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For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Caleb Weintraub
Untitled (Cassette Tape Demo)


The Shmat thought these were some very strange little songs on this cassette tape he received from Caleb Weintraub more than a few months back. Firstly, he should mention that the walkman has gone back on the fritz currently. However, he's pulled out a previously unused backstop... an old Tascam 4-track Porta 2 that was lying around! This has the added bonus of being able to play side A and B simulataneously (with side B coming through in reverse). Shmatness!

"How Many Times", though it felt a bit long to be the "hit" song, was perhaps one of the better tracks on the tape. Poppy and puncy, with nice vocal melodies, it sounded a bit like an acoustic version of Quasi. A kinda crazy electric guitar solo near the end was surprisingly fitting. Shmat should mention the sound quality was not the greatest on the tape, and the vocals especially tend to clip out and distort pretty often making for some difficult listening. One interesting thing is the sort of "spanish Beatlesque" flavor to many of the tracks including "Trumpeter's Rebellion" and "For The Vengeance of a Pinto". There is a definite sort of Lennon flavor to some of the tracks, or maybe Elvis Costello.

Shmat also likes the interesting titles and words... for instance "Conspiracy In The Key Of G (minor) could hardly be called succinct. The lyric sheet (most helpfully provided) reads like some sort of confessional Beat Generational exorcism. A brief sample rant: "Now they're building a human from pieces of plastic a brain from a bottle a heart from a piglet the sidewalks are moving in LA and New York, cocaine is legal chocolate is outlawed." With words storms like this, who needs songs! "Long Long Long Long Long Long" is perhaps a prophetic song title as it sums up the overall feel that the Shmat was left with. This is not a bad tape and it has both inventive moments as well as crafty pop style that swings for the fences. But, perhaps it would have been better digested as a cassette EP of say 4-5 songs.


- review by SHMAT (6.15.04)        

Caleb Weintraub
caleb@alumni.upenn.edu



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