Sunday, April 14, 2013

CASSETTE REVIEW: Squanto “A Gift & A Favor” (Rok Lok Records)

Squanto A Gift & A Favor” (Rok Lok Records)
                This is my first official cassette review and I happen to be doing it as a Song By Song Review as well, so it’s double exciting for me.   I’ve been listening to a lot of my old tapes lately and certain ones (Marky Mark and MC Hammer I believe) play these little notes at the start of the tape; I believe they were to adjust your volume settings.   Anyway, they should still be on every modern tape and I have yet to hear it but hope to some day.
[Side A]
<1> “A Gift” – I hear some slight noises and then acoustic guitar notes.  One thing is I won’t be able to keep track of time on the songs, so as to say, “It kicks in at the 2:20 marker” because my tape player doesn’t have cool numbers like that.  But this is song is picking up now with a slight beat and a slight wave of ambience in the background.   I can’t tell if this is looping or not but I bet it is acoustic guitar over some looping beats.   And now clapping, though it might not be manmade.   This song makes me want to take some peyote and go in the desert.   But it is all too relaxing.   We quietly fade out into the next song.
<2> “A Favor” – We begin with a somewhat faster progression of acoustic notes.   And now the vocals come in as well.  This is very folk.  It reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel.   I feel like I’m also hearing crickets chirp in the background.  Unless this music really did somehow feed me peyote.   It’s heavier on the guitar than on the vocals, which is too say it’s more music based than lyric based for this song. 
<3> “A Gift, Pt. 2” – We pause before this song begins.  We’re coming in ambient.  It’s like ghouls are haunting me.  This sounds like the dead in my nightmares trying to escape from hell if recorded by John Lennon acoustic.   It just makes me keep imagining stomping on heads and sending the evils back down to hell.  And here comes some static, which I had to check and is not because of my ear buds connection.   And we get some noise that’s a cross between a serene acoustic guitar and screaming.   This song is really just playing out the battle right now between heaven and hell, between the good and the evil that exists inside of us all.  I’m not sure which one is winning though.   When that distortion comes on it sounds like the evil is winning.   And now the guitar is getting louder, so it’s fighting back harder.  What a music video this would make.  It’s telling such an amazing story.  It’s like Squanto somehow managed to capture the sound of the story a campfire tells.   I also can just see the flames jumping around in the cool night.   Despite the obvious sound of being evil in ways, this is still overall peaceful and relaxing.    Time to flip sides.
[Side B]
<4> “To the Grid (Demo)” – Here comes a rusty acoustic guitar sound.  I’m ready for some Johnny Cash.  And here come vocals again and now I’m reminded of that one twee band I used to like a lot.   It wasn’t The Gwens, but I think they started with a “b”.   Was it Birddog?  I don’t remember.  I’d have to go back and listen to old Happy Happy Birthday to Me releases.   This claims to be a demo, but it’s vocals and an acoustic guitar not too much unlike the other songs, so I don’t know what makes it not complete.   It sounds complete to me and I really don’t know what they’d do to make it a “mastered” copy instead of a demo.  I’d like everyone to take note right now that it is in fact possible to play an acoustic guitar whilst singing and not sound like EFS.    I know he comes out in everything, but this song not so much, which is a rarity.  And now I hear a piano, or at least keys of some kind, and this is really picking up in the way that acoustic Get Up Kids song did on the “Walking On a Wire” album. 
<5> “09/29/10, Evening” – There are pretty long pauses between songs, but not too long so it’s nice.  I still think cassettes provide the best audio but maybe it’s because they’re my native form of hearing recorded music.  This song begins with some sort of vocals, acoustic guitar and nature noises.  I think he just sniffled.  This song was made a long time ago, if the date is when it was recorded.   I wonder why it took so long to be released.   This acoustic guitar almost has a Nirvana tone to it, ala “Something In the Way”.   Whatever’s left drips as I swing my elbow.  Or does he “sling” his elbow?  I should be paying better attention to these lyrics.  Again, this is a very mellow song.  But instead of being your normal sort of folk, this is a darker folk.    Not my state.  I hear something in the background.  I wonder if it’s intentional.   And now it’s getting really quiet, but the song is hanging on.  No, I think it’s done now.  I hate it when the tape finishes and makes that loud snapping noise.   

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