EVERETT — Oliver Elf Army, I Will Keep Your Ghost and FUNERALHOMES will play at a launch party for a new cassette label.
Palmer House Tapes, founded by Bryan Bradley of the bands TELLERS and I Will Keep Your Ghost, is an Everett-based independent record label specializing in cassette tapes.
“For bands that want to release vinyl records, it’s often very expensive and the lead times nowadays are really long,” Bradley said. “So it’s for smaller bands that want to do something that’s not a CD. It’s a fun way to capture that warmer analog sound that you can get with a vinyl record — and it’s also a nostalgic thing for a lot of us.”
Cassettes tapes are making a comeback. The well-loved music technology from the 1970s and 1980s is seeing a resurgence. On Discogs, the online database where fans buy and sell music, U.S. cassette tape sales were up 33% last year.
Their appeal? New tape releases are cheaper than new releases on vinyl. An album that sells for $20 on vinyl, can go for $10 on a cassette. They also don’t take as much time to manufacture. If a band wants to press 100 records, it will take six months to a year. If they make cassettes instead, it will only be a four- to six-week wait.
Cassette Store Day was founded in 2013 as the cassette lover’s answer to Record Store Day. (That one was founded in 2007 for vinyl lovers.)
Now there’s Cassette Week — this year’s was Oct. 10-16 — a weeklong celebration of cassettes for bands, labels, stores and fans is sponsored by Blak Hand Records in the U.K., Side B Creations in Japan and Tapehead City in the U.S.
Everett is keeping the celebration going with a Palmer House launch party on Oct. 23 at Everett’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2100. The new cassette label has released Oliver Elf Army and FUNERALHOMES tapes.
“The VFW is a very cool place,” said Henry Yarsinske Jr. of the band Oliver Elf Army. “They have a neon installation on the ceiling above the dance floor, so it’s got a really cool mid-century vibe.”
The October celebration is all the more important because the inventor of the cassette, the Dutch engineer Lou Ottens, died this year. He was 94.
The sinister pop trio Oliver Elf Army formed in 2009. The band features Martin Adams on guitar and vocals, Mary Adams on drums and vocals and Yarsinske on bass and vocals.
Though their LP, “Oliver Elf Army Are Sending Thoughts and Prayers,” dropped last year, the Oct. 23 celebration also serves as Oliver Elf Army’s release party, which was postponed because of COVID-19.
It’s “sinister pop” for a reason. The nine-song project includes pop songs about mass shootings, political division and class warfare. Yarsinske’s favorite is the single “Corvette Summer.” “It’s basically about tearing down the rich, in so many words,” he said.
Oliver Elf Army also will have a cassette single, also known as “cassingle,” with the songs “Heavy Metal Attack” and “Hussy.”
Bryan Bradley, 39, is the one-man act I Will Keep Your Ghost. The synth-pop band was formed by the vocalist and guitarist in 2010. When performing live, Bradley adds Doug Evans on keys and bass and Sarah Feinberg on guitar.
Brad Heyne’s new project is FUNERALHOMES. It’s also a synth-pop one-man act featuring the 41-year-old vocalist and keyboardist. Live performances add Sarah Feinberg on backup vocals and synth, Doug Evans on synth bass and Bryan Bradley on synth and guitar.
The Oct. 23 event also serves as a release party for the new FUNERALHOMES EP “Haunts.”
The project features six songs that are poppy sounding but with sad lyrics. “It’s a concept record with a noir vibe from the coast of California,” Heyne said. “So it’s saturated with the weird ’70s and ’80s sort of coastal California vibe.” His favorite on the EP is the single “Big Sur,” about how you can both love and hate an ex.
All three Everett bands performed at this year’s Everett Music Initiative’s Fisherman’s Village Music Festival held in September.
“If you love the ’80s, you’ll love the show,” Yarsinske said. “There’s a lot of ’80s magic happening.”
Bradley has a shed next to his house in Everett where he presses cassette tapes for his label. But, he said, it’s mostly about helping bands on his label promote themselves and the fact that their music is available on tape.
He admits he’s nostalgic about cassettes.
“I grew up listening to a Walkman on the school bus,” Bradley said. “Even when I was writing songs as a teenager, I had the cassette tape recorder. I’ve always liked cassette tapes and they seem to be having a resurgence, too, because of the vinyl cost and time.”
Bradley said Palmer House is a “Twin Peaks” reference to Laura Palmer’s house — the home featured in the TV show is located in Everett — as well as a spin on Columbia House, which famously sold 12 LPs or CDs for a penny or a dollar — provided you bought subsequent monthly records at full price.
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; firstname.lastname@example.org; @sarabruestle.
If you go
Oliver Elf Army, I Will Keep Your Ghost and FUNERALHOMES will perform 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2100, 2711 Oakes Ave., Everett. The three Everett bands will celebrate the launch of Palmer House Tapes. It’s also a release party for Oliver Elf Army’s 2020 LP “Oliver Elf Army Are Sending Thoughts and Prayers” and FUNERALHOMES’s new EP “Haunts.” Cover charge is $10. The El Mariachi food truck will also be there.
Also scheduled is an after party at Lucky Dime, 1618 Hewitt Ave., Everett, featuring a DJ set with Sphyramid. Sphyramid is the stage name of electronics artist Mac Dobbins. The DJ from Everett is known for his improvised live shows. Cover charge is $5, unless you’re coming from the VFW show.