Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Cassette-Only Release In 2011?

A cassette only release in 2011*? Yup, and it's good! It's the debut EP from a group that's probably a one-off, known as The Motel Crew, titled simply Tape. The Motel Crew name probably isn't familiar to you, unless you managed to catch the occassional blog or twitter post last year promoting a couple of their advance mp3s; but you surely know most of its members. Luke Sick, frontman for the legendary Bay area group Sacred Hoop, and his longtime compatriate, the sick lyricist Z-Man are the MCs. The great DJ Quest (Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, Space Travelers, etc) is on the cuts and the music is by, uh, some dubstep producer named Doug Surreal.

So, yeah, as you might expect with the involvement of some kinda dubstep guy, the music is spacey and discordant. There are echoes, stuttering and distorted vocals, screeching sound effects and samples that come and go arbitrarily. And believe me, I find that kinda stuff even less appealing than any of you readers. But this isn't some Enter the Dubstep vol. 2 crap; it's got a much rawer, hip-hop feel, and with the help of the MCs and a healthy dose of old school samples, this feels more like a bugged out hip-hop experiment than some outsider club trash. It's nowhere near as engaging as six instrumentals provided by Vrse Murphy would be, but it's still listenable even to a purist like me. And thanks to the talents involved, it's more than worth your time - any opportunity to hear an album by Luke Sick and Z-Man is not to be missed. And Quest's cuts do help a couple of the songs (on others they get lost in the sonic mess).

Tape is labeled as Megakut #2, because it's actually the second cassette-only release on Megakut Records. The first was a mix by DJ Quest called Yole Boys Megamix, and that one's also still available.

This tape is limited to 50 copies (I guess they're figuring not many people still have their cassette decks up and operational), individually numbered (mine's #32) and only costs $8. When you order it (which you can do from their official site,, they'll also send you mp3s of three more Motel Crew songs that were recorded but not included on the tape, "Teenage Scrapper," "Chop Shop" and "Return Of the Dope Fiend Beat." And there's a final song, "Style We Portray" (which might actually be my favorite of all ten of 'em), that's available for free download so you can complete your collection of the Motel Crew legacy.

There's some other interesting stuff to order there, too (plus more free downloads), including past releases by Grand Invincible and Sacred Hoop, original comic books and - surprisingly - a crime novel written by Luke Sick. Apparently, he started submitting short serial chapters to a magazine called Synthesis, and when that magazine went under, he kept writing them until he had a finished book. It's called Cleanhead, and is limited to 100 copies.

*Ok, technically, it came out in 2010. But I was slow to discover it.


  1. thanks for the heads up on this werner. i checked out the website and ordered the vinyl back catalogue, then i noticed the date on the posting. any idea what is (and isn't) available from then now? i sent a message along to luke with my order but i have yet to hear back from him. thanks for any info.

  2. Well, I just got my copy about a day before the post when up, and my tape was #32... I don't know if the tapes are going out in order or what, but I think you should be okay to still place orders.