Trendspotting: Cassettes Are The New Vinyl

Dig out your boom boxes, tape decks and head cleaners because another almost obsolete music format, the cassette tape, is quickly being brought back to life. They’re turning up everywhere, being released by bleeding edge DIY hipster indie bands with a penchant for the self-released EP.  Dive deep into your local indie music scene and you’ll see what I mean. Merch tables are filled with them and the frequency of the cassette EP press announcements in my inbox are quickly rising. If vinyl is the format for the high browed music snob, then the cassette is the format for the DIY, crafty crowd.

It’s been a source of great frustration for me of late to discover fabulous up and coming bands live, then realize the only option for continued enjoyment of their music is a format I haven’t owned equipment for in a good decade. Grass Widow, The BathsBlank Dogs. These are all bands that released music on cassette that I would have liked to have in my music rotation but couldn’t do so because….I DON’T HAVE A CASSETTE PLAYER!  God dangit. Who still owns a cassette player? (Besides Blogger Mike who has three. Sheesh.)

Frustration turned to anger after my third attempt to buy music from a band with a cassette only option. (Why, why, why are you making it so difficult to support you?!) Then the anger turned to action.  I needed to understand the rationale these artists had for adopting a format that is clearly not widely used. Was it a cost factor? Cool factor? Sound factor? Did they want to languish in obscurity because no one could readily appreciate their music? What…what was the allure?

Welcome to The OCMD trendspotting series, “Cassettes Are The New Vinyl”, where we’ll explore the rational of artists and labels reviving this nearly dead format that so dominated my youth. Tune back in for Part 2 where we’ll get insight from a band and their reasons behind choosing cassette for their physical format.

the OCMD Mixtape: Best Electro/Pop 2009

  1. “Lock and Key” – Lilofee
  2. “On My Way” – The Sweet Serenades
  3. “Creeper” – Islands
  4. “New Theory” – Washed Out
  5. “Ecstacy” – JJ
  6. “You’ve Got the Love (The XX Remix) – Florence & The Machine
  7. “Want Me Too” – Tune-Yards
  8. “Kundalini Express” – The Flaming Lips
  9. “Beast In Peace” – Bear In Heaven
  10. “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses” – Thom Yorke
  11. “When I Grow Up” – Fever Ray
  12. “Version” – Stripmall Architecture
  13. “A Happening” – Hyperstory
  14. “Testimony” – The Phenomenal Handclap Band

theOCMD Mixtape: Best Garage Rock 2009

the OCMD Mixtape: Best Garage Rock 2009

  1. “Heavy Krishna”- Jeff the Brotherhood
  2. “Pine On” – Obits
  3. “Fog Machine”-  The Fresh & Onlys
  4. “Lovely One” – Ty Segall
  5. “L Mansion”-  Sic Alps
  6. “Wrapped in Fog”-  Dan Melchoir und das Menace
  7. “Blew It Again” – Electric Tickle Machine
  8. “English Teeth Invasion”-  English Teeth
  9. “Goddamn”- Girls
  10. “Burden”- The Mantles
  11. “Over the Ocean”- Best Coast
  12. “Can You See”- Thee Oh Sees
  13. “Boneyard”- Nobunny
  14. “I Won’t Lie To You”- Let’s Wrestle
  15. “What’cha Gonna Do About It”- Condo Fucks

The OCMD Mixtape: Best Covers 2009

The OCMD Mixtape: Best Covers 2009

  1. “Steel and Glass” (John Lennon) – Alberta Cross
  2. “Walk A Thin Line” (Fleetwood Mac) – Atlas Sound
  3. Kundalini Express” (Love and Rockets) – The Flaming Lips
  4. “My Boys” (Animal Collective) – Taken By Trees
  5. “Too Many People” (Paul McCartney) – Earlimart
  6. “Military Madness” (Graham Nash) – Woods
  7. “Hospital Beds” (Cold War Kids) – Florence and The Machine
  8. “He Hit Me” – Grizzly Bear
  9. “Waltz #2” (Elliot Smith) – Audrye Sessions
  10. “Running to Standstill” (U2 ) – Elbow
  11. “Here I Go Again” (Whitesnake) – Botticellis
  12. “Ocean of Noise” (Arcade Fire) – Calexico
  13. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (Cyndi Lauper) – Pyramid (aka Starfucker)
  14. “Crazy On You” (Heart) – Blitzen Trapper

the OCMD Mixtape: Sayulita

the OCMD Mixtape: “Sayulita

A few days of that and you get this – my Sayulita Mixtape.  Yup, this suits my state of mind right now. Just add surf, sand and cerveza and hit play. Enjoy.

1. Washed Out – “Feel It All Around”
2. Here We Go Magic – “Tunnelvision”
3. Atlas Sound – “Quick Canal”
4. The Ruby Suns – “There Are Birds”
5. Radiohead – “These Are My Twisted Words”
6. LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great”
7. Flaming Lips – “Sagittarius Silver Announcement”
8. Built To Spill – “Done”
9. The XX – “Shelter”
10. Speck Mountain – “Angela”
11. The Shortwave Set – “Harmonia”

the OCMD Mixtape: Budget Rock 2009

budgetrock

The OCMD Mixtape: Budget Rock 2009

Whoo hoo! The 8th Annual Budget Rock festival kicks into high gear this week right in my backyard from October 22-25. The Eagle Tavern, Thee Parkside and Bottom of the Hill will play host to the West Coast’s longest running garage rock festival. Don’t miss the opportunity to see some great local garage rock, including The Gris Gris, Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh & Onlys, Nobunny, the legendary Mummies and more! The best line up for sure is Sunday, October 25 at Bottom of the Hill featuring nearly all of the aforementioned bands.  Oh yeah, let the shitgaze begin!

1. Dan Melchoir Und Das Menace – “Wrapped in Fog”
2. The Mummies – “Die”
3. Thee Oh Sees – “Enemy Destruct”
4. Nobunny – “Boneyard”
5. The Fresh & Onlys – “Fog Machine”
6. The Gris Gris – “Mary #38”
7. Cheap Time – “Push Your Luck”

Flour + Water = Mixtape

flourwater

Flour + Water Mix

Good food, good wine, good friends, good music.  Do you need anything more than that?  You can get all that and then some this Thursday, October 8, at the hottest restaurant in San Francisco right now – the Mission district’s Flour + Water – where the OCMD will be curating an evening of strictly local music.

This unassuming neighborhood gem has earned the praise of The New York Times, WSJ, and our very own Michael Bauer. Even though the entire town is busting down the doors of this place, the owners remain decidedly laid-back and committed to preserving the hip, low-key neighborhood vibe. Fitting with that theme, I’m excited to share the local love by featuring some of the best up and coming bands San Francisco has to offer. To celebrate the occasion, the restaurant has set aside several coveted tables to bestow on a few lucky readers for this Thursday.  First four readers to email me at theocmd@gmail.com wins!

Here’s a taste of what’s to come. Enjoy the mix!

1. Papercuts, “Future Primitive”
2. Ty Segall, “Lovely One”
3. Sic Alps, “L Mansion”
4. Thee Oh Sees, “Can You See”
5. Leopold & His Fiction, “Tiger Lily”
6. The Ferocious Few, “Crazy Love”
7. The Dodos, “Fables”
8. Girls, “Lust for Life”
9. The Mantles, “Burden”
10. Garrett Pierce, “Your Feet In Wet Cement”
11. John Vanderslice, “Tremble and Tear”
12. LoveLikeFire, “William”
13. Stripmall Architecture, “Version”
14. Lilofee, “Lock and Key”