FUVK - "Ghosted/Fragmented"

FUVK - "Ghosted/Fragmented" (Z Tapes) This is a cassette release of two 3-track EPs that were released in 2017 by enigmatic singer/songwriter, Fuvk. (I pronounce it Fuh - Vek) Fuvk, who has been quietly releasing a small library of music over the last couple of years, uses songwriting as a cathartic release. Each song is a personal, vulnerable journal entry, chronicling day to day feelings about a variety of subjects.  The difference between the typical, yawn-inducing journal writings that you or I might produce, given the same stimuli, is that Fuvk expresses the frustrations and joys of living in a startlingly intimate and eloquent way. Her vocals are strong and clear, without any of the affectations of style that you would expect from such music. Accompanied by sparse instrumentation, her voice is sometimes doubled and harmonized, but never engages in any self-aggrandizing runs or any over-dramatic crescendo.  Everything is cool, quiet clarity that would be perfect for a long ride through snowy country, or a glass of wine by the evening fire. There is a reverent power in the delivery of every line, that demands the listener confront their own fears and hopes in the same way. ztapes.bandcamp.com/album/ghosted-fragmented  

FUVK - "Ghosted/Fragmented"

(Z Tapes)

This is a cassette release of two 3-track EPs that were released in 2017 by enigmatic singer/songwriter, Fuvk. (I pronounce it Fuh - Vek) Fuvk, who has been quietly releasing a small library of music over the last couple of years, uses songwriting as a cathartic release. Each song is a personal, vulnerable journal entry, chronicling day to day feelings about a variety of subjects. 

The difference between the typical, yawn-inducing journal writings that you or I might produce, given the same stimuli, is that Fuvk expresses the frustrations and joys of living in a startlingly intimate and eloquent way. Her vocals are strong and clear, without any of the affectations of style that you would expect from such music. Accompanied by sparse instrumentation, her voice is sometimes doubled and harmonized, but never engages in any self-aggrandizing runs or any over-dramatic crescendo.  Everything is cool, quiet clarity that would be perfect for a long ride through snowy country, or a glass of wine by the evening fire. There is a reverent power in the delivery of every line, that demands the listener confront their own fears and hopes in the same way.

ztapes.bandcamp.com/album/ghosted-fragmented

 

Tyler Holmes - "Demo"

TYLER HOLMES - "Demo" (Ratskin Records) Do not be fooled by the title of this album! This is not a demo. This super smooth jam of straight-up dance music & ambient vibes from the Oakland, CA based artist, features a SONG called Demo.  You can see how easy it would be to get confused. I was expecting maybe a low-fi tape of someone strumming guitar into a portastudio on their balcony. Instead, the first track, I don't remember, launches the listener right into a frosty dance club inside a giant igloo. Everyone is wearing their white faux fur coats, and dancing in slow motion in the blue lights. There is nothing more icy than this music. The throbbing beat & synth run down the spine like a chill. At some point during the next track Demo, an elevator takes the party down to a subterranean cavern lit by pits of lava and here, during the chorus, a strange, otherworldly character rises up from the pulsating crowd, delivering the catchy-clever line of the release -"Didn't get the memo/ Playing me like a demo."  The third track, If U Want 2, feels like the next morning back on the surface, when the sun rises over the snow, and all the intrigue and passions from the night before have cooled. Good synth drones in the background give the punchy bass a white canvas to paint itself across.  As the snow melts, A couple of ambient tracks follow that add some mysterious depth to the story, and we realize there was never any snow. This is the sun-bleached sand of the desert. It was all an illusion. The album is rounded out by a somber tune called I can't forget. See what Tyler did there? That's a complete turnaround from the first track. I don't remember becomes I can't forget. Nothing stays the same. Life is always moving and changing more quickly than we can define it. And I thought this was just going to be a demo. ratskinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/tyler-holmes-demo  

TYLER HOLMES - "Demo"

(Ratskin Records)

Do not be fooled by the title of this album! This is not a demo. This super smooth jam of straight-up dance music & ambient vibes from the Oakland, CA based artist, features a SONG called Demo.  You can see how easy it would be to get confused. I was expecting maybe a low-fi tape of someone strumming guitar into a portastudio on their balcony.

Instead, the first track, I don't remember, launches the listener right into a frosty dance club inside a giant igloo. Everyone is wearing their white faux fur coats, and dancing in slow motion in the blue lights. There is nothing more icy than this music. The throbbing beat & synth run down the spine like a chill.

At some point during the next track Demo, an elevator takes the party down to a subterranean cavern lit by pits of lava and here, during the chorus, a strange, otherworldly character rises up from the pulsating crowd, delivering the catchy-clever line of the release -"Didn't get the memo/ Playing me like a demo." 

The third track, If U Want 2, feels like the next morning back on the surface, when the sun rises over the snow, and all the intrigue and passions from the night before have cooled. Good synth drones in the background give the punchy bass a white canvas to paint itself across. 

As the snow melts, A couple of ambient tracks follow that add some mysterious depth to the story, and we realize there was never any snow. This is the sun-bleached sand of the desert. It was all an illusion. The album is rounded out by a somber tune called I can't forget. See what Tyler did there? That's a complete turnaround from the first track. I don't remember becomes I can't forget. Nothing stays the same. Life is always moving and changing more quickly than we can define it. And I thought this was just going to be a demo.

ratskinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/tyler-holmes-demo

 

Johnny Utah - "S/T"

JOHNNY UTAH - "S/T" (Z Tapes) Here is another release from Slovakian cassette label, Z Tapes, that embodies what bedroom pop is. Nothing quite brings to mind a hazy afternoon in a small room littered with microphone cables and guitar cases like a pop-infused cassette filled with fuzzy shoegaze guitars and catchy, listless vocals.  This is the tape your weird, bearded friend at work grabs from the floorboard of his zombified Toyota on a smoke break. Don't mistake: it's not hipster music. This music is for aimless youths who want to stare out the window while driving around at night. Right from the opening track, "Angst," this music jumps out of the norelco just as charged with energetic lo-fi rock as its cover art, a Arrdman-esque cartoon that presumably illustrates a moment in "Her Bangs" where "Kaley cut her bangs off." This is the second release by Johnny Utah, the first release being 2017's "Small Dogs EP" that examines the origins of the character Johnny Utah, the sole survivor of a teenage apocalypse in the future. After surviving such a catastrophe, Johnny is left to examine his own feelings. What's Johnny's secret to survival? I'd say - being able to express those feelings in a deviously catchy way. Nothing but earworms here folks. Get ready to sing along. ztapes.bandcamp.com/album/johnny-utah

JOHNNY UTAH - "S/T"

(Z Tapes)

Here is another release from Slovakian cassette label, Z Tapes, that embodies what bedroom pop is. Nothing quite brings to mind a hazy afternoon in a small room littered with microphone cables and guitar cases like a pop-infused cassette filled with fuzzy shoegaze guitars and catchy, listless vocals. 

This is the tape your weird, bearded friend at work grabs from the floorboard of his zombified Toyota on a smoke break. Don't mistake: it's not hipster music. This music is for aimless youths who want to stare out the window while driving around at night. Right from the opening track, "Angst," this music jumps out of the norelco just as charged with energetic lo-fi rock as its cover art, a Arrdman-esque cartoon that presumably illustrates a moment in "Her Bangs" where "Kaley cut her bangs off."

This is the second release by Johnny Utah, the first release being 2017's "Small Dogs EP" that examines the origins of the character Johnny Utah, the sole survivor of a teenage apocalypse in the future. After surviving such a catastrophe, Johnny is left to examine his own feelings. What's Johnny's secret to survival? I'd say - being able to express those feelings in a deviously catchy way. Nothing but earworms here folks. Get ready to sing along.

ztapes.bandcamp.com/album/johnny-utah

SKY CHASM - "Tycho Brahe"

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SKY CHASM - "TYCHO BRAHE" 

C60 (Mistake by the Lake)

This new release is from synth band Sky Chasm, whose members are cassette luminary Andrew Kirschner, Tj Duke (Cloud Nothings) and Ben Gmetro. This recording bears the name of a 16th century astronomer, Tycho Brahe, and that is where we must begin. This music is a journey. It certainly has the ability to transport the listener into the heavens above, whose stars and bodies are not stationary in our own skies, as many astronomers of the time claimed, but fluid and always in motion, as Tycho Brahe observed.

Tycho Brahe. The name itself became important to me as I listened. With the point of reference being early astronomy, and the stars being studied - not through a telescope, but through the power of the naked eye alone, we find the journey into the great beyond largely untethered by technology. Certainly, the initial motions on Side A are created by repeating patterns of pure synth, which play against the beat that eventually drops for a pleasing and complex rhythm, which first invokes a fascination with space, and then a strong desire to go there, followed by the furious activity of industry that must bring us there, but the overall theme presented seems to be a passion. It is the drive to reach beyond our own limitations that pushes mankind to do what we dream. In the end, no real machine or technique is important, and perhaps we can reach that other plane more simply, within ourselves.

Eventually, the upper skies are reached, and the composition changes to let us know we have reached a new place. The destination becomes clear: not the moon, or some other nearby body, but a distant planet. A desert planet. Which leads us to side B, which is entitled “Desert”

Now that we have landed on this distant point in the galaxy, a much more immediate surrounding comes into focus. This is an altogether different landscape than the one we left behind. Now, we are immersed in the experience of a place far removed from what we know.

There are scenes of unspeakable beauty here, as well as an ancient malevolence. As the story comes to its fullest meaning, we realize that the passion for living that carried us to this new landscape must now help us to survive the evil that lurks beneath its surface.

Just like the tenacious astronomer, Tycho Brahe - we must duel in the dark with our chosen adversary. Perhaps we will be victorious. Or we may perish. We may be gravely injured. The only certain thing is we must use all that we have learned, all of our collective experience to overcome this evil.

All the while, Tycho Brahe - S/T may very well be the soundtrack to that great adventure in the stars.

mistakebythelake.bandcamp.com/album/s-t