Category Archives: Already Dead Tapes

mchtnchts – “.a….i….” [free download]

If you head over to right now you can download the first batch of analog noise from mchtnchts. The album is called “.a….i….,” which is good, or at least consistent because now both the album and artist names are rendered unpronounceable. But, worry not, the album still gives us plenty of stuff to talk about.

A few years ago mchtnchts released “The Spoiled West and its Freshly Minted Infants” on Already Dead Tapes.  That tape went the direction of a more desolate soundscape that aimed to completely redefine, or re-examine what musical expression could be using analog electronics.

“.a….i….” takes a similar approach, but at times uses older, tried and true forms for their musical expression. Opening track “…o..i.. ..i…e” is a riff on a simple gesture in repeated rhythm and contour. The simplicity of the sound components here is what is most striking to me. The clear buzz of the sawtooth wave alternating with an extremely high, clear sine tone effectively opens up the tessitura to create space for a broad, and varied tonal palette.

It’s the rhythmic elements here that hold most of the tracks together. A steady pulsing that grows and fades becomes the premise behind “.ui.i.e” The song, of course, like much of the rest of the album, is a steadily developing work. By its close we are in fairly ambient territory, with the pulsing becoming smoothed out to a dulled hum.

The sounds generated by mchtnchts approach the same realm as what can be heard across the work of Mincemeat or Tenspeed, whom I covered a few years back. Where Mincemeat or Tenspeed’s brand of electronic noise tends, at times, more toward thrash antagonism, mchtnchts prefers to work in subtleties.
Download mchtnchts’ “.a….i….” and “The Spoiled West and its Freshly Minted Infants”
“.a…i….” is available as a free download at onyudo, and their follow up, the even more spacious and noisy “The Spoiled West and its Freshly Minted Infants” is sold out in its physical form, but can still be downloaded from Already Dead Tapes here.

The duo is planning to release more music in the very near future, so keep an eye out. You can get updates from Kyle Bruckmann over at his website (and check out all the other great stuff that he’s doing).

Coastal Car – “Lossless”

I’ve had Coastal Car’s “Lossless” on repeat for the past couple of weeks now and I don’t think that I’ll be getting sick of it any time soon. “Lossless” is an album full of perfect bedroom pop tunes. Think Yuck crossed with Carseat Headrest and that will put you pretty close to what is going on aesthetically here.

There’s more than that though. The harmonies and guitar work on “all i wanna do” shows a hint of Pixies, while the guitar harmonies on that track and “trade centre way” are reminiscent of Rogue Wave. Every song really captures a relaxed approach to songwriting; with one part flowing seamlessly into the next, effortlessly.

The latter half of “Lossless” moves from the folk-ish “halfway” to the layered, delicate guitar work of instrumental “belong reprise,” one of the album’s highlights. That track seems to beg for lyrics, while simultaneously sounding like a song that you can’t quite place. It’s like the interwoven melodies are lodged in the collective unconscious, begging to be let out yet not being able to quite come to fruition.

Album closer “f u n” perfectly encapsulates everything presented throughout the album. It’s another perfectly crafted, and catchy-as-hell bedroom pop song. Like the words that don’t exist on “belong reprise,” I can’t quite put my finger on what images are being conjured up in my mind as I listen, but they do seem like fond remembrances. I’m just going to have to continue listening until I figure it out.

Lossless” is available digitally, with a limited number of cassettes still available from Already Dead Tapes & Records. You can check their bandcamp for this and a whole slew of other great albums.



Stream: Crown Larks – “Blood Dancer”

More often than not it seems that groups see the opportunity of entering a recording studio as a way to over-indulge. They spend thousands of hours on a single measure, making sure that absolutely every sound has been micro-managed to death. The end result is usually an album that is lifeless, unexciting, and devoid of all musicality.

“Blood Dancer” is very much not one of those albums. What you get from the second that you start it up is an album that slowly comes to life, developing over the course of its seven tracks. It’s pretty apt, then, that the first lyric on album opener “Gambian Blue Wave” is “Watch it unfurl…”  A song that sets the course for the floating, expansive ideas that form the foundation of all those that follow.

Each track finds itself somehow in the various worlds of krautrock, noise and experimental jazz-fusion, with trippy ethereal vocals popping up now and again. The best thing about listening to the album is the way that the band feeds off each other, and develops several different layers of sound slowly, steadily.

A generous mix of bleating horns, distorted guitars feeding back, and a barrage of drums brings us to “The Timebound Bloos,” which finds a strange way of starting a song in the middle, moving directly to a musical freak-out early Sonic Youth would be proud of.  Before long the song locks into a straight forward groove and promptly concludes.

I think that my favorite track is “Blood Mirage.” I have a tendency to fall for songs that have the ability to somehow sound as if they are dragging time backwards; somehow in slow motion and real-time at the exact same time. The way that everything lays so far back in the groove – the Rhodes and drums particularly – just makes you feel like time is moving so much slower. It’s a weird kind of transfixion, and the way that everything clears out toward the middle of the track to lock down a steady (and strictly in time) propulsive krautrock groove brings that meditative type state to a whole other level.

The best way to put it, I think, would be to say that the songs on “Blood Dancer” are a mix of “Dark Side of the Moon,” and “Bitches Brew,” filtered through Can’s “Ege Bamyasi.” And I could go into detail about each of the songs, as they each cover some particularly interesting territory and are worth multiple listens for sure, but I think it would be best to let you explore for yourself. Sit back and listen to the entire album in a sitting, and then start it over and do it again.

The album is available in every format you can think of, including deluxe 150 g vinyl and CD, by Spacelung/Landbreathing Records; and as an imprinted cassette through the Chicago boutique label Already Dead. You can order the album in any format, as well as stream it through the band’s bandcamp page.

Crown Larks are also on tour throughout the midwest, East Coast and even a few dates in Canada. You can check those dates here.



Stream: Deep Waters – “Visions in Flame”

I’m going to start the week on a much more relaxed note than I usually do. The latest release from the small-batch vinyl and tape label Already Dead released Deep Waters’ latest six-song EP offering as a limited cassette, as per usual, but has also made “Visions in Flame” available as an even more limited (only 25 produced) cassette bundled with a full color, hand-made book. You can check out the detail of the book in the video preview below.

The limited edition book looks to truly be an extension of the music. As a companion piece the design, with pictures of the American landscape deepens the country inflected folk that Deep Waters presents us with throughout “Visions in Flame.”

Specifically, the songs create a laid-back atmosphere that takes equally from the sound of Jason Molina and Canadian country-folk-rock band Cuff the Duke. The up-front vocals, somehow both perfectly mellowed and rough around the edges, are nicely contrasted with lush reverted lead guitar lines that emerge from the arrangements organically. The mostly instrumental “Holiday” opens up with co-mingled lead lines from steel string acoustic and reverbed electric before the vocals and ubiquitous supporting vocals enter, building up the texture little by little across the brief song, clocking in at just under two minutes.

The highlight across the EP are the perfectly executed harmonies. Take, for example, the opening track “Golden Flame;” the interludes interspersed between the verses add an affecting lift to the underlying rhythmically active foundation. The entire release seems to focus around these guitar breaks, maintaining a timbral similarity throughout. Such a focus is always something that I appreciate, it never fails to help an album to cohere, and this album is no different. The ambience curated across these six tracks, with the guitars and understated backing vocals occasionally backed with a delicately played piano, evokes the image of an intimate setting, perhaps in a small performance; or listening to the car radio on a cold fall day early in the morning down a quiet back road.

“Visions in Flame” is currently available from Already Dead tapes. You can listen to the entire album above and head over to Bandcamp to pick up the limited cassette with or without the special edition book.