In a music industry that has evolved to favour immediacy; in a music industry that favours getting caught in a riptide of streams and bottlenecking our choices to one-shot singles, it is without a doubt that the physical joy of music has been left behind. The love, the attachment, that comes from having something tangible in your hands has been struck off as “difficult” and “expensive”. Only the truly dedicated go so far as to listen to an album start to finish – but how can you be dedicated when, if a song fails to arrest us in thirty seconds, it’s exiled to the skip button: where music as an artform takes itself off to die? Though vinyl has seen a meteoric resurgence, the cassette – perhaps the most romantic of all formats – has yet to find its foothold.
That is why what Sad Club Records do is so important: they are the curators of the cassette, with the impetus to push the independent artists they believe in. In tandem with Cassettes Store Day, Sad Club Records have released their latest compilation, ‘The Music Will Save Us Vol. 2’. Without a doubt, every song in this collection is a small pocket of delight: carefully hand-picked jewels excavated from obscurity, dusted off just for us. It welcomes, with open arms, into a world of almost every genre, every subtle shade you could possibly want or hope for.
Without divulging too much about the 16-track-strong cassette, expect to be taken as far as the antique lands of Tuval, with their sun-kissed, baroque leanings on ‘We Can Burn’; all the way to the bedroom for Bill Nickson’s infectious, lo-fi distortion on ‘Don’t Be Sad’. If soulful grooves are your schtick, then look no further than Leyma’s ‘Lavender’. Harlem funk melds with shrug-of-the-shoulder vocals; it’s beautifully mellow, glowing with conviction. ‘Tongue’ by Ugly enjoys a bruised, slack-jawed croon that calls to mind King Krule. It sprawls, hammering anthemic choruses before letting its pace vanish to a hammock-swinging languor. Plunging us into an electronic dreamscape is the work of CC Honeymoon, championing surrealism with a haunting, post-punk timbre. Porridge Radio’s ‘Success’ hits us like a nightmarish wall of fuzzed-out distortion. Vocals that drone like a guzzling fly and blunt, grunge guitarwork make this a stand-out track on ‘The Music Will Save Us Vol.2’. Another nod to grunge can be found in ‘Choking’ by Oscar, though rather than being ramped up on energy, instead takes a backseat. Ethereal vocals are matched with an instrumental that straddles the boundary between discordance, with the lurching guitar, and the twinkling tunefulness of the keys.
In listening to this cassette, far more than encouraging a re-emerging format, far more than supporting freelance artists like Jay Daniel Wright who designed the artwork, an independent record label, and the musicians they have procured, you are supporting Music Minds Matter, a campaign created by Help Musicians to provide 24/7 mental health support for musicians. All proceeds made from ‘The Music Will Save Us Vol.2’ go towards such a noble, yet neglected cause. It is the rarest of things, this cassette and everything it stands for. Rightly so, the music will save us.
The Music Will Save Us Vol. 2:
- Alice and the Bugs – Butthurt
- Tuval – We Can Burn
- Bill Nickson – Don’t Be Sad (Demo)
- Ellie Bleach – Leave Me Alone
- Oscar Browne – Choking
- John Myrtle – Foggy
- Ugly – Tongue
- Porridge Radio (solo) – Success ft. GN
- Hala – Sorry (demo)
- Avice Caro – Elfin Grot
- CC Honeymoon – Your Ghost
- Sock – Indecisive
- Leyma – Lavendar
- Jacob Slater – Butterfly
- Strawberry Guy – What Would I Do
- Viewfinder O-I-< – Missing In Action
Words by Sophie Walker.