Tapes reviews of tapes I buy or get sent.

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

King Tuff - Was Dead (Burger Records)

I had this tape on my walkman for a good week before i realised that Mr. King Tuff himself, was also the singer in Witch (who happen to have a certain J Mascis on drums) and the brains behind new SubPop power pop signings Happy Birthday, whose 'Girls FM' song was glued to my brain for a good month.

Does this knowledge change the tape? Not really. King Tuff sways a little more to the glam side of punk, but with his foot still in the garage door? It is all pretty sunny too, regardless of the lyrics and album title, with those melodies that float around in a happy way. Almost like if J Mascis had jumped in on a Jay Reatard session, good time rock n roll jams all the way. I was a little sad to think this tape was the nail in the King Tuff coffin since Happy Birthday have started to make waves, but the King Tuff myspace says that new songs are coming soon. I'm holding on for the next stage in KT's resurrection, and i am sure it will be as much fun.

Side A

Dancing on You
Sun Medallion
A Pretty Dress

Side B

Just Strut
Kind of Guy
Freak When I'm Dead
Stone Fox
So Desperate

also posted on Ghost Panda Digital

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Ty Segall - S/T & Lemons (Burger Records)

Picture courtesy of  Panda Digital

If you have read any of my tape reviews for Tapelove or pieces for Ghost Panda before, then you may have worked out that I have a lot of love for Burger Records. It is by far and away my favourite label, for tapes or otherwise, and with this new tape they have surpassed themselves by re-issuing the first two Ty Segall albums that they had previously released as a nice 2-albums-on-one tape package, for the same low cost of one tape! They have also extended the same 2-for-1 love to both of the excellent No Bunny albums ('Love Visions' & 'Raw Romance') they had released and promptly sold out of.

So, we have the 'Self Titled' debut by Ty Segall kicking off on side A. For the newcomers to Ty Segall, he is up there with the best of them for recorded output. Off the top of my head I can think of his input to The Traditional Fools, Epsilons, Sic Alps, Party Fowl, The Perverts and the Ty Segall/Mikal Cronin collaborations, each band with a nice back catalogue of their own, and he still looks like he is in his early 20's! All of the bands he has played in have traversed a variety of styles all stemming from garage punk, with elements of surf, noise, psych and punk thrown in. His solo stuff strips it back a notch with this first album mainly consisting of one guitar, vox and simple drums which he plays with his feet live, the original one-man-band set up. This doesn't stop him from kickin' out the jams though, with a continued ferocity to match his full bands output. In fact, these songs are his most concise with party bangers like 'You Should Have Never Opened That Door' and 'Pretty Baby (You're So Ugly)' and slow burners like 'The Drag' and 'You're Not Me' making an incredibly rounded first solo full length.

Flipping over to side B we get the whole of 'Lemons', his second record (not including 'Horn The Unicorn', the collection of singles and early material) which sounds more like a band effort, reflected in his three-piece band line-up to tour this record. Starting off with 'It #1' a mid-paced fuzzy stomper with a dirty repetitive riff below some scratchy single note solos, kept constant by some sharp snare hits. The pace is picked up through the record, but it still feels purposely refrained, giving all the songs room to breathe rather than speeding through them for the sake of it, with the drums keeping the songs together as much as the guitars, which seems understandable as he drummed in any many bands as he has played guitar. There is also a lot more in the way of harmonies and backing vocals with this album too, which really elevates them and adds another layer to the usual ultra-reverbed out vocals

The two albums sit nicely next to each other on repeated plays and the differences are only ones of production and recording. I keep on expecting Ty Segall and his fellow cohorts in Thee Oh Sees, Fresh & Onlys, Dan Melchior to release a dud record as they seem to kick out an unlimited amount of albums, E.P's, 7"s and comp. appearances as well as constant touring, but the ball is rarely dropped. Quality and quantity? If this was the heyday of delta blues I’m sure there would be rumours of soul selling to the man downstairs, but hey, if it’s good, just keep the records coming.

This tape is essential, and probably the best starting point to Mr Segall's huge discography, but like a gateway drug, it will lead to more purchases and a slimmer bank balance. You've been warned.

Side A = Self Titled

Side B = Lemons

Posted simultaneously on Panda Digital