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 Fleeting Youth Records, and more specifically from The Chelsea Kills, Mumblr, Big Bill and Basketball Shorts.
The Chelsea Kills — Pulp Culture
Fleeting Youth Records
Fleeting Youth Records…Means nothing to you at this point, right? Well, Cassette Corner is here to shine the spotlight on this noteworthy cassette label. Formed this year and already five releases deep, FYR isn’t stopping anytime soon.
First up is The Chelsea Kills’ full length album, Pulp Culture. Mixing equal parts Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Vampire Weekend, all 15 tracks are a pop-laden, punk rock experience. Lyrically, we’re offered face value word play, but when digging a bit deeper, a treasure trove of hidden meanings can be found. “Jesus Box” stands as one of the strongest, both musically and lyrically. Crunchy guitars, accompanied by a wonderful walking bass line hold true to this band’s punk rock roots. This is certainly one of the more approachable releases in Fleeting Youth’s catalog, as it has the ability to appeal to the pop lovers and satisfy the obscure punk fans. There is nothing overly complex about Pulp Culture, but there doesn’t have to be. Their delivery is straight to the point and in your face.
Right out of the gate, FYR does packaging right. Upon opening up the shrink wrap, we encounter a full color J-card with what may be a top contender for album art of the year. And the cassette color itself matches the artwork beautifully.
Mumblr — White Jesus/Black God
Fleeting Youth Records
The title of Mumblr’s newest effort is enough to spark interest on its own. White Jesus/Black God is yet another great release from Fleeting Youth, combining all the best parts of groups like At The Drive-In, and Bear Vs. Shark, all the while keeping their own unique sound intact. It’s proven exceedingly difficult to describe the lyrical stylings of Mumblr so let’s just say trying to read and decipher their words is like dropping a bunch of acid at Disney World. If Disney World were in Vatican City that is.
Take this gem for example, extracted from standout track, “Ape.” They sing, “There’s adults selling bones outside of my home/And I think it’s wrong but I believe I belong/But not for too long because that’s when their kids come by/Now they’re all getting stoned outside of my home and I think it’s wrong but I can’t leave it alone, oh leave em’ alone.” The track rips and tears at your ears; the ups and downs are seamless. Their ability to transition from clean to dirty guitars and still keep the integrity of the song in place is uncanny.
At the risk of sounding extremely repetitive, we are given yet another nicely packaged product from FYR. A 3-panel J-card is paired up with the cassette, matching perfectly with the artwork.
Big Bill/Basketball Shorts — Split
Fleeting Youth Records
Marked As FYR001, this split between Austin natives Big Bill and Basketball Shorts is an adventurous release for anyone who lends their ears. Big Bill takes up the majority of the running time, featuring their A Hard Days Bill EP. Best described as fuzzy surf punk, its not an overly complex sound, but sometimes that mentality turns out to be the best choice for an artist. While most of these track seems to blend together, starting from the beginning of “Temporarily Happy” and finishing with “Freedom,” their sound is well executed. Aside from the outrageous vocals, one of the more enjoyable aspects of this EP is the warm and nearly literal fuzzy feel that every instrument has. I’m also fairly positive I heard a kazoo…..absolutely wonderful.
While Basketball Shorts has that lo-fi feel, The Total BS EP has a more tame and approachable sound. Think if The Ramones owned synthesizers and listened to a ton of Black Sabbath. “Peter Venkman” is easily the best track on the B-side, boasting of parting with the Ghostbuster and another favorite 80s character, Bob, played by Bill Murray in the classic What About Bob?. It’s clear that the release is meant for a party atmosphere, as I wanted to jump into a crowd at a seedy club and just go nuts. And while I don’t think it has too much lasting power, the split is something you could put on for a group of friends more than a few times.