Cassettes on Tape, Anywhere (self-released, 7/14/16)
We love a band that wears their influences proudly. Cassettes on Tape is a four-piece hailing from Chicago, with a declared fondness for “shoegazy guitars and new wavey hooks”. On their new long-player, Anywhere, the band stays true to their school(s).
Anywhere finds the band taking a musical journey through mid-80s to mid-90s indie music, recalling everything from 80s ‘college radio’, new wave, shoegaze, early 90s indie pop and even britpop. It’s a wide range of (admittedly intertwined) sounds, and the band pulls it off by writing hook-filled tunes played with a super-charged emotion. Jangling, resonant guitars courtesy of lead guitarist Shyam Telikicherla build epic sound scapes to match the dramatic vocals of singer Joe Kozak, who comes off like a cross between Suede’s Brett Anderson (minus the falsetto) and a less raspy Richard Butler of the Psych Furs. Songs like album highlight “Shattered” manage to marry 80s indie restraint to Britpop rafter rattling, while “Modern Love” carries an “I Am the Resurrection” shuffle. While the hi nrg tracks are great, the lovely slow burn of “Diamonds” and “Liquid Television” (above) are equally satisfying. Great stuff.
Anywhere is out now, and available through the Cassettes on Tape Bandcamp page. You can also check them out on the fbook, the twit and Instagram (don’t have a ‘witty’ shortcut reference for that one…yet). The band also have a show coming up on August 5 at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago – check it out if you’re local.
Vanishing Twin, “The Conservation of Energy” (Soundway Records)
“The Conservation of Energy” is a slice of breezy, psych-flecked sophisti-pop (so many hyphens!) courtesy of London’s Vanishing Twin (formerly known as Orlando, also the name of the band’s lead singer). There’s a strong whiff of gauloises, drawing in the flavors of bands like St. Etienne, Stereolab, Broadcast, and The Style Council. Featuring a gentle breeze of a drum beat, organ, flute, and Orlando’s shimmery vocals, the track weaves a continental drift through a sun-dappled, pastoral jazz-folk vibe, with the lyrics’ natural imagery – matter, flowing seas – adding to the languid feel. The song streches its legs into an absolutely blissful, wordless middle third at around the 2:30 mark, before returning to the main melody. While a rather abrupt fade out breaks the spell.
“The Conservation of Energy” is taken from Vanishing Twin’s to be released debut album, due on Soundway Records in September according to their PR group. You can find the band on fbook and also on Soundcloud, with Orlando’s earlier releases available on this Bandcamp page.
S. A. Reyners, “Saturday Afternoon” (Self Released, 7/11/2015)
A jaunty slice of quirky, melodic, sophisticated pop from S A Reyners, Wellington, New Zealand’s own “one man band” (though drums here are credited to Kiel Feher).
Reyners cites, as influences, bands like Sparks and Aztec Camera. These come through loud and clear on “Saturday Afternoon”, the second single from a soon to be released debut EP of the same name – the former in his vocal range and phrasing (which also recalls Matt Johnson of The The); and both in stylistic mish mash of the arrangement, which recalls the 80s integration of tropicalia and Caribbean music, as well as 60s style r&b.
I also a heard a fair amount of bands like Orange Juice and Haircut 100, in both the track’s breezy, effortless charm, as well as the sly wit and wordplay of the lyrics, describing the high of chancing upon an attractive girl you’d seen on the street at a local bar, followed swiftly the low of discovering she’s there with her soon to be fiancé.
Here’s hoping more pearls from EP are cast soon. In the meantime, check M. Reyners on his Facebook page, on Soundcloud and on Bandcamp.