LUKE PERRY - "Brainwave's Rerun Crunch" c62 (El Tule)

I received a mysterious little package in my mailbox the other day, addressed from psych/electronic super dude Mr.Dylan Ettinger.I didn't really know what to expect from him, other than some kind of bizarre cassette tape.I opened it up and removed it's contents, and sure enough, I pull out a tape with a dream-inducing (or nightmare) image of Luke Perry with some colorful psychedelic images surrounding him.Naturally,I inspect the packaging to see what kind of goodies are inside.A hot pink tape with a sticker containing a black and white image on it.That image is none other than a scene from The Simpsons episode that Luke Perry was in.Nice.I popped the tape in my player,took a seat, and anxiously waited for the fun to begin.
Almost immediately, the speakers started to pour out a glowing, neon pink and green colored ooze that reeked of 90's TV nostalgia.Blazing guitar shred,new wave synth arpeggios,and boppin' drum machines by the truckload.Parts of this sounds like scenes from Saved By The Bell, when "the gang" enters The Max.Images of nerds playing video games, and jocks sitting with their chairs turned around started to flash in my mind.As things moved forward, a more diverse,even psychedelic tone sets in.Washes of delayed surf guitars fade in and out, and some heavily treated 90210,and other television show samples bounce around a bit.It all seems to work somehow,and it held my attention right to the end. The instrumentation, though somewhat humorous up front, is actually well played and the songs are structured quite nicely.They are really catchy jams,and I wish that they were just a tiny bit longer.
At some point throughout side A, you will come across a disturbingly perfect cover of the Beverly Hills"90210 theme song.Complete with keyboard-sax solo.Much respect to this dude for accuracy.Overall a totally fun and somewhat interesting listen.Worth the 5 bucks it costs from El Tule for sure.He's got a split cassette with the awesome Twins called "Guts".You can pick that up
from Peace Age for 5 bucks as well.HEAVY on the 90's retro tip,but when it comes to the music..solid electro-psych-pop bliss.h

Hit up El Tule for a copy,and more awesome tapes.

DOVE "2004 LP " c35 (Financial Ruin)

If you are a Florida native, or in tune with their local d.i.y. punk scene in the last 5-10 years,you more than likely worship Floor,who also share members with Dove and a few other more recent projects like I Love You.This monster of a 3 piece hail from a little place called Winter Haven,Fl.They've been areound for quit a while, but their output is rather small and selective,with only a handful of singles,and LP's under their belt.But,when Dove actually gets a release out there,they always deliver in a BIG way. This tape is a reissue of their 2004 self-titled LP,and also includes two bonus tracks, one being their side of the Floor/Dove split 7".

This album is quite a vicious beast.Long time fans know what they are in for,but new ears are going to be pummeled.Dove don't seem to stray too far off from their counterpart -Floor,delivering heavy-as-bricks rhythms, pounding drum assault,and syrupy vocal hymns to top it all off.The walls of sludgy guitars and low end bass dirge are definitely reminiscent to bands like Sleep, High on Fire, Cavity, and Torche.At times you would think that you are listening to a five piece band,with at least 3 axes locking up on these thick and brutal riffs, when it's actually just one bass,guitar and drum kit doing the work.The songs are well crafted,and these guys don't seem to rely on just being as heavy as possible, to mask an album's worth of mediocrity.An all too common trait in this genre.Dove does just the opposite in fact.The songs are catchy,moody,and worth a ton of repeat listening.A great batch of tunes from a band that absolutely deserves more attention.Comes in a cardboard box,with Electric Warrior knockoff artwork,full color j-card with lyrics,and a sticker or two.Amazing.

Get the tape,or lp from Financial Ruin - Dan is a good dude.

BIRTHDAYS - "Hawaiian Punch Wave" c30 (Impose Cassette Series)

A decidedly less danceable affair than his live set I caught last night, Birthdays' Hawaiian Punch Wave tape is a nice little exercise in looped keyboards and sampler pounding. Birthdays is Samuel Yager, originally from New York, currently residing in Boston. Compositions build slowly as he mans flashing buttons and knobs, sometimes aging from lowkey blip-grooves into full-grown bedroom house jams, sometimes into slower pieces of pounding sludge.

Hawaiian Punch Wave is out now. CLICK HERE to order and preview MP3s.

CASCADERS - "ST" c24 (The Curatorial Club)

A subtle, spacious journey through "modern living in urban society," Cascaders' debut tape is a slow-motion grind through what it feels like to be an animal in a world defined by machines and screeching steel. Shards of light protrude through darker, hypnotic segments, brightening up patches of otherwise low-humming ambience. This provides a soundtrack perfect for background conversation swells, thoughtful late-night wanderings and sunlit day beginnings.

Cascaders is Jamie Granato from Men & Women. He also co-founded the Group Tightener label. The tape is SOLD OUT but you an download it for free courtesy of the label RIGHT HERE.

HANGING COFFINS - "self titled" cassette C40 (Night People)

As with most other NP releases,this cassettes was heavy on the eye and ear candy indeed.I'd heard a bit of kind words about these cats from a few friends in CA,and they were absolutely right.This tape rules.If dark and gloomy post-punk/downer pop is your thing,you will be flipping this one over and over.Murky guitar jabs and distant noodling paired with the icy organs and synth jaunts are reminiscent of The Animals lesser known explorations,and Chrome's clever eerie-but-accessible vibes,which won me over immediately.As things keep moving along,the Coffins take a dip into more distorted and treated vocal territories,and more of a raw approach with the rhythm section.A definite Six Finger Satellite influence is there,only they trade the overflow of dementia for a touch of melody.Some of the jams do get strange and wander off into nothingness for awhile,but for the most part this album is a cohesive,dark,and interesting listen.Look for 2 new releases from these guys,soon.
Most likely out of print by now,but DNT or Fusetron may still carry it.I would try the label first.Worth searching high and low.

SECRET BOYFRIEND: “End This Thrall” c45 (Hot Releases)

Really pleasantly surprised by this one, didn’t know much at all about Ryan Martin or his North Carolina-based Hot Releases label for a long time, but this one has definitely got me jumping on the wagon. This shit goes all over the place, dense drone, power electronics, clanking scrap metal, drum-machine driven Suicide-style guitar jammers, and even hushed acoustic ballads, this one has got it all, and it seamlessly flows from one to the next. Martin is proficient in all aspects, recording, playing (“noise dude” that actually knows how to play guitar!) and killer collage-style artwork. Totally engrossing and eclectic, can’t say enough good things about this, a musician after my own heart, excited to hear a proper full-length because I can guarantee it’s gonna be massive.

PALM YARD: “Craft Night” c37 (1019 records)

Gotta admit, I’m still not entriely sure what these new genre terms such as “chillwave” and “shitgaze” mean exactly, but this band really wants you to know that they make music of the latter and that they are from Santa Cruz and they love it. Hats off to that kind of hard reppin’, for sure, but what I assume they mean is they play new-style punk music and they record it as super lo-fi as possible, because that sure as heck is what it is. Fans of Psychedelic Horseshit and early Wavves (“early”, jeez, that sounds stupid, that guy is like 12 years old) should take note of this trio; although these 11 songs are far less aggressive than those examples, this has a slight 80s midwest, post-punk sound bubbling under the surface of all that tape hiss. With titles like “Eat the Rich” and “Purple Haze”, you know these guys are California dreamin’, surf style without really having a surf sound. Or is there a new surf sound? Whatever, grab your board anyways, tide is high. Edition of 100, xeroxed inserts and gold spraypainted tapes.

MISTER FUCKHEAD: “And Company” c93 (no label)

Holy shit, are you kidding me? 93 minutes??? I can’t lie, call me unfair, call me a bad reviewer, call me whatever you like, but I had to fast forward through at least some of this, there was no way I’d be able to sample the whole thing otherwise. Mister Fuckhead is the guise of Arvo Zylo, inhabitant of Chicago and, at least here, organizer of wingnuts. Assumedly recorded at a number of live performances (insert is incredibly difficult to read), Zylo collected his friends together to squawk and squeal on a vast number of untraditional instruments ranging from tape loops and trigger pads to scrap metal and appliances. There’s also a good deal of brass, and some slick backing drums keeping it all together, and it actually makes a pretty exciting sound, big group just going bananas. I can imagine it being a really great live show, or even if these recordings were spread out over a couple of different releases to make the whole thing more palatable, because they really do have quite a bit of merit to them, but this kind of length is pretty difficult to slog through no matter who’s making the music. Pretty sure this is sold out, but there are a bunch of samples and new items on his bloggy-blog.

EXPO 70: “The Vanishing World Within” c40 (Solid Melts)

Some really killer synthesizing on this one, divided into phases, the first side almost scary in it’s 80s horror/sci-fi environments, starting with a nice drone and fading into a more complex structure with deep, pulsing bass that reminds me of the soundtrack from “the Thing”. This eventually moves into “Phase III”, a prog-jammer with drums and guitar, real groovy space boogie. Side two is a little more universally similar, the phases harder to pick apart as they drift in and out of one another, carried for a long time in the middle by a classic drum machine egg-shaker sound. Real calming, enjoyable textures, excellent artwork by Mr. Expo himself, Justin Wright, who keeps a great ongoing theme of reflecting images of instruments and space shapes on all his covers. At a time when bands like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never are so popular, I’m surprised that this is a name that doesn’t come up more often. First edition of 150 is sold out, second edition of 100 probably won’t be around too much longer either, but the dude has a massive discography, lots of places to hear his righteous psychediddlea.

THE PHEROMOANS - C26 (Night People)

Yet another awesome cassette tape from Iowa's NIGHT PEOPLE label.This is a great one,too.The U.K.'s PHEROMOANS are making quite a glorious racket this year.They've had a handful of releases on various labels like Sweet Rot,Hozac,Night People,Convulsive,and even the young Aural Pleasures imprint.Their sound is a primitive clatter.Rules and regulations don't apply to this.Nor does the word "cohesive".This tape is 28 minutes of angular,bare bones garage-punk at it's finest.So pure and uninhibited.This reminds me of Door and the Window's quicker moments,and The Shadow Ring in their most primal form.Heavy on treble and easy on the studio tricks.Their charm lies in the fact that there is absolutely no production value,whatsoever.
With Pheromoans,what you see isn't exactly what you get,but what you hear is exactly what is being played.It's hard to tell whether or not some of these tracks are live or being recorded in a tin can full of glass.Angular guitars play slightly out of tune,as the drum kit falls apart around them.The punk-turned-poet vocal warbling is not unlike that of Mr. Mark E. Smith's (pre-football announcer), but less coherent and way more spiteful.This band is sharp and inventive,and they're output is insanely expansive.Pheromoans are owning 2010's lo-fi art-punk resurgence.Goooood shite.A new LP is out soon on Convulsive, and a cassette/cdr reissue of their oop 2007 cd-r is out now via Aural Pleasures
See Night People for the tape.

HAPPY JAWBONE FAMILY BAND "Family Matters" c76 [Spooky Town]

If you haven't heard Happy Jawbone Family Band, you've got some work to do. This band is really damn good, I give them my "Best New Band" Grammy or whatever that award is. Apparently, HJFB is a bunch of people who either live in Brattleboro, VT or Boulder, Colorado and they somehow form like Voltron to make the most arresting, ramshackle, brilliant pop music I've heard in a while. Calling out all the great tracks is kinda pointless here as there's pretty much no filler in the 40 songs/76 minutes. They're all great tracks!
I described the tape to a friend as kinda like Hairdryer Peace made by a ragged pop band. The tape is so well put together stitching songs of all varieties of styles and instrumentation along with a few well-made collage pieces. Family Matters flies by exceeding fast for such a long release. This cassette earns its 76 minutes, which is big praise from a c30-or-less enthusiast. I feel really long tapes should be saved for special occasions and this is a special occasion.
The jerks even interrupt my favorite song on the tape with a Wu-Tang-ish skit that takes up more time than the song does but I can't help but love them anyway. Admittedly, the skit is pretty funny.
The tape is obviously the product a bunch of really talented, creative people as there's some really cool aspects here rarely found in lo-fi pop music. For instance, the band is fairly self-referential throughout the tape but the b-side opens with "The Album So Far..." a neat collage, squeezing the past 30 some minutes into one. It's plainly a cool track but it's also funny to see them giving a little wink that this record is so long you need a refresher of what you've heard before you can continue.
Anyhow, this is great. Hooks galore, a constant stream of surprises, a ton of replay value etc. etc. Totally essential, one of the best tapes of the year.


Happy Jawbone myspace