From the winged cassette that serves as its logo to the old-school influences embraced by its artists, Blank Tape Records has never been shy about its retro inclinations. So it's fitting that, for her solo debut, Haunted Windchimes co-founder Desirae Garcia opted to go with a seven-inch vinyl release.
The Pueblo-based singer-songwriter's Ill Fitting EP is a limited edition — only 300 have been pressed — and is available for pre-order at the label's website. Better still, you can be among the first to get your hands on a copy at this coming Friday's record-release show at the Loft, which will also feature sets by fellow Windchime Chela Lujan and Denver folksinger Laura Goldhamer.
While a lot of indie artists profess a lifelong love of vinyl, Garcia was a newer convert to the club. "I broke my dad's record player growing up, so everyday contact with vinyl wasn't really a part of my childhood," she recalls. "I didn't start really getting into it until more recently, but I love it."
The seven-inch single, for those who haven't been keeping track, will mark its 65th anniversary next year. The medium of choice throughout the 1950s and '60s, its market share went into freefall once the industry discovered the economic advantage of replacing pop singers with recording artists whose musical visions couldn't be contained by anything less than full-length albums. A brief resurgence during the DIY days of punk turned out to be the format's last hurrah.
In fact, Garcia says the original plan for Ill Fitting was to record the songs to tape — "because that's less intimidating to me than the computer" — and then digitally master them for release as a full-length CD. But it eventually became clear that an all-analog approach was called for in order to convey the warmth and intimacy of the recordings. (While there are no plans to release the songs through iTunes or other digital services, a free digital download is also included with the record.)
"The project originally evolved from just wanting to fool around with a four-track cassette recorder," explains Garcia, noting that the songs and arrangements that grew out of that had a different feel than her Haunted Windchimes material. "It kind of turned into an EP instead of a full-length naturally. After the third and fourth song, I just said, well, I'm done."
Clocking in at just under six minutes per side, Ill Fitting's four tracks are hushed indie-folk gems with minimalist arrangements that make artists like Low and Nick Drake sound overwrought by comparison. Electric guitar and bass parts are simple and elegant, unobtrusively complementing the clarity and strength of her vocals. Garcia plays all the instruments, including the delicate toy piano that graces the all-acoustic closing track.
"It was much more of a personal exploration of songs and singing for me," explains Garcia. "I chose to work on them when no one was around, and they kind of turned into emotional little monsters. They didn't seem to fit in with anything I've written previously, so I decided to keep them apart. But any of the tunes could easily be transformed into songs suitable for the 'Chimes, they would just need some wiggling and jostling to fit in."
The songs will get a full-band treatment during Friday's Loft show, where Garcia and her baritone ukulele will be backed by fellow Windchime Inaiah Lujan on guitar, Grant Sabin on bass and Alex Koshak on keyboards.
Then on Saturday, Koshak will be back behind the drum kit with his band the Flumps at Modbo — along with We Are Not a Glum Lot and Kellie Palmblad's Water Bear — while Sabin picks up his slide guitar to share a Triple Nickel bill with Boulder's alt-country Yawpers.
Last but arguably not least, Reverb's more ghastly and hirsute readers will be pleased to know that they can be part of a good old-fashioned rock video. Rikki Dee Hall and his band the VooDoo Hawks are in need of zombies and werewolves for a music video they're shooting this Saturday for their swampy new song "Sigolene." You can e-mail them at email@example.com for the gory details.