Tape Waves to take new sophomore release to Tokyo and beyond 

Big in Japan

click to enlarge A Japanese label took note of Charleston's Tape Waves via Twitter

Keely Laughlin

A Japanese label took note of Charleston's Tape Waves via Twitter

Tape Waves has seen a strange kind of success throughout their career. Although they rest their heads in the Holy City, the dream-pop duo has had a boom in sales and social media likes from locations outside of American borders. "Ever since we put the first few songs on Bandcamp, we just seem to have a lot of fans spread out," says guitarist and vocalist Kim Hart Weldin. "I don't know if it's just the type of music, but we have a lot of South America, Japan, U.K. — we just have fans all over the place."

"It seems like a good chunk of people that buy our records are not from the U.S.," laughs drum programmer and guitarist Jarod Weldin. Knowing that the band began their career by releasing their first two seven-inches on a European label, it seems predestined that they would purchase a couple of plane tickets and tour on foreign soil. Oddly enough, the band hasn't been able to capitalize on their world market until recently.

Tape Waves will finally let their foreign fans see the band live, as they tour Japan in support of the new album Distant Light.

From mid-July through the end of the month, Tape Waves will play their celestial indie tunes for crowds in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Takasaki. "It's kind of always been my dream to go there," says Kim. "We always talked about going over there. I just love the culture and I wanted to see it."

The dream came true for the duo thanks to Japanese label 2670 Records — and a few tweets. "Maybe a year or two ago, I started interacting with this Japanese label on Twitter that puts out a lot of other bands that we like," says Kim. The label noticed the vocalist was giving a thumbs up to a lot of 2670's posts and reached out to the band about a release in Japan.

With the new album out on Wed. June 6, the band will have loads of new material to give the world. The album begins with a slow fade into a set of colorful guitar notes. The name of the song is "Turning In," but it sounds like waking up to a lost song from Revolver-era Beatles. It's a calm gem, improved by its glittery production and jangly guitar refrain that has a hint of '60s psychedelia.

The album's first single "Daisy" is rainy day beach music. It's tough to tell if the song wants people to go to the park and embrace the sun or stay inside with a cup of hot tea and a book of Mary Oliver poems. The single's vocalchorus effects are waves of wails that come down on the sliding main riff.

"Changing View" is a solid piece that belongs in an indie road-trip flick. Relative to the rest of the album, it's a speedy, shimmer-song that makes great use of both guitars. Although there's only two distinct instruments and vocals, "Changing View" shows Tape Waves' ability to stack loops in a coherent way.

Distant Light as a whole work isn't exactly depressed, but, like a lot of dream pop, it radiates loneliness in its delicate rhythms. "I guess this album overall is kind of more mellow," says Kim on the album's sound. "It has more slower songs, a lot more acoustic overlays." The thick music Tape Waves created on this LP is an excellent audible illusion, but the more the listener realizes these songs were created with few instruments, the more isolated it feels.

About three-fourths of the album was recorded in seven days, says Jarod. "This felt more like a studio situation than we have in the past, because we were like, 'Let's try to get everything done in a week,'" he said. Maybe the brevity of the recording process is what brought Distant Light's palpable spirit to the project.

In Japan, Tape Waves will perform alongside other 2670 artists, including Old Lacy Bed and Twinkle-Twinkle. "We sort of fit into the roster pretty well," says Jarod. "There's a lot of female singers, dream-pop artists, and pop punk." The band will back in the U.S. of A. before the end of the summer but hope to schedule more tours abroad soon.


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