Thursday, June 11, 2015
Cassette Review: Alice Drums "Lady Poison"
[€6 // https://alicedrums.bandcamp.com/album/lady-poison]
For me, Alice Drums has never felt like a name so much as a sentence. I picture Alice, sitting behind the kit, sticks firmly in both hands and just banging away. It's quite the sight, really, because most people don't want to take on the task of becoming a drummer since it comes with having the most gear to lug around. I could probably think hard enough and come up with a handful or so of female drummers, but the one that always comes to mind instantly was the former Cadillac Blindside drummer. But this music isn't really about that. Sure, there are soft drum beats but not the type of drumming you'd expect to come from someone with their hair flying around in every which way, sweaty from the exercise, as I often picture Dave Grohl.
The songs on "Lady Poison" begin with spoken words but they do shape quickly into singing. There are beats from drum machines and synth lines put in as well. Musically, it can be described as minimal and yet bring out something like a piano as well, crossing those lines throughout the 1980's from "Beverly Hills Cop" to "99 Red Balloons" to Suzanne Vega to "Weird Science". They are mellow for the most part and have a relaxation to them that could be considered calm yet somehow manages to keep me on edge at the same time.
While the music can recall a sound that was made popular when the cassette did rule, the vocals can remind me of anything between Madonna and Ladytron, which doesn't really give you a whole lot of interpretation but it is hard to pinpoint someone's voice other than to say it is their own and I'm thinking more of a specifically older Madonna (so nothing past, say, 1995) so it does bridge that gap between past and present. The fact that the words are in French doesn't seem to hurt matters any either because English can tend to be such a filthy language.
Between the music being perfect for cassettes and the vocals complimenting it so well I do feel as if this is something from the 1980's or 1990's that I'd find at a thrift store, some forgotten artist I never knew existed back then and am discovering for the first time now, all these decades later. While there is a small amount of something that can pull this into a modern feel, it doesn't bother me at all to think of this as being something more for the nostalgia factor than the "current" state of music because most modern music is influenced by the past anyway and this isn't like the time that Blitzen Trapper decided to straight up rip off Zeppelin either.
I've never really given it that much thought before now, but I've always felt like cassettes were important to me because I grew up with them and it was important for my son to have that physical media so as not to feel like music is so disposable as a playlist you would wipe from your iPod every so often. Mostly, I wanted him to know what it was to change the side of a cassette as well and as he is learning I think he is enjoying it. But a lot of the music we listen to together on cassette doesn't sound like what was originally on cassette when I was growing up, so to have this sort of tip to the hat of those times is not only nice for him but for me as well.