CAKEDOG “Menace In the Phantom” (Leaving Records)

Cakedog (Leland Jackson) a.k.a. Ahnnu is a footwork producer from Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is known to be “The Dirty South” and you can expect some of the southern flavor throughout the songs. Leland Jackson states on his bandcamp page that this release is “dedicated to DJ Rashad and the footworkers across the globe.” DJ Rashad is evidently an influence in these 14 tracks and of course a pioneer in the genre itself.

One can undoubtedly hear the technicality of the way the tracks are crafted. Its pauses, breaks, sampling could feel as thrown all over the place which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. There is enough substance in the album that takes you to a tranquil place. Cakedog’s samples serve as the main voice of the music. There is possibly a bigger ratio of pauses to drum beats. The album’s mad rhythms and minimal structure is kept constant from beginning to end.

You can’t go wrong with some skips and footwork breaks in your life. It is also neat to see that a label like Stones Throw picked up Cakedog’s release.

Listen/buy here:


Stones Throw cassette:

-- Jesus Perez

"I Traded Virginity for Vice"
C32 (Outer Realms)

At first glance, I thought with the computer-generated geometric cover, that this might be some sort of mellow space-ambient chill-out-with-your-headphones-on-the-bus moon-synth new-age spiritual computer-healings of electronic introspection, though the urgency of the song titles seemed to clue in that it might be otherwise: " So Cold, So Old" & "I Am In Control". Upon pressing play and actually going for it, I am finding this to be more a layering of noisy (but not cluttered) oscillations and textured electronic groans, with garbled, urgent vocals adding a sort of kitchen-sink junk-noise vibe.

The jams sort of get into a groove for a while and then fall apart to gurgle, soon forming another sort of groove-thing (with wild-man vocals punctuating certain parts) and riding it out for a while. This feels like a kind of plug in, hit record, and go nuts vibe. That is probably exactly what it is, but there is enough direction to it that I wouldn't be surprised if there was overdubbing or more specific planning involved.

Something about the vibes here reminds me of being in my late teens in the pre-internet days, and knowing there had to be "noise music" of some sort out there. I was an avid zine reader, and ordered my first DIY noise cassette (an Earwigs tape) in response to some ad I saw somewhere. Dunno how similar they really are, Earwigs is probably more cluttered and feedbacky and all over the place, but somehow this is totally making me think of the weirdo freak-out junk-noise vibes I was taking in at that time.

Straight out of Lansing, MI. Edition of 12, so if you like yr tapes limited...

-- Garrison Heck

"Limbo / Wind Swept"
(self released)

Is this a VHS player and clarinet duo? Laptop and autoharp? Casio and cymbals?There's a graceful ambiguity to the sounds, moods, and melodies that hearkens to the hypnogogic pop that was all the rage a few years ago. But the Limbos bring some free improv moves, structures, and ideas that feel fresh. A fresh take on the palette of sounds they're drawing from with some fresh musical and arrangement chops to boot. Spoiler alert: the clarinet comes alive on side B in conjunction with some spooky, breathy spoken word. Side B could go on a sexy mixtape. Side B can get it.

Word to the wise, it is OK to take yr foot off the delay and reverb pedals sometimes.

But dang, what a gorgeous spraypaint/calligraphy cassette shell for a terrible band name. This band deserves a better moniker just in time for the holiday season. Waffle House? You better ask somebody.

-- Mylanta Stanz

ASTROKADE "Holograms" C38
(Kitchen Dweller Records)

Mike Pike's "HOLOGRAMS" is a fantastic foray into 80's influenced synth explorations. Environments range from synethetic to organic, spaced out to dirgey, and dreamy to plodding and brutal - the tracklisting reads as more of a program than separate selections as each idea fluidly morphs into the next. Ideally used as a soundtrack to some thirft store sci fi paperback cheaps or an archaic video game. Two thumbs up to the rad packaging here - a teeny, puffy VHS-style case houses a single cassette and a multicolored insert.

-- Karissa Talanian

MULCH "Mulch 2" C30 (Love Earth Music)

Bobbleheaded basement jams of an aleatory nature. Served with static-haired bombast using the customary utensils of rock purveyance, sans vocals, and featuring occasional interjections by a spazzy got-out-of-jail-free harmonica. Veers wantonly over filemot turf between puddly realms of Zornian cacophony and menacing thickets of prunefaced Dick Tracy mold-jazz; the smudged surface craquelured with loosey-goosey, for-the-love-of-the-game esprit. Favorite track names include "Wasted Cowboy", "Victory Gas", and "Smelly & Redundant".

-Francis Carr Jr.

"A Time To Look Back" (OSR)

Hypnotic, dreamlike electric guitar and vocal versions of pop standards. Songs you’ve probably heard a few times performed with more elaborate and psychedelic finesse than you could have ever imagined. This tape is, oddly enough, a reissue of a home released cassette by a 60-something-year-old luthier in the late 1970s. The artwork says it all…

The reissue is out on cassette via Zach Phillips’ OSR Tapes (this label just released 10 cassettes, three LPs and one 7"... hopefully look for more coverage on these releases in the coming weeks/months...then again most of the tapes are probably selling out fast so maybe just head to the site and get what you can. I highly recommend the vinyl compilation of NYC outsider Hartley C. White, the Ed Askew, CE Schneider Topical & Moth Eggs tapes, the Ruth Garbus 7" and the Chris Weisman LP - editor).

--Aaron Bendich

WM JOHNSON “Crawl” (Holy Page Records)

Modular synth records, from the bone-shattering brutality of Total Life to the cerebral meanderings of Matt Carlson, can sometimes start to sound very much alike after digging deep into the Bandcamp offerings. Some can capture your attention immediately, like Total Life’s amazing set at Debacle Fest 2013, while others can help pass the time at work. For the latter, it’s enjoyable, you never stop the music, but when it’s over you can’t quite recall what stuck out about that one compared to the other finds of the day. Artists within the field can get stuck in the homogenous sounds and only appeal to the heads, while casual listeners (i.e. me) just brush it aside. But there are some that just stick with you, and thankfully I’m here to talk about one of those kinds of releases.

When Crawl, a new tape from Oberlin based composer William Johnson, started playing on my speakers, I thought that it might fit in with the latter group, but oh my was I wrong! I’ll skip ahead and describe the B-side, because I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Johnson really baits you when the side starts out, with a fuzzed out synth that makes you think, Oh, so now it’s gonna be like this, huh? Just as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, all hell breaks loose. Seriously, a wind storm of sound blows you aside and keeps you has you hooked the whole way. Not to say that the A-side is lacking, but it’s hard to top that last half. I’ve been chasing the high of that previously mentioned Total Life show, which left me in equal parts shock and awe, and now I finally feel like I’ve achieved a similar experience.

-- Jason Cabaniss

DELEUZER "Greatest Hits Vol. 1" (Individual Lines)

Mud puddle metal scrape free jazz/noise, light on rhythm and heavy on the deriving shrieks and groans from what might more typically be thought of as musical instruments. The first side sounds like the dying wails of a malfunctioning steam golem accompanied by crackling electrical sprites. Is this what the Eraserhead soundtrack sounded like? I can't remember. Eventually the golem meets his end and we are treated to a dance by the family of sprites, which attracts the attention of a lonely whale, who briefly sings in his native tongue. (This part is actually outright pretty, and I'm glad they had the confidence to move in this direction even if only briefly.) Then of course the whale leaves and we get some more dissonant drone and skronking saxophone blasts. And it just keeps going! Dramatic, fun, and very human noise music, in contrast to most of the harsh rhythmic stuff that seems to be trendy right now. Side B contains some bleary tones and frantic chain rattling and what sounds like a tea kettle boiling over, which is then superseded by some modular electronic pads and an amplified windup toy, and then it ends on a long segment featuring crazy sax wails over a melancholy trumpet riff, and of course fourteen other things happening simultaneously. Cool stuff!

Side note: On the copy I got there are very quiet ghost tracks during the silence at the end of each side, which I think means these must be reused tapes. They're not complete songs (not that this band even does "songs") but it's cool, like finding a weird Easter egg hidden after the main piece is over.
-- Will Griscom

(Resurrection Records / No Rules! Records)

As stupid, shallow, and a little bit narcissistic as it sounds, the first thing I noticed when inspecting the Primitive Hearts cassette is that the guy in the album art holding the clippers has a shirt with “Roy” written over the chest pocket. It’s not every day I get to admire an illustration of a droopy eyed gentleman and a cigarette dangling out of his mouth wearing a polo with my name on it. Fellow Roys will understand and appreciate the significance of this. Since the vast majority of people are not named Roy, I will move on to reviewing the actual contents of the album. There is a lot more to appreciate besides the album art.

Coming in at just shy of 25 minutes, “High & Tight” is the debut album (released April 9, 2013) from Primitive Hearts. The band is a three piece garage pop unit from Oakland, California who cranked out some pretty cool songs on this tape. Subject matters on the tape range from pleading with a lover not to leave (“Believe Me”), living uninhibited by social conventions (“No Rules”), being a wanderer who prefers solitude to company (“Lone Wolf”), and a girl named Harmony who the singer is apparently very fond of (“Harmony”). However it is track #4, which shares its title with the album, which ended up being my favorite. The song mirrors the entire effort not only in name but also in the sense that it is upbeat to the point of compelling the listener to bob their head, tap their foot, dance, flail, shake, rattle, roll, or in some other way move in response to what they are listening to. I’ve concluded that the only way to make it through the duration of the song, or the album for that matter, without doing any of those things is by actively suppressing urge to do so. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself while listening.

There are literally hundreds of acts making garage rock/pop albums currently. An epicenter of it all, arguably THE epicenter, is California. With new output to explore being released on a daily basis, if you only have time to choose a few Primitive Hearts are more than worthy of consideration. Give “High & Tight” a chance and see if you agree.

Stream/buy the tape here:

-- Roy Blumenfeld

HO99O9 “Mutant Freax EP” (Family)

Two, horrocore punks raging from New Jersey (Jean & Eaddy) who make erratic jams that are crossovers from thrash punk to experimental hip hop. Their name might throw you off a bit, but it is pronounced “horror,” a great alias for two freaks. These guys are cut loose and are definitely not restrained from what people might think about their music. The hook for the first song of this EP, they directly shout “fuck your politics, meet the apocalypse,” a free-spirited and very clear statement in the kind of message they’re exerting. HO99O9 do justice to their rapping abilities as well as singing over accelerating punk riffs. They are not preaching in their songs, they are here to kill the preacher. You can get a clear essence of industrial hip hop merged with synths that are drained and cloudy. This is a project in which you wished they had more material, but the already released work is surely not disappointing. Looking forward to what they have in store for us in the near future.

Listen to their EP here:


-- Jesus Perez

“Canzoni in Silenzio” C60
(Under My Bed Recordings)

A quiet and beguiling cassette from Under My Bed Recordings, a label based in Milan, Italy dedicated to “home-recording productions”. This is a split between two of the “so-called pioneers of the Italian ‘bedroom scene’”, and both sides have a lovely, intimate vibe. Recorded live at a house show (which, based on the sound and volume of applause between songs, sounds like a pretty sizable party), both sides are just a guy and a guitar.  My Dear Killer does all originals, while Bob Corn tosses in a few covers, including songs by Belle and Sebastian and Husker Du.

This tape’s got a sundown sort of sheen to it. Lots of fragile acoustic guitar, reverb on the vox, some people clapping and shifting in their seats as the next song starts. Listen in your kitchen with a single light on. Recommended if you liked Dashboard Confessional (and I LOVED them) but need something that’s a bit more European and/or grown up.

-- Mark McCloughan

JJAAXXNN “Space Case” (Translingustic Other)

JJAAXXNN is really annoying to type, and originally I planned on griping about how tricky spellings and all-caps hijinks separate artists from the boots-on-ground, blood-in-teeth real world. But then I listened to the tape and realized that JJAAXXNN (still, sigh) isn't interested in the real world at all. The solo work of Josh Bruner, formerly of Californian hypno-psych desert-wanderers Magic Leaves, Space Case is a breezy collection of mellow-yellow synth pop that wafts around freely like a plastic bag in the wind, tethered tangentially to a group of voices that sing with all the slit-eyed conviction of a slacker sex/death cult. There's a shoulder-shrugging chintz to the sound on this tape, like Bruner lifted his gear from a low-rent wedding band, but figures you'll be too entranced by his washes of reverb-y haze-pop to notice the '89 Casio stock drum beats. And mostly you are. By the time you hit the B-side – all dubs, all the time – you'll be floating effortlessly in the dirty bathwater of your soul. And for $7.00 a pop, that's a  much cheaper ride than a weekend-long  Xanax jag.

- Ken McIntyre

“Oh Baby / My Acoustica” split
(Weird Ear Records)

I’ve always had a weird relationship with splits. On one hand, you’ve got your great splits – banana comes to mind, and also that half-chocolate half-vanilla soft-serve you used to get everywhere. On the other hand, you’ve got your gymnastic splits, inseam-splits, favorite-band-calls-it-quits-and-splits, and the like. I guess what I’m saying is, the appeal of a split comes down to what it’s splitting, and whether whatever’s being split might have been better off left alone.

Enter Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer and Horaflora’s “Oh Baby/My Acoustica.”

The A-side of the cassette features the 16-and-a-half minute “Oh Baby” by Brooklyn-based duo Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer, featuring a genuinely strange and unequivocally functional combination of the eponymous amplified trumpets and synthesizers, joined intermittently by haunting vocals. Opening with warm, treated horns over a bed of lush synthesizer, the track gradually sheds its harmony as it progresses first into ambiences and later into a hissing, feedback-heavy flurry of intermittent noise.

Viewed holistically, “Oh Baby” might serve as a microcosm of the electronic music listener’s journey into the genre: Beginning in the recognizable realm of discernible harmonic instrumentality, it drifts gradually – even coherently - into a world of jarring noise and floating scraps of melody echoing into dissolution, embodied perfectly by Erica Eso’s halting vocals toward the end of the piece.

Horaflora’s “My Acoustica” B-side begins exactly where “Oh Baby” left off, in the midst of creaking, sampled laughter, and prolonged, jarring notes. In contrast to the Brad Henkle and Erica Eso’s measured instrumentalism, Horaflora’s Raub Roy employs a sound-collage style, melding what the artist terms “sounds, noises, tones, audibilities, vibrations, waves, and recordings,” and remains in one spot for its entirety – and rightfully so. Discernible within the thick layers of the beautifully consistent track are the sounds of cassette and record players starting up and functioning; the weary hiss of dated technology over ambient drones and wails evoking the image of some giant creature in the darkness, radiating feedback and trailing magnetic tape as it lurches slowly from one hidden place to the next. Central to “My Acoustica” is a warm ominousness, one that perhaps consciously identifies the esoteric appeal of so-called retroformat, the familiarity of its frequent dysfunctionality and characteristic sounds of its tangible decay. At the end of just under 18 minutes, “My Acoustica” clicks and chirps into nonexistence, begging to be rewound.

This review will never truly resolve the great debate of the split, and I can’t purport to be able to offer you any advice besides the following: electronic, ambient, and noise fans, when you’re sorting your splits, save room beside the ice-cream products for this tape. Like the vanilla and chocolate soft-serve of yore, these two artists were meant to be enjoyed together.

Find it here:

Weird Ear Records:

- - Neeraj Kumar

RADIO SHOCK "Adapter" C60

This cassette is raw, DIY electronica that is post-nihilism noise freakout mixed with a nightclub DJ's desire to make you go crazy-go-nuts. It sounds recorded live in the studio, a technically speaking lo-fi technique used by heavy hitters like Big Black and Nirvana to exaggerate their punishing sound. I say that because there's a nice crusty edge to the recording. But in contrast to bands like Big Black or Nirvana, Radio Shock's melodies are made by rhythmically oscillating tone-ascensions. They are usually very minimal, repetitive and almost hypnotic melodies (I guess Big Black is pretty hypnotic and repetitive). The closest comparison I can make is to Veronica Vasicka's record label of 70ties and 80ties electronica, "Minimal Waves Tapes" (particularly vol. 1) but more noisy and aggressive. 3 parts disco, 1 part Hair Police if you comprehend my French. 
The recording sounds slightly reverberated, suggesting a room echo. Usually this is a sign of low production value; it could have very possibly been recorded with the voice memo app on an iphone 3. I know this "laissez-faire" attitude towards sharing music is somewhat out of vogue these days. But Radio Shock's Adapter has a punk attitude that a suit could never ever provide. The album's low-fi DIY recording, use of what sounds like garage sale casio keyboard beats (love the Marimba and cowbell repeats on this!) and cassette format give it an energy absent from over-produced studio albums. I'd actually rather listen to this than say a Mouse on Mars album that sounds a bit too slick and clean. Well, I wouldn't go that far. Mouse on Mars is awesome. I guess I just have a soft spot for recognizable toy keyboard beats that are being used to obliterate dance halls!

"Light Cones" is a highlight that falls close to later career Melt-Banana territory in terms of tempo and general vibe. But honestly, each song has its own particular feel so it is hard to have a favorite. From voiceover speech about thinking about the human brain as a technology to even subtle nods to Quintron-esque "Drum Buddy" sounds like on the song "Cuckoo Club", the genre of dance beat is the only constant. Things get experimental like on the song "Nitecapp". It has an electric guitar hook that is a dissonant chord repeated. It almost feels like I'm listening to grunge but it remains true to its dance noise genre by accompanying the guitar with simple drum machine beat.

The song "Apokalypticize" clocks in at 6:18 and is just tape mutilation with a looped sequence drum beat behind it that subtly changes in frequency. At times it sounds like Kraftwerk, other times like Aaron Dilloway. It's pretty wonderful party song that'll definitely make the kids dance like Charlie Brown Christmas.

I loved this cassette. I think you will too.
Throw the guy a bone! I think he lives in NYC so check it out all you lower east side steamsk8r gym rats! Raise a slice of pizza for your brother here back in Boston. This is Turnbull, over and out.

Also, here he is performing at the International Noise Conference, 2013, in Miami.

-- Jack Turnbull

"Smack The Brick" C18 (NNA Tapes)

Historically speaking, it is undeniable it is a thrilling time (I don't believe time exists either) to be co-residing on this particular lost planet. In the smoky recesses of our jam-crammed storage unit of a world psyche, a head heavy brew of impending doom is being percolated with the savory notion that unlimited freedom and one world joyous rapture may be tapping on our borrowed doors. Like, very, very soon. Planted in this tilled soil, the delicate saplings of a deeply rooted musical creation has sprung forth. It is vegetative nectar that cannot help but weed out and breed love and satiated nourishment. This root manifests under the expression Guerilla Toss. And they only breed wild fried eyed soul funk.

Don't get it confused, the band has plastered up some reverent contagious cut-up disco trance. Shining in the live spectacle, all self-assured nobles can not help but shake. But, please people, and I am asking nicely, attempt a new shimmy besides bumping into each other. I got dragged to hardcore shows in 86 and that stuff wasn't even fun then. 

For the uninitiated,and I doubt they exist outside of the mass pike, GToss is a deliciously delirious and enigmatic live spectacle. I've always liked the records, but it is my personal conviction that this is the first studio foray that properly documents their splendor adequately. Four songs for lovers, and journeywomen and dogs, into furious funk, slip and slide stop at the green light noise breaks, terse trance, and go see the guy with the green hat for the pure shit jam music. All delivered with a true punk incendiary flare. 

Peter with the sticks, pops like a player who was birthed in 1924 and has played three sets a night since he was nine. And never vacationed. Hell, let's be honest this job is the name of that Aerosmith record from the nineties with all the ballads you pretend to dislike. Permanently. Pete is an old soul- you can see it in all three eyes. Don't bother watching his hands.

The bass booms and loosens your hip joints. Kinda like a union foreman who is happy to be making 150 an hour on the night ship. The gitar knows exactly, yea exactly, when to pluck, doing so with the assurance of that crazy kid at recess who did magic tricks with rubber bands. The keyboard is glamour, shine, and shows the wisdom earned with good easy plain living.

The tape moves them in a pop direction and I couldn't be happier. Kassie, the Kantruce, has nearly perfected her newly pasteurized (pasture sized) squeelish, girlish hiss and found a way to hook up the lines to the big one. In your craw. I crEyEd.

By the time you finish you are scraping your knees on the carpet from the 80s, thrashing stupid around your cramped studio,or are convinced if you knew 20 other bands with this trick bag you would never again lust after artificial stimuli.

I have not played out a tape this bad since Highway to Hell and I can't stop. I'm calling my priest.

I don't know what more to say except GToss could be the first crispy band to escape from the underground this century. I am delusional, biased, and optimistic but if a pimp Rasta mob boss into Allah rapped two verses over this I could find my keys to the lockbox and have GToss cash the 3009 year old treasury note decaying there. I would, but I can't find a proper abacus at a trustworthy auction. With the money, they could monopolize Jamaica Brain and raise ayahuskaDu to alleviate the sickness. It's all good Mayor Walsh helped write this review. He salutes you.

-- Michael Montagano

"Summer Games/Studio 69" cassingle
(self released)

I can't believe it's 2014 and someone is actually playing goddamn righteous piano licks.  Case in point:

The other side was very chill as well:

Saw this duo a few months back and they were deep space grooving like late 90s Phish.  Which is a good thing in my book and I don't care who knows it.

The band put out this fine looking cassingle themselves earlier this year (sorry we're just getting to it now). You can see if they have anymore via 

-- Nick Williams

"Like Lamps On By Day"
(Old Bicycle Records)

The work of a singular intelligence. The artist is conductor and engineer of his own bedroom symphony. He is patiently jamming away in his private, mystical world and presenting the fruits to the listener with classical forthrightness. It is a precious album, beautifully formatted for the cassette. The artist is dreaming honest. A private phantasmagoria for the attentive initiate. It is symphonic, but with great electronic sounds, including analog crack crack. Tasteful, careful variety. No voice to put a face to, but the psychedelic noir cover art can suffice for the heaven-bound earth-child element, along with the breathy flute that ends side B. The music is true and kind of sad. “Like Lamps on by Day” turns out to be a good title. The artist’s website says he is creating primarily in a theatrical/sound installation context. Italian theater. That sounds good and right to me. Recommended.

-- Kevin Oliver

HUN BED "s/t"
(Uuhngreh Schpuggenuh)

From the deep forests of the Netherlands comes Hun Bed. Not sure if it from the woods but it gives me that evil keebler dwarf joy. I like the name because the Bed is what we call my town and Hun is what I call my gal. Who knows, maybe it is a reference to the jolly Atilla the Hun, but I don't know cuz I don't read much and we never got to WWII in school, nevermind goddamned Atilla the Hun.

Anyway, the first thing I hear when the magnets react on my desktop Japanese relic is the low rumble of wartorn Birthday Party when they landed in London. Bleak and I approve. Lyrics are in Dutch, another anti-demerit because I never understood bands who do not sing in their native tongue. This is the Hun Bed debut cassette and they only made 25- and it's still available from Chuck, even though it's been out for months. Criminal. If it was on vinyl it would of sold out by now because alot of collectors don't even enjoy music. If you buy a buy a coffee from 7-11 today instead of the boutique you can afford one. But I know, homeless people congregate around convenience stores and they are quite bothersome and small cassette labels and musicians are normally well off, so it is forgivable. Note to self-be kind.

Dark tones pervade this music and it comes across as civilized and accomplished. The guitars are that perfect post-1981 European pitch and when you descend into the swirl they cut out and get all jumbled,confused and worried. It picks up into a wave again and washes over you in dissonance and resolution. They sound thirsty. I have visions of a loft in middle YrHope where I am trained in esoteric middle ages violin music. Its weird, by midtape you recognize friendly chords that would fit nicely into college radio, if it still existed, before the sound dissipates into art music for drizzly daze. To use a bad catch-all, dare I say..epic.. Or at the minimum Epoch-this Hun Bed is glorious 21st CenTury darkness -as the absence of light. JUst as we like, as we inch towards fluorescence like lost Moths. The singing sounds lifted from a lost operatic stanza from pre-audiotronix. Makes me long for the day of post-passport Kastle living. This tape would sound perfect in a rickety vessel 1000 east of my pier. Reverse Pilgrimage. One can only hope they tour.

Buy this Tape- if it is available still in a month I am morphing into hoarder mode.

-- Michael Montagano

"Total ConeTrol Demo"

I am convinced that I am getting younger and this cassette happily confirms my suspicious condition. These boys reside somewhere in the Midwest I believe, but I am unsure because no one seems to know-even though I've poked around extensively.

In these frustrating days of media saturation, the approach of these lads is anonymity and self-imposed seclusion. This fits perfectly into my aesthetic of deliberate mystification, or maybe they cannot find their way out of the basement because they are sending radio waves to ancient galaxies through a ham radio they rigged from a broken microwave oven they found in a creek. Either way,I am ravenous to infiltrate the Kabal. The tape blisters through at 8 minutes with six songs and not a sub-second is wasted. The only reference point I can conjure is the Urinals, as if that whim is somehow relevant. Inverse of the shrouding of identity, the music is exactly the opposite. They make a land grab and are settling in for a bit. This would perfectly in 1982 but I doubt they were born before 92. Major points for historical awareness. The rhythm barrels along while solos are interspersed at six second intervals, desperately played like a blur between a jerry lee richard piano solo and a fevered banjo picker who lives in an Appalachian cave. Alien insectoid Vocals. A Residents and Night Fever pair of renditions square it out. Listening, I am informed my eyes are in a militant glare with a spooky goof mouthgrin. If I could find these tapes I would buy them all and give them to people who believe stoner rock is an actual thing. I just bruised my ankle doing a jig and I
can't finish my coffee, even it's my first mug. Total ContRole, it'll be.

--Michael Montagano

MEANS WELL "Don't Dream"
(Self Aware Records)

Means Well are a three piece band from Asheville, NC signed to Self Aware Records. The city has a reputation of being a mecca of art and free will in the mountains of North Carolina and Means Well reflect it in their music. According to their Facebook, they make ‘happy indie/punk’. If “Don’t Dream” is to be considered a punk album it certainly falls on the lighter end of the spectrum; which is not necessarily a bad thing. Although a couple tracks with names like “Hey Satan” and “Dylar Junkie” are featured, the latter of which is about the devastation caused by drug abuse from someone close, the album maintains a pleasantly upbeat tone throughout.

All 8 songs feature nice dual vocals from Josh and Katrina Cook. I found that Josh’s voice took a little more warming up than Katrina’s. But they both complement each other very well. The trio sounds perfectly in-sync instrumentally. Besides the aforementioned distinct taste of Asheville in their music, the other major takeaway I had from listening to “Don’t Dream” is that Means Well is a big fan of 90s indie music. Track #3, titled “Honestly”, would not be out of place on any mixtape of that era. While they may not be reinventing the wheel, Means Well’s tape was a fun listen for me.
If that intrigues you then consider being one of the 100 people to get a copy. 

 -- Roy Blumenfeld

Write For Cassette Gods

UPADTE 12/8/14: this post was a resounding success! Just look at all the new Cassette Gods added to the sidebar. I just mailed over 150 tapes to over 20 new writers.  I think we have all the contributors we need at the moment and we should be getting up to speed in the coming weeks.

Cassette God's was founded by Brian Miller (Deathbomb Arc) of Los Angeles in 2006. A few years later George William Myers (Breaking World Records, The Quarters) took the helm.   I've been keeping it alive for the last four years or so, but a variety of factors have lead me to not give this blog the attention that it deserves.  This is a real shame, because the amount of submissions have been steadily increasing in recent years, to the point where there are now way more tapes than can be adequately processed by the current writers.  
The number of artists releasing there music on cassette has grown exponentially since we first started and the blog has seen the format transition into one mostly used by Noise bands in the mid 2000s to it's current re-emergence as a medium for all genres of music. I think that shift has been noted in the general evolution of this blog over the years.  

My current goal is to get Cassette Gods to the point where we are posting one review per day. I'm looking to get a handful of new people involved so we can really do service to the amazing tapes everyone has been sending in.  There are two ways to get involved:

1. If you live in the Boston area, stop by my record store Deep Thoughts, grab some tapes from the rack (pictured above) and send me the reviews. This option is open to literally anyone who can make it to the shop.  Right now, Jack Turnbull has been the major raider of the submissions box and I can't thank him enough for his dedicated contributions over the last year.

2. Send me an email (contact info in my blogger profile) if you are interested in becoming a regular contributor. I will be mailing out care packages of tapes to the new writers. All that is required is a love of music and a commitment to send me a minimum of one review per week from the tapes you receive.  Writers are definitely encouraged to write about any additional tapes they acquire through other channels, but not at the expense of neglecting the "official submissions."  This tactic has been implemented before, but not with much success, (i.e. the reviews would dry up pretty quickly) so I'm going to be pretty strict about the weekly contribution requirement for writers who I mail tapes to.  I'll only be able to mail tapes free of charge to writers in the USA. 

To the musicians and bands that send us your music daily:
Keep your submissions for review coming. No tape gets discarded and everything will eventually fall into the hands of a writer (though that doesn't guarantee a review, hopefully you will have a much better chance in the near future).  I think Cassette Gods is one of the most populist sites of it's kind in that we will review anything if it inspires us and we're not looking to drum up readership with "big names."  I can't tell you what a joy it's been to be involved in this project.  I frequently get emails from musicians just getting started who say that positive reviews on this page have lead towards all sorts of great things.  Surprisingly the readership has steadily increased despite the infrequency of posts, so now is definitely the right time to make this blog the best it can possibly be.

With Love and Respect for the Cassette Community,


"Seeking the Millenary Kingdom"
(Solid Melts)

Ready to hear some super fun synth sax improv noise? Maybe that isn't a sax, maybe it's just feedback. It's rounded and slowly mimics something resembling a melody. No! It's a trumpet? Well, the background reverberates subtly and pulsates and harmonizes in odd ways. Not much structure, it's more ambient influenced.

Gooshy pulses and horns of some type. They're reverberated and sound like they have subtle effects placed through their amplification. They drawl out into noise while rhythmatic two chord pulses trade tone.

Amazing horn harmonies. Jeez... Wow. Powerful jazz noise fusion.

Harmonies are used effectively between looping keyboard chord progressions and horn improvisation. There is a nice mixing in of industrial video game negativity that is strategically placed.

Guys, this release is a real winner if you just remain patient with it. That'll be easier for you noise boys and perhaps harder for those who enjoy frantic time signature changes. It's a real gem of ambient sincerity; beautiful old world tone creating techniques integrating with underplaying elements of digital electronics.

Sample here:

--Jack Turnbull

CrO2 "Epifanies Ultralocales"

After a recent Barcelona trip I was introduced to Ultra-Local records, a small shop selling mostly local records and tapes and throwing events in the Pobleneau. We went in and every person in the record store introduced themselves and shook our hands! Barcelona has the best scene!

This tape by (ultra) local artist CrO2 is some solo noiseiscian tabletop fare released on the store's in-house imprint. XIII live recordings from Christmastime of 2013 (in Catalonia there is no Santa but 3 magic kings) meander through spacious decaying orchestral loops/analog sound source to basic drum machine and robotic PSAs, filtered through FX into the store's PA. The background ambience adds another dimension. Some moments sound like contact mic on wood or a keyboard with all of its keys being played at the same time. It is impossible to tell but certainly worth a listen.

Available here as a pay what you want download:

Check out Ultra-Local here! -Matt Robidoux