Look, I can’t always make it all the way through these labyrinthine tapes you folks send in; that’s a fact. I hardly have time for vinyl, when it comes right down to it, and that’s only 30 minutes a side. Some of these cassette chuckers are clocking in at 90 minutes-odd like it’s no big deal, and I’m real proud of ya pal but the point of the tape revival is not to clog the scene with more … stuff (who am I kidding, that’s totally what the tape revival is turning into).
Caves have put out an amazing tape here, however, and with every release like this cassettes have a better chance at becoming a permanent fixture. “Caves and Stephen Cooley” (if that’s not the real title fuck it; put this shit on Discogs bros!) is straight out of the Lou Barlow playbook fi-wise, and the material ranges from quieter, apartment-window-gazing fare to slow, harsh stomps that gleam with Slint treble and the clunkiness that, believe it or not, used to be a Death Cab For Cutie trademark (you now, back when they released TAPES).
I can’t get over how cool it is to hear a throbbing canker-sore-cloud of noise emerge from quiet acoustic pickers; to witness as things get all Fadensonnen and rowdy is almost too good to be true. Not sure why this guy’s nosing in on the mix with his plainest-sounding voice at this point; kids need to learn when to let things gurgle and buzz a little.
This review is just a glimmer of a much larger light, of course. Caves boast uncommonly well-developed skills, not to mention the willingness to play indie-rock in the first place, a custom that seems to be out of vogue with all the cheap machinery available to even the poorest musicians out there. The drone interludes and drum-machine passages are there, but they’re secondary, statues on the side of the road that you glance at and move on. What’s left after the memory has purged the fuzz is those nice little bathtub compositions and Mt. Erie-style loudness.
Should you be surprised when Caves put out dozens of tapes on different labels and end up releasing an LP on NNA, Night People and La Station Radar in the same month?
Not at all, though it’s even more likely they’ll become forgotten – even by me – blips on a radar full of sunken battleships and dreams that never should have been dreamed in the first place. I’d like to prevent that from happening, starting … NOW. Let’s do this.