Really, this list could be “PT-Music’s Top Ten Cassettes/7”s of the latter half of 2010″ since almost every entry is from July forward. I don’t know what my deal was for the first part of 2010, but I guess I didn’t buy that many records. Anyways, in no particular order here are some of my favorite cassette and 7” releases from Oh Ten:
Angel Olsen // Strange Cacti
Easily my favorite cassette of the year. Released by my favorite tape label Bathetic Records (and quickly re-released to no avail – both “pressings” are sold-out), Olsen sweetly croons about love, loss, and lost love. At the surface level, you get a series of pleasant sounding singer/songwriter tracks which you eat up like candy, but when you start attentively listening to the lyrics and storytelling (not sure how much is story and how much is real life for Olsen) you discover the haunting undertones and the darker side of the songs. A truly breathtaking recording.
Angel Olsen // Creator, Destroyer
Ducktails // Lost
Another sold-out cassette (sorry guys! not meaning to rub it in your faces…), this instrumental by Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile “combines outtakes from the new record (Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics), plus some lost gems from the past year.” Although most of it is just Mondanile dicking around playing seemingly improvised guitar licks with innumerable combinations of pedals, it’s nice to get a intimate peak at how some of these songs are constructed from the ground up.
Ducktails // Hamilton Road
The Numerators // Human Blanket
Coming at you with six tracks in a whopping 10 minutes and 52 seconds, it’s no stretch to say that this cassette released by Brooklyn (via Lubbock) acid/garage rockers The Numerators packs a punch. Although not a replacement for their live show, you do get an idea of what the band’s about (most notably the spastic 28 second “Take It Easy” that leaves you asking “what the fuck just happened”) which, when talking about The Numerators, is no easy feat!
The Numerators // That’s So Raiden
Coasting // S/T
My favorite 7’’ of the year comes from a badass duo of Brooklyn garage-rockers Madison Farmer and Fiona Campbell. These ladies have no qualms about leaving your face smeared on the dashboard, taking you into warp speed 9 with their blazing guitar licks and fast-tempo drumming. What’s great about this Group Tightener release is that it includes my two favorite tracks: the instrumental shred-fest “Coasting” and the more subdued (with vocals!) noise ballad “Hots for Teacher”.
Coasting // Coasting
Memoryhouse // Caregiver
One of two Suicide Sqeeze 7’’s I bought this past year (the other being a Coathangers/Numerators split), this bedroom-pop record by Canadian dreamers Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion keeps pace with the myriad of mp3s released by the duo in 2010. Smooth and airy, it’s easy to get lost in the melodies and vocals of any Memoryhouse song with “Caregiver” and “Heirloom” (the two tracks featured on this 7’’) is not an exception.
Memoryhouse // Caregiver
Gobble Gobble // Lawn Knives
I don’t know if there is a musician who is held at such high esteem in the blog world as Cecil Frena. I’m by no means a noteworthy blogger, yet every e-mail I get from him is friendly, personalized, and – as expected with Gobble Gobble – highly interesting. After coming onto the scene like a nuclear explosion, blasting out mp3-after-mp3, a pair of “proper” releases (courtesy of Royal Rhino Records) finally graced our presence at the end of the year. For those who want an introduction to the spastic concoctions Cecil & Co. produce, the 7’’ is a perfect start.
Gobble Gobble // Lawn Knives
Magic Kids / Smith Westers // Split 7’’
My favorite split record from the past year, this Fat Possum released 7’’ features the raucous anthem-ready jam “Imagine Pt. 3” from Chicago underage indie-rockers Smith Westerns and the bouncy, light-hearted “Superball” from Memphis’s Magic Kids. The 7’’ also gets my album cover trophy of the year, with each band parodying a previous album’s cover from the other.
Magic Kids // Superball
Cosmetics // Sleepwalker
Although not as good as their previous Captured Tracks 7’’, “Sleepwalker” is a woozy, synth-heavy dance track that you’ve come to expect from the Canadian couple. Printed on clear vinyl (a nice touch!), this recording is almost too beautiful to play! When you finally decide to take the plunge and place a needle on it, you get transported to a nameless trendy club where upstairs they’re playing the A-side and downstairs, in the dark basement, their spinning the B.
Cosmetics // Sleepwalking
Seamonster // Two Birds
This five-track (!) 7’’ gives The Numerators a run for its money when it comes to bang-for-your-buck. Seamonster is the brainchild of Virgina’s self-professed “ambient/psychedelic/folk” musician Adrian Todd Webb, and with Two Birds you get just that: ambient/psych/folk tracks pieced together perfectly. Head over to Gold Robot Records to cop the release.
Seamonster // Oh Appalachia
Cloudland Canyon // Mothlight Pt. 2 | In the Cold
The first vinyl release from Bathetic Records and it’s a doozy! Smooth fuzzed out jams that you can seriously vibe out to — what more could you really want?
Cloudland Canyon // Mothlight (Part 2)