Label feature: Tapetalks
DIY cassette tape label from Ukraine
Ukraine is a country that feels so close and so far in the same time. My first and only visit there so far happened last August. I spent a few days in the beautiful and calm capital city of Kiyv. While back then I was digging in what it was a part of the city and country’s experimental electronic music scene this article is actually dedicated to a topic closer to DIY Conspiracy – punk. At least to the outside observer, the country is blooming with (hardcore) punk bands (Reminded, Clearsight, Tank-2000, Bluesbreaker), shows and nice festivals like Маяк or Cobra Fest.
For this feature we go to Odessa where Tapetalks is based. This comparative young label is focused on releasing limited cassette tapes. Curious enough the current Tapetalks roster is not formed of local bands (the city actually has an abundance of those with Homesick, Supression and Flame to name a few). Similar to Bulgaria’s Ugly and Proud Records, which operate almost exclusively on an international level, the focus of Tapetalks are bands from abroad. In their catalog you find bands from Australia, England, Germany and Russia. The releases look and sound fantastic, some are accompanied by extensive booklets and all feature great artwork. No compromises are made with the paper or the print quality. The runs are far from being super limited, but are just enough to make you go for the tapes as soon as they’re out.
Let’s take a quick look at their catalog before we send you on a shopping spree in the Tapetalks Bandcamp page.
Bikini Cops – Three (2018)
Coming out of Perth, Australia, Bikini Cops sound exactly as their name suggests – 1980s influenced punk, hating the world, hating the system, not afraid to draw their eyes from the ugly world to what hides in ourselves and try to find there the key for a better future. The release will take 10 minutes of your life, but then another 10 and another 10. Only if Perth wasn’t so damn far from here. That band is surely a blast live.
Cold Leather – Past Remedy (2017)
Released late last year we’re sure most zines were too busy writing end-of-the-year lists instead of going for something fresh, in this case, as fresh as 1980s US punk can get. Past Remedy is a groovy and dancable punk three-tracker with old school sound, reverby shouty but melodic vocals and naughty bass lines.
Cool Jerks – Patriots (2017) & Demo (2016)
Tapetalks have only six releases (a new one is coming as I write this) but England’s Cool Jerks can be already called regulars in the label as their 2016 demo was actually the first cassette that got published. Patriots follow what that demo had already started. Mid paced tracks taking turns with faster ones, lyrics and tracks about our shared daily struggles but performed and recorded so loyally to the past of punk music that you can’t stay neutral to it no matter how many bands of that era or contemporary worshippers have you heard.
Cool Jerks and their two releases are definitely future Tapetalks classics!
KÜKEN – KÜKEN (2016)
Germany’s KÜKEN and their self-titled album on Tapetalks is without a doubt my favorite of the current catalog of the label. From the awesome artwork to the introvert and personal raw punk breathing the air of the late 1970s there’s no track in this album that’s not a banger. While other releases sometimes might feel a bit short KÜKEN is as long as it should be, as emotionally charged as it should be but just enough nihilist. Excuse me, now I gotta polish my boots.
EX-DOG – Angry & Hungry (2016)
EX-DOG are the winners with the dopest artwork on Tapetalks. They’re hailing from Moscow, Russia and are melodic as hell. Emotional punk rock at its finest, definitely among the top releases at Tapetalks. Can’t believe it’s not sold out yet!