cassette deck is a music blog by Rach. Rach is me. I co-host an indie rock radio show on KTCU, FM 88.7 in Fort Worth, Texas. Exposing myself to new music is both an obsessive hobby and a necessity. This blog is an outlet for me to share the music I discover with friends and passers-by. Enjoy!
The music found on this blog is intended for sampling purposes only. If you
dig what you hear, I encourage you to purchase the artist's music and generally support them in
a monetary way. If you own the copyright to an mp3 found on this blog and would like it
removed, please contact me and say "HEY! No
ma'am!" and I will remove it post-haste.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Good morning all...sorry about the slacking in posts lately. My grandpa passed away on Saturday, so I'll be in Chicago Wednesday through Sunday with family. Won't be posting until I get back, so hang tight.
Stella Rose has their new full-length out. It sounds great. They're a highly talented local flavor, not to mention really nice folks, and if you like Bush and Stone Temple Pilots, you will take a liking to Stella Rose. Also pretty brilliant musicians live. http://myspace.com/stellarosemusic
We were going to see a free Calhoun show last night, but they gave me the boot for being underage. Harrumph.
A morning trio of songs that may or may not wake you up this morning. It's actually pretty subdued, increasing my desire to crawl back under my covers. Sorry. Hopefully soon I can give each of these bands a proper write-up, because I really enjoy them all. Especially that Doug Burr.
The Millennium explored the charted waters of 60's psychadelic pop, treading where The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas, and The Association have tread before.
And you know? The Association reference is quite merited--The Association's producer, Curt Boettcher, is the motivating force behind creating The Millennium. Who'da thunk.
Their own description fits well: "Boettcher and his friends came up with a hybrid that was at once too unabashedly commercial for underground FM radio and too weird for the AM dial." "To Claudia on Thursday" combines jangling guitar and grooving bassline and happy-go-lucky lyrics. Come on, it's supposed to be the 60's. They purport to transport us. What kind of write-up can I give it?
It's just groovy music.
Rach-tested, oldies-radio-loving mother approved. (Really, my mom would love this stuff.) Just go ahead and have a listen, see what you think.
So I've got a new love--the Portland bunch The Online Romance pledge their allegiance to analog recording formats, despite what their modern band name would lead one to believe. Their website comes complete with a compendium of information about the band's history, lineup changes, hidden videos, and an amusing FAQ strewn with links to Wikipedia articles for referential purposes. Analog indeed!
But really, The Online Romance's low-key take on recording suits my own taste superbly. The FAQ informs that "both demo tapes were recorded on a Tascam 488 8-track cassette recorder, and the 7" was recorded with a Fostex R8 8-track reel-to-reel machine." Fans of Oh, Inverted World and If You're Feeling Sinister should feel right at home with The Online Romance's calm pop sensibility. Their song lyrics come off like trite absurdist tales, following in the rambling indie-pop oral tradition.
I had a whole pile of penny rolls which I collected in Georgia, a state so lacking in tolls. You claimed "no contest" between the Go-Gos and the Bangles. What? I love it.
An exerpt from The Online Romance FAQ section of their website:
Q: So what's with the stupid name? A: "The Online Romance" is a recipe for embarrassment as a title for anything, but Jack tripped upon it way back in 2000 when he was trying to come up with the ultimate tongue-in-cheek emo band name. (The singularity of the name and the word "the" are both integral to this "emo-ness," not to mention its acronym.) TOR is obviously not "emo" — whether you mean it in the credible, Rites of Spring / 1985 sense or in its horrendous present-day application — but the absurdist appeal of having a band name which alluded so strongly to technology and yet is performed almost solely on acoustic instruments was too much to pass up. Sometimes it's just fun to screw with people's assumptions.
And as for any speculative genre leanings, well, the FAQ quells certain possibilities quite deftly:
Q: There's a line in "my daydream of urban planning" about the Bible. Ugh! Is TOR a Christian rock band? A: If you're simple-minded and reactionary, TOR can be anything you want it to be!
The Online Romance has three releases, yet they're unfortunately a bit difficult to come across, since two of them are out of print cassettes. The most recent is a 3-song single on 7 inch, still available. They assure us that once a full length is complete, it will be released on CD, but so far, no such luck. Founding member Jack prefers the music to be listened to on turntable. So I guess we can all stick that in our collective pipe. Touché.
Regardless, The Online Romance is recommended in the highest degree, if that means anything to you. Oh, and they're desperately seeking a drummer, so if you live in Portland ... give them a ring.
A promotional poster for Under The Influence Of Giants: four bandmates clad in what I can only assume are leisure suits gaze out of airplane windows. I'll bet those suits have the distinct odor of mothballs. A slightly terrifying female mannequin flight attendant looks on in ways that only a slightly terrifying female mannequin flight attendant can look on. A drink with a ... flower in it. WHOO! GET UP, BRING ON DA FUNK. The poster has been transferred to my wall.
Well, that aside, I do dig what UTIOG has to offer. The groovy L.A. funk-infused band blends very dance-able pop rock with slightly Jackson-esque vocals. Not pure funk-your-pants-off funk, but funky enough for funk's sake. They list quite a compendium of influences, most of which are from eras past or no longer living on this planet. What's more, their Heaven is Full EP has cracked the top 40 albums on iTunes. Gee whiz! There's not loads of describing to be done about UTIOG, so I suggest listening for yourself.
Speaking of funk, George Clinton did play at the Granada about a month ago--and I missed it. I love the fact that when you visit his Flash website, it assures you that it's "Loadin' the Funk." Mmm!
Last night's NBA finals game was severely disheartening for a keen Mavs fan like me. Josh Howard, why, oh why did you call that time out? Why oh why does Dwyane Wade exist in this world? Why couldn't we make our free throws in overtime? Sighs all around. Yet, I keep the faith. We can take our last two games at home. FAITH!
So what's a gal to do? Take off work and go to Six Flags with a group of friends, of course. And listen to some wacky silly angry garage punk by Epsilons.
Their combined aged is 70, and their lyrics are horrifically funny. It's nothing earth-shaking or momentous, and if you know my taste, Epsilons really don't fit in anywhere. But isn't it fun to channel some frustration through impressionable young teenaged kids and their bands every so often? Sure.
With a name like Alaska, you'd think that Alaska would sound more like Alaska.
I see your mouse hovering over the big red X...wait! I'm explaining, I promise.
Certainly every cute-clever-kitschy-intriguing band name brings some accompanying distinctive sound or genre to mind. It may have to do with deconstructivist bullshit about every word conjuring different memories and meanings from individual to individual (see Derrida for more on that), or that could just be the residue of one too many windbag modern philosophy lectures sneaking their way into my posts.
Anyway, I came upon Alaska's Emotions whilst ambling about the rows of used music at Dallas's own CD Source (though I'm apt to think of it as "previously loved" music--there's some great stuff that folks throw out!) I enjoyed it at first listen, but it doesn't exactly sound like the icy tundras, cold lush forests, caribou feeding their young, blackout curtains, and seals doused in Exxon/Valdez oil spillage that I thought it would sound like. (poor seals!)
Actually, there are only a handful of folky lo-fi tracks on Emotions that makes me think "ah, Alaska!" (as if I've ever been there and have something to draw a reference.) Rust and Cyanide, Resistance, and Nightmare* are a few of them, the other tracks are just good rollicking dreamy-pop songs with twinkly and a few synth-y tones sprinkled throughout. Mmm, cupcakes. (?)
It was several years ago that I came across Alaska, and since then they've released another album (actually about a year ago), Rescue Through Tomahawk. Clips can be streamed from their website. There's a decidedly more psychadelic rock feel to it--recommended listen is the rapid-action strumming of Real is Your Control.
Yes, Anathallo has been posted a bit in the mp3 blog sphere, but they're fairly new to me and I'm impressed with what I've heard. And, they're touring at the moment, so...it's timely!
Anathallo crafts their songs with an epic mentality, undaunted by switching time signatures and tempos at will. The indie-rock collective incorporates eclectic sounds--an array of horns, bells, hand claps, tapping, stomping, etc.--into the "standard" rock getup, creating a rich and fascinating listening experience. From beautiful vocal harmonies and sweeping piano to heavily percussive upbeat anthems, you can tell at first listen that Anathallo strives to deviate from the norm. Dare I make the Polyphonic Spree comparison? (sans the white tunics, sun-worshipping schtick, and Volkswagen commercial.)
On their track Hanasakajijii (One: The Angry Neighbor), the swiftly-delivered vocals and choral section remind me of Sufjan Stevens's heavily layered, beautiful sounds. Never a bad thing!
Anathallo's 2006 release, "Floating World", is now available in stores across the country, and is definitely a recommended listen.
We're hoping to book an in-studio with Anathallo here at KTCU in July, when they'll be in town to play at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas on July 18th. Very exciting! I'm rather curious to see how they pull off their material live.
Anathallo is touring June through August with The Format and Street To Nowhere. Dates are listed on their myspace and website.
"If you're lookin' for a hand to hold / you know, you were a long way off"
The lyrics of Ghosty's "Big Surrender", accompanied by sparkling guitar and plodding bass, is refreshingly blunt for the indie pop sort. Plus, the sing-along worthy melody makes it pretty darn infectious. Stream it at Ghosty's myspace; I'll post it as soon as I figure out what's wrong with my FTP space.
The earnestness of Ghosty carries over into their acoustically driven songs like "I Know What's Best." Likeable vocals, accompanying piano, and shaker give it a little alt-country vibe toward the end. Interestingly enough, "Gone to Stay" sounds like it could have perhaps been a Carole King song once upon a time. Maybe that's just me.
Ghosty will be opening for Rogue Wave on June 28th in Denver at Larimer Lounge. July 22nd, they'll open for The Starlight Mints at Jackpot Saloon in Lawrence, Kansas.
Clinton Piper's voice on The Lord Henry's first release, Voila, strikes me as a remarkably similar to that of Julian Casablancas of the Strokes. You know, the whole compressed singing-through-cupped hands effect. Not a bad thing, though. Plus, the band is presumably named after one of Oscar Wilde's colorful characters.
The Lord Henry's newer material prevents them from being completely lumped into the Strokes Clone category, thankfully. Nevertheless, it's all enjoyable. They performed at SXSW this spring and will play a couple shows in Texas and one in Oklahoma in July:
July 6: Gypsy Tea Room - Dallas, TX July 7: Rubber Gloves - Denton, TX July 8: The Conservatory - Oklahoma City, OK
"I like persons better than principles and persons with no principles better than anything at all." -Lord Henry Wotton, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Hey, Lloyd! Camera Obscura In-Studio and Tour Dates
Indie loves from Glasgow, Camera Obscura, have been charting quite heavily on CMJ as of late, and what's more, Rachel E. and I are in the process of setting up an in-studio performance (or interview, in the least) with them here in the KTCU studio. Cross your fingers.
The group plays here in dear old Dallas at the Gypsy Tea Room on July 14th. Here are the rest of the dates:
07.04.2006 * Toronto, @ Horseshoe Tavern 07.05.2006 * Montreal, @ La Sala Rossa 07.06.2006 * Boston, MA @ Great Scott 07.07.2006 * New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom 07.08.2006 * Philadelphia, PA @ Northstar Bar 07.09.2006 * Washington, @ Black Cat 07.11.2006 * Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle 07.12.2006 * Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 07.13.2006 * Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone 07.14.2006 * Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room 07.15.2006 * Austin, TX @ Emo's (Outside) 07.17.2006 * Tucson, AZ @ Plush 07.18.2006 * San Diego, CA @ The Casbah 07.19.2006 * Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour 07.20.2006 * San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall 07.22.2006 * Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge 07.23.2006 * Seattle, WA @ Neumo's 07.24.2006 * Vancouver, @ Plaza Club 07.27.2006 * Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theatre 07.28.2006 * Chicago, IL @ Logan Square 07.29.2006 * Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop 07.30.2006 * Newport, KY @ Southgate House
Quote from Carey, Camera Obscura's resident pianist/organist/vocalist, regarding their song "Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken": "One of the most problematic songs to assemble for the album but we were eventually so enthralled we gave it six choruses. Obviously the mark of a fine single. And, yes, it does refer to Lloyd Cole, and thankfully, he likes it!"
A four-piece from San Diego channels the sounds of what can probably be described as indie-folk-psychadelia. Twangy guitar, slide, and piano compliment dreamy vocal harmonies. Sometimes, the lead vocalist is a bit akin to Dylan. Recently added 'em to our playlist at KTCU.
Sounds like a blend of Beulah, Lullaby for the Working Class, and Wilco to me.
The owner of the stable where I board my horse owns several Brittany Spaniels, all of which have been trained as "bird dogs," retrieving fowl shot out of the sky. Lovely!
So here's a nice old pickin'. Hearkening to the folk-acoustic-indie genre, Birddog rivals the backwoods sentimentality of bands like Lullaby for the Working Class. Sort of reminds me of Grandaddy wandering the mountain roads in Kentucky or something.
Birddog has a considerable number of albums under their belts. As the main page of their website states, Birddog was lamentably "put to rest" in 2003.
Hello ! I'm Rachel, and I have a passion for music, seeking out music, stumbling upon music, having music thrust at me, thrusting music at other people, and handheld electronic Yahtzee.
Here it is, a tangible excuse for my musical obsession. I've blogged for several years about this and that, but I now have the itch to deviate from my usual--so I'm diving headlong into the vast realm of mp3 blogging.
What's in the name, Cassette Deck? Is it not slightly ironic that blog undertaking so deeply furrowed in the brow of digital music files is titled as such? Did I really just personify mp3's as a giant forehead ?
Alas, cassettes are old hat compared to the modern methods of music discovery. I'm sure that most of us still have artifacts on tape gathering dust in the corners of closets since the 1990's (kudos to those who still use their Walkman, I only wish I still had mine!) While Casette Deck will be my way of sharing new discoveries and chattering excitedly about them, I also hope to invoke a vague reminder of the (now quaint) format on which my generation's musical collections began.
At least, that's the way I create meaning behind an otherwise pulled-out-of-my-ass blog title. (!) That, and I just like it.
So, with a hop and a yell, we sally forth! into the wide, wild world of music (and writing about music!)