Tabs Out | Tee Vee Repairmann – What’s On TV

Tee Vee Repairmann – What’s On TV

3.14.23 by Zach Mitchell

Been hearing a lot about new benchmarks in power pop lately, mostly from bands that seemingly don’t understand that there are two end points on the power pop spectrum: sticky sweet hooks and guitar riffs that make me want to jump off my couch while windmilling. Sometimes a band just gets it. TV Repairmann has figured out that “what if all those 90s bands that claimed to be influenced by Big Star were fronted by a snotty punk guy” is the ultimate formula for power pop success. What’s On TV? is Exploding Hearts for a generation of bedroom Tascam punks and it’s also the tape I’ve ended up playing the most this year so far. Perfect for cooking chicken thighs, making salads, and sending mindless e-mails. 

While Repairmann’s (real name: Ishka Edmeades, but isn’t it funnier to call him Mr. Repairmann?) other bands like Gee Tee, Research Reactor Corp., and Satanic Togas aim to wallop the listener over the head with brash punk or steamroll them flat with sheer speed, What’s On TV? actually cares to take its time and be a little sweeter. What’s On TV? provides the best ratio of hooks to dollars spent that any tape has ever provided me, starting with the pining “Out of Order” and not letting up until “No Life on This Street”’s glammy gutter punk. “Get Outta Here” feels like a blown out lost radio classic, all AM radio hooks crunchy guitars. It’s a summation of what Repairmann does best on his solo work: ultimate sunny day anthems with just a hint of melancholy, filtered through tape hiss and cranked up loud.

The vocals, guitars, and songwriting hit the bullseye in the Venn diagram of “simple” and “effective.” Fans of Gee Tee will feel absolutely at home here amidst monophonic synths and whip crack drum rolls, but where other homespun punk projects like that tend to make themselves small, TV Repairmann goes big. This is music for sensitive punks who aren’t afraid to rock. That seems like it could be a backhanded compliment, but it’s the mode I’ve found myself the most in this year.

“Backwards” is the single best song I’ve ever heard from a lo-fi punk band in a while. Every single aspect of the song, including the opening chiming guitars, is a hook leading to another hook leading to me grinning ear to ear and nodding my head along. I feel like I’m going to wear out my copy because I keep rewinding it over and over again to relive the ascending and descending lead guitar mimicking the “falling down” lyrical motif. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. What’s On TV? is another huge win for Edmeades and Total Punk Records – a match made in punk heaven.

Cassette Sold Out at the Total Punk Bandcamp! Still Available (in imported quantities) from Mr. Repairmann’s Bandcamp!

Tabs Out | Little Baby Tendencies – Bad Things

Little Baby Tendencies – Bad Things

2.14.23 by Zach Mitchell

Vulnerability is an important part of art, but the ratio of vulnerability to anger is the balancing act a lot of modern punk bands find themselves wrestling with.  A vulnerable songwriter is an open wound, all burning and aching with the hope of healing resolution at the end. Sticking the landing, ostensibly, is what separates Great Art from catatonicyouths Instagram posts. Cringe is freeform vulnerability and self -serious artists tend to shy away from anything resembling embarrassment.

This is not to say Memphis punk duo Little Baby Tendencies is “cringey” in the modern sense of the word, but one listen to the self-reflective relationship horror story title track of their debut tape Bad Things will have you contorting your face in some sort of shape as the black metal “I love you daddy” screams enter your ears. Singer/guitarist Haley Ivey and drummer Tyler Harrington have created the kind of brain melting punk tape that walks the vulnerability tightrope with ease. Ivey is one of the most dynamic punk singers I’ve heard in a long time, hitting everything from Jonathan Davis-esque guttural growls to well-placed falsetto highs with ease. The album never feels stale across its 22 minute run time, which is more than I can say about a lot of punk that crosses my purview. Exciting, dynamic music full of left turns.

I keep coming back to their proprietary description of “crybaby punk.” It’s hard to describe the band as anything else once a label like that gets lodged in your brain, but there’s more to LBT than aimless whining. There’s a primal scream therapy type of catharsis on happening in between the guitar slides and drum bashing. Ending the album with a song as bluntly funny as “Burn the Flag!” seems to be an intentional choice. Anti-American jams are as old of a punk trope as any, but after intense screaming about sexual boundaries being broken and a section of the lyrics labeled “an improvisational rant from the point of view of someone who’s lost their mind,” a shout-along song about burning the flag on the Fourth of July feels like a nervous laugh in the face of awkward tension. After songs as intense as “Give Me Ur Coat,” with all of this band’s guts on display, you need a breather. You crave catharsis. Sometimes great punk gives you what you want. Sometimes it just wallops you over the head.

Tape available at your local Little Baby Tendencies show!

Tabs Out | The Drin – Today My Friend You Drunk The Venom

The Drin – Today My Friend You Drunk The Venom

1.25.23 by Zach Mitchell

What’s in with the water in Cincinnati these days? Not only is the city the newest home of incredible punk label Feel It Records, it’s also host to my favorite cadre of art freaks in America: the Future Shock crew. The label – operated by at least one member of The Serfs, Crime of Passing, and The Drin – has been bringing us homegrown, wigged out post-punk since its start as Wasted Tapes in 2016. Every release from this label feels like a transmission from a dark corner of middle America and Today My Friend You Drunk The Venom might be the most claustrophobic yet.

Venom feels built from the ground up with rhythm at the forefront. Almost every song seems to have multiple percussion parts layered on top of each other, even if it’s as simple as an extra snare playing on the offbeats (“Five and Dime Conjurers”) or as complex as whatever the hell is going on with the metal clangings of “Peaceful, Easy, Feeling.” The Drin is focused on exploring the purpose and function of rhythms from different directions. Motorik pounding gets mixed with dub, snares float around in the mix, and unexplainable things explode in the background. It’s a head trip at the construction site. “Post-punk” may be overused as a genre descriptor and overdone as a genre, but Venom feels like a return to classic post-punk. It’s almost the midpoint between Metal Box and Flowers of Romance we never got. 

Songs like “Stonewallin’” and “Mozart on the Wing” feel hazy without losing the punk pulse at the heart of all The Drin leader’s Dylan McCartney’s projects. The Drin has also christened itself an honest to God band with this album, expanding the lineup to a six piece and leading to a more consistent sound throughout. Previous albums have felt more like proofs of concept or sketches of what The Drin could be rather than what it is. With Venom, the band has finally found its niche: dark, ominous, bummer but not bummed, pounding post-punk.

Tabs Out | New Batch – Cabin Floor Esoterica

New Batch – Cabin Floor Esoterica
12.5.16 by Zachary Lauterbach


There are few better reasons for excitement in the tape (or music) world than when Cabin Floor Esoterica announces a new tape batch. That said, I thought it would be awfully tough for them to outdo their stellar spring batch from April of this year. While they may not have done that, what they have done with this most recent batch is nothing short of amazing. CFE#60-62 are all duo tapes of musicians who, although are not strangers to recording in duos, have, to my knowledge, never recorded together before.

CFE#60: Shane Parish & Frank Rosaly – Labrys
“Labrys” is comprised of nine duets for nylon string acoustic guitar and percussion. Parish’s playing is on point, as per usual, and Rosaly gives his semi-classical guitar flourishes an appropriate percussive background that only adds to the skillful guitar playing as opposed to drowning it out or taking attention away from it. I was expecting more traditional drumming for this tape, but to my surprise the percussive clatter is a perfect offset for Parish’s smooth nylon string compositions. Overall, an excellent effort that stands up with best of today’s guitar/drum duos, even if it is the quietest.

CFE#61: Ilia Belorukov & Taneli Viitahuhta – Sax Worker’s Rights
Dual saxophone workouts from Russia and Finland, respectively. Oddly enough, it is the two artists of this batch that I am least familiar with that have me most intrigued and going back for more listens. I had literally never heard of either of these names, let alone their music, before this tape. Sax Worker’s Rights is made up of four fairly longer pieces wherein squeals, shouts, and snorts are evened out with calm, breathy passages. Sax Worker’s Rights is never too busy, yet never too sparse either. Although it may seem rough on the ears upon first listen, its underlying beauty reveals itself in droves upon subsequent listens.

CFE#62:Nathan McLaughlin & Jeremy Purser – Levain
Using a mixture of acoustic and electric instruments/sounds, McLaughlin & Purser work together to create an ambient sound that plays well off of each other’s contributions. Two side long pieces wind soft, acoustic guitar playing over various quiet background noises. The inserts do not list what is played, but one can assume synthesizer/keyboards, field recordings, and analogue tapes in addition to the acoustic guitar. Quiet, stretched out, and beautiful; this is relaxation (or meditation) music at its best without ever being boring.

All three tapes offer up different but equally enthralling sounds and come packaged in Cabin Floor Esoterica’s usual artistic flair. You cangrip them individually, or as a batch along with some excellent zines that were published by their paper imprint Painted Door Press, here.

Tabs Out | Sparkling Wide Pressure – Answerer

Sparkling Wide Pressure – Answerer
11.14.16 by Zach Lauterbach


Sparkling Wide Pressure follows up his excellent tape on Cabin Floor Esoterica from earlier this year with “Answerer.” Released on Patient Sounds (intl) in late August, “Answerer” conjures up a sonic realm inhabited by acoustic and electric stringed instruments, synthesizers, organs, and looped up, talking background vocals. The A side, with its shorter, lighter tracks acts as the entrance way into this world Sparkling Wide Pressure have created for us. The opener “Deb’s Song,” with its loose, acoustic picking and muted electronics slowly guiding you in. The momentum gradually builds over the next three tracks, culminating in the A side’s closer “Current.” With its ghostly keyboards and spooky tones, this is the track that lets you know you have gone as far as you can go.

The album’s B side slowly begins the descent back. It is a slow and beautiful journey though. The side’s two longer tracks could be considered as focused as any on side A if they were split up into five or six tracks. Instead, each track simply changes direction every few minutes at random, as if taking the most zig zag route to get to where it is going. That is not to say these songs are aimless, but rather so full of ideas that an efficient route to the end is not necessarily the goal. The closing “Turning You Into Me” is the tape’s highlight, containing both its darkest and most optimistic moments within its nine minute running time. A jangled melodica solo running over a looped up robotic voice until this fades to give way to an almost sunny electric guitar before turning again into a cryptic closing piano part. The whole time using subtle electronics and synth washes give texture to an already deep sound.

Overall, “Answerer” is a fascinating journey. Sparkling Wide Pressure’s mixture of traditional acoustic and electric instruments with loops and found sounds is in top form here. Its not just Answerer’s brilliant use of acoustic and electronic instruments that is most impressive about it, but rather how perfectly blended together these instruments are. Over the course of the album’s forty minutes not one note or noise sounds out of place or overstated. It baffles me that an album can sound so spontaneous yet so planned at the same time. It has made me want to journey into the concoction of sounds this album inhabits on a daily basis.

Copies are still available via the Patient Sounds shop should you care to take the journey too.