Night-People Records, the Iowa imprint run by a guy named Shawn Reed, decided to strap on its boots last week and announce the release of ten new cassettes all at once, because now that music is infinite I guess large-batch releases of small-editions of works is just “a thing” and we're gonna have to deal with it. But for the press schedule, how can we possibly review all these releases at once and not have it look like favoritism? They are all wildly different, so that solves the problem for more genre-oriented places, but at Impose we don't give a chicken's butt about genre so we are still in the mud. The other way we could do it is to just talk about the compilation that Reed released along with the records. It's called Dada Damage, and it has songs from most of the aritsts in this batch on it. So maybe just download that, and listen along as we explain who all of these groups are real-quick like. And since there's so many, I'm just gonna break it down to the bare essentials: Band, title, release art (all done by Reed except for one), short bio, one sentence of editorial. Bam, Bam, Bam.
Lab Coast, Editioned Houses
Bio: From Calgary, Alberta. Previously released on Scotch Tapes and Eggy Records
Listen to: “Better Than Me”
A functionally nasal singer over pretty bell-toned guitars and muffled drums from the bedroom; songs by a cute dork for other cute dorks.
Xiao Hong Yu Xiao Xiao Hong, Black Sheep
Bio: From Beijing, China. Name translates to “Little Red Small Little Red”. Released this tape as a CD-R before Reed decided to re-release as a tape in America.
Starts out with an incredibly true tone, blue as the sky, joined and eventually almost obscured by voices drenched in static and mud; like slowly being buried on a volcanic black sand beach in Hawaii.
Son of Salami, Deli Days
Bio: A Vermonter who goes by the name Joey Pizza Slice. Released on Feeding Tube Records. Records on a weird tape recorder with the eraserhead removed so he can overdub, but only by sacrificing the ability to hear his own playback.
Listen to: “Fresh Baguettes” (Note: Son of Salami is one of the releases not included on the Dada Damage comp, but they are included on a previous Night-People comp called Deluxe Double Fold. We've just embedded this video because it's so awesome.)
At least he has a reason for being off-time that has creative merit — process matters! – but this track is just the right combo of addled infantilism and lonely love-song: awe-inspiring.
N. 213, Bastard
Bio: This is Nick Hughes from Vancouver's Shearing Pinx. This tape has a Fall cover and a Sonic Youth cover.
Listen to: “Forgiveness” (Note, N.213 is also not available on the comp, so here's a song from Bandcamp.)
These songs are very short, but somehow still manage to have like sixteen different punk clauses; it's kind of like this review style where there is a lot to say, and it should be said loud, but the economy of size is also part of the statement.
Terror of the Deep, Airport Underneath the Dome
Bio: Kiwis discovered by Reed when he was staying in Australia with the Twerps. This is another re-release for American audiences.
It's really fun to repeat “Terror of the Deep” in your best fake New Zealand accent but these three dapper young gentlemen are masters of the classic tight-collared pop melody and they have that fun jingle-jangle all wrapped up in a box for mama with a bow on top.
Mole House, self-titled
Bio: Three Melbournians, featuring a member each of Mad Nanna and White Woods. Also being released by Queens, NY label Quemada.
Compared to Terror of the Deep this is almost morose, but in actuality there is a lot of absurd, lovable humor in this twisted song, like in the lyric “the bird goes behind a plant” and the fact that none of these slackers seem to be watching each other play their instruments on purpose.
Lantern, Burned Youth
Bio: Three peeps from Philadelphia. This is a re-release of a tour-only deal from earlier in the band's evolution.
I was gonna try not to use the word psychedelic once in these reviews because it doesn't really mean much anymore but these guys are pumped full of folk-flavored 1968-juice on this tape: guitar solos, harmonies, tambourine, and all.
Miami Angels in America, A Public Ranking
Bio: Formerly known as Angels in America, or maybe just differently known as Angels in America. Have released on Ehse Records and Northern Sky while nomading around the East Coast.
This is the only one that hasn't won me over yet but I think it's because my darkwave senses aren't that well tuned and to me it just sounds like they found each other in a chatroom specifically tailored to the apathy in their lives and vocals, but my boyfriend is ready to murder me about this because he totally loves them.
Ryan Garbes, 1965
Bio: A member of Shawn Reed's band Wet Hair. Also released on the Woodsist imprint Hello Sunshine last year. He did his own tape art.
Listen to: “Moistpop” (Also available only on the past comp, Deluxe Double Fold, see above)
Multi-instrumentalism all over the place, with sax-tones seeming to morph right into vocals and even though he's singing in a kind of deadpan, it sounds really bright and fun, especially because of the keyboard-tickles sprinkled liberally throughout.