Z Tapes Christmas Compilation ’16
So…a little window into my life. If there is anything that my wife loves, it’s Christmas. And if there is anything she loves more than Christmas, it’s Christmas music. Everytime Christmas music comes on with The Ronettes singing Sleigh Ride or Baby Please Come Home or Maraiah Carey singing “All I Want For Christmas is You”, she’s blaring it until Christmas is nil. I personally cannot do Christmas music.
It’s always the same songs with a rare pepper sprinkle of originally written songs by the same artists in which most of them you don’t even listen to on your own free will. (Quick: how many of you willfully listen to The Ronettes or Michael Buble? Some of y’all don’t even listen to Kenny G, unless it was Christmas time.) I can only hear so many versions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” before I yell, “dude, she wants to go home! You can tap some more of that ass tomorrow!”
And so, when it comes to me writing a review about anything having to do with Christmas, my general rule is this: at least half of the songs should be either new or covered by a most recent artist. Cut the amount of traditional covers to a minimum. Thank goodness that Z Tapes delivered with that. The songs may not be overly happy, but the good thing is that the music maintains a child-like charm in it’s arrangements. Those who have heard records from Z Tapes may not find it to be new, but in this compilation, it makes all of the difference. This is a Christmas compilation that sounds a lot like hot cocoa while watching white snow tumble off of your roof.
Playfully cheap keyboards and guitar take over the album, and where some songs sound sad, others are subtle with their feeling of happiness. Skirts “Our Christmas Tree” is wistful with an opening skit, and a closing singalong. Moving in’s blend of folk and shoegaze is so dreamy that the lyrics matter less than the feeling of the music. So far, only one traditional cover shows up, and it’s by Lord Bendtner with “have urself a merry little xmas”, which slowly turns from a dreamy garage tune towards the slightly surreal.
But if you feel anything from this Christmas album, if you don’t feel super hyped by Coca-Cola Santa, you will feel cold as hell in a car trying to keep warm and wishing that you could have the one you love near you for a gift. Sometimes, for Christmas, all you need is something that feels truly warm and personal. Yes, that means I’m glad nobody covered “Baby, Please Come Home”.
Carl Cavorkian – SerpePhant EP
You know one of those artists where the more you listen to their music, the more you can picture them on a specific record label? Carl Kavorkian gives me a choice of two labels: Fake Four Inc and Anticon.
The reason thesae two come to mind is because avant-rapper/producer’s music makes use with two of the genres that he is associated with: heavy metal and hip-hop. Imagine if Fucked Up was produced by Dalek or Moodie Black.
Aside from tracks such as “CoreRoad”, which matches his guttural screams with the intense noise that matches it, Kavorkian’s idea was to communicate corruption through underground hip-hop beats and growls that would remind you a lot of STL GLD. The only real problem I can find with the album is when the chorus part of the instrumental for “MateriaLies” doesn’t seem to match the intensity vocals, and in result, pieces of the track sounds more limp than it means to.
That aside, Serpephant Elentine showcases some really fresh ideas on how Kavorkian manages to bridge two of his musical worlds in ways as intersting, if not more so, than most other musical polymaths.