Yes, you read that right. Already Dead Tapes’ 100th release, “DOCUMENT: A Retrospective” is streaming online for free, but if you buy the cassette, you’ll also get a golden ticket good for downloads of the previous 99 releases: a full week of music and the perfect gift for any experimental music fan. This is the year’s biggest music bargain: a bold, generous, ridiculous move that seems at first to be foolish (all that music! can this be for real?) but upon further reflection, turns out to be brilliant (new exposure for many, many worthwhile artists). I bought two, one for myself and another for my brother-in-law. (Bill, if you’re reading this, please act surprised on Christmas.)
We’ve been admiring Already Dead Tapes for a while; the still-young label releases a lot of great music, much of it instrumental, and we like their vocal tapes too (we just don’t review them, with the exception of sink/sink). If there’s an Already Dead Tapes sound, it can be described as “fuzzy” (feedback, static, lo-fi indie); if there’s an Already Dead Tapes ethic, it can best be described as “creative”. Take for example the end of nesey gallons’ “my swan”. Did you expect a blast of gnarled guitar? Kudos if you did; I did not. Or the crashes in the background of micromelodie’s “owl eater”? Or cheerleaders on Spelling Bee’s “I Am Gust”? Or the quiet whistling solo at the center of No Monster Club’s “Let’s Crowdsurf Mike Stevens”?
DOCUMENT: A Retrospective is a fun set, packed with surf guitars, retro rhythms, dance beats, punk screams, synth explorations, off-key harmonies, rapid-fire drumming, sudden tempo changes, Casios and glockenspiels: songs for driving, songs for singing, songs for chilling out. And that’s only the sampler. Let’s put it this way: everyone who is reading this should buy this. It’s not exactly a risk. A song normally costs a dollar to download, and the price of these songs is A PENNY EACH. Only 100 copies were made, and I have 2 of them, but they are still available. We may live 100 years (one for each tape) and never again encounter a bargain like this. A big thanks to Joshua, Sean and the entire crew at Already Dead Tapes, and congratulations on hitting the century mark! (Richard Allen)