With all the hoo-ha regarding the so-called Vinyl Revolution currently sweeping the music industry, perhaps now is the time to address the budding little (okay, tiny) community of musicians exploring cassette technology. Cassettes: they're cheap, they're little (nearly the exact same size as an iPod), they're copy-protected (though easily hackable with a couple pieces of Scotch tape), and sound great hissing out of the Panasonic. In fact, it's the hiss that's the draw. Where vinyl freaks yowl over the supposed “warmth” their format, cassettes are best for the treble freaks, for those who like their ssssingers to ssssing sssongs. Fuck warmth. We want ice. (As a judge of the 2002 BEIGE World Cassette Jockey Championships in Chicago, I claim the right to call myself an expert.)
But then, Foot Village likes their bottom end, likes their pounding bassy drums, likes their deep, gutteral howl. The LA foursome — Citizen Miller, Citizen Lee, Citizen Taylor and Citizen Rowan (Brian Miller, Grace Lee, Josh Taylor, and Dan Rowan) — makes thrilling, chaotic tribal punk, like early, Soul Discharge-era Boredoms. Their recent Friendship Nation is available on LP, CD and as download, but it's been released on cassette via the great Living Tapes imprint of Los Angeles, and it's only $3.98.
Consisting of eight original songs, each its own burp of joy, the Friendship certainly isn't “pretty” or melodic. “Urination” celebrates peeing in public, “1998” is probably about that year in some way but I can't tell because of all the insanity, and “Erecting the Wall of Separation” scares me.
Flip the tape over and you get four remarkable remixes by Big A, Silver Daggers, Tussle and Robedoor. These are cool mainly because Foot Village makes such great noises that excising the best and remolding them reveals something magical, like slipping through a darkened closet and discovering a hidden pathway to another world.
the video for Foot Village's “Erecting the Wall of Separation”
Living Tapes cassettes are currently availible at Amoeba, Family, Ooga Booga, Tiny Creatures and the Echo Curio.