Thursday, September 7, 2017

Single Premiere: The Cheap Cassettes - "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick"

When one of your favorite bands approaches you with the somewhat unusual idea of doing a combination premiere and review of its new single, how can you say no?! Believe it or not, this is the first actual single from The Cheap Cassettes - who've been a band since the early part of the decade. After self-releasing their debut album in 2014 and working with Rum Bar Records on a reissue earlier this year, Chaz, Kevin, and Izzy were certainly raring to get back into the studio and cut some new tracks. And cut some new tracks they did - at the world famous Egg Studios in Seattle with the legendary Kurt Bloch producing! From those sessions came "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick" and "Worse N' Better" - out today as a digital release and a limited edition cassette single. Without a doubt, The Cheap Cassettes have never sounded better!

It had been so long since The Cheap Cassettes had recorded new material that I wondered what to expect. There was always the possibility that the band might have changed its musical style to black metal or abandoned all use of guitars in favor of kazoos. I feared such horrors as experimentation with dubstep and a random guest appearance by Ed Sheeran. Much to my delight, no such developments came to be. Both of these tracks are right in the band's sweet spot: marvelous hook-driven pop with a rootsy charm and real honest-to-goodness power behind it. This is exactly what we have come to expect ever since Chaz and Kevin began their musical partnership back in the early 2000s.  "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick" and "Worse N' Better" are power pop by its truest definition. Yet with Chaz's songwriting so indelibly informed by punk rock and early American rock n' roll, The Cheap Cassettes don't sound like a power pop group you've heard 100 times before. And I must say that these tunes are top-notch! Being one who can never get enough of hard pop with a bittersweet taste, I am totally enamored with "Hieroglyphics In Lipstick". It contains some of Chaz's finest lyrics ever - and one of his catchiest melodies as well. "Worse N' Better" is every bit as good and could easily have been the "A" side. It pretty much has it all: a super-tough riff, hooks I can't get out of my head, and a guitar solo so wicked good that even a master shredder like Bloch couldn't help expressing his admiration.

Two more songs from the Egg sessions will be released next year as a vinyl single. In the meantime, I am delighted to present these two latest pop gems to the world at large! With sharp-looking artwork courtesy of Anna and Kevin Parkhurst, the "cassingle" version of this release is well worth seeking out. It's time to pull your boombox and Walkman out of deep storage! Only 50 copies are available. So act quickly if you'd like to own some Cheap Cassettes on, uh, cheap cassette!


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