Album Review: Haze Tapes Volume 1

Various artists
Haze Tapes Volume 1
Haze Tapes
hazetapes.com

The name says it all; this is a soundtrack for the season. Haze Tapes (a cassette only label) in Seattle (formerly in Bellingham) released this little gem in November, and the music fits our Pacific Northwest, overcast, subdued, winter atmosphere perfectly. It’s melancholy, but not overwhelming; it’s subtle and sweet, but not saccharine or boring. This is the type of music that marries those little moments of sentimentality that you only find this time of year, and subsequent listening will bring back those winter memories.
The collection is unreleased material, live, or simply alternate versions from (mostly) Bellingham locals. The mix opens with The Palisades performing a live, acoustic version of Harm, stripping away the full band set up and giving the vocals more room to rip your heart open. Creech features an alternate version of Sadhill Cemetery, with a different vocal arrangement and abbreviated song length. Alex G and Robert N. Paulson each have two songs on the collection that raise hairs with haunting vocal melodies and lyrics, while Candysound, Clubscouts, and Girl Guts bring in the fuller band sound, equally emotional, but more ruckus. Retreat From Moscow presents an exit so fitting, instrumental piano and soft, faint, incomprehensible vocals ghost like deep in the background.
There is something to be said about a good mixtape; a soft intro, rise, fall, more rise, conclusion, and Wither Mixtape is a perfect example of what that should sound like. Do yourself a favor, find a tape player, and put this tape in it.
–Jake Werrion