Quicksails

“Daily Drift”

A heavy sneeze of sectioned snowflakes and coarsely xeroxed genitalia, not to mention negative plaid turbo coils, flat-lined by rolling bobs and blobs of color-spliced bass hits, ladled out through anticipatory momentum, grow together to make “Daily Drift” by Chicago’s own Quicksails all so alive.

Rapscallion that Sara Drake is, she’s lobbed the deft visuals for “Daily Drift” at your peepers, and you’d be right to take the time to see what it is. Do so below, ya friggin’ dum-dum, and try to hunt down a copy of the sold-out tape (alongside other such gems as Witchbeam’s Shadow Musick Vol. 2 and OLD SVRFERS’ Ain’t Scared of Shaka) ASAP, because maybe you don’t truly, madly, deeply need the cassette in your life, but it sure wouldn’t hurt!

• Quicksails: https://soundcloud.com/quicksails
• Tranquility Tapes: http://tranquilitytapes.blogspot.com

Emma Stamm

“Jigglypuff’s Song”

If I had been born even one year later, I might have been part of a generation in which Pokemon played a substantial role; as it is I know almost nothing about it (about them?) – but that only makes Emma Stamm’s version of “Jigglypuff’s Song” that much more exotic and mysterious.

You heard right – Jigglypuff, exotic, mysterious, all in the same sentence. That little round pink thing (which if I’d been born one year earlier I might liken to Kirby, but I missed her [him? it?] too) who is one of the more famous Pokemon(s?) apparently had its own song, which this track draws heavily from. On the show all you see is the song putting everyone to sleep – Emma Stamm’s version takes this a step further, showing the myriad dreamscapes the song transports its listeners into.

Emma extracts only a brief segment of the original melody as a base for the larger explorations that follow. She takes a Taterbug-ian approach to recording, with half-whispered, unintelligible words perhaps recorded to four-track and layered with sparse piano droplets, compelling yet always elusive. As auto-tuning, pitch-correction, and studio-quality software obtainable at the click of a button become inexorably more common, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear a fragile vocal note take baby steps into the world without fanfare or pretension.

After years of ironic Nickelodeon puns as band names and VHS gak splatter as album art, one might have developed a healthy skepticism towards any 90s reference. It’s easy to forget that people have been looking to small memories or moments from the past as inspiration for thousands of years, and here we have a rare example of a childhood memory being used in a non-kitschy way, alluring and valuable in its own right.

I probably sound like Grandma (–pa?) Papaya over here explaining Pokemon in such terms, and to those who grew up with it, the idea of riffing on Jigglypuff’s theme might seem a bit silly. But as someone who had no prior knowledge of the original “song” at all, Emma Stamm’s version called to mind other sentimental musical experiments - the toyland samples of Orphan Fairytale’s Ladybird Labyrinth, and the childlike simplicity of The Family of Apostolic’s sublime “Taking Me Home.” I know absolutely no Pokemon lingo, so I can’t close this article with a smart Pokemon pun, as I’d have liked - either way, check the track out for yourself.

• Emma Stamm: https://soundcloud.com/emmastamm

Juiceboxxx

“Alone and Insane on a Friday Night”

New Juiceboxxx track off the upcoming 28-track mixtape Highway to the Heartland, out next Tuesday, March 10. Very emotional track here, people.

Alone and insane on a Friday night,
it’s never gonna be alright.

Springsteen meets Beastie Boys meets Public Enemy. JB’s 2k13 mixtape Beyond Thunder Zone is essential listening, so get hyped for another nightmare-confronting journey into the darkness with Juiceboxxx. And if you want to brush up on your JB history, get deep in this in-depth profile in N+1 Magazine.

• Juiceboxxx: www.juiceboxxx.com

Yearning Kru

“Hungover In Zanarkand”

Nobody ever said a “Hungover In Zanarkand” would be this overwhelmingly joyful. Sure the frenzy of last night chilling with Yearning Kru got you mind all soaked, but recollection has never been a strong-suit. Colors like reflections of memory in waves of sound and echos of reverberation clang your mind grapes like a vat of vino that won’t stop waving until it’s all drunk up.

“Over that hill. Yeah, continue that way!” You hear from somewhere, but you’re not even sure if it’s dusk or dawn, yet that wistfulness grips your “Hungover In Zanarkand” like three Kings in a poker game: go all in? But thought processes are all fucked, and Yearning Kru took every last cent of yours in the gamble last night. Dice is a weight. Crap a shoot overlooking Zanarkand:

• Yearning Kru: http://yearningkru.tumblr.com

M ∆ R G ∆ E U X

¥ U ® T _>_ F E. D O ® ∆

Is M ∆ R G ∆ E U X’s new c10 on Big Ear Tapes the soundtrack to a demented midnight movie? Maybe just a short? If so, where the hell’s the screen? Ripped up? Shredded? Scorched? All together gone?

Contradictions and distractions, I suppose. ¥ U ® T _>_ F E. D O ® ∆ reminds me of a damaged film score, obviously, with its digitally-aged scuffs, gnarled tones, and skipping audio; and yeah, all of those descriptions are fine and nice, but it’s so much more than that pithy alignment of words. Just listen to the pleasant paint drops dripping from the stream. See the dying fields and failing crops. Feel the kink in your neck from starring at passing light poles. Can you serve squares? Squalor? This stationary is outdated and full of holes, but fill it full, please. Absorb and be absorbed. Conceal the audio data within your spine and mind; let it congeal. View with extremity. Hear absolutely. And, if you like, purchase one of the five copies of the cassette here.

• Big Ear Tapes: http://bigeartapes.com

  

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.