Palm Tapes megapostNovember 12, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
Palm Tapes has been one of Detroit’s breakout labels in 2016, with a huge pile of tapes and an LP in their discography. The site has a Bandcamp where you can listen to a few tracks from each release, but all the prices are set at $69 because they want you to buy the actual tapes, which are $5 each, from their site. Here’s a few highlights from the label so far. The split tape between singer/songwriters Stef Chura & Anna Burch is already up to its second pressing. Stef has kind of a stretchy, squirmy voice and kind of reminds me of Kristin Hersh. “Slow Motion” is one of my favorite rock songs of the year, just a really good driving pop song. “Faded Heart” is similar, but “Speeding Ticket” is more of a slow burn. Fred Thomas recorded and played on these songs. He also did the same on the first Anna song. Anna has more of a calm, hushed voice, and her songs are way more lonely and depressed. “You Bum Me Out” is particularly brutal. Not musically, it’s just guitar, vocals, and organ, but lyrically it’s just devastating. Look out for Stef’s album on Urinal Cake Records in January.
Armadillo’s II is a spectacular tape of reflective guitars plus booming beats. Some of it gets a little dancey, particularly on side B, and some of it is more trappy. It’s as warbly and blown out as you would expect from a cassette of this nature. Most of the tracks flow into each other and there’s no titles or lyrics, so it’s just a good idea to hit play and float for a while.
The Bed Band’s The Dreamiest is warped bedroom psych-pop from Ivan Antonio Gamboa. High-pitched vocals, sun-baked smeared guitars, and sometimes drum machines blipping in the background. Lots of songs about cute weird girls and hazy summer days.
Maybe the best of the lot is the one that doesn’t actually feature Detroit artists. Northern Palms Volume One is a compilation of Canadian electronic artists. M. Walter’s tracks are juke-inspired, and while they seem a bit light and breezy and with a carefree sense of humor (track titles include “Why Won’t Anyone Go To The Gathering With Me” and “Damn This Fiji Water Actually Tastes Pretty Good”), they’re thoughtfully constructed. ADO starts out with a short, slow, crushed beat called “Yeaassss”, and then there’s a hyperdriven ultra-polyrhythmic juke track called “For A Copy” which is absolutely astounding, followed by a long, relentless techno pounder called “Soundtest”. On the other side, Burn Cycle flashes back to early ’90s breakbeat techno with his three easygoing tracks. Motoko’s tracks are even sunnier and more beach-friendly. The last track is slower and mellower and has more keyboard soloing.