to Denver’s insatiable DIY scene, many line-up changes, a tour with the Meat Puppets, and a record out on Akron/Family’s Family Tree label. Culminating last year with the excellent, addictive Back Seats cassette on Fire Talk, Adolf finally ditched the name in favor of this new American Culture nomenclature, which finds his best band to date (a quartet that appeared on the aforementioned tape) carrying over into a slough of new material that adopts something resembling a more mature, wiser take on power pop. Don’t tell him I said that, though… Makes it sound like he’s getting older. But even with songs rife with girls and Coca-Cola® and listening to the Pixies while driving in your car, the lead track on this Pure American Gum collection (a full-length release due out this May) contains within it the kind of advice you might get from your big brother, stuff you want to immediately take to heart, mainly because Adolf’s sentiments are just so heartfelt to begin with. A democracy of pop is here, something with experience, looking down on hipster scrutiny and the mythos of pop culture to get at what makes this honest sort of music so great to begin with… the fact that it can, and should be, honest music; that a tune can make your toe tap no matter what kind of shoes you have on (if the rhythm is right – and it is).

• American Culture:



I’m going to admit it right now that this year has thus far already surpassed everything that came out in 2013. It’s always that, yes, I’m aware, but this is REAL talk. This time last year I was not a dozen cassettes deep in love with same-year shit. Around this time last year I was dwelling on when something like HIGH CEILINGS would rip into my psyche. Well, it was worth the way because this tape sears. Savannah even said it sounds like the psychedelic soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think it’s ranking up there with the likes of the month-legendary statuses of Real Raga Shit Vol. 1, Journeymans Cheddar, Babylon, Primera Norma, Post Collapse, Formes De Viure, 08.DD.15… shoot this list goes on.

But HIGH CEILINGS CS got the freshest of licks from “Los Angeles melon-inflation expert Mitchell Brown presiding on 1/4” reel to reel and Serge Modular, Future Farmer Dave Saymek on electric piano, and just plain Cameron Stallones on analog synths and guitar” and continues to admit in the release descrip “A document of several bleary afternoons in East Hollywood.” Well, fellahs, I’m right there (different coast, but…) with ya filling them high ceilings, rolling my own mind high ceilings, reeling HIGH CEILINGS. Shit, it’s a dream. CLICK ON THIS SENTENCE FOR THE SAMPLE AND BUY THE TAPE OVER AT SUN ARK ASAP BEFORE THEY ALL OUT!!!!


Orange Caramel


Genetically modified perfection: Orange Caramel’s new single is the K-pop ideal. Named “까탈레나(Catallena),” this rare treat comes in a fluffy, filter swept emulsion of ABBA-grade orchestration, ghazal folk samples flown in from a Pakistani wedding (!), runny ‘80s snare, Bollywood dyes, imitation Chic guitar, and a compression-lacquered coating of bass synth à la “Blue Monday.” The vocal frosting is perfectly piped atop it all, lyrics flirting with bi-curious urges and an exorcized other (the Caramel girls even sing a bit of Punjabi for the hook). Tastes odd on first bite, but perfect by the second – the addictive riddle that is the music video being what brings you back.

With Orange Caramel being a “sub-unit” (read: subsidiary) of its larger, parent pop group After School, “까탈레나(Catallena)” even comes with a taste of K-pop’s strangely corporate approach to not only the marketing of art but even the art itself. When the end product’s this absurdly good, just pay up and dig in.

• Orange Caramel:

King Tears Mortuary


Oh, boy. My pal Marshall is awesome. This is a fellah that I’ve gotten to know throughout the years and has always seemed to stick around. We transferred from one college to the same other college having only known each other through a mutual acquaintance. Lived merely 30 minutes from me when I moved to a different part of Ohio. Got me into Tiny Mix Tapes around 2007. Spent plenty of summers together. Is way into GBV. Worked with me for a couple years and became: A CO-WORKER *dread*. He moved to Australia for a minute or two and now lives in the city, just about (again) 30 minutes away from me, or a midnight train away. Last time we hung was two weeks ago and we played some video game and got drunk. Time before I left 285 Kent to have beers within in some corner of the city. Next time I see him it BETTER be before we go to Acid Mother’s Temple.

Anyhow, the fellah put me onto this hear King Tears Mortuary from Australia. And what’s fun is, well – long story short – we did the whole Pocahaunted VS. Best Coast shit when the singles started to hit (pre-Crazy For You), and hangin’ always sounded like grungy recordings of the simplest licks, so “Apollo” fits right in. I’m glad he found this comfort in Australia while we were apart *makes spoons* because I kinda kept shooting for new-new-new (SEE: Choco Mix 102 later today), but he kept it AND keeps it REAL. None of this OPN, Laurel Halo, patten, vapor-nami buuuuulll shit. Give my pal a few High Lifes, a pie from Cassano’s, grippin’ some Mike Sell’s, and start spinning King Tears Mortuary’s “Apollo” 7-inch on Vacant Valley (pre-order): the man is in heaven. Beyond, maybe if you got a stack of #VERYRARE GBV 12-inches too. Scope the tune below and hang out with us sometime!

PS: Marshall’s sister and brother-in-law own a dog that looks strikingly similar to this post’s picture.

• King Tears Mortuary:
• Vacant Valley:


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.