Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Review of Memory Tapes’ Player Piano and giveaway
Windish AgencyI’ve no doubt that Dayve Hawk loathes the term/scene/epithet “chillwave” that was attached to his musical identity of Memory Tapes when he emerged last year, and fairly so – its connotations were rarely positive, or at least applied without some snark, and many of the acts who would been considered his peers were kind of terrible. But if I hadn’t done the cursory, “so what the hell is this all about” investigation, I might not have ever heard his debut Seek Magic and that would have been a shame.
Though it technically passed the chillwave checklist test – homemade dreamy textures made with burbling synths and ’80s electropop echoes – Seek Magic possessed a degree of craftsmanship and songwriting that lifted it well above the also-rans. And the fact that he made it compelling in live performance, as I saw at SXSW 2010, confirmed that while it was probably safe to ignore anything bearing the aforementioned metatag, Memory Tapes deserved to stay on my radar.
The just-released second Memory Tapes record Player Piano takes everything that was good about Seek Magic and reinforces it, offering stronger songs, sharper hooks and less instrumental haze. The guitars still shimmer and echo and Hawke’s voice remains high and pleasantly pinched, but the overall experience is just bigger, in both dynamics and sonic scope – some of Player Piano is M83-scale ambitious. I do find myself wishing there was a little more weight in the low end, be it in the drums or bass, to give it that extra bit of presence but that’s a minor complaint and weighed against Player Piano‘s many merits, a negligible one. File under one of the best dream-pop records you’ll likely hear this year.
Memory Tapes is currently on tour and will be at Wrongbar in Toronto on August 13. Tickets for the show are $12 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I have two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want Memory Tapes” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, August 10.
SF Weekly has an interview with Dayve Hawk.
After some time off turned into a hiatus turned into a disbandment, James Mercer and a new passel of bandmates have reconvened as The Shins and while a new record won’t be out until next year, there will be some Fall tour dates to get folks reacquainted and one of them is September 22 at The Phoenix in Toronto. Ticket prices still TBA but they’ll go on sale Friday.
Everyone’s favourite family-friendly hip-hop collective Odd Future are coming back to town as part of a massive Fall tour that will allow them to get up close and personal with their fans, and possibly kick them in the faces. The Toronto date comes October 16 at the Sound Academy. Interview has a talk with Wolf Gang leader Tyler The Creator and the collective are featured on the cover of this month’s Exclaim