In this biweekly column, TMT Cerberus editor Justin Spicer shares with you some killer tape-only releases he's had on repeat of late:
Hobo Cubes: Serpensulla Gardens [Bridgetown Records, 2012]
I was always too scared, too shy, and too weird to play Seven Minutes in Heaven, but Frank Ouellette brings me 27 Minutes of Bliss with Serpensulla Gardens. Ah, the butterflies swarming in the pit of “Shade Bathers,” the bated breaths of “Keygen Atmospherics” whispering galactic nothings into eager ears. My heart skips a beat as Serpensulla Gardens leans in for the makeout. The gentle caress of “Hypnotherical Fascination” seamlessly turns into heavy petting and youthful exploration. I quiver with anticipation but before the magic can imprint itself on the moment, the closet door comes swinging open as gleeful laughter and anxious eyes coax out the adolescent lovebirds. Ouellette’s colorful palette of space and time is nothing more than a Summer fling, pre-teen bodies dreaming of adult themes as they gaze into the night sky. This is music of sweet intention and happy remembrance without nostalgic pretense. Just embrace these 27 minutes of knocking knees and sloppy kisses.
Imperial Topaz: Imperial [Tranquility Tapes, 2012]
The '80s continue to mangle the music world. With bloody hands and duplicitous intentions, coked-up record execs and urbanites wanting to make it big skewered the landscape. Still hungover from the feverish sexuality of disco and funk and entranced by the future brought by synthesizers and boxy home computing systems, music became an aural recreation of Jackson Pollock. Splatters of influence splashed across a canvas with little purpose, the interpretations about as accurate as a Rorschach. Imperial Topaz works to corral the bygone morass into a retake. The result, Imperial, is a better imagining of '80s pop than the era delivered. With the same haberdashery of the decade, Imperial is far more patient. Rather than loading a song with hooks and handclaps to guarantee its place on 99.9 WDJX, Imperial takes it slow with its helping of smooth jazz, cool reggae and layered chill wave (oh, what a disastrous word). The repetitive melodies may play into the drug-addled rhythms of the past but the pop signature is all new. This is not music intended for a playlist heavy on Madonna, Duran Duran, and Cameo but for the long car ride into future, when the mistakes of old have finally been corrected and musical evolution is back on its all-important course.