A Sony Walkman WM-F8. This upper-mid range consumer model has a sturdy construction, super clear sound, and a satisfyingly minimal design. Two thick straps permanently attached to its back make it cumbersome to carry around unless you loop them around your neck or over your shoulder, either of which can get you weird looks, due to the deck’s size. The maple leaf logo next to the Walkman logo is due to the fact that this particular unit was originally sold in Canada. The more common USA version has a silver star in its place.
New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Honeydrum are known for their prolific output of digital releases and tapes. Last spring they were putting out a new single or EP every week or two and have kept a steady flow of singles coming since. The band has started playing out live more often now, which by all accounts is a good time. They’re also in the excellent habit of putting out plenty of self-made videos. More on that later.
When the Young Are Gone is a compilation of mostly previously released material from the last year. While calling it a “best of” would be selling the band short, it does have plenty of fan favorites and works well as both a chronicle of the band’s ever-shifting sound and as a cohesive EP in itself. It’s easy to tie Honeydrum’s buoyant bass riffs, obscured synths, and alternately deadpan and emphatic vocals directly to the semi-hypnagogic popsters who they came up in the shadows of, but their insistence on the unexpected sets them apart. Their sound is a tight patchwork, often calling to mind the more non compos mentis work of Joel Meek or the sound of that elusive and experimental phase just before certain garage and post-punk bands exploded into DayGlo new wave. Their legitimately lo-fi approach allows the tracks to take on new dimensions as they settle into their groove.
How it sounds:
This is music made with the cassette in mind and truly sounds at home on the medium. The tape hiss and the tracks' unique mixes help give the bass an oddly full sound that works well with the guitar tones and especially the vocals. The only thing that prevents this from being great sitting around and hanging out music is the short track lengths, which also happens to be precisely why this is such good walking around music.
The full package:
Purple, magenta, pink, and shades in between dominate the packaging, while a distorted image from the “Skin City” video (see below) serves as the front cover. Coarse matte, probably hand stenciled paint covers the tape itself, complete with a nice purple to blue gradient on the triangles. It's very pleasing to handle, with the tape art making for a rewardingly tactile experience.
Watching and listening:
We’re excited to premiere the video for “Suddenly Heaven,” a fractured take on the female-centric music video, laced with TV ad style cuts and an alternately suburban and CCTV feel. This track will be on the B-side of Honeydrum’s upcoming “Stranger Calls” 7-inch.
“Night Runner” boasts a mutant new wave vibe and an endless flow of catchy hooks.
“Skin City” is a twisted take on the pop duet that manages to go very dark and exciting places and back again in just under 2 minutes.
Honeydrum’s When The Young Are Gone is now available for purchase on their Tumblr. Watch out for their upcoming “Stranger Calls” 7-inch, which will be available as a set with a CD-R entitled Do U Party? from amdiscs this April.