The Internet gave voice to the everyman. Blogs gave voice to the every-fucking-man. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll read the shit out of a good blog, but spend enough time browsing the ubiquitous music variety and your iTunes bill will look something like our government’s weekly bomb allowance for Israel. Here’s the main problem: According to someone out there in this big world, even Matis-fucking-yahu is gonna sound like gold. It reminds me of Homer Simpson’s brief stint as a food critic; everything tasted great, and everybody in town got fat. So here we are modern American society: obese, bloated, packed to the damn gills with music deemed good by some Larry in his boxer shorts. (No need to point out the irony of a “new media” writer on a start-up Web site railing against blogging. I get it.)
Anesthetized as I am, I still think I can tell the difference between a good album and a great one. Tapes ‘n Tapes’ debut, The Loon, falls into the former category, but we’ll tack on the modifier “pretty” just for good measure. Practically all the blogs on Earth have chimed in on The Loon with accolades befitting the fawning praise of a Sri Lankan nanny for a six-year-old Saudi prince. This young Twin City-based four-piece is used to the kudos, so let’s all take a second to chew on a little slice from the moldy loaf of perspective, shall we?
Tapes ‘n Tapes possesses one of the more important things all bands need to nail down: a well-defined aesthetic. This is an “indie-rock” band in the purest sense. Quirky, off-key vocal delivery, standard rock instrumentation (played quirkily as well) and some non-standard instruments are well-coated with a gloss of scrappy, pimply-faced imperfection. We know this routine well; it’s comfortable and pleasing to the ears. But throw on a disc by one of the originators (Pavement) or the cream of the modern crop (Wolf Parade) and Tapes ‘n Tapes is trumped hands-down.
Perspective aside, The Loon is a nice listen — especially the band’s more ambitious songs (“Manitoba,” “10 Gallon Ascot” and “Omaha”) — and I’m just being a prickly jerk because someone has to. Please send all hate mail to Prefix headquarters.
Streaming audio: http://www.myspace.com/tapesntapes