Last Plane to Jakarta has an unbelievably great new article about an unbelievably awful-sounding tape. Yes, a cassette tape. By a band called therefore. Yes, with a period at the end.
Be sure to read his pop-up annotations. They’re wonderful. An example (on the subject of throwing away tapes we don’t even like):
Well, of course you don’t. Neither do I. It’s what makes us such very sick people. We find a place to put it, reasoning that there may well come a day when we want to hear it, and then when we’re forced to clean the house or move from one house to another, we find some new place to put it. When, fifteen years later, we find our three-song promotional advance copy of Ice Cream Tee’s “Can’t Hold Back,” we will feel wonder and awe at the depths of our illness, but will we do anything about it? Hell no, my friends, hell no.
I have never purchased any of the albums John Darnielle raves about on Last Plane to Jakarta, and I probably never will. But that’s what makes his writing so great. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s great on its own. You don’t feel manipulated after reading it. This article, on the other hand, is a recommendation. A strong one. And I hope you take my recommendation and follow the link. Because it’s good.
16 thoughts on “An unbelievably awful-sounding tape”
Just read it. It’s funny how we can be about tapes. I still have boxes full of them. We could throw them out or just leave them in the trunks of cars we sell (I KNOW I’m not the only one to pull that number), but I still hold on to some. Mostly names from the early 90s–I have albums from Ride, the Mock Turtles, Janes Addiction and THREE Happy Mondays albums. Why I hold onto these I’ll never know.But I also have mix tapes. Many from friends, which bring back all kinds of memories of drives to and from Kalamazoo or arguments over which Public Enemy Album is the best (Fear of a Black Planet). Other mixes are those I made for myself. And they are a peek into my mind at age 19, 20, 21, etc. From my glam period with tracks from a live Bowie boot, to how many times I’ve put the Who’s “Glow Girl” right fucking next to teh Sinatra’s “Sheila’s Glowing.” There seems to be a pattern and a theme to most of those early mixes, and I’m not willing to share what it is. Those mixes act as the journal I wished I’d always kept but was too lazy to actually write.
You have three Happy Monday albums on TAPE?
Well, one is a promo EP with a live version of “Kinky Afro” that kicks ass. But yeah, I have two full albums on tape. I also have my first copy of Queen is Dead on tape. But the real treasure is the bag of tapes I have of local musicians from my radio days. I have tons and tons of local music on tape. Some of it is really bad and some of it is surprisingly good–just like most local scenes…
I left a box of tapes (no mixes, bootlegs, friends, or one-of-a-kind) in my Corolla that went to my seventeen-year-old cousin. He shortly thereafter moved out of the house. I sold a bunch of tapes at a garage sale for 3 for a dollar, and you’d be surprised how many got bought. I gave the leftovers to my man Tom. I’ve still got a big box of bootleg tapes, a decent sized box of mixes, and a small(ish) box of stuff by friends’ bands and out of print stuff. They’re awful to move, but I can’t let them go…
The only tape I still own is a recording from two practice sessions of my junior high metal band, Chrome. It makes me physically ill to listen to it, but every four years or so I lock the doors, draw the curtains and plug in my old boom box (circa 1982), and drop in the tape. Our cover of Shout At The Devil isn’t bad. Jail House Rock is ok until I mess-up the bass lines. I’m usually surprised at the only song for which I’ve written both lyrics and music, The Grim Reaper (it’s really catchy). But my greatest shame is the only other original one on the tape, for which I also wrote the lyrics. It was titled “Pretty Pink Pu**y”. Yup! What’d you expect from 13 year olds? It’s sooooo bad that it always reminds me that I was never cut out to be a musician! Thank god we never played a real gig.
Scott, it’s time to let me hear that tape. I need to put “Pretty Pink Pu$$y” on a mix. Tell everybody what kind of bass you had…
I played a black headless Steinberger. The thing was straight out of a new wave video. Cool at the time, but not for a kid with a mullet!
I think ‘Pretty Pink Pu$$y’ should be made a downloadable mp3 and posted on GloNo as it’s theme song. Maybe some t-shirts and coffee mugs on Cafe Press. It could be the next big internet thing!
Scott, seriously. I’m BEGGING you.
Finally got around to reading that (super long) article. No, I definitely wouldn’t buy any of the albums he talks about, but the article was hysterical. I used to have a radio show, and random people who got my name from various music-related email lists were always sending me cassette tapes. And I got some pretty bad ones. I’m sure I still have them, since I never throw anything away, and since they gave me some good laughs. My friends in bands were always giving me cds (or 7″s), but random strangers were always sending cassette tapes. Now that seems even more of a mystery — I always assumed cassettes were cheaper, but I guess not…I don’t know, I just don’t think that cassettes have quite the same appeal as vinyl…releasing a 7-in I am all for in terms of sound-quality, indie appeal, etc., but cassettes? Kind of a mystery.
Cassettes used to be a lot cheaper back before CD-RW hit the consumer market.
Jake, I’ll see if I can find the tape within all my junk at home. There’s a 50/50 chance that I don’t have that track anymore. I’ve moved so many times in the last two years, I may have lost it. I could easily rerecord it. Maybe the Blue Ribbon Brothers could sit in, what with my old band broken up and all. I envision a single with a techno remix, an acoustic version and punk (ala Fugazi) version. It would have to be released on cassette!Ahhhhh….the memories.
That makes sense…Thanks for solving the mystery Jake! — Sarah (aka, Helen)
Scotty, I think I could arrange some GR studio time to get it done? Along with an excellent remixer who would volunteer for such a noteworthy project!
Can you remember the lyrics? Feel free to post them here if you can…