Leo Robinson, of Cult Party, runs a small cassette label out of Newcastle under Lyme. Having had a chance to listen to an earlier Cult Party release via Correspondence Tapes, I was quite excited to see he had his own DIY label going. It’s called TAPE//STRY and thus far, has three releases out, two of which are splits.
The first release is a split between Milkbones and Cult Party. It was released August of 2012 and features two tracks per side. Milkbones takes the A-side with the tracks, “Teeth,” and, “Spoons and Socks.” It’s dreamy folk pop at its finest, touching a bit at lo fi sounds. The first track is lively and catchy while the second track slows it down a bit with softer vocals. The writing here is poetic and does well to capture my attention. The Cult Party side of the cassette greets us with a lower pitched voice and a semi-complex time signature. My ears pricked right away at this interesting set up. This is the track “Paper Aeroplanes” and it’s a lovely combination of writing and instrumentation. It’s followed up by the melancholy folk pop gem, “Does this Hurt?” Things start out slowly, almost sadly, and then pick up into an orchestra of chorus and amazingly composed instrumentation. Overall with this cassette, I’m left stunned. I’m reminded over and over again that there’s so many amazing gems out there and it blows my mind when I come across these little treasures. The sound overall is similar to the excellent releases we’ve covered from Correspondence Tapes and the groups associated with it here on the blog over the last two years. Honestly, I can’t get enough of this stuff! –5 out of 5–
The second cassette is a split between The Sunflowers and Joe the Bastard. It’s another four track compilation with The Sunflowers taking up three spots and Joe the Bastard releasing a track that’s longer than the first three combined. “The Sugarplum Tree” is a sweet little track, assembling a small chorus of female and male vocals over simple acoustics. This track truly embodies the DIY method, complete with tape hiss. The second track is, “Loveliest of Trees,” a spoken word-poetry piece that gently floats over sweet folk acoustics. It’s quickly followed up by “The Fairies,” which follows suit with the previous tracks. Sweet, soft vocals poetically over ukulele, casting a glimpse at a folktale of sorts one might have heard as a child. Did you recognize the male vocalist? It’s Leo from Cult Party! The last track, “The Ballad of the Daughter of Salt and Water” is Joe the Bastard’s epic seven and a half minute contribution to this split. Another folk story here (which I will admit, is making me enjoy this cassette as a whole immensely), that’s strung together with a powerful and versatile voice, sweet acoustic guitar and some chimes. This cassette overall is very much on the folktale side of things and does well to give us that nostalgic childhood story feel but through the eyes of an adult. This is a great release. –4.5 out of 5—
The third is an EP from Bong Idle entitled “Night of the Living Blunt.” It’s a three track EP that appears on both sides of the cassette because who likes to rewind? “Beach Zombie” is the opening track and I’m immediately blasted by some intense garage style surf rock. This is a surprising change of pace from the previous two cassettes. It’s wild! They fuse elements of noise, indie, art rock, punk and lo fi into their songs, creating a very radical listening experience. It’s like throwing Flipper, Los Straightjackets, Yummy and the Woggles into a blender, setting in on high, adding echo, noise, distortion and reverb and serving it hot with a garnish of habanero. Holy cow, this is bliss. Each track here is a sonic explosion of awesomeness. Get this cassette! –5 out of 5—