Remember a long time ago when I said I got a big box of tapes in the mail from Bathetic? It took me ages to get around to reviewing their reissue of Angel Olsen’s Strange Cacti cassette (review here) & then it took me even longer to get around to assessing the rest of the mystery box’s contents (okay, so I am actually still in the processing of addressing the rest of the box.) In addition to the Olsen tape, there were four other tapes (two of which are now sold out out — Jon wasn’t kidding when he said their stuff goes fast) & a 7”. I’m coming to the end of a long, slow Sunday & thought that now might just be the right time to dig back into that box and see what else Bathetic has to offer.
Drew Hill, Seasons in Rust
Yesterday my friend Kate and I went to the Cleveland Museum of Art where we worked our way through three floors of immaculately preserved/restored artwork, ending up in the basement at the precipice of a traveling exhibit called “Treasures from Heaven.” The words “Treasures from Heaven” make me think of Precious Moments figurines — porcelain girls sheltering wide-eyed lambs, first communion dresses, and specially engraved mementos from Things Remembered — but the actual exhibit was dark and sinister, tiny pouches containing saints’ teeth and chips of bone, hunks of petrified wood with rust-colored blemishes on them, oxidized nails, boxes never meant to be opened. The songs on Seasons in Rust are like the audio equivalent of these artifacts and the reliquaries they were housed in — eerie and unsettling, but you can’t not look, you can’t not listen.
You can view a track list & stream “Show Me a Grave” here.
Haunted Houses, Make Believe You’re Dead
The first song on Make Believe You’re Dead, “Dark Abandoned Rooms,” sounds exactly like it’s title would lead you to believe — these are the sad and scary sounds of every abandoned party house. Make Believe You’re Dead sounds like my life from ages fifteen to twenty condensed into a 35 minute cassette — mournful, distorted sounds that bring up images of sunken in couches and rooms littered with cigarette butts and empty red plastic cups. For every moment of audibly palpable desperation, there are seconds of unexpected beauty (not unlike the moments in Guided By Voices albums — the two songs out of 35 — that remind you that people are probably right when they call Bob Pollard a genius.)
You can view a track list & stream “Evil Practices in Ritual” here.
I like listening to these tapes from Bathetic because they challenge me in a way that most music doesn’t. I’m the kind of person who likes what they like, and most of what I like is easy to listen to. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m a fan of conventional pop music. I tend to focus on lyrics, I like to sing along to things. These tapes are, generally speaking, not sing along music. They force me to focus on something other than words — to find meaning in the way that sounds are arranged.
Bathetic is currently running a special where US customers can get any 2 items for $12, North American (non-US) customers can get any 2 items for $14, and customers in any non-US/North American country can get any two items for $17. Shipping is included in these prices. You can view Bathetic’s catalogue here.