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Tapes ‘N Tapes talk “lighthearted” new studio album

on April 16, 2010, 12:10pm

If it feels like it’s been forever since you’ve heard anything from Minneapolis indie rockers Tapes ‘n Tapes, maybe it has. After The Loon, the blistering 2006 full-length debut that garnered the band favorable (and justified) comparisons to Pavement and the Pixies – not to mention appearances in movies, commercials, and video games – its sophomore effort Walk it Off was less well received, to put it lightly.

But Tapes ‘n Tapes have wasted little time getting new music out. As frontman Josh Grier (a.k.a. Tapes 1) told Consequence of Sound, the band finished work last week (in the “wee hours of the morning”) at Minneapolis recording studio The Terrarium, recording and producing its third LP in five years.

After working with producer David Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, OK Go) on their last album, the guys have decided to go back to self-production, as they did with The Loon and their 2004 eponymous EP. Grier intimated, “The last record, working with David Fridmann, that was kind of new for us.” This time the production process was more natural: “It was great,” he said. “We went for like two weeks and tried to get everything done.”

They aren’t done with everything, however; the album is still untitled and has yet to be mixed and mastered. Furthermore, Grier was only able to reveal a few song titles, namely because he doesn’t know most of them yet. But some of the titles they have decided on are evidence that Tapes ‘n Tapes are anything but self-serious. The album will contain one track called “Ba Da Boom” and another called “SWM” (which they performed for MTV2; see at bottom), an abbreviation for – you guessed it – “Single White Male”.

As such inane titles might have one believe, the album is “more lighthearted than the last record,” as Grier put it. “Less aggressive, more lighthearted.” He also emphasized the new LP’s sound is really a “combination” of the band’s previous two efforts.

Tapes ‘n Tapes haven’t yet decided on singles, but it will be interesting to see if they can rival the success of early singles like the jangly “Insistor” and the Pixies throwback “Cowbell”. Grier has a healthy, shrug-off-the-pressure attitude about churning out hits. “I never really think about that stuff,” he said. “I never know what songs people are gonna like. Maybe nobody will like any of them.”

Time will tell whether that’s the case, but the band’s approach to recording this time around looks promising. “On the last record we kind of went in and we knew how things were going to be,” Grier said. “We had all the songs worked up and ready to go.” This time, he said, the band went into the studio not knowing what a particular song was meant to sound like. “Making music is a selfish endeavor,” Grier posed. “It was more of a group effort on this one.”

It’s comforting to hear that a band has witnessed the drawbacks of clashing egos and returned in one piece. Many don’t last three albums for that very reason.

“I don’t know how the final product is gonna turn out,” Grier said when asked about the band’s satisfaction with the album so far. However, he was anything but pessimistic about its quality, declaring, “I think, in the grand scheme of things, it turned out really well.” He added, “All of us at this point are really happy.”