Tapes 'n Tapes

SXSW live shot

Tapes 'n Tapes

Latitude 30, Friday, March 17

Must be a bitch living up to the hype machine. Tapes 'n Tapes are four sweet Midwestern boys who look like deer in the headlights, mannequins on the tiny Latitude 30 stage surrounded – literally – by hundreds of curious not-yet-fans. Hipsters, industry moguls, and musicians poured in by the boatload, the street filled with unlucky onlookers. Tapes 'n Tapes had a lot to live up to, and you know what they say about curiosity. On debut opener "Just Drums," the bass first wailed through the strings and then its player's mouth, a more post-rock Rapture appearing in their sound and onstage. The drummer in a spiderweb T-shirt and the singer in a striped polo; these are high school dorks – endearing, innocent, and completely out of place in the debauchery. "Cowbell" hit like a Saddle Creek whine, as the Loon's "Omaha" might attest to. Stranded in the bitter cold of Minneapolis, TNT have developed a crossover between Canadian indie pop and American folk. The result is tundra green. Even with the Pavement rock of "Jakov's Suite," the show didn't quite meet the buzz. Give these boys a few more years in a heated basement, and then we'll see. Right now, though, the cat's been strangled.

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