Forget Cassettes
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Forget Cassettes

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Turbulent is a great word to describe Forget Cassettes’ Instruments Of Action. Featuring singer/guitarist Beth Cameron and drummer/ keyboardist Doni Schroader, this twosome is able to achieve plenty of frantic and loud heights, while also creating some compelling and edgy low moments — often on the same track. Most of this disc’s nine songs clock in around five minutes or more, giving Instruments Of Action lots of time to find its groove on many different occasions throughout. In addition, Cameron’s vocals sound so much like Corin Tucker, you’d think the Sleater-Kinney frontwoman was making a guest appearance. Debuting last week at No. 47 on the Core chart, Forget Cassettes unbelievably fell off the chart this week, but that should change next week, thanks to continuing support from KCPR, KTSW,WWVU, KBOO and WRVU. - CMJ


What really stands out on the album is you don't notice length or dynamics or sometimes even the lyrics. You hear the music and the mood. The mingling of effort by these two musicians offers a singular sound that successfully intertwines without resembling a jarrband session. The seesaw of hard and soft, strain and cajoling is enough to keep Instruments of Action alive. Though a female singer/guitarist and male drummer is not an unusual mix, the music Forget Cassettes is making doesn't fit tightly in an indie or rock mold. It makes good use of dynamics, with gentle melodic parts woven between loud distortion. The two - Beth and Doni - appear quite young, but both are skilled at evoking moods and scenes. The album is mostly sad, a jumble of longing, regret, disgust and hurt. It seems very personal, with bare soul poking through. This is an excellent effort - Southeast Performer


Beth Cameron, frontwoman and guitarist of Nashville band Forget Cassettes, is not a big woman. From what I've read in reviews of the band's shows, she's tiny. But she makes an almighty racket.

At the time of recording their debut album, FC was just Beth and a guy called Doni who hit the drums quite hard. He's left to hit drums with …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, as you do, and two other boys have replaced him. It must be nice to discover that you are equivalent to two people.

I don't know what they sound like now, but back in 2004, they were producing a lot of noise for just a duo. I'd estimate they're around 50% louder now, but that's making a few assumptions.

Guitarists in two-piece bands often resort to tricks like installing bass pickups (a la Local H) or creating larger-than-life personas centred around faux-incest dynamics (the White Stripes). I don't think Beth Cameron has done either of these. She just rips shreds off her Gibson SG and shows off some almighty chops.

Forget Cassettes' music is best described as a post-punk melange. They seem to pay reference to riot grrrl (the vocals), post-rock (the quiet passages), Hüsker Dü (the really raucous bits) and occasionally even classic bands like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin (bluesy, loud riffs). Something for the whole family, really.

Cameron's voice brings to mind early PJ Harvey, although she can sound a little bit more petulant at times and her lyrics sometimes verge on school-girl journal sentiments. Yet when she unleashes the full power of her voice at the same time as a blast of guitar, it merges into a wall of sound that can make grown men cry. Judging by some of her lyrics, that was probably the desired end.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is the title-track "Instruments of Action." The interplay between guitar and drums is impressive and the stop-start rhythm builds anticipation for each note—something very few songs can claim. The multiple crescendos and peaks coincide with the most defiant lyrics leaving the listener with no doubt that this band mean what they say.

"Like Tiny Swords" is another stand-out, I suspect because it reminds me of Placebo's "36 Degrees." It a simpler song, in terms of musical technique, than others on the album but it boasts an intensity and a sense of purpose that trounces far showier songs.

Forget Cassettes aren't particularly well known outside of Nashville and a WOXY-inspired following in Ohio, but with musical power like this, it'll take blocks of solid concrete to keep them from being heard.

- Stylus Magazine


A swirling, blistering wind blows from down Nashville way... Forget Cassettes toy with a precarious (and ultimately intoxicating) mix of combustible garage rock and precise math rock. As a band, they're tighter than Jon's mom's wig. But what stands out most are Beth Cameron's agile vocals. Much like the great Polly Harvey — and understand I'm not trying to make a direct comparison here — Cameron's got character and dynamics to spare. Whether she's at a whisper or a caterwaul, she'll suck you in like a tractor beam. Oops, there I go mixing metaphors again. Just listen and figure it out for yourself, okay?

- 3hive.com


"So, how do you like it so far?" asks Beth Cameron, frontwoman and nexus of Nashville rockers Forget Cassettes. Curious fans had turned out in droves for tonight's set at Alchemize, eager to see new members Jay Leo Phillips (also of Apollo Up!) and Aaron Ford in action. Forget Cassettes had made an impression on Cincinnati audiences with stellar shows in the past, and tonight the crowd reconfirms their dedication by answering Beth with an enthusiastic roar.

After drummer Doni Schroader's departure, Forget Cassettes were resurrected by Beth and her wisely-chosen new bandmates. Jay's guitar playing tonight is positively inspired, and he's animated enough to hold his own in stage presence (see photos for proof.) Drummer Aaron Ford is a bit of a spaz, and as he thrashes through each song, his headphones slip down to his eyebrows. This young man possesses some magical store of energy that renews itself with every track. You'd think he'd be a bit tired after driving up from Nashville all day, but when questioned after the show, he denies having consumed any energy drinks.

Like the boys, Beth has enough charisma and passion to carry the show on her own. Though petite, she is anything but demure, and tonight she looks the part in a black ensemble with an ambitiously short skirt. Her voice is confident and comes through clearly over the guitars, moving from a soft murmur to an impassioned wail within a few bars. Thankfully, Beth's vocals never sound forced or histrionic; these are her songs, and she sings them with honesty.

Tonight's set list is mostly made up of new compositions, including "Tabula Rasa" and "Venison." These songs remain true to the Forget Cassettes sound, showcasing Beth's vocals and lyrics while adding the power of the bass and creative solo work on guitar and drums. They should be more than enough to quiet the skeptics. "Nicholas," a new tune with long interludes laden with guitar effects, steals the show. It's the dynamics in these songs that keep listeners engaged from the first note to the last. There's no bored foot-tapping or glancing toward the bar, wondering if you should grab another drink. You're far too invested in what's happening onstage.

For the encore, Beth announces, "OK, you have a choice. Bruce Wayne . . . or Instruments of Action." As soon as the words leave her mouth, a fan in the center of the room yowls with enthusiasm as his fist rockets into the air. It's impeccable timing, and the room is silent for a second before everyone else shakes off their awe and joins in. Some kid up front drops his beer in a flamboyant attempt at a fist pump. It's as much frenzy as a crowd can muster at one in the morning.

"Instruments of Action," the title track of Forget Cassettes' first (and as yet only) record, will be the final song. As the unmistakable chords strike up, the crowd is ecstatic. This is an extended, jammed-out version of the song, and it's a wonder Beth's voice has retained enough power to finish it out with real verve. Aaron closes the set with a drumming effort using more energy than one would need to complete the Tour de France. As the audience cheers with the last of its voice, a fellow fan looks down at my pad and admonishes, "You'd better be taking a lot of notes, man." Me and the rest of the modern rock world, I think.
- Loose Record


Instruments of Action is one hell of a strong debut. The songwriting is intelligent, it provides a compelling listen, and it's great to throw the devil horns to. Fortunately the lyrics and vocals are just as strong as the music, a factor that most typically ruins a good thing. This is one of those albums that flirts between being commercially accessible with it's big riffs and being adored by the underground for it's indie-emo-math-rock sensibilities. - Silent Uproar


Beth Cameron and Doni Schroeder are in for trouble. They recorded a rock album.

The two make up Forget Cassettes, half of ex-power-popsters Fair Verona. The record was produced by Michael McCarthy (Spoon, …And You Will Know Us), which alone might be enough to make me run for cover. Then there's the guitar and drums two-piece combo. A Fender Rhodes also figures in the mix, maybe in the attempt to sound organ-ic (pardon the pun). I sense a mess about to happen.

Not so. Forget Cassettes exudes passion with graceful post-rock - easy listening for those who've burned their ears on Lilliput. They're aggressive and angsty, even emotional, without Xeroxing the same "post"-everything posture that's popular among critic-savvy groups. The songs on Instruments of Action are anything but formulaic, obfuscating the duo's debt to Mission of Burma and Gang of Four, and infusing the post-rock genre with a modern, explosive sensibility. Given their instruments of choice, they fight an uphill battle all the way, but little here actually sounds rehearsed; instead, this should-be wannabe duo sound energetic, fresh, and vital. In its influence and freshness, this record reminds me of last year's overlooked Wonderful Educated Bear debut album by Athens' Heros Severum.

The album opener "German Girls" is, oddly enough, the album's slowest song, but nonetheless breathtaking. Cameron takes center stage with a quiet four-chord verse oddly reminiscent of the Dismemberment Plan's anomalous "Respect is Due" ending to The Plan is Terrified. A weary, yet poetic take on the new twentysomething decade of manageable responsibility and unmanageable fun, it segues into "Accismus" with subdued expectancy, where Schroeder joins in on drums and launches into hyperspace. From here on out, Forget Cassettes forgo expectation. Quiet interludes that stretch into songs blend with loud, angular post-rock riffs that stop and start a step ahead of predictability. "A Legacy's Demise" raindrops delicate Rhodes with accompanied guitar arpeggios for a surprising, quiet beauty in the middle of the album, while "Scales" and "Bruce Wayne" juxtapose these soft moments with crashing splinters of cymbals and distortion. "Like Tiny Swords" takes the fluid, yet aggressive Sunny Day Real Estate path, surpassed only by "Ms. Rhythm and Blues" as the album's all-out rocker.
- Dusted Magazine


Nashville's Forget Cassettes was born from the ashes of Fair Verona when guitarist/vocalist Beth Cameron and drummer Doni Schroader decided to push on in a more adventurous direction. For some time the duo has been a hot commodity live. The fact that Schroader often drums with one hand and plays lines on a Rhodes electric piano with the other makes his ferocious drumming all the more spectacular. Beth's tiny frame belies the angst she's capable of projecting both through her voice and guitar.

If anything, Forget Cassettes first full-length, Instruments Of Action (out now on local Theory 8 Records), is a refutation of the premise that bands that are so dynamic live are impossible to capture on tape. Instruments of Action not only catches the energy the band gives off live, but also gives the band the space to explore their minimal instrumentation.

In the title track, you can hear the room noise around the drums and guitar. As a result, Beth's voice sounds as if she's standing right in front of you. And while Ms. Rhythm and Blues exudes a definite Sleater-Kinney influence in its rhythm and voice, A Legacy's Demise pushes the band into its own undiscovered territory - winding guitar lines and electric piano around a haunting, quiet voice. Bruce Wayne begins with a chilling scream, proving Beth's voice is the sort of expressive instrument for which most bands would kill.

Every song on the record benefits from complex, twisting arrangements that frustrate the verse-chorus-verse standard. This combined with the band's ability to switch from quiet meditation to full-on rock riff show off their careful musicianship and will to make rock music just as complicated and expressive as the subjects of their lyrics.

- Nashville Rage


Discography

Instruments of Action - 2003
The Catch Maxi-Single - May 2nd, 2006
Salt - August 8th, 2006

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Rock and roll should be about energy, the intensity of distinct personalities coming together to create a feeling akin to the sensations of life that exist for humanity, whether they be a celebration of what is glorious about a moment or the sadness that comes from loss. Music is life; music is the ideal expression of existence; music is power. It is not only the combination of the dynamics of guitar, drums, and keyboards, but how those instruments emphasize the lyrics of a song that make for good rock n roll. Nashville’s Forget Cassettes, fronted by Beth Cameron, embodies this idea. An anomaly in the Nashville music scene, a band led by a guitar-wielding female, Forget Cassettes knows how to make great rock. There is no way to categorize this band, no genre in which to place them; it is only rock in its purest, most unadulterated form. No, it is not one’s typical band, singing about sex, drugs, and a party-oriented lifestyle; Forget Cassettes goes one better: they describe those moments in life fraught with indecision and duality. All of those seemingly tragic times that lead to introspection and realization are the lyrics of Forget Cassettes, plus songs about music as savior and its impact on the body and mind (“Ms. Rhythm and Blues”). Rock and roll can be meaningful, as Forget Cassettes wants us to believe, and it’s true. Music can be pleasurable and profound all in the same moment.

The songs themselves are the aural representations of these lyrics. Life is not as simple and coherent as most rock artists would have us believe. Existence cannot always be represented in three minutes and three chords. Forget Cassettes’ music shows us that a moment can begin loud, slide into quiet, then change right back into an explosion of sound and feeling. Sometimes this happens in a split second; sometimes it takes awhile, but our minds are not always as straightforward as some music would have us believe. Forget Cassettes wants us to know that they know how things really are and wants to show us this comprehension. In songs like “Instruments of Action,” the title track of their first record, FC succinctly demonstrates this ideal. It begins as a mid-tempo piece heavy with drumming, presenting an idea of power, idealism, and the embracement of strength. Then, halfway through this four-minute-plus track, everything slows down as Beth repeats the French phrase tout bien ou rien, (all or nothing), which in many ways can be seen as the major theme to their musical vision. Life should be lived fully, or not at all. All of the songs, in some way or another, continue this idea. It is certainly a great mantra for everyone to implement in his/her own manner.

Few rock bands can ever be taken seriously if they cannot transfer the sound / energy of their records onto the stage; this is the true litmus test of a great band. Forget Cassettes does not fail in this accord. While their record is amazing, their live shows are that much better. They feed off the energy of a packed show in a strange symbiotic relationship, as the crowd desires more and more from the band itself. The kids on the floor, in true indie rock fashion, tap feet and bob heads to the beat, singing along to the lyrics, while the musicians take this pleasure into their performance and give it back to the audience tenfold. Even though Beth is a diminutive figure in real life, thin and standing barely over five feet, it never ceases to amaze the audience that she can play with such vigor or sing as loudly and as big as she does. The power and emotion inside her is much bigger than one could ever believe by physical appearance alone. Music itself should only be about the enjoyment of performing songs that mean something to the artist and the audience.

After the departure of original drummer Doni Schroader in late 2004, to tour with ……And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Jay Leo Phillips (Apollo Up!) and Aaron Ford (The Sincerity Guild) joined Beth to continue Forget Cassettes. The talent and musicianship of this band has always been full of surprises, so the world-at-large should prepare itself for this powerhouse- they are capable of great things.
words: catie cameron