I’ve had to clean up and clean out the piles of cassette tapes that were at my parents’ house, the shoe boxes that were in my closet and stashed on shelves. Most of the tapes were recordings of records I bought so I could listen to them in car and on a Walkman in the pre-MP3 era. I got ride of most of them but kept nearly all of the mixtapes that people made for me. This one is a pause tape that my brother made for me back in 2006. The tape reflects his ecletic world of hip-hop taste. Think Stones Throw meets back of the crate gems.
And the best part is that it is a pause tape. As much as I love a well done live analogue mix, there is a special place for a pause tape. As much effort, time, and care the a mixtape takes, the pause tape is that extra step of planning and effort that reach a sublime when it is executed well. This one is well done. Pause tapes have a long history in Hip Hop. I’d argue that the pause tape is a physical representation of Hip Hop. But that is a longer take on history and theory…let’s just get to the jams.
It seems rather unnecessary to wax about the cassette tape. Not because as an object the tape doesn’t contain poetry — rather because if you were there you know how damn great cassettes were. Not only did you get new music on them for cheap but you could tape other tapes, tape CDs, tape records, tape radio shows, tape tv on the radio, tape over recordings over and over again creating audio palimpsests, and tape odd bits of aural ephemera. All on simple equipment that by the age of 8 you had all you needed. And that is all before the all might mix tape and pause tape. I spent countless hours on that shit. Other people have already written about that.
Instead I’m just going to get to it: I haven’t had a functional tape deck for at least 8 years. I recently borrowed one and brought back a shoe box worth of tapes from my parents’ basement. Out of a larger mess, I grabbed some demos, some mix tape made for me, some random blank mysteries, and some gems. I’m going through them, recording them, and uploading them here. Check in periodically to see what batch comes up.
This thing crushed back in the day.
First up is the dorm room classic “Me. You. Youth Crew!” Made a bit by me, a bit by my roommate Ethan (the Ten Yard Friend), this is 90 minutes of hardcore 7″s that we were jamming to in 1998-1999. I’m amused by the inclusion of Connecticut’s Death Threat, but overall it is a solid mosh down memory lane. I did have to do a little surgery, putting cello tape at the start of side two.
Side 1: Youth of Today, Inside Out, Indecision, Death Threat, Ten Yard Fight, Trial, Up Front, Fastbreak, Time Flies, Better Than Thousand, Ensign, Insted, Judge, Trial, Follow Through, 97a
Side 2: Slapshot, Reach They Sky, In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Side By Side, Good Clean Fun, Youth of Today, Cornerstone, Atari, 97a
The Rails and The Waves
Whiskey is the devil.
In the heyday of tapes, in the time of mp3s being for nerdarios and ipods being science fiction, you just used to drop mix tapes on friends. Ethan made this one.
Side 1: Johnny Horton, Rumbleseat, Murder City Devils, Templars, The Pogues, Traditional Songs, Johnny Horton, The Pogues, Murder City Devils, Pinhead Gunpowder, Ancient Mariners
Side 2: MC5, Dead Boys, CCR, The Reducers, The White Stripes, Richard Hell, The Mooney Suzuki, The Standells, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, MC5
Stoned Wellesley Funk Dat spelling do
Birdman invited Ethan and I to do his weekly radio show and I recorded it on a boom box in the studio. Funky shit. No track list. No coherent spelling on the tape label.
Only in the past year did I own a car that had a cd player. I used to make tape after tape of songs I was feeling to either jam out to on a walkman or in the car. I suspect that this unidentified mix of emo/hardcore is one of those. It is stands as a pretty solid take of 1996-2000 era emo/hardcore. I was able to remember (accurately, I hope) all the bands just listening to it once.
Side 1: Avail,Inquisition, Boy Sets Fire, 400 Years, Sleepy Time Trio, Rye Coalition, The Monorchid, Action Patrol, Current, The Promise Ring, Texas is The Reason, Jimmy Eat World, Sleater-Kinney, The Never Never, Team Dresch, Charles Bronson
Ten Yard Fight, Fastbreak, Ann Baretta, Hot Water Music, Discount, Kind of Like Spitting, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jazz June, The Regrets, Knapsack, Rainer Maria, Piebald, Spazz, Alan Ginsberg