Tape[Talk] Label Feature: Fleeting Youth Records

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Fleeting Youth Records, based out of Austin, TX, came barreling in out of nowhere in 2013 rattling the Tape Label game completely. Barely three months old, Fleeting Youth has officially released 5 cassettes and has no intention of slowing down. FYR is owned and managed by Ryan Monk, the mastermind behind undergroundmusic.fm. Monk seems to be modestly taking over—releasing hit after hit, tape after tape. I love the aesthetic of the label, and Monk’s overall mission to ”provide music fans with top notch cassette and vinyl releases from emerging punk, garage, alternative, and pop bands.” More simply put, FYR is so much more than just another analog label; it’s an exceptionally versatile brand.

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I am so siked to now own all five of their current releases (excluding their most current pre-order Passenger Peru—set to release January 28th), and couldn’t wait to give this label the recognition it so obviously deserves. One of my favorite things about FYR is their ability to effortlessly converge diversity and solidarity—reaching into a vast universe of music, and pulling out a cryptic, emergent world of rock. FYR is absolutely redefining the rock genre, by introducing us to some of the most electrifying artists I’ve heard in a while. Their current roster is chock full of eclectic jewels, and is continuing to steadily grow as the months progress.

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FYR’s first cassette, a split EP with Austin locals Big Bill + Basketball Shorts, was a party rock sensation, and definitively an epic first release. I was entranced by the lush, unpredictable rhythms and beatifically shrill vocals of Big Bill, and fell in love with the dancey, fast paced sounds of Basketball Shorts. Their mysteriously inviting punk anthem “The Reaper” reeled me in, with its jumpy drum beats and playful synth. Both bands compliment the other perfectly, and made for an incredibly amazing split. I dig the lime green cassette color, but even more so, the artwork. An insanely chaotic fusion of acidic hallucinations and mind melting riots—is an awesomely accurate portrayal of both artists, I fucking love it.

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And one of my personal favorites, the post-punk grunge gods, The Chelsea Kills [Pulp Culture]. From start to finish, these guys will suck you into their didactic tales through gnarly shreds and frothy rhythms. Pulp Culture comes to you on ayellow tape with purple imprint—the subtly clever inverse of the radically creative artwork. After jamming this album a few times, I connected the relativity of rubbish spewing out of his brain, to the strong vocals pouring out of the album (i.e. “Under 1-95” and the highway 95 sign above the right ear) All around genius.

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Next up, the indie rock treasure Pink Mexico [Pnik Mxeico]. This album is a delicious melting pot overflowing with bites of saucy grunge, chunks of garage rock and subtle, sugary hints of pop. The ambiguous instrumentals carry Preston’s eloquent vocals beautifully. I loved the imaginative sounds practically heckling your subconscious. Overall the album is not just a collection of enticingly passionate tunes, but an authentic voyage through raw emotion. Pressed on a deep pink cassette with black imprint, accompanied by a disturbingly inimitable cover graphic. I loved the honesty and pure vulnerability of this album.

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Bringing the noise is “fuzz punk” band Mumblr, with their astoundingly addictive album [White Jesus/Black God]. This dual EP is a frantic delight. With edgy, fast paced guitars and flailing vocals, these guys break off a completely enchanting hunk of chaos. Their sounds are pure anarchy, that you somehow can’t seem to get enough of. Brought to you on a cherry red cassette tape, perfectly matched with the ‘spiral sperm’ madness of artwork. Positively loved this one…duh.

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When this bad boy came to me in the mail today, I was ear to ear grins, from the unwrapping to the moment I pushed play. That grin quickly turned into pursed lips as my head nodded to the strident rhythm, filthy guitars and eerie vocals of the opening track “Hip New Jerk.” I fucking love the thick, distorted guitar sounds that follow you through this album. My favorite track, “I Will Peel You Open” makes me feel like I’m sluggishly walking through a gnarly pit of grunge. The grimy melody and dragging vocals are such a work of art. I wanted to stretch my neck out and take a fucking bite out of this song. Slippertails will without a doubt take you on a mucky trip through the feverish, hallucinogenic wormhole that is the appropriately titled [There’s A Distubing Trend]. You’ll find yourself asking, “Did that really just happen?” then immediately hit that rewind button and go back for seconds.

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I’m completely hooked on FYR and everything they are rolling out. But I have to say my absolute favorite thing about their product is the vibrant cassette colors and awesomely distinctive artwork. Each cassette is already my new favorite before I even pop it into the player. It’s obvious that thought and careful preparation are taken into account for each artist and their album. The persona of each band is perfectly captured from the j-card all the way to the cassette’s imprint color. These are seemingly small aspects that really make a huge difference—to the album, and the label in general. WELL DONE, FYR, well done.  

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Breaking it down more figuratively, Fleeting Youth Records is an unstoppable beast, crushing norms and dominating the world of analog. I cannot wait to see what FYR will continue to bring us in 2014, and the one of a kind artists they’ll add to the roster.

[long. live. analog.] 

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From start to finish, The Chelsea Kills’ entire sophomore album, entitled ‘Pulp Culture’ from Fleeting Youth Records, will undoubtedly get your head nodding; with their incredibly addictive melodies, groove inducing rhythms and passionate riffs. I found myself captivated by the ingenuity of their storytelling, as well as their tempestuous guitar shreds. TCK brings the garage-punk fever to your ears, but with an entirely unique spin on a classic sound. With morsels of pop, grunge and angsty 90’s alternative oozing from these incredibly honest tales of drugs, love, and the wavering uncertainty of growing up (and down).

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Favorite Track:

From the hopeful, shackle breaking tune “Germany,” to their extraordinarily melodic spin on a suicide tale, the hauntingly catchy “Under 1-95,” TCK’s ‘Pulp Culture’ never disappoints.

My absolute favorite though, has to be the ‘beat me down’ track “Reatard.” With its begrudgingly sly vocals and body rocking tempo, this jam took refuge in my brain for days, and had me saying “Oh yeahhhh.” 

Pick up their Cassette or Digital Album now—Fleeting Youth Records

Introducing Tape[Talk], a new review and reflect series dedicated to the ever so classic, cassette tape. A couple years ago, I began noticing the dusty pile of cassette tapes in almost every low key thrift store I shopped. Glancing through the stacks, [mostly piles of tapes thrown into bins], I didn’t see an obsolete brick of plastic, but a forgotten musical treasure. The countless titles and artists of those who I had once listened to, but many of whom still lived in my iTunes. I realized how a file on a computer didn’t have the same aesthetic as that of a tape. The endless files that filled my computer, iPod, and smart phone were in no comparison to these wistful beauties. Consequently, I became infatuated with cassettes, and the epic-ness they exuded—-which, is why so many labels and bands are going back to cassette. With new releases and albums being pressed on tape. Not only are they cheaper to produce, but they are cheaper to buy. The fiscal aspect however, isn’t the only benefit; in fact, I’d say it isn’t even the best thing about releasing on cassette.

Bandcamp and SoundCloud links, are completely and utterly disposable, especially to your average, internet savvy music lover. Free Download cards and even free ‘samplers’ and Cd’s handed to you in the street often end up in the trash. Bands who produce cassettes provide us with a true keepsake, a unique relic that captures their music in the most nostalgic way possible. The exclusivity of the cassette gives these album’s that pristine originality factor. Not to mention the opportune size and portability. Unlike vinyl, purchasing a tape from a band’s merch table at a packed, sweaty show won’t be an inconvenience, simply pop that bad boy into your clutch or back pocket.

There are some folks who just don’t get the appeal of the tape—-the surprisingly real sound quality, or proud collective edge that comes with each added cassette, new or old. Like the avid vinyl collector, tape collectors take their assortments pretty seriously. Personally, each new cassette added to my collection [old or new], is a tiny, plastic rectangle of pure joy and happiness. Thus, a new addition to the Radio Fonix experience was created. Tape[Talk] isn’t just your average ‘blog about tapes’, but a glimpse inside the mind and ears of an eclectic, music obsessed tape lover; a tribute and adoration of the glorious analog era, and the return of its collective musical presence. Stay tuned.

[Long. Live. Analog.]

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