The Sea and Cake
“On and On”

It’s pretty intense how long The Sea and Cake has been around, here in 2012 with their ninth full-length record, Runner. And, typically, it’s awesome. I mean, when you’ve got four musicians this cosmically (aquatically, breezily, etc.) aligned and this good at what they do (Sam’s smokey voice, Eric’s super-slinky bass lines, John’s unfaltering drums, and Archer… oh Archer… he’s cute. No, he’s also a really, really good guitarist), there’s basically no way to screw it up.

Anyway, enough rambling about how great the band is; I just wanted an excuse to post the poppy lead number to the record “On and On,” and Nowness sure gave me that by premiering this video on Sunday. Directed by Naomi Nagata, it’s just the eye candy I needed: a stop-motion animation of sand on a scroll, expertly arranged in such a way that the essence of line as an artistic concept is given copious amounts of life and character, much in the same way Chuck Jones did with his classic cartoon.

• The Sea and Cake: http://www.theseaandcake.com
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com

Holly Herndon

“CAR”

Musician, modernist, and machinist Holly Herndon has taken to SoundCloud to release a near-48-minute track called “CAR.” In line with the song’s title, Herndon composed the music for “automobile listening,” specifically for her Toyota Matrix. It’s seemingly detached from the usual signifiers you’d want/expect out of “car music” — it’s mostly atonal, and any rhythms are unintentional — but while it might not make the commute feel any shorter, it may very well increase your perceptual awareness, its sine sweeps and pulsating noise blocks blending into the surrounding sounds such that you’re moving not through space, but through the vibrations of sound itself. Take a listen:

In other news, Herndon is about to drop one of my favorite albums of the year next week. It’s titled Movement, and it’s absolutely stunning. Pre-order now via RVNG Intl.

• Holly Herndon: http://hollyherndon.tumblr.com
• RVNG Intl.: http://www.igetrvng.com

Plateaus

Plateaus

San Diego’s Art Fag Recordings has this way of releasing music on albums without sacrificing any of the live energy of its artists. The self-titled debut from Plateaus is no exception. If it weren’t playing out of the computer speakers directly in front of me, I might be inclined to think that the surf-rock band that lives next door to me was practicing in the middle of the day again. It’s a refreshing sound, like a backyard barbecue house show that you can enjoy year-round.

Stream the entire album below and enjoy endless summer in your cold and/or rainy and/or snowy city whenever you please! I suppose this is kind of what it’s like to live in San Diego.

• Plateaus: http://plateausband.bandcamp.com
• Art Fag: http://www.artfagrecordings.com

Tjutjuna

“Schulze and Shaffner”

Full volume. Come on, try it for this one. I warn you though, this is louder than normal. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, everything about this is just… bigger. As it should be. This here track “Schulze and Shaffner” is a tribute to those Tjutjuna members we have lost: Brendon Schulze and Adam Shaffner. For those of you who don’t know/didn’t know about the history of the mythical Denver beast known as Tjutjuna, the former iteration of the band as Mothership, the concept album about alien spores they did, or that show at the planetarium (yes, a planetarium, and yes, it was probably amazing)… well, now you do. And the loss of these members? No… no, it’s not a big deal. It’s a huge, fucking gigantic fucking deal, got it? What was lost: some psych. Some. Just enough to hurt. Just enough to enlarge, engorge, and enrage. Slowly, stately, professionally, “Schulze and Shaffner” marches forth in an epic eulogy. Keep your nerves. Deep breaths. Oh okay, cry already. But of course, we persevere. We buck up, keep our chins high, and we stomp on, in this case while traveling at warp speed through a wormhole. We still have these massive drums. We still have these euphoric harmonies stacked to the stars. We’ve got the gently unfurling melodies and the riptides of guitar. We’re going to be okay.

This track is the “b/w” part of the “Desert Song” cassingle from the Colorado psych outfit, who are fresh off an East coast jaunt that took them to CMJ last month. Check out the track below and hit up Fire Talk for a copy of the tape.

• Tjutjuna: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tjutjuna/118920721454555
• Fire Talk: http://firetalk.tumblr.com

E-40 & Too $hort

“Say I” [ft. Wiz Khalifa]

It’s been a really, really long wait, but at last, E-40 and Too $hort are preparing to release their collaborative, two-disc LP, History: Function/Mob Music. Sure, Jay-Z and Kanye was a nice team-up, but this pairing is 2000% more hyphy. Which is probably why it took so damn long. “Say I” is classic Bay Area rap, with a menacing choral beat and recurring pledges to get very, very intoxicated. E-40’s deep-throated squawks are a perfect match for Too $hort’s sharp monotone. And, through some sort of magic, Pittsburgh’s beloved stoner prince Wiz Khalifa sounds right at home in this Cali-indebted track. History drops today, on Election Day; just try to resist the urge to ghost ride the whip at your local polling place.

• E-40 - https://www.facebook.com/e40
• Too $hort - https://www.facebook.com/tooshort

Mind Over Mirrors

Check Your Swing

This year marks the 170th anniversary of the harmonium, a wind- and reed-powered keyboard instrument that has joined the bagpipes as premier drone-based musical instruments of the modern age. Now, over a century and a half later, we can mark the instrument’s birthday with a new wind- and reed-powered record, Check Your Swing, courtesy of drone artist and master harmoniumist Jaime Fennelly as Mind Over Mirrors. Using both an old instrument and some other not-so-old ones, Fennelly (Peeesseye, Phantom Limb) creates a lush, swirling listening experience that fittingly evokes the characteristics of the dense, green wilderness cover art: constant and monotone, yet full of ornate detail and variety.

Pre-oder it from Hands In The Dark here, and listen to the entirety of Check Your Swing here:

• Mind Over Mirrors: http://mindovermirrors.tumblr.com
• Hands In The Dark: http://handsinthedarkrecords.tumblr.com/releases

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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.


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