Listen to this while high: Tapes 'n Tapes Outside
Behind the buzz: Last Saturday night came down to a choice of the Tapes 'n Tapes show at the Bottom of the Hill or the superb skronk vaudeville at Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut on the other side of the Bay in Oakland. I figured I could lip-sync a lot of Edith Piaf about my regrette rien, or take getting ripped to TNT's new album as the next best thing to toking down on 17th Street between acts and wobbling back inside all smear-headed. These Minneapolis indie rockers are the very model of a Blog Age band, zapping from mp3 to MTV to movie soundtrack without the formality of an album since the ill-regarded big-budget sophomore effort Walk It Off three years ago. The online gatekeepers that made The Loon such hot shit back in 2006 are calling this one a return to the band's DIY form, and are predictably unhappy about it.
Today's dope: Banana Kush, a spotty orange-flecked hybrid that emits a scent scornful to prescription bottles, even plastic bags.
Tokes 'n tracks: "Badaboom" is rousing stuff of the kind that closes out most albums, but here only builds expectations that "SWIM" dashes with a bucket of tepid self-pity. The stealthy virtues of "One in the World" eluded first hearing and "Nightfall" made me begrudge them even that. These longueurs continue to unwind as the kush in the pipe evaporates, and we're well into "Desert Plane" before the record stops trying to kill my buzz. "Outro" struts like Beck-era Yardbirds, but another span of brooding is capped by "The Saddest of All Keys," highlighted by Josh Grier's credible invocation of Bono preaching to the choir. "Hidee Ho" unrolls like some bejeweled mid-'70s Phil Spector fantasia like Dion's "Born to Be with You," building tension gently before releasing it with an ecstatic wallop. "People You Know" is a mood-breaking gob of humorous spite and "On and On" is even less consequential, but ends nicely charred over a brazier of experimental noise. "Mighty Long" is all buildup for something that never happens, making it the album's emblematic tune and the perfect reverse-Sgt. Pepper way to end it.
Psychoactive verdict: On Saturday night, always go with your instincts.