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Tag: Sink Tapes

Mint 400’s Patchwork shows its diversity of sounds

patchwork

I’ve covered digital label Mint 400 Records before, because I think they do great work in the lo-fi indie/lo-fi folk realm and because they have an interesting business model. The label’s latest compilation Patchwork shows off 17 of their bands, giving a pretty good snapshot of what they’re doing. (Disclosure: I’m the manager of The Duke of Norfolk, who is signed to Mint 400.)

The lo-fi work doesn’t disappoint: Sink Tapes, Fairmont, and The Maravines all have compelling offerings near the beginning of the album. The Multi-Purpose Solution and The Mai 68s hold down the end of the record, making sure you didn’t forget about the indie-rock. The acoustic-based work is also exciting, as newcomer Murzik adds an attention-grabbing piano-and-voice entry. Dave Charles sings a chill song that references Star Wars and sounds like some sort of early Jason Mraz tune. Cropduster provides another standout, with a gravelly, creaking voice over an acoustic guitar until it explodes into a grungy sort of thing for a bit.

Cropduster’s rock isn’t an isolated thing: the label has developed some loud leanings. Shallows’ “Always” is aggressive, dissonant guitar rock that borders on post-hardcore; Tri-State’s tune is straight-up guitar rock; and Jack Skuller contributes some rockabilly with ’50s vocal leanings. Mint 400 has grown from a small label with a specific niche to a widely diverse roster of bands, and Patchwork shows off the best of all of them. Check it out at iTunes or Spotify.

Sink Tapes

sinktapes

Sink Tapes’ lo-fi tunes span the spectrum from Pavement-style rockers to Elliot Smith-style acoustic musings, but their best work on How You Mean falls squarely in the lo-fi indie-pop realm. “Famous Glitching Clan” and “Pornographic Railroad Station” focus squarely on vocals instead of the arrangements, letting the instrumentals fall in step behind the morose, low-tenor declarations. The former is emotionally arresting in an unexpected sort of way, while the wistful latter is downright catchy for a chorus-less tune that doesn’t break 1:40. Other highlights include the REM jangle of “Your Mouth is On My Mind” and the plodding slackerness of “Super Happy.” Fans of the earnest, lo-fi ’90s or modern-day musicians that own a lot of stock in reverb pedal companies will have a field day with Sink Tapes’ near-perfect recreation of the “jangle-pop meets rock” moment of 1993-ish indie rock.