December 28, 2012

U R Who U Let Die

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society...
Museum Mouth has had a pretty rad year. Not only did they release one of my favorite records of 2012 with Sexy But Not Happy, but they even managed to get their music video for the albums title-track into rotation on mtvU (disclaimer: I'm in the video.) What could they possibly have to be sad about, then? U R Who U Let Die explores the infinite sadness of being alone, even when you're surrounded with people who care for you. It's a feeling I know too well, and it doesn't seem to be something I or Museum Mouth will ever really figure out. On this EP Museum Mouth draws on that chest-crushing loneliness and forces it out, seemingly with the intent of expelling some of those feelings. That's what "they" tell us. If you just talk about it, and vent it, the feelings will leave. I've never found absolute truth in such statements, but I assume it has to work for someone. The EP is beautiful in the way that a terribly sad person is beautiful; the wonderful things buried in a blackness that is a mess, but only in the way that we are all messes right now, trying to gather ourselves together and survive in a world where we're only hoping for death.

Stream/Download: Museum Mouth - U R Who U Let Die

December 25, 2012

Short Story: Cold Comfort

Submitted For the approval of the Midnight Society...
Editor's Note: A few weeks ago I found myself wrapped into a three-way Twitter conversation with Nick Vogt, bka Deli Mane of Dior Sentai, and Blam Lord, the curator of one of my favorite blogs, Blam Blam Fever. The two were talking of zombie apocalypse dreams, and they mentioned writing stories from the dreams. I immediately jumped in to note that if they did write these stories, we could post them here to Decoder, and both were into the idea. I couldn't imagine a better Christmas present to our readers; one that even those who don't celebrate the birth of Santa Clause should be able to appreciate. Yesterday we posted Nick's story, Secret Ingredient, and today we have for you the Blam Lord's Cold Comfort.

Sound. It is your enemy. More than any zombie on your trail. Any noise made notifies the upright corpses wandering aimlessly around you on all sides. It is a beacon. It is a homing device. If you can navigate the exposed world quietly you can move about almost unhindered, but what do you do if your environment is made of a noise creating substance? Where every simple motion sends a sound wave pinpointing your exact whereabouts? Take snow, for instance.

Late December, somewhere in the central Ohio valley a man by the name of Marc Thibodeux has no idea that it is Christmas day. Normally, he would be surrounded by family and friends, but 'normally' flew out the window when the first outbreak occurred. Holidays were a thing of the past. And so were family and friends. The only thing that mattered was survival.

And this is how Marc ended up leading a rag tag bunch of survivors out of Presque Isle, Maine. The horrors they had seen getting this far had hardened them all beyond any level they had ever imagined. Initially eleven people, give or take those who joined up with them for a stretch, but after fighting to live every day non stop since they set out they were down to just four. Make that three now, because Marc just witnessed another torn to bits at the hands of the undead. Which leads to his current dilemma. Getting back to the others. Alive.

An hour or two ago, after a long rigorous day of foraging abandoned houses, it was about time to get back to their encampment; a small 2 story house off the main highway. A mile away lay this gated community where Marc and one other party member, a young and spunky Black woman by the name of Ivette Hatch, went to investigate. Having gotten this far dealing with the undead; all you needed was a partner to watch your back, a weapon to protect your front, and a direction to move when outnumbered. Simple right?  

Or so they thought, but nature doesn't care about strategies. A very light sleet started nipping away at them as soon as they got near the houses. The two had slipped into the development with ease, scaling a wooden fence behind one of the prefabricated houses. They had learned before even getting out of Maine to never approach a house that seemed occupied. Boarded up windows, cars parked haphazardly about and signs of life could mean trouble more often than not. This small row of houses though seemed completely abandoned. By the living, at least.

In the first house Ivette killed a zombie with one swift swing of a two foot long lead pipe as they stood in the kitchen. A little girl, no older than ten wearing a blood encrusted yellow snow suit with attached white mittens dipped in gore. Below her presently caved forehead it was easy to see that she had been busy eating the house pet. A grey cat to be specific since it's remains lie strewn under the dining room table. A quick yet thorough examination of the rest of this house told them they were alone, and this is how they operated for the rest of the afternoon. Only stopping for a fast meal at a halfway point, with a dozen homes left to go. There really wasn't much. The community had been gone over by previous scavengers but every single canned good, weapon and even pairs of socks could mean life or death at a later date, so they went through each room with a fine toothed comb. 

They did this in complete silence having grown accustomed to facial expressions and body language. Every home that was locked up they skipped. It wasn't worth trying to break in considering what may lie inside. A spooked survivor is ten times worse than even ten of the undead.

Soon they were at the last house, one new and full backpack sitting propped up by the back door. They sat in the living room sipping on cold instant coffee with their weapons propped on the couch arms. Marc preferred a survival hatchet, trading cleanliness for accuracy. There were guns too, but rarely were they used, having learned the hard way it just causes more trouble and in this case they had left them back at camp. Ivette and Marc were a well oiled machine. They had been paired off since crossing Vermont and losing her older brother.

If it wasn't for the snow; something they hoped to escape forever as they headed south. The snow had decimated their, group sounding off alerts everywhere they went. Marc sipped the remains of his cup as he wondered how fortunate desert folk must have been when the event took place. He laughed inwardly realizing they wouldn't even know they were fortunate there, they would still be dealing with the same sheer unimaginable terror. Maybe dehydration would be the additional enemy in the desert. Standing up, he tucked his cup back in his bag, shouldered the extra bag and looked at his partner to see if she was ready. A nod from her and they opened the back door and slid quietly outside.

Darting in and out of houses they hadn't realized what effect the sleet had on the snow but a couple steps outside of the fenced in enclave they realized their error. The sleet left a thin shell of ice over the entire surface making each step a small but resounding crunch. Ivette looked at Marc with uncertainty before tilting her head back towards the houses and without a moment’s doubt Marc began to walk back towards the fence. They would have to wait it out or bring zombies from all around down on their camp's head.

Before they had even fully turned around the horde was upon them. Over a dozen or so zombies that could have been milling about out here now focused and drawn in by their movement. Marc swiftly dealt with the two nearest him, already checking to see if Ivette was out of danger’s way. They were in a serious bind; they couldn't turn and try getting over the fence for fear of leaving limbs exposed to attack (and therefore infection) and there was no opening to make a quick escape. So they braced themselves and fought it out.

The first few went down with ease. The snow making their actions slower too but it was the sheer amount of them. That disgusting unending pour of living dead hands pawing at you, attempting to tear out and eat your insides. Stumbling back and forth in the slushy snow Marc felt his arm begin to burn with exhaustion as he chopped away at the nearest targets and it was in that moment he saw the fat, Asian, and very dead businessman in a tattered off the rack suit lurching up behind Ivette. He was out of breath yet still tried to bark her name out in warning. It was already far too late. The businessman's hands grabbed her by her fighting arm and jerked her around, leaving her flank vulnerable to those she was combating. Marc took a step towards her right before she yelled in pain as a half naked woman bit down on her opposite arm. The open wound and its profusely running blood painted a target on Ivette and in moments they dragged her to the ground. There is nothing to do but escape Marc thought as the undead who were focused on him turned away to bear down on his dying partner. Survive. The pain of losing Ivette wracked his body as he scrambled over the fence and returned to the initial house they had entered. Still, he simultaneously reminded himself where she was taken down because her pack was full of items they needed. Cold comfort indeed.

The little dead girl sprawled in the kitchen instantly reminded him of his lost companion and he had to fight back tears for a moment, almost upset at himself for his callousness. Not too long though. So many people had died along the way. Ivette knew the consequences. What if they were on the inside of the fence when this happened? They could have easily retreated to a house. All these things he pondered as he sat alone in the dimming light. He’d head back tomorrow, snow be damned.

December 24, 2012

Video: Teams - Original Theft (Instrumental Mix 2)

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society...
Sean Bowie, bka Teams; just revealed this gorgeous new instrumental demo, accompanied with a video featuring himself along with his Teamm Jordann partner-in-crime Jónó Mí Ló, the fairest of them all Snow Wite, and C V L T S' Gaurav Bashyakarla. The rather brief clip shows the four tearing up the streets of Sierra City, CA, and simply having a good time. The video features a demo version of "Original Theft"; and the final version will appear on a record later this year from Teams titled Sierra City Center via Beer On The Rug. Last month Teams leaked another demo from the record titled "Hatsu (instrumental ) ✌ ( '◡') ✌". While it managed to slip under our radar until now, the heavy-hitting banger is now bumping loud in the headphones. Apparently the final version of the track will also feature Snow Wite blazing the guitar on it, which has us all the more excited. If that's not enough for you, though; between now and Sierra City Center Teams also has another record dropping. His sophomore full-length, OneWorld開発, is set for release this February via Seattle's Fin Records. You can check out "Hatsu (instrumental ) ✌ ( '◡') ✌" and an excerpt from OneWorld開発 below. Now won't you join us in proclaiming 2013 a year of Teams?

Short Story: Secret Ingredient

Submitted For the approval of the Midnight Society...
Editor's Note: A few weeks ago I found myself wrapped into a three-way Twitter conversation with Nick Vogt, bka Deli Mane of Dior Sentai, and Blam Lord, the curator of one of my favorite blogs, Blam Blam Fever. The two were talking of zombie apocalypse dreams, and they mentioned writing stories from the dreams. I immediately jumped in to note that if they did write these stories, we could post them here to Decoder, and both were into the idea. I couldn't imagine a better Christmas present to our readers; one that even those who don't celebrate the birth of Santa Clause should be able to appreciate. So without further ado, here is Nick's story. Tune in tomorrow for Blam Lord's contribution.

     “You have ONE job and you didn’t do it! Don’t tell me you were just watching goddamn CARTOONS all day, Mable! Do your ears work? Do you have like brain damage and can’t remember what I tell you!”
     “No, I…” Mable said and looked down at her kitchen floor. She knew her memory worked fine and that she had not just watched cartoons all day (well just one episode of Pokémon, but that was only for a half hour, and less than one really because she always left the room during commercials.) She did not want to say all that to her mom, though; because right now she didn’t want to look at her mother or the kitchen sink.
     What she did want to look at was the little scratches on the floor. She had never noticed those before.They looked like little veins kind of. She stared at the floor’s veins, trying to think about what could’ve caused those scratches. Little mice who had scampered into the kitchen late at night when the whole house was asleep? 
     “You WHAT? How hard is it to wash dishes?”
     “I….”
     “Mable look at me right now. Look at me when I’m talking to you!”
     “Okay…” Mable just wanted to think about the sneaky night mice and not talk to her mother.
     “How will you ever be a wife if you can’t clean?”
     “I don’t wanna be someone’s wife.” Mable said.
     “You don’t wanna do anything. You know what you are? Huh?”
     “I’m Mable?”
     “LAZY. As all hell. And we are not a lazy family. Where do you think I go every day for eight hours? The damn playground?! Where do you think your Father goes? You think he goes out to the woods and hangs out with squirrels? You think you can do that your whole life? You are almost a woman and you can’t be a damn Disney princess befriending the whole woods forever!”
     “I’m not a Disney princess.” Mable looked he mom right in the eyes. “No one’s gonna put me in their castle. No one’s gonna put me asleep for hundreds of years.”
     “What are you even talking about? I’m not talking about castles. I’m talking about real stuff. Like a SINK FULL OF DISHES. Now do these dishes right now before your father gets home and sees this mess he is going to RAISE HELL if he does.”
     “No.” Said Mable. She turned and ran from her mother. Through the living room past the TV playing an infomercial about a special, newfangled turkey-cutting knife that was supposed to “make the holidays SOOOO much less stressful!” And up the stairs and past her brother Mike’s stupid door covered in stupid stickers like “Area 51: Beware of Extraterrestrials!” And into her room and slammed the door. Her mother was yelling behind her but it sounded muffled to her. As if her mom were underwater.
     Mable sat down on her bed next to her hamster Marcus’ cage. Marcus was asleep in there and she watched his little legs twitch and listened to him make little grunts. What was he dreaming about? Probably flying. Mable had never had a flying dream ever even though all her friends at school always said they did and that those dreams were cool. She felt like maybe something (just a little something) was wrong with her for not having those dreams.
     She reached a finger into Marcus’ cage and poked him on the head. She couldn’t resist even though she knew it would wake Marcus up. He was just too adorable in his sleep. It did wake him and he yipped at her. Not a mad yip, she didn’t think. Just saying “good morning!”
     “Are you hungry, Marcus?”
     “Yip!”
     “Okay! Breakfast time!” Mable crouched down by her bed and slid out her Tupperware that she kept Marcus’ food in. He ate boring food. Grains and other grains. She opened it up and nearly puked.
     “Ugh! It smells so bad today!” She yelled. Marcus’ food always smelled funky to Mable. But today it was extra bad. It was a new kind of food. She told her mom that Marcus hated this generic, Albertson’s brand pet food. He ate it and didn’t complain, but she knew it upset his little stomach. He would fart a lot and burp from it. She imagined it was kind of like how she wasn’t supposed to have milk or cheese or yogurt or ice cream. She had fed it to Marcus the day before and it made him really sick to his stomach.
     Mable looked at Marcus’ little beady eyes. “You don’t want this again, do you? Mom messed up and you shouldn’t have to be sick because of that…”
     “Yip”
     Mable thought for a moment. Marcus was hungry but had no food. What would she want to eat if she were a Hampster.
     “Something natural. From the woods!” Mable had heard that pet food was just ground up road kill anyway. Really Marcus should be eating real plants and not some road kill mixed in with grains that comes from the grocery store.
     “You’re an animal from the woods. You should be eating from the woods. This is so silly.”
     “Yip!”
     Mable hadn’t been out to the woods today so she could use a trip out there. It had been raining yesterday and so she missed the woods. Also, it would give her a chance to leave and be gone when her dad got home. He would, most likely, transform into The Hulk when he saw the dish pile. A 5’8 man seeming like a 10 foot green angry man just from his yelling and shaking and pointing and grinding his teeth and veins all popping out of his neck.
     Mable glanced at her Power Puff Girls clock. It used to be her big sister’s before Maggie had moved away to New York City. Power Puff Girls was a little before Mable’s time. The clock read 5:15. Her dad came home at 5:30 most days from work. She would have to run to the woods fast. And hope that she could stay out there until her parents stopped being mad at her. That usually worked for her mom. Not so much for her dad. But it could help to shrink The Hulk from 10 feet to maybe 8 and a half.
***
     The woods were Mable’s favorite place ever. Even when it had just rained and she had to walk through leaves and muck and slugs. She had her rainboots for keeping her feet dry so that didn’t matter at all. She also carried her little pink backpack. She hated how it looked (pink being her least favorite color of all time), but she loved how much it could carry. Whenever she went into the woods Mable always wanted to take so many cool treasures back with her and the pink bag was her most useful bag for that.
     ‘What would Marcus really want to eat? Hmmm…’
     All she saw was twigs and little rocks and pinecones. And worms. None of that looked particularly appetizing. Maybe she should look higher up in the trees and not at the ground? Mable looked up and just saw branches and leaves. A couple squirrels running from tree to tree. A little bird flew overhead. Then her foot hit a tree’s root that was popping out of the ground and she tripped.
     “Agh!”
     Her head fell into the mucky ground. Gross. She should’ve been looking at where she was walking. That’s why you are supposed to look at your feet when you are walking in the woods… Mable picked her head up from the ground and spit out some dirt. She kind of liked the taste of dirt, but also didn’t. It reminded her of beets. Which she also kind of liked, but kind of didn’t. She was the only one of her friends who even liked beets even a little bit.
     When she brushed muddy hair from her eyes (still lying on the ground) that’s when she saw it: A mushroom! A bright orange mushroom! She had never seen or thought mushrooms could be so pretty!
     She remembered one time when she turned on the TV to watch Pokémon and it was set on the Food Network from shows her parents had been watching the night before. It was Iron Chef. They were competing, making different dishes all with Portobello mushrooms as the “secret ingredient.” She remembered thinking how yummy the mushrooms looked on the grill.
     An orange mushroom probably tasted like peanut butter. Or maybe like an orange. Or like a skittle. Which was a little bit like an orange but kind of better.
     She stood up and plucked the mushroom out of the ground. It made a little POP noise as she did. And a bit of orange dust billowed up out of the hole in the ground where the mushroom once was.
Mable held up the mushroom and looked it at it. It looked so yummy. But dirty. She didn’t want the mucky, beet-taste on it. But, she did want to try it.
     Mable always packed her bag with a water bottle, a flashlight, her scissors and her notebook just to be prepared for anything. She sat down on a nearby rock, set her mushroom down and took out her bottle of water and the scissors. She splashed a little water on the mushroom (although the water bottle said WHOLE FOODS on it, the water bottle was re-used and it was tap water in there now). And then she used her scissors to cut it in half. She figured half would be for her and half for Marcus. Marcus had a little stomach and didn’t eat much so she gave him the smaller half.
     Then, she took a bite. It did not taste like peanut butter or an orange or a skittle. It tasted like cream cheese. Like cream cheese and tomatoes a little bit. It wasn’t bad at all. She put the mushroom in her backpack and got up off the rock. She would eat the rest at home. She needed to get back to Marcus because he was probably starving to death right now. The poor little guy.
     As she walked through the woods back she was proud she had found something other than twigs or little acorns. The orange mushroom didn’t taste awful and at least it looked very cool. She realized it was very hot out, but, even though her pink bag was her biggest bag, she didn’t have room for her raincoat, so she would have to keep wearing it. She was sweating now and realized it would get her smelly but she didn’t care. She wasn’t far from home. The sweating under her clothes was probably what was making her really itchy, too. She felt a little gross. She would take a shower once she had fed Marcus.
***
     Mable got to the back door of her house, turned the knob to open it and pushed and it wouldn’t open. Did they lock it? She went to push harder and realized she was having a hard time pushing it. She felt weak. That back door was always super heavy and hard to open but right now she was having the hardest time she ever had with it. Mable took a step back to catch her breath. She was breathing heavy and felt tired out. The walk back from the woods had taken a lot out of her for some reason.
     “Okay. On the count of three…One…two…”
     Mable pushed on the door with all her strength and got it open. She stumbled into her house feeling very dizzy. The world spun around her. Mable flopped down onto her stomach right on the living room floor. This was the second time she had fell today. So clumsy.
     “Mable! Where have you been!?” It was her father’s voice booming at her. No, it was The Hulk’s voice. She tried to stand up but it was taking her a while. Like she was telling her arms and legs to stand but they didn’t want to listen.
     Mable’s Dad’s hands grabbed her and pulled her to her feet. She was staring into his eyes.
     “Your mother said you didn’t do the dishes today when she told you to? And then you just run away when she’s talking to you? Where did you go?”
     “The…woods…” Mable wanted to say more but her mouth was so dry. She could barely even get those words out. Her body started shaking. She was very cold now. Why did they have the air conditioner on set to so cold in the house? Yes, it was hot outside but this was ridiculous.
     “How many times do we have to tell you that you need to START doing some WORK around this damn house, Mable!”
     Mable had the hiccups now. Oh, she hated the hiccups. She always was worried that they would never go away anytime she got them. She was always worried she’d have the hiccups forever. On her third hiccup, she felt something leak out of the corner of her mouth. She felt it ooze down from her mouth onto her Raincoat. She looked down and saw pinkish foam. Then her stomach hurt very bad.
Damn it! Had she eaten ice cream or milk today? Is that what was going on? What had she eaten? She was having a hard time thinking. Her head felt like it was full of air, like air on a hot day when it gets all shimmery. Her dad was saying something but Mable could barely hear him. This time not because she chose not to and she wanted his voice to be underwater either. She just couldn’t hear him. Like her ears were plugged up. She tried to read his lips. It looked like he was mouthing, “Are you okay?” He looked worried. He looked funny actually. REALLY funny. She felt a huge laugh coming up and she couldn’t stop it. She was laughing now. One of those major crack-ups where your whole body laughs. And then she barfed.
     Pinkish green foam sprayed from Mables mouth right into her dad’s face. Her dad screamed. He clawed at his eyes.
     “Fuck!” Yelled her dad. His face stung.
     And that’s when Mable leapt onto him while he was blinded. She opened her mouth and sank her teeth into her dad’s neck. It tasted like skittles.
     Mable’s mom ran into the room. She saw her husband lying on her back convulsing. Mable looked up, her mouth full of neck and blood. Mable swallowed and stood up. She started walking toward her mom. She walked like when she had first started to walk. Stumbling all around. Mable’s mom watched at her daughter’s stumbling walk toward her and couldn’t move. It wasn’t real. It was a dream. She would have to wake up soon. She watched as her husband stood up from the floor slowly, his body moved like a puppet being controlled by a string. Puss and pink foam leaked from her husband’s mouth. And then she turned to run.
     Mable’s mom rushed into the kitchen. They were coming for her. They wanted to kill her. That’s all she knew. Those were the only thoughts all she could think. Mable’s mom opened a drawer to grab a knife but it was empty.
     “Fuck!” she yelled to no one but herself. They were all in the sink.
     Mable’s mom reached her hand into the sink and grabbed a dirty pot. Annie’s Macaroni and cheese was crusted onto it. The burnt bits from the bottom. Her son had made it. She knew because Michael always burnt Mac And Cheese.
     Mable wasn’t far from her mom now. Mable reached out her hands to grab at her mother’s dress, but her mom slammed the pot into Mable’s head. Mable’s neck snapped and a bone popped out the side of it. Mable fell over, and slumped over the stove sideways. She groaned a little.
Mable’s Dad came through the door into the kitchen. His heavy boots slamming into the floor hard with each step he took. Those damn workboots he didn’t even need for his job but he thought made him seem like more of a man. She hated those.
     Her husband opened his mouth and vomited puss at her. She moved to dodge it but it sprayed all over arm. It felt like hot oil on her. She had worked at a restaurant once and would be on the fry-a-lator all night sometimes. The puke on her arm felt like whenever the hot oil would splash up out of the fry-a-lator onto her. But even worse since it was all over her arm. She dropped her pan.
“Shit!” She yelled she ran toward the door. She had to get out of the house.
     Mable’s mom opened the door and ran outside. husband was now behind her and she couldn’t go back. She would just have to run somewhere. She didn’t know where. But somewhere.
***
     Mike walked downstairs from his room. He had been playing Unreal Tournament with his headphones on and hadn’t heard any of the commotion downstairs at all. He walked into the kitchen to get a glass of ginger ale. He saw Mable slumped over the stove.
     “What the hell? Mable…you okay?”
     His sister groaned a little. She stood up and shook her whole body like a wet dog. She turned at looked at Mike. She opened her mouth wide a roared at him, showing a mouth of gore-covered teeth and making a deep, very non-Mable sound. Almost like a howler monkey he had seen on an episode of Nature once.
     “Oh damn, you…aren’t’…okay…”
***
     Mable’s mom ran down the road. She was out of breath but could still hear her husband groaning behind her. Her arm was killing her. It felt like it was about to fall off. She must be freaking out, she thought. Her heart was racing. She was dizzy. She looked down at her arm. The burn had turned into a cut. It was disgusting. Oozing out pink foamy puss. “Her husband, having no common sense or really any kind of thoughts at all in his brain, was walking right in the middle of the road.
***
     Mr. and Mrs. Henries, a retired couple were out for a drive on this Saturday. They had come out to Western Massachusetts all the way from New Jersey just to see the foliage. They were the kind of people who didn’t even mind being called “Leaf-Peepers.” As they turned a corner, their red Volvo’s stereo blasting Jimmy Buffet, they were going just a little too fast to stop and avoid hitting the strange, drunk-looking man who was walking down the road. Mr. Henries hit the breaks, but their car still hit Mable’s dad and they ran him over.
     Even though the noise of the crash was so loud and the radio was loud, the Henries could swear they both heard a wet, squishing sound. That was the sound of Mable’s dad’s head exploding underneath the tire.
     “Oh my god!” Yelled Mr. Henries. They stopped the car and both hopped out. Mr. Henries crouched down to look at Mable’s Dad’s body. Pink, foamy puss leaked out of where the head had been and made a puddle.
     “Is he okay?”
     “Do you think he’s okay? No! He has no fucking head!”
     “No head?” Mrs. Henries didn’t want to look, but kind of did. She walked over timidly. She saw Mable’s Dad’s body and turned and quickly puked.
     “Ohnoohnoohnoohno” she kept repeating to herself. She started down at the ground. Mable’s mom stumbled up to Mrs. Henries.
     “You…saved me…” Said Mable’s mom. Mrs. Henries looked up. Mable’s mom’s eyes were bloodshot. She was walking like she was drunk just like the man they had hit and killed. Were these people on meth? She had heard that’s what some people out here in the woods did.
     “Get away from me!” Mrs. Henries turned to run but Mable’s mom was already too close to her. Mable’s mom reached out and grabbed the back of Mrs. Henries hair. Hair that was not completely gray despite her age. That was something she was very proud of. Mable’s mom pulled Mrs. Henries close and bit into her cheek.
     When Mr. Henries had heard his wife scream “Get away from me!” he stood up. He was about to run toward them when, to his utmost surprise, the headless (and what he thought to be lifeless) body behind him had stood up.
     Mable’s Dad put his arms around Mr. Henries, hugging him tight.
     “Agh! Let me go!” he yelled. Mr. Henries struggled with Mable’s Dad, but this headless man was far too strong.
     He watched as his wife pushed away Mable’s mom, ripping Mable’s mom’s jaws from her cheek. She held her wounded face and screamed in pain. Mr. Henries watched his wife fall to her knees crying and holding her face.
     “No!” He yelled. “Let me go!” Mable’s mom heard this. She didn’t hear the words. Just loud, muffled noise. She turned and stumbled toward Mr. Henries. Mrs. Henries blood and bits of cheek all over her the front of her dress.
***
     Marcus’ stomach rumbled loudly. He squeaked at it but it wouldn’t shut up. He had been squeaking “YIP” to try to get Mable’s attention for hours but she wasn’t around or maybe she was ignoring him? No… Mable never ignored him. She must not be home. But she didn’t go to school on these days of the week, right? Maybe Marcus had lost track of the days. Counting them and keeping track of them was always hard for him. Hamster brains are not exactly designed for that kind of thought.
     Marcus got up from lying on his back and scooted his little body over to his water. He would drink some water and pretend it was food. He had been doing this over and over and it kept not working but he thought he would try at least once more. He looked at his reflection in the water for a moment before he plunged his tongue in to lap some up. For a brief instant he wondered why he looked like he did and why Mable, his best friend, looked like she did. She was so very different looking…But then he didn’t care. The water felt cold on his tongue. He closed his eyes and tried hard to picture that it was hampster food…for a moment he could taste the hampster food in his mouth…But then he swallowed and it was all water going down. “Yip”
     Just then, Mable entered the room. Or…Something that was pretending to be Mable? She did not smell like Mable. Marcus noticed that right away. She smelled like blood and sickness. Like when Marcus’ little brother had died coughing up blood next to him when they were just babies.
     Mable stumbled toward Marcus’ cage. Foamy puss and gore covered her face and her clothes. In her right hand she held her brother’s intestines. They dragged on the floor behind her. She had once been very intrigued to learn just how much intensines can fit in a human body. She had always forgot if it was the length of one Tennis court or two…
     Mable looked Marcus in his little eyes and let out a groan. Marcus knew this was not his best friend. He backed into the corner of his cage. He wanted to take his eyes off Mable, but he couldn’t.
Mable reached toward the cage door groggily with her free hand. She tried to open the lock but her fingers did not want to grab the small lever. They twitched slightly, but her fine motor coordination was vastly impaired. Frustrated, she spit out puss on the floor and shook her head violently. Marcus heard sounds of her neck cracking over and over as she did this. She roared at the cage and swung her arm like dead weight. She struck the cage and sent it flying off the table. It crashed on the floor and busted open.
     The impact stunned Marcus for a moment. He slowly crawled out of his cage and he looked up at Mable who stood over him. “Yip?” Marcus squeaked. Mable ripped a chunk off her brother’s intestines and dropped it onto the floor in front of Marcus. “Yip?”
     Mable pointed a shaky finger at the intestines “For….you…to…eat…yummy…”
     “Yip.”

December 21, 2012

Cliff Of Death

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A lot of people thought the world would actually end today, and I kind of hoped that enough people thinking it might actually finish this place off; yet here we are. Charlotte-based rapper Deniro Farrar, a long-time Decoder favorite, is no stranger to the premise of apocalyptic ending. Farrar has been rapping about hard times and the end of it all for quite some time, and it's hard to imagine a better pairing than that of Farrar and Seattle-to-San Francisco production duo Blue Sky Black Death. BSBD's mixtapes with Nacho Picasso (who also has a guest spot on this EP) hone in on that dystopic sci-fi vibe like few other hip-hop producers can, keeping the beats heavy with percussion and swarmed with brooding synth that play off each other and work with Deniro's distaste perfectly. With song titles such as "Just In Case The World Ends..." and "Can't Take It With Me When I Die" the thematic elements are hard to deny, and since we're still here it just means that you can press repeat without stressing for time. Still, it's a shame that so many best of the year lists have already been published, because this one should certainly end up on a few.

Stream: Deniro Farrar x Blue Sky Black Death - Cliff Of Death

Video: The North Sea - Vagrant

For those who know Brad Rose, the prolific "polymath" behind Digitalis Recordings and at least one interesting thing that I see each week, his final album as the North Sea is sad in that the name is an old one. One of my first new "experimental records" was one of his early CD-R releases. As I recall, it came on a hand-decorated CD slipped between two customized boards in a large ziploc bag. I knew something great was happening and though Grandeur & Weakness, Brad's final LP under the name, will end its participation in that culture, the influence of the name remains. Like Jeremy Bible's blistering visualization of "Vagrant", track four on the eight song album, Brad's presence is often indistinct, but it remains all the more captivating because of it. 
"From synthesizer soundscapes that seek to reconcile the limits of timbre to concrete sampling and collage, Grandeur & Weakness plays a crash course in sonic evocation. Clearly in control of The North Sea sound, Rose notes that he has 'never spent more time on any solo project than on this record,' and this is apparent throughout . . .  There's a sense of the uncanny, a mysterious unsettling, throughout the album and this is directly attributable to [the album's] aesthetic basis in Franz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, African percussion, and progressive drone. The "psychology of colonization . . . and all the awfulness that entails" is viewed both literally and figuratively through an aura of uncanny unease, and this aura becomes a metaphor for both internal psychological states as well as external manifestations of oppression, despair, and release. " 
Like Franz Fanon, Rose explores his theme through a variety of lenses and if Grandeur & Weakness is less a blueprint for revolution than Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, its extensive sonic vocabulary for manifesting those themes is a document of Rose's own genius and monumental contribution to the international experimental community. Though this is the North Sea's final album, for me it will remain his most dramatic and the truest measure of his art as each song slowly expands the album, from a personal opus to a very real tracing of how Fanon imagined change, complete with Brad's meticulous aural renderings of the political masterpiece. The clamoring of "Peasants", the shifting of a hollow mechanism in "Empty, Fragile Shell", and the slow grind of "Violence is a Cleansing Force" with its noisey warble seeming to sound the collapse of bourgeois edifices until "Colonization" more or less delicately shifts into gear as if to describe Fanon's liberated Algeria.

Order Grandeur & Weakness from Rubber City Noise or you can skip that step and go straight to Experimedia.

December 20, 2012

Obsession

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For well over a year we've sang the praises of Portland R&B duo Magic Fades and their minimalist, robotic way of approaching the genre. Today the duo have finally announced an album, Obsession, to come this January 8 via the fine folks at Мишка. FACT Magazine got the premiere of the Obsession's title track, which samples some bluntly familiar notes from Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine". The most fantastic thing about these two is that they clearly don't take themselves too seriously, forgoing all notion of reinventing something old, having been quoted as saying "We read a lot of interviews with people talking about ‘re-contextualizing beats/samples/lyrics/vibes’, we are not thinking about it in that way. We just get together and make what we like." It's a great stance to have in order to make sure we're all just here to have fun. The airy nature and digital vibes of autotuned vocals give the song the sound of a CG fantasy world, an imagery that is enhanced by the album art and Magic Fades' general aesthetic. With all of this is in mind it become clear that Magic Fades just gets off on reminiscing about the "good ol' days."

Stream: Magic Fades - Obsession

Edena

The last we heard from Piotr Kurek, he had released his first Suaves Figures collaboration with Sylvia Monnier on Sangoplasmo Records, so apparently even the label wasn't expecting more from him this year...

"Edena is the new, unexpected album of Piotr Kurek, well-known as Piętnastka (which is available again) and as a part of Suaves Figures duo (still available). This album consists of fantastic and mysterious songs filled with beautiful, fairy melodies and bizarre vocals."
However more or less unplanned, his new cassette Edena is an excellent return to form that seems particularly significant for having followed his more reserved, drone collaboration with Monnier. To some extent, the eponymous single "Edena" gestures in its direction structurally, though the tempo in Kurek's solo work is typically significantly quicker. If anything, "Edena" sounds like a lost score by both Swedish composer Bo Hannson and French Jazz pianist Alain Goraguer. Both credited with a partial re-invigoration of orchestral music, the former was primarily known for his instrumental renderings of novels like Watership Down and The Lord of the Rings, whereas Goraguer arranged and composed for Serge Gainsbourg before making his beloved soundtrack for sci-fi classic La Planete Sauvage. Of course those are very large things for a less than five minute track to invoke, so I'll reserve final judgment, but like both men, Kurek is rendering something truly fantastical with his creations.

Long live the Sangoplasmo, irregardless. 

Stream: Piotr Kurek - Edena

Order Edena from Sangoplasmo Records.

December 19, 2012

Video: Zachg - I'm an Animal

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Zachg has had a busy year, finishing out 2012 with twenty releases layered with dozens of fantastic tracks, most of which he also produced himself. Today he officially dropped his French Films-directed video for "Animal", which comes from his Raindancin' (in the *uss*) mixtape from a couple of months back via his own Rad Reef label. The clip follows Zachg as he gets into some shenanigans around town, and also manages to pull off that long Jew-hair even better than Blake Anderson. Stream and download Raindancin' (in the *uss*) below.

Stream: Zachg - Raindancin' (in the *uss*)

Children Of A Lesser God

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The folks at Dream have just announced a cassette reissue of Tropic Of Cancer's gorgeous 12", I Feel Nothing, originally released on Sleeperhold Publications. Having just released in October, the 12" sold out pretty quickly, so it's exciting to see a cassette version come out for those who were behind, or possibly even just now falling in love with the dreary textural shoegaze of Tropic Of Cancer. The cassette is available to pre-order now, but the catch is it's only available to those subscribed to Dream's mailing list, so just pop over to their website and sign up in the top right corner to claim the cassette edition of I Feel Nothing before it too disappears. If you're on the fence then give a listen to closing track "Children Of A Lesser God" below and surely you'll be swayed.

Stream: Tropic Of Cancer - Children Of A Lesser God

Video: Hundred Waters - Caverns (Stadium Red Session)

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Last Spring Hundred Waters hit Stadium Red Studios in Harlem for a one day recording session, and fortunately Yours Truly was there to document it. Above is Hundred Water's member Nicole Miglis with a stunning vocal and piano rendition of "Caverns". Today Small Plates announced that they have teamed up with OWSLA to release this track, along with a full band rendition of "Visitors" that also features Doug Fischer, Jat Rattman, and David Goffredo on the brass and woodwinds, as a limited edition 7" single. Give a listen to "Visitor" below, where you can also read some beautiful words from Nicole on the meaning behind "Caverns".

Stream: Hundred Waters - Visitor (Stadium Red Session)Pre-order the limited Stadium Red Session 7" now via Small Plates.

Pale Flesh (Tarantula X Remix)

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Crystal Castles are keeping their series of "Pale Flesh" remixes close to home; the first remix came last week from Toronto-based duo Hugsnotdrugs, and today the second comes from another Toronto-based producer. Tarantula X gives the track a slightly dreamier vibe with bright synths that work better with Alice's vocals than I ever could have imagined. The production across the entire track is fantastic, with the percussion bubbling in and out that gives the edit some damper vibes as well, keeping the balance of light and dark.

MP3: Crystal Castles - Pale Flesh (Tarantula X Remix)
Crystal Castles (III) is available now via Casablanca Records.

Lone Ranger

I blathered about beautiful packaging in my last post, so I'll begin in like fashion with Matt Duncan's Soft Times, an album whose physical execution on vinyl rests at the confluence of some truly inspired design work. Wrapped in original artwork by Robert Beatty, the vinyl itself will be so spectacular I can only communicate a hint from Duncan's label, Soul Step Records...

"We here at Soul Step Records want to create records never seen before, records to show off to your friends, records to cherish and inspire others. If successful with our new type of vinyl - we will have raised the vinyl record game on everybody. Be on the lookout for 'Fortune Teller Vinyl'."
Take it from me, that's no idle boasting with regard to "Fortune Teller Vinyl". It will be magnificent.

Duncan introduced himself in 2010 with his Beacon EP, laying low for nearly three years and giving us only one single in 2011 to make the time pass more quickly toward the release of Soft Times, officially landing January 15, 2013. The album expands well on the body of free-wheeling soul-pop that Beacon established, this time buttressed by what sounds to have been a more extensive studio environment and better production options. With few songs dropping the slack on Soft Times, its first single "Lone Ranger" could have been anything and done the album justice. Funky guitars and manage to elevate the song as a concrete introduction, though its mellowness belies the surprising emotional range that the new album achieves compared to Beacon. Too bad it's not out before Christmas!

MP3: Matt Duncan - Lone Ranger
Check out Soul Step Records for more information on the album.

December 18, 2012

1 Train

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With the release of Long.Live.A$AP looming just around the proverbial corner, we've gotten two singles from A$AP Rocky's debut studio-record so far in "Goldie" and "Fuckin' Problems". Today a third track from the album has leaked, which I first found via 2DopeBoyz. "1 Train" is a massive posse cut with no chorus that features Rocky along with Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T. going in hard over an explosive Hit-Boy beat. It's a pretty tremendous list of young stars making their mark on rap at the moment, and all seven artists sound fantastic on the track. The song also has a very late '90s vibe that rubs me in just the right way.

Stream: A$AP Rocky - 1 Train ft. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, & Big K.R.I.T. Long.Live.A$AP drops January 15 via RCA, with a pre-order available now via Insound.

Hieronimus

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Most of my favorite French duos make dance music, but such is not the case with Saåad. Toulouse-based artists Romain Barbot and Greg Buffier are inclined more toward the dark and brooding, with winding ambient drones that evoke a sense of malaise from the listener. On January 29 Saåad will be releasing a new cassette via Hands In The Dark titled Orbs & Channels, a title that draws on some pretty lovely imagery to accompany already visual songs. Today they've given us tape's first track, "Hieronimus". It's a twisting slow burner ripe with atmosphere that eventually opens up into bright and almost hopeful chords before cutting off, leaving us eager for the rest of Orbs & Channels' story.

Stream: Saåad - Hieronimus Orbs & Channels is set for release on January 29, with pre-orders available now via Hands In The Dark.

Mix: New Orleans Christmas BOUNCE!

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"I saw Mommy twerkin' for Santa under the mistletoe," is possibly the most eye-catching headline I've ever read. I'm not sure what that says of me, but if you came to judge I'll let you deliberate on that for a bit. The merry little elves at Мишка have been hard at work this holiday season, and they just turned us on to this bumping New Orleans Christmas BOUNCE! mix from NOLA Bounce. Featuring greats from BlaqNmilD & Sess 4-5, Kris Baptiste ft. Kourtney Heart, Block Burnaz ft. Mr. Meana, Big Freedia, R. Kelly and Dani' Wright, this one will have you jumping from the get-go. It's just under twenty-minutes of packed red-and-green energy; so bust out those candy canes, drop it to the floor, and bounce.

Stream/Download: The Bouncespot presents New Orleans Christmas BOUNCE!

Video: I.R.O.K. - Earthy Girls (Secteofsound Remix)

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Sex and violence sell. I think we all learned that when we were like seven-years old, effectively explaining what is wrong with this world today and all other questions of life. I.R.O.K. and Kap Bambino member Secteofsound have taken that concept and used two infomercials to piece together this wonderful visual for Secteofsound's remix to I.R.O.K.'s "Earthy Girls". The song's own eclectically bright energy and hard hitting synths sync perfectly with ads for exercise routines from leotard-clad models and knives that are small, yet able to cut through virtually anything. If the imagery becomes too much we suggest standing up and moving your body about in a rhythmic motion until all discontent is removed.

Celestial Shore & Shopping Spree

Not to be trite, but great packaging is great, right? Haven't gotten to see this incredible, Shel Silverstein-esque j-card in person yet, but I think we can all agree that it's incredible. It was given its impressive complexion by Juliet Phillips, so congratulations to Juliet and Prison Art Records for the fab packaging. Moving on, that packaging graces Prison Art's recent split cassette with Celestial Shore and Shopping Spree, a potent pairing that juxtaposes the two Brooklyn bands' complimentary take on contemporary pop; the former band with its polished pastoralism, pop that echoes with baroque charm, while Shopping Spree plums a more unhinged vein that builds effectively on"post"-Elephant Six psych-pop, as opposed to the more visible and more controlled angle of Animal Collective influenced projects. The transition from a to b-side almost unites the two approaches in the comfortable turn that you hear listening to the album digitally, when Celestial Shores' "Don't Fall" turns into "Pool Sneaks" on the Shopping Spree side, bringing Frank Zappa and the Ladybug Transistors closer together than reality ever managed.

MP3s:
Celestial Shore - Growing Old
Shopping Spree - Warm Fuzzy Sweater
Buy the split from Prison Art.

December 17, 2012

Opal Tapes: Cold Holiday

UK label Opal Tapes is (personally) one of the great discoveries of 2012. As electronic dance music's trajectory continues to meet new intersection points (as it always has), its convergence with contemporary noise is on many's radar.  Few are doing it better than Opal, with artists like Kansas City's Huerco S., the ungoogleable 1991, and Wanda Group (first introduced to us as Dem Hunger by LA's great Leaving Records). They just dropped a name-your-price compilation which will serve as a good starting point for the uninitiated. I just read a review of earlyish Jim Henson film The Great Santa Claus Switch and the author acknowledges the "thriving subgenre of prisoner-Claus tales...the idea of Santa being captured or replaced, such that Christmas might not happen" and it's fun to imagine the kind of film that might have the abstract techno experiments of Cold Holiday as its score.


Download the compilation here.

BMW

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SpaceGhostPurrp has seen a crazy 2012, with the release of his Mysterious Phonk LP on 4AD, working with Juicy J on the Blue Dream & Lean mixtape, hopping on tracks with Freddie Gibbs, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson, and a 2+ hours Raider Klan compilation. The rapper/producer shows no signs of slowing down, either. On Friday he announced BMW: Black Man's Wealth, a new mixtape that he originally said would be out sometime in 2013. Assumedly he became antsy to share it with everyone over the weekend, because late last night Purrp uploaded the "EP" to DatPiff. It's thirteen tracks and fifty-minutes of music, so the term EP may not be actually appropriate at all, but it's great to get an album's worth of new material from SGP, whom at one point this year scared us with a claim to be retiring. BMW also features appearances from fellow Raiders Dough Dough, Nell, Yung Simmie, Chris Travis, and Ethelwulf.

Stream/Download: SpaceGhostPurrp - BMW

Video: Kydd x Worldwide - Too Thoed

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At the end of this past July Austin's own Kydd dropped The Righteous LP, his second of two fantastic albums released this year. Shortly after Kydd made the move to NY, recently hung out with Public Enemy's Chuck D for a mentoring session, and has announced his next LP, GR33D, with the upcoming lead single to feature MF Doom. Kydd and San Antonio emcee Worldwide recently teamed up with Grind Life Films to make this video for "Too Thoed"; the latest single from The Righteous, as well as Worldwide's Ga$ Money mixtape. It's a pretty simple narrative that is well cut, showing the duo working on writing and recording the track while also getting elevated via blunts and liquor throughout the session. You can check out more from both The Righteous LP and Ga$ Money below.

Kydd - The Righteous LP Worldwide - Ga$ Money

Good Luck It's Christmas

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Last year Tellison penned "Good Luck It's Christmas" for CALM; or the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a British charity dedicated to providing anti-suicide options for troubled young men. A year later and the track is experiencing an obvious resurgence of relevance, including this gorgeous new remix from London-based producer Grigori. A soft crackle slowly develops into a gentle beat that will get your feet moving and warm your heart all at once.

MP3:
Tellison - Good Luck It's Christmas (Grigori Rework)
Tellison - Good Luck It's Christmas

Premiere: Libraries - Trap In A Winter Wonderland

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A few days ago my pals in Libraries hit me up with this Christmas infected banger. Sampling Mannheim Steamroller and DMX for one track is no small feat, especially if you can properly get that air-horn cranking (they do.) In the interest of full disclosure, they also asked me to put together the absurd art above. It's a track that will put you in the spirit, and even if you aren't celebrating Christmas (I'm not), it's a fun track the goes hard. Press play and build up those snowy spirit towers.

Stream/Download: Libraries - Trap In A Winter Wonderland

December 15, 2012

Video: Repeat Pattern - Remember Me

Our friends wear so many hats that the variety of their projects is rarely surprising to me anymore, but a few incidental social phenomena sometimes introduce novelty beyond the projects themselves. Michael Falsetto-Mapp for example I know through Jon Bernson, one of our esteemed columnists and Michael's partner in "future-pop" duo Exray's; he is discrete, active, and well endowed with good friends to recommend him. Such is how we know him and it's thanks largely to Jon's tips that I'm able to expand my mental portrait of the dude. The latest from their quarter is a video for Japanese beatmaker Repeat Pattern, visualizing one of his contributions to a 2010 tandem mix for Parisian label Cascade Records, which also featured stellar work from Ackryte and Broke. Like the mix, Mike's video is pure elegance; juxtaposing clips of poised persons and products with the good-natured sprawl of Repeat Pattern's classy samples and loops. So, put that in the Bay Area bachelor's hat (couldn't tell you his relationship status or whether he wears one) and leave it alone so that it can get its bearings.

Download the aforementioned "tandem mix", Love Exposure, from the Cascade Records bandcamp.

December 14, 2012

Truant b/w Rough Sleeper

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This morning Burial's new single, "Truant" b/w "Rough Sleeper", became available to download as .mp3 or .wav files through Hyperdub. Thanks to a couple of Soundclouders we can also listen to the tracks now. I've admittedly been on a Burial kick this past week, so I'm pretty excited to have new material from the brooding mysterious producer. Both tracks are wonderfully disjointed dreamscapes that slowly burn into almost tribal dance steps subdued beneath contorted vocal samples that darken the atmosphere even more. It's a pretty magnificent release that is much more low key than the Kindred EP, which dropped at the start of the year, also via Hyperdub. The focus lies mostly on the vocal cuts and seemingly an experimentation on how to make them emote via tone and pitch, and not with any actual lyricism.

Burial - Truant Burial - Rough Sleeper Grab "Truant" b/w "Rough Sleeper" in .mp3 or .wav format now via Hyperdub.You can also still pick up the 12" via Boomkat.

December 12, 2012

Pale Flesh (hugsnotdrugs remix)

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This morning Crystal Castles unveiled the first official remix from (III). Toronto-based duo Hugsnotdrugs reimagines "Pale Flesh" as a trapped out cloud-hop track with a slightly jittery edge thanks to Alice Glass' vocals. It's a great rework of an already stellar track that manages to put across the songs more visceral nature before winding off into a foot working banger. Also worth checking out are Hugsnotdrugs' grimier bass mix to "Courtship Dating", from CC's debut LP, as well as his house edit to (II)'s "Baptism" and spacier jungle edit of Story Of Isaac (CRIM3S)' remix to "Empathy". The duo is clearly as into Crystal Castles and dancing as much I am.

MP3:
Crystal Castles - Pale Flesh (hugsnotdrugs remix)
Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating (hugsnotdrugs ghetto bass mix)
Crystal Castles - Empathy (hugsnotdrugs housin' remix)
Crystal Castles - Baptism (hugsnotdrugs vs Story Of Isaac rmx)
Crystal Castles (III) is available now via Casablanca Records.

Video: LA Vampires x Maria Minerva - End Of The World

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I'm a fan of both LA Vampires and Maria Minerva, so I've been grooving a great deal to their latest collaboration record, The Integration LP; available now via Not Not Fun. A couple of days ago they released this video for the track "End Of The World". The video is a pretty simple performance theme with color variations reminiscent of Andy Warhol's artwork, lending a bit to the psychedelic party vibe lent by the song's title, which is also chanted during the song. It's the end of the world, so let's have some fun.

December 11, 2012

Video: Alexander Spit - A Breathtaking Trip

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Alexander Spit recently teamed up with director Jason Goldwatch for this killer video for "A Breathtaking Trip". The track features lovely vocals from Bago and appears on both A Breathtaking Trip EP and Spit's upcoming full-length A Breathtaking Trip To That Other Side, which comes out January 29 via Decon Records. While Goldwatch is a co-founder of Decon, that certainly does not underscore his directing ability. The video has a slight Fear and Loathing vibe, but fortunately the similarities stop at a car ride with drugs in the desert. Things start to become noticeably darker as we see Death take the wheel while Spit becomes more delirious. I'll not ruin the rest of the video, but be weary that if you work for a square you should probably wait until you're home to check this one out.

Video: Chet Faker - Archangel (Live Burial Cover)

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Australian singer-songwriter Chet Faker recently set up in a former butter factory with a full band in a former butter factory to record a few tracks live. While their the group laid down their own version Burial's "Archangel" that is every bit as smooth as the factory's remnants. All dance elements are removed, replaced instead by a sparse piano with the occasional chord scratch for ambiance. Faker sings the lyrics (originally sampled from Ray J's "One Wish") with heavy-hearted passion, almost as if he'd written the lyrics himself for a past lover. Just before the three-minute mark the drums come in with a beat begging our feet to work while guitar chords softly wind in beneath the drum's intoxicating rhythm. It's a wonderfully executed cover of the track that manages to change the sound without changing the vibe, an impressive feat that is seldom achieved so well.

December 10, 2012

Video: How To Dress Well - & It Was U

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Urban Outfitters recently produced a killer video for How To Dress Well's "& It Was U". They interviewed HTDW's Tom Krell afterward to discuss the video, and I really got the feeling that the interviewer's linear thought process was, "We sell clothing, and his name references how to wear clothing properly. That's neat." Still, the final vision of Krell and director Luke Gilford rings louder than a more narrow concept possibly could. The spiritual elements of worship and the video's gold theme along with the song's gospel vibe lend to a sense of cleansing and healing, a quality that holds up in most of How To Dress Well's music, with a constant quest to better recover from struggle and pain through wholly understanding the nature of that struggle's effect on oneself. "& It Was U" comes from How To Dress Well's sophomore record, Total Loss, which is still available via Acéphale (North America) and Weird World (Worldwide).

Send The Pain On

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From the first moments of Chrome Sparks' newest single, "Send The Pain On", I see neon butterflies gently circling one another amid a stark, black background. Pitchfork just premiered the track today, noting that it's from a forthcoming EP due out this Winter, and already a whir of visuals and emotion have washed over me with repeated listens. Like a flower beginning to bloom, the song start out with a subtle, bubbly synth that wades in the background for the entire track. Airy percussion floats in the middle-ground as higher synths and pained vocal samples burst from the stem to expose colorful petals of exuberance. The entire emotional tone of the track is just marvelous and inspiring.

Stream: Chrome Sparks - Send The Pain On

December 7, 2012

Gibberish Rap

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In the past six months or so Hannibal Buress has quickly become my current favorite comedian. I love his matter of fact, well-mannered way of delivering jokes; while still having a slightly annoyed slacker demeanor that I appreciate in comedy. Buress was recently hanging out with Chicago-based producer Tony Trimm, who recorded Buress doing a quick bar of "gibberish rap" over a phased Clams Casino beat. It's a pretty amusing poke at some often used ad-lib styles in rap, with an obvious point being that an amazing beat can carry a ridiculous song (and maybe that's ok.) If you're also feeling Tony Trimm's production, make sure to also check out this killer Doseone remix he dropped this afternoon.

Edit: Hannibal pointed out to us that the beat he raps over is actually a Clams Casino track; a phased out version of "Real Shit From A Real Nigga". The title of the beat of course only makes the final product that much more amusing. 

Update: Not long after the track was online someone decided to post the song's "lyrics" to Rap Genius. If you're unfamiliar with the site, it has a line-by-line breakdown of a song's lyrics with a typically community guide explanation of what the lyrics mean. Hannibal Buress has now gone to the site, verified himself as the song's creator, and given his own breakdown explaining the lyrics. It's pretty humorous seeing the real explanations compared to some of the more contrived efforts at explaining metaphors that don't actually exist. It's nice to know there are still words you can just take at face value these days. Check out the lyric page here.

Stream: Hannibal Buress - Gibberish Rap (prod. Tony Trimm)

MP3: Doseone - Last Life (Tony Trimm Remix)