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Outside by Tapes 'n Tapes
Released: Jan 2011
Label: ibid records
After blowing up with 2005's The Loon, then nabbing Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann for the less enthusiastically received Walk It Off, the Minneapolis rockers are back to self-producing and self-releasing their work. Outside is affable and diverse, yet hardly innovative. Playing off the quirks and yelps of bands like Modest Mouse and the Talking Heads, they introduce Calexico-inspired horns ("Nightfall"), spaghetti-western rhythms ("Freak Out") and gritty guitar work ("The Saddest of All Keys"). It's solid; it's fun, but the band has yet to pin down a sound that's solely Tapes 'n Tapes.
Stephanie Benson

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