Oakland duo Tempo House have released this downer cassette, Sketches, that embraces the goth crawl of SM stablemates Gazar Strips, yet is pitched from the bowels of a well. Featuring a member of Bicycle Day (who we wrote about here), Tempo House offer monochromatic sound, faint static washed over acrid white smoke, dealing out bruised discomfort and brooding disquiet. There is even a whiff of Merchandise in their earliest days, crafting no-fi droning ballads on the roughest of equipment. It breaks into the slightest of downer garage with ‘Regression’, the plodding repetition a narcolept’s swamped-out fever dream. Then there is 'Burning Airlines Give You So Much More', a more unashamed pop offering that shuffles to its own tempered elliptical beat – no surprise seeing as it’s a Brian Eno cover. ‘Underground’ takes us back into some more familiar Joy Division territory, but the different throughlines that have come to pass earlier in the EP makes the song feel less derivative as pleasantly recognizable. Sketches seems to be exactly that – sketches from a duo just tentatively pushing out the feelers, getting a taste of the dark. A lot of promise here.
You can buy Sketches on incredibly limited supply (50 cassettes in total) through Digital Regress here.