Joanne Robertson

“Had My Guard Up To U (Since ‘92) Freestyle” [prod. Dean Blunt]

Yeah yeah, okay, Dean Blunt’s a mystery. A big basket of red herrings. I feel ya. But then what would you call Joanne Robertson? At this point, her role in Blunt’s sound world is an even bigger question mark: though ostensibly Inga Copeland’s cut-and-paste “replacement,” she comes across as a business partner, not a lover, somehow lacking autonomy in spite of having free reign to be her folky self on Blunt’s cagey solo releases. Even if we wanted to praise Robertson’s songwriting abilities in her own right, it would be impossible — “PROD. DEAN BLUNT” is oddly stamped on every solo track; she’s the featured artist on fully-her-own-song “Heat”; Skin Fade was practically The Joanne Robertson Show yet, without explanation, we instinctually knew it to be all Blunt’s doing.

And now we’ve got this new snip of a song, “Had My Guard Up To U (Since ‘92) Freestyle,” the least Robertson-looking and -sounding song yet. As it fades in on laptop speakers, it sounds a bit like a slower Wu-Tang beat (Raekwon was quoted during “Free Jazz” and they’ve been throwing the W up since ‘92), though when I listen in my car, it’s a non-hip-hop, super-lush loop, Robertson’s voice calling and Blunt’s guitar responding over the strings as they both skate around the roller rink with smiles and big cowboy hats. It remains to be seen what Robertson and Blunt are up to exactly, but as ever the music itself is just as compelling as the chase.

Okay, now to reward you with a couple bits of HIGHLY INTERESTING news: tonight in London, Blunt is presenting Urban at the ICA, the second in a series of events hosted by NTS where artists are asked to “dynamically bridge the gap between” visual and musical disciplines. It’s also the only place you will be able to get Blunt’s new, self-released Mersh/Grade 12-inch (in the words of my role model Nikki Finke, TOLDJA!!), apparently limited to 250 copies. [Update: turns out to be a 10-inch and you can get it at Boomkat.] Secondly, according to this label feature at Resident Advisor, “a new LP from arch provocateurs Hype Williams” is scheduled for release on Hyperdub later this year. Whoa bro.

• Joanne Robertson:
• Dean Blunt:

Juana Molina

“Sin Guia No”

What an adventure! The video for Juana Molina’s “Sin Guia No” plays out like a mini-quest into manhood. Maintaining the battle between imagination and maturity. Visualizing the sensibility what is finished or complete or full. And it ain’t finished until we all eat. The vast creativity of mind is a playing field for everyone, and here in the video for “Sin Guia No,” director Dr. Sepian goes into the heart of ingenuity by pulling out all the veins and lobs and cogs of the human mind and putting it in story-mode, video form. Not to mention the groundbreaking idea here for the future of music videos: use the songs as more of a soundtrack to a director’s short film. As well, it’s always nice to be reminded of how Juana Molina can just belt out them tunes in a real calm-ish way while being surrounded by a fury of sounds.

This video for “Sin Guia No” is a follow-up to Juana Molina’s Wed 21 album last year on Crammed Discs. She JUST finished up her U.S. tour this Sunday in L.A., and is now preparing for her mammoth May to August European tour. ALSO, Crammed Discs just announced their “reissue” of Juana Molina’s four previous albums on straight digital, and can be found here. Enjoy your Wednesday, y’all!

• Juana Molina:
• Crammed Discs:

Bob Bucko Jr.

Blast the Past & Travel Well

Perhaps more so than any other musician living under the #experimental umbrella, ol’ Uncle Bob [Bucko Jr.]’s scope of variety from release to release is vast. It’s an idea that’s hinted at in the musician’s label, Personal Archives, itself used as a kind of categorization and documentation system for Bucko’s own artistic output. Just hit the “more releases” link on the label’s Bandcamp page, and you’ll notice 26 of the 64 entries in the discography involve Bucko in one form or another, whether it be a single for a comp, a collaborative set of recordings, live improvisation, or simply a BBJr album. Damn, Bob. Damn. And the list of instruments, electronics, software used are about as different from release to release as you could possibly imagine, jumping from vocal manipulation to minimal guitar improvisation to a fucking kazoo run through a table of effect pedals.

Bucko’s most recent efforts, Blast the Past and Travel Well serve as perfect representations of this variety; the former serving as a kind of “greatest hits” collecting material from four previous albums alongside a handful of previously unreleased material, and the latter portraying some of the musician’s more freeform, drone, and minimal tendencies. In other words, if you haven’t yet had the chance to dive into the file cabinets of the BBJr Personal Archives, now’s your chance.

If you’re lucky(?) enough to live in the Midwest, pick these up at the BBJr Long Drive Through Flyover Country Tour in support of both releases, as it takes him all around the central United States throughout the next two weeks. Otherwise, duck outta the way of the Chocolate Grinder and into the Personal Archives to pick them up digitally (free-ish) or physically (CD-R, c20).

• Bob Bucko Jr.:
• Personal Archives:

The Editor

Editorials [teaser tracks]

Why did people stop talking about Vaporwave? Wait, did people stop talking about Vaporwave? NOBODY knows ‘cause it’s like something you don’t really talk to about. Unless it’s Sarah’s boyfriend “Stoiyven” at Erica’s birthday party in some beer hall on Husdon in the city, and you’re like, “You old, d00d. WHATwave? I ain’t heard of no Mac+.” As I’m wearing that Vektroid/Terminator muscle shirt under my button up, b/c #swag.

Anyhow, I figured as the editor of TMT’s Chocolate Grinder section, it’d be hilariously ironic, or just another day on the WWW, to write about the new release Editorials by The Editor. It’s a clever name too, in terms of a sample-based producer who creates Vaporwave (do I capitalize that?). But WHO makes Vaporwave? Drink another beer. At work. And find out. For yourself. And scope the sample tracks off Editorials by The Editor on Illuminated Paths now. Standard Vape affair. Doesn’t but DOES rip of the ECO VIRTUAL YouTube page at a point. But I’m game. Fuck wit it.

PS: I actually got a vaporizer the other day for my reefer and, like, I think I get the idea that your parents will think your up to ALL good listening to this music ‘cause even if they were to walk in, you’d been vaping, so the smell is that candle you lit by the door, and they’ll offer you a bath and dinner, but you’ll deny the dinner and go straight to that bath for your bikini bod that’s ‘bout to pop the fuck OFF on the beach this summer.

• Illuminated Paths:

Man Forever

“The Clear Realization”

You know John Colpitts from his eternal drum psych-workouts as a member of Oneida, and as the mastermind behind the evolving percussion-oriented ensemble Man Forever — which has featured the likes of Greg Fox and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Brian Chase on previous releases of hypnotic extended technique drum performance (e.g., 2012’s luminous Pansophical Cataract). When he’s not clustered around a single snare drum with a friend or two, rolling those sticks unto infinity with improbable discipline, Colpitts stretches out into full kit performance to pour forth his polyrhythmic mantras as the beating heart of a larger ensemble of percussionists.

The video for “The Clear Realization,” a cut from the just-released Man Forever collaborative LP called Ryonen with New England ensemble So Percussion, illustrates the membrane-pounding reality of the conjoined group’s live rhythmic odysseys — complete with gang vocalizations cut loose from the posse. By the end of the clip, you should clearly realize that Colpitts and his collaborators (in this case, the percussion ensemble Tigue) have mastered their instruments, and can toy with intricate rhythms and meters at their own discretion like so much wood putty in so many calloused hands. Directed by Gabe DeLoach, the clip’s concurrent visual distortion jolts the already head-bobbing performance into an even deeper jitter zone. Bob along, and buy Ryonen from Thrill Jockey.

• Man Forever:
• 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.