:: Tapes ‘n Tapes :: Bluebird Theater :: May 9 ::
By Tiffany Childs
Tapes ‘n Tapes is a band that prefers to take its songs onto the road before taking them into the studio. And while some fans may be impatient to get new music immediately, it seems hard to argue with their methods when looking at the success of their last recording. That album, The Loon, received accolades from critics around the world, including a Best New Music commendation from Pitchfork Media.
Four members, each who take nicknames after words in the band’s name, make up the promising young group known as Tapes ‘n Tapes. If you’re wondering how four people can be named after three words (or, more exactly, a letter and one word repeated twice), the answer is simple. Two of the members, Matt Kretzman (keyboards/ multi-instrumentalist) and Erik Appelwick (bass) share the “‘n,” while Josh Grier (guitar/vocals) and Jeremy Hanson (drums) round out the band, serving as ‘Tape 1’ and ‘Tape 2’ respectively. It’s convoluted, but it’s how they see it.
But being convoluted works for Tapes ‘n Tapes. Drawing on influences much more individually driven than their nicknames, the band creates music that varies so drastically in tempo and style that it falls in the grayish genre known simply as “alt-pop.”
“Our songs on [The Loon] grew and matured from touring,” said Kretzman in a recent interview with The Marquee. “We want to do that again before recording our new album this summer. The new songs are still pop, but the sound is a little bit different. We are trying to progress beyond The Loon. When we did our first recording we didn’t really know what we were doing. The following release was infinitely better and we hope the same will be able to be said about the next one and so on.”
It turns out that the progression experienced from the band’s first release to its second, in addition to the touring, was also the result of lots of time spent in the band’s practice studio, otherwise known as Matt’s basement. “We all get down there and mess around. You just kind of do what you think sounds good and all the ears in the room come together to decide what sounds best,” Kretzman said.
Those eight ears seem to know a good thing when they hear it. “Insistor,” a song from The Loon, is featured in MLB 2007 for Playstation and Xbox this year. An element of that deal has Tapes ‘n Tapes partnering with the company for their tour. As part of a promotional release, fans at their shows will be able to play the games, even though the band doesn’t really see itself as gamers. “No, not really. I mean we occasionally play Guitar Hero, but Josh usually wins. He owns the game so he kind of has a competitive advantage,” Kretzman said.
Tapes ‘n Tapes is also enjoying great success outside of the gaming world. Bloggers and word-of-mouth have ballooned this group’s reputation to epic proportions within the indie music scene in an extremely short amount of time. In addition to the public sphere, the band has captured the attention of the music industry. Last year they were invited to play at CMJ and this year they’ll be playing the infamous Coachella in California. While CMJ can be erratic in giving attention to those who deserve it, the festival provided great exposure for this particular band. Playing at the Bowery Ballroom, one of the bigger venues included in CMJ, Tapes ‘n Tapes wowed a crowd of new and old fans alike.
You might think playing at CMJ could have been stressful for Tapes ‘n Tapes because they’ve often been compared to bands like The Pixies and Pavement and that’s a lot to live up to. If they had been trying to live up to that reputation and emanate those bands, that may have been the case. Fortunately, they didn’t try. “We love these bands and it’s great to be compared to them, but there isn’t one band that dominates our sound,” Kretzman said.
It may be true that there isn’t one band or artist that dominates the sound of Tapes n’ Tapes, but their sound is one that is starting to dominate pop. Rivaling alt-pop acts such as The Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, this seems to be the beginning of a big thing for Tapes n’ Tapes.
:: Tapes ‘n Tapes ::
:: Bluebird Theater :: May 9 ::
Spectate if you Gravitate:
• The Pixies
• Clap Your Hands Say Yeah