This week's edition of Tell Me About That Album features Tape Club from Springfield Missouri's favorite indie rock band, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. The band has released three studio albums to date, and their latest collects over two dozen B-sides, demos and leftovers from their more than 10 years together on a 2xLP or CD. We caught up with Phil Dickey, one of the band's founders, to get the scoop on the album and some of the stories behind it. Tape Club is out now from Polyvinyl, or pick it up directly from the band when they play at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard on Dec. 3rd.
The name of the album comes from a tape of the month club you started to finance your early tours, right? Yeah, we put out our first album in 2005 and we recorded it at our parents' houses. Unexpectedly, it did really well on the Internet. We were trying to figure out how to tour because we didn't have a booking agent yet and the way we were going to buy a van and pay for gas was to start this thing called Tape Club, where we would mail out cassettes. It was inspired a little bit by Sub Pop's Singles Club.
How much money did you raise? $1500. And we bought a van.
Why did you decide Tape Club should be the title of the record? I think we just decided. I don't think we put a lot of thought behind it. Also, there's a tape-making company in our town, where all they do is make cassettes--and I don't know how they're still in business--but I think they're like the only one in the country.
Do you have a favorite song on the album? I like "Yellow Missing Sign."
How about a favorite lyric? Probably the first line of "Yellow Missing Sign," which is, "Now I'm going to tell you about Missouri," which I think would be a cool tattoo."
Is the cover, which is a black and white photo of you guys on a roof, a nod to the Replacements' Let It Be cover? Yeah. It's a nod to everything. When we did it, we were like, "This looks like five other record covers." I was also thinking of those records where there's like a house and a telephone line, like the new Telekinesis album, the American Football album. The list goes on.
Is there a good story from recording one of the songs that you can share? There's a song called "Cardinal Rules," which is about our minor league baseball team, the Springfield Cardinals. In the stands, they would play "American Girl" and all these classic rock songs that sounded so good in a stadium, so I decided to try to write one that they might be able to play. The old mayor of Springfield had a yoga studio, and we recorded it in that studio. I think it's about as hometown as you can get because [the song is] about our hometown baseball team and recorded in the mayor's yoga studio. And it references a lot of Springfield people, like Payne Stewart and Jackie Stiles, who played in the WNBA. "I've got Jackie on my mind and Payne in my heart."
What made you decide to release an album of tracks that didn't make the cut the first time around? When we were putting the album together I wanted to call it our worst-of, because these songs weren't good enough to make any of our actual albums. But we kept getting letters from angry fans who would say, "Why isn't this song on your album? It's your best song!" So almost every song that's on Tape Club had that email. There isn't a song that just randomly ended up on it. It was always like, "Oh, my sister likes that one so we should put it on there."
Did you consider releasing it on cassette? Yeah. I think someday we might do it.