Tapes 'N Tapes Hit the Pavement

Tapes 'N Tapes Hit the Pavement
The critics are wrong — Minneapolis indie rockers Tapes ’n Tapes do not sound like Pavement. At least that’s what the legendary band’s drummer thinks. "We got to meet [former Pavement drummer] Bob Nastanovich in Nashville,” says Matt Kretzman, Tapes ’n Tapes’ keyboardist. "He said, ‘I really liked the record, it’s good, but I’ve got to tell you, I don’t really hear Pavement.’”

Hearing from a living, breathing member of Pavement that they sound nothing like their self-confessed idols was a sweet moment for Tapes ’n Tapes, who’ve been compared to the band in nearly every review. Although Kretzman says, "it’s flattering to be compared to a band you like, as opposed to a band you don’t like,” he doesn’t hear Pavement in his music either.

Kretzmen must be too familiar with his own tunes, and Nastanovich is likely being modest, because it’s impossible to miss the Pavement references. The bands share the same minimalist indie rock production and singer Josh Grier’s occasionally off-tune vocals sound eerily similar to Stephen Malkmus’s warble.

But where Tapes ’n Tapes come off the most like Pavement is in their songwriting methodology. Much like their heroes, Tapes ’n Tapes sound quite conventional — they’re writing pretty straightforward pop songs — but there’s a frantic drumbeat, an odd keyboard riff, or a weird song about Manitoba that messes with the standard formula.

"If something sounds just too straight ahead,” says Kretzmen, "then we’ve got to fuck that up a little bit and make it more interesting. We kind of allow ourselves a little more freedom to make it not sound perfect… and it comes across a little more, like trains about to fall off the tracks.”