Monday, April 5, 2010

Kevin Earl Taylor on Tick Tock records

Tobias from Tick Tock Records contacted me about a Charlie McAlister review I did of their co-release with Unread Records a while back saying they had a bunch of other singles out. He ended up sending this amazing package with this single from Kevin Earl Taylor. I had to go for it first....It's a massive screenprinted book with a red and white marble single in the inside cover of this heavy weight paper 7" square, great binding, the images are black ink sketches on thick handmade looking cardstock that has all kind of little flecks of pulp smashed into the pure off white. It's matte ink and you can see the image pressed almost through the back where they were pressed and had something reddish in between the page and the metal press...sort of a reverse rubbing on the reverse side. That immediately made me think about Kevin standing at this press in Charleston, inking up the plates and hanging each page up to dry on the they were pages all bound together, complete with a seven inch. This is a solid year of work in a mylar sleeve. If you could only release one seven inch in your life, if you only had the time or money for would be satisfied with this.
I love that singles get taken as seriously as this, that they attempt to be taken seriously as high art. I'm already there of course, but to have it point directly to art in this way is great. Between the two you get a pretty complete picture, and I think it goes even further than what Nathan at HSAL was saying about liner notes. It's a portrait. Ask anyone to write a song, sketch the sleeve and shoot a video for it and you would get a pretty clear picture of what this person's all about.
So what is Kevin about? Definitely a pretty healthy uncensored combination of cheap electronic sounds, simple melodies, happy accidents. Like the drawings, they want to keep that handmade aesthetic, but see what new things can be accomplished with just a pen.
The first track on the first side (can't find the titles listed anywhere, which is kind of interesting...maybe the images from the book are meant to be the titles) has casio drum presets working under a free form out of tune toy guitar. It stays with you.
The next track gets front porch jam with banjo, recorder and bass drum, which is closest to the feel of the sketches for me. Like Coyote Slingshot, it's taking all these symbols around you without the baggage and making new use of them. The sketches have natural elements, lots of animals, plant shapes, but there's something off, and maybe a little unsettling. A sexualized polar bear standing in the water with a shawl. Humanizing the animal kingdom more than we do already. Case in cats have a better life than a lot of humans on the planet. But give then a human body and I get uncomfortable.
The B-Side of 'Earthling' takes a minimal electronic 'Suicide' direction, distant echo vocals with manic emotion. He's falling apart with the hint of a dance party. It's a little bit contradictory to the very sensitive intricate nature line drawings. But then maybe it's some sort of hybrid future where bestiality has taken a weird turn into actually coming up with entirely new creatures. (I know it's not meant to be taken so literally, but the cold electronics of the second side are taking me there, it's not just a fantasy sketchbook in the wilderness anymore...sitting on a log in the's a future of some kind.) This is exactly what the conservative right is worried about, a world of sexy deer headed people. What foresight.
Amazing packaging, diverse tunes. Something for everyone in a weird way. Don't ask me to choose. Tick Tock set the bar high on this one, but I still have to open the sealed envelope lathe cut Charlie McAlister....

TT012 Kevin Earl Taylor 7" and Book - "earthling" Vinyl colors - 220 purple, 35 lt pink, 35 dk pink, and 20 blue
There are 2 versions on this release.
100 are packaged with a signed and numbered 10 page hand screened bound book of kevin earl taylor's art work. These sell for 25 bux ppd.
200 are packaged with 2-3 screenprinted loose sheets from the book. These sell for 8 bux ppd.
Get it from Tick Tock Records. It's more than your average 7", but this is no ordinary single.


  1. japanther2:58 PM

    Sounds worth the price though. If there are any of the 25$ ones left when I get paid, I'm definitely interested. The book is just over-the-top sounding. Plus I love this type of music!

    BTW, i drunk-mailed your gmail yesterday... it's a mess of a message, LOL. But my wife is doing all the artwork. She drew our dog being crucified (and smiling) for the cover. I kinda jumped the gun with that email. It'll get more awesome in the next few days.

  2. No way, I almost drunk replied...but it was a mess of ...holy shit!, Awesome! I thought I'd rewrite it and make more sense, but it looks great man, seriously, I'll email the title.

  3. japanther11:26 PM

    "The first track on the first side (can't find the titles listed anywhere, which is kind of interesting...maybe the images from the book are meant to be the titles) has casio drum presets working under a free form out of tune toy guitar. It stays with you."

    by the way, after some digging around it looks like the 7'' is called 'Earthling' and is just broken up to Side A and Side B. I hear distinct songs too. I finally ordered the 25$ version the other day (with a secret make-up copy of Carolina Biproduct single secretly available... as a secret. WIN)

    hi art indeed