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Kee Avil – Spine

Within Spine’s forty minute run-time, Kee Avil scampers across myriad references points from a broad array of modern musical masters. There’s the quiet exploration of Keeley Forsyth, Coil’s unsettling esotericism, and Lucrecia Dalt’s sensuality. We get creaking sounds akin to Gazelle Twin’s straining electronics, the delicate leanings of HTRK, Ronce-like ASMR, elements of Björk’s vulnerability, and, impressively, she hops between these various styles and approaches, whilst restricting herself to just four sound sources per song.

Steep Gloss - The Tape Label Report, March 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Steep Gloss, the brainchild of Ross Scott-Buccleuch, is home to cassette-based experimental musical collaborations. Based in the northwest UK, the label arrived in the world just prior to the pandemic with distorted mulch and harsh blasts from Andrew Sharpley & Romain Perrot (aka Vomir) and Earth Trumpet & Midwich’s abstract, psychedelic spree.

Reviews | Container

As anyone who has found themselves whispering sweet nothings into a porcelain bowl after miscalculating their consumption levels will know, the urge to be sick (or “yack”) rises and falls, ebbs and flows, looping like an internal tide forever on the turn. This is perhaps best illustrated by Stewart Lee’s ode to barley wine and the gaping anus of Christ. If you’ve spent nights into mornings seeking oblivion to repetitive soundtracks, you may well know it all too well.

The Trilogy Tapes - The Tape Label Report, February 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Will Bankhead is a busy man: graphic designer, photographer, skateboarder, DJ, and label head. It’s hard to know how he fits it all in. Initially a one-man operation, Bankhead’s London-based The Trilogy Tapes label is now a family-run affair with his daughter helping out on mail order a few days a week. Skate brand Palace also assist with clothing production and distribution. “Kit at Palace is a diamond, he helps me a lot,” says Bankhead. “There’s so much more to organize than it might seem.”

Reviews | Pissed Jeans

Pissed Jeans have always elevated their Jesus Lizard leanings and Flipper-worship into a self-deprecating yet oddly assured vein of rock and lurch. This, their sixth album, does little to buck that trend. However, where recent releases have found them peddling sludgey doom trudges (with the occasional dabble in breakneck pyrotechnics), Half Divorced is packed full of pep. They’ve stomped on the gas and it burns along like a raging forest fire.

Industrial Coast - The Tape Label Report, January 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Industrial Coast is a fiercely independent, proudly Northern, and socially conscious noise and experimental label run by Steve Kirby out of Middlesbrough in the UK. His releases regularly raise money and awareness for people in dire situations. “Poverty, homelessness, human rights, domestic violence: I reckon that’s above politics, it’s just about trying to help people less fortunate than yourself,” says Kirby.

Reviews | Lea Bertucci

The impacts of climate change on music have been visible for some time now. Whether its in discussions of coloured vinyl’s oil consumption, electricity usage for vast farms of streaming servers, or last week’s reports of widespread fainting and the death of a fan at Taylor Swift’s Rio concert, the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing is increasingly difficult to ignore for those involved in either creating or consuming music.

Album Of The Week | Hot Flob Time Machine: Prisoners of Love And Hate By Apostille

Back in 2018, I wrote an unpublished novel featuring a scene in which a schoolboy is washed away on a river of phlegm after falling into his school’s “Gob Pit”. Christoforos, objectively the best chip shop in Worthing, is located just around the corner from the house which I grew up in. The patron of that particular establishment happens to be the father of one Michael Kasparis. Fast-forward five years and Kasparis has released his third album of ecstatic synth-pop under the Apostille moniker, on which, three tracks in, the song ‘Spit Pit’ appears.

Reviews | Speaker Music

“Seemed to me that drumming was the best way to get close to God.” – Lionel Hampton

Best known as the ‘King of the Vibraphone’, Lionel Hampton was also a master of the drums, performing jaw-dropping stick-juggling routines without missing a beat. Hampton died of congestive heart failure on 31st August 2002. Just a few days later, James Stinson – one half of Detroit Techno luminaries, Drexciya – also succumbed to a heart condition.

These events may be unrelated but their synchronicity is eerie.

Brachliegen Tapes - The Tape Label Report, July 2023

Run by George Rayner-Law and Dom O’Donoghue from their respective homes in South East London and Deal, Brachliegen Tapes initially launched in 2018 as a vehicle for releasing their own output. In 2022, after a slow start (fittingly, the label’s name translates from German as “lie fallow”), the Brachliegen roster expanded rapidly, picking up inventive artists such as Knifedoutofexistence, Sun Yizhou, and Axebreaker. With new releases from Distraxi, Stonecirclesampler, and a follow-up to the sociopolitical decay of Like Weeds’s first tape are on the horizon.

Reviews | Guided By Voices

As it’s been thirty years since Robert Pollard jacked in his teaching job, you'd think that people would stop bleating on about his previous role as an educator. Yet here I am, listening to his twelfth album in four years, contemplating what that output would look like if his creative opportunities were stalled by school holidays. Not that Guided By Voices were particularly sedate during that era – they still churned out seven albums in as many years.

Album Of The Week | Contact Buzz: Full-On By Klara Lewis & Nik Colk Void

At a friend’s 21st birthday, back in the giddy year of 2006, I made an ill-advised narcotic miscalculation. Already pumped up on a brazen cocktail of MDMA, fairly rubbish cocaine, and my own foolish bravado, I gamely hocked down three small tablets of ‘herbal highs’ misrepresented to me by the birthday boy's sociopathic flatmate (whose increasingly erratic behaviour would eventually lead to his attempted sectioning).

Reviews | V/Z

Suono Assente (the English translation of which is “I’m Absent”) is the first release under the V/Z moniker from Vanishing Twin bandmates Valentina Magaletti and Susumu Mukai (aka Zongamin). Veering away from the psychedelic pop of VT, V/Z leans more heavily on influences from hip-hop, dub, post-punk, electronica, and, at times, oozes a similar sensual energy to Lucretia Dalt’s magnificent ¡Ay!, throwing in increasingly inventive touchstones along the way.
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