The other day I was walking to my favorite non-corporate coffee shop to get high on beans and think up ways to fight the man when I saw the above box of cassette tapes, just sitting there on the street.

It contained an amazing collection, everything from Portishead to Culture Club to Too $hort. Who would leave this out with the trash? After no one touched a single tape for two days, I began to wonder if there was something wrong with humanity.

Sure, cassettes are no longer a popular way to exchange music, despite the attempts of trendsetters in recent years. But c'mon. Are you telling me all of these old-ass Honda Civics I see everywhere here in the Tri-Hipster Area (Silver Lake / Echo Park / Atwater Village) don't have tape decks? 

I took a closer look at the tapes to get to the bottom of things.
Kissing to Be Clever

Culture Club
Look at it, it's got that solid color plastic and the dingy palm-dirt of someone who clearly mashed it in and out of an old Casio boombox in a room full of Duran Duran posters, Jordache jeans and Modern English shirts. If it's not going to be in some trendy dude's display collection, it should at least be in a museum of cultural awesomeness. 

Set Me Free (single)
Jermaine Stewart
The lost cassingle off an unreleased album from a sadly deceased former Soul Train dancer? Someone from whom Milli Vanilli ripped off its entire image? This tape is the actual, verifiable substance that makes up hipster dreams. It seems likely that the former owner believed this would complete some designer-pleated-jorts-wearing Macklemore-look-alike's entire state of being. But it was not to be. 

Credit: Paul T. Bradley

Credit: Paul T. Bradley

Life Is…Too Short
Too $hort
This is perhaps the most baffling of all. Don't white trust-funders appropriating the gangster lifestyle know they have to go back to the roots? Someone out there with an ironic Walkman Sports really needs to give Shorty the Pimp a chance.
[Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits
Fleetwood Mac
OK, I can see why this one remains untouched. Years ago, the East-of-Hollywood Pretending-to-be-Stevie-Nicks people either moved to Venice or morphed into the Wearing-Hats-Like-Kate-Bush people. Thus faded the hipness of coke-fueled Laurel Canyon mind-orgy music. 

Aw, no one wants to hang out with Uncle Trip Hop anymore. Really? I mean, any contemporary cool kid would be stoked to know that there was once a kind of electronic music that you couldn't hoover speed and dance to. Music made by Swedish kids rubbing laptops totally eclipsed these sultry electronica loops and slowed drum breaks, and that's too bad. Inside this tape are the smoldering coals that heated so many awkward black-lit dorm room make-out sessions.

Welcome to Orlando's House 2
Various Artists
This appears to be a compendium of house music from Orlando, Florida; the second in a series, no less. Who wouldn't want a tape that was no doubt desperately shoved into sweaty hands exiting a mid-'90s warehouse rave?

In the end, I decided that, despite not possessing a functioning tape deck, I decided that, for the sake of humanity, I must grab the thing myself. But then, lo and behold! I returned to the spot and someone had taken it. 

Hurrah for humanity, hurrah.

Shitty Band Names: A History
The 10 Best Record Stores in L.A.
Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.