Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cassette Review: A Grave With No Name "Wooden Mask" (Forged Artifacts)

[$6 //]

For some reason I thought that A Grave With No Name had a release on either Saint Marie Records or Furious Hooves (or both) because the name just makes me think of those two labels for whatever reason but it might be simply that one was recommended by the other (Such as if I was listening to an artist on one of the two labels they then recommended AGWNN)  Regardless, I've been listening to A Grave With No Name for a while now- really since probably "Whirlpool" came out- I just haven't yet written a review for whatever reason.

When I saw that Forged Artifacts was releasing this cassette by A Grave With No Name my first reaction was that I was psyched just to have A Grave With No Name on cassette.   Really, it's like hearing about any band that I like releasing a cassette that hasn't released a cassette before (A list too long to name)    But then I did also feel a bit biased when I put the two and two together to realize this would be a Forged Artifacts cassette because they've always had such quality cassettes (and records) in the past that it just felt like the pairing of two of my favorites and on paper it couldn't be more perfect.

From Smashing Pumpkins to Silversun Pickups, from guitar riffs to a bit of EFS, A Grave With No Name has this modern feel to it while also taking us back as far as the 1990's, when I was really first developing my tastes in music because of when I was born and all (I am a product of the 1980's)   But as much as the string slides and harmonies can bring about a certain sense of darkness, I also think about them as being part of an era in music I don't talk about a lot because it was the dark times in terms of cassettes.   It was the early 2000's (Really before 2008 or even 2007 maybe, but mostly between the year 2000 and 2005) and labels such as Polyvinyl and The Militia Group were hosts to my favorite bands.

It's those not-quite-emo qualities that made me love bands that I can hear in this cassette, such as The Lyndsay Diaries, and in other ways it has that going home ballad feel like the last song on that one album by Silent Drive, whom I still adore.   Big bass bliss can often distract me from the lyrics but word-for-word you should still be getting this one stuck in your head as well.    I'm not really sure when my taste in music really dropped off (Some time in 2008 maybe?) but I began only listening to the same three bands and the era of "emo" and post-emo and everything else just came crashing down and fizzled out for me.

It is truly refreshing to be able to listen to a cassette in the year 2016 though and know that I would have a) bought and listened to this cassette in the 1990's (Though in the later '90's it probably would have been on CD), b) I would love this in the early 2000's before I all but abandoned new music and c) I would have loved this even four or five years ago when the genre known as shoegaze brought me back into discovering new music, listening again and just all around revitalizing my tastes in music.   To have a cassette- any cassette really- feel like it could fit in such a way (as an opener for Smashing Pumpkins in their prime, as part of a Militia Group based bands tour or as part of a When The Sun Hits compilation) is not as easy to pull off as you might think, but yes, A Grave With No Name seemingly does it with ease.

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