Steve Kenney

Night Warning

For every upstart youth that cobbles together some tape decks and contact mics, adopts a grisly moniker (“Double Trilldo Gaggins”), and slouches into the underground noise circuit, there exists a slew of OG heads who have been there/done that for going-on-two-decades now. You might not see these champions’ names plastered in white block letters on a Red Bull flyer, but they’ve pounded out more solo, duo, trio, and collective releases than you have Snapchat contacts. They’ve moved beyond the likes of loop pedal jams, static synth meditations, and no-input mixer feedback, and have drifted idea by idea into the more rarefied echelons of noise/drone experimentation. They aren’t stopping any time soon. They’ve heard enough to know what still remains to be heard.

Steve Kenney shattered minds alongside Aaron Dilloway (in Galen, and in Isis & Werewolves) and Nate Young (in Demons) as a member of formative experimental projects in the 90s and 00s. His solo catalog features releases on such bastions of the underground as Andrew Coltrane’s Hermitage Tapes, Heath Moerland’s Fag Tapes, and Mike Haley’s 905 Tapes. Night Warning, his second solo tape on 905 Tapes, and first since the label’s recent tatted-up visual reincarnation, offers two fifteen minutes slabs of otherworldly synth murk cushioned in tape hiss. Side A smears a respectable four chord progression through filters and effects processes, yielding a hallucination of half-remembered tones that creeps into your psyche with each recursion. Side B shifts through a series of synth drifts and queasy atmospheres, and sinks into a suspended animation vibe not too far from SAW2 before rebuilding itself into a horror-score zombie crawl complete with a languorous drum machine.

Night Warning is available to order as part of 905 Tapes new batch, which also includes sure-to-destroy solo works by Witchbeam and Mr. Matthews of Telecult Powers.

• 905 Tapes:

Polar Bear

“Be Free”

It makes sense that in the grand clusterfuckery that will come when we eventually reduce the world to infinitesimal pixelated scraps – via nuclear holocaust, hadron colliders, or just really astute deconstructive continental philosophy – the color palette will take on a dull amalgam. We’re not talking here about the bright flaming oranges, stunning aquamarines or vampish blood reds of your average disaster movie, nope, the end of the world will be brought to you in the damp TEALS, poo BROWNS and uncommittal GREYS we might associate with the Dulux Paint ‘Outdoor Fence’ range.

Polar Bear plunge a murky groove here, their hefty rhythm section occasionally careering off in a series of wacky effects. B Side to this single “Be Free Be Free” is even looser with the disorientating dubness, teetering happily near collapse, while Gerry Read tightens up the gears for a rusty, masterfully remix. Jacek Zmarz’s video thus captures the mood well, tactile yet cyborg, material bits and sounds colliding, transformed by the encounter.

“Be Free” is taken from the new Polar Bear album In Each And Every One, out Monday, March 24 on The Leaf Label.

• Polar Bear:
• The Leaf Label:


“Rain Song” feat. Lil Ugly Mane

I don’t know what it is about time-stretched female vocals and club beats that complement Antwon’s voice so well, but if he had a backing band it would consist of Donna Summer’s ghost and Maurice Gibb’s delirium tremens. Lil Ugly Mane a.k.a. Shawn Kemp hears and channels this, as he had on his two previous Antwon collaborations: “Lap of Luxury” and “Underwater Tank.” Their third team-up, “Rain Dance,” is taken from Antwon’s Heavy Hearted in the Doldrums, which will be available as a free download and limited-edition picture disc come May 6. As for Ugly’s future: “LIL UGLY MANE IS A DEFUNCT PROJECT. A FINAL RELEASE AND BOXSET IS IN DEVELOPMENT WITH ORMOLYCKA LLC,” which was the label behind the now-sold-out Mista Thug Isolation and End of Earth cassettes. The label pushing Antwon’s next album is a clothing company; the label attached to Lil Ugly Mane is a toe tag.

• Antwon:
• Lil Ugly Mane:


“Kiss As We Walk” / “When We Are Old”

Earlier this month, we tipped you guys off to YYU’s new 12-inch, and now we have the distinct pleasure of premiering both tracks from the single, “Kiss As We Walk” and “When We Are Old.” In service of balance and equilibrium, the single — YYU’s first physical release since 2012’s TIMETIMETIME&TIME (a.k.a. #9 on our Favorite Albums of 2012 list) — showcases the two predominant, complementary sides of the 21-year-old Kansas native.

A-Side “Kiss As We Walk” most resembles the choppy, digital aesthetic of TIMETIMETIME&TIME. The track’s repetition inscribes a fricative, consonant grid of pitch-shifted utterances and chattering teeth, with its deep bass occasionally shaking the relative stability of the song’s delicately looped phrases. “When We Are Old” plays it straighter, despite its bifurcated structure. Here, YYU gently finger-plucks his nylon in a minimal, in-the-bathroom style that later transitions into a hearty sing-along replete with layered birdsong, harkening back to the guitar-driven tracks off earlier unofficial releases like MILKMILKMILKMILKMILKMILK and moo.2. While the tracks are stylistically different, they sound unmistakably like YYU, boasting the kind of deviating structures and inspired major-seventh harmonies that are now hallmarks of his aesthetic.

The “Kiss As We Walk” 12-inch is out this week on UK-based label RAMP Recordings, a teaser of sorts for YYU’s next full-length, which will be out sometime in September. Check it out here:

• YYU:

Rob Magill

A Mexican Tree And A German Sea

Corn-rows and red bikini on the beach. She laxin’ it with her “man,” but hittin’ on all the honeys passing by. “It’s Atlantic City, doll. Look at my man,” she says shouts at two girls who are maybe under-age. Later in the casino hotel, Monette and her man are shooting craps and winning hellah scrill. They go to a show later, hit the hotel hot tube, and crash out around 11:30 PM. Summer love in a luxurious-ish way.

Cut to three weeks ago, and Monette is the procedural nurse during your surgery, and she smiling at you too much. Way too much. You see her at the supermarket three days later and joke, “Oh, you’re the broad who was finding a smile in my pain Tuesday.” There’s talking and flirting, and she her own woman, so you respect that, and eventually get her number, inviting her on a few cute dates and Monette agrees to head to Atlantic City with you for a quick summer vay-cay.

CUT TO: Two months after surgery, everything is healed, and the doctor pulls you into his office after the check-up. He’s aware of the antics you and Monette have been getting into, because she had stopped sleeping with him. You think about the horrible pain during surgery and maybe remember him seeing the connection between his fling and your eyes. Insurance takes a minute to cover everything he did, but it’s nothing a few hundos from Atlantic City can’t deny.

Rob Magill lays it out straight, but will never make it easy on you. A Mexican Tree And A German Sea continues along the same lines of his tune too. Still keeping that singular vibe and holding it throughout the release as sounds clash and melt throughout. Scope A Mexican Tree And A German Sea by Rob Magill streaming below and grip it off Weird Cry on that analog-cheap swag:

• Rob Magill:
• Weird Cry:


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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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