Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cassette Review //
"Cult Classics"
(Hand'Solo Records)

$12 // //

From the start, I feel I should warn you that the tracklisting on here can be confusing if you're like me and sometimes pay attention to the music of the cassette with the info from Bandcamp.   There are five songs on this cassette which don't appear on the digital release- which will mess up your order when you're listening to the cassette and trying to follow along with the Bandcamp tracklisting- and there is also a song in the middle of all of this (Well, the five spot) called "My Swag" that is digital only so when listening to the cassette you won't hear it.

Five songs not digital and one song not on the cassette aside, this one begins with audio clips and beats.   Record scratches give me that old school feel.   The rapping ranges from song to song, verse to verse really.   It can be sexual.   It can be angry.   At one point there is a line about sneaking into the hospital and switching all the babies, which seems like an odd thing to say but also feels rather sinister (how would they know??)  Guitar loops and rapping about space ("Fantastic Planet") seem to tie this side together as I'm also a fan of the song "Big Deal", which may or may not be inspired by "California Dreams" (If you don't know, don't ask)

"Hired Goons" is a cassette only song which I like the beats on (they're kind of futuristic video game) and there's this one line: "I don't play no five string guitar but I'll pull down my pants and show you where the wild things are" which is funny and a good example of how the lyrics on this cassette seem to flow.   There is also this part with singing instead of rapping and the singing is about not giving a fuck anymore, so there's also that.   It's not some soulful, heart-felt ballad or anything-- it's just indifference (I think indifference ties humans together more than love though, so I'd rather hear an indifferent song than a love song)

There is some great singing and horns like jazz on the flip side.   "Boogie Man" sounds and feels like you might imagine and I think a genre of hip-hop that is scary should be around more.   Yeah, yeah, I know about (and love) ho99o9 but Ice Cube used to scare me when I was a kid and we need some sort of combination of a real and fake scary guy.    "Slow clap for the weird kid" has me written all over it.     This song is called "So Much Between Us" and it's by Cam The Wizzard and it's only on the cassette but it is quite possibly my favorite song on this entire cassette.    Ira Lee slows things down with singing and deeper beats and this just has so many levels to it you need to get on its level if you can.

I'm strongly in favor of "cassette only songs" because it encourages people to buy the actual physical product and, yeah, music should be something tangible for reasons I won't get into here.   I wasn't sure how I felt about that one song being digital only but to be fair, sometimes I'll be out without my Walkman so I'll listen to digital music so that works if you're listening to this album that way instead of on cassette.   But I think by not listening to the cassette you're missing some of the best songs and it won't feel complete, but I guess it's just a matter of variations, both of which are worth going out of your way to experience.

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