Black Hat

“Imaginary Friends”

Walls must be built, the streets shall be raised, the buildings will be made of stone and brick. The sea will never reach the streets again. The second floor becomes the ground floor, the ground floor will become the basement, and the basement becomes the underground. Seattle’s Nelson Bean, known as Black Hat, dwells in this dank underground, spewing sinister sounds and steamy rhythms that spill out from the mossy manholes and grab your ankles as you cross the crowded intersection. The newest LP, Thought of Two from Black Hat is released by Hausu Mountain and includes this striking video from visual artist Zara Ruckus to accompany the lead-off track “Imaginary Friends.” The film adds bold color to grating grainy images of industry and nature, projecting vibrant imagery onto dark, daunting sounds of howling synths and itching rhythms. The video features just an excerpt from the full piece, which can be streamed in full, along with the other two tracks, or purchased on vinyl or CD from the label.

• Black Hat:
• Hausu Mountain:



I gripped this premiere from our very own news editor, Squeo. And thankfully, it’s bugged out. “GEISHA” by N.i.c.o.l.e. stands alone as a track involving the muted beauty of one’s voice, smeared in echo and synth rhythms. Cleverly, the video for “GEISHA” meets that point of visual storytelling the song was hiding, both flagrantly avoiding eyes on the camera and zoom-in shots of these women and men. Shoot, N.i.c.o.l.e. is in Death Valley here, huh? What kinda crime did these two commit? Now escaped, riding away free on their motorcycle, casting visions of love and metaphor across their gaze of the landscape. They’ve found each other to once again lose themselves in their arms and eventually part ways. Is posing as a “GEISHA” the ultimate get-away plan? Or is being “GEISHA” the ultimate plan to get away?

Directed by the careful eye of Caitlin Denny, the video for “GEISHA” brings to life a slew of new creativity through N.i.c.o.l.e.’s lyrics. This is what we got from N.i.c.o.l.e., “This is a total VHS love affair collab between Caitlin Denny and myself. We were heavily inspired by Daisies/ 70s & 80s video & performance art (Pipilotti Rist!) and wanted to incorporate surreal Liquid Sky-ish effects. Overall, very “mystery”! The song is a heady slow jam for total creeps, featuring Alex Barnett and Mr.666.” Enjoy the video below, and scope her previous tape Six Hands on Catholic Tapes.

• N.i.c.o.l.e.:

Golden Donna

“Empty Charm Vessel”

I’ve been taking care of my Grams a lot more recently, cooking her dinner and fixing my special Port Worshington salad, bringing in her paper in the mornings, checking up for a scotch in the evenings, etc. Sunday, we had two personal pizzas a made from scratch and watched out across the Boulevard listening to Golden Donna’s II cassette that had arrived the day before, which I save to listen with Grams. And shoot, we had a wonderful afternoon talking about the garden and spring coming, the roof at a funny angle, and town traffic. The music also pleased her to no-end. GRAMS APPROVED.

Yo, but this video for “Empty Charm Vessel” off Golden Donna’s newest 100% Silk tape II makes me think of Caligula in a more PG-rated version. Super interpretive and way serious. Also, it’s careful. Just as the track claps on all fours, dancers gracefully land into each others’ arms, gliding along the surface of our eyes and minds. Beneath it all there MUST be a story, but one must look closer, feel the heat of the dance floor, and move it like they ain’t never before! Golden Donna’s II is out NOW on 100% Silk for -like- six wampum. Edition of 100. You should grip before it’s too late. Rip the vid above to fill in the gap. And scope yuung Decoder premiere of Golden Donna’s first single “Pale Dream Rider.”

• Golden Donna:
• 100% Silk:

Life Size Maps

“This Same House”

The Brooklyn-based trio Life Size Maps, led by mainstay singer/songwriter Mike McKeever, with a new lineup that includes Sean Thornton and Dave Stoecker, just released a new single called “This Same House,” and thankfully, its every bit on the trajectory set by the band’s notable early 2013 standout, “Abstract Speed.”

Frontman McKeever has professed to having a preference for mixing up the traditional rock format with synthesizers and synth pop, and “House” is no exception, with the trademark glitch pop aesthetic, 8-bit keyboards, and youthful energy and dramatic hooks that have uniformly characterized the band’s past material and singular sound.

• Life Size Maps:

The Skull Defekts

“Awaking Dream”

The Skull Defekts definitely ain’t for everybody. My girlfriend wasn’t feeling them on the ride back from P-Town, and their 2009 release The Temple (harshest TMT Review ever?) is one of the few albums I’ve ever seen earn a 1/5 rating on our usually free-loving site, but personally, I can’t help digging that album, as well as their latest single/video “Awaking Dream,” viewable above. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the combination of bent synth chords and overstated poetry barked by occultist lumberjacks, and maybe I never should’ve been lured by a title like “Unholy Drums for Psychedelic Africa” in the first place, or maybe I myself have a skull defect. Who knows?

If there was a time lapse camera capturing the l.i.t. minutia of everything, then maybe you wouldn’t need me to tell you that The Skull Defekts’ upcoming album Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown drops on CD and LP (limited to 500 gold vinyl copies) April 8, and maybe somebody would be able to tell you exactly who did what to/with that plane when, where, how and why. Or maybe not. At least we can dream … and that alone is worth a dance or two.

• The Skull Defekts:
• Thrill Jockey:


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.