Culture: Rocking All over the World; Music Simon Harper Discovers Why the Internet Has Been Good to Tapes 'N Tapes
Byline: Simon Harper
Word of mouth has always been a great tool - nothing gives quite the same glow of satisfaction as recommending one of your favourite records, books or films to a friend, and for the artist in question that increase in units shifted can make a huge difference.
That effect has only been enhanced online, and the presence of MP3 blogs and MySpace has been instrumental in launching several guitar bands to almost instant success.
"It's just like real life, when you go to a music store and talk to your friends to find out what is new or really good. Or when you pick up a magazine and read the reviews to get a good idea of what a new record may sound like," says Jeremy Hanson, the drummer with Tapes 'n Tapes, one of the most notable recipients of the blog effect.
"Anyone can start a blog, but it is just about how many people agree with you. A music blog is by someone that listens to music and writes about it, and some of these people have more friends than others. These friends are made because they have the same taste or trust this person's taste. We got lucky and some people agreed with our music, wrote about it and they had some friends that liked it too."
While he might appear to be playing down the impact the internet has had on popularising his own band, it's clear that the quartet from Minneapolis have benefited greatly from it. Along with the likes of Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Vampire Weekend, Tapes 'n Tapes first came to prominence after rave reviews at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and the patronage of influential websites such as indie rock bible Pitchfork. The buzz surrounding their debut album, The Loon, was palpable but if anything its followup - Walk It Off, released last month on XL - is even better, more than justifying the online hype machine.
"We set out to make another Tapes 'n Tapes record, captured in more of a live manner than that of The Loon. We have gotten better playing together as a band and that live sound needed to be recorded with truth and distributed to music listeners," reasons Jeremy.
Working with Dave Fridmann appears to have been an inspired choice for the four-piece. It's perhaps due to the acclaimed producer - best known for his work with cosmic explorers like Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips, as well as Scottish bands Mogwai and The Delgados - that their latest album sounds so accomplished, having seemingly focused their coruscating sound into a more coherent record.
"It was amazing working with Dave Fridmann. He is a genius. We came into the studio with the songs already written and played them for him together in one room... the same room that we then recorded those songs together in. He was able to make it sound like that, but better, louder, and crunchier, as if you were at a loud rock show. The Loon sounded like we recorded in a much smaller basement studio. …