100% Cassette Tape Rock: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 45
Obligatory Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to, like, pick out what you like about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much.
Cereal Banter - Oatmeal Outburst - self-released - 2 songs - Cassette, download
I don't really know much about this group, but apparently they've been around for a while, so there ya go. Both tracks on this tape are long instrumental freeform experimental jams. Free jazz, maybe? I don't know these things. "Oatmeal Outburst" is my pick of the two. I like that there are different "movements," so to speak. Keeps it from getting too repetitive. It's actually sorta hypnotic in a couple places. "Porridge Parley" is decent as well. Something about certain parts of it reminds me of some of the more "freakout" Obnox moments. Good stuff if that's what you're into. Though both tunes are pretty long (over twelve minutes each, I believe), they do a good enough job of keeping your attention. I mean, I'd prefer slightly shorter, but hey. Experimental freakout avant-garde whatever. Not bad. 3.5/5
Heavenly Creatures - Your Record Collection / This Summer Will Kill Us All - Peanut Butter Records - 8 songs - Cassette, download
This tape compiles two Heavenly Creatures EPs: the "Your Record Collection" 7" and the "This Summer Will Kill Us All" CD. Both are here on this cassette in their entirety for your listening convenience. If I were to get right to the point, I would tell you that a general description of this would be jangly indie pop, but I'm not gonna do that. I caught two lyrical references to R.E.M. in "Your Record Collection" alone (the song, not the EP), though I'm sure I missed a few. "Snow" has the most hesitant lead guitar playing I've heard in recent memory, but still is a catchy indie pop tune. "Water Is Rushing In" has a more ominous indie vibe that I kinda like. I definitely can hear the R.E.M. influence on that one. At this point, we move on to the second EP, "This Summer Will Kill Us All," where the band changes from a two-piece to a three-piece and the tunes are recorded at Bad Racket. Anyone who's been reading my column for a while probably already knows what I think about that. Overall, the quality of this EP is not quite as high as the previous one, though there's still some decent songs, "Blah Blah Blah Amen" and "Comforting Pain" (even though the latter goes on longer than I think it had to). I could say something about where it was recorded maybe having something to do with this drop, but I feel I've said enough. You jangly indie pop fans out there will definitely be into this one, but you probably already knew that. 3.5/5
Parrot Heads - Parrot Heads - Nervous Room - 9 songs - Cassette
Not quite sure what went on with this tape. The cassette is out, then it's recalled or whatever because of some issue, but then there are still copies, and then the band is on hiatus, or maybe the label is on hiatus, or someone was unsatisfied with something, or whatever. My copy doesn't even have a cover. Parrot Heads, as far as I'm aware, feature every member of every band from Willoughby ever of all time including every member of the Pagans. Okay, since people won't get that that's a joke, let me change that instead to say that Parrot Heads feature members of Another Mother's Milk, Miss Macy & The Low Pay Daddys, Swirly In The Fryer, and every member of every band from Willoughby ever of all time…okay, yeah, you didn't think it was funny the first time, I know. I think that this tape would actually be really good but for the fact that it has maybe the worst recording quality I've heard this side of bands trying intentionally to record poorly, and I listen to a lot of punk stuff. It's very, very lo-fi, let's put it that way. That said, it's still pretty good. Synth punk, I guess? Punk with synth? Are these actually two separate things? Someone's gonna argue with me somewhere. Side 1 has some cool ones, but Side 2 I kinda got into more. "Tiki Bar 2" shows off Parrot Heads' more ominous-sounding side. You know that song "Rubber Love" off the "In Love Or In Vitro" compilation tape? No, of course you don't. Some of this kinda reminded me of that. Weird, almost kinda creepy, lots of synth, good punk junk. Just when you started to think, "man, this is good, but I really wanna hear that 'Tiki Bar' tune again," "Tiki Bar 1" shows up and yes! you get to hear it again! Sadly, despite it being listed on the tape, "Free Bird" does not actually appear here, but maybe that was just a defect of my copy. Overall, it's good stuff. I wish it sounded a little better, but hey, what can ya do. 3.8/5
(I have no idea what's going on with this band, this label, or really anything at all in general. I think Nervous Room and Parrot Heads both have Facebook pages, maybe try one of those.)
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email email@example.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.