Friday, August 23, 2019
Cassette Review //
(Under the Counter Tapes)
Edition of 50 //
One of the things I love about Under the Counter Tapes (not related to the music) is how they have these packs of three pins with each cassette. One is usually for the label itself and the other two are for the artist/release. With this cassette you get this pin which says "Gabe Is Alive" and I'm not sure why but I find that to just be so interesting because it's one of those things where you can put it on your fannypack (as I did) and have people see it and think "What?" but maybe it will spark a conversation.
Perhaps it is the world in which we live today, as social media has helped to make us less social in real life, but think about it. If you have a backpack, fannypack or denim jacket with twenty pins on it and someone recognizes nineteen of them and there's one they can't place but it says "Watergate Sandals", obviously they can assume that is a band name and go search for it hopefully on Bandcamp. I feel like I have done something similar in my lifetime. But "Gabe Is Alive"... that isn't something you can search for as much as a conversation starter in real life, between two actual humans.
The sound of Gabriel Bernini is about as much to talk about as a stranger asking you what "Gabe Is Alive" means on your pin, in the sense that there is a lot going on here. What starts off as dreamy pop rock with that sort of twee twist reminds me of The Monkees, but then I can hear elements of Ben Kweller and even some Soul Asylum as well. Ultimately the sound falls between something in a more classic rock genre like Bob Dylan or Tom Petty but it also has that MPLS type of rock n roll vibe, which I also like to really relate with The Damn Personals, who I also don't think get enough credit in 2019.
While the songs aren't pop to the extent that you will be singing along with them the first time you hear them, such as you might someone like Taylor Swift for example, the fact remains that eventually you will be singing along with these songs as they have that quality to them, and hey, who doesn't sing along with Tom Petty. The first song on this cassette really sets the mood for the rest of the songs, lyrically, as well. The song is called "Noble" and features the hook line of:
"I had no idea / Tell me how noble you are"
This really is something I could write an entire essay about as people tend to think that the best way for everyone to know how great they are is to never shut up about it. Though it might not be the point, I think of it like this: There are a lot of GoFundMe's and things like that out there in 2019, right? This has been the case for some time. But I feel- and this is just me- that everyone should donate to them anonymously because otherwise you're basically saying "Look at me! Look what I did! I gave this guy $100! Aren't I special? Aren't I a good person?" And while that might not be the intent of everyone, if you're truly doing something nice like that, expecting nothing in return, you don't need the recognition so you could be anonymous about it.
In any case, you can take these lyrics how you choose and if you're into rock music (I seriously don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like Tom Petty) then maybe you can just put this on and sing along without even really thinking about the words. And that's what makes it such a special cassette. You can think about it or you can shut your brain off and get lost in the music. It's classic and modern. It's a very appropriate rock cassette.