Tabs Out || Track Premiere! The Electric Nature – Plastic Mind

Track Premiere! The Electric Nature – Plastic Mind

4.02.24 by Matty McPherson

Michael Potter is back on the road, in a big way. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you’ve realized he’s headed to your corner of the DIY-quadrant (it’s nice to see a date lined up with our pals at Drongo HQ). You also probably realized that Michael Potter has got something of a new-ish album of old-ish material that’s been gestating and waiting to be dropped on us in the year 2024. Material dates back to a 2009-2010 window, from a time where the studio was a “Dell computer, a half broken Squier strat, and an earbud turned microphone”. The result of the Plastic Mind sessions came up with something Already Dead has dubbed “krautrock-trip-hop hybrid with heavy psychedelia and electronica influences”.

You’ll see a fair bit of that truly pushed to the limits on Plastic Mind. Though, to my ears, nurtured on an endless ambient dystopia of dubstep at that time (and also, coming off of revisiting some old cuts to see how dire it was), you can forego the genre labels and just enjoy the simple fact that Michael Potter made at least one VERY heady EDM cut. There’s nothing to be ashamed of regardless the simple pleasures of good wubs and that endless serotonin rusn, especially when he’s far more interested in picking at the aura and happenings beyond the drop.

The title track we’re analyzing today is as close to EDM as the lad has come in a moment. There’s a tad of Goldfrapp electrotrash running through the wubs and guitar processed noise, alongside an absolute heartthrob pulse of a bass. When Potter shreds though, that’s where the cut seems to activate it’s real veracity and drive into a sound that’s not quite for the body but the stars. It has a sound that feels parallel to the Celtic Fusion Bandcamp Daily talked about earlier this year. Regional warping and re-mapping has always played a role in Potter’s work, but never to a degree this outright ecstatic. A decade and a half after recording, it only makes more sense and feels like another portal to the Michael Potter garden of Electric Nature.

Grab the Tape on the Road (see flyer above) with Michael, or pre-order it at Already Dead for release on 4/5.

Tabs Out | Low End Activist – Airdrop

Low End Activist – Airdrop

3.30.24 by Matty McPherson

There’s two ways you might want to try and grapple with a crash course in 90s rave/techno/”music you get sorted for Es and Whiz”. The first way is to become a crippling eBay slot machine addict waiting for a lot of techno tapes to emerge from the depths of one’s digital garage sale. They can show up and due to what I can only say is a lack of buyer imagination/desire to chase after these sounds, you can haul quite the lot for a 50 to 75 dollar bill if yr a smart cookie. You’ll end up with a lot of breadth, to say the least. Though what happens next is you end up hoarding tapes you forget to listen to (source: I got 30 of these I couldn’t even get myself to walk over and drop in the deck reading Raving over a couple dedicated sessions).

The second way is by making a wise move and studying the sonic roadmapping on Airdrop, the latest release from Low End Activist. The tape comes from Peak Oil, a vital dance LP oriented outpost, occasionally rearing its head towards the tape format when the time strikes (see 2022’s terrific euphoric sleight from Strategy). Brian Foote’s curation has always had an edge to it. After all he is a certified vet of a 90s midwest scene someone (other than Michaelangelo Matis) should write a book on. His work at Leech is tip-top in certain quips and hat-tips back to that time, but always quite of the current moment. It bounces back in the curation that chases after albums that both recall that time and place, while placing it distinctly in the now, crossed between full blown dance euphoria and full out electronic listening music. The 5am comedown of Strategy’s Unexplained Sky Burners; last year’s Purelink, a lost transmission from a dormant Black Dog Productions moniker that got trapped in the ether 25 years prior for being too ambient. Low End Activist meanwhile has come out with a smattering set of rave ghosts and pinpoints to happenings across England’s storied dance locales of the 90s. Another UR signal airdropped to yr aerials or the ferric.

It’s a nifty MO that gives Low End Activist real breadth and spine-chilling depth over the 41 minutes. The press release Foote sent indicates “the cuts take cues from key heroes of the “where were you in ‘92” set – Tango & DJ Ratty, Top Buzz, DJ SS, DJ Seduction, Dr. S Gachet – then fling them to the four corners”. Brief journeys to their discogs only made it abundantly clear how little of their sound was being imported to America via Profile or Sonic Records rave comps that have ended up in my bedroom. Would Low End Activist have fit snuggly on one of those comps of the era? Truthfully, he’d have stood in opposition there; perhaps finding a home somewhere snuggly on the Psycoustic Dillusion Conception 1. A killer 1993 comp from the UK that sees the continuum on the precipice of jungle but not quite ready to trade the airhorns for the bpms, the dub influence brimming all over.

Dub truly is the most important element to Low End Activist’s cuts on display. This is not paced like a set, but the dub process is stiff glue (I would reckon he’s got the Soul Jazz Box of Dub), precisely the thing that takes these cuts out of the past and into a 2024 deconstruction. These subtractions and echoes flows in and out without ever calling attention to itself. There’s a malleable feeling that results, the kind scratching an itch that doesn’t dissipate after you realize how well Airdrop nails its lockstep between 150 bpm mania and a softer, synthetic rave-psychosis. That kind of entanglement defines the C41 and its seamless directions to sprout from, enacting its own splatters of k-time. Every cut’s subtitle that indicates place in a way, sometimes the particular density of the room, the bpms, or some inbetween character of madness in the present trying to put yourself there. The title itself already implies a beam in.

The opening ten minutes, Waterstock and Yarnton Rd 2 Cassington, are reflections of space building in its ambient form. They leave in the synths, or a stray drum rhythm stay in; it’s close enough to feel the ghost or the pulse of the room, but at that eerie distance Strategy was catching on Fountain of Youth. Mayhem on Barton Hill brings out the ravier end of dub dimensions. There’s two types synths: dead-eye dubby synth strobes and even an airy footwork bridge, amongst layers of quixotic breakbeats and chase-laden vocal euphoria n’ airhorns skitters that leaves you shadowbox juking. Squeeze Your Lemon explores mix dynamics with vocals and a breakbeat cutting right in your face, but often hiding behind the fog of those airhorns or a radio-jammed vocal wub leaving you gobsmacked.

White Horse Hill is almost seamless transition, as much as a rhythm shift. Choppier on the dnb breaks to create a different syncopation. It tumbles down off that hill with another airy synth dive. Praha Hardcore is not entirely in jest, leaving a clear hardcore synth rhythm with meager percussive oomph and lotsa atmosphere. It’s just hefty bass bopping and weaving into a clear catalyst zone. Tango Skit is such the catalyst, itself the most rollicking, with an ample 150 BPM pleasure dome kickboxing to sprout. Hinksey Hardcore is a far more liquid outing than its Praha sibling, synths surfing under alien noise and machine clanking straight into a lost Rez boss battle. That trio leading up to the finale might be the true sleight of the tape, although I err towards the Cortina Outro as my favorite. After all, it is the most outright “dub rave”, laid back on its vocal sample imploring movement, yet ever building in its focused burst of intensity. It feels sinister and less an invitation to listen in than to truly get moving. That’s about all I’ve been capable of doing for the last 40 odd minutes, skittering into a rhythmic pulse.

Tape Sold Out at Peak Oil…check out distros and retailers.

Tabs Out | Episode 196

Episode 196


Universal Energy – Space Art Music comp (Perina Stereo)
Aaron Dilloway – Freak-Out Your Friends (Hanson)
Pig Destroyer – Prowler in the Yard (Relapse)
Shadow Dungeon – Pathways To​.​.​. The Primordial Blackness (Out of Season)
Omar Ahmad – Inheritance (AKP)
Arovane – Miniaturen (Puremagnetik)
Diurnal Burdens & Brandstifter – Merh Abstand (sPLeeNCoFFiN)
Tony DeNicola Band – s/t (self released)
Tom Dissonance – Delaware (Amoebic Industries)
KMET – Smrt Feudalizmu (Cosmic Brood / Kletva Crne Ruže)
Absolute Key – Edasi split (Maniac Mutant Music)

Tabs Out | David Nance – 2 Tapes: David Nance & Mowed Sound and Shameless Kiss

David Nance – 2 Tapes: David Nance and Mowed Sound & Shameless Kiss

2.28.24 by Zach Mitchell

I love an artist with a confusing discography. There is no joy quite like listening to an album from a new-to-me band, opening up Discogs, and being confronted with a litany of tapes, 7”s, and deleted Bandcamp entries. The ephemera ends up telling a story of merch tables and order pages of yore – tales of ultra prolific artists who understand their way around a Tascam machine or Garageband. David Nance follows in the path of Yo La Tengo and Lou Barlow on his way to creating a confusing, wonderful legacy.

In the last three months, Nance has released David Nance & Mowed Sound, a full fledged studio album on Third Man Records featuring his live band, and Shameless Kiss, a Bandcamp only cassette release on Western Records. Shameless Kiss is a full album cover of The Cure’s classic Disintegration that replaces the synthesized strings and glorious moping with homespun banjo. Western Records, as best I can tell, is Nance’s label for releasing almost exclusively short run tapes. He’s covered albums like Beatles For Sale and Goat’s Head Soup in his signature style and released them alongside stray live albums. Previous studio albums, both under his name and under the band name David Nance Group (somehow different from David Nance & Mowed Sound), have been released on labels like Trouble In Mind and Petty Bunco. And all of that is before you start getting into the self released cassettes and the 7”s. 

That’s all well and good, but what does this motherfucker actually sound like? It’s a hard question to answer. There are multiple Davids – Neil Young-esque guitar shredder David, campfire folkie David, hunkered down chooglin’ and groovin’ David, cassette deck master David, etc. David Nance and Mowed Sound mostly stays within the folkin’ and chooglin’ vein with high end indie label production. It’s a bit more restrained than his previous studio albums, focusing more on the quiet moments in between the storms of guitar than his previous works.

A sizable chunk of the songs on David Nance and Mowed Sound have shown up previously in his discography. My favorite song on the album, and the one that’s gone through the most drastic transformation, is “Credit Line.” This version, labeled “Variant 5” (though I can only find two other studio versions of the song) gets transformed from a Flying Nun style lo-fi jangle rocker (Pulverized and Slightly Peaced) and a humid psych-folk tune (Meanwhile, his 7” debut for Third Man Records) to subdued boogie with sinewy guitar leads running throughout. “Cure vs Disease” gets a facelift from a murky psych excursion (Basket Music w/Gun Outfit, a release I did not know existed until writing this) and a noisy folk jam (September 20, 2020, maybe my favorite David Nance release) to a 70s slide guitar head nodder. The idea of Nance as a folk rocker troubadour is not a new one in his discography, but sounding this hi-fi definitely is. It’s his highest profile album to date, so why not go big instead of going home?

Instead of presenting every side of Nance at once, David Nance & Mowed Sound selects a smattering of would-be greatest hits, gussies them up, and presents them alongside a handful of new tracks that tie them together. The idea here is clearly to introduce new fans to his work, but is this the place I’d suggest someone start with Nance? Honestly, no. The shaggy dog Crazy Horse style jamming on Peaced and Slightly Pulverised might be more advisable, but then again you would completely miss out on the softer spoken impulses that this album is pulling from. Maybe there isn’t a great place to start. This record has great songs – dig the harmonies on the opening stomper “Mock the Hours” and the infections, simmering, ouroboros groove on “Cut It Off” – but there’s a bit more restraint here than I’d like. I’m hearing ripping solos and soaring vocals (probably from my own familiarity with Nance as a live act) that just aren’t here. I like the album, but I’m left wanting a little more. Nance’s strengths lie in his ability to be a choose-your-own-adventure artist. My adventure lies elsewhere.

Shameless Kiss is one of Nance’s most exciting releases and his best covers album to date. Nance is absolutely fearless when playing fast and loose with one of the most seminal rock albums of all time and the high risk pays high rewards. Whether it’s replacing the toms in “Closedown” with the driving drums of “Out of Step” or turning “Lullaby” into the depressing alt-country classic “Dinner,” Nance isn’t afraid to reconfigure the established canon into something new. Nance teases some new wave out of “Disintegration” on “Shameless Kiss” by upping the tempo and accentuating the chiming guitars. The familiar becomes new again. Sonically, this is the mode in which I enjoy Nance the most – half obscured by fuzz, losing himself in a riff, and calling back to something you think you might’ve heard once or twice somewhere distant.

It’s tough to review Shameless Kiss without just gushing about Disintegration, but if you’ve ever wondered what a midwestern Robert Smith would sound like, you have your answer. Your opinion on this album may depend on how repulsive that idea is to you. Disintegration is instantly recognizable not just from Smith’s yowl, but from the distinctive reverb soaking every track. It’s an album that completely drowns in its own melodrama. Nance makes the bold choice of replacing it completely with tape hiss, substituting Smith’s widescreen sadness with a stark loneliness. The result not only makes it a great The Cure covers album, but a piece that stands alone in Nance’s vast discography.

I may prefer Shameless Kiss to David Nance & Mowed sound, but this is one of the best parts about being a David Nance fan, or really any artist with a discography full of rapid left turns. If I’m not in tune with the folk rock on David Nance & Mowed Sound, I can dive back deeper into the well and come back with a low fidelity version of a classic. I can appreciate the clean cut big ticket indie label version of Nance while still hoarding my scuzzy tapes. Maybe the campfire-come-to-life sound on Staunch Honey will connect with me more. Or maybe I’ll dig into the blown out rock and roll with Negative Boogie. All of these disparate pieces add up to one of the most compelling artists in America today. David Nance & Mowed Sound  and Shameless Kiss are just two pieces of an ever evolving puzzle.

Tapes sold out at Third Man & David Nance personal source!

Tabs Out | Episode 195

Episode 195


Ryan Richard & Erol Ulug – MKULTRA Volume 1 (Ephem Aural)
Nate Scheible – Or Valleys And (Outside Time)
Slum Lord – Rolling Brownout (No Rent)
Brume – No Zen Machine (No Rent)
Glitter in the Dark – Twistvisions Container 2 for Vast Grimm (Infinite Black)
Matthias Puech – Synthetic Bird Music compilation (Mappa)
When the Coyote Eats the Rat – Desert Moon of Karth OST (Fantasy Audio Magazine)
Deionarra – Candle 3 compilation (Fantasy Audio Magazine)
MJ Guider – Youth and Beauty (Modemain)
Donjo – Do You Remember (self released)