Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Local band Tape-Toons features classic grunge style

Tape-Toons, a Seville, Ohio band, hails from the Cuyahoga River area. Comprised of lead singer and guitarist Andrew Bittaker, bassist Allen Bittaker and drummer Dylan Gomez, the band draws from the grunge, delta blues and shoegaze movements. The group resists the “band” label, describing themselves as a combination of “noise, feedback, busted cymbals and three guys who are trying to make your ears bleed.”

The influence of grunge music on Tape-Toons is immediately discernable to listeners. The band’s electric guitar and drum patterns, particularly on songs such as “Mice in the Wall” and “She Drove A Spike,” invoke the sounds of classic grunge artists. Tape-Toons also uses the aggressively downtrodden and even violent lyrics characteristic of grunge rockers, particularly in their song “She Drove a Spike.” In the song, Bittaker not-so-subtly describes his sense of heartbreak. In one uninspired line, he proclaims that a girl is “driving a spike straight through [his] heart.”

Listening to Tape-Toons, I struggled to hear the influence of shoegaze artists. Shoegaze tends to sound more fluid and quiet, although equally angsty. Tape-Toons’ sound is much louder than others of this genre. However, after hearing the song “Grounded,” I noted hints of the “hypnotic” sound they described in their biography.

The band references the “ache of delta blues” in their music, a sound that is vaguely recognizable in the song “C.E.O. Blues.” The tune has a slightly jazzy introduction that pays homage to the genre, although still infused with the grungy sound characteristic of the band.

Although Tape-Toons does utilize aspects of grunge, shoegaze and blues in their music, they also employ a relatively unique sound that is difficult to compare to other musicians. If you are a fan of classic grunge music groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden or Alice in Chains, as well as a fan of shoegaze, you may enjoy the music of Tape-Toons. Yet, in both cases, you will not find these influences immediately recognizable. While the band’s vocals are slightly reminiscent of garage rock artists like Iggy and the Stooges, the music itself does not follow in this classic vein. However, Tape-Toons’ unique sound allows the band to stand on their own as musical artists.

Tape-Toons’ first album, “Gravel Love,” debuted in September. The album can be purchased digitally or at local shows. For their next show, Tape-Toons will be hitting Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio on Jan. 5.

To hear more, visit the group’s MySpace at myspace.com/tapetoons† or www.sonicbids.com/tapetoons. To contact the group for bookings or any other questions, you can contact lead singer Andrew Bittaker at tapetoons@gmail.com or James Lutz at sendittomehere03@hotmail.com.

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