Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MIX TAPE - 1995

  Besides my old friend, Heather, who I met when I was 5 years old, I only keep in touch with one other friend from the Nascar days of my youth (that reference is so vague that I'm not explaining it...just roll with it). That friend is Angie, who mailed this tape to me at my two room apartment in Huntsville, AL in 1995. No cover, no track listing...just this tape rolled up into a letter, recorded over a battered GEORGE MICHAEL cassingle. Short and to the point. I had no clue that I'd still love every song on this tape 20 years later (20 years!). I had no clue that the Floyd who is mentioned in the first line of the first song would be the same person who now assigns me CD's to review for Maximum Rock N Roll or that that house he made his phone call from (listen to the song) would catch on fire a short distance from where I live now. I didn't know that the third song would still resonate so much harder with me now than it did back then. The last band on the tape, EVERY ALICE ON EARTH, will not be a hit with many (or any) visitors to the blog, but they were a local(ish) band where I grew up and were one the first DIY (I mean this as actual "Do It Yourself", not as an empty slogan used by hardware stores and Pottery Barn) bands I ever saw in my pre-teen years, which made a big impact. In some very, very tiny circles, they are legendary.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MRR RADIO - #1433 and #1441

   I forgot to post these here, but they've both been posted on the MRR website for weeks now. On episode 1433 of the radio show, I was joined by my neighbor, Jason, who plays in PERMANENT RUIN and JOYRIDE. On episode 1441, I hosted it alone and made a lot of mistakes. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

VARIOUS ARTISTS - "Audio Annihilation" - Tape - 2004

   There are very little details that I know about this tape. I do know that it showed up in my P.O. box years ago with an accompanying zine, but that informative document has been lost after moving between no less than 8 houses, 6 states and 3 time zones. What I can tell you is that this was produced by some stellar folks from San Pedro, CA and was probably meant to document a certain time in their scene, but I'm really fucking it up now. Most of the songs on here are shoddy, lo-fi, live recordings that sound like a really fun time. I can't tell you who any of these bands are because I don't know. LIPSTICK PICKUPS? KILLER DREAMER? You tell me! No, really! I wanna know who sings track 14 because it's my favorite! Also, interspersed between some of the songs are some pretty funny ads for records that were coming out at the time, which is something I wish that happened more often in punk.

Monday, March 9, 2015

TRACEY TRANCE - "101" - Tape - 2013

Today's post is brought to you by Jacob Khepler 

 It's common for a band to make a "tour release"- a limited object you can only get direct from them at shows on tour. Oftentimes it is hastily put together, by bands that don't have a new-enough record to sell at the gigs. As a consequence the tour release is more prone to have goofy shit, live stuff, weird covers, noise parts, and collaborations that would never make the cut on the official release. And as a result of this, a tour release can have a behind-the-scenes feeling, that really makes you think of the band members as human beings. The full release is like a band's thesis. The tour tape shows you what the band is like at home- who they're jamming with and what they're riffing on.

   Anyway, this tape isn't a tour tape, it's like the reverse of a tour tape. It sounds recorded on the road, about being on the road, named after the road, with sounds of the actual road, for the benefit of the friends at home. "Our car broke down in the following 8 places, and each place had a nice new friend, a sunny ditch, a kooky animal, and a romantic feeling". It's very sweet!!!!

    This tape contains Tracey's high wavering falsetto singing a nice little ditty about experiences on the 101 highway (i think), and another song about friends, intercut with road sounds, alternate takes, the same songs fed through effects, and brief verses and bits of other songs that come and go in a nice natural way. It's basically an EP of filler material, but as I said before, that can be very nice. The songs have an easy fun melody and a simple rhyme scheme that really makes them seem like they were initally written while driving, maybe even freestyled, for the amusement of the passenger or passengers. Many parts feature a keyboard, Tracey's main instrument, played in a loping circular manner as fingers slip and slide across the plastic. The whole thing seems to be recorded on a handheld walkman recorder- in quieter moments the compression on the tiny built-in condenser mic swells and you hear the background rush in. Lots of nice highway sounds too- trucks, trains, bridges, bells. Very nice.

    If you are not already a Tracey Trance fan, this tape may be your "101" (qua "introductory class")- these sounds are all present to varying degrees and yes, the music is basically this high all the time (at least). If you like it definitely seek out other releases (especially "Pyber Kub"). If you don't like it, that's totally valid. Do not seek out other releases.

    I have no idea if this title is in reference to the Depeche Mode live album / documentary of the same name. It easily could be, and I don't think it's hurting anyone to pretend it is. I would love it if Tracey did a full-on Depeche Mode cover tape- Tracey if you're reading this, think about it.

 In conclusion, I like Tracey Trance, and I like this tape.