Illustrated Tapes ♡ 2019

30.12.19

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Sequenced playlist, made to be played in order.

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Welcome to Illustrated Tapes’ favourite releases of 2019. We’ve put together a 30 minute taster mix of some of our favourite sounding and looking releases of the past year - enjoy!

Jay Som - Anak Ko
23 August
Artwork: Maria Madem


Selected by Ry Macarayan

My fav album of the year that I liked both the look and sound of was Jay Som's Anak Ko.  I've liked Jay Som for a while and I think this album feels like her most confident one.  It's subtle and dreamy indie pop, but between it all are really solid guitar arrangements, snappy drum machines, and the build up and distorted vocals in the titular Anak Ko is soooo good.

The album art is by Maria Madem, who makes gorgeous risograph illustrations and comics.  Her work is joyfully simple yet vibrant, and is kind of this mix of Moebius in line and color, and ukiyo-e printing.

Listen to IT026: 65 Degrees by Ry Macarayan


BROCKHAMPTON - Ginger
23 August, Question Everything / RCA
Photograph: Adrian Nieto


Selected by Isaac Smith

The first line of this album is
"I don't know where I'm going."

GINGER is like staying up all night wanting to cry, scream and rage at the world you find yourself in, and making it through to the dawn intact, albeit sleepless. The struggle and the solution balance out in an understanding of what brings you to the brink, and what brings you back from it. Suppressing either side of your mindset is just suppressing growth, a plant with only sunlight will bake and crack without the rain.

GINGER reassures that you should take the time to lean in and feel your feelings, not just focus on how to to get comfortable again ASAP. Expression, evaluation and reconciliation come through as key points in the journey of moving truly forwards, not just heading  in an indiscriminate different direction.

No member of BROCKHAMPTON comes across any more important than another in the collective, be they a vocalist, producer, visual designer, all aspects of the group feel represented in the cohesion between music, message and image the band have achieved.

The album artwork might seem simple, but for the hard working boyband who gained fame with the high energy SATURATION trilogy of albums, the image of a desaturated, stripped back moment of support within this creative group, not on a set or photoshoot, speaks to the continual growth that appears as a theme on this record. If you feel some type of way then take the time to feel it, and look for the balance to level yourself, and those around you, back out.

The final line of this album is
"Thank God, when I talk I know you listen to me,
Thank God that I'm built for the distance,
Thank God for me."

Listen to IT029: BINARY by Isaac Smith


Czarface & Ghostface Killah - Czarface Meets Ghostface
15 February, Silver Age
Artwork: Lamour Supreme


Selected by Sam Ailey

Lamour Supreme continues his incredible OG comic book supervillain showdown style covers for “Czarface,” the collaborative project between producer duo 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck. I love how each Czarface release feels like the next chapter in an epic comic book story arc full of OTT bad guys causing chaos.

Whenever I throw this recrod on I get a crystal clear vision of sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday morning with a huge bowl of sugary cereal waiting to see a low frame rate animated version of Czarface and one of his many masked rivals duke it out.

There’s a perfect syngery between the musical production, lyricism, and visual styling of these albums, and it’s reassuring to know that this type of flamboyant hip-hop lives on, flying in the face of current trends and refusing to apologise for having fun. 

Listen to IT001: Quiet by Sam Ailey (who also runs Illotapes)


Joy Again - Piano
7 August
Artwork: Chris Wilson


Selected by Jason Sturgill

Thanks to the Spotify algorithm I discovered this band, Joy Again  just recently and I felt like I was transported back to the late 90s college radio days.

The kick off track, Abaigh’s Song, is immediately so catchy you want to listen to it over and over again until you quickly start singing along at the top of your lungs. The other thing that immediately caught my eye was the super fun artwork by Chris Wilson which perfectly captures the aggressive yet poppy nature of the tunes held within.

Recommended to anyone that needs some pep in their step.

Listen to IT ✕ MH Awareness Week 2019


Tropical Fuck Storm - Braindrops
23 August, Joyful Noise Recordings / Tropical Fuck Storm
Artwork: Joe Becker

Selected by James Downing

The artwork is a blend of so many different things, pop culture references, political references, seemingly random objects... it reflects the album itself very well. So many different subjects put across in a blend of styles... punk, psych, blues, a bunch of other things I can't think if right now.

Listen to IT039: Evaporating Daydream Music by James Downing


Stephen Malkmus - Groove Denied
15 March, Domino
Cover: Josef Strau
Design: Jan Lankisch


Selected by Santiago Taberna

It’s April 2018, an acoustic session surfaces on the Pitchfork YouTube channel. The release of the new Jicks record Sparkle Hard is around the corner and Stephen Malkmus treats us with 12 string guitar renditions of a few new songs, and a few old songs. In between there are short interludes of electronic beats coming off his MacBook. He’s standing triggering beats and singing into a heavily reverberated microphone. Rumors of his foray into electronic music have been floating for years, an album deemed too strange for a release.

This album is Malkmus having a moment with his laptop, but it’s not a complete electronic music record. It’s him doing everything by himself, and I mean literally everything. Later after the record’s release, I saw him perform the songs live in a set that looked like a bedroom - echoing that video I had seen the year before, it was just himself with his laptop, a guitar and a chair he never sat on. The record cover is a crumpled metallic paper wrap, like the way you wrap a falafel, perhaps a tribute to his then-home Berlin where he took the inspiration to write these songs. It looks like DIY cover of a home recording that doesn’t pretend much more than to share the joy of songwriting as an act of personal freedom. These songs are brilliant, unassuming and come from the heart. It’s a short, wonderful listen full of extreme karaoke potential, nursery-rhyme melodies that you feel you’ve grown up with, and his poetically surreal lyrics. Groove absolutely accepted.

Listen to IT038: it’s a party... but where are the bangers? by Santiago Taberna

Shana Cleveland - Night of the Worm Moon
5 April, Hardly Art
Artwork: Adneks


Selected by Molley May

I chose Night of the Worm Moon by Shana Cleveland!

Night of the Worm Moon is maybe the most perfect ‘Autumn’ album I have ever heard. It feels so weird and woozy and the artwork is a complete dreamscape, I listened to it a lot when it came out in time for the changing of the seasons and its strange to think that all these songs written about hot LA sun are perfect for wet English autumns. The whole thing is beautifully put together - the physical record is a deep warm yellow and inside the cover is this really striking portrait of Shana - I love it!

Listen to IT0 by Molley May


WETBACKMANNY - “FUCK ICE 2”
5 August Artwork:


Selected by Uriel Grimaldo

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an agency in the United States that carries out the country's immigration law enforcement. This has always been an agency that splits up families, devastates migrant communities, violates human rights and conjures fear in the minds of immigrants long before the Trump administration. However the deliberate separation of families at the Mexico-US border has been a tactic only recently employed as means of deterrence to stop brown people from Central and South America from seeking asylum in the US. It is this bit of exposition that gives context to what was one of the most hype singles to be released this year in “FUCK ICE 2” by WETBACKMANNY.

“FUCK ICE 2” is the follow-up to WETBACKMANNY's “FUCK ICE”. It is part two that truly refines the concept and its delivery with hilarious Spanglish slang making reference to Mexican pop culture to come at ICE and over-the-top production which develops a more palatable groove that's both hard as fuck and catchy as hell.

Thematically and aesthetically, “Fuck ICE 2” is a single that is fun, funny, confrontational, unapologetically Mexican and full of solidarity for the state of migrants at the southern border all wrapped up into a track that BUMPS. Regarding the cover art, the same sense of humor and bravado that's exuded sonically can be found on the album art with WETBACKMANNY donning a pistolero's outfit, looking like a Don Juan with roses coming from the bottom.

It may only be a single, but considering the depressing political landscape this past year, the culture that WETBACKMANNY reps so proudly, and the catharsis that results from hearing this song, every time, it was hard for me not to connect heavily with this track. For these reasons, “FUCK ICE 2” has been my favorite music-visual project this year. 

Listen to IT028: Resurrection by Uriel Grimaldo


Mark