Music for Luddites | The Sound Team

We don’t have a CD player in our van and I’m sure there are a lot of people like us. We’re not Luddites or anything, but I like to think that technology peaked in 1975.

 

Have you the new Sound Team cassette tape, my friend? It’s a scant five songs long, but it’s divine. When I’m done with mine, I’ll rewind it and bring it over so you can hear it. It’s the least I can do for you letting me borrow those Kriss Kross and Hall & Oates tapes and eat all of your Pop Rocks.

The cassette tape, a manner of listening that endures by luck, was what we had back when we watched The A-Team and Punky Brewster and Boyz II Men were seducing us with their East Coast family harmonies. The Austin band of high school friends continues as an advocate of the tape—which, coincidentally, is about the size of those totally bitchin’ video iPods. They have released their EPs on the form since 2003, and will release their first full-length CD in May or June of this year. So, so blasphemous.

“We’ve been putting out tapes for years. That’s the way we operate,” lead singer Bill Baird said. “I like how you can just throw them around. For LPs, I have the utmost respect. I take great care of them and wipe them off. We don’t have a CD player in our van and I’m sure there are a lot of people like us. We’re not Luddites or anything, but I like to think that technology peaked in 1975.”

Most of the band’s latest EP, Work, feels like footage from a fuzzy Super 8 camera—though it should be clear that film is not music and music is not film. What gives “The Fastest Man Alive” and “In the Dark No One Can Hear You Sweat” their immediate, grainy appeal is Baird’s roughshod vocals that seem sepia-toned, like they’ve already had their life and now are just spooling out like a misfeeding video projector, slow and touching.

“Just like anybody, we’re trying to combine everything from before us and make it something new,” he said. “I write a lot of music, but I don’t write a lot of lyrics. When I do, it’s usually whatever pops into your head that gets something going. It might just be a breakfast bagel and then you just dig yourself out of the hole you got yourself into.”

Recently, the band has been making frequent trips to California and back, playing parties in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but nowhere in the middle to break their up drive because they’re still an obscure group. They played the famed Troubadour, where Baird pointed out that Richard Pryor worked, and they’re busting ass to get their soundscapes in more hands.

“No one really knows about us yet, outside the big cities. We don’t care about money. We just want to play in front of people,” he said. And what’s SXSW like? “It’s like a giant taco…made of guitars…deep-fried and made out of beer.”

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