Friday, February 19, 2021

Cassette Review //
The Beat Index
"Volume One: Juvenilia"
(No Coast)



$7.99 //

Edition of 100 //

https://nocoastrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/volume-one-juvenilia //


The Beat Index begin this cassette with a song that has a xylophone as the main attraction and is instrumental.   This takes us into the second track- "World of Want"- which begins with a recording of one of those self checkout machines.  I've never actually paid attention because I use self checkouts at Target and Stop & Shop-- I wonder if the voice on them all is the same.   This song kicks into rock and it has that "Weird Science" vibe to it, like Oingo Boingo or something out of that synth era of rock music.   As it expands the beats just take off into what feels more like an electronic song and the way it just flows into that is quite impressive.

We go into the next song which has more of a pop vibe to it but it's more of the pop I would have heard on cassette back in the 1990's.   There is a Debbie Gibson/Tiffany type of vibe to this song and I'm really digging it.    I like the throwback vibes and they continue onto the next song- "D.O.A."- which starts off sounding like Duran Duran or something from "The Wedding Singer" soundtrack.    There also existed this pop-dance scene in the early 2000's.  I was living in Houston at the time and specifically Numbers Night Club would have a lot of artists come through who felt like they would fit right in with The Beat Index.  

"Nakatomi Plaza 1975" is a song title on this cassette and so are "Nakatomi Plaza 1965" (the first song) and "Nakatomi Plaza 1985" (the last song)   "Brand New Somebody" has a beat like The Go-Go's but also features electronics and it just seems to combine three or four different eras of music into one: Toni Basil, The Go-Go's and something modern I can't quite place my finger on.  There are elements of Metric but with those dance electronics you'd hear in Polly Scattergood.  

On the flip side we have a slower instrumental type intro of a song which makes me think of the closing credits of some forgotten television show.  Remember when shows had closing credits with songs?  "M.A.S.H." was among my favorites.   This takes us into "Record Collection", which has some of those block rockin' beats.   I think it's funny that no matter how you choose to listen to music there will always be this part of society that calls it a "Record Collection".  You don't hear "Cassette Collection" or "CD Collection" as much (and I've never heard "Digital Collection" before)   This song is instrumental as well, aside from some "bah bah bah" sounds.   See if you can listen to it while organizing your records.

At the end of "Record Collection" someone says they like listening to vinyl because it sounds better and while that is a nice point to make I like cassettes because they are the easiest to create on.   I wasn't recording songs off the radio as a kid onto vinyl now was I?  Okay, so, it's at this point I realized I messed up by reading the Bandcamp track listing to try and follow along rather than the j-card of the cassette.   The song "Nakatomi Plaza 1975" actually starts off Side B and then the one I thought was "Record Collection" was actually "Je, Tu, Il, Elle".   (Which also means what I thought was "Nakatomi Plaza 1975" was something between "D.O.A." and "Brand New Somebody" (the end or start of one of those two songs)

So "Record Collection" actually begins with the line about liking vinyl and then it goes into this fuzzy rock n roll song which is somewhere between The Mr T Experience and Smoking Popes.   There is also a nice shout out to several records which are in your collection, some modern and some older.   Hearing the catchy chorus about the record collection is what made me realize I was on the wrong song and i picked up the case to read the j-card and now I think I'm back on the right track.  

"Dead Mall Soundtrack (Love is Vacant)" has audio clips inside of dreamy synth rock.  First there is a story about shoplifting and then there is a story about going on a date.   The chorus is like something out of "The Breakfast Club" and it just brings back all sorts of those memories while the two stories are told and perhaps are intertwined even.   "I Feel Like Death" has one of the most bedroom rock type of sounds that I've heard on the cassette- something like Elvis Depressedly or Nobunny.   Once you go down that rabbithole of sound you'll find some songs which would go well on a compilation with "I Feel Like Death".   

The final track, "Nakatomi Plaza 1985", feels like we were watching an instructional VHS tape and this was the song for the end credits.   If you purchase this cassette or even just the digital version of it [Editor's Note: As I type this, only one cassette remains so when this is published I expect the cassette to be sold out] you get a number of bonus tracks which almost double the length of music for your listening pleasure.   One thing I really enjoy about music is when it makes me want to listen to other music I haven't listened to in a while even if they don't sound exactly the same.   This cassette made me want to revisit Ladytron and Does It Offend You, Yeah? and that's never a bad thing.  





















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