Because cassettes rule hard and never really age, The Analog Cave is here to bring you some of the best in underground tapes and collected vision. A cassette is like your best friend, your most trusted travel partner, and a specimen of imaginative fantasy and otherworldly dimension. Pop one in and transform. Ride the highway eternal.
La Tene: Tardive/Issime: Astral Spirits
The Franco-Swiss trio La Tene create whispers of ancient zones with their hypnotic movements: a twirling sensitivity with light edges and blending equations. An avant-garde tour de force, the group’s North American debut is singular like Can, Neu!, and other Kraut rock, but more massive in expansion, with concentrations on tribal modes and sparse meditations. Like said Kraut bands, Le Tene utilize rhythms to transport one’s concentration, but do so with even greater minimalistic practice. The music is psychedelic, religious, and something like a walk in the clouds: you drift, you find peace, and you begin to wiggle free from Saṃsāra, emptying your baggage and memories. This is a nice tape to move your soul.
Brett Naucke: Multiple Hallucinations: Hausu Mountain Records
Brett Naucke’s solo synth project arrives in full bloom with Multiple Hallucinations, a two-song, two-sided behemoth of varying dimensions. Postmodernism collides with the dark underbelly of the club scene, then arranges itself as a poetic hymn of buttons and switches and codes of lines making lasers and brain patterns. Naucke is a prolific guy; he’s part of the punk band ONO and also tours with Tortoise. The Chicago native’s foray into the synth world is spiraling and deft. His new tape is multiplex: a signal that technology may yet have something to offer us. There are sections that transport your brain into the light sphere of white noise, with roses and silver sparkling in bursts. The best is when it gets dark: a complex amalgam of fear and jostle.
Tropical Trash: A Dent in the Forever Can: Stoned To Death
I think I found my new favorite band. Louisville, Kentucky’s Tropical Trash arrive at punk rock from the ground up, playing tunes that sound like the Earth and your life connected as one sidewalk. Think Minutemen, Germs, DNA, Circle Jerks, Liars, and then don’t think, because Tropical Trash will make you forget about everything, reminding you of the infinite pureness of making noise in your garage when there’s nothing else but you and your mates and your dad’s old amps and shitty guitars and large spliffs, cheap beer, and the whole never-ending universe in your hand. A Dent in the Forever Can is slacker avant-garde bass worship, tin can stomp rock. You can’t even make this stuff up, it’s so good.
R. Clown: Doc Told Us to Meet at 5029 York Blvd. for a Very Very Special Night of “Lights! Camera! Action!” or Wowee! The City Is Scary: OJC Recordings
R. Clown are an obscure group—I’m pretty surprised I stumbled upon this thing—but thankfully, OJC Recordings from L.A. has released the band’s latest tape, an absolutely stellar punk rock clown-techno classic. Its four tracks equal out to some of the most fun and raw expression you’re likely to hear, with electronic synth drums, Atari bounces, hardcore thump, and mind-numbing ‘80s irony. Think John Carpenter morphing with Shonen Knife while The B-52s are spiritually taken over by DEVO—that’s pretty close. R. Clown are random, but you have this tape, and you can watch an amazing video of them on YouTube, and that’s pretty great, because they are pretty much the closest thing you’ll find to an approachable and more human Mr. Bungle these days. And we all need some evil, fucked up clowns to groove with sometimes.
Amnutseba: Demo II: Caligari Records
French black metal outfit Amnutseba are something from the bottom. Their sound is of shadow and nightmare passages, to and fro, across the river of death. Their latest, the two-song, two-sided nugget of unearthly caverns, Demo II, is at times unnerving, with Mayhem-like mindfucks strewn about in a muddy and gargling pit of noise and barren landscape. The cassette is excellent in its ability to make the listener completely aware of the fact that the universe is being unflinchingly rearranged before one’s very ears, with shrapnel of pain and screams strewn across the eons of time. So much darkness seems like a recipe for sadness, yet Amnutseba find a way to cull the inspiration from your inner chi, caressing it with invisible hands made of the skeletal universe. You’ll float all the way to Hell.