Monday, August 31, 2015

KIRK VAN HOUTEN
“Can I Borrow a Feeling”
(UnfortunateFace)


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When asked by a New York Times interviewer in 1923, “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?,” British mountain climber George Mallory famously responded, “Because it’s there.” Now, I’m no hero, but I feel this morsel of cassette release-age is Himalayan in its importance (and absurdity). I proudly place myself in the shoes of trailblazing visionaries everywhere by bringing you this, the actual, physical artifact of Kirk van Houten’s “Can I Borrow a Feeling” demo tape. Why? Because it’s there, of course! We thought it was lost, crushed beneath the wheels of a convertible, but here it is, in its true glory. This relic will make you laugh, cry, swoon, and fall in love all over again. Don’t know it? Take my hand with your glove of love and read UnfortunateFace’s description for yourself. There’s no need for me to even review it!

Have you ever been dumped by some girl who is so stupid that they can't even draw a simple thing like dignity? Have you ever slept in a race car bed and had people not be incredibly impressed by it? If so, you need this Can I Borrow a Feeling cassette demo tape by Kirk Van Houten. It will make feel a million times better and you won't constantly think about how you just got fired from your sweet job at the cracker factory! 100% handmade with love, sweat and tears from an actual drawing (not a screengrab). Comes with case, tape and sweet insert, printed on super high quality Canon Luster paper. Tape color will vary, but every insert will be the same. I am not responsible if your decision to purchase this tears your marriage apart.”

Hurtin’ hearts need some healin’, everybody. Hurtin’ hearts need some healin’.


--Ryan Masteller



Sunday, August 30, 2015

ARKLIGHT
“Calling Them Out [Kerrchingle #3]”
(Kerchow! Records)



Are you feeling like an ass, hazed over from bad booze, bad food, maybe a bit too many games of Trivial Pursuit with your wacky family? Arklight is here to help, because once you crack your eyelids at the morning sunbeams, you only have about six minutes or so to listen to music before you have go back to sleep. Just enough time to hit play, take a leak, grab a handful of Advil, chug a huge glass of water (for rehydration), and hit stop again. You don’t want anything you need to think too hard about, you just want that old, fuzzy Yo La Tengo vibe, like the one on that 7-inch where they cover the Velvets. Or early Dump, or something. It’s all good, all four-tracky, all hazy. No harsh tones or crazy rhythms.

Side A, “Calling Them Out,” allows you to muster enough energy to move. It’s fever pop. Speaking of fever pop, side B is called “Fevered Dream,” which is what you were having before you woke up, and are about to have again. The music mirrors the mood perfectly – it’s like Arklight is in the room with you, but off in the corner, not playing too loudly, because they worry about your well-being. They’re not even interested in properly packaging this single, they just want you to have it immediately, they care about you that much. Plus, it smacks of effort to put the thing together anyway. So no case, no j-card, just a cassette wrapped it in paper, text scribbled in Sharpie, and stapled tight enough so that the tape doesn’t fall out. Ta-daa! Home run, as the Kerchow! cats say. And a home run for everybody. For Arklight, a grand salami, walk-off, back to bed, yank covers, snore.



--Ryan Masteller



Saturday, August 29, 2015

POLYGLOVE “Redial” C20 (Illuminated Paths)



So, from across the room, I looked at my stack of tapes to review and noticed the all caps lettering REDIAL and thought to myself, hrm, that font looks familiar. That font looks like the same font used on a tape I reviewed a while back that was pretty much str8-up techno (which I am allergic to) and I remembered it being the hardest tape to review because I really didn’t like listening to it, despite knowing how much work must have been put into writing the songs. Guess fucking what. SAME DUDE remixed his tape (the original was DIALER) and sent it overseas from Europe to the East Coast of the USA, which then got sent to the West Coastal town of Berkeley, to me. Fuck.

So, here’s the thing; I hate this much less. The same beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-same-4/4-beat-throughout-the-whole-goddamn-song is still there, and I still hate that so, SO, so fucking much, but there’s a few new textures going on now to where I can almost be distracted away from it. 

You know how when that sportsball event sometime in the past happened, and all those fans were playing their VUVUZELAS, and it really pissed a lot of other people off to the point where there was a noice-cancellation i-phone app dedicated to reducing the sound? Somebody needs to make one of those for the 4/4 techno beat. I bet I’d be in love with this album if I could just remove the drums. They synth lines are interesting and they weave around and do cool shit…I just can’t hear them well…BECAUSE OF THE GODDAMN TECHNO BEAT. Seriously, somebody,make that app. I’d pay good money for it. If you’re not allergic like I am, clickyclicky below.
           
and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Friday, August 28, 2015

RICHARD GARET
“60 Minute Cassette” C60
(Helen Scarsdale Agency)



This guy really got behind GW Bush’s “No Blemish Left Behind Act”! I’m not much of a historian, really, but I feel pretty comfortable (from this internet soap box) saying that this here R. Garet has taken William Basinski’s “let us fuck and further fuck with the medium of our message” to withering heights.

This tape acts as The academic field recording of Decay-Study field recordings, and I imagine a buncha noise worshippers all sitting around, comparing notes on how, exactly, they, themselves might coax that particularly cherished blemish from your standard magnetic drone. This is electro-acoustic noisy drone for its own sake and I’m goddamn glad I get to listen to it until the tape itself warbles and fades like my mind/body/spirit/whathaveyou.
           
and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Thursday, August 27, 2015

STATE CHAMPION
“Fantasy Error” C44
(Sophomore Lounge)



You know that great feeling when you hear a song and instantly check their tour schedule?  Praying to the great music gods that they will soon be stopping by your town?  I just felt it.  This is what Kings of Leon/Whiskeytown/etc. wish they were.  Indiana alt country with badass licks, great lyrics, amazing violin and some of the catchiest dang songs I’ve ever heard. 

I will admit that they had me when a sticker and not a download card fell out of the cassette when I opened it.  And there was a sweet booklet glued into the j-card!  I popped the tape into the tape deck and sat down, inches from the speaker.  Hoping against hope the music would match the packaging.  It was good.  No! It was great!

Thoroughly aurally aroused, I greedily listened to it all the way through, fumbling drunkenly at the end of side A to flip it over as fast as possible.  I drooled happily in front of the speakers.  Giggling occasionally with the joy that comes from finding some new great tunes.


-- Jeremiah Paddock