Cassette Corner: Hats - "Take Notice and Early Demos"

Hats - Take Notice and Early Demos
(2013 New Body)
"You'll probably find yourself playing an air instrument at least once."

Take Notice and Early Demos, the latest cassette tape to be released by North Carolina's Hats, is a slurry of slacker sing-a-longs and deep-fried psychedelic jams, floating about in a pool of reverb and garage rock hiss. As a short collection of demos and outtakes, you're going to get a few tracks made entirely of screwball, experimental noodling, yet it's the tape's spur-of-the moment and, at times, intentionally primal ethic that gives it a unique character. Think of a collaboration between the Velvet Underground and Beat Happening, then douse the master tapes they recorded on with an unknown, slightly acidic substance. That just might give you the idea of the sluggish, soupy sound that Hats has prepared for you. Like lake water, Take Notice may seem a little sludgy and gross at first, but if you just dive in and swim around a bit, you just might have a fun time.

The cassette leads off with its pop single, "Take Notice", a track that stands on a spindly base of crunchy guitars and meaty globs of fuzz. Frontman Alex Swing's vocals sound bored, disinterested, not unlike those of K Records demigod Calvin Johnson. It's a neat little tune, venturing off into clangorous territory, yet never straying too far from its steady flow. The rest of the A-side is occupied by sonorous tape experiments that sound similar to some Jovontaes recordings I've heard. "Opening Eyes for the First Time" is my favorite of these, made up of little more than some crackles, pops and twinkling chimes. It's sort of like a less harsh Aaron Dilloway adventure. The B-Side opens with the demo version of "Take Notice", which I can't really get into, but it's followed by the 8-minute krautrock epic "God Vibrations". There's so many gnarly guitar riffs and drum fills packed into the lengthy tune that you'll probably find yourself playing an air instrument by the song's end. (Trust me, you'll at least think about it, for those of you socially aware folks) In the end, that's what this tape is all about. It's a fun release that's a good introduction to Hat's, one of the radder psych-rock bands out there today. Listen below.