Let the truth be told… Battle Tapes are L.A.’s best rock and roll band…  They formed in 2010 and in their tenure saw  critically acclaimed EP’s and a debut album…“Polygon” that was released late last year. With the plethora of “synth/indie/pop” bands based here, Battle Tapes show that they are the stealth of the genre. Capturing epic melodrama that so defined the sound of the early ’80s to the present.  Their antecedents are Hawkwind, Bowie, Kraftwerk, Ultravox, D. Mode and Muse. And it were these apposites and their didactic emotions that so pierced the zeitgeist of the day and kicked open a whole new world for synthesized music.

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Krafwerk and D. Mode

Dangerous rhythms indeed! There is absolutely no point in looking backwards when there is still so much to look forward to and Battle Tapes are in fact just that.. the future! Polygon is both a technical  and an artistic breakthrough; as pop stars they are not nearly as appealing as Battle Tapes the musical juggernaut.  Every few years a band comes along that changes the  landscape of the alternative music scene and becomes an inspiration for many new bands that come to follow.. Battle Tapes just one of those bands…

In addition to nailing the cross pollination of several genres and writing catchy melodies their music has astonishing production excellence. Battle Tapes does a great job of writing songs that “breathe” well… they daftly allow space in between beats and melodies to give the downbeats and changes a great effect. Translation: They get your head bobbing!

The first time I went through their album – I liked one or two songs. I tried it again the next day and did a Spotify playlist in my car  and discovered that not only did I like the whole thing I realized they have transformed the use of “Technicolor” to their music as did Hollywood did in the early 50’s with rich and pristine colors and sound.Listened to it again the same day – as no surprise my passion grew with every track.

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We had the pleasure of having founding member, Riley Mackin tell us the tale of his band:

“I moved to L.A. from Salt Lake City to pursue a career in music production. Josh Boardman (guitar, synth, vocals) and Stephen Bannister (bass) were in a band already along with a friend who worked in the same recording studio as me. They approached me and asked if I wanted to play keyboards in their band. I agreed even though guitar is my first instrument. We weren’t Battle Tapes then but just playing music and having fun. As time went on we started writing songs and becoming Battle Tapes. In 2012, Beak Wing was recruited to become our drummer. We love L.A. because it brought us together as a band.”

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Battle Tapes

Polygon’s opening track  “Valkyrie” absolutely screams with vicious contempt. In Norse mythology, Valkyrie was a godess who chose who should live or die in battle. Pretty heavy, even for Muse/Bowie your lyrics for a song that is about a woman. What is the song all  about?
 Mackin:
“I think we prefer our fans interpret the meanings of songs for them selves. When we write songs, we try not to keep just one story-line or interpretation as our inspiration, but look at the song as if it tells several stories.”

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Valkyrie
Tell me everything and baby I’ll believe
Dancin’ with the devil sweating gasoline
Rollin’ down the river
Cause it’s automatic, so dramatic, every time guarantee
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The album at its most melancholy and oblique moments aches with decaying fuzz, crackle and ghostly background tones. But its with tracks like “Belgrade” where the band’s use of pulsing rhythms keeps the music from decaying like so many EDM enterprises. Two of my favorite bands, Awolnation and Imagine Dragons have unfortunately  spiraled into a quandary of musical abyss after garnering massive global early success. In  the case of Battle Tapes their music will  continue to excel.

Battle Tapes new release is the track “Solid Gold” which happens to be my favorite track on “Polygon”.. which has the earmarks of being a top 40 smash….. It’s riff  resonates of Carlos Alomar’s guitar in the David Bowie classic “Fame”. But what gives the track so much zest is the vocals done by Ms. Party Nails…. Who is the amazing singer and what’s next for Battle Tapes???

Mackin:

“Party Nails is Elana Belle Carol and she’s absolutely amazing! Keep your eyes out for her new material coming from her. She’s the fucking business and Don’t say we didn’t  warn you…WE are hoping to get other artists involved as featured and of course having Party Nails back contributing as well. WE have no planned live gigs at this time.”

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Speical thanks to Riley and Battle Tapes..