You’ll have to indulge me in a little nostalgia here. I’ve still got loads of old compilation tapes friends made for me years ago. To me they are objects of beauty, and important mementos, not simply a hipster fad. Particularly special are those made by my old mate Jas Toomer, who died in a car crash over ten years ago. He was a music obsessive and a prolific tape-maker. He had one of the biggest record collections I’ve ever seen – it had to be carefully positioned when he lived in a caravan, so as not to tip it over. He also made excellent inserts, artwork and stickers to go with the tapes.
Making tapes was a linear labour of love, a real-time creation, which tested your editing skills. I never liked it when the tape ran out before a track finished, so tended to use the same short tracks to fill that gap more efficiently – Old Mother Reagan by Violent Femmes (31 seconds long) and Freaky by All (11 seconds) were regulars. And of course it was the pre-CD and internet way of discovering new bands and accessing music you couldn’t afford to buy. They said it would kill music, but it didn’t.
And it ain’t just me. The infamous C86 is being reissued, bands are releasing stuff on cassette (Sisyphus – gimmicky, but tempting!) and there’s a great podcast called Tabs Out www.mixcloud.com/tabsout which shares a diverse mix of music released on tape.
So please enjoy this little compilation of music from compilation tapes of old (which is inevitably heavy on 80s indie/punk and very lo-fi!)
- Bad Brains – How Low Can a Punk Get?
- Camper Van Beethoven – Take the Skinheads Bowling
- Androids of Mu – Bored Housewives
- Penetration – Lifeline
- The Rezillos – Top of the Pops
- Sleater-Kinney – You’re No Rock n Roll Fun
- Fugazi – Repeater
- The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Bell Bottoms
- The Television Personalities – How I Learned to Love the Bomb
- Violent Femmes – Old Mother Reagan