header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL54]
Outside the Museum "Singles Club #1"

  • Depression Chamber
    Timid but not quiet. The first entry of Rok Lok’s singles club is a definite punch in the gut of mainstream music and another victory for underground cassette culture. I’ve never heard of Outside the Museum, but upon listening to the tape and doing a very minimal amount of research I was not surprised to discover that beautiful sounding crooner, Ben Catt, has been releasing music on all sorts of formats for at least a decade or so. I think the story here though, is that four songs cannot feel like enough, even if they definitely are. What do I mean? I don’t even know. I feel like I could listen to an hour or so of Ben Catt on tape and be comfortable from beginning to end, so four songs is kind of like torture. Side A opens with “Old Age” as a simple little strumming guitar and vocals deliver some sweet rhymes. Timidity is a wonderful accompanying benefit of those destined to play some kind of folk music, and offers a somewhat pop like feel. It’s not threatening or jagged as a song, but it is short and packaged sweetly despite the feeling of secrecy of age within the lyrics. The second song on Side A “The Dying Light” is kind of a shift into electronics, yet once again the timidity and overall style of the first song carries on and is delivered impeccability. If anyone has listened to Hood then they’ll relate a little bit to where Outside the Museum is coming from in this song. At times Hood explodes into loud segments but that doesn’t happen here. That doesn’t matter as it’s a perfect closer for Side A regardless. Most of the times when a side ends and you have to flip the tape (or your deck/car does it for you) there’s a bit of silence afterwards, but it works so well here. Perhaps because of the whimsical timidity of the song. I don’t really know. Side B’s “Like A Ghost” opens similarly like “Old Age” opened Side A (although accompanying the guitar and vocals is some clapping I think, kind of keeping up with that whole folky attitude the tape started with), eventually though a neat sounding electric guitar softly makes itself known, despite its more rugged sound. After a while an organ makes an appearance and the fate of this song is set. This is at the very least a beautiful song. Probably the best on the tape. Its length, the lyrics and the instruments are all put together well enough for doing what most people who make tapes probably do not want you to do (here I am breaking from the mold of saying that you should listen to tapes from beginning to end, personally I feel you should listen to whatever you want however you want), rewind it and listen to the song again! Kind of a double bonus though is that the ambient/post-rock/found sound track “Open Window” is a neat little outro for Side B and kind of ultimately feels like it should be listened to as well. Is Side B better than Side A? No, I just really like it. I mean if this were a full length then maybe I would rewind and listen to “Like a Ghost” over and over, but since the tape is kind of short and each song is pretty fucking cool there’s no reason to do that. Unless you want to. My only complaint is the lack of lyrics, but where there’s a will there’s a way and I suppose the open communication brought about by the internet makes it all the more easier, and keeps the tapes cheaper. Aesthetically the tape cartridge is clear with stickers on either side labeling which one is side A or B, rather typical stuff. The cute bird on both sides is great and as far as I can tell is going to be a staple of the Rok Lok single series, if not then my bad. A cool sunrise (or maybe sunset, or just a cloudy day with some sun shining through) is printed in full color on card stock, with some information on its folded side for the j-card. The quality of sound is pretty cool, I’m not sure if Mr Rok Lok did it himself or got them sent out, but I’m almost 100% sure he did it himself. There are some slight nuances that appear there to there which add to the tapes overall… cuteness. So goooo, go get it from Rok Lok now.