The Johns - "Level 2" c60 (self-released)

The history of home taping has a rich legacy of recordings from R. Stevie Moore to Martin Newell o Daniel Johnston to the folks at K Records (and many, many others of course) circulating and influencing people to follow the path of loners with 4-track machines. The influence of the shockingly brilliant few on the many unknown bedroom savants is both glorious and unfortunate. As someone who has filled sixty minutes worth of tape with garbage pail songs about boners, burritos, and blasphemous musings, I cherish the freedom relatively cheap home recording equipment affords even the most demented composer. One such DIY music maker is John Dydo. Dydo aka "The Johns" compiled three of his EPs, Apologies By John DydoSketches of Paris, and Super Nature on one sixty minute tape and called it Level 2. This compilation is funny, intimate, and very rough - exactly what one would expect from a solo taper project. The songs range from the sorta pop, "Jimi Hendrix" to a stand-up comedy routine with lead guitar riffs, "Comedy Album" (which contains a few funny lines about R.E.M. by the way). Dydo's vocals will remind listeners of Calvin Johnson's off key baritone while the overall quality of the music will repel casual listeners leaving only devotees of the home studio aesthetic standing with ears wide open. If this is your cup o' tea, drink.

Mr. Dydo's packaging, if one could call it that, doesn't amount to very much. All he did was black sharpie over the commercial TDK j-card and wrote the credits with said sharpie.This is disappointing because, though no-fi no-budget stuff has a small level of charm, this collection could really benefit from some fun and/or clever artwork since the music features lots of jokes and silly material. I would love to see a brightly colored cartoon style accompany this tape in the future.

Listen and Buy HERE.