Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Friday, December 23, 2005

Tapes 'n Tapes

When I first started going to school at the U of M, there were four record stores in Dinkytown. Four record stores, and the Bon Appetit hosted nightly all-ages shows. I was in Heaven. Of course nothing that good ever lasts, but the changes in Dinkytown haven’t been all downhill. Yeah, there’re only two record stores now, the Bon Appetit was sabotaged by angry landlords, and hockey rioters set stuff on fire, but there’s been a slight rebirth recently. The Varsity Theater, which lay dormant throughout my entire college career, finally reopened its doors to the public earlier this year…and it is faaaaaancy! I doubt that even in the days when bands like Green Day graced the stage of the old Varsity Theater did anything in Dinkytown look so…well, pretty.

Flavor Crystals and the Varsity Theater

All the couches had been taken by the time I arrived at the Varisty last night, but I was fortunate enough to find an empty chair. As I sat gazing at the streaks of colored light dancing through the fog swirling about the spacious theater, I realized that I had just missed Duplomacy’s set. I was looking forward to seeing them again, but I guess that’s what I get for arriving fashionably late. I was extremely thankful, however, that I did not miss Flavor Crystals. Their dreamy shoegaze was a perfect fit for the surreal atmosphere of the Varsity Theater. Flavor Crystals’ music just wouldn’t have conveyed the same emotion in a bar. Their set was the ideal way to introduce me to the Varsity Theater.

Flavor Crystals

The real reason I walked to Dinkytown through the freezing drizzle, however, was to see the headliner (freezing drizzle, by the way, results in the best snow for making snowballs, as Flavor Crystals discovered when some friends of theirs pelted them with snowballs during their set). Tapes ‘n Tapes caught my attention last year when they came out of nowhere to release one of the year’s most memorable albums. Tapes ‘n Tapes was a masterpiece of chaotic Pavement-inspired indie rock, and it quickly turned out to be my favorite local release of last year. With this year’s release of The Loon, Tapes ‘n Tapes solidified their reputation as one of the most creative bands in the Twin Cities. Even though The Loon isn’t as, um, messy as Tapes ‘n Tapes, it is still extremely unique and infectious. The Loon has been in constant rotation in my CD player and my iPod, so the least I could do was show up at Tapes’ big Varsity Theater show before they headed out on tour. Totally worth it. Tapes ‘n Tapes put on a very gratifying show. Thus, I didn’t at all mind the slushy walk home.

Tapes 'n Tapes

So there you have it; two things to be excited about: the renaissance of Dinkytown, and the genius of Tapes ‘n Tapes.

Duplomacy @ The Turf Club: September 21, 2005


Blogger rocknrollstar said...

Totally agree on Tapes 'n Tapes. Genius, perhaps my favorite local album of the year...

12:17 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Yeah, it's been difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what makes them so great. They just are. I haven't been able to stop listening to their new album.

12:34 PM

Blogger Shawna said...

AHHH I am so jealous but also so glad you saw Tapes n' Tapes at the Varsity! I was going out of town the very day they played and I thought to myself how badly I wanted to go! Wonderful review and I am happy to report I got a video ipod for xmas to tote the local music love around.

1:51 AM


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