Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE HUCKLEBERRY FINS “Pipe Dreams” C34
(Self-Released)



At the risk of sounding like a complete asshole (read: myself), I’m going to share with you the revelation I came to when asking myself, “Now, why in the hell would someone make yet another surf-rock tape?” The answer is this: these guys are not only technically smooth (which is like 90% of why surf-rock exists, right, because it’s fun and challenging to play scales?), but they manage to make me think of the goddamn Gin Blossoms. Seriously, there’s something in the tone of the guitar and the saccharine arpeggios being danced around upon that scream ALLISON ROAD! I know that, for many, this may be a turn off, but, for me, it’s a saving grace, and sure beats another straight up Ventures knock-off. I bet this tape’ll sound even better after a few years of warble on a Mid-western dashboard.



- - Jacob An Kittenplan

13 comments:

  1. I read something interesting in Maximum Rock'N'Roll recently that I think speaks to the rehash comment. A reviewer was describing how both of Radioactivty's albums sound exactly like Marked Men albums (a well established band they share most of the members with) and how all Marked Men albums sound the same. But the reviewer doesn't have a problem with it because just like a seasoned junkie won't stray from their favorite fix, why should a band stray from their signature sound? If it's good it's good. Using that same logic why should people stop making surf rock just because the standard way of doing it hasn't changed very much? The quality is in the final delivery IMO.

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  2. good point(s), roy. question i have is, "why record it?" i get playing it for the fun & challenge, & witnessing it live is always a good time, but, really, why not save some carbon if it's already a hard copy elsewhere? i'm truly curious.

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  3. First of all, this blog is all about music released physically on cassette and it's proof the appeal of a physical releases on the still least utilized of the three most common physical mediums exists. With that in mind, my answer to your question is because people want to listen to it and the musicians want to ownership over it! Just because older acts like Dick Dale, The Beach Boys, the aforementioned Gin Blossoms, and every small act in between have released surf rock albums before doesn't mean the genre is dead and that the tomb should be sealed shut to prevent new artists from contributing tangible releases. You might as well broaden your scope and ask next why anyone would even bother releasing any type of music physically or digitally in the future when any given month thousands of artists globally created more content than one person could possibly consume in a lifetime. Go back to October 2015 and attempt to find everything on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Amazon, Youtube, file sharing sites, torrenting sites, self-released stuff that's not online, etc if you don't believe me. I guarantee it can't be done yet October 2015 was not the end of music. That's my take on it.

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  4. I guess I'm just tainted by the plethora of ground-breaking cassette labels in my surrounding (SF bay) area. To me, the cassette is a medium for niche explorers to test their audience/accessibility in a cost effective way. Such sound also (may) benefit well by time's erosion of the magnetic strip, yielding (d)evolving sound quality with time.

    I, by all means, do not expect every soundwave magnetized to be revolutionary (ha!), but if it sounds like it might as well have (or very well could have) been dubbed from an uncle's lp from long ago, why do it again? This is more a question of 'why record something that pretty much already exists and cut it to a hard copy at all?' and not just a 'why cut it to tape?' I totally get why folx would record something and put it up for free access online. The reasons are plentiful, from promotion to ego-stroking to self-validating, et cetera. Even a Beatles Cover Band playing it close to the cuff would benefit from that...but to release hard copies? Am I too fascistic to assume a t-shirt or 'all proceeds go to 'X' charity' sticker wouldn't be more appropriate?

    It's a good conversation to have, and I'm appreciative of your input on it. Thanks. :)

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  5. I'm not going to comment out of sheer petulance.

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  6. Although, I now seem to have, like, a million synth/Kosmische albums, and I still want more. But the indie rock tapes I keep getting make me want to throw things. I think personal taste trumps all.

    Dammit, that's a comment after all!

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  7. Jacob I get what you're saying. I think of tapes as just the cheapest D.I.Y. way for any artist to get their stuff out. It additionally lends well to certain genres for the aesthetic and the (lack of) high fidelity quality. I got into them for punk and hardcore demos but eventually branched out a bit into noise/different types of experimental stuff that doesn't come out any other way. I'm not a fan of cover bands. Honestly I am not that into surf rock either. I just have a level of respect for the artistry involved. Creative folks who feel inclined for any reason to make music and put it out for consumption get a tip of the hat from me for that. Whether or not I choose to actually listen to it or find value in it is separate all together. I may or may not be their intended audience and my input on what I am hearing may or may not matter to them. You have your favorite labels/artists/genres, I have my favorite labels/artists/genres, and this band wont make either of our lists but they aren't wasting their time since they will make somebody else's. If it resonates with someone else then they accomplished their goal. Modern surf rock resonates with plenty of people for reasons that are subjective to them. The Huckleberry Fins want to add their output to that conversation I am not going to be the one to stop them. And that's me framing it from the perspective of the listener. Plenty of artists don't even care what you or I think and do what they do for themselves.

    It's funny you say that Ryan because I seem to get more electronic subgenres than anything else. While I am not complaining because I enjoy reviewing stuff, I am more interested in "indie rock" even though I don't feel like those two words back-to-back mean anything anymore. I certainly agree with the last part of your comment though. Taste is opinion based and as long as no one is hurting anyone or themselves over it then it really isn't something I critique in others.

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    1. Roy, I've started trading tapes with Jacob. Maybe we can make it a three-way. I've got some stuff you may like. Got any constellation tatsu stuff you don't want? We can PM on FB too.

      If there's one thing I love about all this, it's the sense of community. GIF hugs for everybody!

      https://criticalmassesmedia1.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/965ff-virtual-hug.gif

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    2. Also, you're a lot younger than me. I think it makes a difference. I spent almost 20 years listening to indie rock. Just a bit of burnout on my part, I suppose. Doesn't mean I don't think it's good!

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    3. I will also fully admit that I make a very big distinction between artists playing music and creating music, the former being something I see without need of making hard copies of, in this world of excess. As with Ryan, here, I've been obsessively listening to music for over 3 decades now, and am pretty jaded when it comes to predictable/formulaic stuff. It's a great, engaging challenge to repeatedly listen to something I'd never in a million years choose to pay attention to and let (that music) color me and inform my perception of it before writing as honest a review as I can.

      I just wish I'd never have to review something I've heard 95% of before. Novelty junkie? You betcha. :)

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  8. As long as Nick is okay with that I'd be happy to swap.

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    1. I don't think he'd have any issue. Nick, you don't care, right? Bands have been sending me stuff directly now too, so it's all promo stuff. No money changes hands. We're all fans! I'll be in touch - I'll send you a list of rock stuff I've gotten and let me know if you like any of it.

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  9. Roy,
    Do note, I did express appreciation for the HF's melding of two previously distinct qualities to form something worthwhile, or "add to the conversation/genre".

    I wish it were possible to have all the punk/rock tapes sent your way instead of mine. I also threw my own bite-sized hissy fit when i saw you got that OLIWA tape from across the pond!

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