The Beat Sessions cassette
When this act dropped their Plastic LP earlier this year, I was not a fan. It seemed like yet another herky-jerky solo affair in an already overcrowded field, and the record struck me as being superficially wacky or out-there (an impression I think I got from its record cover). But maybe most significantly, the album’s production just kinda left me cold. The guitars sounded thin, squishy, and percussive—at times, almost like they’d been programmed on an SNES—and the vocals were too forward in the mix, really breaking the illusion that these songs were being played by a band. So, I hastily filed this away as being fine but not for me. Now, look, we all make mistakes. If you’re unfamiliar with the Beat Sessions series, the deal with them is that sound engineer Mike Kriebel invites a band to drop by his Golden Beat studio in Los Angeles for a one-day, high-quality, live-ish recording session that he then releases as a cassette (it’s essentially a modern-day Peel session). For this twelfth installment, OOG BOGO (a.k.a. Kevin Boog from MEATBODIES) is joined by a handful of folks to more or less re-record that entire LP in a looser, live setting. Seriously! Seven of the eleven LP tracks are represented here, along with three quarters of their 2020 EP and a KLEENEX cover (“DC10”). And this just worked for me this time…like, a lot! The songs are faster, and the production is much more immediate—this thing really beats the hell out of you like you’re in the room with the band. What’s wild is that pretty much all the parties involved in the LP’s recording (at least TY SEGALL and Mike Kriebel) are also present here, perhaps in slightly different roles. In any case, hearing these songs in a new context allowed me to appreciate them for what they are—well-written, intricately constructed, genuinely out-there bangers that are equal parts psychedelic pop, SPITS-y downstroke punk (particularly in their dum-dum harmonies), and whatever you want to call Here Come the Warm Jets or the A-side of DAVID BOWIE’s Low. Revisiting the LP, I still think some of my original complaints are warranted, but I’m willing to admit that I was wrong—it’s an excellent album. Still, this collection of tunes is nevertheless an improvement over that. Stellar stuff!