23 Z Tapes: Spring 2018

Right now. Now. This time. The space in which we orbit. This particular mark along the 4th dimensional axis. This time. Now. Here. Right now. Right now is the best time ever to be a music fan. Fight me.

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If your argument is that there isn’t as much good music around these days then, with all due respect, what the fuck are you talking about, you ugly sack of piss? There’s more good music in 2018 than there’s ever been before, and with more possible ways of hearing it than previously thought possible. Perhaps you want the days again when you’d read about The Mock Turtles being given record of the week in NME and then excitedly rushing off to Woolworths in Dorking to spend your 25p on the plexi vinyl, and the exhilarating trip home on the bus before you raced back to the record player in your bedroom and finally found out it was dog’s pish. Fair enough, but firstly that’s the world that you don’t like as much these days, not music, and secondly you can still take a trip out to Asda or somewhere and spend money on a record you’ve never heard that’s likely to be shit. ‘You Know I Know’ by Olly Murrs is number 10, they’ll probably have a copy of that and it’ll almost definitely be shit. Fancy doing that?

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No, of course you don’t, because that’d be fucking mental. There are far better ways now, aren’t they? Do you think any record shop near me would have been stocking Princess Red or Santigold or  Jherek Bischoff? Well, definitely not the latter, considering that album doesn’t exist, but even so, not freaking many! Perhaps you want the music you love to be spoon fed to you, or perhaps you only accept music as legitimately great after it’s honoured by a 20th anniversary perspective in Q Magazine. That’s fine, but you’re obviously not really into new music, and I hope you’re ready for the Linkin Park being recognised as classic artists before too long.

Even the past ‘musical movements’ that we remember from the past rarely made it out of the big cities, if they really meant anything at all. Punk was for the London art school kids, Britpop was such an ill-defined movement that you could argue Tricky, M People and Dodgy were all part of it (and they’re all shit! Well, apart from Tricky), grunge was mainly just Seattle, bluegrass barely made it out of North Carolina, baroque music was so centred around Leipzig, and if you weren’t a member of Stuart’s cave in cro-magnum Cerkno then you simply weren’t going to hear  Divje Babe Flute music*. I grew up in an area of Greater Manchester mostly famous for its serial killers. Only a few miles away from (possibly) England’s biggest city, and I lived through the tail end of the Madchester scene and caught the Oasis explosion. Didn’t matter. As a kid in Tameside, I was never going to experience any real movement first hand, and the next big thing wasn’t going to play a legendary gig at Broadbottom Community Centre. The vast majority of the country grew up like me, yet we never got anything. Acid House (the most important musical movement in the UK in the 20th century. Fight. Me) was the only musical movement that actually had the power and breadth to reach areas like us, but that was snuffed out by the government (!)  before I was old enough to say ‘Day, ba-day, ba-wupppa-dam-day’, and all I got was growing up listening to Southern cunts saying how important punk was because someone said ‘scrotum’ on regional London television once.  All we could do is make our own musical movements (we were really into the Stone fucking Roses in the late 90s) while the music press told us all about the cool shit that was happening in New York.

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(*as the famous saying goes, ‘if you can remember Divje Babe Flute music then you would have died many thousands of years ago!’ #CroMagnumBanter #CroBantz)

Just as an aside: if you say your favourite music is ‘punk’ in 2018 then you’re a cunt and I hate you.

Today though, the strides made my mass communication and artists unshackling themselves from evil musical corporations that for so long dominated society’s tastes. You can now decide to be part of any movement you want, find like minded people from the other side of the world to share your adoration with, and you have more opportunities than ever before to build the perfect persona*. Not only that, but you can communicate with these artists whose work you admire! Imagine if, as a teenager, I could directly contact the JJ72 bass player! I’d… well, I’d be in jail by now, and for good reason, but what a rush!

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(*and you still chose punk. I hope you die from a fall in the shower tomorrow and cats eat off your face over the course of the next three months because nobody loves you enough to check you’re still alive. Ramones though, they’re alright, yeah?)

In 2018, I’ve fallen rather smitten with Z Tapes, a wonderful Slovakian cassette record label that has released some of 2018’s most fabulous records. Even as someone in my late twenties (and being in my 20s for 14 years is getting really late) I have been excited to play a small part in the label’s publicity. Pretty much all of their albums are ‘pay what you feel’, so you really have no excuse not to pick up a few. Govier? That was Z-Tapes, and that’s fucking awesome. Oh! Andy Burns too! So many albums almost made the list, and I would honestly recommend literally any Z-Tapes release at the prices they’re selling at as at the very least an interesting curio. And there might just be another one higher up. No spoilers, obviously,

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Occasionally, I will receive a message through BandCamp that Z Tapes are struggling financially, because life isn’t fair. Z Tapes are a wonderful example of why we need to pay for the art that we love, and stop absentmindedly chucking more money that Spotify or YouTube or Apple doesn’t fucking need, just because the service is easy.

Z Tapes isn’t a charity though. I’m imploring everyone reading this to chuck at least a dollar at them for ‘Spring 2018’. 31 absolutely wonderful songs, all from bands you’ve never previously heard of but could potentially become your New Favourite Thing. Bit of a spoiler, six of the tracks on ‘Spring 2018’ make it to my songs of the year list, and no 2018 album has more. New Years Resolutions: find more music you love, stop being so lazy, reward artists not multinational companies.

*breathes*

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Summer 2018

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Yeah, yeah, or ‘Fall 2018‘. They’re both amazing, ‘Spring’ was just the one I spent most time with and could develop stronger relationships with. Buy them all you cheap bastard. Their ‘Winter 2019’ is one of my most anticipated releases of the year

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87 minutes

Honestly, doesn’t feel like an hour and a half wasted. Did you see the new Predator film? Yeah, the opposite of that

https://ztapes.bandcamp.com/album/spring-2018

Not on Spotify (though there is this helpful playlist) so you’ll have to buy it

 

 

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