Tapes ‘n Tapes: ‘Walk It Off’
Walk It Off
Tapes ‘n Tapes
Tracks to download: “Hang Them All,” “Conquest,” “Lines”
For fans of: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, not George Michael
Tapes ‘n Tapes have no band members with the last name Tapes, they instead have a reminiscent tale behind their moniker.
It begins when the members were still a bunch of innocent undergraduates rocking out at Carleton College, the rock mecca of Minnesota, outside of anywhere in Minnesota that has ever been visited by Prince.
They played a game to pass the time in which they would record little sections of tracks lasting no more than two minutes. One day the band noticed these cassettes piling up, and someone adroitly commented that they had ‘tapes and tapes’ of these tiny tunes. (A similar story can be attributed to Puff Daddy’s original name, Boxes of Beats I’d Like to Steal as I Have No Discernible Talent of My Own.) The band then changed the ‘and’ in their name to the laziest conjunction around: ‘n.
I assume this move was to either reap the indie cred boost that comes with poor diction or as a shout out to their favorite breakfast cereal commander of the seas.
Their new album, “Walk It Off,” shows that they have remained faithfully indie.
No track besides the rousing, bass-coddling “Hang Them All” has any chance of commercial appeal. This sophomore release supposedly received far more professional production than their 2005 debut, “The Loon,” but that fact is consistently obscured.
Some tracks like “Demon Apple” and “Headshock” have corrosive instrumentals that sound as if they were recorded in a basement under a basement. Although many tracks overstay their welcome as the band plays with whatever new fun toys come with above ground production, the lack of vocal talent and catchy hooks show that the band is still the musical epitome of indie. (Of course the dispositional epitome of indie has been and always will be overwhelming pretension.)
This release should end the band’s constant comparisons to another indie rock sensation, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, whose sophomore effort last year was marred by its egregious overproduction.
I didn’t enjoy this Tapes ‘n Tapes album in the least because its muffled sound gave me a splitting migraine and it had no song nearly as memorable as the standout of their first album, “Insistor.” But I admire its shunning of mainstream ideals in order to appeal to the indie audience. The song “George Michael” embodies everything George Michael abhors; it has no flare, no joy, no unadulterated pep.
The album’s final track, “The Dirty Dirty,” repeats, “Where did our money go?” This seems to be a commentary on the album’s raw sound despite its professional recording.
I bet they spent the money on black jeans and vintage t-shirts, a blatant slap in the face to the establishment that signs their checks: checks that they spit on (then wipe off, cash, and use to buy more pants).
Pitchfork will certainly laud the band’s fresh sound and they will subsequently sell hundreds upon hundreds of tapes and tapes, which translates to double platinum in the indie world. And I will bypass the album in the record store as I rummage through the ‘n section, hoping to secure a copy of the coveted Hall and Oates rap remix EP featuring Skanky Sara Smile.
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