Cassette Corner — March 2013

Cassette Corner / Special Features / March 28, 2013

Cassette Corner is a column devised and constructed by Modern Vinyl contributor Matt Bergeron. Centering on his love for another vintage format, cassette tapes, Matt will be looking at the various and notable tape releases available (or previously available) to readers. This month, he’s looking at selections from Kitty Hawk; a split between CityCop and Les Doux; and Modern Baseball.

We all have our reasons for collecting things. For the vinyl collectors, many factors come into play; such as sound quality, the feeling of holding and examining the giant artwork and finally just the love of music. In the last year or so, though, cassette tapes have also made a surprising comeback. The audiophile in all of us automatically thinks “Why?,” as there’s no benefit to sound quality. Fortunately, there are many other reasons why you should be stocking up on this previously dead format.

Cassettes are a cost effective method for a band or label who may not be able to front the cost of a record, but still want to get a physical and collectable piece of music to the general public. Some take the DIY route and completely hand assemble their product, while others will take the slick and professional route. Cassette Corner is here to give you a look into this world, providing a little information on the various tape releases.

Kittyhawk – ST
Skeletal Lightning

Simple indie music laced with pop influences, this self titled EP breaths new life into the scene. Five seemingly bright and uplifting tracks mask the dark subject matter hidden in the lyrics, while the male and female lead vocals add a nice touch of variation in the songs. For only being the second official release from Skeletal Lightning (SL 002) this clear red cassette is very impressive. Housed in a hand painted case, the DIY release is nothing to ignore. All tapes are hand numbered out of 100 and each is a unique piece of art. As a bonus, upon purchase you receive an instant download of the EP.  Kittyhawk’s ST EP is for fans of Slingshot Dakota and Death Cab For Cutie.

Standout Tracks: “The First One” and “Science Fiction”

CityCop/Les Doux – Family Ties/ Labor Of Love
Flannel Gurl Records

This split cassette featuring 3 tracks from each of these “Screamo” powerhouses is a perfect example of the time, thought, and artistry that can be put into a cassette release. Two color variations were released — solid red and yellow — both with a full color two-panel insert. Even the A/B labels are impressive, full color and each displaying the band names. CityCop and Les Doux have recorded all new tracks for this Flannel Gurl/Sea of Tranquility release. You could sit, listen and try to judge which band has the best tracks, but each has released their best material to date. The blaring vocals and insanity driven guitars are over before you know it, making the listener hungry for more. Overall, it’s clear that even a skeptic would find this release more than impressive.

Standout Tracks: Citycop’s “The Rain Song” and Les Doux’s “Kings Bridge”

Modern Baseball/Marietta – Couples Therapy
Grandpa’s Miscellaneous Media Collection

Housed in a clear cassette case with a single panel, one-sided insert, the first release from “Grandpa’s Miscellaneous Media Collection” is a prime example of how the DIY route can turn out great. The simple black and white labels are a bit boring, but look nice on the cream colored cassettes, limited to only 50. Both bands on the split compliment each other quite well, each with two tracks of their own brand of quirky folk/pop-punk. Modern Baseball seems to outshine Marietta, though, with the track “Hope” proving to be a more groove laden, and well composed track, than anything else on the split.

Standout Tracks: Modern Baseball’s “Hope” and Marietta’s “Yeah Yeah, Utah”

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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