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Track Premiere: The Fire Tapes – “Scarlet Cliffs”

By ; August 5, 2013 at 11:05 AM 

The Fire Tapes - Phantoms

Virginia rockers The Fire Tapes seem to draw inspiration from alternate musical histories — specifically one where artists like Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams found themselves front and center in bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. Drawing in traces of distortion-laden shoegaze and southern rock, the band charges through four decades of hazy musical influences (both real and those culled from imagined musical timelines) in an attempt to bridge the various genres in which the band travels. Singer/guitarist Betsy Wright cuts through the gothic murk with her inimitable wail and searing fretwork, while fellow guitarist Todd Milton and the thudding rhythm section of Rob Dobson and Mark McLewee churn out complex melodies that run parallel to Wright’s vocals. We’ll get more of their unique blend of gauzy reverb rock when the band releases their sophomore album, Phantoms, which is due out on September 17th.

For our first glimpse of Phantoms, the band has chosen the cathartic rocker “Scarlet Cliffs.” Drenched in waves of distortion and overlapping rhythms, the track is in a constant state of movement and change. Peeling off strips of different genres and rearranging them into something new and wholly their own, the band toss all their influences into a giant roiling musical cauldron and the result is “Scarlet Cliffs.” Swirling out into some kind of cosmic southern rock symphony, the layers of distorted guitars and noise-caked rhythms collide and implode, the result of some indefinable musical lineage. You can call it southern shoegaze or a distorted, countrified version of indie rock or a host of other ultimately meaningless descriptions. But when the last notes of “Scarlet Cliffs” fade away, all you want — all you need — is to be immersed in it again as quickly as possible.

Beats Per Minute is proud to premiere the lead single, “Scarlet Cliffs,” from The Fire Tapes’ upcoming album, Phantoms.


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