My show in Los Angeles never fully formed so I have decided to put STONER WITCHES back online! Hope you enjoy it!
The dual cassette player that my father had given me in 1988 finally ate its last tape and I decided to retire it in 2014. After two years of looking a replacement, this spring I finally found one so 2016 became my year of the cassette.
Though I bought a few records this year, I spent most of my time going through my tape collection. To my surprise and embarrassment, I owned way more cassettes than I thought I did and even today, I still have a few I bought at shows a few years back that I need to take a decent listen to.
So here are the tapes that I listened to the most in 2016:
- Human Story 3 by James Ferraro
It had been years since I checked up on the career of James Ferraro. I had been a fan of his band SK8TERS after hearing their album at my friend Katherine’s house one stoney afternoon. It was one of those records that made me sit up and ask, “What the hell is this?” And then spend weeks on EBay tracking down a copy. It was well worth it. I still enjoy that album to this day.
At that time I looked into to what he was doing and it was cool electronic stuff but nothing I was interested at the time too much. When I found his Soundcloud account this summer I was stunned. In the years since I had listened to him last, he’d pretty much put out an album a year. The best part was that most of them were really good. I especially enjoyed his latest release, “Human Story 3”.
At first, I just loved the pun of the album title but for most of my humdrum summer work life I listened to that album over and over again. Eventually I hunted down the tape on discogs and began laying on my apartment floor at night after I got off work listening to it once.
It’s kind of a “modern” classical album crafted on a computer with some assistance by the University of Santa Barbara Choir. Every now and then a computer voice pops in like some overhead announcement at a mall speaking in a calm tone about Ikea or Prius or Market Crash.
The whole album is very soothing and calm but there’s this doomish banality of evil hidden down there, like some kind of disquiet right below the surface. Mr. Ferraro’s stylistic tastes veer from the minimalist school to the Nature Shop to touches of harsh serialism. This combined with the consumeristic vision of our computer narrator make it both a musically adventurous album and at times a philosophical head trip through the troubling culture of middle class America.
- Killers by Iron Maiden
I was forbidden by my parents from owning any Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath music when I was in my early teens and by the time I could buy whatever I wanted I was more interested in folk music, punk and jazz than metal (it was the late 80’s and everyone was kind of sick of metal). I eventually discovered my deep love for Black Sabbath in my twenties but still forgot about Maiden.
This summer I made a bunch of lathe cuts for a metal band out of Albuquerque. The whole album was covers and one of the songs really stood out to me. I asked the band and they said it was from the Iron Maiden album Killers.
Bought a copy the next day and wow, I was really happy to listen to that thing over and over again. I know I’m late to the game about this but if you’re like me and haven’t listened to Iron Maiden then I highly suggest taking a gander at Killers. It’s a pretty great record!
- Halloween III Soundtrack by John Carpenter and Alan Hovarth
Don’t get the MP3 of this album, it is a terrible transfer. Buy the record or the cassette. I was a little broke with the record came out so I bought the tape. I have the MP3 version and it has some problems with weird silent gaps at the end of songs. The tape is perfect though!
One of the best soundtracks Mr. Carpenter made and one of the creepiest instrumental synth albums ever.
- Necrotic Doom by Spectral Voice
I’m not too good at pegging down genres these days (there’s so many!!!) so I don’t know if this is black metal or doom or something else. I can tell you that it is a kick ass album in the area of dirge guitar, lo-fi throaty vocals and drums that never stop. Plus the dudes in this band are some of the nicest people I’ve met.
I’ve been listening to this one on and off for the entire last year. Never gets dull and makes me cheery at the end of shitty days. Highly recommended!
- The Great Panic by Puce Mary
When I came across this tape in my collection I did not remember buying it. I had read about Puce Mary but I didn’t think I owned any of her stuff but kudos to the Tripp from the past who bought this. She was a smart lady.
Great, mesmerizing noise album.
A bunch of people in the DIY community, under the organization of Ryan from _Entrancer donated songs to a compilation benefiting those musicians affected by the Ghostship fire in Oakland! There’s an old, old live collaboration by Frozen Body, Zach Spener (AKA Vice Reversa) and me on it, hasn’t been available since 2006 or something and was only released in an edition of 15 handmade wooden boxes w/CD-R on StarShipStereo!
Sorry about the bare address but I couldn’t get embedding to work.