Nick James

The Hawk

Producer and soundtrack-ist, Nick James is back and in full sonic form with The Hawk EP, including an entire video encompassing the release’s length. That’s right. And if you easily get nightmares and/or are influenced creativity, watch this on the biggest screen in your house. There’s no turning back. The Hawk has you now.

Gaze into endless hallways and fall between infinitely growing skyscrapers. Follow the eye of artificial intelligence. Become the blood once digital and now flowing through you. Lava, lightning, smoke, fire, and completely electrical elements will aura your body with pure imagination. Thus, what do YOU hear while listening to Nick James’ The Hawk EP?

To me, it’s more like a video of dreams I once had, only in compilation form, cropped from the BEST parts. Then there’s this bit where I’m not entirely into the vocals, but the visuals make it appear as though the singer is like this virtual reality video game end-level boss, and I gotta beat him by saving up mana and use it on patience before winning ALL THE GOLD! But I lose in that purple maze there-after, and am turned into The Hawk. I see Nick James and land on his arm. Enjoy an adventure in imagination yourself via the video above!

• Nick James:
• Asystems:

Chris Kelle & Brad Rose


A pairing of two stylistically divergent yet complementary tunes, Brad Rose and Chris Koelle’s split seven inches for FET Press’ ongoing “Line Drawings Project” is a brilliant little nugget for your consumption. Rose – best known as the head honcho behind Digitalis Records, as well as recordings under his myriad solo aliases – has for us a track that highlights his mastery of noise and abstract electronics. It careens along on a warbling, insect-like buzz that is paired with an aquatic drone. It takes a minute to familiarize yourself with the sonic qualities here, but once you are it’s engaging in an elegantly weird, hypnotic manner.

Koelle – whose primary work is in art and illustration (fun fact: he did the drawings for this series) – contributes a solo piece that is striking in its simplicity. The sparse banjo plucks are like a breath of fresh air, as something you’d imagine hearing while staring out your window on a drizzly morning. The pairing of Rose and Koelle may seem at first like an odd coupling of musical visions; however, when heard back to back the songs perfectly complement one another. Head here to check out the rest of the series, which includes contributions from Cody Yantis, Anne Guthrie, Norm Chambers (aka Panabrite!), and Nathan McLaughlin, just to name a few. This is a true labor of love, with LP, cassette, and 7” editions of the series available from Desire Path Recordings, Digitalis, and FET-Press, respectively.

• FET Press:
• Chris Koelle:
• Brad Rose/Digitalis:
• Desire Path Recordings:

Various Artists: Scenic Rhythms

Scenic Nights Vol 1

Attention beatheads: the Chicago based label Scenic Rhythms just set unto the world a grained smattering of in-the-pocket nodders entitled, Scenic Nights Vol 1. And what that idiotic statement means is that they just released a beat comp for your general enjoyment. Sorry for the confusion.

All thirty tracks are streaming for free as of now, but if you aren’t terrible at life, you’ll stop fiddling with your Erector set and send those fine folks some hard earned internet cash for one of the upcoming spooled versions of the compilation (and I’m assuming each tape will have all of the mentioned tracks, ‘cause if they don’t, that would be false advertising, and I’ll report those MF-ers to the Better Business Bureau so fast that it’ll make their (tape)heads spin).

Preview the previews for Scenic Nights Vol 1 below, and enjoy the loosened neck muscles that’ll follow in Scenic Rhythms:

• Scenic Rhythms:

Marissa Nadler


Just in time for my birthday (which is Friday), Marissa Nadler hopped on this bandwagon of EVERYONE celebrating me. I’m glad she finally caught on, ‘cause I AM a bundle of “Firecrackers,” and shit gets FOR REAL when I’m present IRL, only not really. Stereogum premiered this bad-boy, and I figured I’d follow, ‘cause I’m down with this album (outside them h8rs; <3) and have been feeling the Nadler vibe recently, again.

Snagged the special edition LP of July a bit back from Sacred Bones, and it came with a CD-R. And if you’re familiar with Nadler CD-Rs, it was beyond a treat! Tons of goth-ish folk covers of new and old tracks, including some demos, etc. Nothing as “horror story” as “Firecrackers” video, but… well, actually, I’ve never seen Marissa Nadler as something scary, even though Sacred Bones Records sorta blends these lines between her image and the physical release. Dunno if I’m chill with that. But I’ve ALWAYS pictured her as gothic and/or ghostly. As if she’s a really quaint and bard-scholarly vampire that will live and sing forever.

Anything is possible. Marissa Nadler will outlive you. Yet, that’s a really good thing!

• Marissa Nadler:
• Sacred Bones Records:

Merryl / Flex1000

Merryl / Flex1000 - Split

Merryl and Flex1000 are buddies, you can tell. I’d guess that these guys probably toured around the USA in a convertible or something. The music sounds that way, like cray dudes daring each other to drink bleach in a convertible. But, these fraternal vibes also reminded me of how ethical noise buddies can be. The tracks aren’t nihilistically squelching all over the place or trying to blindly wreak havoc; instead, there’s a zen patience going on where the two tease tension and deliver moments that are MASSIVE and meaningful. So, I’d go as far to call both sides of this tape meaningful BANGERS, in their own way.

Merryl’s side (banger1) has these odd beginning sounds, and, I can’t tell whether I’m spooked or chill. I think a lot of people call this a Lynchian vibe, which basically means that it’s 1) creepy, 2) tense, and 3) a little funny, too. Fuzzed out vocal samples are mixed in, creating a bouncy Dilloway moment that’s immediately thrown out the fucking window when the whole thing BREAKS. Soon, the side flies off the handle into a slow-burning smack-down where the sonic violence gets super transcendental.

Flex’s side (banger2) delivers driving synth pulses set to his own distorted, apocalyptic vocal blasts. After some preliminary wylin’ out, the side digs deep into phases of serious head-nodding rhythms that are blown, scorched, torched – whatever – they’re badass and real (real-as-in…punch your friend at the show and then kiss your friend at the show).

Both sides manage to be absolutely manic, and somehow absolutely positive.

Check out the tracks below and grab the tape from New Body Tapes, a new label in Boone, North Carolina.

• Merryl:
• Flex1000:
• New Body Tapes:



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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.