Previously I had never heard of Levitation Recording & Tapes or of the Charcoal Squids. One of the exciting parts of this blog is reaching out of my known territories and discovering new bands and labels. I take enjoyment exploring DIY small runs of cassettes, with bands I have yet to hear of. This cassette I picked purely off of the write-up on a web store and the cool factor of the artwork, this looked like the dirtiest nastiest of the bunch! Psychedelic surf? Sure why not!
The cassette itself is a sweet magenta color, with paper labels in a clear case, with slick looking J-card. DIY as F in the best way, the text and fonts on the J-card give that underwater feel, preparing the eyes and ears for the oncoming sonic adventure! This tape was put out in a limited release of 100 from both Levitation Recording & Tapes and Ghost Carrot Records from Missoula, MT. Well laid out, recorded, and packaged – the trifecta for DIY tapes.
The sound these guys create is a noisy, psychedelic, surf extravaganza. Listening to this modern take on surf is really refreshing. This is what I imagine you would get if you took a standard dirty, smelly garage band and dropped them overboard to be soaked in ocean fuzz. Fuzzy hooks soaked in reverb, dragging along the ocean floor, occasionally popping out with some explosion of insanity.
The recording of the album is spot on! I could hear all the nuances in the recordings, and all instruments share the space well. I really struggled with breaking the different songs apart and picking favorites. When I listen to the album it all just flows together really well. It plays in a seamless way that makes the entire album listenable as a piece. No one hit wonders here, you must take the whole journey!
That being said the hooks in “Peppermint Spiders” bounce and stick in my brain like a half eaten candy cane sticks to a wrapper. Simple, clean riffs full of fuzz and hazy hooks. This fully encapsulates what is the great uniqueness that is Charcoal Squids and the soundscape that they meld! So, after close examination, I can choose that as my favorite track.
I look forward to delving further into the catalog of these guys! Links below for the music and more!