Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Noughties Cower Behind Me And Are Abased

I don't think anyone had sent me a cassette for about a decade when I received this FOUR YEARS AGO. Several years down the line I've started buying them again and they've plopped through the letterbox with reassuring regularity.

I shat myself when I saw the new Tape Swap on Dissensus. After a mild heart attack about not having reciprocated last time with a tape of my own it turns out that I had. Thank fuck. I don't want to get into Danny's bad books.

Also, incredibly, I managed to find the one (or at least I think it was this tape?) that Bassbeyondreason (if it was him?) sent me. It's a Maxell UR C90, which came wrapped in the cover of a Toyah single, which is still around here somewhere and regularly confuses the shit out of me when I am rifling through my sevens.

The cassette case has “hope you endure the music!” written on it in black felt tip pen. Which I have. Several times I think, but not for several years now. It's good – a proper “everything but the kitchen sink” affair which still has a slightly drunken aesthetic of its very own. I assume there was a track-listing but I suspect that this would have been on a piece of paper which has long since been recycled or perhaps lies hidden in a secret compartment of my former abode. So I shall do this review “blind” and promise not to use spotify and google or whatever.



(1) Starts off in fine style with some anarcho punk crud-fi business about not wanting to die in a nuclear holocaust. Good bass. Had finished before my laptop hard started up.

(2) Then some vintage disco funk. The daughter taps her pencil along to the drum break. Which is as close as you get to an endorsement in this house.

(3) Spoken word about some woman named Barbara losing weight. “What are you listening to Dad, it sounds like The Muppets?” 

(4) Yankee hardcore: “there's nothing wrong with being sensitive and looking like a dork”. A searing critique of jock culture? Kinda. I have to explain to the daughter that the vocal about treating women like shit is a parody of idiot men. Hmmph.

(5) FEEDBACK AND THRASH! GRUFF MALE VOICE INTONING ABOUT SOMETHING UNPLEASANT! Realm of grindcore, methinks! Good testosterone music. Followed by a slightly bizarre segue into...

(6) Harry Enfield's “Loadsamoney” novelty single from the Stock Aitken Waterman era. It's not very good, but seems recorded quite badly which makes it tonally interesting at least.

(7) “BLEEEEAAAAAAAGH!” More thrash. I was never really into all this but it still takes me back to my youth. Men with denim and lots of bad hair trying to persuade me that I will really like some album with cliched horror lettering on the cover. Good times. This one goes on too long though I reckon.

(8) Ska punk? We are truly taking the scenic route here! We should all unite, apparently. Why not? Seems to have keyboard horns - a pet hate of mine, but it's OK when the double speed skank kicks in. I suspect the curator of this tape has had as many drunken dances in seedy punk clubs as I have.

(9) Then some Vybz Kartel (?) on a repetitive gynaecological tip which I am really really hoping that the daughter doesn't hear. Awkward. Good tune though.

(10) More your anthemic balls-out epic rock with loooong intro. Great riff but terrible slurred rawk vocals.

 (11) Gospelly soulful funk. With a bit of distortion which I think is unintended but pretty crunchy and great nonetheless.

(12) Some folky christian hallelujah stuff. Yep. A bit stiff compared to the “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” OST. Possibly because this is more modern and more european? It skips a bit, which might be Satan's influence.

(13) Nasty X-rated anti-social American punk about a security guard who calls up working girls on the job. “I watch topless dancers and I wonder if I have cancer”. Riiiiiiiiiight. Quite cool – exactly the kind of thing you want on a mixtape – I know there's a tonne of good USA punk out there but I'm fucked if I'm going to wade through it myself.

(14) A folksy reel, I guess you would call it. Good accelerations. I point out to junior that this is a weird tape. “Oh yeah, like none of your other stuff is weird, Dad...” Fair play. Oh hang on – this has sort of a breakbeat thing happening as well? “World” music alarm is twanging?!

(15) Screams and incoherent vocals. Japanese? The Boredoms or something? Ace. Lots of short bursts of noise. Then MOAR thrash. It's good to have some of this now and again, it certainly stops things getting too polite. It has also driven the daughter from the room, although the cat remains. This sounds like one of those seven inches which has 18 tracks on one side.

(16) Some kind of militant female chanting call and response.

(17) A female vocal intones “Free Jah Jah Children” and there is about 10 seconds of bassline. END OF SIDE ONE.


(1) Kicks off with a song from the TV show Lassie which is all campy country and pretty great for an opener.

(2) We are then into some hey nonny nonny folk stuff with a female vocalist doing something “until she is sore” which is pretty great, in a Wickerman kind of way?

(3) An ace thrash cover of what I assume is a Wurzels song about cider? I went to a posh Hauschka and Johan Johannsson gig at the Barbican last year and the guy I was with bought me cider by mistake – I got a proper suburban teenage flashback off it. Mixtape novelty business! Someone knows my level...

(4) Next track is folksier again with more of a glam rock feel somewhere and a male vocal. Appears to be a penny whistle solo. Hmmm. Much of this track was obscured by my better half coming in having just finished her work and wanting a chat. I bet Simon Reynolds never gets that.

(5) Some proper vinyl clickery heralds the next track which takes us to... AFRIIIIIKKKKKKAAAA! Bhundu Boys twinkly guitars and maybe the sun will stay out tomorrow. Hard to know what these chaps are singing about but it's a million miles away from all that “Afro-Noise” dreck. It's got a long freakout at the end where the tempo ramps up. Proper.

(6) Then someone is gargling over bar-room bluesy rock. They are “lie-ing in a bed of fire” apparently which seems like a serious health and safety violation. This is exactly the sort of music I don't have any of. Nor do I want any of it, really, except perhaps as a soundtrack to some demented roadtrip?

(7) Boom! Hip-house techno redemption! With snare rolls! Hands in the air! And a bit of echo in the breakdown. This sounds like 90s and possibly German? That rather good midpoint between the Venga Boys and Happy Hardcore. FUN and not for the purists. (which is perhaps the over-arching philosophy of the tape). Some nice hoovery bits with breakbeats. First tune that I am tempted to find out what it is...

(8) Piano balladry? Why? WHY? “In the spiritual sky”? Like a hippy Elton John. “If you are so attached to the material world - it is hard to see the one you looooove” it seems. I can only imagine the look of utter ridicule I would get from the one I love if I mooted detaching ourselves from the material world.

(9) Some funky jazzy breakbeat electronica follows. With kung fu film vocal sample? We must be back in the 1990s again? Not a complaint from me – far from it! Little bit of wobble going on also. Fair takes me back innit. I'm impressed that all this stuff is completely new to me, man is doing good. Some fucked up bits on the vinyl it seems too. Proper. Goes on a bit long though.

(9) Some NOISE! Feedback and shit. Plodding rock submerged beneath it. Fab. Glitched up or maybe a jumping record? Possibly this is a mash up of an actual metal record and an experimental noise thing? Great idea. Doom! Sweat! An exhortation to “KILL! [something indistinguishable]”. This is what I hope Wolf Eyes would sound like, but I bet they don't.

(10) Cheesy disco, OBVIOUSLY. Oh actually it's a Sesame Street tune. GOLD. Not heard this one either, even though I grew up on Muppet Show LPs (and have encouraged my own offspring to do the same). Various characters over slap bass – what's not to like? Cuts short. END OF SIDE TWO.



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