Olde Growth is a 2-piece bass and drum group from Boston. This tape is the second and final release, and a pre-release to the Vinyl that Hydro-Phonic Records put out officially retitled “Owl EP.” I was lucky enough to pick the tape up from these 2 dudes at a show in Boston. When I was researching for this review I realized that the later released Owl EP was the same tracks as what is contained on this cassette. I snagged the “Owl EP” off Bandcamp and compared. The tape has some audio artifacts from the dubbing and the limitations of tape. The sound of the digital files is much fuller and less distorted. Saying that, I did thoroughly enjoy the character that the tape flavors added to the mix.
This tape is in a clamshell cassette case, with a lightweight paper style cover that wraps around both sides. The cassette itself has a paint-marker embellishment on both sides and has audio duplicated to each side. With the full album on side A and B you don’t have to rewind and flip endlessly!
The sound that is Olde Growth consists of a super heavy, groove-oriented base that flows in and out of classic stoner rock. The drums are tight and carry the songs well, while the bass fits into its own pocket. Even without a guitar lead present, sounds pop in and out. Slow rumbles and combines with more intricate phrasing, melding in with a strong vocal delivery.
The opener track, “Brother of the Moon,” comes in with a simple clean bass line, followed by the drums and then thick bass waves of distortion. Heavy, in all the right ways, finally the song builds into large chords that fully bring the ears into the woods. Finally, to bring the song to full throttle the drums step into a stomp and the bass flips over into more of a lead style delivery. The drums and vocals carry the song from here, while the bass chugs slowly just below.
The transition into track two, “Warrior Child,” is near seamless. The feel and the groove are similar to the previous track. Drums lead the charge, vocals and chugging bass lines right beside. Another great song, fun to tap along to and keep the head bobbing.
The third track is “Tears of Blood.” This brings a departure from the first half of the EP. The riffs are again in the galloping stoner rock feel, but the hook is more prominent. The crashing chords and vocal delivery, at the end, is by far some of the heaviest moments on the tape. One of my favorite parts about this group is the way that the bass transitions from standard rhythm to thick chords. This sound, this style, really lends to the heaviness of Olde Growth.
“Edge of the Sea” has a great hook, the vocals reach a near singalong status. Fun, dark, and full of good imagery, the music underneath helps to transport my mind. I love closing my eyes and taking in the waves. This song is pure fun, full of that classic stoner rock bounce that keeps my head nodding.
I had always meant to pick up this album, never realizing that I already had the album on my tape rack! Hilarious! I still want the vinyl, I imagine it has a much better audio treatment than this tape. I believe Olde Growth is on hiatus, and they will be missed. Click the links below to check out the music for yourself.