The second annual Cassette Store Day is coming this Saturday Sept. 27! We’ll have just-released cassettes at the front sampler section at Amoeba Hollywood and in front at Berkeley and S.F. Plus, 15% off all used cassettes at Amoeba SF only. Here are some releases to look for …
The inaugural Cassette Store Day took place this past 7 September. On that day, over 50 audio cassettes were released by major musical acts like The Pastels, The Flaming Lips, and Suicidal Tendencies. Unfortunately for video cassette fans, Cassette Day was a strictly audio observance. For whatever reason, Cassette Culture (or the cassette underground), which lovingly embraces audio cassettes for whatever reason treats the word “cassette” as if it only applies to the audio variety. As if that weren’t offensive enough, just two days after Cassette Store Day was the 37th birthday of the VHSVCR. Now that a couple of weeks have passed and the sting has subsided a little, perhaps we can do a bit of reflecting on the video format that dominated the 1980s and'90s (but was born in the '70s).
The year 1976 was marked by several serious technological milestones. The year of the US' bicentennial saw America land Viking 2 on Marsand introduce the first space shuttle -- the Enterprise OV-101. In the computer world, IBM introduced the first laser printer -- the IBM 3800 -- and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched Apple.
Amoeba Berkeley's E-Lit shows some of the cassette tapes at Telegraph Ave store
Everything comes round again, and sometimes more than once, including the long dismissed but never fully forgotten cassette tape format. Yes, once again the old analog cassette, once a symbol of listening to music on the go in the 70's or 80's (on Walkmans, in the car, or on boom-boxes) is currently enjoying yet another re-resurgence in popularity and/or curious interest by music collectors and small music labels. Even in the six years since I wrote a previous Amoeblog on the topic (Return of the Cassette that tackled the state of the cassette revival in 2007 and tied in with Thurston Moore's Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now NYC exhibit at the time) interest in cassettes has increased substantially.
Attention to cassettes in the media has grown too. Two years ago the Wall Street Journal did a nice piece on their renaissance. And for the past few years there has been a growing number of small indie specialty labels putting out cassette only releases. Among these are such Bay Area labels as MegaKut and Sanity Muffin (run by Amoebite Billy Sprague) and New Jersey punk label Baldy Longhair Records (see magazine ad for the label right). Blogs have been popping up all over on various aspects of the cassette tape including one how to repair a broken cassette.
First there was Record Store Daywhich began in 2008. Now, 2013 brings the first Cassette Store Day (7 September). Stores across Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America are on board with the latest celebration of a format that most consider obsolete. There are events taking place and totes and Ts (natch) commemorating the day are for sale. Although it’s not called Audio Cassette Store Day, that seems to be what it more properly is (sorry valorizers of Betamaxand VHS). It's also Cassette Store Day, not merely Cassette Day -- is there such thing as a store that exclusively sells tapes? Even Tape World carried CDs and records.