Tye Die Tapes are a Sheffield-based tape label, and they’ve worked with a remarkable number of good bands for what I assume is a relatively new venture – Thee Ludds and Sealings, for example, never mind the ones I am about to mention here.
Their newest release is Rich American White Kidz by a band called Sun Sister, and is a fine piece of Summery guitar pop. I mention this because it’s their latest, but it’s not necessarily my favourite of theirs. That (dubious) honour goes to the fantastic Slowcoaches, who played an Ides of Toad gig up here in Edinburgh a month or so ago.
Their We’re So Heavy tape is already sold out, but Tye Die are making more soon, apparently, and I highly recommend it. It’s boisterous, ballsy and lo-fi with more than a hint of old-school punk and really early indie about it, and the tunes are cracking.
The first two tracks in particular, We’re So Heavy and 54, are genius. We had this tape on in the van for the drive up to St. Andrews for the Fence Collective’s Eye of the Dug festival last week, and I just let it go round and round and round. I’m not sure Mrs. Toad was impressed, but um… well, sod it.
Side B, I’ll confess, doesn’t quite hit the heights of Side A, for my money, but this band have a terrific knack of, just as you think think a song might be starting to plod a little, pulling something out of the hat. The last song Drag is a case in point: it starts out relatively formulaic, but ends with a cracking descending guitar riff and another splendid, Pixies-esque shout-along chorus.
At times, particularly on highlight Broken, they can sound like a more frazzled garage Interpol, but it’s not a comparison which bears all that much scrutiny. The band themselves mention No Age, Husker Du and Xiu Xiu, and apart from not hearing much Xiu Xiu in there, I don’t really know enough about the other two bands to really comment*.
As with a lot of these tapes, I think this is the band’s debut release, so much of Tye Die Tapes’ stuff is pretty unpolished, but I honestly don’t think that matters. They have a remarkable collection of releases, and pretty much all of these bands sound really promising.