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Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"WATCH: The Blank Tapes Prep Us For Summer With “Coast To Coast” (FILTER Premiere)"

The Blank Tapes are set to release their latest longplay, Vacation, which will be available on May 16th via Antenna Farm. Here, we reveal the video for their debut single from the LP, "Coast To Coast," a track which just makes you want to roll the windows down and breathe in the summer air.

The Blank Tapes, who were for so long made up primarily of SoCal’s own Matt Adams and his trusty eight track recorder, are now a three man outfit putting forward what they call their “most fully realized version”.

You might be forgiven for calling Adams a musical genius with his natural song writing abilities accruing to over four hundred originals rolling around between his ears. The Orange County native recorded all previous releases on his eight-track, making this record the first to have been studio produced.

Listening to the LP you get the feeling that the tracks have not been written, but simply revealed from the depths of Adams guarded mind. Three part harmonies lace the LP which was written entirely on the road and encourage a nostalgic feeling of a forgotten summer. - Filter

"Hear the Blank Tapes' Winsome Garage-Pop Gem 'Coast to Coast'"

Vacation, due out soon from Antenna Farm Records, is the Blank Tapes' leader Matt Adams' first full album recorded away from his own eight-track. But the new record's sunshiney "Coast to Coast" stays true to the Los Angeles- and Oakland-based band's scrappy roots, touring through '50s and '60s pop classics with ramshackle warmth. The melismatic harmonies recall the Beatles before they discovered acid, but the Blank Tapes' oh-so-slightly off-kilter update of the old jangly tropes should also appeal to fans of bands like the Parquet Courts and Foxygen. "We're changing with the weather / We're waking up the ghosts / It couldn't get much better," Adams sings. That about sums it up: Best Coast, are you listening?! - SPIN

"Review: Sun Angle and The Blank Tapes at Holocene"

Next up was Los Angeles band, The Blank Tapes. The Blank Tapes are one of those bands that looks exactly the way they sound, which is always one of my favorite things. With dreamy, sunny songs, I felt like I had been transported to a beach party in LA, far away from the cold and slight drizzle that we had in Portland. Their songs were well-developed, well-executed, and generally well-liked amongst the crowd. I loved their dreamy harmonies, groovy bass lines, and minimalist drumming, and this band is becoming a fast favorite of mine. I can say that I've introduced all of my best friends/favorite music snobs to The Blank Tapes since seeing their show, and that I would, without conviction, absolutely see them live again. - Bridgetown Sound

"Front and Center at the Poop Show - SXSW Day One"

“As far as music goes, even though I feel as though watching live music is about ten percent of the reason anyone comes to this circus, I saw a super impressive set last night by Dana Falconberry at Valhalla, and another one directly after hers by a band called The Blank Tapes.” - VICE

"The Pitchfork Guide to Upcoming Releases"


The Blank Tapes: Vacation [Antenna Farm]
Last Good Tooth: Last Good Tooth [Team Love] - Pitchfork

"SXSW 2013: Day One Highlights Beards, Snuggies, and Gourmet Rap"

Ann Powers (@annkpowers):
- Marnie Stern
- Ryan Bingham
- The Blank Tapes

“I saw the unlimited beard tonight, the dude in Blank Tapes had a beard that seemed to merge with his… oh my gosh… did you see? …I actually really liked Blank Tapes, they were kind’ve a bent version of 60's pop and they were really fun.” – Ann Powers
“Agreed” – NPR staff
“cutest band so far” – Ann Powers (twitter) - NPR

"SXSW Diary"

“11 P.M.: Valhalla. The Blank Tapes sound like the Archies if Lou Reed had written their songs, and they look like the sort of affable hippies who drive around the country in green microbuses solving unscary mysteries. They are completely adorable.” - The New Yorker

"Rolling Stone Magazine!"

as featured in the HOT LIST section in february 2008:
"We discovered this lo-fi unsigned band - which somehow evokes Belle and Sebastion, Pavement, and the Black Keys - in a San Fran coffeehouse (just like the old days.) Quick, somebody sign them!"
- Rolling Stone

"OC weekly"

August 2008

The Blank Tapes' Matt Adams shuttles between Costa Mesa and the Bay Area, making his Southland performances seem that much more special.

With assistance from a rotating crew of players (something of a necessity due to his itinerant lifestyle), Adams writes winsome pop tunes that snuggle up to you on the sofa and put a rosy glow in your cheeks. He's a traditional pop-rock craftsman, paying homage to such masters as Ray Davies, Steven Malkmus, Emitt Rhodes, Gram Parsons and early Neil Diamond (don't hate; Neil was awesome in the '60s and early '70s). Adams also has pronounced folk proclivities, with many songs exuding a delicate, campfire aura. They go down easy, like the sun. Adams and his Blank Tapes traveling circus have a grip of shows coming up in late July/early August, so try to catch 'em before he heads north again. - OC weekly

"the Bay Bridged"

Blog & podcast May 2008

This week, our podcast spotlights The Blank Tapes, an Oakland rock band led by prolific singer-songwriter Matt Adams. The Tapes' latest album, their third, is 2007's Daydreams, an album that continues to gain positive reviews–including one recently from Rolling Stone–as listeners discover new favorites among the its 26 tracks. The record's length allows Adams to try a number of different styles, including 90s-reminiscent indie rock, folk-pop, and British rock sounds all guided by strong melodic instincts and relationship-driven lyrical imagery.

Adams played most of the instruments on Daydreams and self-recorded it on a favorite 8-track, but he doesn't isolate himself on a musical island. As Matt told us during our interview, he's influenced by the strong community of musicians he's surrounded by, several of whom have accompanied him on a number of lengthy tours. That guidance should emerge on a nearly-finished album of cover songs by his friends' bands, although you shouldn't just expect new covers soon. As he told us, Adams has a wealth of songs he's looking to unleash in new Blank Tapes records in the near future. - the Bay Bridged

"SF Daily"

February 2008

In an increasingly digital universe, it can be refreshing to find musicians who are more interested taking their music down a different path. For Matt Adams, that notion became a defining point for his current project, The Blank Tapes. He says, "With digital recording, the unlimited options were just too overwhelming and I thought the songs were kind of getting lost. In recording the tracks my way, the limits just suit me better. They suit the songs better." Catch The Blank Tapes performing this Sunday night at The Hotel Utah Saloon.
After finally growing tired of the frustrations of digital recordings, Adams says it was in fact the name he chose for the band that was the first real inspiration. "I just got tired of the emptiness of the digital sound," he says. "Instead, using tape and that whole method gives me all the right options to tweak or embellish the songs in a way that I couldn't digitally. That's when I thought of the idea to call it 'The Blank Tapes.'" With that, he had successfully summed up the foundations for his music.
Adams decisiveness with his recordings doesn't stop at choice of medium. All the songs are his work alone, and with only a few spare exceptions, he is the sole musician and engineer for his projects. "Since I can play all the instruments, it's just an easier option for me," he says. "I have a really clear idea in my head of exactly how I want the songs to sound and to come out, and it can be too much of a hassle to try and explain it to other people sometimes. It seems to work better when I don't have to try to make it work for a lot of people and just worry about me instead."
The clear idea for most of his songs results in a sound Adams describes as, "if The Velvet Underground recorded The [Beatles'] White Album. Growing up, 60s music really had a huge impact on me and the way I hear songs." Much of The Blank Tapes palette derives from those two specific influences, but the songs are balanced out in turn by folk melodies or pop sensibilities, making for an array of catchy tunes.
But getting to that catchy part comes along later in Adams' songwriting process. "For me, I think it almost always starts with the chords," he says. "From there, I can kind of pick up a melody I like that will dictate the rest of the chords. I'll start mumbling some words over parts of the songs here and there," he laughs, "and then at some point I'll finally sit down and really write down the lyrics." A few verses and choruses later, and Adams has yet another catchy song to add to the repertoire.
Being so prolific can have its downside, though, too. "I have two albums pretty much finished up right now, so the next step is just to release them." Although releasing two records at once isn't common practice, especially after releasing his album Daydreamers just last year, he says it's very necessary in this case. "I have so many other songs, more than 100 probably, that I need to get recorded, so I just need these other albums to get out there so that I can move on to something new."
While his next endeavors will certainly include some of his own recording, Adams also plays often in friends' bands as well. "I'm just getting settled in Oakland now after moving from Newport Beach, but I'm already surprised by how many more musician friends I have here. There are just always so many choices here for shows to play or show to go to. It's just a great group of people and a great group of musicians. I play a lot with fpodbpod, honey.moon.tree, Dirdy Birdy, Matt McCluer – it's a great community."
Since Adams is always willing to play with friends, they are often ready to return the favor, to help fill out a live sound for his one-man band. Adams is also looking forward to taking a few of them out on the road for some upcoming tours around the US this year, his first time with a full band. Doubtlessly, the experience will just offer more inspiration to bring home to his home studio in Oakland and record another 100 songs. - SF Daily


LA RECORD by Chris Ziegler-Jan.08

Matt Adams is the songwriter and artist behind the Blank Tapes, who are sometimes just him and sometimes a full band including musicians between Orange County (where he is from) and San Francisco (where he mostly now lives). He often reminds people of the Kinks' softer songs and he doesn't mind that. He released his new album Daydreams earlier this year. He speaks now from a birthday party at a bar.What's the most genuine human experience you ever had in a Newport Beach Borders?That's pretty heavy. I don't know how to answer that. The last show I played in Newport Beach was at some restaurant bar in Corona Del Mar.Did they have valet parking?They didn't, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did every other night of the week. There were a bunch of people there I wouldn't normally be playing music for.Like Dennis Rodman?Typical people of the area. But they were cool—they bought my CD.What do you miss the most about Orange County?Probably the weather! Other than that, I don't miss anything.So level it and make a state park?It definitely has a place in my heart. I still see hope for it. But I'm kind of over being there. I just moved on. Anything you get attached to there doesn't stay so long.How many songs do you have in your head at any given time?Right now I have about four albums in the works—it's crazy! I do have like 80 songs in my head. I have a pretty good memory when it comes to my melodies and my songs. I've had songs with me for over ten years that I'm still figuring out. I have a lot of music in my head. When it comes to other things, my memory could be not so good. But I have a really good memory for my own music and other people's music.Where do you see yourself in fifty years?Hopefully focusing more on illustration—I'd like to do some children's books! I've been working on a children's book that comes with a children's album. The album is pretty much written. It's based on a character—Enipucrop, a porcupine character I made up when I was in second grade. The first character I came up with and the one that lasted the longest, and he has a couple buddies he goes on an adventure with. I haven't figured out the actual story, but I've been working on it—the morals and characters and adventures I want it to have. Like a Dr. Seuss or Alice In Wonderland type project.Is that your longest-term project?The longest thing I've been working on. I have a lot of old songs I'm listening to that I'd like to re-record and re-release. A year ago I recorded a cover album I'm gonna mix sometime soon.Any Kinks songs?One Kinks song. Dave Davies—'There Is No Life Without Love.' Most of the covers are by friends of mine. Songs no one's ever heard except for my friends. And I have a lot of projects. Over a hundred tape recordings—ever since I started playing guitar, I've been recording different ideas. I have many many tapes to go through to pick the best little pieces out of them—make a big box set of CDs! I have more recordings than I know what to do with—if I wanted, I could release like thirty albums.What was the easiest song you've written recently?There are songs that fall in my lap. When I first moved to San Francisco, I was spending a lot of times playing music on the streets. When I was in Orange County, I went through this down time where I stopped playing my own music—I don't wanna say depression, but I wasn't playing my own music. And when I got to the city, I was really excited—but I sort of forgot how to play my songs, so I'd take every opportunity I could to write new material and play music and be in front of people. I played a lot of shows where I'd be just playing at a café to warm up, or I'd go out and play on the bus.What songs do bus passengers like?Mostly ukelele songs. There was only one time the bus driver told me not to play. A lot of times, it was a pretty amazing experience—really positive songs. A lot of bus drivers really dig it. A lot of the songs on were written on the ukelele—it's such a portable instrument. I've taken it with me all over the place—playing in the park and on the street, making a little bit of money but mostly just to get the juices flowing.How did that affect you as a performer? Thicker skin? Better instincts?All those things. Kind of a bit of perspective of what it is to be a musician or entertainer—what it is to share music with people. You learn that you're playing music and the main purpose is for yourself—recognition isn't like necessarily what makes it worthwhile. It's nice when someone acknowledges it—but it's a weird game. With anything in life, you have to be patient. You learn the main human qualities anyone would learn in life apply to music as well—being patient, being humble and enjoying the process. - LA RECORD

"seattle's 3 Imaginary Girls"

seattle's 3 imaginary girls. January 2008

Currently Obsessed With: the blank tapesSubmitted by imaginary liz on January 8, 2008.The Blank TapesHailing from Orange County, the blank tapes recently released their third album, daydreams. The band is spearheaded by Matt Adams who writes and records all of the songs on cassette tapes using an old Tascam 8-track. The outcome is a beautiful album of 25 songs (actually 26 including the secret track) oozing with authenticity.The songs have a distinct Elephant 6 vibe about them… both in the DIY aesthetic and the feeling that each song has flowed seamlessly from Matt's consciousness.My favorite tracks on the album are "love seems strange now" and "sun rock" – but the MP3s they have posted on their website are fine enough until we can find links to one of my favs: * In the Light * Oh My Child * Were Better Not Together * Smoke & Mirrors * Listen to the OneThey've also posted a couple other selections on their MySpace page. And for those imaginaries in California - looks like you're in luck! Matt is doing a solo tour up and down your fine state. - 3 imaginary Girls blog

"Montreal's Left Hip Magazine"

Landfair album review. January 2008

Is The Blank Tapes an inappropriate moniker for a San Francisco chap that saw fit to release a 23-song, 1.3-hour album? It would seem that these tapes are anything but blank!

Matt Adams could easily be a long lost brother of the Elephant Six crew, sounding like he stepped straight out of the sixties: among the many influences that combine to make Landfair what it is, aside from the Elephant Six sound: I hear some Velvets, my roommate hears some Kinks and then there's probably some Smiley Smile thrown in there too. The sound is charming and homespun, acoustic guitars and rag-tag clapping percussion backup Adam's humbly mellow voice.

At his best Adams set his cute and harmless love song lyrics to very well crafted pop melodies. And given the unusually long length of this collection, it's remarkable how much really great stuff there is here. At 23 songs , there are bound to be a number of throwaways – Landfair is consistently enjoyable from start to finish but there are definitely those tracks that, less catchy and instantly accessible, could have been left off in the interest of keeping it short and sweet.

The Blank Tapes's Landfair is an easygoing album with an instantly likeable, homemade quality that will appeal to fans of sixties-inspired pop music. Recommended for fans of Page France, Of Montreal, Marshmallow Coast, Elephant Six, Smiley Smile and other sixties and neo-sixties sounds. - Left Hip Magazine

"Tennessee write up"

knoxville, TN - November 2007

The Blank Tapes
Matt Adams is essentially a one-man band, and a prolific one at that. Bouncing back and forth between Southern California and San Francisco the last few years, Adams, as The Blank Tapes, has released three albums, each recorded directly to cassette tape with a vintage eight-track recorder. Adams writes all the songs and plays almost all of the music, which, on his new record Daydreams, runs the gamut from old-fashioned California country-folk (think the Mamas and the Papas) to contemporary chamber pop (like, say, Okkervil River) and digressive little genre exercises (the Tin Pan Alley doodle "Why Must I Fall in Love," a stab at early-'90s shoegazing on "We're Better Not Together"). Each of Adams' Blank Tapes albums so far has included more than 20 songs, and he says he has at least 60 demos ready for a couple more discs soon. Who knows how he finds the time; ask him after his show at Preservation Pub with Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 10 p.m. (M.E.) - Metropulse

"Boston Phoenix"

November 2007

"Y'know, with all the blabbity blab about blogs and breaking new bands, we still have a real, real strong affection for college radio. Especially WMBR. Every time we get sick of the internet echo chamber chorusing about some pretentiously named new discovery, we flip to the left of the FM dial. Inevitably, we find that not only have college radio DJs not drunk the bloggity kool-aid, but that they've got better kung-fu. To wit: pretty much every time we turn on 'MBR, we find a new indie-rock band to obsess about.

So it was a couple of months ago with the Blank Tapes.

We've staunchly avoided over-Googling the Tapes, because quite frankly, what we don't know we don't care to. The songs are the kind of songs you want to make up your own shit about, imagine people and places around them, like people used to do before Trouser Press and AllMusic. And the songs are plenty: homemade but not particularly lo-fi, fully-formed not half-baked, bereft of the indecision that plagues so much of what passes for indie these days. Aesthetically, we get the sense he might be one of those post-Elephant 6 hippies -- but like Neutral Milk Hotel, he gets around by triangulating between far more conventional songwriting signposts. You don't have to be into far-out shit to get sucked into his melodies or his lyrics. It's just kinda classic great songwriting on a more intimate scale.

What little we know: Blank Tapes is basically one dude, from the West Coast, with several albums under his belt. Also, he's coming to PA's Lounge tonight.

So the one that caught our ear was a fantastic bummer of a breakup song, "We're Better Not Together," which we'd recommend against ingesting if you're on anti-depressants. From the same album, this year's Daydreams, comes also "Smoke and Mirrors," which sports exactly the kind of smoking guitar riff that people who write fantastic-bummer-breakup-songs are not supposed to be able to pull off convincingly. Pure awesomeness." - Boston Phoenix

"SF deli magazine"

August 2007

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about ultra-long-playing albums. On the one hand, I think its awesome to load up a CD to capacity, giving your fans a jumbo dose of what they like. On the other hand, I find it hard to really wrap my mind around 80 minutes of music as one collected assemblage of songwriting. My feelings about The Blank Tapes' latest work, Daydreams, fall somewhere between the two sentiments.

With 25 songs clocking in at just under 80 minutes, Daydreams contains a lot of excellent folk and rock gems written by the band's front man Matt Adams. Especially on 'Listen to the One' and 'This is what's Inside' I am especially taken by TBTs' ability to create amazingly catchy songs from fairly simple arrangements, with a heavy guitar and percussion emphasis. Especially considering their location in folk-happy SF, TBTs' sound is assuredly unique. The band seamlessly mixes together acoustic and electronic elements, creating a surprisingly full sound, without ever approaching a jam band like quality. And while it is certainly easy to at times lump them into the folk crowd, it must be emphasized that TBTs is a fully developed rock band. Just as they are perfectly comfortable with a delicately plunked banjo, The Blank Tapes are equally adept at integrating up tempo electric guitar solos and thrashing drums. On all the songs Matt Adams' voice contains a consistently delicate scruffiness that is, like their music, as easily at home with folk as it is with rock.

I did a little experiment in listening to Daydreams. On my third or fourth listen I started the album half way through and listened to the latter half first, followed by the first half. While on my first listens I was convinced that I preferred the first half over the second half, in doing this little experiment I realized that in fact I like the last tracks the best. I don't really feel right criticizing TBTs' choice to include so many songs on one album- because in the end there aren't any songs that I feel are bad apples. However, for my dog-like attention span, I guess it runs a little long. In the end, I think Daydreams represents an impressive collection of songs, both for their individual quality, and for their varying styles across the album. In many ways I think Daydreams will be a refreshingly new journey for fans of the densely populated folk scene here in San Francisco. - SF deli magazine


VACATION (May 2013, Antenna Farm Records)
Sleepy EP (2012, Dome of Doom)
The One EP (2012, Curly Cassettes)
Sun's Too Bright (2012, Burger Records)
I'm Back/Back & Forth 7" (2012, 20 Sided Records)
home away from home (2010, White Noise)
daydreams (2007, self released)
landfair (2005, self released)
country western honky tonk saloon blues (2003, self released)



The Blank Tapes is now and always has been Matt Adams, a soft-spoken kid from a Southern California suburb who learned to play practically every instrument a good garage band needs, and then started making beautifully idiosyncratic records on his trusty home eight-track because...well, why wait? When he first heard the Beatles and the Kinks, he knew he needed to make his own songs, too, and so in 2003 he did, with the kind of inspiration and confidence and personality you'd think have faded out in 1967. By the time he left his home in Orange County for San Francisco in 2005, he'd put dozens if not a hundred of his own songs on tape, all lovingly and painstakingly and perfectly recorded in a series of ever more modest bedrooms and sheds. The local press loved him and when he landed in the Bay Area, the press there loved him just as much, too. ("Somebody sign him, quick!" said Rolling Stone.)

But the funny thing is this is all the ancient history of The Blank Tapes now—or maybe just the prelude. Adams is the kind of guy who writes a song just as naturally as he wakes up everyday. He's got...maybe almost four hundred originals hovering inside his head, he says, and he remembers them all perfectly. He's got lost albums and unreleased albums and more albums for the future planned out to the last detail. He paints his own albums covers and posters—with talent enough that he worked for Mad Magazine!—and booked all his own tours and makes the show go on whether its him and a portable amp on a lonely bridge in Austin or him and eight other rock 'n' roll powerhouses cracking the stage in half.

In 2010, he got not one but two surprise smash hits in Brazil, leading to his first tour outside North America. He shared bills with sci-fi garage legends Thee Oh Sees and home-taper extraordinaire R. Stevie Moore in Europe. He provided much of the soundtrack to the cult surf film 'Stoked and Broke' and took a stripped-down Blank Tapes to Japan to tour with the film. And he custom-wrote a special song for Burger Records Weiner Dog Benefit comp, doing his utmost to help a little puppy pay a vet bill.

Now he prepares to release his newest LP Vacation on Oakland's Antenna Farm Records, the rightful next step after 2010's Home Away From Home and a string of singles and cassette albums on Burger, White Noise, Dome of Doom, Curly Cassettes and 20 Sided Records. It's the first-ever full Blank Tapes album recorded somewhere besides Adams' trusty 8-track. Ever since the birth of The Blank Tapes, Adams has figured out the classic part of classic rock—the kind of songs that aren't so much written as revealed. And Adams lately gets his revelations while traveling, so Vacation is an album written on the road with a little nod to the rootless spirit of the actual On The Road.

His songs are alive with style and sentiment of immortals like Ray Davies and Robyn Hitchcock ("Earring") or Kris Kristofferson and Terry Allen ("Working," "Vacation") or even Lou Reed ("Pearl," written about girlfriend and Blank Tapes drummer Pearl Charles the night he met her) and Buddy Holly (the adorable bridge of "Coast to Coast") or even Os Mutantes on "Brazilia," a bossa-delic song inspired by Adams' informal park jam sessions on his Brazilian tour. With studio help from drummer Will Halsey and a series of bassists, Vacation is an everything-old-is-new-again album—a record chasing down timelessness in its own time.

Now relocated back to Los Angeles, Adams finds the music he's loved since that first borrowed guitar is now the new sound of Southern California, thanks to standard bearers like the Growlers, Nick Waterhouse—who played the same off-the-path bars as The Blank Tapes, waaaaay back when—and Burger Records, who've already released an earlier Blank Tapes full-length. After a year of low-key shows, he's secured a spot with the Danny Rose booking agency and debuted what he calls the most fully realized version of The Blank Tapes yet—a lean and pristine trio with D.A. Humphrey on bass and Charles on back-to-basics Moe Tucker-style drums, with the kind of three-part harmonies the Wilson brothers used to love. There's a new energy, he says. For the longest time The Blank Tapes has just been him, writing and recording as time and circumstance allow. But now, after almost exactly ten years and a new album and a new line-up, The Blank Tapes have finally become what he's always wanted.