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2021-04-02

cassette craze chronicles II (feat. A/LPACA, ANGEL OLSEN, DHIDALAH, HIERONYMUS DREAM, LANA DEL REY, SOW DISCORD and THROWING BRICKS)

 


Still nothing to see here. Just a bunch of recently bought tapes, including some purchases from last Bandcamp Friday.


But let's start this with an emotional double whammy of my almost-namesake Angel Olsen:



ANGEL OLSEN - All Mirrors (2019)

I've had this one on my long I-should-get-this-one-day-list since it came out in 2019. Since that was before I started using this medium again, I surely wouldn't have bought it on tape. But now with a song titled "New Love Cassette" did I even have a different choice anymore?

Having released several works between the realms of reduced, almost folky singer/songwriter material and equally guitar-centered indie rock, "All Mirrors" was the album, where Olsen dialed up bombast and production to the maximum. The larger than life big sounds and strings could almost wash a lesser artist's performance away, but Angel Olsen sits in it very comfortably and uses especially the epic vintage arrangements to her full advantage to create a sparkling experience which channels the emotional integrity of Emma Ruth Rundle through the lens of Shirley Bassey.
Sincere, cinematic, huge!










ANGEL OLSEN - Whole New Mess (2020)

As big, shiny and glamourous "All Mirrors" had been, the album never fully relied on its fassade, but was rather an experiment in how far Angel Olsen could takes the songs, which were initially written just with her voice and guitar, into this aesthetic direction without "losing" them.

The raw and intimate "Whole New Mess" seems like the radical counterdraft. A break-up album, recorded inside a church, using the room's acoustics to create distorted, dirty echoes. Even though it's technically a rather stripped-down recording of mostly the same songs with slightly altered titles, the sonic imperfections and underlying depressive tone make it feel much heavier than "All Mirrors".

In fact the recording of "Whole New Mess" predates the previously released work, so you could view this as a demo version. The term could be misinterpreted as diminishing though. Which would be a shame, because this is in no way a "lesser" version. Just a very intense, different take. I think I might actually even like this a little more. Both albums are great, no question.










A/LPACA - Make It Better (2021)

There's also no question that the debut album from these punky Italian krautsters ist great, because d'oh, I just reviewed it two weeks ago. I broke my promise to order it on violet vinyl though. You know why. If you dig Karkara, Slift and the "Nonagon Infinity" direction of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, do yourself a favour and through this into your tapedeck!










DHIDALAH - No Water (2017)

The five year old tape from the Japanese power trio Dhidalah, which I was lucky to find an affordable copy of in the Discogs shop of Burning World Records, feels familiar for different reasons, as these two heavy stoner doom metal spacerock crossover jams refresh the memories of a killer Roadburn show in 2018. Ripper!









THROWING BRICKS - What Will Be Lost (2020)

And now lets get just a megaton angrier with a release I ordered on last  Bandcamp Friday from the leading tape label in my young collection, Tartarus Records.

The sludgy, droning blackened post hardcore doom quintet Throwing Bricks proves that Dutch shit smells the nastiest. The nine tracks of "What Will Be Lost" are a journey through everything distorted and oppressive. Oathbreaker, Cult Of Luna, Mizmor, Sunn O))), Vattnet Viskar, their label mates Farer and in their melodic moments also Alcest are all names this multi-faceted ferocious beast brings to mind. Crushing, noisy, desperate, overwhelming. A punch into the face which disintegrates it like the one on the cover artwork.










SOW DISCORD - Quiet Earth (2021)

Continuing with the punishing art of discomfort, the list of bands from which the industrial black noise project Sow Discord recruits its guest musicians on the dystopian (or probably rather realistic/pragmatic) stocktaking "Quiet Earth", already reads like the promise of a world of pain: The Body, Primitive Man, My Disco. Fuck!
Somewhere in the sweet easy listening spot between JK FleshMerzbow and early Laibach vibes, yet with its own variation of dark spoken words vocals, this album wants you to rightfully hate humanity and does a pretty good job at it. But come on, David Coen, the man behind the rusty spikey curtain, is also the electronics guy of Australian doom steamrollers Whitehorse. So what else can you really expect but brilliant bleakness!









HIERONYMUS DREAM - Clairvoyance (2020)

Too much oppression now? Need someone to lift you up again?

Just when I thought I had already spend enough money on Bandcamp Friday and the week before, here come the sodding Psych Lovers on facebook guiding my attention to a special super-limited re-release of last year's debut EP "Clairvoyance" from the Greek instrumental band Hieronymus Dream, which included not only the "Weird Beard Tapes" strip for braggers, a beer mat and a nice t-shirt with a depiction of said beer mat, but above all with "Second Trail Of Alcyone" a new 13 minute bonus track on the B-Side.

What made me immediately buy this however is the sweet crystal-clear and warm sound. This floyd-fueled kraut engine runs so smoothly... you just tie yourself to its rear with a yarn thread and float in its wind like a happy kite in love. "Dream" in the band's name approved!








And while we're already up in the air now...




LANA DEL REY - Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021)

Damn, eight tapes is a lot to talk about for such a little collective review. And after all that experimental and krauty and noisy mainstream stuff, I'm glad to finally support the underdogs once more and close this post with the new tape of a promising young American singer, who I really believe will one day be selling her albums also on CDs and vinyl all over the world.

It's a new Lana Del Rey album, so the expectations are pretty much set - and met. "Chemtrails Over The Country Club" starts close to where "Norman Fucking Rockwell" left off, with Del Rey's hightened pop persona equally ripened to a state that expertly balances the naiveté of her ex-lolita image and her typical piling of pop culture references with a healthy dose of cynicism - and above all a flawless vocal performance and damn good instrumental arrangements, which leave nothing to be desired and feel even more like one consistent band throughout the whole album this time.

The "features", which were a mixed bag on "Lust For Life" are back again, but this time Lana's three singer/songwriter sisters Nikki Lane, Weyes Blood and Zella Day, who join her on "Breaking Up Slowly" and even close the album on the Joni Mitchell cover "For Free", fit right into the organic, dreamy, nostalgic folk ballad appeal of this once again perfect summation of how great pop music can actually be.

There are brutal earworm battles being fought between Lana and Angel Olsen in my head right now for sure.








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