The Cassettes are one of the most appropriately named bands playing today, for a number of reasons. First off, their reference to the classic analogue medium certainly highlights a fascination with anachronism. A trait evident when watching some of the short videos on their site and their last album, ‘Neath the Pale Moon. But it’s the band’s full name, The Cassettes Musical Explorer Society (whether official or non) that really gives you an insight into the band’s history. This band has been around for nearly 10 years now, and through various incarnations, permutations, and experimentations, they’ve truly been an exploratory group.
AON contributor and frontman Shelby Cinca bore the band out of vestiges of random pop-thoughts and ideas that were at odds with the more hardcore/punk tendencies of his main gig, Frodus. The first efforts of the Cassettes featured members of Weird War & Dead Meadow, and tended more towards 70s classic pop-rock.
After a brief hiatus as the band members focused on other endeavors, The Cassettes reformed, but with a line up closer to their current incarnation. Metropolitan‘s Saadat Awan sat on drums and percussion, Stephen Guidry (Parlor Scouts) on keys and various reeds, and Arthur Harrison (Parlor Scouts) with his trusty theramin. This time, the band would explore upriver Americana sounds peppered with vintage electronic tones, eastern european folk & Subcontinental rhythms.
Now, they have emerged as the Choose Your Own Adventure band, as they are everything they have been and then some. They bark a bit louder on Countach, their new album, which I’m fairly certain Shelby has always wanted to do yet possibly held back on. But when appropriate, they do a fine job of keeping it pretty mellow too. As Shelby states, “it’s a record that sums up our love of various bands such as: The Cult, Tom Waits, Travis, Tom Petty, etc… and wraps it up in a record one may find in a dark corner of a dusty record shop on its last legs.”
You’ll have the opportunity tomorrow to enjoy them as they are best consumed, live, as they headline their cassette release party at the Black Cat. Yes, you read that right, the band went so far as to print 200 hand-numbered cassettes. Each tape comes with a download card for the album as well as a toy car and miniature horse, emulating the cover art. Stamen & Pistils have long talked about playing a show with them, and so when Shelby came knocking, we happily obliged.
The Cassettes cassette release show at The Black Cat, Friday October 17th. With Stamen & Pistils and Brass Bed. $10