Tabs Out | Phern – Cool Coma

Phern – Cool Coma
4.11.17 by Ryan Durfee


I was really excited to check out this tape by Montreal’s Phern after finding out a member of Each Other was involved. I absolutely loved their “Being Elastic” album from 2k14. The story goes that an unemployed Hélène Barbier (who also plays in the excellent Moss Lime) invited Ben Lalonde over one afternoon to see what they could jam out. They invited a veritable who’s who of Montreal weirdo rock to round out the arsenal and created a supergroup greater than it’s individual bands.

“Cool Coma” is a wonderfully off kilter pop record full of angular DC hooks and slack art rock quirkiness. You’ll hear influences of Deerhoof, Rapider Than Horsepower, Ulysses Hellier, or any of the lineup’s daytime bands. Phern recorded the album over the course of a year, and the songs appear in the order in which they were written. Opening with the insanely catchy Excavator, “Cool Coma” immediately makes it’s agenda known with Curtians-esque guitar lines lazily chiming, allowing ample room for Hélène’s surrealist poetry to run rampant. The track Moving Boxes pulls in Elephant 6 sensibilities, refracted through Dischord-iscisms. One of my favorite songs on here is Crosswalk Talk, exuding 5rc cool with it’s fractured poly-rhythms & nods to the dancefloor. The whole album is a fantastically fun record and gets me really excited about what these cats will put out in the future.

Cop this from Fixture Records.

Tabs Out | Hantasi – SQUID

Hantasi – SQUID
1.4.17 by Ryan Durfee


Hantasi is a [hard]vapo[u]rwave (ya never know how one might identify in 2k17) producer out of California who released “SQUID” on the always swell Bedlam Tapes earlier in 2016.

This was my first time listening to Hantasi. Much like bearded beat dudes, there are A LOT of vapo[u]r people out there, and it can be exhausting trying to keep up with every microniche that is happening on Twitter. While listening to this I’m reminded that the colossal squid is the largest invertebrate in the world, and it’s only only predator is the sperm whale [fun fact]. I’m pretty certain that the song SEA ♫࿏ CARNIVAL is about a big fin squid (which surprisingly have ten arms while all the others only have eight) [fun fact #2] robotriping it’s way through an underwater ball in the beautiful briny lagoon. A ball where a band of fish play to dapper chappies in bowler hats who dance upon the sun dappled sea floor, which turns into a nightmare when King Leonidas drags all of them out with a trawling net so he can sell some fishsticks to Iowa. The track ્ POISON ્ ્ WATER PARASOL sounds like swimming through a cloud of Heteroteuthis dispar’s cloud of inky light before being torn asunder by it’s beak, while ☭♣ CLUB HOUSE ☭♣ reminds me of listening to a skipping CD of Cameo blasting from my downstairs neighbors, who always play the same three things over & over again.

“SQUID” came out in a few different editions, all of which are sold out, but you can pick one up on Discogs 😉

Tabs Out | Ben Lawless – Other Motions

Ben Lawless – Other Motions
12.18.16 by Ryan Durfee


“Other Motions” by Atlanta, Georgia’s Ben Lawless is a 55 minute long paean to all things beautiful about rock and roll. It reminds me of the jam band I lived with in my old house that would get together every Wednesday and fuck around for a couple of hours. I joined in a few times, playing organ, but there was never a real direction. Ideas would float in and out, then start to take shape in a haze. We’d reach heights of heavy psych rock or post rock vibes that would then devolve into dark and menacing blues. Basically whatever felt right at the moment.

This tape sounds like some of our best cuts. All the songs I wish I had recorded while still living in the house. Especially it’s second track, Stick & Move, with it’s lazy blues riffing and shambling drums. It sounds like an epic jam we had going on one summer on one particularly hot and humid Seattle night. Listening to it, all I can think of is sitting on a porch, drinking brews, and sharing cigarettes with buddies. Smiling ear to ear and basking in the afterglow of a solid jam.

Ben (who I am 73% sure played in Prefuse 73’s backing band, but can’t confirm it) recorded every single sound you’ll hear on “Other Motions” himself, which is amazing to think about when venturing on a deep listen to the album. At times it reminds me of The Advantage or The Curtains, with heavier threads of burnt out, desert psych funk blazing through sun-blasted blues runs. Take the song Sick As A Dog for example. It sounds as if it was lifted from some late 70’s Jean Rollin movie where bikers, riding off into the steamy French sunset, encounter a coven of vampires and have to fight for their lives. To no avail of course. Ben also dips into charming, sugary melodies that peek out of the warm tape hiss like the three and a half minute Purse Snatcher; A tune that channels Contra and your kid brother’s manic garage rock band.

OSR Tapes is closing up shop at the end of the month (which is a total bummer!), so grab this one while ya can!

Tabs Out | Erasurehead -Yauhtli

Erasurehead -Yauhtli
11.30.16 by Ryan Durfee


A. Cooper Reid, recording here as Erasurehead, makes the kind of woozy~hazy bedroom pop that has a really special place in my heart. I’m immediately transported back to the summer of ’09, discovering Dayvan Zombear, Chocolate Bobka, and downloading shitty, 128 bit rate rips of Rangers and Grippers Nother Onesers. It was a treasure trove of weird guys held up in their bedrooms with a Tascam, making beautifully gnarly, in-the-red, lo-fi hypnagogic pop. “Yauhtli”, released in an edition of 80 copies by Plume Records, continues in that fine tradition laid down by Not Not Fun & Underwater Peoples.

“Yauhtli” is named after an Aztec incense made from the Mexican marigold, which was blown into the faces of those about to be sacrificed, or used in combination with peyote or other hallucinogens to induce clearer visions. Someone was kind enough to include marigold seeds, along with directions on how to plant and take care of them, with the tape. You will definitely hear some Ariel Pink, early Ducktails, Sam Mering, and Elephant 6 throughout “Yaugtli.” The whole album is a really solid listen the entire way through, my favorite jammer being Ceremony Of Friendship, all soft smeared synths and languid, reverbed out guitar on top of garbage can snares. My only real complaint is that it’s so short. When this guy gets signed by Captured Tracks and is played on Gorilla vs Bear (that’s still a thing right?), I hope he doesn’t lose his lo-fi aesthetic. I think when all of those people started getting budgets, they began to lose some of the magic and made really bright, overly produced albums that didn’t have the same ramshackle warmth about them. Anyway, I’m rooting for A. Cooper Reid a million percent and looking forward to hearing his next album! I’ve also gotta say that his website is a delightful mindfuck that totally channels that mind gunk OESB was peddling back then. And his videos, especially Rainy Day Thoughts (which is a pop masterpiece), are just something you need to see.

Pick up a copy of this tape, while you still can, from Plume.

Tabs Out | Kuromoji – Soba

Kuromoji – Soba
11.23.16 by Ryan Durfee


Out of all the tapes scattered about, this is the one I have been returning to the most. I’m not going to be ‘that guy’ and say that things have been difficult – because, ya know, 2k16 or whatever – but I put this on every afternoon to unwind from the day. It’s a really great release from Haju Tapes, who I’d never really checked out before, but will definitely be keeping an eye on!

By way of Kyoto, Kuromoji (or クロモジ) has put out one of my favorite tapes of the year. The artwork is a collage with a kind of cubist or fluxus feel, at least with the typeface. The cassette shell is green, I think because it’s supposed to signal the listener to go smoke before putting on the tape? I’ve never heard of Kuromoji before, it’s kinda tough keeping up with all of the people using MPCs out there, but he brings something really special to the table. “Soba” is full of dusty snares that snap and lush samples that bring to mind ’08 Adult Swim bumps. The intro, Damselfly, is really nice and gives way to Rise with it’s “Reset” era Flying Lotus sound. The track lengths are longer than most beat tapes, ranging from around two to nearly four minutes, which allows for the songs to take a life of their own on. There has been a school of folks for a while now making fifty second long jams; A short break and maybe a soul vocal, which is fine. It’s nice to see someone draw things out, allowing them to organically grow. My favorite track on “Soba” is Kamigami, featuring beautiful piano runs mixed with soft horns that recall Teebs at the height of his powers. Perfect for lazy afternoons doing the dishes with your head in the clouds. If you’re a fan of mono/poly, Fulgeance, seeing bearded guys buy limited edition beat tapes on Discogs for high amounts of money, and smoking weed, then this is for you.

The tape is sold out, but you can still support Kuromoji here, or wait for a copy to pop up on Discogs. For a reasonable price, of course.