Tabs Out | The pineapple upside-down zones of Bad Cake Records

The pineapple upside-down zones of Bad Cake Records
6.11.18 by Mike Haley, Ryan Masteller

According to their Bandcamp profile, Bad Cake Records is a”misfit, non-elitist cassette label with no set aesthetic.” According to Tony Lien, he operates the label out of a tiny mountain town in Minnesota called Bemidji — A town VERY proud of it’s Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox monument. According to us, you should know a little about them…

“I once drunkenly ate some pineapple upside-down cake from a dumpster” Tony characterized his baddest bad cake experience. “At least it was in a plastic clam shell case.” The label Bad Cake is far less grim than rooting through trash for trash cake, despite the logo depicting a cigarette butt put out on a 4 tier cake. Started as an outlet for a crew of talented friends back in Lien’s former home of Lincoln/Omaha, and his own Dere Moans project, Bad Cake released it’s first batch of three tapes in January. A more than solid start.

The Triangle Man is my best friend Clinton Smith.” Lien said, describing the artists involved. “He and I were in an improv noise rock band Mildred Bonk for years down there. When he started putting his beautiful solo stuff up on Bandcamp (and not even telling anybody about it!) I was obviously blown away. The Eternal is my other close friend Matt Martinosky. “Witness To An Execution” is actually a 15 year old album that might have never been heard had I not asked Matt to send me something for the first batch. And Dere Moans is my project. I made “Doom Royale” as sort of an ode to my high school days—which we’re hopelessly saturated in the poisonous slime that is nü-metal.”

A highlight from the the second batch came in an edition of 25 (still available!) from Boston duo Glove Pilot, reviewed here by Ryan Masteller:

“Thunder Suite” is like God’s love, indifference, and wrath all meted out upon the mortals of earth with severe judgment, just like we learn in the Bible. It should be no surprise to any of you that I’m on the receiving end of the “love” third of this spectrum, but don’t mistake that designation as something I eased into: God’s love is incredibly hard to come by, and you really have to jump through a litany of legalistic hoops to attain it. In fact, you’re probably better off shooting lower, going for God’s indifference, because being good is hard – it’s really hard. Just ask all those people expecting God’s wrath, the worst of the worst, the Ted Cruzes and the Michelle Bachmans and the Richard Spencers of the world. Because there’s no way God’s even remotely indifferent toward those swine.

And because I’m so filled with the love of God, I’m here to present you GlovePilot’s “Thunder Suite (& More),” from which my account takes its inspiration. See, jazz duo (God loves jazz!) Matt Hull (trumpets/pedals) and Joe Hartigan (drums) have basically one-upped Dante Alighieri’s totally bloated and contrived “Divine Comedy” with something more streamlined and accessible, something that most of us normal people can enjoy. The “Thunder Suite,” which appears on side A of this tape, flits through the three different possibilities your immortal soul will inhabit, from the mega-upbeat “Heaven” to the middle ground of “In Limbo” and finally to the terrifying breakneck scribble of “Hell.” All this in about ten minutes – how long did it take you to read “Divine Comedy” in high school? Longer than ten minutes? There, I’ve saved you A LOT of time.

Side B features the “(& More)” part of this tape, as Hull and Hartigan drop the pretense of narrative and spiral off into psychedelia with “Laika” and “Sun Riser,” the former a minimal meditation on, uh, space dogs (sure) and the latter a splatter of tone and percussion across the audio canvas. I’m not sure God likes all that “experimental” stuff though – GlovePilot might have gone a little too far here. Too many “bong hits” if you get my meaning.

Still, if you’re having second thoughts about buying “Thunder Suite (& More),” you should pray about it, and then you should buy one before Bad Cake Records runs out of tapes (or me and the other chosen ones are raptured).

At this exact second Bad Cake has ten releases, the latest being a follow up from Dere Moans called “Future Deli.” A damn perfect representation of the label, “Future Deli” is a wormy, joyous synth recording tangled with ASMR chewing sounds and cooking show clips.

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