True music fans get off on the chase. We slobber over rows of musty, old vinyl to find that one gem. We scrutinize pages of music blog nonsense in an attempt to discover what's under the underground. We tell everyone within earshot about our newest musical morsels and wait for our reputation as a gold sniffer to spread.
Like harried racetrack addicts, we place our bets on the bands that tickle our fancy. And it's bands like Tapes 'n Tapes that bring us back to the window.
At the beginning of the year, Tapes 'n Tapes was just another excellent indie ensemble from Minneapolis. But the edgy bellows of their debut, The Loon, charmed bloggers and critics so quickly that within four months, the band had a slot at this year's South-by-Southwest Music Festival, a major-label deal with XL Records, sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom and a feature in Rolling Stone.
"The record is really just a snapshot of the songs the band had at the time we recorded," unassuming frontman Josh Grier says. "We just wanted to put something down that was indicative of what we sounded like."
Tapes 'n Tapes is part of a new generation of bands launched by the Internet. Influential sites like Gorilla vs. Bear, Music for Robots and Pitchfork all heralded Grier and company as the second coming of Pavement (or the Pixies or The Shins, depending on whom you ask).
The Loon channels the gritty lurch of indie rock without requiring an online degree in art rock. Grier's voice galvanizes the band's rotating lineup-six different musicians have been in the fold in three short years-and the result is at once both literate and mischievous, insightful and volatile.
The band's gig at Street Scene will be their third festival date in less than a month. Grier said he had to pinch himself at the Siren Music Festival in mid-July, as he stared up at a giant Coney Island roller coaster dipping and rolling next to the stage.
"I never imagined playing in front of that many people," Grier says. "We didn't really change anything for [the show], except our stage banter, which became pretty much non-existent."
Their lyrics may be enough to tide everyone over with a Tapes 'n Tapes mix of both humor and literate wit. "Leave me now in solitude and stress," Grier sings on "Cowbell," "I've been a better lover with your mother."
The search is over. For today, at least.
Tapes 'n Tapes play Street Scene on Saturday, Aug. 5.