TOMY GARM "This Eros" c90 (Creature King)

Happy Boxing Day! Just about once a year I find something that I can unequivocally recommend to just about anyone. Last year it was Chris Weisman's Fresh Sip. This year it is the music of Garm. I will go on to review the cassette I'm holding in my hands by Tomy Garm, but first off I'd like to recommend that you go right out and buy B.R. Garm's just released first LP "The 78th Morning Tide" from Don't Trust The Ruin the swell imprint run by the band Big Blood. It's the best new LP I've heard all year. Completely skewed apocalyptic folk for all centuries. Okay, are you back from doing that? Good. Go back and buy another one or two copies for your loved ones. Done with that? Then read on...

The Garm moniker is used by Brendan Evans of the band Visitations (R.I.P.???), one of the most delightful and mysterious groups of the mid 2000s "free-folk" renaissance. Both their single LP/CD and double LP on Time-Lag are essential. Visitations also performs from time to time as AM Frank, a Suicide tribute band. On top of all that, Brendan is also the owner of Portland freak-haven Strange Maine, one of the coolest little music, movie and curio shops in the Union.

On This Eros or 'Something No One Wants To Hear' This Year's Opus...Down Home Whisperings he goes by Tomy Garm. The tape plays almost like an outtakes compilation of the LP. But like the best of those kinds of releases, it is more unfinished, sprawling and, in many ways, more illuminating than the LP. That being said, both albums are absolutely stunning, blending warped folk songs with weird sonic effects. The cassette is the first release on Creature King Tapes and CDs, a little home brew operation run by Brendan and Caleb from Big Blood out of the back of the record shop.

This long 35 song, 90 minute album is divided into a Garageband side (as in the Apple program) and a four track side. The first section is mostly made up midtempo eerie electronic vocoder songs (I'm feeling a little bit of Trans but also the dark pop of Danielle Dax circa Jesus Egg That Wept), but also touches down onto some wobbly folk-psych terrain that finds Brendan harmonizing with himself in a high falsetto recalling the work of his friends and collaborators in Big Blood. Wide ranging is the name of the game here. Some people may be turned off by such a long diverse album, but to me it plays out like a mix tape made with the utmost love and care. The apocalyptic edge of the Garm LP is somewhat subdued here. This is both due to the songwriting and the presence of synthesizers on many tracks. This Eros is by turns sad and sexy and at it's best occupies some sort of middle ground where erotic love and romantic love seem mingle with the bittersweet. He even throws in fucked up covers of Neil Young and Gordon Bok for good measure.

There isn't an immediate differentiation is sound once we get to the four track material on the B side, which goes to show how well Brendan utilizes the usually scummy sounds of Garageband to create natural sounding music. The instrumentation remains about the same: guitars, acoustic or electric percussion and keyboards. Upon closer examination, the four track cuts are definitely less dense and more reliant on stringed instruments. I'd say that the material on this side is darker, more experimental and improvisational, but there are many defined songs here as well. While I probably could have gone for 90 minutes of the more fully fleshed out material on the A side, it's hard to argue with an album that is as good as This Eros.

The double sided three panel fold out has great artwork that my poor cellphone camera photo does not do justice to. My copy is also hand water-colored, and I bet yours will be too. There is nothing on the internet about this tape, so you're really going to have to trust me on this. If you want a copy I suggest writing Brendan directly at

SAMPLE from This Eros Tomy Garm TAPE (starts at 1:45)
SAMPLE from The 78th Morning Tide B.R. Garm LP