Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Night People Spring Round-Up

The uniformly beautiful releases from Night People, the label run by Wet Hair's Shawn Reed of Iowa City, are surely not strangers to the readers of these pages. While we here at Cassette Gods often toil to shed light on the darkest corners of the audiotape producing world, bringing new talent to the forefront, we oftentimes find it helpful to check in with our old pals. The newest batch of NP tapes deserves special mention as there are some really ACE releases here. Let it go without saying that you'll probably want to check out the latest missives from Robedoor and Factums; enough said there. Here are some other spools that you'll surely want to unwind:


Goldendust "Digital Skies" c16
A really great short tape from this Midwest duo (LP forthcoming). Written songs with organ and minimal beats. Some new age-y lyrics as can be expected with this kind of stuff, but the production makes it entirely worthwhile. Crazy panning effects in the first song reveal the weirdness early on. Then some subtle guitar underneath. Crazy alien Vocoder singing leading to a darker B-Side. You can tell these folks are going for something more than creating a haze. Good time paranoid sci-fi vibes.


Cellophane Spill "S/T" c26
No hypnagogabop here my friends. This is some very cleanly recorded weirdo electronic music with fractured rhythms and a varied sonic pallet. It's similar to some of the best 1980s European stuff in this vein like Club Moral (but less harsh) or BeNe GeSSeRiT (but less weird). Most of the vocals are heavily processed and evil but when the first clear song comes in it sounds like they are actually singing in German? Some research seems to suggest these folks are from Texas, but it sure doesn't sound like it. Great stuff and the most unusual thing in the whole batch.


Blanche Blanche Blanche "The Songs of Blanche Blanche Blanche" c32
In my book the award for "album with the most heart" goes out to this Brattleboro, VT duo, but these guys are my friends so maybe I'm biased. Screw that! this is just exceptional stuff. Zach and Sarah write concise, complex melodic keyboard driven pop songs that evoke the common woes and WOWs of the 21st century 20something set, all without managing to slip into the same-old-same-old cliches so present in contemporary songwriters. Sarah is the "Mo Tucker of Vocalists", beautiful naive and solid as a rock. Zach is the mad genius behind the group's music and anyone who has followed his other projects (Heat Wilson, Horse Boys, Nals Goring) knows that the music on here is an evocative mix of modernist piano composition, 60's pop and 80's new wave. A match made in heaven.


Lantern "Stranger I Come/Stanger I Leave" c26
This tape opens with an only halfway successful attempt to enter the mirror, but once the electronic noodling is out of the way, Lantern reveal themselves to be more than decent Stooges inspired guitar/bass/drums/vox scorchers. The slower jams don't do a whole lot for me, but when they are on full-burn I like this tape quite a lot. A nice deviation from the usual NP sonic aesthetic and that's just like sister ray said.


The Savage Young Taterbug "Theme For Gasoline Weirdo" c16
As a performer and recording artist this guy Charles is a real STAR of the drunken feathered cap wearing set. Unlike his often baffling live performances, his two NP tapes have been really lovely, drippy-trippy listens. However, I feel like the overly reverberated trend doesn't necessarily suit what I find to be so special about Taterbug's music. I'm still waiting for him to record the truly Savage folk/pop album that I know he has in him. His songs and lyrics are real winners and it's a shame to bury them in so much of the murk-of-the-day. If you've never witnessed once of his more stripped down live sets, then you won't know what's actually underneath all this and I imagine you would find no fault with this stellar release.


Naked On The Vague "Midnight" c32
Remixed soundtracks from these Aussie mainstays. The spookiest of the whole recent batch. Ominous synths collide with foreboding feedback.