Monday, April 22, 2019

Cassette Review //
"The Challengers"
(Under the Counter Tapes)

$6 //
Edition of 100 // //

The name Bandy makes me think of that character Bendy that all the kids love these days (he has some ink machine or something) and then I also confuse Bendy with- in name only- Baldi, which is this trippy YouTube character I should not know exists (It's time to sweep sweep sweep)    There are probably some other references I can make in here like Bender from Futurama and Bendy the Last Airbender, but, you know, I'll leave those for other people to make.

There is this pure rock sound on this cassette, something which reminds me of Dinosaur Jr but also fast paced like punk.   "Need For Reefer" has that surf punk / Elvis sound and yet somehow it gets a little bit evil.   If there is an Evil Elvis genre this would certainly fall into it.   Wild rock n roll turns into elements of The Mr T Experience on "Don't You Dare".    "The Adjustment" has that clanky rock n roll sound while "Passing The Rhyme" is dreamy, a little bit like That Thing You Do! even.

Killer guitar riffs and la la la's take us into "Cool Boys" which has an early MTX feel to it and I've never really heard a band quite capture that MTX sound like this before so I'm into it since as far as I know Dr. Frank isn't making music anymore (or if he is I apologize but I haven't listened to anything past "Alcatraz" I believe.  I should look it up on Discogs but I think it might just upset me)

When it comes to anthems of 2019 (and maybe even all-time) "I Dream of Trash" is up there and I'd like to see some political videos set to it one day.  But yes, it is one of those songs you either get or you don't.    It gets a little darker like Buck Gooter and then there is just that great sing along rock feel on "Trying To Reach You".     "Ghost Love" is also a unique song in the way that it's about not wanting to fall in love with a ghost, which is both deep and something which I can relate with as well.

By the end of the cassette, on "The Truth is a Lonely Place", we get into that "Alcatraz" era MTX sound and it feels like we've gone through their discography at different times during this cassette, which is quite nice and feels like nostalgia.    And yet oddly this cassette reminds me most of two different scenes combined together.   One was what was started by The Replacements and the other was started by Fugazi.  If you could somehow find an alternate universe where those two scenes overlap, that's where you'll find Bandy and it's a fine place to be.

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