Blackout Beach

“Beautiful Burning Desire”

The first minute of “Beautiful Burning Desire,” the opening track of Blackout Beach’s new album Fuck Death, is a shimmering, encouraging wash of sound — like an aural equivalent of the Great White Light that has become symbolic of life’s end. In other words, death is where the song and the album begin. However, true to the discontent expressed in the album’s title (say it with me now: Fuck Death), the song soon changes: the wash cuts out, Carey Mercer’s voice comes in wavering, and he pairs digital Zelda-esque arpeggios over bongo-like beats. Eventually the rhythm dies down again and a soundscape like passing wind carries a broad aria of an outro. Think sort of like a slightly peppier Scott Walker. But most importantly, a minute into the song, it moves past the death-sound, and it’s as if the rest of the album is a repudiation of death itself. Thesis, antithesis.

Mercer says in a press release that he considers “run away” the album’s most significant lyric. But run where? Bora Bora or some hellish woods? He suggests that our world needs to reassess cowardice. “The longing in Fuck Death is not romantic; these are deserter’s songs, coward’s songs.” But this is problematic: “Beautiful Burning Desire” is clearly not the product of an artist acting out of fear, but out of boldness and defiance. Maybe Blackout Beach’s real mission is to cause this confusion, and in doing so define the different kinds of desertion. “Fuck death,” though crass, can either be a phrase of informed, heroic rebellion or something reactionary, mumbled by a kid who’s not ready to accept what he must accept. Either way, Mercer shows us that there’s a desert out there, and though it might be barren, at least it’s a new place to go.

Fuck Death is out November 15 from Dead Oceans.

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• Dead Oceans:


“Leaf House” [Animal Collective cover]

Covering “Leaf House,” the highly singular first track off Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs, is a terrible idea — unless you’re a rapper named Busdriver (who, by the way, just released an album as Flash Bang Grenada called 10 Haters and is also in a punk band called Physical Forms with ex-Mae Shi member Jeff Byron). The digital single for his cover of “Leaf House,” b/w a new track with Flying Lotus called “Ladyplace,” is out now. Stream the Animal Collective cover above and check out “Ladyplace” here. Both tracks will raise your cultural capital.

• Busdriver:


“The Hours”

Have you seen that show Boardwalk Empire? Pretty good, right? You know Jimmy Darmody’s tricky, long-haired, bohemian wife? Have you ever been, like, it sure would be sweet to see Angela Darmody in a music video where she sings all slow and sad in a trippy house, and then her thick black hair falls out, forms a vortex, and engulfs her? Well, have we got a treat for you!

See pretty, polished video “The Hours” (recently premiered by Stereogum) from nascent New York duo EXITMUSIC, of which actress Aleksa Palladino is one half; the other member is her real-life husband, Devon Church. For an act still without a full-length album (their four-song EP From Silence is out October 4 from Secretly Canadian), they’ve managed to inspire a pair of potent videos. The first, for lead single “The Sea,” came out a couple months ago, and it tracks the song over a very nicely edited series of shots culled from The Mirror (1975, by master filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky). Yeah, bold. But damn, it works.

• Secretly Canadian:

Jo Thomas


Entr’acte Records, fine purveyors of minimalist noise and haters of excessive HTML, have just released an extremely limited-edition cassette from Jo Thomas entitled Untitled Lines. Concerning herself with the fringes of noise that we take for granted but don’t necessarily value (the added crackles that warm up granular synthesis, the clicks and pops necessary in human speech, our good old friend tape hiss), Thomas applies her sonic palette in this instance as a meditation on Pablo Bronstein’s Sketches For Regency Living exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The exhibition explores how architecture influences and intertwines with our own sense of identity, and on July 21, Thomas performed her work throughout the space. The recording features two tracks, “Drift” and “Swan.” It’s a haunting production, with sinister whispers and gravelly textures weaving into flitting rhythms and the merest suggestion of tones. Thomas’ interest in spatial acoustics comes to the fore, and her music is all the more mind-bending for it.

• Jo Thomas:
• Entr’acte Records:

Foot Village

“This Song Is a Drug Deal”

Evil drum circle group Foot Village is about to embark on a tour of the East Coast. “This Song Is a Drug Deal,” a new song by the foursome played live in Brighton, is a taste of what you can expect on the tour. Since their inception in 2007, these veterans (whose credits also include Gang Wizard, Friends Forever, running Deathbomb Arc, and drawing comics) have tried to balance the sheer ecstatic power of their live performances with the difficulty of capturing their super-humanly energetic sound on record. But this clip, as well as a recent 12-inch split on FatCat (which paired them with Malian traditional group Super Khoumeissa), show FV at their most dynamic.

• Foot Village:
• FatCat:


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.