Urban Outfitters… not necessarily my cup of tea, or coffee, or any type of cocktail of any sort, but for reasons beyond my comprehension, I kept this Record Store Day freebie. I can’t say that I’ve ever listened to it, and as there appears to be a minor following for Urban Outfitters Mixtapes online, I may attempt to “trade this in” for something say, more my speed. I’m thinking of FINALLY finishing my Kinks discography, and a store where I’ll never set foot may be helping me out with that.
The secret ingredient inside the 2014 LP boxset by experimental-thrash-geniuses, Fantomas titled, Wunderkammer, contains the all-inclusive Mike Patton demo of the band’s first album… on cassette. She was digitized today, and let me be the first to tell you, it was no easy feat. Interweaving rhythmic bursts make for a significantly difficult editing session, but we were able to hammer out something of adequate sustenance. The results were well, well worth the frustration.
Double analog owner of this “Epic Stereo Cassette” MAY have cycled one official listen way back in the day, but she’s new meat now that Mr. Suave Walkman is in town. One acquires an eye for the essentials, regardless of the medium, while on the frigid hunt. 2 Record Set on One Cassette ain’t too shappy… Epic Stereo Cassette
This recent tape obsession seems not to be going away, especially since a fully functional Walkman entered the home. At the very least, cassettes offer an interesting perspective on album art, if and when done well, like with 1986’s License to Ill. Check Your Head uses the same landscape layout, as I’m sure several other legendary albums I’ve yet to acquire also incorporate. Heavy static and bass-y hum offer a nostalgic glimpse into the media of yesteryear, and we’re slowly grabbing up the essentials.
Another recent obsession in analog media, and the consolidated cassette collection is fully functional. You see, there was a time, not too long ago, where I’d (stupidly) given away 90% of my cassette tapes. I’d already owned them on CD / vinyl / both, or some type bollocks, but now, I’m kicking myself for not holding onto these rectangular treasures. As you can see, the essentials remained in my custody, and today… FINALLY, I’m able to enjoy them again.
Record player (x3), check! Compact disc player, check! 8-track player, (really?) check! Cassette player… well, it’s about damn time!
I set out to acquire the Jaws soundtrack on 8-Track for the upcoming annual Jaws Day (July 3rd, don’t forget), and I ended up with a dirt cheap, fully functioning set of the following, all on glorious 8-Track: Jaws (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Star Wars (The Original Soundtrack from the 20th Century-Fox Film), and this copy of Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back. All in (just about) perfect working condition. I never thought I’d enjoy the romantic static and bass-heavy warmth of 8-Track sound as much as I do… makes me glad I keep the player in the living room. My SO on the other hand…
Understanding that a groove is relevant only to a record and does not, in any case pertain to the spools of a cassette tape, I, via ways of inadvertent and very magic-like slight of hand, attempt to fool your senses in discussing a nostalgically important glimmer of rural mid-western indie-pop music… before the term indie was, well, indie. (How’s that for the recommended number of commas for those comma-touting liberals? #sniff) Cassettes need love too, so today The Prudent Groove will temporarily change its name to The Prudent Spool.
Illinois to Wisconsin is like Republicans to Democrats… or Democrats to Republicans, depending on where you align your morals. (The Prudent Spool doesn’t, as of yet, publicize its political alliances.) There was a batch of amazing music emerging from both states during the early 1990’s. The Smashing Pumpkins; remember them? They recorded their debut album, Gish (produced by Butch Vig), at Madison, Wisconsin’s Smart Studios. The mid-90’s brought Milwaukee’s The Promise Ring and their absolutely perfect debut, 30° Everywhere.
While south of the line that divides the cheese heads from the FISH, bands like Braid, Lard, Slapstick and the alternative (again, before the term was branded and incorporated) and very groove-heavy 7-track cassette (the name of which I’ve never known) by the locally infamous cats, Vacuum Scam. The Scam sounded like an amped-up, pop-punk version of early Pearl Jam if you know, Pearl Jam were ever any good. To say they were crunchy guitar driven is to ignore their brilliant ability to create melodies so painfully catchy, yet with the ability to sound fresh with each new listen. They were a SOLID unit, and to this day I’m scouring the earth, emailing the band, convincing my High School friends to search their junk drawers for the original 7-track cassette. It’s been 17 years and my search has turned up nothing.
Adrian, or DJ Mr. Brown as he is internationally known, introduced me to these 7, anxiety-ridden-jam tracks. You see, back in the day, cassettes were the thing. You could, well, I guess what 2013 would call the loathingly media-heavy adjective, “pirate,” tracks onto a “mix tape” that personally represented the “recent break-up mood” mix, the “my folks don’t let me go out on Friday nights and I’m fuggin’ pissed about it” mix, or even your “big bro says this is necessary listening material” mix. A mixed CD before mp3s, for those of you who remember what it was like before the internet. I dubbed these 7 tracked from someone who dubbed them from someone else who had the original tape. I’ve always been thankful that Adrian introduced me to the Scam (and endless other essential music). I managed to burn the cassette to CD before returning his dubbed copy, so I’m still able to enjoy the memories of my Senior year of high school anytime I choose.