First of all, I know one of the big gripes with tapes is that they look lousy, not enough artwork, and so forth, but Monster Magnet‘s 25 …..Tab looks friggin’ awesome. The half-Planet of the Apes Bullgod Statue of Liberty’s extended arm draws the eye vertically in a way it never did on CD or vinyl, and the cardboard stock of the liner is durable enough to stand up to the ages it’s already seen.
I picked up 25 …..Tab recently at Sound Exchange, my local CD joint in Wayne. They have a whole wall of tapes and they’re usually a little on the expensive side for what I’m willing to shell out on a cassette, but I think they’re just as happy to have the room, which if you’ve ever tried to walk down either of the two aisles in the place you’ll know is in short supply. In the end, it cost me circa $5, and has proved worth every penny.
The album is readily available on CD. SPV reissued it and Monster Magnet‘s 1991 landmark Spine of God debut in 2006, and it was out before that as well. I have those editions, but this tape is the original US issue on Caroline Records from 1993. That’s still two years after it came out in Europe on Glitterhouse, but it’s the earliest domestic release and it’s 20 years ago either way and I was stoked to find it. With just the four tracks “Tab…,” “25,” “Longhair” and “Lord 13,” it’s as psychedelic as Monster Magnet ever got during this era of the band.
Or, you know, any other, since it was their most psychedelic era.
And their ultra Hawkwindian jamming on “Tab…” comes across excellently on the tape, sounding all the more raw and classically compressed. The song is an EP unto itself at over half an hour long, and it takes up the entirety of side A, which makes “25,” “Longhair” and “Lord 13″ something like an incremental return to earth, the latter being the most straightforward of the bunch, despite all the backing mouth noises and echoes from Dave Wyndorf, whistles and guitar effects and the rest built around a solid guitar strum and percussion line.
By the time they get there, it’s been a long trip. “Tab…” was always considered an EP even though technically speaking it’s has more of a runtime than Spine of God, and its relative obscurity in the Monster Magnet catalog is no less a factor two decades on than it ever was, considering nobody’s sure yet what to call the damn thing, whether it’s Tab, Tab 25, 25 Tab, or 25 …..Tab, which I took right off the cover. Any name you give it, however, it remains unique in the band’s discography and as warped a tape as you could ever hope to find.
Tags: Caroline Records, Monster Magnet, Monster Magnet Tab, New Jersey, Red Bank, Tab 25