Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CASSETTE REVIEW: Leapfrog (Swan City Sounds)

Leapfrog (Swan City Sounds)
                This cassette features six songs, three per side, so I’m going to do it as a SBSR because it’s just easier that way.   
<1> “Let It Go” – I can hear the audio kick on, but it feels like it’s taking a little while for these songs to get going.   Now I can hear some slight bit of music, so let’s see.  It sounds like harmonized singing and then it turns into an almost screaming sort of singing with other haunting vocals and so far I hear no instruments.   Ah, and it just kicked in really loud on me.   Haha, I guess that’s what I get for turning it up, thinking it was broke or something.   This is that rock n roll sound with strummed guitar chords while the bass line takes us through the verses.  The chorus is a bit heavier in ways, but this could be something between garage, surf and Buddy Holly rock.   Really only Buddy Holly because of the way the guitars twang.  In the chorus the drums get pretty heavy too—I hear a lot of cymbal crashes, which is nice.  Could this also be reminding me a little bit of Presidents of the United States?  It kind of is.    Right now, we’re in a pretty good musical breakdown section of the song.  The guitar in this song makes it perfect for listening to on cassette, I might add.   And now the vocals are off in the distant, slightly yelling to let it go. 
<2> “Take Away” – And now we begin this song with a funky little bass line and drum beat.   Then the guitar comes in all trippy again and with a few notes plucked in the right places.   The singing is different in this song and I’m almost reminded of the Flaming Lips for some reason.   This song also has a semblance to the Stone Temple Pilots song “Lady Picture Show”.   Oh, now in the second verse (I think we went through a chorus) I can really hear the EFS coming out in these vocals.  Yeah, we’re on our second chorus now because that what really reminds me of STP.  Apparently, she doesn’t know how to give but she knows how to take away.   This musical breakdown sounds vaguely like it has a harmonica in it.  And now the vocals are back.  I’m sure the verses have more words than I’m imagining, but I feel like this would have a very short lyric booklet so far because the choruses have been- thus far- the song titles, although this one has a little extra.   And there’s that decisive guitar chord to end the song.
<3> “Work Song” – Chatter and what not turns into a bass drum and walking bass line as we get into this song.   This is about work I guess.   Yeah, this is very bass heavy.  The vocals come in like Zeppelin, but the bass line going reminds me of Queen, so go figure.   This song should be used as a reference point to any band who wants to sound bass guitar influenced but not rip off The White Stripes.   The chorus gets heavy and we’re back to the thumping.   Now the vocals, the second verse around, kind of reminds me more of Queen.   This really does sound like “Another One Bites the Dust”, until you get into the thrashing chorus that in another time and another space could be a Nirvana track ala “Bleach”.   I think this song is really fun because it takes all those preconceived notions you have about The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand and throws them out the window.   This song is saying “Here is how to make music that sounds kind of like what those bands do, but without sounding like a copy of those bands”.   Maybe it’s because it’s getting dark outside, but this is getting a little bit trippy too here near the end.   It’s over and I know it so hopefully the tape stopping won’t scare me like it always does.  Remember when you used to listen to instructional tapes and they’d say “This is the end of side one.  Please turn tape over now”.  I’d also hear a modern cassette say that for some reason.   Onto Side B, as someone out there hopefully is keeping score of things I’d like to hear on modern cassettes (I’m giving away one tip on each review so far)
<4> “Constant Walk of Disaster” – This song takes this side in a much more guitar driven way.  Roy Orbison comes out for sure.   It’s that tinny guitar twang and vocals, but I can’t really hear the bass or drums as prominently, so it looks like we’re taking a slight detour from Side A.   This music is being played pretty fast too though, like Buddy Holly as punk (And yes, I am aware of Hunx, but this doesn’t really sound as much like Hunx to me as it might some people)  Drum solo!  I really do love these instrumental parts because it just gives the band a chance to showcase their skills and they all certainly seem to know their craft.   Did we just end?  I think we did.  That was abrupt. 
<5> “Bad Break” – It’s trippy, ma!! I licked the toad!!!  This song is getting slower now, like a true Buddy Holly song.  Who did that old rock song I’d always hear clips of: “Put your head on my shoulder”?  This has that kind of sound to it.  And yes, I listen to Buddy Holly and Little Richard but not much else along those lines (at least not past music)  I really need to start doing some more music history though.  Chuck Berry calls my name when I sleep.   Now we’re in a nice guitar riff.  And now the guitar part is showing off, so the drums are kicking in to drown it out.  Again, another music heavy song that just reminds you how music can be if you only let it.    That song was also fast. 
<6> “Right Back” – So we’re at the last song already, but it appears to be doing a slow build.    If I didn’t feel like I was sort of tripping before, I do now.  [Editor’s Note:  Drugs are bad, mmkay?]  And here comes the walking bass line.  Oh, and the vocals are coming in all slow to go with it.  This is almost closer to a blues song, so I’m going to have put some Zeppelin influence in this band even though they also seem to go back to the Buddy Holly era as well.  I guess they really have no limitations as to when they trace their rock roots.   This song reminds me of “To the Kill” by Violent Femmes, who are one of my all-time favorite bands.  I wonder if it will eventually kick in really heavy or not.   It’s getting a little bit heavier now, as we get multiple vocals.  And now the screeching guitar riff comes in.  Yeah, it got pretty heavy there, but now it’s back to where it kind of started.   I will definitely say that this song has some Zeppelin like qualities, though it tends to get a bit heavy and distorted in ways I haven’t really heard before with this type of overall sound.   I think I just heard the harmonica again, but I have no idea what minute marker I’m at.   And now we’ve got these weird waves going on, which might ride us right out of this song, but let’s see if it comes back or if this is the last hoorah.   So I believe after he says “And then we do the hoity toity / “and the twist” it is over.  The recording was going so well, why’d he have to talk and ruin it right at the end?  Haha, it’s not ruined though, it was kind of funny.   But now this tape is over, or for those who wish to look at things more positively, rewound back to the beginning. 
Leapfrog’s self-titled cassette is limited to an edition of 50.   It is available from Swan City Sounds for $5 at the following link:

1 comment:

  1. Love this band! Can't wait to see where they will take it next!!