Music Review: Memory Tapes, 'PLAYER PIANO'

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With Piano Player, Kraftwerk meets the Garden State in Memory Tapes’ latest electronica release. Recorded in “rural New Jersey,” Dayve Hawk’s solo project combines the pop feel of 60’s girl groups with a rich synthetic landscape. Though this is only their second album, Memory Tapes has already been named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork and it is easy to see why.
Perhaps it is due to my own rural New Jersey roots, but listening to Piano Player reminds me of the time when, as a teenager, I was just starting to develop my own musical taste and style—a time when rebellious high school listening parties and belting the lyrics to melodramatic songs are par for course. Memory Tapes conjures up that old excitement by creating a unique soundscape that, for all its cheer, has a dark underbelly with ironic, tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
The album opens and closes with a vintage music box sound, making it feel like a magical realm from which the listener must emerge. Hawk’s vocals echo throughout each track as he sings mesmerizing lyrics such as “Life is a dream but you never wake up” (Worries). On “Yes I Know,” there is a distinctly British, post-punk feel, whereas “Wait In The Dark” goes for a more Math Rock vibe. Hawk’s humor peeks out on “Humming”—a song that consists entirely of synthesized “hums.” His high-pitched voice and group vocals carry through each track as reference to girl group and post-punk songsters of the past.
The ups and downs of this electronic landscape are vast and fascinating. Hawk knows how to paint a picture with a keyboard like no other. He never veers into sounding kitchy or like a one-trick pony. Without a doubt, Piano Player is staged to become one of this summer’s greatest indie hits. (Erica Varlese)
Memory Tapes will be playing with an expanded live band playing tunes from Player Piano and Seek Magic
There will be a full support package with special guests and DJs and visuals.

July 01 New York NY – Mercury Lounge
July 18 Vancouver BC – Electric Owl
July 19 Seattle WA – Chop Suey
July 20 Portland OR – Doug Fir
July 21 San Francisco CA – Slims
July 23 Los Angeles CA – Troubadour
Aug 09 Washington DC – Red Palace
Aug 10 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brendas
Aug 12 Montreal QC – Club Lambi
Aug 13 Toronto ON – Wrongbar
Aug 15 Chicago IL – Empty Bottle

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