Tapes ‘n Tapes


Ye olde sophomore slump. We see it in sports, movies (in the form of sequels), television, and uhhhh college freshmen. Whatever. But in music, it’s a fucking doozy. You never know what you are going to get in a second album from up and coming bands–and the second album usually maps out a band’s future (there are definitely cases where third albums do bands in–The Shins come to mind immediately). Remember the second effort from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah? OUCH that thing sucked.

May sees the releases of sophomore albums from a pair of bands fairly highly touted by the Louder Pussycat staff: Tapes ‘n Tapes and The Black Angels. We’ve heard ’em. And it’s a prime example of what can go right and what can go wrong with album numero dos. Tapes ‘n Tapes released Walk it Off today, and The Black Angels release Directions To Seek a Ghost on May 13.

Tapes \'n Tapes

I know Walk it Off is technically Tapes’ third album, but for the sake of argument let’s ignore the self-titled self-released record. A follow-up album isn’t just a second album, it’s the follow-up to their breakout record. Some jackass here said The Loon (the aforementioned breakout album) was one of the best debut records of the last decade–and this jackass still firmly believes that. It was budding with potential, lo-fi-ish, and homegrown.

Not so much with Walk it Off. Where Tapesx2 took chances with The Loon and delivered indie pop with eccentricities, Walk it Off sounds like they mailed it in and wrote all the songs within a week or two. It’s such a safe album it pretty much throws everything that made Tapesx2 great in the first place. There’s nothing that compares to the blissful comedown that is Omaha, nothing weird and out there like Jakov’s Suite. Just a bunch of ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Below are two songs that made The Loon great and two of the better songs from Walk it Off. Anyone else miss the redheaded bass player?
Old (my Loon files are mp4s and won’t play on your computer…sorry! Here are earlier songs):
Tapes ‘n Tapes–Icedbergs
Tapes ‘n Tapes–50’s Parking
New:
Tapes ‘n Tapes–Le Ruse
Tapes ‘n Tapes–Hang Them All

The Black Angels. Looking all cool.

On the other side of things, The Black Angels roared out of the gate with Passover. Great psych-rock from Austin, Texas. Dark driving guitar-scapes with pounding drums…sure The Warlocks were doing the same thing, but The Black Angels added their own spice to the sound.

With Directions to Seek a Ghost, they’ve stayed very close to their formula but added two things I fucking love–more tripped-out effects and depth. The songs are a bit longer, which is absolutely perfect for their sound, and the eight-and-a-half-minute Never/Ever may be their best work to date. What’s more, it’s fully listenable front to back–no real filler at all.

By working on top of the foundation they laid on Passover, The Black Angels actually expanded their sound whereas Tapes stripped themselves down.
Old:
The Black Angels–Young Men Dead
The Black Angels–Black Grease
New:
The Black Angels–Doves
The Black Angels–Never/Ever

Tapes ‘n Tapes are touring with White Denim, and The Black Angels are touring with The Warlocks.

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Farrr fooook's sake! A good band comes along, gets a swig of success, and one of the members bolts!

Such is the sad case with mates Tapes 'n' Tapes. The lot just hit the indie jackpot, being mention in the friggin' Times! The New York friggin' Times! They destroyed SXSW! They swung a second leg of their tour with packed shows!

Now, it's being reported that bass player Shawn Tapes has left the band (yes, the same chap who kindly broke down the band name's origin to us), and has been replaced by Minneapolis band slut Erik Appelwick. I say "band slut" because the man is in a lot of bands. From what I hear the man does not put out.

Tapes
That's him! Second from the left! That's the man who left the band, officer!

They're now touring with the new lineup under the name Elvis vs. Elvis. Yeah, it's a stupid name, but I bet you thought Tapes 'n' Tapes was pretty fooking stupid when you 'eard it tha first time, dintchya? Now look at ya ya daft cunt! You've got "Tapes 'n' Tapes" tattooed on yer arse!

Either way you fuck it, ere's the latest tour dates, 'nicked from Brooklyn Vegan. Thanks, lass.

Fri 04/28/06 Chicago, IL Subterranean
Sat 04/29/06 Chicago, IL Schubas
Fri 05/05/06 Minneapolis 7th St Entry
Sun 05/07/06 Minneapolis Women's Club Theater
Thu 05/18/06 London, UK Metro
Fri 05/19/06 Nottingham, UK The Social
Sat 05/20/06 Brighton, UK Great Escape
Mon 05/22/06 London, UK Barfly
Tue 05/23/06 Leeds, UK Faversham
Wed 05/24/06 Glasgow, UK Nice 'N' Sleazy
Thu 05/25/06 Manchester, UK Music Box
Thu 06/01/06 Madison, WI The Journey
Fri 06/02/06 Chicago, IL Abbey Pub
Mon 06/05/06 Cambridge, MA Middle East Club
Tue 06/06/06 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Wed 06/07/06 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
Thu 06/08/06 Baltimore, MD Fletcher's
Sat 06/10/06 Nashville, TN The Basement
Mon 06/12/06 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room / Ballroom
Tue 06/13/06 Austin, TX Stubb's Barbeque
Thu 06/15/06 Tucson, AZ Solar Culture
Fri 06/16/06 Los Angeles, CA Echo
Sat 06/17/06 San Francisco, CA Cafe Du Nord  <– fuck yeah!
Sun 06/18/06 Portland, OR Berbati's Pan
Mon 06/19/06 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
Thu 06/22/06 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge

'Ere's to good mates.

ChairmanMeow

It was a long time coming. After hearing Tapes ‘n Tapes for the first time on WOXY radio about 5-6 months ago, all I’ve wanted to do is curl up and nestle into their collective laps. The quartet from Minnesota produces the freshest indie rock I’ve heard in a long time. You want gimmicks? Listen elsewhere. I may upset a lot of people when I say this, but fuck it… this is the Web baby! Try and find me if you can! 

Here goes: The band’s full-length debut, The Loon, is the best debut since Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. There I said it. If I stepped in someone else’s litterbox with that comment, excuse me while I piss all over your newspapers.

Tapes
Tapes ‘n Tapes – THE BAND!

It’s apt that they challenge the throne of Steve Malkmus’ troupe (I call him Steve, because, you know, like, we’re pals), because watching them live gives indie-rockers of the mid 90s reason to believe again–THEY ARE PAVEMENT REBORN! Well not really. But watching them evokes the gorgeous insanity that was Steve, the Bobs, Spiral Stairs, and that other guy… Mark I think his name was.

In addition to Pavement, seeing the Tapes live brings back memories of some other superb influences, The Pixies and Talking Heads (come to think about it, it seems like everyone reminds me of Talking Heads nowadays).

Enough about those old fogeys. Though Tapes sounds like some other stuff, they manage to have a sound all their own. I know that sounds like canned PR shill, but fuck you. I’m serious. They make the type of music that you listen to, then shit just starts rippin’, and you’re all like “Dammmmn! That was the same song? Where the fudge did that come from?” Pardon my juvenile playground speak, but the Tapes get me all kitten-like excited.

Holy crap! I just took a peek at their myspace page while listening to “Just Drums” on my iPawd and “Just Drums” began playing on the myspace page almost a perfect beat away from what I was listening to so it ended up being this crazy spontaneous myspace remix. You had to be there. Why weren’t you there? Why!?!?

I was fortunate to land an exclusive interview and get the origin of the band’s name thanks to Mr. Tapes, the bass player. He’s got red hair. You know what that means. (If you know what that means, please let me know by leaving a comment) Anywho, apparently the bored lads played a game where they would write parts of songs in two minutes or less, record it, and generally just waste their days dreaming that one day they would be rock stars and tour the country playing shows and blow up SXSW and get mentioned by the New York Times. I got news for you guys, welcome to reality!

Point is, they looked at a box full of their recorded quickies and said aloud, “Jesus, we have tapes and tapes of this shit.” (It’s unclear whether all of them said that at the same time, or whether it was muttered by only one Tape, but it was said.) Thus the name was born, though they shortened it considerably by dropping the baggage that was the ‘a’ and ‘d’ of ‘and’ and instead used the ultra-hip and underused ”’ before the ‘n’.

Back to the present day less than a week ago (wrap that around your mind!), the Tapes rolled into Cafe Du Nord (quickly becoming my favorite venue to see bands) to a packed house. Tapes ‘n Tapes? Packed house? Weren’t these guys playing Ale Houses in Minnesota a few months ago? Goes to show what playing 8 shows in 4 days at the biggest indie festival can do for a band, particularly in a city like San Francisco.

The live standouts were obviously “Insistor” (Susie Vomit’s favorite), “Beachgirls,” and “Icedbergs.” However, “Just Drums” and “Jakov’s Suite” were simply sublime. Sometimes it takes a band to play a song at a million decibels right in front of your whiskers to make you realize that you are witnessing a true display of creative Evolutionism. I think that last sentence makes sense, but I’m not totally sure. The point is their strength is their material, which is a must to uncork a fucking rocker.

My only gripe? They didn’t play 50s Parking. Which is probably for the best, because if they did, I probably would have humped their legs. And as a cat saying that, it means a lot.

Sorry there are no pictures… I got about half a block from my house, and realized I forgot my camera. I was painfully sober and couldn’t waste any more time without sweet, sweet nectar. Just look at the picture above and imagine them rocking, k?

Buy their album from their Web site, and pick up an “I hate tapes” button while you’re at it.

Insistor – Tapes ‘n Tapes
50s Parking – Tapes ‘n Tapes