Better Off Dead [mixtape]
A year after dropping D.R.U.G.S., Flatbush Zombies are back with Better Off Dead, their tweakiest and trippiest venture yet. Featuring guest production from Harry Fraud and Obey City, and always-welcome appearances by Action Bronson and Danny Brown, the 19-track mixtape showcases a sinister shift in Flatbush Zombies’ aesthetic. Their usual silly stoner antics having grown wearisome, Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice would rather ingest a rainbow of drugs, curl up on the ground, and sink into nothingness, as they do on standout cut “Bliss:” “Fuck money, fuck friends, fuck family/ Fuck pussy, fuck drugs, fuck sanity/ I don’t give a shit, Why?/ Cause ignorance is bliss, right.” Indeed, the finger-flipping cynicism runs thick on Better Off Dead as does the aggro; Cypress Hill-style taunts abound, as goofy as they are grim: “I crack your fucking skully/ Use it as a bowl for cereal,” Meechy chirps on “Death 2.” Flatbush Zombies are actually starting to sound scary. I’d lock my doors if I were you.
• Flatbush Zombies: http://thegloriousdead.com
Live in Seattle, Sept. 7th, 2013
Phil Elverum, the same guy who made this, has just released a Bandcamp-exclusive live recording of a show from roughly one week ago, titled Live in Seattle, Sept. 7th, 2013. The album, which follows a string of other fantastic live recordings — Live In Bloomington, Sept. 30th, 2011, Live in Japan, and Live in Copenhagen — was recorded from the balcony of The Neptune Theater, where Elverum, opening for Bonnie “Prince” Billy, played a stripped-down show with Allyson Foster (Hungry Cloud Darkening, Gumigalaxy) and Ashley Eriksson (LAKE).
In addition to beautiful renditions of tracks off Clear Moon, Ocean Roar, Wind’s Poem, Lost Wisdom, and Dawn, the trio does a great cover of The Fleetwoods’ 1959 song, ”Mr. Blue.” I wasn’t at this particular show, but thanks to Joseph P. Traina, I’m going to tell everyone I was anyway. Thanks for the extra cultural currency, Joe! Too bad nobody gives a fuck about me. :(
Next stop: Auto-Tune.
Goldrush Music Festival
2013 Companion Cassette [Side A]
For the good, nothing ever changes. Maybe that’s not true. But having bought tickets already for Denver’s Goldrush Music Festival — a fest by our very own Strauss that features the likes of Noveller, Rene Hell, Lee Noble, MV & EE, and many, many more — you’re now left in a cloud of baited anticipation. Walking ‘round work with ‘em sticking out ya shirt pocket, and you sippin’ coffee, winkin’ at the window’s reflection, and thinking about all the out-there sounds you about to explore September 27 and 28.
Quickly, you check your phone for recording applications to bootleg some sick live jammers, but remember, in addition to a festival zine, you get a free Goldrush Festival 2013 Companion Cassette from Planted Tapes at the door with a purchase of a 2-day pass! Yo, but it’s edition of 300… if only 295 people go to Goldrush, what’ll they do with the rest of em? Look, imaginary voice in my head, that text is now ONLINE and IN ITALICS (so this makes me crazy, right?), which means there is no need to worry: Planted Tapes is selling ‘em on their site for those who can’t make it out. In fact, peeps unable to attend can pre-order they’s tapes NOW, which deliver October 1!
Anyhoot, Side A of the Goldrush Festival 2013 Companion Cassette is available for streaming below, so enjoy until Side B is out next FriFri:
[00:00] Noveller - “Completing the Cube Ambient”
[02:20] Scammers - “Planet Earth”
[06:04] mole people - “Bloodletting”
[08:45] Hideous Men - “Gray Eyes”
[12:31] Lee Noble - “Woman in the Dunes”
[15:30] Comfort Link - “Threading the Brown Snake”
[22:40] Thollem Electric’s Keyngdrum Overdrive feat. Heather Treadway - “eight”
[27:16] M. Sage - “Expedition Blues Ascender”
[30:26] Derek Rogers - “Live at Los Globos, 8/6/2013 (excerpt)”
[37:03] Paw Paw - “Lost Dream”
This is the first post I’ve written for Chocolate Grinder since moving to Edinburgh, Scotland from the US. I know this means nothing to anybody reading this — most of you internet entities out there probably don’t even know what Chocolate Grinder is (it’s the media section for the nerd website Tiny Mix Tapes, for future reference) — but the theme of today’s lesson is the yearning for familiarity one often feels when they are in a new home, but it isn’t quite home yet.
primer is an anthology of ilkae tracks from 1998-2002, many of which are tracks of stoic, scientific beats and empty-airport melodies. Now just the work of Aaron Munsen, at the time of their conception, ilkae worked as a duo, including Krystian Lubiszewski. “1121” is a fantastic opener (the video for it is equally gorgeous), atmospheric and subdued, although a little misleading — farther into the album, breakbeats become more pronounced, reminding me of Vorpal, whose 16-minute track “The End” possesses the same melancholy energy of songs like “Snowflake,” where ilkae dances furiously around airy keyboards and white space. Practically dissonance free, primer is a collection of lullabies and bedtime stories. If there was an equivalent author though, it would be Maurice Sendak, and not Aesop or Grimm, because the stories are told through vignettes that begin with quiet sadness and end in the same place. Chord progressions do not stray far from the root. Don’t be too quick to say the music is monotonous either; a childlike curiosity for sound is one of ilkae’s biggest strengths.
Not interested in creating climactic explosions of emotion, ilkae instead subdue their feelings underneath the intense internal disassociation one feels in a home away from their true home. A deep longing for simplicity. The impossible pursuit of order in a chaotic universe. “Blue Caps,” “Alkee,” and “kk” are thick with groove, and sometimes the livelier songs stray a little longer than the more ambient, loop-based compositions. Like many collections, the amount of music on primer can be a little daunting, especially with no clear “single” to set the tone, so to speak. I recommend finding a quiet spot, beginning with “1121,” and getting a little lost.
• ilkae: http://ilkae.bandcamp.com
After donning and releasing a handful of beats under his TONY FERRARI guise, aaronmaxwell is back with a new one, the Desktop EP. In true aaronmaxwell form, its eight tracks slides in at just under 16 minutes. However, the drums throughout the entire EP have a cleanness to them, almost entirely unheard of from aaronmaxwell, who typically buries everything beneath tape-fi quality mixing. Check it out. This kid can’t make bad music, no matter what name he’s using to do it.
• aaronmaxwell: http://aaronmaxwell.bandcamp.com