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 releases from The Dangerous Summer, One Hundred Year Ocean and No Sleep. And if you’d like to get involved in Cassette Corner, just email us at email@example.com.
One Hundred Year Ocean – Where Were You While We Were Getting High?
Broken World Media
Known for their limited cassette releases and being run by the frontman of this particular emo powerhouse, Broken World Media has released Where Were You While We Were Getting High? by the seven piece outfit of One Hundred Year Ocean. Opening this 4-track EP is “Hospital Town,” a beautifully ominous track that serves as the one of the strongest on the release. Immediately following is “Soco Amaretto Budlight Lime” in all its synth-laden and perfectly lyrical glory. The members of One Hundred Year Ocean are also involved in many other projects, including The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and it’s easy to see some of that style seeping into these tracks, but of course with more of a “punk rock” twist. Despite the large number of members, balanced instrumentation is key to this band’s success, allowing for a certain cohesiveness to shine through.
The packaging from Broken World Media is always consistent. This time, the EP is contained wholly on the A-side of a green colored cassette, with the A-side being marked with a beautiful full color label. The J-card is a standard, full color and three-panel insert with an separate lyrics sheet included. No download code seemed to be included with this release, which is a bit disappointing, but it’s not uncommon for this band to put their releases up for a “pay what you want” price. Where Were You While We Were Getting High? is a 4-track EP that plays with the emotions, is pleasant on the ears, and is easily recommended for any fans of The World Is A Beautiful Place…
No Sleep – Moving Forward
Sift Static Records
Sift Static Records, only two releases deep into their catalog, and one in the cassette department, has seemingly picked what is now, one of my new favorite bands to introduce to the world. No Sleep, a three piece hailing from Atlanta states influences such as Weatherbox, Pedro The Lion, and American Football, all of which are easy to see in their newest effort, titled Moving Forward. This 5-track release seems to jump back and forth, from sad and gloomy songs with airy vocals, to straight up rock, and does so with grace and dignity; It’s almost as if we have two separate artists posing as the same act. “Dead In Real Life” stands as one of the fiercer tracks and seriously delivers both musically and in the form of its lyrics, such as the lines, “My head is shut it off/I’m alive/Dead in real life/This is the part where my brain disconnects.”
The purple cassette, limited to 100 units, is housed in a simple O-card packaging style with the artwork matching perfectly. O-cards tend to be a bit flimsy and are damaged quite easily, though, which is a bit of a drawback to this release. However, as stated, the brilliant artwork and the download code that comes along with it make up for the sub-par packaging chosen for this specific release. After one full listen, No Sleep is the band that is sure to sneak its way into your top 10 of 2013.
The Dangerous Summer – Golden Record
Although not a cassette-only release, Hopeless Records has continued to prove that tapes are beginning their ascent back into popularity with the release of The Dangerous Summer’s Golden Record. The album itself seems to be everything you could want from a Dangerous Summer record; catchy hooks, pounding drums and intense vocals. And in that vein, “Catholic Girls” opens the album, setting the tone for its remainder. A track about growing up, missing home and being young is a a bit cliché now-a-days, but musically, it’s perfectly executed. The album continues, flowing nicely amidst the lyrics about girls, growing up and reflecting on past mistakes; lyrical content that is nothing new in this day and age, but that is done so well that it hooks you and makes you forget about the hundreds of bands that are pretty much doing the same thing. The Dangerous Summer is a group that is continually growing and maturing musically and this remains one of the factors that keeps them relevant in today’s scene. One of the strongest tracks on the album comes fairly early on with “Drowning,” an ominous rock song fit for national radio play. In one of the more obvious signs that this band is growing up, they sing, “The youth are drowning in my thoughts again/And yeah/I hope you hate my jaded views.” Nothing too complex, but who says good music had to be?
The white cassette is housed in fairly standard packaging that leaves a lot to be desired. The three panel J-Card with liner notes on the inner section is a nice touch, but when looking at the cassette itself, with the overlaid and simple imprint of the album’s name, the presentation could have been more impressive. The subpar packaging seems to downplay this wonderful rock n’ roll album.