Decrepit Tapes Podcast #1

Available in Low-Fi (64 kbps) and Hi-Fi (192 kbps)


Tommy Jay Band - Winter Nomad
From Tommy Jay's Tall Tales of Trauma

Mike Rep & The Quotas - Just For Lies
From A Tree Stump Named Desire

U.S. Girls - Red Ford Radio
From Go Grey (out 2/02 on Siltbreeze)

Axemen - You, You Cabinet
From Scary Part III

Alpaca Brothers - The Lie
From Legless EP

Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves (excerpt)
From Half Machine Lip Moves

The Dead C - Stand
From New Electric Music

Robert Pollard - Wild Girl
From We All Got Out of The Army (out 2/23 on GBV, Inc.)

Home - Gotta Quit That Crack
From Home VII

Pavement - Our Singer
From Slanted & Enchanted

Gibson Bros. - Bin Pine Boogie
From Build A Raft CS

The Beakers - Red Towel
From The Red Towel 7"

Iggy Pop & James Williamson - No Sense of Crime
From Kill City

V-3 - Son of Sam Donaldson
From Live '97
(thanks to foreverlowman)

Velvet Underground - Ride Into The Sun (Demo)
From Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition

The Shadow Ring - City Lights
Life Review 1993 - 2003

Featuring a live "in-studio" performance from Viceroy.

"Neighboring States"


Steve N - Guitar, Tapes, Sampler
Derek W - Drums
Dylan C - Keyboard, Percussion
Kevin W - Piano, Synth
Jack R - Percussion

Un - Un Plays The Non-Hits For You CS (1996)

One (Un) is a group featuring Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards), Tara Burke (Fursaxa), Grant Acker, and Tom Roach. They had two releases on the Siltbreeze label before disbanding in 1999.

The cassette release has two side-long practices that are actually worth hearing. Messy and incoherent, UN sounds as if recording only takes place after long bouts of sleep deprivation, but few can match the utter desolation of this deceptively simple music.

Thanks to the original uploader on Indie Torrents for ripping this gem

The Double - Palm Fronds (2004)

Sometime after the release of their debut LP and Palm Fronds, the Double began drinking from the same mercury-tainted well as Animal Collective and Black Dice. Replacing the bluesy math rock (if that's possible) of Loose Crochet is a heavily corroded singer/songwriter album, bathed in echo and acid, and carried along by left for dead samplers and drum machines. The change in direction is due in part to the addition of two new members; Donald Beaman and Jacob Morris joined the core duo of drummer Jeff McLeod and guitarist David Greenhill after the release of Loose Crochet. But the biggest reason for the change might be due to an accident. Just before the band was set to record their second LP, McLeod hurt is hand so badly that he could not play drums. But instead of postponing the sessions, the band decided to go forward using electronics instead of live drums. And, remarkably, it worked. Palm Fronds sounds nothing like a band playing with a handicap. Rather, the drum machines and other gadgets fit perfectly and naturally into the songs. It never sounds like a compromise. The songs sound fully as if this is the way they are supposed to sound. Obviously the band rethought their entire approach to music making and allowed for the new sounds to become an organic and necessary part of their working methods. As a result, Palm Fronds sounds something like Smog produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and remixed by Fennesz or Pole.

Jesus Lizard - Head + Pure (1992)

The place to start for those new to the Jesus Lizard, this two-fer collects on one CD the first EP release (Pure) and first LP release (Head) of the notorious '90s noise rock band. It does a fine job of completing the picture of the band's early work.

Nirvana - Sliver: The Best of the Box (1985-1994)

Appearing a year after the long-awaited three-disc With the Lights Out, which was supposed to be a clearinghouse for all existing Nirvana demos and rarities, Sliver: The Best of the Box is a single-disc compilation of highlights from that set. Of course, a comp like this needs to have collector bait in order to guarantee interest from the die-hard fans, so in addition to 19 previously released cuts, this has three previously unreleased tracks, most noteworthy being the 1985 demo of "Spank Thru," recorded when Kurt Cobain's band was called Fecal Matter. The other two songs are a 1990 studio demo of "Sappy," the song first released under the title "Verse Chorus Verse" on the No Alternative various-artists album, and a "Boom Box Version" of "Come as You Are," which is a taped rehearsal take of the song recorded before Nevermind. All three of these would have fit nicely on the box (and arguably should have been there, especially "Spank Thru," which is the best of the earliest Nirvana-related recordings), and for obsessives, they're enough to warrant a grudging, hesitant purchase. The real question is, whether Sliver is worthwhile for serious fans who nevertheless for whatever reason don't want three discs of demos and outtakes. The answer is: kinda. Most of the major songs from With the Lights Out are here, but not all of them. What's missing are outtakes like "Verse Chorus Verse" (a different song than "Sappy"), B-sides like "Curmudgeon," and non-LP cuts like "I Hate Myself and I Want to Die." While it's understandable that a weird novelty like "Beans" wouldn't make the cut, the absence of these three cuts mean this comp does fall short of its billing as being "The Best of the Box," and it also makes it of less interest to fans who just want all the truly noteworthy cuts from the box. That said, this does have such great items as the outtake "Old Age," the non-LP single "Oh the Guilt," and a demo of Leadbelly's "Ain't It a Shame," plus acoustic demos of Cobain's last two songs, "Do Re Mi" and "You Know You're Right," which is enough to satisfy the curiosity of most listeners. But it has to be said that due to its source material of home recordings and lo-fi tapes, Sliver, like With the Lights Out, is not easy listening and demands listeners' utmost attention — and if listeners are willing to concentrate that hard on Nirvana rarities, they'd probably be better off getting three discs of the stuff instead of just one.

Emeralds - S/T 12" (2009)

Four brand spankin' new tracks from one of the most exciting up and coming bands. This release continues the fascination with expanding on the kraut rock musical template laid out by bands like Cluster and Ash Ra Tempel throwing in some pretty obvious Terry Riley influences for good measure. Highly recommended.

Palace Music - Arise, Therefore (1996)

Once again, Will Oldham emerges out of the murky, Midwestern haze with another helping of lovely, low-key musings on his fourth full-length album, Arise, Therefore, this time recorded under the name Palace Music (previously Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, or just plain Palace). Much quieter than Viva Last Blues and less-Appalachian in its folk spirit than Palace's earlier music, the songs on Arise, Therefore shift and moan with breathy cracks and shivers; Oldham's meandering, poet-speak vocals; and guitar accompanied by his brother, Ned's bass, David Grubbs' piano, and (surprise!) a Maya Tone drum machine. The lyrics (included for the first time) are beautiful in their stark, pale honesty as often as they are indecipherable. "I watch things painted on public walls/Now but I see other things as well/Behind but right f*ck in front of my spirit is how the real road's laid out in a line," he sings on "Kid of Harith." Don't ask for an interpretation: It will come with time, or it won't.

Tall Dwarfs - Hello Cruel World (1987)

Leaving the bulk of their catalog to the Flying Nun label, Tall Dwarfs have found another friend in the Homstead imprint for releasing this excellent collection of tracks from a handful of the group's rare EP's. The New Zealand lo-fi innovators are certainly well-represented with these 22 varied and top-notch sides from the first half of the '80s. With plenty of deft guitar, organ, and handclapping work to go around, fans new to Hello Cruel World will soon understand why it gave the Dwarfs their widest audience after being released in the late '80s.

Sun Ra - Angels & Demons at Play/The Nubians of Plutonia (1956-1960)

Sun Ra ambles between vigorous hard bop, ambitious, adventurous free jazz, and African and Afro-Latin material on the 15 selections featured on this set of '50s and early '60s tracks. The first half was recorded in 1956 and 1960 and includes originals from Ronnie Boykins and Julian Priester, plus futuristic organ from Ra on "Music From the World Tomorrow" and hard-blowing solos from John Gilmore and Marshall Allen. The second half consists of rehearsal tapes from 1960 with The Arkestra steadily progressing and moving beyond conventional jazz modes into multiple rhythms, chants, and twisting, roaring arrangements spiced by vividly expressive solos. Plus, like every other disc in the series, it is superbly remastered.

Sonic Youth - SYR 4 (1999)

As a farewell to a century of musical innovation, Sonic Youth devote a double album to covering legendary avant-garde recordings such as John Cage's "Six," James Tenney's "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion," and Christian Wolff's "Edges." As a further token of gratitude, Sonic Youth had other avant-garde musicians such as William Winant collaborate with them on these covers. The result is a minimal album of silence occasionally interrupted by strange dissonance that quietly reaps noisy havoc on your mind. The many collaborators make Goodbye 20th Century a curious listen -- certainly not your standard Sonic Youth album. Actually, it's not too far removed from the other SYR EPs, especially in terms of production sound. But anyone looking for standard fare here is going to be greatly disappointed. These aren't songs -- they're compositions and they're performed as such. Alt-rock this is not.

Sonic Youth - SYR 3 (1998)

For this self-released instrumental EP, Sonic Youth teamed up with Jim O'Rourke, the avant-garde/post-rock guru best known as a member of Gastr del Sol. While the collaboration is a little long-winded -- the "EP" lasts nearly an hour -- and is the most difficult of the first three SYR recordings, it also provides some of the best music of the series. It just takes a little digging to find it. SYR 3 is closer to Gastr del Sol, in many ways, than Sonic Youth, but that's refreshing. All the members of SY switch instruments on the record, and O'Rourke pushes them into free jazz territory. Occasionally, they can get lost in the murk, drifting into long static stretches that barely rise above a murmur. More often, though, the music is fascinating, with the subtle layers and seamless transitions becoming mesmerizing. It takes a little work to get into SYR 3 -- a recording that is more complex and ambitious than its full-length follow-up, A Thousand Leaves -- but the cerebral, difficult music is worth the effort.

Sonic Youth - SYR 2 (1997)

The second in a set of self-released instrumental EPs, SYR 2 follows through on the promise of SYR 1 while exploring new territory. A noisier record than its predecessor, SYR 2 nevertheless shares the same modus operandi -- namely, it's purely improvised music that gleefully wanders into uncharted territory. Even at its noisiest, the EP reveals that Sonic Youth has remarkable interplay. Each member can sense where the other will go, and that's what's so fascinating about the EPs -- there are no clear-cut themes, structures, or leaders, it's simply Sonic Youth without a harness. Toward the end of the record, the band ventures into quieter territory, immediately making clear their influence on such post-rock bands as Tortoise. Although SYR 2 is slightly less rewarding than SYR 1, its unpredictable, continually shifting sonics make for an endlessly intriguing listen.

The 3D's - Fish Tales/Swarthy Songs for Swabs (1991)

The 3Ds' belated American debut was actually even more of a bonus for stateside fans, combining the band's first two EPs with two unreleased songs recorded on four-track and featuring Rachel King on bass (both of these songs would later be rerecorded for the band's full-length debut album, Hellzapoppin). "Hairs" is a fun little thrash-along in established 3Ds style, while "One Eye Opened" is a touch calmer and has a neat echoing main vocal to recommend it. Neither song is terribly unique, but each makes a fun adjunct to a fine compilation for those lacking the original releases.

James Brown - Live At The Apollo (1963)

An astonishing record of James and the Flames tearing the roof off the sucker at the mecca of R&B theatres, New York's Apollo. When King Records owner Syd Nathan refused to fund the recording, thinking it commercial folly, Brown single-mindedly proceeded anyway, paying for it out of his own pocket. He had been out on the road night after night for a while, and he knew that the magic that was part and parcel of a James Brown show was something no record had ever caught. Hit follows hit without a pause — "I'll Go Crazy," "Try Me," "Think," "Please Please Please," "I Don't Mind," "Night Train," and more. The affirmative screams and cries of the audience are something you've never experienced unless you've seen the Brown Revue in a Black theater. If you have, I need not say more; if you haven't, suffice to say that this should be one of the very first records you ever own.

The Incredible String Band - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968)

The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is the Incredible String Band's most ambitious album, with Robin Williamson and Mike Heron employing an arsenal of unusual instruments (sitar, gimbri, pan pipe, oud, chahanai, and more), and Dolly Collins adding a couple of the more dignified arrangements. It's usually considered their most important effort by critics, but there were also traces of the sprawling, occasionally grating lack of focus that would increasingly come to characterize their work.

Bill Fay - Time Of The Last Persecution (1971)

"Enigmatic" was the tag oft-times tossed 'round Bill Fay, whose loyal cult following grew significantly over the years. Signed to Decca, the singer/songwriter and pianist released two albums in the late '60s and early '70s; their haunting, darkly shadowed songs were never meant to appeal to the masses, even at the height of the psychedelia-streaked introspection sparked by the soul-searching of the day. While the Beatles flew off to meet the Maharishi, Fay fell under the spell of a 19th century compendium of commentaries on the Biblical books of Daniel and Revelations, which would inspire his second album, Time of the Last Persecution. But before the born-agains jump on to the Fay bandwagon, they should be warned that the artist was equally influenced by the ravaging events of the day. The title track, "Time of the Last Persecution," was written in an immediate and visceral response to the killings of four students at Kent State. Even in 1971, the intensity of Fay's lyrics -- reflecting his commentaries in their poetical language, their highly introspective nature, the brooding quality of the music, all exquisitely enhanced by Ray Russell's evocative blues guitar work -- left most reviewers cold and confused. In truth, the album would have slotted much more neatly into the coming firestorm that descended on Britain later in the decade, and would have provided a surprisingly supple bridge between the apocalyptic visions of roots reggae and the political polemics of punk. The set certainly contains all the fire and fury of the latter movement, as well as the deeply dread atmospheres of the former. By 2005, with the rise of evangelicalism and Christian rock, Persecution no longer sounds so obscure or out of place; it is, however, a personal journey of spirituality, not a platform from which to proselytize. For all its dark vision, it's the possibility of peace and hope that shines through the gloom, and as for all the seeming quietude of the music, it thunders, too, with a power and emotion that speak in volumes as loudly as Fay's striking lyrics.

Gibson Bros. - Columbus Soul 85 (1996)

Unfairly, music historians tend to overlook bands like the Gibson Bros., perhaps only bothering to utter the group's name as a footnote to Jon Spencer's career (Spencer did a short stint with the outfit near the end of its run, though it was always clearly Monsieur Jeffrey Evans' show). This omission is unfortunate, because without the Gibson Bros.' raucous brand of ragged blues-punk-rockabilly, there would likely be no flavors of the moment like the White Stripes or even genre mainstays like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Recorded primarily at the Stache's legendary live music dive in Columbus, OH, Columbus Soul 85 is probably the rawest, noisiest record of the Gibson Bros. catalog, which is truly saying something. Overflowing with attitude and swagger, Columbus should prove to be a good time for those with the ability to decipher the rock from the noise. With its mix of riotous Gibson originals like "Where's Elvis?" and "Big Pine Boogie," traditionals like "Jesse James," and carefully chosen covers by the likes of Charlie Feathers, Columbus Soul 85 could easily serve as a primer in garage-rockabilly-blues revivalism 101. With sheer rock & roll bravado playing at least as important a role in the Gibson Bros. as the actual music, the resultant songs tend to have a clear basis in blues-rock classics, but that solid foundation sometimes gets overshadowed by a ragged production quality and playing that perilously teeters between being laid-back and just plain sloppy. While all of this may at first sound like a condemnation of the Bros., it will be, ahem, music to the ears of those whose record collections are peppered with selections from similarly minded outfits like the Oblivians, the Compulsive Gamblers, the Reigning Sound, the Cheater Slicks, the Gories, Them Wranch, anything released by Sympathy for the Record Industry, and Gibson Bros. spinoffs 68 Comeback and the Bassholes. Later, better-produced releases like Memphis Sol Today! will prove slightly more accessible to novices, though the Gibson Bros. generally remain a hard sell to those who prefer not to spend their time in loud, dark, smoky bars well past the witching hour.

Joy Division - Preston 28 February (1980)

The Heart and Soul set rectified the errors of Still by including some far better live performances on its fourth and final disc, but Joy Division aficionados spoke of even better recordings still never formally released. This complaint was settled with Preston, the first of two archival concert recordings, both of which finally do justice to the band's stage work. It's an important point, since Joy Division were a band able to work on three different levels with equal brilliance -- on singles, album, and in concert -- and Preston is the first real document able to demonstrate the latter point beyond question. Though the performance was beset with technical woes, as the members audibly mention at points between songs, there was still definite magic in the air. If the recording levels aren't as perfect as they could be, with Curtis himself sometimes a touch too muffled, they're certainly a cut above simple bootleg sound, while the quartet itself generally exchange the subtler shadows for a more direct but no less gripping approach. Nearly half of Closer appears some months before its release. The arrangements were already well worked out, "Twenty Four Hours" shifting effortlessly between lower-key brooding and explosion; "The Eternal" given a quietly majestic, unsettling extended opening, Morris' crisp, weirdly thin drums and Sumner's wheezing, distanced keyboards leading the way. Curtis projects his expected air of desperation mixed with intense fire, but even when the levels reduce him to a slur he's nothing less than commanding, his lyrics cutting through the music with intensity. In direct contrast to the Closer version, his singing on "Heart and Soul" is much more upfront, though heavily drenched with reverb. Sumner in particular kicks up a storm on guitar, familiar riffs from the studio takes bursting with energy, slashing across the songs (there's no other way to describe the performances on "Wilderness," "Shadowplay," and "Transmission").

The Red Krayola - The Red Krayola (1994)

Now working with such younger musicians as John McEntire (Tortoise), Jim O'Rourke, and David Grubbs, Mayo Thompson comfortably steers the Red Krayola into the mishmash of '90s post-punkdom here. For Thompson, it's not so much a return to the scene (he had always kept recording, after all) as a continuation of his themes of musical eclecticism. It's heavy on the angular guitar lines and unusual lyrical construction/deconstruction, with occasional electronic flutters. It's not as highly recommended as his two subsequent Drag City releaes (Amor and Language and Hazel), which state the same thematic concerns with a tad more melodicism and warmth.

Harmonia & Eno 76 - Tracks & Traces (1976)

Recorded in 1976 -- after Brian Eno had proclaimed them one of the best groups around -- but for whatever reason not released until 20 years later, Tracks & Traces is a fascinating release not merely for Eno's participation but for the hints of music that would become mainstream in the future. Indeed, opening cut "Vamos Companeros" has an intense guitar line from Rother that in its nervous, choppy way suggests everything from Wire to Bauhaus, not to mention Eno's own noted production clients, U2. Having already created two excellent albums, the core Harmonia trio was easily placed to whip up a third, with Eno the wild-card factor who turned out to be a perfect addition. While contributing some lyrics and singing at a time when he was steering away firmly from both in his own solo work, most of the time Eno lets the band speak for itself musically, most notably adding snaky, quietly threatening basslines. Compositions range from the lengthy to just fragments, and while it feels at points more like a collection of sessions than necessarily a complete stand-alone album conceived as such, the end results are still well worth hearing. The contemplative "By the Riverside," which could easily have turned up on Eno's Before and After Science (where his related collaboration with Cluster, "By This River," appeared) is a slow treasure, a core keyboard loop providing the slow-paced rhythm. "Almost" is another killer, with a lead guitar/piano melody that's pure gentle heartbreak if ever there were such a thing, gently descending and softly surrounded by an elegantly flowing arrangement. If there's less of the glittering glaze of the earlier Harmonia albums, the explorations in ambient sound and mysterious and murky textures make for a more than fair exchange. [This remastered reissue contains three previously unreleased songs.]

Flying Saucer Attack - Chorus (1996)

As the liner notes put it, "This album marks the end of FSA phase one." Pearce later described the whole "phase one/phase two" business as something of a joke, but for a while it seemed FSA was going to call it quits in the mid-'90s, partially due to Brook's departure to concentrate on Movietone. Thankfully, the projected end of FSA turned out to be false, but it's easy to see Chorus as an intentional wrapping up (though in fact the four songs that appeared on the Outdoor Miner/Land Beyond the Sun EP did not surface here). Bringing together a scattered variety of tracks in the same way that Distance did, Chorus includes songs from singles, compilation cuts, and the entirety of a John Peel session for good measure. Two cuts appear twice in alternate versions -- the appropriately titled "Feedback Song," which also crops up in a demo take, and "There but Not There," appearing as well in a dub take and both featuring the talents of regular FSA collaborator Rocker. Even more so than Distance, Chorus captures FSA trying out a wide variety of approaches, from minimal, acoustic arrangements, as on the Brook-sung "Beach Red Lullaby," to more of the fierce and somehow elegant guitar sound swells (the mind-melting "Second Hour" providing an astonishing instance of the latter). Some fairly conventional numbers, for FSA at least, turn up -- "Always" has a lovely, pop-friendly melody that places the song much closer to out-and-out shoegazing than most of the band's other work. Pearce's singing generally favors the more shadowy, buried approach of earlier efforts than the somewhat clearer approach on Further, but still haunting and mysterious in contrast to the web of music surrounding it. Here and there various references to earlier work crop up -- continuing the series started on the self-titled debut, the stripped-down "Popul Vuh III" takes a bow.