Thursday, May 23, 2013

REVIEW: The Blank Tapes - Vacation

The Blank Tapes display impressive pop instincts and terrific chops on Vacation, their first release on Oakland's Antenna Farm Records. The Blank Tapes is LA resident Matt Adams, with D.A. Humphrey on bass and Pearl Charles on drums, with some sweet three-part harmonies. In the past, Adams has recorded at home or in a garage, and with a rotating cast of supporters. I look forward to hearing more of his music, because the fleshed-out songs on Vacation are just wonderful.

Here's "Coast to Coast", a great reminder of what I loved about the classic Kinks sound:

The album is chock full of wonderful, catchy guitar pop gems like opening track "Uh Oh", where the title becomes a chorus that is repeated, and repeated, over a soulful guitar line that keeps recycling until it fades out. It's an interesting way to build and to finish the song, and you will find several more examples of that type of thing here. There is psychedelic-leaning pop and indie guitar-leaning pop ("Tamarind Seeds"), often within the same track. It's completely enjoyable and never boring. Here's "Holy Roller", which has a bit of a country lean:

Adams shows a facility that is truly impressive. "Pearl" was something he apparently threw together the night he met Pearl Charles (the drummer, and his girlfriend). "Brasilia", a delightful bit of tropical psychedelia, was written while he was on tour down there - having discovered that his music was a big hit in that country.

On first listen, you may, like me, find the music quite pleasant... on repeated listens, it absolutely works its way into your heart. It's delightful. His vocals are, to me, a bit reminiscent of Ray Davies - but the three-part harmonies sound like pure California. Then again, there's a bit of blue-eyed soul in "Uh Oh", and that little Brazilian number... and it all works.

And don't miss a chance to see them recreate this sound live. With hundreds of home-recorded songs under his belt, I imagine Adams has quite a repertoire to draw from, and he might just write another song on the spot.

05.23.13 - Oakland, CA @ The New Parish
05.24.13 - San Jose, CA @ Cafe Stritch
05.25.13 - Leggett, CA @ Hickey Fest
05.27.13 - Pacifica, CA @ Winter's Tavern
05.29.13 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room 
05.30.13 - San Diego, CA @ The Void
05.31.13 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite (Album Release Party!)
06.04.13 - Phoenix. AZ @ the Trunk Space
06.06.13 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald's
06.07.13 - Tulsa, OK @ The Vanguard
06.08.13 - Dallas, TX @ Bryan Street Tavern
06.09.13 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
06.11.13 - Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
06.12.13 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's
06.13.13 - Detroit, MI @ Garden Bowl
06.14.13 - Toronto, ON @ NXNE
06.15.13 - Toronto, ON @ NXNE
06.17.13 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Wonder Bar
06.18.13 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
06.19.13 - Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
06.20.13 - Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
06.21.13 - Arlington, VA @ IOTA
06.22.13 - Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House
06.23.13 - Asheville, NC @ The Double Crown
06.25.13 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
06.26.13 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
06.27.13 - Chicago, IL @ Ace Bar
06.28.13 - Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
06.29.13 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
06.30.13 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
07.01.13 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
07.02.13 - Reno, NV @ Chapel Tavern

The Blank Tapes
Antenna Farm Records

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