Cassette Corner: Jovontaes - "Cheap Ride"

Jovontaes - Cheap Ride
(Tent Revivalist 2012)
Arriving in the mail today, Lexington, Kentucky psych-rock trio Jovontaes' most recent cassette release, the 20 minute EP Cheap Time, is a belated birthday gift that'll be cemented in my listening rotation for birthdays to come. About half as long previous efforts, Cheap Ride is Jovontaes' most focused, polished offering to date. Their less-is-more mentality is finally fully realized here, as they somehow create layered soundscapes out of acutely minimalist instrumentation. 

Take the track "Cave City", which occupies the tape's entire a-side. Upon analysis, it seems like nothing special. A simple, twangy guitar riff played ad nauseam, repetitive drumming that really forms the backbone of the track and a thudding bass matching it stride for stride. Somehow, though, this brew of entrancing goodness beats the odds and morphs into a first-rate jam that grabs hold of one's attention for its full 10-minute length. The sound is quite similar to that of fellow kraut-rock act DIIV, yet Jovontaes' gritty timbre gives them a slight edge in the production department. Cheap Time has a live sound, transporting one to the basement of the skate shop it was recorded in. 

Side B begins with the two-part "Voyage", a track that hearkens back to the more primal excerpts from Jovontaes' discography like Mask of The Land. The guitars have a sinister, dark tone while the drumming takes on a cartoonish, prehistoric rhythm. The cassette culminates with "Odd Man Out", a piece of musique concrète in the vein of The Beatles' "Revolution 9". This is my least favorite track, as the barrage of UFO-type sounds isn't exactly my cup of tea. Even so, this was an enjoyable album from a band to watch. Listen to "Voyage Pt. 1" below.