BLOOD WING - "6 Song Cassette" C12 (Skrot Up)

Sometimes a joke is so brilliant and clever, that it takes you hearing it at least 5 times before actually getting it.Such is the case for Washington's Blood Wing.These 6 subliminally awesome songs come via- cassette from the killer Skrot Up label.They always have something good going on it seems,and this one takes the cake for me.So here's the rundown..Their myspace claims that they are a 3 piece consisting of Tall Bear, Black Salmon, and Runs With Sky.Whether or not any of these members really exist is irrelevant.But for the sake of this review,we'll say that may be the dirty work of Sean from the Spits.What matters here,is that you get six killer, 80's throwback metal jams,that are doused in a hazy lo-fi bedroom-punk fule, and set ablaze like a pile of scalped palefaces.And that's actually pretty accurate.
Blood Wing has a comical(?) Native American theme that runs rampant like the wolf throughout this tape.Maybe they are totally serious..I can only hope.Aside from great song titles like "Proud Eagle, "War Cry", and "Your Turkey is a Fool" will also hear funny samples of things like pow-wow chants, civil war chatter, and what appears to be some sort of John Wayne dialog.You also get an insert with a picture of a Native American man holding a rifle,and the words "Free Leonard Peltier,Fuck The FBI" above..Fuck yeah.
The awesome headbangin' riffage fits perfectly over the pounding drum machine beats, and gruff, Danzing-like howling.I'm not sure why, but some of it reminds me of older Killing Joke..maybe the phased-out vocal parts or occasional busted-organ mocking the riffs..Anyhow,this tape is short and sweet.A musket loaded full of fist pump-able anthems,and catchy chorus lines.A week ago I was laughing about this,and today I can't put it down.Red Red Blood in the Snow will never leave your head.Fingers crossed for a follow up.

Skrot Up

DISTRACTIONS - "S/T" C40 (Plus Tapes)

What a pleasant surprise.Chicago's Plus Tapes is such an unexpected mixed-bag, that I wasn't too sure what I was getting into.Within the first 2 minutes of this, I knew there was no turning back.Distractions pull off 8 songs of sharp and jangly chords, melodic vocal harmonies, and and enough early 70's pop/rock throwback to make you want cough up a paisley shirt.There's a quick game of "Who's your favorite Wilson?" and the band seems to be stuck somewhere between Brian's Smiley Smile' and Dennis' collab tapes with Charlie Manson.There's a less obvious post-punk streak in these fellows, and it stays pretty well hidden in the low end most of the time.But there are some jumbled rhythms that surface once in a while.Some of the slower numbers show signs of more than a few spins Todd Rundgren's "Runt" on their turntable, as well as a number of Spector love, and this is not a bad thing.
Good songwriting prevails on this Distractions' cassette.The songs are well structured, never really straying off into 70's jammy nothingness.There's a fair amount of free-riding on a single riff for a few extra measures, but this generally stays on track and delivers at every turn.Completely sold out from Plus, but expect a remastered vinyl version later this year, on the Infinite Best label.

Plus Tapes

Lazer Zeppelin - American Derivative - C62 (Brown Interior Music)

This recording is drenched in soo many things. Soo deep into pedals and still poignant and powerful. Lazer Zepplin are from Olympia and ofcourse that matters. They are weirder than the kids in your town, but the coolest kids in theirs. Released by 'Brown Interior Music' in 2009. Both sides have a good movement and motion each their own. The first side swells into full band swing about five minutes in and rips on the Americana thing. Pretty sure allot of these tracks are cover songs but they deffinatly make them their own. It is obvious that their 'sound' is important. The vocals are high pitched like a mouse and the guitars hit the red often. I might describe it as 'folksy on acid, exploring themselves through a band format'. They nail it convincingly and a very endearing vibe is felt throughout the recordings.

RADIANT HUSK "Beyond an Endless Swale" C30 (Bezoar Formations)

The searchers enter in echoes

saxophone surrounded in foggy sustain

shifting cave walls extended breathes

move slow to squeal

If this came on casually over the loudspeakers while I was in a cave, it would be too real. This is what I imagine it would sound like if a bunch of stalagmites and stalagtites got together and started a band.

Radiant Husk is Matt Erickson, is the man behind Bezoar Formations, Sogol, and 1/2 of Sudden Oak

Buy it direct, and listen to samples here

THOUGHTS ON AIR "Mallo Yallo" c92 (Cloud Valley)

Thoughts On Air is Scott Johnson, who runs the Cloud/Maggot Valley labels. This tape is Cloud Valley's 100th release, and is a compilation of both new and old TOA recordings. I was absolutely blown away that this tape managed to keep its momentum for 92 minutes straight, and was expecting a moment of sparseness or monotony somewhere. Both sides consist of soft ambiance with a layer of grit--not by the hiss--added to the recordings. Side A ranges from loops of fluttery guitar to airy, vast washes of drone. Side B consists mostly of the latter, however more subdued. Though this isn't as immediate as some tapes, it sets a very pleasant and sedate mood that I think could appeal to almost anyone.

Limited to 100 copies, dubbed onto hand-painted books on tape.


I picked this up earlier in the year at a record swap of all places, along with a sick ass Occasional Detroit 7inch. My only experience with Lazy Magnet was 7 years ago when I was 15 and it was one dude with a guitar playing 40 second songs to a big old proto-drum machine/rhythm generator (the only song I remember started with "Fornicating on my neighbor's front law-awn"). Anyhow, their side on this tape sounds completely different from that. The single half hour track, which is dedicated to Work/Death, "Yet From the Highest Crown, No Blossom Fell" sounds a lot like what the cover looks like. Two people are credited with synth playing and that's what it sounds like dammit. It's a pretty sweet little suite though. Sometimes totally in a new agey, pure moods vein, other times it's more disruptive but mostly it sounds like a bunch of great early 80s synth scores that never were (the fact that this was recorded in "The Futuristic District" of Providence is spurring my imagination too.) I'm guessing this is improvised as it just drifts from part to part but it sounds pretty seamless with no lulls so they get an A+ in the not-wasting-(my)-time department. Good side.
So everyone knows how badass Social Junk is right? They don't care apparently, as they keep pumping out the jams like they got something to prove. The SJ side is split into 4 tracks "Fallout," "Terminal," "Lockdown," and "Days That Follow" so you know they got zombies or something on the brain. Swaggering forth with the John Carpenter of the new millennium vibe of the short first track, "Fallout" edges further towards the apocalypse. It's an excellent jam, simple, tense with a fantastic synth/vocal melody. I love cinematic music and this is completely satisfying my need right now. It's incredibly evocative and would work beautifully scoring any sort of slow-motion tragedy you could think of. Things are burning, people are fleeing and there's little hope in sight. That's my take on it anyhow. "Lockdown" is much more raw with a marching drum kit, echoing vocals and blasts of distortion. What happened during lockdown? Apparently, the two survivors, Noah Anthony and Heather Young, started band. Who knew this was an origin story? "Days That Follow" is steeped in static and synthetic crickets, a lone guitar slices up the barren landscape and Social Junk realizes it was actually a lot less depressing in lockdown. Killer music as usual from these guys.
An edition of 125 is sold-out, but this release seems inexplicably available at record swaps around the country, try there I guess? Good bang for the buck.
Lazy Magnet
Social Junk

BARONIC WALL- "The Golden Sword/In Granite Parlor" C45 (Night People)

Baronic Wall aka: Jack Gilbert,is my newest obsession.This tape is so fresh and inventive,I can hardly stand it.I really can't get enough of this.An overly-affected mix of sci-fi synth-punk and unhinged art fuckery.This shit is beyond damaged art,and this kind of musical mental abuse couldn't work any better for Gilbert.Minimalist-weirdo anthems that never let up.Golden Sword..kicks off with "Calibrant Memories".A boisterous delay-drenched shouting match immediately brings some early Throbbing Gristle to the mix,with it's buzzing analog pulses,and dense,minimal electro-bumps.It's got a catchy kraut-like repetition to it,and their bizarre formulas seem to work very well from song to song,but some of these tunes rely solely on a single synthesizer note and Gilbert's intense P.Orridge-esque moans to carry them out.A fair amount of these songs flow towards a more jumbled, ranting angularity that brings The Fall's more bizarre moments to mind.An insanely catchy and brave release from the mysterious Baronic Wall, and they are just getting started.Goddamn this is a good one.

Night People

THE BITTERS - "East General" C45 (Release the Bats)

Following a handful of sold out ep's on Mr.Blank Dogs' Captured Tracks label, Toronto's beloved Bitters return with a killer new full length from Sweden's Release the Bats label.East General offers 11 tracks of dark and cavernous pop, with more than enough infectious hooks and freak outs to keep you rewinding after each listen.At first it was just a side project between Aerin Fogel and Ben Cook (Fucked Up/Young Governor), but have recently taken their cloudy pop to a live setting, with the help of Fucked Up drummer- Jonah Falco, among other talented guest performers.
East General works on so many levels, it's almost too good to bare.Aerin Fogel's deep and affected voice pretty much carries this entire album, right on to the very end.Her 50's girl-group hoots n' howls somehow fit perfectly within the murky rhythms, and comes off just as dark and spiteful as does bright and tuneful.The Bitters' sound is constantly shifting,blurring the lines between all forms of pop and rock sub-genres, and yet remains cohesive and focused from start to finish.A rather rare quality in this musical climate.It's all heaps.The classic girl group charm, blown out garage rock production, post-punk aggression, and heavy on the straight-faced goth influence.
*I'm submitting my vote for cassette of the year, cover art with full color J-card, and an attractive blue cassette.Dynamite.

The Bitters
Captured Tracks

Erik Gage - Heavy Mellow C18 (Gnar Tapes)

This tape has some heavy feelings. It also has a nice snap and crackle to the sound quality. It is from Gnar Tapes head honcho Erik Gage, also the singer for local rock weirdos White Fang. Gage offers up 18 minutes of pretty good honesty here. All songs are heavy on the home recorded sound, with songs titles like 'Flinstoned' 'Comfortably Dumb' and 'Rubbing Elmos' it has a very light hearted feeling to every aspect. Some full band pieces and some obviously solo ventures, maybe he is over dubbing also. Gage himself exemplifies the West Coast in my opinion. Such a care free attitude paired with a heavy creative streak of energy. This guy is ripping Portland from end to end right now, and his label 'Gnar Tapes' has some amazing releases. Back to the tape though. Seems like it would be best experienced on a porch through a boom box. Or possibly on the walkman at Walgreens. Lots of explicit self loathing and funny drug references.

HAUNTED HOUSES - "Make Believe You're Dead" (Bathetic) C35

  HH's second tape for the Bathetic label, and this one is a total winner.The cover art is decent, and I am a sucker for a bright blue tape.The music isn't too far off from his "the invisible war of the mind" debut, not as much of the traditional folk style, and a bit more polished in some areas.There's still plenty of grainy blues-driven folk to go around.The songs are pretty well written, and nothing makes it's way too far into total oblivion.Everything is captured to tape quite nicely, but for the mild hiss that looms throughout the album.The home recording quality actually gives the hoarseness of his vocals a nice rugged beauty, and could pass this as a live album for sure.
  The dark lyrical themes and blown out guitar drones give off some uneasy vibes, which only made me like it more, as a fair amount of this reminds me of what I adore about Pink Reason.Torturous howls, over the top high end, and that driving stomp-clap percussive thud are all here by the truck load.I do hope Haunted Houses make it to vinyl one of these days.If they have, and I'm just too far removed to know it...hit me up.Another score for HH and Bathetic.

Call for writers!!!

Cassette Gods needs new writers, badly. If you haven't noticed, things have been a little slow around here lately, so I'm putting out the call for some fresh blud. Get in touch with George to be activated. If that doesn't work you can get in touch with me at and I'll light a fire under his ass. I've been busy with two bands, a label and now a shoppe, so there are so many tapes that I haven't gotten around to reviewing, but have been loving immensely over the past couple months. These include, but are not limited to:

Blue Sabbath Black Fiji "Wankers" (Digitalis) ****

Tracey Tance "Hangtown USA" (self released) ****

Peter's House Music/Dim Diamond split (Potlatch, I Gather) ****

Secret Museum of Noise Vol. 3 (Bonescrapper) ---> comp with Belltonesuicide, Gastric Lavage, Grey Skull, Halves and Thirds, Kites, Lazy Magnet, Lightning Bolt, Noise Nomads, Ratfucker, Sord, Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof ****

Fake Lake (Karamozov) ****

Water Bears "Mysogymnastics" (ZAP) ****

Egg, Eggs "How Dry I Am" (Feeding Tube) ----> plug of own label--->****

Waren Zevon "A Quiet Normal Life" (Elektra) **free bin**

Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase {Chris Cooper} "Seashard" (self released) ****

Million Brazilians "New Ideas in Psychic Music" (Klorofyl Kassetor - Karamazov - From the Wheelchair to the Pulpit) ****

Metalux, Dreamcatcher and pretty much everything else I have (Beniffer Editions) ****

Astral Plane Junkies "Nihilist's Prayer" (self released) ****

Sunburned Hand of the Man live tape stamped 6/16/10 (Manhand) ****

Cave Bears "Tragic Ceremony" (Ozonokids) ----> plug of own band---> ****

well now I feel refreshed, maybe I'll actually write something in depth one of these days...