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Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan StevensTapes ‘n Tapes



Jan 07, 2011 Issue #34 - Year End 2010 - Sufjan Stevens Bookmark and Share

Tapes ‘n Tapes got a raw deal following the release of their 2006 debut The Loon. The blog hype surrounding them became a boiling cauldron, and promptly chilled as quickly as it had simmered. To borrow an axiom from Blade Runner, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long,” and the band found this cold reality to be fact when their 2008 follow up Walk It Off was greeted with nary a shrug.

But you’ve got to hand it to them in that they’ve achieved a Nada Surf post “Popular” level of comeback on Outside, a distillation of why so many got behind them in the first place. It’s a record that captures their visceral live energy, always the band’s strongest point, which was largely lost on the studio lapidary of their LPs.

Opener “Badaboom” is a winsome, mid-tempo number finding frontman Josh Grier incanting with heart-on-sleeve insecurity, “I call you up and over/hide my sorrow near your ear my dear.” It’s redolent of a litany of post-Sebadoh acts, but Tapes ‘n Tapes, with nearly eight years under their belts, aren’t doe-eyed charlatans. This is an affecting tune, and effectively establishes a template for the rest of the record-‘90s-inspired indie rock delivered meticulously with soulful élan.

Penultimate track “On and On” finds the band experimenting with synths, subtly recalling The Velvet Underground’s “Stephanie Says” in its nursery-rhyme-esque lurching shuffle. It’s the most gorgeous tune on the record, and finds Grier admitting with dignified resignation, “I am not original.” No they aren’t, but they deserved better than what they got with Walk It Off. Hopefully they’ll get their due this time. (www.tapesntapes.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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January 11th 2011

Boy did they ever get shafted. PitchFurk continued that lazy trend with a review of this album the day before it came out. Way to call out the blog hype’s ADD, looking forward to picking up this album.