Yellow Tears
“A Midsummer Night’s Cream”

Have you seen Yellow Tears?? I only did the once. It was nothing like this. The NYC trio hasn’t released any dispatches since 2010’s 7xCS box, The Cult of Yellow Tears, or maybe they have, and I’m just too dry to notice. The actual cult of Yellow Tears has stuck around, though. Ostensibly getting into some Shakespeare in the Park stuff, Far Rockaway style. Bacchus pisses green, I’ve just seen. Been gone too long. If you haven’t yet joined the cult, it’s too late, but you needn’t fear. Most of the gear required you’ll find in the nearest WC. Also you’ll need to donate $50 for the new acolyte starter kit, Golden Showers May Bring Flowers, which’ll hook you with the uniform and further instructions on VHS and USB. I can’t tell you any more than that, I’m actively trying to stop perspiring even as I write this. You need to get yourself down to Hosetown for more.

• Yellow Tears:

Sapphire Slows

“Spin Lights Over You”

Coming down off her first album on Not Not Fun last year, Allegoria, Sapphire Slows is filling in time now with a new live video for her track “Spin Lights Over You.” The track is from her first Not Not Fun release True Breath (a 45 rpm EP that sounds amazing at BOTH speeds), and it’s proof that her music stands the test of three years, but also glitches out audiences and video feeds with interwoven video projector work by Harumi Mitsui. Dig “Spin Lights Over You” again and again and witness the imagery drift of Sapphire Slows live.

• Sapphire Slows:

Street Priest

More Nasty

“Drunken in the Morning Sunrise” for the fourth time this week, now with extra bounce and an extra hour rest. Street Priest lay out ‘til morning, then put on the suit and hide behind sunglasses and lotion. The small intestine absorbs the majority of the sauce; pain dully and dryly plateaus.

Their engine’s rubber putters, gasping and deflating, aiding the engine to the asphalt. A nasty scrape. Sorties of sparks twinkle on the cymbals. The constant attack pattering on the hardware gradually sinks it into earth. The hi-hat jaw attempts to catch the shavings of alloy. A lost, drunken carpenter bee dodges the flytrap’s incisors. The engine, with its stringed bottom of lethal loose ends, continues mowing the lawn.

The trio scatters drops of volt and rhythm, consequently marking their territory, the electric fence. Shocked but not scorched, hot from the jolt, they hop the fence and descend into the lower regions of dynamics, where they are unconventionally aroused by a bacterial growth crouched behind the amp, the cause of an uncontrollable itching. Scratching leads to bleeding, as Street Priest’s more “reflective moments” feel adversarial, in a friendly way, as friendly as friendly fire.

• Humbler Records:

Split Single

“Last Goodbye”

The other day, I heard someone say, “Retro can never go out of style because old shit will always be cool.” Then I read this, shortly after I heard Split Single’s “Last Goodbye,” and figured I should expect an “Alt Rock” revival just around the corner. To what extent do people start realizing that listening to music is the easiest thing they could possibly do? This is SERIOUSLY all you have to do, thanks to Shutterstock for directions. So what makes it so hard to create and popularize experimental music? Where’s the disconnect? Example: we as a culture, accept weird/distorted (AWESOME) imagery like in the video for Split Single’s “Last Goodbye” while we also enjoy lyrics and instrumentation that’s akin to “Bittersweet Symphony.”

Even though Split Single is comprised of Jason Narducy (Bob Mould, Verbow), Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats, Bob Mould) and Britt Daniel (Spoon), their is still similarities to “retro” bands/musicians here, and juxtapositions of their other projects. Maybe it’s a practice in making singles (generally speaking), as “Last Goodbye” is the third track off their new album Fragmented World. But when can writing and lyrical meanings stretch the commonalities of “You never know what you never show?” NOT to suggest this music isn’t GOOD, but I’m also not saying “Last Goodbye” could one day be a song-choice on The Voice or American Idol.

Though, I am admittedly interested in potential “Alt Rock” revival: taking my fiancee to the state fair in the fall, making out atop the ferris wheel, play Fragmented World at max levels, and eventually, they’ll take my phone and play it on their loud system, and half way through “Last Goodbye,” my Grams calls and asks on every speaker if I can swing by her room at the nursing home with some clippers so I can cut her nails, and as I’d momentarily be standing at the ring-toss booth, I’ll feel both embarrassed at my Grams’ public announcement and biting into a small hard grain that goosebumps my skin.

• Split Single:


“Axacan (for Boychild and José E. Muñoz)”

Many describe E+E’s THE LIGHT THAT YOU GAVE ME TO SEE YOU as imbued with a biblical energy — an old testament setting, where fragmented R&B is a soundtrack for sacrificial rituals, the raising of daggers during big (godly) moments. I think that’s right on. But, of course, the record is more than that too. The “biblical energy” is one out of potentially 1,000 references flying into your ears at any given moment during the densest sections of E+E’s music. I think the “biblical” analogy suggests more of a general “hugeness” that has become Elijah Crampton’s signature. It’s a hugeness found in the most epic of anime fight scenes, in Daddy Yankee’s voice, in Heideggerian mumbo jumbo, and/or in conceptual freedom.

“Axacan” takes the sound palette from one of my favorite E+E pieces, “BIG-FIRE,” and gives it (a bit) more space to breathe. At first, the track thunderously cracks off at a classical 110%, complete with Lil Jon’s “YEAHs” and radio DJ fanfare. Soon enough, there’s a dip into a different drama — perhaps less violently transcendental and more directly emotional. Glassy E piano, a steady calypso beat, and subtle horn-play chorus a heavy-hearted ride off into a blood-red sunset. I could analytically list all the components of the “semiotic banquet” I encountered throughout, but to avoid more shopping lists, I’ll describe the experience as similar to that one scene in Princess Mononoke, when the characters encounter the Forest Spirit for the first time. But, the Forest Spirit is more of a DESERT Spirit who pours mezcal from its head and lives deep within an old, but still gently poppin’ club.

The piece is dedicated to José Esteban Muñoz, a champion of queer and minority voices within critical theory and performance studies, and it was commissioned by radical artists Wu Tsang and Boychild for non-profit art center DiverseWorks. Beautiful.

• E+E:
• DiverseWorks:

Christina Vantzou


In the grey of February, Christina Vantzou released Nº2, a record that provided great drama to an already dramatic season – these are slow, gorgeous compositions that unfold patiently, carefully, and delicately enough to warrant me wanting to say properly. Almost six months later, we’re graced with an immaculate, slow motion video for album-gem “Sister” and…wow. I often have a tendency to want to avoid this sort of emotionalism, but here it’s damn-near overwhelming, as the video has a way of asserting its “deep and realness” forcefully, to the point where there’s no way of feeling like your dead inside. This is a good thing! Dig the video’s classic imagery, as flickering candles, choir, and lush strings surround a woman’s act of levitation. The scene captures the intense, floaty feeling of listening to Nº2 in it’s natural habitat – bedtime reflection, in between states of consciousness. In fact, the only setting perhaps more natural than this sort of nocturnal-bedroom-zone is the music soundtracking a miraculous act in a church. Well! Here we are!

Vantzou has an extensive portfolio of video-work to her name, as she’s made a self-directed video for each one of the tracks on Nº2, so keep those eyes peeled. Check out “Sister” above.

• Christina Vantzou:
• Kranky:


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.