Category Archives: cassettes

A former K-Mart employee saved every last bit of music crap the store played from 1989-1999

Whenever vintage shopping-mall music is vomited onto the web, I’m drawn to it like half-off Christmas supplies in April.

Someone who’s either malicious or crazy — I can’t tell which — has digitized his collection of K-Mart music tapes and uploaded online for anyone brave enough to listen. Muzak, easy listening and in-store product ads that ran end to end were put on cassette and then eventually thrown out, but this guy saved them. Thank god, because where would we be without a constant reminder that “Major Dad” used to be on CBS on Sunday nights?

It does bring me back to the late ’80s — when you found that argyle sweater and slacks you required for the first day of school. As soon as you shut the door to the plastic prison known as the dressing room, the Muzak was finally muffled, so you could more easily ponder how you could slowly kill yourself.

I’ve chosen “K-Mart 1989” for my listening pleasure/torture.

I have some questions.

Are Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, et al, going to sue for their staticky likeness being plopped on the internet?

The Mad Men-era announcer guy who gladly interrupts between every song — is he dead now? It’s a valid question.

Related question: If he’s not dead, can we search him out and berate him for implying that only Martha Stewart knows how to bake? (I don’t know how to bake but that’s beside the point.)

When K-Mart employees were told to throw out these tapes to make room for hot new music, how did the employee restrain him or herself from smashing the cassette with his price gun?

This guy — named Tape-A-Thon — worked at the retail giant from 1989-1999, so until you or I walk in his loafers, we’ll never be able to taste the mind-numbing horror that he endured over a decade.

We salute you. Also, I kind of want a Presto FryDaddy now.

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Filed under '80s, cassettes, Instrumental, Muzak, Retro, Tapes, Vaporwave

Get psyched for Cassette Store Day!

Cassette-Store-Day 2014

You didn’t miss it… yet. The annual Cassette Store Day is tomorrow (Sept. 27), so there’s still time to plan your attack!

emilystrax was raised in the Golden Cassette Age of the 80s (think Songs From the Big Chair/Disintegration), so celebrating this event is only natural.

The U.S. ambassador this year is Burger Records, but the UK and Europe are also taking part. Burger Records has also been releasing new tracks off tomorrow’s releases (see below.)

There are instant standouts at CSD, enough that most music fans will likely think it’s worthwhile to check out:

Two from Julian Casablancas’ label, Cult Records: Karen O’s “Crush Songs” and Julian Casablancas’ band the Voidz, “Tyranny”

Gaslight Anthem: “The ’59 Sound”

White Lung: “Deep Fantasy”

Vivian Girls: “Share The Joy”

Foxygen: “… And Star Power”

Cymbals Eat Guitars: “LOSE”

Plus TWO singles from They Might Be Giants and TWO full-length releases: “They Might Be Giants”   and “Lincoln”

There’s also, as usual, some bizarre, creative band names — (Sleepybeef and Butterqueen come to mind), as well as stuff from bands with names like Phalec Baldwin, Nude Human and Wild Wild Wets (hopefully they’re not XXX).

Visit the Cassette Store Day website for the full list.

Burger Records has also been releasing new tracks ahead of the day’s festivities, so even if you can’t get out there, you can still get a little new music:

Natural Child – “White People” Live (from Live In Birmingham)

Townes Van Zandt – “Waiting Around To Die” (from Townes Van Zandt)

 The Golden Dawn – “Starvation” (from Power Plant)

The Adolescents – “Wrecking Crew” Demo (from The Complete Demos: 1980-1986)



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Filed under cassettes, New Music, News, Preview, Uncategorized

Betty Davis, PiL among new cassette releases

So Burger Records and Light In the Attic Records have collaborated to release an impressive collection of limited-release cassettes. Yes, cassettes. Some of these were released when Jimmy Carter was president and people used rotary phones.

But don’t hold that against them.

From May 13 through July 22, one cassette a week will be released. Each tape is hand-numbered and neatly contained in DIY tip-on jackets. You might ask — what is a tip-on jacket? They date to the early days of vinyl’s popularity in the ’50s and ’60s. It’s like a nice hardbound book cover. Pirates Press has a nice explanation.

A few of the offerings:

PiL: First Issue, Limited to 500

The post-punk band PiL had its heyday in the late 70s and early 80s. “First Issue” debuted in 1978. The cover features a rather blank-looking John Lydon in a suit– save for that wild left eye. “First Issue” is a precursor to the classic “Metal Box,” known for its experimental style and post-punk apathy.

The album includes the pivotal song “Public Image” written by John Lydon when he was with the Sex Pistols. According to Wikipedia, First Issue was not released in the U.S., so here’s your chance.

Big Boys: Lullabies Help the Brain Grow, Limited to 500

The Big Boys, originally from Austin, Texas, were a hardcore punk band at the forefront of its style as it evolved during the Me-time of the 80s.. Their album “Lullabies Help the Brain Grow” was released in 1983.


The Big Boys are also credited with helping create the funkcore style, throwing some funk rhythms into their mix. The band had five drummers during its existence, one of whom played regularly with Scratch Acid and Ministry. For indie-film lovers, the Big Boys grabbed a spot in the 2006 Sundance film “American Hardcore.”

Skipping ahead to the 90s, indie-rock artists Built to Spill released “Ultimate Alternative Wavers” in 1993. The band comes straight from the heart of the country (Boise, Idaho) while the cover is taken straight from “Awkward Family Photos.”


Betty Davis: Betty Davis, Limited to 500.

Betty Davis is a funk singer, also known for being Miles Davis’ second wife. Betty Davis also introduced the jazz legend to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone and laid the foundation for Davis’ “Bitches Brew,” and allegedly convinced Miles to not title it “Witches Brew.” Their marriage didn’t last, but Betty Davis appears on the cover of Miles Davis’ “Filles de Kilimanjaro.”

Filles de Kilimanjaro


Her self-titled debut album was released in 1973. Her work never received much commercial success, but the fact that she shaped so much of Miles Davis and jazz fusion it must be mentioned here. Her last album, “Nasty Gal,” was released in 1975 but “Is it Love or Desire?” was recorded in 1976 but released in 2009.

The cassettes can also be available as a subscription series.

Visit Here’s the full list:

MAY 13

Rodriguez – Cold Fact Limited to 1,000

Rodriguez – Coming From Reality – Limited to 1,000

MAY 20

Big Boys – Lullabies Help The Brain Grow – Limited to 500

Big Boys – No Matter How Long The Line At The Cafeteria, There’s Always A Seat – Limited to 500

MAY 27

PiL – First Issue– Limited to 500


Betty Davis – Betty Davis – Limited to 500


The Black Angels – Passover – Limited to 1,500

The Black Angels – Directions To See A Ghost – Limited to 1,500


Jim Sullivan – UFO – Limited to 500


Honey Ltd – The Complete LHI Years  – Limited to 500


Karen Dalton – In My Own Time – Limited to 500


Roky Erickson – Evil One – Limited to 500


The Free Design – Kites Are Fun– Limited to 500


Built To Spill – Ultimate Alternative Wavers– Limited to 500

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