Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
CASSETTE NOSTALGIA ALERT…..Seems almost quaint that people used to throw a lot of hype & energy around about a rebellious “tape underground” – e.g. cassettes, the most inconvenient and user-unfriendly listening format imaginable, save for reel-to-reel tapes. “Cassette Activism!” was their rallying cry, I kid you not. I always thought it was a bunch of hooey, a shitty format reserved for shitty bands unable to find someone to put out their LPs. I “interned” for SOUND CHOICE magazine in the late 1980s, one of the house organs for Tape Revolution USA, and could never figure out just how and when this tsunami of home tapers and cassette micro-labels was supposed to hit our collective shores and claim their long-delayed triumph. Funny enough, it never happened, and tapes are increasingly serving as a punch line for a multitude of set-ups. Eugene Chadbourne and David Ciaffardini, please phone home!

Dave Lang, in his excellent Lexicon Devil blog, tackles a few hidden 1980s gems he found sprawled about his vast tape collection (scroll down to Monday March 8th). SACCHARINE TRUST’s “Worldbroken”, anybody? Sure! (and by the way, Dave, you’re not alone in your appraisal of this band – they WERE well-regarded, except for Jack Brewer’s nails-on-chalkboard vocals and “look at me, I’m a crazy man” persona, which so overwhelmed Joe Baiza’s talents that only true seers like yourself could cut through it. I’ll take “Surviving You, Always”, though). Check out Dave’s piece here.