Tapes 'n Tapes

Record review

Phases & Stages

Tapes 'n Tapes

The Loon (XL Records)

It's a story to warm the hearts of wannabe rockers still incubating dreams in their parents' garages: The Minneapolis quartet Tapes 'n Tapes recorded and released their debut, The Loon, on their own steam last fall and had record labels knocking within a week. Fast-forward less than a year later, and you've got an "it" band with a headlining tour under its belt and a record re-released on a real, live label. The Loon is an exercise in heavy-lidded ballsiness, from the herky-jerk spazz attack of opening track "Just Drums" to the bluesy, mostly instrumental smashup of "Crazy Eights." Singer Josh Grier pairs punky delivery with saucy lines like, "I've been a better lover with your mother" ("Cowbell"), while an euphonium blurts out the rhythm. This is a band that isn't afraid to take a few risks musically, staying true to recognizable aesthetics (like the pervasive Pavement influence, especially with that drawling lead guitar on "Jakov's Suite"), while at the same time futzing with the model, hence the presence of tinkling, druggy contemplations like "Manitoba." In this moment of plug-and-play rock bands that either want to be the next Radiohead or White Stripes, a bold group like Tapes 'n Tapes is a much-needed fork in the road.

***.5

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