Books on Tape

Books on Tape

 Los Angeles, California, USA

One man electronic-noise rock performed with hardware, not a laptop. Song-based structures and high-energy live performance. Back in the game after 6 years off.


In 2006, Todd Drootin announced to his friends and family that he was putting an end to Books on Tape, his one-man electronic “beatpunk” project. After four full-length releases (the most recent being 2005's Dinosaur Dinosaur on Alien8) and hundreds of shows across the US and Canada, he realized the thrill was, if not gone, at very least fading fast, and wanted to put the project to bed before it got tedious for everyone. Sure, BoT would pop up a few more times – one last trip to Nova Scotia, a pair of shows as the Books on Tape Family Band with his wife Kerri joining on drums -- but for all practical purposes, Books on Tape was done. Todd was disappointed that the songs he was performing in the later days of BoT would never see a proper release, but life moved on. He took a bizarre job evaluating vinyl pressings for audiophiles and basically left creating music behind.

Fast forward to April 2011. Todd, an avid cyclist, broke his collarbone in an accident that would keep him off his bike for a long time. Crushed, he decided that he would put that downtime to good use and record one of the “lost” songs – “Super Dr.” – that had never been finished. He leaked it online and the response was strong enough to plant some seeds in his mind about taking care of unfinished BoT business.

Fast forward again to early 2012. Todd was digging around in his garage when he found a DVD labeled “BoT ARCHIVES”. On there were completed versions of five more “lost” tracks that had been missing all these years. To his surprise, the tracks were in way better shape than he remembered leaving them. With very little polishing, they would be ready for some kind of release. Initially he planned to just throw them online, but after getting strong feedback from friends the idea of putting these tracks on vinyl started gaining momentum. Todd, a lifelong record geek and somebody who works with vinyl every day, decided that having a proper 12” record release for this material was very important to him.

The result is Retired Numbers, six previously unreleased tracks that represent where Books on Tape was at when it was put to bed. This is not your classic “crappy leftover odds and ends” posthumous release; instead it might just be the strongest Books on Tape release to date. All of the BoT signatures are here – oddball tempo changes, clashing samples colliding, punk rock energy, hip-hop swagger and more – but there's a smoothness and cohesion here that weren't always the hallmarks of a BoT release.

As all of this material was road-tested back in the day, longtime BoT fans will likely recognize much of this material from live sets, but these recordings appear here for the first time, including “Super Dr.” which received a 2012 remix. Todd plans on bringing Books on Tape out for select live shows over the next year, where fans can expect to hear high-energy versions songs from Retired Numbers, the earlier albums, and perhaps even some new cuts.

Books on Tape's notoriously raucuos live shows have occured on bills with such diverse and respected acts as Cursive, Restiform Bodies, The Go! Team, Shonen Knife, Parts and Labor, TV on the Radio, John Frusciante and Flea, Daedelus, Stars as Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Good Life, Prefuse 73 and many more.


2002 - Throw Down Your Laptops - CD (Deathbomb Arc)
2003 - Winning Record - 3"CD (Piehead)
2003 - Hey Typical! - 10" Vinyl EP (No Type)
2003 - Books on Tape Sings The Blues - CD (No Type/Greyday)
2004 - The Business End - CD (Greyday)
2005 - Dinosaur Dinosaur - CD (alien8)
2011 - "Still Ride" - digital (
2012 - Retired Numbers (12" vinyl, Sorry Juniper!)

Set List

Set list always varies, drawing from the 10+ year history of Books on Tape songs. The songs themselves vary from performance to performance as there is a large aspect of improvisation in the live set.