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Buried Treasure and the Six Dollar Pink Cassette

On my most recent trip there, the dude behind the counter of Wallingford, Connecticut‘s Red Scroll Records pretty much had me pegged. I don’t know if it was the shirt I was wearing (I don’t remember which it was, but all I wear are band shirts, so it could have been anyone) or what, but shortly after I walked into the store, the strains of the aforementioned Dopesmoker by Sleep started coming through the stereo system. I guess I’m an easy mark.

As most of my previous excursions to Red Scroll have been, this one was successful, yielding used records from The Gates of Slumber, Quitter, Slough Feg, reissues of the first two Enslaved albums (also used), recent comedy records by David Cross and Eugene Mirman and, as I stood at the register, like a candy bar at a grocery store checkout, a six dollar pink cassette of Torche‘s Meanderthal Demos.

Of course, I was psyched at the CD haul, but the Torche went in first. I buy cassettes because I have a tape player in my car and I feel like if I don’t use it, I’m somehow missing out on an opportunity. The Patient Mrs. thinks this is ridiculous, and she’s a little right. I enjoy the absurdity, and in the case of Torche‘s Meanderthal Demos, I was stoked to hear the band’s material in a rawer form, since, though the finished album was enjoyable, it was also incredibly polished, production-wise.

Getting to hear the roots of songs like “Grenades” and “Across the Shields” was both interesting and exciting, since it sounded good and was a cool experiment for the ears in this new context. The songs are different, obviously less developed, but enjoyable anyway, and though Torche‘s capable grasp of melody is present, there’s more edge to the demos that makes them sound a little rougher than Meanderthal itself. In other words: right fucking on.

A pink cassette is a little more hip irony than I usually allow myself to engage in, but whatever, it sounds good and it only cost six dollars, so I’d be a bigger asshole for not hearing it. And it was worth every penny, since the tracks still show off Torche‘s high-quality songwriting in their rudimentary form. I didn’t expect to come out of Red Scroll having just paid six dollars for a pink cassette, but it wound up being the highlight of the trip and something I’ve gone back to for multiple listens already. All hail the impulse buy.

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