Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Oh Baby / My Acoustica” split
(Weird Ear Records)

I’ve always had a weird relationship with splits. On one hand, you’ve got your great splits – banana comes to mind, and also that half-chocolate half-vanilla soft-serve you used to get everywhere. On the other hand, you’ve got your gymnastic splits, inseam-splits, favorite-band-calls-it-quits-and-splits, and the like. I guess what I’m saying is, the appeal of a split comes down to what it’s splitting, and whether whatever’s being split might have been better off left alone.

Enter Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer and Horaflora’s “Oh Baby/My Acoustica.”

The A-side of the cassette features the 16-and-a-half minute “Oh Baby” by Brooklyn-based duo Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer, featuring a genuinely strange and unequivocally functional combination of the eponymous amplified trumpets and synthesizers, joined intermittently by haunting vocals. Opening with warm, treated horns over a bed of lush synthesizer, the track gradually sheds its harmony as it progresses first into ambiences and later into a hissing, feedback-heavy flurry of intermittent noise.

Viewed holistically, “Oh Baby” might serve as a microcosm of the electronic music listener’s journey into the genre: Beginning in the recognizable realm of discernible harmonic instrumentality, it drifts gradually – even coherently - into a world of jarring noise and floating scraps of melody echoing into dissolution, embodied perfectly by Erica Eso’s halting vocals toward the end of the piece.

Horaflora’s “My Acoustica” B-side begins exactly where “Oh Baby” left off, in the midst of creaking, sampled laughter, and prolonged, jarring notes. In contrast to the Brad Henkle and Erica Eso’s measured instrumentalism, Horaflora’s Raub Roy employs a sound-collage style, melding what the artist terms “sounds, noises, tones, audibilities, vibrations, waves, and recordings,” and remains in one spot for its entirety – and rightfully so. Discernible within the thick layers of the beautifully consistent track are the sounds of cassette and record players starting up and functioning; the weary hiss of dated technology over ambient drones and wails evoking the image of some giant creature in the darkness, radiating feedback and trailing magnetic tape as it lurches slowly from one hidden place to the next. Central to “My Acoustica” is a warm ominousness, one that perhaps consciously identifies the esoteric appeal of so-called retroformat, the familiarity of its frequent dysfunctionality and characteristic sounds of its tangible decay. At the end of just under 18 minutes, “My Acoustica” clicks and chirps into nonexistence, begging to be rewound.

This review will never truly resolve the great debate of the split, and I can’t purport to be able to offer you any advice besides the following: electronic, ambient, and noise fans, when you’re sorting your splits, save room beside the ice-cream products for this tape. Like the vanilla and chocolate soft-serve of yore, these two artists were meant to be enjoyed together.

Find it here:

Weird Ear Records:

- - Neeraj Kumar

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RADIO SHOCK "Adapter" C60

This cassette is raw, DIY electronica that is post-nihilism noise freakout mixed with a nightclub DJ's desire to make you go crazy-go-nuts. It sounds recorded live in the studio, a technically speaking lo-fi technique used by heavy hitters like Big Black and Nirvana to exaggerate their punishing sound. I say that because there's a nice crusty edge to the recording. But in contrast to bands like Big Black or Nirvana, Radio Shock's melodies are made by rhythmically oscillating tone-ascensions. They are usually very minimal, repetitive and almost hypnotic melodies (I guess Big Black is pretty hypnotic and repetitive). The closest comparison I can make is to Veronica Vasicka's record label of 70ties and 80ties electronica, "Minimal Waves Tapes" (particularly vol. 1) but more noisy and aggressive. 3 parts disco, 1 part Hair Police if you comprehend my French. 
The recording sounds slightly reverberated, suggesting a room echo. Usually this is a sign of low production value; it could have very possibly been recorded with the voice memo app on an iphone 3. I know this "laissez-faire" attitude towards sharing music is somewhat out of vogue these days. But Radio Shock's Adapter has a punk attitude that a suit could never ever provide. The album's low-fi DIY recording, use of what sounds like garage sale casio keyboard beats (love the Marimba and cowbell repeats on this!) and cassette format give it an energy absent from over-produced studio albums. I'd actually rather listen to this than say a Mouse on Mars album that sounds a bit too slick and clean. Well, I wouldn't go that far. Mouse on Mars is awesome. I guess I just have a soft spot for recognizable toy keyboard beats that are being used to obliterate dance halls!

"Light Cones" is a highlight that falls close to later career Melt-Banana territory in terms of tempo and general vibe. But honestly, each song has its own particular feel so it is hard to have a favorite. From voiceover speech about thinking about the human brain as a technology to even subtle nods to Quintron-esque "Drum Buddy" sounds like on the song "Cuckoo Club", the genre of dance beat is the only constant. Things get experimental like on the song "Nitecapp". It has an electric guitar hook that is a dissonant chord repeated. It almost feels like I'm listening to grunge but it remains true to its dance noise genre by accompanying the guitar with simple drum machine beat.

The song "Apokalypticize" clocks in at 6:18 and is just tape mutilation with a looped sequence drum beat behind it that subtly changes in frequency. At times it sounds like Kraftwerk, other times like Aaron Dilloway. It's pretty wonderful party song that'll definitely make the kids dance like Charlie Brown Christmas.

I loved this cassette. I think you will too.
Throw the guy a bone! I think he lives in NYC so check it out all you lower east side steamsk8r gym rats! Raise a slice of pizza for your brother here back in Boston. This is Turnbull, over and out.

Also, here he is performing at the International Noise Conference, 2013, in Miami.

-- Jack Turnbull

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Smack The Brick" C18 (NNA Tapes)

Historically speaking, it is undeniable it is a thrilling time (I don't believe time exists either) to be co-residing on this particular lost planet. In the smoky recesses of our jam-crammed storage unit of a world psyche, a head heavy brew of impending doom is being percolated with the savory notion that unlimited freedom and one world joyous rapture may be tapping on our borrowed doors. Like, very, very soon. Planted in this tilled soil, the delicate saplings of a deeply rooted musical creation has sprung forth. It is vegetative nectar that cannot help but weed out and breed love and satiated nourishment. This root manifests under the expression Guerilla Toss. And they only breed wild fried eyed soul funk.

Don't get it confused, the band has plastered up some reverent contagious cut-up disco trance. Shining in the live spectacle, all self-assured nobles can not help but shake. But, please people, and I am asking nicely, attempt a new shimmy besides bumping into each other. I got dragged to hardcore shows in 86 and that stuff wasn't even fun then. 

For the uninitiated,and I doubt they exist outside of the mass pike, GToss is a deliciously delirious and enigmatic live spectacle. I've always liked the records, but it is my personal conviction that this is the first studio foray that properly documents their splendor adequately. Four songs for lovers, and journeywomen and dogs, into furious funk, slip and slide stop at the green light noise breaks, terse trance, and go see the guy with the green hat for the pure shit jam music. All delivered with a true punk incendiary flare. 

Peter with the sticks, pops like a player who was birthed in 1924 and has played three sets a night since he was nine. And never vacationed. Hell, let's be honest this job is the name of that Aerosmith record from the nineties with all the ballads you pretend to dislike. Permanently. Pete is an old soul- you can see it in all three eyes. Don't bother watching his hands.

The bass booms and loosens your hip joints. Kinda like a union foreman who is happy to be making 150 an hour on the night ship. The gitar knows exactly, yea exactly, when to pluck, doing so with the assurance of that crazy kid at recess who did magic tricks with rubber bands. The keyboard is glamour, shine, and shows the wisdom earned with good easy plain living.

The tape moves them in a pop direction and I couldn't be happier. Kassie, the Kantruce, has nearly perfected her newly pasteurized (pasture sized) squeelish, girlish hiss and found a way to hook up the lines to the big one. In your craw. I crEyEd.

By the time you finish you are scraping your knees on the carpet from the 80s, thrashing stupid around your cramped studio,or are convinced if you knew 20 other bands with this trick bag you would never again lust after artificial stimuli.

I have not played out a tape this bad since Highway to Hell and I can't stop. I'm calling my priest.

I don't know what more to say except GToss could be the first crispy band to escape from the underground this century. I am delusional, biased, and optimistic but if a pimp Rasta mob boss into Allah rapped two verses over this I could find my keys to the lockbox and have GToss cash the 3009 year old treasury note decaying there. I would, but I can't find a proper abacus at a trustworthy auction. With the money, they could monopolize Jamaica Brain and raise ayahuskaDu to alleviate the sickness. It's all good Mayor Walsh helped write this review. He salutes you.

-- Michael Montagano

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Summer Games/Studio 69" cassingle
(self released)

I can't believe it's 2014 and someone is actually playing goddamn righteous piano licks.  Case in point:

The other side was very chill as well:

Saw this duo a few months back and they were deep space grooving like late 90s Phish.  Which is a good thing in my book and I don't care who knows it.

The band put out this fine looking cassingle themselves earlier this year (sorry we're just getting to it now). You can see if they have anymore via 

-- Nick Williams

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Like Lamps On By Day"
(Old Bicycle Records)

The work of a singular intelligence. The artist is conductor and engineer of his own bedroom symphony. He is patiently jamming away in his private, mystical world and presenting the fruits to the listener with classical forthrightness. It is a precious album, beautifully formatted for the cassette. The artist is dreaming honest. A private phantasmagoria for the attentive initiate. It is symphonic, but with great electronic sounds, including analog crack crack. Tasteful, careful variety. No voice to put a face to, but the psychedelic noir cover art can suffice for the heaven-bound earth-child element, along with the breathy flute that ends side B. The music is true and kind of sad. “Like Lamps on by Day” turns out to be a good title. The artist’s website says he is creating primarily in a theatrical/sound installation context. Italian theater. That sounds good and right to me. Recommended.

-- Kevin Oliver

Thursday, December 11, 2014

HUN BED "s/t"
(Uuhngreh Schpuggenuh)

From the deep forests of the Netherlands comes Hun Bed. Not sure if it from the woods but it gives me that evil keebler dwarf joy. I like the name because the Bed is what we call my town and Hun is what I call my gal. Who knows, maybe it is a reference to the jolly Atilla the Hun, but I don't know cuz I don't read much and we never got to WWII in school, nevermind goddamned Atilla the Hun.

Anyway, the first thing I hear when the magnets react on my desktop Japanese relic is the low rumble of wartorn Birthday Party when they landed in London. Bleak and I approve. Lyrics are in Dutch, another anti-demerit because I never understood bands who do not sing in their native tongue. This is the Hun Bed debut cassette and they only made 25- and it's still available from Chuck, even though it's been out for months. Criminal. If it was on vinyl it would of sold out by now because alot of collectors don't even enjoy music. If you buy a buy a coffee from 7-11 today instead of the boutique you can afford one. But I know, homeless people congregate around convenience stores and they are quite bothersome and small cassette labels and musicians are normally well off, so it is forgivable. Note to self-be kind.

Dark tones pervade this music and it comes across as civilized and accomplished. The guitars are that perfect post-1981 European pitch and when you descend into the swirl they cut out and get all jumbled,confused and worried. It picks up into a wave again and washes over you in dissonance and resolution. They sound thirsty. I have visions of a loft in middle YrHope where I am trained in esoteric middle ages violin music. Its weird, by midtape you recognize friendly chords that would fit nicely into college radio, if it still existed, before the sound dissipates into art music for drizzly daze. To use a bad catch-all, dare I say..epic.. Or at the minimum Epoch-this Hun Bed is glorious 21st CenTury darkness -as the absence of light. JUst as we like, as we inch towards fluorescence like lost Moths. The singing sounds lifted from a lost operatic stanza from pre-audiotronix. Makes me long for the day of post-passport Kastle living. This tape would sound perfect in a rickety vessel 1000 east of my pier. Reverse Pilgrimage. One can only hope they tour.

Buy this Tape- if it is available still in a month I am morphing into hoarder mode.

-- Michael Montagano

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Total ConeTrol Demo"

I am convinced that I am getting younger and this cassette happily confirms my suspicious condition. These boys reside somewhere in the Midwest I believe, but I am unsure because no one seems to know-even though I've poked around extensively.

In these frustrating days of media saturation, the approach of these lads is anonymity and self-imposed seclusion. This fits perfectly into my aesthetic of deliberate mystification, or maybe they cannot find their way out of the basement because they are sending radio waves to ancient galaxies through a ham radio they rigged from a broken microwave oven they found in a creek. Either way,I am ravenous to infiltrate the Kabal. The tape blisters through at 8 minutes with six songs and not a sub-second is wasted. The only reference point I can conjure is the Urinals, as if that whim is somehow relevant. Inverse of the shrouding of identity, the music is exactly the opposite. They make a land grab and are settling in for a bit. This would perfectly in 1982 but I doubt they were born before 92. Major points for historical awareness. The rhythm barrels along while solos are interspersed at six second intervals, desperately played like a blur between a jerry lee richard piano solo and a fevered banjo picker who lives in an Appalachian cave. Alien insectoid Vocals. A Residents and Night Fever pair of renditions square it out. Listening, I am informed my eyes are in a militant glare with a spooky goof mouthgrin. If I could find these tapes I would buy them all and give them to people who believe stoner rock is an actual thing. I just bruised my ankle doing a jig and I
can't finish my coffee, even it's my first mug. Total ContRole, it'll be.

--Michael Montagano

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MEANS WELL "Don't Dream"
(Self Aware Records)

Means Well are a three piece band from Asheville, NC signed to Self Aware Records. The city has a reputation of being a mecca of art and free will in the mountains of North Carolina and Means Well reflect it in their music. According to their Facebook, they make ‘happy indie/punk’. If “Don’t Dream” is to be considered a punk album it certainly falls on the lighter end of the spectrum; which is not necessarily a bad thing. Although a couple tracks with names like “Hey Satan” and “Dylar Junkie” are featured, the latter of which is about the devastation caused by drug abuse from someone close, the album maintains a pleasantly upbeat tone throughout.

All 8 songs feature nice dual vocals from Josh and Katrina Cook. I found that Josh’s voice took a little more warming up than Katrina’s. But they both complement each other very well. The trio sounds perfectly in-sync instrumentally. Besides the aforementioned distinct taste of Asheville in their music, the other major takeaway I had from listening to “Don’t Dream” is that Means Well is a big fan of 90s indie music. Track #3, titled “Honestly”, would not be out of place on any mixtape of that era. While they may not be reinventing the wheel, Means Well’s tape was a fun listen for me.
If that intrigues you then consider being one of the 100 people to get a copy. 

 -- Roy Blumenfeld

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Write For Cassette Gods

UPADTE 12/8/14: this post was a resounding success! Just look at all the new Cassette Gods added to the sidebar. I just mailed over 150 tapes to over 20 new writers.  I think we have all the contributors we need at the moment and we should be getting up to speed in the coming weeks.

Cassette God's was founded by Brian Miller (Deathbomb Arc) of Los Angeles in 2006. A few years later George William Myers (Breaking World Records, The Quarters) took the helm.   I've been keeping it alive for the last four years or so, but a variety of factors have lead me to not give this blog the attention that it deserves.  This is a real shame, because the amount of submissions have been steadily increasing in recent years, to the point where there are now way more tapes than can be adequately processed by the current writers.  
The number of artists releasing there music on cassette has grown exponentially since we first started and the blog has seen the format transition into one mostly used by Noise bands in the mid 2000s to it's current re-emergence as a medium for all genres of music. I think that shift has been noted in the general evolution of this blog over the years.  

My current goal is to get Cassette Gods to the point where we are posting one review per day. I'm looking to get a handful of new people involved so we can really do service to the amazing tapes everyone has been sending in.  There are two ways to get involved:

1. If you live in the Boston area, stop by my record store Deep Thoughts, grab some tapes from the rack (pictured above) and send me the reviews. This option is open to literally anyone who can make it to the shop.  Right now, Jack Turnbull has been the major raider of the submissions box and I can't thank him enough for his dedicated contributions over the last year.

2. Send me an email (contact info in my blogger profile) if you are interested in becoming a regular contributor. I will be mailing out care packages of tapes to the new writers. All that is required is a love of music and a commitment to send me a minimum of one review per week from the tapes you receive.  Writers are definitely encouraged to write about any additional tapes they acquire through other channels, but not at the expense of neglecting the "official submissions."  This tactic has been implemented before, but not with much success, (i.e. the reviews would dry up pretty quickly) so I'm going to be pretty strict about the weekly contribution requirement for writers who I mail tapes to.  I'll only be able to mail tapes free of charge to writers in the USA. 

To the musicians and bands that send us your music daily:
Keep your submissions for review coming. No tape gets discarded and everything will eventually fall into the hands of a writer (though that doesn't guarantee a review, hopefully you will have a much better chance in the near future).  I think Cassette Gods is one of the most populist sites of it's kind in that we will review anything if it inspires us and we're not looking to drum up readership with "big names."  I can't tell you what a joy it's been to be involved in this project.  I frequently get emails from musicians just getting started who say that positive reviews on this page have lead towards all sorts of great things.  Surprisingly the readership has steadily increased despite the infrequency of posts, so now is definitely the right time to make this blog the best it can possibly be.

With Love and Respect for the Cassette Community,


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Seeking the Millenary Kingdom"
(Solid Melts)

Ready to hear some super fun synth sax improv noise? Maybe that isn't a sax, maybe it's just feedback. It's rounded and slowly mimics something resembling a melody. No! It's a trumpet? Well, the background reverberates subtly and pulsates and harmonizes in odd ways. Not much structure, it's more ambient influenced.

Gooshy pulses and horns of some type. They're reverberated and sound like they have subtle effects placed through their amplification. They drawl out into noise while rhythmatic two chord pulses trade tone.

Amazing horn harmonies. Jeez... Wow. Powerful jazz noise fusion.

Harmonies are used effectively between looping keyboard chord progressions and horn improvisation. There is a nice mixing in of industrial video game negativity that is strategically placed.

Guys, this release is a real winner if you just remain patient with it. That'll be easier for you noise boys and perhaps harder for those who enjoy frantic time signature changes. It's a real gem of ambient sincerity; beautiful old world tone creating techniques integrating with underplaying elements of digital electronics.

Sample here:

--Jack Turnbull

Sunday, November 30, 2014

CrO2 "Epifanies Ultralocales"

After a recent Barcelona trip I was introduced to Ultra-Local records, a small shop selling mostly local records and tapes and throwing events in the Pobleneau. We went in and every person in the record store introduced themselves and shook our hands! Barcelona has the best scene!

This tape by (ultra) local artist CrO2 is some solo noiseiscian tabletop fare released on the store's in-house imprint. XIII live recordings from Christmastime of 2013 (in Catalonia there is no Santa but 3 magic kings) meander through spacious decaying orchestral loops/analog sound source to basic drum machine and robotic PSAs, filtered through FX into the store's PA. The background ambience adds another dimension. Some moments sound like contact mic on wood or a keyboard with all of its keys being played at the same time. It is impossible to tell but certainly worth a listen.

Available here as a pay what you want download:

Check out Ultra-Local here! -Matt Robidoux

Friday, November 7, 2014

MATH "Sponge" (Juniper Tree Songs)

A phenomenal indie rock lo-fi effort from the band MATH. Some great design aesthetic in the liner notes as well; I appreciate the bootlegged Dungeons & Dragons rip off typography in the record label logo.

Heavily reverberated and recorded with a clear understanding of how to overdub, the release feels full. There are harmonized vocals, a wide instrument range and moments of rocking out, but Math also knows how to make a warm recording feel full when the instruments are being gentle, like with the song "Liar (feat. Velvet Penny)". The vocals sound damaged and the chord progression is standard, but the guitar melodies that are created out of a simple procedure have a complexity without sounding like an overstatement.

This definitely has a bedroom recording feeling. It's considered and poetic, but recorded on the stop which gives the release an immediate power. Like what Keroauc says "first thought best thought".

The songs gets really acoustic 3/4ths of the way through. I'd like something a bit more slightly fuzz fried and driving like the drum machine plodding opener "Pushpin". Not like a whole lot, but a rocker for song number 9 would inject a little caffeine that would be appropriate for a release that started pretty space out.

But this is nit-picky. This is a really neat cassette company and a really neat cassette. I recommend it if you like early "microphones" recordings, Elliot Smith, Ducktails, Ariel Pink, even people who dabble with Gang Wizard could appreciate this. It's kind of a mopy release, but if you like that kinda stuff you'll love this.

-- Jack Turnbull

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Tassili Plateau" (Field Hymns)
"Millerite Masai" (Yerevan Tapes)


Yo homies, so there's this GANGSTA duo in California, I think in Oakland, maybe San Bernardinizzle, that is ROCKIN THA FUCKIN SPIRITUAL SHAMAN VYBE! These bad pymps create spiritual landscapes using crazy synths, tasteful guitar riffs placed with the accuracy and sound of an esoteric 2 cm squid having an orgy in a rainforest in South America! This shit is AWESOME! The band is called GERMAN ARMY and they sent us these 2 tapes, TASSILI PLATEAU (on Field Hymns) and MILLERITE MASAI (on Yerevan Tapes)! I've been jammin these two tapes so hard it's OFF THA CHAIN! Great music for biking, driving, walking, tossin, jerkin, and whatever else activity you do when your mind could be blessed with the spiritual cultural OG vybes of GERMAN ARMY! You can stream these joints and a lot of their other stuff too online! ALSO, check out the two labels, FIELD HYMNS and YEREVAN TAPES because they put out a lotta great other stuff too!

Here's where to stream TASSILI PLATEAU -

-Frank Hurricane

Saturday, October 4, 2014

GEM JONES "Admiral Frenchkiss" (Goaty Tapes

Mix funk wah-wah guitar with bubble bobble tone synths, Animal on the drums, Some Mike Watt frantic bass lines, and make sure all the players understand how to construct advanced level r&B indie rock.

This band doesn't have a weakest link. I have few complaint about this cassette. If I'm being fascist, I'd say the lead singer is less than American Idol material with his strung out weez lyrics punctuated by backing guttural screams, but this is what keeps Gem Jones low-fi and a standout in the department of endearment. It's counterbalanced by how well constructed Gem Jones's melodies are.

There's a good range of mood on this six song release as well. Shallow Rivers takes everything down a notch, mixing analog piano with mangled octave up vocals. God in U changes up the rhythm to emphasize the upswing giving the song a reggae feel. Ectomorphic Love sounds like a Prince love ballad tripping on Molly due to its outer space keyboard explorations, and the guitars have a on the edge Pavement feel until the solo kicks in which is straight up 70ties guitar god sound. The whole vibe is similar to Ween's "Monique the Freak".

Cassette Gods gets so many electronic do-hicky music produced by robots, that or genre rock that sounds like a band doing their best impression of their music heroes, Gem Jones is a nice change of pace. High recommendations.

-- Jack Turnbull


previous love for Gem Jones:

Friday, September 26, 2014

D. Burke Mahoney - "Static Movements" cd-r (Aetheric)

  Another intense set of drone collages from this Toronto based sound designer. Static Movements lives up to its given name, and also goes much, much further. Rich washes of radio waves are piled up along side of glacial synths, giving these movements some serious depth. Mahoney's compositions are moody, well textured and precise, and you will surely hear something new pop up with each listen. 

  The third track really stuck out for me, with a sweaty, claustrophobic vibe and a possible buzz-saw supplying the low end. It's haunting melody is faint, and looms below the rumble, eventually leading up to a subtle field recording of a man singing prayer songs. This is excruciating music, the slow knife, and things go from pleasant to punishing with ease. All in all an accomplished piece of drone music, and I highly recommend this to fans of early Lustmord and Yellow Swans.

  Get one from Aetheric. Edition of 20 in cardboard sleeve with stickers and a pin.

"Dancehall Style"

No, it's not reggae as the album's cover and title may suggest; it's far more avant-garde and not constricted to genre (not to put down reggae). It is super loose, with casio twee keyboards mxied together with rhythmic staccato high volume guitar feedback that gently coincides with isolated single note chord progressions on a guitar like "Rotten Kingdom".

Sure, there are allusions to reggae on this release; there's pre-recorded rantings from men with Jamaican accents I have a hard time discerning. But at its heart this is DESTROY ALL MONSTERS level "giving negative fucks" rock'n'roll.

Some of the noise jams are more successful than others. Some songs sound like a dude just jammin' out in his bedroom, which is fine, but maybe he should just keep it to his bedroom, like on "Double Attack".

"Fugue States" starts out spare, with the distinct Midnight Mines motiff of reverberated Jamaican reggae loops but gradually it becomes psychedelic noise jam rock.

The cassette ends with "Bunker Dub" which RULES. All systems go noise jam with caveman drum beats. Straight to the point, ending with ambient spaceman chatter. All that in under 2 minutes. Damn, good things are brewing in London.

There's a lot going on on this cassette, the musicians are really pushing their boundaries of low-fi recording. The cassette gives off Black Dice vibes and some late eighties Sonic Youth amp destruction, but with DJ influence thrown in. Love this cassette, highly recommended.


--Jack Turnbull

Friday, September 12, 2014

THE SWINE LAKES "The Swine Lakes"

Labyrinthine nest of a work hatched in secrecy by Sophie and Milo.  

Sprawling, eerily beautiful, harp/guitar/voice/synth + tape fragments coalesced into faint emotional or physical place associations. 

And the room sounds!

an artifact of the new deep western mass:

- -Matt Robidoux


Sorry for the lack of reviews. Summer stayed around a little later than usual and I made a conscious effort to avoid what is known in the biz as responsibilities to catch the last few heatwave rays of sun at the skate park putting work into the verticals.

These two cassettes were my soundtrack; their titles express perfectly their sonic vibes. The first is Luxury Elite/Saint Pepsi - Late Night Delight. Luxury Elite is looping smooth jazz beats as is Saint Pepsi; the former is slightly more dance and the later slightly more for the mood of candlelight slow dance. Yet simultaneously these could work as the back beat to an MC rhythm. Think soothing saxophone solos, grand piano chords, vibrating mo-town sung love coos and funky bass lines.

The other cassette, Palm Haze's "Miami Vice" is slightly more synthetic in tone; Palm Haze can also get more abstract, hitting straight up ambient territory. In comparison to the Luxury Elite/Saint Pepsi release, they're drawing inspiration from a slightly later period in what is commonly referred to as Yacht Rock. Palm Haze is a little more accessible and common; some of these are straight up fashion runway soundtrack. But I can dig it, it's good.

Long story short, these two cassettes are minimal DJ loops that pay homage to the nostalgic memorizes of summers past. The leaves are beginning to change color kids so I hope you brought a camera to the beach to capture the moment. We're all gettin' older, our skins are getting tougher and it's harder to feel each day. Maybe these cassettes can bring a tear to your eye and remind you what happiness was/is. At the very least they'll make you move your feet.


-- Jack Turnbull

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SAMUEL BOAT "Soda Pop Rock"

Catchy pop music with solid arranging from Sam Lisabeth of the Boston band Cult and Leper. I don't think those guys are a going concern anymore, as Sam has moved to New York and their bassist now does double duty with Guerilla Toss and Ryan Power.  Soda Pop Rock should appeal to fans of Blanche Blanche Blanche, Son of Salami and Steely Dan, naturally.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Guitar centered freak folk mind expansion played with a refreshing youthful sincerity. The guitarist's chops are not of the degree of buckethead, but there is a variety of genre that is impressive. The tone of the guitar goes from reverb drenched noise echo to quick release acoustic twang. The Dick Dale speed picking gets gnarly ala MY BLOODY VALENTINE special effect sonic blast as the structure remains pop, almost to the degree of twee. Television hiss snow accompanies distortion power chords and the vocals croon like Echo & the Bunnymen, but the overall attempt is far more spare and DIY. Great vocal harmonies and lots of force in the voice. A song like Ghost Town brings it down a knock, hitting Nick Drake territory, but slightly more droned, with perhaps an over reliance on chords.

A great end of the summer release ... eclectic and bittersweet played at the tempo of jaded determination. It's an intimate release and one that can be melancholy in tone, but its overall effect is one of satisfaction.

-- Jack Turnbull

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BRAVE RADAR "Message Centre"
(Fixture Records)

Brave Radar hails from Montreal. This brief, yet full-length cassette marks their first release in five years. I was not previous familiar with their work.

The band’s sound is best described as Bedroom/Dream-Pop. However, it does not quite fit the same bill as The Antlers, or Beach House. First of all, it is safe to listen to without being mistaken for someone who moved from Greenwich, CT to Brooklyn and after two months is already claiming to be “from” New York. (very important side note: having been to Connecticut, I empathize with their embarrassment but seriously…fuck those people).

What sets Brave Radar apart is that the “Bedroom” in their sound isn’t a bedroom like, say, someone from Connecticut grew up in. It is a pile of cardigan and ironic sweaters in the corner of a basement, separated from the rest a tapestry that has been traveling via duffel bag since it’s owner dropped out of college. Best case scenario, the auxiliary (liquor-wreaking) couch in a living room with a sleeping bag shoved behind it during waking hours.

The “Dream” isn’t a dream like Kurt Vile or Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV might express through effect-laden guitar leads. It is not a continuous, lucid and romantic dream world where the one-that-got-away shows up out of the blue, you turn menial events into vaguely sexual activities, possibly kill each others parents, use the insurance money to hire Tom Verlaine to play your wedding, have an episode of Law & Order based on your story, and after waking you have to spend all day reluctantly convincing yourself (through the tears) that it didn’t actually, and never will, happen. Not that kind of dream. Sorry. These Dreams are like the ones you usually have – fragmented, disassociated, almost humdrum but through a surreal lens like in a French film.

Teasers of melodies, near-surf guitar riffs, and wholeheartedly passive vocal stylings make this tape a pop-minimalist’s delight. The vocals (from dual, male/female vocalists) are perhaps the subtlest element of all. They are perfectly audible and clearly pronounced; yet melt so well into the music that you could conceivably miss them if you’re not paying attention. This is by no means a drawback, rather it is inline with the iconic Ferris Bueller quote…I think it goes “Life moves pretty fast sometimes, but if you rig up your room like a Rube Goldberg device your principal will break into your house and assault your sister” or something like that.

The songs themselves are just as restrained as the vocals, almost like they’re running through a set at a secret practice to see if they can get away without their lead guitarist. When the tempo picks up, they get catchier and almost sound like a punk band that had to resort to practicing in the uncool parent’s basement.

There is a definite bouncy element at play her as well. Not ‘bouncy’ like a pogo stick but more like a partially deflated kickball. Not great for throwing a runner out at home but still plenty good for kicking. Fans of Blanche Blanche Blanche, Chris Weisman, and those who long for a tamer version of Deerhoof or a less ambitious version of Low, are sure to get a kick out of this cassette.

-- Travis Long