“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:


“The End” feat. billy woods

The media likes to re-spin tales of how New Yorkers all came together after the towers fell, and there is some truth to those, but as far as I could see, what drew us closest together was a pervading sense of impending doom. In other words, despite any reports to the contrary, the general consensus around New York after 9/11 was that the world was coming to an end. At least, that was the story the city’s independent hip-hop world had to tell at the time, and it was that narrative, combined with readings of Watchmen, Behold a Pale Horse and the selected works of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick, that nourished the paranoia of many a mind like mine back then.

L’Orange and billy woods’ “The End,” at least for this listener, harks to those days; the days when concept albums about Armageddon debuted faster than terror alert updates; when scene stalwart El-P deadpanned, “Oh, you didn’t know that the apocalypse was here, you didn’t realize that we’re in the middle of World War III and we’re all going to die soon?”; when a South Africa-born, New York-bred femcee by the name of Jean Grae embraced the role of cataclysmic seraph, spitting suicidal resolve in the face of approaching hellfire.

Is it the fiery-eyed shadows of characters like these that stalk billy woods’ dreaded silhouette down graffitied passages in the Jay Brown-directed video for “The End,” the first single off L’Orange’s The Orchid Days due out April 8 on CD and Orange & Grey Vinyl from Mello Music Group? Time will/won’t tell.

• L’Orange:
• billy woods:
• Jay Brown:
• Mello Music Group:


“Giant Mouth”

Every other day I go to the library. The three-year-old that lives below me is there too (same time), repeating his teacher in mumbles through his smile. It’s a pleasant time for me, typically; I enjoy the brief comfort of the super quite atmosphere. However yesterday, the bases of that calm was thrown off kilter as a gaggle of kids began making fun of a man dressed and smelling exactly of cheap everything, but was well kept in a flagrant way. When the teens began mocking and teasing him verbally, the man burst out into topics of “responsibility,” “adulthood,” “narcotics anonymous,” and “belief in society.” Genuinely, it looked like this man was struggling to keep himself both composed in emotion and contained in subject, while everything came out as a reality-check lesson for these snot wipers in front of him. As he walked out, I’d never seen someone so shaken up and proud at the same time, but then the alarm when off, and he didn’t check out his books. The front desk assistant helped him, said That was awesome!, and offered him an opportunity to teach on Sundays.

There’s a moment in SAÅAD’s “Giant Mouth” where everything seems to tinker around, transition into something bold, and continually questions it’s thoughts through contemplative keys and a deep electric horn hum in the background. The sound(s) constantly filter and descend, as though “Giant Mouth” has been locked away in SAÅAD’s heads for quite some time, and now it’s beginning to ooze out. And because it’s not too premeditated or exact in form, “Giant Mouth” takes to new heights of droning and note-scale, as the duo is in production.

SAÅAD’s newest LP Deep/Float is out April 17 on Hands in the Dark. It is very much a lingerer in the beyond realm, but can be palpable for a variety of listeners and thinkers. Listen to the second single “Giant Mouth” streaming below:

• Hands in the Dark:



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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.