Cassette Store Day 2015 has arrived and it’s bigger than ever! In its third year with Burger Records running the show, there are hundreds of new cassettes being released — from re-releases to debuts, to compilations of musicians from around the world. To help navigate the sea of releases, we whittled down a list of our top 15 recommended buys for Cassette Store Day 2015.
If you’d prefer to browse the complete list of releases for yourself, you can do so here, or simply visit one of the four local shops participating in official Cassette Store Day shenanigans this October 17: Jackpot Records, Music Millennium, Beacon Sound, and 2nd Avenue Records.
Alex G. – Beach Music – Domino
Alex G. has flown under the radar for quote some time now considering how much work he has produced; Beach Music is his 7th full-length release to date. Beach Music is melancholy and meandering, driven predominately by pretty guitar melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Alex G. is known almost exclusively for his releases on Bandcamp, so the Beach Music cassette is a rarity.
Andrew Jackson Jihad – Christmas Island – SideOneDummy Records
Andrew Jackson Jihad’s Christmas Island is well suited for the grittiness you expect when listening to a cassette in your car, or more lo-fi still on a $3 tape-deck from Goodwill. While Christmas Island is their newest release, and therefore doesn’t contain of his most beloved songs, songs like “Temple Grandin” and “I Wanna Rock Out In My Dreams” will make you feel all the same youthful angst you could ever hope to feel listening to Andrew Jackson.
Beach Slang – HERE, I MADE THIS FOR YOU (Beach Slang Mixtape Vol. 1) – Polyvinyl Records
Such a huge part of cassette culture is mix tapes. Or at least it used to be. HERE, I MADE THIS FOR YOU is sure to be the sweetest, saddest mixed tape you listen to all year, with songs carefully chosen by the band from their repertoire of emotional surf-rock. Even if emotional surf-rock isn’t your thing, who else is going to make you a mix tape in 2015?
Green Day – Dookie – Burger Records
A Green Day re-release through Burger Records is the most obvious pick on this list; of course Dookie should be re-released on cassette. Burger fans of today and Green Day fans of the 90s are the PB&J of rock subculture. Plus, this version has an updated cover art by the original artist Richie Bucher!
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Broom – Polyvinyl Records
Broom isn’t Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s best release, and who can blame them, because it was their first and it came out nearly a decade ago. Even still, Broom is supremely catchy, so if pop music and cassettes are your jam, definitely pick this up.
STRFKR – Reptilians – Polyvinyl Portland darlings
STRFKR are one of the only Northwest Natives to hop on the cassette bandwagon this go-around with a release of their second full-length Reptilians. Reptilians is filled with layers of subtle sounds, and that refinement is part of what makes STRFKR so great, so hopefully none of that complexity is compromised and muddied on the cassette release.
The Moondoggies – Don’t Be a Stranger – Blind Blind Tiger/Hardly Art
The Moondoggies first ever cassette release of Don’t Be a Stranger is a rare gem among all the official releases of Cassette Store Day 2015. Their authentic American rock n roll points itself toward blues and country, a refreshing reprieve from the wall of fuzz and distortion thrown out by many of the other releases. Plus, the cassette will include an unreleased bonus track, “Wash Away Your Sins”!
The Vandals – Peace Thru Vandalism – Chi-Com International
Not to make sweeping generalizations, but if you like The Vandals, there’s a good chance you also like cassettes on their first go-around. Re-live your youth with the re-release of this classic punk album.
The Wonderland Philharmonic – Shogun Assassin – Cinewax/Light in the Attic/One Way Static
Shogun Assassin is a shining example of 1980s samurai movies, and not only that, but the soundtrack is a beautiful, creepy example of everything a movie soundtrack can be. The most notable thing about the soundtrack though is that RZA famously sampled the first track off of Shogun Assassin in “Liquid Swords.” So if you’re a fan of Wu-Tang or a fan of movie soundtracks, be sure to check this out.
The Blank Tapes – Sha-La Love – DOMEOFDOOM
Sha-La Love is the Atlantis of Cassette Store Day 2015. This album was recorded more than five years ago, and then set aside and buried until now! Sha-La Love is part three of The Blank Tapes cassette trilogy, which includes Sleepy EP and Slow Easy Death, released by DOMEOFDOOM.
Blessed Feathers – There Will Be No Sad Tomorrow – Hope For The Tape Deck
Blessed Feathers just released There Will Be No Sad Tomorrow on October 9 after two quiet years. Simultaneously psychedelic and straight-forward this album covers a lot of ground musically, maintaining focus on catchy melodies and heartbreaking lyrics that you will definitely want to sing along to.
Surfer Blood – Astro Coast –Kanine Records
Astro Coast was released five years ago and it still hasn’t gotten old. The guitar hooks are still just as intoxicating as they were when it first game out, and the lyrics are still relevant, and for the first time ever you can pick it up on cassette! Blue-tinted cassette no doubt. Listen to this in your old Honda with the windows rolled down, or on a tape player. Loudly. In public. Everyone should be listening to this, even five years later.
Natural Child – Freakin’ Weekend VI – Shred House Records
Natural Child’s stoney vintage rock feels at home on cassette. Their laid-back attitude and lo-fi sound is right at the heart of the cassette tape resurgence, so their release of their live set at Freakin’ Weekend VI makes perfect sense. This release isn’t currently available online, and it’s sure to have all the Natural Child favorites on it, so if you’re a fan of Natural Child, don’t miss this one.
Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style – Matador Records
Will Toledo started making music as Car Seat Headrest in 2010 in his hometown in Leesburg, Virginia. In the five years since he began, Will has moved to Seattle and released a half dozen full-length albums and a handful of singles. Teens of Style is yet another in his impressive catalogue. If anything, the fuzzy compression of cassette will only add to Teens of Style’s lo-fi vocals and fuzzy, twangy guitar, but the release is limited to 150, so if you’re interested be sure to get it fast!
Kylesa – Ultraviolet & Spiral Shadow – Season of Mist
Kylesa has two releases for Casssette Store Day 2015: 2010’s Ultraviolet and 2013’s Spiral Shadow. Kylesa is maybe the only true metal band to put out a release for Cassette Store Day and both albums are soaring examples of sludge can be. Ultraviolet and Spiral Shadow bridge a narrow gap between psych rock and metal, with both albums consistently incorporating both to create music that is always surprising. Each release is limited to 200 copies and comes with full-color album art.