Tapes 'n Tapes
The Loon



by PuddlesPuddles USER (21 Reviews)
August 26th, 2009 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Big fortunes can happen to small groups.

Tapes 'n Tapes' tale is one both reassuring and lucky. The band started out, like most indie rock groups, jamming in the drummer's basement, recording their songs onto albums by themselves, and giving them away straight from their bedrooms. A week after the Minneapolis-raised oddballs completed this very agenda, a record label was knocking at their door. The Loon was then re-released after its ‘practice shot’ under XL recordings. Overflowing with unmistakable influences, The Loon serves as a brief timeline through the genre of indie rock complete with clusters of spasmodic smashups and an extravagant amount of boldness.

Tapes ‘n Tapes graces the beginning to their debut album with an attempt to take us back to visit Modest Mouse circa 1995 on “Just Drums”. Guitarist and vocalist Josh Grier (aka ‘Tapes 1’) cradles zany lyrics over the jolting drums: ”Forget calls to teacher/Forget calls in line/We fall off furry creatures/Fall off all the time”. Who really knows if the words actually make sense" It’s all part of this cockeyed genre. If you can understand Josh through his hazy barks, the opening lines may pique some interest while hinting off at the band’s quirky ways sure to come. Though the song's title may seem to advertise drummer Jeremy Hanson (aka ‘Tapes 2’), he does very little to stray away from average drumming (even when it comes to be his time to shine). This is only a minor letdown from Tapes 2, but it colors him customary as he merely does his job to keep a sturdy roof over the band’s head.

The cheeky lyrics featured on The Loon are quite unorthodox - but then again might not be. It's true, Grier does snarl "I've been a better lover with your mother" on the bouncy "Cowbell" (which, like "Just Drums", misleads the listener - there is no cowbell), but when you consider the list of influences the band shows off (Pavement, Pixies), it's hard not to think they're xeroxing the minds of their idols to try to reach the same stratum. But the band achieves an impression of poise come the hooked chorus, making this a strong track among the album. The historical and mythological flection on personal writing may again give off a small reflection of Pavement when hearing the low-pressured beginning of "The Iliad": "Will you love me like a sailor who loves the seven seas"...The burning size of sirens' lies". Grier's dilettante voice is shackled behind the persevering acoustic guitar to make this hit-or-miss track (and a candidate for the third misleading title when the ocean revolved lyrics might reference more to 'The Odyssey').

Being in such a kooky genre has its ups and downs. For instance, "Insistor" rises above the highlights of The Loon, boasting in its rural glory. The rustic and bare guitars fuel up the drums to induce a rhythm that sounds like bluegrass on steroids. The intermediate production gives real character to the bands' sound, and "Insistor" establishes itself an example. The same goes for "Omaha" which makes its way to being a steady sleeper-hit with an invitation for a serene sing-along. Tapes 2 wonderfully paces a marching snare line once again building a stronghold out of syncopated chops.

When the intrusive instrumental "Crazy Eights" comes around, however, it clashes and gets thrown offbeat at times, making it almost irritating to listen to. Bassist Erik Appelwick (aka {'n}) tries for a bluesy bassline that sounds strikingly similar to Rob Zombie's "Pussy Liquor". Even though the song smoothes out eventually, it doesn't successfully place a grip on a steady sound. "In Houston" is the exact opposite, staying consistent and waveless giving off a 'lost in space' sort of feeling. As calming as it is, the repetitive keyboard plunks of Matt Kretzman (aka {'n} also) actuates the song to get lost in itself.

Despite accusations of 'ripping off' their indie idols, Tapes 'n Tapes make a satisfactory scratch at their own wall of accomplishments. Their efforts at making an original and amusing rock cd while also keeping the personal aspect in check should not be tainted by the unsubtle Pavement or Pixies influences that bleed through. When adding it all up in the end, The Loon checks off the descriptions of being likable, bold, raw, different, and just a solidly made debut album.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
August 26th 2009


digging the art

August 27th 2009


Man, I remeber when these guys were on the verge of being the next big indie thing. Then they just... didn't.

Digging: IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

August 27th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I know, kind of a shame but I can't really see them bringing something all too exciting...I haven't listened to Walk It Off yet but I heard it was bad

Thank you Chevelle fan ;)

December 26th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

I generally don't read the industry mags, I don't care in the slightest what Rolling Stone and Pitchfork think about anything, I don't follow internet hypes, so I knew nothing of the broo-ha-ha surrounding them. However, despite my contempt for the music press, I did actually love this album from minute one. Certainly not a classic, but excellent. As far as the Pixies, Pavement and other comparisons; I generally don't actually hear the potentially derivative similarities between bands unless I look for them. I found the album an original, quirky, and fun listen. Only one or two fillers, and even those were somewhat enjoyable.

January 12th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Perhaps who I compared them to didn't hit the mark or I haven't expanded on the comparison, but even

if you aren't looking for comparison it's hard not to find yourself thinking, "Oh, cool, but... where

have I heard this before?"

This album is fun, no doubt, but I couldn't bring myself to call it original... like, almost at all.

Maybe the lyrics at times

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