Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SCUM “Evan Greene!” (self-released)




SCUM is total enthusiasm. They make music because it’s fun, because they can. Music from basements, music from bedrooms, music from garages, wherever the mic is set up (and it’s probably just one mic in the middle of the room, or maybe they’re just recording to a decent boombox, I don’t know). Total lo-fi, barely competent punk, clever beyond its means. SCUM = scuz. SCUM = fun! I betcha SCUM has a lot of fun band/music friends who they hang out with and play shows with on the weekends – after their homework is done of course. There’s a song called “Did You Do Your Homework?,” which likely belies the band’s age. There are also songs with funny names such as “Cigarette Song for Kids” and “Nobody Likes Me Everybody Hates Me I’m Gonna Eat Some Worms,” which, as all you cool kids know, is a Kids in the Hall reference. Anybody who references KITH is OK in my book.

SCUM

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, June 26, 2017

FISCHERLE
“Post-Functional Dub Objects”
(Czaszka)




If a man spoke to me in slow motion, agonizing over the flow of syllables and words that would emanate from his mouth, I wonder if I would be able to edit the language somehow as it emanated from him. I can imagine the words, visibly hanging in midair (like some sort of I Heart Huckabees fever dream), and me, poised with editorial pen, crouched in anticipation, like a tiger stalking its prey. Every grammatical nuisance, every incorrect punctuation mark or dangling modifier would be mine for the slashing. My hyper-intensified state would push the bounds of relativity, allowing me to move so much faster than the man speaking that the blur of my actions would alter his exposition so much that it would internally affect his thought process. I’m a ninja of the editorial world – a pen-wielding, night-stalking warrior.

Mateusz Wysocki, aka Fischerle, had an experience as a hitchhiker where one of his drivers also spoke in slow motion. But instead of parsing the words of the man to molecular distinction, he ruminated on the predicament of relativity in a different way. How do you derive meaning from language that describes an object that is already gone, so far gone, in fact, that the outpouring of the speech still discussing it takes on an abstract characteristic, one that hovers in time between past and present and barely connects them?

Post-Functional Dub Objects attempts to recreate Wysocki’s experience through sonic manipulation, and what results, while loosely connected to the obvious “dub” category, is thoughtful composition filtered through this conceit. He nails the idea that place and time, removed from one another yet still connected in one person’s mind, can take on intensely variable characteristics depending on viewpoint. But in addition to all of this, and to extract myself totally from this academic quagmire, it’s also a pretty bitchin’ tape. You listen to Post-Functional Dub Objects with a loose connection, an ear divorced from uptight scholarship so that you can actually enjoy the forays through the electronic landscapes FIscherle’s creating for you. For you! Listen to them, enjoy them, pretend you’re a pen-wielding hero from an Eastern epic, unmoor your mind from concepts of inelastic space-time. If you skew your perspective in just the right way, you’ll be in for a serious modular synthesizer treat.

Fischerle
Czaszka

--Ryan Masteller


Sunday, June 25, 2017

DIRE WOLVES “House of Triangles” (Psi Lab)




The music here is two mostly organic jam sessions with six credited instrumentalists. It’s very nice. I’m not falling in love with it, but there’s nothing unfriendly or unpleasant going on; I love music, they love music. There’s regular rock band instruments, plus violin, woodwinds (including “wooden sax”), “tapes,” and “electronics.” It has a studio feel rather than a live-recording feel, but it’s not overwhelmed with producer vibes. It’s a nice balance of light production and organic jam. The artwork is meticulous—a collaged image of monkeys swinging from indoor curtains over windows that look out into a dark sky of shooting stars. The j card is on heavy, glossy cardboard, and there’s a duplicate of the cover art on another card loose inside, like a trading card or an art print. I think the music was made by a San Francisco group, and the tape release (including the ornate art design) was done by an Oklahoma enthusiast. For me it evokes a dim room of carpets, musicians, coffee and smoke rings. I like it, thank you.

Psilabtapes.bandcamp.com

-- Kevin Oliver

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Call For New Writers


Currently looking for more writers for this site. If all of the following statements apply to you please email us at cassettegods@gmail.com

1. I own a working tape player

2. I am comfortable forming (semi)complete sentences and I know how to edit my own work and check for errors.

3. I can follow through on promises I make. If I request 10 tapes from the Cassette Gods stash, I will review them all (knowing that there is no deadline). Same goes for if I request 30 tapes.

4. I don't know if there is a 4....

We accept all writers much in the same way that we accept all tapes for review. You do not need to have experience or to be cool to get the job. Just know that if we send you tapes and hear nothing back from you, you will definitely not receive anything ever again. Cassette Gods is built on mutual respect and dedication for underground music. Often times this blog is the first and only shot at any amount of exposure for these artists and we want everyone to get a fair shot at gracing these pages, so please only request tapes if you plan on reviewing them.


Friday, June 23, 2017

MIKE PISS “Corridor" C20 (Self-Released)




The DIY spirit, alive and well, maybe I came of age in the back of a mediocre pizza-chain parking lot. We’d been skating for hours in Southwestern Ohio humidity, so, of course, it was night. His girlfriend delivered, and/or answered the phone, & he’d just gotten his license.

Panting, we slumped down into the front row. He turned the key half-way & pressed play. Beck’s “Stereopathetic Soul Manure” returned, in surround sound, & we ritualistically ate up those skits with just as much fervor as the anthemic “Satan Gave Me a Taco”…maybe even more so.

I think it was the “…weedwhackers…we stole…two of ‘em…” vignette that had just finished before Timmot pressed stop and spontaneously/monotonously pronounced “Safety pins...” leaving just enough pause for me to intuit

and join in

with a cocksure, “don’t you feel

…safer?”

I then sat back in his passenger’s seat and felt utterly fulfilled as a partner in chyme.

………….

This “Mike Piss” release is yet another of Kevin Oliver’s manic sharings, and is both cheek-pierced-by-tongue-ingly brilliant and concertedly playful, with pop-tropes massaged & origami’d into easily digestible hokey-hooky-hooks for anyone willing to give such rawness its proper fucking due. It has served as fuel for the flux-capacitor, rocketing me back to the ‘90s, when “lo-fi” was a genre, not just an excuse.

Sonically, brilliant notes of prime Sonic Youth & Swearing @ Motorists are scattered throughout this tape, while poignant lyrics (both the bizarre and the transformative) are exercised judiciously. The DIY spirit, so alive and swell.

RIYL GBV and pretty much any good ol’ time. “Good Summer” is the fucking jaaaaaammmmmmmmmmm!!!

https://grannyfrost.bandcamp.com/album/corridor

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Thursday, June 22, 2017

HANGING FREUD “Motherland” (Tiny Box)




Paula Borges and Jonathan Perez collaborate across space and time. Maybe. The Brazilian/British partnership sure sounds like they exist outside of time’s gentle crawl (or hellacious thrill ride, depending on your perspective). Their work is too drolly captioned “bedroom folk” or “lo-fi trip hop” or some such nonsense, but the reality is that the duo inhabits a space all their own. Hanging Freud hover menacingly in the background, in all backgrounds, a sense of dread filtering through every note and every loop. Borges’s vocals are intoned more than sung, a warning to all those looking to the ghosts of history for inspiration. All you’ll find there is blood and death. Probably. The sense of sadness throughout Motherland’s six tracks is so thick that it feels like you’re breathing it, but instead of heavy oxygen you get lungfuls of black liquid. Your blood pumps it to your soul. Your extremities give up. Your only recourse is the fetal position, and the lump in your throat signals that there’s no tomorrow. Borges keeps singing, oblivious to her and Perez’s effect on you. Of course they’re oblivious, they’re on a tape. But they’ve succeeded in what they’ve likely set out to do. Enjoy this kind deep dive into your psyche when you can find it.

Hanging Freud

--Ryan Masteller

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ROBERT RIDLEY-SHACKLETON
“Cardboard Prince” C60 (Cardboard Club)




Belt your stupid pop hits in another direction, there, singer of songs, because I’m listening to Cardboard Prince in a corner all by myself with a big silly grin on my face. I don’t know if you know Robert Ridley-Shackleton or not, but if you don’t better getcha head on straight, because he has more releases than you and your band and that other band you opened for combined. No band needed. Ridley-Shackleton is bigger than Kanye, honestly, he says so himself, and he sings over noise, just noise, and his voice is your pop song ground through a nightmare of processors until there is no song and nothing else but ol’ Robert’s daily doings, musique concrèted properly and with great disdain for rational thought. I’m marrying Peter Weller, dating Terminator, and loving Robocop, I think, but I’m not sure if that’s really the right answer and getting kind of sick thinking about it. Basically, Robert is menacing us like David Lynch would if Lynch had the balls to get all up in our grills and make Angelo Badalamenti music noises with his mouth realllll close to a microphone (see, e.g., “2 Bad”). “C’mon Kitty” is music. “Download Ure Memes” is terrifying music. “Mother Sublime” is music. Everything else is Eraserhead on acid (well, acid again) in 1993. Each sound pops and scrapes and fillets imaginary body parts that don’t exist in this dimension. Lops em right off. And my copy of this was recorded over a Children’s Talking Bible tape, like it bloody oughta. Were they all? I hope so. I hope yours was. I hope you’re paying attention and that you’ve subscribed to the madness. What happened to us? Why does this make sense?

Cardboard Club

-- Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UNFOLLOW “Blue Twenty-One” C40 (Blue Tapes)




Social media is an awkward thing, an intangible landscape where anybody can say anything with impunity. The only repercussion is reduction in friends or followers, the nomenclature depending only on your platform. And with the goal of increasing indefinitely your digital reach, shouldn’t the threat of losing those friends and followers act as a deterrent to doing stupid stuff? I mean, I’m only writing here to stroke my own ego, and piling up readers is the quantifiable result. In short, I’m in it for the money. I’ll pander to whatever, my pride’s for sale.

Just kidding. There’s no money in this.

But for some people accumulation is important, or at least it’s the be-all and end-all of social media existence. Unfollow, Toronto’s Tony Boggs (I literally wrote “Boston” first – let’s be fair, Wade is the first and only Boggs you ever think of off the top of your head) is all “Ha ha, you’re stupid for thinking that.” He’s the IDM troll who will friend you or follow you only to give you the cold shoulder when he follows his moniker to its logical conclusion. You’re unimportant to him – but your misery is his lifeblood.

Just kidding. He actually seems like a nice enough guy.

Listen, when you’re Tony Boggs and you’re making music as Unfollow – the formula: shoegaze + drum n bass = constant synthetic musical starbursts for future evolutionary iterations – there are way more important things than social concerns, so turning to the output is the only way to suss out an answer. In this case, the question would be something like, “How should I enjoy this tape?,” or, “Can you provide a quantitative measure of how much I will enjoy this tape?” Both are terrible questions, and I’ll deign to answer them both: 1) Enjoy it as much as possible, anywhere, everywhere, on headphones, on a stereo speaker, even put the MP3s on your phone if you’re not at home. And, 2) No, because that would just be unfair.

Maybe the key’s somewhere around the “future evolutionary iterations” stuff I was spouting above, in that we’re evolving in quick ways to keep up with technology – ahem, smartphones, social media, unfollowing fools – and Unfollow is a nice companion on that journey, offering hope in the midst of the chaos and a human element among all the electrics. Boggs embraces the “glitch,” the rough edge, the imperfection in music. The randomness of the moment is a compositional element. How he runs with those moments, wraps them into the work he’s doing, is the perfect encapsulation of the idea that humans are still working on figuring it out and moving beyond stasis. At least that’s what I’m hoping, that’s probably what Tony Boggs is hoping. In the meantime, the result is Blue Twenty-One, another Blue Tapes winner. Ears will hear, butts will wiggle, teeth will shake in clenched jaws, minds will blow.

Oh! – no wonder I liked Unfollow so much! I’m a Joshua Treble fan: Tony Boggs, fka. Brilliant.

Unfollow
Blue Tapes

-- Ryan Masteller

Monday, June 19, 2017

BELL STRAY "Scribble The Pink"




Bell takes some adjusting to. Her voice is, uh, let's say unusual but in an interesting and even captivating sort of way. What we have here is an e.p. of five originals-all keyboard based. I dove into this blindly but before "Roses Shade" (the opening track) was done, I was hooked. Each song is different enough to keep you into it, but there is a sameness that results from that unique vocal tone.

This, her fourth release, shows the southern Californian coming into her own. I liked all five tracks though I confess that an e.p. is a sufficient dose at one sitting.

www.bellstray.com

-- Bob Zilli


Sunday, June 18, 2017

VARIOUS ARTISTS
“Exterminate All Rational Music” C92
(\\NULL|ZØNE//)




Welcome to \\NULL|ZØNE//. I hop in the oversized green pipe like an Italian plumber in overalls, a goofy hat, and a mustache and come out the other side in who knows where. No, I know where – it’s a netherworld, a miasma of hellish grotesqueries, where the outcasts of all musical scenes and genres are dumped when their use is determined to be no longer needed. I mean, heck, when there’s no longer a need for endowments for arts and humanities, as determined by our esteemed national leadership, the great unrefined still need some shore to wash up on. And they know it, too! Hey, track one by Sunwatchers is called “There Is No God and Fuck the Government” – haha, wow, that’s a spicy meat-a-ball! To stick with our Super Mario theme, Sunwatchers stomp koopas to bits and watch their turtly guts smear out all over their instruments for inspiration, then free-associate sonics to brainwaves for five straight wonderful minutes. And then for the next 87 wonderful minutes, the gang \\NULL|ZØNE// has brought together does very similar whacked out, brazen, and fully belligerent experimental/improv-y bits of decisive action, complete with mid-album power-ups. Don’t believe me about the power-ups? Doesn’t matter, I hear them. There are electronics, acoustic instruments (some nice, gnarly sax passages), musique concrete (piped-in weirdo radio frequencies), and everything in between, including an appearance by CM and CG favorite Future Ape Tapes! And as usual with these Various Artists releases, you’re bound to discover a new name or ten that you’ll have to do more research on later. For me this time around, I totally got into the aforementioned Sunwatchers, Carey, Alec Livaditis, Ramble Tamble, and Clang Quartet. But there’s so much more on here! And you gotta act fast – there are only 9 left (as of this writing, 3/16/17, probably waaaay before this posts) out of the original run of 50. You know what to do. And you’re gonna have to do it before fricking orange Bowser-man takes away any more of our arts and junk, like our cassette tapes or something equally insane…

\\NULL|ZØNE// on the Bandcamps


--Ryan Masteller


Saturday, June 17, 2017

HUSK “Husk” C45 (Curly Cassettes)




If any rock music comes across my path, I’m immediately skeptical. However, I’ll dismiss the anticipation of what I think of this “rock” tape immediately, because it doesn’t deserve to be drawn out: Husk is stupendous. It’s a branch of jangly, ramshackle indie, along the lines of your Fleet Foxes or your Wilcos, with a Hayden Desser or David Bazan on vocals, except with way more range. Opener “Wicked Mantras” gave me a distinct William Tyler vibe – I freaking love William Tyler. So I will gush, unabashedly about Husk, aka Oakland’s Wesley Powell and some friends. Does William have chops? Dang right, he does – there’s not a wasted minute on this tape. How’s the recording? Coated in reverb, just the way it’s supposed to be. No backwoods acoustic rambling here, no coffeehouse nonsense. It lends a surreal quality to the otherwise grounded songwriting, a nice counterpoint, almost as if everything that comes out of William’s mouth does so at night, and he’s exhausted, and everything is important and everything is bittersweet. Look no further (or as far as) album closer “Leaving” for an example of world-weariness, where a disgruntled, disillusioned Powell intones the mantra, “So long, so long…” World weary – everybody is right now, so Husk is the perfect antidote, or accompaniment, or both. Could “Half Moon” replace “Earth Angel” at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance? You bet your life. See? I’m already thinking positive, with positive references flooding my perspective. There’s even a fuzzy take on the classic “Bye Bye Love,” which, while explicitly familiar, carries with it the sense that it fits perfectly within the Husk oeuvre, almost as if Powell had written the dang thing himself. And “Quiet” even takes a page from brother Tyler Powell’s ambient work and works perfectly as a late-album interlude. But of course, all of this must be taken in bas-relief of the whole, as Husk emerges from its background components a fully formed and fully distinct recording. Why even bother with Fleet Foxes or Wilco or Bon Iver or whatever anymore? They’ll just disappoint you. Husk keeps it real – Husk will not disappoint you. Husk will be your pal for life.

Husk
Curly Cassettes

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, June 16, 2017

RENDEZVOUS "Suoni Della Paura II"




I made the mistake of putting the tape in with zero background information as to what it was. It kicks in with an old-school movie preview for a boogie an of sorts. OK, they win the first round, now I'm going to find out what I'm dealing with here but as I do, the tape rolls....

Turns out this is a DJ collective that meets every Friday in the city of angels. That's enough info 'cause this mix has got me good. Sadly, there is no track notation or artist info because every inch of this is premier stuff. Lots of 50's-60's style sci-fi and thriller connections with everything familiar yet new at the same time.

As much as I enjoy a good mix I seldom venture out to see the art in process live. This, I would leave home for and next time through LA I'll make a point to stop at the Hyperion Tavern (every other Friday)

It's that good.

www.rendezvousla.net

-- Bob Zilli


Thursday, June 15, 2017

JESSOP&CO. “Manly Man” C40
(Tingo Tongo Tapes)




JESSOP&CO.? Ffffuu.. Calcutta? Probably every cutthroat from Bombay to here is here. No jokes, now. Manly Man stretches forever. Stretches beyond the city, into rurality, on to other cities. Decay, decomposition, deconstruction. Colonization? Heck. Colonials are gone. JESSOP&CO..? I dunno. (*Thinks*) I dunno. Colonials. Colonials. Ffffuu.. Live and let live. How do I reconcile that with my love for the British? Heck.



Manly Man stretches forever and envelops the city, and god is my witness, it captures everything. Listen to the nocturnal rhythms and splice together nocturnal rendezvous and Fully comprehend just what is happening. JESSOP&CO. ensure that no one is left behind. Manly Man is not a tape for music listeners or cultural tourists or the casual dabblers; it means too much. It’s too clearly labored over for the caste whisperers to get their hands on and interpret in dangerous and debilitating ways. Wait a second – am I part of the problem? Is my proximity to collusion a detriment?

No. No way. I’m not even remotely letting that thought enter my filament, as it would unravel my very being if I’d prove it wrong, so here’s the lesson everybody (but mostly myself) needs to learn: lighten up. Lighten up! That doesn’t mean the important stuff gets swept into a corner, it just means that JESSOP&CO. are a total force to be reckoned with, and it’s important to understand that every single fragment of their spectrum is presented on Manly Man, not in isolation, but distinct and palpable as a genetic whole, fully concocted for weird consumption. These forty minutes are forty magic flipping minutes where every stop is pulled in favor of a vast kitchen sink approach – every trick in the electro-plunder handbook works like a brilliant charm. Samples. Electronics. Samples. Electrics. Spam pulls. Eccentrics. Lay bulls. Palimpseptics. Transition gulls. Crass tactics.

JESSOP&CO., company in name only, incorporated in a dream state, fire beams of specifics, cultured in dynamics, straight into our thoughts for future decoding, also in a dream state, where everything unspools. The fragments become the reality, the waking moments bleed into the unconscious ones. This land is less my land, this land is no one’s. This land is made for blazing trails of discovery through. That’s what makes a Manly Man, whatever that even means.

JESSOP&CO.
SOUNDCLOUD.COM/TINGOTONGOTAPES

--Ryan Masteller

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LOTO RETINA “Fiction” (Orange Milk)





The new Loto Retina tape from Orange Milk Records’ most recent batch is a sparse blend of digital textures and midi instruments. The album is fairly ambient and changes through moments of glitchy transition. For most of the tracks a single timbre is highlighted at a time rather than there be much layering of the diverse amount of sounds throughout this album. It feels like a majority of the album is immersed in thick swaying digital tones, leaving you unsure of what may come next, or unsure if you may have missed small details while proceeding through “Fiction”. The album breaks into moments of charming computer instrument arpeggios, cognizant of similar electronic records that have been released within the past couple years. “Fiction” is certainly an entertaining listen while remaining mostly minimal throughout, and sounds like Loto Retina’s twist on contemporary ambient electronica.

https://orangemilkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fiction
https://apothecary-compositions.com/collections/frontpage/products/fiction-by-loto-retina-cassette


-- Lucas Martinez

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

GARRETT DOUGLAS “Vol. 1” (self-released)




Coffee percolates. The barista fills a mug and hands it to the patron. The patron gives the barista a debit card. The barista swipes it and asks if the patron wants a receipt. The patron says no and drops a dollar bill into the glass jar in front of the register with the “Tips are greatly appreciated!” sign taped to it. The patron turns and walks toward the exit, pausing long enough to glance at the back corner, where Garrett Douglas, apple-cheeked and eager, strums his acoustic guitar and sings longingly about things that are important to him. The patron, remembering that it’s Tuesday, realizes that he’s late for a dinner with a colleague. He turns, opens the door of the coffee shop, and strolls toward his car, gently sipping his coffee. He unlocks his car, gets in, and starts the engine. He backs out of his parking space, puts his car in drive, and proceeds toward the exit of the parking lot. He puts on his right turn signal. He waits for two cars and an HVAC van before he pulls out. The light ahead turns yellow, but there’s enough time for him to make it through. He sips his coffee, turns on the radio, which happens to be on a news station, and turns it off. Silence, he thinks, is golden sometimes.

https://garrettdouglas.bandcamp.com/

-- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Monday, June 12, 2017

REPTILIANS FROM ANDROMEDA “Whatever” (Illuminated Paths)




I wish Reptilians from Andromeda had a distinct personality, but as it stands, they embody someone else’s – namely the early 1990s riot grrrl sound boiling from PacNW house shows, except the Reptilians are from Istanbul (not really Andromeda). How bout another blast from the friggin past? Remember that Ugly Kid Joe song, the one that went “I hate everything about you”? It was called “I Hate Everything About You.” [Ed note: Actually it was called “Everything About You”] I wish this review was the opposite of that song – it’s not, but it also doesn’t suggest that Reptilians from Andromeda are at the end of the spectrum where the sentiment of that song is either. It’s maybe 56% or so toward that end, barely enough for me to warrant a shrug. But since I don’t like this tape, it’s at least over the halfway point. Whatever indeed! And on the plus side, I’ve just trolled your entire day by making you remember Ugly Kid Joe, and maybe even getting that song stuck in your head if you’re lucky enough to have caught the video on MTV’s rotation when you were a kid. (*Evil supervillain laugh*) If you want a bright side here instead of a “meh” side, you can hang your hat on the fact that it at least sounds like Reptilians from Andromeda are having fun. Plus, they’re very eager – they have a bunch of releases.

https://reptiliansfromandromeda.bandcamp.com/releases
https://illuminatedpaths.bandcamp.com/

--Whitfield Crane’s insidious long con

Sunday, June 11, 2017

DAS TORPEDOES
“The Russian Submarine” C26
(Gertrude Tapes)



Tracking a Russian submarine on its final mission before its ultimate destruction could go a bunch of ways. You’ve see The Hunt for Red October, you know how the whole thing could play out. Could being the operative word, assuming, of course, that the titular Russian submarine here was going to defect. Let’s not assume that. The first main difference is that the Russian sub’s captain is probably not Scottish. Second, there’s a distinct lack of onboard gunplay. Third, Das Torpedoes, the artist not actual torpedoes, is the one who’s gonna tell us when and how this episode ends. The music, ambient passages only, carries with it a lovely introspective quality, which, when juxtaposed with the idea of the final days of a submarine crew, infuses the listening experience with a heavy dose of melancholy. So no, this is not a Hollywood visualization of dramatic events but is instead a decidedly un-blow-uppy world built within your imagination. There are goodbyes, the sub leaving port, submergence, internalization, emergency (still, no klaxons or anything), a letter written home, and a finality of the voyage throughout these six tracks. It’s all rendered in such placid textures and tones. I can only imagine the torpedoes, Das Torpedoes brand, with sudden finality ending the lives of the crew in a swift and senseless fashion, ratcheting up the sadness that I can no longer keep at bay within my own body. Oh the humanity! I didn’t sign up for this kind of emotional depth charge today. I had such grand intentions, so much to do, now my plans are totally tanked, along with my attitude, victims of my soul-crushing empathy toward those poor Russian sailors.

Anyhoo, I’ll get over it.

Gertrude Tapes

-- Ryan Masteller