Den Tapes: First, Last, and Favorite

Welcome to another edition of 'First, Last, and Favorite' where we get to know the folks from the Seattle music world through the records they love. This week we get to ask the trio that runs Den Tapes about their big three, a FIRST record that set their course, the LAST thing that's been in rotation, and an all time FAVORITE.

Den Tapes is celebrating their third anniversary this week! (We're hosting the festivities.) As you might guess, Den Tapes is focused on the cassette format, hand dubbing each run. It's a true DIY operation. Their roster is loaded with up-and-coming artists from around the Northwest. Some of the artist to have a Den Tape to their names are Fluung, Choke The Pope, Antonioni, Dusty, Porn Bloopers, as well as many more. If you want to preview some of the catalog head to their Bandcamp site, and if you need some physical media swing by the shop!

Den Tapes Seattle record label local music

Let's hear from this trio of tape dubbers, Mama Kay (who also does the local buying duties here at Sonic Boom), Willy, and Dan. We'll find out what records defined the fine folks finding the music to put on Den Tapes. Here's their picks:


Mama Kay: Built to Spill There’s Nothing Wrong With Love

This was the first cassette I bought with my own money at this massive record store back in Texas that had the entire back walls filled with cassette tapes. Rummaging in that store for hours always brought me good fortune. This record has taken so many shapes and forms for me throughout my life but it never ceases to make me excited, fill me with love, and remind me where I came from. I’m personally amazed my tape still works.

Willy: Japanther Skuffed Up My Huffy

Japanther was one of my first live shows (the other was Styx and I’m okay not talking about that). This album actually came out after I saw them, but it really stuck with me and ultimately is a big part of why I got involved with DIY music. 

Dan: Presidents of the United States of America Presidents of the United States of America

It came out in 95, I was 10 and this was my favorite out of the 5 CDs I owned. I still listen to this and it still rocks. 



Mama Kay: Jad Fair and Teenage Fanclub Words of Wisdom and Hope

I just heard this record for the first time two weeks ago here at the shop and my first thought was something like “Are you joking?” I’ve been a fan of these artists separately but you bring them together and the outcome is perfection in the form of some of the best love songs I’ve ever heard. There’s many different kinds of love songs on this too which is great because there should be more love songs that aren’t just romantic. This goes well in a collection that already contains The Magnetic Fields “69 Love Songs”. 

Willy: Playboy Manbaby Don’t Let it Be

I found out about this band when the band that Dan and I are in got to open for them,  and I’ve had their music on repeat ever since. Their songs are hilarious and really relatable, plus any time you put horns into punk music without having ska be the result, I get pretty excited.

Dan: Wimps Garbage People 

So fresh it hasn’t even started to smell, the tape got stuck in my car for like a week and I didn’t mind. 



Mama Kay: Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out

Favorites are hard when you love everything so much but I had to give it to the girls that have been a shining light in my life for a long time. Dig Me Out is another record that gets me excited and when I put it on in my room I’ll always start dancing like a fool. Plus everyone in this band has gone on to do great solo projects and joined other bands/were already in other bands so the “associated acts” footnotes are just as exciting as the real thing. (Fun fact: In the band we all used to be in together, I tried to get the name “Dance Song ‘17” to stick as a song title)

Willy: Man Man Six Demon Bag

This album has such a huge range of music on it, and bends genres all over the place. It’s high energy manic weirdness which I love, but it’s also smooth doo wop. I fell in love with this band immediately when I saw them open for Modest Mouse having had no clue who they were, and I’ve kept their music in heavy rotation since.

Dan: Devo Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah what more do you need to know it’s Devo!