Tag Archives: tapes

Review: Harvey Pekar – Thirty Ghosts

Harvey Pekar Thirty Ghosts

I am pretty down on punk rock if you talk to me about it. In fact, just the other day, I was self-high-fiving for coming up with the line “I’m a recovering punk.” That’s always been more of a reaction to the toxic culture of the average punk rocker, more than a reaction to any given amount of punk rock music I find myself exposed to. I also repeatedly bitch about not knowing what anyone is talking about when they talk about hardcore.

Having laid that on you, all it takes for me to forget about all that is something that sounds good enough for me to forget all that. Harvey Pekar’s Thirty Ghosts is that good. Coming strongly with that I think of as the late 2000s punk sound, which is what I basically think of as the platonic ideal of hardcore punk. Kicking out the jams right from the beginning, this EP takes a little bit of a turn with the ‘slower, more serious’ songs, but breathes fire for most of it’s 5 tracks.

You can do a name your own price on their bandcamp, or head over to their store and get the tape. I picked one up at WMC Fest and will say it’s worth it.

- Jayson

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Review: Sonny Blood – Two Improvisations

So, a few weeks back I get this tape in the mail. Didn’t know it was coming, just got it. It’s from Wisconsin though, and at this stage of the game I have determined that if a tape comes from Wisconsin, it’s automatically going to be interesting.

This is hitting a point where I’m gonna have to drive up there one of these days, just to see what it is that makes it happen. There’s something going on up there, a wellspring of esoteric creativity.

Anyway, Sonny Blood, Two Improvisations. It’s the blues, or at least, that’s what I’m hearing. Listening to this album, I get the picture of some kind of haunted, depression era landscape. The deep woods, maybe a swamp. Someone sitting out there playing the guitar or banjo. It’s got that haunted quality, but driven on some level too. It could very easily be a soundtrack. Despite the fact these are improvisations, it never, ever feels directionless. It was a damn fine listen.

Here’s the thing though, there’s no note on this. I have the address, but I don’t know if I should give it out. Let me know, I’ll make some changes. I’ve got 1/13, so there’s still 12 left out there somewhere. I’d guess this’d be out on Earjerk, but I don’t see it up there yet.

- Jayson

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Review: Ion Audio Tape Express

The dingus and a much nicer laptop than mine.

So a long time ago I wrote a thing about tapes coming back. Tapes are back, and there seem to be more coming out since I wrote that thing. I am still not sure what I think of the format, but it’s becoming a moot point. There is music on tapes that I want to listen to, so I’m going to be buying tapes.

Unlike records, which have never been not-cool, tapes haven’t been a cool thing until the last couple of years. The reason I bring this up again, is that there really isn’t much left in the way of tape players today. Your have a basic Walkman or two, a handful of small portable stereos and some shoebox recorders. You also have Ion Audio’s Tape 2 PC and Tape Express, which are analog to digital converters.

Another thing I’ve said before is that while I’ve kinda come to enjoy the analog audio experience again, I also still listen to most of my music on CDs or on my Zune. So, ultimately I’d like to take some of these tapes and have decent digital versions of them. I tired this with my cheapo Walkman and the results were less than spectacular.

So I got this thing, using some credit card reward points.

You get the dingus itself, a USB cable, the CD-ROM with the software and a pair of over the ear-exposed style headphones.* There is a port for AC power, but you don’t get an AC adapter. You’ll need two AAs.

Installing the thing is dead simple. Put the CD in, run the thing. Plug the dingus in. You are ready to record. Except if you’re me. The EZ Tape Converter software requires iTunes, you won’ be able to use it without. Given Apple’s market penetration this is probably not a huge issue for a lot of people, but I don’t have an iPod, iPhone or any need or want for iTunes, but I got i now. iTunes for Windows sucks, plain and simple.

The EZ Tape Converter software is not pro. It is about clicking next. You click next a few times. Click record. Press play on the tape player itself and then you hit next again when you’re done. Not stop. Next.

Next.

The glaring issue is that the software is clearly not designed for weirdos and their weirdo music. It’s designed for people in their 60s and 70s who never really transitioned to CDs and have a ton of tapes they can’t play now. The software will try to look for quiet spots, and break your recording up into individual tracks. I tested this with two tapes, Gitche-Anahmt-Bezheu’s Wonder and Winter Realm’s Ouroboros. The results for Wonder were pretty predictable. The software decided that the whole Side 1 was a one minute long track. I thought the Winter Realm tape might give me better results*, with more distinct songs, but the software did the exact same thing. Now you can turn this off, which I did, and just get an entire side of a tape as one long track. You may or may not care, and it may or may not matter based on the music. You also cannot have iTunes running when this thing goes to do it’s export, which is kind of weird.

As a tape player, it sounds significantly nicer than the new Sony Walkman I picked up at Best Buy 4 months ago. If you really want to get into listening to tapes, it might be worth it. The Walkman was $40, this Tape Express is $56 from JR, that is where I got mine. As it stands, I feel ok about this thing because I didn’t pay for it. I may try to see if I can record directly into Audacity with it and bypass iTunes. At the same time that is one of those deals where I may have to cross the Effort Threshold, and shouldn’t I be out meeting girls and living life to it’s fullest?

- Jayson

* The Walkman I bought came with a pair of the same style headphones. The target demographic for tape players must hate inner ear and earbud style headphones.

*Aetas sent a download code with the tape, which I didn’t notice until today, so moot point again. Thanks Aetas, that is the way to do it.

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Friday/Spring/Reacting to things on other blogs.

It’s springtime! Which means I trade not wanting to do anything because the grim, icy grip of winter has crushed my soul for not wanting to do anything because it’s nice and balmy and the beer in the cooler on my back porch will not drink itself (I tested).

The official song of this spring, and every spring since 1995 is:

Actually the whole ROIR Sessions album is the album of spring. I got that back as a teenager, and somehow it’s always been just the right thing for this time of year.


I read about Huntress on Invisible Oranges yesterday. The look at the band from a credibility standpoint. The band is credible, the singer is professionally sexy, and therefore not. From the standpoint of a dude sitting in a chair, I like it. It’s Maidenesque. My ears approve of the sound. My wiener approves of Tuesdae. Real talk, the ears matter more, but still…

I’m shallow, what do want from me?


Usually on Friday I do Who wants to be my friend? Only one this week, but it’s all good.

Otto Vanderhymes.
Hip-Hop/Soul/Experimental

Otto has good flow, and has kind of a mid-90s vibe going on. It reminds me of some back in the day shit. Old people like that. I’m feeling this. There is not much more to say. Do you like good hip-hop, click on the link then.

Friend: Yes
Buy: Yes


Lair of the Minotaur have a new album coming out soon. I have listened to War Metal Battle Master about a hojillion times. They have a video for Evil Power up. It is so evil that it was banned from YouTube. Like their last one, it is full of gore and tits and (to me anyway) unintentional hilarity. You can view this piece over at Metal Injection. If you view it at work, you will be fired instantly.

YouTube Actually let them keep the War Metal Battle Master video up though. Honestly I like both the video and the song better than Evil Power, but not a ton better. This is also filled with gore, nudity and hilarious dismemberment.

Very NSFW. Do not click play. You will be fired instantly if you click play at work..


I have 5 tapes from Earjerk Records that I have yet to listen to. I am waiting for this thing to come out, rather than set up my old stereo again. I do not want to delay saying what a great guy label owner Tony is. My original order got lost in the mail somehow. I hope whoever got it likes ambient drone. Tony sent me the tapes I ordered for free. I find that especially awesome from such a small label. Thanks a lot, Tony!

- Jayson

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For your listening pleasure.

This is pretty old news, but since fully 50% of our blog is devoted to Weezer, I have to post it. This is Rivers Cuomo’s earlier band Avant Garde. Thanks to completist fans, you can listen to them here. It’s kind of like… not bad, but not good either. The best thing I can say about this is Rivers seems much cooler about his hair metal past than Phil Anselmo was about pre-toughguy Pantera.

If these jams are not to your liking, you can always go listen to Primitive North America, a compliation of tracks from the North American Black Metal cassette underground made for Type Records.

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