Tabs Out Cassette Podcast | Tape Of The Month: February 2014

Tape Of The Month: February 2014
2.26.14 by Mike Haley


Artist: Jeremiah Fisher
Title: Martyrboys
Length: C30
Label: Tonal Shit Research
Edition: 200
Dubbed: Home

You ever make a meal and when it’s all finished it doesn’t resemble anything you would possibly consider appetizing? Maybe you set out on a mission to make Baingan Bharta for the first time. Ya gripped a recipe from the world wide web, hit up an Indian grocer for some authentic ingredients, maybe even downloaded a conversion app on your phone so you could make sense of the measurements (680 grams of eggplant??). This was gonna be it, man. This was gonna be THE meal. Then, instead of a bowl of rich, creamy, amber-orange goodness you’re looking at a clumsy lump of dollar store vomit. But hey, you go to dinner with the meal you have — not the meal you might want or wish you have at a later time. Begrudgingly you have a taste. And oh shit, it’s good. It’s REALLY good. You dip some naan in that mess, take a bite. Take another bite. It doesn’t look like much but this is the best meal you’ve had all month.

When Martyrboys, a C30 from Illinoiser Jeremiah Fisher, showed up at Tabs Out HQ I didn’t think much of it. The cover image was a photo of a young lady twerking on a fella, as the kids are known to do these days, with a shameful solarize Photoshop effect. The title “MARTYRBOYS” emblazoned in all caps down the front and Fisher’s name, sans vowels, in a stencil font on the spine. The shell itself just a five screw white jawn with “A Martyr Boys” and “B” scribbled in dried out Sharpie on their respective sides. I would leer and slowly shake my head at it for days in disgust as it sat on the shelf. Then, like all the rest, it had it’s day in the deck. And oh shit, it was good. It was REALLY good. I had actually heard some of the material on Bandcamp a few weeks prior and talked with Jeremiah over email. He said the tape was on it’s way and I was stoked to be getting it. I just didn’t know this was it.


If you listen to Tabs Out you know that I can be a harsh pundit (read: nitpicky baby wha wha) when it comes to cassette presentation. I’m not asking for the world here, just spend some time and make that shit look nice. We got about 700 tapes in the mail last year. Hook something up that’s gonna catch my eye, man. That’s all I want. But I’m willing to put aside my critique of Martyrboy’s artwork in order to form an alliance with these jams. They are just too damn impressive to let packaging get in the way. Right from the get-go a scramble of coked-up cicadas bounce all the ideas they’ve had bottled up for 17 years off of you in three minutes and 18 seconds, all while cadenced taps quickly sound off. It’s a gnarly brew that comes across as both natural and synthetic. Jeremiah Fisher has a dope method of doing that, throwing your brain concurrently into a jungle and a circuit board with these tracks. He shows off that trait again and again. On the next piece, Installation Of The Vizer, Fisher busts levels of breezy, organic vibes with subtle mechanical churns like a snake charmer playing a pungi that runs on D batteries conjuring up a snake that doubles as an extension chord.

Jeremiah Fisher doesn’t over think things here, and I like that a lot. There are times, like during the 5:22 track The Pilgrims Encounter a Spirit, where you sort of get his train of thought as he messes with ideas. Momentum will build then abruptly revert back. Almost as if he’s like “Maybe this…? Nah”. Shit that the brainiacs would focus group and dump on the cutting room floor. Instead you get to go on an ooey-gooey walk that gets sidetracked here and there, and sometimes those sidetracks are exciting, especially when an artist enjoys whats going down. Fisher notes that all of the material on this 30 minute cassette are live synth recordings with no overdubs. And I gotta say, they are way better than most of the overdubbed, over thought synth “master works” that are being overpraised.

Each cut is relatively short-form, the longest being the closer, When They Try to Stare You Down Gouge Out Their Fucking Eyes, clocking in at just 7:00. When They Try is a smooth, but still way weirdo jam. Fisher keeps time with a deep-chill rhythm, putting you waist deep in a relaxed, head nodding zone. Almost to the point where you don’t even notice the scattering of dank magic in the background. An eccentric collection tones and bubbles contorting and bursting calmly. It’s one of those shots of experimental music that gives a new layer to peel with each listen.

This cassette was released by Tonal Shit Research, which is possibly a name that was put on there In lieu of making this a self released tape. I could be wrong, but for now I’m going with that. You can pull a grip from Fisher’s Bandcamp and unpack his obstreperous textures and casual patterns in the comfort of your own home. Forget about the twerk_colors_inverted.jpg cover. Pay no attention to the bo-bo shell. Get past all of that and buy this sucker!