Cheat Sheet for Cassettes to Care About in 2010
Toro y Moi
Chazwick Bundick's brand of chillwave is less grandiose than Washed Out and less distinguished than Neon Indian but makes better-suited cassette listening with more minimal dance grooves than nostalgia-evoking 80s chintz effects. You can even dance (grind?) to "You Hid" sober.
Bunny-masked Justin Champlain could be to Chuck Berry what King Khan and the Shrines are to James Brown. Tuneful punk-choogle from Oakland cites Tony Clifton, Chipmunk Punk and British producer's Joe Meek murder-suicide as influences.
Four catchy, psychedelic whiners from Milwaukee inked a Sub Pop deal on the strength of zigzagging guitar lines more Built to Spill or Polvo than Fleet Foxes. A new full-length in July sounds promising; poppy first single "Everyone's Hip" is their best to date.
Waveform-obsessed Massachusetts loopers who like their spiritual forefathers Animal Collective and can't resist uploading the grating ("Kartwheels") and the beguiling ("New Wife, New Life") onto the same Myspace. At their most interesting, as on the warped-mechanicals collage "Steelestack," they're both at once.
Classically Olympian grrrl-punks have been grinding the DIY circuit for three years now under surely one of the best names in the biz. Sounds like they recorded themselves screaming about kiddie pools in a basement corridor. Their label Ick Ick's motto: "The more we hang out, the weirder we get."
The billionth band to slap reverb on the "Be My Baby" beat likes to collage fake strings, found jungle noises and (of course) buried vocals for hymnals a la Panda Bear's Person Pitch if tinkered with by the crude impatience of Olivia Tremor Control.
This GGNZLA-signed fourpiece bangs out classic outré indie with jazz chords and extraterrestrial bass, a la Les Savy Fav, Girls Against Boys, McClusky and the sacred Dismemberment Plan, only with a bummed panache more Dandy Warhols or Black Flag than Q and Not U. "This must be what magic is like," they sing off-key.
Five Denver marblemouths with a surprising desperation to their jangly guitar sound you wouldn't assume from their typically laissez-faire basement project name. Stick with barnburners like the hammering "Oklahoma" rather than the (unfortunately truer to its title) "All of Denver Is Wasted."
From miniature ballads that really do sound "like something Roy Orbison shit out" as they've dubbed themselves, to (much better) surf-punk that doesn't, this one-man-plus-help Murrieta act mines the same blurry-eyed territory as Wavves with more pep.