Y'know, with all the blabbity blab about blogs and breaking new bands, we still have a real, real strong affection for college radio. Especially WMBR. Every time we get sick of the internet echo chamber chorusing about some pretentiously named new discovery, we flip to the left of the FM dial. Inevitably, we find that not only have college radio DJs not drunk the bloggity kool-aid, but that they've got better kung-fu. To wit: pretty much every time we turn on 'MBR, we find a new indie-rock band to obsess about.
So it was a couple of months ago with the Blank Tapes.
We've staunchly avoided over-Googling the Tapes, because quite frankly, what we don't know we don't care to. The songs are the kind of songs you want to make up your own shit about, imagine people and places around them, like people used to do before Trouser Press and AllMusic. And the songs are plenty: homemade but not particularly lo-fi, fully-formed not half-baked, bereft of the indecision that plagues so much of what passes for indie these days. Aesthetically, we get the sense he might be one of those post-Elephant 6 hippies -- but like Neutral Milk Hotel, he gets around by triangulating between far more conventional songwriting signposts. You don't have to be into far-out shit to get sucked into his melodies or his lyrics. It's just kinda classic great songwriting on a more intimate scale.
What little we know: Blank Tapes is basically one dude, from the West Coast, with several albums under his belt. Also, he's coming to PA's Lounge tonight.
So the one that caught our ear was a fantastic bummer of a breakup song, "We're Better Not Together," which we'd recommend against ingesting if you're on anti-depressants. From the same album, this year's Daydreams, comes also "Smoke and Mirrors," which sports exactly the kind of smoking guitar riff that people who write fantastic-bummer-breakup-songs are not supposed to be able to pull off convincingly. Pure awesomeness.
DOWNLOAD: The Blank Tapes, "We're Better Not Together" [mp3]DOWNLOAD: The Blank Tapes, "Smoke and Mirrors" [mp3]FRIEND: The Blank Tapes at MySpace [link]