Visit any thrift store in Toronto and try to find a personal tape deck. It's impossible. The cassette is now the centre of thousands of communities across the globe, creating new music and fan bases around the technology. Then there's the labels who embrace the format for the dated-but-distinct qualities you hear every time play is pushed.
This September 27, the second annual Cassette Store Day seeks to be a boon for both the record stores that host its exclusive releases and the smaller labels seeking exposure outside of their city's borders. You may have seen the list of releases being sent out of all the stuff you can get. It's massive. So big, we ignored the newer releases and focused on the reissues and compilations that are being pressed to tape. If you find one of these on your way back from Craiglisting a Walkman, snap it up.
The Benevolent Order of Chicago Record Labels compilation
One advantage Cassette Store Day has over its more famous sister holiday is the relative affordability of its format makes it much easier for microlabels and musical communities from all over to be a part of the showcase (even a tape sourced from a cassette subreddit).
The Benevolent Order is a Chicago-based consortium releasing punk, psych, and otherwise retromania feel-good guitar sounds from all over the world. Because they sell all of their releases' digital files for $1,000, this new tape is both your best introduction and your only hope.
J Dilla, Donuts / Madvillain, Madvillainy
Stones Throw is reissuing two hip-hop landmarks on a format they've never officially been released on. If you've ever cruised to rap on tape, you know that this is perhaps as huge as that amazing 45 vinyl reissue.
R. Stevie Moore, Saturday Singles Series
There's not a lot of official information for this release, but here's what we know: in August 2012, R. Stevie Moore and PIAPTK Records launched the Saturday Singles Series. Every Saturday a 24 hour pre-order opened up for the purchase of a limited edition square single from lo-fi's "godfather of modern home recording." Buyers got tracks like 1974's " I Love All The Girls," streaming above. This continued for an undetermined number of weeks. Now the Olympia label is putting out a tape, but they aren't saying much. We'll assume it's a best-of collecting the event's entire run.
Psicotrópico: Dispatches from the Puerto Rican Psych & Experimental Underground
Puerto Rican label Discos Diaspora have assembled a collection of music even more intriguing than their last, a collection of Ricky Martin covers. No tracks from Psicotrópico have emerged yet, but the thought of non-English speaking Cassette store Day Releases outnumbering English-speaking ones is too tantalizing to ignore. We'll take seven.
Jon McCallum, Surf Nazis Must Die! Original Score
The 1987 film Surf Nazis Must Die! came out of "schlock with a heart" factory Troma Studios, and the horror/comedy is as "3AM" as 24 hour pizza and an ill-advised last bong hit. Jon McCallum's synthesized score received a vinyl reissue last month on Strange Disc, and it's already sold out. Don't fret: One Way Static is handling the tape release. It's a lot more affordable than another one of your Death Waltz binges.
Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt
Country is a genre full of despair rendered beautiful, and Townes Van Zandt stands as one of its most treasured artisans. Burger/Fat Possum Records will re-release his third self-titled record. Get it if you can bear.
Adolescents, The Complete Demos 1980-86
With this release, you can feel like you're actually in California during President Reagan, listening to a young (soon to be super) group kill it on the hardcore circuit.