Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Shawn Biggs
Tape Deck Mountain makes music the kind of music that reminds us of certain kinds of creeping weeds that invade our lawns about halfway through the summer season and then set in deep to take over certain parts of the yard. They continue to creep, reaching their tendrils and leafy arms over and around the turf as it's supposed to appear - clean and with thick, green blades. Now, we know what you're thinking, that we just compared this great, young West Coast band to an invasive species of crabgrass or oxalis, but it's not really what just happened. Something a little closer to the truth is that we just compared Tape Deck Mountain to the kind of "creature" or organism that couldn't give a good goddamn about what it's getting into, just that it's getting into something and it's going to roll around in it. Like any of the most common lawn weeds couldn't care whole lawn they move into and start blemishing, this band couldn't care what kinds of music it takes in and digests and then it kicks something out that owes its freckles and its hairy chest to some form of heredity. It's all over the place in its structure and it's multi-headed in all of the best possible ways, allowing for moments when you've talked yourself into believing that you're listening to a long-lost Sun City Girls album and the next you're hearing a song like "In The Dirt" - from the group's latest album "Ghost" - that oddly enough does legitimately sound as if the Eels and a chiller, less electro Nine Inch Nails got together one afternoon over some beers and BBQ and jammed this one out. There are all kinds of psychedelic influences running throughout, as well as a tapped in part of the group's collective songwriting hive that will never be too far away from "Pet Sounds," but more importantly, the obscure and weirdo Brian Wilson compositions that often go overlooked and unnoticed. They have a song about giving everyone a Scantron - the multiple-choice, test-taking grids from high school and college classes - and they have tendencies for drifting into geek outs, but it's as if they must do such things for there's no way around these things. Lead singer Travis Trevisan sings, "Please try hard to die/Please lay next to me in the dirt/Don't dump God and church/I swear it's true/I knew it when I laid in the dirt/In the dirt/Please don't marry that asshole Larry/I know he'll move that place you're buried next to me/In the dirt/In the dirt/It doesn't hurt/In the dirt," on "In The Dirt," and in taking us into a twisted death scenario that also involves rhyming marry and that asshole Larry, we're in the pot. We get to hear many of the band's tricks and ways, from the sometimes easy and awkward rhymes, to a preoccupation with the notion of death, to taking songs into their droney and often unexpectedly psychotic tears. Some days, this is all anyone's about or cares for.