Tabs Out | Teevee – The Sweats

Teevee – The Sweats

11.24.21 by Matty McPherson

“WE ARE LOCATED IN RURAL ILLINOIS WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO THE PO. WE SHIP ITEMS ONCE A WEEK” is about all the information you’re gonna find on the Manic Static website page regarding what their mission is or what they release. Bandcamp and other information is thin and I’m not being paid by the word (or at all) so end of sentence. That being said, the label’s decade plus of lo-fi punk and pop majesty speaks for itself. Early Lala Lala, Melkbelly, Control Top, Wednesday, and (of course noted stalwart) The Funs have all passed through and released proof-of-concept tapes that go above and beyond. Details on these releases may be sparse and the art is willfully abstracted that you might mistake it for death metal or death drone. Yet somehow, they have pushed each act towards a seat at second and first tier indies. Whatever is being cultivated, is clearly and inherently of note. By the heads and for the heads.

So, that brings us to today’s half hour of lo-fi punk with pop inclinings, The Sweats. It’s a 2020 album reissued by Manic Static back in March. It was made by a duo credited as Teevee (DH and WM are the only initials provided; although further research brings up Dylan Hyman & Woody Moore). It has enough strum n’ thrummery and K Records throwback to knock your socks off. The formula is genuinely simple: girl-group melodies, warm n’ fuzzy guitar and slight thumping drums (to prove no one is sleeping here), as well as an airing of grievances/listing of dailies. All in an uptempo, syncopated manner that recalls bits of the no-frills production of personal favorites Privacy Issues and Sweeping Promises (who’s 2020 crackerjack effort recently received a tape pressing). It’s here where the emphasis is placed on how minimal elements can really transcend a garage-type showspace into a full-blown vibe. 

And while I’ve never been in a garage at the same time and place as Teevee, it brings me an immense amount of joy at how… familiar yet encompassing these tracks are. “Resolve” is a classic fuzz n’ buzz piece of guitar pop, with syncopated stops that suck all the air out of my ears. “Hologram” has all the sudden-left turns of classic Amps, running through a litany of melodies and tempos that steadily build to a crushing climax. “Pretty People” is all tantalizing guitar swirls recalling the punchdrunk pleasures of house parties AND county fair tilt-a-whirls! “Holidaze” sneaks in a carnivorous bass line to absorb darkness before cutting to black and Side B takes over. Over on that end, Teevee continue pulling out lo-fi nuggets like its tricks out of a bag. “No Good” dances with a phaser effect, while “Taste Blood” mumbles out the pains of existing past ex-friends and fantastical daydreams. And even Resolve returns to close things out, shedding its skin and making the cut as a droney minimal wave!

I know I said earlier I wasn’t being paid by the word (or at all) here, but I kinda need all the words I can to describe this duo because these tracks are totally analog and the Bandcamp page for it is MIA! But man do they know how to bring the heat!

An edition of 100 is up for grabs at Manic Static’s bigcartel page

Tabs Out | Tara Jane O’Neil – Dispatches from the Drift

Tara Jane O’Neil – Dispatches from the Drift

11.23.21 by Matty McPherson

There’s a heavenly sound (Tara Jane O’Neil, improvising on the keys) emanating from the boombox a few rooms over right now; it’s the kind of sound of a still, foggy grey morning. Maybe you’d think it church music or the soundtrack to a cavernous caper on TCM at 7:46. Nevertheless, it’s always the classic thoughtful probings of Tara Jane O’Neil. TJO’s latest, Dispatches from the Drift, follows her 2010s folk odysseys and synth explorations. Yet, Dispatches finds the old folk maverick and bass superstar in a decisively laid back modus operandus. 

Having come to the tape from her Kranky and K records releases, this release is more of a unique outlier than an outright pivot. TJO’s improvisations on the piano lean towards the baroque and while they never betray her intimacy, they do feel smaller, for lack of a better term. “Use them however you like” is TJO’s only request. As such, I turned them into furniture music and went off onto my own blissed out drift. It is a genuine blast letting the music travel from rooms over and let the sounds mutate into ancillary narcotics of their own accord. Not every sound here is clear exactly why its on the tape, yet this act of honesty and openness is a worthy adventure.. With TJO, you are literally hanging out with a musician who has a way of blurring the emotive lines subtly and meticulously–this hour of material is no different, its effects just are more spaced out. Track titles and the overarching differences between pieces were less the focus than just admiring the open-armed melancholy as much as pleasant ambivalence that these pieces saunter through. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read the titles or will even find this tape carrying sounds of dismay. It’s a utilitarian, seamless kind of affair in this droney bliss or drugged down dreams.

200 pro dub Super Ferric(!) tapes in clear, imprinted shells with three color, Risograph-printed photo j-cards packaged in black & white Norelco cases available at the Tara Jane O’Neil bandcamp page

Tabs Out | Pixel Grip – Live at the MCA

Pixel Grip – Live at the MCA

10.28.21 by Matty McPherson

Oh so you too have been gripped by Pixel Grip’s club-pop tour-de-force (and non-tape release) Arena? Enough that you’re contemplating road tripping across the country to catch them in any club, basement, or dancehall that will hold the trio and their incessant, high-wire BPM shabangs this October? Power to ya! For me though, there’s just gotta be an easier way to sate that lack of a west coast tour — and OF COURSE it’s in the form of a C120 from 2020 that also happens to be a most engrossing framework for how the trio pulls out the stops.

Live at the MCA (2.21.20) is an engrossing testament to the strength of this trio. Right now, not a lot of club acts are even contemplating the two hour tape as a viable means to translate their live mixes into a bonafide message. Yet, Pixel Grip has an intrinsic willingness to revel in the liminality between their tracks. Many of the star moments of this tape are not high octane BPM fests that you scream back the words to while pulling off some sort of risqué feat. More often, tracks saunter and slink about. These instrumentals Tyler Ommen and Jonathon Freund cook up deserve to (fuck)wrench themselves into your head. They build a necessary space for enigmatic master of ceremonies, Rita Lukea and their voice, to loop and echo, lingering from corner to corner of the dancefloor. It’s a technique that makes the tape function as a cohesive live DJ mix; brimming with charisma throughout its peaks and valleys while always perpetually on the brink of a surprise.

And what’s more of a surprise than early renditions of Arena — Ray Noble and Alpha to name a couple — arriving as glistening boilerplates. Their loops are divine, and the fact that they take up a substantial amount of time on the album imbues them with an ethereal, timeless quality. Meanwhile, on the fly “dub” mixes of tracks from 2019’s Heavy Handed amp up the bass and bounce characteristics offering genuine moments of club mania. 

I honestly haven’t more to say about this besides reinforcing that for a two-hour mix, this is airtight euphoria for an act that deserves that opening slot next to Special Interest. 

Tabs Out | Lavender Blood – Lake Pier / Total Noon

Lavender Blood – Lake Pier / Total Noon

10.26.21 by Matty McPherson

The wheels at Turlin may not churn out a new finding every moon, although we’ll take once every blue moon with the stylish debut of Lavender Blood with a dual-colored C25. There’s scant information about the artist, but a litany of tidbits about recording–Yamaha VSS-200, Skychord Utopia and Tascam Dr-07 MKII — as well as that the pieces were meant to imagine “life free of the hazards of time and space.” Over its time length, roughly that of a UV acne mask treatment FWIW, it diffuses tension spotlessly and with efficiency. Sounds utilitarian? Indeed!

Lake Pier (Yellow Side) is grandiose without succumbing to mere theatrics. With a gradual, yet gnarly fade-in, the piece’s intensity is able to linger and slowly diffuse throughout the space. Each droning note sounds massive, adding unique refinements to the soundscape that soundtrack a calm within the storm. Indeed, it is worthwhile to play with your volume knobs to here this blare at full throttle as much as refine to background. Total Noon (Blue Side) is an omnipresent haze, cyclically sauntering through its gaseous state, Recorded years after Total Noon, it opens itself up to interpretation as a continued refinement or oblique inversion of said track found on Yellow Side. The emphasis on guitar loops is pretty, without succumbing to the grey disintegrations of similar work found alongside labels like the Flenser.

Edition of 25 available from Turin

Tabs Out | Track Premiere: The Exit Bags – Gargoyles

Track Premiere: The Exit Bags – Gargoyles

10.11.21 by Matty McPherson

Drongo Tapes LTD is having a riveting 2021 out on the west coast. In between a litany of releases that run the gamut between ambient slowcore to free jazz and righteous post-hardcore, the Seattle bedroom based label is teaming up with the Iowa-based Joyless Youth for the release of The Exit Bag’s Tower of Quiet on October 22nd. It’s an album that honestly might qualify as all the genres I mentioned above, with an extra touch of existential dread running through these crooked tracks. A warped minefield of a tape if we’re calling things even.

Coming after the frigid industrial-gaze of the single Shingles, Gargoyles is the second track Drongo HQ has unleashed from Exit Bags’ Tower of Quiet. We here at Tabs Out are pleased to be premiering it out here for y’all today, complete with a video. Gargoyles is a slow thumper fit for the seasonal collapse. Lumbering drums and fizzles of guitar feedback sound of a recorder at its most ominous. Still, Michael James–the sole member of the Exit Bags–uses double track to create a set of hushed harmonies. It’s sparse and icy, staying low to the ground in a way that evokes the ominous. Yet there’s a clear heart that provides space for yourself to find a solace in and hum through your own demons. If you’ve been a Flenser-head, then Kyle Bates’ mixing and Nicholas Wilbur’s mastering touches will tickle ya. “probably best listened to with headphones, seated, and left alone,” is Michael James’ wish and I highly implore you to follow.

Tower of Quiet is out October 22nd, on tape on Drongo Tapes and on CD on Joyless Youth

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Tabs Out | Claire Rousay & Patrick Shiroishi – Now Am Found

Claire Rousay & Patrick Shiroishi – Now Am Found

10.6.21 by Matty McPherson

They came nestled in the tote bag; two clear tapes with beige, illustrated j-cards fit to adapt into an ankle tattoo. (The tote bag was also quite useful at fitting entire artist tape collections, boomboxes, or hoagie rolls but this is Tabs Out, not Totes Out.) Although there was no standard procedure — well that’s a bit of a fib. Any tape, whether it is from Claire Rousay’s own Mended Dreams or Windham Hill is going to have to go through the walkman test as well as the surround sound exam; some listens are for the ears only, others for the space as well. In the case of Claire Rousay and Patrick Shiroishi’s collaborative Now Am Found, it continues to evade proper listening protocols in any scenario outside the surround sound exam.

Rousay and Shiroishi make music that truly deserves full sensory and spatial recognition (the lack of liner notes itself contributes). Giving life to field recordings is not an easy task, yet both’s solo efforts have readily dug into the details that invoke many mental images of the mundane and the subliminal centripetal/centrifugal prowess they carry. Whether it’s a trip to the market or a saxophone solo coming through the rain, the two have an uncanny way of transporting a listener and their surroundings directly into the ferric oxide. Thus, listening to the domestic sounds of their collaborative tape on headphones felt too clinical! The gas burners and spoon sounds were not things I wanted to concretely register. Yet, with multiple speakers, I could allow a subconscious effect to burrow up, and thus really take the tape in as “music playing in the other room” (continuing a bit of a streak from last year’s New Computer Girls split). 

I’m glad I did it this way, as both Patrick and Claire are in a strange, isolated places on this tape. They subvert the notable characteristics of their recordings, meeting each other in small glistening pockets to bring them together! “Spring Dawn House” is just that, a suggestive subdued effort that I felt transported into as I began to do my laundry and crack open a seltzer (to which the tape did so as well)! But besides those effects, if you listen closely you can hear a faint melody being hummed and whistled, one that a guitar and synthesizer respond and coo to as well. It’s a process continued elliptically on “I Remember What It Was Like”. Just a few chords, a whisper, and an open highway; no auto-tune or sudden sax blasts, respectively. It flows with a meditative maxim. I confess, shots of the house and its haunter from A Ghost Story, as much as those of unwavering domesticity that Loving readily brought flashed through my mind on “Last of the Many Times Over”. Why these images? Perhaps a reflection of my daily time spent on quiet mornings in an empty house like today. You can get lost in your own house sometimes when it’s peaceful and let the years collapse at once.

Side B’s “Silent Moon” and “Brushed Too Hard” continue the lackadaisical, wandering sense of domesticity, but begin to complicate the mixture of elements. “Silent Moon”, in particular, features one of my favorite Rousay recordings–a trash compactor or grinder, under a thousand-yard stare of a guitar motif. “Brushed Too Hard” deconstructs clock winding to a rhythm while brings out the synth horn bops on what could charitably be described as “the most jubilant track to feature Patrick Shiroishi’s to date”. It never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially as Patrick coos me a lullaby like he’s just one room over and the tape comes to a close. 

Now Am Found is bundled with Twin Bed in a Tote Bag Combo Pack at Mended Dreams’ Bandcamp page in an edition of 200. These tapes and the tote are extremely worth your time.

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Tabs Out | Matthew Crowe / Marsha Fisher – split

Matthew Crowe / Marsha Fisher – split

9.24.21 by Matty McPherson

Orb Tapes have a sixth sense when it comes to articulating the importance of the split cassette. To sum it up: they pair the right artists together. I witnessed this first hand with OT 141, a split between midwestern noise oddballs Matthew Crowe and Marsha Fisher. Crowe’s resume includes noise with Sex Funeral and video game digital zonery as Heavenly Drugs. His 20-minute side could best be abstracted as a cover letter for both those fields of knowledge. As such, the seamless presentation covers any and all ground between meditative motions that feature flute droning, alongside space computer babble, while anthropological dives into Appalachian folk wields chopped n’ screwed midi madness. It’s a pop culture samplepedia that keeps a roller coaster of ideas coming without ever dragging out the high highs!

Marsha Fisher has been continually on a tear when anything related to modular synthesizers comes in their direction. Now though, their 2021 has been quite the effort in unearthing the moments of piercingly blissful beauty in the scraps of new age monotony and degraded debris (as seen on  New Ruins). Their sonic research and curiosity with tape manipulation has even been reflected and taken to its most further ends with the tape loop Collage Works 2021. On the split, “Lungs of the Earth” is (if I’m to believe) a new modular synth work that continues the ethos of their 2021 projects. For much of the piece, the longform emphasizes the low-end–it jitters without mercy. The gelatinous drone Fisher whips up is tantalizingly electric; it is as if all the electricity of our devices and inner senses were being pulled towards this frequency to extract the soul of an ancient creature. Fisher does sidestep the noise, offering an inverse interlude in the form of shimmering New Age ripples before returning for a last half full on nihilist assault. When I originally listened to it on the Fourth of July, its summation and blood-curling overdrive far outclassed any old grandstand band. Fisher’s control is piercing and varied enough to even know when to bring out the bird sounds! Ain’t no 4th of July band bringing out bird sounds now, are they?!

Edition of 50 available from Orb Tapes

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Tabs Out | Unifactor – Batch #15 Second Pressing

Unifactor – Batch #15 Second Pressing

9.17.21 by Matty McPherson

In a move that sent ripples across several dozens of people’s email inboxes, Unifactor announced a repressing of Batch 15. This is, of course, quite an act of generosity. Unifactor Batch #15 scratches a pretty strange kind of itch that I wasn’t expecting.  Earlier this year, Beyond Beyond is Beyond announced they were closing up shop. While they were never a huge tape label, a good check in on what tapes they did champion reveals a deft idea of psychedelic guitar ditties whose reverberations will be missed throughout the American underground. Unifactor’s Batch #15 could seem like a stealth tribute to the label; these three releases moonlights as ambient, drifting guitar psychedelia that’s fit for the hinterlands or meditative zones BBIB entangled themselves within.

Pasquarosa / Gerycz – II

For years, Jason Gerycz-heads across the nation have been debating which of his many bands — Baldi/Gercyz duo, Powers/Rolins/Gercyz trio, the punk act signed to Carpark — would be the first to land that sweet Unifactor tape release. But could anyone have anticipated “string instrument illuminator Anthony Pasquarosa” and Gercyz (on percussives, of course!) once again teaming up on a loose tape of free-wheeling interplay would be the result? The 2019 session between the two is a euphoric delight. Enclosed inside swirling labyrinths of fuzzy guitar jam riffs alongside backwoods barnyard banjo bashes (with bows & bowls). Warbly without any of the nausea of a turl-a-whurl, It flows with the power of a fall wind storm. In the process one could say it practically uncurls its own folk traditions in the process. Although really, it’s just joyous to hear two pals go crazy-go-nuts finding tones that crack open serotonin rushes in my brain.

Rosali – Chokeweed

Rosali’s time between Spinster and Scissor Tail Records have imparted us with fantastic range of guitar pop (not even counting her contributions to “barfuzz” guitar stylings of Long Hots’ 2019 single and 2018 Monday Night Raw collectors tape). Now though, Chokeweed is much more a sketch tape akin to the meanderings and ambient guitar pedal power of those aforementioned labels. Recorded after No Medium, Chokeweed parallels to David Nance’s most expansive licks and Prana Crafter’s deep headspaces. It’s a simple set-up, as Rosali’s self-recorded tracks see the interplay between two guitars looping and that lo-fi reverb sizzle. The results radiate a “back-of-the-dive-bar” warmth in the dead of a fall cold spurt at their most anthemic. Yet, the ease and wandering in and out of these tracks on the tape, track a ghostly, timeless beauty to the tracks’ most hermitudious.

Jon Collin – The Fiddle Now Steps To The Road

You may have caught Jon Collin back in the early days of Garden Portal or when he was running Winebox Press. Either way, the guitarist has never slowed his output nor has the melodies and vastness ever been more suited to a time like summer into fall.  The Fiddler Now Steps to the Road is a C30 tape comprised of “Sketches for ‘The Song of Stockholm’”. It drifts patiently, building a tantalizing, high-flying drone out of the aching tones that make up the opening of Parts A and B. It’s in the back half of each side’s track that Collin weaves a gracious harmony that floats far above you, not with judgement or admonishment but ambivalence. Like the other tapes in this batch, its listening setting of choice is made for a lake walk or park garden excursion at sunset.

All Three Currently Available at Unifactor Tapes’ Bandcamp Page!

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Tabs Out | The Concept Horse – Fills Vols. 1 – 4

The Concept Horse – Fills Vols. 1 – 4

9.10.21 by Matty McPherson

There wasn’t a memo attached to the cardboard sleeves, just a foreign pattern I couldn’t untangle and the stamp of one eë editions — a label that took me two months to track down to a Big Cartel page and a Soundcloud stream. I still don’t know the what and why, just that eë editions is a new Bandcampless label in the game, working through experimental distros to get work out internationally. Currently, they’re relocating to Vienna while prepping for their second release in early 2022. Their inaugural release belongs to one DB Friedman, aka the “Concept Horse” who has been spotted around Ithaca, NY playing DIY shows with Sarah Heinnes while still keeping rather quiet. That I filed the 2xCass that comprises Fills Vols. 1-4 as a mere curio, was a bit egregious. I should have been treating it as a legitimate cold case worth pouring over.

Nevertheless, Fills Vols. 1-4 sits at the intersection of record collection admiration and jazz drum looping to create a nervy yet minimal, fast-flowing amnesiac’s kind of library music. It seems that the Concept Horse plundered and warped multiple jazz records aiming to chase down ontological patterns and textures with a kind of elasticity. Listening through the four sides over several months, I was riveted to find myself locked into perfect loops where I couldn’t quite tell what light effects or manipulation was hanging over the entire set of affairs. What you do realize sitting around inside one of these loops long enough, is how the focus from one major beat dips towards those subtle tones or abstractions at the edges of these loops; two paths getting lost in their own directions. As this process slowly works itself through each cut, time after time the Horse Concept deconstructs jazz towards ample scatterbrained poptones, percussive plights, or outright haywire abstractions. Nevertheless, there’s a deep-rooted rhythm and step to the madness. I’m still aghast at the possibility of how easy it might be to slip this on a snooty French restaurant’s reel-to-reel system during a Saturday night rush.

It’ll be hard to pull off such a sleight of hand; all the copies of Fills Vol. 1-4 have been somewhat sold out! Yet, if you scope that hyperlink above, there might be a copy lying around on a Big Cartel internationally. Or you can listen below on the Soundcloud.

Tabs Out | Amirtha Kidambi & Matteo Liberatore – Neutral Love

Amirtha Kidambi & Matteo Liberatore – Neutral Love

9.8.21 by McPherson

I love Astral Editions, this has been established on the Tabs Out blog page before. Nate Cross has etched down a vision that I find quite endearing, and the 2021 Astral Editions catalog is curating its own specific niche around Astral Spirits’ ever omnibus universe. Hauntology? Covered at the door. Space Jazz? Sure.  Netherlands post-rock post-jazz? Of course. Vocal rumblings and droning guitar tumblings? Well, Neu — oh hold on the captain has something to say.

“We’ve actually got to perform some emergency maintenance; we’re gonna be heading back to the gate”

Okay I’ll level with you: It’s 6AM on a red eye out of chicago. I love morning travel. I expect a clean, concise flight, but we’ve just been punk’d. Today might be pushing my patience though, as I really haven’t gotten the sleep I needed and the 100mg THC shot w/50mg of caffeine just made me feel real conspiratorial as I walked past the COVID [citations needed] sniffin’ dogs, as much as it made me wonder “Did southwest imagine that in fifty years it’d just own a bunch of computer kiosks? Christ, how depressing.”

Anyways, the whole team is there on this red eye: A 3 year old child asking her father “when will the flight take off?” every thirty seconds, a couple speaking 5 dBs too loudly behind me, sporadic updates that border on parody as people get pissy and talk back. Oh, yeah, and uh… That Amirtha Kidambi & Matteo Liberatore “Neutral Love” tape from Astral Editions. It’s not BENADRYL® or more weed, but it’s the best medication when I’m drifting towards a hypnagogic nap on my table tray; one of ancient pasts towards a mysterious future.

Kidambi and Liberatore’s soundscapes are of an artifact that evades easy carbon dating, creating an effect to travel inward rather than take in every meaningless detail in the cabin of a 737. For thirty minutes, I did so, traveling with the two down a cavernous body of water in a little canoe. Liberatore was sailing, but hadn’t brought a paddle; instead opting to let his guitar and its restrained timbres navigate. On “Bells”, every small note or slight droning stretches, providing just enough levity for the bell to expand out and structure the piece’s movement. Meanwhile, Kidambi guided us — without a candle, just her radiating voice. Like her counterpart, Kidambi is patient with her instrument. Where her vocal inflections may start by bordering on pagan ritual, they can slowly move towards the extremes and create entirely new inflections closer to a steam kettle (“Mancanza”) or death by a thousand cuts (“Submission”) that practically command attention front and center. When the two of them cast off each other, it’s an operatic effect.

Each of the tape’s four pieces feel boundless, ebbing and flowing. That’s to say that when you are traversing your subconscious, this tape feels illustrious; one excerpt moves to another without so much of a stopgap to indicate. As suggested above, there are moments of spectacular sleight and abundant siege that the tape imparts, but the silence and patience are all the more rewarding here. By the time of side B closer, “Repose,” the two of them had guided me towards a deep-seated cocoon state. I truly would have stayed with the lights off for another eternity, but alas the pilot just told me we’re to take off. 

First pressing of 200 cassettes on RED TINT shells available at the Astral Editions Bandcamp Page