Monday, December 3, 2012

Cassette Review: Free Weed-Free

I doubt few things will embody pure stoner pop quite like Free Weed's Free cassette. Free Weed is the alias of Rikky Gage, one of the masterminds of Gnar Tapes. He also happens to be in the lo-fi punkers White Fang as well as crafting lo-fi guitar pop in The Memories too. Now with Free Weed, Gage dives further down the lo-fi rabbit hole, crafting twelve lo-fi gems that make up Free.

It's clear from the onset that Free Weed is a solo project, one deeply rooted in the bedroom-pop, VHS lo-fi movement that has made waves in sections of the indie world, and makes up a decent part of Gnar Tapes' discography as well. So through out Free you get hints of Ariel Pink, for lack of a better reference point. Familiar but weird samples pop up within the songs (see the weird space sonics of "Out of My Mind), old school radio channels are an ever-present influence (classic rock rather than AM Gold though), and there's the ever present humor of mocking the form, in the form of very cheesy humor (stuff like the self-parodying "Slo-Fi")and simple mindedness to weed and slacker culture.

However, that is slightly overshadowing what I think Free Weed first intent is though: to craft simply and catchy bedroom pop songs. And over the much too short Free, he succeeds. All but a few of the tracks are more than two minutes long, allowing for hyper condensed ear-worms to form out of the songs. Stuff like "Light the Night", "Lust for Everything", and "Didn't Wanna Do It" are pure slacker, lo-fi brilliance, clean and simple. The 'longer' jams like "In Doors" and "High with Me" don't break the flow at all either, they just enhance the vibes of Free further, both in terms of lyrical content and the ability to stretch out Free Weed's style ever so slightly while to maintaining the ear-worm capabilities. In fact closer "Pimp Reaper" might be the best track on the tape, a slow, Beck-influenced tune constructed over psych guitars and a broken drum machine, Gage's vocals just mumble out but feel no less wise before the track itself fades out. Free is simple, but clever tape on lo-fi music, made by a prolific lo-fi artist. It's stoner gems that will stick long after the haze has lifted.


Free Weed's Bandcamp
Buy Free here, from Lillerne Tapes

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