Tapes 'N Tapes picks up accolades in real life

In the mid-2000s, Tapes 'N Tapes were the beneficiaries of an Internet blitz. They got plenty of chatter from all sorts of music geeks with dexterous finger pads, and the wherewithal to buy a domain name.

Tapes 'N Tapes
Minneapolis band Tapes 'N Tapes plans to release its yet-untitled third album at the end of the year. They play today at Pizza Luce. (Photo from

In the mid-2000s, Tapes 'N Tapes were the beneficiaries of an Internet blitz. They got plenty of chatter from all sorts of music geeks with dexterous finger pads, and the wherewithal to buy a domain name.

But unlike Internet trends like "Chocolate Rain," and the makeup-smeared divo crying "leave Britney alone," the Minneapolis-based band continued to pick up accolades offline, you know, IRL (in real life).

They released "The Loon" in 2005 and re-released it in 2007, and the rating scrooges at Pitchfork even gave them kudos.

"Tapes 'N Tapes do it by the book -- that's to say, off the cuff, taking cues from indie legends and newbies alike with star-pupil rigor, but never sweating the exam. Here's the charismatic, playfully slipshod band unconcerned with making all the loose ends meet up, audacious enough to leave the dot-connecting to us."

The foursome followed it with "Walk it Off" in 2008, which didn't necessarily make the critics froth. Since then, they have been touring, relaxing and writing. Their next album -- yet untitled -- has a tentative end-of-the-year release date.


Singer Josh Grier talked to the News Tribune about Tapes 'N Tapes' new album, the absurdity of van life and Internet burnout.

Q. Why did you decide to produce your own album this time?

A. We've pretty much done everything on our own until the last record. That was a really great experience, but now we've gone through the process a bunch of times, and we have an idea of how we want to do things. We had enough faith in ourselves to say 'That's good enough,' or 'That's not good.' Erik (Appelwick), our bass player, he produced and engineered "The Loon" originally.

It made us all be really engaged in the process. At the end of the day, if something wasn't good enough, it was our own fault. This is exactly how we wanted it. ... It just made everyone a more active participant in the process.

Q. So what else have you been doing for the past two years?

A. Spent a lot of time just being pretty normal and being at home. There were three years that we were on tour all the time. That was an amazing experience. But I'm kind of a homebody. After the last touring cycle, I wanted a little breath. To be at home for a while. Living out of a van isn't the most normal thing to do.

We were playing music pretty consistently when we weren't touring or recording. I wasn't in a big hurry to get another record out and go out touring.

Q. Were you worried about losing momentum? That people would forget about you in the off time?


A. Maybe we should have (worried) about it. I wasn't really worrying about it. It always boggles my mind how many people enjoy our music. It wasn't expected. There wasn't that thought that we have to keep going so we don't lose our momentum. I do think that nowadays bands put out music so fast. People are trying to be relevant. But that wasn't at the forefront of our concerns. Maybe that will bite us in the ass.

Q. As a band that first got a lot of Internet attention, what site do you frequent to find out more about what music is out there?

A. I kind of got overloaded on Internet stuff, like in general. I had a hard time sorting through all the stuff out there. Most of the time, finding new music, either I hear about it from friends or I go to the record shop down the street. If there is cover art that looks cool, I'll get the record. Or talking to people. It's more reliable than finding the next buzz band.

Q. You went to Carleton College. What did you major in and what was your Plan B?

A. I was a math major. Originally I was going to try my hand at music or going to grad school in math. Luckily, I haven't had to go to grad school. I don't know what I was thinking in retrospect. It was an idea at the time.

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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