Two quick stories about tapes.


Yesterday morning, I went into my big-plastic-container-of-cassettes, in order to locate some music from A Perfect Fit. Found two tapes: the store-released “action-potential-fire” and a three-song demo from 1989. With those in-hand, I headed to KDHX, where staff engineer/producer Andy Coco taught me how to a dupe a cassette to CD, a process that wasn’t too hard, even for a technical bonehead. So, I’ve now got a nice APF disc to work into tomorrow’s “Silver Tray” show, but I’ve also got a bit of a problem. This problem: all those dozens of local cassettes sitting in the box. Ugh.

Now that I’m aware that I could dupe all those tapes onto CD, it’s going to become that “should do this summer” project that I absolutely don’t need. Ugh. And it’s not as if it’s just the local stuff that’s in there, calling out to me. I mean, anyone actively into music in the ’80s and ’90s surely has some oddity on cassette that they would want to hear in a better, more convenient format. All those Robyn Hitchcock, Chameleons and Shellyan Orphan tapes are pulling me down, down to the basement, where they’ve been patiently sitting in a box for the last decade. Ugh.


The same box of tapes yielded an unearthed “Red Tape,” a double-sided compilation of tracks from Mute Records and 4AD, compliments of Select. I’ve long since parted with October, 1990’s edition of Select Magazine, but the tape’s still a reminder that while finishing up grad school in London, during that exact month, I was listening to this cassette and almost nothing but this cassette. Actually, just side one, with the 4AD cuts. It’s funny to look at a tape and think about it absolutely turning you onto a whole scene, but the tracks on side one of “Red Tape” are still favorites.

They are: Cocteau Twins, “Pitch the Baby” (alt. version); Pale Saints, “Insubstantial”; Pixies, “Allison”; His Name is Alive, “Some and I”; Lush, “De-Luxe”; Ultra Vivid Scene, “Special One”; and Dead Can Dance, “Song of the Sybil.” Hello, tape. You’re the template for my falling in love with shoegaze. Thanks, tape. The sound system of my ’96 Corolla looks forward to getting to know you again.

4 thoughts on “Tapes

  1. Thom, John Consiglio here (jconsiglio@swank.com). I have some APF stuff that I can burn off for you. I don’t have the EP on CD but I have a handful of other studio tracks as well as some live board mix stuff. The best quality live thing we ever did was the WMRY broadcast (’89) but I only have a couple of tracks from that. I’m trying to track that down. Shoot me an email if you like.

  2. In my tape collection, I have the entire Live Aid concert. I remember staying up for 24 hours eat chocolate covered espresso beans to listen. Those were the days.

  3. In my most recent move, I purged my tape collection. Unfortunately there wasn’t much there that I thought was worth keeping. Lots of hair metal, Top 40s pop from the 90s and the occasional country cassette. But what I did rediscover was my collection of “Rock n Roll” series of mix tapes that I made, starting when I was about 10, and which numbers in the 50s. It pretty much reads like a kick-ass KSHE set list, but there are some interesting gems in there that predicted my tastes of music to come.

    Now if I only had a working tape deck….

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