Dayve Hawk is a new name to me, but with all the projects he's been involved in and albums he's released, I'm not sure exactly how that's possible. His new moniker, Memory Tapes, is a combination of two of his others - Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette - and from what I've been told, the music follows that same pattern. Apparently this is the first release of many as Hawk plans on dishing out two a year (next up, a psychedelic girl group album), an ambitious goal but a welcome one given this excellent introduction. Whatever the background, the New Jersey artist's first record as Memory Tapes, Seek Magic, has quickly become a new favorite of mine, a strange and exciting set of eight tracks that features stunning synthetic and organic instrumental compositions under spacey, sometimes haunting vocals.
Comparisons from LCD Soundsystem to New Order to Cocteau Twins have been thrown around frequently, and Seek Magic certainly has bits and pieces of all those and more. On "Bicycle," Hawk combines a sort of disco vibe with atmospheric indie rock and a dose of that Caribbean flavor that's been popping up everywhere lately, on "Green Knight" he gets even funkier, mixing in everything from eighties synth riffs to the squeak of shoes on the basketball court, and on "Pink Stones" he sounds something like James Murphy with a tropical twist. Everything on the album works well, though not all of it sounds like it belongs in the same place as Hawk seems determined to try anything once. Fortunately, his ambition only very slightly exceeds his grasp, and given the strength of every tune on Seek Magic, Memory Tapes has created one of this year's more accomplished debuts. Below are links to a couple tunes Hawks is offering for free through his blog. Both are from the new album and both are worth the time to check out.
Plain Material and Bicycle (MP3s via Memory Tapes blog)