Write for Cassette Gods 12/2/14

UPADTE 12/8/14this 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,



by Nick Williams 7/12/13

I've been a part of the underground music house show/noise show or whatever scene for ten years now either as a performer, show attendee or venue runner.  During that time I've seen some really great stuff come and go, some of it gaining a modicum of national exposure, but much of it remaining woefully obscure to all but the very lucky few.  This post is an attempt to highlight some of the best acts from my adopted home of jolly olde New England that you may not have heard before.  Initially, one of my selection criteria was lack of web presence, but it's harder and harder to find a band who doesn't put themselves out there in some way these days.  The list is by no means complete and is somewhat of a contradiction of terms.  Clearly the truly "most undergroundest" artists are ones I or no one else has ever heard of.  So please don't take the title too seriously. The list in some sort of rough order that is a combination of how much I like the artist v.s. relative level of obscurity...plus mysterious factors.

20. Skimask - I feel kind of funny putting these guys on the list because they're so well liked in Boston. But when you release your first LP and you don't put the name of your band anywhere on it, well that's definitely a nod in the direction of obscurity.  This trio sounds kind of like a somewhat standard (but great) noise rock band, but all the "guitar" and "bass" parts are made by one dude with a mic and a table of pedals.  There's also a more traditional singer, a real street-rat named Andy, and a powerhouse drummer who's in tons of New England punk bands.  Adding to the aura of mystery around these guys is the fact that they cancelled what would have been their first big tour out of the region, only to appear again unannounced at some local dives a few months later.  Hey, I guess they have a website though: http://skimaskboston.com/

19. Peace, Loving - Another one that I wasn't sure belonged on the list at first.  Adam Kohl and Kate Lee (who are soon to be expecting their first child) are founding members of the Whitehaus collective in Boston, a house/venue that has hosted hundreds upon hundreds of touring bands for the last 5 or 6 years.  While many people are aware of their efforts in the DIY community, I think their strange and prolific musical output is often neglected.  From their one of a kind live performance events that feature a mix of music concrete, folk and poetry, to their micro-edition releases, Peace, Loving is one of the most unique groups from New England.

18. Nathan Ventura - Travelling dude and sometimes Boston resident who produces quite a lot of music, but has only played live a handful of times.  A debut LP on Anonymous Dog Records doesn't seem to be doing much to spread the word on this guy, and that's a shame.  Maybe cause you can't even buy it from the website of the label that put it out (!!!), but I swear his record exists. I have one!  True outsider one-man-band fucked up folk noise. Hear much sound on bandcamp: http://nathanventura.bandcamp.com/

Horse Spirit Penetrates
17. Horse Spirit Penetrates - A Western Mass band who seems to play about once a year and has maybe put out 3 or 4 tapes or CD-rs over the last decade. Here's what I said on Cassette Gods three years ago:  The wigged out almost-moog-toned guitaring generally maintains a permanent tonal fantasy, while the drums are a constant swirl of never-dying fire with free-jazz-mannerisms in tow. It's loud and it hurts, but it achieves a mythic greatness.  Some old music on myspace: https://myspace.com/horsespiritpenetrates

Clare Hubbard
16. Clare Hubbard (Caethua/Ancestral Diet/Sports). I think Clare lived in New England long enough to make it on this list...though she might have left for greener pastures by now.  Whether it's the gloomy folk of Caethua, the industrial goth noise of Ancestral Diet or the totally thrilling and even more refined solo jams of Sports, Hubbard has been a guiding light in underground music to lucky few who get to hear her play or grab one of her totally underrated records.  www.saxwand.com

15. Visitations, et al. - This mysterious psych folk group from Portland Maine was active for a few years in the mid 2000s and did have a relatively well received full length LP on Time-Lag (again, a case where the band's name appeared nowhere on the physical release), but there's something about their personas that always kept them a secret from the world at large.  They don't play (much? at all?) together anymore but you should try to catch a solo set or hear a release from the three members' current projets: Janane Tripp plays solo under her own name and Chris Livengood and Brendan Evans  perform as a duo called Video Nasties.  Brendan also has a solo record on Don't Trust the Ruin as B.R. Garm.  This is the only band on the list that I would call "collectible" in anyway.  For the most part I've tried to stray from artists whose releases fetch higher than list price on the internet (thus the lack of Josh Burkett on this list, one of my absolute favorite New England musicians (sorry but I just can't afford a vinyl copy of Gold Cosmos or Where's My Hat...plus the dude's got too many fans in Europe).  Check out one track off the Visitations self-titled LP here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaoZHhgOgc4

Shea Mowat
14. Shea Mowat - This Maine/Massachusetts resident has been continuing some sort of avant-garde performance-as-composition trend that draws parallels to Paul McCarthy, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Walter Marchetti and, you know, all those dudes. This video is pretty intense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng-BPdN5DxQ.  This one is more musical:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHhTpbbCRr4

13. Astral Plane Junkies - Very confusing and completely unheard of performative noise/metal with psycho undertones.  Check out this rare set captured on camera a few years back: http://youtu.be/dA7WVTZSn5Y

12. Dark Rodeo - Some of the bleakest of the bleak here.  Truly fucked up lyrical content that sometimes borders on criminality, pornography and other such subject matters, but always maintains a somber and captivating tone. Some of it is folk music, some of it is tidal, elegiac rock.  Maybe two highly limited physical releases on cassette, but some more material on bandcamp: http://darkrodeo.bandcamp.com/

11. Martin Chartrand - I'm basing this one on the strength of a single performance at the Frantasia Festival in Livermore Falls, Maine during the summer of 2009.  I find it hard to describe what made it so captivating, but it's a set that I will never forget as long as I live.  Chartrand sang male/female songs in two different voices in a way that completely floored me.  He was backed up by an out of tune "jazz fusion" bassist and an overweight Native American woman on handdrum.  Had to be there.  He's got a CD-r or two out there and was a member of a collective band which I've since forgotten the name of.  I've honestly been afraid to listen to any of his music since that night...Trying to keep the dream alive.

Ruth Garbus
10. Ruth Garbus - Ruth might be one of the most well known people on this list, but it's been more for her membership in other groups than for her gorgeous solo work.  She first came to my attention as a member of Vermont's Feathers in 2004 or 2005.  She was also the drummer in the short lived rock group Happy Birthday (with Feathers alum Kyle Thomas on guitar and vocals & Chris Weisman on bass).  Plus, here sister is pretty well known for making music as Tuneyards.  So yeah, she's been on the edges of some stuff that is approaching the mainstream, but I think that's all the more reason to include her on this list as I feel like her solo acoustic music is very little heard or discussed. Some oldish tracks on myspace: https://myspace.com/ruthgarbus

9. Altered Gee - A new group of two just barely twentysomethings from Portland Maine.  These guys make chillout keyboard and drum machine jams that are great for making babies to and don't really fall into any kind of trend. Hear ten minutes of their debut LP here: https://soundcloud.com/lanimaux-tryst/sets/altered-gee-rise-from-yr-grave

Glade Swope
8. Glade Swope - Another Mainer, Glade has been making his bizarre brand of psychedelic christian metal since the late 1980s and he's still going strong.  There's somewhat of a learning curve to this stuff, but there should be enough assorted sound, text and image on his website for you to get the picture.  "I've seen it through my own three eyes."  http://www.gladeswope.com/

7. Bryan Gillig - This guy is pretty much known only to me and a few lucky others.  A songwriter who I would say is as good as Warren Zevon, but he works in the produce department of the co-op in a little college town in the hills.  Bryan's singing and performance style might take you a minute to appreciate, but his lyrics are at the absolute top of the heap.  He's got his first band together after many years of playing around campfires.  They're called Loudville, and hopefully you'll be hearing something from them soon.    http://bryangillig.bandcamp.com/

6. Bengeorge7 - One of the funniest acts I've ever seen play live. Period.  This is a duo of Ben Hersey and George William Myers, two good friends from Western Massachusetts who blend Dada, slapstick and noise in a way that always brings a smile to my face.  Don't expect much in the way of releases though as these guys have probably been around ten years and I don't know if they've put out a full length, and who can blame them? The physicality of their performance is what makes it so truly special.  Check out this youtube video of what I think was the most recent set they've played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-Kt8vn4p6s.  Also see their spiritual brother: Anthro Rex.

5. Edith Bunker's Demonized Vomit Insurance - Another guy who's been at it for along time.  Edith Bunker is the pseudonym of crazed New Hampshire loner Brent Field, who is sort of like a one man Sun City Girls or Caroliner.  Someone told me he's from the same town the Shaggs were from but I'm not sure if that's true.  Used to have a confusing myspace page, but I'm sure all the html has been stripped by fascism long ago.  Do a google search maybe? I dare you...

4. ANTi - Perhaps the most undeservedly unknown artist on the list, ANTi is a bassist and vocalist from Martha's Vineyard who is kind of like a one-man No Trend, Kilslug or Flipper.  Scott Seward, who owns John Doe Jr. Books and Records in Greenfield, MA showed me this guys music and I've been obsessed with it since day one.  So cruel sounding, so personal.  Check out this sick song "Sacrifice" on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHkQuPW8RHk, but really any of the 92 videos on his channel will do.  Many of them have under 30 views!  He's also got a soundcloud: soundcloud.com/antibassmetal

3. Moscow Mule - This duo of then teenagers could be found rocking shows in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts from time to time in the mid 2000s.  My favorite part of a Mule show was the subtle slide from set-up, to tuning, to banter, to technical difficulties, to half-song noodles, to full frontal shit rock and finally to complete and utter collapse, all in the course of about 25 minutes.  Cory Matthews (drums) and Coco Schachtl (vocals, bass) we're probably majorly influenced by Lightning Bolt and their ilk, but the humor and total unrehearsedness gave them a real edge for me.  They only recorded 5 songs to my knowledge, all of which were released on a split tape with Laudable Pus on Breaking world records. You can still hear some of that music on an old myspace page: https://myspace.com/moscowmule

2. Taboo - Unlike most of the artists on this list, this trio from rural Maine has actually toured all the way across the United States (though I think they've had shows cancelled due to lazy hippie west coast bookers' concerns with the group's "image."  Also, they've got three full length vinyl out too, which makes them un unlikely pick so high up on the list...but there's something truly frightening about this band of true pagan blood sacrifice freaks that will make it so they absolutely never achieve any kind of real acceptance, even in self proclaimed underground communities.  I think it's better that way because Taboo are true dark sorcerers whose magick should not be taken lightly.  They tour with their own soundsystem in order to create punishingly loud psychedelic rock onslaught, but clean up pretty nicely on record.  When I say 'clean up,' I'm probably envisioning a handsome man in drag mopping up a pool of blood.  One of my favorite bands in America right now. http://taboomaine.blogspot.com/

Jeremy Latch
1. Jeremy Latch - Who's this guy? What, never heard of him? Exactly!  Jeremy has been one of the most consistently inspiring musicians to me, mostly based on the strength of one cassette collection of songs and tape collages entitled "Love Letters to Everybody" (yeay! tapes 2007), but also just from knowing the dude and being able to hear him sing from time to time.  I've been told that he was friends with Devendra Banhart before the more popular (and more hirsute) folk singer stole Latch's bag of tricks and blocked all his calls.  Whether or not I heard correctly is unimportant (and who the fuck is Devendra Banhart anyway?), this is some real stuff right here.  Find that tape at all costs.

Honorable Mentions - 

Chris Dooley (Holyoke, MA area show booker extraordinaire and secret genius of horrifyingly loud noises)
The Terribles (Worcester punk band with amazing licks and 15 years of playing together)
Jow Jow the Death Knell Rung (psychedelic jam supergroup with revolving membership)
Turtlecat Symphony (perplexing tiny noises made by a half-deaf woman)
Grey Skull (these guys have toured and released lots of stuff, but they are still criminally under appreciated. Probably because they sound like they don't know what they're doing, but trust me, they do.)
Barn Owl (that is the original spazz noise Barn Owl of Chris Cooper, Andy Crespo & Matt Weston, not the currently semi-popular Barn Owl from SF)
Belltonesuicide (one man noise machine with probably 100 releases and very little exposure)
Pine Tree State Mind Control (patience trying conceptual noise)
Radioactive Prostitute (long running Nirvana inspired rock cum destructive performance art unit)
Codeine Schoolboy (this chick is completely on her own wavelength)
Mystic Out-Bop Review (high quality acoustic free jazz trio from Portland, ME)
Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof (profoundly strange costumed performance and tape music, plus the dude is a great visual artist)
Foom (Triple 7" on Stomach Ache came out in the 90s and then only a few CD-rs here and there.  Currently doing super chill turntable sets and working in "the music industry")
Sound of Pot (solo project of Conrad Capistran of Sunburned and Tarp.  Big man with beard makes movie soundtrack miniatures with an SK-1 and Kaoss Pad)
Andrea Pensado (maybe she's well enough known know, but this miniature Argentinian woman who lives in Boston is one of the best screamers and computer noise artists I've ever seen live. I think she's finally got some tapes and records coming out)
Extreme Beer Trio (cracked out comedy-noise-metal-rock.  They also have a recording of them singing fucked up songs while riding on freight train. so unknown...)
Family Pet (another group of weirdos from rural Maine. They did finally make a terrible LP that I'm sure no one would ever want to hear, but the recordings on their myspace used to be so fucking evil. Sounds of metal scraping and saxophone/groaning)
Dan Knudson very unique and subtly bizarre savant pop from Portland, Maine.

Special Mention - Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth.  I can't fairly rank this group because I've been one of the members for 5 out of the 7 years of it's existence.  I can say however, that we are one of the most unpopular bands in existence.  FDOME has played countless shows to crowds of 15 or less from Portland, Maine to Harrisonburg, VA.  I think people think we're some kind of sick joke, ya know? "Throw the kid in the wheelchair up on the stage in drag" and all that.  Couldn't be further from the truth.  Front man Danny Cruz is one of the most charismatic, entertaining and spiritual singers I've ever seen perform or had the pleasure to play with.  He's the creative force that has drawn over 20 deep-weirdoes into his orbit (some of whom appear on the list above) and I urge you all to become inspired by his muse: http://flamingdragonsofmiddleearth.blogspot.com/.

Okay, that's all for now. This has been fun.

STRANGE MAINE by Nick Williams 5/5/12
photo credit - 'the internet'

Strange Maine is one of the coolest little shops in the Northeast, and should be on the to-do list of anyone making the hour and forty five minute trek up to Portland from Boston...or wherever. Ostensibly a record shop, but there's really so much more housed among the assorted ephemera. This place is a real haven for VHS and cassette junkies in particular, but will surely appeal to vinyl lovers. The LPs are mostly used, but there are a few new discs by Maine artists.  The alphabetical browsers have some pretty generic (and cheap) records, but the new arrivals and oddball sections will surely have something you covet. The VHS selection is much more curatorial. An entire shelf is dedicated to films organized by label (Good Times, Anchor Bay, Vestron, etc...) and the rest are separated into genres and alphabetized all the way up to the ceiling.  Prices vary based on quality of the flick and rarity.  The audio cassette wall is stuffed with great stuff:  I've seen The Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Crispin Hellion Glover, Minor Threat, Public Enemy and Zappa in the last month, to name a few.  The small wall of contemporary underground cassettes is pretty cool (lots of touring bands leave  a tape when they play at the shop during the regular summer music events).  There are print and zine sections that are well stocked, a rack of vintage video games and systems, 8-tracks and many bins of self released noise CDrs.  The whole place is a real work of art, stuffed to the gills with weird artifacts and imagery (much of which resides in the 'permanent collection').  The 'found photo' box is one of the weirdest I've ever seen, and there are binders full of amateur artwork to browse through.  I'd also like to add that the three employees are all immenintely cool dudes, and talented folks in their own right: Brendan (Garm, Visitations), Skot (Id M Theft Able) and Mike (Coelacanth comic) have kept this place going for most of the 2000s, making it one of the most lived in shops of this kind I've ever been too.  Website

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Moody Lords, another record shop located right above Strange Maine in the old Time-Lag space.  They've got a lot of jazz, 60s rock, R&B/Soul and rap on vinyl as well as a few racks of ladies clothes and some circuit bent electronics.  There are some solid 'wall records' there.  Otto Pizza next door is pretty rad too if you can afford the $3+ slices and draft beers after a dat of record shopping.

by Nick Williams 4/16/12

Constant Companion,

I've been away, investigating opportunities for fun with some party partners. Here's a run down of all the shows I went to this week, mostly in Boston.

Monday 4/9/12 - picked up two acts from France at Logan Airport. Max and Alice who plays as High Wolf and Chicaloyoh were really nice and bummed me lots of Marlboro Lights.  Show went down at Gay Gardens.  Her set was dark, brooding and captivating, while his was blissful and harmonic.  I forget.  I smoked hash.  Gay Shapes  from Worcester played last and tore the roof off. Hypnic Jerk opened and was swell. Electric Cactus and Flesh Control,  both played from Richmond, VA but I missed their sets cause I was helping out the French kids.

Tuesday 4/10/12 - Moonrises is a very heady psych band from Chicago that features Magma-esque keyboard and drums and High Rise styled guitar shred.  Ms. Libby and Plastic Crimewave shared the vocals, a few songs apiece and Ben Baker Billington held it down on the drums.  Listen. Tape on Priority Male link also released on LP by Logan Hardware link. The last act was a Mystery Band, whose set was played in the dark.  They made acoustic sounds on scrap metal.  Heavenly!  Earlier Colby Nathan played.  He's from the amazing band Hyena link, who's few releases sound like a mix of Brian Wilson and Ed Askew.  Show was at the Whitehaus in Jamaica Plain.

Wednesday 4/11/12 - Drove out to Brattleboro VT with a small crew and descended upon not only the town, but also Marlboro College, where a show was going on aways down Route 9.  Much merriment was had when I arrived to find my friends Danny and Christina in the midst of performing their best set yet as Ice Cream.  Next up was a single song by Zach Philips (Blanche Blanche Blanche, Bruce Hart) which immediately segued into an impassioned set of new songs by Joey Pizza Slice AKA Son of Salami.  The Happy Jawbone Family Band took their usual sweet ass time setting up, but it was well worth the wait.  They slayed.  Exit college students, enter the 11 person Reptar Quiet Hooves caravan.  Many spontaneous configurations of players produced many startling sounds.  The Great Valley played somewhere in there.  Show ended at 2am with everyone in attendance, including me, having performed at some point.

Thursday 4/12/12 - Spent the morning chilling in Brattleboro, where I simultaneously saw everyone I knew.  Hi Chris, Ruth and Sarah!  Got back to Boston just for show time @ the Butcher Shoppe where Black Pus played an energetic set to a moderately-packed basement.  The show was good and the human pinball machine was in full effect.  It was my first time seeing Chippendale play and I wish it had come ten years sooner when I first heard of Lightning Bolt and was more open to being blown away.  Well you can't be everywhere at once.  My skin tasted like a hotdog afterwards.  Opening bands were all kinda alright to varying degrees: Buck Gooter Mounds. I missed Skimask.

Friday 4/13/12 - Another show at Gay Gardens.  Very enthused young metal bands.  Me and some pals played one song after the first band. Good vibes all around, but I don't remember anyone's name. I fell asleep during the 3rd band.

Saturday 4/14/12 - Final day in Allston and I saw two great shows.  A friendly house party was going on over at the Rotten Apples' place.  Two bands from LA: Sister Fucker (with Vanessa from Coughs) and Bleak End at Bernies laid out some good, if kind of generic punk/grind/metal.  All those folks were so nice though.  Hypnic Jerk played again.  They're the house band at the Smokey Bear Cave and their quickly growing on me.  Really dubbed out robo-trip stuff.  It was also someone's birthday and their was a rainbow cake.  There was a fire and rope swing in the backyard.  Yeah! Lower Allston!  At 11pm I went over to a really cool new shop called Store 54 and saw Bobb Trimble and the Flying Spiders.  Caught the first six songs of their set and I was so happy to be able to sing along to tunes from Harvest of DreamsIron Curtain Innocence and whatever that newer one is called.  All of Bobb's albums came out in the early 80s and the renewed interest in his music has brought forth 3 reissues and a new live band of younger folks who are really doing his music justice.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you really should hear the records: beautiful glam-psych with falsetto vocals and phaser on the guitar for every song!  After doing that, definitely see him live. This was my second time and I think the band is really starting to gel.  I finally ended up returning to the house party to check out a really loud and amazing set from an impromptu pickup band made up of Allston residents: members of Guerilla TossFunny Money and Quinn Miller from Great Goblins.

Oh, New England!

p.s. I meant to put links to all the bands, but that's too time consuming for me today, and you can use google just as well as I can.


by Nick Williams (One Kind Favor) 11/23/11

I thought it might be kind of cool to write a little something about what I've learned from putting out scores of cassettes over the years. Forgive me if any of this seems patronizing. I sure wish I had had some of this information when I was making my first crude audio missives! I'm going to take you step by step through the process.

Making a Master/Dubbing
You can release a cassette tape of music that was initially recorded on any medium. Your cold, clinical sounding Garageband recordings may find new life on a warm sounding c23 (notice I said may). I often record my music onto cassette (4 track, handheld, stereo boombox) and then transfer it onto a computer where I piece together different segments using Audacity (or some such program). If you are going to do like I do, make sure to watch your levels as you are transferring the tape onto the computer. If it's peaking on the audio program (that means the image of the sound waves is reaching the top of the spectrum) then redo it cause it's going to sound like shit.

What I do next is I take my finished digital files (one track for each side) and put them back onto a cassette to make the master tape. Be sure that the cassette is the same length as the ones you'll be dubbing onto. If you are using a tape for your master, I suggest using a dedicated two deck player as opposed to a boom box. You can often find used ones for cheap at a Salvation Army or Goodwill. If you use normal speed dubbing, the quality will significantly better than when using high speed. Multi-tape dubbers are notoriously finicky and result in shite quality more often than not.

You can also choose not to transfer your audio back onto a cassette and use a CD or a computer file (wav or aiff please) as your master if you desire. Simply buy an 1/8" to RCA cable from radio shack and go from the headphone jack of your computer or CD player directly into the back of your tape deck.  Some people might think this gets a "cleaner" sound, but I personally think putting your stuff onto a tape for the final master adds a layer of warmth to the recording.  The best advice I can give you is that experimentation will provide you with the best results.

I'd say that there are generally three ways of producing a cassette release.

1. Almost-free method: You may have noticed, but a lot of folks simply don't want their old cassettes anymore.  What you can find in free-boxes, soup kitchens, or ultra cheap at thrift stores includes sealed boxes of blank tapes, old mix tapes, copies of Harry Chapin records, sermons, major label hits or self released albums. Oftentimes you'll find the cases included with these tapes. When I lived in Western Massachusetts I was able to make hundreds of cassettes for free by picking up whatever I could score at the Amherst Survival Center. If you're in that area, I suggest you check it out.

So now you've got all the blank media you'll need for your release. If you are using brand name blank tapes (whether blank or not) chances are the little tabs on the top of the tape will still be intact, allowing you to dub over whatever is that's already on there. If you are recording over Julio Iglesias' "Un Hombre Solo", you'll need to cover up the holes (where those tabs should be) in order to record over his saucy sounds. It's best to use two pieces of sturdy tape (the sticky kind), but even a piece of paper will do. Keep in mind that unless you are using commercial recordable tapes (c60, c90), your tapes are all going to be different lengths. I'm sure you'll find someway to work around that. Sometimes it's helpful to erase the already existing program by dubbing a blank cassette onto the one you want to record over. This will help reduce the chance of the old audio bursting through onto your music.

Now you can produce your artwork any way you'd like (more on that in the next section).

2. Buying Tape Stock and Cases: This is not a paid advertisement, but Deltamedia.com has pretty much everything you will need to get started. They sell tape stock of any length, different kinds of cases and some other stuff like labels or j-cards that you can stick in your home printer. There are a few different types of cassettes available. I suggest buying Type I Master Cassettes (Music Grade). I've had some problems buying Type II tapes, as you have to make sure that your master tape and the machine you are using to dub with supports Type II.  Either way, be sure to order "tab in" tapes.

I'll often get the tapes and cases I need online and then go to a trustworthy print shop to make the j-cards myself (the j-card is where the art goes btw). You can lay out your artwork either by hand (like I do) or on the computer (like everybody else does). The cheapest way would just be a 11x17 piece of paper (any thickness you desire, card stock is the best) with 6 j-cards. Obviously, it's cheaper (and sometimes artistically more appropriate) to use black and white. Color will usually cost at least 4x as much, but all in all, the total cost of printing won't be too high either way. Just remember that the more you make, the less they'll charge you. Your print shop will also make you some rectangular stickers that you can put on your tapes.  In any case, marking them someway is a really good idea.  If you've got a good home printer you can run off your artwork on the j-cards and labels from home, but I actually think this will end up costing you more when you factor in the ink and all. Obviously, if you want to try your hand at screen-printing or block printing, those are affordable and cool looking options as well. However you decide to do the artwork, combine all the pieces and you're good to go!

Working this way will generally put your production cost at well under $1 per tape.

3. Pro-dubbing: Again, not a paid advertisement, but National Audio Company is really the place to go if you want someone to cover every aspect of production for you. They will duplicate your tapes from a supplied master (CD, audio file or cassette), make the artwork to your specifications, put printed text or any image you want on the cassettes themselves and even shrinkwrap your finished product! Trust me, this is probably the best way to go when you weigh the cost vs labor vs quality of the product. If you make a run of 200 copies, it will only cost you ~$1 per tape, before shipping. I've heard these guys are a "Christian company" so they might not do your project if it's called Cockdickanus or something stupid like that. But that's just a rumor...

Besides Cassette Gods, there are a number of other places you can send your tape in order to get noticed.Animal Psi is a really good place if you just want to announce yourself. Send them a description of your stuff and a link to your website and they'll post it verbatim. It's sort of like a catalog of recently released stuff with very little editorial content. Foxy Digitalis is another site that will frequently review unsolicited submissions, but be aware that they will just as easily hand out a negative review as a positive one. Vital Weekly is a long-running email newsletter that reviews new underground music. They have a policy of reviewing every submission they receive. Rotten Meats is another good place to go to and so is the Auxiliary Out blog, which does really in depth analysis. Of course there are probably hundreds of other blogs that write about contemporary D.I.Y. music, but I've tried to list the ones here that seem less like "cool kids clubs." Click on any of the names in this paragraph to be taken to the appropriate website.

Getting your tape picked up by internet distributors or record stores is based on luck and connections as much as it is merit, so I won't really go into that too much. There is no secret. Just work hard and keep at it, no matter what! I am loath to name names, seeing as these people get enough unsolicited emails. I would suggest thinking about the places where you buy your tapes from and look into who sells copies of your favorite label or artist's work. If you offer your tape for $5 retail, I would suggest asking a wholesale price of $3 to get people interested. Don't sell yourself short though: maybe require a minimum order of 3 to 5 units. You can also suggest trading tape for tape.


Hey, in other news, I've also done some updates to Cassette Gods that might go unnoticed lest I hip you to them here. For one, I've gone through every post since the beginning and updated the tags. Took a little while, heh heh heh... So if you scroll to the bottom of this page you'll see a complete list of artists and labels that have been covered by CG over the last four and a half years. Cool! I've also added a link to the old Cassette Gods page that is archived on the Deathbomb Arc website. You can find the old columns and stuff there. Find this page by clicking on the word "Founded" in the upper right corner of this page. Hopefully we'll begin posting more current non-review writing, like the piece above, and also interviews, writing about live music, etc... in the coming months. I've created a dedicated section to that kind of writing. Just click on "Editorials" on the right hand column.

Hope y'all enjoy. Just don't call me an editor...

Feel free to write me at info@onekindfavor.net or cavebears@gmail.com with any questions...