Barnaby Bennett

“First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen cover)”

Typically, I’m NOT a covers guy. Dare I say, I’m not even really THAT big of a Leonard Cohen fan. But Barnaby Bennett does my ears good every-single-time. And knowing that he’s covering “First We Take Manhattan” …just makes me smile in the sense of ultimate evil versus ultimate evil. Could you just imagine? Oh, Leonard Cohen, I KNOW what you tried to do in NYC. Props for trying to destroy everything. Thanks for pointing Barnaby in the right direction, as the demise of Manhattan is really my only way out. Actually, untrue. I’d be stuck on Long Island – which is arguably a bigger shit-hole – considering Manhattan is my only REAL way out. But in this case, I’d swim.

I admire Barnaby’s intent with the song, both in his interpretation and the way he deploys his interpretation. It’s darker, maybe? DEFINITELY not as clear-cut in sound. Just mostly wonderful that he’s gripping from the dance/beat side of production and then adding a layer of fuzzed guitar atop it make things hazy, but in a polluted skyline sense. So, “First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen cover)” is pretty much 2014’s “Come With Me.” You be the judge and scope it out below:

• Barnaby Bennett:

Travi$ Scott

Days Before Rodeo

If there’s one thing the entire human race can agree on, it’s that Travi$ Scott’s ad lib game is mean as all hell. Unmatched in 2014 I’d say, without a doubt. Lil B’s “Figaro!” comes close, but “Straight Up!” is on some God-tier shit.

I wasn’t expecting much from Days Before Rodeo to be honest, but it ain’t half bad, though. There’s some genuine slappers on here, including a few flashes of brilliance too: if you don’t fuck with La Flame’s hook on “Don’t Play” then you need to check your pulse, my G. I wouldn’t say Days Before Rodeo necessarily sheds it overbearing Kudi influence, and Kanye’s shadow still looms large, but it’s leagues ahead of Owl Pharoah. Peewee Longway, Young Thug, and Migos pop in for a bit too. That’s always fun. STRAIGHT UP!

• Travi$ Scott:


“Hell sehn”

So, I’ve been tryna keep shit a little international around these Tiny Mix Tapes parts. And luckily, Schlakks is around to fulfill the white-guy rapper from Germany section of my “world-music” bingo card. Also, I don’t speak German. Thus, I’ve no idea if this guy is good or not, or if what he’s saying is about protest? I am aware that “Hell sehn” stands for “Hell see,” which I interpret as something of a street-struggle, in cooperation with a video
(production by Embrace The World Film) showing vandals run mischievously amuck throughout a black and white city, smashing and flipping whatever in site.

What I’m stoked on is Schlakk’s rapping swag. It’s completely derivative. That street-crew is also useful to have, as they’re popping up signs all around listing Schlakks’ second album Tat und Drang, which is out now on 2xLP and CD. If you’re interested in traveling with your mind, find yourself gripping the entirety of Tat und Drang immediately, and feel me on what escapism REALLY means!

• Schlakks:



There is a little nervous butterfly that lives in the pit of everyone’s stomach. It represents fear, doubt, regret, grief, and self-consciousness. It survives on anxiety and is easily agitated by stress. New music from N. BRENNAN captures the ephemeral moments in which we become aware of this creature within us. SCARY MOMENTS is filled with unsettling sounds of alarms, static shrieks, and high-stress film dialogue, which are breached sporadically by rare organisms of optimistic new age melody coming up for air in an ocean of ominous, frightening noises. With eleven tracks totaling only ten minutes, the tracks are indeed momentary. Fleeting feelings of fear that last just long enough for us to forget we are safe.

• Wasabi Tapes:

Aby Ngana Diop

“Dieuleul Dieuleul”

Last fall I had the immense pleasure of watching the Awesome Tapes From Africa dude DJ. The standout track from that evening was, in my mind, “Dieuleul Dieuleul” by Aby Ngana Diop, the title of which I know due to my having giddily rushed to the DJ booth for at least the fourth time that night inquiring as to a track title, annoying the ATFA dude by making him repeatedly try to pronounce, and eventually just spell both the artist and album, as I laboriously typed it all into a flip phone to look up later.

I’ve since been swept away countless times by this track, Aby presiding like the headmaster at a pep rally in Heaven’s High School, peering pleasantly yet powerfully over the proceedings – here there are no demarcations between athletes, drumline, teachers, audience. Close to a year of repeat plays later, Awesome Tapes announces what will surely be an immense treat in the form of the entire 1994 album from which this single came. Yet as someone whose own DJ sets are comprised almost entirely of tracks ripped off of the Awesome Tapes blog, the rerelease and inevitable popularization of this particular single is for me bittersweet.

Scope the single via the video above and proceed directly to the pre-order here

• Awesome Tapes From Africa:


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.